Monday, June 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Mock Draft - Complete

So here's the full fantasy football draft article, as per my promise from over the weekend. And don't worry; there'll be a retort to Golf-Lover Joe soon enough.

It’s never too early to start talking fantasy football, so that’s exactly what I’m about to do. I’ve already participated in several mock drafts; despite what you might think, you really don’t know anything until you get into a draft and see what happens.

What follows is my most recent foray, and I learned a lot from the first few that helped me figure out how to go into this one. I’ll be posting a new round once or twice daily (on weekdays) until we’ve got them all. Some quick math says the whole draft should be posted by the end of the month. I provide some tips as I go through the draft, but you should realize pretty quickly what my strategy this year is going to be. Want a clue? Don’t do what I’ve been telling you to do.

My picks are bolded …like this:

Round 1
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. Brian Westbrook
  4. Steven Jackson
  5. Joseph Addai
  6. Randy Moss
  7. Marion Barber
  8. Tom Brady
  9. Peyton Manning
  10. Frank Gore
Analysis: Historically, I’ve advised taking running backs in at least 2 of the first 3 rounds, and 3 of the first 5. And that can work. But this year, if you’re after pick #5, your first round pick probably needs to not be a running back. You can logically take Marion Barber, but think about this. Even if you take Barber or Gore, the people at picks 1-5 still have an advantage over you at RB. But if you grab Moss, Brady, Manning, or Reggie Wayne (and I rank them in that order), you can reliably say that you’ll have one of the two best players at that position. Think you’ll take a hit at running back? Maybe, but let’s see how things pan out.

Round 2
  1. Willis McGahee
  2. Clinton Portis
  3. Reggie Wayne
  4. Marshawn Lynch
  5. Larry Johnson
  6. Ryan Grant
  7. Terrell Owens
  8. Maurice Jones-Drew
  9. Andre Johnson
  10. Tony Romo
Analysis: This pick probably befuddles you even more than the first one. A couple of high level running backs are still around in Johnson and Grant, but we went with Wayne to lock in one of the most reliable and productive options at WR over the past five years. His numbers are right up there with the best in football, and he’s essentially taken over the #1 slot from Harrison. Owens is a fine pick here as well, but you just never know with Owens. Wayne is a lock. Still no running back, and you’re probably telling your children to hide their eyes from how this team will look in the end.

Round 3
  1. San Diego DEF
  2. Braylon Edwards
  3. Steve Smith
  4. Laurence Maroney
  5. Larry Fitzgerald
  6. Brandon Jacobs
  7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  8. Ronnie Brown
  9. Marques Colston
  10. Plaxico Burress
Analysis: So there he is, my first running back selection of the draft. I’m a big fan of Ronnie Brown; I think last year we just saw the beginning of what he can be. He’s a big time player in the running and passing games, and barring another injury, should be a great pick at this point in the draft. Is he Tomlinson? No. But you know, statistically, he was right there with Tomlinson before he got hurt, so you can feel good about Brown, despite not feeling good about the Dolphins (as none do).

Round 4
  1. Anquan Boldin
  2. Jamal Lewis
  3. Chad Johnson
  4. Torry Holt
  5. Brandon Marshall
  6. Drew Brees
  7. Wes Welker
  8. Derek Anderson
  9. Michael Turner
  10. Antonio Gates
Analysis: Around now is probably when you’d throw your hands in the air and say, “I don’t know what he’s thinking. Michael Turner was still out there, he could’ve locked up another starting running back!” Turner sure was out there, along with Darren McFadden and Willie Parker, but take a look at all the other teams. Six teams went with my (and most guys’) traditional strategy, and had two running backs by the end of the third round, including five of the seven teams that would pick before my next pick. They don’t want to get left behind at WR or QB, so they’ll be filling those positions over the next two rounds, as well as the occasional tight end. That means running backs will fall. Meanwhile, the drop-off at wide receiver after Johnson and Holt was severe. Johnson is younger, so I took him.

Round 5
  1. Jason Witten
  2. Carson Palmer
  3. Greg Jennings
  4. Roy Williams
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Santonio Holmes
  7. Ben Roethlisberger
  8. Kellen Winslow
  9. Marvin Harrison
  10. Tony Gonzalez
Analysis: After all of my talk about how Turner, McFadden, or Parker would fall to me, sure enough, Parker did. And then I passed on him. How could I do something so incredibly stupid (or brilliant)? With Gates and Witten off the board, and many teams having filled a number of skill positions, tight ends figured to start going soon. Winslow is my favorite fantasy tight end after Gates, so I took a chance on Parker dropping through four picks by two guys who both had two starting RBs already. Does it work?

Round 6
  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Roddy White
  3. Willie Parker
  4. Dwayne Bowe
  5. Donovan McNabb
  6. Hines Ward
  7. Dallas Clark
  8. Joey Galloway
  9. Lee Evans
  10. Reggie Bush
Analysis: The answer is yes, my gambit worked. Parker slid four more picks (including one tight end pick) and was available in the sixth round, one year after being a top 10 pick in most drafts. Needless to say, I’m happy to have him. So where do I go now, with one WR slot, kicker, and defense open? Stay tuned.

Round 7
  1. Thomas Jones
  2. Chris Cooley
  3. Donald Lee
  4. Matt Hasselbeck
  5. Laveranues Coles
  6. Jeremy Shockey
  7. Vernon Davis
  8. Earnest Graham
  9. Minnesota DEF
  10. Marc Bulger
Analysis: I go for another running back, of course. Listen, I wasn’t wrong back in my early days to tell you that you need to load up on running back. You do. But you have to make the right picks at the right times, and any poker player will tell you that the way to make money is to act in a way that’s different from everyone else at the table. So, early on when everyone is loading up on RBs, you take WRs and a QB. Then later, when people need WRs and QBs, you go for that running back depth. You should try to enter every season with at least 4 starting running backs. Graham was very effective in the second half of last season, and figures to be on top of the depth chart in Tampa Bay. I’ll take him.

Round 8
  1. Donald Driver
  2. Heath Miller
  3. New England DEF
  4. Chicago DEF
  5. New York Giants DEF
  6. Benjamin Watson
  7. Pittsburgh DEF
  8. Rashard Mendenhall
  9. Dallas DEF
  10. Edgerrin James
Analysis: A lot of the time, I’m not in favor of picking up defenses early. But with as bad as the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets offenses might be, and with solid talent all over, the Patriots defense is compelling. In retrospect, I might have been better off taking Mendenhall and locking up the Steelers’ running back situation, but I had hoped I could wait another round for him. Oh well, that’s the nature of a fantasy football draft. You analyze risk versus reward and hope for the best. I’m not mad about getting New England’s defense. Not mad at all.

Round 9
  1. Patrick Crayton
  2. Nick Folk
  3. Green Bay DEF
  4. Shayne Graham
  5. Jacksonville DEF
  6. Adam Vinatieri
  7. Nate Kaeding
  8. Chris Chambers
  9. LenDale White
  10. Rudi Johnson
Analysis: Not too much to say at this point, just filling out my team with depth where I believe it to be most worthwhile. Chambers is a solid veteran who probably won’t explode for big time stats, but should be a nice reliable option to round out the starting wideouts. I looked at Rudi Johnson here, but decided that situation was too murky to get involved in.

Round 10
  1. Stephen Gostkowski
  2. Bobby Engram
  3. Jerricho Cotchery
  4. Jonathan Stewart
  5. Matt Forte
  6. Eli Manning
  7. Kevin Smith
  8. Mason Crosby
  9. Fred Taylor
  10. Jake Delhomme
Analysis: I’m a little bit ashamed to say it, but I’m a Jets fan, so I like to grab one or two every year, since they’re normally not too expensive and can sometimes be a nice surprise. Cotchery has had back-to-back solid seasons, so there’s reason for optimism here.

Round 11
  1. Rob Bironas
  2. Kevin Curtis
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. David Garrard
  5. Bernard Berrian
  6. Jay Cutler
  7. Santana Moss
  8. Julius Jones
  9. Reggie Williams
  10. Todd Heap
Analysis: More evidence to suggest that drafting running backs early, especially in a public league, can be a mistake. Jones is likely going to be getting the majority of carries in Seattle, and here he is sitting there at my pick in the eleventh round. I’m happy.

Round 12
  1. Philip Rivers
  2. Vince Young
  3. Javon Walker
  4. Anthony Gonzalez
  5. Reggie Brown
  6. David Akers
  7. Owen Daniels
  8. Justin Fargas
  9. Matt Schaub
  10. D.J. Hackett
Analysis: This was after the news came out about Walker getting beaten up and robbed in Las Vegas, so that may explain why he fell so far. But he’s got #1 receiver talent and the opportunity to prove it. I have to think that he’ll feel more comfortable and perform better after getting out of Denver, where his friend and teammate Darrent Williams was shot and killed right in front of him. Hopefully the recent attack hasn’t done any permanent damage, and Walker can get back to doing what he does best, which is catch touchdowns.

Round 13
  1. Josh Scobee
  2. Nate Burleson
  3. Derrick Mason
  4. Jerry Porter
  5. Tennessee DEF
  6. Bryant Johnson
  7. Tony Scheffler
  8. Selvin Young
  9. Josh Brown
  10. Baltimore DEF
Analysis: Not much to analyze, just taking a chance on a potential starting running back. I’ve only got one starting position left open (kicker), and I think you all know when to get a kicker.

Round 14
  1. Ronald Curry
  2. Desmond Clark
  3. John Kitna
  4. Jason Campbell
  5. Alge Crumpler
  6. Ted Ginn
  7. Isaac Bruce
  8. Joe Jurevicius
  9. Greg Olsen
  10. Terry Glenn
Analysis: Kitna was the twelfth best quarterback last year, and the offense figures to be high-flying once again, if for no other reason than the Lions still have no defense and a bunch of quality receivers. For one or two weeks out of a season, I’m comfortable handing things over to Kitna.

Round 15
  1. Donte Stallworth
  2. Phil Dawson
  3. Shaun Alexander
  4. Seattle DEF
  5. Felix Jones
  6. Neil Rackers
  7. Indianapolis DEF
  8. Leon Washington
  9. Arizona DEF
  10. DeAngelo Williams
Analysis: Exactly. A couple of previous comments of mine come to fruition here. First, when I said you know when to take a kicker, the answer is, “after the draft.” Don’t draft a kicker, because in the past three years, the best kickers in fantasy football have been Mason Crosby, Robbie Gould, and Neil Rackers, none of whom was drafted at any reliable rate in that year’s drafts. Just grab a kicker right before the season starts, and always be willing to rotate them out. They’re worthless. Second, I’ve taken another New York Jet, and Washington is a guy I really like. I’m hoping they give him at least a 50/50 split, because Washington has great potential to be a fantasy force.

Final Roster
QB – Tom Brady
RB – Ronnie Brown
RB – Willie Parker
WR – Reggie Wayne
WR – Chad Johnson
WR – Chris Chambers
TE – Kellen Winslow
K – open
DEF – New England

BN – Jon Kitna
BN – Earnest Graham
BN – Julius Jones
BN – Selvin Young
BN – Leon Washington
BN – Jerricho Cotchery

Analysis: I love this team. Not like, love. Having two great wide receivers puts me above most other teams in that regard, and Tom Brady should be as good as anyone under center. And nobody can argue that a combo of Ronnie Brown and Willie Parker can’t be one of the best 1-2 punches in your league. Between Graham, Young, and Jones, I should have two starting running backs on my bench, and Cotchery can fill in as needed for bye weeks and such. LOVE.


Chip said...

who do you drop when its time to pick up a kicker?

Obviously, that's a decision that can wait until the NFL season kick-off, but its a decision you're going to have to make, unless you don't want to start a kicker.

GoodPointJoe said...

You're not going to leave your kicker slot empty, (if you're in an archaic league that still has kickers) so yes, you'll make that decision before the season starts.

But you give yourself an extra horse in the RB races, from which a surprise always emerges. Holding onto an extra running back lets you monitor an extra situation to see who ends up getting the jobs. Like with this team, Selvin Young, Leon Washington, and Julius Jones would be on the chopping block, depending on how training camp and preseason pans out. One of them would be the most likely player dropped to acquire a kicker.

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