Draft season is in full swing, folks. A bunch of writers, a couple others that consider themselves as experts (and who doesn’t?), and I completed a 16-round draft on Monday August 29th. It’s worth noting that this is a league, so each owner should not have really left much of a glaring hole on their roster.
The draft started just as the Jets and Giants took their starters out of the game putting an unofficial end to the dress rehearsal known as the third week of the preseason. Things are starting to look pretty clear as far as back rotations, the receiving depth charts, which quarterbacks look to be an a pass-heavy offense and the new crop of breakout candidates that appear ripe for the picking. I’m hoping this is very helpful for those of you doing a PPR draft this upcoming weekend.
The league settings were your run-of-the-mill PPR league except for the following:
Pass stats: 4 points for a TD and -1 for an interception
Bonuses: 2.5 points at 350 passing yards; 2.5 points at 125 rushing/receiving yards; 2.0 points for rushing/receiving TD > 40 yards; 1.0 points for pass TD 40 yards
Here’s the roster set up: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE, 1 D/ST, 1 K and 6 bench.
Let’s get to the good stuff!
Draft results and round recaps after the jump:
1. Ray Rice (Bal - RB) FRATasySports.com: He was third among backs last year in receptions. Not the craziest pick.
2. Arian Foster (Hou - RB) Me: Leach being out of the picture should mean more a handful of more catches. Not too worried about hammy.
3. Adrian Peterson (Min – RB) Shawn Li: Could be used more in the passing game. As safe as it gets.
4. Jamaal Charles (KC - RB) FantasySportz4u.com: J.C. scored a lot of points in the fantasy semis and finals. Only 24 carries combined, too.
5. Michael Vick (Phi - QB) FantsySportsNow.com: One of the most controversial picks in recent memory.
6. LeSean McCoy (Phi - RB) FantasyPhenoms.com: 90 catches could actually happen. 7 catches for 69 yards this past weekend.
7. Rashard Mendenhall (Pit - RB) WeTalkFantasy.com: Not PPR friendly, should be one of the leaders in carries though.
8. Andre Johnson (Hou - WR) Chumley McAutopick (didn’t show up to the draft): The Texans should score a ton of points this year and Andre has a legitimate chance at 100 catches, 1,600 yards and 14 TD.
9. Chris Johnson (Ten - RB) FantasyMortar.com: Michael Vick’s $100,000,000 deal can’t make CJ800K/year very happy. Still a great value.
10. Michael Turner (Atl - RB) Gary Woolerton: Mr. Woolerton was late to the draft and Yahoo! gave him Turner. He should not go in the top 20.
11. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB) FF101.com: Meniscus Jones-Drew says he’s OK. One bad step could really cause ligament damage with a worn down medial meniscus.
12. Calvin Johnson (Det - WR) FantasyAlarm.com: He won’t be top 5 in catches. Who cares when he is going to score 18 TDs?
There were nine backs, two receivers and Ron Mexico taken in the first round. It was pretty uneventful outside of Ray Rice going at the top spot.
Best value: I was very close to taking Lesean McCoy with the second pick.
Worst value: Michael Turner was autopicked, but I also didn’t really like to see Mendy at seven especially with Chris Johnson still on the board.
1. Darren McFadden (Oak - RB) FantasyAlarm.com: He definitely should have gone in the first and has the upside to be the top back.
2. Roddy White (Atl - WR) FantasyFootball101.com: Matt Ryan threw the ball 42 times in the first half this weekend. No need to worry about his targets in any part of the field.
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB) Gary Woolerton: Nothing wrong with Rodgers in the second.
4. Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR) FantasyMortar.com: Kolb and Fitz establishing a nice rapport so far. We’ll set the O/U at 108.5 for catches this year (assuming Kolb and Fitz remain healthy).
5. Hakeem Nicks (NYG - WR) Chumley McAutopick: Chumley McAutopick is drafting circles around us here. Nicks was the best player available in this spot.
6. Steven Jackson (StL - RB) WeTalkFantasy.com: Caddy might get some third-down work. Can’t argue too much with S-Jax’s upside in what should be a productive Josh McDaniels offense.
7. Mike Wallace (Pit - WR) FantasyPhenoms.com: 60 Minutes says 100 catches for 2,000 yards. Even if he grabs 75 and totals 1,400 he’ll be worthy of this pick. Solid.
8. Frank Gore (SF - RB) FantsySportsNow.com: 38% of the Niners’ yards from scrimmage last year. Broken hip shouldn’t linger, but he is susceptible to all sorts of injuries.
9. Peyton Hillis (Cle - RB) FantasySportz4u.com: Brandon Jackson’s turf toe gives Hillis his third-down gig back. Hillis ranked second among backs in this format last year.
10. Miles Austin (Dal - WR) Shawn Li: The hammy is scary, but the loss of the oft-injured Romo would cripple him.
11. Vincent Jackson (SD - WR) Me: He’s not a PPR stud, but he’ll be in the running for yardage and TD leads.
12. Greg Jennings (GB - WR) FRATasySports.com: So many options in Green Bay and he’ll need to catch a heck of a lot of back-shoulder throws to match last year’s numbers.
Four backs, seven receivers and Mr. Rodgers went in this round. WeTalkFantasy and FantasySportz4u were both going with the old school approach of RB-RB in the first round. It’s not a particular strategy I would suggest especially in a PPR that uses three wide and another flex (that should probably be a receiver as well). Two owners went with a back and a QB and the remaining owners all had one back and a receiver at this point. If you’re picking early, it’s almost a no-brainer to go for a back early and then grab an elite WR on the way back.
Best value: There really wasn’t a guy that stood out as a nice value in this round.
Worst value: Steven Jackson might have been there in the third round for him. I’d take any of the other picks in this round over Cap’n Jax.
1. Tom Brady (NE - QB): Interceptions were only -1 and TDs were only 4, so thought Rivers or Brees made more sense for a more yardage-based league.
2. Drew Brees (NO - QB): Brees had a down year in ‘10 and maybe Sunday night’s game (3 rushing TD for Saints backs) scared people away a bit. Not me.
3. Matt Forte (Chi - RB): He was 10th in total yards last year among backs. Only scoring single-digit points in five of his last nine games in the fantasy season is kind of a deterrent though.
4. Philip Rivers (SD - QB): A good bet to lead the league in passing yards and three of last four picks being QB shows huge drop in talent pool for RB and WR.
5. Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR): He led the AFC in receptions last year with 111. There’s no chance that happens again with Clark and Collie in the lineup. He’s so safe he should be the pitch man for a home-security company.
6. Brandon Marshall (Mia - WR): Chad Henne has looked good this year. A lot of people saying he had a down year in ’10. 86 catches and 1,014 yards?
7. Felix Jones (Dal - RB): Felix is one of the sexiest picks in drafts. He has monster upside in an offense that should score quite a bit.
8. Shonn Greene (NYJ - RB): It took a while for Greene’s vaccination for fumblitis. He got his booster shot and he Jets have big plans for Mr. Greene. He won’t be catching many balls though.
9. Jahvid Best (Det - RB): The concussion scared away a lot of people. He has McCoy-type upside and definitely worth the risk at this spot.
10. LeGarrette Blount (TB - RB): Colt McCoy had one less receiving yard (13) on the season than LeGarrette Blount.
11. Tony Romo (Dal - QB): Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Charles Rogers and break his clavicle twice. Big upside.
12. Mike Williams (TB - WR): When a rookie scores 11 touchdowns, it certainly makes him worthy of this pick. He’ll have to handle bracket coverage like the NCAA Tournament.
As mentioned above (Rivers), three quarterbacks kicked off the round over the first four picks. Two of the owners went RB-WR in the first two rounds and we (I was one) felt that all the other elite signal callers would not make it back to us. As for the third person in the quarterback group, he went RB-RB-QB giving him no receivers and won’t have a chance to grab his first one until the 45th pick. That’s not exactly a strategy I would endorse in a PPR league. There were four quarterbacks, five backs and three receivers taken off the board in this round.
Best value: Despite not being a huge fan of him this year, you can’t go wrong with Reggie Wayne as the 10th receiver off the board in a PPR.
Worst value: LeGarrette Blount in a PPR is about as useful as a solar-powered flashlight or a screen door on a submarine.
1. Mark Ingram (NO - RB): The rookie back love kicks off with the Heisman winner. He won’t be catching the ball much and won’t get more than 60% of the snaps, but the GL back status for the Saints makes him a top-50 pick.
2. Antonio Gates (SD - TE): Gates was carrying teams before he went down. He’s a true gamble and his owners can expect several questionable tags this year.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG - RB): Jacobs has been running with purpose and this is starting to look like an even time-share situation.
4. Peyton Manning (Ind - QB): He’s off the PUP list. Don’t tell Vick.
5. DeAngelo Williams (Car - RB): He got the money and should get most of the carries. He was a colossal bust for fantasy owners last year and carries some injury risk.
6. Marques Colston (NO - WR): Microfracture surgery has taken strides in the past decade based on the games played of players like Amare Stoudemire and Jason Kidd. I still don’t buy it for Colston.
7. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR): No OTA for Dez and Romo could mean a bit of a slow start. He should be worth it over the course of the season and is someone that is a potential buy-low candidate.
8. DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR): No PPR love for this guy and it’s justified with just 47 catches. He should still finish as a strong WR2.
9. Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR): Bowe was a boom-or-bust guy and not showing up in the playoffs is a bit disconcerting.
10. Jermichael Finley (GB - TE): It’s true that Finley’s MCL sprain last year isn’t a big deal. There are still a lot of mouths to feed to justify him as a pick in the fourth round.
11. Stevie Johnson (Buf - WR): His averages after his bye in week 6 would have yielded season totals of 95 catches and 1,250 yards. Lee Evans is gone and Steve shouldn’t have dropped this far… Ever.
12. Jason Witten (Dal - TE): Witten was the top TE in this format and is by far the safest to take at his position.
The tight ends show up on the scene with three of them coming off the board. Three of the first five picks in the round were backs with Peyton mixed in there as well. Predictably, five wide outs were taken. It’s a bit odd that most of the receivers in this round were not the type of guys that gear their games to the PPR, but still there is a lot of youth and all of these guys have the upside to improve.
Best value: Even though I really didn’t want to name any of my picks as the best values, I was ecstatic to get Steve Johnson at the end of the fourth.
Worst value: Mark Ingram inside the top-40 picks is quite the gamble. I get that there aren’t many backs to take in that spot. I’d rather just wait it out and grab another receiver.
1. Brandon Lloyd (Den - WR): Not a whole lot different in Lloyd’s world. Just because he won’t be as good as last year doesn’t mean he’s not an excellent WR2.
2. Percy Harvin (Min - WR): I love the Man Purse. Sorry.. Satchel.
3. Knowshon Moreno (Den - RB): It’s still a bit TBD on how big the McGahee-Moreno split will be. It might be irrelevant with Fox and Co. running the rock 30 times per game.
4. Wes Welker (NE - WR): Mr. PPR finally comes off the board.
5. Dallas Clark (Ind - TE): A pretty sizeable drop at TE after Dallas.
6. Beanie Wells (Ari - RB): Arizona was last in rushing last year. He is still going to get almost all the carries.
7. Matt Schaub (Hou - QB): Expect Schaub to rebound from last year. He did lead the league in yards back in ’09.
8. Ben Roethlisberger (Pit - QB): Big Ben is going to be throwing the ball deep quite often to speedsters Wallace, Sanders and Brown.
9. Tim Hightower (Was - RB): This is a very good spot for Hightower and he’s easily the best back left on the board.
10. Anquan Boldin (Bal - WR): Evans’ arrival more likely to hinder than help Boldin. Not enough balls to go around for a team that’s built with defense and ball control.
11. Mike Tolbert (SD - RB): He basically has the same role as Mark Ingram in a great offense. Except he went 22 picks later.
12. Julio Jones (Atl - WR): Julio will make many defenders look as awkward as Julio Franco’s batting stance. He’s Dez Lite. Enjoy responsibly.
Upside fest. Players like Brandon Lloyd, Percy Harvin, Tim Hightower, Beanie Wells and Wes Welker could finish in the top 10 for their position. Two owners grabbed their quarterbacks in this round and a couple of safe picks in Knowshon and Dallas Clark were selected. At this point, I’m a bit surprised that only 22 receivers have been taken in a format that favors the guys known as the X, Y and Z.
Best value: There’s nothing wrong with Knowshon at 51.
Worst value: There are 12 receivers I like more than Anquan Boldin.
1. Ryan Mathews (SD - RB): Mathews goes a heck of a lot later in Yahoo! leagues than most other platforms. He better step him game up in pass protection to become the only option on passing downs.
2. Mario Manningham (NYG - WR): Manningham is probably the 3rd-best WR2 on a team’s depth chart. Eli’s bad preseason shouldn’t be much of a concern.
3. Vernon Davis (SF - TE): Another year of Alex "Tiny Hands" Smith isn’t a terrible thing.
4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR): He won’t be suspended and has the upside to be a top-15 guy.
5. Chad Ochocinco (NE - WR): Early reports are that Chad Johnson "sucked" at camp so far. That’s pretty easy to believe given his production the past couple years.
6. Santonio Holmes (NYJ - WR): What time is it? It’s Tone time.
7. Fred Jackson (Buf - RB): Fred-Jax a much better 3rd-down back than Spiller. Buffalo giving Spiller extra burn won’t be for the present though.
8. Ryan Grant (GB - RB): Some reports surfacing that Grant isn’t looking like his old self. It’s still a nice value at this point.
9. Jeremy Maclin (Phi - WR): Maclin is going to start slow with lack of practice in the preseason. Practice isn’t important in Philly though. Practice?
10. Santana Moss (Was - WR): 93 catches and 1,115 yards last year. It’s a boring pick and boring isn’t always bad.
11. Reggie Bush (Mia - RB): If Bush stays healthy this could be the steal of the draft. Similarly, if Jamarcus Russell took it easy with the purple drank he could still be in the NFL.
12. Joseph Addai (Ind - RB): It’s hard to believe that a starting back on a high-powered offense goes so late. He looked slow last year and someone that should be a sell-high asset by the 5th game.
The first non-QB round of the draft and only one tight end came off the board. That leaves six receivers and five backs. All five backs have some nice upside for being in elite offenses (Mathews, Grant and Addai) or being useful in the PPR format (Fred Jackson and Reggie Bush). As far as the receivers go, I mentioned that I would have taken 12 other receivers over Boldin and five of them went in this round (Manningham, Britt, Holmes, Maclin and Moss). Not an Ocho fan.
Best value: Santonio Holmes is going to get a lot of targets with Sanchez. The Jets gave him a fat contract for a reason.
Worst value: Fred Jackson would likely have been there in the seventh round and possibly the eighth.
1. Mike Thomas (Jac - WR): He’s going to get the targets. Will he get the yards and scores?
2. Marshawn Lynch (Sea - RB): Cable Guy! Seattle has 4 new linemen and should have an improved running game.
3. Matthew Stafford (Det - QB): The most impressive QB this preseason. He had a 158.3 passer rating this past weekend.
4. Cedric Benson (Cin - RB): He’ll be going to jail for 20 days. It doesn’t have much of an impact on his fantasy value.
5. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE - RB): There is absolutely no way that The Law Firm gets 1,000 yards this year. He’s a low-upside guy to help on the bye weeks at best.
6. Jimmy Graham (NO - TE): The cat is out of the bag after Sunday night in Oakland. He’s going to bust loose.
7. Kellen Winslow (TB - TE): Missed it by that much. Elite tight ends off the board, so waiting seems like a better idea.
8. Austin Collie (Ind - WR): Collie was a solid WR2 last year and now he has a fancy carbon-fiber helmet to protect him. Solid pick here by Chumley McAutopick.
9. Owen Daniels (Hou - TE): He’s a full year removed from his ACL surgery and could have a nice year like back in ’08.
10. Lance Moore (NO - WR): He is getting a ton of snaps on first and second down and could approach WR2 status.
11. Danny Amendola (StL - WR): He tied for lead in red-zone targets and 100 catches could be within his grasp.
12. Josh Freeman (TB - QB): Freeman before Matt Ryan was a bit of a head scratcher.
A lot of low-upside picks to help fill up the rosters with men like Mike Thomas, Lynch, Benson, and Winslow. On the other hand, Collie, Graham, Stafford, Moore and Amendola could all really have big years and none of them were reaches. However, as I stated above, it’s a bit surprising Matt Ryan is still on the board.
Best value: There are a lot of safe picks here, but I’ll give the nod to Amendola since his upside is so high in this format.
Worst value: I just don’t see BenJarvis getting enough snaps to have value. I’d rather have Woodhead in a PPR.
1. Marcedes Lewis (Jac - TE): Apparently I was wrong about waiting on TE.
2. Brandon Jacobs (NYG - RB): Jacobs has been running like a man possessed lately.
3. Malcom Floyd (SD - WR): V-Jax back and Gates healthy make Floyd the third option.
4. Plaxico Burress (NYJ - WR): In case of emergency break Plexiglass. He should score some, the catch upside isn’t really there. Let’s set it for 63.5.
5. Tony Gonzalez (Atl - TE): He’s 35.
6. Hines Ward (Pit - WR): Hansel has looked more like Gretel. Ben has a ton of targets.
7. Matt Ryan (Atl - QB): Apparently Matty Ice comes at a better price than Natty Ice.
8. A.J. Green (Cin - WR): Andy Dalton. He’s not A.D.
9. Brandon Pettigrew (Det – TE): I get the upside for the former 1st-round pick. There are still a couple better options out there though.
10. Braylon Edwards (SF - WR): Braylon is not in the right system at all. He shouldn’t get a ton of targets with Crabtree and Davis still there.
11. Jonathan Stewart (Car - RB): I really don’t like The Daily Show. There was no way to resist him at 95 though.
12. Green Bay (GB - DEF): There are too many offensive starters to draft a defense this soon (fairly standard scoring).
Round Recap I’m pretty surprised that so many people went for tight ends this early. I’m actually the only one that has yet to draft one. My reasoning is since there are six players at running back and wide receiver (2 RB, 3 WR and a RB/WR), I didn’t feel comfortable investing two picks in the first 10 rounds on something outside of those two positions. I do wind up getting the guy I wanted in the 11th round though. Wide receiver fell off a cliff this round with guys like Floyd, Burress, Hines and Green being taken. None of those guys should be fantasy starters.
Best value: Matt Ryan would have been a no-brainer choice, but Jonathan Stewart falling all the way to 95 is prettay, prettay good.
Worst value: Braylon Edwards is going to be inconsistent and it’s going to take some guts to start him even in a jam during a bye week.
We’re at the midpoint of the draft. Thanks for reading and we’ll have the second half of the draft in our second part that should be out in a couple days. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher and ask me any questions about your fantasy team or upcoming draft.