News & Analysis

Go ahead, draft your favorite player

May 23, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tavon Austin (10) during organized team activities at Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)

A few weeks ago, I asked one of our fantasy writers, Scott Barrett, if he had any fantasy players he just couldn’t quit — a guy who you keep drafting year after year against your better judgment, because you have a fondness for him for one reason or another.

“I wouldn’t be much of an analyst if I did,” Scott said, which is the correct answer but also just so dang boring.

Scott’s right, of course — if you have a weakness for a certain player in the face of greater analysis and statistics, well, you’re doing yourself (and probably your readers) a disservice. Either a player warrants fantasy usage because of what he does and how he does it, and then adding him in fantasy is backed up by facts, or he doesn’t, and you don’t add him. Fandom isn’t supposed to matter there.

The flip side, though, is that this is still a game. I like Tavon Austin. There is no reason for that, other than I drafted him late in his rookie year and he stuck in my brain. He’s been a bad fantasy player almost his entire career, was overpaid by the Rams, and now he’s on his second team and I could envision a scenario where he doesn’t even make the roster. That said, if the reports on him coming out of Dallas remain positive, if it looks like Austin becomes the backup/pass-catching running back behind Ezekiel Elliott … I’ll probably spend a late-round pick on him in more than one league.

Or maybe your favorite player is … I don't know, Emmanuel Sanders. You can take him at one draft pick, a little earlier than his value, or wait a round-plus and hope he falls. You know what? Have fun. We can't possibly predict with such accuracy that reaching a few picks to take a guy you really want is that significant. Don't take Sanders at 1,01 (I mean, unless you want to — it's your team), but in the seventh or eighth, before his ADP? Knock yourself out.

If you are a fan of a player, screw it. This is a game. Have fun. No, don’t take Austin Ekeler in the second round because he has a cool story (he does, too). But when you’re in the 14th round and your choices are a backup running back on your least favorite team, or the third-stringer on another team you’ve been rooting for since you happened to see his biggest college game? Screw it, have fun, take the fun guy. Maybe that makes Scott a better analyst than me (among so many other things). But I’m always happy to use “I like him” as a tiebreaker. I’ll even let it overcome a small deficit.


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