Jones and I are bringing you a recap of a draft we did recently. I wish I could tell you that this league is composed of championship level competition but I cannot. There are some savvy people, but a few that are clueless and a couple auto drafters to boot. This should provide a template, however, for what to do in a re-draft where you are at the end of the first round.

I had the 11th pick and Jones had the 12th. Being in that spot is fine with me but we kept taking each other’s picks. I really do not like being stuck next to a cagey individual but luckily for me there was enough reaching to leave value on most picks.

Format: 12 teams, Standard Scoring + PPR

Positions: QB, WR x3, RB x2, TE, W/R, K, Defense

Drew

Beginning Phase- Make Solid Decisions

My goal in the first few rounds is to get optimum value. In a 12 team where there are 3 WR slots you should really be getting at least one in the first two rounds. Jones and I logged on 30 minutes early to see our draft position, which was a double edged sword. My least favorite spot to draft from this year is 1-3 and being at the end  is fine with me but I knew Jones was sandwiched by my picks throughout the draft and I would lose out on a lot of players I wanted.

Round 1: LeSean McCoy

I really never thought he would fall to me. My plan was to grab the best WR on the board (probably Fitz) and no matter what Jones did, I would still end up with either Roddy White or Calvin Johnson. What ended up happening was some reaching for QBs in front of me. At 11th overall, McCoy is tremendous value.

Round 2: Calvin Johnson

Jones does what he is supposed to and takes Fitz and White so I am left with Calvin Johnson. Typically you have to think a lot in the first couple rounds. For me, these were no brainers.

Round 3: Antonio Gates

There were a couple other players on the board I liked- Dez Bryant, Mike Williams, but I could not pass up Gates with the second to last pick in the 3rd round. One of the dudes actually made a comment later on about how he is no better than the other good Tight Ends and therefore overvalued. I disagree completely. I believe Antonio Gates is a tier unto himself this season. That does not guarantee he will be the top TE overall, but he has everything you are looking for. The other elite TEs are either aging, coming off injury, on bad offenses, or do not have guaranteed roles.

Round 4: Dez Bryant

Jones took Jahvid Best for upside and Steven Jackson for value. Regardless of what he did I was looking at WR with Bryant or Mike Williams. Thanks to some reaching that happened earlier, we were both able to get value. I was ecstatic to wind up with Bryant early in the 4th. It is not the steal of the century but I really love his upside this season.

Round 5: Matt Schaub

Quarterback was still vacant for me and there is a big drop off in talent after the Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub tier. Ryan was already off the board and I knew Jones would take a QB. If there was a position player I loved on the board, I would have taken him. Since there was not, I opted to get my pick of the litter at QB. I went with Schaub over Roethlisberger because I think he is more likely to have a huge year. All three QBs that I mentioned above are fairly interchangeable though.

Round 6: Kenny Britt

I really wanted to solidify WR because it starts to get scarce after Britt. I was between Britt, Collie, and Sidney Rice. There were no tempting stud RBs on the board. Collie’s role does not include enough TD opportunities for my liking and Sidney Rice has talent but is in a terrible situation in Seattle. Kenny Britt obviously has his own issues but he has produced in the past despite trouble and his upside is the most attractive.

Round 7: Mark Ingram

There were three players I was considering here- Ingram, Addai, and Tolbert. With Addai you’re probably getting around 10 points per week in PPR and I think he is underappreciated. Tolbert should have a big role in San Diego because Ryan Mathews just is not delivering on the hype. Ingram scares me because New Orleans spreads the ball around a lot. Even so, it looks like he will be the number one back and get most of the goal line carries. I was planning on taking a lot more RBs so I felt good about taking a gamble here.

Round 8: Ryan Williams

Speaking of risky rookie RBs…. Same justification as with Ingram. If one of these two players pans out, my team would be dynamite. Sims-Walker, Beanie Wells, Lynch, and Stewart were all on the board but Williams is clearly the most talented. Using 7th and 8th round picks on risky players is not always advised, but I felt like I had a solid enough foundation to build a more combustible roster.

Round 9: Rashad Jennings

This pick was a nail biter for me. There were three players on the board I  wanted to pick and I knew that Jones would probably take the other two before my next pick. I had to decide between Jennings, Starks, and A.J. Green. Taking rookies in the previous two rounds made me shy away from taking Green, plus there were receivers later I wanted to draft. Starks was solid in the playoffs and Ryan Grants age + injury make him a candidate to be replaced. I like Jennings the most because he got some opportunities last year and was productive, is young, and has MJD ahead of him coming off multiple seasons of heavy workload and injury in 2010.

Round 10: Davone Bess

I would have been much more excited about Starks or Green but of course Jones snagged both of them. Three reasons prompted me to reach a little for Bess here. 1) Small bonus for return yards  2) PPR- he had 79 catches last season  3) With 3 WR in 12 team, I really needed a 4th who was reliable. James Jones, Emmanuel Sanders, and Braylon Edwards were all on the board but that is a big pile of question marks.

Round 11: Jacoby Ford

If there is a pick I regret, it might be this one. Jason Snelling was on the board and I think he could be a big breakout player if Turner’s wear and tear finally gets to him. Ford had almost 1,300 return yards last year and is the #1 in Oakland so for this league I felt he was the best fit. If I had to do it again, I might take Snelling but I do not think this was an atrocious pick by any means.

Round 12: Thomas Jones

This is an ironic and somewhat hypocritical pick on my part but I still like it. My philosophy is to always draft youth and upside and Jones has neither. In all the mock drafts I have done, I never took Mark Ingram and Thomas Jones. Both were there at solid value and fit my team well. Jones could make a nice flex/bye week starter. If he shows his age for once in his career I can cut bait without a lot of guilt since I got him in the 12th.

Round 13: Jacoby Jones

He was a Sleeper last season and did not deliver. This late in the draft, I will take a flier on him. Sleeper RBs I had targeted like Helu, Ronnie Brown, and Delone Carter were gone. If a player emerges, I will not hesitate to use my #2 waiver priority and replace him.

Round 14: Montario Hardesty

He got hurt in 2010 and is not completely healthy now. Add to that Brandon Jackson is ahead of him on the depth chart and Hardesty is anything but a sure thing. At the end of the draft, I am a firm believer in hitting home runs. If I strike out 3 times out of 4 the math is still worth it.

Round 15: Shane Vereen

There were very few Sleeper RBs on the board at this point. Green-Ellis looks vulnerable so I figured in that offense Vereen is a worthy choice. Garret Hartley was on the board and I probably should have taken him but you do not win or lose championships based on your kicker

Round 16: Jones snagged Hartley, as I figured he would so I went with Henery from the Eagles. That offense should be pretty high powered and I might wind up playing matchups with my kickers anyway.

Final Roster

QB: Matt Schaub

WR: Calvin Johnson

WR: Dez Bryant

WR: Kenny Britt

RB: LeSean McCoy

RB: Mark Ingram

TE: Antonio Gates

W/R: Thomas Jones

Bench: Ryan Williams, Jacoby Ford, Rashad Jennings, Davone Bess, Jacoby Jones, Montario Hardesty, Shane Vereen

K: Alex Henery

Def: N/A

Thoughts

I will not go out on a ledge and declare myself Championship bound quite yet. There are clearly three top tier teams in this league and I believe I am one of them. For how bad some of the other owners are, I did not end up with crazy value. Even so, my team has tremendous balance and the potential to be strong at every position, which rarely happens.

You will notice that I did not take a Defense and there are two reasons for that. First, I am going to play matchups anyway so I did not really care who I have now. Second, this draft was very early with lots of preseason to go. Taking an additional RB is a total long shot, but what if it works out? To win, you have to think outside the box and take chances. I have been wrong and a fool many times before and I am willing to be one again just for the upside.

Jones

Draft Strategy-not knowing where we were drafting until 30 minutes prior was tough but having done about 97 mock drafts this summer I felt good about my chances.  Having the 12th pick was fine with me but as Drew alluded to before, having him pick before me meant that we were going to compete for a lot of the same guys.  In my previous mock drafts where I drafted in the 11th or 12th position I had almost always found my way to Lesean McCoy and I absolutely knew this wasn’t going to happen this time, especially if he made it to Drew. Therefore, I pretty much resigned myself to taking two big name receivers.  Drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds is not really part of my draft strategy this year, obviously barring some ridiculous value.  Since I had two picks in a row, I will divide my analysis into pairs.

Rounds 1 (pick 12) and 2 (pick 13):  With McCoy off the board and my rational fear of McFadden (I’m weary of one year wonders and I actually believe the loss of Tom Cable will negatively affect the run game), I took Fitz and Roddy White.  It’s a lock that Fitz will have a better year this year even if Kolb is average and the fact that this is a .5 ppr league means, in my eyes, that White is the best receiver to own.  In general, the first round was pretty straightforward with a few exceptions.  Chris Johnson slipped to pick #9, obviously due to the precarious situation with his contract, and Rodgers and Vick were drafted ahead of value which is no shock.

Rounds 3 (pick 36) and 4 (pick 37):  Typically here I’m targeting guys like Gates, Wallace, Bryant, and Mike Williams but knowing I had two studs at receiver, I really wanted to shore up my running back situation, and as I said before, I’m waiting on QB’s and Romo was the only star left.  The board at this point was kind of strange.  Drew, as expected, drafted Gates and I was looking at a board that included S-Jax, Jahvid Best, Legarrette Blount, Dez Bryant, Mike Williams (TB) and Finley.  I think Dez will have a breakout year but I wanted to go RB’s.  I went with S-Jax and Best over Blount which I’m pretty comfortable with.  Blount looks fat and out of shape, he has little PPR value, and he is inconsistent in his YPC and yardage totals.  In short, I believe he is overvalued.  We all know what S-Jax is capable of and though his YPC was at an all time low last year (3.8), he is really the focal point of an emerging offense and he should catch enough passes to provide consistent value.  Obviously Best will get all he can handle in Detroit and he should be a PPR stud.  I do realize, however that Jackson and Best carry concerns.  S-Jax can’t do it forever and Best has his own injury baggage.  At this point I know that I will have to build depth at RB as the draft continues.

Rounds 5 (pick 60) and 6 (pick 61):  The draft up to this point was a reach fest at QB so it got me thinking that I needed to grab one of the few elite left (Ryan, Roeth, or Schaub).  If not, I felt that I would be forced to pick Freeman or Eli way too early and essentially forfeit value which I am rarely willing to do.  Guys I’m typically targeting at this point include Witten, Santonio Holmes, Ryan Grant and Felix Jones but all were taken at this point.  I also like Britt and Addai for 6th round value.  Britt’s a criminal but expect big things from him this year.  Ryan and Schaub were gone by the time it got to me but Roethlisberger was there so I felt good snagging him up.  He finished 7th in fantasy ppg last year among QB’s and with the emergence of Emmanuel Sanders there is no sign of that offense slowing down.  After that it was a no brainer to take Dallas Clark.  To get him in the sixth round is ridiculous and even though the TE position is extremely deep this year, I see Clark being top 2 when it’s all said and done.  All camp reports suggest that his wrist is fine and there is no reason to believe that Peyton will miss time.

Rounds 7 (pick 84) and 8 (pick 85):  With my roster pretty well rounded out at every position I was really hoping to get some value at running back.  Fortunately I got what I was looking for in Addai and Tolbert.  Addai is anything but a flashy pick (he hasn’t had a run over 25 yards since 2008), but the fact that Peyton restructured his contract to keep him means that he is firmly cemented in the starting role.  Donald Brown poses no real threat with his ineptitude as a blocker and everything I have seen and read about concerning Delone Carter suggests that he is not NFL feature back material.  The Colts view him as a reliever and he recently dropped back behind Brown on the depth chart.  Tolbert is clearly the back to own in San Diego.  I wouldn’t touch Mathews with Drew’s mouse and Tolbert is quite obviously the red zone focus.  These were the best two picks in the draft for me.  I got safety nets for S-Jax and Best and two great flex options to boot.

Rounds 9 (pick 108) and 10 (pick 109):  at this point it was getting pretty thin at receiver and I was really hoping that either Roy Williams or Mike Thomas would fall to me but they both went earlier in the 9th round.  It is here that I made my first mistake of the draft.  I took a chance on A.J. Green which I am fine with at this point.  His upside is through the roof and his athleticism was obvious in his first preseason game.  Green, however, is a project that will take some time to develop and he is not someone I would feel comfortable putting into that third WR spot week one.  I really should have taken Devone Bess in the tenth who is a great PPR sleeper.  He had 76 receptions in 2009 and 79 in 2010.  He also managed to find the end zone five times last year.  He won’t set the world on fire, but he should be a stable WR 3/Flex player in PPR formats.  Instead of Bess I chose Starks, which could be worse and he is probably the most coveted back up RB behind Rashad Jennings and arguably Jason Snelling.

Rounds 11 (pick 132) and 12 (pick 133): I was still searching for stability at receiver and these two picks really cemented my team as one of the elite.  I picked up Snelling who speaks for himself and Lance Moore in the 12th.  Moore is clearly the #2 Saints’ receiver in fantasy land and he will provide consistency in PPR formats.  He was also Drew Brees’s favorite redzone target last year getting more targets and TD’s in the red zone than Colston or Meachem.  This pick more than made up for the Bess flop earlier.

Rounds 13 (pick 156) and 14 (pick 157):  I have a mix of regret and pride reflecting on these two picks.  My draft strategy has always been to stockpile late round RB depth but my uncertainty at WR influenced my strategy.  Looking back on it, I wish I snagged a guy like Demarco Murray instead of two WR’s but I grabbed a couple of WR sleepers who could come up big.  Nabbing Breaston at this point is a cagey move considering his relationship with Todd Haley.  I also like a guy like Burleson who flies under the radar but he was gone at this point.  I really think Lee Evans could be my best value pick as he will assume #2 duties in the Ravens offense that desperately needs a deep threat.  With Todd Heap gone, I really see Evans as the primary red zone target.  Boldin obviously has more value, but despite his beastitude, he is really just a physical route runner.

Rounds 15 (pick 180) and 16 (pick 181):  As you can see, I really don’t put any stake in kickers or defense.  I prefer to play matchups.  Some of you are uncomfortable with this which is fine.  I did snag Garrett Hartley here however, and despite the obvious appeal as the Saints kicker, the Saints also have the most favorable weather schedule in the league with really zero chance of playing in unfavorable conditions.  Their toughest test will be Tennessee in the middle of December.  Hey, It might be cold…I guess.  Detroit D is what it is.  Hopefully Fairley gets healthy, blah blah blah who cares, I’ll drop them and play matchups anyway.

Final Roster:

QB-Ben Roethlisberger

WR-Larry Fitzgerald

WR-Roddy White

WR-A.J. Green

RB-Steven Jackson

RB-Jahvid Best

TE-Dallas Clark

W/R-Joseph Addai

Kicker-Garrett Hartley

Defense-Detroit

Bench: Mike Tolbert, James Starks, Jason Snelling, Lance Moore, Steve Breaston, Lee Evans

Recap:  I couldn’t really be happier with what transpired.  I’m strong at WR and RB while still managing to own an elite TE and a top 10 QB with top 5 potential.  We’ll see how it all shakes out.  As noted earlier, this is the least competitive league out of the four that Drew and I are in.  There are some idiots but about half the guys are pretty savvy.  That’s probably fairly realistic for what the average person experiences.  Hope this helps.  Please feel free to scrutinize, comment or question.  Good luck on draft day.

  1. Trevor says:
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    Im going to end up with teams similar to Jones minus his love for Running backs…Tolbert and addai seem liek huge values and even though im pegging finley for 1300 yards id maybe rather have clark in the 6th

  2. Hawgman says:
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    I was just wondering – Do the “idiots” in your league know that they are “idiots” and that you are calling them that on a national stage? Not everyone can be an expert…

  3. douglas says:
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    Thanks for the recaps, guys. particularly enjoyed the discussion of the guys you DIDN’T end up taking and why. In my most important/favorite league I drew the 11th pick and I will be staring at a lot of these same names come draft day. I think Drew got a steal with McCoy who absolutely won’t be there for me @11, what with 2 Iggles homers in my league.

    A quick question for the both of you, if your league wasn’t PPR, would you guys be entertaining an entirely different set of players for picks 11-14? We haven’t evolved into PPR yet, but otherwise have the same format/starting line-up as you guys. Appreciate your thoughts!

  4. Art Vandelay says:
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    Interesting coincidence – I have a draft today in which I’m picking 11th, also a 12 team PPR league, although we don’t start 3 receivers. I sure hope McCoy falls to me at 11 as well, although I’m really hoping for Mendenhall. I’m wondering whether you would go WR/WR at 11 & 14 if both McCoy and Mendy are off the board. I am considering reaching for Forte at 14 if that happens. Thoughts? Was also wondering if Bradshaw was still on the Board by Round 3.

    Also, I know Drew drafted Gates, but did either of you consider Dallas Clark in the 4th round? In a PPR league, based on the Razzball projections (perhaps a bit bullish) and even the ESPN projections, Clark should have a huge year. And there’s a pretty steep drop-off from Clark even to someone like Davis or Daniels in the 6th round or so.

  5. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @Hawgman: I only know 3 people in the league. A spade is a spade.

    @Douglas: My strategy typically favors stacking up on stud WRs becausde they are more scarce, particularly in non PPR. Players like Welker, Collie, etc. lose their value, drying up the pool. I could justify taking McCoy or Mendenhall (I like him more in non PPR) but I would be very inclined to take 2 stud WRs.

    @Art Vandely: Your strategy sounds solid. Personally, I am not reaching for Forte that early but it’s not a horrible move in PPR. I agree that Clark in the 4th is good value unless there’s a total monster position player on the board.

  6. Beau says:
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    Drew — Did you guys do a auction value post this year like last? Ive been looking on the site and cant seem to find it for 2011…thanks!

  7. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Beau: working on it now.

  8. Beau says:
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    @Doc: Hmmm…I dont imagine it will be available for my draft this evening? Any chance I can get a sneak peak?

  9. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Hawgman-sorry to offend you. I guess calling people idiots is a bit too far. I do consider drafting Mikel Leshoure in a non-keeper league as being pretty idiotic.

    @Douglas-in a non-ppr league I would favor guys like Turner, Mendenhall, Shonn Greene, or even Desean Jackson a little farther down.

    @Art Vandely-I did not consider drafting Clark in the 4th but that doesn’t mean it’s a ridiculous move. Personally, in a ppr league I think it’s important to grab those feature backs that also catch passes. You can wait and get some value later but even in ppr, it’s an rb driven league and I wanted to shore that up. I obviously couldn’t pass up Clark in the 6th. Honestly I don’t really think about TE until the 5th and if Witten, Clark, or Davis are sitting there I may grab them, otherwise I punt until the very late rounds. Guys like Olson, Cook, Mercedes Lewis, Pettigrew, all these solid guys can be had late and in my opinion, after Clark, Gates, Davis, Finley, and Witten, it is a toss up. Perhaps Winslow is a tier above but TE is the deepest position in the draft.

    Also, Forte has been a top 10 RB the last three years. Take a look at his YPC over the last half of last year’s season and the tough opponents that he faced. Martz has figured out how to use him and he will catch 60-70 passes. I’d be bullish on him in a PPR league.

  10. JR says:
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    I am in a keeper league and have Charles, Foster and Hillis. We only play 2 rbs so I was looking to trade Hillis for a receiver. My best option seems to be manningham. What do you think?

  11. Drew

    Drew says:
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    Do you also have a flex spot where you could start Hillis? I don’t love him this year, but he is way more valuable than Manningham. Is there any way you could get your hands on something like Dez Bryant?

  12. douglas says:
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    Thanks Jones-Drew. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

  13. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @JR-I hate that trade. I would hold on to Hillis for a while even as a solid backup if one of those guys gets injured. Foster has been fighting off some hamstring stuff lately. Pick up a stopgap on the waiver wire for now. I like Lance Moore, Lee Evans, Derrick Mason, Breaston for now then see what you can get.

  14. Bourne says:
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    I hate all of my mock drafts with a top pick. Even when I get AP (my #1), I miss all the top wr by the late second early third. Any suggestions to make me feel better?

  15. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @Bourne: I am a firm believer that your goal with every pick is to get maximum value first and foremost. Being at the beginning of the draft kind of sucks this year but look at it this way- you get 3 picks out of the top 25 (assuming its 12 team). On those come back picks I’m looking at guys like Vincent Jackson, Matt Forte, whatever elite QBs might be on the board (Manning, Brady, Rivers), or maybe even Miles Austin. There are a lot of land mines in that part of the draft (MJD, Gore, Steven Jackson, etc.) but I would resist the temptation. You should be able to get value.

  16. P Smurf says:
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    Thanks for the insight guys.

    Jones, I’m curious – what have you read about Delone Carter that suggests he’s not feature back material?

    I’ve read promising articles about his goal line abilities and wonder why he couldn’t expand to being a power feature back with reception skills

  17. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @P Smurf-It looks like we have read some similar stuff. It seems like he is suited for goal-line work, “Keeps legs churning after initial contact. Displays the balance and strength to run through arm tackles, run over defensive backs and carry smaller defenders. Always leaning forward at the end of his carries. Follows fullback to daylight. Willing to lower his pads and drive through traffic in short-yardage situations”, but he ” Lacks elite explosion into the hole and coming out of cuts. Walks thin line between indecisive running and picking through traffic. Occasionally bounces outside but is a much better north-south runner. Must improve pass protection technique, staying upright instead of lowering a shoulder.” This was a scouting report that came out of CBS at the end of March. I have also read other reports that explicitly say that he is not feature back ready.

    Now that’s not crazy considering he’s a fourth round rookie running back. There will be a learning curve. My point about Carter is that some people are targeting him as a guy who could overtack Addai as the feature back at some point this season which I absolutely do not believe to be the case. The comment about the need for improved pass blocking solidifies this. I think what you have in Carter is a guy you might see between the 20’s every once in a while, a guy who could diminish Addai’s value slightly by vulturing a few goal-line carries, but I would not expect to see a guy you would ever want to put in a flex position. He will need to grow throughout the year and he is a guy I imagine we will be talking about a lot before next year’s draft. In short, he is Addai’s handcuff, but if Addai stays healthy, he won’t be of much use. I envision a lot of guys drafting him and then dropping him for other free agents or waiver guys as the season goes on.

  18. P Smurf says:
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    Ok, that makes me feel better. I could give a gnat’s azz what he does this year as I picked him in my dynasty rookie draft for production hopefully in 2012 or 2013. Rebuilding a straight booty team, and need to know he’s still worth the wait. Thanks dude!

  19. Ian says:
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    I am slotted in the 5 hole in a redraft league. Start QB, RB, RB, WR, WR/RB, WR/TE, TE, K, D/ST. Scoring is standard except for 6 pts for passing TD’s -2 for INT’s and bonuses for 40+ and 50+ TD’s at all positions.

    My thinking at this point is to go RB/RB/RB unless a top 3 WR drops to me in 2nd round (possibility knowing my league mates) so that I have 2 solid RB’s to start (even on bye week) and fill a flex if needed. I can then go WR/WR in 4/5 rounds(or TE in one of those rounds if value is there on a top tier TE). QB in the 6th (one of Big Ben, Eli, Freeman, or Ryan should be available) and then fill in best available WR/RB/TE (depending on need and with an eye for value) with an eye for stockpiling RB’s late.

    Thoughts?
    Should I look QB earlier because of 6 pt TD pass?

  20. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Ian-that strategy is fine. Do some research on td pass numbers from last year and you’ll see that the difference between the top QB’s and even a guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick who was ranked #18 is not astronomical (Fitz had 23, Rodgers had 28, Vick had 21, Freeman 25, Ryan 28…just to name a few). Therefore I think you can still wait, but what you want to pay attention to is the td to interception ratio. You want a guy who throws a lot of td’s but also not a lot of picks. In this case, if Brady were to fall to you for instance at the end of the 2nd round I may take a shot on him. He is the king of td to interception ratios. If you want to wait, which is a good strategy in my opinion, check out guys like Roethlisberger, Ryan, and Freeman in that order. Because of his proclivity for throwing picks, I would put Eli down the line.

  21. Ian says:
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    @Jones – thanks for a great tips, wasn’t even thinking of INT’s a major component to my QB strategy.

    That’s why you’re there and I’m here…

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