So, they finally got around to fixing that whole NFL lockout deal by figuring out a way to make the players happy and keep the owners rich by making the players rich and keeping the owners happy. And now that everyone is satisfied for at least another decade, we can finally go back to concentrating on what matters the most this season: drafting the perfect fantasy football team.

            Now, I understand that most of you have jobs and priorities and things like that. I don’t. My whole purpose in life is to sit around the house participating in as many mock drafts as possible while watching reruns of The Simpsons. Ideally I’d like to break down my observations into a hypothesis, test that hypothesis, form a theory, and then finally explain my theory to you for your own personal gain. But what will likely happen is that I’ll do all that hypothesizing and theorizing, present you with solid information and sound advice, only to have you freeze up in the middle of the third round when the guy picking right before you yells out give me Reggie Wayne. Either way, here it goes…

            On the off chance you might not have been able to keep up with the thousands of free agent transactions that’ve taken place in the past couple weeks, I just want you to know that there’s been some changes to that magazine you bought at the grocery store the other day. I don’t even know why they bothered printing fantasy football magazines before August this year. Here’s an example: Braylon Edwards plays for San Francisco. Randy Moss doesn’t play for anybody. That’s crazy. To think Ricky Williams signed a 2 year deal with Baltimore and Randy Moss doesn’t have a contract is just mind blowing to me. Anyway, just make sure the guy you’re picking still has the same quarterback throwing to him. Expect Braylon Edwards’ numbers to drop significantly; the 49ers still think Alex Smith is a quarterback. Still.

            So I’ve looked at it from a bunch of different angles and there’s no getting around that tried and true method of taking running backs with your first few picks. And the only reason that is so is because everyone follows the tried and true method of taking running backs with their first few picks. A good running back is a dying breed. There’s only like, fifteen or so good ones. So if you can, try your damnedest to be one of the teams that has two good running backs. And for God’s sake, don’t draft Reggie Bush.

            If you want Michael Vick you have to have a top five pick. Spending a pick that high on a quarterback is crazy talk in my book, especially since I can pick up a guy like Schaub five rounds later and have him post similar numbers for a way better bargain. If anything, I’d take Manning or Rivers on the way back and have my number one back be someone like Ray Rice or MJD instead of someone like Darren McFadden or Payton Hillis. Not that anything is wrong with either one of those backs; they had great years. But can they put up those kind of numbers again? That being said, if you can’t get two stud running backs, you should be able to get a stud running back and one of the elite quarterbacks (there’s only six of them, plus a couple good QBs, and then a few alright QBs, and then the rest of them suck). If you can somehow manage to do both, then you can pretty much just sit back and enjoy the rest of the season.

            I notice that Hakeem Nicks is being taken in the mid to late second round. That’s too high for me. Sure, he’s a monster. Sure, he’s the number one in New York. Sure, he’s entering into that magical “third-year” as a receiver, the year that tends to be the one where receivers begin their peak in statistical performance. Sure, I can’t think of any good reason not to take him in the second round. I guess I just like the value of someone like Dwayne Bowe in the third or Kenny Britt in the fifth. As for other receivers, let me tell you this: there’s plenty of value out there. Here’s some common names I see around the fourth and fifth rounds: Colston (guaranteed to give you 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns with Drew Brees at QB), Maclin (had more fantasy points than teammate DeShawn Jackson who goes three rounds ahead of him, easy), Britt (775 yards and 9 TDs in 12 games last year. If you can trust Hasselbeck to be at least as effective as a 98 year old Kerry Collins, then you can trust Britt to put up over 1000 yards and 10 TDs if he stays healthy. And not suspended.) You can even get Brandon Marshall if you wanted. But then you’d kick yourself every time they showed highlights of Miami running the Wildcat while Marshall stewed on the sidelines.

            One more thing: that whole adage about not taking a defense until the last or second to last round? Might wanna re-think it. Why waste a 10th round pick on a washed-up former has-been like Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown, knowing they’ll never see the starting line up, when you could spend that pick on the Jets or Ravens defense and know that every time you play Miami or Cincinnati twice a year that you’ll be getting 10 to 15 points. Or, I don’t know, maybe you’re a Packers fan. Wouldn’t you like to be able to root for your defense every week and have it mean something? I’m just saying.

            Anyway, I hope that this has been somewhat helpful, or if anything somewhat entertaining. Just remember to scroll down a little bit on those top 100 lists and see if there’s anyone a few names down that you know and have heard of instead of just taking whatever the name of the guy is at the top of the list. Oh yeah, and when the guy picking right before you in the third round yells out give me Reggie Wayne, come up with something witty to say like, what, was Marvin Harrison already off the board?