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Draft Analysis

You’ve read all your magazines, you’ve kept track of the e-mail updates, you’ve watched “NFL Total Access” every night, and you’ve participated in God knows how many mock drafts, all in preparation for one thing – your fantasy football league draft day. On the morning of Saturday, August 4, I participated in my first “real” draft of the season. Since real drafts can often go a little differently than mocks – after all, it’s easier to take risks when you won’t suffer the consequences all season long – I figured an analysis of the draft might be of interest to those of you who will be facing your own real drafts in the not-too-distant future.

First, a little about the league. The Hershey (Pa.) Fantasy Football League is a twelve team redraft league that has been in existence since 1994. There are eight men and four women in the league and many of them have been with us for a very long time. Everyone knows how fantasy football works and everyone does some level of preparation beyond just glancing at a cheat-sheet for the first time on draft day, though some owners will overvalue the players from nearby teams (PHI, PIT, WSH and BAL). In summary, I think it’s fairly representative of your typical fantasy football league. Last season, despite an alarming 7-6 regular season record, I qualified for the play-offs and won it all.

Scoring is fairly standard: one point for every twenty yards passing or ten yards rushing/receiving. Passing touchdowns are worth four points, all others are worth six. Interceptions or fumbles will cost you two points. Defenses rack up one point for sacks, two points for interceptions and fumble recoveries. Defenses also get bonuses for holding their opposition to low scores, and six points for defensive or special-team touchdowns.

Each week we start one QB, two RBs, two WRs, one TE, one K, one defense and one flex player who can be either an RB or WR. Our total roster size is eighteen, and those spots can be filled with whatever combination of positions we desire.

Now that you understand how we roll, let’s look at how the draft shook out (with team owners identified by their initials in order to protect them from possible ridicule...)

Unlike many leagues, we don’t determine draft order until the morning of the draft. In stark contrast to last season, when I secured the #1 overall pick, I drew the #11 pick this year. As RB-Tomlinson-SD went off the board I settled in for a little bit of a wait...

Round 1
1.01 DAM RB-Tomlinson-SD
1.02 BRW RB-Jackson-STL
1.03 TOL RB-Johnson-KC
1.04 JOC RB-Gore-SF
1.05 PAL RB-Alexander-SEA
1.06 HEM RB-Johnson-CIN
1.07 JOH RB-Bush-NO
1.08 TRC RB-Addai-IND
1.09 DYM RB-Westbrook-PHI
1.10 RIS QB-Manning-IND
1.11 ME RB-Parker-PIT
1.12 DEM RB-Maroney-NE

Round Overview: The first round went about how you would expect position-wise, with all but one pick being used on running backs. Manning going at 1.10 seemed fine to me, especially since QBs get a slight boost in our league with four point passing TDs.

Best Pick: Itís hard to get good value in the first round since itís hard for players to ďfallĒ to you. As such Iíll just give kudos to DAM Ė you got the first pick and selected LaDainian Tomlinson, woo-hoo!

Worst Pick: In my mind, I have to question JOHís selection of Reggie Bush at 1.07. Yes, the kid has untapped potential, but his situation hasnít changed that much since last season. I view Bush as a good RB2, and I would have taken any of the other RBs that went in the first round after him instead.

My Pick: What I want from my #1 pick is simple - a safe, productive RB. I got that in Willie Parker. The other RBs available to me all had some question marks around them, or simply werenít worth a #1 pick consideration. Run, Willie, run...

Round 2
2.01 DEM WR-Smith-CAR
2.02 ME RB-Henry-DEN
2.03 RIS RB-Benson-CHI
2.04 DYM RB-Brown-MIA
2.05 TRC RB-Jones-Drew-JAX
2.06 JOH RB-McGahee-BAL
2.07 HEM RB-Jones-NYJ
2.08 PAL WR-Colston-NO
2.09 JOC WR-Johnson-CIN
2.10 TOL QB-Palmer-CIN
2.11 BRW RB-James-AZ
2.12 DAM WR-Owens-DAL

Round Overview: The run on backs continued early before people started switching to the wide-out position. I think that this is a trend that youíll likely see as well. There has been a lot of ink (real and virtual) used to discuss the dearth of top WRs and how the ďstud-WRĒ strategy should be considered. Iím not sure Iím buying it, especially amongst owners who are not true die-hard fantasy ballers. For them, getting two starting RBs will be the priority in the first two rounds.

Best Pick: A lot of people are down on him, but the fact remains that Edgerrin James is a talented back who is the undisputed starter on a team with a potentially potent offense. That has all the makings of a top 12 fantasy season. For BRW to snag him at 2.11 is real value.

Worst Pick: Marques Colston at 2.08? The second WR off the board? Great googly moogly! Look, Iím a big fan of Colstonís. He was my best free-agent pick-up last season and a big part of my championship run. He also went to high school just a few miles from my house. While I think heíll probably put up at least fantasy WR2 numbers this year, there is simply no way you can take him ahead of Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Torry Holt and the other stud wide-outs. Oh my, I need to calm down. I think Iím getting a touch of the vapors...

My Pick: Generally, I draft RBs with my first two picks (and sometimes three, as I did last season) so that was where I was looking. As mentioned above, I am high on Edgerrin James, but as I have him in a separate keeper league, I didnít want all of my fantasy eggs in one Arizona basket. I naturally turned to the starting back for my favorite NFL team, the Broncos. Leaving my affinity for the team aside, Travis Henry seems to be just the right fit for the Denver running game, and Shanahan will rely on him to move the chains as he continues to bring Jay Cutler along slowly. I like Henry as my RB2 and think he could put up RB1 numbers when all is said and done.

Round 3
3.01 DAM RB-Jacobs-NYG
3.02 BRW QB-Brees-NO
3.03 TOL WR-Holt-STL
3.04 JOC WR-Harrison-IND
3.05 PAL QB-Brady-NE
3.06 HEM RB-Portis-WSH
3.07 JOH RB-Barber-DAL
3.08 TRC QB-Bulger-STL
3.09 DYM TE-Gates-SD
3.10 RIS WR-Williams-DET
3.11 ME WR-Wayne-IND
3.12 DEM RB-McAllister-NO

Round Overview: Round three tends to be when all sorts of positions show up and this draft was no different. Those teams who had drafted two backs were looking to address their passing game (either with a QB or WR) while those who had only swiped one RB were likely looking for a second. At this point itís helpful to keep track of what each team has taken in the previous rounds. If you do so, you can make fairly accurate predictions about what positions will likely get attention between your current and next round selection. Knowing this can help you stay ahead of the curve and avoid being stuck at the end of a run.

Best Pick: Iím a big fan of value based drafting, and like to try and organize a team that, when broken down by position, can win more of those position battles than it loses. When DYM selected Antonio Gates at 3.09, she instantly gave herself an advantage at the TE position every single week (except his bye). There is no other position in fantasy football where you can do that with one pick as late as the third or fourth round.

Worst Pick: Having already selected Rudi Johnson and Thomas Jones, HEMís decision to go with Clinton Portis at 3.06 left me scratching my head. While I suspect heíll make a fine RB3, there are enough questions surrounding his health and how involved Ladell Betts will be in the Redskin offense to make me think that spending this selection on one of the top-tier WRs remaining, or maybe a highly ranked QB, would have been a safer move.

My Pick: Having drafted solid RBs in my first two rounds, I decided attention needed to be paid elsewhere. Since I generally eschew selecting a QB any earlier than the fifth round, and since Gates was off the board, selecting my first WR was the only way to go. Reggie Wayne, who I had ranked as my #3 WR overall, was the only one of my top seven remaining. This one was easy.

Round 4
4.01 DEM QB-Kitna-DET
4.02 ME WR-Houshmandzadeh-CIN
4.03 RIS RB-Lynch-BUF
4.04 DYM WR-Fitzgerald-AZ
4.05 TRC WR-Burress-NYG
4.06 JOH WR-Walker-DEN
4.07 HEM WR-Evans-BUF
4.08 PAL RB-Taylor-MIN
4.09 JOC RB-Norwood-ATL
4.10 TOL RB-Williams-TBY
4.11 BRW WR-Boldin-AZ
4.12 DAM WR-Driver-GB

Round Overview: Now teams are scrambling to get that RB2 or WR2 that they didnít pick up in the third round. Unlike WR, the pickings are getting slim at RB, and so teams are starting to reach (Norwood and Taylor in round four?). It doesnít help that weíre early in the pre-season, there are still unsettled running back situations around the NFL, and periodic reports of how good certain players are looking. Putting too much stock in such reports can be dangerous.

Best Pick: I think that Donald Driver has the chance to be a top-10 WR this season, which would make him a bona-fide WR1 on any fantasy team. DAM got him at 4.12 as his WR2. For those keeping track, DAM has thus-far managed to land the best RB in the game (Tomlinson) and two potential top-10 WRs (Owens and Driver). Not too shabby, eh?

Worst Pick: There is no question that Jon Kitna will have a couple of really nice targets to throw to in Detroit this year (while on his way to winning 10+ games, right?) Even so, a 4.01 selection as the sixth QB off the board was too early. ADP is showing Kitna to be a sixth round selection, and with almost half of this league having already taken QBs by this point, DEM could have waited until the draft snaked its way back to get either Kitna or someone just as productive.

My Pick: My outlook was very similar to the previous round Ė plenty of decent QBs still out there, the best TE off the board, and a top-10 (on my draft list) WR still available. Iíll happily take T.J. Hoozyurmama...championship!

Round 5
5.01 DAM QB-McNabb-PHI
5.02 BRW WR-Moss-NE
5.03 TOL RB-Lewis-CLE
5.04 JOC QB-Rivers-SD
5.05 PAL WR-Ward-PIT
5.06 HEM WR-Johnson-HOU
5.07 JOH WR-Brown-PHI
5.08 TRC RB-Williams-CAR
5.09 DYM RB-Peterson-MIN
5.10 RIS RB-Green-HOU
5.11 ME Baltimore Defense
5.12 DEM Chicago Defense

Round Overview: Itís the fifth round. By now the superstars are all gone, the starting running backs are largely picked clean and you have at least one hole to fill amongst your ďBig 3" positions (QB, RB, WR). Even so, Itís probably time to start looking to the best available players in this round or the next, as opposed to positions of need. Even if you still need your WR2, chances are the difference between the WRs available in the fifth round and those remaining in the sixth are not going to be that large.

Best Pick: I really like the selection of DeAngelo Williams at 5.08. This is only slightly later than his current ADP, but there is a lot of upside here. TRC looks solid with Williams as her RB3 and if DeShaun Foster stumbles or suffers any type of injury, Williams could match the numbers put up by any of the RBs taken in the late first/early second rounds.

Worst Pick: Taken right after Williams, Minnesotaís Adrian Peterson at 5.09 looks like a reach to me (and yes, I know itís right in line with his ADP). While things could certainly shake out in his favor over the remainder of the pre-season, it seems unlikely that Peterson will get a shot at full time starter duties and his health has to be a concern -- both from collegiate injuries and the dings heís already compiling in camp. If this were a dynasty league, this pick would be brilliant. Since itís not, the selection is questionable.

My Pick: In my years of playing in this league, Iíve noticed a few things. One is that the elite defenses tend to go in the fifth to seventh rounds. Another is that many of the owners I compete with are susceptible to getting caught up in runs. My pick here presented me with the opportunity to a) get a top-ranked defense (and the positional advantage that goes with that each week) and b) potentially start a run on defenses. I ranked the Baltimore and Chicago defenses similarly, but I like the Baltimore offense more.

Round 6
6.01 DEM TE-Gonzalez-KC
6.02 ME TE-Shockey-NYG
6.03 RIS WR-Glenn-DAL
6.04 DYM QB-Hasselbeck-SEA
6.05 TRC New England Defense
6.06 JOH San Diego Defense
6.07 HEM QB-Manning-NYG
6.08 PAL WR-Coles-NYJ
6.09 JOC TE-Heap-BAL
6.10 TOL RB-Jones-DAL
6.11 BRW RB-Jones-DET
6.12 DAM Carolina Defense

Round Overview: Well, my attempt to start a run on defenses worked somewhat, as both the last pick in the fifth round and three picks in the sixth went to defenses. ADP charts show that the TEs not named ďAntonio GatesĒ start to get picked up in this round, and our league was no exception. This was also the first round of the draft where less than half of the selections went to WRs and RBs.

Best Pick: Hmmmmmm. There are a lot of solid, justifiable picks in this round, but none that jump out at me as being particularly good. If I had to pick one, Iíd say that TOLís selection of Julius Jones at 6.10 was probably the best. While that selection is in line with Joneís current ADP, I think he has more upside than a lot of people give him credit for, and could end up a very good value pick for the round.

Worst Pick: Iíll go a pick later and tag BRWís selection of Detroitís Kevin Jones for the worst pick prize. All Iím hearing out of Lionís camp is that a) Tatum Bell is running well on the field and b) Kevin Jones is running well off the field. Given the choice between the two, who do you think is likely to start the season in Detroitís backfield?

My Pick: As I look back over this draft, my pick of Jeremy Shockey at 6.02 is the one Iíd like to have back. Yes, that is right in line with his ADP and he is a top TE. Still, anyone who read my column on ďRisky ProspectsĒ for this season knows Iím not a huge fan of Shockeyís. Add to that what ends up happening to me at the QB position later, and Iím wishing I had a do-over. So why did I do it? I have no idea, so Iíll just say that I was confused by a nearby swarm of bees.

Round 7
7.01 DAM RB-White-TEN
7.02 BRW Philadelphia Defense
7.03 TOL WR-Moss-WSH
7.04 JOC Miami Defense
7.05 PAL RB-Jackson-GB
7.06 HEM TE-Crumpler-ATL
7.07 JOH TE-Davis-SF
7.08 TRC TE-Winslow-CLE
7.09 DYM Denver Defense
7.10 RIS Pittsburgh Defense
7.11 ME WR-Branch-SEA
7.12 DEM RB-Betts-WSH

Round Overview: The way this round went validated my decision to go with a defense and TE (if not Jeremy Shockey specifically) at the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth. Both positions experienced runs amounting to eleven of the twenty picks taken before the draft snaked back to me Ė thatís almost a full round. By starting or helping to start runs at those positions, I minimized the potential damage to my next selection. Obviously, if you are confident you can start a run on a position, it can pay to do so.

Best Pick: While he isnít getting a lot of love from the fantasy magazines on store shelves, Deion Branch is finding this summerís mock drafts a bit more hospitable. In those drafts heís being selected as a top WR2 and enjoying an ADP in the early fifth round. One is obviously left to wonder whoís got it right. Since I expect a bounce-back year from Matt Hasselbeck, and for Branch to assume the role as his #1 target, Iíll throw my hat in with the mock drafters. I was absolutely ecstatic to scoop up Branch at 7.11 to serve as my WR3.

Worst Pick: Yes, heís losing weight, and yes, heís saying all the right things, but Iím still not banking on LenDale White making much of an impact in Titans camp, except, perhaps, in the cafeteria. Admittedly, pickings were getting slim at RB by this round, but with Whiteís ADP in the tenth round and other RBs like Lamont Jordan, Tatum Bell, Warrick Dunn and Brandon Jackson still on the board, I think DAMís selection of White at 7.01 was a real reach.

My Pick: This sounds so conceited, but what the heck, see ďBest Pick,Ē above.

Round 8
8.01 DEM WR-Holmes-PIT
8.02 ME RB-Bell-DET
8.03 RIS TE-Watson-NE
8.04 DYM WR-Jackson-SF
8.05 TRC WR-Chambers-MIA
8.06 JOH QB-Roethlisberger-PIT
8.07 HEM WR-Porter-OAK
8.08 PAL QB-Romo-NE
8.09 JOC WR-Johnson-DET
8.10 TOL TE-Smith-PHI
8.11 BRW TE-Cooley-WSH
8.12 DAM WR-Edwards-CLE

Round Overview: By the eighth round teams are nearing the completion of their non-kicker starting roster, and may be looking to fill a particular hole or holes. Try and be aware of what other teams have selected so you can guess what theyíll be doing over the next round or two. Use that information to make your choice. Of course if there is a player on your board that is well above all the others, you should not feel so bound to selecting a particular position at this point that you pass up on that superior player. Chances are youíll use him during the season.

Best Pick: I think there is every reason to believe that Tony Romo could be a top-6 QB this season, making his selection at 8.08 a real potential steal for PAL. Quite frankly, I had been eyeing Romo for a few rounds and yet kept gambling on letting him sit out there because so many teams had already selected their QB1s. If there is any qualification to my praise for this selection, its that Romoís value to PAL specifically may be minimal since she already had Tom Brady as her QB1.

Worst Pick: With seven of the twelve teams having already selected their TE1s, and with plenty of other good TEs still available, such as L.J. Smith, Chris Cooley and Jason Witten, there was no need for RIS to use his 8.03 pick on Ben Watson, whose catch totals may decline as Tom Brady looks to use his new toys at WR.

My Pick: As mentioned above, I was looking at Tony Romo, and in retrospect should have taken him. Still, With Tatum Bell likely the week one starter at RB for the Lions, its hard to say that there isnít real potential value here as my RB3.

Round 9
9.01 DAM Jacksonville Defense
9.02 BRW WR-Galloway-TBY
9.03 TOL Minnesota Defense
9.04 JOC WR-Stallworth-NE
9.05 PAL Green bay Defense
9.06 HEM Dallas Defense
9.07 JOH RB-Jordan-OAK
9.08 TRC RB-Dunn-ATL
9.09 DYM WR-Clayton-BAL
9.10 RIS WR-Jackson-SD
9.11 ME QB-Young-TEN
9.12 DEM QB-Pennington-NYJ

Round Overview: Similar to the eighth round, people generally use the ninth to plug holes in their starting line-up. Interestingly here, however, we already saw a team (DAM) selecting their second defense. This illustrates the point that teams will often try to focus on positions that they are not comfortable with in the hopes that one of their picks will come through.

Best Pick: The Tampa Bay offense could be frightening this season, and heís now closer to 40 than he is 30, but has Joey Galloway proven that heís perfectly capable of overcoming such obstacles. While an improvement over last seasonís numbers in unlikely, he should be able to match them, and that makes BRWís selection of the speedy wide-out a steal at 9.02.

Worst Pick: I feel bad picking on both of DEMís QB selections thus far, but heíll understand. After tabbing Jon Kitna as his QB1 in round four, DEM jumped on Chad Pennington in round nine. With a current ADP around the late twelfth round, and QBís like Favre, Cutler, Leinart and Delhomme still available, this pick leaves me rather perplexed.

My Pick: Sigh. There are those who would say that Vince Young is a slam-dunk to be a top-12 QB this season. There are those that would say getting him at 9.11 was a steal. There are those that would say they would be thrilled to have him as their QB1. I am not one of them. As with Jeremy Shockey, I listed Young as one of my ďRisky PlayersĒ going into this season, and my selection of him in this draft does not change my opinion. All I can say is, it was time for me to take my QB1 and Young offered the best upside. At least I didnít have to pay his current ADP price to get him.

Round 10
10.01 DEM WR-Berrian-CHI
10.02 ME QB-Favre-GB
10.03 RIS K-Akers-PHI
10.04 DYM RB-Taylor-JAX
10.05 TRC WR-Jennings-GB
10.06 JOH WR-Cotchery-NYJ
10.07 HEM QB-Cutler-DEN
10.08 PAL TE-Miller-PIT
10.09 JOC QB-Leinart-AZ
10.10 TOL QB-Delhomme-CAR
10.11 BRW RB-Turner-SD
10.12 DAM RB-Foster-CAR

Round Overview: By round ten, teams are selecting their back-ups. For this reason its hard to predict what teams will take and itís often best to simply take the best available player. Of course if thereís a position where a team feels weak, theyíll often address that position first, hoping that a late round pick emerges to become a productive starter.

Best Pick: Itís hard not to like DYMís selection of Fred Taylor at 10.04. If Maurice Jones-Drew turns out to be a one-year wonder or suffers any sort of injury, Taylor will be right there to pick up the ball and run with it. Even if neither of those two circumstances come to pass, Taylor will still get his opportunities, and fits nicely as DYMís RB4.

Worst Pick: Second only to the bewildering Colston pick back in round two is RISí selection of David Akers at 10.03. Now, you have to understand, RIS takes Akers every year, and takes him too early, but this is simply unjustifiable from a pure production prospective.

My Pick: Remember what I said about owners who were uneasy with their starters at a certain position addressing that position first when it comes to back-ups? I submit myself as ĎExhibit A.í Having just taken a gamble on the risky Vince Young, I wanted to make sure I had a stable, consistent QB2 that I could fall back on. That need for consistency ruled out some of the young guns left on the table, and so Brett Favre it was. Iím not expecting an improvement over last years numbers, but if he can stay at the same level, heíll have been worth the pick.

Here is what happened in the final nine rounds:

Round 11
11.01 DAM RB-Rhodes-OAK
11.02 BRW QB-Losman-BUF
11.03 TOL RB-Bell-DEN
11.04 JOC RB-Morency-GB
11.05 PAL K-Kaeding-SD
11.06 HEM K-Wilkins-STL
11.07 JOH RB-Henry-TEN
11.08 TRC RB-Peterson-CHI
11.09 DYM New York Jets Defense
11.10 RIS WR-Williamson-MIN
11.11 ME WR-Henderson-NO
11.12 DEM RB-Droughns-NYG

Round 12
12.01 DEM WR-Horn-ATL
12.02 ME RB-Brown-TEN
12.03 RIS WR-Bruce-STL
12.04 DYM QB-Smith-SF
12.05 TRC WR-Curtis-PHI
12.06 JOH QB-Schaub-HOU
12.07 HEM WR-Hackett-SEA
12.08 PAL WR-Bennett-STL
12.09 JOC WR-Jones-TEN
12.10 TOL WR-Jones-JAX
12.11 BRW WR-Jenkins-ATL
12.12 DAM TE-Witten-DAL

Round 13
13.01 DAM RB-Dillon-Sofa
13.02 BRW K-Vinatieri-IND
13.03 TOL K-Graham-CIN
13.04 JOC RB-Thomas-BUF
13.05 PAL RB-Wolfe-CHI
13.06 HEM TE-Clark-IND
13.07 JOH TE-Clark-CHI
13.08 TRC QB-McNair-TEN
13.09 DYM TE-McMichael-STL
13.10 RIS RB-Buckhalter-PHI
13.11 ME RB-Davenport-PIT
13.12 DEM K-Rackers-AZ

Round 14
14.01 DEM TE-Daniels-HOU
14.02 ME RB-Bennett-KC
14.03 RIS RB-Jones-JAX
14.04 DYM WR-Muhammed-CHI
14.05 TRC WR-Kennison-KC
14.06 JOH WR-Williams-JAX
14.07 HEM RB-Irons-CIN
14.08 PAL RB-Washington-NYJ
14.09 JOC RB-Pittman-TBY
14.10 TOL TE-Olsen-CHI
14.11 BRW RB-morris-NE
14.12 DAM WR-Toomer-NYG

Round 15
15.01 DAM WR-Marshall-DEN
15.02 BRW RB-Dayne-HOU
15.03 TOL WR-Curry-OAK
15.04 JOC WR-Bowe-KC
15.05 PAL WR-Jarrett-CAR
15.06 HEM Indianapolis Defense
15.07 JOH K-Gould-CHI
15.08 TRC K-Mare-NO
15.09 DYM K-Brown-SEA
15.10 RIS TE-Martin-MIA
15.11 ME K-Stover-BAL
15.12 DEM K-Elam-DEN

Round 16
16.01 DEM RB-Booker-MIA
16.02 ME WR-Mason-BAL
16.03 RIS RB-Bush-OAK
16.04 DYM RB-Holmes-KC
16.05 TRC QB-Green-MIA
16.06 JOH Oakland Defense
16.07 HEM K-Hanson-DET
16.08 PAL Cincinnati Defense
16.09 JOC RB-Robinson-SF
16.10 TOL New York Giants Defense
16.11 BRW WR-Welker-NE
16.12 DAM QB-Grossman-CHI

Round 17
17.01 DAM QB-Campbell-WSH
17.02 BRW QB-Garcia-TBY
17.03 TOL WR-Meachem-NO
17.04 JOC WR-Gonzalez-IND
17.05 PAL TE-Scaife-TEN
17.06 HEM RB-Houston-?
17.07 JOH QB-Huard-KC
17.08 TRC Kansas City Defense
17.09 DYM RB-Dorsey-IND
17.10 RIS RB-Morris-SEA
17.11 ME Buffalo Defense
17.12 DEM New Orleans Defense

Round 18
18.01 DEM QB-Russell-OAK
18.02 ME QB-Harrington-ATL
18.03 RIS WR-Randle El-WSH
18.04 DYM WR-Engram-SEA
18.05 TRC TE-Johnson-NO
18.06 JOH RB-Anderson-BAL
18.07 HEM WR-McCareins-NYJ
18.08 PAL K-Nedney-SF
18.09 JOC K-Feely-MIA
18.10 TOL QB-Jackson-MIN
18.11 BRW TE-Pollard-IND
18.12 DAM K-Scobee-JAX

Best Picks:

  • Taking Vernand Morency at 11.04 could pay off for JOC if Brandon Jackson continues his early camp struggles.

  • By selecting Jason Witten at 12.12, DAM may have gotten a TE who finishes with better numbers than those taken six rounds earlier.

  • DYM selected Muhsin Muhammad as her WR4 at 14.04 and he could end up being a solid WR3.

Worst Picks:

  • There are always rumors about former players coming back and stepping into starting roles with NFL teams. It appears that DAM fell victim to one of these rumours when he spent the 13.01 pick on Corey Dillon who, a day later, announced he was not coming back to football.

  • Itís sometimes hard to keep up with player movement after draft magazines are published, but it is critical to do so or you waste picks. Iím guessing that HEM would like to have the 17.06 pick she used on Cedric Houston back since the Jets confirmed in late July that Houston has left the team and will likely not return to the NFL ever again.

My Team:

As the dust now settled, this is the roster with which I shall start the defense of my 2006 HFFL championship-

QB1 Young-TEN
QB2 Favre-GB
QB3 Harrington-ATL

RB1 Parker-PIT
RB2 Henry-DEN
RB3 Bell-DET
RB4 Brown-TEN
RB5 Davenport-PIT
RB6 Bennett-KC

WR1 Wayne-IND
WR2 Houshmandzadeh-CIN
WR3 Branch-SEA
WR4 Henderson-NO
WR5 Mason-BAL

TE1 Shockey-NYG

K1 Stover-BAL

D1 Baltimore
D2 Buffalo

Do I think this roster guarantees me a repeat? Heck no, Iím worried about QB and could have trouble if either of my top two backs go down, but I think itís a solid, balanced team that I can tinker with as the season progresses.

What can we learn from this draft and the snapshot it presents this early in the pre-season? Well a number of things, some of which are tried and true strategies that many of you probably already utilize...

  • The WR stud theory hasn’t become as widespread as some would lead you to believe.

  • Michael Vick is a non-factor, even as a late-round lark.

  • At least one owner will do something that makes no sense. This can either hurt you or help you. Expect the unexpected.

  • There is a lot of confusion about the RB situations in Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota and Atlanta.

  • Some owners will be willing to gamble early mid-round picks on backs who may only sniff a starting job when a solid WR2 or WR3 is there for the taking.

  • When timed right, you can be a trend setter and start positional runs that essentially give you a free pass to your next selection.

  • It helps to keep track of other owners’ habits and selections. Plan accordingly, but again, expect the unexpected.

  • If possible, know your opponents. This can be hard when you are thrown together in public leagues and know each other only by screen names, but in leagues where the same owners compete year after year after year, make notes. Everyone has habits an biases, and when you get to know what they are, you have an advantage.

Now go forth and draft your own championship squad!