Fantasy Football: Rules, Studs, Duds, and Sleepers. Part One

Patrick Mahomes (pictured above) is a must-start in all formats. He can make all the throws.

Fantasy Football drafts can be some of the most fun things some of us do. There’s rules that should be followed and a lot of strategy that comes to it. Here’s my guide for Rules, Studs, Duds, and Sleepers:

Rules:

  1. Always watch your bye weeks: For some of us this may be obvious but to the rookie drafter this is often overlooked. I rarely draft players with the same bye weeks unless they are on my bench. In a now 17 game season this is seemingly less crucial but trust me – don’t let it come back to bite you in the ass.
  2. Know the difference between a PPR league and Non-PPR league: A PPR league is a points per reception league which puts more emphasis on pass catching running backs and wide receivers who rack up receptions. It is imperative to know the difference before drafting your team. For my money, PPR leagues are more fun to play in than non-PPR leagues.
  3. Have stud running backs: Considering most running backs are a running and passing threat – always put more emphasis on running backs earlier on than wide outs. I typically recommend drafting two RB’s within the first three rounds. Take this rule to the bank- please trust me.
  4. Watch your draft board: A Fantasy Football draft is not the time to be distracted. Always watch your draft board and see where other players are going. Whether drafting against friends or randos, make sure you don’t miss out on your pick. If Kickers seem to be going in that round – draft one. If tight ends are getting gobbled up – snag one.
  5. Keep trade bait on your bench: This rule is imperative as well. Always keep a player on your bench that would be attract to other drafters and also someone you’d be willing to part ways with. Players like Rob Gronkowski and Baker Mayfield are perfect trade bait. (Unless Baker is your starter!)
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) warms up during NFL football training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Studs:

  1. Julio Jones- WR- Tennessee Titans: How could this guy not be a stud this season? I’ve seem Julio getting drafted way later than expected and it’s disrespectful. In this Titans offense, Jones will flourish because many teams many key in on running back Derrick Henry. Also don’t discount that AJ Brown could be a decoy possibly for Julio Jones.
  2. Kyler Murray- QB- Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have a sneaky good team this year and Murray is a good part of it. Murray can throw it strong and rush it hard which is exactly what you need in a Fantasy Football QB. Count on this man to have a strong season especially with an upgraded defense which should put him in prime scoring positions.
  3. Aaron Rodgers- QB- Green Bay Packers: Despite not wanting to play for his team this season, Aaron Rodgers still has a good team around him. DeVante Adams is a stud and he also has Aaron Jones to hand the ball off to. Expect big numbers from A-Rod this season.
  4. Nick Chubb- RB- Cleveland Browns: Chubb is always a must have running back in Fantasy Football. A versatile player, Chubb can do mostly anything on the field. With an every down back like him – you can’t go wrong.
  5. Tyreek Hill- WR- Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill is a can’t miss player in Fantasy Football. His best weeks are better than most wide receivers seasons. Do not miss on the chance of drafting him.
  6. Antonio Gibson- RB- Washington Football Team: Gibson was a beast in 2020 racking up 170 carries for 795 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Washington offense should be better this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center. Look for Gibson to have a huge season.
  7. Darren Waller- TE- Las Vegas Raiders: Darren Waller is a savage regardless of who is throwing to him. Derek Carr has been his QB for every season but look for Carr to look for Waller early and often in games. Waller is a very sure handed receiver and has an ability to get yards after the catch- don’t let him sneak down your draft board.
  8. Justin Tucker- K- Baltimore Ravens: Never think it’s too early to draft a kicker and Tucker is the best. Most kickers are hit or miss but trust Justin to give you at least 8 points a week. I always draft a kicker earlier than most and usually Tucker is my guy.
  9. Logan Thomas- TE- Washington Football Team: No, I’m not falling in love with Washington Football team players but this guy will be a stud. He is physical and sure handed which always bodes well for any tight end. Considering most teams will be locked in on WR Terry McLaurin, he is sure not to disappoint.
  10. Patriots- D/ST: Do not sleep on the Patriots at the defense/special teams position. This team has studs all across the ball on defense and will easily be a top 5 defense this year. With or without Stephon Gilmore this team looks good.

Duds:

  1. Ben Roethisberger- QB- Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Ben has been a dud for many seasons. I wouldn’t draft him as a starter or backup. Stay clear away from Big Ben as he is an interception machine.
  2. Dak Prescott- QB- Dallas Cowboys: Sure, the Cowboys have great weapons but I’m not sure Dak can get them the ball. The Cowboys are a run heavy team and Zeke isn’t going anywhere. Plus Dak is injury prone and never reliable.;
  3. Saquon Barkley- RB- New York Giants: Saquon has great talent but never play a full season. I’d stay clear away from him if you are looking for someone reliable. In the later games of the season Saquon may prove me wrong but I wouldn’t draft him at the position he is going lately.
  4. Austin Ekeler- RB- Los Angeles Chargers: Although Ekeler, has been great in past seasons don’t expect him to be great this year. A lot of teams have figured out his running style and Justin Herbert has to rely on a different guy. Do not expect Ekeler to have a good year.
  5. Odell Beckham JR- WR- Cleveland Browns: I never rely on OBJ. He is an ego maniac and unreliable. A very streaky player is never one you need in Fantasy Football. Look for someone more in my sleepers.
  6. Henry Ruggs- WR- Las Vegas Raiders: Ruggs was great in college and an intriguing pick but don’t put your faith in him. The Raiders won’t be too great and Ruggs won’t be anything to write home about- don’t draft him.
  7. Zach Ertz- TE- Philadelphia Eagles: Mr. Ertz is often injury prone and in a loaded TE room in Philly, I wouldn’t rely too much on him. On the worse side of 30, Ertz is not worth drafting as a starter or on your bench.
  8. TJ Hockenson- TE- Detroit Lions: Although Hocksenson has been ranked as the 6th best TE in some leagues, I wouldn’t draft him unless as a bench player. I don’t rely on Jared Goff getting him the ball much and the Lions usually suck. Steer clear of Hockenson.
  9. Texans- D/ST: This team looks good on paper but I wouldn’t draft them if you paid me. With Deshaun Watson out most likely the whole season this defense is going to see a lot of time on the field.
  10. Browns- D/ST: This team seemingly has a lot of playmakers but can’t always put it together at times. Plus, Baker Mayfield can throw untimely picks which leads to bad situations. Don’t reach for this defense and special teams

Sleepers:

  1. QB- Mac Jones- New England Patriots: Don’t expect Jones to light things up initially but he will be a good pick. With great coaching and developmental skill position players the Patriots should help with his transition. Look for Mac to throw for 20+ TD’s this season.
  2. QB- Kyler Murray- Arizona Cardinals: Murray can be absolute stud in Fantasy Football. As both a passing and rushing threat, these are always the type of quarterbacks you look for. I won’t steer you wrong with this sleeper whether as a bench player or starter.
  3. RB- Kareem Hunt- Cleveland Browns: Hunt is a shifty and sneaky good player. Behind Nick Chubb, Hunt can thrive in short yardage and passing down situations. Never sleep on Kareem Hunt.

This article shall continue on tomorrow. More Studs, Duds, and Sleepers tomorrow.

By: Joshua Marion

Follow me on Twitter @jmarion34

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