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How to Win the Office Pool – Fantasy Football 2019

If you followed my advice last season, undoubtedly it was a stellar year.  It was close to perfection as my quarterback threw for miles, the tight end lit up the scoreboard, and no-names like the Chicago Bears Tarik Cohen and the Green Bay Packers Aaron Jones surprised all.

The 2018 squad predictably survived a 2-2 start as they waited for Julian Edelman to come off a four-game suspension for steroids, selected a Zach Ertz early in the draft to pay dividends, and told you that Cooper Kupp would be something special.

If you took my advice, you jogged to the Championship Game along with me.  It hurt that Kupp went down with an injury, along with a few others late in the season, but that’s football.

Kareem Hunt kicking a woman in the lobby of hotel and being tossed off the team…well, that’s one I didn’t see coming.

Here we are again.  It’s time for the season to begin and you have no idea what’s going on.  The office email says your picks are due by September 5th around noon, and you sit there not knowing that OBJ stands for Odell Beckham Jr., or the fact that he was traded to the Cleveland Browns months ago.

That’s why I’m here.  Follow my logic, follow my lead, and you’ll be dancing by the water cooler by season’s end.

  • Draft a running back with the first pick – While running backs get injured, hold out, sit out, and occasionally punch people, their importance is unquestionable to Fantasy Football.  Saquon Barkley (NYG) should go number one, followed by Alvin Kamara (NO), Christian McCaffery (CAR), and Ezekiel Elliot (DAL).  Elliot may hold out due to a contract issue, but you still need to take him if available in the top 12.  Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and maybe Le’Veon Bell are first-pick worthy, but all have questions.
  • Take Travis Kelse (KC) or Zach Ertz (PHI) in the second round – I get it.  Running back Leonard Fournette is still on the board and you’re salivating about your potential backfield.  Aaron Rodgers is just sitting there calling your name. And Julio Jones seems like the perfect fit with pick number two.  But the reality is that running backs are going to get injured, Rodgers won’t score much more than Detroit’s Matthew Stafford two rounds later, and 18 wide receivers went for over 1,000 yards last season.  Only three tight ends accomplished that feat.  Kelse (1,336 and 10 TDs), Ertz (1,163 and 8 TDs), and San Francisco’s George Kittle (1,377 and 5 TDs).  I’d be okay with Kittle as a third-round pick, but the rest of the tight ends are seventh rounders.
  • Time for a Wide Receiver – I would never second-guess someone who went with a Pat Mahomes, Rodgers, or Deshaun Watson with their third pick.  But in today’s pass-happy NFL, a wide receiver here is appropriate. Antonio Brown is perfect if still available, Julian Edelman, or Adam Thielen will suffice.
  • Quarterback time – Most experts would suggest waiting two more rounds before selecting a quarterback, and it makes sense.  In a twelve-person league, you could basically wait forever and still end up with Phillip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger.  But in a standard league, Mahomes, Rodgers, Watson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, or Matt Ryan are worth it.
  • Pick another Wide Receiver – While a running back at this spot is probably more important, the Wide Receiver position will provide better depth.  Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) should be available, as should Rob Anderson (NYJ), or possibly even a Kenny Galloday (DET) or Tyler Boyd (CIN), who both went for 1,000 in 2018.
  • Time for a second running back – Homework time. Get the best running back, who doesn’t play in a running back-by-committee system, on a crappy team, to step forward.  Peyton Barber (TB), Derrius Guice (WSH), Kerryon Johnson (DET), or a backup to a holdout, like Tony Pollard (DAL) or Austin Ekeler (SD).
  • Flex – Golden Tate (NYG) – Tate will be around in this spot due to a four-game suspension for PED’s.  You’ll choose Tate and his issues here, insert a Cole Beasley type for the meantime in later rounds, and get ready for playoffs.

With the rest of your picks you take a top-five defense, a quarterback for the bye week, and every suspended player off the substance abuse and moral conduct violations list you can.  If I know the NFL, they’ll reduce most of the suspensions a game or two to get superstars on the field and make us both a little money. 

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Alan Tapley The Athletic Supporter

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship.

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