Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/23/13
Fantasy football at its core is a gamble. You, as the owner, are betting that the team you start each week is better than that of your opponent. Gambling on the right players is what sets fantasy champions away from fantasy failures. These choices start in the draft where having the right feeling that you can wait on a player allows you to make your team even better in other positions.I faced this situation in 2008. Brett Favre had just retired (and then unretired and been traded), leaving Aaron Rodger as the starter in Green Bay. Rodgers carried the pedigree of a first round draft pick, but was still unproven having thrown no more than 28 passes in a season until this point. I felt confident enough in Rodgers ability (and in the Packers as a franchise) to wait on a quarterback in my fantasy drafts and take Rodgers later than the usual elite quarterbacks.Rodgers rewarded my gamble with 4000 yards and 28 touchdowns as I cruised to a fantasy crown. With that in mind, here are the top 5 fantasy gambles to keep in mind as you prepare for your draft:5) Chris Ivory, RB NYJProjected Round: 5th-6th Possible Value: 2nd-3rdIvory came over to the Jets this offseason in a trade with the New Orleans Saints for a 5th round draft pick. In doing so, he leaves a crowded backfield where he his accomplishments ( 5.1 career yards per attempt) were overshadowed by Darren Sproles' receiving abilities and the first round bust that is Mark Ingram.Now Ivory finds himself as the main man on one of the few teams whose head coach still prides himself as a ground and pound type (6th in the NFL in rushing attempts last season despite playing from behind in many games). Even Allowing for a regression of his yards per carry, 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns is not out of the question for Ivory.4) Tony Romo, QB DALProjected Round: 7th-9th Possible Value: 5th-6thDespite a comedy of errors and questionable late game decisions, Romo has been one of the more consistent quarterbacks in the NFL, fantasy wise. He has broken 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns in each of his last three full seasons, including a career high 4903 yards last year. With how much the cowboys pass and the continued lack of a reliable run game (30th in the NFL in yards per carry with 3.6 in 2012), it is not out of the question for Romo to get near 5000 yards again.What is fair to question is the interceptions. Romo was tenth in the NFL in interception percentage last season at 2.9%, a number in line with his career average of 2.8%. However, if you get the Romo of 2009 or 2011 (interception rates below 2% in both seasons), he could easily qualify as a top 5 fantasy quarterback.3) Lamar Miller. RB MIA Projected Round: 5th-7th   Possible Value: 1st-2ndReggie Bush is gone in Miami, and last year’s fourth round pick Lamar Miller seems to be the heir apparent this year. Miller has a similar running style to Bush with the exception of being a better inside rusher. Compared to Ivory, Miller has a lower floor, but also a substantially higher ceiling.Miller could easily inherit the numbers that Bush’s departure leaves open in Miami while acting as a more complete back for offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Bush was a 1000 yard back each of the last two seasons who also added value as a receiver out of the backfield. Miller has the potential to eclipse Bush’s rushing numbers while also adding double digit touchdowns due to his more productive inside running ability. A season end total of 1400 yards and 10+ touchdowns is possible.  2) Andre Roberts, WR ARIProjected Round: 12th-14th Possible Value: 5th-6thLarry Fitzgerald is the established wide receiver in Arizona. The wide receiver two position, however, is still up for grabs. The common thought is to lean towards last year’s first round pick Michael Floyd, but that ignores what Andre Roberts did last year. Roberts was the more productive and the more targeted of the two last year, and consistently beat the one-on-one coverage’s presented to him as Fitzgerald’s teammate.Roberts managed to record 64 catches for 759 yards and 5 touchdowns last year with the likes of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, and Ryan Lindely passing to him. The addition of quarterback Carson Palmer and new head coach Bruce Arians' vertical passing scheme suggest that those numbers will only increase. The catch numbers may not increase much, but a big jump in yards and touchdowns is likely.1) Russell Wilson, QB SEAProjected Round: 5th-6th Possible Value: 2nd-3rdOf all the young quarterbacks last season, Wilson finished the season the strongest. From week 6 on, Wilson averaged 8.9 yards per attempt (a number that would have been nearly a full yard higher than season leader, and fellow rookie, Robert Griffin III) and scored 21 of his 26 touchdowns.As a passer, Wilson was the 6th most efficient in the NFL by Football Outsiders DVOA metric. Where Wilson really began to add value in the second half of the season was as a rusher, though. Originally, Wilson primarily used his above average mobility to escape the pass rush, but as the season progressed, the Seahawks expanded their playbook to include more designed quarterback runs. From week 9 on, Wilson averaged 7.25 rushes per game for 45.13 yards and scored all 4 of his rushing touchdowns on the season.If Wilson simply maintains his performance from the second half of last season, he will be a top-10, starting-caliber fantasy quarterback. But, if he makes any sort of improvement (very possible given all the factors), Wilson could sneak in as a top-5 fantasy quarterback.
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