In With the New
By Rob DiCanio
This past Sunday a new chapter of mile-high comebacks may have began (or continued for the Bronco fans) albeit down South in the sunny state of Florida. The chants of Denver fans were answered when Tim Tebow, who prior to the fourth quarter of the game had less fantasy points than most kickers, began an amazing comeback to stamp a crooked number in the win column in his first “official” start as an NFL quarterback. So what does this entirely mean for fantasy owners who have an elite guy in there line-up? You may have that elite starter on your keeper team that is in the twilight of his career and stumbles games after game eventually going from “top point getter” to” clogging up your fantasy bench”. Just ask the Hillis or Manning owners. So where do you go from there? Youth! Here are a few suggestions to those that have been reading this paragraph and have their emotions tugged as much as the roller coaster ride of a watching an NFL Tebow comeback.
First off, draft with the idea of picking up those first round “gems”, late in your drafts. I know this comes as a bit of late information, but let’s build a successful 2012 plan in 2011. Many times we waste those late picks on older veterans coming off injuries with the hope we win the crown of “smartest sleeper draft guy” in our leagues. That’s a great thought, but, especially in keeper leagues, we have to think catastrophic early and plan there on out. This means grabbing a former first round pick who may just waiting on the bench behind an aging all-star can be low-risk, high-reward. Especially if it’s a quarterback in an NFL that has put a metaphoric “iron cage” around pocket passing quarterbacks. Cam Newton would have been an ideal 16th round pick last year, and Andrew Luck next year should be sitting in the same spot. Many times in the past these rookie high round picks take one or two years to get off the ground (Aikmen, Favre, even Manning). If you draft a guy that is rated high enough by professional teams to be paid millions in the first round, there is a good chance they are salivating to get these guys in the line-up , and I quote, “as soon as humanely possible” (Thank you Ferris Bueller). As soon as these aging starters go sour, the young guy will have his sideline baseball cap off and having a catch with the third string quarterback.
In addition to taking late round chances on the younger, high draft picks, scout the “high-octane, no defense” teams. This may sound elementary, or plain nuts, but, these guys will be more apt to play earlier in their career for these teams. For all we know Randall Cobb could sky rocket to number 2 receiver as soon as year 3.The owners want to strike some gold whenever they can especially if a player is in a position to succeed early on. As we now know, Austin Collie is just a reliable slot WR, but when Manning at the helm he was a start every week WR2. Sometimes the situation is just as important as the talent.
Looking forward, before you begin to plot out your fantasy baseball (and hopefully basketball) team in November out of sheer frustration due to an aging stars injury or overall lameness; remember to turn to the youth of the sport. At the very least you may get that “sleeper drafter guy” trophy after all.