You have heard the mantra “Go big or go home”, but how does it translate at your fantasy football draft?
In large part the construction of your team in a draft is determined by your draft position. If you have a top three pick you are taking a running back (let’s base the discussion on 4 pts for passing touchdowns and six points for rushing touchdowns). The draft board starts to break with pick 1.04 because this year there isn’t a consensus pick for RB4 – some will take Chris Johnson who says he has everything back; some will hope that this is the first year that Darren McFadden plays more than twelve games in a season; many would have taken Maurice Jones-Drew if he had been in training camp and was starting Week 1.
Thursday night I drafted in an FFPC event – the 96 team Super Satellite where the top four teams from each of the eight twelve teams leagues after eleven weeks of play will cash at the league level and advance to the 32 team bracketed elimination tournament for the big payday. FFPC scoring in addition to 4/6 touchdowns is PPR for RB and WR but gives 1.5 PPR for TE. In addition the starting lineup requirements are QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/TE with two Flex spots, so you could actually play three TE if they were good enough or more often two especially for bye week and matchup plays.
Greg Morgan (Masters of the NFFC/NFBC column here) and I have a strong partnership for teams we call “Captain Morgan” for obvious reasons in addition to sharing the quest for Life, Love & especially for high stakes fantasy teams LOOT.
We drew the less than ideal twelfth spot in our league. You can never really tell who drafters will take when they actually sit down at the table even if it’s only a $500 league but we knew the draft would start with some combination of Foster/Rice/McCoy. Calvin Johnson would be gone as would Aaron Rodgers and in a TE friendly league, Jimmy Graham would also be among the first eleven picks. We thought correctly that DMac and Chris Johnson would be gone so that makes eight players off the board when we picked, but who would the other three players be? We wanted to take the Cowboys Demarco Murray if he was available, and we had also saved a spot for Rob Gronkowski if he was available. We weren’t crazy about jumping another wide receiver into the first round but we had thought if all the other possibles were gone we might take Tom Brady or Drew Brees. The rationale is that you can’t chase running backs with what will be available with several teams ahead of you there so GO BIG and create an edge at other positions. So what did our leaguemates leave us?
|1.01 Adrian Foster|
|1.02 Ray Rice|
|1.03 LeSean McCoy|
|1.04 Jimmy Graham (rose to 4 or 5 in many drafts in this event)|
|1.05 Darren McFadden|
|1.06 Calvin Johnson|
|1.07 Demarco Murray (so much for that plan)|
|1.08 Chris Johnson (no real surprises yet ….BUT)|
|1.09 Julio Jones (the hype train jumped the tracks)|
|1.10 Aaron Rodgers|
|1.11 Matt Forte (last RB I would have considered in 2nd round)|
So what is strangely missing? Yes the other elite quarterbacks and that should be the case in leagues with four point passing touchdowns so our opponents were on point. But we wanted the advantage at two positions so we ended the first round with
1.12 Tom Brady (get that record back Tom Terrific)
And started with his BIG target
2.01 Rob Gronkowski (very hard to cover a 6’6” TE who plays like a WR)
|2.02 Drew Brees|
|2.03 Maurice Jones-Drew|
|2.04 Doug Martin (a little high but hey if it's your guy …)|
|2.05 Trent Richardson|
|2.06 Darren Sproles (nice pairing with Murray)|
|2.07 Brandon Marshall (with Calvin)|
|2.08 Jamaal Charles|
|2.09 Ryan Mathews (say reach)|
|2.10 Adrian Peterson (that's three RBs getting near zeroes in Week 1)|
|2.11 Larry Fitzgerald|
|2.12 Aaron Hernandez|
|Now third round with team through three|
|3.01 Roddy White (Foster/Hernandez/White)|
|3.02 Andre Johnson (Rice/Peterson/Johnson)|
|3.03 A.J. Green (McCoy/Fitzgerald/Green)|
|3.04 Fred Jackson (Graham/Mathews/Jackson)|
|3.05 Steven Jackson (McFadden/Charles/Jackson)|
|3.06 Marshawn Lynch (Calvin/Marshall/Lynch)|
|3.07 Antonio Gates (Murray/Sproles/Gates)|
|3.08 Ahmad Bradshaw (CJ/Richardson/Bradshaw)|
|3.09 Wes Welker (Julio/Martin/Welker)|
|3.10 Greg Jennings (Rodgers/MJD/Jennings)|
|3.11 Victor Cruz (Forte/Brees/Cruz)|
|3.12 Percy Harvin (Brady/Gronkowski/Harvin)|
We thought we might be able to gain a slighter edge at WR with this turn and I think we did with Harvin and Jordy Nelson, our pick at 4.01), and our fifth round selection of Brandon Lloyd.
But of course this comes at a price and for this team it would be starting well behind at RB1 and RB2. But we were prepared to take the Schussman route (Chris Schussman was the first winner of WCOFF in 2002 and after his early rounds he pounded secondary running backs – those who might be “handcuffs” (there were more before the league went so pass heavy) or rookies. So three of our next four and five of our next seven picks were running backs.
|6.01 Peyton Hillis (splitting touches with Charles - think Thomas Jones)|
|7.12 Justin Blackmon (WR4 but Flex2 for us)|
|8.01 Jonathan Dwyer|
|9.12 Robert Turbin|
|10.01 Chris "Beanie" Wells (starting RB in round ten)|
|11.12 Joe Flacco (with Brady its bye plus weather protection)|
|12.01 Taiwan Jones (for DMac vacations)|
|13.12 Vick Ballard plus|
|16.01 Lamar Miller|
|18.01 Keiland Williams (starting RBs for Lions have great value)|
Okay you hate our running backs right now – but look what could happen. And really Hillis is now a RB2 so we just need ONE of those RBullets to gain starter status (or more likely early one to be a good play in different weeks) – IF/when Marshawn Lynch is out with back issues Turbin is in; if Arizona can fix the O line issues and Wells can stay healthy he is a powerful runner; Dwyer has rapidly emerged as the best current Steeler RB and who knows when/if Mendenhall will be ready; Taiwan Jones has climbed over Mike Goodson behind McFadden; and both Ballard and Miller are behind less than stellar starters in Indianapolis and Miami.
Not for the faint of heart but it can work and we think gives us a greater chance to get to a Week 16 title game. Here is the entire roster to start the season:
|QB - Brady (9) & Flacco (8)|
|RB - Hillis (7), Dwyer (4), Turbin (11), Wells (10), Jones (5), Ballard (4), Miller (7), & Williams (5)|
|WR - Harvin (11), Nelson (10), Lloyd (9), Blackmon (6), James Jones (10), & Bess (7)|
|TE - Gronkowski (9) & Jordan Cameron (10)|
|K - Greg Zuerlein (9)|
|DST - Buffalo Bills (8)|
|As always, comments and discussion are welcome here on in the FF Forum.|
|GOOD LUCK to YOU in your draft(s) this weekend.|