Recently I was asked to take part in an Experts Draftmaster fantasy football draft with 11 fellow fantasy football writers/experts.  Since writing about fantasy football is what I do, I’m going to write about it if it’s all the same to you.  I’m not sure what the expression “if it’s all the same to you” even means, but it seemed to fit right there.  If you’ve yet to get involved in a Draftmaster draft, get in touch with Jim Day on Twitter (@Fantasytaz) and he’ll get you all signed up.  They’re a lot of fun and give you a chance to hone your drafting skills.

The particpants of the Experts Draftmaster 83 fantasy draft are: Scott Pashley (@ffspin), Josh Moore (@circulargenius), John Paulsen (@FantasyShrink), Brian Quinlan (@BNQuinlan), Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe), Andy Behrens (@AndyBehrens), Bryan Fontaine (@Bryan_Fontaine), Mike Clay (@PFF_MikeClay), Jim Day (@Fantasytaz), Chet Gresham (@Chetrazzball), Clint Chugg (@YHIHF), and Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness).  In other words, the participants are the collective Holy Grail of fantasy football.  All are worth a follow on Twitter.

Most of the experts included the reason(s) why they selected who they did when they did on the Draftmaster 83 draft board.  Check it out to get inside thoughts from the drafters as they made their picks.  You might learn something if it’s all the same to you.  Hmm..nope.  Still don’t get it.

Here are some of my thoughts and some analysis on each round of our draft.  The Draftmaster drafts are PPR and best ball scoring.  My picks are in bold.

Round 1:

  • #1 – @FFSpin – Adrian Peterson (MIN – RB)
  • #2 – @circulargenius – Arian Foster (HOU – RB)
  • #3 – @FantasyShrink – Chris Johnson (TEN – RB)
  • #4 – @BNQuinlan – LeSean McCoy (PHI – RB)
  • #5 – @JeffRadcliffe – Jamaal Charles (KC – RB)
  • #6 – @AndyBehrens – Ray Rice (BAL – RB)
  • #7 – @Bryan_Fontaine – Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX – RB)
  • #8 – @PFF_MikeClay – Rashard Mendenhall (PIT – RB)
  • #9 – @Fantasytaz – Andre Johnson (HOU – WR)
  • #10 – @Chetrazzball – Roddy White (ATL – WR)
  • #11 – @YHIHF – Darren McFadden (OAK – RB)
  • #12 – @FtblSickness – Calvin Johnson (DET – WR)

As expected, the first round was very running back heavy with the first 8 picks being RBs, and 9 of top 12 picks being RBs.  Arian Foster not going first overall is a bit of a surprise.  Adrian Peterson is perhaps more of a sure thing, but with no major changes expected in Houston outside of Ben Tate returning from injury, I prefer Foster over any other running back in fantasy football.  Particularly in a PPR league.  Rashard Mendenhall went a LITTLE higher than I expected, but he’s not necessarily a bad selection at 8th overall.  This is how I expect most 2011 PPR drafts to go in round one.  No major surprises.

My Darren McFadden pick – McFadden is going in the second round of most drafts since he’s considered a risky RB1 for a fantasy team.  The injury risks are certainly valid, but he has top 5 upside in PPR leagues.  I feel comfortable enough with him as a RB1.

Round 2:

  • #13 – @FtblSickness – Matt Forte (CHI – RB)
  • #14 – @YHIHF – Frank Gore (SF – RB)
  • #15 – @Chetrazzball – Hakeem Nicks (NYG – WR)
  • #16 – @Fantasytaz – Steven Jackson (STL – RB)
  • #17 – @PFF_MikeClay – Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ – WR)
  • #18 – @Bryan_Fontaine – Ryan Mathews (SD – RB)
  • #19 – @AndyBehrens – Michael Turner (ATL – RB)
  • #20 – @JeffRatcliffe – Greg Jennings (GB – WR)
  • #21 – @BNQuinlan – Mike Wallace (PIT – WR)
  • #22 – @FantasyShrink – Aaron Rodgers (GB – QB)
  • #23 – @circulargenius – Michael Vick (PHI – QB)
  • #24 – @FFSpin – Reggie Wayne (IND – WR)

Again, there are no major surprises in round two.  Reggie Wayne going as the 8th wide receiver in a PPR league is interesting though.  Wayne caught 111 passes for 1,355 yards last year.  It’s not like he’s slowing down, even at age 32.  Peyton Manning is still ridiculously good, and Wayne is still his main target.  I personally prefer Wayne over Fitzgerald and Jennings in PPR leagues considering Fitz doesn’t have a QB, and considering Jennings will compete with a healthy JerMichael Finley and an emerging Jordy Nelson for targets.  If you want Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick, you’ll have to spend a second round pick to get them.  I typically advise drafters to wait on a QB since guys like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers can all be drafted in round 4 and are all capable of producing similar fantasy numbers to Rodgers and Vick.

My Frank Gore pick – I wanted to take Hakeem Nicks badly, but had I gone WR with this pick my RB2 would be soft.  I felt I couldn’t pass on Gore.  McFadden and Gore are both the unquestioned focal points of their respective offenses.  I’ll take it, even though I’m not overly high on Gore this year.

Round 3:

  • #25 – @FFSpin – Wes Welker (NE – WR)
  • #26 – @circulargenius – Peyton Hillis (CLE – RB)
  • #27 – @FantasyShrink – Vincent Jackson (SD – WR)
  • #28 – @BNQuinlan – Dwayne Bowe (KC – WR)
  • #29 – @JeffRadcliffe – Miles Austin (DAL – WR)
  • #30 – @AndyBehrens – Mike Williams (TB – WR)
  • #31 – @Bryan_Fontaine – DeSean Jackson (PHI – WR)
  • #32 – @PFF_MikeClay – Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG – RB)
  • #33 – @Fantasytaz – Jonathan Stewart (CAR – RB)
  • #34 – @Chetrazzball – Knowshon Moreno (DEN – RB)
  • #35 – @YHIHF – Jahvid Best (DET – RB)
  • #36 – @FtblSickness – Peyton Manning (IND – QB)

Wes Welker was taken a little higher than his current ADP, but we’re still in June.  Come September we can expect Welker to be gone by mid round 3 in PPR leagues.  He proved he’s fully recovered from his knee injury and shouldn’t have a problem approaching 100 receptions in 2011.  Once the lockout is resolved, DeAngelo Williams may be shipped out of Carolina, in which case we’d be talking about Jonathan Stewart as a second round pick.  Just like Welker, I expect Stewart’s ADP to climb in late August/early September.  Still plenty of great value being found in round 3.

My Jahvid Best pick – I now have three running backs on my roster.  The WRs at this point all had the same appeal to me and I knew one would fall to me in round 4.  In a PPR league where we start 3 RBs, Best’s potential was just too much to pass up.

Round 4:

Similar to Jonathan Stewart, we may be talking about DeAngelo Williams as a late 2nd round/early 3rd round RB if he’s playing in Denver or Miami come September.  Even if Williams stays in Carolina, his draft position here is justified.  Williams is still one of the best running backs in football, and taking him in round 4 of fantasy drafts comes with zero risk and huge reward.  The WRs in this round are all clustered together in terms of fantasy value.  I can see every WR drafted in this round going anywhere from the top of the round to the bottom of the round.  It’s just a matter of who you prefer.  I can’t say I agree with a rookie RB going this high, but if Daniel Thomas is indeed the workhorse back in Miami then the production will be worth the pick.

My Austin Collie pick – I knew Collie wouldn’t be available when I picked again, so I reached a little to get him.  His concussions are the main concern of course, but he was looking at 110+ catches, 1,300+ yards, and 15+ TDs before getting hurt.  Even if he regresses to 20% off that pace, we’re still talking 90+ catches, 1,000+ yards, and 12+TDs.  I’ll take the risk in round 4.

Four rounds are complete and we’re just getting warmed up.  We’ll continue on with the analysis next week if it’s all the same to you.

If you’d like to see a few players I see as nice value in 2011 fantasy drafts, check out my fantasy value post over at You Heard It Here First.