Over the next week or two, millions of Americans will engaged in the annual rite of passage known as the fantasy football draft. The will spend several hours hunkered with other fantasy football fanatics in homes, at restaurants/bars, or in other locations pouring over cheat sheets and shouting out the names of their chosen players (if it is a snake draft).
I completed my first fantasy draft of the year last night. I will post my draft below along with some of the thinking that went into my decisions. Maybe some of you will find the information helpful. Either way, let me know what you think.
League Type: 10 team head-to-head format
Draft Type: Snake draft
Scoring: Basic non-PPR scoring for the most part (eg. 1 pt. per 10 yards receiving/rushing, etc. with exception that all QB touchdowns are 6 points)
Players: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR), 1 K, 1 Def.
First Round: I had some really tough choices The people in front of me chose Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers, and Arian Foster. I had to make a difficult decision between Tom Brady, Ray Rice, or LeSean McCoy. Quarterbacks, on average, score a lot more points than similarly ranked skill players at other positions. In other words, if all stay healthy, Tom Brady will likely vastly outscore either Rice or McCoy. However, I have a gut feeling that one other quarterback, not named Brees or Rogers, may outscore Tom Brady this year. I wasn't sure I could nab him in a later round, but I decided to roll the dice. I like Ray Rice over LeSean McCoy, so I chose RB, Ray Rice.
Second Round: I had a long wait until I got to choose again (with the 17th pick). During that period, my competitors nabbed a lot of the great players. However, I still had my pick of some top 5 players at all of the skill positions, except RB. I agonized over this pick. Do I choose a top WR, a top 10 RB (as the top 5 were gone), my QB? In the end, I decided to go with TE, Jimmy Graham. Our league requires teams to start a TE, and the point spread between Graham/Gronk and the rest of the field is enormous. By choosing Graham, I think I will gain a 5+ point advantage over almost everyone else in the league at this position for as long as the TE is healthy.
Third Round: I could have chosen my QB but I went instead with WR, Victor Cruz. I was impressed with the WR last year and have been mightily impressed with his camp and preseason performance. IMO, if he stays healthy, he will be a top 5 WR at the end of the year. In saying that, I was tempted to choose Rob Gronkowski. The TE was still available. I would have lost out on my chance to pick-up a great WR; however, I would have dominated the TE category. I chose not to take this route.
Fourth Round: I wanted RB, Trent Richardson, but a competitor snatched him up two spots before my pick. My next choice, Ryan Mathews, went right before my pick. At that point, I decided to go with another WR, Antonio Brown. I watched Brown play a few times last year, and I was amazed at his ability to elude defenders, his hands, and his speed. IMO, Brown also benefits by the fact that a) Mike Wallace chose to hold out (allowing him and Ben to click further), and b) that Mike Wallace is back in the fold (which takes some of the defensive pressure off of Brown). I think that Antonio Brown could also end the year in the top 5 among receivers--at least the top 10.
Fifth Round: I really wanted to choose my QB in this round. I worried that someone else may nab him if I did not do it...However, after grabbing Rogers, Brees, and Brady, my competitors had pretty much left the QB's alone. So, I decided to hold off on picking my QB in favor of taking RB, Marshawn Lynch. IMO, Lynch is not only an injury risk, he is also a suspension risk. However, Lynch is ranked as a top 10 RB on almost every fantasy cheat sheet I have seen (and I have looked through a lot of them). Hence, I decided to go with Lynch.
Sixth Round: Someone chose a QB, Eli Manning, before me. Though it was not the one I wanted, it spurred me into action. I chose QB, Matt Ryan. From everything I've read, and more importantly from everything I've seen out of Ryan in camp/preseason and in previous years, I think that this is the year Ryan breaks into the top 3/4 QB range. At least, I hope so...My season rides on him performing very, very well.
Seventh Round: The RB list is becoming thin indeed. I decided to go with RB, Donald Brown. I was impressed with Brown's performance last year and in the preseason/camp this year. I also think that the addition of Andrew Luck will add some spice to the offense (and perhaps take take some of the defensive focus away from stopping the run). Of course, I didn't know anything about the potential MJD to Indianapolis deal when I drafted Brown. I only learned of that potential trade a couple of hours ago from ESPN radio.
Eighth Round: There are still some good to great QB's left on the board. I decide to snatch up the one that I think is the best remaining QB, Philip Rivers. Rivers always has the potential to put up monster numbers.
Ninth Round: I like what I've been seeing from WR, Pierre Garcon. Therefore, I took a flyer on him.
Tenth Round: I have also liked what I've been seeing from RB, Rashad Jennings. I took a flyer on him in case Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout lasts into the season or he is traded.
Eleventh Round: I have no clue who is going to get the start at RB for the Redskins, but RB, Evan Royster, is as likely as any of the other backs to get the nod. I decided to take a gamble and go with Royster. I can always cut him later if he doesn't pan out.
Twelfth Round: Competitors started to pick-up defenses. I figured I might as well choose mine in this round. I looked at the Week 1 schedule and liked what I saw with Def., Seattle. I'm not sure if Seattle is willing to hold on to for the season, or if I want to choose a different defense each week based on a situational basis. I'll take a wait and see approach.
Thirteenth Round: I needed a kicker and so went with K, David Akers.
Fourteenth Round: I definitely needed another WR. I chose WR, Danny Armendola. I like what I've seen from Armendola in camp/preseason.
Fifteenth: I chose a back-up TE, Jermaine Gresham.