I just love the draft process. It's so interesting when you are in there head-to-head with other managers making decisions on what players to pick. Some players are picked way too early while others linger way too long (and become awesome bargains in the process). I wanted to take you through my draft and let you know how I put together a team that gives me a rock solid foundation for a top tier fantasy season!
The league I am in is a PPR league that gives full points to QB passing touchdowns (6 points). So Quarterbacks are the king master of the league and you need to have a quality QB in order to prosper. PPR also means that wide receivers are overvalued relative to Running Backs. Each team has 17 slots: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex (WR/RB), 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF and 8 Bench. There are 10 teams and I picked 3rd.
First Pick (#3) - Options: Jamaal Charles, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown. Bell was taken before me so I ended up with Charles, who was my first choice! In looking at the top 6 options these were the best 3 in my opinion. Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson were both over the age of 28 and were'nt even on my list because I use that as one of my filters. Also, based on how our league scores points, Both Eddie Lacy and Marshawn Lynch had a value ranking in the high teens (#18 and #20 respectively) because they are not as prolific in pass catching duties as Charles, Bell and Peterson. I did consider taking Andrew Luck as my first pick but after running some mock drafts with that strategy I found that it handicapped me and I kept ending up in the middle of the draft pack, so I decided to wait until the second round and hopefully Aaron Rodgers would still be available, his M-ADP was running at 19, so I figured I had a shot.
Second Pick (#18). Options: Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, AJ Green. Unfortunately, both Luck and Rodgers were gone by the 14th pick, so my hopes for getting an elite QB were dashed quickly. I was really high on AJ Green because it was a contract year for him but I found out on Friday he signed a new fat contract with the Bengals for $70 million, so my hopes about him pulling a Dez Bryant or Demaryus Thomas (who both had season best performances last year on their contract year) were tempered. I decided on Randall Cobb because he's now Aaron Rodgers #1 target. I know he's dealing with a shoulder injury, but that happened a few weeks ago and he should be fine by the start of the season.
Third Pick (#23). Options: TY Hilton, Lamar Miller, Jordan Matthews. I think all of these guys are awesome options this year. TY Hilton and Lamar Miller are both on a contract year so I expect them both to overperform, but Lamar is in a much tougher defensive league (AFC East: Buffalo, New York Jets and Patriots). Jordan Matthews is overvalued (his value was 38th vs M-ADP of 25.5) but I feel his upside is huge on that Philly offense. I ended up choosing TY Hilton because Indianapolis is going to have the #1 offense this season. I did have concerns about Hilton's Concussion but, again, he should be find by the start of the season. I am happy that even though I didn't end up getting Luck or Rodgers as my QB, I've got both their #1 targets!
Fourth Pick (#38). Options: Drew Brees, Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Ellington. My strategy was always if I don't end up with one of the elite QBs, I was going to get one of the near elite QBs. By the end of the fourth round only one other QB had been taken, Russell Wilson, so I was happy to take Mr. Brees as my QB1. I know he had some difficulty last year and he lost his #1 target, Jimmy Graham, but I'm convinced New Orleans will have a dynamic and high scoring offense - plus they play is a division with lousy defenses! Emmanuel Sanders would have been a fine choice for my #3 receiver but I had needs elsewhere. Andre Ellington is also a really good option here (a RB who is a prolific pass catcher), but he plays is a real tough division and he is injury prone, so I passed on him.
Fifth Pick (#43). Options: Ben Roethlisberger, Alfred Morris, Greg Olsen. If Brees was taken, my plan was to get Roethlisberger here, but that wasn't necessary. I was really high on Morris because it's a contract year for him and he plays in a division with mediocre defenses, but he had a lousy preseason and the ongoing problems at QB on that team just made me pass at this time. I wasn't expecting to take a TE this early, but Greg Olsen is going to be the #1 target for Cam Newton this year now that Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season. I wouldn't be surpised if he surpasses last year's 1,000 yard receiving and ends up with more TDs than Jimmy Graham by the end of the year.
Sixth Pick (#58). Options: Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman, Golden Tate, Amari Cooper. I'm really glad I got Olsen because my original plan was to take Bennett in the sixth, but he was taken with the 55th pick. I was also lucky because even though all three of these receives had a M-ADP lower than this pick, all were still available! I ended up picking Julian Edelman because he has been such a key part of the New England offense and Tom Brady's suspension was overturned. Edelman has also been battling an injury, but I am confident he'll be fine by the start of the season.
Seventh Pick (#63). Options: Golden Tate, Amari Cooper, Jarvis Landry, Vincent Jackson. Amari Cooper, who I think has a legitimate shot to be rookie of the year, was taken 60th so he was off the board. I ended up taking Golden Tate, another great WR2 who has WR1 upside if Megatron gets injured again. I have an amazing group of receivers right now with Cobb, Hilton, Edelman and Tate!
Eigth Pick (#78). Options: Defense, CJ Spiller, Jason Witten, Eric Decker. I am in desperate need for a second running back, but I want to snag an elite defense. M-ADP for the defenses starts in the low 80s but of course there's a run before this turn. Seattle, Buffalo, Denver, Houston and Philadelphia all go before I get a chance to pick. Given that I can't get a top 3 defense, I decide to bail on this strategy, but I can't believe that Tom Brady is still sitting on the board. I end up taking Brady as my QB2, which is awesome! After the draft was over I ended up starting Brady over Brees for week 1 because Brady is at home against an average defense versus Brees who travels to Arizona against a quality defense. Both Witten and Decker are superflous at this point as I am in a good place in both positions, so I don't need them. CJ Spiller is still on the board and I hope he lasts another 6 spots.
Ninth Pick (#83). Options: CJ Spiller, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith. My luck pays off as CJ Spiller doesn't get picked and I get my RB2. I consider this my biggest bet of the draft as he is injury prone, but if he can stay healthy his PPR value is significant! Even if this doesn't work out, having a bust 9th round pick doesn't really concern me. I don't need any wide receivers at this time.
Tenth Pick (#98). Options: Giovani Bernard, Joique Bell, Martavis Bryant. At this point I need more Running Backs! Giovani is available and I take him. I get another RB who is a prolific catcher and he has RB1 potential if Jeremy Hill is injured. I figure he'll get about 30% of the snaps this season, so he's a great value at this point.
Eleventh Pick (#103). Options: Joique Bell, Shane Vereen, Marques Colston. Even though Joique Bell has a M-ADP of 110, he is taken right after I take Bernard. So I end up taking Shane Vereen as my fourth RB. I have another RB who catches passes and plays behind an injury prone RB. Vereen has his own injury history, but I think he has a good potential to start at sometime this season.
Twelveth Pick (#118). At this point my starters are set and my bench has good options, so I'm looking for guys who offer significant upside. It comes to my pick and Martavis Bryant is still available. This guy is the #2 WR on the Steelers but he's serving a 4 game suspension. I'm deep enough at WR to keep this guy on my bench until week 5 and once he's back he is a legitimate WR2! Fantastic value here!
Thirteenth Pick (#123). I'm still hunting for deep value and I see that Zach Ertz is still available. He had groin surgery recently and we are unsure of his week 1 status. I really want someone from the Eagles on my offense this season and this guy is a great choice! At worst, I need this guy by week 5 to cover for Chris Olsen during his bye week and hopefully he'll be healthy by then.
Fourteenth Pick (#138). My intention from the beginning is to get 3 QBs on my team. The bench is deep enough to allow this (8 slots). Last year I got burned because I had Nick Foles as my QB (who was a complete bust at his position and then got injured). My backup QB was no good either but there weren't any good options on the waiver wire. I ended up running the remainder of my season with Mark Sanchez as my QB, who did a respectable job, but in this league the QB is king and I ended up missing the playoffs even though the rest of my team was awesome! I ended up in 5th place (fourth in points) and I do not want that to happen again.
Fifteenth Pick (#143). Were down to the final three picks. I'm grabbing Knile Davis as Jamaal Charles' hadcuff on the final pick so I need to grab a defense. I decide to play the matchup for the rest of the season. This has served me well, over the past two seasons I just pick up whoever is playing Jacksonville and I've done great! This season I have a couple of solid options. The New York Jets get to play the Browns at home in week 1 and Carolina is at Jacksonville! I end up picking the Jets at home because I think there is a good possibility of a shut out. The Jets have a lousy week 2 opponent (@ Colts) so I'll have to find another team for next week.
Sixteenth Pick (#158). I need a kicker and I'm bummed when Mason Crosby is taken as somebody's second kicker (sucker!). I end up with Randy Bullock of the Houston Texans. I'm not thrilled with this but they are a dome team and they play in a division not known for their defenses (AFC South: Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville). If Houston's offense is as bad as I think it will be, I may need to find another kicker.
Seventeenth Pick (#163). I grab Knile Davis as a handcuff for Jamaal Charles.
I ended up with the #1 rated team in my draft. Now, that is partially skewed by the fact that I'm the only team to have 3 QBs but even removing that I have more projected points than anyone else. My QB situation is rock solid as I have a pair of elite QB1s to choose from each week and Cutler available should both my veterans go down. My Wide Receivers consist of two WR1s and three legitimate WR2s, solid as a rock! Both my Tight Ends are great and Zach Ertz should be a big contributor once he's healthy again. My biggest concern is with Running Backs. Jamaal Charles is fantastic but everyone else is a question mark. I don't intend to start more than two Running Backs each week so this shouldn't be much of a problem but I'm going to be looking for emerging running backs during the course of this season. Last year I traded for Andre Ellington (who was a great option until he got injured) and I picked Justin Forsett up off the waiver wire.
One important thing is I had a strategy going in. I wanted to maximize PPR and have an elite QB and I got both in spades. Everyone on this team is a ball catcher and every catch is worth 10 rushing yards based on how the league scores points. So I don't need a guy to rush for 100 yards each week, he can rush for 50 and get 5 catches and I get the same amount of points. I'm excited to see what this team can do!