On August 20th, twelve members of the Footballguys staff got together for the site's 13th 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.
- 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
- 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
1. Steve Buzzard
2. Chad Parsons
3. BJ Vanderwoude
4. Cian Fahey
5. Daniel Simpkins
6. John Mamula
7. Jeff Haseley
8. Matt Bitonti
9. Ari Ingel
10. Chris Feery
11. Alex Miglio
12. Justin Howe
Starting with Steve Buzzard 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.
Steve Buzzard - Slot 1
|18.12||216||Def||Los Angeles Rams||RAM|
|24.12||288||Def||San Francisco 49ers||SFO|
Secure the top player in the draft this year, and then surround him with top-flight RBs and WRS.
Best Pick: Jamaal Charles RB KC – Pick 2.12. Fantasy owners have started to cool on Charles because it looks like his recovery will really limit how much he will play in this pre-season. So he could start the season a little slower than you’d want from one of your top picks. But if Charles can get back to full strength, he’s going to be one of the best fantasy backs in the league. In a best ball format, a slow ramp-up time isn’t as hard to absorb, and landing Charles at 2.12 was great value.
Worst Pick: Tyler Lockett WR Sea – Pick 5.01. Lockett has some upside, but I don’t know if it’s enough to take him at the top of the 5th round. Kelvin Benjamin could be the #1 WR in Carolina this season and Jordan Matthews should be the top guy in Philly. Both were available here. Aaron Rogers, Thomas Rawls and Coby Fleener would all be guys that I’d take before considering Lockett as my 3rd WR.
Evaluation: The 1.5 PPR for TEs rewards teams that act quickly. The consequence of that is that teams that fade the TE position can be left out in the cold. Buzzard’s TE group is probably the weakest in the league, and it’s probably a function of drafting at the top of round 1. With each turn, you see more and more potential options slip away. Buzzard took it in stride and loaded up at the WR position, but he’s still going to be hurting at the TE position every week. I like the QBBC approach he took, with Goff and Lynch auto-starting if they come in and do well. Bortles and Rivers make a nice QBBC to land at the 10-11 turn. Can the depth at RB and WR hold up the weakness at TE? That will be the key to success for Buzzard’s team.
1. Who are some players that have sparked your interest in preseason and when should you draft them?
The bad thing about snake drafts is you aren't always able to get the players that spark your interest. Two guys that I am really liking in early rounds, especially for best ball are Jordan Reed and LeVeon Bell. Players that are likely to miss games are almost always improperly valued so I will take the discount given to Bell for his suspension games and to Reed on the assumption that he will miss games to injury. Pick these guys up at a discount and plug in players from your bench if/when they miss games. Come playoff time you will have difference makers on your team. From the players that I drafted I really like getting Deandre Washington who was a steal in this draft.
2. How do you approach drafting quarterbacks in a best ball league?
I wanted to end up with 2 or 3 at most but things went off plan when Russell Wilson and Drew Brees went off the board right before my picks. The important thing to remember when things don't go as planned is to regroup your thoughts and come up with a new plan on the fly. As such I ended up spending more picks on quarterbacks but with a variety of high upside quarterbacks I feel like I should be able to compete with the best teams in the league.
3. In a best ball league, would you rather have consistent, middle of the road players or players who will score big one week and disappear the next? Explain your answer.
To be honest I don't think it matters a lot. Mostly it comes down to value and upside for me. I rarely ever look at how consistent a player is. I rarely see teams that overpay for their starters or with players that have low upsides winning a title so that's why I stick to value and upside and let the weekly ups and downs work themselves out.
Chad Parsons - slot 2
|25.02||290||Def||New Orleans Saints||NOS|
Pound the WR position right out of the gate, at the cost of the RB position.
Best Pick: Drew Brees QB NO – Pick 6.11. While I’m not crazy about taking Cooks in the 2nd, Parson certainly mitigated it by taking Brees in the 6th. Brees is a top five fantasy QB, and he has a tendency to go off in certain games. In a best ball format, that’s a good thing, and he’s a big value pick getting him at the end of the 6th round. Add in the fact that when he does go off, Cooks will most likely benefit so the QB-WR stack will work. A big value pick that can also help lift a big reach with Cooks.
Worst Pick: Brandin Cooks WR NO – Pick 2.11. Boy this is a bit of a reach. Granted, it was at the end of the second round, and the next WR taken was by Parsons in the 3rd (Sammy Watkins). But Cooks is more of a lower RB2, even in a PPR league and taking him as the 15th WR off the board is a reach. With guys like Demaryius Thomas, and Jarvis Landry still on the board, Cooks could have been left to a later pick.
Evaluation: This team boast one of the best starting WR groups in the league. Landing Odell Beckham with the #2 pick is expected, but the supplementing with Watkins, Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin really round out the mix. Parsons added a solid group of boom-or-bust type WRS like Terrance Williams and Sammie Coates who could have solid weeks based on certain situations, which is great in a best ball format. The biggest concern is at the RB position, with Carlos Hyde being his first RB taken at the end of the 4th, and his second was Charles Sims in the 7th. RBs are not as important in a PPR format, but you still have to start at least two every week and a good pass catcher can really make up for a lack of yards. I don’t see that on this roster. James White looks like a better pick given the news about Dion Lewis, but the RB position is still the weakest portion of this team.
B.J. Vanderwoude - Slot 3
Cian Fahey - slot 4
|21.04||244||Def||New England Patriots||NEP|
|24.09||285||Def||San Diego Chargers||SDC|
Go hard after top RBs that catch passes, and stack up on a couple solid TEs to take advantage of the extra half point for receptions.
Best Pick: LeSean McCoy RB Buf – Pick 3.04. McCoy gives Fahey three of the top ten fantasy backs in this format. With the release of Karlos Williams, McCoy looks even better as the feature back in Buffalo this season. Adding him to the Todd Gurley – Devonta Freeman backfield was a great choice.
Worst Pick: Vincent Jackson WR TB – Pick 10.09. By loading up on RB and TE, it was expected that Fahey was going to suffer at WR. I doubt he expected that Vincent Jackson would be his #2 option though. Jackson’s best days are behind him, and his upside probably keeps his upside in the 4th tier of fantasy WRS. Fahey is going to need Jackson to produce every week though. Not a great place to be.
daniel simpkins - slot 5
Load up on WR with your first 10 picks, and then look for value / upside late at RB.
Best Pick: Russell Wilson QB SEA – Pick 6.08. Wilson give a boost to the QB position with his rushing yards and touchdowns. He has a decent shot to finish as a top five fantasy QB this season. Landing him at 6.08 is good value.
Worst Pick: Dion Lewis RB NEP – Pick 5.05. This seems like an easy pick to hammer because some guys missed the note on Lewis needing a second surgery. What makes this an especially tough pick though is that Simpkins didn’t add another RB to his team for another seven rounds. Lewis should be back at some point this season, so this pick isn’t a total loss, but not supplementing it with some additional RBs means at least 1 RB position will hold this team back each week.
1. Now that we are a few weeks into the preseason, who are some players that you find yourself targeting more? Share why others should do the same.
Let me preface my target player selections by saying I got virtually none of them in this draft. The rest of the Footballguys were “on point” in this mock, so much so that I feel I may have had my worst Footballguys draft to date! Not only were players I had in the crosshairs commonly coming off the board just ahead of my pick, I underestimated how quickly the viable running back pool would dry up. My corps were thin even before the Dion Lewis surgery news broke the next day. Now I will have to hope for an early injury to an incumbent starter to even have a chance at competing in this league. Well played, fellow Footballguys!
Ted Ginn Jr. is the quintessential best ball receiver going much later than he should. It seems Benjamin returning to the lineup and Funchess’ development is pushing his value down. The fact remains his deep threat role in the offense is still intact. While he’ll deliver some disappointing weeks, you have other players to cover those valleys. When Newton hooks up with him on deep touchdown passes (which has already happened in preseason) every few weeks, he’ll finish among the top scorers. He’s going in the mid-16th in most MFL10’s, but Jeff Haseley swiped him a round early in our draft.
One of my target players that I did manage to snag was Virgil Green. When it comes to the Broncos, I trust Cecil Lammey implicitly. He’s telling us on the Audible podcast that Green is the one making plays in camp. We saw Green featured heavily in the second preseason game, which validates what Cecil is saying. We also know that Kubiak’s system is one that prefers to emphasize a tight end in the passing game. On top of that, the quarterback situation is a mess. Mark Sanchez really isn’t playing well in practices or preseason games. It’s becoming increasingly likely that we’ll see either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch starting in week one. Inexperienced quarterbacks find that the tight end can become a trusted safety valve when the pass rush pressure is bearing down. They’ll undoubtedly be looking to him often and he has the athleticism and receiving skills to make the linebackers covering him look silly in the way that Thomas did during his breakout year. Remember, it sometimes takes tight ends until later in their career to find their groove, especially when they’ve been blocked on the depth chart for years at a time. In the case of Green, it’s been Julius Thomas and Owen Daniels who have been in the way. I fully expect him to come into his own and matter for fantasy teams this year.
2. Who are some players that you find yourself avoiding? Share why others should take caution.
Sammie Coates is one best ball receiver I feel is vastly overrated. The suspension of Martavis Bryant opening the door and the steady drum beat of camp positivity pushed his best ball ADP way up to the ninth round. Nothing he has done in preseason to date has given me confidence that his hands and ball tracking ability are developing.
Matt Forte is a player that I just can’t get down with picking in any format at his current price. I feel that Bilal Powell is a superior runner to Forte at this stage in his career. Forte also showed us in Chicago that he’s just not effective at the goal line. I see Powell being the one who is called upon for short-yardage touchdown snaps. Forte has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury through camp, another strike against the 30-year-old runner.
Thomas Rawls is dead to me at his fifth-round price. Not only do I believe Seattle is going to a committee approach with their running back group, I also really see Christine Michael as the more valuable part of that committee. Make fun of Michael for his prior immaturity all you like -- however rare it may be, people do change. Getting bounced around the league for a year and realizing that he had one last real shot seems to have been the wake-up call he needed. He’s displaying humility in his media interactions and running with urgency in the preseason. He’s making the needed transformation from the entitled heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch to a man who understands the reality that nothing is a given in the NFL. As great as Rawls was filling in for Lynch last year, he’s just not the physical talent that Michael is. Michael's 14th-round best ball ADP is sure to keep moving up, but for now, his price makes a whole lot more sense to me than that of Rawls.
3. What specific strengths are you looking for out of your defense(s) in a best ball league? Is there any strategy involved in picking defenses?
In best ball formats, I tend to gravitate toward adding two or three defenses later that have explosive potential on any given week, but will probably not be a consistent top scorer. Though I don’t feel I did many things right in Draft #13, I do feel like I nailed my defensive selections. Cincinnati could struggle when they face high-octane offenses such as the Steelers, Cowboys, and Patriots; but they should have some dominant performances against teams like the Ravens, Broncos, and Eagles. The Dolphins are a bit of an underrated unit. Their front three will be one of the league’s best with Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh at the point of attack. They will only catch the Patriots with Tom Brady once in the season and have particularly juicy matchups against the Titans, Bills, and 49ers. Jacksonville’s defense is much improved on paper and, though I don’t believe they’ll enter the elite ranks any time soon, their boom weeks could be rather large.
John Mamula - slot 6
|23.06||270||Def||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TBB|
Pound the WR and RB position right out of the gate. Secure a solid TE early and fade the QB position.
Best Pick: Jarvis Landry WR Mia – Pick 3.06. Big value here in the middle of the third. Landry is easily the best WR on the Dolphins this season, and he could be a top ten fantasy WR in a PPR format. Landing him as his #3 receiver gives John a great group of guys to build his team around.
Worst Pick: DeMarco Murray RB TEN – Pick 5.06. Murray showed that much of his success in Dallas was due to the big offensive line. He flamed out in Philadelphia and now starts on his third team in the last three seasons. Add in the log-jam of potential competition at the RB position, and taking Murray as your top RB pick is a risk.
Evaluation: Mamula faded the QB position, but still landed a decent group with Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota and Brock Osweiler. While Mariota and Osweiler won’t light the world on fire this year, they will start every game and the best ball format takes care of which of these three will do the best in any given week. That left him to focus hard on his WR and RB, and he loaded up at those position with nine of his first ten picks. His RBs are a little weak, but should still play enough to give him a point base each week. This team should be competitive each week.
In a best ball league, It is imperative to load up at the WR position early in your draft. I rarely end up with a true RB1 on my best ball teams. I prefer to draft multiple RB2s from rounds 4-10 hoping that 1 or 2 of them hit during the season and develop into a RB1. In this particular best ball draft, between rounds 4-10, I drafted, DeMarco Murray, Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, Chris Ivory, and Tevin Coleman. All 5 of these RB2s have the potential to finish in the Top 10 or perhaps even in Top 5 at the RB position. They each need a few things to break for them during the season, such as an increased workload or perhaps an injury to a RB on their team.
jeff haseley - slot 7
|19.07||223||Def||Green Bay Packers||GBP|
Balanced attack, looking for value at every position. Secure a top QB and then pound value everywhere.
Best Pick: Coby Fleener TE NO – Pick 5.07. Fleener isn’t going to directly step into Jimmy Graham’s numbers, but he’s going to be a big receiving threat on a team that likes to throw to the TE position. Ben Watson did OK last season, but Fleener has a chance to really turn it up. He could be a top 3 TE in a 1.5 PPR TE bonus league and landing him in the 5th round was big value.
Worst Pick: Jeremy Maclin WR KC – Pick 3.07. Maclin is not a bad pick, especially in a best ball league, but he is a bit of a reach in the middle of the 3rd round. Jarvis Landry went just before this pick and Demaryius Thomas was drafted six picks later. Maclin is really a known quantity. A solid pick with a high floor, but lower ceiling too. In a best ball league, it might have been better to take a guy who has a bigger upside like Randall Cobb or Thomas.
Giovani Bernard - Giovani Bernard has never finished with less than 150 carries and he averages 49 catches per year. New offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is expected to open up the passing game, which benefits Bernard, especially when you consider the holes the Bengals have with the departure of Mohamed Sanu and the injuries to Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft. Even if Bernard doesn't score a lot of touchdowns, he'll still be a candidate to finish in the Top 20. If he can supplant Jeremy Hill as the team's primary rusher, his value will go through the roof.
Matt Bitonti - Slot 8
|19.08||224||Def||New York Jets||NYJ|
Fade the QB position, grab two TEs early and grab some big upside WRs.
Best Pick: Michael Floyd WR ARI – Pick 6.05. Floyd is poised to take over the #1 receiver spot in Arizona this season. Even if he doesn’t finish as the team’s top WR, Floyd is going to have a big season. Even more impressive for Floyd is that he had some big games last season, posting five games with more than 100 yards receiving during the seven games between week 8 and week 16. These are the most critical parts of a fantasy season, and in a best ball format, it makes Floyd a great pick.
Worst Pick: Delanie Walker TE TEN – Pick 3.08. Walker was only the 3rd TE taken in this draft, and he was drafted in the 3rd round while guys like Coby Fleener, Greg Olsen and Travis Kelce were still on the board. Maybe Bitonti is higher on Walker than most people, but no other tight ends were taken before Matt picked in the 4th round as well. He could have gotten a much better RB or WR with this pick and held out for Walker at least one more round if not more.
Ari Ingel - Slot 9
|17.09||201||Def||Kansas City Chiefs||KCC|
Pound the WR position right out of the gate, and fade the TE position, despite the TE bonus points for receiving.
Best Pick: Ezekiel Elliot RB Dal – Pick 2.04. Ari landed a potential top five fantasy RB in the second round. That’s huge value, especially in a league that requires you to start at least two every week. Pairing Elliot with Dez Bryant puts a little more faith in the Cowboys than Ari probably wanted, but finding Elliot at 2.04 was too good to pass up.
Worst Pick: Jimmy Graham TE SEA – Pick 13.09. Even mega-Seahawk fan Matt Waldman will admit that Jimmy Graham isn’t even close to the fantasy TE that he was back in his days with the Saints. Graham was lost to the fantasy wasteland when he moved to Seattle, and his upside is very very low. Yet Ari faded the TE position, and took Graham as his first pick, despite the extra bonus points for TE receptions. Ouch.
Chris Feery - Slot 10
Balanced attack at the RB/WR position for the start of the draft. Land a decent QB and don’t worry about having a serviceable TE squad.
Best Pick: C.J. Anderson RB DEN – Pick 4.03. People are a bit scared of Anderson this season because of the questions around the role of rookie Devontae Booker and the big question mark at QB. Anderson should see a lot of action this season, and he’s a top 10 pick in a PPR league. In a best ball format, Anderson is a great pick because even if Booker cuts into Anderson’s carries for a few games, Anderson will still auto-start when he is the main focus. He’s also going to catch a lot of passes out of the backfield, and the Broncos will need to check down or swing out to help take the pressure off of Mark Sanchez.
Worst Pick: Golden Tate WR DET – Pick 3.10. Tate was the 20th WR taken in this draft, and was a bit of a reach with a 3rd round pick. Tate is the presumptive #1 WR in Detroit with Calvin Johnson out of the way, but that doesn’t mean Tate is going to instantly become a top 5 WR. With guys like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Larry Fitzgerald still on the board, Tate was a bit of a reach in the 3rd round, especially in a 1.5 PPR TE bonus league.
1. What strategies do you use knowing you won't be able to make any in-season adjustments to your team?
That’s what makes best ball leagues so challenging, but also a big part of what makes them so fun. I’m looking to construct a roster of consistent and reliable performers that can also have the monster game from time to time. That’s easier said than done, and sometimes you have to take some risks to find the monster games. I’ll take some of that risk in the form of rookies that I’m personally high on for the upcoming season. The consistency part presents its own set of challenges, but I tend to rely on players that have been within the same scheme for quite awhile. There are exceptions to that rule as well - i.e. a new workhorse back on a projected run-heavy team, but I generally prefer players that are familiar with their surroundings. In short, I want a strong core roster of two strong backs and two strong receivers. From that point, I’ll let the chips fall where they may and take some risks where appropriate.
2. If you could dominate any one position in a best ball league, what would it be and why?
Wide Receiver. Quite simply, it’s a great time to be a receiver in the NFL. The rules favor the passing game, and even the most conservative of coaches will take their share of deep strikes during the course of an average game. We need to look no further than the current top players based on ADP to see how that translates into the world of fantasy. Ideally, you’ll walk away with one of the stud receivers in the first round, but you can still walk away with plenty of strength at the position in the event things don’t break your way. By having a clear sense of target volume and the expected productivity of the offense as a whole, I’m able to pinpoint the value in each tier of receivers with a good level of accuracy. If one of the receivers on my wish list is staring me in the face when it’s my turn to pick, there’s a pretty good chance I’m pulling the trigger if my roster composition at that point permits such a move.
3. Would you rather have youth and high potential or experience and high floor on your team for a best ball league?
I lean towards experience and a high floor to form the bulk of my roster, and balance that out with a few high-upside younger players that have a shot at a breakout in the upcoming season. Ideally, I’m walking away with a roster that’s roughly about 80% on the experienced and predictable side, and 20% on the speculative side. A roster that goes too heavy on rookies is a little too boom-bust for my taste, while a roster that completely shuts them out may be missing out on some massive upside for rookies that are in excellent situations to produce right off the bat. The 80/20 mix provides the best of both worlds, and is generally my goal whenever I enter a best ball draft.
Alex Miglio - Slot 11
Go big at TE and then balance the RB and WR positions. Load up on ‘less popular’ picks, taking advantage of the best ball format to flush out the value.
Best Pick: Rob Gronkowski TE NE – Pick 1.11. Gronk isn’t a particularly ‘gutsy’ pick at 1.11, and in a 1.5 PPR for TE league, he’s definitely worth the first round pick. But you have to admire taking a TE right out of the gate and building your team around him. Jordan Reed was the second TE taken, and he didn’t go until pick 3.02. Alex was the only guy thinking TE this early and it’s a bold statement to plant your flag on a TE in round 1.
Worst Pick: Eddie Lacy RB GB – Pick 3.11. In fairness to Alex, this is as much a personal choice as anything else. Lacy’s ADP and projections make landing him at 3.11 a value pick in a lot of respects, but I just can’t get excited about him in a PPR format. He’s not a big contributor in the passing game, and if he repeats his 750 yards rushing like he did last year, this is going to look like a wasted pick. With guys like CJ Anderson still on the board, I’d much rather have taken a pass catching back over Lacy as my first RB.
Justin Howe - slot 12
|21.12||252||Def||New York Giants||NYG|
Load up on WRs and TEs, and fade the QB and RB position. Handcuff Le’Veon Bell with DeAngelo Williams.
Best Pick: DeAngelo Williams RB PIT – Pick 8.01. Going with Bell at the end of round 1 was a risk because Bell is going to miss the first three weeks of the season. But Howe wisely added Williams at the top of the 8th round, taking care of those first three weeks and any other time that Bell might miss due to injury.
Worst Pick: Andy Dalton QB Cin – Pick 11.12. Fading a QB in this format is pretty common, but Howe took it to a new extreme. The best ball format helps you auto-start your best QB when you take a QBBC approach, but you usually like at least 1 QB to be in the top 12. Dalton is projected as the 15th best fantasy QB this season, Joe Flacco is ranked significantly lower. Taking Dalton as your first QB is a huge risk.
Thanks to Will Grant for his unbiased summary and evaluation of each team.
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org