Zealots Grange Masters, Part 2
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Round 3 - Results
Someone took Culpepper, someone took Holt, someone took Owens, someone took McNabb.
Even though Martin was selected at the 2.10, my available RB pool is falling pretty
close to the way I want it to, and Chad Johnson is still in the mix as well with
4 picks to go before mine. Marvin Harrison should be taken before me. There he
goes after Steven Jackson (unfortunate he didn't slip a little further). Now 2
picks and then me. I really should take a RB but I don't want Brown, and will
take Johnson over him, so I pre-select Tatum Bell, LaMont Jordan (after Bell
because I'd rather not double dip the Raiders offense) and Chad Johnson.
Tatum Bell is the pick. Both Jordan and Johnson
went before this pick, and Chris Brown went right after, then J.J. Arrington and
then a mini-WR run. The WR run shows there was a drop-off at RB right about where
my pick was. That is what my tiers coupled with ADP data showed, so I think I
played it right coming out of the first 3 picks with two very good RB and a top
The potential downfall of these picks is the risk inherent in a Julius Jones-Tatum
Bell combo. A little too much risk associated with these guys to put them together
as they aren't considered Ironmen by any stretch. The upside is great. I try not
to let injury history impact me too much if the player is reported as being fully
recovered from the injury. Jones and Bell both proved late last year they were
fully healthy and on fire, and youth is on their side. I'll take the upside and
cross my fingers at this point.
Round 4 and 5 - Results
This is where I made a mistake, maybe. First, I really wanted Darrell Jackson as
he was the last in my WR tier and would be awesome to pair with Moss. Mike Krueger
has Jackson projected in the top 10 and I completely agree with that projection
for a player who has a lot of positive signs to fall inside, perhaps well inside,
the top 10 and you can probably draft him outside the top 10 to 12 WR.
With Jackson that would be two no-brainer starters for me every
week at a highly unpredictable position. Unfortunately, he went
2 picks in front of me. I probably should have made a trade offer
to move up.
But that wasn't the mistake. Since Jackson was the last guy in his WR tier, we're
into the next tier which is 12 players deep. Although I could really use a second
WR at this point its time to go back to RB. And not only that, but with Tony
Gonzalez and Antonio Gates already gone too, and the NFL projected starting
running backs getting close to empty (i.e. last tier of RB before a big drop-off),
I'm taking 2 RB here.
I know most fantasy football players like to fill their starters completely first
before getting into the backups, but I don't follow that rule when the value and
the tiers don't call for it. RB is a high value position in this league. I
already have some durability concerns with my top 2 guys. Another position will
take a bit of a hit at the starter spots but over the course of the season, when
injuries strike and tough matchups pop up, I'll be better prepared to fall back
on the 4th RB who has a starter's gig, than I would be just taking 3 starters and
then hoping for a later pick to pan out or finding a gem on the waiver wire.
But that wasn't the mistake, taking 2 more RBs in the 4th and 5th
rounds. At the 4.09 pick, I was looking at choices DeShaun Foster,
Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Duce Staley, Fred Taylor, & Lee
Suggs. Note that between my 4th and 5th picks, Larry Johnson was
selected and after this group the next RB taken was Thomas Jones
at 7.01, so like I said, this was the bottom of the barrel for RB
projected to start in the NFL this season.
After much debate I liked DeShaun Foster better than Ronnie Brown as my top choices,
and pre-selected the two in that order for the 4.09. If I lost Brown my next selection
would be Cedric Benson who should last to my next pick. Thought about it, thought
about it... Finally decided that I could probably take Brown here and still get
Foster at my next pick, 5 picks later, since people seem pretty low on him.
Then my Internet crapped out. Argh! Couldn't get back in to switch the pre-selects
and wouldn't you know in the 20 minutes the Internet was down the prior pick selected
(Steve Smith) and I got DeShaun Foster. Ronnie Brown
went right after and Cedric Benson went before my next pick. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Still wanted to go RB because the only WR taken, Nate Burelson, was still not even in
my top tier at all, so it was still many players deep.
Not nearly as flashy a pick, but went with Duce Staley.
Anyone checked his pre-injury numbers last year? Through the first 8 weeks (7 games)
Staley had 4, 100 yard games and 2 others over 90 yards. Awesome. He was just not getting
the touchdowns (only 1) but the carries and yardage was great.
The mistake was I should have had Brown as my first selection and
still gotten Foster with the 5th round pick. I ended up overpaying
for Foster and missing out on my next two choices as a result. Of
course, it isn't guaranteed it would have worked that way but the
probability is that it would have. And then with Benson being my
third choice at the time, I really messed that up by not thinking
through the moves properly.
In retrospect, given all the risk I've compacted into this team so far, Staley might end
up being a better choice if he can consistently produce than having one of the rooks
Brown or Benson who need to get acclimated to the NFL, but still mad at myself for the
way I played those picks.
Round 6 - Results
Leading up to this pick at 6.11, there is a huge WR run. No surprise since the RB tier
got eliminated just after my last picks. 15 WR in all were taken. I really wanted Deion
Branch to occupy my #2 WR spot, but the Patriots fan in the bunch snapped him up at 6.09.
Also drafted were Michael Vick, Jason Whitten and finally someone grabbed the first
defensive player, Ray Lewis at 6.07.
That I was glad to see, because I am more than ready for these guys to start pulling
all kinds of D players off the board so I can continue to build my offense. Unfortunately
looking at my tiers, with so many WR taken the last round that tier dried up, the top
TE tier is deep and there are no RB worth taking at this point, and I don't need to go
back to that position again.
My original plan called for waiting on a QB a little longer, but Trent Green is sitting
there in a tier all by himself, with a large drop-off before getting into a QB tier that
is 7 players deep (was 9, before Bulger and Vick were drafted). Perhaps if I take a QB
here I can give some other teams more incentive to turn their attention to QB as well.
My pick is Trent Green.
Round 7 - Results
Drafting at 7.06, we did manage to get one more QB and one more defensive player off
the board since my 6.11 pick. I would have hoped for more. Now the offensive tiers
are still not great. They are either deep, or the players remaining I should be able
to get later in the draft. I still need two WR to fill my starter spots and I'm
getting slightly nervous about that position.
There is going to be a run on defense before my next pick, or at least, I want there
to be so some of these straggling offensive players who should get drafted later are
still available for me. Given I want to start 3 LB, and I only have 4 left in my top
tier after Lewis, now is a good time to get a solid reliable starter here. LB is in
fact my shallowest tier at this point.
Similar to the Trent Green pick, taking the third defensive player overall should
put more pressure on the other owners to address the D side of their roster. I take
stud LB Keith Bulluck.
Round 8 - Results
Sure enough, half of the next 12 picks are defense, 2 more are QB
and a couple TE. My general feeling with this draft is TE is being
slightly overvalued, especially given there are no points for receptions.
It would have been nice to get either Gonzo or Gates, but they were
drafted higher than I would have considered them. Into the next
tier, Witten, Crumpler, Shockey, Heap were all drafted ahead of
where I felt they added enough to the lineup over guys I can get
This year it seems TE is a talented group with a number of guys
primed to "breakout" and be a solid fantasy contributor. With a
number of good upside guys, and the pre-existing good to very good
players mentioned above, the TE position appears much deeper than
it has been in prior years and therefore should not be drafted as
high as when Gonzo and Shannon Sharpe truly stood on their own as
the cream of the crop a few years ago.
WR is still my main concern since I still only hold Randy Moss at that position. This
guy would have ideally been a third WR instead of a second, but as the 32nd WR
selected, I still think I am getting decent value for Brandon
Here is another aside: Fantasy football players who focus only on the numbers and
history will tell you Peyton Manning had a once in a lifetime season last year, and
he is a horrible pick this year. The same people will say the same about Brandon
Stokley, that a team's third WR has no business catching for 1,000 yards and 10 TD.
Their reasoning? Because it has never been done before. Well, here is what I know:
Peyton Manning is 29 years old; he is in his prime. His talent is unquestioned. Manning
has the desire, work ethic and attitude to continue to IMPROVE his game. Improve?
I'm not saying he is going to go out and throw 49 TD again, or 50 or 60, but from
what you know of Manning do you think he is satisfied with his season last year? Do
you think he is one to pat himself on the back and say, good job, maybe I'll take
this summer off? Not this guy. Not based on what we've seen of him in his career.
He knows his job is to score points. He can only control the offensive side of the
ball and he figures the best way for him to help his team to win is to score as many
points as possible. That is what he works continuously on, and that is what he goes
out and does. In terms of supporting cast, Marcus Pollard is gone from a year ago.
Overall, not much has changed for Manning so I'm not very quick to discount what he
did last year as a once in a lifetime thing.
Now on to Stokley. Manning lobbied for the Colts to sign Stokley. Stokley worked at
the Manning Passing Academy. These guys know each other well and seem to have, based
on an outsiders educated guess, formed some sort of friendship bond. With the
departure of Pollard the Colts should use more 3-wide sets, which gets Stokley
on the field more than last season. Will defenses double team Stokley because he
was such a threat last year? They can't possibly. That would leave either Marvin
Harrison or Reggie Wayne with a prime matchup that Manning will exploit.
The long and short of it is, I feel very comfortable penciling Stokley in as a
regular starter in a start 3 WR league.
Round 9 - Results
A real mixed bag of picks since the Stokley pick at 8.07 to my next
pick at 9.10. Four WR, 3 QB, a couple RB and 4 defensive players.
Lets talk a little bit more about my philosophy to wait on defensive
players. I consider Mike Peterson a good pick at the 8.12 as he
was the last in my top tier of LB (which was 6 deep). After that,
there are about 20 LB projected with points from 130 down to 115.
That is a 15 point difference, or less than 1 point per game from
the 7th ranked LB to the 26th ranked LB.
Why would I ever consider a LB here? Other teams are because LB is the most valuable
defensive position for fantasy purposes - they are the most consistent producers
and highest scorers. I don't dispute that. But the value for using a 9th round pick
is not there to take a LB right now, or any defensive position, because there are
so many available. Not all 20 of these guys are going to get drafted any time soon.
Be patient, and wait for the right ones to fall.
With all the top TE taken already, and it nearing 2 full rounds behind his average
draft position, I grab a guy whose upside I really like, Dallas
Do this test first though: There are 4 picks between this and my next pick. Do any
of those teams picking after me have a TE? No. Okay, pull the trigger on Clark. If
the two teams in those slots had a TE, the odds would be drastically reduced they
would take another TE, and I could pass on Clark until the 10th.
Round 10 - Results
I kind of backed myself into a corner with my RB situation. Not that I don't have
faith in my projected starters Julius Jones-Tatum Bell-DeShaun Foster, but the "problem"
is they all come with relatively highly drafted backups. And you could make an argument
Bell and Foster each have two key backups which is even worse.
Given the depth of this league, all key backups will be drafted,
so it will be tough to find suitable replacements on waivers if/when
needed. I consider it prudent to insure ("handcuff") your starters
at key positions if the cost is not too great. At this time, I will
try to lock up the Carolina Panthers running game by picking Foster's
most likely replacement should he get hurt, rookie Eric