Mock drafters, beware, the Fantasy Football season is off and running as the first draft--the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's (FSTA) Experts Leagues--held their drafts yesterday as part of the organization's annual summer conference.
The FSTA holds its experts baseball draft in January each year as a single league, but because football is indeed the driving force in the fantasy world, the organization runs a pair of football leagues, one the older and more established "A" league, and the newer (this is the fourth season) "B" league (that I refer to as "b-leaguered"), all coordinated by the venerable Ted Kasten.
As part of the rules, the team that wins the B league moves up to A, while the last place A squad is relegated back to the B contest. It is fun, and frustrating as for a couple of years Todd and I wound up with the best record, a ticket to the playoffs, and then promptly were clobbered in the first round.
So, last night, the members of both leagues made selections, all recognizing that just like Jordy Nelson, whom Z and I drafted last year at the FSTA, any player could indeed never see a down.
As Todd has been tied with baseball duties, it fell more to me to draft the basic team, while Z usually handles the week-to-week moves to ensure we have a full complement of players.
So, who do we like? Well, here goes, in order of selection, with a bit of rationalization. Note that we drafted in the six hole in a 14-team league that uses PPR scoring.
1.6 Todd Gurley (RB, Rams): No question I love the up-and-coming Gurley, who regularly improved with play last year, and this season, as somewhat of a veteran, will carry a lot of the offensive load, helping rookie QB Jared Goff get his NFL sea legs.
2.9 Jarvis Landry (WR, Dolphins): PPR, so I took the best WR left in my opinion, and Landry, with 110 catches and 1157 yards last season, should build accordingly.
3.6 Golden Tate (WR, Lions): 90 targets last year with the Lions, and with Calvin Johnson retired, Tate's role in the offense should increase.
4.9 Michael Crabtree (WR, Raiders): A more mature receiver than the Niners drafted a few years back, but as a #2 guy behind Amari Cooper, Crabtree should similarly be able to up the totals of 85 catches he grabbed in 2015.
5.6 Justin Forsett (RB, Ravens): Now 30, Forsett's numbers have tailed a bit, but he still banged out almost 700 yards last year and bagged 31 catches for a couple of scores. Note that we really wanted Theo Riddick or Dion Lewis in this spot, but both went just a couple of picks before our turn.
6.9 Markus Wheaton (WR, Steelers): Just 44 catches last year, though 79 targets, but Wheaton still banged out 749 yards (17 per grab) and five scores, and with the status of Martavis Bryant cloudy at best, Wheaton should excel in the #2 role.
7.6 Derek Carr (QB, Raiders): Vastly improved on a vastly improving team with a boatload of weapons. Beware Carr and his mates as they lead the Raiders resurgence.
8.9 Travis Benjamin (WR, Chargers): The new Charger got 124 targets last season for 966 yards, and as part of Philip Rivers' receiving corps, he should step it up.
9.6 Martellus Bennett (TE, Patriots): Now on a team with a QB who knows what he is doing and with a coach who likes two TE sets.
10.9 Andy Dalton (QB, Bengals): Our #2 QB whom Z thinks could be our #1 by season's end.
11.6 DeAndre Washington (RB, Raiders): Rookie complement to Latavius Murray is big, can catch and run and should help push the Raiders to the playoffs (yes, really).
12.9 Richard Rodgers (TE, Packers): Just 58 catches last year for the Cal alum, but eight scores as a rookie, so Rodgers' role should increase beyond the scope of hail marys in 2016.
13.6 Braxton Miller (WR, Texans): Ohio State rookie is a big play threat.
14.9 Devontae Booker (RB, Broncos): Denver has QB questions which helps push the running game, and similarly, the team seems to go through multiple running backs each season, and when those backs get the call, they excel.
15.6 Oakland Raiders (Defense): Watch out for these guys, who have Khalil Mack and his 15 sacks last year to build upon.
16.9 Matt Bryant (PK, Falcons): We need a kicker, and Bryant should get his chances. In general, quite steady.
So, there you have it, but clearly we have to wait till October to know whether the draft was successful.
Please feel free to comment and don't forget you can hit me up @lawrmichaels.