A Libra, Ritalin driven workaholic from central Illinois whose favorite past-time includes furiously crunching fantasy numbers while looking up the latest Fighting Illini scouting report?
Okay, that’s not him at all. I basically just described myself…
…except for the Illini part….and the central Illinois part…and possibly the fantasy part. Well, Brad and I have a lot in common I suppose. The biggest difference being, he gets paid full-time to cover fantasy sports, meaning the guy really knows what he’s talking about.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Brad again so that I could pick his brain and obtain some of his biggest tips heading into draft day — which is today for many leagues.
Take notes, kids.
Josh: When do you start studying? Do you start right when the Super Bowl ends?
Brad: Ah, it never ends. It’s kind of in the background during March Madness.
Josh: Who do you think will have the biggest impact based on offseason moves?
Brad: DeSean Jackson is probably one of the biggest names, having switched from Philadelphia to Washington. He’s obviously going to have a huge impact on a team with RGIII. I feel RGIII is going to have a top 5 fantasy season this year…
At running back there are a couple guys under the radar that signed with different clubs who are in an ideal situation — Rashad Jennings from the Oakland Raiders now with the New York Giants. This is a guy who keeps crawling up my draft board. I have him as my 13th best running back overall now. I can see him as the consummate Tom Coughlin running back. He does everything well. Not extraordinarily well. Just well. I also like Toby Gerhart. I feel this is a guy who will make a major impact in Jacksonville. Chad Henne will be the quarterback there… I think Gerhart is locked in at 300-plus touches. I don’t see much competition there.
Josh: What about the NFL Draft? Any rookies worth drafting?
Brad: In terms of the quarterback position, [Johnny] Manziel is the only guy worth drafting. He’s going in the 11th hour in many drafts…I have him actually ranked top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks…He has Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator, who of course mentored RGIII during his rookie campaign, which was a top 5 year. I think he’s going to win the job. I think he’s going to be the starter in week 1… I think Manziel will have a legitimate 3,500 yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 700 rushing yards, 6-8 rushing TD upside, and if that comes into fruition he’ll be better than a top 10 quarterback…. What’s great about him too is that you can go out and draft a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and get Manziel extremely late and if he blows up at the beginning of the year you can put him up for trade…
… At WR I like Mike Evans in Tampa Bay… he’s a guy that’s got 70-catch-7 TD potential. But I’m loving some Brandin Cooks in New Orleans. No Darren Sproles… I think Cooks is going to slide into that vacancy and get a lot of those tough, underneath receptions. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Josh: In regards to draft strategy, what’s it looking like as far as ranking players ahead of time? Which positions look shallow and which look super deep?
Brad: In terms of strategy there are a couple different ways you can attack the beast this season… I’ve gone with the Peyton Manning approach where I’ve taken him in the middle of round 1 to see where I would end up at running back and wide receiver… you’re looking at guys like Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings as your starting running backs or a Shane Vereen, for example. You pair that up with Manning and then it drops off significantly…
Of course at the WR position there is just tons of value galore, where you can get a guy like Eric Decker. Everyone is passing on him since he’s gone from Denver to the New York Jets… There’s still 10 TD potential there and you can get him around pick 70 or 80…
If you don’t go that early quarterback approach because quarterback is so deep, you can get guys like Matthew Stafford around pick 55 or 60; RGIII around 10-15 picks later. You can go RB heavy early on and get those sure-fire work horses like Arian Foster – a guy you can get right now at the high-end of round 2 coming off the injury. I think he’s guaranteed to get at least 325 touches in that Bill O’Brien offense in Houston… or Le’Veon Bell or Eddie Lacy… I also love Montee Ball as a top 5 option… I think running back this year is much deeper than we’ve seen.
Josh: If you had to pick just one guy – one bargain and one bust – who would it be?
Brad: I think Doug Martin is a guy I’m going to stay far away from… he’s going right now around pick 17… the 11th running back off the board. I don’t think he’s gonna be a RB1. [Jeff] Tedford has come out and said that he wants to go to running back by committee. Now we don’t know what the full distribution of carries is going to be but I would say that since he’s coming off major injury, the shoulder issues he dealt with last year, and you’re looking at probably a 14-16 touch running back. I think Charles Sims is gonna have a significant role on passing downs. So that’s going to reduce his value in PPR settings… I just don’t see the volume there for Martin…
I mentioned Rashad Jennings is a guy I really, really like. I think he surpasses his ADP value. Terrence West is another one. The guy in particular I’m really high on is Joique Bell. I think he’s going around pick 60 in average drafts… I know Reggie Bush is going to get a lot of receptions but Bell is a guy that’s going to get 45-55 catches as well on one of the most high –powered offenses in all of the NFL. He’s going to get the goal line work too. I see him getting 15-18 touches per game.
Josh: What’s your biggest piece of advice for fantasy players this year?
Brad: Diversify the portfolio. Early on in drafts you could go running back-running back if they’re there but it’s okay to go quarterback-running back-wide receiver. I think what you need to aim for in a round-for-round, case-by-case basis is to get the best player available regardless of position at that time.
Josh: You watch a lot of football. Who has the hottest cheerleaders in your opinion?
Brad: It’s gotta be the Miami Dolphins. No question. They’re scorching.
Josh: Did you see them do the parody of the Robin Thicke song last year?
Brad: I did. It was borderline softcore porn in a way. It was unbelievable.
Josh: Ya, they got my attention in that video.
Photo Credit: Getty