Rethinking Your 2010 Fantasy Draft

By Drew Magary
|  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010  |  Updated 4:16 PM CDT
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Fantasy football is a curious game. You start off every preseason with a draft board of your favorite players. It seems so right to you. So ironclad. Ryan Mathews at #13? Yeah, that sounds about right. You can hardly envision a scenario where your top 10 won’t perform precisely as you expect them to.

Then the real season comes along and you are left with nothing but shame and regret. Your thinking becomes completely transformed. How could you overrate that one player? How could you underrate that one other player? Why didn’t you see this coming? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

I’m just looking back now at the draft results of one of my leagues, and the mistakes are a delight to behold. Brett Favre in Round 3. Shonn Greene in Round 2. Beanie Wells before LeSean McCoy. It’s almost comical how the real game screws with your expectations. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 from that draft:

1. Chris Johnson

2. Adrian Peterson

3. Andre Johnson

4. Maurice Jones Drew

5. Ray Rice

6. Michael Turner

7. Frank Gore

8. Randy Moss

9. Drew Brees

10. Rashard Mendenhall

Now, let’s look at the real results after just three games. The second leading scorer in all of fantasy right now is Mike Vick, who likely went undrafted in your league. The top running back is Jahvid Best. The top wideout is Austin Collie. MJD has struggled in Jacksonville’s horrid offense, so much so that the likes of LaGarrette Blount have matched his scoring output. And Mathews, everyone’s consensus top rookie, has been badly outplayed by Jahvid Best. So what would a rejiggered fantasy top ten look like right now?

1. Chris Johnson

2. Adrian Peterson

3. Arian Foster

4. Peyton Manning

5. Jahvid Best

6. LeSean McCoy

7. Frank Gore

8. Rashard Mendenhall

9. Matt Forte

10. Ray Rice/MJD

As you can see, while the top 2 remain unchanged, the rest of this list gets massively reworked. Rice and MJD could still both post big numbers, but it’s hard to trust them in offenses that have trouble producing touchdowns. And Arian Foster has become an unquestioned stud.

This is what fantasy football does every year. It takes your expectations and blows them apart. And while you may think that makes it frustrating as hell, the truth is that this is what makes it so fascinating. These ten spots will change again a week from now, and that’s why Americans play closer attention to the NFL than they do any other sport.

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