Footballguys Staff Mock Draft 4, PPR 12 team, Best Ball

On July 22nd the Footballguys staff got together for their fourth draft of 2015. A 12 team PPR, Best Ball draft with a format equivalent to MFL10s. Each participant answers questions about their selections and strategies, plus our Ryan Hester provides an in-depth unbiased summary of each team's draft. 

On July 22nd, twelve members of the Footballguys staff got together for the site's fourth draft of 2015. Below is the league scoring format and bylaws. 

League Parameters

  • 12 teams
  • 20 roster spots
  • Starting Lineup
    • 1 quarterback
    • 2 running backs
    • 3 wide receivers
    • 1 tight end
    • 1 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
  • Team Defense
    • 6 points - touchdown
    • 2 points - turnover recovered
    • 2 points - safety
    • 1 point - sack
    • 10 points - Offensive points against: 0-0
    • 7 points - Offensive points against: 1-6
    • 4 points - Offensive points against: 7-20
    • 1 point - Offensive points against: 21-29
    • -3 points - Offensive points against: 30-99
    • 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. Chris Feery
2. John Lee
3. Justin Howe
4. Jeff Haseley
5. Jason Wood
6. Ari Ingel
7. Will Grant
8. Justin Bonnema
9. Matt Harmon
10. Steve Buzzard
11. Bear Heiser
12. Chad Parsons

Starting with Chris Feery from the 1.01 spot, Ryan Hester provides an unbiased evaluation of each team's draft performance

Chris Feery: Draft Position 1

Pick Overall Selection
1.01 1 Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB
2.12 24 Hilton, T.Y. IND WR
3.01 25 Gordon, Melvin SDC RB
4.12 48 Allen, Keenan SDC WR
5.01 49 Cooper, Amari OAK WR
6.12 72 Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB
7.01 73 Johnson, Duke CLE RB
8.12 96 Ivory, Chris NYJ RB
9.01 97 McFadden, Darren DAL RB
10.12 120 Randle, Rueben NYG WR
11.01 121 Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE
12.12 144 Carr, Derek OAK QB
13.01 145 Jones, Marvin CIN WR
14.12 168 Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def
15.01 169 Amaro, Jace NYJ TE
16.12 192 White, James NEP RB
17.01 193 Clay, Charles BUF TE
18.12 216 Smith, Geno NYJ QB
19.01 217 Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def
20.12 240 Shorts, Cecil HOU WR

Strategy

Balanced draft with late-round tight end. No early reaching.
 

Best Pick

Chris' best pick was Ben Roethlisberger at 6.12. Roethlisberger's PPR ADP is 50, so getting him at 61 is nice value for Chris. If Roethlisberger has any knocks against him, it's that his high net finish last year was driven by two monster games. In a Best Ball format, that's a great recipe.
 

Worst Pick

Grabbing Duke Johnson at 7.01 seemed like a stretch, but when you're picking near a turn (or on the turn as Chris was), there's something to be said for "getting your guy" because he likely won't make it back to you. Johnson's PPR ADP is 30 spots lower than where Chris got him, so that theory is debatable here. The next running backs off the board were Johnson's teammate Isaiah Crowell, Ryan Mathews, and Tre Mason, all of whom I would have preferred.
 

Evaluation

Chris is clearly going with the "shotgun" approach at WR3 and flex, but isn't that what the Best Ball format is all about? Having only two defenses is always a slight risk, but selecting two with the same bye week cements a zero in at the position for Week 9. Chris also has two tight ends with a Week 5 bye, leaving him with only Charles Clay to score for that position.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. What draft strategies did you have with this being a Best Ball league? Were you able to follow that strategy or did the draft unfold differently causing you to use a different approach?

I tend to follow a similar strategy for all Best Ball leagues. For the early rounds, I’m focusing on the best player available at my draft position. I have clearly defined tiers of value by position that ultimately narrows my selection and determines the course I will follow for the remainder of the draft. For this draft in particular, full PPR and selecting 1st overall, I knew I had a stud running back in the bag from my 1st selection and was hoping to complement with a next tier running back and two high-target wide receivers over my next three picks. That part went according to plan as I was able to select Melvin Gordon, T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen in rounds 2-4. Once I have the core of my team in place, I still stick to my tiers but also become mindful of position scarcity as the draft unfolds. My 5th pick is a good example of how this plays out for me. While I knew wide receiver remained deep at this point, I’m very high on Amari Cooper’s upside for his rookie campaign. There were no overwhelming running back choices available, the top-tier tight ends were gone by this point and I was confident I could wait on a quarterback and be pleased with the selection. I was able to select Roethlisberger (a quarterback I’m very high on) in round six and load up on running backs that will contribute in rounds 7-9 as position scarcity became a very important factor. From this point, I was looking to fill the holes on my team but still sticking to best player available and scarcity, trying to be careful not to draft anyone too high in relation to their value just because I have a need at that position.      

2. Which player on your team, if he hits, will be the main driver of success for your team?  Explain why you have high expectations for this player.  

Melvin Gordon. I’m very intrigued by Gordon in a lead back role for the Chargers. He was an absolute stud in college, impressive in OTA’s and may be a much better pass catcher than advertised. Injuries in the backfield really hampered the Chargers in 2014 and the fresh legs of Gordon could really open things up for the offense. Despite the offseason trade rumors, Philip Rivers will continue to thrive in this offensive scheme and has the potential to threaten career best numbers. The explosive Gordon will receive a heavy workload right out of the gate and should be a huge part of the Chargers attack in 2015. Based on all of these factors, I’m very confident in Gordon as a solid RB2 for my team.

3. Drafting first overall can be a challenge, especially at the turn of the third and fourth round. What advice would you give to someone drafting in this slot? In a Best Ball league, is there any difference in strategy? 

Having the first pick is definitely challenging. You’re guaranteed a stud (barring injury) but at the mercy of how the remainder of the draft plays out from that point. You need to have a clearly defined game plan for the early rounds. For this full PPR draft, I was hoping for a solid second tier running back still being available at the turn of the second and third rounds, luckily that came to fruition. I was able to complement that with two high target wide receivers as per my plan for the first four rounds. If this were a standard scoring league I would have probably looked to snag three running backs in the first four rounds. Wide receiver is very deep, if I’m not selecting a top three tight end I’m comfortable waiting until the later rounds and I’m confident I can snag a quarterback back I’m high on after the fifth round. As the rest of the draft played out I stuck to my core theories of best player available and position scarcity. The benefit to the first overall selection is the back-to-back selections at the turns. This allows you to key on your top two selections at that point without having to resort to the proverbial flip of the coin. My advice is to have your early-round strategy mapped out going in and to have each position ranked in tiers. Every draft unfolds differently, a clear sense of the value of each player as you see it will help your decision making immensely, especially when available players become scarce at a specific position.   

 

John Lee: Draft Position 2

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.02 2 Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE
2.11 23 Evans, Mike TBB WR
3.02 26 Jeffery, Alshon CHI WR
4.11 47 Hyde, Carlos SFO RB
5.02 50 Murray, Latavius OAK RB
6.11 71 Blount, LeGarrette NEP RB
7.02 74 Wilson, Russell SEA QB
8.11 95 Sims, Charles TBB RB
9.02 98 Floyd, Michael ARI WR
10.11 119 Quick, Brian STL WR
11.02 122 Baldwin, Doug SEA WR
12.11 143 Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def
13.02 146 Winston, Jameis TBB QB
14.11 167 Bowe, Dwayne CLE WR
15.02 170 Daniels, Owen DEN TE
16.11 191 Herron, Dan IND RB
17.02 194 Starks, James GBP RB
18.11 215 Browns, Cleveland CLE Def
19.02 218 Helu, Roy OAK RB
20.11 239 Robinson, Denard JAC RB

Strategy

"Gronk-smash." Exploit the Best Ball format as much as possible at running back.
 

Best Pick

Michael Floyd at 9.02 was a nice value pick for John. Floyd has explosive deep-ball skills and is a boom-bust player -- a quality asset for Best Ball. I'm sure if John could have looked into the future and seen Floyd here, he would have chosen a running back with his second or third pick instead of opting for two wide receivers there.

Worst Pick

John reached with a couple of middling receivers in Brian Quick and Doug Baldwin at 119 and 122 overall, respectively. Their PPR ADPs are 153 and 181. But dare I say that Gronkowski was the worst pick here? The ripple effect of selecting a tight end this early forced John into a couple of less-than-optimal roster construction decisions later in the draft.
 

Evaluation

John only has two players each at quarterback, tight end, and defense. In a Draft-Only Best Ball situation, this is a risk. During each of those players' bye weeks, John will only have one other option to score for him at those positions. Picking Gronkowski early and following him up with Mike Evans and Alshon Jeffrey led to John needing a "shotgun" approach at running back, where he selected eight players. It may have been more prudent to select just six of a higher quality and use the other two picks on "onesie" positions.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. You drafted one rookie in your draft - Jameis Winston as your backup quarterback to Russell Wilson. Explain your strategy for selecting veterans in this league.

When I am drafting a team in best ball format, I want to capitalize on known quantities to find two things: a) consistency, and b) upside. My preference is and almost always will be to draft players who have been in the league for at least a year (excluding dynasty/keeper-type drafts) because I have a better feel for how those players will be used and how their college performance has translated to the next level. With rookies, I am always concerned that they will fail to meet expectations, whether it be due to the team bringing them along more slowly than expected or because the player's talent simply does not meet the standards of the NFL. Over the past five years, only five runnings backs (LeGarrette Blount, Alfred Morris, Doug Martin, Eddie Lacy, and Jeremy Hill) have exceeded 1000 yards in their rookie season; likewise, there have only been five receivers who have amassed 1000 receiving yards in their rookie season since 2010 (A.J. Green, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, and Odell Beckham). With hundreds of rookies entering the league over the past 5 years, yet only 10 achieving greatness in their rookie season, I feel largely content ignoring rookies, unless extreme value presents itself during the draft.

So, then, why did I draft Jameis Winston if I am so averse to rookies? First, I love his receiving targets (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins); all are 6'5" or above and all three are fantastic pass catchers. Mike Evans managed to make Johnny Manziel look like an NFL quarterback while at Texas A&M and then put up impressive numbers last year despite the likes of Mike Glennon and Josh McCown at quarterback. Bring in Jameis Winston, who absolutely crushed his collegiate opponents from the moment he walked onto the field in Tallahassee; Winston never faltered in college, finishing his days as a starter at Florida State with a 26-1 record. Next, the Tampa Bay Bucs' defense is currently Footballguys' #24 ranked team defense, which means that Winston will likely be playing from behind for most of the season; when teams trail, their quarterbacks' stats tend to benefit. Lastly, I already had drafted one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league, Russell Wilson, so I felt comfortable drafting Winston in the 13th round, knowing that he would contribute with big weeks from time to time.

2. Which pick in the first ten rounds of your draft are you most concerned about? Explain your thoughts.

Alshon Jeffery (Round #3, Pick #2). There is absolutely zero doubt in Jeffery's talent and/or ability to excel; however, I have apprehension about the offense in Chicago this year, largely because of Jay Cutler and the new leadership in Chicago. I fully expect John Fox (Head Coach) and Adam Gase (Offensive Coordinator) to reign in Cutler's careless gunslinging ways to avoid another locker room implosion in Chicago this season; that, alone, could be enough to diminish Jeffery's production from 2014 (85 receptions, 1155 yards, 10 touchdowns). Furthermore, the addition of #7 overall draft pick, Kevin White, adds to the uncertainty surrounding Jeffery; if White is used heavily and becomes the apple of Cutler's eye, which has happened in previous seasons with other receivers (Greg Olsen in 2009, Brandon Marshall in 2012, etc), Jeffery could find himself on the outside looking in. I still believe Jeffery will be a key component of this Bears' offense, but I try to avoid questionable selections in the first 4-5 rounds and this could have been a misstep.

3. Which player of yours drafted between the 10th and 20th round are you most excited about this year? Explain.

It's a tough question because I really like the second end of my draft (despite a few miscues early in the draft). I have already discussed Jameis Winston (13th round) above, so I will not repeat those reasons here, other to say that I am entirely content getting him where I did. At running back, I got much needed insurance in the form of Dan Herron (16th round), James Starks (17th round), Roy Helu (19th round), and Denard Robinson (20th round). Herron performed admirably near the end of last season and, despite the arrival of Frank Gore, I fully expect him to contribute on a weekly basis in Indianapolis. Starks is the backup running back on one of the best offenses in the league and has previously been asked to touch the ball 20+ times per game when Lacy has been injured; if Lacy goes down, I immediately have a top ten running back every week. Helu is a handcuff to Latavius Murray and a proven contributor who could step in if Murray is injured or cannot cut the mustard as an everyday starter (I completely ignore Trent Richardson in that scenario). Lastly, Robinson has been serviceable when asked to run the ball behind ProFootballFocus' 25th ranked rushing offensive line last year; getting him in the last round was a nice surprise. At wide receiver, I drafted two team's #1 wide receiver in Brian Quick (10th round) and Dwayne Bowe (14th round). Both players were the victim of circumstances last year; Quick was impressive early in the season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in October, while Bowe played on a Chiefs' team that did not throw a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver for the entire season. Both players have decent upside for their respective draft positions. Drafting Owen Daniels in the 18th round as a backup to Rob Gronkowski was a necessary move (to cover Gronkowski's bye week and the possibility of an injury), but I am excited to see if there will be weeks where Peyton Manning throws multiple touchdowns to this veteran tight end. Lastly, getting the Seahawks in the 12th round allowed me to not have to worry about drafting 3 team defenses (which I tend to do in best ball format), thereby opening up options for drafting depth in the latter rounds while others were worried about covering their lesser defenses.

 

Justin Howe: Draft Position 3

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.03 3 Brown, Antonio PIT WR
2.1 22 Forsett, Justin BAL RB
3.03 27 Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR
4.1 46 Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR
5.03 51 Tate, Golden DET WR
6.1 70 Martin, Doug TBB RB
7.03 75 Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB
8.1 94 Freeman, Devonta ATL RB
9.03 99 Newton, Cam CAR QB
10.1 118 Woodhead, Danny SDC RB
11.03 123 Kaepernick, Colin SFO QB
12.1 142 Williams, Andre NYG RB
13.03 147 Moncrief, Donte IND WR
14.1 166 Fleener, Coby IND TE
15.03 171 Mariota, Marcus TEN QB
16.1 190 Davis, Vernon SFO TE
17.03 195 Eagles, Philadelphia PHI Def
18.1 214 Green, Virgil DEN TE
19.03 219 Ravens, Baltimore BAL Def
20.1 238 Lockett, Tyler SEA WR

Strategy

Diversified wide receiver corps; get lucky at running back; use quarterback rushing to combine floor and ceiling; just get by at tight end.
 

Best Pick

Being able to snag Emmanuel Sanders at 4.10 was a stroke of luck in a draft filled with many nice selections.
 

Worst Pick

This is very nitpicky, but Golden Tate at 5.03 is best candidate for an answer to this question. Instead of grabbing his fourth wide receiver, Justin could have gotten his second running back here and given his team slightly more balance, especially with a long gap of picks between 5.03 and 6.10.
 

Evaluation

This is a really well-crafted team. Running back is a difficult position to predict, so just getting RB2 candidates who will be on the field and have some semblance of a floor is a nice approach. His wide receiver corps is mixed with high ceiling players (DeAndre Hopkins) and high floor players (Sanders). There is slight risk having two tight ends with the same bye week. Justin may also struggle at running back in Weeks 10 and 11 with two players each on their bye weeks.
 

Post Draft Questions:

 

1. You drafted one running back in the first five rounds. Explain why you chose this strategy.

Well, I don’t think it’s an optimal strategy in a best-ball league, where RB production falls off a cliff in the middle to late rounds. But it’s one that can be made to work if you’re pressed into it, as I was. Sitting in the #3 hole, I only saw WRs worthy of the pick, so I took Antonio Brown, my #1 WR by a good margin. (I nearly took a huge dive and took my #2 projected RB, C.J. Anderson, but passed.) I then secured solid RB1 usage in Justin Forsett, but the RB drop-off just didn’t make it prudent for me to chase and overdraft from a huge pool of fairly interchangeable options. In this draft, the WR value on the board urged me to stockpile wideouts.

Thus, the goal for this type of best ball roster is to overpower the competition with WR scoring and mix-and-match from a large depth chart of RBs. Taking four WR1/2 guys gives me strong WR scoring and helps to cover my flex position with a semi-elite talent like Golden Tate, rather than praying over an overdrafted RB3 like Todd Gurley Andre Ellington. And filling my RB rotation with mid-rounders with high volume potential makes fairly likely I can throw up two startable guys on any given week.

2. Which pick of yours do you feel you received the most value? Explain why you like that player this year.

I think I snagged two legit RB2/3 types in the 10th and 12th rounds. By all accounts, Danny Woodhead is healthy and locked into the primary passing down role in San Diego. He may not run the ball as often as he did in 2013, but we all know of his 60- or 70-catch potential, so he’s PPR gold in Round 10. Andre Williams was underwhelming as a rookie, but he was loaded with opportunity throughout his struggles. Rashad Jennings is 30 and an absolute mess of injuries who’s never logged 170 rushes in a season, and Williams footed the bill for him throughout much of 2014. He posted seven weeks of RB2 or better fantasy scoring. He was even thrown a solid number of passes, a surprising development that at least showed the Giants have real interest in trying him as an every-down workhorse.

And ultimately, that’s the point behind the Zero-RB strategy: to draft a stable of high-upside guys in the middle and late rounds in the hopes of finding 1-2 that can contribute startable weeks. I think both Woodhead and Williams will end the season as solid RB3s at worst, and both have posted a number of RB1 and RB2 weeks over the last two years.

3. In this draft, you subscribed to the late round tight end strategy. Is this a strategy that you prefer or did the draft happen to unfold this way. Explain your thoughts.

Punting the tight end position – Zero-TE Drafting, if you will – is probably the strategy I’m most confident in for best-ball drafts. There are a number of reasons for that. First and foremost, the talent at the position is very heavily concentrated in the middle tiers. By my projections, the top five tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, Martellus Bennett, and Jimmy Graham, who’s on the borderline) are the only ones worth chasing through the first 10-12 rounds. I don’t want to spend valuable RB/WR picks on a TE, though. Since I don’t project them to drastically outscore the next 5-8 guys on my board, it almost always makes sense to me to wait. I’ll happily take 7 points/game from, say, Coby Fleener over 9 points/game from Graham if I can wait ten rounds to fill the spot.

I think a lot of best-ball players chase big, monstrous TE numbers. It’s a very chic position, one at which we’re flooded with intriguing, athletic freaks of nature in practice reports. But chasing the next world-beating Jimmy Graham often leaves us flailing for the flavor of the month in the first 6-8 rounds. That’s where we should be fortifying and re-fortifying our RB and WR spots. In best ball leagues, I’m not looking for top-tier producers at TE. All I really want is weekly touchdown potential, since quite frankly a touchdown is usuallt all it takes for a TE to be startable for the week. A 3-30 line is fine with me if a TD was caught, so I’m looking for a group of three guys with decent chances of that each week. Rostering three late-round, moderate-upside options gives me a strong shot at posting a TE1 line every time out.

 

Jeff Haseley: Draft Position 4

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.04 4 Peterson, Adrian MIN RB
2.09 21 Hill, Jeremy CIN RB
3.04 28 Graham, Jimmy SEA TE
4.09 45 Matthews, Jordan PHI WR
5.04 52 Edelman, Julian NEP WR
6.09 69 White, Roddy ATL WR
7.04 76 LaFell, Brandon NEP WR
8.09 93 Brown, John ARI WR
9.04 100 Ryan, Matt ATL QB
10.09 117 Manning, Eli NYG QB
11.04 124 Sproles, Darren PHI RB
12.09 141 Allen, Dwayne IND TE
13.04 148 Artis-Payne, Cameron CAR RB
14.09 165 Dunbar, Lance DAL RB
15.04 172 Riddick, Theo DET RB
16.09 189 Dorsett, Phillip IND WR
17.04 196 Wheaton, Markus PIT WR
18.09 213 Rodgers, Richard GBP TE
19.04 220 Cowboys, Dallas DAL Def
20.09 237 Falcons, Atlanta ATL Def

Strategy

"Shotgun" wide receiver with many WR2 types hoping for at least WR1 performance each week.
 

Best Pick

Both of Jeff's quarterbacks came at great values as he picked Matt Ryan and Eli Manning 34 and 31 places below their respective PPR ADPs.
 

Worst Pick

Jeff really had his eyes on a few late-round fliers at running back in Cameron Artis-Payne, Lance Dunbar, and Theo Riddick, but is there really such a thing as a "reach" in Rounds 13-15? Jeff's most head-scratching move was selecting Brandon LaFell two rounds after selecting Julian Edelman. While New England is a high-powered offense, Edelman and LaFell's games could easily be cancelled out by Rob Gronkowski and/or by a run-heavy game plan. An offense that will be without Tom Brady for four weeks won't be able to sustain too many options.
 

Evaluation

Jeff has a team that has huge potential if his slew of pass-catching running backs can optimally time their big games for him. It could be a "peaks-and-valleys" type of season if that doesn't happen.
 

Post Draft Questions

 
1. You drafted two running backs early and didn't take another until round 11. In doing so, you have a RB3 by committee. What expectations do you have for those later round running backs?
 
My hope is that Adrian Peterson and Jeremy Hill will occupy my two top running back scores each week. In this format, I have the luxury of using a wide receiver, running back or second tight end as my flex score. Chances are my depth in other positions will occupy the flex each week. I do like the potential I have in Darren Sproles and Theo Riddick. Both are going to see a lot of receptions which multiplies their chances of a big score any given week, which is what you want from a secondary player in a Best Ball league. Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne is not like most other rookie running backs. At age 23 he has the maturity of a veteran and the experience to be relied upon out of the gate if his number is called. He led the SEC in rushing last year and in my opinion he's a player who is not getting enough attention in re-draft leagues. One Jonathan Stewart injury will vault him into a starting role and a weekly consideration for fantasy purposes. In this format I won't have to decide which weeks to start him, which is one of the advantages to a Best Ball league. Lance Dunbar is a flier who could pay dividends if he's given the chance to be more involved in the Cowboys offense. At worst, he'll be a decent pass catching back who could make a few big plays here and there. 
 
2. What was your thought process when you selected Jimmy Graham in the third round. Was there any hesitation there? Explain how your draft would've progressed if you went a different direction with your third pick. 
 
My first two picks of the draft were running backs, so when 3.04 came around, I was prepared to select a wide receiver, particularly Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton or DeAndre Hopkins. Ironically, all three were selected in three of the last four picks before it was my turn. Brandin Cooks would've been my next best option, but I thought it was too early to select him at 3.04, plus I am not convinced that his 2015 outlook will be as good as others have him projected. Incidentally, I passed on Cooks (who was the next wide receiver selected, but seven picks later. Apparently others didn't want to pull the trigger on Cooks either. 
 
I decided that Jimmy Graham was the next best option for me at 3.04. Keep in mind, I already selected two running backs with my first two picks (Adrian Peterson 1.04, Jeremy Hill 2.09). There were several strong third round backs on the board, (C.J. Spiller, Frank Gore, Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, Alfred Morris) but I did not want to start with three backs. Taking Graham here allowed me to focus on wide receiver, which I did for the next five rounds of the draft. The run at running backs in the third round allowed me to select Jordan Matthews at 4.09, who I was thrilled to get. I followed him up with four more wide receivers (Julian Edelman, Roddy White, Brandon LaFell and my personal favorite, John Brown). Had I gone a different path than Graham in round three, I would've missed out on a top flight tight end and would've taken Cooks, who I project to have similar numbers to Matthews, who I was able to get a full round later. In the end, picking Graham in the third round was the best decision for my roster. 
 
3. You waited til the 19th and 20th rounds to select a defense. What do you see in Dallas and Atlanta that makes you optimistic? 
 
I waited awhile to select a defense, however my eyebrows are raised with the Dallas Def/ST unit this year. The addition of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory on the defensive line, plus the retun of Sean Lee at inside linebacker greatly improves the defensive outlook. Another reason to like the Cowboys defense this year is because they play the NFC South and AFC East. The NFC South was by far the worst division in the league in 2014 and now they add a rookie quarterback (Jameis Winston) to the division. The Bills and in some minds, the Jets, have uncertainy at quarterback which tends to yield defensive turnovers. According to the Strength of Schedule data, Dallas has five easy games on their schedule for their Defense/ST.  Atlanta surprisingly has eight easy games on their schedule for Defense/ST with zero difficult match ups. Selecting Atlanta as my second Defense/ST unit was an easy decision after viewing those strength of schedule statistics and comparing them with other units on the board. 
 
 

Jason Wood: Draft Position 5

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.05 5 Charles, Jamaal KCC RB
2.08 20 Cobb, Randall GBP WR
3.05 29 Luck, Andrew IND QB
4.08 44 Kelce, Travis KCC TE
5.05 53 Robinson, Allen JAC WR
6.08 68 Vereen, Shane NYG RB
7.05 77 Wallace, Mike MIN WR
8.08 92 Cobb, David TEN RB
9.05 101 Williams, DeAngelo PIT RB
10.08 116 Garcon, Pierre WAS WR
11.05 125 Bridgewater, Teddy MIN QB
12.08 140 Allen, Javorius BAL RB
13.05 149 Gates, Antonio SDC TE
14.08 164 Crabtree, Michael OAK WR
15.05 173 Dolphins, Miami MIA Def
16.08 188 Cadet, Travaris NEP RB
17.05 197 Toon, Nick NOS WR
18.08 212 Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def
19.05 221 Walford, Clive OAK TE
20.08 236 Aiken, Kamar BAL WR

Strategy

Balanced approach that should outscore most opponents at quarterback each week; "punt" RB2.
 

Best Pick

Jason scored a coup getting Andrew Luck in the middle of the third round. Having a player like Luck as a safety net allows fantasy owners to take stands on future picks and perhaps reach for players they feel they like.
 

Worst Pick

Jason grabbed Tennessee rookie rusher David Cobb in Round 8, which was 31 spots ahead of his PPR ADP. This is a risk-reward proposition even if Cobb secures the starting position for Tennessee, as I'm sure Jason is assuming with this pick. His ADP would likely be much higher than its current standing if that happened, but he'd still be a running back for an offense projected to be in the bottom third of the NFL.
 

Evaluation

After selecting Jamaal Charles in Round 1, Jason eschewed the running back position all the way until Round 6. Shane Vereen has always been a decent PPR asset, but he's a shaky-at-best RB2. Jason will have to catch some breaks at the running back position to support Luck and Company.
 

Post Draft Questions

 
1. Jamaal Charles is your unquestionable RB1. You have several backs who have the potential to fill the RB2 and RB3 role. How do you see this panning out with the selections you made?  

Charles is a cornerstone of my roster, certainly. The key consideration when looking at the rest of my running back stable is the Best Ball, Draftmaster format. In this league we don't have to set lineups, and we can't make free agent pickups. I've had a lot of success in Draftmaster formats by focusing talent versus role. Buck Allen sits behind Justin Forsett, but Forsett is a 29-year old journeyman with one good season. Vereen will, at a minimum, have a handful of big games. In regular drafts you would have to pick your spots and guess when Vereen will go off. In this format, I'll get credit for those handful of games when Vereen is the star of the Giants running back committee. David Cobb is the massive value pick here -- Bishop Sankey isn't talented, Shonn Greene is gone, and Cobb will be the starter in Tennessee by mid-year at the latest. DeAngelo Williams will be a top 10 fantasy back for the first three weeks at a minimum, but imagine his value if Le'Veon Bell gets hurt? Cadet is a late round depth pick. More than likely he'll do very little but if there's ever a team you want to bottom fish with, it's the Patriots. A few years ago I wont three separate Draftmaster leagues by selecting BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the final round of my draft; that happened to be the year he broke out. 
 
2. You selected Andrew Luck in the third round. Explain how that decision changed your draft the rest of the way. What strategy did you use going forward? 

With all due respect to my fellow fantasy analysts, the world has gone too far with its love of "Late Round QB." The logic of holding off on the quarterback position was once sound, but now it's become such a commonplace strategy that the best way to win is to fade that option. It would be one thing if the top quarterbacks went early, but they don't. Luck and Aaron Rodgers will almost assuredly deliver first round value in any scoring format -- yet they fell to the 3rd and 4th rounds of this draft. That's laughable, and I'm glad to be one of the beneficiaries of that arbitrage. My strategy didn't change after this pick because I went into the draft expecting to grab either Rodgers or Luck in the 3rd round if they were available. 
 
3. Talk about one of your late round picks and explain why you are high on that player this year. 

Nick Toon is finding his way onto a lot of my teams. Even if you expect that Saints to follow through on the promise of more offensive balance, it's impossible to project the Saints for less than 4,500 passing yards (and that's the low end of the probable outcomes). New Orleans lost 334 targets from last year's receiving corps. Brandin Cooks will gobble up some of those targets, as will C.J. Spiller -- but SOMEONE ELSE has to see a major bump in targets. The best choice for that bump is Nick Toon. In a best ball format, even if Toon ends up as a guy who has a 3-reception, 70-yard, 1 TD game once a month -- he's great value because I'll get those points.
 

Ari Ingel: Draft Position 6

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.06 6 Lacy, Eddie GBP RB
2.07 19 Green, A.J. CIN WR
3.06 30 Gore, Frank IND RB
4.07 43 Johnson, Andre IND WR
5.06 54 Bryant, Martavis PIT WR
6.07 67 Landry, Jarvis MIA WR
7.06 78 Mathews, Ryan PHI RB
8.07 91 Cameron, Jordan MIA TE
9.06 102 Witten, Jason DAL TE
10.07 115 Tannehill, Ryan MIA QB
11.06 126 Parker, DeVante MIA WR
12.07 139 Bush, Reggie SFO RB
13.06 150 Bills, Buffalo BUF Def
14.07 163 Johnson, Stevie SDC WR
15.06 174 Texans, Houston HOU Def
16.07 187 Griffin III, Robert WAS QB
17.06 198 Robinson, Josh IND RB
18.07 211 Bortles, Blake JAC QB
19.06 222 Williams, Maxx BAL TE
20.07 235 Lee, Marqise JAC WR

Strategy

Late round quarterback; hope Miami's offense takes a leap.
 

Best Pick

The running back tandem of Ryan Mathews (Round 7) and Reggie Bush (Round 12) was a nice move. Mathews may have been a reach according to his PPR ADP of 111, but he provides a nice asset as Philadelphia's clear workhorse in the event of a DeMarco Murray injury. Bush is being undervalued significantly. San Francisco should struggle this year with a lot of turnover on defense and a new coaching staff. If they're behind, it'll be Bush -- not Carlos Hyde -- who will be on the field most.
 

Worst Pick

Loading up on so many Miami players (especially when three are pass-catchers) may prove to hurt Ari. While Miami's offense should be improved, they're still not likely to be among the league's top-10 units. Instead of Jordan Cameron at 8.07, Ari could have taken a high-ceiling player like Michael Floyd and gotten another tight end later.
 

Evaluation

Ari's team will be impacted during Miami's Week 5 bye and during any week where their offense has a sub-par game. He'll be pulling for Miami even more than normal in Week 8 as his two backup quarterbacks both have a bye week, leaving him with only Ryan Tannehill for that week. Ari did a nice job, though, balancing his team with mostly good offensive units. Having two core Indianapolis players is a low-variance move to meshes nicely with a high-variance player like Martavis Bryant at wide receiver.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. What area of your team are you most concerned about heading into the season. Explain your concerns. 

I thought I balanced my team quite well, having strong units across the board. One area that could potentially hurt me is the quarterback position. I am fairly high on Ryan Tannehill as he enters the second year of OC Bill Lazor’s system. I also think Miami did an excellent job of surrounding Tannehill with some great new weapons in Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Jay Ajayi to go along with Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry. That said, in Best Ball leagues, unless you have Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck, it’s always important to have a solid QB2, which I wasn’t able to get. I had Carson Palmer and Jay Cutler targeted on several occasions but they went just before I could grab them. So instead I decided to use late round picks on Robert Griffin III and Blake Bortles. I’m hoping that loading up on two backups will help supplement Tannheill’s output nicely, especially if RGIII can return to form. In rounds 16 and 18, they are not bad value.


I am also slightly concerned with my running backs. As long as Eddie Lacy and Frank Gore stay healthy, I think I’m golden with Reggie Bush and Ryan Mathews providing sporadic depth. The Packers and the Colts should be high-octane offenses this year and I like targeting running backs on great offensive teams. I intended to back up both players with James Starks and Dan Herron respectively, as they would be plug and play in the event of injury to my starters. This is also an approach I preach in my 2-2-1 RB Strategy [http://subscribers.footballguys.com/apps/article.php?article=ingel15_221_strategy]. Unfortunately I got a bit too cocky and waited all the way until the 17th and 18th rounds to grab them, but John Lee beat me to the punch grabbing them on consecutive picks before I could get either. It was a silly mistake on my part and a reminder that you have to be a bit aggressive when drafting handcuffs that your truly covet. I should have grabbed them back in the 14th and 15th rounds. In doing so I would have solidified an amazing RB unit all year long. Now I am left somewhat vulnerable, but only in the case of injury.


2. In this Best Ball league, what strategy did you have entering the draft? Were you able to maintain that strategy as the draft went on?

In all my drafts I maintain a motto of getting your guys instead of just drafting those guys who fall to you. An example of this is drafting a guy like Joique Bell because he is there for you to take instead of drafting a higher upside guy you really like, someone like Duke Johnson. In Best Ball leagues I also like to mix high floor players with high ceiling players and I thought I did a good job of that. Jordan Cameron could be a top 5 tight end this year and Jason Witten’s floor is always high. With the wide receivers I mixed high floor guys like AJ Green, Andre Johnson and Jarvis Landry, with high ceiling guys like Martavis Bryant and DeVante Parker. I was also aggressive with my defenses getting two of my projected top 4 defenses in the Bills and the Texans. Defenses often go neglected in fantasy leagues because you can play the matchups and stream, but in Best Ball there is no waiver wire, so you need to ensure you either grab two great defenses or three decent ones. I kept to that strategy with my running backs as well, Gore and Lacy should be steady performers, while Ryan Mathews could potentially be a difference making RB1 if Murray gets hurt and no worse than a weekly flex play if not.  


3. Who is a player that you are high on this year that you were unable to draft? Explain why you have such high hopes for that player. 

I was looking to take Allen Robinson until Jason Wood snatched him up one pick before me. I was happy to settle for Martavis Bryant, but I think Robinson has incredible potential to be a high end WR2 this year. People are drafting him very aggressively, so if you want him, you really have to go and get him. Another player I have been targeting is Ameer Abdullah, as I think he will take over that backfield in Detroit sooner than later. Unfortunately he was taken two picks before me by Matt Harmon; once again, if you want a player like that, you have to be aggressive in acquiring them.

 

Will Grant: Draft Position 7

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.07 7 Forte, Matt CHI RB
2.06 18 Nelson, Jordy GBP WR
3.07 31 Spiller, C.J. NOS RB
4.06 42 Benjamin, Kelvin CAR WR
5.07 55 Olsen, Greg CAR TE
6.06 66 Ajayi, Jay MIA RB
7.07 79 Agholor, Nelson PHI WR
8.06 90 Manning, Peyton DEN QB
9.07 103 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
10.06 114 Smith, Steve BAL WR
11.07 127 Jackson, Fred BUF RB
12.06 138 Flacco, Joe BAL QB
13.07 151 Harvin, Percy BUF WR
14.06 162 Blue, Alfred HOU RB
15.07 175 Miller, Heath PIT TE
16.06 186 Packers, Green Bay GBP Def
17.07 199 Hurns, Allen JAC WR
18.06 210 Buccaneers, Tampa Bay TBB Def
19.07 223 Titans, Tennessee TEN Def
20.06 234 Kearse, Jermaine SEA WR

Strategy

Balanced approach with stalwart quarterbacks; nice mix of age and youth at wide receiver.
 

Best Pick

As someone who has been writing the name "Steve Smith (if available)" in pen for Round 9 of my draft plan, getting him in Round 10 is a great move for Will. Smith may fade like he did last year and end up looking like a Round 9 type of player based on season-long stats, but getting 4-6 weeks of WR2-3 with WR1 upside from him makes him far more valuable than that. He'll soak up targets in Baltimore.
 

Worst Pick

While Jay Ajayi is a very talented player, selecting him in Round 6 is really taking a stand. Obviously, Will really likes Ajayi to take over Miami's lead job and be a high performer. But Will very likely could have scooped up Ajayi at least one round (and perhaps even two or three rounds) later than he did. Ajayi's PPR ADP is 73 spots lower than his selected spot here. He appears to be a "must-have" for Will.
 

Evaluation

Despite the passage above about Ajayi, Will did a great job, especially at wide receiver. And while he only got two quarterbacks, he picked up two rather durable ones in Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco. Perhaps he could have exchanged a late receiver for another tight end, but Percy Harvin and Allen Hurns are decent high-ceiling Best Ball assets.
 

Post Draft Questions

 
1. Which pick of yours do you feel was the best value for where you selected him? Explain why you like that player this year. 
 
Quarterbacks are not as important in a 4pt per passing TD league, but this draft really avoided the position early. Too much from my prospective. My draft position hurt me though, and I missed grabbing Andrew Luck by 2 picks and Aaron Rodgers by 1.  But I was still able to land Peyton Manning at 8.06 which is about four rounds after his current ADP.  That was huge value from my prospective and it allowed me to ignore the QB position more than I normally would have in a Best Ball draft. (see below). 
 
2. What advice would you give to someone who is doing a Best Ball draft? 
 
In a Best Ball draft, I normally like to avoid the QB position early and focus on RB/WR/TE for my first seven or eight picks. Then, depending on how the draft is going, I like to take two quarterbacks in the 8th-10th round range.  Since it's a Best Ball format, you don't have to worry about which QB to start and as long as you balance the off weeks properly, you should be able to see top five points from your QB position every week, despite getting guys on the second tier. I normally add one more quarterback a bit later in the draft just in case someone gets hurt and it really gives me solid performance there. In this draft, because Peyton Manning fell to me in the 8th round, I ignored that approach and focused on my other positions. 
 
I also like to draft three defenses for the same reason. Defensive scoring is really hard to predict and unless you land one of the top three defenses, there are 12-15 defenses that will probably finish around the same range. If you draft two defenses from that range and add a third kicker from the lower tier, you can usually see a lot of value from our defensive position each week because of the Best Ball format. When a defenses returns a kick or fumble for a TD, you're covered and they are in you lineup when you need them. A quarterback by committee and Defense by committee approach is really solid in Best Ball.  
 
3. If the season started now, who would you enter into your lineup as your flex? What expectations do you have for that player this year?
 
Right now, I'd expect Larry Fitzgerald or Steve Smith to be my flex position from week to week in this format. Fitzgerald is coming off his worst fantasy season, but I think he still has something left in the tank and a bit more stability at the QB position will see him bounce back. As a WR3, he's a questionable start but as a flex / WR4, I feel pretty confident that he'll give me the value I need. Steve Smith got a nice boost to his stats when he moved from Carolina to Baltimore last season. He probably won't crack 1000 yards like he did last year, but 800+ and four or five TDs is well within his grasp. He's also going to catch four or five ball a game which is good performance in a Best Ball format. As with Fitzgerald, I'd be worried if Smith was my WR3 but as a flex / WR4, I think he'll do just fine. Between the two of them, in a Best Ball format, I feel like I'll get high WR3 or even WR2 performance out of that flex position every week. 
 

Justin Bonnema: Draft Position 8

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.08 8 Bryant, Dez DAL WR
2.05 17 Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR
3.08 32 Miller, Lamar MIA RB
4.05 41 Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB
5.08 56 Coleman, Tevin ATL RB
6.05 65 Thomas, Julius JAC TE
7.08 80 Brees, Drew NOS QB
8.05 89 Perriman, Breshad BAL WR
9.08 104 Wright, Kendall TEN WR
10.05 113 Johnson, David ARI RB
11.08 128 Cruz, Victor NYG WR
12.05 137 Ball, Montee DEN RB
13.08 152 Ebron, Eric DET TE
14.05 161 Patterson, Cordarrelle MIN WR
15.08 176 Panthers, Carolina CAR Def
16.05 185 Donnell, Larry NYG TE
17.08 200 West, Terrance CLE RB
18.05 209 Sanu, Mohamed CIN WR
19.08 224 Lions, Detroit DET Def
20.05 233 Taliaferro, Lorenzo BAL RB

Strategy

RB2 by Committee; ride QBs and receivers
 

Best Pick

I don't know if it was Justin's intent to start with two wide receivers, but when a gift falls into your lap at 2.05, you feverishly rip off the wrapping paper regardless of what you did in Round 1. Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas? Yes, please.
 

Worst Pick

Despite the nose for the end zone and peak athleticism he showed in Denver, Julius Thomas is a scary investment this season. First of all, he's never played a full season without injury. Secondly, how often will he get to display that nose for the end zone on a bottom-of-the-barrel offense like Jacksonville?
 

Evaluation

This team won't be outscored at wide receiver more than once or twice all season, and the quarterback position isn't far behind. While the running backs leave a little to be desired, he could find lightning in a bottle with Tevin Coleman, David Johnson, and Montee Ball if their depth charts fall right and/or injuries occur in front of them. Justin did a great job of spreading out his bye weeks to where he shouldn't be significantly weakened at any particular time.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. You selected three rookies in the draft (Tevin Coleman, David Johnson and Breshad Perriman). Why or why not is that a good strategy to use in a Best Ball draft. 

It’s a good strategy in that all three of these guys are an injury away from being the default starter at their respective positions. Coleman I really like in the sixth round or later. It wouldn’t surprise me if he became the most fantasy relevant player of all rookies. So I’m targeting him in every draft, especially if I don’t land a top-tier guy early.

But drafting this many rookies can backfire as they take up three roster spots and may never be productive enough to contribute to my team throughout the season. Both Johnson and Perriman are going to have limited snap counts early in the season, and there’s no guarantee they earn a bigger role. I can only hope that the Falcons, Cardinals and Ravens end up in a lot of high-scoring games.

2. You drafted two Top 10 quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Explain why you like this strategy in a Best Ball league. 

I can already hear the late-round quarterback lynch mob marching in the street, ready to drag me out of my bomb shelter and make a public example out of me.

The truth is I don’t recommend this approach. But you can justify it with the mindset that a luxury car deserves luxury insurance. Aaron Rodgers fell to me at 4.05. I’m not bothered by the opportunity cost when I look over the list of players I missed out on. Sure, Andre Johnson or Travis Kelce might make my roster look better on paper. But wide receivers are deep and, frankly, the running backs in that price range stink. I love the value I get with someone who might end up as QB1.

Drew Brees is the luxury insurance in this situation (and truthfully, I didn’t mean to draft him. I thought I had a different player selected). If something were to happen to Rodgers, I have another guy with QB1 potential to plug in. I also think the fear that the Saints are going be run-heavy is overblown. Brees will still be plenty productive, even if more efficient.

In a perfect scenario, I would pair a late round option with Rodgers, like Andy Dalton or Alex Smith. And then round out my quarterback trio with Marcus Mariota or Blake Bortles.

3. Which flex player or bench player of yours are you most excited about his chances of exceeding expectations this year?

I’m going to circle back around to David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals. He might not see a lot of snaps initially, and may never be the starter, but should something happen to Andre Ellington, Johnson immediately jumps into an RB1 situation. As it stands, most analysts—in both real and fake football—think Johnson is in line for short yardage and goal-line carries. With a healthy Carson Palmer, I’m confident that the Cardinals will compete and may even have one of the most complete offenses in the NFC.

 

Matt Harmon: Draft Position 9

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.09 9 Murray, DeMarco PHI RB
2.04 16 Anderson, C.J. DEN RB
3.09 33 Ingram, Mark NOS RB
4.04 40 Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB
5.09 57 Jackson, DeSean WAS WR
6.04 64 Abdullah, Ameer DET RB
7.09 81 Decker, Eric NYJ WR
8.04 88 Johnson, Charles MIN WR
9.09 105 Stills, Kenny MIA WR
10.04 112 Brady, Tom NEP QB
11.09 129 Eifert, Tyler CIN TE
12.04 136 Hill, Josh NOS TE
13.09 153 Jets, New York NYJ Def
14.04 160 Green-Beckham, Dorial TEN WR
15.09 177 Smith, Alex KCC QB
16.04 184 Broncos, Denver DEN Def
17.09 201 Beasley, Cole DAL WR
18.04 208 Royal, Eddie CHI WR
19.09 225 49ers, San Francisco SFO Def
20.04 232 McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB

Strategy

The master of wide receiver evaluation goes with an "all of the running backs" approach and chooses almost exclusively deep threats or possession types at receiver.
 

Best Pick

Matt didn't have any glaring deltas between his selections and their ADPs, but getting Mark Ingram near his exact ADP in the running back-heavy MFL10 format is a good get.
 

Worst Pick

After selecting running backs in Rounds 1-4 and then against in Round 6, Matt had to skew towards receivers thereafter. The Kenny Stills pick in Round 9 is the one that appears to be a stretch. Stills is very gifted, but the target distribution among Miami pass-catchers remains to be seen and could be unpredictable all season. At least Stills is a deep threat who can score big when he is used, a plus for Best Ball.
 

Evaluation

This was one of the most interesting teams to evaluate due to the order in which the players were selected. Ultimately, Matt is in a very tough place at quarterback with only Tom Brady and Alex Smith. That means that if Brady's suspension holds, Smith is Matt's only quarterback in a Best Ball league for a quarter of the season. That's less than optimal. Matt also has three of his top four wide receivers out in Week 5 due to bye weeks.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. You selected five running backs in the first six rounds. Explain why you chose that strategy and how that affected the rest of your draft.

The running back is king in the MFL10 format. With the position so inherently volatile and prone to quick change, you have to take your stabs at ball carriers at the onset of drafts. If something changes with one of your top running backs, it can quickly change the outlook of your team. Ideally you want to own multiple players taken early to insulate yourself from running back burn. Usually, I swing for four in the first five rounds, with a strong wide receiver stuck in there somewhere. In this draft, I ended up really pushing the running back envelope, and it mostly had to do with Ameer Abdullah. I’ve been aggressive with the Lions rookie, as I fully expect him to win that job and be the team’s primary backfield threat by Week 3 or so. He’s been a target of mine in rounds 4-5 throughout the offseason. So when I saw Abdullah staring back at me at 6.07, I couldn’t help myself. This pick also made me feel better about taking a health-risk running back in round four (Jonathan Stewart) and a running back with questions in round one (DeMarco Murray). As for the rest of my draft, I now needed to take wide receivers in a more selective manner. I still wanted some high upside players, like Green-Beckham and Johnson, but also went with an undervalued player with a secure role in Eric Decker. This also led me to take small, boring receivers at the end of the draft, in Royal and Beasley. Those guys are not make-or-break players, but they will get a surprising amount of targets, and present a very safe floor late in drafts.

2. Pick one of your mid-late round players and explain why you have high expectations for them this year.

Charles Johnson. As a physical talent, Johnson carries a profile that is top-notch athletically. Last year, he played 94.9 percent of the team’s snaps from Week 12 to the end of the season. The Vikings trusted Charles Johnson as a primary starter, and he had some nice games with Teddy Bridgewater. The team brought in Mike Wallace to add to the receiving corps, but lets not act like they made a big investment in him. Wallace has the higher profile and bigger name, but I’d bet on Johnson to lead the team in targets. He proved himself to be a good enough player to earn that distinction. If you believe in Bridgewater, as many do, you should feel confident in throwing a chip on Johnson.

3. You selected three defenses in this draft. Explain why multiple defenses is a wise strategy in a Best Ball league.

Fantasy defense performance can be from streaky from week-to-week, and even more so year-to-year. The tope few teams (like a Seattle) are normally locked in. However, the 5th to 15th best defense can vary wildly on a yearly basis. As such, its best to take three stabs at mid-level defenses in an MFL10 format, where you cannot stream the position. You want to give yourself options, and flexibility if one of your early defenses takes a major step back. Also, the odds of a late defense giving you a tide turning week score are much better than a late round stab at a skill position player. I took San Francisco’s defense in the 19th round, and I felt like that was great value. I like the odds of them giving me two or three scoring weeks when a talented player like Aldon Smith goes off, than I do of Marquess Wilson or another late receiver of that ilk doing the same.

 

Steve Buzzard: Draft Position 10

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.1 10 Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB
2.03 15 Foster, Arian HOU RB
3.1 34 Morris, Alfred WAS RB
4.03 39 Randle, Joseph DAL RB
5.1 58 Marshall, Brandon NYJ WR
6.03 63 Jennings, Rashad NYG RB
7.1 82 Bennett, Martellus CHI TE
8.03 87 Jackson, Vincent TBB WR
9.1 106 Romo, Tony DAL QB
10.03 111 Boldin, Anquan SFO WR
11.1 130 Walker, Delanie TEN TE
12.03 135 Colston, Marques NOS WR
13.1 154 Cutler, Jay CHI QB
14.03 159 Dalton, Andy CIN QB
15.1 178 Floyd, Malcom SDC WR
16.03 183 Latimer, Cody DEN WR
17.1 202 Cook, Jared STL TE
18.03 207 Bengals, Cincinnati CIN Def
19.1 226 Colts, Indianapolis IND Def
20.03 231 Chargers, San Diego SDC Def

Strategy

We start three receivers and flex every week? Why didn't someone say so? 
 

Best Pick

Steve saw a lot of value come his way in the middle rounds in the form of aging wide receivers. Vincent Jackson, Anquan Boldin, and Marques Colston were all nice picks and can be WR3s with WR2 ceilings in any given week, helping to buoy a team that -- like Matt Harmon -- selected five running backs in the first six rounds.
 

Worst Pick

While I'm on board with those touting Joseph Randle as a future ADP riser, picking a fourth running back in a row to start the draft may not have been the wisest move with low-end WR1 potential guys like Andre Johnson and Jordan Matthews still on the board.
 

Evaluation

The optimal strategy in Draft Only leagues is to focus on running backs early since so much of the "Zero RB" strategy is predicated on using the waiver wire to find gems at the position, but Steve may have taken that too far and will have to rely on aging receivers to carry the load for him in a PPR format that starts three receivers and a flex. Steve's top two running backs also have the same bye week, leaving him marginally weaker in Week 9.
 

Post Draft Questions

 

1. What player on your team drafted in rounds 10-17 is the most vital to your team's success? Explain why you like that player this year. 

Unfortunately, it is going to be my round 13 and 14 turn of Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton. Unfortunately I don’t have super high hopes for either of them which is why I had to choose two of them. However, by taking three quarterbacks I have hopefully cobbled together a quarterback crew that can put up a respectable score each week to go with my strong crew of running backs.

2. You selected three quarterbacks, three tight ends and three defenses. Explain why that strategy is important in a Best Ball league. 

Defenses and tight ends are very unpredictable each week because so much of their scoring is tied to rare events like scoring touchdowns. Because we there are no moves throughout the year in a best ball league we need to figure out a way to reduce this variance and getting three defenses and tight ends is the best way to do it. I will almost always draft three defenses in every league. I will often do the same for a tight end as well unless I get Rob Gronkowski then I will probably stick with two. Jimmy Graham would have fallen in this group last year but in his new scenery I am avoiding Graham in best ball leagues since I feel like you still need a third tight end with him. For quarterbacks, I typically like to go with two but since my first two were weaker than I had hoped I went for a third to provide some stability at the highest scoring position.

3. If you could get a mulligan for one of your picks, who would it be and why?
 
The round 9/10 turn. I wanted to come away with Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford here but when Stafford went right before my second pick I moved off of the QB position to Anquan Boldin. I should have just grabbed another quarterback here as the quarterback pool dried up very quickly by my next pick leaving me with Cutler and Dalton as key players that I am relying on.
 

Bear Heiser: Draft Position 11

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.11 11 Beckham, Odell NYG WR
2.02 14 McCoy, LeSean BUF RB
3.11 35 Cooks, Brandin NOS WR
4.02 38 Ellington, Andre ARI RB
5.11 59 Watkins, Sammy BUF WR
6.02 62 Maclin, Jeremy KCC WR
7.11 83 Ertz, Zach PHI TE
8.02 86 Sankey, Bishop TEN RB
9.11 107 White, Kevin CHI WR
10.02 110 Stafford, Matthew DET QB
11.11 131 Williams, Terrance DAL WR
12.02 134 Davis, Knile KCC RB
13.11 155 Funchess, Devin CAR WR
14.02 158 Rams, St. Louis STL Def
15.11 179 Foles, Nick STL QB
16.02 182 Reed, Jordan WAS TE
17.11 203 Wilson, Marquess CHI WR
18.02 206 Ridley, Stevan NYJ RB
19.11 227 Strong, Jaelen HOU WR
20.02 230 Bears, Chicago CHI Def

Strategy

Let the draft come to you; late-round quarterback.
 

Best Pick

Bear was able to get Chicago rookie Kevin White in the back end of Round 9. White's ADP is 24 spots higher than that. For a player who will likely start, that's nice value. Odell Beckham Jr was also a nice pick, but at 1.11, it's pretty close to a no-brainer to select him there.
 

Worst Pick

Bishop Sankey and Knile Davis both seemed like reaches (8.02 and 12.02, respectively). Even if Sankey wins the Tennessee job, he's still a relatively low-skill player in a bottom-feeder offense.
 

Evaluation

Bear needed to implement more strategy in this Best Ball format. He only has two players at each "onesie" position, and his two tight ends share the same bye week, guaranteeing him a zero for that week. Bear would have been better served to draft a third quarterback. Matthew Stafford can be a roller-coaster ride, and Nick Foles will captain what should be a lackluster offense in St. Louis. His top two receivers also share the same bye week.
 

Post Draft Questions

 
1. You drafted nine wide receivers. What was your thought process behind this strategy?
 
At the time of my picks, I wasn't too thrilled with the RB options available to me. I like the WRs I selected in a PPR format. My strategy was to be flexible and not reach for players down the board. I wanted to take what I thought was the best available in the format. 
 
2. Pick one of the players you drafted and explain why you have lofty expectations for his performance this year.
 
I love the pick of Doug Martin. We haven't seem him run healthy in a long while, it seems. I'm very intrigued to see how he fits in this new Buccaneers offense. It wasn't too long ago (though, it was only for a short time) when Martin looked like one of the most efficient backs in the game.
 
3. If you had a mulligan in this draft. What pick would you go back and change? Explain why that would be beneficial to your roster. 
 
Jeremy Langford, I guess? Matt Forte plays the lion's share of the snaps in the Bears offense, so I don't anticipate Langford seeing much action. The pick, in hindsight, was to grab Forte's backup in case of injury. 
 

Chad Parsons: Draft Position 12

 
Pick Overall Selection
1.12 12 Jones, Julio ATL WR
2.01 13 Johnson, Calvin DET WR
3.12 36 Gurley, Todd STL RB
4.01 37 Yeldon, T.J. JAC RB
5.12 60 Bell, Joique DET RB
6.01 61 Bernard, Giovani CIN RB
7.12 84 Mason, Tre STL RB
8.01 85 Adams, Davante GBP WR
9.12 108 Smith, Torrey SFO WR
10.01 109 Seferian-Jenkins, Austin TBB TE
11.12 132 Rivers, Philip SDC QB
12.01 133 Bradford, Sam PHI QB
13.12 156 Palmer, Carson ARI QB
14.01 157 Green, Ladarius SDC TE
15.12 180 Britt, Kenny STL WR
16.01 181 Jones, Matt WAS RB
17.12 204 Patriots, New England NEP Def
18.01 205 Huff, Josh PHI WR
19.12 228 Saints, New Orleans NOS Def
20.01 229 Hardy, Justin ATL WR

Strategy

Late round quarterback; shoot for upside at tight end.
 

Best Pick

Seeing Julio Jones fall to 12 must have been nice, but I'll give the nod to Carson Palmer here at 13.12. Palmer was a low-end QB1 in most weeks last season before his injury.
 

Worst Pick

Selecting T.J. Yeldon at 4.01 seems optimistic, but having been in other drafts with Chad so far this offseason, it's clear that he's a Yeldon guy. While the rookie from Alabama may be the workhorse in Jacksonville, scoring opportunities might be limited by a poor offense. Chad also selected Todd Gurley a bit early for my tastes, but when picking on the turn, you have get your guys when you have the chance. Both of these players were highly unlikely to make it back to Chad's next two picks.
 

Evaluation

Tossing aside the player evaluation differences (which are personal taste and shouldn't be part of an honest team evaluation anyway), Chad did a nice job of building a roster here. He has three quarterbacks who all have different bye weeks, and his defenses and tight ends don't share bye weeks. None of his top four picks share byes either, meaning that Chad should be near full strength in almost every week.
 

Post Draft Questions:

 
1. You were given draft slot 12 - explain what benefits there are to drafting at the turn. 
 
Some years I have felt the earlier the better in terms of draft position with drying up running back target players. In 2015, however, backs like DeMarco Murray or Marshawn Lynch have a shot to make it there. In my case, I am more than happy to scoop up elite wide receivers at the turn. Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson each have 20+ PPR PPG upside. Compare the duo to using a higher pick on Antonio Brown or Dez Bryant, for example, in this draft and I love the comparable value. I am more than happy to address running back in the middle rounds, making pass-catchers at the Round 1/2 turn an easy decision. 
 
2. Which pick of yours do you feel you received the most value based on where he was drafted? Explain why drafting for value is important in a Best Ball league. 
 
Davante Adams at 85 overall, 8.01. I drafted four straight running backs between the Round 3/4 turn and Round 5/6 corner spots. With two early wide receivers and the mandatory 3+ in starting lineups each week, I needed someone like Adams to fall. Davante Adams at WR35 has WR3/4 appeal even if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb play all 16 games. If either misses time, Adams becomes a high-WR2 with elite upside.
 
In best ball, an owner must draft plenty of players with high-upside if X, Y, or Z occurs in-season. Primary backup running backs qualify. Wide receivers an injury away from seeing high volume are ideal in the mid-to-late rounds. 
 
This mantra is the main reason I drafted Sam Bradford (QB17) as part of my three-headed quarterback committee. While I have concerns with Bradford's injury history, plus the gap of multiple seasons since he looked even average under center, he has elite upside *if* the best of Chip Kelly converges with the best of Sam Bradford.
 
3. What is the biggest drafting mistake that people make in Best Ball leagues? 
 
Getting squeezed out at a position is a cardinal sin in best ball leagues. While going light is understandable with a few late-round options on an owner's target list, waiting too list can be disastrous. It takes some luck with injury and a few positive in-season bounces to take home a best ball crown. 
 
I hit running back early and often with five of the first seven selections, which nearly cost me at wide receiver. Luckily, receivers like Davante Adams, Torrey Smith, and Kenny Britt were quality selections to round out my corps. Without two of those receivers, the position would be too weak to realistically like my chances to compete across all positions throughout the season.
 

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


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