Work League Draft: Synopsis

For the first time in 28 years of fantasy football I am participating in 3 leagues, possibly 4, if the group on the forums at Fantasy Football Starters need a 12th owner. I took over as acting commissioner at my work league, which is a standard scoring league on ESPN. We start 9 players with 7 on the bench in our 16 round draft.

I was provided information from Cody, a forum member on FFS who introduced me to an alternative draft strategy, which I wrote about last week. I found the strategy intriguing, so much so I decided to try it in my work league. I figured not all the owners in that league are as up to date on fantasy football as I am, so I could probably pull it off. An hour prior to the live draft we were given our draft slots, I randomly ended up with the #10 pick in our 12-team league. It was setting up nicely to implement this strategy.

The strategy for the first 9 rounds would be: WR, WR, WR, QB, TE, RB, RB, RB, RB. After that point I would either go RB heavy or best player available. I also wanted to secure a back up QB, as well as some depth at WR, even though this strategy would have “studs” in the top 3 rounds. I did take my own recommendation and remained flexible, as the draft was dynamic and I applied changes where I thought necessary.

Round 1: (WR) Roddy White WR ATL

I was hoping Andre Johnson would fall, but after a few questionable picks at 1.01 with Rodgers and 1.04 with MJD being drafted I had some thought of going AJ and White in the first few rounds. That dream was shattered with the #5 pick, leaving me with a very strong Roddy White in the first. I assume he will pull down 100+ receptions this year and go double digits on TDs. He is a can’t miss WR.

Round 2: (WR) Hakeem Nicks WR NYG

Based on league scoring and bonus points, Nicks was ranked higher than Charles Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. I have a bit more faith in Eli Manning at QB, but Matt Stafford has a huge upside, but comes with risk of getting injured. Nicks was on career pace last year when injury derailed him, but I suspect he returns to all pro form immediately.

Round 3: (WR) Miles Austin WR DAL

I was holding out hope that Fitzgerald would continue to drop, but when he was drafted at 3.02 I turned my attention towards Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace. My hopes were dashed a second time when both WRs were draft leaving me with the option of Miles Austin or Dwayne Bowe. I don’t believe Bowe will be as dominate as he was last year and Dallas looks to have a higher powered offense capable of scoring many points, so I went with Austin.

Round 4: (TE) Antonio Gates TE SD

Originally this round was supposed to be a QB, but after the #12 team took Romo to start the fourth, coupled with Vick in first, as he was using auto draft I was left without a top QB, so I altered my plan and decided to grab the best TE in the league in Antonio Gates. Now that he is healthy he could put up career numbers, much like the pace he was on last year before the foot injury occurred. Usually I won’t go with a TE so high, but I believe his upside and scoring allow his statistics to be on par with some of the top WRs in the league.

Round 5: (QB) Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT

It was Ben as the “best available” at that position when it was time for me to pick in the round. Freeman in TB and Manning in NYG were also left, but felt better taking Ben over Manning. Hopefully with a strong running game and some good WRs Roethlisberger will start the season hot and only get better as the season rolls along. I think he will be just fine with my team built around WRs. I didn’t want too many eggs in the NYG basket, which had me shy away from Manning in the direction of Pittsburgh, although the Manning to Nicks combo might have been worthwhile.

Round 6 (RB) Chris Wells RB ARI

This was crunch time to start round 6 looking for my first starting running back. I was surprised at some of the names that were already off the board, but I was looking to grab a starter and there were a few still on the board. I had been hoping the likes of Blount or DeAngelo Williams would make it, but those hopes were dashed in the 5th round. I had watched Ryan Grant as well, coming off injury and I think a good “sleeper” type back, regardless of all the questionable comments regarding his position. He was snatched jsut prior to my pick which left Chris Wells of Arizona. He might be a worthwhile pick as rookie Ryan Williams went down with a season ending knee injury and Tim Hightower is no longer there. This means Wells must man up and put up some good numbers this season.

Round 7 (RB) Joseph Addai RB IND

Every round the remaining RBs continued to thin out. I was somewhat surprised that owners were still drafting the position and not going for the more plentiful talent at the WR position, so I had to make the best selection I could. I was watching Tim Hightower, Fred Jackson and Joseph Addai. Hightower scared me because of how Shanny uses his RBs, I think it’s safe to assume Hightower won’t make all 16 games as the starter. I was also not completely sold on Buffalo’s Fred Jackson, who has been given chance after chance to win the starting job, but at best it ends up being an RBBC. That left one RB, Joseph Addai, now 4 years removed since his last 1000 yard season and did put up 10 TDs in 2009. He was beset by injury last year, so the 1000 yard mark could be possible.

Round 8 (RB) Marshawn Lynch RB SEA

I deliberately avoided Lynch a few rounds earlier, because I am not sold on Pete Carroll’s offense in Seattle. The QB situation scares me at best and we all recall the one TD run that Lynch had against the Saints. He is now the full time starter and put up 737 yards last year with 6 TDs. I would be happy to see the same sort of numbers this year. He rounds out the 3 RBs I will depend on. I was strongly considering Brandon Jacobs and hoped he would fall to the 9th round. I did not want a #3 RB in a RBBC situation, so I took the chance Lynch will out rush Jacobs and will see more touches of the football.

Round 9 (RB) Rashard Jennings RB JAX

It was a bit of a reach as the talent level was quickly dropping to end the 9th round. I had been watching players like Michael Bush, Pierre Thomas and Willis McGahee, all who are in RBBC backfields. I took a bit of a chance on Jennings because if the high risk factor involved with MJD. If his knee takes one hit, he could be done. There were also rumors on the wire that Jennings will receive a fair amount of carries early in the year, so I believe it was a safe, but somewhat risky pick up in round 9. McGahee probably would have been the safer bet, as he could see 6-8 TDs this year as a goal line back.

Round 10 (WR) Robert Meachem WR NO

I probably should have gone RB one more round and held out for a lower tiered wide receiver, but with all the talk surrounding Meachem this year with Colston slow to recover and continually injury issues with Moore, Meachem seemed to be a good value pick in the 10th round. Burress was also on my list, but I went off what Drew Brees has done the last few years and we all know that the Saints are a passing team, not should I could say that about the Jets.

Round 11 (QB) Kyle Orton QB DEN

I was surprised that owners were stockpiling QBs. Again, much like going deeper with RBs in the middle rounds I was shooting for Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel or Sam Bradford. Unfortunately none of them made it to the 11th round and the pickings were getting slimmer. Can’t go wrong with Orton, who started 2010 on record pace. With Tebow taking a few steps backwards in camp Orton should be the starter and with a healthy Moreno in the backfield, Orton could be more consistent this year and hopefully last the season.

Round 12 (RB) Marion Barber RB CHI

After not selecting goal lines in the previous rounds I decided to take a chance on Marion Barber in Chicago. I am not expecting great things from him, but a bye week cover here and there. Value might be a bit higher if Forte gets dinged, but for now he is nothing more than depth.

Round 13 (K) Sebastian Janikowski K OAK

I was surprised to that “Sea Bass” was still on the board as there was a run of 3 drafted in the 13th as well as 4 in the previous 2 rounds. Not sure why owners passed on this leg. He has been hitting them well from long distances in preseason and I was pleased to get him this season, as the Raiders won’t score, which opens the door for another big season for the Oakland kicker.

Round 14 (DST) Dallas

Defenses were thinning out rapidly as well. I was watching about 4 different defenses, namely San Diego and NYG, but both went off the board and I was somewhat surprised to see how high my cheat sheets had ranked Arizona. With the trade of DRC to Philly in return for Kolb and the injury to CB Greg Toler I was leery to think Arizona would really step up play. So I decided to go for Dallas instead. They are probably not better and they were terrible at times in 2010, so it might be a defense vs. match up on weekly basis for me.

Round 15 (WR) Eric Decker WR DEN

It was time to speculate on a few players to close out the draft. Third year WR, Eric Decker has been playing very well in Denver and with Orton back as the QB, the slot receiver might have a bright future. He should overtake Eddie Royal who is still nursing an injury. A late round flier, while maybe he isn’t a “can’t miss” I could have done worse.

Round 16 (RB) Delone Carter RB IND

This was more an insurance policy (HC) for Joseph Addai. While I think Addai can make it through the year, it’s nice to know I have a big upside in Carter who has ran well in preseason. Currently I believe Donald Brown is the #2 on the depth chart, but I don’t suspect that will last long. The team has been “impressed” with Carter and so was I.

So in the end it was a bit more work than I had anticipated using this strategy. It was very important to pay attention to the RBs starting with the 6th round. As FFS forum goer Cody brought up, “I would have scrapped the backup QB and taken a RB in the Meachum slot as well.“I probably should have drafted a RB in the 10th round to give me a bit more “value” at the position than double back with another WR. My 3 starting receivers are solid and will play every week (except their bye week), so depth is not really required.

As I also mentioned I was bite by an owner who was working at the time and had his team on auto draft. Unfortunately it was set up incorrectly and after taking Vick 1.12 the computer drafted Romo 3.12. This would have altered my selection and instead of jumping on Gates in the 4th round I would have drafted Romo, holding out hope that Gates was available in the 5th round. That was the original plan. Considering 3 TEs were taken in the 5th and 6th, chances are high he would have been drafted. So while Romo would have been nice, I think I got a good value pick in Gates.

As FFS moderator James said, “Now just hope that Wells and Addai can score 10 points for you a game and you will be fine.” That is what I am hoping for. I believe my WRs will be consistently high scorers, all with league leading potential and coupled with Gates should have my team winning on a weekly basis.

It will be interesting to watch as I am the defending champion at work and I believe I have built a very competitive team. I am already watching the wire for potential talent that might have an impact during the season. Regardless of what happens I am thankful for the chance to use this draft strategy and implement it successfully, based on paper. Hopefully the season holds true and I can retain “The Priscilla” which is what we have dubbed our trophy.

A Perfect Plan Doesn’t Exist

When it comes to fantasy football, there is only one sure thing, it’s dynamic. You never know from week to week just how you are going to do. Sure the so-called “professionals” as some like to tab themselves can predict the outcome of games and even ballpark statistics. But until the game is played and the final whistle is blown, anything is possible.

In fantasy football our season starts prior to the actual kickoff of the first NFL game. While I will never claim to be an “expert” or even an analyst, I figure 28 years participating and managing my league should be good for an opinion. While I would like to promote planning as a key to success, that is not true in every case. Planning is a component of preparing for a fantasy draft. Not only must you gather player news and watch preseason games you must get to know the players. If you have been participating in a league the past few years it shouldn’t be too difficult. For a newcomer, this could be a daunting task.

Each year in fantasy football there may be a position(s) that are considered strong and others that I hesitate to call weak, but many not as plentiful as some of the other positions. This year there seems to be a “strong” group of tight ends who are capable of putting up very good fantasy numbers. Of course, there is really only one top tier tight end that being Antonio Gates of San Diego. Of course a tight end does make or break your season, but in a year where there are not many top running backs or quarterbacks, the run on these players will be quick and the talent will be off the board before you know it.

Your draft strategy has two other components to it. The first is where you are drafting otherwise known as your “draft slot.” The last piece of the puzzle is your starting lineup requirements. Your draft slot is important because you can attempt to predict who is going to go and what will be available when it’s your turn to pick. While I won’t call it a standard, running backs are usually selected in the top spots, but it’s not unheard of to see a wide receiver, quarterback and yes, I must confess even a kicker go in the top few picks. But I only did that once, I swear and never again!

Depending on your league you must know your line up requirements. For example if you can only start one quarterback weekly, then it’s a poor decision to draft that position back to back in rounds one and two. You just wasted on a pick on what could have been a good running back or wide receiver and now you have filled a roster spot with a player who will either be a bye week cover or potential trade bait. Conversely, you might decide that you want to build your team around the running back position, so drafting two in the first rounds might dictate what you do as the draft rolls on. There is no set rule on how to start the first three selection of any draft. All can be successful.

One thing I don’t believe in is a “perfect plan.” I have read a few articles that layout the who and why when it comes to a draft and even playing the in the most vanilla of leagues, as it relates to starting line ups and scoring, nothing is perfect. It’s dynamic and you must be prepared to be flexible when you are on the clock ready to make your select. So don’t buy into some sites who claim to have that perfect knowledge, because it is nothing more than a guide to assist you.

You will also get the David’s and John’s of the fantasy realm who believe there way is the best way. Okay, fine. If you buy into their rational then by all means use their information, but I challenge you to make your own decisions based on the information you can gather. These days is much easier than when I got started. We had a handful of magazines who information and data was outdated by the time the draft rolled around. While I won’t confess that data collecting and analyzing making me a better fantasy owner, I do believe it taught me to use the resources I had available and not rely on the opinion of one.

In the end the decisions you make will hopefully be your own based on the information you have collected and analyzed. These day’s though, it’s just as easy to spend $19.99 on a subscription to a fantasy web site where those so called “professionals” force feed  you their information, which may or may not work with your league, scoring or draft. One idea I do subscribe to is interaction with other fantasy owners. That is one reason why I subscribed to a new service last year and use their forum on a regular basis through out the year. Their tools are good and like other sites can be tailored (to some degree) to reflect my league scoring. But that feature is tool to be used and referred to, not to be relied upon religiously. The value is in how you apply the data that it generates.

Not to stray too far from my point I was trying to make, but interaction with other owners, not necessarily ones who have the same opinion goes a long way. Regardless of how long you have played I value as much input as I can receive regarding whatever question I have. If I ask what options I have in round 3 after going RB/QB and who the potential picks are I can get good feedback on who I should or should not draft. Sometimes gaining the insight of others can provide more information that help you make that selection or look in a different direction. This sort of discussion can be applied in nearly every aspect of fantasy football.

In closing don’t buy into anyone who claims to “know it all” or have a “perfect plan” because neither of those exist in fantasy football. Use your resources and tools, learn the players and understand your league, line up and draft requirements. Most off all have fun. We all love to win in the end, but sometimes even the best plans go awry.

TSA and Acts of Lewdness?

Child Molester Ralph David AndersonWow, why does this not hit me as a surprise? The headline reads, DA charges Spring Creek man with lewdness. While Elko, Nevada is not a thriving metropolis there are still degenerates who need work and find comfort and a paycheck in the government make work program known as a the Transportation Security Administration. This is the same agency charged with the responsibility of protecting air travelers. Unfortunately Ralph David Anderson, 61 found comfort in “six counts of lewdness with a child.”

This sick fuck got his molestation training from the TSA and probably enjoyed his position at the agency having the responsibility to “pat down” people and especially children. Sick and twisted? Yep, sure is. But he is really no different than many of the other child molesters out on the street today. This guy is paid by the government to perform his acts that included, teaching various sex acts, having sexual contact, teaching the under 14 year old girl to “say various vulgar words associated with body parts and sexual activities,” rub lotion over his body, watch porn and drink alcohol.

Together this dirt bag was charged with only six counts by the Elko Sheriff’s Department. What’s worse is this guy is being held on ONLY a $250,000 bond! Why? I am quite surprised Big Sis and “The Pisser” (John Pistole) aren’t there to stand behind his actions and bail him out in order to get him back to his screening position. What a joke! I’, sorry aviation security in the USA is a completely joke.

Being we are nearing 10 years since the U.S. Government’s “inside job” known as 9-11 and things are no better. Many sheeple are processed daily by the TSA and many accept, what is now the “norm” when they fly. It’s unfortunately more of the population doesn’t stand up to TPTB (the powers that be) and fight for their freedoms and rights as individuals of this once great nation.

Alternate Draft Strategy

Over the years in the TFL I have drafted and promoted “balance” in my fantasy football teams. Unlike some owners who stockpile (usually) running backs, I opt for drafting value at each offensive position (RB/QB/WR). This allows me a top player at each position and provides me a strong foundation to build upon.

When I joined Fantasy Football Starters, I read about the Russ Bliss Draft Strategy, which I was very familiar with because it mirrored how I usually drafted. Russ took his strategy a step or two further, providing contingencies in each round depending on the position you just drafted. This makes the transition into a fantasy football league easier for new owners, but it also allowed me, as an experienced owner of my options, round by round.

Last year I failed before I even started in how I computed and used my cheat sheets, which had me throwing in the towel by week 10, but in reality I failed myself with Shonn Greene being drafted in the 3rd round in 2010. This year I would like to think I am a year wiser, but also open to new ideas when it comes to fantasy football. Over the years I have been drafting with blinders on. Thanks to FFS those blinders have been dropped and I am open to alternative draft strategies, depending on where I am in the draft.

Regardless of the strategy you employ in your draft, one key component is to “stay flexible.” This year FFS member Cody bought an interesting strategy to my attention. The piece came from the Rotoworld Forums written by the user, Mad Scientist titled, “The Don’t draft RB’s until the 6th round strategy.” In 2000 I actually started by drafting  two WRs in Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison. He does make a compelling argument, “the strategy is a stat that 67% of RBS in the top 24 this year will not be in the top 24 the next year. There is also a similar drop off in the top 12 (RBs).” I also understand Russ Bliss has a similar strategy at FFS, but have yet to read about it.

This strategy has an owner drafting WR, WR, WR, QB, TE, RB, RB, RB, RB through 9 rounds. “I’m shocked at the RB’s that are available pretty much free and clear…there is less competition at RB rounds 6-8,” says Mad Scientist. Using our most recent TFL draft only 8 RBs were drafted in those 3 rounds as compared to 11 WR, 7 QB and 4 TE. Even rounds 9-12 have some good RBs on the board.

Trying to apply this strategy in my most recent draft I could have drafted Andre Johnson and either Roddy White or Charles Johnson in the #5 slot last weekend. Round 3 would have been interesting because historically the TE position goes off the board in Round 4 or 5 with Antonio Gates being draft. This year he was a 4th round pick and I don’t believe I would have reached for him in the 3rd meaning guys like Nicks and Fitzgerald would have been available. That would have rounded out my 3 starters at WR and if Gates was still selected in the 4th round, all the other big named TE were still available.

I can only speculate how it would have actually played out, but the strategy is interesting, but an owner needs to really pay attention to the tiers and getting the best value at RB when the times comes. This strategy might work better if you had a #9 or #10 draft pick (10 team league), as you would almost assure yourself of 2 top WRs. With any luck in one of my last two fantasy drafts I might have a chance to employ this strategy and see just how my draft goes.