You’ve been waiting all year for this moment, the start of your fantasy football draft. Once the page finally loads, you see your team name atop the draft order with the number 1 overall pick. You start to celebrate because you have your choice of anyone in the entire NFL to join ‘Love Ertz’. But then you start to realize with great opportunity also comes great pressure. Brown? Beckham? Gurley? Jones? Johnson? Wouldn’t it be easier to make a selection with a few of those guys already off the board? Well, take a deep breath because your friendly analysts at Sports Al Dente are here to help.
Todd Gurley – RB Los Angeles Rams
For me, this selection is quite simple. Whether you go with Gurley, Brown, Beckham Jr., or Jones you are going to get an elite fantasy player that will put up consistent numbers every week. I’m basing my pick strictly on depth at the position.
The wide receiver position as a whole carries more elite options than the running back position. In a standard 10-person, snake format draft, your 2nd selection will not come until the 20th pick. To me, there is a substantial drop-off after the top 5-7 running backs. Take the best running back available with the top pick, and then you will still be able to select an elite receiver with the 20th pick. The offense in Los Angeles begins and ends with Todd Gurley. He is as sure of a thing as it gets and is the perfect player to anchor your team. –Ryan Dyrud
Odell Beckham Jr. – WR New York Giants
As you look at the top players on the big board a few things stand out. There are 3 top-flight wide receivers in Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham Jr. There are also a couple of second-year running backs that had great rookie seasons. All 5 of these players stand to have great seasons, so instead of looking at their ceilings, I would look at their floors to make the safest pick possible with number 1. Consistency is the biggest factor I look for with this pick.
Antonio Brown has been one of the most consistent players in the league over the last few years. Unfortunately, his quarterback is getting older and his body has been banged up. When Roethlisberger misses time, Antonio Brown has looked like anything but a number 1 receiver. In the 4 games that Roethlisberger missed last season, Brown averaged 7.75 targets hauling in 4.25 catches for 59 yards and didn’t find the end zone even once. In the other 12 weeks that Roethlisberger did play, Brown averaged 13.67 targets 9.9 receptions and 133.25 yards, logging 10 TDs in the process. All of this means that without Big Ben, Antonio Brown’s floor becomes that of an average NFL wide receiver which is the main reason I am staying away from him with the number 1 pick.
Beckham Jr. has taken the league by storm since his debut two years ago and has never looked back. His upside is off the charts and his floor is still amazing. Eli Manning has proven to be one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league and the Giants’ running game is questionable so the offense relies heavily on the pass. The only thing holding Beckham back is himself as he has been suspended once for getting into it with Josh Norman last year. He has a history of not being able to keep his emotions in check but as long as he can improve on that this year, he is all but a lock to end the season as a top 5 player which is why with the first pick in the 2016 fantasy football draft, I am going with Odell Beckham Jr. –Levi Lefler
Antonio Brown – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
The first pick this year is interesting. You could argue for three different players including Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Julio Jones. Now normally I would start dishing out numbers to prove why I would take Brown but since these guys all have amazing numbers, I’m just going to explain why I wouldn’t take the other two. The answer is simple and it has to do with the talent around these players. Julio and Odell are the stand-alone star receivers on their teams. This leads to double team battles and defensive schemes to defend those players.
Brown, on the other hand, has more talent around him. In my opinion, of the three receivers, Brown has the best quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. When he returns from suspension, Le’Veon Bell is arguably the best running back in the game. This offense keeps any defense honest and allows Big Ben to pick apart any team with his favorite target, Antonio Brown. Brown is also slated as the starting punt returner on the depth chart, giving him more opportunities to add touchdowns to the stat sheet. –Tim Schwan
Adrian Peterson – RB Minnesota Vikings
If my draft had been a week ago I would have gone with the consensus and drafted Antonio Brown with the first overall pick. However, my viewpoint has changed since the very unfortunate injury to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
However important Adrian Peterson was to the Vikings offense before Bridgewater’s injury has now multiplied exponentially. He will get more touches and will be relied on as the ship to keep the Vikings offense afloat. While this is unfortunate for Minnesota fans, it is exactly what a fantasy owner wants and why you should pick AP with the first overall pick. -Riley Carter