Tracking First Expert Draft

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

    If that knee checks out, Reggie Bush may be ready to finally take full advantage of his skills now that hes been in the league three years.

    If that knee checks out, Reggie Bush may be ready to finally take full advantage of his skills now that he's been in the league three years.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Miles Austin – Solid late-round flyer, since he could start in a pretty good offense.
  16. 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.

Category: Fantasy Football

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22 Responses

  1. jbeau says:

    Yeah, pretty average , but with some upside. I love Forte and figured you would go there or MJD. I think Bush ends up being a steal IF he remains healthy. A big IF. He was tops in PPR until his injury I believe. I love Smith but I worry about Edwards and Bryant. I think Clayton ends up being one of your starters, but I’m not feeling Bey. Shoudl be a playoff team, but it all hinges on Edwards and Bryant I think. Daniels should be money in PPR regardless, so I don’t think missing out on Witten is a big deal.

  2. John Hansen says:

    Here’s the draft:

    1

    Peterson,Adrian,RB,MIN
    Jones-Drew,Maurice,RB,JAX
    *** Forte,Matt,RB,CHI
    Turner,Michael,RB,ATL
    Westbrook,Brian,RB,PHI
    Jackson,Steven,RB,STL
    Johnson,Chris,RB,TEN
    Tomlinson,LaDainian,RB,SD
    Fitzgerald,Larry,WR,ARI
    Slaton,Steve,RB,HOU
    Barber,Marion,RB,DAL
    Brees,Drew,QB,NO

    2

    Portis,Clinton,RB,WAS
    Gore,Frank,RB,SF
    Johnson,Andre,WR,HOU
    Williams,DeAngelo,RB,CAR
    Moss,Randy,WR,NE
    Wayne,Reggie,WR,IND
    Jacobs,Brandon,RB,NYG
    Johnson,Calvin,WR,DET
    Boldin,Anquan,WR,ARI
    *** Smith,Steve,WR,CAR
    White,Roddy,WR,ATL
    Jennings,Greg,WR,GB

    3

    Bowe,Dwayne,WR,KC
    Colston,Marques,WR,NO
    *** Bush,Reggie,RB,NO
    Welker,Wes,WR,NE
    Marshall,Brandon,WR,DEN
    Owens,Terrell,WR,BUF
    Houshmandzadeh,T.J,WR,SEA
    Jones,Thomas,RB,NYJ
    Smith,Kevin,RB,DET
    Thomas,Pierre,RB,NO
    Evans,Lee,WR,BUF
    Lynch,Marshawn,RB,BUF

    4

    Brown,Ronnie,RB,MIA
    Royal,Eddie,WR,DEN
    Manning,Peyton,QB,IND
    Moreno,Knowshon,RB,DEN
    Warner,Kurt,QB,ARI
    Grant,Ryan,RB,GB
    Williams,Roy,WR,DAL
    Brady,Tom,QB,NE
    Addai,Joseph,RB,IND
    *** Edwards,Braylon,WR,CLE
    Johnson,Chad,WR,CIN
    Rodgers,Aaron,QB,GB

    5

    Wells,Chris,RB,ARI
    Ward,Derrick,RB,TB
    *** Bryant,Antonio,WR,TB
    Rivers,Philip,QB,SD
    Parker,Willie,RB,PIT
    Stewart,Jonathan,RB,CAR
    Johnson,Larry,RB,KC
    Witten,Jason,TE,DAL
    Romo,Tony,QB,DAL
    Jackson,Vincent,WR,SD
    Gonzalez,Anthony,WR,IND
    Gonzalez,Tony,TE,ATL

    6

    Moss,Santana,WR,WAS
    Holmes,Santonio,WR,PIT
    Clark,Dallas,TE,IND
    Jackson,DeSean,WR,PHI
    Breaston,Steve,WR,ARI
    Gates,Antonio,TE,SD
    Brown,Donald,RB,IND
    Avery,Donnie,WR,STL
    McFadden,Darren,RB,OAK
    *** Cutler,Jay,QB,CHI
    McNabb,Donovan,QB,PHI
    Ward,Hines,WR,PIT

    7

    Jones,Felix,RB,DAL
    Moore,Lance,WR,NO
    *** McGahee,Willis,RB,BAL
    Berrian,Bernard,WR,MIN
    White,LenDale,RB,TEN
    Winslow,Kellen,TE,TB
    Palmer,Carson,QB,CIN
    Walter,Kevin,WR,HOU
    Coles,Laveranues,WR,CIN
    Hester,Devin,WR,CHI
    Ryan,Matt,QB,ATL
    Driver,Donald,WR,GB

    8

    Holt,Torry,WR,JAX
    Benson,Cedric,RB,CIN
    McClain,Le’Ron,RB,BAL
    Washington,Leon,RB,NYJ
    Sproles,Darren,RB,SD
    Mason,Derrick,WR,BAL
    Roethlisberger,Ben,QB,PIT
    Crabtree,Michael,WR,SF
    Cooley,Chris,TE,WAS
    *** Daniels,Owen,TE,HOU
    Graham,Earnest,RB,TB
    Olsen,Greg,TE,CHI

    9

    Cotchery,Jerricho,WR,NYJ
    Schaub,Matt,QB,HOU
    *** Mendenhall,Rashard,RB,PIT
    Hixon,Domenik,WR,DEN
    Lewis,Jamal,RB,CLE
    Curtis,Kevin,WR,PHI
    Buckhalter,Correll,RB,DEN
    Fargas,Justin,RB,OAK
    Hightower,Tim,RB,ARI
    Harvin,Percy,WR,MIN
    Carlson,John,TE,SEA
    Pittsburgh Steelers,,DEF,PIT

    10

    Muhammad,Muhsin,WR,CAR
    Morris,Sammy,RB,NE
    McCoy,LeSean,RB,PHI
    Ginn Jr.,Ted,WR,MIA
    Bradshaw,Ahmad,RB,NYG
    Williams,Ricky,RB,MIA
    Taylor,Fred,RB,NE
    Miller,Zach,TE,OAK
    Cassel,Matt,QB,KC
    *** Clayton,Mark,WR,BAL
    Keller,Dustin,TE,NYJ
    Jackson,Fred,RB,BUF

    11

    Camarillo,Greg,WR,MIA
    Greene,Shonn,RB,NYJ
    *** Charles,Jamaal,RB,KC
    Jones,Julius,RB,SEA
    Manning,Eli,QB,NYG
    Hasselbeck,Matt,QB,SEA
    Baltimore Ravens,,DEF,BAL
    New York Jets,,DEF,NYJ
    Burress,Plaxico,WR,FA
    Norwood,Jerious,RB,ATL
    Taylor,Chester,RB,MIN
    Garrard,David,QB,JAX

    12

    Chambers,Chris,WR,SD
    Flacco,Joe,QB,BAL
    Orton,Kyle,QB,DEN
    Harrison,Jerome,RB,CLE
    Clayton,Michael,WR,TB
    Nicks,Hakeem,WR,NYG
    Maclin,Jeremy,WR,PHI
    Jenkins,Michael,WR,ATL
    Branch,Deion,WR,SEA
    *** Heyward-Bey,Darrius,WR,OAK
    Smith,Steve,WR,NYG
    Delhomme,Jake,QB,CAR

    13

    Rice,Ray,RB,BAL
    Maroney,Laurence,RB,NE
    *** Edwards,Trent,QB,BUF
    Boss,Kevin,TE,NYG
    James,Edgerrin,RB,ARI
    Rice,Sidney,WR,MIN
    Bulger,Marc,QB,STL
    Bush,Michael,RB,OAK
    Shockey,Jeremy,TE,NO
    Washington,Nate,WR,TEN
    Philadelphia Eagles,,DEF,PHI
    Engram,Bobby,WR,KC

    14

    Scaife,Bo,TE,TEN
    Bruce,Isaac,WR,SF
    New York Giants,,DEF,NYG
    Robiskie,Brian,WR,CLE
    Duckett,T.J.,RB,SEA
    Betts,Ladell,RB,WAS
    Smith,Kolby,RB,KC
    Minnesota Vikings,,DEF,MIN
    Faulk,Kevin,RB,NE
    *** San Diego Chargers,,DEF,SD
    Davis,Vernon,TE,SF
    Gage,Justin,WR,TEN
    Tennessee Titans,,DEF,TEN

    15

    New England Patriots,,DEF,NE
    *** Austin,Miles,WR,DAL
    Dallas Cowboys,,DEF,DAL
    Gostkowski,Stephen,K,NE
    Chicago Bears,,DEF,CHI
    Arrington,J.J.,RB,DEN
    Sanchez,Mark,QB,NYJ
    Green Bay Packers,,DEF,GB
    Choice,Tashard,RB,DAL
    Akers,David,K,PHI
    Carolina Panthers,,DEF,CAR
    Elam,Jason,K,ATL

    16

    Washington Redskins,,DEF,WAS
    Crosby,Mason,K,GB
    Rackers,Neil,K,ARI
    Bironas,Rob,K,TEN
    Gould,Robbie,K,CHI
    Vinatieri,Adam,K,IND
    Shiancoe,Visanthe,TE,MIN
    Hartley,Garrett,K,DEN
    *** Folk,Nick,K,DAL
    Kaeding,Nate,K,SD
    Kasay,John,K,CAR

  3. Anthony says:

    wow, you passed on Roddy and Jennings for Steve Smith? Jake scares me after last year, no worries John on you on that end?

  4. Law Firm says:

    John,

    Like Steve Smith, but surprised you passed on Jennings or Bowe. The extension for Delhomme was a mistake IMHO. The Panthers are a run first team. I think GB’s passing game opens up even more, and I like Jennings and Nelson as a sleeper. I think I may have reached for Knowshon Moreno in your spot in the 3rd round. That OL is stellar, and Orton is solid but not a gunslinger. This is Moreno’s team by default IMHO.

    I think I might have even had Ced Benson over McGahee. The addition of Andre Smith is going to make their running game that much stronger. Jason Brown going to STL hurts the BAL run game. I like Braylon, I think he rebounds this year.Cutler was a smart pick in the 6th. I think this is Daniels last year in HOU, so he could have a huge year playing for a payday. Like the Chargers DEF as well.

    Personally I’m staying away from PITT RBs. I like Holmes a lot, and think Big Ben will have a good year.

  5. John Hansen says:

    I like those guys, but Tony G will catch a lot of passes, and they spread it around a lot in GB with all their receivers. Smith’s the man in Carolina. Delhomme completed 70% of his passes in 3 of his last 5 games and 65% or more in 4 of his last 5, plus the Panthers renewed him, so they aren’t too concerned with one ugly game.

  6. Carl from Buffalo says:

    Hey John!I’m really interested to see how high Hester goes this year with Cut throwing to him. Do you think 8-10 TD’s is realistic and 1000 yards receiving?

  7. Johann says:

    Carl – Hester was the 10th pick in 7th round, and IMHO – your numbers sound realistic if he’s progressed as much as he should have by now as a #1 WR.

  8. Eric from Chicago says:

    John-like the picks. I’m just curious as to your reasoning behind waiting for a QB. I would have jumped on Rivers instead of Bryant, I think the drop off is steeper for QB than WR at that point of the draft, especially since I see Cutler passing for around 4000 yards max this year for the Bears(which would still be a team record). Thanks and keep up the great work!

  9. jason tapley says:

    john you goin to have prelim rankings by next week? 1st draft is thurs next week, ffpc satelite, 11 spot, tough, but i like it

  10. Steve says:

    John,
    looking forward to your info this year im long time member, I think Trent edwards could be a great pick. Im thinking with owens and other Wrs could pass a ton What is your thoughts on owens as apick this year….thanks so much

  11. austin slater says:

    I love the Bush and Mendenhall picks as both could be in for huge years. Both guys definitely worth the risks at those spots. John what do you think Ronnie Brown’s chances are of having a huge year? I think he could crack the top 10 being almost 2 years removed from his acl injury.

  12. Jimmy Sisson says:

    Looks Good John – I love Reggie Bush’s upside in ppr – It’s definitely a Play-to-Win pick!

    Shocked someone took Eddie Royal before Peyton Manning even went off the board! (Please tell me it was not Adam – what pick did he have?)

  13. John Hansen says:

    I actually think that was Adam who took Royal. He will be doing a review of this whole draft early this week.

    I’m working on the projections and am shooting for early in the week, like some time Tuesday. E-mail the site via the contact us form if you have a draft and there are no rankings up, we’ll send you what we have.

    As for Brown, not really feeling it due to the selection of Pat White. That tells me that they’re not exactly going to focus on running the ball in a traditional sense this year. Brown’s not a bad pick, but I don’t love him because of that, and Ricky of course.

    I think TO will be a solid and steady option, but nothing special. He’s a #2 fantasy WR at this point.

    As for the QBs, my initial thought this year is that holding off is the best bet. Particularly at WR, the talent drops off a cliff and I’ve never seen so many guys who look the same (and not all that promising for fantasy) after the top 30-40. Cutler, McNabb, Schaub and Ryan look like great values 3-4 rounds after the Rogers and Rivers go off. But I certainly like those 2.

  14. Idiot Savant says:

    Nice draft, can’t argue with the picks or analysis. I think you would be happier with Witten…but Daniels is a great wait and grab pick. I’ll nit pick where I can anyway…

    On Cutler…might have waited…taken Lance Moore (particularly if you had taken Witten)…but even so…and then if someone took Cutler..you could have taken Mc Nabb after the turn…who I have ranked just above Cutler in my mind. I love Mc Nabb’s weapons this year (though IR risk is always a concern)…and Cutler has fewer targets and a new system to digest. Here’s the K.O.D… I loved your draft overall. I’m not afraid to criticize…and its was a solid draft…for APRIL!! Dang that is early!

  15. Adam Caplan says:

    BTW, it was me who took Royal before Manning. I usually make a bad mistake in my first draft each year, so that’s the one for sure, especially when you consider the scoring (6 pts/TD pass). Still, I have a decent team, but will need some luck to win that league.

  16. Law Firm says:

    Tried to comment a few days ago, and for some reason it wouldn’t accept me comments. Whatever. I think Smith, Bush and Edwards are all a bit risky. Smith, because Delhomme is a train wreck, and their offense will continue to pound the rock 65-75% of the time.

    I think Bush is soft, and while some might not love Pierre Thomas, I think Payton does, and will use him a great deal. Besides, I think Edge winds up in Nawlins’, clouding that picture even further. Edwards, I think COULD rebound this year. He’s still a bit of head scratcher from one season to the next, but I think he has some upside w/o Winslow to steal some of his workload.

    I grabbed Cutler in the 5th round in a recent mock, so I think getting him in the 6th is a true value. Like the SD DEF pick in the 14th. I’ve been noticing that DEF runs have happened earlier in mocks, so getting them at 14 is solid.

    Good draft, not great. Could pay off if the risk/rewards guys blow up.

  17. Jimmy Sisson says:

    LOL – I knew how you were ALL over Royal last year Adam! Post your thoughts when you get time – I don’t know that I would go to battle with Matt Ryan & Joe Flacco though – that’s kinda ballsy! I love Santonio in the 6th & Carlson in the 9th – Good value picks!

  18. Adam Caplan says:

    It wasn’t one of my best drafts. This one in particular I rarely do well in. We usually do it a few days after the draft and I’m usually doing work during it. It shows once again, you draft for value, not need.

  19. DT says:

    This is an Expert draft? Looks more like a beginners drafts top me…too many just awful picks to go over. Just more of an indication the the term “expert” in FF is meaningless.

  20. DT says:

    LOL..and the expert also took LEE EVANS in the thrid round? Come on that a joke isn’t it? Lee Evans in the third round… their cant be an excuse for that..and you follow it up with Royal at 4.2 and both before Peyton and about 25 other picks that all would have been much better…please Adam you just have to been better than this…in my sleep i could do a better job..but don’t feel bad i would have wrecked this draft had i been in it John included…and im just a regular highs takes player…lol but that’s some terrible drafting. I am in a WCOFF Sat draft right now and my first seven picks would destroy both the teams drafted by any of these so called experts..

  21. DT says:

    I must say i do like Johns starting team sans Cutler and his bench looks pretty much useless.

  22. DT says:

    OMG…Adam you had a chance for Tom Brady and a six point per league and took Lee Evans and Eddie Royal? Come on dude your better than that you just have to be! Brady and Roy W were the picks. if worried about Bradys knee(and if BB isnt then nobody should be) then go Peyton and Roy..Even A. Bryant and Brady would have been better..but i think i would have gone Brady and Roy. AB or possibly another runner.

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