I am currently in a slow draft sponsored by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. I thought I would let y’all see how it is going. I’ll be adding commentary, but wanted to get the picks up for now.
The league settings are: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE FLEX, 1 K, 1 D/ST and 10 Bench Spots.
4 points for Passing TD and 1 Point Per Reception
The top three, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy, all went according to plan. That’s how I have them ranked and I believe they have the highest ceilings paired with the position scarcity of running backs, to make them no-brainers there (yes, even in 6 point per TD pass leagues).
After the first three picks, it becomes the wild west. The holdout of Maurice Jones Drew, snapped clavicle for Ryan Mathews and surgery on Trent Richardson’s knee, have really shaken up the first round. Aaron Rodgers at #4 overall has become the popular pick because he is “safe.” He’s not really of course. It wasn’t all that long ago that he had concussion concerns and the harder the NFL cracks down, the riskier concussions become for us fake footballers. Anyway, I just bring that up because I am tired of people telling me so and so is safe while another guy isn’t. Is Matthew Stafford safe after missing seasons due to his shoulder? I guess he is now. Anyway, I digress.
Rodgers is consistent, and has more long-term consistency than any running back you’ll find, but of course running backs are hard to come by and we have two starting slots in this league for them, as well as a flex spot. I’ll be taking “risky” running backs and waiting a bit on a quarterback here. It could backfire on me no doubt, but I rather take on risk with high upside than grab a quarterback in the first round and have to start Jonathan Stewart and Donald Brown.
So you can tell I’m just gearing up for a fight about Darren McFadden, whom I picked #6 overall. Yeah, he is a risk. I’ll admit it, but he has shown he can put together a top 5 season and his upside is #1 overall. The guy can flat-out play football. Plus, he also gets a boost in PPR. He’s averaged almost 3 receptions a game in his career.
I did consider going with Jimmy Graham and might have if Chris Johnson and McFadden had gone right before me. Graham’s value in PPR is amazing, especially in this league where we can start a tight end in the flex position. He should once again lead the league in targets for a tight end and put up top 5 WR/TE numbers. My main concern in taking Graham is where it leaves me in the running back hunt. So far in every draft I’ve done, if I skip running back in the first round I am hurting overall.
Tom Brady is my #1 quarterback this year, even though it’s pretty much splitting hairs between him and Rodgers. I like both him and Rodgers around 8th and 9th, but could see myself grabbing one of them as early as 6th. This draft has actually gone very close to how I envision a PPR draft going.
Matt Forte is a forgotten man somewhat this season, even though he continues to be drafted high, especially in PPR. I like him quite a bit and see no reason not to grab him at the end of the first round. I do like Marshawn Lynch just a little more, because of his touchdown ceiling. In PPR they are neck and neck though.
The only pick that seems somewhat out-of-place is Wes Welker at #12. I see the addition of Brandon Lloyd bringing Welker’s touchdown numbers back to his norm and his receptions back to mortal manville. It’s not a crazy pick by any means, I just like him a little less.
Round two went by the book for the most part. With three quarterbacks and two wide receivers coming off the board in the first round and good running backs few and far between, the second round usually has a glut of running back draftage. And that was what happened here with nine of the twelve picks being of the RB variety.
My pick of Darren Sproles seems to be a pattern for me. He was the #5 fantasy running back in PPR last season and I think he has another good year in him, especially as the 11th running back off the board.
I really don’t have any qualms with these picks. Mr. Wilson went after Victor Cruz, who I like a lot, but after starting with Tom Brady in the first, he’ll be struggling for running backs.
Rob Gronkowski lasted until the 21st pick. He’s decent value there, but I’ve found that taking Gronk or Graham leaves me hurting overall. There are so many upside tight ends to pair with an upside running back in the second round, that I’ll most likely pass on Gronk here.
You’ll find that in “Industry” drafts you’ll have a much better shot at landing an elite quarterback in the third round. That was the case here, with Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford still available. My choice was between Stafford and Andre Johnson. I’ve written plenty about avoiding Johnson in drafts, but I also don’t pass up value when I see it.
Andre Johnson was injured most of last season and laid a big turd on many a fake footballer’s team, but the three years before that, he averaged 100 receptions, 1453 yards and 8 touchdowns. In PPR his upside is just too high to not take in the third round, especially in this league, where we start three wide receivers and can also fill the flex spot with one.
Grabbing him instead of Stafford or Newton can be argued, but the way things were going in the draft, I was fairly sure I could wait and still get a quarterback I liked.
But the guys who did get Stafford and Newton after me, sure did get nice value, especially compared to other drafts I’ve been in where they go in the second round.
My least favorite pick here is Michael Turner. I don’t hate him as much as others, but in PPR I’m on board with the hate. He’ll come off the field for passing downs and the Falcons plan on passing quite a bit more. Oh and he’s as fast as molasses running from a fly.
And I’m going to give anyone who drafts Doug Martin props. His ADP is in the fourth, but I’ve seen him go in the third in almost all of my drafts. If I have a feeling I can get him in the third, I might shy away from my two running back strategy.