2022 R.C. Ruins Everything #2: R.C. Ruins (Helps) You Making Your 1st-Round Pick (redraft)
(Same intro as prior): I have been sick with COVID for 8 days (as of the writing of #1 in the series). It’s a bad day. I started out the morning just taking some time away from football. Wrapped in a blanket, on the couch, channel surfing. I haven’t had the chance to do that in years. I haven’t been sick for years, and when I am…I just keep working…and napping…and working.
So, I’m all set for channel surfing, like a normal sick person taking some time off work…but I wasn’t really sure what was on daytime TV anymore. Dr. Phil, OK…checking that out for a moment…grandma is dating her daughter’s ex-husband…ehhh. Then I stumbled into an old fave that they don’t produce new shows for anymore (but I hope is revised in the future)-- The Tru TV show: Adam Ruins Everything.
In this show/series (ran for 3 years/64 episodes), Adam (Conover) takes a common topic and totally, comically, but usually brilliantly/interestingly debunks a lot of common myths and misperceptions on it. Occasionally, the show is reaching/grasping at straws (to me), but many times have data that’s a dagger to the heart/makes you think. I appreciate the challenge of my (supposed) sensibilities…the challenge of ‘you know what THEY say’. So, I was sitting there on the couch sweating but freezing at the same time…and one of my favorite episodes of the show was on -- and it hit me what to name this series I was working on.
My sick day/morning on the couch inspiration: https://youtu.be/OWASUMMQjj8
I am going to be direct, bombastic, and (hopefully) funny here as I try to rewire your brain on a few Fantasy things that I’m seeing now (and year-after-year). I want to discuss all these ‘injury prone’ players you are proclaiming…and not taking. My overall/starter question is -- do you even know what the hell you’re talking about on all these supposed injury risk players? (see…bombastic and direct). Answer = no you don’t…and neither do I.
I hope…I bet I (at least) stop and make you think with this report. If you’re offended at the notion…good. It’s meant to challenge your ‘faith’ in things you ‘know’. At minimum, more study is needed vs. knee-jerk reactions from our gut.
My main goal is trying to free you from this prison of your own design…or at least question the construction of the prison. Come, take a journey with me…
Who should you take with your 1st-round pick?
You got the #2 overall pick...or you got the #4 pick…or you got the #8 pick…or you got the #12 pick. Who should you take?
Before I answer that, let me state the premise of this installment: You are wasting entirely too much time worrying about your first pick in the redraft.
It is awesome fun thinking about/debating back-and-forth on your 1st-round pick in redraft. So much eye candy to choose from. It’s like when I go to The Cheesecake Factory… I could enjoy any one of the 15+ cheesecake offerings they have on tap, but I REALLY-REALLY like about 4-5-6 of them above all. Whenever I go to TCF, and it’s time to pick a cheesecake…I spend more time deliberating my TCF dessert choice than the collective time I spent studying for the SATs (which wasn’t hard to beat, since I did like zero prep for the SATs…and have the scores to show for it…I was a late bloomer to ‘study’ and ‘work ethic’ and ‘not being dumb’).
I can’t go wrong with any cheesecake pick, really…but I’m frozen in my assessment on which one of all the great options I am going to select as my #1 pick…the only pick…because I am going to pick one to take home and forgo all the others. I can only have one. I don’t want to mess this up. There’s no turning back once I make my choice.
Now, take my cheesecake analogy and multiply it times 100…and we get our grinding process for deciding on who our first pick is going to be in a Fantasy redraft.
You are wasting entirely too much time worrying about your first pick in the redraft.
All of the obvious options in the 1st-round of the 2022 redraft -- they all have merit to be chosen when they are chosen…or all 10-12-15 of the top 10-12-15 have a case to be #1 overall, really. You wouldn’t be shocked if Swift or Davante or Mixon or Kamara, etc., finished top of the class for FF 2022. They’re all great players…and they all have risk. THERE IS NO SECRET MAGIC FORMULA TO FIND ‘THE ONE’…because ‘the one’ doesn’t exist’. I have 1st-round players that I like better than others by personal preference. Our computer model does its best to value the options and it ranks them 1-12…1-15…it has its top choices for a 1st-round pick based on several football and economic/market factors. But in the end, there is no great/obvious answer.
There are so many variables to consider, you’re never going to figure it out…but you try…you love the ‘trying’ part. But you are wasting entirely too much time worrying about your first pick in the redraft. That prep time needs to be spent elsewhere.
Fantasy analysts say you should go with a running back in the 1st-round. Why? I don’t know, actually. I think out of habit. I think out of fear -- everyone hates their RBs all the time but they are cool with fading other positions so that they can make the following dumb statement: ‘I can get a ___ anytime’ QB or TE, and/or out of the a cluster of WR names that seem palatable. But for some reason, everyone hates their RB group…and is constantly trying to ‘fix it’ so it will stop haunting them every week of the season. It’s a mental thing that’s turned into an axiom.
‘Smart’ FF analysts trying to be unique develop theories to totally fade the RBs…they are going to solve their 1st-round dilemmas by barring themselves from even considering a running back (zero RB) and scoff at all us ‘losers’ who aren’t smart enough to realize the genius of their high brow plan. It’s not a high brow plan -- it’s actually a weak-minded ploy to reduce the number of options for them to consider/to reduce the number of options that drive themselves less crazy, by half. You don’t have 12 different cheesecake options driving you crazy to pick just one…now, with zero RB, you reduce it to 2-3-4 options. It’s a theory, but I don’t subscribe to it or hate on it. I really don’t care what they theorize on, positionally.
First and foremost, I am a ‘player specific’ redraft planner. I do not have a thousand illogical axiom’s/wives’ tales that I bring to the party…there’s no sweeping statements and/or broad philosophies that I adhere to in order to comfort myself/reduce choices to reduce anxiety. I am not zero RB, or fade the WRs, or ‘get any old, good QB later’, or ‘don’t take TEs early’, etc. I am player specific…I am opportunity specific.
Every draft, every round is a unique snowflake in 2022…every day…every week, and every year I do this. 2022 is no different.
You wanna take a running back first because it seems sensible? It’s OK.
You wanna hate RBs in the 1st-round because they always get hurt and you’ve declared since last year that you’ll never take a 1st-round RB again. If that makes you feel better, there’s logic to top WRs healthier/available more than top RBs. Fine.
Your mind wants to take that sexy WR early, but then you also note that your league mates are RB-crazed, RB-zombies and they are gonna take all RBs all the time at the top (and middle and late)…so the market may force you to go RB over WR early -- that’s a real thing/logic/debate point. You can look at a million cool infographics on the internet as to why you should take a WR over an RB in the 1st-round of 2022…but none of them consider your league’s thirst for any RB, and how that is valued into the decision. Later in the draft, people in your league are taking every #2 RB/handcuff/rookie RB hope and are ignoring several #2 WRs on teams. That’s a real thing…your league’s (over) value of RBs has to be included in your assessment for your 1st-round pick. But that RB-zombie environment can create opportunity for you to take an ace WR at the top they are all gonna turn their nose up at.
There’s a yin for every yang trying to delineate options in the 1st-round.
You might think about an ace tight end late 1st-round, but you quickly swat that thinking away. Why? Because people will mock/laugh at you at the draft. You can get any tight end later…the stupidest words in all of Fantasy redrafting. Hell, you can get any position of player later in the draft…what does that even mean? It means the person/people with this ‘axiom’/theory don’t really know the players, after the first 2-3 rounds -- so it’s all a blur to them, so of course they are good with any old player -- none of them mean anything, except if they are a cool rookie that someone on the NFL Network mentioned as a sleeper on Good Morning Football or something.
FOGLA -- fear of getting laughed at is the most powerful force in most people’s redraft prep…and in a life lived. I’ve been doing Fantasy drafts of all kinds with clients and friends and on my own for a decade+…and FOGLA the #1 influence on people’s choice in the early rounds of the redraft. A snarky comment from the league know-it-all, with his ESPN+ subscription is your worst nightmare for some reason. Until you get over that…until you learn to not respond to that verbally in person or in the remoter draft ‘chat’…until you learn to adopt a Bill Belichick blank stare/smirk at dumb statements from league mates or adopt a self-deprecating response to embrace their negativity and disarm its power -- you’re gonna lose at your redraft. FOGLA is NOT a redraft plan. Responding to critiques of your picks because they aren’t when they should’ve been made according to THEY…it’s wasting your time.
So, then who do you take with your first pick then?
I don’t know, who do you want to play with? And as you know, I hope, by now -- if you ask me who you should pick first, I am going to say…I don’t know, who are you picking 2nd and 3rd and then I’ll tell you who you should consider 1st.
You spend entirely too much time on the first pick when you should be spending more time (in 2022) on picks 2-3-4 and then more time on your 5-10 rounds picks.
In time spent by percentage, I’d say redraft prep should look something like this…
2% on the 1st-round choice
30% on round 2-3-4
40% on rounds 5-8
25% on round 8-15
10% rounds 16+
That’s 107%...because I know you’re a hard worker.
What I perceive the time spent in thought/prep for a 2022 redraft is…
40% on the 1st-round choice
25% on the 2nd pick
20% on round 3-4
15% on rounds 5-8
10% on round 8-15
05% rounds 16+
That’s 115% total…because you’re wasting too much time on the 1st-round choice, above all the other issues.
Who should you take in the 1st-round? I don’t know…let’s go through the options in order of a typical/current/generic ADP…and I’ll give you all the pro/con circular debates I’m hearing/seeing…
#1 = Jonathan Taylor…everybody says he’s the #1 overall, there’s almost no dispute…but Frank Reich is talking a lot about Nyheim Hines…and Taylor has taken a lot of carries the past few years, is he gonna get hurt soon? Everyone wants to talk about ‘TD production is unreliable’ or ‘TD regression’ or ‘TD dependent’ -- but they seem to exclude Taylor from such a scarlet letter.
If you want to take Taylor #1, go ahead. If you don’t…don’t.
If he breaks his ankle Week 1, was it bad scouting? Was it a bad draft guide? Are you cursed? JUST MAKE THE PICK…or don’t. You can take one of the other top names on here at #1 if you wish…it’s not a crime. It’s not a law that Taylor is #1 overall…it just seems that way.
#2 = Christian McCaffrey…the most injured RB of all the RBs…and he’s back as the #2 overall pick according to current ADPs. How is this possible? The first thing anyone says about him, when considering to pick highly -- he’s always injured!
So why are people taking him? Because if he stays healthy, he’ll be the #1 RB in PPR scoring. But if he gets hurt…he won’t.
Your choice…your gamble. What information differently do you think I possess about making this pick/gamble?
If you’d take him at #6 (if he fell), then you should consider him for #2…it’s ridiculously dumb if you would take at #4 or #6 or #8, if he fell…but won’t take #1-2. The logic is illogical. Either strike him from consideration totally or strike your injury concerns on him out of your memory banks and choose based on what you think he’ll be capable of this season, as if he will be totally healthy. If you’d pick him at #6…you should then be OK picking him at #1-2.
#3 = Austin Ekeler…has been way more healthy than CMC (as have all RBs), yet it feels like everyone thinks Ekeler is more injury prone because of his size…and they throw around ‘TD regression’ terminology on him, when they don’t for CMC.
Here’s how the warped FF mind works…
Guys who scored a ton of TDs last season/s…are downgrades on worries on ‘TD regression’.
Guys who haven’t scored jacked squat for TDs lately, by comparison, but we feel like they should -- they are TD upside candidates.
To put names to it: Austin Ekeler’s TD rate/production has been terrific two out of the last 3 years. A.J. Dillon’s TD rate/production sucks by comparison -- but you think ‘Dillon is due’ to rise…and Ekeler is due to fall. OK. I hope that works out for all of us Dillon holders.
You know how I often say -- NFL head coaches would rather lose a game but play it with no turnovers, than they would win but have 2-3 turnovers? The Fantasy equivalent of that is…you’d rather grab a sleeper player and have them come out of nowhere to score 10 TDs this season than you would taking a steady player who then goes out scores 10 TDs this season.
‘TD regression’ talk is a fancy way of subconsciously wanting to find/take the radical path of you finding the hidden sleeper and watching it blossom under your control -- versus taking the non-radical, steady, non-exciting veteran path/player. You like to bet on the 50-to-1 horse rather than the 2-to-1 one, even though the 2-to-1 one wins 99.9% of the time over the long odds horse. You want Kadarius Toney or Rondale Moore over Adam Thielen for 2022. You want Gabriel Davis over Allen Robinson or Marquez Valdes-Scantling (all #2 WRs with great QBs) for production in 2022…Davis feels sexier. It’s in our FF-DNA to try and shoot halfcourt threes versus a simple, wide-open 7-foot jump shot on the wing.
If you think Ekeler is due for a fall…don’t take him. But don’t scoff at him if he’s suggested as a #1-2-3 pick option. He legitimately could be the #1 PPR back this season…or not. Why Ekeler gets dissed, but CMC is seen as a golden opportunity -- that’s for you and your therapist to figure out why you are so sure about it.
#4 = Derrick Henry…he’s too old! He was hurt last year!
OK, don’t take him then. Plenty of other options out there.
Before he broke his foot last year, he was the #1 RB in PPR PPG.
Weeks 1-8, PPR PPG:
24.2 = Henry
21.9 = Ekeler
20.3 = Najee
19.7 = Kamara
19.1 = J Taylor
#5 = Cooper Kupp…well, maybe I should take a top WR in PPR…and just avoid all these RBs?
OK, sounds good.
But, well…now Allen Robinson is there now, and Matt Stafford has that arm thing.
OK, don’t take Kupp.
Well, he was so unstoppable last year. How do I turn that down?
OK, take Kupp.
I probably should take an RB…and Kupp is old anyway and had that ACL in the past.
OK, don’t take Kupp.
But I like these WRs.
OK, take some other WR.
#6 = Justin Jefferson…maybe JJ is the right WR to take? Should I take Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase? I don’t know if I trust Kirk Cousins? Najee and Cook and Mixon are still out there, I should probably take an RB. It’s a new coach, a new offense though…maybe it will be a better offense for JJ? What if it isn’t?
#7 = Najee Harris…is going to get all the touches…he’s a deal here, right? But that O-Line is so bad. And he has Trubisky or a rookie QB. Maybe I should go with a back who has a better surrounding offense?
#8 = Dalvin Cook…not bad value here, no? But he was hurt a few years ago. And, oh man…he’s over 27 years old (*gasp*)! But that new coach/offense should be sweet for Cook…but what if it isn’t? Is he splitting with Mattison?
#9 = Ja’Marr Chase…OK, how can you deny this pick? Well, that’s if he doesn’t hit a sophomore slump or have a TD regression. What if they double him and take him out of games? If I’m gonna take a young WR first, shouldn’t I take Justin Jefferson instead? It’s what THEY say the order should be?
#10 = Joe Mixon…a breakout 2021 season, but fairly flimsy rushing metrics last season, aside from the TD counts, he was under 75 yards rushing in a game in 15 of his last 19 games last season. Is he a TD regression candidate? Is the O-Line boost in 2022 a boon for him? He was hurt and missed a lot of 2020…is he injury-prone? Can I really compare him to these other top RBs?
#11 = Davante Adams…man, gonna be paired with his BFF Derek Carr…that has to be good! But Carr is not Rodgers. What if it isn’t as good? What if Josh McDaniels pours cold water all over this? And is Davante Adams going to be 30+ years old sometime this season? Man, that’s (football) old! I should take the younger WRs.
#12 = D’Andre Swift…nice for PPR. Could be a star but is the one guy who straight-up splits carries with another RB. Swift always seems to get dinged up as well. He’s good…but worth a 1st-round pick? I dunno.
There’s a case for and against all these top guys. And it’s not crazy for Kelce or Javonte to be in this 1st-round discussion either.
You take what you want to take. There is no clear and obvious option, so stop killing yourself over it/the decision. Practice a bunch of mock drafts going out to round 4. See how an RB start looks…test some WR first theories. See how the first 4 picks mesh together to then set up the likely plans with what you’re gonna do in rounds 5-10.
Rounds 3-4 are a whole different story. Spend more of your time planning rounds 3-4…take less time with rounds 1-2…set up your 1-2 desires and don’t keep rethinking that 1-2, always wondering if there is a better way to do the 1-2 punch because of the next article that pops up on your phone that swears it knows the boom-and-bust picks of the 1st-round. TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE in rounds 1-2!! Then really plan picks 3-4 off of that…then rounds 5-10 off of that.
There is no right or wrong answer, at this stage, with the 2022 1st-round redraft options -- go the way you want to go. The player you like best or have a hunch on or whatever. If you have pick #5…list your top 5 in order and stick to the list. Ditto pick #8, list your top 8 and stick to it…or #12, etc. Don’t get bogged down in rounds 1-2 prep -- there is no obvious answer. They’re all legit…they’re all at-risk. Do you even remember who you took in the 2nd-round last year?
Here's the 1st-round of the 2022 Redraft once the clock starts…so many options!!!! (just watch the first 0:25) https://youtu.be/B2oYI-hBiIE -- just like the kid…crack it open and eat one of the treats!!