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Monday, June 25, 2012

Conventional Wisdom: The "Number One"

I've been hearing industry experts lately talking about how they might like a certain player but wouldn't consider taking him as their "number one."  What do they mean by that?  And... Is it a valid consideration?

Before I reject the concept completely, allow me to try to explain what the sentiment means and why people say it.  What most people mean when they say that they like a player but not as their #1 is that there is significant risk associated with the player.  And, to follow the logic, if a player is risky than you shouldn't be basing the success of a particular position on someone with so much downside. It is important to build a foundation at each position with at least one dependable veteran who you know you can pencil in for certain numbers each week.

Fair enough.  Now I will reject the concept completely.

The risk factor of each player should be factored into their ranking.  It should be your goal to collect players of the highest possible ranking all across your roster.  I may be in the minority here, but the goal in fantasy football is not to play it safe.  It's easy to finish in the middle of the pack, but you need to give yourself a chance to win every week...  You do that by gathering as much firepower as you can.

You may crash and burn, but it will be exciting.  And, you may just win it all.  You don't win it all by playing it safe.  Not without a ton of luck, and that's not much fun at all.

The other thing is this: Risky players slide down draft boards.  You can often scoop up multiple risky players and give yourself a bunch of high-potential options instead of being stuck with boring, mediocre players that are "safe."

The concept of ranking one player above another but somehow being unwilling to select the higher-ranked player because he doesn't qualify to anchor your position is insane.  You're telling me that you'll draft Reggie Wayne ahead of Dez Bryant because you just wouldn't trust Bryant as your "Number One"?  Insane.

Listen, you ranked Dez ahead of Wayne because he is in a better position to get you more points in 2012.  Draft him that way.  Don't look past him to Reggie Wayne because you've waited on wide receivers and you need a safe veteran to anchor the position for you.  Dez will be better than Wayne this year, draft him as such.

And, for crying out loud... Do your own rankings.  Okay, maybe not exhaustive rankings... but you can at least compile a composite ranking list from multiple sources.  Maybe just the first six rounds (60 in a 10-team league and 72 for 12 teams).

Then, be true to your list.  If nothing else it'll make you cool and calm for the first and most important part of your draft(s) this year.

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