FF Toolbox organized a series of mock drafts this pre-season from
which I’ve written “Drafting
from the Middle” (9th pick in June) and “Drafting
from the Bottom” (12th pick in July). The August draft
is on now.
This draft is going a little slow, as we have just turned the corner
into round 13 as I write this. Even though the draft is not complete,
for the benefit of my finishing this three-part series of articles
in a timely manner, I’ll give you the recap so far along with
what I plan to do to polish off my team.
The setup is a 12-team league with standard performance plus PPR
scoring, 4 points for passing touchdowns and -1 for interceptions.
The starting lineup requires 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex RB/WR/TE,
1 K and 1 DEF, and we’re drafting 20 roster spots.
The main difference between this and the prior two drafts is that
this league will be played out in a best-ball format. That means
we do not submit lineups or make any in-season roster moves. Instead,
the roster is static all season and the optimal scoring starting
lineup is added to our points total each week. Bragging rights are
on the line.
Best-ball does change the strategy a little bit, as we may see more
emphasis on handcuffing starters and getting good backups at key
positions. For the most part, however, the early chunk of the draft
is consistent with traditional head-to-head fantasy football leagues.
For this draft we were allowed to submit our preference for draft
position, and my preferences in order were #3, #1, #4, and #2. I
had the fourth choice, but ended up with my first preference, the
#3 pick. Here is to hoping you find this helpful if you have the
good fortune of getting one of the top picks in your draft.
I truly could flip a coin here, but when my first preference was
the #3 position in this draft, the purpose was to acquire Rice,
so I'll stick to my guns. I'm not sure Rice will match his reception
numbers from a year ago, but I do think his TD numbers have room
to improve. Even with the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, this team
isn't going to change their run-first philosophy, and I'm not
concerned about Willis McGahee vulturing touchdowns. Yes, as a
Bills fan I'm still bitter about McGahee's unceremonious exit
I know the biggest bone of contention will be the selection of
Ray Rice ahead of Adrian Peterson, who unexpectedly was available
at pick three. I love Rice and see them in the same tier. Mind
you, this draft started a day before we knew Sidney Rice was going
to miss half the season, which may have swayed me toward AD, but
just because I took Rice there doesn't mean you have to. Please
no hate mail from Minnesota fans as a result of that decision.
( Image courtesy of the Cheatsheet
Compiler & Draft Buddy... )
With all the WRs flying off the board, there are some prime-choice
RBs left to pick from. I agree with comments from 2V (John Tuvey,
the Huddle) that WRs are extremely important in this format. But,
I'm going to go in the opposite direction and take my pick of
the litter of the remaining RBs. Mendy is a good pass catcher
and should be among the league leaders in touches. I feel like
I'm taking a walk down memory lane going RB-RB. Is that Bruce
Springsteen's Glory Days I hear?
Having started the draft RB-RB—and even though we can start
three RB in this league format—there is definitely a strong
push toward taking a WR with this pick. It is a PPR league, and
with a minimum of three starting WRs (usually four with the flex),
I'd rather lock up a WR I'm confident in week-to-week than draft
another position at this stage and drop a tier or two before my
first WR is on board. I think I got a little lucky being able to
nab DeSean Jackson, a player I had ranked ahead of Steve Smith (Carolina)
and Wes Welker, who just went within the last few picks. DJax wowed
us last year with a remarkable number of long touchdowns (nine from
beyond 40 yards, including two punt returns), but make no mistake,
the kid has the desire and talent to be a consistent fantasy contributor,
not just a hit-or-miss deep threat. He'll be targeted heavily as
the Eagles number one receiver, and I think new starting quarterback
Kevin Kolb is up to the task of replacing Donovan McNabb.
( Image courtesy of the Cheatsheet
Compiler & Draft Buddy... )
Jermichael Finley and Hakeem Nicks. How am I going to acquire
both players, each with an ADP very similar to one another, with
a full four picks between this and my next pick? Had Dallas Clark
or Antonio Gates not been taken prior to now, the decision would
be elementary. Take Nicks now, as there would have been a higher
probability of one of those TEs being taken before Finley. Unfortunately,
they were already gone.
Some people might rate Vernon Davis ahead of Finley; but to me,
Finley really stands out among the available TEs, while Nicks
only sort of stands out among the available WRs. Plus if I take
Finley, that could push the guys drafting to the left of me to
acquire a top TE. Maybe they'll nab a QB, or rate some other WR
higher than Nicks. Okay, rolling the dice... Finley it is with
Now that I've composed myself after an expletive-laced tirade against
RapidDraft for swiping Hakeem Nicks with the last pick, I'll add
Matt Schaub. If an available RB or WR really stood out to me at
this point, I would add to those positions, but none do. Schaub
stands out as the safest of the remaining QBs. He was stellar last
season, and his circumstances haven't changed much—except
that maybe Houston has found a half-decent running game. That only
helps Schaub stay healthy and keeps defenses honest, which should
pave the way for the Texans offense to rank among the best in the
I went value and upside over need with this pick. The explosive
Bradshaw is getting some good press this preseason with speculation
of his earning the lead back role over incumbent Brandon Jacobs.
Whether that speculation is fuelled predominantly by fantasy players
or the Giants media (with any hint of reality from either) remains
to be seen. I think most know that Bradshaw is a talent who was
pretty raw and has needed time to mature. Plus, Jacobs is no Ironman.
Bradshaw is ready for a bigger role; let’s see what he does
Footballguys made a couple of good picks at WR on the end in Johnny
Knox and Terrell Owens, and I expected a couple WRs to go on that
short turn, but I was hoping Santana Moss would make it back to
me. Little Moss isn't hyped up or down in fantasy circles, but
with the best quarterback and offensive-minded coach he's had
in years (or ever, perhaps?), I expect a reliable, productive
performance from him this season.
A variety of considerations are available for this pick, including
WR Bernard Berrian and RB Ricky Williams—the last available
RB expected to get a significant workload. Also, there sit TEs
Zach Miller and John Carlson, the top two available TEs, and neither
Footballguys nor RapidDraft have a player at that position yet.
I could really mess up one of those teams by nabbing Miller.
Looking purely at my needs though, I could use another WR. Berrian
goes way above his ADP here because his ADP quickly became redundant,
thanks to the Vikings losing Sidney Rice for at least half the
season and red flags regarding Percy Harvin as he continues to
deal with migraines.
The thing is, Berrian is not a bad receiver. This isn't like some
unknown suddenly shoved into a starter's spot due to injuries.
Berrian has one 70-catch and two 950-yard seasons on his resume.
Brett Favre, being Favre, will create a top-producing WR like
he's done time and again. Berrian is a good bet to be that guy.
The aforementioned Williams, Miller, and Carlson all have gone
since my last pick. No, I didn't need a TE during my last pick,
but I know I could have forced one of those teams to downgrade
at TE. WR is still my biggest need, but I'm not overly excited
about those options right now, and I still have the itch to disrupt
another team who is short an important starter.
Understand that if this were not a best-ball format, I probably
wouldn't take my second QB here. Footballguys and Toolbox still
need a starter though, and Eli Manning is all alone near the top
of my available QB rankings. Pairing him with Matt Schaub should
give me exceptional QB points most every week, as well as better
insurance against injury should something happen to one of them.
I also suspect taking my backup QB now may motivate others to
follow suit. As it turned out, that is exactly what happened.
The selection of Eli set off a flurry of QB picks, nine of the
next 22 picks, starting with Eli. Only two teams did not have
a starting QB when that stretch started. It is a great feeling
to command the direction of the draft instead of just going along
for the ride.
I've definitely been in the camp that has given up on this guy
ever being a decent fantasy performer, but after watching the
Cowboys–Texans pre-season game the other night, he looked
damn impressive. Matt Schaub targeted him frequently, and Kevin
Walter was not targeted very much at all. Maybe J.J. finally has
his head screwed on straight. He's got the athletic ability. I'll
take a chance on his pulling it together in 2010.
Jacoby Jones has an excellent quarterback, offensive system, and
supporting cast, but no one is sure what kind of WR he can be.
Lee Evans is a very talented WR, with a sub-par QB (that might
be generous), questionable offensive system, and weak supporting
cast. Oh boy... Well, I might be putting on the rose-colored glasses,
but I do think Chan Gailey is going to squeeze better-than-expected
offensive production out of this group.
I have no love for Buckhalter—or for much of anything going
on in Denver—but as it turns out, I've rostered him twice
in the last 24 hours (auction draft the prior night). From the
available options, Buckhalter is the last man standing who should
receive a decent amount of touches in a sharing situation. And
if Moreno is pressing to get back early from his hamstring issues,
resulting in further injury, Buck could get a boost in value.
Slow drafts like this one can be beneficial when news breaks that
quickly alters player value, and your pick comes up at a spot
where you can react to it. Or, you can similarly shoot yourself
in the foot by over-reacting to that news. I’m going to
walk the line with Kareem Huggins, whose value just spiked this
week with the news of Derrick Ward being cut from the Bucs.
Who is Kareem Huggins? Well, apparently he’s impressed the
coaching staff throughout the pre-season. The Bucs signed him
as an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra in 2009. He was a known
quantity to head coach Raheem Morris (a Hofstra alum) for some
time. Huggins has battled to get to the NFL, but so far, each
chance he’s gotten he’s moved closer. The not entirely
unexpected release of Ward cemented the deal, with Huggins now
a good bet to be primary backup to Cadillac Williams, who is not
the most durable RB himself.
The Huggins hype has more of a feel of the Willie Parker story
when he broke out with the Steelers, as opposed to, say, the hype
surrounding Jacoby Jones last year… and the year before.
Uh oh. Anyway, I’ll take a shot here on Huggins because
RB is still a weakness and I don’t think he will make it
back to me in the 14th or 15th rounds.
And that is where the draft is at right now. I still have seven
roster spots to fill, and I need to acquire two kickers and two
defenses at a minimum, given the lack of roster moves in this
format. I may try to tag a third defense, which isn’t a
bad strategy for best-ball play, considering that I don’t
need to predict when to start my defense and that the scores for
them do vary a lot week-to-week.
The other two or three spots need more stockpiling at WR and RB,
if decent options come back in the next couple rounds. Perhaps
also a third QB, but I have two good starters already. If I go
that route, I would be taking a chance at this point on someone
like Trent Edwards just for depth and injury insurance.
That concludes my “Drafting from…” series for
2010. Whether you are at the top, middle, or back end of your
draft this year, good luck!.