BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot
The Dolphins and Cowboys kicked off the NFL’s preseason Sunday night. Preseason football doesn’t just kick off football season, it also means it’s time to get serious about fantasy football.
The Buffalo Bills have many young players on offense whose fantasy football values are dependent upon what type of league you are in.
While I know there are many different types of fantasy football leagues out there, I’m going to be focusing on redraft leagues, keeper leagues and dynasty leagues. For those of you unaware of what each league is, here is a brief description.
Redraft league: Everyone builds their team from scratch. Leagues vary in size but are generally 10 or 12 teams. Drafts are done in snake format where the person who picks last in round one gets the first pick in round two.
Keeper league: Draft concept is the same as the redraft. After year one, however, you can keep 1-3 players depending on the league. In certain keeper leagues, you lose as many of your picks as the players you keep. For example, if you keep three players, you lose your first three draft picks. In the keeper leagues I prefer, you lose the round in which you drafted a player from the previous year. For example, C.J. Spiller’s average draft position (ADP) in 2012 was 9.03 (ninth round, third pick), according to Fantasy Football Calculator. If you were lucky to snag Spiller that late, you’d lose your ninth-round pick in 2013 for keeping him. Basically, you get rewarded for any gems you may discover in middle or late rounds.
Dynasty league: The initial draft is similar to the redraft concept in size and how drafting is done. In most leagues, you must assign each player a contract length post-draft while keeping your team at or under the assigned year limit. You can generally re-sign players once and in some formats you can even franchise players. Younger players have increased value in these leagues as you can hold onto them for the prime of their careers. Some dynasty leagues also have two drafts, a rookie draft and then a draft for players who’s contracts ran up or were not selected the year before.
Now that the leagues have been clarified, let’s take a look at the Bills offense and where you should feel comfortable drafting players.
Note: All ADP data was found using Fantasy Football Calculator.
EJ Manuel, Quarterback
Redraft: Do not draft
Keeper: Later rounds
Dynasty: Mid-late rounds in startup draft, 1st-2nd round in rookie draft
Buffalo’s first-round draft pick’s value will vary by league. In a redraft league, there are too many established quarterbacks available to even consider Manuel as your first or second quarterback. If you’re looking for value/high upside late in the draft, Manuel could warrant a spot on your bench, but he’ll likely be available in most leagues on the waiver wire.
In keeper leagues, the idea is the same as redraft leagues. There is too much value available in mid-rounds to even think about drafting Manuel and expecting to play him. As of Aug. 5, players like Andrew Luck, RGIII and Tony Romo are being selected in Round 7 of fantasy drafts, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. That is great value for names who can contribute big points on a weekly basis.
Drafting Manuel late, however, could pay dividends. If Manuel shows ability in 2013 and you draft him late, you would only lose a late draft pick for keeping Manuel on your roster. Keeper leagues have a lot of strategy involved, and Manuel will get drafted later in these drafts.
If you’re starting a dynasty league, Manuel is exactly what you want as your third quarterback. Extremely young, has all the physical tools and if he emerges as a fantasy football threat you can resign him long-term.
In dynasty leagues where you have a separate rookie draft, take Manuel late in Round 1 or in Round 2. Running backs and wide receivers generally fly off the board first in separate rookie drafts, but Manuel’s value cannot be ignored. Among all rookie quarterbacks, Manuel is the most likely to see the field first and produce for fantasy owners.
Kevin Kolb, Quarterback
Redraft: Do not draft
Keeper: Do not draft
Dynasty: Do not draft
If Kevin Kolb is named the starting quarterback, he may warrant an extremely late draft pick, but even if he starts Week 1 for Buffalo, everyone knows Kolb is keeping the seat warm for Manuel. You won’t get a full season out of Kolb, so I’d advise against drafting him all together. This also holds true for keeper leagues and dynasty leagues.