By Sean Reis
Arts Entertainment Editor
Another year. Another football season. And another fantasy football league.
While many already rallied their friends together to draft a team for the new season, some have yet to do so. I hope to be of assistance as you assemble a team to play for your pride — and maybe your money.
The 2016 season certainly looks to be different from past years. As Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues continue to be the new fantasy football standard, the wide receivers are the most sought-after players. For those unable to pick the top three receivers — Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones — I urge you to pick running backs before they are all gone.
Though the falloff between elite wide receivers and the rest might be significant, the running back position can drop off before you even draft your second back. There are a few high-upside picks during the latter half of the draft, such as Jay Ajayi, Jeremy Langford and Justin Forsett, but you will likely prefer these options to be drafted as backups.
Meanwhile, the second-tier wide receivers tend to be more plentiful and last through the first six or seven rounds, depending on how many teams are in your league. Plus, there are many dependable third-tier receivers you can draft.
As for quarterback, some people like to reach for the elite players — primarily Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers. Though these players are arguably the best at their position, will they be worth the early pick?
When other above-average quarterbacks tend to be picked late, such as Carson Palmer, Derek Carr and Eli Manning, the earlydrafted quarterback probably won’t be worth it. For those who disagree, I suggest you look at the suspended Tom Brady to be an elite backup, giving you two superstars for a majority of the season. Not only will this pick give you options at quarterback week after week, but it will also lead to owning an extra quarterback you can trade for a top-tier player at another position you might need to make a push for the playoffs.
Keep in mind that Brady does not pair well with Rodgers because Green Bay will be on the bye for the last week of Brady’s suspension. However, Brady works with Russell Wilson, who will be on bye when he returns.
Finally, let’s talk about the last position to be drafted — excluding any decent defense and kicker — a tight end. Rob Gronkowski will most likely be drafted during the first round, but most leagues do not pick tight ends for the next three or four rounds.
The next best tight end has to be Greg Olsen, especially with Newton as his quarterback. I wouldn’t draft Olsen before the fourth round because Gary Barnidge and Julius Thomas barely crack the top 100 projected picks. I will leave you with my top sleeper for this season, Jared Cook, who also happens to be a tight end. Good luck!