The annual FSTA Fantasy Football Experts draft is the ignition-starting event of the Fantasy Football 18-wheeler.
This group of 14 (so-called) experts has an enormous influence when it comes to setting Average Draft Positions along with identifying sleepers and busts.
When you factor in the amount of reach with the representatives from such mediums as ESPN, RotoWire and USA Today then you are really finding out what the average player will be using as their cheat sheet guidelines.
This is a 14-team, PPR league with a starting lineup of: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE), 1 K and 1 DEF, with six bench spots.
The two things that standout to me are the PPR and the fact you can start up to FOUR wide-outs a week. As you will soon see in my PPR Draft Strategy article, I do not think any running back is worthy of a first round pick in this scoring setup.
Let’s take a look at the draft and see the strategies in play. The participants are, in draft order:
- Mike Clay, ESPN
- Greg Ambrosius/Tom Kessenich, Stats Inc., NFFC
- Brett Baker/Ty Ward, Big Game Software
- Chris Liss, Rotowire
- Steve Gardner, USA Today Sports Weekly
- Charlie Weigert, CDM Sports
- Nando DiFino, FNTSY
- Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton/Stacie Stern, Colton & The Wolfman
- Ray Flowers, SiriusXM Fantasy Drive / Fantasy Alarm
- Jeff Mans & Ted Schuster, Fantasy Alarm
- Cory Bonini/Ryan Bonini, USA Today Sports
- John Hanse, SiriusXM Fantasy Football
- Anthony Perri, Fantistics
- Mike Dempsey/Bob Harris, Football Die Hards (Defending champs)
2016 Fantasy Football FSTA Draft
Overall Observations on the Experts
You can follow along with the draft by clicking the image of the draft board below.
- Times have definitely changed with the “expert” community: there were eight wide receivers taken in the first round (including four of the first five picks) and only five running backs.
- Only two teams went with the nostalgic RB/RB theory to start. I’m all about getting the best value and if it was two backs to start, okay… but there were better values on the board for both teams.
- Three teams went some sort of Zero-RB Strategy without taking a back in the first three rounds.
- Like almost every analyst draft these days, no quarterbacks were taken until Round 4.
- In a 14-team league, the tight end pool get extremely shallow after the middle tier of guys; a few of the teams ended up with Jordan Cameron, Eric Ebron, Jason Witten and Kyle Rudolph as their top-TE options.
- TEN defenses went before the next to last round! Defensive scoring is mostly standard- 2 points for turnovers, one point per sack, six points for touchdowns- but the points against is a little different. A defense gets six Fantasy Points for a shutout and three points for allowing 2-10 points against them. I’d have to do some in-depth research, but I feel like that would make defenses more interchangeable since they cannot lose you points by giving up too many themselves.
- TEN kickers went before the last round. Or you know, ahead of lottery tickets like James Starks, Ka’Deem Carey, and Alfred Morris.
Antonio Brown should be the consensus first pick in any PPR draft. I really like Clay’s first four picks of Brown, LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and Danny Woodhead, but he reached for too much upside on DeVante Parker and Laquon Treadwell. He will have to start both in this format and there is too much inconsistency there for me.
Best Value: Danny Woodhead, Round 4, Pick 14
Worst Value: DeVante Parker, 5-1 – I would have definitely gone with Dion Lewis or Giovani Bernard in this PPR format.
Greg Ambrosius/Tom Kessenich
In my opinion, Ambrosius/Kessenich had the best first five rounds of the draft. Three receivers who have a good chance at finishing as WR1’s, a Top-3 tight end, and a running back who will probably lead all backs in catches if he stays healthy. The rest of their running backs leave something to be desired however.
Best Value: Dion Lewis, 5-2
Worst Value: Willie Snead, 6-13 – I’m all about best player available, but taking a bench player who might not score more than the running backs he passed up (Charles Sims, Jonathan Stewart, Ameer Abdullah) could be their downfall.
Brett Baker/Ty Ward
Baker/Ward was one of the two RB/RB drafters, picking up LeVeon Bell and Doug Martin. This actually worked out decently for them (if you are a Martin believer, I am not) as they snagged some solid receiving options in the next three rounds. I might have picked up my Flex starter instead of Big Ben Roethlisberger in the sixth round though.
Best Value: Jarvis Landry, 3-3
Worst Value: Doug Martin, 2-12 – I would have picked either McCoy or Eddie Lacy instead of Martin if I wanted to go RB, but definitely would have scooped up Randall Cobb or T.Y. Hilton.
The RotoWire representative could have the best team in the league if the Denver offense is potent. Moreover, if C.J. Anderson finishes as a Top-5 running back then I think Liss wins the league. His wide receiver depth is unmatched, and if Kamar Aiken starts hot or Josh Gordon actually plays, he will be able to trade for a RB-upgrade.
Picking No. 4 in the upcoming FSTA draft. Will take Lev Bell or Odell Beckham whichever one they leave for me.
— Christopher Liss (@Chris_Liss) June 13, 2016
Best Value: Demaryius Thomas, 2-11
Worst Value: C.J. Anderson, 3-4 – If Liss went with Edelman here, and then snagged Woodhead (the closest running back to his next pick) this would have been an absolutely perfect draft.
This team could end up being sneaky good-one of those teams that no one really said much or made remarks about good picks he made but there is not many holes. Tyler Eifert will have to maintain his absurd TD%, Mark Ingram/DeSean Jackson will have to stay healthy and Eddie Lacy will have to stay off the buffets, but if just a couple of those things happen, Gardner is dangerous.
Best Value: James Starks, 14-10 (22nd in PPR points among RB’s last season, went as the 66th back off the board)
Worst Value: Mark Ingram, 2-10 – There were a lot of receiving options that provided more guaranteed value still on the board.
This is the All-Comeback team as all five of his first picks missed games due to a significant injury last season. If they all come back healthy then Wiegert’s got a chance to contend. If even a couple of them falter, he has got no hope due to his lack of depth. You do not see many “experts” draft two quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses each.
Best Value: Julian Edelman, 3-6
Worst Value: Chiefs DEF, 13-6 – I mean seriously, who takes two defenses anymore? Give me the next pick, Darren Sproles, any day of the week.
This is a low-upside, high floor team to me. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that-he might go 9-5 and make the playoffs. I just think it would need a good amount of luck in the playoffs, or Andrew Luck to go crazy.
Best Value: A.J. Green, 1-7
Worst Value: Tavon Austin, 7-7 – There was still some solid pass-catching backs available, and the team already had three solid receivers.
— Fantasy Sports Radio (@SiriusXMFantasy) June 13, 2016
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton/Stacie Stern
These three were the only drafters to take running backs in each of the first three rounds. I don’t hate going Adrian Peterson and Lamar Miller in the first two rounds, but DeMarco Murray in the third put this team behind the 8-ball. Their second best receiver (of which they MUST start 3) is a one of Corey Coleman, Travis Benjamin, Mike Wallace or Terrance Williams. This is the perfect example of how quickly consistent receiving options are gone once you get to rounds 4-5.
Best Value: Aaron Rodgers, 5-8
Worst Value: DeMarco Murray, 3-8 – Give me Golden Tate or Kelvin Benjamin.
I would imagine that Flowers would change his first pick if he had to do it all over again. He ended up with Matt Forte, Duke Johnson and Melvin Gordon, all solid starting options after the third round. His starting tight end is Kyle Rudolph. If he goes with Rob Gronkowski instead of the over-hyped David Johnson, his team is the odds-on favorite.
Best Value: Duke Johnson, 6-6
Worst Value: David Johnson, 1-9 – See above
Jeff Mans/Ted Schuster
This All-Rookie team drafted three rookies in their first eight picks, and five overall. I love the wide receiver corps of high upside rookies with consistent, wily veterans. They will need one of their Baltimore backs to step up and Ryan Mathews/Tony Romo to stay healthy, but this team should definitely contend.
Best Value: Tony Romo, 11-10
Worst Value: Ryan Mathews, 3-10
— Fantasy Sports Radio (@SiriusXMFantasy) June 13, 2016
Cory Bonini/Ryan Bonini
The Bonini brothers pulled the trigger on Ezekiel Elliott in the first round of this experts’ draft. I love that they covered their bases with Darren McFadden as well as some other pass-catching backs that could end up starting: Devontae Booker, DeAndre Washington and Cameron Artis-Payne. They will have to fight off regression from Allen Hurns and hope for a breakout from either Dorial Green-Beckham or Tyler Lockett.
Best Value: Matt Ryan, 13-11
Worst Value: Matt Jones, 3-11 – They could have gone Jordan Reed here and not lost much with their running backs, but also not had to start Jordan Cameron.
Hansen has the keys to my Fantasy Heart. I loved almost every pick he made. He did not stick to a set strategy, just took the best value available and ended up with the most well-rounded team. Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Hill provide starting carries against his three pass-catchers Ameer Abdullah, Shane Vereen and C.J. Spiller. He got two top targets in Dez Bryant and Jordan Matthews while still getting a solid starter in Marvin Jones with two high upside guys (Nelson Agholor, Robert Woods). He managed to snag Jimmy Graham as a backup tight end since Reed has his injury history. Oh and he got the probably top points-per-game quarterback in the 8th round.
Best Value: Tom Brady, 8-12
Worst Value: I guess taking the Vikings DEF over Starks or Jay Cutler at 14-3 but we are just nit-picking now.
When drafting with experts like this, you can see what happens to the team that breaks the quarterback bubble. Perri took Cam Newton in the fourth round which seems like good value, but he really sacrificed the rest of his team by going tight end the next round. If he could have picked up Jay Ajayi or Duke Johnson instead of Travis Kelce, he could have mitigated the lack of depth. Even more so, he didn’t need a second quarterback but took Matthew Stafford instead of a late-round back or receiver.
Best Value: Allen Robinson, 1-13 (not many options here, but I would take Robinson at least a few spots higher)
Worst Value: Travis Kelce, 5-13 – See above
Mike Dempsey/Bob Harris
The defending champions of the league were not far behind John Hansen with their superb draft. They pulled two stud receivers and another quality starter in the first three rounds while stocking their running back cupboard. My one issue is drafting the Seahawks Defense in the 11th round. They could have added more depth with C.J. Spiller, Tyler Boyd or Chris Johnson but chose to go defense.
Best Value: Delanie Walker, 6-1
Worst Value: Seahawks DEF, 11-14
Hopefully you gained some insight to what the analyst community is thinking as we get closer to draft season!
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