I usually draft anywhere from five to ten fantasy football teams in a given year. People ask me how that works — aren’t I just rooting for everyone in the NFL? Well, no. I always end up with the same core of guys on most of my teams. How is that possible? Simply put, there are guys I like better than most others. So I’m willing to reach for them and they end up on my squad.
With training camp getting underway this week, it’s time to start forming some real opinions. Here are the guys with an ADP (average draft position of 70 or lower that I have a green star next to:
1. Ryan Mathews — The offseason couldn’t have better for Mathews. He’s highly motivated with Mike Tolbert gone and coach Norv Turner is talking up an epic season. There is no real backup here and Mathews has freakish talent. It’s a perfect storm.
2. Julio Jones — We’ve talked about the Falcons’ change in philosophy plenty of times in this space. They are away from Michael Turner and into a vertical, pass-happy scheme. Jones is better than Roddy White right now.
3. Percy Harvin — I don’t think Adrian Peterson is going to be 100 percent at any point and Christian Ponder is highly underrated. It could be argued that Harvin is better after the catch than anyone in the league. He’s also highly motivated as he angles for a new contract.
4. James Starks — Starks is the unquestioned feature back in the game’s best offense. Even if he loses some goal-line and third-down work, there’s upside here.
5. Michael Vick — Vick’s absurd 49.6 ADP is a result of owners being too shortsighted. He had a bad year last year and that’s that. He still has the upside to be the No. 1 overall fantasy player thanks to his legs and the Eagles’ explosive offense.
6. Dez Bryant — Many will shy away from Bryant thanks to his off-field issues. That’s a chance for us to pounce on the Cowboys’ true No. 1 wideout.
7. Demaryius Thomas — He drew comparisons to Calvin Johnson coming out of college. Now he has Peyton Manning raving about him. Pretty simple.
8. Aaron Hernandez — If I miss out on the top tight ends, this is where I’m looking. Hernandez is a wideout that happens to be listed as a tight end.