NFL: Super Bowl XLIX-New England Patriots Parade


Why not, right? So, it seems like the Patriots’ parade just ended, and it was only yesterday that Russell Wilson lived through the slowest split-second of his life. The NCAA is in the middle of the biggest and most exciting single-elimination tournament of the year. Spring Training is going on right now, and opening day is just about two weeks away. The PGA Tour is finishing up its annual turn through Florida and gearing up for Augusta, the NBA and NHL are heading into the stretch run, and soccer players are playing soccer. And even if you don’t like all these “games” played with “balls,” or “pucks,” there is always another fight night coming up. And the DFS contests to go along with all of it.

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But those 4,000 hours until the regular season kicks off are going to go fast. The draft is just more than a month away, and free agency has been “madness,” to say the least. But this is a great time of year to be a football fan – so full of anticipation, and excitement, and hope. Shortly after that first Sunday of the season, half of the teams’ fans might be realizing it’s not their year, again, but right now none of that matters. Right now every new free agent is nice and shiny, and every potential draft pick a month from now is nothing but upside.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-LeSean McCoy Press Conference

There has certainly been some big news so far. LeSean McCoy to the Bills. Then the Eagles revamp with DeMarco Murray. And Ryan Mathews. And those are exciting stories to discuss, to wonder which team will be better off next year, to discuss whether Chip Kelly is a mad scientist or just mad. But at the end of the day, the Bills are the Eagles are both all set at running back, barring injury. McCoy and Murray – they’re known fantasy commodities.

The questions that are actually going to determine fantasy seasons and daily contests next year are what happens now in Dallas, and in San Diego. And that’s where still-unsigned free agent running backs like Chris Johnson, Knowshon Moreno, or Reggie Bush could still come into play. It’s where rookies like Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon could show why they’re the top prospects, or where Ameer Abdullah out of Nebraska or Tevin Coleman from Indiana could all of a sudden see themselves in an opportunity that makes them seem like the steal of the season.

And the draft is not the end of the roster-building. A teams’ needs can be almost constantly in flux. Take the case of the Eagles – first you just think they need to get that quarterback position sorted out, and then they go and get rid of LeSean McCoy. Then they restock at Running Back. And now they, well, they need to just, uh, see if they finally got that quarterback thing sorted out. And we’ve come full circle.

And that is why the big question of the draft is simple: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota? Where? Who cares that pretty much every study of the draft ever shows that drafting quarterbacks is at best an inexact science and is at worst a total crapshoot? Seriously, who cares? Because here’s the thing: you HAVE to have that quarterback. And yes, you might get lucky with Russell Wilson in the third. And you might get even luckier with Tom Brady in the sixth. But if you think it’s long odds to get a good QB in the first round, try doing it a few rounds later. For every guy even resembling Tom Brady there are a few dozen sixth round quarterbacks who never see the field.

Mariota at the combine last month
Mariota at the combine last month

And since we’re pretty sure Winston is going to Tampa Bay (hello, Evans and VJax!), the real question becomes what happens to Mariota? Do the Titans just scoop him at number 2, or trade that pick to someone else to do the same? Does he slip a couple of spots and force someone to jump on him based on pure talent, if not need. But that, and a glut of talent at WR, all paired with a couple of running backs who might go in the first round (not too common these days) should make for an interesting first day of the draft for fantasy owners, with skill position players filling holes and apparent opportunities in exciting ways. And when it’s over, we’ll revisit those needs again, and again, until we think we can get those week 1 daily fantasy rosters exactly right. Good luck.