If you haven’t already, you can listen to the podcast that was recorded during this draft here, which was hosted by former ESPN producer Pod Vader. Come to think of it, he not only hosted the league, he was a special host for the actual podcast. Two birds! One stone! You know how the saying goes… and if you don’t, no worries! Just blame Obama! Anyhow, with this expert draft in the books, it’s time to write about said draft in the self-deprecating manner that captivates all of my first dates (and not so coincidentally, last dates) to no end. So first, let’s introduce the players: ESPN’s former Producer Pod Vader, Fantasy Insiders‘ Joel Henard, SportsGalPal‘s Ramona Rice, Her Fantasy Football’s Brandon Marianne LeeMatt Chatham from Football by FootballWally Spurlin from Fantasy Football Sharks, D-Rex (yes, that’s his name, no, he’s not a dinosaur, unfortunately) from PyromaniacDaily Fantasy Sports Rankings‘ Doug Norrie, Pro Football Weekly‘s John Sahly, and Jay from Razzball (hey, that’s me!) And now? My team!

Note: This is your standard, run-of-mill 10-team leagues…

Slot Player, Team, Pos
QB Philip Rivers, SD QB
RB David Johnson, Ari RB
RB Arian Foster, Mia RB
WR Amari Cooper, Oak WR
WR Randall Cobb, GB WR
TE Antonio Gates, SD TE
FLEX Eric Decker, NYJ WR P
D/ST Chargers D/ST
K Justin Tucker, Bal K

So, at first glance, I would say, in the least bias-way possible, that mine is not a weak team per say, but it’s not exactly a strong one either. There are certainly different reasons for this; mainly because I strive for balance, try to mitigate risk with stability (ala Decker paired with Jackson), and focus on value over production in certain areas… but the biggest factor that set the “tone” of my draft can be found on my bench…

Slot Player, Team, Pos
Bench Le’Veon Bell+, Pit RB
Bench Carlos Hyde, SF RB
Bench Dion Lewis+, NE RB O
Bench Vincent Jackson, TB WR
Bench LeGarrette Blount, NE RB
Bench Sammie Coates, Pit WR
Bench James Starks, GB RB

I’m sure a lot of you have been following the Le’Veon Bell situation ad nauseam. (If so, Bell has a few suggestions on how to ease that nauseam… har har.) We’ll get to where I drafted these players and when, but it’s no mistake that drafting Bell had a ripple effect over my entire team, and I think there are positives and negatives here that I’ll go over a little. But first and foremost, I did have a “Bell” strategy prepared, but wasn’t expecting to implement it in this particular draft. But when my second pick came up, and being so close to a turn, I said to myself: Meh, “Expert Leagues” are a different kind of animal. If you think your leagues are competitive because everyone knows everything about anything, try a league where people want to do well because it might determine how much food their children get to eat. (Jokes on you! I have no kids! I think!) So you try to look for any edge you can, or, in this case, an angle to play the game with. Le’Veon Bell was my angle…

Here’s how my entire draft shaped up… (the complete draft results for all teams can be found here.)

Pick Player
9 David Johnson, Ari RB
12 Le’Veon Bell+, Pit RB
29 Amari Cooper, Oak WR
32 Randall Cobb, GB WR
49 Carlos Hyde, SF RB
52 Eric Decker, NYJ WR
69 Arian Foster, Mia RB
72 Dion Lewis+, NE RB
89 Antonio Gates, SD TE
92 Philip Rivers, SD QB
109 Vincent Jackson, TB WR
112 LeGarrette Blount, NE RB
129 Sammie Coates, Pit WR
132 James Starks, GB RB
149 Justin Tucker, Bal K
152 Chargers D/ST D/ST

First, just a few notes. Most importantly, I always draft the Chargers defense last, because I find it very therapeutic to drop them with such disdain when the Chargers let me down in real life. Try it out sometime, works wonders. Less importantly (depending on your level of Chargers’ fandom), this draft took place before Dion Lewis was hit with another 8-10 weeks of injury-ness (not a word). I don’t necessarily regret that pick, especially since I have LeGarrette Blount, and drafted him in an okay enough spot, but Lewis was available at a point in the draft where players like Torrey Smith and Frank Gore were selected, so taking the risk here wasn’t really that big of a deal to me, even without the PPR element. And Blount steps right into the same role of “meh, he’s a depth piece” on my bench that Lewis would have had.

There was certainly a trend of wide receivers in the first round, and I understand why, even in a standard scoring league. It’s almost as if every highly-coveted running back in the first two rounds last year let everyone down. But David Johnson was just too good not to pass up there at nine. And then the Bell pick… As mentioned previously, drafting him limited some options I had, but in retrospect, I never felt worried. I was questioned about the Bell pickup by Pod Vader, and my general sense was: I’m okay with it. I still thought (and still do think) there’s plenty of value here, and this draft took place before his appeal went through and his suspension was lowered from four games to three. Was the pick a little high? Sure, but that doesn’t matter as much when you’re on the turn (or in my case, right before it), as you won’t get to draft again for another 16 players… so aim for the guy you need or want, and don’t have regrets.

And so the ripple effect… I would say it wasn’t bad. I’m very satisfied with the receivers I did net, something I have to admit I was fretting just a little after going RB-RB. I think both Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb are great value picks here, and am excited with what they can bring to the table this year. We all know Cooper’s ceiling, but I don’t think enough has been said about how Jordy Nelson‘s return is going to affect Cobb. I obviously think it’ll be a “high-tide raises all boats” scenario. And yes, I went nautical on you. Honestly, what really helped deal with the, uh, we’ll call it “Belling” was landing Arian Foster. I’m digging all the reports coming out of camp… granted, relying on such information can be folly, but I’m intrigued with him on a Miami team that won’t be afraid to run the ball to set the tempo, something that got away from them a little bit last season. And hey, if it doesn’t work out, it’s a three-game commitment until Bell’s return anyways, and probably the same length of “game leash”, to make up a term, that I would have provided regardless. And Carlos Hyde is basically “Plan C” to Foster’s “Plan B”. Sure, having two back-up plans to your second draft pick is probably not the way you want to go, but I think the margin of error here isn’t that bad for just three weeks. Time will tell though…

Onto the other players… I don’t quite know what to do with Dion Lewis at the moment, and Pod Vader asked about the risk here, but at pick 72, I was meh if it didn’t work out. It looks like it won’t, or it at least won’t until 8-10 weeks later, but I wasn’t jumping over myself to drop him and add James White. I’m actually a little intrigued about what I’m seeing and reading with Tyler Gaffney, but in a 10-team league, I have the luxury of seeing how things play out.

With Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, well, you know what’s up. It wouldn’t be a Jay team without these two Chargers’ anchors, and while I expect pretty good production, I feel like they could lag down the stretch, but it’s par for the course with these two. I like Sammie Coates as last season’s Markus Wheaton, in that there is a moderate amount of hype, though limited. But perhaps the end results can differ to the positive side this time around. And I don’t particularly like James Starks, but Mike McCarthy seems to be a glutton for him, so it seemed like a solid back-end choice. Just like your mom…

So that’s my team, and I look forward to showing off Razzball in our first year in the BlogTalkRadio League. Special thanks to Jay Soderberg (Pod Vader) for the invite and running the league, and I hope to update everyone how the team progresses, both in writing and on the podcast!



  1. Rondo says:

    .5PPR – Can you rank the players in each of these groupings? The first group will be available in the first round of my keeper draft and the other in the second round.Just trying to understand how to target these guy in each round.

    Group #1:



    • Jay

      Jay says:


      1: Elliott, Charles, Bell, Allen, McCoy

      2: Watkins, Maclin, Cobb, Landry, Hyde, Tate

      No prob!

  2. PomPom says:

    FYI. League setting are set to private and couldn’t see the draft results.

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @PomPom: Should be public now, can you check again? Thanks!

  3. Mike says:

    Of the following 4 players, which 2 do you keep:

    Gronk, Dez, McCoy and D. Freeman

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Mike: Yeah, this is hard… what format? I’m assuming standard, I’d probably go Gronk and Dez… but part of me wants to go Dez, Freeman. I’d go with the sure things though.

  4. Jensen says:

    “95% of the time we are drunk” is the single greatest plug in the history of plugs.

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Jensen: I was told honesty was the best policy!

  5. JohnnyBeGood says:

    Hey Jay! So if you are picking #10 in half pt ppr & these are your options, who u going with:

    Miller, AP, Dez or ARob ??

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @JohnnyBeGood: Arob, Dez, AP, Miller is my order.

  6. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:

    I think in most Standard scoring leagues this year the best team will be a RB heavy one, sort of like yours in this draft. That’s not to say go against the WR trend and draft RBs.. The problem with that is they are harder to predict. But I think there will be a few teams sort of like yours in every league, teams that take advantage of RBs falling. And I think it might be very common for one of these sorts of teams to come out ahead.

    Jay has set a pretty good template for you to follow for Standard leagues, if you want to try something a little different. David Johnson, Bell, Hyde and Foster are 4 RBs that could have very big seasons. I actually think that two backupn plans to your 2nd RB might actually be precisely the way to go

    Question time:

    Jay, what are your thoughts on the chance that even if Foster is healthy he will not be the same player we remember from previous years as far as effectiveness? What if he’s just not very good anymore? Yards Per Carry is a very unreliable stat but I’d still like to see high numbers rather than dreadful ones and his was only 2.6 last year. I really want to like him, but should I?

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @RotoLance: Thanks Lance! I obviously agree with you, but in a self-serving way, so it all checks out.

      I think there’s certainly a chance this is fools gold, and preseason hype can be a season-killer, as we’ve seen with other players. Like I said, I’m willing to take the risk here, because my roster has some safety nets. Aside from injury, I’m very confidant knowing that all I have to do is plug ‘n play with several options until Bell gets back. And if something clicks, I can maybe flip that value for an area of need.

  7. Rondo says:

    12-team .5PPR 2 keepers

    My Available Keepers:
    K. Allen – 3rd round
    A. Robinson – 4th Round
    M. Evans – 7th round
    Hyde – 11th round

    1) Out of the available keepers which 2 you keeping?
    2) Would you trade A. Robinson for Cam (round 7 keeper)?

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Rondo: 1. Going with Evans and ARob here. 2. Hmm, I’d actually try to trade Allen, unless you can only keep two, then I’d probably want ARob instead.

  8. Mgeezy says:

    Big Homie JAY,

    I have 1st pick in a 14 team league :/. This is PPR, no question I take Antonio B? Or do I go Gurley/David J since RBs are tough to get by the time I get my next pick, snake draft

    • Tony says:

      Brown. Brown Brown Brown. Please, God, take Brown in PPR

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Mgeezy: No question. I think you have to go Brown.

  9. Tony says:

    Who wins this trade? Hilton, Gates and Henry for Edelman, Dwayne Allen and White?

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Tony: Wow, very even here. I’d say the Hilton side, but so close.

  10. sh says:

    Jay man thanks for your rankings.

    In a 12 team dynasty including IDP, PPR 32 player keeper league. I guy has offered me Dez B. and the 3rd overall pick in the rookie draft. I would take Treadwell or perhaps Sheppard. for Gurley and the 18th overall pick.. Should I jump on this deal.?

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @sh: Thanks for using them! Eh… in a dynasty, I’d rather hold on Gurley. I like Treadwell and Sheppard for dynasties, but man, if I had Gurley, I’d sell really high right now on him if you want to move on.

  11. Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:

    Thoughts on this squad? 10 team standard Yahoo (3WR, 2 RB, FLEX). I’m a little worried about injuries/young guys not panning out, but feel like there’s a pretty high ceiling

    QBs: Romo, Brady
    RBs: Gurley (k), Latavius Murray, Woodhead, Powell, McKinnon, James White
    WRs: Dez Bryant, Jordy, Cooks, Moncrief, M. Floyd, Tajae Sharpe
    TE: Fleener
    DEF: Seattle

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      @Harrison Ford in Air Force One: Injuries happen, but I think you are okay. I’m liking Nelson this year, and love Cooks there. Your depth is okay with Woodhead and Powell, even thought it isn’t PPR.

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