Jones and I, Drew, had our Two Quarterback Keeper League draft on Sunday. After finishing up, I was ready to tell my leaguemates “Say my name” like Walter White. My hubris has tempered but I still like where I stand. First I will discuss my picks round by round, then discuss some more general strategy implications.
Round 1: We have a fixed draft position in this league. I was slotted 10th but had chosen Drew Brees as a keeper and had to give up a first round draft choice.
Round 2: Jamaal Charles. McFadden and Fitz were the other two players I was considering. Wide receiver is fairly deep so I decided to pass on Fitz and I just do not trust McFadden to stay healthy all year.
Round 3: Maurice Jones-Drew. With the final pick in Round 3 I could not pass up on the value. Someone took Michael Turner three spots before me which I was really surprised about. The hate on MJD has just gone too far. The contract situation will get worked out and although there may be some rust, he should be able to shake it off within the first few weeks.
Round 4: Robert Griffin III. I was determined to get him in this league; all the more so because it is a keeper league. My next pick would be at the end of the 5th round and I knew he would be gone by then, so I had to pull the trigger.
Round 5: Brandon Lloyd. In that offense he should be good for around 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s with some upside. This pick was a no-brainer for me.
Round 6: Eric Decker. Another obvious pick to fill my wide receiver depth. He should flourish under Peyton Manning and could put up tons of yards with double digit TD’s.
Round 7: Donald Brown. Fully capable of Joseph Addai type production from the Peyton Manning era. Good enough RB3 or flex play for me.
Round 8: Reggie Wayne. Speaking of the Colts… last season was a bit of a let down for Wayne and he has been written off as too old by some. While he is clearly out of his prime, the addition of Andrew Luck will rejuvenate his production.
Round 9: C.J. Spiller. One of my favorite sleepers for the 2012 season, Spiller has demonstrated that he can produce if given an opportunity. He should get 10 to 15 touches even with Fred Jackson healthy.
Round 10: Ryan Williams. Beanie Wells is pretty much the worst. He had a decent season last year but Williams is likely to overtake him as the RB1.
Round 11: Greg Little. This late in the draft I was happy to get a #1 Wide Receiver with upside, even if he is on a bad offense.
Round 12: Jacob Tamme. Another indirect bet that Peyton Manning will have a productive season. When Dallas Clark got injured in Indianapolis a few seasons ago, Tamme stepped in and played well.
Round 13: Kendall Wright. Young player with upside. He is a good candidate for a sleeper this season.
Round 14: Christian Ponder. Needed to solidify a backup QB and Ponder was one of the few starters out there.
Round 15: Tim Tebow. No one was talking about Tebow in the draft chat. That told me we were all thinking the same thing- how long can I wait to take him? I would rather make a mistake by reaching for him than miss out. There is a good chance he replaces Sanchez as the starter if the Jets struggle. Tebow has proven to be a productive fantasy quarterback and could be great down the stretch.
Round 16: Russell Wilson. Ecstatic to get a rookie starting QB with a ton of upside at this point in the draft. I am as surprised as everyone else that he is the starter or that he has played so well in training camp and during the preseason.
Round 17: Jonathan Dwyer. Might end up being the starter in Pittsburgh. Not the greatest talent in the world but an RB1 is an RB1.
Round 18: Kendall Hunter. Frank Gore may go down at some point and Hunter could step in and put up digits.
Round 19: Nate Kaeding. If you are going to take a kicker, why not take one in a good offense with ideal weather?
Round 20: Buffalo D/ST. I strictly play matchups all year when it comes to defense. They are going up against the anemic Jets in Week 1.
This team should be a contender and has a few really nice keeper possibilities going forward. Admittedly, I have more quarterbacks than I need but would have no issue making a trade down the road. My main objective was not to make any mistakes and I accomplished that. Below is a listing of the players I have at each position.
QB: Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III, Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow, Russell Wilson
RB: Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Donald Brown, C.J. Spiller, Ryan Williams, Jonathan Dwyer, Kendall Hunter
WR: Brandon Lloyd, Eric Decker, Reggie Wayne, Greg Little, Kendall Wright
TE: Jacob Tamme
K: Nate Kaeding
As Drew mentioned, this is a keeper league in which you forfeit the round you drafted your kept player the year before. The keeper element obviously makes a big difference when it comes to draft strategy. Having a great QB keeper (Cam Newton in the 15th) allowed me stay patient, like a snake in the grass, ready to devour any and all position players of value. I felt like a man on the beach sipping flavored drinks with little straw hats while everyone else was sweating and scrambling on the wall street trading floor. I was laughing like the Count as I watched all the dominos fall my way: “one bad pick, two bad picks, ah ha ha…” Ok, you get the picture. Needless to say, I like where I stand, though unlike Drew, I am pretty thin at QB but also feel like I’ll have some great trade bait as the year goes on. Let’s take a look the goods.
Round 1: Ray Rice. I really couldn’t believe he fell to me with the sixth pick, but with Stafford and Brees already gone as keepers, the other guys were as sure to go after a QB as Ben Roethlisberger is to go after an underage cocktail waitress. In short, Brady and Rodgers were gone and someone else felt the need to draft Chris Johnson and LeSean McCoy over Ray Rice.
Round 2: Larry Fitzgerald. Once again, I really didn’t feel the need to reach for a QB yet, though my plan was to get a tier two guy like Eli, Peyton, Romo, RGIII, Ryan, or Rivers. Julio Jones is kind of my shower bunny but I like Fitz slightly better in a PPR league. Jones will most likely end up with more TDs, which ultimately is what matters, but Fitz should catch 80 to 90 passes again which does add up.
Round 3: Steven Jackson. I had me some Rice and I really wanted to anchor my RBs down. He was the last great workhorse running back on the board aside from Turner and MJD. Personally, I’m looking at the history of holdout running backs and I’m not liking MJDs chances, especially in a new offense. Also, whereas the offense will run through S-Jax in St. Louis, it will undoubtedly run through Matt Ryan in Atlanta. Edge S-Jax. You know Fisher is going to pound the ball and the word on the street is that he came into camp in tip-top shape, motivated to return to his role as dreadlock dominator.
Round 4: Philip Rivers. I was starting to get nervous because all aforementioned second tier QBs were going faster than fantasy teams named after Breaking Bad. Even Vick was off the board and when Drew took RGIII with the first pick of the 4th round, I was praying Rivers would fall to me with the fourth pick. Rivers’ stock is down for good reason but he’ll always get his and he’s a lock to throw for over 4,000 and 25-30 tds. I just don’t see him throwing 20 INTs again.
Round 5: Antonio Gates. I was staying away from Gates during the infant weeks of mock draft season, but the word is that he looks better than he has in the last two years and Rivers has to throw it to somebody. The bottom line is that Gates, even if he’s relatively healthy (misses 2-3 games), could easily be the #1 fantasy TE. With a lot of good TE sleepers that I could get in the later rounds, I was willing to take the risk.
Round 6: Marques Colston. Basically at this point I was in a great position. I found myself with one of, if not the best QB tandems, two RB studs, Gates at TE, and Fitz anchoring my WRs so from here on out I’m just taking the best value available regardless of position. As far as Colston is concerned, I don’t think he’ll be a top 10 fantasy receiver, but he’ll be steady and solid and should be somewhere in the top 15. He’ll fall out of bed catching 70-80 balls for 1,000 yards and 6-10 tds.
Round 7: Vincent Jackson. He’s been somewhat of a headcase and injury risk but there’s no denying that when he’s healthy, he’s a monster. Even though catching passes from Freeman instead of Rivers will be something like dating Khloe over Kim, I think he has great sleeper potential and could easily be in the top 20 for fantasy WRs.
Round 8: Torrey Smith. At this point I’m really wanting to pick a running back but the WRs on the board are so much better in terms of value and potential production that I can’t help myself. What’s not to love about Torrey Smith in the 8th round? He should be an absolute monster this year.
Round 9: Miles Austin. Once again, I really wanted to take an RB but I just couldn’t pass up on the value of getting Miles Austin in the 9th round. I know he’s hamstrung…ha ha…by his hammy but if he’s playing he’s going to be a flex play you can always feel good about. It should be noted that the QB snatching is still taking place and has extended to reaching for backup quarterbacks at this point. In a two QB league it’s not a bad idea to get a solid backup but I just don’t think it’s worth it to pass up on productive position players for the likes of Alex Smith or Sam Bradford. Also, it was my strategy from the beginning to grab Tebow or Russell Wilson late, a strategy that was thwarted by Drew’s back to back picks in the 15th and 16th respectively.
Round 10: David Wilson. I grabbed Wilson in three out of my four leagues and I’m excited about his potential. It’s not as much for his impressive preseason performances as it is for the fact that Coughlin knows, and gets the most out of, his running backs. His talent, coupled with the general fragility of Ahmad Bradshaw, makes Wilson a major upside pick. I actually think we’ll see Bradshaw relegated to more of a Brandon Jacobs role within the first few weeks, leaving his former glory to his predecessor. Barring injury, I don’t envision Wilson being anything less than a top notch RB3 with RB1 potential.
Round 11: Justin Blackmon. Blackmon is a beast, plain and simple. The question is whether or not Gabbert can get him the ball. Gabbert’s growth in the preseason makes me think that he can and with all of the depth I have at WR, I can afford to wait a few weeks for them both to develop.
Round 12: Jared Cook. This league allows TEs in the flex position so at this point I’m thinking about upside and likely production from the guys left on the board. Cook is a great downfield target for Locker and he should find himself open on the seams as teams try to take away Britt and Wright. I think he’s a great sleeper tight end this year who is capable of putting up huge game by game numbers. I don’t see him having the consistency I want from a TE1 but provides some nice insurance for Gates and could be a solid flex fill in.
Round 13: Isaiah Pead. I was thrilled to see him sitting there in the 13th and he helps me breathe a bit easier after the S-Jax pick.
Round 14: Jason Witten. Much like the Austin pick, I was flabbergasted to see him sitting here in the 14th. I really don’t need a tight end, but any receiver or RB left on the board won’t touch his production if he can even stay remotely healthy. I was thinking about drafting a backup QB here but I really thought Wilson or Tebow would be on the board in the 16th. Damn you Drew.
Round 15: Cam Newton (Keeper).
Round 16: Brandon Weeden. I’m super psyched about this pick! Can’t you see my straight face? Like I said, damn you Drew.
Round 17: Alfred Morris. I’m always looking for high upside RBs in the late rounds and Morris fits the bill. He’s just as likely to start as any other running back on that team and you can basically get him whenever you want. The coaching staff loves him and he’s shown that he can be productive player this preseason.
Round 18: Vick Ballard. He’s looked strong this preseason and looks to be the #2 back behind Donald Brown. Brown, though potentially productive this year, is no superstar and he could easily be timeshared or outright ousted and Ballard will be there when that happens.
Round 19: Sebastian Janikowski. Whatever.
Round 20: Chicago D/ST. I typically play matchup D, which is what I planned to do again this year, but somehow the Chicago D fell to me in 20th. I guess I’ll be rolling with Da Bears on a weekly basis.
Recap: I really couldn’t be happier with my team, aside from having Weeden as my backup QB. Not only does this team exhibit depth, it also has top tier players at every position. I like the upside of my bench guys and Blackmon and Wilson present interesting keeper possibilities, so all-in-all, I’m pretty freakin’ jazzed up. Feel free to comment and/or disagree. Good luck in your drafts and enjoy the two QB format. It’s a breath of fresh air and something I look forward to every year.