We write about dynasty fantasy football for many reasons. The main reason I enjoy writing about dynasty fantasy football is to get people talking. I love the back and forth interaction of people sharing ideas, agreeing, disagreeing and providing their own great input. I expect this article to do just that!
Everyone has their favorite players – guys they love to watch, who they would never give up and who they admire for their ability to play the game. I am no different. There are certain players I absolutely love to watch and do so regularly, even when my own team is playing on another channel! The interesting thing about a list such as this is that while some players are clearly current fantasy superstars, others I love for different reasons as I will explain below.
If you could only have one player at each position, who would that be? I’m sure you’re list is much different than mine, so let me know in your comments who are your “gotta have” guys. Here’s my list by position including IDP. Some of them I have on my team, some I’ve always wanted, but all of them I’d keep if I could only have one.
Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
Rodgers is exactly why I love dynasty football. You pick a guy, everyone scoffs at the draft, you hold onto him for three years and then watch him roll off four straight top two fantasy quarterback performances in a row, all before the age of 30. Unfortunately, I was the guy scoffing and a friend of mine is now laughing all the way to the bank. At 28, Rodgers could have as much as another 8-10 years of quality production ahead of him and while it’s doubtful that all of them will be top two performances like the previous four, he’ll likely be in the top ten that entire time. Man, I wish I had that kind of forethought!
Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
I had my worst dynasty season ever in 2006. It was the only year I finished last in my league and got the first pick in the draft. What a year for that to happen! AP came out the next season and while I thought about choosing someone else as he was coming off injury in college, I felt he was a once in a lifetime talent and took him without hesitation. In 2007, I won my league (from worst to first) behind Peterson’s ridiculous rookie campaign and with some help of a couple of bounce back years with my other players.
Peterson has never been the #1 fantasy back, but he’s always been in the top ten, and always in the top three when not injured. His consistent top performance, angry running on the field and youth (he’s still only 26) makes him my absolute favorite player in the NFL today. I think he has a good four seasons left in him, maybe up to six before he starts fading out of the top ten. There is no doubt next year will be a down year coming off of injury, but I’ll take All-Day post-knee injury over just about anyone else.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI
As it happens right now, I have a strong wide receiver squad. Currently players on my roster currently include Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Kenny Britt, Vincent Jackson and Victor Cruz. Let there be no doubt though, Fitz is my favorite on this list. I picked him #1 in our rookie draft in 2003, after trading away Priest Holmes at the top of his game (fortunately for me that was Holmes’ last year of top production). It was between Fitz and Steven Jackson and I took Fitz because he had it all. Speed, size, vertical leap, velcro hands, incredible touchdown production in college – he’s one of the best receivers to ever come out.
Now, some contend, and rightfully so, that his quarterback situation is awful and that hurts his production. It does. Despite the revolving door of quarterbacks during his career he has had five top five fantasy finishes in eight years (including last year with Kolb/Skelton) and the other three were still starter quality, including his rookie year. He’s still only 28 and has a good five years before he starts losing his top ten status. That type of consistency is worth the price, so despite there being better receivers on the market today, give me Larry Fitzgerald any day of the week.
Jimmy Graham, TE NO
I’ve already relayed my Jimmy Graham story in a previous article about rookie draft strategies. The short story is that I took him in the second round of my rookie draft and never looked back. Once Sean Peyton got him up to speed with the offense in his rookie season, New Orleans has used him as a primary target and there doesn’t seem to be any let-up to that strategy any time soon. Putting Graham wide within the red zone and having Brees throw him a back shoulder pass in the end zone is unstoppable – they can do it even when the other team knows it’s coming. That along with his speed/size combination makes him an unstoppable tight end.
He’s a bit older than Rob Gronkowski and did not have as good a year, but I still like Graham better, mostly just because I chose him! At only 25, he can redefine a position that everyone thought was redefined by Antonio Gates.
Dan Bailey, K DAL
I picked Bailey up off the waiver wire last season after week two and he finished his rookie year in the top ten for kickers. While there are plenty of great kickers out there (Sebastian Janikowski is probably my favorite that is not on my team), I love Bailey for two simple reasons. First, he’s only 24, so he could be kicking for the next 15 years if he turns out to be good enough to last that long. Second, he’s on Dallas and they are almost always talented offensively, so he should always get plenty of opportunities. His long was 51 yards his rookie year so he’s bound to be able to kick it deep and accurate. While kicker is never much of a priority, I think I have a keeper with this kid.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DL NYG
Two seasons ago I went into my rookie draft with some extra mid-round picks (two seconds and two thirds) and a need to get younger along the defensive line. I had Jared Allen for one starting spot, but Mario Williams was just moved to linebacker and I got the shaft.
I had picks #29 and #31 and planned to take two defensive ends. When pick #29 came around, I chose Brandon Graham – the #13 pick by the Eagles that year. The team with pick #30 took Derrick Morgan – the #16 pick by the Titans. With pick #31, I then took JPP – the #15 pick by the Giants. Now, I didn’t plan to take JPP necessarily, as you can tell from the order they went in, but the plan was to get two of those three guys. Can you imagine my pain if the guy with pick #30 took JPP and I got Graham and Morgan? Alas, that didn’t happen and this season I had the #1 and #2 scoring IDP defensive linemen in my league. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and now that he’s on my team and being that he’s only 23, I’ll take being lucky any time!
Patrick Willis, LB SF
Back in 2007, I was eyeing Willis to take at #21 but he was taken ahead of me at #17, so I took Paul Posluszny instead. While I like Poslusny, I love Willis. His lateral speed and power has wreaked havoc in the NFL. He’s another guy that isn’t always the top LB fantasy producer (although he has been #1 twice), he’s always starter quality. Out of his five seasons, four of them have produced top five campaigns. I wish he fell to #21 back in 2007, but if you have him, he’s only 27 and there is no reason for him to slow down anytime soon, even with Navarro Bowman vulturing some tackles.
Morgan Burnett, DB GB
Burnett was taken at #34 in our rookie draft in 2010 and he’s one of the only guys in recent years I was considering taking at that position. He’s lightening quick and has a great size/speed combo. He was injured and put on IR his rookie season, but that only postponed the inevitable. Last year he came back and finished as a top five fantasy producer in most IDP scoring leagues in just his Sophomore season . He’s only 23 and there is no reason why he couldn’t keep up top 10 production for many years to come. I only wish I didn’t wait on him back in 2010!
So, who are your “If I could only have ones?”