Drafting Quarterbacks Early is Now the Best Strategy in Fantasy Football

It’s been the way of the fantasy football enthusiast since the days of checking the Monday morning box scores in the local newspaper that drafting running backs early results in the best chances to win a championship. This line of thinking is of course a sound one. More running backs are started by each team and the number of good running backs diminishes quickly as the entire league is gobbling them up early and often. Owner after owner continue to draft running backs like sheep, until someone is brave enough to pull the trigger on drafting a quarterback and now we’ve got a run on that position. Just as the majority of the world believed the earth to be flat only to discover otherwise, it is time to put the drafting of running backs in the first round into the history books.
Aaron Rodgers,Drew Brees,Tom Brady,Cam Newton and Mathew Stafford are the top five names all fantasy football owners need to have on top of their draft boards heading into 2012. Plain and simply there is no reason to even consider a running back until these five players are off the board. Even in leagues that give out only 4 points per passing touchdown these five players need to be the first taken. The NFL has been making drastic changes to their rules for the past decade that have slanted the game in favor of the offenses and more precisely the quarterback position. Just as the NFL knows what side it’s bread is buttered on so should the savvy fantasy owner. Quarterbacks are the face of the NFL and are protected fiercely to keep them upright and on the playing field. Defensive backs are prohibited from bumping a receiver after five yards and it’s nearly impossible for a defender to avoid pass interference calls these days. It all adds up to the incredulous numbers that quarterbacks put up this season. Three quarterbacks threw for over 5000 yards and 10 in total threw for over 4000 yards.
Now that it has been established that quarterbacks have been given free reign to run roughshod over defenses and are exploiting that freedom to the hilt let us turn our attention the running backs. A gradual but definitive shift among NFL coaching staffs has been taking place over the past few seasons. The days of the work horse running back have come to an end. No longer does one running back garner the lions share of the work for the majority of NFL teams. There are now third down backs who cut into the premier backs playing time because they catch the ball better. Teams are eliminating the blocking fullback to make room for smaller, quicker backs who can catch the ball. Many teams have shifted their philosophies to a running back by committee approach to ease the wear and tear on their running backs.
Let us take a look at two of the most productive fantasy running backs in the 2011 season. Ray Rice and Arian Foster each finished in the top five of fantasy scoring this past season. Rice and Foster had good seasons and for the most part kept their owners in the race for a championship. OK, now let’s see where the problem lies in this picture. Ricky Williams had 104 carries and 13 receptions for over 500 yards last season as the Ravens compliment to Rice. Ben Tate had 175 carries and 13 receptions for over 1000 yards as the compliment to Foster. Those are not back up numbers folks, those are rush attempts and yards taken away from supposed number one running backs. With the number of teams that utilize two or more running backs increasing every year it becomes crystal clear that quarterbacks are safer and surer picks in the first round of fantasy football drafts.
Just as Columbus did not sail off the edge of the earth, fantasy owners who draft quarterbacks early are not doomed to have less talented running backs. There are plenty of quality running backs to be had in the middle rounds of your drafts folks. Get yourself a premier quarterback and smile all the way to the championship! Have I ever lied to you?

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