We are now moving onto the middle of the first round. I have gone back and forth on this area of the draft. I can’t say I love it, but let’s see what we are in store for. Unlike the top 4 picks there is more variety here. You can check out drafting from 1-4 here. I am going to focus on non-ppr because if I tried to do both here the variations would confuse you and me both. We’ll once again use Fantasy Football Calculator to guide us.
ADP for picks 5-8 looks like AJ, Gore, Turner and Moss. My rankings have it Gore, Turner, AJ, and SJax. Unlike the top 4 I would alter these rankings if my gut told me to, but for the most part I feel good with where they are. What I want to do is try to lead us down 2 paths here without getting lost along the way and Donner partying the whole lot of us. One path will be the RB path and the other, AJ way, but we’ll probably run into each other quick like.
RB: So, we’ve taken Gore/Turner/SJax and we have picks 17-20 and the usual suspects of Mendy, White, Marshall, Fitz, Greene, Deangelo, Manning, Jennings or Charles In Charge. This is a nice group to be choosing from. I am going to eliminate Mendy because I don’t think he will fall into this group consistently. The rest I feel like we have a good shot at. We have our running back. Maybe not the best running back in the league, but one who is an every down back with consistency when healthy. Do we want another back because we are a little worried with the first one we picked, a top QB or an elite receiver? I am back in the seat where I will miss out on my man JC, but I like Fitz and White a lot here. I have to trust that my back will anchor my team while my receiver will do the same on the other side of the boat (can you tell I’ve never sailed?). So I’m going with Larry Fitzgerald here.
AJ: In this scenario we’ve gone with Andre Johnson. We now have the best receiver in the league and since this isn’t PPR I want to get a running back. Is this wrong headed? Should I add another elite receiver? Maybe. And if I had 3 receiver spots and a flex I would think harder on it, but I’m going running back because I think they are keen. Once again I’m going to leave Mendenhall out of this equation and choose between JC, Greene, and DeAngelo. And I’m going JC Superstar or Jamaal Charles for you non believers. He has had a far superior preseason to Tom Jones and I see no reason to not want him on your team.
Now that both our teams have a WR and a RB we are going to reunite and sing that Coke song. For our third round pick we have 29-32 and ADP gives us a the group of Brady, Benson, Welker, Boldin, and P.T. Between here and the next pick we have Romo, McCoy, The Steve Smiths, Schaub, Beanie, Forte, and Clark. I could actually see going with Brady or Romo here, but I just can’t make myself do it. I’m looking hard at Beanie and Benson and I’m wanting a little stability, so I’m going with Cedric Benson. He has been running hard in preseason and I don’t see why he can’t once again get his 100 yard games, but add a few more TDs than last year.
In the 4th round we have picks 41-44. That has us looking at Best, Crabtree, Gates, and Stewart. This one is a little easier for me. I am firmly entrenched in the Jahvid Best camp. He has won me over with all the possible post titles with Best in them. This puts me with quite a few young unproven backs, especially on my AJ team. Try to mix it up. JC, Benson, and Best are a nice combo of high upside with a shot of stability. The non AJ team has a little more stability and I could see maybe grabbing Beanie instead of Benson back in the third, but to keep us on track I’ll stick with Benson for both.
The 5th round has us looking at picks 53-56 and such stars as Nicks, VD, MSW, Foster, Witten, Felix Jones, and Hines Ward. This is where you start regretting not having grabbed another top receiver, at least with the AJ team. AJ/Fitz/Benson/Best would be looking pretty good right now, but when I look at that I see a PPR team. In non-ppr I want 3 good running backs. But it is something to think about. I also had to take a hard look at Foster, but it’s just too early for me to draft a backup. So we really need a #2 receiver in this round. The upside of the later receivers is nothing compared to the later RBs you can stash away. This puts me back into the Hakeem Nicks camp. He isn’t a lock, but his ceiling is higher than Ward or MSW.
Before we get into the 6th round we need to take a look at our two teams —
AJ/Charles/Benson/Best/Nicks or SJaTurGore/Fitz/Benson/Best/Nicks
I’m happy as a bee in a rotten pear with both. Picks 65-68 are here, and I say, bring it on! Floyd, Bradshaw, Barber, R. Bush, Driver, and Jacobs are here for the taking in round 6, but wait, what QBs are gone? Ugh, all of them except our man Jay Cutler. In our last draft we got Jay in the 7th round, but our draft position has us needing to reach to get him in the 6th or risk missing him. So, do we jump into our Delorean and draft a QB earlier? I say no. To get someone I want, I have to head back to the third round. I rather reach for Jay Cutler in the 6th and see the dominoes fall.
Now onto round 7 with picks 77-80. We need a TE, backup RBs and WRs. Wallace, Harrison, Ricky Williams, M. Bush, Lord Favre, Daniels, and Dez Bryant are available. I want a RB and Bush and Williams are on my radar. But I also like Wallace’s upside. Being the RB guy I am I’m going to have to choose between Ricky and Bush. I like Ricky’s production, but I do worry about Ronnie staying healthy even though he is a walking injury time bomb. I feel like Michael Bush has the starting job fairly wrapped up and also has decent upside, so I’m going with him. (Note: Just read that Bush broke his thumb. I’m leaving him in this slot until we hear more, but would move to Ricky Williams if Bush misses games.)
Round 8 has picks 89-92 and names like Holmes, Ryan, Meachem, Aroma, Tom Jones, and LDT. I’m not overly crazy about my choices and Robert Meachem sticks out like he did last time around in this area. He has a shot at even taking over Colston this year and even though it’s not a great shot, it’s one I don’t mind in the 8th round.
Round 9 is a predictable one for me, but we’ll go through the motions. Picks 101-104 give us Palmer, Mason, Slaton, Miller, Hardesty, and F. Jackson. I love Mason’s value here, and the upside of FJax, but there was never a real question. I waited on TE just for this moment! Zach Miller for me please.
With the 10th pick in our draft we need to choose between picks 113-116 and some names like Evans, Hester, Big Ben, McFadden, Maroney, and Sproles. I have been fairly high on Hester, but the value has to be with Big Ben here. Cutler is riskier than your elite QBs and I think Ben Roethlisberger has great value here as a solid back up.
Picks 125-128 constitute our 11th round. C. Taylor, Stafford, D. Thomas, McGahee, J. Jones, Berrian, and McCluster land in front of us and we aren’t all that happy about it. I am a big Jones fan, and think he has breakout potential. Berrian is moving up because of Rice’s injury and finished the season strong last year. Taylor and McGahee are both strong backups and I grabbed McGahee in our 1-4 draft, but I like Jacoby Jones‘ skill and TD potential a lot.
The 12th round has picks 137-140 and players L. Washington, G. Tate, Cotchery, Young, Roy Williams, Burleson, and Scott. I am really looking for upside here, but also at least some opportunity to play. My choice for this round comes down to Burleson and Washington. If the cards fall in place for either they could make some noise, but they are both extreme gambles. I’m going to give my man Leon Washington a shot.
Lucky round 13 has picks 149-152 with a few targets being Fred Taylor, Lynch, Naanee, Walter, Buckhalter, D. Thomas, Murphy, Choice, Robinson, M. Thomas and Late Doucet. I like Lynch, Naanee, both Thomas’ and Choice. I feel good about most of these guys, but Legedu Naanee and Tashard Choice are the two I am most interested in. And I love me some late round RBs. The choice is, well, you know.
Round 14 has 161-164 with some sleepy sleepers like Tony Scheffler, Javon Ringer, Rashard Jennings, Harry Douglas, Jordan Shipley, Danny Amendola, Kareem Huggins, Aaron Hernandez, and Stephen Williams. As long as Kareem Huggins continues to be available this late I’m taking a flier on him. The worst that could happen is I drop him for someone else on the above list.
Rounds 15/16: We are getting closer to the season and I figure I’ll take the lazy way out and grab my defense, then my kicker so I don’t forget to pick either up before kickoff week 1. Let’s say I picked Cincinnati Bengals and Rob Bironas.
1. SJaTurGore/Andre Johnson
3. Cedric Benson
4. Jahvid Best
5. Hakeem Nicks
6. Jay Cutler
7. M. Bush or Ricky Williams
8. Robert Meachem
9. Zach Miller
11. Jacoby Jones
12. Leon Washington
13. Tashard Choice
14. Kareem Huggins
15. Cincinnati Bengals
16. Rob Bironas