14 Team Draft Recap
August 22, 2014 | Justin Edwards
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In a 14-team league, picks get unpredictable. It’s tougher to set a game plan for your draft and grabbing any elite players after the first couple of rounds becomes nearly impossible. Using simple math, you realize that by 7.14 you are already looking at rankings a full round behind where you would be in a typical 12-team league. I love the idea of attempting to dig a little deeper for breakout candidates, though (makes you look smarter when your #161 pick single-handedly wins you a couple games, too).
This is a .5 PPR league, so let’s take a look at how I did with my first draft of the year:
I’ve been telling myself all summer that I would not be coming out of the first round without a running back, but here I am picking Dez Bryant out of the #8 spot. What gives?
The beginning of the draft went just as you’d expect, and that first tier of certifiably studly ball carriers got gobbled up by these other nerds, leaving me with some guys I’d rather not take unless I was had last couple of picks. This is a .5 PPR league, and I don’t want to go into round two without an “elite” player at some position so I went with a wide receiver; Dez over Demaryius, Green and Marshall.
This pick is almost arbitrary, as I really couldn’t decide between him and Thomas, but Bryant scored ONE less TD last year from a quarterback who threw a whopping 24 less 6-pointers. Dallas’ defense is obviously an awful sack of sadness, Romo will be chucking the ball almost every game and Dez’ll see plenty of the pigskin. That’s not to say Peyton won’t be throwing the ball too but let’s be honest here, his numbers have nowhere to go but down.
And just like that, the top tier of quarterbacks are wiped out in six picks. No sweat off my brow, I’ll be waiting on my gun slinger anyway. I’ve got the 7th pick here and I’ve now missed out on the 2nd tier of running backs. No reason to reach into the next tier, I’ll just have to settle for some guys down the road and hope that they pop off. There are a lot of mid-level and question mark backs this year, I don’t mind trying to load up on them.
With those ugly QB picks mucking up the board, everyone let Julio Jones fall all the way back to me, giving me a ridiculously formidable pass-catching crew. Two out of the five top guys are sitting pretty in my lineup. Now all I’ve gotta do is not mess up the rest of the draft and I’ll be in good shape!
I don’t love this pick, but Toby Gerhart was my favorite out of this group of running backs and I certainly need one before I’m on the outside looking in. He’s got no injury history (Ryan Mathews), he’s not as old as time itself (Frank Gore), and he has absolutely no competition (Shane Vereen).
Toby has a career 4.7 yards per carry, including 7.9 last year, though it was in a limited 36 attempts. Jordan Todman only had 76 rushes last year, even though Maurice Jones-Drew had a paltry season and Jacksonville had a middling passing offense. Denard Robinson had a whopping 20 carries all of last season, and those were mostly gadget plays, so he won’t be eating into Gerhart’s production either.
Jacksonville added 17 guys to the team via the draft and free agency this offseason, many of which they’re hoping will bolster their defense. If it gets any better than it was last year, expect that to help the offense out. Their 27:22 average time of possession was 31st in the league. More time with the ball = more plays = more carries.
Alright, so my running backs aren’t super strong. But that’s the territory when you have a wide receiver corps like I decided to go with. And keep in mind this is a 14-team draft. Can’t have everything! The fumbling issues Bishop Sankey has been having are definitely not a good sign, but that’s a problem caused by having an early draft, not necessarily my thought process I had when taking him (stop scheduling drafts so early in the season, Justin).
He should have a large edge in touches over Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster and at this point there were 23 running backs off the board. I saw a guy who I thought would be outside of a RBBC situation, and there aren’t too many of those guys, so I grabbed him. Might end up biting me in the ass, but that’s the nature of the game and I drafted three more RBs as a safety net.
You’ll also notice that someone accidentally took the Cleveland defense here in the fourth round. Which is absolutely hilarious. I’ll pause while you chuckle.
I think taking Michael Floyd here is pretty standard. I figure he’ll be spending a lot of time in my FLEX spot throughout the season. He ended 2013 with more receiving yards than Larry Fitzgerald and could very well end this season as Carson Palmer’s WR1.
Round six is usually too early for a quarterback for me but I’ll take Jay Cutler here. He’s the 12th QB off the board and I think he’s more of a “sure thing” than the guys taken after him. As long as he stays healthy, he’s got great weapons and 4,500 yards written all over him. If he doesn’t stay healthy, then me and the Bears are screwed. You could always handcuff Jordan Palmer to him in the next round! (don’t do that)
This is definitely too early for Dennis Pitta. I don’t know if I drank this particular beer too fast, or what I was thinking, but here he is in my lineup! Ladarius Green went a whopping five rounds later, I could have waited much longer and taken a guy with a much higher ceiling.
Regardless of whether I should have taken him here or not, I can’t argue that he will certainly put up numbers. Joe Flacco doesn’t have a lot of red zone targets to work with, so I’d say Pitta will have his fair share. Owen Daniels doesn’t look like he’ll be eating into this tight end production. Baltimore will have to put it in the air if their running game is anywhere near as disappointing as it was last year (Rice- 4 TDs, Pierce- 2 TDs).
I love this pick. A lot. I think Jeremy Hill has a great shot to take a ton of the carries the Law Firm had last year. He’s definitely not a scat back. I think he’ll move into the goal line back role before too long. Taking him in the 8th round of a 14-team league (as a Bengals fan) makes me pretty happy.
I go back-to-back rookie running backs here, with hopes that one of them will pop off. Devonta Freeman should hopefully get his fair share of touches, but a lot of that depends on the health of Steven Jackson. Jackson might be relegated to a goal line role this year. We won’t know for sure until the season starts.
Josh Gordon went here in the 8th, not a bad pick. I like the gamble.
You’ll notice the top-rated defenses are starting to come off the board now. I’ll be passing on them for many more rounds.
For my 4th and 5th wide receivers, I picked a couple young guys who will be seeing the ball come their way more often this season. Assuming Darrius Heyward-Bey and Dri Archer don’t get in the way (yeah, right), Markus Wheaton has a clear path to be the #2 WR for the Pittsburgh Steelers (a team that scored 28+ points/game in the last nine contests in 2013). Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery are leaving the city and they’re taking 110+ receptions and 16 TDs with them. Wheaton should take a large piece of that pie.
Jarrett Boykin will still be behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the pecking order, but he’s got arguably the best quarterback in the league chucking the ball to him, and he’ll definitely get fed. Green Bay let James Jones go in the offseason, a receiver that averaged 7.75 TDs/year the previous four seasons he had a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Expect some of that production to fall into Boykin’s lap.
Mark Ingram scored ONE total touchdown last year and his career high in receptions was 11 while he’s spent his three year career on a pass-first team. So why am I selecting him? Because he’s my fifth running back, it’s the 12th round, and I hate to admit it; I think he’s looked good this preseason. He’s got a chance to pound it into the end zone while Pierre Thomas does Pierre Thomas things like catch 80 passes. This might be the year Ingram has a decent fantasy season, or maybe it’s the year you see his name sitting on the waiver wire halfway through the season. We’ll see.
Ryan Tannehill is an ideal backup quarterback. I’m honestly quite surprised he was still sitting here so late. Especially with 14 teams looking for QBs. He was the 23rd play caller taken in the draft (which only drafted 25 all together). Looks like a few teams will be streaming their backup QB which is fine but you won’t be finding anyone with Tannehill’s numbers on the waiver wire.
I’ll be honest with you guys. It’s the last two rounds of a home league and I’m usually spending this time making fun of my friends. These picks are pretty much whatever was left in my queue. Kansas City got a bunch of sacks last year. Aaaand I’ll probably be streaming a defense come Week 2 when they face the Broncos. I picked Matt Bryant because he has feet. On the bottom of those feet are cleats. And those are things you definitely need as a kicker. Also, I wanted to begin and end the draft with a Bryant. Full circle.
So, here’s the final outcome. I don’t feel bad about it. I’m excited to get this first one out of the way and watch some real life football.
QB1 Jay Cutler
QB2 Ryan Tannehill
RB1 Toby Gerhart
RB2 Bishop Sankey
RB3 Jeremy Hill
RB4 Devonta Freeman
RB5 Mark Ingram
WR1 Dez Bryant
WR2 Julio Jones
WR3 Michael Floyd
WR4 Markus Wheaton
WR5 Jarrett Boykin
TE Dennis Pitta
DEF Kansas City
K Matt Bryant