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Fantasy Football preview: Prepare your picks
Reporter’s Notebook 7-10-24

Well folks, here we are. Just about 10 weeks until kickoff for the National Football League season. Which means ‘Fantasy Football’ season is also rapidly approaching. It is at this point that I begin to really focus on rankings, strategy and training camp reports.

Honestly, 2023 was a rough season for a lot of us; I mean, after all, only one person will win your league. I personally played in eight leagues last year and did not win a single one. That’s right, 0-for-8. That’s fantasy football for you. I have been playing for two decades now and I have won numerous titles but 2023 was brutal to say the least. It happens. Time to move on. Use 2023 as a building block and a learning experience.

First thing we must acknowledge is that the once prominent position of running back is now paper thin. With San Fransico 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey the clear-cut number one running back, he is widely considered to be the top pick overall in many drafts. McCaffrey is a dual threat where he can rush for 100 yards and burn the defense for another 100 in the passing game. The drop from McCaffrey and the rest of the pack is astronomical. Rounding out the top five running backs in my current rankings are Bejan Robinson (Atlanta), Breece Hall (New York Jets), Saquan Barkley (Philadelphia) and Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis).

With that said; what should you do if you do not land McCaffrey? Well, my strategy for this season is to circle back to the running back position later in the draft. I would rather take a wide receiver in the first round. Wide receiver may be the deepest position in fantasy, but you need to strike early. Stocking up on the position should be a priority. This year’s core wide receivers are youthful. Youth has taken the spotlight in the position. My top five are Justin Jefferson (Minnesota), AJ Brown (Philadelphia), Cee Dee Lamb (Dallas), Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit) and Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati).

The deepest position in the game is quarterback. One of my mistakes from last year was only drafting one in each league. It was a strategy I tried and without a doubt it was a flop. Do yourself a favor and draft a backup. Even if you do not end up using him right away, it is always wise to stash one. If for nothing else use him as a bargaining chip come trade deadline. Here are my top five quarterbacks heading into the season: Patrick Mahomes II (Kansas City), Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore), Josh Allen (Buffalo) and Kyler Murray (Arizona).

Stay tuned; next time we will break down rookies and when to draft them.


Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.