I just completed my first draft of the year. I live in San Diego, but this league is based out of the great state of Massachusetts. I started this league way back in the nineties with my friends from high school and it's still going strong. The format is:
12-team PPR league, snake draft, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, K, Team Def, Utility (any position, including QB)
1 pt./25 yds pass, 5 pts./pass TD, -2 pts./INT
1 pt./10 yds rush/rec, 1 pt./rec, 6 pts./ rush/rec TD, -2pts./fum lost
1 pt./sack, 1 pt./fum rec, 2 pts./INT, 6 pts./ sp. teams/defensive TD
Small totals for points allowed and long field goals
Things went swimmingly, with one major gaffe I am certain to lose sleep over. And will never forgive myself for, if things go bad. It was a big-time rookie mistake. There was a communication problem between coasts that contributed, but oh well, as Forrest Gump said, "it happens". Especially when there's lots of beer, testosterone and commotion at the draft table, which is 3,000 miles away. Trying to move on.
My partner and I had the 6th overall pick. Defending Champions
Ben Roethlisberger - Round 4
The top seven quarterbacks were off the board early, by the 9th pick of the third round, so I was happy to land Big Ben, and avoid the worry of Matthew Stafford as my number one. They'll be plenty of room for worry as you'll see coming up.
Cam Newton - Round 13
Newton will be the bane of my existence if things go sour with the player to be named next, but it's my own fault. My partner and I were discussing our next pick, and we had a decision to make. I knew the correct call, but I wasn't firm enough in my conviction. He loves to have two quarterbacks to play, and even though Newton is far from a good option I was trying to appease his desire. Unlike every other pick we made, he didn't confirm the pick before posting it on his side. I thought the discussion was still on-going as I was calculating what was to become of the next 12 picks behind us when I saw Cam appear on the draftcast. Fingers crossed. Firmly. Actually, will you please cross your fingers for me too?
Arian Foster - Round 1
I always actively try to not draft, "last year's" team. A repeat of Foster's 2010 for the record books is highly unlikely, but I do like his outlook, and was stoked that he fell to us at pick six. As I've stated before, I love his fantasy playoff matchups, overall versatile skill set, and offensive support. There is the much publicized issue of his hamstring injury, and that's why I asked you cross your fingers for me. Ben Tate was the guy I wanted instead of Newton, and he went three picks later. Indefensible. My hope is the Texans play it safe with Foster early, which is likely.
Darren McFadden - Round 2
In a PPR league, I always like to have at least one absolute stud at wide receiver. This year I thought there were four. We were targeting Larry Fitzgerald, but he went a few picks earlier. With Mike Wallace, Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings, and Vincent Jackson the best available wideouts, we decided RunDMC was a better value. I had him ranked as my number seven running back, so I was elated to pair him with Foster.
Tim Hightower - Round 5
My favorite sleeper pick of the year landed on my squad and I couldn't be happier. We didn't have to reach for him, and our top three backs should be the class of the league if I'm right about this guy. My roster seems to be composed of an unhealthy amount of risk, and Hightower is no exception, but I'm a big sucker for value. No guts, no glory.
Pierre Thomas - Round 10
I know Mark Ingram is the starter, and I like him, but he's already dealing with a knee injury that bothered him last year at Alabama. Not completely convinced he'll hold up through the 16-game schedule. Thomas is a talented guy with a nose for the endzone, who'll be ready to step in if Ingram's condition worsens. He should be productive in a committee role also.
Taiwan Jones - Round 16
This was obviously an attempt to make up for the Tate gaffe, for which there is no remedy. Jones has a lot of speed, and showed well in the preseason, so if anything happens to McFadden I think he'll be the lightning to Michael Bush's thunder.
Brandon Marshall - Round 3
After drafting McFadden, the four wideouts I listed above went in consecutive picks. There was some discussion of taking Miles Austin or Reggie Wayne here, but we decided to go with the healthy guy who's not currently missing his all-century quarterback. Many forget that Marshall hauled in 100-plus catches in three consecutive years in Denver. His first in Miami was a little shaky, but he still grabbed 86 balls and topped 1,000 yards. I could easily see him returning to the top five.
Kenny Britt - Round 6
I don't like his quarterback, or his penchant for being a social deviant, but I like the damage he does on the field. In limited action he scored nine times last year. We were hoping for Brandon Lloyd, but he came up two picks short of making it to us.
Austin Collie - Round 7
A lot hinges on the return of Manning, and Collie avoiding another concussion, but the upside here is huge. By per-game numbers he was an elite option. In drafting only one receiver in the first five rounds, we were forced to take some chances at the position. Fingers, still crossed.
Johnny Knox - Round 11
Another one of my favorite sleepers for this year found his way into my lap. I love his speed and big-play ability.
Arrelious Benn - Round 12
Benn was out-shined by fellow rookie Mike Williams last year, and hampered with a knee injury. Here's hoping for a second chance to make that first impression for the big talent out of Illinois.
Andre Roberts - Round 15
With three guys covering Fitzgerald, you would think this guy can get open. Time will tell I suppose.
Brandon Pettigrew - Round 9
We had our eye on Antonio Gates in the fifth round, but missed by three spots. This seemed to be the trend of this draft, and is the curse of drafting smack in the middle of each round. In the end, we got the guy we wanted for a great value.
Ben Watson - Round 14
Watson led his team in catches and receiving yards last year. A repeat is probably unlikely, but I've always thought he was one of the more athletic guys I've seen play the position. Definitely a solid backup.
Pittsburgh - Round 8
We were the first team to select a defense. The vaunted Steelers' D was a key cog in our championship run last year, so I'm excited to have them again in 2011. It's also nice not to have to analyze the position each week, and have a plug and play option here.
Don't know, don't care. My partner took care of this in the last round. Last year we picked up Sebastian Janikowski off waivers, and he was tops at the position. I'm indifferent when it comes to kickers, as they all seem to score about the same, and are impossible to predict.
Overall, I'm very content with this team. The obvious mistake was not getting Tate when we had the chance. Of course, if Foster stays healthy it will be of no consequence. With the sixth pick, as I mentioned earlier, it seemed we were constantly having players plucked out from under us a few picks prior to our turn. So goes fantasy football draft day. All in all, though, we didn't reach for any players, got solid value with each selection, and I ended up with players I like a lot for the upcoming season, without exception. Our best foot is forward, let's see where the chips fall.