(Doc’s note: This year Jones and Drew (but not Maurice) are in a league together and will be talking about their strategy and moves pre-draft as well as during the season. This will be a gateway for discussion for the Razzball Universe. So you’ll be able to see the same league from two separate perspectives and follow it through the whole season. First we’ll take a look at Jones’ preparation.)
League: Tecmo Super Bowl Champions
Positions: QB, RB x 2, WR x 2, TE, Flex x 2, K, Team Defense
Scoring: .5 PPR, 10 yards per point for rushing/receiving, 6 points for TD’s . 25 yards for passing, 4 points for TD’s, -2 for Int’s.
Keepers: Yes, 1 per team. Cost is the round where that player was drafted the previous season. Players can only be kept for one season.
Kept Players (by everyone): Andre Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, Rashard Mendenhall, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Crabtree, Jonathan Stewart, LeSean McCoy, Shonn Greene, Jamaal Charles, Hakeem Nicks, Miles Austin
Draft Position: Pre-determined by last year’s standings.
Makeup of League: Degenerates. This is meant as a compliment in terms of Fantasy knowledge. The League is chalk full of highly skilled, competitive people.
I kept Ray Rice…shocker…and I am giving up a 5th round pick for him. My strategy is to take a top tier receiver or a top tier QB. Rogers has been kept by another player but if Brees falls to me at ten, I will take him without blinking. In the second round I am almost assured that I will get Roddy White or Brandon Marshall. In the third I will take Boldin if Jennings or Colston are gone. I would consider taking Brady or Schaub in the third if I missed Brees to begin with depending on how watered down everything is at this point. The rest of the draft follows my standard philosophies: don’t reach for players, a top WR is better than a top RB early in this years draft, and always wipe front to back.
Drafting from the Tenth Position in a 12 Team Standard League
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but I have participated in close to 50 mock drafts so far this offseason (yes I have a full time job and yes I am married). I have approached these drafts from all angles and draft positions. I have punted quarterbacks and tight ends, and I have picked Aaron Rogers in the first and Dallas Clark in the third. I have done all of these things and remarkably I have hated very few of these teams despite their myriad of make-ups (the drafts I have hated the most from the tenth position were those during which I punted quarterback). The point is that many of you will have different strategies; the important thing is that you have a strategy. I’m about to show you what I consider to be the best draft strategy from the tenth position in a 12 team league.
In its simplest terms, my strategy in any draft is to draft four sure fire studs in the first four rounds. Therefore, in accordance to my philosophy I tend to stay away from guys likeRyan Mathews, Shonn Greene, Rashard Mendenhall and Jahvid Best early on. This is NOT to say that I can’t understand why others don’t like these players. They are all the only options on teams that will run the ball…a lot. And it’s not to say I won’t draft Mathews, Greene, or Mendenhall in the second because everyone has a price. But once again, I like to draft proven players with my most valuable picks and save my latter round picks for sleepers or players with upside.
In my opinion, you can punt every position in this year’s draft except wide receiver. There are plenty of good tight ends (Zach Miller, Chris Cooley, and Germaine Gresham are all guys you can get late to very late); there are even plenty of good starting quarterbacks. In most drafts I have been in Flacco, Ryan, Palmer, and McNabb have been on the board in the tenth round with the occasional addition of Kevin Kolb or Eli Manning. There are also tons of great sleeper running backs that are almost certain to provide production. Starting running backs you can easily get after the seventh round include Justin Forsett, Ahmad Bradshaw (getting first team reps and has more upside than Jacobs), Clinton Portis, Cadillac Williams, Jerome Harrison, and Arian Foster; and you can get great upside backs late such as Reggie Bush, Ben Tate, Montario Hardesty, and CJ Spiller. The biggest mistake you can make, in my opinion, is to go with the popular rb, rb, rb your first three picks. You need to snag a top level receiver early.
With the tenth pick I would take Randy Moss if he falls and Andre Johnson isn’t on the board. If Moss is there I like to try to get a tier one QB in round two. If Rodgers and Brees are gone, I will usually go for another WR unless some of those other running backs listed above have fallen (everyone has a price). If Moss isn’t there in round 1 I tend to grab Aaron Rogers or Drew Brees. As I said before, you will be staring the running backs listed above in the face at this point. Some of you guys will go for one of those backs, but as I said before, I try to pick sure fire studs. If you take a tier one QB you are pretty much guaranteed to get Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, or Brandon Marshall in round two. I like those guys in that order. As I said before you need a top WR. If you don’t have one, you will hate your team, either directly after the draft or after the third week in the season. With the tenth pick in the third round you’re never quite sure what will be out there. If Colston or Jennings are on the board, I take them without hesitation. If they’re gone, I look to the running backs that are available. If Grant somehow slips to that spot, take him. I would also take Benson or Beanie Wells. Some people like Pierre Thomas and LeSean McCoy. I have an irrational hatred for both of them but they will both be there too and so will Jahvid Best who will tempt others but not me. With an early pick in the fourth I have a hard time passing up Dallas Clark if he is still on the board. If he’s not I take a look at the running backs and at Anquan Boldin who will most likely be gone. A guy I really like this year is Joseph Addai in the fifth round. It’s not a sexy pick but he is in a contract year and he will get his share of yards and touchdowns. After the fourth I am satisfied if my team looks something like this: Aaron Rogers/Drew Brees, Randy Moss/Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston/Greg Jennings, Dallas Clark/Antonio Gates. Once again, I am assured that I have four studs with which to build my team around and you would be hard pressed to find a team as good as this one after four rounds.
Many of you would be unsettled if you didn’t have a running back after four rounds but I challenge you to draft with a WR first strategy and try drafting some of these rb’s late to fill the gaps: Justin Forsett (usually available in the 7th and great for ppr leagues), Ahmad Bradshaw (8th), Portis, Cadillac, Harrison (all starters). There are certainly risks with some of these guys but there are just as many risks with the first round running backs. The other day I picked up Felix Jones in the ninth round and I wrote on the message board that I couldn’t believe he fell that far. Several people cited injury concerns to which I replied simply as: Peterson, Gore, Turner, Jackson, Greene. See Tomlinson, Westbrook, and Portis last year who were round one picks in many leagues. Once again you should notice a trend: running backs get injured, receivers get injured less often.
Here is an example of a random draft I did from the tenth position last week. The players are arranged in the order they were drafted in (there were no autodrafters for the first six rounds). I will state that this is in no way, shape, or form my best draft from this position but it is a good average indicator of what you can do here, even on an average day. That being said, I would be pretty happy with this team going into week one:
1. Aaron Rodgers (GB – QB)
2. Larry Fitzgerald (Ari – WR)
3. Greg Jennings (GB – WR)
4. Dallas Clark (Ind – TE)
5. Knowshon Moreno (Den – RB)
6. Justin Forsett (Sea – RB)
7. Mike Wallace (Pit – WR)
8. Jerome Harrison (Cle – RB)
9. Carnell Williams (TB – RB)
10. Devin Aromashodu (Chi – WR)
11. Darren McFadden (Oak – RB)
12. Demaryius Thomas (Den – WR)
13. Toby Gerhart (Min – RB)
14. Miami (Mia – DEF)
15. Rian Lindell (Buf – K)
At the end of the day my team has arguably the best fantasy quarterback and tight end, one of the best receiving corps in the league, four starting running backs, one sleeper back (McFadden) one handcuff back, and two sleeper receivers. Here is another draft example from the same position. Jennings and Colston weren’t available in the third:
1. Aaron Rodgers (GB – QB)
2. Calvin Johnson (Det – WR)
3. Cedric Benson (Cin – RB)
4. Dallas Clark (Ind – TE)
5. Mike Sims-Walker (Jac – WR)
6. Matt Forte (Chi – RB)
7. Malcom Floyd (SD – WR)
8. Justin Forsett (Sea – RB)
9. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG – RB)
10. Carnell Williams (TB – RB)
11. Santonio Holmes (NYJ – WR)
12. Ben Tate (Hou – RB)
13. Dexter McCluster (KC – WR,RB)
14. San Diego (SD – DEF)
15. Jeff Reed (Pit – K)
I have the same benefits as before with a slightly weaker receiving core but much stronger running game.