The League

Fantasy Check

How Big's the TV?


If you want to learn how to throw a football, pay attention to the mechanics of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. If you want to become a better running back, watch LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson. Ditto with pass catching and Larry Fitzgerald.

When it comes to building a better fantasy team, however, the matter is hardly as cut and dried. There are myriad fantasy experts who claim they provide the best analysis and advice, and frequently establishing a consensus is about as easy as driving 80 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense.

For instance, ranks the top five running backs thusly:

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. Matt Forte, Bears
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
4. Michael Turner, Falcons
5. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

ESPN's list:

1. Peterson
2. Turner
3. Jones-Drew
4. Forte
5. Steven Jackson, Rams

And National Football Post:

1. Peterson
2. Turner
3. Jones-Drew
4. Chris Johnson, Titans
5. Williams

Based on these rankings Peterson -- no surprise -- should be the first first running back drafted (and first player overall, for that matter), but from slots 2-5, you could ask 10 experts and expect 10 different lists.

So it's no surprise Fantasy Check received a diverse set of answers when asking experts to evaluate their draft strategy and satisfaction level after a recent industry draft hosted by NFP.

Hopefully the non-industry, 9-5 fantasy owner will be able to glean some nuggets of advice from their responses.

For instance, NFP's Joe Fortenbaugh on his personal strategy:

"Make solid value picks and target upside. I never want to get caught overpaying for a player unless I think he is a sure fire stud," he wrote in an e-mail. "In addition, I don't like drafting players with minimal upside [average teammates, bad coaching, bad scheme, old age, injuries]. I'd rather take a shot on a young, relatively unknown wide receiver like Nate Washington than an older receiver like Torry Holt."

Fortenbaugh was able to draft Washington in the 11th round or 106th overall. That's an excellent value considering he may become the top target and deep threat for Kerry Collins in an offense that's desperate for a wide receiver with Washington's speed.

Sports Illustrated's Jay Clemons on planning ahead:

"Obviously, I love having S-Jax and Chris Johnson as anchors, but I was similarly thrilled to land Donovan McNabb as my quarterback [I rarely own him] and Michael Bush and Chris 'Beanie' Wells as backup rushers. I truly believe Bush and Wells will have solid fantasy seasons, thus allowing me to acquire a premium wide receiver come trade time. My receivers are good, but I'm certainly going to need an upgrade at some point."

Talking trade even before the first regular season game? Only a seasoned fantasy owner would be thinking that far ahead immediately after his draft.'s Jon Phillips on his draft strategy:

"I was in the third slot in a standard scoring league, meaning no points per reception, and quarterbacks only receive four points for a throwing touchdown. Therefore, it really didn't matter which of the top three running backs went off the board first, I was going to take a RB in the first round, and hopefully a top WR in the second round. I achieved that with Michael Turner and Calvin Johnson."

We know this draft mattered not just because industry bragging rights are at stake. The champion also gets a plasma TV, courtesy of NFP.

Because we like to disseminate the most thorough information possible, Fantasy Check asked how many inches.

"It hasn't offically been determined yet," Fortenbaugh wrote in an e-mail, "but trust me, it will be worth it to the winner."

By Gene Wang  |  August 10, 2009; 11:45 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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