So, who should go first?

Who should go first overall in your fantasy football draft?  That is the first question every fantasy player asks themselves every year when they start preparing for their annual dive into armchair GM bliss. 

Well, before you start having illusions of supplanting Bill Polian or Ted Thompson, you need to at least make the correct pick if selecting first.  Let’s take a look at the possible candidates.

6.   Aaron Rodgers/Michael Vick.  Fugghit about it!! In real football, you would be making the right decision by picking a quaterback to start your franchise, but in fantasy?  C’mon man, you have to take a running back first! Right?

5.   Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs.  Charles had an incredible 2010 that saw him rush for 1,467 yards and average an impressive 6.4 YPC on only 230 carries.  So … why isn’t he the first overall pick?  Well, he only had a total of eight TD’s on the year for starters. Second, the ageless Thomas Jones is still his backup and is going to continue to get his touches considering he started 10 games last year and finished with a respectable 896 yards (you do the math for both backs total yards, genius).  Whats more, the Chiefs added former Raven RB, LeRon McClain to play fullback/goal line back.  With that type of backfield, it’s hard to imagine the talented Charles to continue to improve on last years great numbers.

4.   Chris Johnson, RB, Titans.  I know, I know.  CJ2K doesn’t have a contract in place and hasn’t practiced one single down!  But you have to figure he will be on the field sooner than later considering he’s IN Tennessee and they are at least talking.  If he misses time, I bet it won’t be long .. maybe Week 1, at most and if you subscribe to my theory on drafting, you draft for the playoffs, not for the first week of the season.  Ok you say, but they have a washed up QB and a rookie waiting in the wings!  Yes they do, but they also had Vince Young and Kerry Collins the last two seasons … did that disuade you from picking him then?  The reality is that Johnson is a mystery to start the season, but if and when he comes in, you know you have a legitimate 1,300-1,500 yard, double digit TD threat.

3.   Ray Rice, RB, Ravens.  I’ve always felt that the minniature running back was a tad overrated due to injury history and lack of big time scoring production … but not this year!  I think the Mighty Mouse-esque runner makes good on being drafted as one of the top players in fantasy football … but he comes up just short of being the first overall pick.  Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain have left the Ravens and my favorite rastafarian RB of all time, Ricky Williams comes into the fold.  Williams may loom tall over Rice, but Ray Ray will undoubtedly get more carries this year and should return to his ’09 season when it comes to receiving yards and should crack the double digit TD barrier.

2.   Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikes.  AP has been the most consistant running back in fantasy over the last four years, so why isn’t he #1?  Well, let’s start with the fact that Peterson has 1,198 carries — only nine RBs in league history opened their careers with more, and has seen his touches decrease over the last three seasons.  But make no mistake, the one that Vikings fan affectionatley call “Purple Jesus”, will get you anywhere from 1,300-1,500 yards and double digit touchdowns. 

1.   Arian Foster, RB, Texans.  I’ve heard excuses like “he’s a one year wonder” or “his hammy is hurt” or “he lost Vontae Leach” or my favorite, “what about Ben Tate?”  Ok guys, let me put it to you this way.  Foster had a total of over 2,200 yards and 18 TD’s last year.  Even if he drops off , it won’t be by much.  He has the combo of Schaub and Andre Johnson to stretch the field, he won’t play the rest of the pre-season to rest the hammy, the departure of Leach won’t hurt that much (I hope) and Ben Tate, is well, Ben Tate.  If you’ve watched him play as opposed to just following him on your laptop for fantasy scores, you know this guy is for real, is the perfect guy to start your fantasy dynasty and give Polian, Thompson and Co. a reason to look over their shoulder …. or maybe not. 

**Disclaimer – J. Vinson is a self professed fantasy guru and reigning champion of his fantasy league.  If you question any of these assesments, please look in the mirror and question why you play fantasy sports in the first place.  Thank you.

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