My fantasy football league recently held its draft and here’s a brief explanation on why I picked who I did and the starting rosters of the other 9 teams in the league. Sure, we opted to draft a little on the early side (right as training camps are starting) but we just couldn’t wait any longer. And just for clarification, our scoring is slightly different from the standard Yahoo League -who does standard scoring now anyway? We get .5 points per reception (instead of 0), 1 point for every 50 passing yds (instead of 25), 1 point per 30 return yds (instead of 0), 3 points per field-goal regardless of distance, 4 points per punt/kickoff return touchdowns and kinder penalties for defenses.
Click on to read about some draft strategy, how I ended up with Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb and to watch some awesome highlights (including one of the best catches you will ever see) which I now watch in an effort to convince myself that my team has the talent to make the playoffs.
We were informed of the draft order a few days before the actual event, so we could participate in some mocks and hone in on our strategy. Luckily, I got the first overall pick. Here’s how it unfolded.
Pick 1: Adrian Peterson, RB
Was there every any doubt? We all know how good he is, so I won’t bother regurgitating stats you’ve all heard before. He just needs to stay healthy. There have been some whispers that his carries will be reduced when (not if) Favre sings with the Vikes as he is known not to like handing the ball off. This doesn’t worry me at all. Soon-to-be 40 year-old Brett Favre will be handing the ball off to 24 year-old Adrian Peterson a lot, whether he likes it or not. On another note, some people, namely Matthew Berry of ESPN, advocate taking Michael Turner over Peterson. This doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. It is the Turner owners who should be worried as the ‘Curse of 370’ quite readily applies. This is scary stuff, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Picks 2 and 3: Andre Johnson, WR and Calvin Johnson, WR
This is one of the best catches you will ever see in any sport: “He’s got skills”
I got pretty lucky here. Easily the best two picks of my entire draft. Calvin Johnson is just a freak and I mean that in the best possible way. He’s got it all. ‘Megatron’ was scary good in a Detroit offense that was scarily horrible. The addition of Matthew Stafford will only help things there. Oh, and did I mention he’s going to be in his 3rd year (traditionally the year WRs break out)?
Andre Johnson is in a very similar mold, except he’s ranked higher than C. Johnson. If he plays, he’ll produce numbers that will easily put him in the top 5 WR, if not top 3. His health is a slight concern, but after a full campaign last season, hopefully he’ll be able to put his injuries behind him for good. If he and his QB, Matt Schaub, stay healthy (missed 5 games last season) they could be one of the best 1-2 punches in the league.
As you can see, I went WR-WR here, breaking with Fantasy Football tradition. However, I simply couldn’t pass up on either of these players, so I decided to take both. I believed that the depth of the RB pool would allow me to pick up a decent number 2 in later rounds. Plus, there are less and less RBs that don’t share their carries anymore. It definitely makes sense to take a top-tier WR over your second RB if one is available. Or two, if you can.
Picks 4 and 5: Kurt Warner, QB and Donovan McNabb, QB
Here’s where things got a little crazy. I am abroad at the moment, and my internet cut out right before my turn. I had both these QBs on my ‘watchlist’ as they were starting to go off the board a little earlier than I would have expected. By the time I had signed back on, the picks were already made for me. I was pretty annoyed and it’s fairly obvious why. But it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as I now have some good trade bait for that second RB I would have picked in these rounds. I’d probably give up Warner because I think McNabb will do fine, and I can get more for Warner than McNabb.
Picks 6 and 7: Derrick Ward, RB and Bernard Berrian, WR
Derrick Ward is my big (not so secret) sleeper pick for the year. He amassed over 1,000 yds as a backup in New York and now has the first shot at a starting job behind a talented Tampa Bay O-line. It could be a big year. However, I’m not sure if I’m ready to give him a starting role just yet. I also like Bernard Berrian as a quality 3 WR. He was close to breaking the 1,000 yds mark last year, and I think he’ll be able to do it this season, especially with Brett Favre (not Tavaris Jackson) throwing him the football. He could also get double-digit touchdowns, though I’d be happy with 7-8.
Picks 8 and 9: Desean Jackson, WR and Jonathan Stewart, RB
He does everything right until he gets to the end zone…twice.
These are very important picks. Every team needs players who can step up if a starter gets injured or doesn’t perform well. I feel like these players fit the bill quite well and can freely be interchanged with Berrian and Ward. Jackson had a very good first year, and I can only see him doing better in his second season, as the Eagles are going to have a very good year (as much as it pains me to say it). Hopefully he won’t make any bonehead plays again (see video). Stewart was one half of the best rushing duo in the league last year. Although some DeAngelo Williams guy stole most of the limelight, Stewart performed extremely well in that backup role. With Williams reaching FA next year, the Panthers are resigned to him leaving and will give Stewart more carries in an effort to prepare him for taking William’s place. He should be good for around 1,000 yds and I hope he’ll improve on his 10 TDs from last year.
Picks 10 and 11: Darren Sproles, RB and Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
Two very similar players in very similar situations. Small, shifty and quick, these two do a good job when called upon. Too bad they play behind LT and Brandon Jacobs. However, Sproles admirably filled in for Tomlinson (lost to injury) and scored 7 all-purpose TDs last season (two in the playoffs). I’m a big fan of Bradshaw and Ward’s departure will increase his playing time and give him a chance to prove his form in the ’07 playoffs, where led the team in yards, was not a fluke. Both LT and Jacobs are injury-prone, so there is a good chance we’ll see at least one of them in a starting role this season.
Picks 12 and 13: Chicago, DEF and Tony Scheffler, TE
Chicago was the best-ranked defense left on the board at this point, and I’m fairly happy with them. I know they’re aging and probably on the decline, but with new coaching in place and our league’s reduction on negative points for points allowed, I’m not worried. They have good players and were a top defense not too long ago. I’m a fan of waiting to pick a DEF because most of them aren’t really going to put up significant fantasy points anyway, and depth on your bench is more important. I mean, if you’re in a 10 team league, you can afford to wait a little and still have a pretty decent defense. I feel exactly the same way about tight ends. I had a few names outside of the top 10 ranked TEs and went in happy to pick up one of those guys. Again, TEs are usually unimportant in fantasy terms, so I don’t think it’s worth reaching for one after the top 3 are taken.
Picks 14 and 15: Miles Austin, WR and John Kasay, K
Austin is a super-sleeper as the Cowboys are really counting on him to step up after T.O’s departure. Apparently he’s got breakaway speed and will compete with Patrick Crayton for the number 2 spot. Good enough for me at this point. You really shouldn’t take a kicker until the last 2 or 3 rounds at most. Especially in our league as you get the same points for every field goal, regardless of distance. A kicker is a kicker. Carolina’s offense should give Kasay plenty of chances.
Overview: I’m pretty happy with my team regardless of the fact that the computer selected two QBs in a row when my internet cut out at the vital moment. My receivers are awesome and Peterson has the potential to considerable distance between him and the next best rusher. As mentioned earlier, I’ll be looking to trade Warner (or McNabb for that matter) and somebody else to get a good RB. Surprisingly nobody’s expressed any interest so far and if I’m stuck with these two, it won’t be a disaster. On paper, this team should reach my league’s playoffs.
What do you think?