If you are fortunate to have landed your league's #1 spot in the draft consider yourself lucky, or if your league is like many, it means you might've been the worst team last year, and for that, well, better luck this year. In year's past, the first overall pick is usually a no brainer. Names like Tomlinson, Smith, Sanders, Rice, Davis have rolled off the tongues of giddy fantasy owners. And, more times than not, this is an impact pick. Last year's consensus pick was Adrian Peterson. And while he's no Ryan Leaf by any stretch, you could argue that the owner who selected Chris Johnson or Ray Rice or even Frank Gore got just as much value as the #1 overall pick. This year, there is no clear consensus.
Dinsmore, you are crazy, you are probably saying. What about Chris Johnson? Are you crazy? You gotta take him. He's a no brainer.
I am not bashing on the Titans running back and now with a new contract and happy, Johnson is certainly going to be taken by the majority of those who pick first. And I can't blame you. But . . . there's no way Johnson can repeat his ungodly numbers from last year. 2,000 yards is a once-in-a-lifetime milestone. So tamper back the yardage expectations. Here's a couple more names to think about before making your first pick:
Ray Rice: In a PPR league, you have to give a lot of thought to taking Rice first. He was targeted 101 times with 71 receptions. He is also a scoring machine and is easily the best weapon on the blooming Ravens offense. With Anquan Boldin now wearing purple, teams can't just focus on Rice. Ray Rice is a legitimate #1 overall option.
Adrian Peterson: Last year's #1 overall still has to be considered. He led all RBs with 18 TDs. If your league does not punish you for fumbles, Peterson's value is even higher. Gone is Chester Taylor to steal playing time, in is rookie Toby Gerhardt, who is a complete unknown. Peterson is still the man for the Vikings and can still be a stud you can count on. I would be a little worried about his fumblitis and his occassional nagging injury.
Maurice Jones Drew: Seriously, I know what you're saying. The little guy is good, but not #1 overall good. MJD has averaged double digit TDs over the last four years and has literally no competition in Jacksonville. No split carries, no running back-by-committee. Do I think MJD should be taken #1 overall? No, but you gotta look closely at him and definitely pull the trigger on him in the top four picks.
Frank Gore: The absolute darkhorse on this list. Gore has averaged more than 1,200 rushing yards and more than 50 receptions every year since 2006. The 49ers are considered to be an up-and-coming team and Gore figures to factor in huge. So, you could argue that the best is yet to come for Gore. He could be this year's Chris Johnson.
After much deliberation, if I had the #1 overall pick, I would either draft Johnson or shop around that top spot to someone who's jonesing for one of these aforementioned guys. Get some extra player or picks and slide down. If you are in the top 5 in your draft, you are going to get an absolute stud.
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