This year, I have signed up for 4 Fantasy Football leagues. One is a money league that I have been in for three years, winning it two years ago. The entry fee is $50 and I won nearly $300 when all was said and done. This is the league to which I pay most attention on Sundays, the only league that I care a great deal about winning, and the league that drains me the most emotionally. I'm in a great mood on Tuesday morning if I've won, and down in the dumps if I've lost.
The second is a keeper league that I run. It's a little challenging because, well it's a keeper league. I really don't have a chance at getting many of the top ranked players if they are kept by other guys. However, I can keep someone for as long as I want to if I'm willing to pay the price. It's also an auction league, which really means I can get someone I really want, regardless of where I draft from, as long as I'm willing to pay for him.
The third is a league comprised of friends I went to college with. This league pretty much has standard scoring, except for return yards. We get 1 point for every 10, meaning guys who return kicks and punts have even higher values. Darren Sproles and Randall Cobb always go early in this league.
The fourth is a league I'm in every year, and I usually win. I'm not in the same league every year, however, so I can't gloat to everyone in the league. My fourth league is always a public league with nobody in it that I know. I take a great deal of pleasure in absolutely destroying complete strangers week in and week out.
Tonight, I had my first real draft of the year. If you read my last post, you know I've done a great deal of mock drafts already this year, mostly in preparation for my money league. However, tonight's draft was for the 4th league, my public league. I did a quick mock before the draft, just to get ready for a standard scoring strategy. This league is on ESPN, so it's a bit different from Yahoo leagues, which provides some challenges, but I still feel I ended up with a good team. Below is a round-by-round analysis of my Public League Draft. I only included my picks from each round, but I will mention my thoughts on some of the players who were drafted. Note: I drafted from the 5th spot of this snake draft.
Round 1 - Ray Rice (RB - Baltimore) - I feel good about getting Rice here, who I actually have third in my rankings right now. I think he will get a ton of touches, and could see around 1,800 all purpose yards and 12 total scores. With Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster already off the board, I felt Rice was the safest pick out of a remaining group I had ranked in the same tier that included Doug Martin, CJ Spiller, and LeSean McCoy.
Round 2 - Matt Forte (RB - Chicago) - Forte was the 11th running back on my rankings, and I fell like this year you should have at least one out of the top 12 backs on your team, if not two. On my rankings sheet, Forte was the best available option, so this pick was a no-brainer. It gives me two stud running backs every week, although with them both on bye in week 8, that could cause some troubles down the road, but I have 7 weeks to figure out a solution.
Round 3 - Demaryius Thomas (WR - Denver) - Looking back at this pick, it's the only one I wish I could have back. It's not that I think he shouldn't go in the third round, but ESPN leagues allow you to use a FLEX spot, which can be a RB, WR, or TE. With Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, and MJD somehow still on the board, I could have grabbed one of them and had two studs as well as a just below stud guy with upside who I could use as a FLEX.
Round 4 - Randall Cobb (WR - Green Bay) - This is another reason why I'm questioning my Demaryius pick. I still ended up with Cobb at WR. Cobb is a great choice for a #1 WR this year, as he will probably end up with over 100 catches. I fell like getting him in the fourth round is tremendous value.
Round 5 - Dwayne Bowe (WR - Kansas City) - Another guy who is a great choice for a #1 WR, Bower gives me 3 studs at he position. Add that to my two stud running backs, and my team is looking pretty good so far.
Round 6 - Lamar Miller (RB - Miami) - I am not super high on Miller this year, and I certainly wouldn't take him where he's been going in most of my mocks (4th round), but I feel like I can rotate him and Bowe at my FLEX spot, and have half of my solution at RB for week 8. The first kicker came off the board in this round, as a guy on autopick apparently didn't set his rankings.
Round 7 - Jordy Nelson (WR - Green Bay) - I would have been more excited about this pick if I didn't already have Cobb, but I think Nelson is too good of value to pass on in the 7th round, regardless of how much talent I already had at receiver.
Round 8 - Russell Wilson (QB - Seattle) - My pick prompted a mini-run on QBs, as 3 more were taken in the next 7 picks (Stafford, Romo, Luck). I feel like getting Wilson here is very good value, and I didn't want to wait another round and risk not getting him. I'm very high on him this year.
Round 9 - T.Y. Hilton (WR - Indianapolis) - I'm really high on this guy this year. He could easily lead his team in fantasy points as a receiver. Yes, he could outscore Reggie Wayne. I'm not saying it will happen, but with his skills and with how much they have used him in the preseason, it's not a bad bet.
Round 10 - Daryl Richardson (RB - St. Louis) - He was the last starting running back I felt really good about left. My other options were Mark Ingram and the Law Firm, but I think the Saints will throw a ton and BJGE will eventually lose his job to Giovanni Bernard. Richardson was the safest pick at this spot, and I really needed another RB.
Round 11 - Kenbrell Thompkins (WR - New Enlgand) - He's currently projected as a starting WR in New England, which means if he holds on to that job, this could be the steal of the draft. The Pats have used him a ton in the preseason, and if Brady continues to look his way often, he has top 20 WR upside.
Round 12 - Bernard Pierce (RB - Baltimore) - No explanation really needed here. Just an insurance policy on Ray Rice.
Round 13 - Brandon Myers (TE - New York Giants) - I waited about as long as possible to take a TE, and this is a safe guy to take this late. He should get at least 60 catches, and has the upside to catch 75 passes. Eli is going to throw the ball a lot, and remember that Martellus Bennett was doing quite well last year for the Giants until he got hurt.
Round 14 - Bears D/ST - Okay, I took a defense before the second to last round, but I felt that since I had pretty much filled all of my needs, I would take the third best defense in terms of fantasy. Even if they don't score 9 touchdowns like last season (which they probably won't), they still force enough turnovers for this to be a very safe pick this late.
Round 15 - Phil Dawson (K - San Francisco) - I broke another rule, taking a kicker before the least round. However, I want my kicker to have a strong and accurate leg (Dawson is 14/15 from beyond 50 over the past 2 years). I also want him to play for a team with a good offense that will be ahead, and that has a good running game and strong defense. Dawson might be the best fantasy kicker when it's all said and done this year, and with all of my needs filled, it's not a terrible pick.
Round 16 - Zach Sudfeld (TE - New England) - He's currently one of two healthy tight ends on the Patriots roster, and Tom Brady is his QB. The guy being called "Baby Gronk" was my last pick of the draft because he has a ton of upside. He should have the starting job Week 1, and if he can live up to his expectations, he could be my starting tight end or trade bait.
QB - Wilson
RB - Rice, Forte, Miller, Pierce
WR - D. Thomas, Cobb, Bowe, Nelson, Hilton, Thompkins
TE - Myers, Sudfeld
D/ST - Bears
K - Dawson
Feel free to comment below with your thoughts. I have drafts Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night that I plan to write about.