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Dissecting A Draft
Zealots Grange Masters, Part 3
Part: 1 | 2 | 3

Round 11 to 13 - Results

I took Keith Bulluck as my only defensive player back in round 7. Since then I added Stokley, Clark and Shelton to bolster my offense as much as possible while many other teams are adding to their defensive roster. Is it time to turn to defense?

No, still not yet. At this point my IDP cheatsheet is getting somewhat thinner, but armed with my tiers, a few undervalued with upside defensive players in mind, and the knowledge to know good defensive players are not nearly as tough to acquire during the season as offensive players are, I stick to offense.

Pick 11.09 is Brandon Lloyd. Just like Stokley would have made a better #3 fantasy WR on my squad, Lloyd would make a better #4. But since I went with 4 RB and a QB early, WR suffered slightly.

Pick 12.04 is Justin McCareins. Given WR is a weaker position for me, I go back to the well at WR for a good backup quicker than I otherwise would. Young guys with upside who are locked into starter roles are who I am after. Lloyd and McCareins both fit the bill. Drafting the pair of them increases my odds of finding a "breakout" player at the position.

Pick 13.07 is Chad Pennington. There are 17 QB taken already and I have Pennington in the top 12. One team hasn't taken its first QB yet. A few others still need backups. Lets put the screws to them a little bit more by taking the last solid QB before we roll into the group of QB who weigh a little higher on the risk scale, a little lower on the reward scale.

Round 14 to 17 - Results

Time for some defense, but not LB even though it is the most valuable defensive position. The top DB tier is completely tapped out except Madieu Williams. I really like Michael Lewis too and could make an argument to push him into my top tier.

I do check the other teams rosters and most have filled in 2 or 3 LB already. A couple teams are following a similar strategy to mine where they are very patient drafting their D roster. Overall, it looks like most of the other teams will turn their attention away from LB for the time being, so if that assessment is correct now is not the time to draft a LB either, since I can get them later on.

Check a few other fantasy football information sites where I know my opponents frequent to compare the ranking of Williams versus Lewis (this is an example where you can take advantage of knowing your opponent). Most have Williams higher, so I take Madieu Williams at the 14.04 and cross my fingers for Lewis to fall to the next pick.

Pick 15.11 is Michael Lewis. Nice.

Now on the D side I have Bulluck at LB and 2 DB. Pretty thin, but given what I said about most teams having addressed these positions, I still don't have to hurry out and fill them. My tiers show Eric Johnson sitting all alone in the top TE tier, and half the teams haven't even addressed their TE position yet. Eric Johnson is the pick.

With WR still a bit of a concern and available players who qualify as WR1 or WR2 on their respective NFL team dwindling, time for another sleeper pick at the position (i.e. a guy with talent and opportunity who has good potential to breakout and far exceed his draft position). The pick is Antonio Bryant. According to my depth chart, Bryant is the last WR1 undrafted to this point with the exception of Atlanta.

Round 18 to 20 - Results

Time to jump on the LB position, and similar to the way I acquired WR, since I left this position late, I not only fill the starters but get a better than average quality backup by drafting the backup sooner than I would had I gone out and grabbed 3 higher tier starters to rely on.

Pick 18.04 is Odell Thurman. Rookies carry a natural risk, but I've read great things on this guy and felt he was worth the risk here instead of letting someone grab him before my long wait to the 19.10.

Pick 19.10 is D.J. Williams. People are scared off Williams because he is moving to strong-side LB. Yes, positioning does factor into the fantasy value of defensive players, but this guy finished 25th in LB scoring last year as a rookie. His talent is tremendous. I just got him as the 37th LB drafted. At the end of the day, talent will win out, and I think I got a really good deal on him here.

Pick 20.01 is Derrick Johnson. Another rookie, but a highly touted one with big play potential on a well coached team with playoff aspirations. Looking at the draft while writing this, which is now in round 28, 14 LB have been selected since I took Johnson and Julian Peterson is the only one I feel I may be kicking myself for passing on to roll the dice on Johnson's potential.

Through 20 rounds, I have a solid core offense with starters and backups at all positions. Positions I haven't addressed are K, DL, and a third starter at DB. This draft is still in progress, but here are my next picks made to date:

Pick 21.04 RB Ryan Moats - Although I have faith in Brian Westbrook to perform as a top fantasy RB this season, this pick comes based on positive comments by our own Matt "Gut Check" Waldman.

By the way, I did lose out on drafting Anthony Thomas and Maurice Clarett and Mike Anderson (although I probably wouldn't have drafted Anderson) to handcuff my starters. I would have liked to draft them, particularly Thomas, but the backups were picked earlier than I could really justify it. It didn't help that one team's strategy is to draft as many backup RB as possible and hope to strike gold when injury strikes (they have 11 through 25 rounds).

Pick 22.09 DL Darren Howard

Pick 23.05 DL Alex Brown

Pick 24.08 WR Reggie Williams - Another deep sleeper (so deep, many have forgotten about him) to increase my odds at a breakout WR.

Pick 25.04 WR Joey Galloway

Pick 26.09 QB J.P. Losman - Just 2 picks away from Leonard Little. A perfect example of a quality defensive player slipping through the cracks. That guy got a great deal.

Pick 27.12 TE Ben Watson

Pick 28.01 DL Will Smith

Pick 29.02 DL Robert Mathis

Recap - Full Draft Report

Almost at round 30 and things I need to address are K, a third starting DB plus backups, LB depth and of course, more deep sleeper picks on offense. Here is the roster after 29 picks:

Zealots Grange Masters Draft Recap, MacGregor's Team Bills Z7
Pick Overall Position Player Team
1.11 11 RB Julius Jones DAL
2.02 14 WR Randy Moss OAK
3.04 28 RB Tatum Bell DEN
4.09 45 RB DeShaun Foster CAR
5.02 50 RB Duce Staley PIT
6.11 71 QB Trent Green KC
7.06 78 LB Keith Bulluck TEN
8.07 91 WR Brandon Stokley IND
9.09 105 TE Dallas Clark IND
10.02 110 RB Eric Shelton CAR
11.09 129 WR Brandon Lloyd SF
12.04 136 WR Justin McCareins NYJ
13.07 151 QB Chad Pennington NYJ
14.04 160 DB Madieu Williams CIN
15.11 179 DB Michael Lewis PHI
16.02 182 TE Eric Johnson SF
17.09 201 WR Antonio Bryant CLE
18.04 208 LB Odell Thurman CIN
19.10 226 LB D.J. Williams DEN
20.01 229 LB Derrick Johnson KC
21.04 244 RB Ryan Moats PHI
22.09 261 DL Darren Howard NO
23.05 269 DL Alex Brown CHI
24.08 284 WR Reggie Williams JAC
25.04 292 WR Joey Galloway TB
26.09 309 QB J.P. Losman BUF
27.12 324 TE Ben Watson NE
28.01 325 DL Will Smith NO
29.02 338 DL Robert Mathis IND

This is a long draft, which deep IDP leagues tend to be, and as a result it turned into a long article. Here are what I consider the most important points to take from this experience:

  • Tiering helped immensely in this draft, both early and late. Early on an examination of the tiers and ADP info cleared the path to draft a top tier WR knowing I would still get a good RB before the next drop-off at that position.

  • Using tiering later on in the draft highlighted numerous players as being the last or next to last players at their position before a big drop in projected results. Grabbing these players allowed me to get good value with all of my picks instead of drafting purely on need.

  • Patience, patience, patience drafting the defensive players. Since so many of these players score similar to one another, solidify the offense and wait for the right defensive players to slip through the cracks.

  • Keep constant watch on the needs of the other teams. Control the draft by going after positions that are drying up and other teams still need to address. Force other teams into position runs.

  • Draft Duce Staley as a bargain value starting RB.
My overall assessment on this draft is that this is not going to be an easy league. Not many players slipped too far, and a number of teams were patient enough with the defense to not give up too much value on offense. My team I like overall, of course. To be critical, RB is risky given the durability concerns of Julius Jones, Bell and Foster, and none have an extended history of success, but the risk is mitigated by having a 4th starting RB available with Staley, plus Foster is insured with Shelton.

WR is not great after Moss, and it will take some time to determine who, if any, of Lloyd, McCareins, Bryant, Reggie Williams or Galloway can lift their game to be every week fantasy starters.

QB is solid, which is good considering the league scores 6 points per passing TD. TE is good. DL is good. LB is a bit risky with the pair of rookies, so I will need some reliable depth in case I have to fall back on it. DB has a great starting two and will no doubt be complimented with a solid third later in the draft or early in the season.

For a first draft of the year, I like my chances. I'm already looking forward to wrapping up this draft and moving on to my next one. Less of a marathon draft without defensive players would be nice though.