7/27/14 The First Overall Pick in the 2014 Fantasy Football Draft is…

I cannot recall a season where you have three legitimate options for the number one overall draft selection.

freedigitalphotos.net / stuart miles
freedigitalphotos.net / stuart miles

You wanna take Jamaal Charles?  Okay, that makes sense.  The dude was the top fantasy RB in 2013.  LeSean McCoy is your guy?  No argument here.  He was the second best fantasy RB in 2011 and 2013, and it’s his second year in Chip Kelly’s offense.  And then there’s Adrian Peterson.  No commentary necessary.

I’ll be competing in many leagues this year, so I have the luxury of experimenting with all three.  And I honestly believe I can’t go wrong with any of them, which means you can’t go wrong.  But what if I was in just one league?  What if I had to bet my mortgage on the outcome of the fantasy season, and I had the first overall pick?

Let’s do a basic pro and con list for each guy.  Let’s also do what I always do to solve fantasy football conundrums like this one, which is to ask myself “what’s more likely to happen?”

Pros and cons for Jamaal Charles.  He was the leading fantasy RB in 2013, the guy averages 5.6 yards/carry lifetime.  In his first year in Andy Reid’s offense he had 259 caries and 70 receptions.  That’s a lot of touches.  Alex Smith has proven himself to be a competent game manager who can put his team in position to win games, which obviously benefits Charles.  The only major downside I see is the alarming fact that the Chiefs lost left tackle Branden Albert, and guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz… that’s 3 starters on the offensive line that are gone due to free agency.  That’s a really scary thought, and it leads me to believe there’s no way Jamaal Charles will be as productive as he was last year.

I see no substantial cons on the LeSean McCoy analysis.  I don’t want to overthink the fact that DeSean Jackson left, and that defenses won’t be as concerned about the deep ball, so therefore they can sneak an extra defender in the box.  Jackson’s departure will have an impact, but I don’t think it’s a downgrade-able one for McCoy.  And, paradoxically, the fact that the Eagles signed Darren Sproles will actually cut into McCoy’s touches BUT… it may create more mismatches that McCoy can exploit.  Darren Sproles… both a pro and a con for LeSean McCoy.  Only in fantasy football.  Then the other thing is– and again this is a reach– the logical argument that teams have had a year to study Chip Kelly’s offense, and will be better prepared to defend it in 2014.  There might be a concern about consistency, as the Eagles seemed to run hot and cold on offense.  For instance, McCoy scored 15+ fantasy points in 60% of his games last year, whereas Jamaal Charles score 15+ in 80% of his.  Again, no major red flags here, but valid points nonetheless.

Adrian Peterson will now be operating in a Norv Turner offense.  This would be a no-brainer if this was 5 years ago.  Turner has a history of producing elite fantasy production at the RB position.  But Peterson is 29 year old.  When he rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012, I expected a drop off.  I didn’t expect him to rush for 800 less yards, however.  And in 2013, his 4.5 yards/carry was the second lowest of his career.  There isn’t a lot of stability at QB in Minnesota, too.  They may be starting all over again with a rookie.   On the “pro” side of the column:  it’s Adrian Peterson.

Going just by the pro’s and con’s, I would rank them as follows: McCoy, Charles, Peterson.

But as I said earlier, I like to ask myself, “What’s more likely to happen?”  So let’s plug this into a round-robin format.

What’s more likely to happen…

McCoy or Charles has a down year?  McCoy or Peterson has a down year?  Charles or Peterson has a down year?

I would say Charles is more likely to have a down year compared to McCoy and Peterson.  I would also say that McCoy is more likely to have a down year compared to Peterson.  In this analysis, I’d rank them as follows: Peterson, McCoy, and Charles.

Finally, here is a look at the ADP (Average Draft Position) for all three across 5 platforms:

 Player  Yahoo  ESPN  CBS  FFC  NFL  AVERAGE
 LeSean McCoy  2  2  2  1  2  1.8
 Jamaal Charles  1  3  1  2  3  2
 Adrian Peterson  3  1  3  3  1  2.2

We’re not likely to see much in preseason, as these established stars are likely to rest to avoid injury.

Bottom line; I’d flip a coin between Peterson and McCoy.  I love Charles, but losing three linemen is hard for me to get over.  But if I was forced to choose between Peterson and McCoy, I’d take Adrian Peterson, but only because I think he’s the less likely to have a down season.  But ask me again tomorrow, when I’ll have a different opinion.

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