Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
Some people just can't help themselves.
I thought I was spreading myself too thin last year by competing in four fantasy leagues, which is double my usual amount.
Turns out, I'm a lightweight. Drew Loftis, fantasy football editor for the New York Post, was in 86 leagues last season.
That's no typo. That's eight-six, as in double Troy Polamalu's uniform number.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you are powerless over your addiction. Loftis' confession, found in the September 16, 2012 edition of The Post, speaks volumes.
"That [first] public league was my gateway drug ... I was hooked, I just didn't know it yet."
Most of you probably think Loftis belongs in a padded cell somewhere but I actually relate to the guy. I too am a draft addict. But instead of following it all the way through like Loftis does, I compete in mock drafts, which are usually over in about 35 minutes. In fact, I've ripped through three mocks in the last 24 hours. But before you send me away to get my head examined, let me tell you what I've learned.
1) There is no clear No. 1
Last season there wasn't much doubt about who to pick first. Adrian Peterson (2,097 rushing yards in 2012) was the obvious choice. This year, there's a lot more uncertainty. In my three mocks, someone different went No. 1 each time: LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Peterson. Though it didn't happen in any of my three drafts, you could also make a case for Jamaal Charles (league-leader in touchdowns last season) going first overall. That's how deep running back is this year.
2) Nobody knows what to do with Tom Brady
Brady is quite the mystery these days. In my three mocks, I saw him go as early as 22nd and as late as 114th. Rob Gronkowski's uncertain health status (he tore his ACL in December) is at least partially to blame for that. In other Patriots news, I saw running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen picked back-to-back in one of my drafts. It should be a fun year in Foxboro.
3) Philip Rivers might be this year's biggest bargain
Who was the seventh-highest scorer in fantasy last season? Why, Philip Rivers of course. So why is he being drafted outside the top 100? Good question. But what it means is you can spend the bulk of the draft filling other needs and still get a great QB in the 12th round. For that reason, I took him in all three drafts.
4) We're not ready to give up on Josh Gordon yet
Rather insanely, Gordon (league-leading 1,646 receiving yards last season) was drafted in all three mocks I competed in. The odds of him suiting up this year are about 100-to-1 but if Gordon does somehow get his suspension reduced, taking him in the tenth round could be the smartest move you've ever made.
5) Johnny Football isn't getting much love
Three ten-team drafts and not one person picked Johnny Manziel. Poor Johnny. How will his bruised ego ever recover? I bet he has a few ideas: Vegas, Cancun, Atlantic City ...
6) Neither is Andy Dalton
Dalton was third in the league in touchdown passes and sixth in fantasy points last season. But the stench of January's playoff loss to San Diego still lingers (two interceptions, 67.0 passer rating). The highest Dalton went in any of my three drafts was 147th. In one, he wasn't drafted at all.
7) There are plenty of sleepers at tight end
Why reach for Vernon Davis in the fifth round when you can get Jordan Cameron in the eighth or Jason Witten in the seventh? My sleeper special is Jordan Reed, who I was able to snag with the 136th overall pick. I know Reed has had concussion issues but when he was healthy last year, he was one of the most productive tight ends in football (45 catches in only nine games). Even Charles Clay in the 15th round isn't a bad pick.
8) Time heals all wounds
Hey guys, remember when Trent Richardson imploded last year? It would appear not. He went in the sixth round in all three of my mock drafts, usually just a few slots ahead of Robert Griffin III, another strong bounce back candidate for 2014. If there's one thing fantasy owners don't get enough credit for, it's our capacity to forgive.
9) It's okay to wait on a running back
Running back is so loaded this year, I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that you have to take one in the first round. I waited until the third in one of my drafts and still came away with Alfred Morris and Frank Gore. Both had over 1,000 yards rushing last season. Ben Tate and Reggie Bush can also be had in the third or fourth round.
10) Bishop Sankey is all the rage
With Chris Johnson gone and only Shonn Greene to compete with in the backfield, it's easy to see why fantasy owners are going all in on Bishop Sankey. In my three mocks, the Titans rookie went as high as 64th overall while never going lower than 78th. He could be this year's Eddie Lacy.