Finally, my teams are formed and there are (were) mere hours before the 2011 season kicks off. |STAR||STAR|Things took quite the crazy turn in the ensuing hours which delayed this column. More details in my next article.|STAR||STAR| Wednesday night was my "real" draft day, as there's nothing like the live draft atmosphere (I have to draft my East Coast League satellite-style). My league mates and I, along with my girlfriend (yes, she's my partner in this league, and yes, I expect some comments on it) gathered for our annual celebration of this great game at the local bar and grill, Patriots-themed of course. I had to have my home field advantage. Here are the results. 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 Keeper per year: Eligible players are those drafted in the 6th round or later, or claimed off waivers who are on the roster at season's end. The cost is the team's fourth round pick. Players can be kept a maximum of two times.
1 pt./25 yds pass, 5 pts./pass TD, -1 pts./INT
1 pt./10 yds rush/rec, 1 pt./rec, 6 pts./ rush/rec TD, -1 pts./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
Overall, I was once again very pleased with the outcome. Just like my East Coast League I had the sixth selection. Not surprisingly, the two teams have a similar tone.
Results: 2009 Champions, 2010 Runner-Up
Matthew Stafford - Round 5
Based on last night's opener, it's looking more and more like I should have reconsidered my stance on not drafting quarterbacks in the first round, as Aaron Rodgers played like he was running a seven-on-seven drill. I'm happy with Stafford as my starting QB, if not super comfortable, as 11 signal-callers were off the board by the time we locked down the Lions' front-man.
Eli Manning - Round 9
I'm not really high on Eli this year, but considering the flow of the draft, this was a good value pick. There was a lot of discussion about taking advantage of the option to start two quarterbacks in these type of flex leagues in the comments of my last draft results post, if you care to check them out. We considered taking Mark Sanchez in this same spot, but decided to go for the track record over a projected leap for the cross-town rival.
Arian Foster - Round 1
For the second consecutive draft, Foster fell to us at six, and I couldn't pass. Last year's top scorer carries considerable risk, latest reports are not exactly reassuring on his hamstring, but as I've said before, fantasy titles aren't won in the first few weeks of the season. I'm all in on Arian.
Ahmad Bradshaw - Round 2
Our hopes of landing an elite wide receiver to pair with our keeper, who you'll see in a minute, were dashed in the two picks preceding our selection of Bradshaw. No need to wallow, however, as we got the RB2 we were targeting. There are few running backs in the league I enjoy watching more than this mini-bulldozer. His high leg chop and devastating stiff-arm belie his small stature. Bradshaw finished tied for third in broken tackles last year, according to FootballOutsiders.com.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Round 6
We were considering Saints' rookie Mark Ingram here. I love the Pats, my girlfriend is a lawyer, so "The Lawfirm" seemed meant to be. Many experts are predicting a downturn from last year's breakout of 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, but I think his role is secure. He runs hard, is reliable (zero career fumbles lost), and should have plenty of opportunities on the Patriots high-octane offense.
LaDainian Tomlinson - Round 10
There are few players I have flip-flopped more on over the span of their career than LDT. In his early years, I really revered his skills, demeanor, and respect for the game. He was a true, selfless class act who embodied many qualities of my childhood hero, Barry Sanders. Then there was that playoff game in New England in 2008. Philip Rivers gallantly played out the string on a bum knee, and Tomlinson, nursing his own knee injury, lasted only two series and spent the remainder of the afternoon looking like Darth Vader as he watched his team go down from the bench, through his visored helmet. Things got sour from there. His entire personality changed. He was bitter and making excuses, more concerned with his next contract and doing commercials than winning it seemed. But...I'm not a Shonn Greene believer, and a sucker for value.
Danny Woodhead - Round 13
We missed out on Ben Tate again in this draft, but I don't feel as bad about it as I did following Monday's draft. Houston coach Gary Kubiak has stated that Derrick Ward will start if Foster can't go Sunday, and looking at his numbers from 2007, 2008, and 2010 ('09 was a lost year for Ward in Tampa Bay), I believe him. Plus, Tate went earlier than expected. Woodhead was more of a stand-alone pick than a handcuff for BJGE, I like his skill set a lot. It's hard to find NFL players to relate to when you're a 5'9'' white guy, so that didn't hurt either.
Isaac Redman - Round 15
My lack of confidence in Rashard Mendenhall has been well documented on this site. I'm not rooting for it, for karmic reasons, but if he does go down, this could be the pick that wins us a title.
Miles Austin - Round 3
I call this guy "The Human Smile". He always looks so happy, it's endearing. I also claimed him off waivers in 2009 the week before he went off for 10 catches, 250 yards and two touchdowns and he became my keeper last year. The loss of Tony Romo was brutal on Austin, as he was on pace for a historic season. The decision not to keep him due to his lingering hamstring injury, was brutal on my conscience. Reggie Wayne and Brandon Lloyd weren't tempting enough to compel us to pass on my boy. It all worked out.
Vincent Jackson - Round 4 |STAR|Keeper
Jackson's holdout last summer resulted in a deep discount, and I drafted him in both leagues. In my East Coast League, I started him for his one big, three touchdown performance, and in this league he ended up being our keeper. So while his 13-game absence was loathsome, and his other performances forgettable, each selection provided some return. It was a tough call between him and Austin, but the extra year of eligibility was the clincher. And we ended up with them both anyway. Other keepers if you're interested were: Peyton Hillis, Darren McFadden, Matt Forte, Hakeem Nicks, and Michael Vick. My friend Joe will forever be in the record books for his final two picks in 2010, LeGarrette Blount and Vick.
Julio Jones - Round 7
We were strongly considering tight end Jimmy Graham in this spot, but there was only one team behind us who had yet to fill the position. Of course, he went off the board with the very next pick. Good on you Mr. Dreifus. I'm not particularly fond of drafting rookie wide receivers, but Jones passed the eye test with flying colors this preseason and I expect the Falcons to air it out in 2011.
Johnny Knox - Round 11
Scored Knox in the exact same draft slot as I did on Monday. There's nothing worse than rooting for, and against players on game day. I always try to correlate the rosters in my two leagues when possible to avoid this conundrum.
Antonio Brown - Round 15
I'm not convinced Brown will elevate past being a special teams standout and occasional contributor, but in the 15th round it's worth the gamble. Of all the guys I was "awakened" to this summer, the Steelers' speedy wide out left the biggest impression.
Rob Gronkowski - Round 12
After we missed out on Graham, we were determined to wait it out at tight end. All summer I've been lauding praise on New England's other tight end, Aaron Hernandez. While I still like him, it occurred to me last night that everyone is sleeping on Gronkowski. It was the performance of the Packers' Jordy Nelson that brought it out. You hear all about James Jones, but Nelson is the guy who is going to get more chances, and most likely be more consistent, and valuable. I now feel the same way about the Patriots' tight ends.
Marcedes Lewis - Round 14
With picks in rounds 12 and 14, we have a combined 20 touchdowns from last season at a position we waited essentially all night to draft. Sure, the odds are against both guys repeating, but I'd say our strategy worked out okay.
Pittsburgh - Round 8
Once again, same pick, same round. The only difference in this draft was the Jets went off the board two picks before our selection, so we were the second team to draft a defense. The Steelers' defensive unit is one of the safest picks in all of fantasy football. Knock on wood.
Matt Bryant - Round 17
Bryant seems like a good pick, playing for what should be an explosive Falcons' offense. But with kickers you never know, because they simply might score too many touchdowns.
Both my teams are in the books and I'm ready for the games to begin! I'm very happy with each team. Having Jackson as a keeper shaped my West Coast team into a more balanced squad, but the running backs on my East Coast team have me salivating. Only time will tell.