Jul 28, 2009
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 NFL.com 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.