When going into fantasy football drafts, owners are preparing by filling out their cheat sheets and overall rankings. What is the one common theme year to year? Running backs dominating the first round. The position is thin, and now-a-days it’s hard to come by even a few that are highly productive and consistent week-to-week. Even as this trend of running backs losing value in NFL offenses (or at least a featured back in an NFL offense), fantasy owners feel some sort of inclination to choose one of these lottery tickets in hope their selection is the one to stay healthy and get the workload to be a star. The problem of course is the chance you take in this, and I have written about this before.
But now as the season has progressed I have started to grow even more on this theory of running backs being overvalued. Pre-draft rankings have been established of overrating the position, but now I believe that even when you find that star running back for the year, Calvin Johnson is by far the most valuable asset to any fantasy team.
Why is this? Because Johnson is for one a beast. He is the main target in Detroit, and Matthew Stafford is throwing the ball his way even if he is TRIPLE covered. He is even battling a knee injury, but can still find a way to put up huge numbers and torch defenses with no ability to slow him down.
Compare this to running backs. They take the most beating than anyone in the sport, and it’s apparent by the length of their careers and the trend of less touches for one player on a weekly basis. These guys are ticking time bombs on any person’s fantasy roster, and if he is the reason you are winning your fantasy league, you are holding your breath every time he comes up a little hobbled (reference Jamaal Charles).
Now compare this to Peyton Manning. Here is a guy I made arguments earlier for fantasy MVP, but now I question my previous arguments. Why? Not because Peyton Manning is slowing down, nor do I think he will, but because Calvin Johnson’s performances as of late have been so outstanding that they are clearly better than any other player at his position. Peyton Manning is a consistent, elite Quarterback, but there are other options that will rival his production on a weekly basis (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, even Cam Newton). Calvin Johnson is a freak and the only reliable option in Detroit. Dez Bryant? One hell of a player. He makes catches that prove he is a top receiver. But people like Terrence Williams and Jason Witten are going to cut into his production some weeks. It may be only a few, and Dez might still put up solid numbers those weeks, but he is not a guaranteed stud from a week to week basis.
Calvin Johnson is a force, and assuming this article doesn’t jynx him, I wouldn’t take Johnson over any other player in fantasy leagues. Megatron for MVP.