Having the first pick in an up and down draft style Fantasy Football league can be a blessing and a curse. Getting the first choice of talent is an obvious advantage, but then you wait until the end of the 2nd round before you make your next selection. That is a ton of talent disappearing off of the board while you wait. It can force you to look at the risk/reward factor in players that have been avoided thus far.
In the 2007 Fantasy Football Draft, I held the last pick in the 4th round, and the first pick of the 5th. With these two picks, I went for High Risk/Unknown Reward and selected Randy Moss who was entering his first year with the New England Patriots, and second year man for the Dallas Cowboys, Terrell Owens. After I made my selections, the laughter and jokes from my fellow owners came pouring in from all sides. I heard the words Air Heads, Locker Room Cancers, and Busts repeatedly, as the owners all berated my poor selections.
As it turned out, Moss had the best season of his career, teaming up with Tom Brady an NFL record 23 times. Owens ranked within the top 5 in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. I had taken a gamble on two of the league’s biggest prima donnas and was rewarded with an extreme amount of fantasy points.
My prediction is that this year’s biggest High Risk/Unknown Reward player is Chad Ohocinco.
Over the last two seasons, Chad has become a fantasy let down. In 2010, Terrel Owens owns joined the Cincinnati Bengals and snatched the #1 spot from the the inconsistent Ochocinco. In 2011, Chad finally got his wish and found a new NFL home. Unfortunately he was unable to integrate into New England’s system and Chad put up the worst numbers of his NFL career.
This season starts a new chapter in Chad’s life, and so far he has been saying all of the right things. Ochocinco has made it clear that he plans to return to his roots, back to his former self, the Chad Johnson of old.
Most critics have written Ochocinco off, but these are the same people that claimed Randy Moss’ career was finished before he left the Minnesota Vikings. They are the same people that said Terrel Owens was washed up.
The upcoming training camp will tell us a great deal more, but from all accounts coming out of South Florida, Chad Ochocinco is shaping up to be a fantasy steal in this year’s draft.
My early prediction is that Fantasy Owners will look to take a chance on him later in the draft, possibly around the 6th round. I believe that Chad will be a solid performer, and he could be a brilliant choice as early as a late 3rd, or early 4th round pick, depending on your position in the draft.
This may seem early, especially when there will be other tempting targets out there, but if Ochocinco is anything like his former self, his name will be on your starting roster every week.
One more thing to consider when it comes to Chad, is who will be throwing him the ball. The Miami Dolphins find themselves lucky enough to have three quarterbacks; Matt Moore, David Garrard, and rookie Ryan Tannehill. I see Garrard winning the starting position, giving Ochocinco a former Pro Bowl QB he has already established a good chemistry with. If it ends up being Moore, or even the long shot, Tannehill, Ochocinco will then have a QB with a chip on his shoulder tossing him the pigskin. This could mean a lot of passes Chad’s way.
The Risk/Reward is scary, but betting on a former star with something to prove can definitely payoff, just like it did in 2007, when I selected two “airheads” and won the Championship.
Of course, selecting Tom Brady #1 over all that year didn’t hurt either..
Stay tuned for more Fantasy Football previews and predictions here on Rant Sports!
Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or subscribe to Jeff Everette-RantSports.com on both Facebook and Google+ for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.Other Rant Fantasy Topics: