On July 20th, twelve members of the Footballguys staff got together for the site's fourth draft of 2016. Justin Howe provides an in-depth summary of each team and each participant answers questions about their draft and strategies.
- 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
- 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
1. BJ Vanderwoude
2. Justin Bonnema
3. Bear Heiser
4. Danny Tuccitto
5. Will Grant
6. Cian Fahey
7. Andy Hicks
8. Ari Ingel
9. Phil Alexander
10. Stephen Holloway
11. Jason Wood
12. James Brimacombe
Starting with BJ Vanderwoude from the 1.01 spot, Justin Howe provides an unbiased evaluation of each team's draft performance
BJ Vanderwoude - Slot 1
|1.01||1||Brown, Antonio PIT WR|
|2.12||24||Ingram, Mark NOS RB|
|3.01||25||Martin, Doug TBB RB|
|4.12||48||Baldwin, Doug SEA WR|
|5.01||49||Edelman, Julian NEP WR|
|6.12||72||Palmer, Carson ARI QB|
|7.01||73||Hurns, Allen JAC WR|
|8.12||96||Sims, Charles TBB RB|
|9.01||97||Jennings, Rashad NYG RB|
|10.12||120||Graham, Jimmy SEA TE|
|11.01||121||Miller, Zach CHI TE|
|12.12||144||Agholor, Nelson PHI WR|
|13.01||145||Kearse, Jermaine SEA WR|
|14.12||168||Allen, Javorius BAL RB|
|15.01||169||Taylor, Tyrod BUF QB|
|16.12||192||Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def|
|17.01||193||Amendola, Danny NEP WR|
|18.12||216||Eagles, Philadelphia PHI Def|
|19.01||217||Griffin III, Robert CLE QB|
|20.12||240||Ware, Spencer KCC RB|
Balanced, with a slight wide receiver lean early; punt the tight end (and the backup quarterback)
Charles Sims, 8.12, RB36. Sims was last year’s RB20 in MFL10s during a career resurgence for Doug Martin. I can’t explain the disparity there – that suggests Sims’ star is still on the rise, so RB36 is absurdly low. I expect Sims’ receiving share to keep increasing slightly, and his rushing potential is especially high behind the inconsistent Martin. This is a bald-faced steal.
Carson Palmer, 6.12, QB7. The sixth round is just far too early for me to dip into the second QB tier, especially for Palmer. I expect a little regression to the mean there; with age and injury history added to the equation, Palmer is one of the riskier options in this tier. The likes of Eli Manning (9th), Andy Dalton (10th), and Matthew Stafford (11th) were available much later. At least Vanderwoude wisely stayed out of the backup QB market until taking two high-upside guys in the 15th and 19th.
This looks like a great value-based draft that went according to plan. Vanderwoude clearly wanted two RB1 types to lean on, and he chose two high-usage guys on the 2/3 turn to do it. But what sets off this WR-heavy roster is the value Vanderwoude pulled at RB in the middle rounds. Guys like Sims and Jennings see more usage than these draft slots suggest, while Allen and Ware look poised to outplay theirs even as NFL backups.
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? (The first pick has the 2-3 and 4-5 turn)
The merits of drafting Antonio Brown first overall have increased with news that L. Bell will miss the first four games due to suspension. I am also a fan of taking Brown because of the options available at running back in the second and third rounds. In this draft I was lucky enough to snag Doug Martin and Mark Ingram, two running backs who I feel will be every week starters with the upside to finish inside the top five at their position. To take it one step further, I was then able to complete my starting wide receivers by drafting Doug Baldwin and Julian Edelman in the fourth and fifth rounds. The first overall pick is a gift, so I see no reason to overthink the drafting strategy, especially in best ball formats. There is value in the later rounds at quarterback, tight end and running back, so the optimal strategy is to make sure you have high volume starters at wide receiver. The other positions can be put together by committee.
2. Which pick in the first ten rounds of your draft are you most concerned about? Explain your thoughts.
It is a toss up between Allen Hurns (7.01) and Jimmy Graham (10.12). Hurns is my WR4 on paper, but he's also the best candidate to fill my flex position. The Jaguars offense is on the rise due to a wealth of young talent at the skill positions, and I'm worried that the additional mouths to feed--most notably Julius Thomas--will cut into Hurns targets. Additionally, the Jaguars signed Chris Ivory to a rather large contract indicating that they will at least attempt to balance out their offense. This is not good news for a big play wide receiver who needs volume to balance out variance. The upside is certainly there and worth the risk in the seventh round, but his stats are most likely in for a reduction across the board.
Jimmy Graham worries me for many reasons, not least of which is his availability for week 1 (ruptured patellar tendon). Throw in the fact that he is playing in a completely different offense with a different quarterback than his and it's hard not to temper your expectations for a player who has should have as much as any player at his position. I was concerned enough about his prospects that I felt the need to draft Zach Miller immediately following my Graham pick, as I figured a committee approach was the correct strategy given the thin player pool at tight end in the 10th round.
3. What position is most important to have consistent production in Best Ball leagues? How do you draft to ensure this is covered?
I touched on it in my first question, but I think having consistent production out of your top four wide receivers is most important. It is the only position that cannot be cobbled together with a committee approach because of the scoring gap between the top players and those that would be used in that type of strategy. The quarterback position is also very high on my priority list, but that doesn't mean I have to spend a high pick on one. It is important because of the value available in the middle rounds, and the ease of which you are able to put together a competitive group of quarterbacks. If you are not getting 20 points a week out of your starting quarterbacks in best ball formats, you are giving up valuable points to the other players in your league.
Justin Bonnema - Slot 2
|1.02||2||Jones, Julio ATL WR|
|2.11||23||Cobb, Randall GBP WR|
|3.02||26||McCoy, LeSean BUF RB|
|4.11||47||Floyd, Michael ARI WR|
|5.02||50||Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB|
|6.11||71||Mathews, Ryan PHI RB|
|7.02||74||Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB|
|8.11||95||Ebron, Eric DET TE|
|9.02||98||Aiken, Kamar BAL WR|
|10.11||119||Bennett, Martellus NEP TE|
|11.02||122||Williams, DeAngelo PIT RB|
|12.11||143||Coates, Sammie PIT WR|
|13.02||146||Ervin, Tyler HOU RB (R)|
|14.11||167||Hogan, Chris NEP WR|
|15.02||170||Texans, Houston HOU Def|
|16.11||191||Garcon, Pierre WAS WR|
|17.02||194||Starks, James GBP RB|
|18.11||215||Osweiler, Brock HOU QB|
|19.02||218||Lynch, Paxton DEN QB (R)|
|20.11||239||Lions, Detroit DET Def|
Balanced, with the early-round focus on WRs and middle rounds invested at RB; more backup QB hatred
James Starks, 17.02, RB61. I’m not sure why handcuff backs were so loathed in this draft, nor why Eddie Lacy’s owner didn’t scoop Starks much earlier. Either way, Bonnema’s not complaining – he snagged a RB3 handcuff with real RB1/2 potential in Round 17. That’s always a win – especially in a PPR MFL10.
Randall Cobb, 2.11, WR14. Cobb should bounce back fine, but I doubt he can reach this level again. The Packers passing game isn’t quite as high-volume as many think. It’s very TD-dependent, and with Jordy Nelson returning, Cobb will have to set the world on fire with 12+ TDs to return this value. He’s a fine slot man, but not the dominator type most likely to do that. Bonemma passed on similar ceilings but stronger floors in the likes of Brandin Cooks, T.Y. Hilton, and Jarvis Landry.
I love the forward thinking of Bonnema’s long wait at quarterback. After locking down a top-tier guy at just the right time – Rodgers came at the very end of a value-based tier – Bonemma stood pat until Round 18. That’s smart best-ball thinking that allowed him to buy upside liberally throughout his draft. And to me, he chose wisely. There are shrewd handcuff backs and wideouts with volume potential all over this roster.
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?
My overall strategy this season has been to target running backs early unless I have a top three draft pick. In this mock, I was drafting second so I knew I’d miss out on the few backs I want. As such, I decided the best approach was to grab two top wide receivers then build running back depth later. Unfortunately, my team ended up with a very risky collection of RBs.
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.
I think Randall Cobb could be a difference maker. The return of Jordy Nelson is going to be huge for this offense and Cobb will be the one that stands to benefit the most (outside of Aaron Rodgers). I wouldn’t necessarily expect 2014 numbers, but he should easily move up the standings after finishing as WR26 last year in PPR leagues.
3. What's more important in Best Ball leagues - Talented players on lesser offenses or role players on high scoring offenses?
You obviously need a little bit of both to win in this format, but as the draft progresses it’s a good strategy to target high scoring offenses. Since I don’t have to deal with start/sit stress, I love loading up on guys that are going have a few weeks where they go nuts. They might be a tough nut to crack in season long, but in MFL10s, they’re a perfect fit.
Bear Heiser - Slot 3
|1.03||3||Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB|
|2.1||22||Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR|
|3.03||27||Cooks, Brandin NOS WR|
|4.1||46||Reed, Jordan WAS TE|
|5.03||51||Decker, Eric NYJ WR|
|6.1||70||Langford, Jeremy CHI RB|
|7.03||75||White, Kevin CHI WR|
|8.1||94||Bortles, Blake JAC QB|
|9.03||99||Austin, Tavon RAM WR|
|10.1||118||Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB|
|11.03||123||Smith, Steve BAL WR|
|12.1||142||Sanu, Mohamed ATL WR|
|13.03||147||Wright, Kendall TEN WR|
|14.1||166||Cook, Jared GBP TE|
|15.03||171||Spiller, C.J. NOS RB|
|16.1||190||Bridgewater, Teddy MIN QB|
|17.03||195||McFadden, Darren DAL RB|
|18.1||214||Bills, Buffalo BUF Def|
|19.03||219||Carey, Ka'Deem CHI RB|
|20.1||238||Garoppolo, Jimmy NEP QB|
Balanced, with a slight early WR focus and all starting spots filled by Round 8
Tavon Austin, 9.03, WR43. Last year’s WR29 gets an almost certain upgrade at quarterback, and his versatility offers a safer floor than we typically see in Round 9. Discounted for his lack of a traditional wideout role, Austin’s peripheral usage has shot through the roof over the last two years; he now offers plenty of all-around usage and is far more valuable than this.
Demaryius Thomas, 2.10, WR13. Heiser left Brandin Cooks, T.Y. Hilton, and some strong upside plays on the board in favor of Thomas, who will have to overcome numerous hinderances. A decidedly run-based offense, some unfavorable game scripts, and semi-brutal quarterbacking will make it hard for him to return on a WR13 investment.
Bell’s suspension was certainly a next-day blow, but Heiser has assembled a roster than can weather it. Shades of the zero-RB strategy were used here, resulting in multiple late-round stabs at backs with underrated volume potential. He’s a bit WR-heavy and could use more insulation at TE, but he’s wisely locked down his flex spot with gobs of options.
Danny Tuccitto - Slot 4
|1.04||4||Beckham, Odell NYG WR|
|2.09||21||Evans, Mike TBB WR|
|3.04||28||Hilton, T.Y. IND WR|
|4.09||45||Olsen, Greg CAR TE|
|5.04||52||Murray, Latavius OAK RB|
|6.09||69||Fleener, Coby NOS TE|
|7.04||76||Jones, Marvin DET WR|
|8.09||93||Abdullah, Ameer DET RB|
|9.04||100||Gates, Antonio SDC TE|
|10.09||117||Winston, Jameis TBB QB|
|11.04||124||Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB (R)|
|12.09||141||Ferguson, Josh IND RB (R)|
|13.04||148||Ryan, Matt ATL QB|
|14.09||165||Boyd, Tyler CIN WR (R)|
|15.04||172||Mitchell, Malcolm NEP WR (R)|
|16.09||189||Collins, Alex SEA RB (R)|
|17.04||196||Fitzpatrick, Ryan NYJ QB|
|18.09||213||Packers, Green Bay GBP Def|
|19.04||220||Marshall, Keith WAS RB (R)|
|20.09||237||Browns, Cleveland CLE Def|
Lightly zero-RB; waiting for a quarterback; inviting tight ends to the flex party
Late-round rookies. Tuccitto clearly goes looking for the rookie values, and he does it at appropriate times. Over the back half of the draft, he landed four rookie RBs with varying usage outlooks – two of them string pass game prospects – and two intriguing first-year wideouts. Let the other guys chase the high-drafted Josh Doctson and Derrick Henry (far too) early. There’s little projectable value in them, but gobs in these late-round gems.
Coby Fleener, 6.09, TE6. I’m not particularly bullish on the high-end projections I’ve seen for Fleener. His landing spot and sporadic production notwithstanding, it’s hard to project him at or beyond Ben Watson’s truly stunning 2015. The Saints have taken great strides to add (and keep) their pass catchers, and their decision to retain ultra-promising backup Josh Hill probably dictates a hard ceiling for Fleener. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Fleener is at best a flawed, one-dimensional player whose play doesn’t always demand a full snap count. I like him somewhat, but 6.09 is a bit of a stretch with some dynamic RBs and WRs on the board.
There’s a ton of favorable data behind chasing tight ends in the middle rounds. Pass games keep ascending, and TE1s are outscoring WR2s at a higher rate than many realize. So I like Tuccitto’s game here; while I don’t love the tight ends he chose, he’s at least chasing a progressive strategy. It’s one that places a little less importance on RB quality, freeing Tuccitto to fill out his RB chart with value rookies over the second half of his draft.
The result was a combination of my strategy going into the draft plus everyone else throwing me for a loop by taking running backs way earlier than I expected. Going in, my plan was as follows:
Will Grant - Slot 5
|1.05||5||Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR|
|2.08||20||Charles, Jamaal KCC RB|
|3.05||29||Anderson, C.J. DEN RB|
|4.08||44||Matthews, Jordan PHI WR|
|5.05||53||Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR|
|6.08||68||Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB|
|7.05||77||Barnidge, Gary CLE TE|
|8.08||92||Snead, Willie NOS WR|
|9.05||101||Wheaton, Markus PIT WR|
|10.08||116||Dalton, Andy CIN QB|
|11.05||125||Matthews, Rishard TEN WR|
|12.08||140||Sproles, Darren PHI RB|
|13.05||149||Seferian-Jenkins, Austin TBB TE|
|14.08||164||Thompson, Chris WAS RB|
|15.05||173||Tye, Will NYG TE|
|16.08||188||Panthers, Carolina CAR Def|
|17.05||197||West, Charcandrick KCC RB|
|18.08||212||Steelers, Pittsburgh PIT Def|
|19.05||221||Wentz, Carson PHI QB (R)|
|20.08||236||Colts, Indianapolis IND Def|
Balanced, with a slight early RB focus and all starting spots filled by Round 7
Darren Sproles, 12.08, RB50 and Chris Thompson, 14.08, RB54. Grant really built his running backs wisely. With two upper-tier yet value-priced anchors in tow, Grant sought to fill out his depth chart much later, casting several lottery tickets in an educated manner. The hope is that one or two will provide at least occasional RB2 value – and he made some shrewd guesses. Sproles and Thompson project to dominate their teams’ passing downs even as backups, providing high week-to-week ceilings. And don’t overlook West, a SPARQ superstar who showed decently in place of Jamaal Charles last year.
Gary Barnidge, 7.05, TE7. Barnidge benefitted from a perfect storm in 2015, riding a massively pass-first offensive script and a strong connection with Josh McCown to a massive breakout. But going forward, things are murky at best. Barnidge will turn 31 in September, but had posted just 44 catches across six seasons prior to last year. With run-minded coach Hue Jackson on board and scintillating first-rounder Corey Coleman in the mix, Barnidge faces an uphill battle to remain a volume option. If Josh Gordon winds up rejoining the team, Barnidge would likely be a near-afterthought.
Like Bear Heiser, Grant clearly eschewed any position-heavy strategies and drafted for projected value. That’s always a risky method, as the drafter is entirely invested in his or her own specific expectations with little margin for error. But I like Grant’s approach – the RB methodology he used here was very crafty – and he landed plenty of volume potential.
cian fahey - slot 6
|1.06||6||Gurley, Todd RAM RB|
|2.07||19||Freeman, Devonta ATL RB|
|3.06||30||Watkins, Sammy BUF WR|
|4.07||43||Rawls, Thomas SEA RB|
|5.06||54||Eifert, Tyler CIN TE|
|6.07||67||Lockett, Tyler SEA WR|
|7.06||78||Walker, Delanie TEN TE|
|8.07||91||Prosise, C.J. SEA RB (R)|
|9.06||102||Shepard, Sterling NYG WR (R)|
|10.07||115||Coleman, Tevin ATL RB|
|11.06||126||Dorsett, Phillip IND WR|
|12.07||139||Romo, Tony DAL QB|
|13.06||150||Broncos, Denver DEN Def|
|14.07||163||Henry, Derrick TEN RB (R)|
|15.06||174||Cutler, Jay CHI QB|
|16.07||187||Blount, LeGarrette NEP RB|
|17.06||198||Britt, Kenny RAM WR|
|18.07||211||Bengals, Cincinnati CIN Def|
|19.06||222||Henry, Hunter SDC TE (R)|
|20.07||235||Montgomery, Ty GBP WR|
Robust in the running game, locking down quality handcuffs and chasing upside at WR; punt the quarterback
Devonta Freeman, 2.07, RB7. Well here’s a freebie. Freeman’s name has been poisonous in the fantasy community of late, but I place him firmly in the top tier of RBs. I don’t even see much drop-off from consensus mid-first prospect. David Johnson. Few backs project to Freeman’s level of volume, red zone usage, and production – even if second-year man Tevin Coleman takes a bigger offensive stake. And since Fahey grabbed Coleman as well, he’s covered in any eventuality.
Tony Romo, 12.07, QB16. My projections would up surprisingly hard on Romo – he’s my QB25 at the moment – due to a likely run-heavy scheme and Romo’s love of breaking his collarbone. I get the appeal, and there’s virtually no chance he ends the season that low, but I think Fahey left some superior options on the board. Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, and Tyrod Taylor were ultimately available even later.
Fahey’s goal to pursue league-leading RB production paid off nicely. He did well to lock down most of the Falcons and Seahawks backfields, two units that should produce plentifully. Given the upside he landed at wideout, it’s likely this roster could cobble together enough big WR weeks to pair well with those RB anchors.
Andy hicks - SLOT 7
|1.07||7||Peterson, Adrian MIN RB|
|2.06||18||Nelson, Jordy GBP WR|
|3.07||31||Lacy, Eddie GBP RB|
|4.06||42||Benjamin, Kelvin CAR WR|
|5.07||55||Kelce, Travis KCC TE|
|6.06||66||Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR|
|7.07||79||Gordon, Melvin SDC RB|
|8.06||90||Jackson, DeSean WAS WR|
|9.07||103||Brady, Tom NEP QB|
|10.06||114||Jackson, Vincent TBB WR|
|11.07||127||Cousins, Kirk WAS QB|
|12.06||138||Doctson, Josh WAS WR (R)|
|13.07||151||Cameron, Jordan MIA TE|
|14.06||162||Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def|
|15.07||175||Drake, Kenyan MIA RB (R)|
|16.06||186||Williams, Maxx BAL TE|
|17.07||199||Morris, Alfred DAL RB|
|18.06||210||Bradford, Sam PHI QB|
|19.07||223||Ravens, Baltimore BAL Def|
|20.06||234||Janis, Jeff GBP WR|
Balanced, with a specific eye on WRs through the middle rounds
Jeff Janis, 20.06, WR81. While I don’t think much of WR handcuffing – injuries don’t benefit the backups nearly as much there – Hicks looks to have invested in one of the better ones. Janis, long overvalued a bit by the dynasty community, has bottomed out in cost and could win leagues in 2016. He has a nonzero chance of seeing heavy time in the event of a Jordy Nelson setback, and an even better shot at unseating Davante Adams for time on the outside.
Tom Brady, 9.07, QB9. While I like the aggressiveness in reaching for Brady’s big games, I do question his value as the QB9. By my projections, he’s indeed a top-five QB over the final 12 weeks (though only 11 will matter in most fantasy leagues). But over that span, he blends in closely with the rest of the top quarterbacks. I’m generally fine losing those four weeks if I can reasonably expect the guy to come back and assert himself in the upper crust of fantasy, but to me, Brady doesn’t project that highly.
Hicks clearly sought to compile WR upside, and he definitely succeeded there. There’s a little concern about his running backs – he doesn’t have much insulation from another Eddie Lacy collapse – but I love the crew of high-ceiling wideouts.
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 wanted to lock up receiving situations where the situation is unknown or unstable, but there could be a lot of fantasy points available eg The Baltimore receivers, the Patriot receivers outside Gronkowski, The Washington receivers etc I managed to get Desean Jackson and Josh Doctson, but missed on Jordan Reed to solidify my grouping. I was trying to grab Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan as my ideal situation, but Edelman went a lot higher than I was expecting and Hogan went in the same round I was targeting him. On a points per game basis Edelman was among the elite receivers, but that is the problem with him. He doesn't play every game. Hogan on the other hand was signed to a very lucrative contract considering his lack of production in Buffalo. $7.5 million guaranteed, with a $5.5 million in the first year. New England don't throw money around for the sake of it.
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.
Either of my receivers that are coming off ACL's in Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin. Taking both wasn't ideal, but that's how the draft fell. Jordy Nelson was the last of my elite receivers available, but I have doubts on him returning to previous greatness despite Green Bays offense lacking cohesion without him. I have Benjamin finishing within the top 10 receivers, so with 23 receivers taken in the draft I felt I had to draft him before it became ridiculous. Benjamin was that rare receiver who managed a 1000 yards in his rookie season and while his loss wasn't detrimental to the Panthers offense, his return will be significant. If Ted Ginn can rank 25th, then Benjamin should dominate in this offense with lessons learned from his first season and a year to ponder the absence of football. Ie is anyway near back to 100% fit then he should be a reason why my side does well.
3. Pick one of your mid-late round players and explain why you have high expectations for them this year.
I am going to select Kenyan Drake, which even though I drafted him in the 15th round he went a few rounds earlier than most non dynasty drafts. He is going to need good coaching, luck and opportunity. To simplify I am going to compare him to one of my favorite draft picks from last year in David Johnson. Johnson was taken higher in fantasy drafts last year, but he was the 86th pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Drake was the 73rd in this years draft. Johnson was expected to play behind a veteran supposedly washed up in Chris Johnson and a young player supposedly on the rise in Andre Ellington. Drake is expected to play behind a veteran supposedly washed up in Arian Foster and a young player supposedly on the rise in Jay Ajayi. Ellington averaged 2.95 yards a carry in the last 7 games of the 2014 season. Ajayi averaged 2.58 yards a carry in his last 7 games of the 2015 season. David Johnson ran a 4.50 40 yard dash, needed good coaching and opportunity. Drake ran a 4.45 40 yard dash and needs good coaching, patience and opportunity.
Ari Ingel - Slot 8
|1.08||8||Green, A.J. CIN WR|
|2.05||17||Marshall, Brandon NYJ WR|
|3.08||32||Cooper, Amari OAK WR|
|4.05||41||Johnson, Duke CLE RB|
|5.08||56||Woodhead, Danny SDC RB|
|6.05||65||Ajayi, Jay MIA RB|
|7.08||80||Hill, Jeremy CIN RB|
|8.05||89||Thomas, Julius JAC TE|
|9.08||104||Green, Ladarius PIT TE|
|10.05||113||Diggs, Stefon MIN WR|
|11.08||128||Stafford, Matthew DET QB|
|12.05||137||Washington, DeAndre OAK RB (R)|
|13.08||152||Carr, Derek OAK QB|
|14.05||161||Wallace, Mike BAL WR|
|15.08||176||Ellington, Bruce SFO WR|
|16.05||185||Smith, Alex KCC QB|
|17.08||200||Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def|
|18.05||209||Jets, New York NYJ Def|
|19.08||224||Giants, New York NYG Def|
|20.05||233||Johnson, Stevie SDC WR|
A three-shot WR blast to open, with shades of a zero-RB approach; holding off at quarterback
Jay Ajayi, 6.05, RB24. I’m higher on Ajayi, and scared less by Arian Foster’s signing, than most. And while Round 6 is a pretty appropriate place to snag him, I’ll reiterate how much I love Ajayi’s potential. An athletic, three-down back with loads of experience and production on his resume, Ajayi currently projects as my RB22, with strong potential to climb. Foster is an aging injury case, while rookie Kenyan Drake looks like an underwhelming, one-dimensional prospect. It’s nice to see Ingel rolling the dice on Ajayi’s outlook rather than that of “safer” options like Ryan Mathews and Jonathan Stewart – guys long on volume, but relatively short on dynamism and receiving potential. Ajayi brims with both.
Brandon Marshall, 2.05, WR10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, and by extension the Jets passing game, looks due for a noticeable regression. While Marshall is certainly dynamic enough to overcome mediocre quarterbacking, this price tag is set near his likely ceiling. And if the Jets/Fitzpatrick stalemate never resolves, Marshall’s value probably slips a solid 2+ rounds. The receiving end of Geno Smith’s passes is no place for a late-stage WR to spend his golden days. All told, I would have preferred Jordy Nelson or perhaps even Mike Evans here, though it’s nitpicky.
The only quibble I have is whether Ingel’s roster would have enough WR firepower to weather an injury or collapse from one of them. I may have invested another mid-round pick on a steady, volume-heavy wideout to help buoy this group. Still, I see Ingel’s player valuations as top-notch. His running backs, mostly young or youngish pass catchers, were well-drafted and look capable of producing fine week-to-week production. And his QB approach – wait until Round 11, then compile three weekly QB1 options – is ideal in achieving strong flex production.
1. You selected three wide receivers with your first three picks. Explain why you like that draft strategy this year. Is it any different, because this is a Best Ball league?
I don’t prescribe to any one particular draft strategy, outside of my 2-2-1 Running Back strategy, but even that doesn’t mandate when you need to draft players. For me, it’s all about understanding Average Draft Position (ADP), the rules of the league, adjusting to draft flow and above all else, getting your guys and not just guys that may fall to you that you don’t really like. In this draft, I saw that there were many running backs still left on the board that I was targeting so I kept waiting while scooping up talented receivers. I was able to get Danny Woodhead, Duke Johnson, Jay Ajayi and Jeremy Hill, all after getting three top notch wide receivers. That’s value.
2. You only selected one rookie in your draft (DeAndre Washington). Explain why you think it's a good strategy to select known players in a Best Ball league.
I listened to the Fantasy Feast podcast earlier this year and one of their guests, Christo, had one of the highest winning percentages in MFL10’s last season. He mentioned he didn’t draft any rookies because they often under-perform and you really have little certainty to them. While I don’t think ignoring all rookies is a good idea, I usually wait until later rounds to take a stab on some upside ones I think have a real shot. DeAndre Washington is one of those, another is Jordan Howard, who I wasn’t able to get this go around.
3. Talk about Bruce Ellington, who you drafted with pick 15.08. Why are you high on him this year?
Bruce Ellington stands 5’9” 197lbs with 4.45 forty speed. He hasn’t done much so far in his NFL career, but he is a plus athlete and has been flashing at OTA’s. He’s been handling slot duties so far and that is a great position of fantasy value in a Chip Kelly offense, which saw Jordan Matthews (who looked terrible at times) go 85/997/8 last season. He’s no lock just yet, but if he continues to shine in the pre-season, he could easily catch 80+ passes in this offense.
Phil Alexander - Slot 9
|1.09||9||Johnson, David ARI RB|
|2.04||16||Jeffery, Alshon CHI WR|
|3.09||33||Moncrief, Donte IND WR|
|4.04||40||Lewis, Dion NEP RB|
|5.09||57||Brown, John ARI WR|
|6.04||64||Jones, Matt WAS RB|
|7.09||81||Parker, DeVante MIA WR|
|8.04||88||Gore, Frank IND RB|
|9.09||105||Manning, Eli NYG QB|
|10.04||112||Thomas, Michael NOS WR (R)|
|11.09||129||Powell, Bilal NYJ RB|
|12.04||136||McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB|
|13.09||153||Clay, Charles BUF TE|
|14.04||160||McDonald, Vance SFO TE|
|15.09||177||Flacco, Joe BAL QB|
|16.04||184||Perriman, Breshad BAL WR|
|17.09||201||Watson, Ben BAL TE|
|18.04||208||Patriots, New England NEP Def|
|19.09||225||Redskins, Washington WAS Def|
|20.04||232||Cowboys, Dallas DAL Def|
Balanced, with a focus on PPR-happy receiving backs; punt the tight end
Frank Gore, 8.04, RB33. His age notwithstanding, Gore is severely undervalued by the fantasy community. The 8th round is far too low to scoop the only proven back in an explosive offense, one who will lead if not outright dominate his team’s usage. Gore’s entire statistical outlook would see a boost – particularly his rushing efficiency and red zone potential. Even an inefficient year, it’s hard to project Gore below the RB2 tier; Alexander really got away with one here.
Devante Parker, 7.09, WR37. It’s hard to find much fault here, and WR37 is more than appropriate for Parker, but there were a few receivers on the board I preferred here. (Not by much, though.) I love the prospect, but the Dolphins seem crowded on the outside and could skew more run-heavy than we all expect. Willie Snead carries a similar ceiling with better floor security and went 11 picks later, while Tavon Austin and Markus Wheaton sat until round 9.
All told, Alexander cranked out one of the better value-based drafts I’ve reviewed thus far. It blends a RB corps stocked with high-ceiling PPR studs, explosive young wideouts on the verge of apparent volume breakouts, and cheap value at QB, TE, and defense. If you’re not approaching your draft with a specifically position-heavy gameplan, then this is how you do it, gang.
Stephen Holloway - slot 10
|1.10||10||Bryant, Dez DAL WR|
|2.03||15||Allen, Keenan SDC WR|
|3.10||34||Landry, Jarvis MIA WR|
|4.03||39||Maclin, Jeremy KCC WR|
|5.10||58||Bernard, Giovani CIN RB|
|6.03||63||Brees, Drew NOS QB|
|7.10||82||Ertz, Zach PHI TE|
|8.03||87||Riddick, Theo DET RB|
|9.10||106||Rivers, Philip SDC QB|
|10.03||111||Forsett, Justin BAL RB|
|11.10||130||Foster, Arian MIA RB|
|12.03||135||Vereen, Shane NYG RB|
|13.10||154||Walford, Clive OAK TE|
|14.03||159||Woods, Robert BUF WR|
|15.10||178||Williams, Terrance DAL WR|
|16.03||183||Fuller, Will HOU WR (R)|
|17.10||202||Rams, Los Angeles RAM Def|
|18.03||207||Jaguars, Jacksonville JAC Def|
|19.10||226||Rodgers, Richard GBP TE|
|20.03||231||Buccaneers, Tampa Bay TBB Def|
Zero-RB, stockpiling WR1/2 types and filling in the gaps with PPR-happy receiving backs; heavy QB investment
Mid-round, PPR-quality RBs. A zero-RB draft is only as successful as the drafter’s mid-round hits and busts at the position. Identifying the right guys – specifically, the right profiles – is the key difference between a one-dimensional roster and one that can produce from anywhere. Holloway clearly gets this; by taking Bernard, Riddick, Vereen, and Foster as the core of his RB group, he’s chasing the coveted PPR studs. Receiving backs carry week-to-week ceilings comparable to guys drafted much earlier, and holding them in abundance allows you to manage their floors.
Philip Rivers, 9.10, QB11. As much as I hate to nitpick a fine draft, I’m not on board with Rivers this year. He’s unlikely to throw with the same absurd volume, and the QB class is overloaded in this tier. Holloway could’ve held off a round or two and extracted similar value from Andy Dalton or Matthew Stafford.
Holloway ran the zero-RB track and did it shrewdly. When you take the focus off of your running backs, your safest play is to target high-reception guys in the middle rounds, while the method allows you to absolutely stockpile WR production. Case in point, Holloway enters the season boasting four No. 1 wideouts – including two 100-catch certainties and arguably the league’s premier touchdown artist. Considering the mammoth value receivers carry in an MFL10 format (PPR, with 3-4 starting WR spots), he opens with a nice advantage.
1. You selected four wide receivers with your first four picks. Explain your reasoning behind that strategy and how that affected the rest of your draft.
I much prefer to have wide receivers as my position of strength in best ball leagues as they typically are injured less and provide more consistent scoring. Nonetheless, I was hopeful of being able to draft Gurley (not likely) or Peterson in the first round at tenth overall, but both were gone. I would have taken Lamar Miller at 15, but Jason Wood got him just ahead of me. I was not planning to take four straight wide receivers, but liked those players best of what was available to me. None of Dez Bryant (10), Keenan Allen (15), Jarvis Landry (34) or Jeremy Maclin (39) were what I would call extremely valuable picks, but I liked them all and was not concerned with drafting four in a row at the beginning. I like several of the lower tier running backs and was able to draft several later that I value. It did force me to hit the running back position hard, but I was not deterred from generally looking for value.
2. What is the biggest drafting mistake that people make in Best Ball leagues?
It probably sounds self-serving, given my start, but I think with 3 wide receiver starters and the ability to use another in the flex that most focus too heavily on the running back position.
3. 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.
Drafting for value is important for all leagues, regardless of structure. I loved getting Drew Brees as QB5 in the sixth round, particularly when James Brimacombe took Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson with back to back picks at the bottom of the 5/6 turn, just ahead of me. I thought he also got good value, but not sure I would have taken two. Regardless, when he did take two, that made Brees more valuable to me. I also believe that Justin Forsett will have a fairly consistent role with the Ravens and was glad to get him as RB38 in the tenth round.
Jason Wood - Slot 11
|1.11||11||Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB (R)|
|2.02||14||Miller, Lamar HOU RB|
|3.11||35||Newton, Cam CAR QB|
|4.02||38||Tate, Golden DET WR|
|5.11||59||Crabtree, Michael OAK WR|
|6.02||62||Murray, DeMarco TEN RB|
|7.11||83||Treadwell, Laquon MIN WR (R)|
|8.02||86||Smith, Torrey SFO WR|
|9.11||107||Allen, Dwayne IND TE|
|10.02||110||Benjamin, Travis SDC WR|
|11.11||131||Howard, Jordan CHI RB (R)|
|12.02||134||Witten, Jason DAL TE|
|13.11||155||Tannehill, Ryan MIA QB|
|14.02||158||Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def|
|15.11||179||Perkins, Paul NYG RB (R)|
|16.02||182||LaFell, Brandon CIN WR|
|17.11||203||Raiders, Oakland OAK Def|
|18.02||206||Thomas, Mike RAM WR (R)|
|19.11||227||Smallwood, Wendell PHI RB (R)|
|20.02||230||Hooper, Austin ATL TE (R)|
RB-heavy, and big on seeking value from the glorious MFL10 rookie discount
Late-round rookie RBs. Wood clearly realizes the low hit rate among late-round selections and, therefore, puts numerous eggs into numerous rookie baskets. And why not? They typically offer the best combination of upside (see: youth) and low cost (see: nervous, uncertain fellow owners). It’s a smart play here, especially since Wood focused on targets with high probabilities of seeing rookie playing time. His running back triple-dip of Howard, Perkins, and especially Smallwood fits that category. With an impressive final college year in the rearview and only the sometimes plodding, always limping Ryan Mathews to battle for carries, he’s as shrewd a late-round RB as you’re likely to find.
Travis Benjamin, 10.02, WR48. There’s not much here to quibble with, but Benjamin isn’t really on my radar for 2016. I can’t project the Chargers to throw as much as they did last year, and I can’t project Benjamin’s usage much beyond that of Malcom Floyd in recent seasons. Primarily a shake-and-go deep threat, Benjamin is unlikely to post solid efficiency and would need optimal yardage and TD figures to return this value. I think there were stronger WR plays over the next couple of rounds.
Wood’s strategy was a bit inside-out from my own preferred one; I typically like to invest top- and bottom-heavy at WR and use the middle rounds to stock RBs. But there’s plenty of reasoning behind Wood’s way, and I’d say he made the right call time and again. Elliott and Miller look poised to see heavy, team-dominant usage and both are explosive backs, and there’s likely enough mid-round volume to form a strong receiver group.
Jeff, I've been saying all offseason that if Cam is available in the 3rd round, he should be your pick. I've done upwards of 50+ MFL10 drafts thus far and have rostered Cam in at least half, most commonly in the 3rd round. I believe the way to win MFL10s is more about overall roster construction and resilience. I come out of every MFL10 draft with nearly identical structure: 2 QBs, 2 TEs, 2 DST, 14 WR/RB (usually 6 rb/8 wr but sometimes 7/7). I don't so much worry about roster construction in the first 10 rounds and instead draft BPA. From there I take high upside guys to fill out the structure. Taking Cam in the 3rd was my plan all along so in essence the draft went exactly to plan.
Building off my last response, I think you have to understand that Best Ball leagues have a lot of luck involved in them. By definition you are making 20 decisions to shape the outcome, instead of hundreds in a typical league format. In order to win you have to give yourself high upside depth. To me the two key things about winning Best Ball are: A) Forgo "JAG" depth player in favor of lottery tickets...high floor WR3/RB3s aren't going to win you Best Balls, you need young players yet to breakout or backups that can become full-time studs if injury opens the door, and B) Defer to home run hitters vs. consistency. Let me give you an example. In redrafts this year, I would be reluctant to roster the likes of Travis Benjamin (at his ADP), Brandon LaFell, Phillip Dorsett, etc...because they are going to have a few huge weeks and lots of forgettable ones. But in Best Ball those guys are VERY useful because you don't have to be a fortune teller and guess which weeks will be the breakout ones.
james brimacombe - slot 12
|1.12||12||Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE|
|2.01||13||Robinson, Allen JAC WR|
|3.12||36||Hyde, Carlos SFO RB|
|4.01||37||Forte, Matt NYJ RB|
|5.12||60||Luck, Andrew IND QB|
|6.01||61||Wilson, Russell SEA QB|
|7.12||84||Yeldon, T.J. JAC RB|
|8.01||85||Ivory, Chris JAC RB|
|9.12||108||Coleman, Corey CLE WR (R)|
|10.01||109||Green-Beckham, Dorial TEN WR|
|11.12||132||Booker, Devontae DEN RB (R)|
|12.01||133||Funchess, Devin CAR WR|
|13.12||156||Mariota, Marcus TEN QB|
|14.01||157||Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE|
|15.12||180||Gordon, Josh CLE WR|
|16.01||181||Cruz, Victor NYG WR|
|17.12||204||Ginn Jr., Ted CAR WR|
|18.01||205||Randle, Rueben PHI WR|
|19.12||228||Dolphins, Miami MIA Def|
|20.01||229||Bears, Chicago CHI Def|
A sonic blast of quarterback investment; chasing low-cost wideouts (and their handcuffs) throughout the draft’s second half
Devin Funchess, 12.01, WR55 and Ted Ginn, Jr., WR77. Honorable mention goes to the forward thinking of Josh Gordon in the 15th; he could obliterate that ADP in a Hue Jackson offense that has relentlessly targeted its No. 1 wideouts. But there was even better value for Brimacombe in Rounds 12 and 17, where he locked up a healthy chunk of the Panthers WR corps. Neither Funchess nor Ginn are great standard fantasy targets, but they’re excellent in best ball – this offense will have high-octane weeks fueled by one receiver or another.
Russell Wilson, 6.01, QB4. There’s nothing wrong with the 6th-round timing of Wilson; I just wouldn’t have taken a second quarterback here. Brimacombe sought to establish his roster with weekly QB1 potential. He invested the entire 5th/6th turn in the position, landing two consensus top-four passers, then spent a 13th on another dynamic prospect. It’s not my preferred path; last year’s top-two quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Tom Brady, finished top-six in just 10 of 16 weeks.
There’s something to be said for dominating the quarterback position, and Brimacombe may have locked that down thoroughly. The real question in aiming for that is how well a drafter fills out elsewhere with two premium picks going to QB. And Brimacombe did well to land a rock-solid scoring wideout, receiving backs with high-volume potential, and some intriguing handcuffs.
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