Expert Draft from 7/27

I was asked in a chat yesterday what the worst draft position was this year, and now I think it’s pretty clear it’s in the 4-6 range, especially in a PPR league. That’s because I drafted from the #5 hole in another expert draft last night.

This one’s for a fantasy TV show called “Fantasy Huddle” that airs on various Time Warner Cable stations throughout the country, so check your local listings in August and during the season. They do a draft show in late August and invite everyone on the show by phone to go over the draft. I won this league in its first season, back in 2007, but I think I just missed the playoffs last year due to a plethora of injuries.

Anyways, this is a pretty tough league. People like to rake on the “expert” drafts, but from what I can tell a lot of the Jabronis who are critical of these drafts on Internet message boards like the ones at and Yahoo are truly the clueless ones. For the most part, these leagues should be considered to be up to par with a typical competitive league with very knowledgeable owners, at the very least. This one in particular is one of the better ones, too.

That said my plan in this draft, with such a bad draft spot, was to try to be patient and to not overextend myself and avoid reaching on too many players. I don’t really see a lot of “Play-to-win” picks right now, and as I’ve said since February, I think this is going to be kind of a tough year, since 2008 was such a good year. For example, we’re not going to see as many good rookie RBs, and we probably won’t even see as many good rookie WRs or TEs, either. That’s going to make things tougher, since there are fewer sleepers out there.

So again, I think the best strategy this year, at least now and if you’re drafting early or in the middle of the 1st, is to stay somewhat conservative and let the values come to you. Holding off a little on the QB, giving the WR position more weight, opting for a bargain TE, and not taking a DT too high are the basics as of right now.

Here’s how the draft went for me. I just missed by one pick a few really good players, so I think my team could have looked a little better. But it’s not bad, and as long as I stay relatively healthy and can work some WW magic, this one should compete.

Steven Jackson – I took him over LT, who we have ½ point higher in this format. I’ve already taken LT twice, so I don’t want to put too many eggs in that basket, plus I’m getting a good feeling on Jackson, whereas I don’t have much of a feeling on LT.

Reggie Wayne – Actually glad I got a chance at him, as the WRs were really flying off the board.

Terrell Owens – Might have been a mistake (Brandon Jacobs was available), but I think in such an unstable environment this year, there’s something to be said for taking a guy you can count on. TO may not have a huge year, but it’s safe to say we can count on him to be solid. I passed on Jacobs hoping I could get a nice RB value in the 4th, and I did miss out on the guys I was targeting (Thomas, Grant, Moreno).

Thomas Jones – Not in love with the pick, but the Jets should be a pretty good team and one that will run the heck out of the ball, plus my plan was to also grab Leon Washington, which did.

Chris Wells – Once again, I take this guy as something of a value. Truth be told, I was looking for some youth and upside, since my first four picks are a little old, although Jackson’s still in his prime and Wayne’s not too old.

Kurt Warner – Missed out on my guys Rogers and Rivers, but we do have Warner higher, so I was okay with this pick. He was obviously a stud last year, and I kind of like taking Warner because he’s one of the best guys to handcuff. Matt Leinart is no gemstone, but I do have confidence in him throwing to this receiving corps with a few years to learn under Warner. I’m basically guaranteed 3800-4000 yards and 28+ TDs from my QB spot this year.

Devin Hester – Certainly time for some upside and juice, so I grab my guy Hester. He’s a perfect #3 in that he has the potential to explode any given week, yet I won’t be killed if he winds up being a little inconsistent.

Leon Washington – Kind of had no choice, given my investment in Jones. Actually, Washington could easily be a great flex option in this PPR format no matter what, so I was very okay with this pick.

Jamal Lewis – Kind of unlike me, but a clear starter who will carry the load in the 9th round seemed appealing enough for me for depth. Hopefully, I won’t need him much. I took him over Willis McGahee, since Lewis is guaranteed to start. I was ready (and very happy) to take Mark Clayton, but he went 1 pick in front of me.

Visanthe Shiancoe – I kept passing on the TEs because I like so many emerging guys, and I did miss out on the two I’m really targeting (Daniels, Olsen, and Carlson), but Shiancoe’s kind of my ace in the hole. Some nice upside, and good value.

Miles Austin – I got a little greedy and thought Michael Bush would slip to me in this round, but he didn’t, so I went with some upside at WR. Austin has that.

Tim Hightower – I already have Wells, so it made sense to lock up the Cardinal backfield with this pick. It’s not an ideal offense for a RB, but there will be production (and likely 12+ rushing TDs) to be had here, and I should get most of it.

Bobby Engram – I screwed up and missed that Mike Walker was still available, but Engram should be a nice depth option in a PPR league. He might be more than that. Or, he may be the first guy cut if something better is on the WW.

New York Jets – I held off as long as I could on a defense, and I still got a pretty good one in the Jets. The only concern is if they’re a little slow off the mark early given the new coaching staff, so I will be ready to work the WW early if I have to.

Stephen Gostkowski – One of the advantages to knowing I was going to take Matt Leinart with my last pick with Warner was that I could take my PK one round before the final round, which netted me arguably the top PK.

Matt Leinart – Again, I’m okay investing in the Cardinal passing game; it’s not a bad strategy this year, since I didn’t pay much at all for about 3800-4000 yards passing and 28+ TDs.

Projected Starting Lineup:

QB: Kurt Warner
RB: Steven Jackson
RB: Thomas Jones
WR: Reggie Wayne
WR: Terrell Owens
WR: Devin Hester
Flex: Chris Wells or Leon Washington
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe
PK: Stephen Gostkowski
DT: New York Jets

It’s not the greatest team with a lot of upside and juice, but barring a lot of injuries I guarantee this team will be in the mix at the end. The team has nice balance, a mixture of reliable and upside picks, solid depth, and production and potential across the board. Probably my worst pick, Thomas Jones, was the 7th best RB in this format last year.

Category: Fantasy Football


37 Responses

  1. jbeau aka Phish fan do or die says:

    Not a sexy team with upside, but nice and balanced. I hate that #5 spot. Basically, you usually end up with just that, a balanced squad that should keep you in the mix all year. I think the main thing I would have done different was grab Jacobs where you grabbed T.O. and then grab the best WR available where you grabbed Jones.

  2. Knuklzz says:

    Hey John, This looks like a solid team….. IF IT WERE AUGUST 2006!

  3. The Stork says:

    Will be interesting to follow this team. Alot of good producers from 2008 here. I like Wayne to bounce back in a big way. But four key guys entering the fantasy graveyard area of 30+ (Warner 38, TO 35, Thomas Jones 31, Wayne 30). Both RBs in offenses that could struggle with inexperienced surrounding casts and new coaches.

  4. John Hansen says:

    Yeah, I’m going to pay close attention to this team and will put on a clinic managing it all year. Just watch me in the playoffs in December!

  5. FFRich says:

    I generally really like the teams you draft. This one, not so much.

  6. John Hansen says:

    Looks like I need to come up with a solution to drafting in the middle of the first like I did last year when drafting late in the first was a dilemma.

  7. Law Firm says:

    I’m going to try to take a poke at the 5 spot in tonight’s mock with Camp and the GURU brethren. Looks like a nice challenge.

  8. John Hansen says:

    I don’t like making blanket statements, but it looks like RB-WR-RB is the way to go from this spot.

  9. bustedflush says:

    With all the uncertainty in the 4-6 range (I draft 4th, I am seriously trying to talk myself into taking a QB like Brees at 4. My league gives 6pt TDs and we start two QBs. In my format and with the look of these drafts, is QB at 4, in my situation, a terrible choice?

  10. MI-5 says:

    This blog made me yearn for the Hassen On Strategy articles, the highlight of the weekly in season content.

    I’d like to see an article about those middle draft order picks, but let’s not forget that last years end of the first round article said that the “key” was Larry Johnson there.

  11. John Hansen says:

    Yes, but the other key was getting guys like Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall in the 3rd and 4th.

  12. Baller says:

    This draft looks very solid through Hester, but after that, I’m not sure about the picks. I don’t see a lot of mispriced players in that second half. No big upside RBs there like Sproles, Felix, Brown, McCoy, Mendenhall, etc. Austin is nice, but no Clayton, Henry, Morgan, etc. Maybe in these expert leagues all those players go earlier. Seeing Engram, Washington, Hightower, Lewis and Leinhart is strange because those players have been completely off my radar. There seems to be a lot of handcuffing in this draft (Washington, Hightower, Leinhart).

  13. jay says:

    You should have loaded up on stud WR’s and then rolled the dice with upside RB’s and other people’s handcuffs and hope for the best. Here’s how my 1st 9 picks would have looked like:

    1. Fitzgerald
    2. Wayne
    3. Owens
    4. V. Jackson
    5. Wells
    6. Warner
    7. Lendale White / Sproles
    8. Mendenhall / D. Brown
    9. Hightower

  14. John Hansen says:

    A team of all backup RB and committee guys? That’s not exactly my ideal scenario.

  15. jeff says:

    I have to choose between Wayne and S. Smith for my keeper league in a ppr format, who do you like?

  16. Led says:

    I’m drafting out of the 6th spot this season. It’s a 12 team PPR league, 6pts / TD at all positions. I’m seriously thinking of going WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, QB…Since it’s a PPR league, do you think I should draft similar to this drafting from the sixth spot John? My mock drafts have been looking pretty solid.

  17. jay says:

    “A team of all backup RB and committee guys? That’s not exactly my ideal scenario.”

    It’s not mine either, but like you pointed out, the 4 – 6 slot is at a disadvantage to the other draft slots so you need to take a bigger risk. With my team I have 3 Stud #1 WR’s and maybe a 4th with V-Jax. I also have stud QB / WR combo with Warner to Fitz. Yes, the RB’s will be weak initially with the ARI backfield (Wells & Hightower) and upside committee guys, but keep in mind the right committee guys can payoff bigtime. See Deangelo Williams last year. Also keep in mind the advantage of Stud Wr’s in a PPR league. You can find solid RB options later in the draft & in free agency. One injury or benching and you have a quality starter. If you have enough of these guys, one of them should payoff. It’s like holding lottery tickets. I am willing to bet you that between D. Brown, Mendenhall, A. Bradshaw, M. Bush & G. Coffee, one or more of these guys will be a top 20 RB (or higher) by year end, and all of these guys would be on my final roster in this league. But finding solid WR’s late or in free agency is a lot harder to do. It happens (like Steve Breaston, Eddie Royal & Lance Moore last year) but it’s rare.

    I wouldn’t dismiss my strategy so quickly. It is risky, absolutely. But risks like this has helped me win in my WCOFF league:)

  18. john says:

    so im wondering why more experts legues just dont go auction and avoid draft positon bias.

  19. Travis W says:

    John, that was me (tdwapollo) that posed that question to you to lead off your blog. I was also proclaiming to pick a WR with that 5th pick. Looking back at it, if you went with lets say fitz (or even Moss which I am leaning towards over Fitz) with the #5 spot, then got wayne with your 2nd, I am pretty sure you could have gotten some decent RB’s in round 3-5 with Jacobs as your 3rd rounder. Thoughts???

  20. Link says:

    John, I did a mock ppr from the 5 spot and went rb-wr-wr and came away with SJax, Wayne, Bush. I think you are right…that might be the way to go. What would your favorite draft spot be this year?

  21. John Hansen says:

    Jay, I do agree that it can be easier to find RBs on the WW, and I’ve been saying that for a long, long time. It’s just that I wouldn’t be inclined to go all in on the WRs at the risk of starting 0-3 or 1-4.

    I have to look at this more, but all drafts are different, that’s a problem. There’s just something about that 5-6 spot, though, in these expert leagues. Bottom line I could have found 2 really good #3 WRs for my 2-3 and I would have had a better team. I really didn’t make bad picks per se; the guys just weren’t sitting there for me ideally and that’s because I didn’t have a good enough plan picking from this spot. I will be thinking about this for sure.

  22. waldo0424 says:


    Do you feel drafting out of the 4th, 5th, and 6th spot are also bad in a 10 team league? I love using your draft, but sometimes I wonder if it is different for a 10 team league. Would you still recommend going by it even though it seems it is geared towards 12 team leagues? Also, are you guys planning to put up a 10 team mock draft anytime soon? Your site is the best!!


  23. John Hansen says:

    waldo we just scheduled a bunch of mocks on the message boards, check them out and try to get in some. we’ll do 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. I would say a 10-team league won’t be as bad, and keep in mind this is a pretty tough league.

  24. PackFan says:

    Without seeing the other teams in this draft, I think your squad looks respectable and competitive – and the key will be in your words, your ability to “… put on a clinic managing it all year …” which would be interesting to read about and to follow. One guy I haven’t heard discussed much is the one guy that concerns me the most, … Steven Jackson. Granted, this guy looks like he’s screwed together like a true beast, but the fact is, in five seasons of play, he’s only been able to stay healthy for the season once. The last two years he’s been able to play in just 12 of 16 games, scoring 6 TDs in 07, and 8 TDs in 09. I would be hesitant to draft him in the first round for that reason – and the likelihood of getting him in the 2nd is not good, because he’s still a popular choice among fantasy owners.

    The fact that Steven Jackson is probably the main weapon on an average team means most defenses will be geared towards stopping him in order to stop the Rams, which again, concerns me from a fantasy standpoint. I’d like to think I can rely on my first round choice to give me consistent points on a weekly basis, and at present I don’t feel real good about Jackson being able to do that.

    On another unrelated note, regarding your website in general, I just want to thank you for making the decision to keep your advertising in one location at the top of the page, without all the bells, whistles and flashing lights that annoy me on other sites – sports related or otherwise. It’s nice to be able to click on an article and sit back and read without dancing animals and blinking lights trying to gain my attention.

  25. Idiot Savant says:

    John, I’d like to see what kind of RB/WR or WR/RB team you might consider from the 10-12 hole. I saw in you ideal draft that you went RB/RB…and frankly …as solid as those players are early…even in non-ppr, I tend to think the stud WR’s are gone by 3.04- .3.06…I don’t see a T.O, or Colston or getting to the 3.11 spot in my draft…so I wonder if its better to get at LEAST one stud WR since the depth at RB is solid. I’m also a bit more eager this year to get a Rogers, Rivers, Warner or Mc Nabb (not necesarily the top 3 QB’s).

    I also have seen some GREAT Mock drafts going unconventional with WR/RB from the 5-7 hole…still landing solid RB’s in the 2nd round…guys like Jacobs, Slaton, Westbrook, Barber (who I still think is a decent #1B RB, but you may not agree) and in worst case Portis. I haven’t seen anyone who took AJ or Fitz or Moss that early who ended up with lower than the Guru top 14 RB at their 2nd round pick. I saw many with Fitz/ Slaton and Fitz/ Jacobs…a pretty solid start IMO…interestingly none with Gore or D Williams falling.

    Why do you favor the RB/RB strategy from the 11 hole? or do you?
    (I ask because I have ONE draft where I am already set to draft from 11).

  26. Woo says:

    Funny….I drew the 5 hole in my main league and I’ve been mock drafting with it the last 2 weeks. It looks like you had available and picked pretty much the same players I’ve been. Your draft helps confirm to me what players are going to be available and when. Unfortunately I’m not that optimistic with alot of these guys that are falling to me. I guess we’ll see what happens.

  27. Idiot Savant says:

    OH…12 teamer non-ppr similar to your drafts and mocks 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1 TE, 1 Def and 1K start.

  28. John Hansen says:

    Savant, actually, from the 11 hole, I may go WR-WR because I should be able to go RB-RB and still do better with my #2 RB as I did in this draft with Thomas Jones. More likely, perhaps, I go RB-WR, say Slaton and Moss or Andre or Calvin. I love picking at the bottom and the top is ok, too.

  29. John Hansen says:

    Keep in mind I feel kind of blind right now, too, since we still have 99% of camps to go and all the training camps. It’s hard for me to get a true feel for drafts without having a true feel for the league. I may draft from this #5 spot in 4 weeks and feel great about it.

  30. strikeforce says:

    Brees, Drew NOS QB – 5
    Choice, Tashard DAL RB – 6
    Grant, Ryan GBP RB – 5
    Greene, Shonn NYJ RB – 9
    McCoy, LeSean PHI RB – 4
    Portis, Clinton WAS RB – 8
    Thomas, Pierre NOS RB (P) – 5
    Austin, Miles DAL WR (P) – 6
    Bryant, Antonio TBB WR – 8
    Cotchery, Jerricho NYJ WR – 9
    Holmes, Santonio PIT WR – 8
    Jenkins, Michael ATL WR – 4
    Olsen, Greg CHI TE – 5
    Shockey, Jeremy NOS TE – 5
    Gould, Robbie CHI PK – 5
    Ravens, Baltimore BAL Def
    i also drafted in this draft, new to this site, had played around with pre draft, had rbs in pre picks,all went when my turn it auto drafted me, where i had brees also in the pre picks, in this format i wouldnt took qb # 1 over all, but i took pre picks off and finished the draft, so sfter having brees at # 1 i feel the draft went ok, getting portis, p thomas ,r grant, felt ok with my rbs, took lots rookies with up side too, could pan out with LeSean McCoy ,Shonn Greene, Tashard Choice,wr core also could be better than i expected with Santonio holmes ,a bryant , j Cotchery , and love my TE G olsen ,Balt D fence , and well gould as my kicker,wr extras miles auston and m jenkins i also like, so i believe this team can compete in this format with any other team drafted last night, strikeforce

  31. Law Firm says:

    “I don’t like making blanket statements, but it looks like RB-WR-RB is the way to go from this spot.”

    For the record, I took Turner/Barber/Marshall in that order in last night’s mock. Hopefully Camp will post the results soon, if he hasn’t already.

  32. strikeforce says:

    my draft was a guru draft but not johns draft, sorry

  33. Clevage says:

    can somebody please recommend a good site for mock drafts (besides yahoo)? thanks

  34. Baller says:

    Strikeforce, since you posted your lineup, I feel free to comment on it. To be frank, I would be very disappointed with that lineup. Not one elite RB, not one elite WR. It looks weak to me. That’s just my honest opinion.

  35. Senor says:

    In my main league a non-PPR league I have the dreaded 5 hole also. I can’t help but take a close look at S. Slaton. He had a great rookie year and is not in a RBBC situation. Is this too early for this 2nd year stud?

  36. Burton says:

    Let’s all give John some credit for having thick skin. John, it is so great that you view all your customers’ comments as opportunities for learning and sharing. We appreciate all your replies to the blog. Now that the “mutual b.s. is over,” where’s that middle round draft plan? Thanks again.

  37. Ariakis says:

    John. Hoping for some feedback today if you have a moment. I joined a WCOFF format 3WR/2RB/1UTIL with 1 REC PPR and a 3RR. The catch is we drew for draft choice and I am 3rd and now on the clock with 24 hours to decide.

    Team #1 took the 3rd pick and is guarunteed one of MJD, Forte, SJax, or ADP. I have been doing some mocks at the top and usually come up with a top heavy team.

    Team #2 took the 11th pick. In doing some mocks near the bottom it seems Fitz and AJ are usually gone before the 10-12 range so while you get nice 2nd/3rd round options your 1st rounder loses a bit and you have a late 4th. While everyone is saying 5-9 isn’t great … it’s the only way to get AJ or Fitz. Whether that’s the wrong or right move remains to be seen. A team picking high can have ADP and MB3 while if you take RB’s you’ll have Portis and Westbrook perhaps … a lot more risk.

    So … I am all over the board. Tempted to just take #1 for MJD although 2 and 4 are tempting. Picks 10 or 12 are tempting. Then there’s the little bird that just says be in the middle and take a WR in Round 1 and then let the draft come to me.

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