While I thought of going for the cross-promotion in my team name (Bet the Farm! Coming Soon to a Razzball near you!) , maybe I should go with something like Geriatrics’ Boulevard since Yahoo has made it very clear in my report card that this is the oldest team in the league. I’m a sucker for proven commodities, what can I say? Would you rather spend a night with Jennifer Aniston or Miley Cyrus? What’s new and shiny is not always better. Especially in fantasy football. Sure, it would be nice to snag a Giovanni Bernard, or a Tavon Austin, but I would rather know that the players on my team have done it before. Speaking of which, here is said team:
I’m going to be one of those jerks who goes round-by-round on his picks, since I think the best way to get insight from an article like this (which my editor is quite literally holding a gun to my head and making me write) [Ed's note: I promise, I'm not] is to give my thought process on why I made the picks I did when I did.
1.6 Ray Rice: I really don’t want to be relying on somebody like Steven Ridley or Lamar Miller on a week-to-week basis this year, so I am pretty committed to an RB-RB opening. I considered Arian Foster in this spot, but I feel like you just can’t go wrong with Rice. A weaker receiving corps could mean a boost in production for him, even as he continues to age.
2.7 Maurice Jones-Drew: If he were completely healthy, he’s a top-8 pick, with no hesitation. So this isn’t a huge discount (It’s like using a 10% off coupon and realizing just how little that actually is on a $15 purchase), but it’s a potential RB1 at an RB2 price. Honestly, in a PPR this probably should have been Darren Sproles, but I was completely asleep at the wheel on that one. This was my first real draft of the year and that won’t be the last time I look back on a pick with longing eyes at another player.
3.6 Andre Johnson: Have you noticed I’m not afraid to pull the trigger on former studs who have dealt with injuries in the past year? I really don’t subscribe to the theory that certain players are “injury-prone,” that is that different parts of their bodies will go into spontaneous combustion just because they were injured somewhere else previously. Can a specific injury crop up again (or another injury develop as the player compensates for the past injury), sure. That’s why I’d be shying away from Darrelle Revis in an IDP league (he hasn’t fully recovered yet), but I see no reason not to take the discount on now-healthy players just because they were injured last year. Johnson, like Jones-Drew, is getting a discount of a full round because of that.
4.7 Reggie Wayne: See what I meant about geriatrics’ boulevard? Wayne is 34 years old, but has a competent young quarterback throwing to him and remains the primary offensive weapon in the Colts’ attack. Last year’s surprise playoff appearance aside, I’m expecting a middle-of-the-road finish from Indianapolis this year, which means plenty of garbage time points for Wayne (especially in the full PPR format). Through four rounds, I’ve grabbed about 300 points in receptions alone on my roster. That’s sweeter than the ending of Aladdain.
5.6 Chris Ivory: So, this is where a lot of really questionable RB picks were happening. Daryl Richardson, Ryan Matthews, Rashard Mendenhall, Shane Vereen… just five rounds in and reasonable starting running backs were already at a premium. I wasn’t looking for a flex player (though Ivory will likely be that for me) as much as I was a very solid RB3 in case something did happening to my top two starters. I likely got bailed out by Ivory’s low default ranking on Yahoo, since I like him better than all the options I just listed and the players taken after him. Rex Ryan is going to want to run the ball anyway and his undoubtedly awful QB play is going to make that a necessity. And I got to snipe this pick ahead of Sky, who was targeting Ivory in the late-5th like an environmentally unaware poacher, so that just makes it even more fun.
6.7 Mike Wallace: At this point there were tons of solid QB plays still on the board, along with three excellent tight ends (Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, and Tony Gonzalez), so it was an easy call to fill out my wide receiving corps. Wallace is no great prize, though I am optimistic about the Miami passing attack. However, a look at the next few wideouts to come off the board (Cecil Shorts, James Jones, Mike Williams, and T.Y. Hilton) make me feel very confident in my WR3. I think Loudon’s Team, with his 5th-round selection of Wes Welker, is the only squad to have a better third WR than me. That’s a position I’m happy to be in.
7.6 Tony Gonzalez: Well, Gronkowski and Davis flew off the board almost immediately after I had the thought “Well, there are still three good TEs out there.” So it was time to grab the remaining tolerable option before I found myself in Tight End Hell (which, I promise, is not the gay porno is sounds like). Pretty much every TE pick after this one has a smell of “Oh God, I hope this guy is actually good this year,” and not the quiet satisfaction I get from “Hey, I know this guy is pretty good.” With at least three QB options I was still quite satisfied with on the board still, nabbing Gonzo was a no-brainer (seriously: think the Pakled episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation).
8.7 Russell Wilson: Wait, what? Yes, as the 9th QB off the board, I got Wilson at the spot in his position where he deserved to go, but I think the bigger question is why was I able to do that in the middle of the eighth round when the sophomore sensation’s Yahoo ADP is sitting at 5.6? I get that “late-round QB” is the en vogue thing right now (trust me, I’m a proponent), but the fact options I was very excited about (Wilson, Tony Romo, etc.) were available three rounds after their ADP is what allowed me to load up with what I feel is an otherwise very balanced starting lineup. There is no doubt this is my favorite pick in the entire draft. Of course, that means it’s going to go all Chernobyl on me, but I also prepared for that.
9.6 Pierre Thomas: A perennially-underrated back, Thomas picks up a few extra carries with Ivory gone (but they’re still on the same team TO ME). I don’t know where all the Mark Ingram love came from this year, but it clearly has absolutely nothing to do with anything he’s ever done on an NFL field. One a first round pick, always a first round pick, I suppose. Still, Thomas starts out the year as a reasonable Flex option, depending on matchup, and vaults up the value chart if either Sproles or Ingram are injured.
10.7 Isaac Redman: The late rounds are where the men separate themselves from the boys. And the boys separate themselves from the dogs. And the dogs separate themselves from the fire hydrants. Wait, I just tied my dog up to that fire hydrant! Where the hell did he go? You might think this lead-in is heading towards me describing how awesome this pick is. It’s not. This pick kind of sucks. I got a running back who is part of a time-share to start the season and probably gets kicked to the bench completely in Week 6. Yay! This is one of those picks that was the result of this being my first competitive draft of the year. The Emmanuel Sanders pick right after this one was definitely better. If I’m starting Redman, my team is in such deep trouble that starting Redman won’t really help anyways.
11.6 Cordarrelle Patterson: Well, I had to lower the average age of my team somewhere, right? Brian Hartline, who went with the next pick, was probably a better option in this slot, but I was scared of having too many burners on the “Miami passing offense” stovetop this season. Reserve WRs are by far the biggest problem my team has. When the bye weeks hit, or if one of my three starters has a significant injury, the quality of that WR3 spot I was praising earlier drops significantly. This is an area I will be looking to improve as soon as possible. I’ll be that guy picking up whoever this year’s Kevin Ogletree is.
12.7. Bilal Powell: I guess if I’m going to own the Jets backfield, I’m going to make sure I have a 100% stake in the Jets backfield. Stop looking at me like that! Stop it! I’ll be off in the corner crying now…
13.6 Eli Manning: At least this was another solid value play. With QBs continuing to drop like passes thrown to Braylon Edwards, I’m able to pick up some very cheap, if not spectacular, insurance for Wilson just taking a giant dump this year (or getting injured running some read-option nonsense, take your pick). The lack of respect for QBs in this league is pretty astonishing. Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco are able to be picked up in this league right now. I’m tempted to snag at least one of them and try to move one of them for an upside receiver once the injury bug hits. Of course, now that I just typed that, I can’t actually do it. Really not loving my editor holding that gun to my head right about now…
14.7 Santana Moss: As soon as I have somebody worth dropping him for, I will. That day is not today.
15.6 St. Louis Defense: Jeff Fisher was reasonably good at putting together defenses in his days as coach of the Titans and there’s already been some improvement on that front during his tenure with the Rams. Since defences are disposable anyway, you really just want to make sure you’re getting a good Week One matchup if you’re not autodrafting the Seahawks unit in the sixth round. A home contest against the Cardinals really seems to fit the bill on that account. I’ll worry about Week Two during Week Two (the “Buffalo Bills” school of fantasy football managing).
16.7 Sebastian Janikowski: Yes, you can even get a “I was injured last year” discount on kickers, too. Who knew?