This time of year is wild. Coaches are talking about how everyone is a star, and things are going to be different. Josh Allen is being compared to Cam Newton. Every UDFA wide receiver who makes a splash play in camp is going to do big things. 

Oh, and on the other side, a lot of people are saying to ignore preseason.

There's info, and there are reactions, and there are reactions to those reactions, and there are those updating their ranks and those refusing to budge. Is it confirmation bias to not react? Is making a big change akin to rashly throwing out an offseason's worth of research? 

For as much as the term groupthink is used in reference to Fantasy Football, there are more voices than ever in the Fantasy industry, and these days it seems Fantasy analysts can't actually agree on much. (Maybe Chris Godwin blowing up, but I won't be the one to tell you that's not going to happen.) 

It's all points and counterpoints, and it's hard to know who is overreacting and who isn't moving enough. You need a marker. Much like a golfer with a swing thought, you need something to fall back on when it's time to make a draft decision. 

Keep the long view. 

There are times when a reaction is appropriate. There are times when it's very clearly just hype. And about 90% of the time, the answer can be found by stepping back and keeping track of the big picture. Not just what is most likely to happen in September. But what is going to happen in November and December, and even what is going to happen in 2020, and beyond. If a guy profiles as a star but hasn't shown it yet, there's nothing wrong with betting on that coming in 2019. 

NFL seasons are long and full of twists and turns. Putting too much emphasis on recent news makes it easy to forget that.

Forgetting the long view is thinking of D.J. Moore as a loser of Curtis Samuel making noise. Never mind that there haven't been any negative reports about Moore, and he's still a perfect example of a guy who profiles as a future superstar. Never mind that other than Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton, the rest of the Panthers' skill position players barely register in Fantasy drafts, so there should be plenty of room for both Moore and Samuel to produce. 

Moore's teammate is doing something good, so for some, that's bad for Moore. 

But when we look at Moore, we're going to keep the long view. 

I talk a lot about age-adjusted production for young receivers. Production metrics in general are far more predictive for wide receivers than athletic traits. And the reason for that is an essential reality we all must recognize about Fantasy Football and football stats in general: It's not about what you can do once. It's about what you do consistently, rep after rep, over a long period.

It's easy to point to examples of hyper-athletic guys who have struggled to translate their skills. I'm not quite sure what separates them from the Julio Jones of the world. But I do know that more often than not, if a player can win because of a specific trait, he's shown it at some level before he gets to the NFL. And if he can win despite a lack of a clearly definable athletic trait that typically translates as well.

Take Keenan Allen, who tested poorly at the combine years ago but was exceptionally productive at Cal. He won because of elite route-running ability, and he can win that way consistently, not just on a single highlight play. That has translated to Fantasy success.

That lesson of whether a player can consistently do it is never more important to remember than in the preseason. Samples are small, overreactions are easy to come by, and it just so happens to be the time when we're drafting our teams. But you have to remember: just because a guy can flash for a short period of time does not mean he can be a consistent Fantasy success. 

Having said that, there are appropriate times to react to news. If a player with a history is showing flashes, or is getting interesting usage with first-teamers, it can be time to take notice. Last year, after two disappointing seasons to start his career, Tyler Boyd played extensively with the first team in Week 1 of the preseason, catching a short touchdown pass from Andy Dalton. He finished his limited preseason time with seven catches across three games, looking for all the world like an expected every-down player. 

Boyd made sense as a name to watch specifically because of his history; he broke out as a true freshman at Pitt, and was a three-year star before leaving for the pros early. Targeting a player like that makes sense. 

There was a similar example, but requiring a different reaction, in Oakland's second preseason game last night. Ryan Grant played as the first-team slot receiver and caught a short touchdown. The difference is Grant and Boyd don't have comparable track records; where Boyd's age-adjusted production was elite, Grant didn't break out until his redshirt junior year. But Grant did post some really strong numbers late in his final two college seasons, and he's been mildly productive thus far in his NFL career. Taking a long view, he's not a player I will draft outside of very deep leagues, just someone I'll keep an eye on.  

Part of that conclusion on Grant is because the long view can relate to team situations, too. Damien Williams and the other Chiefs backs seem to be the biggest August Fantasy Football story. What do we know? For one, Williams doesn't have a great track record, which means he's unlikely to get the deference a star would. News about a hamstring injury or not practicing with the starters is concerning enough to move him down a bit. 

But he's in free fall! The other part of his long view is the potential upside of Kansas City's lead back. In 2017, Kareem Hunt was the PPR RB4. In 2018, he was the RB12, plus Williams added nearly 100 PPR points after Hunt was released (those two totals were about on par with Ezekiel Elliott's RB5 season). 

There was never any safety with Williams; he's been an upside pick all offseason. But he still has a skill set that fit Andy Reid's preferences for a lead back, something Carlos Hyde's skill set doesn't match as well. The excitement for the young backs is notable, and we've called Darwin Thompson a worthwhile target for months. The uncertainty seems to also be keeping his price down. 

But Damien Williams is still a back with strong receiving chops who ran a 4.45 at 222 pounds as a prospect several years ago, and who finished the 2018 season as the team's clear lead back — the Chiefs were so impressed, they extended him in December, before their playoff run. Big picture, he's still the best bet to be their highest-scoring Fantasy back, even if he starts in a committee. Things will take shape one way or another, and Reid has a history of utilizing a single lead back, regardless of how he's thrown the word committee around this offseason. 

And even if there is a committee early, Williams is expected to get the receiving work, and the green zone touches will be there in this offense, so his upside would be highest. Thompson's upside is also impossible to ignore, especially with the red flags on Williams. The long view here is relatively simple: we want the Chiefs starting running back. We want to target backs who can do it all, like Reid has utilized throughout his long coaching career. We should be targeting both, Thompson especially, and Williams when he's available in the later third or even fourth round where his risk is more properly accounted for.

Keeping the long view relates to your team construction, too. I've written a lot about roster construction as it relates to the Running Back Dead Zone and which picks make you feel more secure on Draft Day but don't actually move the needle toward winning a championship. 

When you're on the clock, and you think you "need" a specific position to fill out your roster, consider the long view. Don't pick a backup you'll never start just so your September roster looks better on paper. Your team will evolve over the next several months, and some of your players won't be hits. Injuries happen; under-performances happen. Pick the player who is most likely to contribute to a winning roster in December. 

Draft season is here, and with it comes all the hype and noise we can handle. When you're setting up your board and it's your turn to pick on Draft Day, don't get so wrapped up in the hype that you forget what you're trying to do. It's a long NFL season, and that longer view is what will put you in position to win your league in 2019.

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