Apr 29, 2009
It’s been a hectic day. Just after wrapping up the 90-minute podcast with Adam Caplan and Greg Cosell, I went right to the first expert draft of the year. This is for Fantasy Sports Magazine, always the first draft of the year. I won this league last year, and I’m trying to repeat.
The scoring here is very typical, so all you need to know is that it was a PPR league. I drafted 3rd. I’ll list the whole draft in a reply post, and Adam Caplan, who also participated in the draft. But here’s my drafted team in the order in which the players were selected.
- Matt Forte – Picking 3rd, I figured he’d be my pick, with AP and MJD going 1-2. Forte was actually the #1 fantasy back in a PPR league last year, and I see no reason why his production won’t be as good or even better with Jay Cutler on the team.
- Steve Smith – Not a particularly gutsy or great pick, but I’ve always loved Smith and I’m always willing to go with a reliable go-to guy like him, to keep things safe. Someone like Roddy White might have been better, but Smith I think is still safer, and the addition of Tony G concerned me a little for White’s catch total.
- Reggie Bush – A little bit of a risk coming off his injury, but so far there’s no indication he’ll be limited. Based on what he showed last year, his experience now in the league, and a gut feeling, I think a healthy Bush is ready to truly explode in a PPR league. I think at this point he’s ready to take full advantage of his skill set, and he’s obviously in a great situation.
- Braylon Edwards – He fell a little for a reason, but he stood out to me here as a solid pick in a PPR league. He should get decent QB play, and who else is going to catch the ball here? It can’t get any worse than last year, and with Brady Quinn likely starting I think the offense will be stabilized a little, so Edwards should catch a good number of passes. And yes, I know he dropped a ton of balls last year. He also caught 16 TD passes the year before that.
- Antonio Bryant – Probably should have take TE Jason Witten here, but my plan was to load up on RBs and WRs. I may regret this, but Bryant was phenomenal late last year, and he WILL get better QB play now that Jeff Garcia is out.
- Jay Cutler – I held off as long as I could, as that’s my plan this year, but I didn’t want to get pinched at the position, and I probably would have if I waited another round or two. This league gives 6 points per TD pass, and I won this league last year taking Drew Brees pretty early, so I did value the QB spot.
- Willis McGahee – Might be some risk here, but also a serious reward. I haven’t liked him since his first season, but if he’s healthy and does the right things, he should have serious value on what will once again be an offense that emphasizes the RBs. Keep in mind Cam Cameron’s track record throwing the ball to his RBs, and that this is a PPR league. 7th round was worth the risk.
- Owen Daniels – Daniels is pretty much money in a PPR league. He was 6th in 2008, and he was just 2 more TDs from being 3rd, and he could have easily gotten lucky and scored a couple more times.
- Rashard Mendenhall – At this point, I’ve been pretty conservative, so it would time to go for some upside. I won this league last year due to my DeAngelo Williams pick around the 8th round, and Mendenhall could be a similar value if Willie Parker is out or slowed by injury. Huge upside if he ends up carrying most of the load here.
- Mark Clayton – Just a wise pick in the 10th round, especially with no WR added in the draft. Clayton should be Joe Flacco’s best playmaker from the WR spot, and I like him as my 4th receiver.
- Jamaal Charles – I passed on Julius Jones, which doesn’t look wise on paper, but I’m going for upside here, and I like Charles’ chances of carving a large niche on the Chief offense. And if Larry Johnson is released, this is a steal, especially in a PPR league.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey – Obviously an upside pick, and he could easily flop. On the other hand, he’s an incredibly good vertical threat, and he should start from Day One. There’s no time for this guy to sit on the bench on this team.
- Trent Edwards – I figured I’d grab a nice backup, and I think I did in Edwards. The pickings were pretty slim at the time, and I think Edwards will be solid.
- San Diego Defense – Like their chances to bounce back in a big way under Ron Rivera and with LB Shawne Merriman back and DE Larry English added.
- Miles Austin – Solid late-round flyer, since he could start in a pretty good offense.
- Nick Folk – Last pick, and I was one of the last to take a PK, so decent pick.
Projected Starting Lineup:
QB: Jay Cutler
RB1: Matt Forte
RB2: Reggie Bush
WR1: Steve Smith
WR2: Braylon Edwards
WR3: Antonio Bryant
Flex: Willis McGahee
TE: Owen Daniels
PK: Nick Folk
DT: San Diego
Bench: Trent Edwards, Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles, Mark Clayton, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Overall thoughts - I got sloppy a few times, and probably should have taken Witten (who I think could catch 100+ balls this year), but overall this was a solid first effort. I took a lot of quality impact players, didn’t overreach on too many players, and took some nice upside guys later. This team doesn’t look dominant, but it appears to be very balanced and steady.