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The Real Reason Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles Should Be Drafted Before Arian Foster and Ray Rice

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doug martin fantasyWe are about a month away from real football, which means we are starting to enter the most joyous weeks of the year: fantasy football drafts.

I have a theory about this year's drafts that affect you guys who manage to snag a top four pick. This is kind of a weird year with a handful of top flight running backs. At last year's draft there were three sure things (one of which--LeSean McCoy--didn't pan out so well.)

But this year I think it's safe to say that the first handful of running backs are all expected to perform around the same level in PPR leagues. Those RBs are: Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, Jamaal Charles, C.J. Spiller and LeSean McCoy. If you're not doing a PPR, add Marshawn Lynch to that list.

For this argument, let's not even worry about injury concerns (which Foster has many) and assume that all those backs could finish relatively close to each other. (If you think one of these guys is going to blow everyone else out of the water, then go for it. I do not.) We don't even have to get into new systems and schemes and opportunities and upside. Let's just look at some basic math. (Very basic.)

A.P is going first overall in almost every mock draft I've seen, but no one would be surprised if C.J. Spiller was the number one back when the season's over. Having said that, who do you take with one of your early picks? Sure, Peterson will most likely be off the board after pick #1, but anyone from Doug Martin to Arian Foster to Ray Rice to Jamaal Charles could go second. It seems like Spiller, Richardson andMcCoy have all been falling behind the names

jamaal charles fantasySo why should you opt for Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles over Arian Foster and Ray Rice? It isn't your first round pick, it's the expensive handcuff both Foster and Rice cost you in the later rounds.

The truth about picking Foster is that you have to take Ben Tate as your handcuff in the 8th round of a 12-team league. A round where you can get a high upside wide receiver like DeAndre Hopkins or Michael Floyd or even James Jones. And the problem with the Tate pick is that it is completely redundant. You only get a lesser back if Foster goes down. He's essentially a very expensive insurance policy.

The same goes for Rice. If you take Ray Ray before Charles and Martin, you have to spend a lot again to make sure you get Bernard Pierce as a handcuff. Another very, very expensive insurance policy, which you may get very little in return.

Jamaal Charles and Doug Martin, on the other hand, have no one behind them that are worthy of anything higher than an 18th round handcuff. And let's be honest, all 18th round picks are lottery flyers that you have little expectations for anyway. Martin and Charles force you to go all in on your first pick running back and give you much more flexibility to take a high upside player in the 8th or 9th round.

And, ironically, if you snake Pierce or Tate in those rounds after taking Charles or Martin in the first round, they aren't expensive handcuffs for you, they are high-upside running back picks who may even sneak enough carries to be bye week fill-ins.

What it comes down to, is Foster and Rice cost you two draft picks for their one. If you decide to draft Foster or Rice, your first round and 8th round pick go to essentially the same player. If you go for Charles or Martin, you're 8th round pick can be someone who can actually help your team do something.

Drafts are won in the middle rounds. Last year you could have gotten Stevan Ridley, Jason Witten and Robert Griffin III. All players who were difference makers for championship teams.

 

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