First Down: Moderation method could be key to ’12 draft success

Ever since fantasy football was first conceived on a rainy November night in Manhattan some six decades ago one perplexing question has racked the brains of gamers both novice and experienced: Floor or ceiling?

Over the years, millions have passionately argued each side over buffalo wings and barley pops declaring no clear-cut winner. It's a classic case of pick your poison.

Those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground are generally cautious individuals. In their minds, dousing a taco in an unknown hot sauce isn't an option. Getting into a car after a night out with Kenny Britt, too risky. They're typically punctual, responsible and extremely stubborn, holding track-record and durability in high-regard. Safety is always first.

Meanwhile, those who shoot for the sky are aggressive drafters, the risk-takers. Most would describe them as ultra-confident, overly optimistic and open-minded. Buy them a shot of Jager and they'll demand three more. Chasing the river in poker is well-worth the gamble. Upside is everything.

So, what viewpoint is best for 2012 drafts?

In a nutshell, neither.

Admittedly, the Noise usually dances on the ceiling. Simply, the payoff potential is too enticing to pass up. Nail three or four reaches and the odds of raising a virtual trophy increase exponentially. But this year the smartest strategy isn't walking a tight line or on a tightrope — it's a blend of the two.


The blood already spilled by the injury imp has created fantastic buying opportunities not previously anticipated. Round 2 is absolutely loaded with RB values. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marshawn Lynch, Trent Richardson and Ryan Mathews could be had at that juncture. And based on current trends (See the chart from Fantasy Football Calculator below), the last two possibly a full round later. Can you say discount double-check?

Because workhorse rushers are few and far between nowadays, those positioned in the top-three are in an ideal spot. But the same could be said for back-half drafters. If gifted a pick in the 8-12 range, you could laugh all the way to the bank. Think about it. In average standard drafts (4 points per passing TD) high-floor options Drew Brees and Tom Brady are, in general, slipping past pick No. 6. Grab one in the first then roll the dice on a high-ceiling RB on the comeback, like a Mathews, and feel free to streak the draft room in jubilation. Take a look at these mockups for example:

Obviously, several variables are at play, but it's not unrealistic to think the Mix n' Match lineup could materialize. Though the above exercise is only five rounds, the green team looks mean. Brady is a proven quantity with weapons galore and entrenched in a pass-happy offense. Mathews and Richardson, despite their injury flaws, are in excellent, run-heavy situations. Both could easily cash a top-10 return in per game average (among RBs) once activated. Finally, Nicks and Lloyd are reliable receivers immersed in great environments. Both are in line for 75-1100-10 seasons. And that's a modest projection.

Bottom line: This year, moderation equals moola.

Can't get enough Andy Behrens, Brandon Funston, Scott Pianowski, Dalton Del Don and "The Noise?" Listen to The Fantasy Freak Show (Now on iTunes) every Friday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Yahoo! Sports Radio

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