Football season is back and that means the return of the workplace Fantasy Football League. This is a look into a Fantasy Football Draft from the vantage point of one team owner. Specifically, I was drafting number 2 out of 10 teams.
We ran a traditional 10-team online live draft on Sunday, August 22nd. The league consisted of fantasy veterans and newbies alike. Our draft consisted of 19 rounds. Each team consists of 1 Quarterback (QB), 2 Running Backs (RB), 2 Wide Receivers (WR), 1 Tight End (TE), 1 Flex position where a RB, WR, or TE can be played, and 1 Kicker (K) for offense. This particular league has Individual Defensive Players (IDP). A team must play 3 Defensive Players (D) and 2 Defensive Backs (DB). There are 6 bench spots. Another key note is that the league is a point per reception (PPR) league that awards half a point per reception.
I had the 2nd pick so I was pretty stoked to know that I would get a solid RB, either Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson. The guy picking first was a big fan of Johnson so I knew I would have Peterson. This was my preference anyways. I know how good Johnson was last season and can be this year, but I’m concerned about the pounding he’ll be taking as a full workload RB. RBs that rushed for 2000 yards never come close the following season. Peterson is a much bigger back and can take more of a beating than Johnson. My only concern about Peterson is that he fumbles more than he should.
The next few picks were all running backs: Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Frank Gore, and Michael Turner. With the 7th pick, the first non RB and first surprise of the draft was selected as Peyton Manning was picked. I figured if a QB would be taken, it would be Brees or Rodgers. The Manning pick was followed up by the first WR drafted with Andre Johnson coming off the board. The 1st round concluded with Ryan Matthews being drafted with the 10th pick.
The 2nd round started with Shonn Green being drafted, followed by Cedric Benson, Aaron Rodgers, Pierre Thomas, Marion Barber, DeAngelo Williams, Randy Moss, and Drew Brees.
My draft strategy was to wait to get my QB in the mid to late rounds (5-8), but I was thinking that if Brees fell into my lap, I couldn’t pass him up. Brees was selected just ahead of me so I drafted Ryan Grant. My other draft strategy was to not draft players based on their name but instead to draft based on their consistency and stats not just from the past year but year after year. Ryan Grant did not get any of the recognition because Rodgers had incredible numbers last season but Grant still ended up with 1253 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He didn’t get a ton of catches which won’t help in the PPR category but I felt he was the best pick at the moment.
The round ended with Reggie Wayne being selected.
Philip Rivers was the first player drafted in the 3rd round. I was pretty certain that I wanted a WR in the 3rd round with Peterson and Grant solidifying my starting RB slots. It came down to Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, or Miles Austin. I was worried about the offense and defense of the Detroit Lions so I eliminated Johnson from my choices. I ended up selecting White because between him and Austin, White just had more consistent numbers over a few years instead of Austin’s one breakout season last year.
Calvin Johnson was the very next pick then Steven Jackson, Miles Austin, Wes Welker, Ronnie Brown, Jamaal Charles, DeSean Jackson, and Brett Favre.
Round 4 started with Larry Fitzgerald being picked followed by Tony Romo, Pierre Garcon, Brandon Marshall, Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, Jahvid Best, and Greg Jennings.
Once again the team before me took the player I was going to draft if they fell to me. With Jennings no longer available, I drafted Marques Colston.
The last pick in the round was Anquan Boldin.
After the Boldin pick, the team owner made it two WRs in a row by picking Steve Smith (NYG) to open the 5th round.
For my pick, I selected the first TE to come off the board by securing Dallas Clark. The TE position can be a weakness or strength on your team. I decided that my TE slot would be a strength. Clark gets as many catches/yards/TDs as a WR so this could give my team an advantage over other teams by having my TE slot produce as many points as any other offensive player.
After my pick, the other Steve Smith (CAR) came off the board. The next pick was Sidney Rice (Ouch!) then the TEs started coming off the board with Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates being selected. Joseph Addai, Jermichael Finley, Beanie Wells, and Jason Witten concluded the round.
Five of the ten picks in the round were TEs.
Round 6 started with Percy Harvin being drafted followed by Tony Gonzalez, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Hakeem Nicks, Donald Driver, Brent Celek, and LeSean McCoy.
I selected Matt Forte, considering him a steal at this point. I am pretty high on Forte for a few reasons. He had a solid rookie year but had a lackluster sophomore season. I think the sophomore slump was due to a variety of factors that Forte can overcome this season. Forte was running on injured legs the entire season. He is now healed and lingering injuries are not a concern this year. The Bears had a ton of turnovers last year during Jay Cutler’s first season as the team’s QB. The Bears were also a bad team last year that had to throw a lot to catch up because they were always behind. With Mike Martz in charge of the offense this year and his fondness of using a pass catching RB, Forte should be in for a rebound season.
The round concluded with Kellen Winslow Jr. being picked.
The first pick in the 7th round was Reggie Bush.
I selected Michael Crabtree with the next pick. There really wasn’t much consideration. It was between Crabtree, Kevin Kolb, or Felix Jones. I thought I was pretty solid at RB and needed some help at WR so I went with Crabtree. Kolb was only in the thought process because I needed a QB. I still saw some decent QBs on the board so I decided to pass on Kolb.
Knowshon Moreno, Kolb, Ricky Williams, Derrick Mason, Owen Daniels, Felix Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, and C. J. Spiller finished out the round.
C. J. Spiller can end up being the steal of the draft. Spiller has been dynamite in the preseason and is a highlight reel waiting to happen.
The round begins with Santonio Holmes being drafted.
Then, Ladarius Webb is selected as the first defensive player off the draft board. Ladaruis Webb. Ladaruis Webb? Ladaruis Webb! I had to look this guy up because I had no clue who he was. Apparently, he is a backup defensive back (DB) for the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently, this pick was also an error. (There will be plenty of erroneous IDP selections because the draft order is not ranked for defensive players.)
The Webb pick was followed by Ahmad Bradshaw, Jonathan Stewart, Santana Moss, Robert Meachem, and Stephen Gostkowski. It took 8 rounds but the first K is finally off the board.
That pick was followed by Michael Bush then I selected my QB, Joe Flacco. I had targeted Flacco and was excited to have gotten him or I was going to go for Matt Ryan. I believe Flacco with have a breakout year in what is now his 3rd year behind center for the Ravens. I also believe the addition of Anquan Boldin can only help. (Note: When I look at my team I understand why I waited for Flacco, but at the same time, I feel I’m at a huge disadvantage when I see that every week I have to go up against the likes of Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Romo, Rivers, Schaub, or Favre.)
The player after me selects Malcom Floyd to close the round.
Fred Jackson is drafted to start the ninth round.
I picked Brandon Jacobs who I believe can be a huge sleeper because he is only one year removed from having a huge season and injuries plagued his 2009 campaign. However, some never get it back, but nonetheless worthy of a 9th round pick.
After Jacobs, Charles Woodson, the first legitimate IDP gets selected. Then another goof IDP gets selected with Dominique Barber being drafted. Matt Ryan, Visanthe Shiancoe, Dwayne Bowe, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, and Thomas Jones finish off the round.
Being a Seahawks fan, the team manager starts the round by selecting T. J. Houshmandzadeh (no longer on Seattle, now a member of the Ravens). Jerome Harrison, Jared Allen, Jon Beason, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sharper, Mike Vrabel, and Patrick Willis were selected next.
I was targeting Patrick Willis because I think he is the best defensive player in the league and usually linebackers (LB) and strong safeties (SS) get the most tackles. Willis was selected just ahead of me so I picked James Laurinaitis of the Rams. I figured he would get a lot of playing time because the Rams will usually be on defense and as a LB, he’ll get a lot of opportunities to get tackles as the other team is trying to run out the clock by running the ball.
The final pick of the round was Carson Palmer.
This was this round IDP took over as they accounted for 7 of the 10 picks.
Garrett Hartley was the first pick in Round 11 then I selected Justin Forsett who is the number one RB on the Seahawks depth chart. This is the point in the draft where I’ll pick one offensive player and one defensive player since my picks are so close.
After my pick, Mike Wallace, Justin Miller, Asante Samuel, Rob Bironas, Yeremiah Bell, Nate Kaeding, Clinton Portis, and Eli Manning finished the round.
Hines Ward is selected first in the 12th round followed by Mason Crosby, Trent Cole, D. J. Williams, Donovan McNabb, Elvis Dumervil (Ouch!), Will Blackmon, and Jay Cutler. I select Barrett Rudd who has been a tackle machine in the past couple of seasons. The round concludes with the selection of Johnny Knox.
Chester Taylor is the first pick and staying true to my defense then offense late round draft strategy, I select Chad Henne as my backup QB. I think Henne should be pretty solid with the addition of Brandon Marshall to the receiving corps. Zach Miller (OAK), Eric Smith, Danieal Manning, Austin Collie, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Antrel Rolle, and John Carlson finish the round.
Kirk Morrison the LB on Jacksonville is the first pick of the 14th round. Jon McGraw, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ryan Longwell, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ray Lewis, Arian Foster, and Tyvon Branch followed that pick.
I selected Lee Evans with my pick. I’ve had Lee Evans for a ton of years now and he is always a disappointment. He is a feast or famine guy. He can go for 2 catches for 60 yards and 2 TDs or he can have 1 catch for 10 yards. He isn’t one of my favorite guys but I figure it’s a decent pick in the 14th round as my 4th WR.
The last pick in the round was Julius Peppers.
Overall, I think there were a couple of funky picks this round but what stands out is that Arian Foster pick. He has looked like a stud in the preseason. This could end up being the auto-pick steal of the draft.
First off the board in the 15th round is Dwight Freeney. I selected DeMeco Ryans with my selection. Dashon Goldson, Jeremy Maclin, Dez Bryant, London Fletcher, Bernard Pollard, Chris Cooley, Carnell Williams, and David Hawthorne close out the round.
We start seeing some former fantasy stars in this round. Chris Cooley and Carnell Williams can be major contributors. Dez Bryant can also be a star.
Curtis Lofton, Adrian Wilson, Zachary Bowman, Darrelle Revis, Derek Cox, Devin Hester, Laurence Maroney, Roman Harper get drafted.
I look at my team and realize I still have two empty DB slots that I need to fill. I select Erik Coleman, the SS of the Atlanta Falcons. He should get a decent amount of tackles and playing time this season.
Jairus Byrd is the final pick in the 16th round.
Lance Briggs gets drafted before I select Michael Lewis. With the need to fill my DB slots, I ditch my strategy of alternating offense and defense and pick my 3rd defensive player in a row. Lewis is a hard hitting SS and one of the defensive team leaders on the Niners.
Lawrence Tynes, Heath Miller, Kevin Smith, Chris Crocker, Mark Sanchez, Gerald McCoy, Dustin Keller, and Jordan Babineaux finish Round 17.
The 18th round started with Richard Marshall, Jason McCourty, Tim Hightower, Kenny Britt, Vincent Jackson, David Akers, Alex Smith, and David Harris being drafted.
I picked Jeff Reed to fill my K slot. Usually kickers on teams with slightly above average offenses with excellent defenses tend to score the most points. I think Reed will get a lot of opportunities early on with Roethlisberger missing action.
Greg Olsen was the final selection of the 18th round.
Brent Grimes was the first player selected in the 19th and final round. I picked Darren McFadden after hearing about Michel Bush’s injury. I don’t know a whole lot about Run DMc but I know that he was explosive in college and that’s all I’m going off of with my final selection of the draft.
After my pick, Fred Davis, Rian Lindell, Brian Cushing, Quintin Demps, Karlos Dansby, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Abram Elam, and Sebastian Janikowski finalize the draft.
Overall, I ended up with Joe Flacco and Chad Henne as QBs, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant, Matt Forte, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Forsett, and Darren McFadden as RBs, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Michael Crabtree, and Lee Evans as WRs, Dallas Clark as my TE, Jeff Reed as my K, James Laurinaitis, Barrett Rudd, and DeMeco Ryans for D, and Eric Coleman and Michael Lewis as my DBs.
I’m pretty happy with my team except for the QB position and I’m ready for another wild year of Fantasy Football.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com via http://games.espn.go.com/ffl/leaders?seasonId=2009