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So after I wrapped up my draft last night with Scott Pianowski from Yahoo and some other industry types, all I could think is I’m hoping to keep Doc happy when he gets back from vacation with a winning team. Maybe I’ll have to soften him up with a few whiskeys…
Anywho, the league is a 12-team, non-PPR with 3 WRs, 2 RBs, and 3 flexes! That’s right, 3 flexes! I haven’t seen something flex that much since Arnold Schwarzenegger was going after another mistress and it didn’t end well…
In a league like this, it’s all about maximizing your touches (easy Albert Haynesworth). With no points for receptions, I wanted to stack up on running backs that would have a nice load in the backfield instead of throwing out scrub WRs in those last flex spots. So I went in going running back exclusive early on, passing on guys I would have otherwise taken. Here’s how the Razzballed roster shaped up:
QB – Tony Romo
WR – Anquan Boldin
WR – Steve Smith
WR – Danny Amendola
RB – Rashard Mendenhall
RB – Frank Gore
TE – Kellen Winslow
Flex – Ahmad Bradshaw
Flex – Tim Hightower
Flex – Fred Jackson
Bench – Johnny Knox
Bench – Arrelious Benn
Bench – Derrick Mason
Bench – Cam Newton
In a 12-team league, I don’t think this team is great, but it’s not bad either. I would probably play Johnny Knox over Steve Smith in week one, as Doc’s boy Cam Newton (who I picked just for him) is going to need a few games to get any sort of rhythm going. As a Panthers homer, I know this is going to be another long year…
Here’s how the picks went down round-by-round:
5th Overall – Rashard Mendenhall: I really wanted either Foster, Peterson, Charles, or Rice here, but to no surprise, they went in that order. I don’t really like Mendenhall, but stuck here at pick #5, it’s hard to take anyone else. Chris Johnson is holding out, I don’t like Michael Turner at all, and Andre Johnson, LeSean McCoy, and Roddy White have significantly more value in PPR formats. So I stuck with Mendenhall who hopefully doesn’t succumb to the curse of 370+ touches.
2nd Round – Frank Gore: I felt a lot better with my 2nd round selection of Frank Gore, with Matt Forte, Hakeem Nicks, and Vincent Jackson going immediately ahead of me. I would have taken Gore ahead of all of those guys, again stressing the importance of touches with no points for receptions. In any other format, I would have immediately picked Michael Vick who was still available (and got picked right after me), but I wanted to keep my RB-heavy strategy intact. But team Razzballed must reserve all hope that Gore can stay healthy at least most of the season.
3rd Round – Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw was another pick that I loved with LeGarrette Blount, Miles Austin, Greg Jennings, and Mike Wallace going right before me. I like Bradshaw a lot more than Blount and still wanted to keep the RB juices flowing. Brandon Jacobs is looking great, but I don’t see their two-back system changing much from last year.
4th Round – Tim Hightower: Hightower is probably the most divisive fantasy commodity heading into 2011. I remember being all about Ray Rice two years ago and not pulling the trigger in most drafts, causing some serious personal demons. Eh, well they’re not as bad as Dexter Morgan’s so I moved on and picked Arian Foster in almost every league last year causing some serious personal back patting. So I’m falling into the trap again and picking Hightower literally everywhere. The draft lobby was uproariously divisive, mixing praise and taunts with equal vigor. Hey, I like him a lot more than Ryan Mathews who was the RB taken right before me, and a lot more than Ryan Grant, Beanie Wells, and Mark Ingram who were the RBs taken immediately after. All in all, I love the pick. Hightower is going to get a lot of work and score his share of TDs. I like him even more in PPR formats with the pass catching abilities he’s shown in Zona, but in the 4th round of a 12-team league, I like Hightower here just fine.
5th Round – Tony Romo: My initial plan was to wait on QB and TE until very late, but Romo just fell to me. I think a lot of drafters had the same plan with high rated QBs going way below their ADPs, but Romo was impossible to pass up.
6th Round – Anquan Boldin: I know, I know, Boldin as my WR1 is definitely not ideal. But hey, I went in with a strategy and think I fielded an all right team. I like Boldin to have a marginally better year than last year, but my expectations definitely aren’t too high. With Kenny Britt’s hamstring, off-the-field issues, and a new QB in town, I wanted to stick with Boldin rather than roll the dice on Britt’s tremendous physical talent. I needed a safer WR in the top spot rather than one with more upside.
7th Round – Fred Jackson: I don’t like Fred Jackson much, but I knew I wanted to fill my final flex spot with a RB here, and it was between Jackson and Addai (ugh). That’s like picking from the chick whose about to throw up from the one who is currently vomiting. It’s not gonna be pretty and you’re not going to want to brag about it, but you gotta do what you gotta do…
8th Round – Steve Smith (CAR): Definitely a homer pick, I had to roll the dice on Smith’s upside. Cam Newton has been atrocious in the pocket this preseason, but you never know what kind of numbers Smith might put up when Carolina is going to be behind (almost always). Like I previously stated, I would probably bench him week one to see what kind of chemistry he and Newton can have in a real game before starting him with any faith.
9th Round – Danny Amendola: To round out my starters (besides TE, K, and DEF), I really like Amendola here. I was actually surprised he was still around at this point with Nate Burleson the WR picked ahead of me, and Lee Evans and Robert Meachem picked immediately behind me. Amendola could easily have a quiet 1000 yard, 7 TD year. I’m not banking on it, but he is a big part of that offense and Sam Bradford loves him in the slot (that could be worded better…).
10th Round – Kellen Winslow: I hate Kellen Winslow. But for this late at TE, whatever….
11th Round – Johnny Knox: Johnny Knox this late is probably my favorite pick of the draft. After this selection it spawned a fair bit of Roy Williams bashing, making me feel even more Knox-ious. It was between Knox and preseason standout Antonio Brown, but I like Knox a little more and will feel better starting him early in the season.
12th Round – Arrelious Benn: Benn is definitely a pick where I’m panning for gold, but with my weak WRs, I wanted to be sure to have a few extra on my bench.
13th Round – Derrick Mason: Same for Mason, who I don’t expect much from, but might get a start at some point in the year. And he’s easily cuttable.
14th Round – Cam Newton: This one’s for you, Doc!
15th Round – Arizona: They’re playing the Panthers week one. I’ve been picking them in the last round in every draft.
So that rounds out the Razzballed roster (who cares about kickers?). Throw out some comments to let me know how I did and if you think Doc is going to challenge me to a duel for picking this team.