The first five picks in fantasy drafts are all about mitigating risk. You don’t get your second pick until the rest of the elite players are more picked over than the fat chick at a junior high dance.
#1. LeSean McCoy. McCoy catches passes and scores TDs every week. Nearly as importantly, there is ZERO competition for touches behind him. If McCoy, who is just 24 and has only a couple years of wear on his tires at the NFL level, gets injured the Eagles have less “Plan B” than the Pope’s girlfriend.
#2. Ray Rice. This sawed off little pocket rocket manages to play every down, catch everything, and run both between and outside the tackles effectively - an increasingly rare and therefore valuable commodity these days. Harbaugh would rather send his grandchildren to Jerry Sandusky’s Prison Fantasy Camp than trust Joe Flacco to throw the ball to anyone but #27, which is why Rice accounts for no less than 137% of Baltimore’s offensive production annually. Ray-Ray would be even higher if not for the 4+ years of heavily featured work at the NFL level. At his current rate of over usage (which is fantasy gold), it’s only a matter of time before he spontaneously combusts like the drummer for Spinal Tap, or various limbs randomly start falling off right on the field.
#3. Aaron Rogers. It is tempting to take a running back here given how quickly they disappear; however, in this age of running back by committee there are less valuable/reliable RBs, but more playable RBs to be had much later. Rogers is about as consistent, reliable, and elite as it gets. In every year as a starter he’s been among the top three fantasy scorers overall. It’s as though he has made it his personal mission to show Brett Favre what could have been were he not averse to practice, teamwork, and not annually generating more drama than a thirteen year old cheerleading captain with her own reality television show. *Meanwhile somewhere in Mississippi Brett Favre announces, through his agent, to his wife that he’s “holding out” until the end of training camp and will no longer be taking out the trash, recreationally farming, and/or filming Wranglers commercials that look suspiciously like ads for Viagra.
#4. Tom Brady. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could hate this guy? When he’s not knocking up various supermodels he’s winning Super Bowls, both fantasy and (the far less important) NFL kind. He is surrounded by the league’s best players at their respective skill positions, with the notable exception of at running back – which is great because it means none of those pesky rushing TDs to rob Brady of his fantasy stats. His chiseled stubbly jaw alone could outscore lesser beings like Mark Sanchez, who we’ve all seen struggling this preseason…with the realization that he’s simply never been very good at football.
#5. Chris Johnson. No, not Calvin Johnson (Madden cover.). There are just too many good wide receivers around much later in this new passing oriented NFL. If you can land a young (26) every down back with 2,000 yard potential, like CJ2Pay will have this year, jump on it! Don’t get me wrong, I advised everyone to avoid him like a pregnant ex-girlfriend at a church social last year, and I was right. After being all douchey for an entire year and sticking it to the team (that DID pay him) by smugly loping around for an entire season, eventually 2Pay realized that the perception out there now is that he ACTUALLY SUCKS at football (not just as a person.) Thanks to his latest set of grillz, he’s pretty much perfected his life long pursuit of looking exactly like Jar Jar Binks. Now he can finally turn his attention back to less important matters like doing his job and actually EARNING his huge paycheck.
Sleeper: Ben Tate. Many of you who have read other fantasy lists are doubtlessly freaking out about Arian Foster and his conspicuous omission. Arian made the stupidest football career decision this side of being on the cover of Madden, he converted to “delusitarianism” (vegan.) Dude, there is a reason vegans are all 90 pound sickly looking women! Foster was already a risk because in games where up big or down huge Houston hands over the reins to the equally potent Ben Tate. It’s only a matter of weeks before Foster’s legs snap like the twigs and berries of which his diet suddenly consists exclusively.