Experimental Fantasy Lab- The High Ceiling, Low Floor All Star Team

July has gone and August is upon us and this means the new NFL season is just around the corner. Fantasy leagues and players are stirring from their off-season slumber (yeah right) and the EFFL is getting ready to kick off. It’s at this time of the year that we have a little bit of time to think about how we build our team and hopefully erase the mistakes of last year.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for even the smallest competitive advantage, but with a market swamped with advice it’s tough to get an edge in a competitive league. This means that in order to get that chink of daylight we sometimes need to take risks.

Now none of us are going to do that in our home leagues it’s just not the place to experiment with untested techniques or risky strategies (lets face it avoiding the wooden spoon is almost as satisfying as winning the whole dam thing!). As part of helping you get that edge I’m going to write a series of articles demonstrating some experimental and risky team building and put them to test in some real leagues. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back  with how they’re getting on later this year.

The first team I’m going to try and create is the Ultimate Boom or Boost team (or the low floor, high ceiling) All-Stars. What I’m going to attempt to do is draft a team that is the ultimate risky proposition. By continually selecting players who could lead their respective positions due to opportunity or luck will this allow me to produce a team that just makes it no fun for the rest of the league or will I end up with a team full of inconsistent bums?

The first part of my team building strategy is build a set of targets round by round using ADP. I may be building the boom and bust team, but I’m also going to make sure I’m not reaching either. I feel this is an important point as over-drafting players will only serve to strengthen my opposition. The draft plan is below I’ll re-post when I draft a team using this strategy.

If you’re interested in experimenting or if you can think of some ideal boom or bust candidates just comment below!

Round 1 and 2

RB- Arian Foster, CJ Anderson or DeMarco Murray- Foster is old and now resides in an offense that completely relies upon him. As the only threat that will mean a 1500-1800 yard 10td type season or he’ll be broken by week 4. Murray also falls within that risk category. He could easily lead the league in rushing again with the run-oriented Eagles or we could see the curse of 370 strike and he’ll end up sharing time with Mathews and barely making 800 yards. Anderson is another back who could easily lead the league in rushing or we could see him losing his job to Montee Ball by mid season.

WR- Calvin Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr, Mike Evans, Julio Jones- Johnson and Jones have been all but written off this season as injury prone and not the players they once were. Both of these guys are more than capable of bouncing back with 110 receptions 1600 yards and 10tds and for a 2nd round price that’s worth the risk. Beckham and Evans are similar types of risks. There is a good chance last year was a sign of bigger and better things to come, but considering that rookies that are fantasy starters drop 21% in PPG in their second year (John Paulsen-Does the sophomore slump exist) there is a real risk we could flame out on these picks.

Round 3 and 4

RB-Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, Frank Gore, Jonathan Stewart, Todd Gurley- The backs I’ve selected here all represent the same risk reward chance. They’re all capable of high end RB1 scoring and as RB2 that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Gurley probably represents the riskiest proposition here, but if he’s further along than expected then we could be on to a league winner.

WR-DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks- Both of these guys will be expected to replace departing target hogs in their respective offenses. If they can step up then we’ll have WR1 production. If they can’t then we’re looking at them probably regressing their output as they face the focus of opposition defences.

TE-Travis Kelce- Kelce has (almost) Gronk level ability. If the Chiefs let him loose then we’ll have an absolute beast on our hands. At worst we’ll have to suffer last years inconsistency

Round 5 and 6

QB- Cam Newton- Cam has the ability to lead the league in QB scoring both through the air and on the ground. The Panthers offense has been rebuilt around him and he’s certainly worth the risk considering his current ADP.

RB-Latavius Murray, Andre Ellington, CJ Spiller, LeGarrette Blount- All these guys are borderline RB2/3 but they’re all capable of RB1 scoring.

WR-Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson- Three veteran wide receivers who once were WR1’s. All have had a positive change of scenery (Marshall to a Gailey offense, Johnson to Andrew Luck and Jackson gets a new QB) and that gives them an opportunity to re-live their glory years. 

TE- Jordan Cameron- Cameron is a TE1 who just can’t stay healthy. He’s a real boom or bust candidate in round 6.

Round 7 and 8

RB- Tevin Coleman, Joseph Randle, Ameer Abdullah- Coleman and Abdullah are rookies with the potential of a big future ahead of them but with annoying plodding veterans in front of them. Randle has somehow managed not to get himself cut despite numerous trangressions. That usually means the guys talented. He’ll start for the Cowboys and an ADP in round 7 and 8 is a steal.

WR-Jeremy Maclin, Michael Floyd, Allen Robinson, Nelson Agholor- Maclin will be written off going to the Chiefs and playing catch with Alex Smith. On a positive note he’ll see a lot of targets and totally outplay his ADP. Floyd really struggled without Carson Palmer…..Palmers back. If you caught games with Robinson playing you’ll understand why he’s on this list. Agholor is just one of those athletes that are beautiful to watch. He’ll step right into the Eagles offense and should produce good numbers.

TE- Josh Hill- Jimmy Graham’s and Kenny Stills targets have to go somewhere. By taking Hill your simply playing the odds that it’s him rather than Spiller/Cooks/Colston that pick up the slack.

Round 9 through 13

QB-Colin Kaepernick, Teddy Bridgewater, Robert Griffin III– If I had to put money on any of these players to succeed next year it would be Bridgewater. Griffin is broken and looks like he’ll never hit the heights he could have. Call me sentimental, but I’d love to see him turn things around. Kaepernick looks like your typical “running” QB in that his simplistic game has been found out. Apparently he’s been working on his passing. If it all works out then he’s a very cheap lottery ticket.

RB-Darren McFadden, Ryan Mathews, Reggie Bush, Knile Davis, Jay Ajayi- Every one of these guys (except Bush) is a pick where you only gain if the starter gets injured. Bush will be a big part of a 49ers offense (and team) that’s expected to struggle. He’ll see a lot of action in the passing game if they’re playing from behind. It’s also worth noting that he could flourish in a run-option scheme with Kaepernick.

WR-Eric Decker, Charles Johnson, Kenny Stills, Terrance Williams, Reuben Randle, Marvin Jones, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Johnson- Decker is fit and will have less focus on him (he’s a borderline No1 receiver and one of the best No2’s in the league). Williams and Randle both came on late last season, they could be very sneaky (and cheap) WR2/3’s. Charles Johnson could be the Vikings No1 if he develops chemistry with Bridgewater, if not then his price isn’t too steep. Kenny Stills is a heck of a receiver, but the deep ball isn’t Tannehill’s strong point. He’ll either flourish or sink like Mike Wallace. Johnson and Bowe are two veterans with new scenery. Johnson at least has the benefit of playing with a quarterback. Do you remember Marvin Jones?  He caught 51-712-10TD in 2013 and missed 2014 with a foot injury. He’s worth a bet especially at his current ADP.

TE-Dwayne Allen, Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph, Larry Donnell- All of these guys are capable of TE1 scoring. Allen, Eifert and Rudolph are all injury concerns but are capable of 10TD seasons. Donnell isn’t great, but could benefit from the Beckham effect. If we’re wrong then his lack off blocking skills will see him lose playing time like the end of last season.