Compiling a Fantasy Football roster consists of evaluating the risk/reward of each player drafted and their overall value. Value can be determined by the round a player is drafted in compared to the potential or ceiling that player can feasibly reach. For instance, last season Randall Cobb came into the year with health questions from the prior season. Therefore, he came with substantial risk if you were to select him in the second round, but as it turned out Cobb fell in many drafts to approximately the fourth round. Drafting Cobb in the fourth round was tremendous value as he put up 91 catches 1287 yards and 12 TDs. Fast forward to your 2015 fantasy drafts and there are many players that you will have to shrewdly evaluate to determine the risk/reward of selecting them and at which point in the draft the players’ value outweighs the inherent risk. Here is a list of some of the riskiest players going into the 2015 Fantasy Football season:
Tom Brady – Tom Terrific is the poster boy of the risk/reward quagmire heading into the 2015 season as he faces a possible 4 game suspension for “DeflateGate.” Typically a lock to go off the board before the sixth round, Brady’s stock is volatile as fantasy owners are in limbo in gauging if Brady should be drafted as a Top 10 QB in 2015. How far does Brady have to drop so that his value warrants the risk? You don’t want to draft Brady and pass up on a stud in round 5/6, but if you have another capable quarterback on your roster and Brady is still available in the 10th round, why not draft him and use him as trade bait.
Brandon Marshall – Leaving Jay Cutler behind sounds like a reprieve in reality but in fantasy football parting from Cutler could be detrimental to Marshall’s fantasy prospects. This will be Marshall’s second time leaving his buddy and the first time didn’t go well for B Marsh as his numbers dropped tremendously in Miami. Additionally, Marshall is an older player and will be playing with an unproven quarterback in Geno Smith. The risk is real for Marshall. Consider this, he goes from an offense consisting of Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, and Marc Trestman to Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, Jace Amaro, and Chan Gailey. Teams will definitely game plan to take Marshall out of the game. And a less talented cast of offensive players/compliments means you MUST reevaluate Marshall from a risk/reward standpoint to determine his value in 2015 as a “Jet.”
Jeremy Maclin – Reunited and it feels so bad for fantasy owners as Maclin goes from the wide open Chip Kelly offense to his old head coach Andy Reid and an Alex Smith led offense. Smith, the consummate check down artist will limit Maclin’s big play ability he showed in Philly last season. Smith DID NOT, I repeat did not throw a TD to a receiver last season. I’m not suggesting Maclin doesn’t catch a TD but a repeat of last year’s 1318 yards and 10 TDs is a far-fetched notion. Don’t pay for last season’s production.
Antonio Gates – Old man Gates showed last season that you never count out a savvy future Hall of Famer. Gates produced Top 5 TE numbers and held down many fantasy owners. So do you double up on Gates again this season? That all depends on the value as Gates will be a risky player to own. LaDarius Green, a talented young tight end should push for more playing time in San Diego leaving Gates as a third down/red zone target who will be TD dependent week in and week out for your fantasy football teams. Not to mention Gates will be suspended 4 games for PEDs.
Arian Foster – Let me start off by saying that Arian Foster is an elite running back in the NFL and has the talent to carry your fantasy team to a championship. But we all know why Foster makes this list as he is one of the most risky players to own. First off, to get Foster you will probably have to draft him late first to early second round so there’s an inherent question regarding value compounded by his checkered injury history. Foster’s nickname should be “GTD” (game time decision) as his hamstrings are his worst enemy leaving owners scrambling on game day trying to determine if Foster will start and if he does start, how long he will play (Texans 4 p.m. kickoffs are a nightmare). Being an Arian Foster owner is a roller coaster of emotions. If he’s healthy he is a stud, but who knows when he’ll pull up lame and exit a game in the first quarter due to soft tissue aggravation. All that said if I get good value (late 2nd, 3rd rd.) on Foster come draft day I will not hesitate to draft him and deal with the week-to-week headache.
Julius Thomas – The debate on how far Julius Thomas should drop down the Tight End rankings continues as Thomas leaves Peyton Manning in Denver to play with Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Naturally, a regression in Thomas’ overall numbers is expected (ask Eric Decker) but how bad can it really be for the super athletic TE who should lead the Jags in targets. There is a risk if you draft Thomas as a Top 5 TE as you would customarily do with Manning as his QB but to put him out of the Top 10 is pushing it. Remember risk/reward is the name of the game and determining value and where to draft Thomas will be key for your fantasy teams.