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Don't let strength of schedule affect fantasy drafts

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Marcas Grant: There are times when we can overthink ourselves as fantasy football fans. Talking about strength of schedule -- especially at the beginning of the year -- is one of those times. Because teams tend to undergo substantial changes in personnel and coaches from year to year, it's hard getting an accurate handle on how weak or strong a potential schedule could be. But the bigger reason to ignore SOS has to do with believing in the talent of your players to be able to succeed regardless of the matchup. Mike Evans has the talent to be one of those players who could warrant weekly starting consideration regardless of the matchup by the time the season ends.

M.G.: Back in the spring, I was still of the opinion that Rob Gronkowski was worthy of a late first-round pick. Then as spring warmed into summer, I was less confident of that notion. Gronk is still the top tight end in the game (even with Jimmy Garoppolo slinging the rock for four games), but that gap is starting to close. Between Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen and more, the difference at the top isn't quite as stark as it once was. In that case, is it worth missing out on an elite receiver or running back when you can get similar tight end production in the third or fourth round? For me, the trade-off isn't worth it.

M.G.: You were absolutely right in making that move. I love Eddie Lacy this year, but I'd love him even more in the third round. However, all of the pictures of "Shreddie" Lacy (H/T to Jersey Jen) this offseason have bumped his ADP a little higher than I'd prefer. Yes, it's all about me. At the same time, I've loved Lamar Miller since he took his talents away from South Beach and moved them to Houston. Bill O'Brien has shown that he isn't afraid to use one workhorse back, which suggests Miller could get the touches that he frequently lacked in Miami. There is the potential for him to return top 5 RB value this year and is certainly worth a top 20 pick.

M.G.: I'd have to go with Tyrod at the top of this list. His injury issues were definitely frustrating but when he was on the field, Taylor was quite productive. His running ability puts him ahead of the rest. I'd go with Winston next because of the consistency he showed last season. In all of his starts, Winston never posted fewer than 12 fantasy points. If he can increase his weekly ceiling in 2016, a top-10 finish is certainly possible. This isn't to say that Dalton is an awful choice. He's proven that he's emerged as a legitimate fantasy quarterback and is a great option if you decide to wait on passers.

M.G.: It's already happening, my friend. While we were all trying to figure out exactly what "Exotic Smashmouth" means, the rookie from Alabama was putting it into action and earning himself a larger role in the offense. It seemed inevitable that Henry would eventually push DeMarco Murray for carries, but most didn't think it would happen until the mid-point of the season. So reading head coach Mike Mularkey admit midway through the preseason that the Titans wanted to make sure Henry worked into the rotation during the regular season warms the cockles of my fantasy heart.

M.G.: Stay calm, dude. Nothing is (expletive). This is a pretty fair trade offer. You can't get something without giving something up in return. But this allows you to get Mike Evans to fill your need for a wide receiver while going a long way to replace the tight end void left by Gronk's departure. As long as dealing Miller doesn't leave you deficient at running back, this is about as even a swap as you could imagine. If only all fantasy trading partners were such a perfect fit.

M.G.: In recent weeks, I've come around to seeing Darren Sproles as a late round sleeper option. Ryan Mathews will remain the primary back, but reports from Philadelphia suggest that Sproles is a better fit for Doug Pederson's offense. Now with a rookie quarterback starting, the Eagles could find themselves frequently playing from behind. That could mean more Sproles on the field in late-game passing situations. As for Riddick, he has the unfortunate distinction of sharing a backfield with a man (Ameer Abdullah) who has a nearly identical skill set. Plus, I have a sneaky feeling that plenty of fantasy owners will begin to curse the name Zach Zenner: Touchdown Vulture insert caw sound.

M.G.: Actually, I don't. And here's the thing ... I like Giovani Bernard. But I also believe that the Bengals will try to be more of a power run team with Jeremy Hill leading the way. That will leave Bernard as a clear No. 2 running back on the roster with mostly pass-catching potential. The Bears tried everything in their power to suggest that Jeremy Langford would be a committee running back this year. The problem with that is that Langford played very well during the exhibition season while no one behind him on the depth chart stepped forward to claim a supporting role. This is Langford's show for the foreseeable future. He's the one to roll with.

M.G.: If you made it this far, then you likely read the reasons why I'm big on Darren Sproles. That doesn't necessarily bode well for Ryan Mathews. It might also be interesting to see how Mathews fares if the Eagles passing game struggles to get off the ground. Spencer Ware's value has skyrocketed in recent days with news that Jamaal Charles is unlikely to play on Sunday. Even with Charles in the lineup, Ware figures to play a key role in the Chiefs' offense. This week's matchup is a particularly juicy one against the woebegone Chargers run defense. If there's ever a week to start Ware, this is it.

M.G.: He might be your brother, but in this case he doesn't have your best interests at heart. Jarvis Landry is the only truly reliable target in the Dolphins offense, but unless he can find the end zone more in 2016, he'll still be a low-end WR2. Still, that's much better than what you can expect from Yeldon, who's had his role usurped by Chris Ivory. Either way, those players don't add up to replace a running back who should still be a top-10 option at the position when the season is over. That's all a long way of saying "don't do it!"

Bonus question:

M.G.: Define "too many." Or "average." Or ... "person."

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Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for and a man who is destined to play in 12 fantasy football leagues for the rest of his natural (and maybe unnatural) life. Hit him on Twitter @MarcasG or on Snapchat at marcasg9.

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