As we approach the busiest time for Fantasy drafts before the season gets underway, there will be a lot of strategy pieces coming your way. Tons of news, information, and player movement will be crammed into the next few weeks.
All of these strategies will force you to take a direction, having a higher ranked player at one position than at another. There is no avoiding this in a snake drafted league.
So for the purposes of this article I used my draft from the SCFE and readers league for rushingforjude.org. In this draft I have the 12th pick, and I chose to use it on Andrew Luck for your reading pleasure. This is a half point PPR league, long play bonuses. No defense or kickers, thank goodness.
So as I said, Andrew Luck was my first pick overall. Before my pick came up there were six running backs off the board. Gronk went with the sixth overall pick in this league. By simple math, there were four wide receivers off the board. The best available running backs on the board were Jeremy Hill, Matt Forte, and DeMarco Murray. The best receivers available were Odell Beckham Jr., Randall Cobb, Calvin Johnson, and A.J. Green. So knowing that I have back to back picks and will still be able to take one of the other players listed, I decided to take Luck and see what happens.
Drafting a Quarterback in the First Round
Now that I grabbed Andrew Luck with my first pick, let’s take a look at how the rest of my draft turned out.
The second round pick was merely a matter of preference to me
I am not a big fan of any of the remaining running backs in this round. I would rather wait until later and pick up a few value guys at running back. From there I will back-fill with the lottery ticket running backs that have big upside and low floors.
So we are looking at a receiver in round two. I am not on board with Calvin Johnson … health and trust issues for me. I do own him in a league, but I’m not looking to draft him unless he drops pretty far. The Beckham and Cobb decision is a toss up to me. Cobb obviously has a great situation once Jordy Nelson went down, but I don’t see that as a huge jump as some might expect. The last guy I am interested in with pick 2.01 in this draft is Odell Beckham Jr. His situation is seeming to be pretty similar to last season. Victor Cruz hasn’t played a snap in anger, Reuben Randle has been hurt and James Jones is old and a marginal talent at this point. Beckham was so explosive last year and he is our choice to gamble on with this pick.
It’s a long time between the start of round two and the end of round three
So much talent comes off the board. The receivers and running backs are fairly decimated. The best available players on the board at running back are Carlos Hyde, Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, and Joseph Randle. At the wide receiver position the best available players are Keenan Allen, Andre Johnson, Julian Edleman, and Golden Tate. There is not a lot that makes me jump up and down in those player lists. So I take a look at the tight end position and find that Jimmy Graham is still available. Looking at my team construction, I have the top quarterback, a top seven wide receiver, and adding Graham will give my team the second best tight end.
The team is coming together a little better than I had expected it to. Some solid players in the first three spots. This is the time to grab a running back before the second tier is gone. I don’t trust either of the two rookies that were on this list. I am not a Randle fan either, and the morning of writing this, Dallas has announced that they will be using a running back by committee.
So the obvious choice for me is to grab up Carlos Hyde. Hyde has been getting some hype as of late as a player that can play on all three downs. With Frank Gore out of the way, and an aging Reggie Bush behind him, Hyde seems likely to get a lot of touches this season. Matthew Berry tweeted a good stat the other day: Hyde played 61% of his snaps on third down last season. This makes him a likely candidate for being a three down back.
The end of round five sees much value gone
It has been interesting drafting in an analyst leagues versus the mock draft simulator from Fantasy Pros. Much of the value picks I would normally be making in mid-to-late rounds come off the board much earlier. So when we get to my pick, the best available running backs are Arian Foster, Giovani Bernard, and Chris Ivory. The best wide outs are Nelson Agholor, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, Roddy White, and Larry Fitzgerald.
With my back to back picks at the end of round five and six, I decided to take a gamble with one, and take a high upside rookie with the other. The round five pick went to Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver taken in the first round by a team with a high powered, high tempo offense. Sign me up! As my second wide receiver, I could do worse. I could have taken Marshall in this spot, but I grabbed him in another of my leagues and I wanted to diversify my shares. The round six pick went to Arian Foster. The recent news on Foster has been positive. As a sixth round pick, you won’t find much better value than a top tier running back that might only miss two or three games. Foster is a game changer. Welcome aboard.
Round seven and eight bring about the need to address a hole
This team has a need at running back. The best available running backs are Duke Johnson, Ryan Mathews, Isaiah Crowell, Devonta Freeman, Alfred Blue, David Cobb, and Tre Mason. This team needs to take two backs to bolster the roster. With Foster out, only one starter for week one is on the team. With the list of players here I pick one of my favorite rookie running backs, and a guy who has a decent role that could become a huge role. Duke Johnson is a definite favorite of mine. Drafting a running back tells you that Cleveland is not thrilled with their current situation. Johnson has some good publicity, and as long as he can stay healthy, will likely get a shot behind a pretty good run blocking offensive line.
Ryan Mathews has been projected by many to get about 30% of the touches for the Eagles this season. This is good news. The fact that Mathews is playing behind DeMarco Murray gives his ceiling a boost. Murray had a ton of touches last season. Often this will lead to either a slowdown in production, or in many cases injuries the next season. If Murray goes down, Mathews would be running behind the line that Pro Football Focus had rated number one last season.
Round nine and 10 bring about a new need at a different spot for this lineup
The wide receiver position is definitely thin for this team. It is time to find some values in these picks, and then in the latter parts of the draft fill value at both running back and wide receiver. So at the time of writing this my picks came up. I checked the running back values and there weren’t any that slipped through to make me change my mind. So wide receiver is my way to go. The best available wide receivers on the board are Torrey Smith, DeVante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham, DeAndre Smelter, Kendall Wright, Darren Waller, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills, and Phillip Dorsett.
Not a lot to love on this list. Most of these guys are young and some have bad quarterback situations. Some are simply players I will not have on my teams. I wrote about Torrey Smith earlier this season, so he’s out for me. I decided to take two rookies that have good upside. One is on an offense on the rise, and the other is a man amongst boys who had his stock drop due to issues off the field. My selections are DeVante Parker and Dorial Green-Beckham. After drafting a quarterback first, this is what you might find in the late rounds of your leagues.
Now that you are up to date on this slow draft on myfantasyleague.com, I can tell you what the future plans are for this team. The rest of the rounds of this draft will be filled with the best running back and receiver depth that can be found. I will probably take a flier on the Packers Ty Montgomery. Buck Allen is another on my list. With the age of Justin Forsett, and Lorenzo Taliaferro being hurt, Buck is the next one up. If he falls to me, I will be taking Pierre Garcon with my next pick, but I don’t think he will.
So as you can see from the first 10 rounds of this draft, when you are drafting a quarterback first, it can be hard to field a well-rounded team without a little luck, no pun intended. You can hold an advantage at one position, get a good player at another, but might fall short in overall talent. It isn’t a strategy I favor, but you can field a competitive team if things break the right way.