Win. Your. League.

Receive 3 Free Downloads More Details

Footballguys Staff Mock Draft 5, 12 team FPC scoring TE 1.5 PPR, Dual Flex

On July 23rd the Footballguys staff got together for their fifth draft of 2016. A 12 team FPC scoring with TE 1.5 PPR and dual flex. Each participant answers questions about their selections and strategies, plus our Alex Miglio provides an in-depth unbiased strategy summary of each team's draft. 

LEAGUE PARAMETERS

  • 12 teams
  • 20 roster spots
  • Starting Lineup
    • 1 quarterback
    • 2 running backs
    • 2 wide receivers
    • 1 tight end
    • 2 flex (either a running back, wide receiver, or tight end)
    • 1 place kicker
    • 1 team defense

LEAGUE SCORING

  • Offensive Players
    • 4 points - passing touchdown
    • -1 points - interception thrown
    • 6 points - rushing/receiving touchdown
    • 0.05 points - passing yard
    • 0.1 points - rushing/receiving yard
    • 1 point - receptions (QB/RB/WR)
    • 1.5 points - receptions (TE)
  • Place Kickers
    • 3 points - field goal up to 30 yards
    • 0.1 points - each additional yard beyond 30
    • 1 point - each extra point
  • Team Defense
    • 6 points - touchdown
    • 2 points - turnover forced
    • 5 points - safety
    • 1 point - sack
    • 12 points - shutout
    • 8 points - 1-6 points allowed
    • 5 points - 7-10 points allowed

THE DRAFT ORDER

The draft order was randomly generated. After the first round, the draft continues in a regular serpentine manner. Click here for the Full Draft, pick by pick.

1. BJ Vanderwoude
2. Dan Hindery
3. Danny Tuccitto
4. Justin Howe
5. Will Grant
6. Clayton Gray
7. Andrew Katz
8. John Mamula
9. Chris Feery
10. Cian Fahey
11. Chris Kuczynski
12. John Lee 

Starting with BJ Vanderwoude from the 1.01 spot, we will go over each person's selections in the mock draft.

BJ Vanderwoude - Slot 1

Pick Ovr Selection
1.01 1 Brown, Antonio PIT WR
2.12 24 Olsen, Greg CAR TE
3.01 25 Ingram, Mark NOS RB
4.12 48 Lewis, Dion NEP RB
5.01 49 Baldwin, Doug SEA WR
6.12 72 Wilson, Russell SEA QB
7.01 73 Floyd, Michael ARI WR
8.12 96 Sims, Charles TBB RB
9.01 97 Allen, Dwayne IND TE
10.12 120 Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB
11.01 121 Thomas, Michael NOS WR (R)
12.12 144 Carr, Derek OAK QB
13.01 145 Boyd, Tyler CIN WR (R)
14.12 168 Agholor, Nelson PHI WR
15.01 169 Adams, Davante GBP WR
16.12 192 Texans, Houston HOU Def
17.01 193 McDonald, Vance SFO TE
18.12 216 Janis, Jeff GBP WR
19.01 217 Tucker, Justin BAL PK
20.12 240 Marshall, Keith WAS RB (R)

Overall Strategy

Completely balanced.

Best Pick

Greg Olsen, 2.12, TE3. Maybe the rest of the draft was asleep at the wheel, but the FFPC rules put a premium on tight ends. That is especially true for high-volume guys like Greg Olsen. The big Panthers tight end has averaged 115 targets per year with a 65.6 percent catch rate since joining the Panthers in 2012, and his target count has gone up each season. Olsen finished as the fifth-best tight end in this format last season, but only because three of the four ahead of him scored more touchdowns.

Worst Pick

Mark Ingram, 3.01, RB9. Following Olsen up with Mark Ingram seemed like a huge letdown. Drafting at the turn means having to make tough positional decisions early in the draft. Running backs are even less valuable in FFPC scoring, and Ingram is a risky proposition given his injury history and a crowded Saints backfield. Drafting another receiver would have meant dipping into a lower tier of running backs, to be sure, but Vanderwoude could have had an elite pass-catching start to his draft. That and Doug Martin was still available.

Evaluation

It seems Vanderwoude is stuck on the first pick of these mock drafts. This is one of the trickiest spots to draft because forecasting what other drafters might do takes a crystal ball. Vanderwoude drafted a solid squad headlined by Greg Olsen and Russell Wilson, who was a fantastic pick at the 6/7 turn. Depth at tight end could be a concern, especially considering fantasy owners can start two in this format. Dwayne Allen isn’t going to blow anyone away as a weekly option, and Vance McDonald dropped the phone when Vanderwoude called to say he was drafted.

post-draft questions

1. What was your strategy going into this draft with FPC rules and scoring? What one piece of advice would you give to someone drafting in an FPC league?

A.) The FPC scoring made me think long and hard about taking Rob Gronkowski with the first overall pick, but even with the 1.5 ppr for tight ends, I still felt Antonio Brown was the correct pick. I was targeting a tight end-- either Greg Olsen or Jordan Reed--at the second and third round swing picks, so I was happy to get Olsen. With the ability to play up to three tight ends in your starting lineup, it is very important to make sure you have at least two starting caliber options at the position, as it then gives you the flexibility to target the best player available in the second half of your drafts.

2. What players are you targeting in nearly all of your drafts this year? Explain why you're high on these players.

I have been drafting Doug Baldwin as my WR2/3 in most drafts and while it is surprising that he is consistently available to me, I am not in any way complaining. Baldwin broke out in a big way in 2015, finishing the season with 78 receptions for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns. This included an epic four game run where Baldwin scored 10 receiving touchdowns. Seattle's identity in the Pete Carroll era has been that of a run first team who depended on their defense to set them up with advantageous field position, but that was when they had Marshawn Lynch beast-modeing his way through the NFC West. With Lynch now retired, Seattle will lean on Russell Wilson much more in the passing game, and Baldwin will be the direct beneficiary as his #1 target. Baldwin saw six or more targets in 11 games last year, so with a much more open offensive game plan, he should have no problem duplicating his success of last season and finishing as one of the better values at the wide receiver position.

3. What's the most important factor when deciding who to draft as your starting quarterback for your team? What about your backup quarterback?

In one word, consistency. That goes for both your primary and secondary options. I look at quarterback as the one spot you do not want to be losing ground to each week, and that is due in main part to the myriad of valuable options available at the position. Consistency can be found in several different ways, whether it be by padding points through rushing yards and touchdowns (Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor), wide open spread offenses (Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck) or by focusing on teams that play from behind (Drew Brees, Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford). In H2H formats, I factor in weekly consistency first, then upside second, as a way to differentiate between players who have similar projections.

Dan Hindery - Slot 2

Pick Ovr Selection
1.02 2 Jones, Julio ATL WR
2.11 23 Reed, Jordan WAS TE
3.02 26 Marshall, Brandon NYJ WR
4.11 47 Hyde, Carlos SFO RB
5.02 50 Benjamin, Kelvin CAR WR
6.11 71 Lockett, Tyler SEA WR
7.02 74 Jones, Matt WAS RB
8.11 95 Jones, Marvin DET WR
9.02 98 Austin, Tavon RAM WR
10.11 119 Ivory, Chris JAC RB
11.02 122 Bennett, Martellus NEP TE
12.11 143 Cousins, Kirk WAS QB
13.02 146 Stafford, Matthew DET QB
14.11 167 Ferguson, Josh IND RB (R)
15.02 170 Booker, Devontae DEN RB (R)
16.11 191 Bengals, Cincinnati CIN Def
17.02 194 Wallace, Mike BAL WR
18.11 215 Hightower, Tim NOS RB
19.02 218 Collins, Alex SEA RB (R)
20.11 239 Walsh, Blair MIN PK

Overall Strategy

ZeroQB, light on early running backs.

Best Pick

Chris Ivory, 10.11, RB40. We are digging deeper here with this pick, but it was one of the best values in the draft. When employing a draft strategy that involves foregoing running backs early, making savvy mid-to-late-round picks is paramount. Ivory is such a pick for Hindery. Why is Ivory going so late? Yes, he has an injury history, and he has to contend with T.J. Yeldon in the Jaguars backfield. When he is on the field, though, Ivory has proven time and again to be a valuable fantasy asset.

Worst Pick

Carlos Hyde, 4.11, RB16. Footballguys rankers are all over the map on Carlos Hyde. Hindery just happened to catch an evaluator who is pretty far south on the 49ers running back. The San Francisco offense is simply not to be trusted, even under Chip Kelly. Is it possible Hyde breaks out in a new offense? Certainly. But taking him as the 16th running back off the board seems a bit hopeful at this point.  

Evaluation

He didn’t quite go ZeroRB, but Hindery obviously went away from the position early in favor of receivers and tight end. Jordan Reed near the end of the second round was a fabulous pickup, nearly the best pick of Hindery’s draft. He may have waited a bit long to take a quarterback--Kirk Cousins isn’t exactly inspiring as a fantasy starter--but Hindery’s team is well stocked everywhere else.

post-draft questions

1. Which would you rather have on your roster, a WR2 on a strong offense or a WR1 on a weak offense? Explain your answer.

It depends upon the specifics, but I generally get more excited about the upside of a WR1 on a weak offense (like my selection at 9.02 - Tavon Austin) than most WR2s. However, the situation I am really looking for after the first five rounds is a WR2 on a strong offense with a real opportunity to emerge as the WR1. Two of my favorite players who fit that description this year are Tyler Lockett (6.11) and Marvin Jones (8.11). Lockett is being drafted approximately two rounds after his teammate Doug Baldwin. But Lockett is more explosive and has built major buzz this offseason and could easily end up out producing Baldwin. Similarly, in Detroit, most assume Golden Tate will be the top target and he is going off the board three or four rounds earlier than Jones. However, Jones is a similar talent to Tate and is arguably a more well-rounded receiver due to his size and speed. Lions beat writers are already speculating that Jones will be the top receiver and his $40M contract indicates that he will be a big part of the Detroit passing offense that exploded over the second half of the 2015 season.

2. Six of your seven wide receivers were selected before the 10th round. Explain this strategy and why you chose to use it.

With the pass-heavy nature of today’s NFL, it is nearly impossible to win a PPR league without being stacked at wide receiver. Thus, it makes sense to load up on high-upside receivers in the first half of the draft. In this format, most weeks the best play will be to have four receivers in the starting lineup. With a pair of every week starters (Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall) and four other strong options for the final two spots (Kelvin Benjamin, Tyler Lockett, Marvin Jones and Tavon Austin), it would be easy to fill out a strong lineup every week.

Drafting WR-heavy in the first half of the draft also allows you to take more fliers on talented backup running backs in the second half of the draft. With the amount of injuries that occur at running back, chances are good that at least one of the late-round backs will make an impact.

It is also worth noting that draft position dictates much of your early-round strategy this year. Drafting second overall, it’s a no-brainer to take either Antonio Brown or Julio Jones. Then by 2.11/3.02, the top couple tiers of running backs are usually already off the board. Thus, you are left looking at pass catchers at the 2/3 turn unless you want to reach for a running back.

3. Pick one of the three rookie running backs you drafted and share why you like that player this year.

Colts rookie Josh Ferguson is one of my favorite late-round targets this year for a number of reasons. First, the Indianapolis running back depth chart is nearly devoid of talent behind Frank Gore. Ferguson has very little competition and should win the backup job fairly easily. Second, Ferguson is exactly the type of player who can make a major impact in PPR leagues even in a part-time role. The Indianapolis coaches have compared him to Darren Sproles. He also plays similarly to Dion Lewis and Theo Riddick. Ferguson could be a solid RB2/Flex option and bye week fill-in as the second back in what should be a prolific Colts offense. Lastly, Frank Gore is 33-years old. We have strong evidence that advancing age increases injury risk. The odds are good that at some point in 2016, Gore is going to miss some games. Ferguson, as the top back in Indianapolis, would be a must-start if that occurs.

Danny Tuccitto - Slot 3

Pick Ovr Selection
1.03 3 Beckham, Odell NYG WR
2.10 22 Charles, Jamaal KCC RB
3.03 27 McCoy, LeSean BUF RB
4.10 46 Forte, Matt NYJ RB
5.03 51 Tate, Golden DET WR
6.10 70 Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR
7.03 75 Gates, Antonio SDC TE
8.10 94 Seferian-Jenkins, Austin TBB TE
9.03 99 Rivers, Philip SDC QB
10.10 118 Aiken, Kamar BAL WR
11.03 123 Cameron, Jordan MIA TE
12.10 142 Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB (R)
13.03 147 Howard, Jordan CHI RB (R)
14.10 166 Britt, Kenny RAM WR
15.03 171 Smallwood, Wendell PHI RB (R)
16.10 190 Gostkowski, Stephen NEP PK
17.03 195 Bridgewater, Teddy MIN QB
18.10 214 Patton, Quinton SFO WR
19.03 219 Packers, Green Bay GBP Def
20.10 238 Mitchell, Malcolm NEP WR (R)

Overall Strategy

The opposite of ZeroRB.

Best Pick

Philip Rivers, 9.03, QB7. While Carson Palmer might have been a better choice here, picking up a starting quarterback with top-five potential in the ninth round was a coup for Tuccitto. Rivers was on fire last season before Keenan Allen went down with injury. Allen is back, and he is now flanked by speedster Travis Benjamin and rookie Hunter Henry backing up Antonio Gates. If the team can stay relatively healthy, Rivers is in for a big year.

Worst Pick

Matt Forte, 4.10, RB15. Taking Forte as the 15th running back off the board isn’t terrible at face value. Even if Bilal Powell is going to seriously cut into Forte’s fantasy production, the former Bear has been a consistent  producer. What makes this Tuccitto’s worst pick is that Forte is his third running back in the first four rounds.

Evaluation

Bucking the ZeroRB trend could be forward thinking on Tuccitto’s part. After all, zagging when everyone else is zigging has won many a fantasy football championship. The trio he grabbed at the top could be special, or it could be an abject disaster. Jamaal Charles is coming off his second torn ACL, LeSean McCoy may never recapture his magic, and Matt Forte is a 30-year-old likely stuck in a timeshare. Outside all that risk, though, Tuccitto built a solid squad.

post-draft questions

1. Eleven tight ends were selected in the first six rounds of the draft in this FPC scoring format, but you didn't take one until round seven. Explain how this strategy worked to your advantage.
 
I contemplated taking Rob Gronkowski at 1.03, but I just couldn't pass up having one of the Big 3 wide receivers, especially when I consider Odell Beckham, Jr., to be No. 2 out of those three. At 2.10, there were three factors that influenced why I didn't take one of the two tight ends in range, Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed. First, all I had to fade to get one of them was both being taken in the four picks between 2.10 and 3.03. I thought there was at least a 50/50 chance of that. Second, Jamaal Charles, my No. 13 overall player, was still on the board. Third, after seeing everyone going running back-crazy in Mock 4, where I had the 1.04 pick, I wasn't going to put myself in the same position again, where I'm stuck with unappealing RB1 options when it comes back to me at 4.10. Furthermore, and related to the first factor, I thought there was a better chance of Charles and LeSean McCoy both being selected in the next four picks than the chance of both Olsen and Reed being selected. Therefore, putting this all together, my strategy at the 2-3 turn was to go RB-TE rather than TE-RB.
 
I ended up being wrong, but that happens pretty frequently in 50/50 situations -- about 50 percent of the time, actually.
 
At 4.10, I was poised to take my go-to tight end this year, Coby Fleener, or even Zach Ertz, but both literally came off the board at 4.08 and 4.09. After that, my next tier of tight ends was a sea of similar faces, so whether I took one at 5.03, 6.10, or 7.03 didn't make much of a difference. And considering I was one of only three teams without a tight end at that point, I guessed that at least one player in that tier would still be around at the 6-7 turn. (I was right about that one!)
 
2. Who are some players that you are avoiding in drafts this year? Explain why your interest is minimal.
 
At quarterback, I have zero interest in one of the darlings of the #LateRoundQB crowd: Ryan Tannehill. The trutherism about his "breakout" season is approaching or has already exceeded Christine Michael levels. I get that the arrival of Adam Gase can only help, but Chase Stuart's research has always been compelling to me: It's exceedingly rare for quarterbacks that are average or below-average in their first 32 starts to become great quarterbacks later. Tannehill's 32nd start was in 2013! And in the interim two seasons, he stillhasn't posted even above-average stats, let alone great stats.
 
At running back, I tend to avoid certain backfields altogether, rather than certain players. In general, I target two types of backfields: 1) those with a clear lead dog and/or a backup likely to perform nearly as well if the lead dog gets hurt, and 2) true committees or those with a vague outlook but with one of its members likely to perform at an RB1 level if he's able to set himself apart from the pack. If a backfield isn't in one of these groups, I tend to avoid them. This year, that means Cincinnati, the Giants, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Tennessee. Of course, all of that said, all bets are off later in the draft. Can't miss the forest for the trees.
 
At wide receiver, I find myself avoiding DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas in the early rounds. Don't get me wrong; I think they're both supreme talents. I'm just too uneasy about their situations to use the high pick required to select them. Regarding Hopkins, although Brock Osweiler's a mild improvement over the dreck that he was nevertheless able to go bonkers with last season, it's highly unlikely that he's going to garner a similar market share of touches given Houston's offseason additions. As far as Thomas goes, I'm mostly just avoiding the quarterback situation. Sure, Osweiler and Peyton Manning didn't set the world on fire last year, but I trust that duo over Mark Sanchez and a rookie.
 
3. Does your drafting strategy change knowing you can make in-season waiver pick ups? Explain why this could be beneficial.
 
The obvious answer is yes because it gives you the choice of streaming a position or two and focusing your attention elsewhere. Sure, you're streaming in Best Ball by definition, but you only get one chance to decide who will be in the stream, and you're making that decision with far less information than you have once the season begins. A byproduct of this nuanced difference is that, although you're targeting high-upside players in the second half of both draft formats, these picks have a much smaller margin for error in Best Ball. For instance, I took Wendell Smallwood at 15.03 in this draft, but avoided him in Mock 4 (MFL10 Best Ball) because I view him more as a total flier than a running back with RB1 potential (which jibes with my backfield discussion above).
 
Of course, this is a balancing act. On the one hand, you want to go super-high variance late in Best Ball for the reasons I stated in my write-up of Mock 4. But on the other hand, you have a smaller margin for error in that format -- which is the exact opposite of "super high-variance." In the second half of either draft, there's a sweet spot somewhere between high variance and super-high variance that ends up being optimal in both formats. I don't know exactly where it is, but finding it is key.


Justin Howe - Slot 4

Pick Ovr Selection
1.04 4 Green, A.J. CIN WR
2.09 21 Freeman, Devonta ATL RB
3.04 28 Landry, Jarvis MIA WR
4.09 45 Ertz, Zach PHI TE
5.04 52 Moncrief, Donte IND WR
6.09 69 Decker, Eric NYJ WR
7.04 76 Ebron, Eric DET TE
8.09 93 Gore, Frank IND RB
9.04 100 Riddick, Theo DET RB
10.09 117 Manning, Eli NYG QB
11.04 124 Graham, Jimmy SEA TE
12.09 141 Prosise, C.J. SEA RB (R)
13.04 148 Dalton, Andy CIN QB
14.09 165 Starks, James GBP RB
15.04 172 Taylor, Tyrod BUF QB
16.09 189 Garcon, Pierre WAS WR
17.04 196 Crowder, Jamison WAS WR
18.09 213 Johnson, Stevie SDC WR
19.04 220 Hauschka, Steven SEA PK
20.09 237 Jets, New York NYJ Def

Overall Strategy

Winning the draft.

Best Pick

Eric Decker, 6.09, WR32. Eric Decker is getting no love this offseason, including from yours truly. In spite of outperforming his ADP pretty much his entire  career, Decker is barely being drafted as a WR3 this offseason. Granted, New York’s quarterback situation is problematic, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan Fitzpatrick sign soon. Decker is a great fourth receiver for Howe’s team.

Worst Pick

Zach Ertz, 4.09, TE8. Howe’s draft was solid all around, so it was tough to choose a “worst” pick. But we must, and so Zach Ertz it is. There isn’t a lot to hate with the pick in this format, but Ertz felt like a consolation pick after Coby Fleener got swiped out from under Howe. His fantasy production is a bit hazy in a new offense with a potentially unsettled quarterback situation.

Evaluation

If only Howe had picked a quarterback one round sooner. Had he gone with, say, Carson Palmer, Howe’s draft would have been a home run. Alas, he will have to settle for a triple. Eli Manning isn’t so bad, I suppose. Taking A.J. Green and Devonta Freeman was an ideal start--particularly with Freeman, who continues to be undervalued in PPR formats. Howe has great depth at receiver and huge upside at tight end. This team is well-built for a hot start.

post-draft questions

1. What strategy would you recommend for attacking this draft with a dual flex and 1.5 PPR for tight ends?

You want tight ends, of course; their reception advantage is huge. Rob Gronkowski, for example, surpasses the likes of A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins in this format and is worthy of a top-5 pick. But it's important to target the right TEs. That is, you'll only see big benefits from high-volume guys. Low-usage TD-makers like Dwayne Allen and Austin Seferian-Jenkins don't get the same bump and luster as someone like Zach Ertz, who carries a real 75-catch outlook.

It's also nice to target versatile, athletic receiving TEs later on, guys who line up on the line AND in the slot. They find themselves on the field more than usual, and they're typically woven a little deeper into the passing game. If you can land someone like Ladarius Green, who spends gobs of time in the slot and is therefore utilized downfield more, you'll wind up extracting value.

2. It's popular to select players on high scoring offenses. Who are some players that you would target on average or even low scoring offenses? Explain why drafting such a player or players can be beneficial.

I'm fine chasing a guy whose offense carries an iffy outlook - provided he's a dominator of that offense. Often, a bad offense is bad because it lacks a cadre of talented skill position guys - but no NFL team carries literally zero weapons. There's value to be mined in the middle rounds, while your leaguemates are clamoring and bidding on the No. 3 and 4 wideouts in New Orleans and Pittsburgh. Torrey Smith, for example, is the 49ers' only proven WR; he should absolutely gobble up targets in Chip Kelly's offense and make a run at 80 catches. Yet he's typically available later than the likes of.Sterling Shepard, DeSean Jackson, and even Kevin White.

On this roster, Ertz is one of those discounts I took advantage of. No, the Eagles passing game won't be good, and no, their pace and scoring outlooks are fairly poor. But between the 20s, Ertz should hog a ton of attention. There's not much proven talent at wideout - even Jordan Matthews has warts and fails to leap off the page - and Ertz could excel on underneath and intermediate routes. Yet he's tossed aside over and over for high-octane question marks like Coby Fleener and Ladarius Green.

3. What one player do you covet in nearly every draft? Why are you high on this player this year?

Based solely on value, I'm all over a couple of serious veterans - Frank Gore and Steve Smith - and I landed them both in this draft. But Gore is the one I'm targeting all over the place. There's little chance that, barring injury, he's not at least a RB2 at season's end. He's the only proven viable back in a typically powerful offense. He was given 297 touches last year  - that's great volume for any RB, let alone one on a bad team quarterbacked largely by Matt Hasselbeck. With Andrew Luck healthy and Rob Chudzinski running the offensive show, Gore should see a spike in his efficiency and red zone usage. He may be old, but his situation dictates he won't need to be particularly explosive, or dynamic, or even good - the volume and touchdown opportunities should pour in. There's little chance that, barring injury, he's not at least a RB2 at season's end. I got him way, way too late.

Will Grant - Slot 5

Pick Ovr Selection
1.05 5 Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE
2.08 20 Cooper, Amari OAK WR
3.05 29 Johnson, Duke CLE RB
4.08 44 Fleener, Coby NOS TE
5.05 53 Rawls, Thomas SEA RB
6.08 68 Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB
7.05 77 Snead, Willie NOS WR
8.08 92 Gordon, Melvin SDC RB
9.05 101 Treadwell, Laquon MIN WR (R)
10.08 116 Matthews, Rishard TEN WR
11.05 125 Vereen, Shane NYG RB
12.08 140 Dorsett, Phillip IND WR
13.05 149 Panthers, Carolina CAR Def
14.08 164 McFadden, Darren DAL RB
15.05 173 Williams, Terrance DAL WR
16.08 188 Thompson, Chris WAS RB
17.05 197 Smith, Alex KCC QB
18.08 212 Boswell, Chris PIT PK
19.05 221 Kearse, Jermaine SEA WR
20.08 236 Cruz, Victor NYG WR

Overall Strategy

Dominating tight ends and taking BPA.

Best Pick

Coby Fleener, 4.08, TE7. True, Grant already had Rob Gronkowski on the books. But why not eat his cake, too? If history is any indication, Coby Fleener is going to be a huge asset in FFPC formats. That’s because Drew Brees and the Saints have targeted their top tight ends a whopping 132 times a year over the past five seasons. Ben Watson trailed off with 110 targets last season, but he was a 34-year-old journeyman. Younger, more talented Fleener figures to at least match that barring injury. If he and Gronkowski can stay upright all year long, they are going to score a ton of points for Grant’s squad.

Worst Pick

Duke Johnson, 3.05, RB11. Duke Johnson is a great option in PPR formats. But is he a top-12 guy? More importantly, is he being drafted in the third round? Picking a running back there wasn’t a bad idea, but Grant probably could have waited to snag Johnson. Considering the fact tight ends crash the ADP party in FFPC formats, it’s feasible Johnson could have gone in the fifth round or later.

Evaluation

The two-tight-end strategy is boom-or-bust, but it has massive potential. It comes at the expense of wide receivers in this case--Grant has a high-risk group that will require plenty of in-season maintenance to maximize production. Incidentally, Aaron Rodgers in the sixth round was a steal.

post-draft questions

1. You selected Rob Gronkowski at pick 1.05 and Coby Fleener at pick 4.08. Explain how this strategy of drafting tight ends early in the draft worked (or didn't work) for you. 

With 1.5 PPR for Tight Ends, I really think it's important to grab one early. In this format, with the additional flex positions, having two is even more important. Rob Gronkowski's pic was pretty easy - even with Brady's suspension, he's going to be one of the top pass catching TE's in the league. Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz were the last TEs available in that tier so I wanted to grab a second one before the next drop off. It hurt me a bit at WR to get two bit TEs early, but in the long run, I think it will pay off. I still landed some quality RBs and the WR position is easy to pick up additional players later in the draft and off of waiver wire. Even without a major injury, you can always find a WR or two that you can pick up and insert in a flex position. Much harder to do that at the TE position. 

2. Pick a player that you drafted in the 10th round or later and explain why you are high on that player this year. 

Landing Philip Dorsett in the 12th was a nice pick. Justin was pretty mad that I snagged him right before he could. I hate the term break out season, and I'm not even sure that it applies here since Dorsett was hurt last year, but with the Colts committing to a lot more 3 WR sets this year, I think Doresett is going to surprise a lot of people. In a PPR league, he's an easy guy to think about at a flex position and his upside is pretty solid as well. 50 catches, 700 yards and 5 TDS in the 12th round? I'll take it. 

3. Explain why you selected Amari Cooper over some of the other wide receivers still on the board (Marshall, Landry, Cooks, Watkins, etc). 

Alshon Jeffery was the guy that I wanted to Clayton snagged him a pick in front of me. Brandon Marshall is an older receiver in (yet another) new situation. The potential for a let-down year is pretty big. I'm sure he will do OK, but I think his ADP is much higher than his actual value, and I didn't want him as my first WR out of the gate. Jarvis Landry was another possibility, but I think Amari Cooper is going to have a really good season. He had a solid rookie season, but faded down the stretch. With a full season under his belt and a second camp, I think he's ready to improve on his stats from last year, and could easily be a top 10 fantasy WR. Knowing I was going to take a second TE with one of my next 2 picks, I wanted a guy with a high floor like Cooper vs. a guy with a lower ceiling like Marshall. 

Clayton Gray - Slot 6

Pick Ovr Selection
1.06 6 Gurley, Todd RAM RB
2.07 19 Jeffery, Alshon CHI WR
3.06 30 Kelce, Travis KCC TE
4.07 43 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
5.06 54 Crabtree, Michael OAK WR
6.07 67 Woodhead, Danny SDC RB
7.06 78 Brees, Drew NOS QB
8.07 91 Hill, Jeremy CIN RB
9.06 102 Yeldon, T.J. JAC RB
10.07 115 Brady, Tom NEP QB
11.06 126 Coleman, Tevin ATL RB
12.07 139 Funchess, Devin CAR WR
13.06 150 Wright, Kendall TEN WR
14.07 163 Heuerman, Jeff DEN TE
15.06 174 Coates, Sammie PIT WR
16.07 187 Cook, Jared GBP TE
17.06 198 Spiller, C.J. NOS RB
18.07 211 Tamme, Jacob ATL TE
19.06 222 Catanzaro, Chandler ARI PK
20.07 235 Eagles, Philadelphia PHI Def

Overall Strategy

As balanced as possible.

Best Pick

Jared Cook, 16.07, TE28. Calling a late-round tight end the best pick of Gray’s draft isn’t an indictment. It just so happens to be a fantastic pick. True, Cook has baited us all in the past on the promise of his raw athleticism. He has apparently burned everyone enough to let him fall to the 16th round in a tight end-friendly format. Yes, he technically has to win the job over Richard Rodgers--not to mention overcome the foot surgery that has him on the PUP list--but Cook has the potential to be a top-10 tight end now that he has an actual quarterback throwing him the ball.

Worst Pick

Tom Brady, 10.07, QB10. Tom Brady in the 10th round was a head-scratcher for multiple reasons. Not only had Gray already drafted Brees--thus making him the first to take two quarterbacks, taking a second before Howe even took his first--but Brady’s suspension makes this an odd pick. Granted, Brees will be the starter while Brady sits, but why take a player like Brady so early when the position was clearly depressed in value? What good is having two quarterbacks so early if it means hamstringing yourself at other positions?

Evaluation

Gray had a solid draft, and his two-quarterback gambit could work out in the end. Travis Kelce was a nice pick in the third round of this format, and Brees was a great value. The team doesn’t scream “championship” at first blush, but some solid pickups could have Gray eyeing the grand prize at the end of the season.

post-draft questions

1. What was your strategy going into this draft with FPC rules and scoring?
 
My overriding strategy in any draft is best player available first and balance second. In FPC formats, I prefer to get a running back, a wide receiver, and a tight end early and was able to do exactly that. With that balance, I'm able to scoop value at any position rather than having to reach for players at a needed position.
 
2. Todd Gurley was the first running back selected in the draft and he was your pick. Explain why you chose him over anyone else at pick 1.06
 
I would prefer Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, or Odell Beckham, but there was zero chance of those guys being there at 1.06. I was hoping for Gurley or Rob Gronkowski - in that order - and was thrilled to see Gurley available.
 
Being able to get a running back in the first round fits into my balanced strategy as well. I prefer the second-round wide receivers over the second-round running backs. Guys like Devonta Freeman and Jamal Charles are shaky prospects compared to T.Y. Hilton, Alshon Jeffery, and Amari Cooper. The balance of having Gurley and Jeffery - rather than Hopkins and Jeffery - allows me to go best player available instead of being required to hit running backs hard.
 
3. You selected zero rookies in the draft. Was this coincidence or do you prefer to draft known talent, especially in the later rounds? Explain your answer.
 
It just happened. Grant sniped Laquon Treadwell one spot before I wanted him. I was a few picks from taking Jordan Howard, but Tuccitto grabbed him at the 13.03. I thought DeAndre Washington would last a bit longer, but that was wishful thinking thanks to Kuczynski - who also took Hunter Henry the round before I had him targeted.
 
That said, I do believe most people overvalue rookies. The 2014 class of rookie wide receivers has made people think it's normal for the first-year guys to make a tremendous impact right out of the box. It's not the norm. The NFL is still a step up in class, and college players generally need time to adjust.
 
I do seem to prefer targeting second- and third-year players who slightly disappointed in their rookie campaigns. They aren't the shiny new toys, but they've had a year to acclimate physically and mentally to the NFL. If they show flashes in their first season, it's reasonable to expect improvement even though their rookie season could be classified as a letdown.


Andrew Katz - Slot 7

Pick Ovr Selection
1.07 7 Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB (R)
2.06 18 Evans, Mike TBB WR
3.07 31 Cooks, Brandin NOS WR
4.06 42 Edelman, Julian NEP WR
5.07 55 Mathews, Ryan PHI RB
6.06 66 Murray, DeMarco TEN RB
7.07 79 Smith, Torrey SFO WR
8.06 90 Gordon, Josh CLE WR
9.07 103 Witten, Jason DAL TE
10.06 114 Bortles, Blake JAC QB
11.07 127 Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE
12.06 138 Hogan, Chris NEP WR
13.07 151 Allen, Javorius BAL RB
14.06 162 Mariota, Marcus TEN QB
15.07 175 Ware, Spencer KCC RB
16.06 186 Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def
17.07 199 Woods, Robert BUF WR
18.06 210 Nelson, J.J. ARI WR
19.07 223 Higbee, Tyler RAM TE (R)
20.06 234 Aguayo, Roberto TBB PK (R)

Overall Strategy

Receivers and running backs early, wait at tight end.

Best Pick

Josh Gordon, 8.06, WR41. We should all be so lucky to have the Warg powers Andrew Katz seems to possess. Josh Gordon has been a popular sleeper pick, but it seemed insane to take him in the eighth round. News of Gordon’s reinstatement was still days away when Katz made this pick, a prescient work of genius. True, Gordon is one misstep away from banishment, and the Browns may not have a place for him right now. But there is little risk in taking Gordon as the 41st receiver off the board right now, an excellent value in hindsight.

Worst Pick

Jason Witten, 9.07, TE16. There wasn’t a ton to dislike about Katz’s draft, but his tight end corps left plenty to be desired. Even with Tony Romo coming back, Jason Witten is just too far beyond his prime to be counted on as a consistent fantasy option. Pickings were slim by that point, so Katz made the most of a bad situation. He waited a bit too long to grab his first tight end, and the pick was uninspiring.

Evaluation

In spite of his tight end situation, Katz could well dominate the league with his start. Zeke Elliott, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and Julian Edelman is a fantastic first four. Katz took advantage of DeMarco Murray being completely undervalued, too.

post-draft questions

1. Your strategy was to wait on tight ends, in a draft that favors tight end scoring. Explain how this strategy worked (or didn't work) for you. 

Gronk was actually the guy I wanted in round one, but after he went, I saw better values in most rounds relative to the tight ends that were available. I was very happy snatching up Kyle Rudolph and Jason Witten late, as I felt that both had high floors (though not the best ceilings) and don't come with the playing time and offensive role risks that many other tight ends taken sooner have. Witten and Rudolph are known commodities and at the cost I paid, I'm fine knowing that these guys won't be winning me the league, but they won't be losing it for me either.

2. You selected Josh Gordon in the eighth round. Explain your decision to draft Gordon and why others should consider the same. (This draft occurred the day before the reinstatement announcement came)

The idea of taking Josh Gordon in the 8th round is a lot scarier than the reality. For reference, he was the 5th wide receiver that I selected with the first four being guys that I feel very comfortable starting any given week. I feel very comfortable with the way my running backs shaped up, I got a great QB duo late in Bortles and Mariota, and my tight ends are solid. I really don't feel that I sacrificed very much in value or floor with respect to the composition of my team and Gordon is absolutely a home run waiting to happen if things break right. Could I have waited longer? Probably, even likely, but I didn't love the guys that were still available at that point, relative to ADP, and the ones I did like I felt that I could wait on.

3. Name a player that you didn't draft and explain why you are high on that player this year. 

Josh Doctson is that guy for me. If I hadn't stacked up on wide receivers early on, I certainly would have made it a priority to get him. Right now, he's expected to start in an abbreviated role, largely playing in red zone situations, but that could change very quickly. Doctson is special in contested catch situations - and that will play anywhere on the field. 

John Mamula - Slot 8

Pick Ovr Selection
1.08 8 Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR
2.05 17 Peterson, Adrian MIN RB
3.08 32 Watkins, Sammy BUF WR
4.05 41 Newton, Cam CAR QB
5.08 56 Eifert, Tyler CIN TE
6.05 65 Hurns, Allen JAC WR
7.08 80 Ajayi, Jay MIA RB
8.05 89 Williams, DeAngelo PIT RB
9.08 104 Jackson, DeSean WAS WR
10.05 113 Jackson, Vincent TBB WR
11.08 128 Sproles, Darren PHI RB
12.05 137 McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB
13.08 152 Smith, Steve BAL WR
14.05 161 Rodgers, Richard GBP TE
15.08 176 Rams, Los Angeles RAM Def
16.05 185 Ginn Jr., Ted CAR WR
17.08 200 Osweiler, Brock HOU QB
18.05 209 Hillman, Ronnie DEN RB
19.08 224 Crosby, Mason GBP PK
20.05 233 Carey, Ka'Deem CHI RB

Overall Strategy

Completely balanced.

Best Pick

Tyler Eifert, 5.08, TE9. It was tempting to put DeAngelo Williams here, a great value at RB30. But Tyler Eifert is a championship difference-maker. Indeed, Tyler Eifert may not be ready for the start of the season after having ankle surgery stemming from a Pro Bowl injury. But he will be back soon after the season begins, and he brings some huge upside when he’s on the field. Eifert may not score at the clip he did last season--13 touchdowns in 13 games is simply unsustainable--but he will be Andy Dalton’s second-best target. Mamula was able to snag him so late in this format because the injury risk was baked into his ADP.

Worst Pick

Cam Newton, 4.05, QB1. It isn’t that Cam Newton is a bad pick in a vacuum. He is the reigning fantasy champ at his position, after all. But it had to sting Mamula to see nearly two full rounds of drafting before the next quarterback came off the board. With so many quarterback values in this draft, taking one in the fourth round turned out to be a luxurious mistake.

Evaluation

Mamula’s team has a high ceiling. It also has a basement.

DeAndre Hopkins is amazing, but how will he fare with newcomer Brock Osweiler at the helm? Adrian Peterson is legendary, but even he can’t run over Father Time. Sammy Watkins and Tyler Eifert have huge upside, but are they ticking time bombs?

post-draft questions

1. Your selection of Cam Newton in the fourth round is excellent value. Explain how using the Draft Dominator App can be a beneficial tool for your draft.

Using the Draft Dominator has many advantages over an opponent who is using a different system for drafting. I always make sure to change the league scoring system and roster construction prior to the draft as this makes a difference with the players that you should be targeting. Adjusting the Dominator to your own projections also helps the process. During the draft, when it is approaching my pick, I am looking for tiers of players at each position in the Dominator. Can I hold off selecting a RB this round because there are 4-5 similar ranked RBs? If you are drafting out of the 2-5 or 8-11 spots, the Dominator "Team Stats" window helps by showing the needs of the teams that draft behind you. If you are between a QB1 or a WR and you see that all of the teams behind you have already drafted a QB1, then you can select the WR and hold off drafting the QB that you are targeting until the next round.

2. Would you rather have strength in your starting running backs or starting wide receivers? Explain.

It depends on your league scoring system. In PPR leagues and 1.5 TE PPR leagues, there is a massive advantage having the strength on your roster at the WR and TE positions. If you hold off at the WR and TE position, it puts your team significantly behind the rest of your league from the start. A solid plan is to load up at WR or TE, target one reliable RB, and then try to land a break out RB off the waiver wire.

3. What players are you targeting in nearly all of your drafts this year? Explain why you're high on these players.

I agree that Cam Newton was excellent value in this draft. I am targeting Newton anytime after the mid 3rd round this season. He gives you such an edge at the QB position due to his rushing TD upside. If I miss out on Newton or Aaron Rodgers, I am content to wait for a QB. Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles, Eli Manning and Ryan Tannehill are some of the late QBs that I prefer this season.
Ezekiel Elliott is the main RB that I am targeting mid-late 1st round in my drafts. He has the perfect opportunity in Dallas and it would not surprise me if he finished as the Top RB at the end of this season.

It's all about Jordan Reed at the TE position. I was hoping that he would drop to me in the 3rd round, but with 1.5 PPR for TE, I can see why Dan drafted him at the end of the 2nd round. If he stays healthy, he will post huge numbers again in the Redskins offense.

Chris Feery - Slot 9

Pick Ovr Selection
1.09 9 Johnson, David ARI RB
2.04 16 Hilton, T.Y. IND WR
3.09 33 Martin, Doug TBB RB
4.04 40 Maclin, Jeremy KCC WR
5.09 57 Thomas, Julius JAC TE
6.04 64 Luck, Andrew IND QB
7.09 81 Coleman, Corey CLE WR (R)
8.04 88 Abdullah, Ameer DET RB
9.09 105 Wheaton, Markus PIT WR
10.04 112 Miller, Zach CHI TE
11.09 129 Sanu, Mohamed ATL WR
12.04 136 Powell, Bilal NYJ RB
13.09 153 Tye, Will NYG TE
14.04 160 Flacco, Joe BAL QB
15.09 177 Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def
16.04 184 Gillislee, Mike BUF RB
17.09 201 Carroo, Leonte MIA WR (R)
18.04 208 Bills, Buffalo BUF Def
19.09 225 Gano, Graham CAR PK
20.04 232 Griffin III, Robert CLE QB

Overall Strategy

Running backs early, balanced overall.

Best Pick

Andrew Luck, 6.04, QB2. Andrew Luck may not be at the top of the list for many fantasy footballers this offseason, but he should be. As disastrous as his 2015 campaign was, Luck was among the top in per-game fantasy scoring last season. He will be back with a better-on-paper offensive line and an explosive offense around him. The quarterback liable to finish atop the leaderboard in fantasy scoring is a steal in the sixth round, especially considering Cam Newton was taken two rounds earlier.

Worst Pick

T.Y. Hilton, 2.04, WR10. Stacking Hilton with Luck was fortuitous, but that cannot have been the initial goal. Hilton certainly has a high ceiling, but his output can wildly fluctuate from game-to-game. Meanwhile, guys like Alshon Jeffery, Mike Evans, and Amari Cooper were still on the board when Mamula grabbed Hilton.

Evaluation

What is happening to Doug Martin’s draft stock? No matter--he was Feery’s second-best pick, a great anchor at running back alongside David Johnson. Unfortunately, taking two running backs in the first three rounds created a bit of a vacuum at receiver for Feery.

post-draft questions

1. Pick a player that you drafted in the 11th round or later and explain why you are high on that player this year.

This draft actually seemed to break pretty well for me in terms of the later rounds, and I never felt like I was in the position of scrambling to find a valid selection. I was able to snag several players that I’m pretty high on in the later rounds, but if I had to pick just one, I would go with Mohamed Sanu, my 11th round selection.

There is a considerable drop off in the ranks of Falcons pass catchers once you get past Julio Jones, which led the team to sign Sanu this offseason to fill the WR2 slot. He was relatively productive in a limited role with the Bengals in recent years, but the Falcons are banking on a leap forward in productivity - and I’m sold on that possibility as well.

The Falcons attempted 621 passes in 2015, of which an eye-popping 204 headed in the direction of Jones. That still leaves a plethora of targets for the rest of the Falcons pass catchers, and the majority of them should find their way towards Sanu. He’s a player I view as a breakout candidate for 2016, and I was happy to take him off the board in the 11th round.

2. Who would you start at your two flex options for Week 1 - explain why these players deserve a spot in your starting lineup.

At this early juncture, I’m leaning heavily towards starting Corey Coleman and Will Tye as my flex options. For a full PPR league that bumps it up to 1.5 points for tight ends, my initial inclination each week will be to start a WR and TE at the flex. Matchups will ultimately dictate the week’s final lineup of course, but that will be my starting point each week and I’ll allow my research to point me to the best course of action from that point.

For these two players specifically, I’m high on both of their prospects for 2016 as a whole, and the matchups shape up pretty well for Week 1. Coleman should quickly establish himself as a focal point of the Browns offense, and there’s no better place to start that than against an Eagles team that is employing the services of a new head coach, and by extension a completely different defensive scheme than they ran in 2015.

For Tye, he did a solid job in 2015 when he was thrust into the starting role, and he appears to have the inside track on the job for this season. He developed some decent chemistry with Eli Manning, and that should continue to evolve with a full camp and preseason together. Week 1’s matchup with the Cowboys could very well turn into a back-and-forth type of affair. When there’s a Manning behind center, they tend to lean on the TE heavily in the passing game. That bodes well for Tye’s prospects in 2016 as a whole, and leaves me optimistic for a productive Week 1 in a potential shootout.

3. Corey Coleman was the first rookie wide receiver selected in this draft, explain why you drafted him over other rookie wide receivers (Treadwell, Shepard, etc).

I’m pretty high on this year’s crop of rookie receivers as a whole, but Corey Coleman stands out to me as the one that will have the most immediate impact. The Browns had an absolute dearth of talent at the wide receiver position in 2015, an issue that they addressed by selecting multiple receivers in this year’s draft. Coleman leaps to the top of the depth chart immediately, and he should have all the targets he can handle in his rookie campaign.

All signs point to his skill set transitioning well to the pro game, and he was a highly productive receiver during his college career at Baylor. The Browns are installing a new offense courtesy of new head coach Hue Jackson, and it’s one that will be more pass-friendly in general. If the transition to the pro game goes as smoothly as anticipated, Coleman will find himself with a huge role for his rookie season.

One caveat that is worth mentioning: This draft was held prior to the reinstatement of Josh Gordon. He’ll still be on the shelf for the first four games of the regular season, but the Browns will give him the opportunity to prove himself in training camp. While there is no denying his considerable talent, he’ll have to prove that his demons are fully at bay to secure his role with the club.

Regardless of how things play out with Gordon, Coleman is in a position to succeed. If Gordon is out of the picture, Coleman should quickly establish himself as the unquestioned top target in the Browns passing attack. If things work out well with Gordon, two receivers of their caliber can form one of the more feared duos in the league. The timing of Gordon’s return could work out perfectly as well. If Coleman hits the ground running and starts receiving extra attention from the secondary in the early part of the season, Gordon will be returning for the Browns fifth game to provide some relief.

Cian Fahey - Slot 10

Pick Ovr Selection
1.10 10 Miller, Lamar HOU RB
2.03 15 Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB
3.10 34 Walker, Delanie TEN TE
4.03 39 Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR
5.10 58 Murray, Latavius OAK RB
6.03 63 Green, Ladarius PIT TE
7.10 82 Forsett, Justin BAL RB
8.03 87 Shepard, Sterling NYG WR (R)
9.10 106 Diggs, Stefon MIN WR
10.03 111 Benjamin, Travis SDC WR
11.10 130 Tannehill, Ryan MIA QB
12.03 135 Blount, LeGarrette NEP RB
13.10 154 Broncos, Denver DEN Def
14.03 159 Romo, Tony DAL QB
15.10 178 Watson, Ben BAL TE
16.03 183 Ellington, Bruce SFO WR
17.10 202 Montgomery, Ty GBP WR
18.03 207 Johnson, Chris ARI RB
19.10 226 Bailey, Dan DAL PK
20.03 231 Amaro, Jace NYJ TE

Overall Strategy

Late Round QB.

Best Pick

Travis Benjamin, 10.03, WR48. Predicting performance from players who change teams can be tricky business. Travis Benjamin may be trickier to predict than most. The former Brown never got a chance to play with a quality quarterback, yet he had some huge games in his breakout 2015 campaign. But injuries and inconsistency have plagued him throughout his career. Still, as the 48th receiver off the board, Fahey may have gotten a huge steal now that Benjamin is catching passes from Philip Rivers.

Worst Pick

Justin Forsett, 7.10, RB26. Do we know what’s going to happen in the Ravens backfield this season? Justin Forsett could bounce back from injury and have another big year. The 30-year-old could also lose his job to Lorenzo Taliaferro, Javorious Allen, or even rookie Kenneth Dixon. It just seems like too much risk to take him--or any other Ravens back--this early.

Evaluation

Ryan Tannehill and Tony Romo make for a fantastic quarterback-by-committee. Both are boom-or-bust options that allowed Fahey to focus elsewhere earlier in the draft.

post-draft questions

1. You drafted LeVeon Bell at pick 2.03 and then missed out on DeAngelo Williams who was picked at 8.05. Explain why selecting Bell is (or isn't) a risky pick.

Bell is going to miss the first four games so you have to be okay with that when you pick him. He is the most valuable back in the draft when available and it came down to a choice between him and Devonta Freeman. Freeman was the safer, generally more appealing choice but I wanted to be aggressive in this format. DeAngello Williams was taken one round before I was planning to take him so that was just a miscalculation on my part. Regardless I think I still found good value RBs to get me through the first month of the season unscathed.

2. Who is a player that you are avoiding in drafts and explain why you have little interest in them.

There are a few. Julius Thomas, Chris Hogan and pretty much any QB taken before the first 10 rounds. Mostly I like to avoid WRs in the first two rounds because ZeroRB has become so popular now that people are reaching for WRs to let other quality players fall. I've only taken WRs in early rounds when I've been at the very top of the draft or picking later in the second round.

3. Does your drafting strategy change knowing you can make inh-season waiver pick ups? Explain why this could be beneficial.

I tend to avoid picking up a second QB and defense depending on the structure and value I find. I'm also more interested in consistent producers rather than upside options the more the draft progresses.

Chris Kuczynski - Slot 11

Pick Ovr Selection
1.11 11 Bryant, Dez DAL WR
2.02 14 Allen, Keenan SDC WR
3.11 35 Cobb, Randall GBP WR
4.02 38 Anderson, C.J. DEN RB
5.11 59 Matthews, Jordan PHI WR
6.02 62 Bernard, Giovani CIN RB
7.11 83 Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB
8.02 86 White, Kevin CHI WR
9.11 107 Henry, Derrick TEN RB (R)
10.02 110 Palmer, Carson ARI QB
11.11 131 Green-Beckham, Dorial TEN WR
12.02 134 Clay, Charles BUF TE
13.11 155 Winston, Jameis TBB QB
14.02 158 Washington, DeAndre OAK RB (R)
15.11 179 Perkins, Paul NYG RB (R)
16.02 182 Fuller, Will HOU WR (R)
17.11 203 Henry, Hunter SDC TE (R)
18.02 206 Patriots, New England NEP Def
19.11 227 Brown, Josh NYG PK
20.02 230 Artis-Payne, Cameron CAR RB

Overall Strategy

Wide receivers and running backs galore.

Best Pick

Carson Palmer, 10.02, QB8. The Cardinals passing offense was among the best in the league last season. There is little reason to believe that won’t be the case again in 2016.

Worst Pick

Kevin White, 8.02, WR39. The great Kevin White hype has fizzled a bit in recent weeks, but he is still being taken rather highly in drafts. We just don’t know what is going to come of him after missing his entire rookie season with a nasty-sounding shin injury. Exacerbating the pick is the fact Kuczynski already had four receivers on his squad.

Evaluation

Kuczynski’s draft was among the favorites, even if he waited far, far too long to draft a tight end. It’s fine to try to find some value at the position to strengthen others, but drafting Charles Clay as your first tight end in this format could be a problem. Kuczynski has plenty of talent at running back and wide receiver as a result, and his quarterback should be among the fantasy elite if he stays healthy. Here’s to wringing production out of a tight end committee this season.

post-draft questions

1. You waited until the 12th round to select a tight end (Charles Clay). Was this your plan or did the draft dictate this approach? How did this affect your draft?

I know the scoring format for this league set up had the 1.5 ppr premium on TEs, but I think it gives a slightly inflated value for the position, causing some people to reach. Once you get outside of the top TEs like Gronk/Reed/Olsen/Kelce no other TEs are projected to get more than 70 receptions. In fact, from around TE7 to TE 25 or so, it seemed like everyone hovers around 50-65 projected receptions. So comparing the high end of the spectrum to the low end, that's only an advantage of about 20-25 more points over the course of the season based on the "premium" of 1.5 ppr. This range of TEs also doesn't give a huge advantage in the flex positions with only 25-30 extra points over a WR with similar reception totals.
 
As far as how my draft turned out, I had 3 later-round TEs in mind going in- Eric Ebron, Dwayne Allen and Clive Walford but wasn't ever really in a position to draft them. Having a turnaround spot at 11, at times I had to wait 20+ picks before it came back to me, and I felt whenever a TE was available at my pick it would have been a reach. By the time we were in round 7, 13 TEs were already drafted, meanwhile I took advantage of other positions and rounded out my other starters with 4WRs and 3RB. I think Charles Clay is comparable to the players drafted in the TE10-25 range but I got him very late, and Hunter Henry can easily crack the Charger's lineup given Antonio Gate's age and injuries last year. 
 
Additionally, TE is a position last year that had plenty of resources on the waiver wire in players like Gary Barnidge, Julius Thomas and Gates, so there's opportunities to improve later.

2. Pick one of the five rookies you drafted and explain why you are high on them this year. 

It is hard for me to just pick one, so I'll touch on two rookie running backs that I think will play a significant role in their respective backfields. I was thrilled to land Derrick Henry at the bottom of the 9th as my RB4. He was drafted high by the Titans in this year's draft and has the skillset to be a high volume ball carrier, given his past college success. In front of him on the depth chart is an aging Demarco Murray who was a great disappointment last year in Philadelphia, has accumulated a lot of mileage, and most seasons has missed several games. I could see Henry having more touches per game than Murray by mid season.
 
Another RB I really like, who I am targeting in all of my drafts this year, is Raiders rookie DeAndre Washington who I got as my RB5 in round 14. Don't let the Latavius Murray's pro bowl last year fool you - he is very average and has shown to be inconsistent. The Raiders made it no secret that they were looking to improve their backfield this offseason and were rumored to be pursuing several of the free agents this year. They settled for Washington in the 5th round of the draft, who is expected to play on 3rd down and passing situations, because of his college success in that capacity. He can fit the offense as a Bernard/Woodhead type who makes his name from catching passes, but also cycles in to play an entire series as a change of pace back, or possibly more if Latavius Murray proves to be ineffective.

3. You selected four wide receivers in the first five rounds. Explain why you used this strategy in the draft. 

I've been a subscriber to the zero RB philosophy for the last couple of years, and there is no better draft spot to take advantage of that than with the late picks, which allows you to immediately take two WR1s. Last year might be an outlier as far as all early drafted RBs not delivering, but in most seasons half of the running backs drafted in the first two rounds do not live up to expectation whether it be due to injuries, poor performance, or the emergence of another RB forming a committee backfield. Starting WRs on the other hand typically get hurt less often, and there are more opportunities for scoring with offenses focusing more on the passing game and having 3 WRs on the field at once. In the first 5 rounds, I feel as though I got 2 WR1s in Dez Bryant and Kennan Allen, and 2 WR2s in Randall Cobb and Jordan Matthews, without sacrificing the RB position because I drafted CJ Anderson and Giovanni Bernard in the 4th and 6th rounds, respectively. In general I think it is easier to predict what WRs are going to get alot of targets, so these should be drafted early as high floor options, then mid and later rounds can be used for fliers on young or RBBC backs. 
 

John Lee - Slot 12

Pick Ovr Selection
1.12 12 Nelson, Jordy GBP WR
2.01 13 Robinson, Allen JAC WR
3.12 36 Barnidge, Gary CLE TE
4.01 37 Lacy, Eddie GBP RB
5.12 60 Parker, DeVante MIA WR
6.01 61 Brown, John ARI WR
7.12 84 Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB
8.01 85 Langford, Jeremy CHI RB
9.12 108 Jennings, Rashad NYG RB
10.01 109 Foster, Arian MIA RB
11.12 132 Walford, Clive OAK TE
12.01 133 Doctson, Josh WAS WR (R)
13.12 156 Ryan, Matt ATL QB
14.01 157 Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def
15.12 180 Coleman, Brandon NOS WR
16.01 181 Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def
17.12 204 White, James NEP RB
18.01 205 West, Charcandrick KCC RB
19.12 228 Santos, Cairo KCC PK
20.01 229 Vinatieri, Adam IND PK

Overall Strategy

ZeroRB.

Best Pick

Eddie Lacy, 4.12, RB13. Lee’s draft was a sea of solid picks, none of which particularly stood out. This isn’t a bad thing, there just seemed to be value everywhere you looked. Eddie Lacy might be the best of those values, even if he isn’t well-liked in the fantasy community these days.

Worst Pick

Arian Foster, 10.01, RB39. As the 39th running back off the board, Arian Foster doesn’t carry much risk. He is a fine Zero RB option later in drafts, particularly because he has been a great pass-catching back throughout his career. But he is 30, and he is coming off a ruptured Achilles. Even this late, the 10th round feels too early to legitimately fit Foster into drafts.

Evaluation

Lee came the closest to a ZeroRB strategy among his peers in the draft. Eddie Lacy was a nice pick in the fourth round, then Lee waited until the eighth to take his second back, Jeremy Langford. As risky as that sounds, the strategy is designed to maximize potential at other positions. Lee did just that--he’d just need strong in-season management to ensure production at running back.

post-draft questions

1. What was your strategy heading into the draft and did that change as the draft unfolded? 

Early in the preseason, I tend to take a more cautious approach to drafting my teams. By "cautious," I mean that I tend to stick fairly close to our projections for the first third of the draft; after that, I try to utilize DraftDominator to my advantage by tracking which teams need which positions and drafting accordingly. For example, if I need both a QB and a RB, but notice that the people drafting after me all have their primary QB, I am far more likely to draft a RB because I can see (using DD) that the likelihood of anybody drafting a QB before the draft comes back to me in the next round it minimal. That said, I was drafting from the turn here, so a lot of that strategy went out the window upon learning that I drew the last pick in the draft. In essence, I stayed true to my strategy by sticking close to a drafting based on projections and positional scarcity (i.e., value-based drafting) until my roster started to take shape; at that point, I examined where my roster was lacking the most depth and drafted accordingly. 

2. What advice would you give to someone drafting in an FPC league?

As a player who has made a name for himself in DFS circles, best-ball format reminds me a lot of a tournament, where I am drafting for consistency with upside in mind. Make no mistake, you must first draft players who will get plenty of opportunity and those players will serve you well throughout the season, but getting a player like John Brown in the sixth round is perfect for an FPC league because he can put up 30+ fantasy points on any given Sunday and provide you with those high-scoring anomalous weeks you will need to finish at the top of your league. When the draft gets into those deeper rounds, taking a flyer on a high-upside player like Brandon Coleman, who has all the measurables to be a fantasy stud, can be the difference between second and third place, which is everything in a winner-takes-all format like FPC.

3. Last year, you were high on David Johnson as a running back to target later in drafts. What player do you find yourself gravitating to this year? 

It's still early in the preseason and I certainly reserve the right to amend this list moving forward, but I like to focus my attention on players with the right metrics (i.e., hands, height, quickness, route running, etc) in the right situation (i.e., surrounded by players who can help that player shine). Last year, I loved David Johnson because of what I saw in him at Northern Iowa--a bruising running back with sneaky speed in open space and hands that could make him a three-down threat, if necessary. While I cannot say that I could have predicted how well David Johnson would adapt to the NFL, I was certainly pleased because I had him in probably 75% of my MFL rosters and all three of my season-long leagues. This year, there are a couple guys who have my attention at this point (mid-to-late July), including Jaelen Strong, Marvin Jones, Michael Thomas, and Clive Walford. A second-year WR, Strong reconditioned himself in the off-season by losing 25 pounds and should be in line for the WR2 position behind DeAndre Hopkins, who will be double-teamed for much of the season; that should give Strong plenty of opportunity to get open against lesser coverage and I expect to see Brock Osweiler give him more looks than the litany of quarterbacks who started for Houston last season. Marvin Jones gets a shoutout because I have always thought he was overlooked in Cincinnati; in Detroit, I think he becomes the most talented receiver in that corps and could overtake Golden Tate as their WR1 before the Lions' bye week in Week 10. Michael Thomas is my sleeper rookie; he is immensely talented and, hailing from run-heavy Ohio State, has not been asked to exhibit his full skillset (in my opinion). When Drew Brees sees what Thomas can do on the field, it would not be surprising to see Thomas become a mainstay in that Saints' receiving corps. Lastly, I loved what I saw in Clive Walford last season with the Raiders; he started off slowly, as most rookie TE's do, but he finished the season strong and was a big redzone target for Derek Carr. I expect more of the same this season and will have a lot of Walford shares in my MFL10's.


Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com