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Footballguys Staff Mock Draft 8, 12 Team FPC Best Ball 28 Rounds

On August 3rd the Footballguys staff got together for their 8th mock draft of 2016. A 12 team FPC Scoring, Best Ball draft with 28 rounds. Each participant answers questions about their selections and strategies, plus our Will Grant provides an in-depth unbiased summary of each team's draft. 

On August 3rd, twelve members of the Footballguys staff got together for the site's 8th mock draft of 2016. Below is the league scoring format and bylaws. This draft mirrors the setup and format of the Footballguys Players Championship Draft Experts League

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League Parameters

  • 12 teams
  • 28 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 team defense

League Scoring

  • Offensive Players
    • 4 points - passing touchdown
    • 6 points - rushing/receiving touchdown
    • 0.05 points - passing yard
    • 0.1 points - rushing/receiving yard
    • 1 point - reception RP, WR
    • 1.5 point - reception TE
  • Team Defense
    • 6 points - touchdown
    • -1 point - interception
    • 2 points - turnover recovered
    • 5 points - safety
    • 1 point - sack
    • 12 points - Offensive points against: 0-0
    • 8 points - Offensive points against: 1-6
    • 5 points - Offensive points against: 7-10
    • 0 point - Offensive points against: 11-99
    • 6 points each - Number of Defensive and Special Teams Touchdowns

THE DRAFT ORDER

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

1. Justin Howe
2. Matt Harmon
3. Dan Hindery
4. John Lee
5. Mark Wimer
6. Justin Bonnema
7. Jeff Haseley
8. Chris Kuczynski
9. Devin Knotts
10. Sigmund Bloom
11. James Brimacombe
12. John Norton

Starting with Justin Howe from the 1.01 spot, Will Grant provides an unbiased evaluation of each team's draft performance followed by each owner answering a series of questions about their draft and strategies. 

Justin Howe - Slot 1

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.01 1 WR Antonio Brown PIT
2.12 24 WR T.Y. Hilton IND
3.01 25 RB Doug Martin TBB
4.12 48 WR Julian Edelman NEP
5.01 49 TE Delanie Walker TEN
6.12 72 TE Zach Ertz PHI
7.01 73 WR DeVante Parker MIA
8.12 96 RB Charles Sims TBB
9.01 97 RB Jeremy Langford CHI
10.12 120 QB Blake Bortles JAC
11.01 121 RB Theo Riddick DET
12.12 144 WR Vincent Jackson TBB
13.01 145 QB Andy Dalton CIN
14.12 168 RB Javorius Allen BAL
15.01 169 WR Steve Smith BAL
16.12 192 TE Maxx Williams BAL
17.01 193 WR Mike Wallace BAL
18.12 216 RB Zach Zenner DET
19.01 217 QB Teddy Bridgewater MIN
20.12 240 WR Danny Amendola NEP
21.01 241 Def Buffalo Bills BUF
22.12 264 Def Indianapolis Colts IND
23.01 265 RB Karlos Williams BUF
24.12 288 TE Josh Hill NOS
25.01 289 PK Matt Bryant ATL
26.12 312 PK Matt Prater DET
27.01 313 Def Tennessee Titans TEN
28.12 336 PK Nick Novak HOU

Overall Strategy:

Draft the consensus #1, and then strike a balance with RB, WR and TE picks through the first part of the draft.

Best Pick: Blake Bortles QB JAX – Pick 10.12. Howe faded the QB position, and grabbed his primary starter just before the backup QB run began. Bortles is a still a top 10 fantasy QB in this format, and he’s great value at the end of the 10th round.

Worst Pick: Charles Sims RB TB – Pick 8.12. By selecting Sims at the end of the 8th round, Howe locked up the two backs who will see the majority of the action in Tampa Bay. But while handcuffs are great in a best ball format since you don’t have to decide which back to start, Howe did it with his first two RB picks. If he had taken a second RB in the first seven rounds, the pick of Simms at the end of the 8th would be a more palatable selection.

Evaluation: Howe spent six of his first seven picks on a WR or TE. He constructed his team around these pass catchers, and faded the RB position pretty hard in the early rounds. Drafting two stronger TEs is smart with the 1.5 PPR, and he scored big value at the QB position landing Bortles in the 10th round. This team has some strong potential, and it will go far on the strength of the WRs and TEs.

post-draft questions

1. What is the biggest challenge drafting in a best ball format with 28 rounds?

I'd say the toughest part is properly valuating your late-round sleepers. In a league with roughly a million roster spots - one where you're honestly considering drafting Jeff Driskel - you simply don't know when the guys you like will be taken. (These can be crucial draft slots, too, even if they're late ones.) In a shorter draft, fantasy owners generally follow, to some degree, a formula. Fill these spots first, stock your bench, add your kickers and defenses. But here, we've filled out our entire first, second, and third best lineups while the draft is just 2/3 over. "Does Player X make sense in this round?" is a legit question in a 16-round draft; when you're looking at your RB7 and WR8 slots, you're merely taking your pet projects, whether they're a by-the-book value or not. And here, all 12 of us were fully aware of that ample "redshirting" room and ready to play hard and fast after the 15th or so.

As a result, I lost out on a few mega-values I'd been tracking. Jeff Janis, Jesse James, Mike Gillislee, and Darrius Heyward-Bey wound up sniped from me as I kept putting them off a round, totally blind as to anyone else's level of interest. On the plus side, though, I got semi-aggressive and landed some super-athletic handcuffs I'd wanted - Zach Zenner, Josh Hill, and a plummeting Karlos Williams.

2. What advice would you give to anyone drafting from the 1-slot this year, particularly in the FPC best ball format?

You want a receiver. I know there are great contrarian reasons to zig and avoid the overwhelming WR wave - Justin Bonnema recently laid them out nicely. But the disparity between the top three receivers and the top RB tier is just too great. You'd be banking on a dynamic group of young RBs, but rolling the dice on higher bust rates and less PPR scoreability. Receivers just score more than running backs - a lot more, in the cases of Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Juilo Jones - so it's almost certainly the way to go in a PPR format. Of the three, of course, I prefer Brown, a volume monster whose volume outlook somehow improved over the offseason, and whose touchdown rates actually have room for improvement. His 2015 line is usually looked at as a best-best-best-case scenario, but for Brown, I think they're fair expectations with Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell missing time.
 
In an FPC league (1.5 PPR for tight ends), you could make a case for Rob Gronkowski with that top pick. He is who he is, after all. But there's so much TE value up and down thisdraft that that's just not feasible over these great WRs, and Tom Brady's suspension strongly suggests this won't be one of Gronkowski's top-echelon seasons.

3. Since this is a tight-end weighted format, pick a late round tight end and explain why they could make a surprise impact this season.

In the late late rounds, I'm (always and forever) keeping an eye on Josh Hill. A dynamic athlete who's already proven himself a red zone specialist (8 TDs on 36 career catches, thanks to a hefty market share inside the 20), Hill just oozes upside. It's concerning he's never found much playing time, and he's a poor bet to pass Coby Fleener save for injury. But there isn't a better late-round handcuff out there. Fleener is a remarkably inconsistent player, and the Saints did match an offer sheet to keep Hill's talents in town. There's a solid chance he again produces touchdowns at a good pace and produces a few nice best-ball lines, and a nonzero chance he starts games.

Matt Harmon - Slot 2

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.02 2 WR Odell Beckham NYG
2.11 23 WR Alshon Jeffery CHI
3.02 26 RB Mark Ingram NOS
4.11 47 WR John Brown ARI
5.02 50 WR Tyler Lockett SEA
6.11 71 TE Ladarius Green PIT
7.02 74 RB Jonathan Stewart CAR
8.11 95 WR Torrey Smith SFO
9.02 98 RB Ameer Abdullah DET
10.11 119 QB Philip Rivers SDC
11.02 122 RB Tevin Coleman ATL
12.11 143 TE Cameron Brate TBB
13.02 146 RB C.J. Prosise SEA
14.11 167 WR Bruce Ellington SFO
15.02 170 QB Joe Flacco BAL
16.11 191 WR Nelson Agholor PHI
17.02 194 WR Brandon LaFell CIN
18.11 215 RB Shaun Draughn SFO
19.02 218 TE Lance Kendricks RAM
20.11 239 Def Washington Redskins WAS
21.02 242 Def Pittsburgh Steelers PIT
22.11 263 WR Darrius Heyward-Bey PIT
23.02 266 QB Colin Kaepernick SFO
24.11 287 PK Connor Barth NOS
25.02 290 PK Robbie Gould CHI
26.11 311 WR Albert Wilson KCC
27.02 314 RB Branden Oliver SDC
28.11 335 WR Jared Abbrederis GBP

Overall Strategy:

Fade the QB position, while loading up on a balance of RB/WR.

Best Pick: Mark Ingram RB NO – Pick 3.02. Ingram’s stock is on the rise, climbing into the top 10 of fantasy RB projections in a PPR league. Grabbing Ingram at the top of the 3rd round was big value for Harmon, and pairing him with two solid WRs in Odell Beckham an Alshon Jeffery set up Harmon with a great core right out of the gate.

Worst Pick: Ladarius Green TE PIT – Pick 6.11. Taking Green at the end of the 6th round was a bit of a head scratcher. Green is on the PUP list right now with no timetable to return to practice. Green is currently ranked in the middle of the second tier for fantasy TEs, and his ADP is much lower than the 6th round. Zach Ertz has top 5 potential, and he was taken right after Green. That would have been a much better pick for Harmon here.

Evaluation: Harmon is loaded at the WR position. Four of his first five picks were WRs and he continued to add value as the draft wore on. He scored a couple nice value picks at RB as well with Ingram, Jonathan Stewart and Ameer Abdullah. Harmon’s weakness is at the TE position though, where he reached for the injured Green in the 6th, and then didn’t add a second TE until the 12th round. Like other teams, Harmon faded the QB position as well, and his QBBC of Joe Flacco and Phillip Rivers are serviceable but with limited upside. Harmon is going to need his WRs to really carry him if he’s going to make the playoffs.

post-draft questions

1. What would you say is the best way to attack an FPC best ball draft
 
With any best ball draft, I think your prime move is to mix some floor plays into reaching for ceiling. Because I am usually hammering the wide receiver position early and often this year, I like to make up for this with running backs that have high floors. Mark Ingram is essentially an auto pick in the third round any time he's there for this reason and Jonathan Stewart also makes sense fro ma week-to-week volume perspective.
 
2. How do you feel about drafting rookie wide receivers in a Best Ball draft? Any hesitation? Is there any advantage or disadvantage to doing so? 
 
The best ball concept does help a little because I think there are only three rookies in truly great spots for Year 1 production in Shepard, Thomas and Coleman. The latter two will be quite volatile, however, with the Saints offense being so loaded with options and the Browns likely being subpar again. I think all three will have big booming weeks and getting some exposure to that is great in a best-ball without being too exposed to the floor. However, I didn't take any rookies in this draft and I'm not too broken up about it. Even with those three, unless the cards fall just right, I'm not sure any rookie offers league-winning potential at their current MFL10 ADP.
 
3. What team has the opportunity, talent and ability to surprise people with their passing game this season? Explain your answer. 
 
I think the Bears are a little sneaky right now. We know John Fox wants to play a conservative style at his core, but I'm not sure Chicago is set up to do that right now given their average defense and questionable backfield. This team could end up throwing more than we expect and their talent is underrated. When he's on the field, Alshon Jeffery is as productive as any receiver in the NFL and has a dominant trait - winning contested catches. Kevin White is dripping with all-world talent and won't have to do much more than being a competent No. 2 in his first true NFL season. If he's further along in his development, he could absolutely crush his current ADP. Zach Miller also showed well in spurts last season and passes the sniff test as a potential 2015 Gary Barnidge type sleeper. The best part about this passing offense is that it could be highly concentrated between those three, given there isn't much depth at receiver behind the starting two and none of the running backs are great pass-catchers. Jeffery and White alone could push 50 percent of the target market share. All this intersects back at Jay Cutler, who we know is a career underachiever, but displayed a few times in his career he can function with high-quality weapons. He certainly has that right now and could return value on and ADP outside the top-20 quarterbacks. 


Dan Hindery - Slot 3

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.03 3 WR Julio Jones ATL
2.10 22 TE Jordan Reed WAS
3.03 27 WR Amari Cooper OAK
4.10 46 RB Thomas Rawls SEA
5.03 51 TE Tyler Eifert CIN
6.10 70 RB Duke Johnson CLE
7.03 75 RB Rashad Jennings NYG
8.10 94 WR Corey Coleman CLE
9.03 99 RB DeMarco Murray TEN
10.10 118 QB Tom Brady NEP
11.03 123 QB Kirk Cousins WAS
12.10 142 WR Devin Funchess CAR
13.03 147 WR Travis Benjamin SDC
14.10 166 RB Josh Ferguson IND
15.03 171 TE Ben Watson BAL
16.10 190 Def Denver Broncos DEN
17.03 195 QB Brock Osweiler HOU
18.10 214 Def Seattle Seahawks SEA
19.03 219 RB Christine Michael SEA
20.10 238 Def New England Patriots NEP
21.03 243 Def New York Giants NYG
22.10 262 PK Justin Tucker BAL
23.03 267 WR Kenny Britt RAM
24.10 286 PK Mike Nugent CIN
25.03 291 PK Josh Lambo SDC
26.10 310 WR Andre Johnson TEN
27.03 315 WR Brian Quick RAM
28.10 334 TE Dennis Pitta BAL

Overall Strategy:

Fade the QB position, then go QBBC. Load up on WR and TE to take advantage of the PPR and TE bonus.

Best Pick: Jordan Reed TE WAS Pick 2.10. In a PPR league with 1.5 PPR for tight ends, it’s smart to land one early. Hindery grabbed Jordan Reed late in the second round, making sure he had solid production before the TE run took off. Reed had a whopping 87 receptions on 114 targets last season, and he should be money in the bank in a 1.5 PPR league.

Worst Pick: Kirk Cousins QB WAS Pick 11.03. Going QBBC with his 10th and 11th pick was smart. Hindery landed great value with Cousins to supplement Tom Brady as well. The problem is that even when Brady is back from suspension, he still shares the same off week as Cousins. Hindery compounded the problem by drafting Brock Osweiler in the 17th round who is also off in week 9. Hindery didn’t draft another QB, meaning will get a zero at QB that week.  

Evaluation: Aside from the QB mistake, Hindery had a pretty solid draft. He grabbed to TEs in the first 51 picks which is smart in this format, and he loaded up on RB/WR to take advantage of the best ball format. Hindery landed value with most of his picks and didn’t reach too far on any of them. The QBBC approach was good too, and he executed it when there was still enough value to make it work. He just didn’t pay attention to his off weeks.

post-draft questions


1. Tight ends receiving 1.5 PPR is big. Which tight ends do you recommend targeting in this format and when in the draft is the "sweet spot" for each? 

In each of the TE-Premium staff mock drafts that we have done, I have been able to land Jordan Reed in the late 2nd-round. He scored more than 20 PPG in this format last season. He was even better down the stretch, averaging over 33 PPG in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16). He has emerged as the go-to player in a pass-heavy offense and has a great shot to top 300 points in 1.5 PPR leagues if he can stay healthy.

Tyler Eifert is another strong option.  He would probably be going in the 3rd round in this format if he was healthy. I love getting him at a two round discount when he is only projected to miss 1-2 games (at most). He should produce low-end WR1 numbers in this format (averaged over 17 PPG last season), especially as he picks up extra targets due to the losses of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

Zach Ertz is another guy I would target. He should be the centerpiece of the Eagles offense and his huge 2015 finish shows just how high his ceiling is. He is my main target in the 7th round range.

2. How much of an emphasis do you place on Defense/ST and Kicker in this format? How many of each is recommended?

In the final eight to ten rounds, I love loading up on defense and kickers in this best ball format. First, the position player pool is extremely picked over. With relatively small starting lineups, the odds of getting a player capable of making a real impact are miniscule.

Second, defense is a position with huge variations in weekly scoring. For example, Denver DST scored more than 20 points three times last season. There were also nine weeks with under 10 points scored. Seattle DST scored in double-digits nine times and had a pair of 20+ point weeks. Drafting four strong defenses gives you a big bump in weekly upside and allows you to take advantage of those random 20+ point weeks to really jump up the standings. It also gives you a high floor. With four good defenses, odds are at least one is going to put up 10+ points each week. It gives me a concrete weekly advantage over the teams that just rostered two middling defenses in the later rounds who will inevitably have plenty of weeks where they are forced to take five or six points at the DST position.

The thought process behind going with at least three kickers is similar. The weekly variation is slightly less than DST, but it still makes good sense to add a third kicker in the final rounds vs. a 9th receiver. The kicker is much more likely to contribute extra points for you over the course of the season.  

3. Who is a player that you are avoiding that others might be targeting? Explain your stance on that player. 

Aaron Rodgers is a player who won’t end up on any of my rosters in start one quarterback leagues. As he has aged, he has become less of a threat with his legs (averaging just one rushing TD per season the past three years vs. the four per season he averaged in his fantasy prime). We have also seen so many other passers emerge to put up big fantasy numbers that it is hard to see Rodgers really separating from the pack like he once did. Last season, he produced similar fantasy numbers to Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford (all of whom are going much later in 2016 drafts). His current price tag is especially hard to stomach in best ball leagues where it is possible to get players like Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins in the 10th or 11th round.

John Lee - Slot 4

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.04 4 TE Rob Gronkowski NEP
2.09 21 RB Jamaal Charles KCC
3.04 28 WR Jarvis Landry MIA
4.09 45 WR Doug Baldwin SEA
5.04 52 WR Michael Crabtree OAK
6.09 69 RB Matt Jones WAS
7.04 76 QB Drew Brees NOS
8.09 93 WR Tavon Austin RAM
9.04 100 WR Sterling Shepard NYG
10.09 117 RB Kenneth Dixon BAL
11.04 124 TE Will Tye NYG
12.09 141 QB Ryan Tannehill MIA
13.04 148 RB LeGarrette Blount NEP
14.09 165 CAR Jr. Ginn Ted
15.04 172 RB Jordan Howard CHI
16.09 189 WR Jaelen Strong HOU
17.04 196 RB Tim Hightower NOS
18.09 213 RB James White NEP
19.04 220 WR Chris Conley KCC
20.09 237 Def Green Bay Packers GBP
21.04 244 Def Philadelphia Eagles PHI
22.09 261 PK Chris Boswell PIT
23.04 268 Def San Francisco 49ers SFO
24.09 285 PK Adam Vinatieri IND
25.04 292 WR Davante Adams GBP
26.09 309 WR Brandon Coleman NOS
27.04 316 TE Ryan Griffin HOU
28.09 333 QB Josh McCown CLE

Overall Strategy:

Grab the top TE right out of the gate, pound the WR position.  Fade the RB position in favor of taking guys who will thrive in a PPR format.

Best Pick:  Rob Gronkowski TE NE – Pick 1.04.  Lee made a bold move, taking Gronk right out of the gate in the first round. In this format, Gronkowski is going to be a point factory, even if Tom Brady isn’t going to be his QB for the start of the season. With the top RB still on the board and plenty of top tier WRs still available, Lee locked up Gronk and set himself up at the TE position. As other guys were using two of their next four picks for a TE, Lee could focus on other needs.

Worst Pick: Matt Jones RB WAS – Pick 6.09. Lee started out grabbing Jamaal Charles for his first RB which was great in a PPR, best ball league. But Charles is on the PUP list right now, and is recovering from an ACL tear he sustained back in October. There’s a good chance he won’t be 100% by the time the season starts. That means Matt Jones could be Lee’s #1 Running back. Even worse, Lee didn’t take a second RB he selected Kenneth Dixon in the 10th round. There is a lot of risk at the RB position for this team.  

Evaluation: Lee grabbed the top TE in the draft with the #4 overall pick and then spent five of his next eight picks on WRs. He clearly has the strongest group in the league, and he’ll need it given his questionable running back depth. Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill make an excellent QBBC, with Brees being more of the primary guy. His biggest concern will be his weak RB stable, but if one of his later round picks turns into a starter, this team could really do some damage from week to week. With Gronk and his WR depth, they have the power to carry this team from week to week.
 

post-draft questions

1. Will Tye is creeping up draft boards. You selected him with pick 11.04. Explain why you are high on him this season.
 
To be honest, I am high on quite a few tight ends this season. As premier, three-down running backs are slowly being phased out, the usage of tight ends in today's NFL offense seems to be on the incline. After Rob Gronkowski (who I drafted in the first round), the dropoff to the next tier of tight ends is fairly steep, but there are quite a few tight ends who offer real value in best ball formats, including Will Tye. Tye is currently ranked between the TE26 to TE30 on many draft boards, but I think that spot is an absolute steal for a player who showed such promise in his rookie season. Tye did not touch the field for the first month of 2015, but steadily won the trust of Tom Coughlin to the point where Tye was logging the majority of snaps at the TE position as the season closed. Tye's second half of 2015 included 50 targets, of which he snagged 34 catches for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns, numbers that would have made him a top ten TE if extrapolated over a 16-game season. Early reports out of camp are suggesting that Tye is the favorite to win the TE1 spot with Ben McAdoo's offense; let's not forget that McAdoo was a tight ends coach for six years in Green Bay prior to his time with the Giants, which could also bode well in Tye's favor entering his second NFL season. 
 
2. In this format - would you rather have a roster with big-play upside players or middle of the road consistency players who occasionally have a big week?

Luckily, with 28 rounds, it is virtually impossible not to gain exposure to both types of players. With best ball formats, you certainly want those high-upside players to help pad a big week, but you cannot roster only boom-or-bust players simply because you cannot afford to have multiple bust weeks across such a short season. What I tend to try to do is to build a decent core of consistent scorers across my roster, but to draft for upside when that core is built. This is precisely what I did in this draft--I drafted the best TE in the league in Rob Gronkowski, took a solid QB in Drew Brees, and tried to get the best RB/WR available through the first ~ 10 rounds; after that, I drafted for depth and upside. I think my WR corps is going to be fantastic, despite me avoiding the position until the third round; with Jarvis Landry, Doug Baldwin, and Michael Crabtree holding down the fort each week, I have built in a ton of upside with guys like Tavon Austin, Sterling Shepard, Ted Ginn, Jaelen Strong, Chris Conley, and Brandon Coleman.
 
3. Pick any team's third-string wide receiver and explain why that player has a chance to make an impact this season. 

The Vikings' Charles Johnson is a player I will be watching closely during camp. Johnson had a strong 2014 campaign, his rookie season, only to have his sophomore season in the league marred by injuries and poor offensive line play. This year, the Vikings will have a healthy Adrian Peterson to keep the chains moving and highly-touted rookie Laquon Treadwell should attract the defenses' best cornerbacks on a weekly basis, meaning that Johnson should be in line to take advantage of lesser-talented defensive backs. Inside the redzone, Peterson will still be the primary target, but on passing downs, we already know that Stefon Diggs is not getting the ball, which leaves the aforementioned Treadwell and also Johnson, both of whom are nice redzone receivers with big 6'2" frames. If you can steal Johnson in the last round of your deeper drafts, do not hesitate to take a flyer on him for these reasons.
 

Mark Wimer - Slot 5

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.05 5 WR DeAndre Hopkins HOU
2.08 20 WR Brandon Marshall NYJ
3.05 29 TE Travis Kelce KCC
4.08 44 RB Latavius Murray OAK
5.05 53 TE Gary Barnidge CLE
6.08 68 WR Larry Fitzgerald ARI
7.05 77 RB Ryan Mathews PHI
8.08 92 RB Chris Ivory JAC
9.05 101 RB T.J. Yeldon JAC
10.08 116 WR Kamar Aiken BAL
11.05 125 QB Matthew Stafford DET
12.08 140 QB Alex Smith KCC
13.05 149 WR Tyler Boyd CIN
14.08 164 WR Leonte Carroo MIA
15.05 173 RB Wendell Smallwood PHI
16.08 188 TE Austin Hooper ATL
17.05 197 TE Jacob Tamme ATL
18.08 212 Def Kansas City Chiefs KCC
19.05 221 Def Carolina Panthers CAR
20.08 236 QB Paxton Lynch DEN
21.05 245 QB Mark Sanchez DEN
22.08 260 QB Trevor Siemian DEN
23.05 269 RB Mike Gillislee BUF
24.08 284 TE Tyler Kroft CIN
25.05 293 WR Cecil Shorts HOU
26.08 308 WR J.J. Nelson ARI
27.05 317 PK Nick Folk NYJ
28.08 332 PK Travis Coons CLE

Overall Strategy:

Fade the QB position, and go strong at RB, WR and TE. Then get QBs back to back and handcuff a 3rd to take advantage of the best ball format.

Best Pick: Ryan Mathews RB Phi – Pick 7.05. Mathews is penciled in as the starter in Philly now that DeMarco Murray has moved on. With the Chip Kelly offense gone as well, Mathews should be in a position to put up a solid season. He’s great value in the middle of the 7th round, and Wimer added to the strength of this pick by picking up Wendelle Smallwood later in the draft. In a best ball format, having both Mathews and Smallwood gives Wimer a virtual lock on the Philly RB.

Worst Pick: Kamar Aiken WR BAL – Pick 10.08. Fading the QB position in a 4 pt passing league is smart, but there is a point when you can go too far. Matthew Stafford and Alex Smith are both mid second tier QBS who do improve in value a bit in a best ball format, but I’m not sure it will be enough. Going QBBC is smart, but Wimer should have started 1 round earlier. The backup QB round started before Wimer picked Aiken and 4 QBs were off the board before he took Stafford at 11.05. Another six QBs went after that before Wimer was able to get his second QB at 12.08. Wimer already had 3 WRs and could have waited on a 4th to take his first QB.  

Evaluation: Wimer had a solid, if unspectacular team from the 5th position. His first couple picks were about the expected ADP, and adding a second TE with Gary Barnidge in the 2nd round was smart to take advantage of the 1.5 PPR for TEs. Wimer faded the QB position a bit too long and got caught in the middle of the backup QB run, leaving him with some question marks at that position. He loaded up on the Denver passing game though, giving him an unlikely, yet efficient QBBC. He has a couple of good handcuff picks, which is smart in a best ball format. A solid draft.
 

post-draft questions

1. You selected the Falcons tight ends in this draft. Explain why you like stacking a team's tight end output in this format and give some examples of stacks to target.

Since this is a best ball league, I targeted the Falcons' tight end situation to exploit as I will get whichever of Jacob Tamme/Austin Hooper does best on any given weekend. Since Tamme is likely to have several receptions in most games, while Hooper is seen as a red zone threat, the two should complement each other nicely, with Tamme providing a solid floor of PPR-based fantasy points, while Hooper has 'boom' potential in those weeks that he does find the end zone.

A couple of other stacks like this to target would be Tyler Kroft/Tyler Eifert/Tyler Boyd in Cincinnati - Kroft should be standing in for Eifert quite a bit of the season, while Boyd's role as slot receiver should get PPR points when the tight ends aren't as involved in the passing game (those weeks they have to stay in to block against blitzing defenses), further ensuring a decent floor of PPR points. Richard Rogers and Jared Cook in Green Bay would be another nice duo (they may both see multiple targets in several games), although this duo would likely be tougher to engineer in a draft as each guy has his adherents among fantasy owners.

2. You selected both of the Jaguars main running backs. Explain why handcuffing certain running backs is a good strategy in this format and give some examples of tandems that people should target.

I actually see this as more akin to the Tamme/Hooper stack I addressed above, as I expect several games where both Jaguars' backs are heavily involved in aspects of the games. Since this is a best-ball paradigm, by having both Jaguars backs I'll get the top score from whichever guy does the most with his touches in any given week - with the added aspect that if one guy goes down to injury or suspension, then I likely have a featured running back in the other. Some other running back tandems to target similar to Chris Ivory/T.J. Yeldon include Bilal Powell/Matt Forte in New York; Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman in Atlanta; Jeremy Langford/Jordan Howard in Chicago.

3. What team's offense do you predict will see a decrease in production this year. Share your thoughts.

I am not big on New England led by Jimmy Garoppolo for the month of September, and then Tom Brady will have to get back in synch with his teammates during the first part of October as well. So if anyone is going to see a slow start to the 2016 season, it will be the bulk of the New England offensive team. I also am concerned about the Mark Sanchez-led Broncos (or the Trevor Siemian-led Broncos, or the Paxton Lynch-led Broncos) - although in some weeks they may surprise due to the high level of talent at wide receiver, I think Denver will be a 'boom-bust' offense this year that will be hard to predict from week to week. The tandem is OK for a backup slot on a best-ball team, but I wouldn't want to have to try and predict which weeks Denver's passing game will go off.

Justin Bonnema - Slot 6

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.06 6 RB David Johnson ARI
2.07 19 RB LeSean McCoy BUF
3.06 30 WR Randall Cobb GBP
4.07 43 WR Donte Moncrief IND
5.06 54 WR Eric Decker NYJ
6.07 67 RB Danny Woodhead SDC
7.06 78 QB Russell Wilson SEA
8.07 91 WR Willie Snead NOS
9.06 102 TE Eric Ebron DET
10.07 115 QB Eli Manning NYG
11.06 126 TE Jimmy Graham SEA
12.07 139 WR Sammie Coates PIT
13.06 150 RB Jerick McKinnon MIN
14.07 163 WR Josh Doctson WAS
15.06 174 Def Arizona Cardinals ARI
16.07 187 WR Breshad Perriman BAL
17.06 198 WR Chris Hogan NEP
18.07 211 RB Charcandrick West KCC
19.06 222 WR Rueben Randle PHI
20.07 235 RB Tyler Ervin HOU
21.06 246 Def Detroit Lions DET
22.07 259 RB Ka\'Deem Carey CHI
23.06 270 WR Cole Beasley DAL
24.07 283 PK Josh Brown NYG
25.06 294 PK Dustin Hopkins WAS
26.07 307 WR Terrelle Pryor CLE
27.06 318 TE Blake Bell SFO
28.07 331 WR Ty Montgomery GBP

Overall Strategy:

Go hard at the RB and WR position early. Get a solid QB and fade the TE position.

Best Pick: Russell Wilson QB SEA – Pick 7.06. Wilson is a top five quarterback in a normal redraft league, and has increased value in a league that only awards 4 pts per passing TD. He’s a 4th round pick in a normal redraft league, and landing him at 7.06 is huge value in this league. Not only did it give Bonnema a solid QB base, it set him up to focus on RB/WR for the rest of the draft.

Worst Pick: Eric Ebron TE DET – Pick 9.06. In a 1.5 PPR TE bonus league, it’s important to try to grab a solid pass catching TE early. Most guys will try to secure two within the first six picks to take advantage of it. Bonnema waited on the TE position and by the time he drafted his first, the top talent was gone. Ebron is probably not a top 12 TE, even in this format, and the TE position is going to be Justin’s weak spot with this squad.

Evaluation: Bonnema pounded the RB/WR position right out of the gate, loading up on solid value with each of his picks. David Johnson and LeSean McCoy give him a solid RB corps, and his first four WRs were great picks, especially in a best ball format. Justin bucked conventional wisdom, and faded the TE position, landing Ebron and underperforming Jimmy Graham for his top two picks. This will put him at a disadvantage in this format, but his RBs and WRs should be able to help him compensate.
 

post-draft questions

1. Pick a running back, wide receiver and tight end who will rise up the ranks and surprise people this year. Give a brief explanation as to why.
 

Running back: would it be a copout if I plug LeSean McCoy here? The Bills’ offense is trending up and McCoy is one of the most underrated players in the league. He has been perennial RB1 over the last five years and is now paired with Greg Roman, who has a long history of rushing success. McCoy is currently ranked as our consensuses RB11 (PPR), which is way too low. I think he finishes as a top five running back.

Wide Receiver: Another year, another case of the crowd paying no respect to Eric Decker. He is currently falling to the end of the fourth and sometimes available in the fifth, despite finishing as a near top-10 receiver two out of the last three years. Only Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall have scored more touchdowns than Decker since 2010. His ADP makes no sense and I couldn’t be happier about it.  

Tight End: There’s not a lot of faith in the Bears’ offense, but Zach Miller could emerge as the perfect late-round tight end. From Weeks 10-16 he was our fifth highest scoring tight end, easily outplaying Martellus Bennett during that stretch. Bennett is now out of the picture, and though Miller isn’t all that special in terms of athleticism, he’s still a good bet to be a weekly fantasy contributor.


2. You selected Jimmy Graham with pick 11.06. Many are sour on his ability to return to form after his patellar injury. Explain why you think he's someone to target in drafts.

I don’t necessarily condone drafting Graham in redraft but in a best-ball format, I like the potential. The Seahawks are evolving into less of a “pound the rock” offense and letting Russell Wilson do more, which has to lead to more looks for Graham. In redraft, he makes for a nice gamble as a second tight end. But if he doesn’t make much progress this preseason, I think we’ll see his stock plummet.  


3. Which section of the draft gives you the biggest challenge? The beginning, middle or end?  Explain your answer and give examples of how people can come out of the draft with success.

Definitely the middle. The early part of the draft is pretty easy: just basically taking best players and establishing roster construction. The late part of drafts ends up being a lot of darts—albeit educated darts—especially in deep leagues. The middle is where you have to put in a lot of research. You need to read up on guys like Torrey Smith, Marvin Jones, Charles Sims and Willie Snead and be prepared to make decisions on players that may or may not provide weekly value. My general strategy is to lock up a few top running back prospects early, then pounce on wide receivers during the middle rounds.

Jeff Haseley - Slot 7

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.07 7 RB Todd Gurley RAM
2.06 18 RB Lamar Miller HOU
3.07 31 WR Brandin Cooks NOS
4.06 42 TE Greg Olsen CAR
5.07 55 QB Aaron Rodgers GBP
6.06 66 RB Giovani Bernard CIN
7.07 79 WR Emmanuel Sanders DEN
8.06 90 RB Arian Foster MIA
9.07 103 WR Laquon Treadwell MIN
10.06 114 WR Michael Thomas NOS
11.07 127 TE Jared Cook GBP
12.06 138 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
13.07 151 RB DeAndre Washington OAK
14.06 162 TE Jordan Cameron MIA
15.07 175 RB Shane Vereen NYG
16.06 186 WR Jermaine Kearse SEA
17.07 199 RB C.J. Spiller NOS
18.06 210 WR Seth Roberts OAK
19.07 223 Def Minnesota Vikings MIN
20.06 234 RB Keith Marshall WAS
21.07 247 Def Jacksonville Jaguars JAC
22.06 258 PK Graham Gano CAR
23.07 271 PK Chandler Catanzaro ARI
24.06 282 Def Atlanta Falcons ATL
25.07 295 WR DeAndre Smelter SFO
26.06 306 TE Luke Willson SEA
27.07 319 PK Jason Myers JAC
28.06 330 QB Geno Smith NYJ

Overall Strategy:

Go strong at RB, get good TE and QB, then grab WR who have potential upside.

Best Pick:  Aaron Rodgers QB GB – Pick 5.07.  Footballguys mock draft tend to fade the QB position a little more than typical leagues, especially in leagues like this where passing TDs are only 4 pts. But even when the passing TDS are only worth 4 pts, there are still pretty solid tiers of QBs. Rodgers is in the top tier, and could very easily finish as the best fantasy QB in the league this year. In a best ball format, he’s a great QB to have because you can really focus on value at your other positions, and landing him in the 5th round was great value for Jeff.

Worst Pick: Laquon Treadwell WR MIN – Pick 9.07. There’s nothing wrong with the Treadwell pick per se, but the problem is that Haseley’s next pick was Michael Thomas at 10.06. He didn’t grab another WR until the 16th round, meaning his WR3 and possibly a flex each week will be a rookie WR. The Best Ball format certainly helps auto-start the best possible player, but by taking back to back rookies in 9 and 10, Haseley needs one of these guys to have a good season.

Evaluation: Haseley found great value early, and he loaded up on the running backs that seemed to fall to him. He locked in a top tier QB and TE as well, but sacrificed his WRs in the process. By doing this, his WRs take a pretty big hit, but he has enough strength at the other positions to make up for it. In a best ball format, you can find stronger WRs later in the draft. If Haseley’s later picks can exceed their value, his RB, TE and QB strength will make him really competitive.
 

post-draft questions

 
1. Talk about bye week management in a draft of this format. Is it important to keep a watchful eye on bye weeks?

I would say keep a watchful eye on bye weeks for your defenses and kickers. It would be in your best interest to have different byes if you own multiple kickers and defenses. Quarterback is also a position that you don't want to have two players with the same bye, otherwise you could have a week with a low socring output. The league is won on total points throughout the year, so it's not that big of a loss, but it's difficult for me to be pleased with a lineup that is marred by bye week issues. 
 
2. You selected two rookie wide receivers as your WR3 and WR4. Explain why you targeted Michael Thomas and Laquan Treadwell over known commodities. 

I drafted LaQuan Treadwell at pick 9.07 and then Michael Thomas with pick 10.06 knowing that the two would compete with each other to be my WR3 by committee. I was OK with that, given the other options on the board. Kamar Aiken would've been the only other wide receiver that interested me in that range. I elected to go with youth because in Best Ball format, both Treadwell and Thomas represent decent value as players who can score and be a target in the end zone. I'm OK with my rookie wide receiver duo battling it out as my weekly WR3. My projections forecast at least 10 total touchdowns between the two.
 
3. You selected several running backs with a high pedigree of pass-catching ability. Explain why this is a good strategy to use in this format. 

This is a PPR league, so whenever possible I want to have running backs on my roster capable of having a big-catch game any given week. If in doubt, draft a running back who is capable of multiple 5+ catch games. I believe I have that in Lamar Miller (47 catches in 2015), Giovani Bernard (49 catches in 2015), Arian Foster (5.5 catches per game in 2015), DeAndre Washington (known pass-catching rookie), Shane Vereen (59 catches in 2015), C.J. Spiller (34 catches in 2015). I'd say those are good odds for at least one of those backs (maybe two) to have a strong catch-week, which will give me a double-digit fantast point total from that position. In Best Ball, you want to give yourself the best chance to produce points every single week. Pass-catching backs increases your odds of doing eaxctly that. 
 

Chris Kuczynski - Slot 8

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.08 8 WR A.J. Green CIN
2.05 17 WR Allen Robinson JAC
3.08 32 WR Sammy Watkins BUF
4.05 41 RB Carlos Hyde SFO
5.08 56 TE Coby Fleener NOS
6.05 65 RB Dion Lewis NEP
7.08 80 WR Josh Gordon CLE
8.05 89 QB Derek Carr OAK
9.08 104 RB Melvin Gordon SDC
10.05 113 RB Derrick Henry TEN
11.08 128 QB Jameis Winston TBB
12.05 137 TE Clive Walford OAK
13.08 152 WR Rishard Matthews TEN
14.05 161 RB James Starks GBP
15.08 176 WR Will Fuller HOU
16.05 185 TE Hunter Henry SDC
17.08 200 QB Jared Goff RAM
18.05 209 RB Paul Perkins NYG
19.08 224 Def Houston Texans HOU
20.05 233 Def Oakland Raiders OAK
21.08 248 RB Jonathan Williams BUF
22.05 257 WR Keyarris Garrett CAR
23.08 272 PK Mason Crosby GBP
24.05 281 PK Roberto Aguayo TBB
25.08 296 WR Rashard Higgins CLE
26.05 305 WR Pharoh Cooper RAM
27.08 320 TE Tyler Higbee RAM
28.05 329 WR Braxton Miller HOU

Overall Strategy:

Balanced attack, focusing on value. Kuczynski let this draft come to him, given his poor draft position at #8 overall.

Best Pick: Dion Lewis RB NE Pick 6.05. Lewis is banged up now, but all indications are that he will be ready to go when the season starts. With Tom Brady suspended for the first four games, the rushing attack and short check-down plays will give Lewis plenty of opportunity to shine. Landing him in the 6th round was nice value.

Worst Pick: Clive Walford TE OAK – Pick 12.05. This wasn’t a ‘bad’ pick by Kuczynski as much as it was a questionable set of alternative TE solutions. Coby Fleener has great potential in the New Orleans passing offense, and could really put up point in a 1.5 PPR fantasy league. But if he struggles or is hurt or is off, this team’s alternatives are dangerously thin. Walford is a serviceable alternative, but Kuczynski would have been better served selecting a backup a little sooner.

Evaluation: Chris took a rough draft position and created a team with nice balance and good up-side potential. He hammered the WR position right out of the gate, landing one of the best starting three with A.J. Green, Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins. Josh Gordon is a wild card, but as a WR 4 or flex, he’s well worth it. Fleener could be a top five fantasy TE in this format, and his RBs are good enough to keep him competitive. This team could quietly challenge the top squads in the league.

post-draft questions

1. Pick a running back currently outside of the Top 25 that has the best chance to crack the Top 15 this year. Explain why you think it can happen.

A running back who falls just outside the top 25 who I think is being undervalued this year is Ryan Mathews. He was considerably more efficient than Demarco Murray last year, and now he has very little competition behind him this year. Additionally, the switch to a more traditional offense under new head coach Doug Pederson should put Mathews in a position to have a good amount of touches per game- in Kansas City, the offense used the RBs a lot in the passing game. He can be a very solid RB2 in the 5th or 6th round.
 
2. Is there a tight end that you are avoiding in drafts this year?  If so, explain why it is in the best interest of others to do the same.
 
There is really no player I am avoiding all together, I just think certain players are overvalued and I wouldn't draft them until they fall far enough in the draft. There are two TEs that I think have too high of a price tag Gary Barnidge and Ladarius Green. If they fall a little bit in the draft, I'd be willing to select them when the value is right. 
 
Barnidge is overvalued just because of the outlier season he had last year, which saw him score twice as many fantasy points as his first 6 season combined. It is hard to know how big of a piece of the pie he will get in the Brown's completely reworked offense that returns Josh Gordon and added many rookie WRs in the draft. Ladarius Green had the perfect opportunity last year to show us what he was capable of being a bigger part of the offense, but failed to do so. He had a great QB in Philip Rivers throwing to him, a ton of garbage time to rack up stats, and injuries to Antonio Gates and Kennan Allen, but didn't increase his stats much more from the two previous seasons when he was a part-time player. I'm not ready to consider him a TE1 just because he is now a starter in a good Steeler's offense- it still runs through Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell. 
 
3. What preparation advice would you give to anyone who will be participating in an FPC Best Ball league this year? 
 
First and foremost, practice makes perfect and that is especially true for mock drafts. Using tools like the Draft Dominator app lets you quickly evaluate which players are going where, and see how other positions will shake out if you focus on WR or RB early in the draft
 
In a best ball format with this many rounds, it is crucial to know the depth charts of every teams offense- particularly who is the backup RB and who are the top 3 to 4 WRs. In some cases if possible, handcuffing RBs or doubling up on RB by committee situations can assure you of having that teams' RB position locked up regardless of who the main RB is- the strategy is suited perfectly in best ball, while in a regular re-draft league I probably wouldn't waste the roster spot. This can also be said about possible battles for #2 or 3 WR during training camp- you can assure yourself the winner of the competition if you take both.
 
Another big thing to factor in is player upside or ceiling. Look at players who have shown to be capable of huge stat lines rather than a player who has a reasonable floor, but is otherwise unexceptional. Bench players who are safe will never see your starting lineup barring an injury, because they will likely never outscore your starters. 
 

Devin Knotts - Slot 9

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.09 9 WR Dez Bryant DAL
2.04 16 RB Le\'Veon Bell PIT
3.09 33 RB Eddie Lacy GBP
4.04 40 WR Kelvin Benjamin CAR
5.09 57 WR Kevin White CHI
6.04 64 RB DeAngelo Williams PIT
7.09 81 QB Ben Roethlisberger PIT
8.04 88 WR Markus Wheaton PIT
9.09 105 RB Isaiah Crowell CLE
10.04 112 TE Jason Witten DAL
11.09 129 RB Justin Forsett BAL
12.04 136 QB Tony Romo DAL
13.09 153 WR Pierre Garcon WAS
14.04 160 TE Vance McDonald SFO
15.09 177 RB Chris Johnson ARI
16.04 184 WR Jamison Crowder WAS
17.09 201 QB Blaine Gabbert SFO
18.04 208 RB Alfred Morris DAL
19.09 225 TE Jace Amaro NYJ
20.04 232 Def New York Jets NYJ
21.09 249 Def Miami Dolphins MIA
22.04 256 PK Steven Hauschka SEA
23.09 273 QB Jimmy Garoppolo NEP
24.04 280 PK Sebastian Janikowski OAK
25.09 297 WR Rashad Greene JAC
26.04 304 WR Daniel Braverman CHI
27.09 321 QB Dak Prescott DAL
28.04 328 PK Phil Dawson SFO

Overall Strategy:

Fade the TE position and pound RB and WR early.

Best Pick: DeAngelo Williams RB PIT – Pick 6.04. After taking Le’Veon Bell in the second round, Knotts nailed the perfect handcuff by grabbing Williams in the 6th. Williams had some monster games in relief of Bell last year, and he’ll get the opportunity to do it again this year as well. With a best ball format auto-starting whoever is playing, this was a great move by Knotts to lock in solid point production from his RB position.

Worst Pick: Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR – Pick 4.04. I’m not crazy about taking Benjamin with this pick. Reports indicate that he’s recovered from his ACL tear last year in the pre-season, and the Panthers are bringing him along slowly, but there are still a lot of questions around him at this point.  With guys like Doug Baldwin, John Brown and Julian Edelman still on the board, taking Benjamin here was a risky pick.

Evaluation: Knotts choose to fade the TE position, but still landed Jason Witten with his 10th round pick. Witten still has some gas in the tank, and could be a good pick if Tony Romo is healthy. Knotts landed a great RB handcuff with Williams and Bell, and added Eddie Lacy to anchor a solid RB point base to build off. His WR corps has a few questions though, with #2 Kelvin Benjamin and #3 Kevin White both missing the 2015 season with injuries. His QB position takes a shotgun approach with Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and a couple other guys who will probably see time at different points this season. Devin’s team has a lot of question marks, but could be a solid squad if a few things go his way.

post-draft questions

1. Pick a player that you drafted in the 14th round or later and explain why you believe they will exceed expectations this year. 
 
Vance McDonald is the guy who I like more than any pick I made in the entire draft. In a 1.5 point TE league, I waited on tight ends longer than I should, but if you look at what Chip Kelly has done with his tight ends since he has been in the NFL it has been tremendous. Last year combined Ertz and Celek had and 102 receptions and 147 targets. McDonald is a guy who really doesn't have much competition around him and Blaine Gabbert is calling him a "mismatch nightmare against linebackers" in training camp. This is McDonald's contract season,so it is now or never and I love him this late in the draft.
 
2. What is the biggest mistake people make when drafting in a Best Ball league?  
 
The biggest mistake is going boom or bust with every selection. I think people avoid taking players that are consistent as they feel they will not impact their roster as much. In a Best Ball league you still need players with a high floor even if their ceiling may be lower than someone else, as there will be weeks when all of your high ceiling/low floor guys hit that low floor and it can just kill your chances over the course of the season. You want to supplement your team with high variance players not build your team around it.
 
3. In your opinion, is it better to have a stud quarterback with a decent backup, or three middle of the road, consistent quarterbacks in this format? 
 
I think you need at least three starters in a Best Ball format or two starters and both of their backups. The issue with the best ball format is that there are no mid-season roster moves, so if one of your quarterbacks gets hurt you will take a zero at some point throughout the season during bye weeks. In this league, I took five quarterbacks, primarily because our roster size was 28 and I had concerns with two of my first three in Gabbert and Romo. 
 

Sigmund Bloom - Slot 10

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.10 10 RB Ezekiel Elliott DAL
2.03 15 WR Keenan Allen SDC
3.10 34 WR Demaryius Thomas DEN
4.03 39 WR Jeremy Maclin KCC
5.10 58 WR Michael Floyd ARI
6.03 63 TE Antonio Gates SDC
7.10 82 RB Frank Gore IND
8.03 87 WR DeSean Jackson WAS
9.10 106 TE Dwayne Allen IND
10.03 111 RB Bilal Powell NYJ
11.10 130 QB Marcus Mariota TEN
12.03 135 QB Tyrod Taylor BUF
13.10 154 RB Darren Sproles PHI
14.03 159 QB Jay Cutler CHI
15.10 178 WR Terrance Williams DAL
16.03 183 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins TBB
17.10 202 WR Robert Woods BUF
18.03 207 RB Andre Ellington ARI
19.10 226 PK Stephen Gostkowski NEP
20.03 231 Def Los Angeles Rams RAM
21.10 250 RB Darren McFadden DAL
22.03 255 Def Chicago Bears CHI
23.10 274 PK Brandon McManus DEN
24.03 279 RB Khiry Robinson NYJ
25.10 298 TE Darren Fells ARI
26.03 303 TE Virgil Green DEN
27.10 322 Def New Orleans Saints NOS
28.03 327 WR Malcolm Mitchell NEP

Overall Strategy:

Fade the QB position, pound the WR position and draft for value at the other positions.

Best Pick: Dwayne Allen TE IND – Pick 9.10.  Allen takes over the top TE spot in Indianapolis this season, and he’s poised to have bounce back from his terrible 2015 season where he had just 109 receiving yards and 1 TD. Between the half point bonus for receptions and his expected increase in TDs this season, there is a good chance Allen finishes as a top 12 fantasy TE. Landing him in the 9th round, especially when guys were taking two with their first six picks, was huge value.

Worst Pick: Marcus Mariota QB TEN – Pick 11.10. Bloom focused almost exclusively on the WR and TE positions in the early part of the draft. In doing this, he built his team around a QBBC of lower quality QBS. Mariota wasn’t a ‘bad’ pick in the normal sense, but it represents a clear commitment to taking ‘whatever he can get’ from the QB position. To his credit, Mariota, Tyrod Taylor and Jay Cutler are all starting QBs for their teams and will all be on the field unless they are hurt. He just needs one of them to have an above average game on different weeks.

Evaluation:  Bloom took full advantage of the best ball format of this league, and constructed a boom or bust team that could really do some damage. Fading the QB position as long as he did left him with QBs that you’d hate as your #1 in a normal redraft league, but with a best ball format, Bloom doesn’t have to guess which will do the best. He pounded the WR and TE position to maximize the PPR and TE bonus points, and selected RBs that have upside potential as goal line backs or as receivers out of the backfield. It’s a calculated risk, but looking at it from a finished product, you can see how the strategy can work. This is a dangerous team.

post-draft questions

1. How does one win this league? What's the secret to drafting a winning team?
 
Ceiling, ceiling, ceiling. With 28 draft spots, players that only have a weekly ceiling of solid depth in any scenario only help you tread water. Take players with higher season-long and weekly ceilings and count on your later picks to fill in gaps. Deep threat receivers, potential surprise tight ends in the 1.5 PPR scoring system, backup running backs who could take over a huge load - these should be your targets later on.
 
2. Don't do X in your draft - What is X? 
 
Let ADP dictate your picks. ADP reflects a consensus of everyone's opinion, but it doesn't mean it is right and it shouldn't be a substitute for your opinion. Besides, if a player is still on the board a round or two after their ADP, there could be a reason, and if you don't have a good reason to take them independent of ADP value, you shouldn't.
 
3. Would you rather have more average players on winning teams or more studs on average teams in this format?  Explain your answer. 
 
Studs on average teams are fine in this format because best ball smooths out the peaks and valleys. Average players on winning teams, especially at running back, can have lower valleys because their game scripts don't abandon them as often. Studs on average teams can peak as even higher than average players on winning teams because when their game scripts come together, they dominate. Comparing Carlos Hyde and Latavius Murray across the bay is a good example. In best ball you can absorb Hyde's low points much easier than you can in redraft.
 

James Brimacombe - Slot 11

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.11 11 RB Adrian Peterson MIN
2.02 14 RB Devonta Freeman ATL
3.11 35 WR Golden Tate DET
4.02 38 QB Cam Newton CAR
5.11 59 WR Jordan Matthews PHI
6.02 62 QB Andrew Luck IND
7.11 83 WR Marvin Jones DET
8.02 86 TE Julius Thomas JAC
9.11 107 WR Stefon Diggs MIN
10.02 110 RB Jay Ajayi MIA
11.11 131 WR Dorial Green-Beckham TEN
12.02 134 TE Charles Clay BUF
13.11 155 RB Devontae Booker DEN
14.02 158 TE Kyle Rudolph MIN
15.11 179 QB Robert Griffin CLE
16.02 182 WR Kendall Wright TEN
17.11 203 WR Kenny Bell TBB
18.02 206 RB Chris Thompson WAS
19.11 227 TE Jeff Heuerman DEN
20.02 230 TE Jesse James PIT
21.11 251 RB Ronnie Hillman DEN
22.02 254 Def Baltimore Ravens BAL
23.11 275 Def Dallas Cowboys DAL
24.02 278 PK Cairo Santos KCC
25.11 299 PK Dan Carpenter BUF
26.02 302 Def San Diego Chargers SDC
27.11 323 WR Justin Hardy ATL
28.02 326 WR Demarcus Robinson KCC

Overall Strategy:

Start strong at RB, grab 2 QBs early and load up on WR position for the first 10 picks.

Best Pick: Cam Newton QB CAR – Pick 4.02. In a 4pt passing TD league, a QB like Newton is a great pick because of his extra rushing yards and TDS. In this format, Newton is easily the top choice for a QB and is big value landing him in the 4th round.

Worst Pick: Andrew Luck QB Ind – Pick 6.02. If Brimacombe’s best pick was Netwon in the 4th round, he gave some of that value back when he took Luck two rounds later. Despite the best ball format, you can only start 1 QB each week. Having Luck and Newton means Brimacombe will probably have the top QB score each week, but he could have used a better TE instead of second QB.

Evaluation: Drafting from the 11 spot is pretty rough in the FBG staff league, but Brimacombe did a solid job. He landed 2 solid RBs with his first two picks and then added good WR depth at each of his next four turns. Having Newton and Luck give him the best QB duo in the league, but he faded the TE position in a league that gives 1.5 PPR for TEs. So by the time he took his 1st one in the 8th, he was left with Julius Thomas and he didn’t get his second until the 12th. Brimacombe is solid at his other positions though, and should be pretty competitive with this squad.

post-draft questions

1. You selected two quarterbacks early (Cam Newton at 4.02 and Andrew Luck at 6.02). Explain why you chose this strategy and how if affected your draft.
 
Waiting on quarterback is probably the way to go so you can load up on the RB, WR, and TE positions but for this draft because it was so deep with 28 rounds I felt that I could get a variety of RB's and WR's later in the draft. With grabbing both Newton and Luck early in the draft I felt that I had the position covered in a best ball league and would not have to settle for a QB ranked outside the top 10. Newton is a do it all type of QB that can get you some additional big points with his added running game. With Luck you get a little bit of everything and having 2 of the top 3 Quarterbacks felt like a way to make my team unique and gives me an added bonus over the rest of the league each week. 
 
2. You selected two of Detroit's wide receivers, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Why is stacking receivers a good strategy and what other tandems would you recommend targeting?
 
There is no Calvin Johnson in Detroit any more so taking a WR stack in Tate and Jones felt like I locked in a top tier WR at a discounted price. The Lions offense as a whole will have to look to the passing game and with divisional matchups against the Bears, Vikings, and Packers they should be able to get into some back and forth high scoring games. In two seasons with the Lions, Tate has totaled 2,144 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 189 receptions. Marvin Jones just signed a 5-year, $40 Million deal so he should be worked in quickly and both Tate and Jones should compliment each other rather nicely with Matthew Stafford slinging them the ball. Jones missed all of 2014 with an injury but he did look good last season posting 65 receptions for 816 yards and 4 touchdowns. With Calvin Johnson out of the equation, his production is going to be have to shared with the likes of Tate and Jones and getting them in Rounds 3 and 7 seemed like some good value and made perfect sense to pair them together. Some other WR tandems that I would recommend targeting in BestBall format would be the Colts with T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, The Vikings with Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell, and the Seahawks with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. These are all guys you don't have to over pay for and if they fall to you at the right time in the draft they make perfect sense to piece together.
 
3. What is the biggest mistake people make when they elect to draft a quarterback early in the draft
 
Panicking when it comes to selecting Running Backs or Wide Receivers. It worked out well for me in drafting both Newton and Luck early but I was basing it off of the fact that I drafted Adrian Peterson and Devonta Freeman already ahead of them and I felt like I had the RB position already locked down. So drafting the QB duo early helped me to immediately feel good about both the RB and QB positions and all I would have to focus on in the later rounds would be finding value at the WR and TE positions. I felt good about the five Tight Ends I drafted for best ball in Julius Thomas, Charles Clay, Kyle Rudolph, Jeff Heuerman, and Jesse James as I should be able to get close to TE1 value each week with one of the guys stepping up. Where I fell short was the Wide Receiver position as I drafted 9 players in Jordan Matthews, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Stefon Diggs, Dorial Green-Beckham, Kendall Wright, Kenny Bell, Justin Hardy, and Demarcus Robinson. Non of these receivers jump off the page and I am going to go through the entire year with a committee type of approach at this position. 
 

John Norton - Slot 12

PICK OVERALL POS PLAYER TEAM
1.12 12 WR Jordy Nelson GBP
2.01 13 WR Mike Evans TBB
3.12 36 RB C.J. Anderson DEN
4.01 37 RB Matt Forte NYJ
5.12 60 WR Allen Hurns JAC
6.01 61 RB Jeremy Hill CIN
7.12 84 QB Carson Palmer ARI
8.01 85 TE Martellus Bennett NEP
9.12 108 TE Zach Miller CHI
10.01 109 WR Mohamed Sanu ATL
11.12 132 QB Matt Ryan ATL
12.01 133 WR Phillip Dorsett IND
13.12 156 RB Cameron Artis-Payne CAR
14.01 157 TE Richard Rodgers GBP
15.12 180 RB Spencer Ware KCC
16.01 181 WR Anquan Boldin DET
17.12 204 QB Sam Bradford PHI
18.01 205 WR Victor Cruz NYG
19.12 228 Def Cincinnati Bengals CIN
20.01 229 RB Alex Collins SEA
21.12 252 WR Jeff Janis GBP
22.01 253 Def Tampa Bay Buccaneers TBB
23.12 276 PK Blair Walsh MIN
24.01 277 PK Dan Bailey DAL
25.12 300 RB Daniel Lasco NOS
26.01 301 RB Kenyan Drake MIA
27.12 324 WR James Jones SDC
28.01 325 WR Dontrelle Inman SDC

Overall Strategy:

Leverage back to back picks on the turn to add value picks each time he’s on the clock.

Best Pick: Matt Forte RB NYJ Pick 4.01. I love the turn that John had at the end of the 3rd round. With C.J. Anderson at 3.12 and Matt Forte at 4.01, Norton scored two big pass-catching RBS that have top 12 potential. Forte has a new home in New York, but he’s still one of the most versatile backs in the league. He will have a solid year for the Jets, and he’s great value at the 3-4 turn.

Worst Pick: Martellus Bennett TE NE – Pick 8.01. Norton waited a little before taking his first TE, and he landed a guy who may or may not be a factor for the Patriots this year. Bennett has some skills, but he can’t seem to keep his head screwed on straight when it comes to the locker room and off the field.  Even if ‘The Patriot Way’ straightens him out, he’ll be second fiddle to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

Evaluation: Drafting at the turn in a FBG Mock can be tough. If you read the draft room wrong, you can miss a major position run, or reach for a player that wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Norton played this one well, letting the draft come to him and making solid picks with each turn. His RB corps is solid and his top three WRs will generate points every week. His one weak spot is the TE position with Bennett being a questionable #1 and Zach Miller under concussion protocol now in the pre-season for Chicago. If his TEs can come through for him, Norton is going to have a competitive squad.

post-draft questions

1. What are the advantages and disadvantage of drafting at the turn? What advice would you give to someone drafting out of the 12-slot?

I have a love hate relationship with the 12-slot. When picking there it seems I either pick a great team or a horrible one. The irony being teams I don’t like much are usually the good ones.

Picking from this slot can be very frustrating. You get back to back picks which is great and can sometimes work to your advantage, but twenty two players will be gone before you are up again. Entire tiers of players can be wiped out by the time it gets back. In a perfect world I like to take the best tier 1 WR and the best tier 1 RB still on the board at the first turn. That allows for flexibility at the 3-4 turn and beyond.

Nothing is worse than getting to pick 3.12 with no running backs on your roster and realizing there are none left worthy of a third or early fourth round pick. Many owners will reach here and take the best available back anyway. Don’t be one of those guys. Take the best available players. If you end up with four receivers so be it. That position is your strength and you can start loading up on all the good players who have slid farther than you thought they would at other positions. There are always plenty of those guys. Mid round picks will make or break your team.

Most importantly be flexible, and don’t hesitate to break the TE or even QB position at 3-4. It is better to have a top 3 guy at one of those positions than the 14th RB on your board. It could also insight a run on one of those positions. If you already have your stud TE, every TE picked after you is a running back or receiver that will be available at your next pick.

2. What quarterback, currently not a starter, has the best chance to make an impact this season? Explain why he is a good quarterback to target late in the draft.

This is probably a bad year to target a backup quarterback. Across the league there are not a lot of uncertain situations. We have Gabbert and Kaepernick in San Francisco, the three way battle in Denver and the mirage of a QB competition in Los Angeles. The guy I like is Josh McCown. There has been a lot of hype out of Cleveland about how well Robert Griffin has played. He has looked great over the offseason while everyone was wearing shorts and helmets. I am far from sold on him looking much different than he did in Washington once the real games start.

McCown is not a great NFL quarterback. He is simply a solid backup with starting experience. I like his chances because of the talent they have assembled on offense. Corey Coleman is going to be a stud if the Browns have a QB that can get him the ball and we already know how good Josh Gordon can be. They have a good tight end in Gary Barnidge and a couple of backs who can catch the ball as well. He may not have great upside but McCown could end up a more than serviceable option by midseason.

3. What is your strategy regarding Defense/ST in this format? What are you looking for and who are some good defenses to target?

In this format I would consider two possible approaches. I will either go defense a round or two earlier than I expect anyone else to, or I will wait until 8-9 are gone and pick up three I think are on the rise. If I go early I might even take the two best back to back. Doing this allows you to scratch the position for the rest of the draft and concentrate on other positions, while possibly starting a run.

If you elect to wait on a defense and go with the quantity approach; some defenses I believe to be on the rise are Oakland, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. All of these teams have made player and/or coaching changes that have then heading in the right direction.
If you like the idea of taking two studs and not having to address the position again Denver, Carolina, Arizona, Seattle, Kansas City, Houston and Cincinnati are teams I would consider.

 


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