I think I found my mojo

I fully admit that I am sometimes a little bit of a slow starter when it comes to the fantasy drafts each year. It seems I need a few to warm up, and this year I didn’t do as many drafts in May as usual, so my warm-ups have come in July.

But I think I got it going on now, as evidenced by a great draft I had last night for Time Warner Cable’s Fantasy Huddle TV Show. I’ve done this PPR league for a few years now (won it in 2007), and it’s a pretty good league with some pretty good owners and big names in the industry. I had a damn good team last year, but didn’t even make the playoffs, missing out on 1 of the 4 playoff spots by I believe total points or a head-to-head record the final week of the preseason. Apparently, I drafted Miles Austin but cut him in September and didn’t get him back on the WW.

I will also admit that my draft spot may have been the catalyst strong draft. I picked 4th, and I have to say I think drafting near the top of Round One is ideal this year. Sometimes, a draft just flows well for you, and I think when pick early in Round One it does just that. There’s nothing more annoying than passing on a guy you like because it’s a bit too early only to see him taken off the board before your next pick. That’s what I mean when I say “flowing right.”

Unfortunately, I can’t share the whole draft because it will be covered on this TV show in late-August, but I can give you my picks.

1st Round: Ray Rice – Had to take him in this PPR league. Even though I think he’ll lose some of those check-downs, that possibility can be offset by the fact that they will simply look to open up the offense and throw it more in Joe Flacco’s third full season.

2nd Round: Brandon Marshall – He really was a no-brainer pick late in the second round in this PPR. He’s moving on to a new team, but I like Chad Henne. I took him over Sidney Rice, Greg Jennings, and DeSean Jackson in this PPR.

3rd Round: Peyton Manning – I got the best of both worlds here in terms of holding off at least a little bit on a QB but also clearly taking the best option on the board available to me regardless of position. I will admit that Manning in the 3rd (even early in the 3rd) probably won’t happen in “regular” leagues.

Although not a PPR league, Cedric Benson was a nice value in the 4th round

Although this was not a PPR draft, Cedric Benson was a nice value in the 4th round

4th Round: Cedric Benson – Although not a great PPR guy, in the 4th, Benson is simply a good guy to grab, perhaps even a value at this point considering how solid this offense is looking. And as I drafted on 7/28, I felt better about his off-field situation and that he might not get suspended at all.

5th Round: Mike Sims-Walker – The solid #1 WRs were all gone but MSW, so I felt good that he fell to me here. So far I’m feeling really good. Jermichael Finley was very temping, but I resisted the urge because I think taking a QB and TE in the first five rounds can hurt you elsewhere, namely at WR.

6th Round: Jeremy Maclin – Perfect role for him as my #3 WR. I think he’ll catch 70+ balls this year, so I’m thrilled I got him.

7th Round: Steve Slaton – Feeling really good now, since Slaton looks like a great value as my flex starter/#3. From what we’re hearing in Houston, Slaton may be going in the 4th round in a PPR in 2-3 weeks.

8th Round: Owen Daniels – The high-end TEs were gone, and it was time to take one, especially since I was feeling so good about the rest of my team. That made me confident to take a chance on OD, who is, of course, coming off his knee injury. If he’s close to the player he can be, this is a steal and potentially makes me dominant.

9th Round: Montario Hardesty – It was a tough call with Ricky Williams on the board, but I went with a little more upside in Hardesty, who should be a guy who gets 15 carries most games and likely the goal line carries. I felt okay passing on a surer thing in Williams because I felt so good about my draft up until this point.

10th Round: Bernard Berrian – Doesn’t seem like a sexy pick, but it is the 10th round, and Berrian should be better off this year with his hamstring issues behind him. Plus, it’s a great offense and Sidney Rice has that hip issue, which put Berrian over the top for me. I like him for depth, but this is my first “blah” pick of the draft.

11th Round: Julian Edelman – Again, I’m feeling good right now, so I’m willing to roll with some upside potential in Edelman, who could easily catch 50+ balls and be money periodically this year.

12th Round: Leon Washington – I’ve seen him go later, and we don’t know about his recovery yet (although all indications are positive), but once again I went for the upside, and Washington when healthy has plenty of juice. He’s my #5 RB.

13th Round: Bernard Scott – Totally to protect my Cedric Benson investment. I wasn’t messing around with that one, since a suspension could still be coming for Benson (although it seems 95% right now one will not).

14th Round Pick: New Orleans Saints – I know they won’t score 8 TDs again this year, but I’ll gladly take 4-5, and considering they should once again be able to tee off (in Greg Williams’ attacking defense) on QBs playing from behind, and since S Darren Sharper is back, that’s very possible. This D isn’t getting much love right now. For example, SF and Dallas went in front of them.

15th Round Pick: Laurent Robinson – We loved him last year and he looked legit – for 2 ½ games. Now that T.O. is out of the mix, Robinson’s starting job is safe, and you could argue that he’s their #1 WR in their West Coast Offense.

16th Round Pick: Jay Feely – Maybe I’m the only one who thinks Feely’s going to blow up this year with the Matt Leinart-led offense likely stalling in the red zone more often than Kurt Warner did, but he’s my kicker.

Projected starting lineup:

QB: Peyton Manning

RB: Ray Rice

: Cedric Benson

WR: Brandon Marshall

WR: Mike Sims-Walker

WR: Jeremy Maclin

Flex: Steve Slaton

TE: Owen Daniels

PK: Jay Feely

DT: New Orleans Saints

Category: Fantasy Football


35 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    Overall I like this, interested to see where some of the other #3 WR’s went and which round. I’m not a huge fan of Slaton this year with Ben Tate around… I probably would have jumped on Finley over Sims-Walker and then looked for Knox and Maclin as my #2 and #3 WR’s. Good Draft John!

  2. rollback says:

    I’m not too high on Sims-Walker either, and i would have taken Finley also.If Daniels is healthy and plays all season, then Sims-Walker in the 5th will look a lot better.

  3. jack says:

    good pick for MSW, John. MSW really wants to be better and early indications are that Garrard also has the hunger this year to improve

  4. John Hansen says:

    Ben Tate is a distant third to Slaton and Foster right now, and he hasn’t even signed. Don’t be surprised if he’s not a factor this year. I thought Tate was going to be a factor in the spring, but it’s not looking like that right now.

  5. Eric says:

    That’s a good team.

  6. Mike says:

    a: how many teams?

    b: how can one be ‘money periodically’? :) he’s either money, or he’s periodically good….

  7. John Hansen says:

    12 teams. By money periodically, I’m not sure he’s going to be money or even very good for the whole season, but like early in the season, he could be money. Or if Welker has issues and needs to miss a week or two, Edelman’s money.

  8. Bob says:

    If Ryan Mathews was available in rd 2 would you have grabbed him over Marshall and still take Manning in the 3rd?

    If so, would your strategy change to going 3 straight rds of WRs?

  9. Eric says:

    Nice Team.

    I know what you mean by the draft ‘flowing’ as I just found out I have the 2nd pick of my 12 team league. I’ve done about 20 mockdrafts and my team basically looks the same every time now (by round):

    AP – Marshall – Boldin – Finley – Kolb – Brown – Meachem – M. Bush – Slaton

    You may think I’m crazy for taking Kolb 5th but I found that if i don’t take him there he doesn’t make it back to me. And IMO he’ll be a top 8 QB.

  10. Burton says:

    John, two questions:

    Why did you pick Marshall over Jennings? Jennings is ahead of Marshall on your Top 200 sheet, and Jennings is even highlighted??? Marshall may (not saying he does) have more talent, but Jennings and Rogers are proven.

    Would you consider Nicks over Sims-Walker in non-PPR?

    Nice Draft! Hope you get another 1st Place.

  11. Bob says:

    Also, would you take MJD over AP with the 2 pick?

  12. Austin says:

    John excellant draft! I love the Slaton pick and thought you did a very good job overall. I like Manning at this point much better than a 1st or a 2nd for Rodgers and agree with you on not taking Finley and going with MSW instead. I love Finley this year but like you feel that going early on either QB or TE but not both is almost ideal in most cases. Keep up the awesome work!

  13. Earmuffs says:

    Hey Mike,

    In addition to what John said, I also think that if Edelman is so money and he doesn’t even know it… like the bear, who doesn’t want to kill the bunny…

    That also makes him periodically money.

  14. eric says:

    Wow! That is a dream draft, would love to have this team in my league. Only thing that might have made more sense is to take an “under the radar” tight end like Carlson or Cooley to have instead of one of your backup wr in case Daniels isn’t what we thought he would be. I think wr is one of the easiest to add off the waiver wire once the season gets rolling and you see who some of these teams really favor in their wr targets (see: MSW, 2009).

  15. John Hansen says:

    Eric: You gotta do what you gotta do, and you know you league so do it.

    Burt: It’s a PPR, so Marshall edges Jennings, our rankings are not PPR, but obviously can be if you customize them. I like Nicks and I probably would have taken over if MSW was gone. Nicks has more upside but I think MSW is a surer thing.

    Bob: I wouldn’t because of the loss of Taylor in Minn. AP could really surprise in PPR this year.

    Earmuffs: And if he’s growns up and he’s growns up and he’s growns up, he’ll be even better (Swingers reference).

  16. John Hansen says:

    Also, probably would have taken Mathews over Marshall, which would have meant I couldn’t take Manning and would have gone WR in the 3rd.

  17. JBeau says:

    Very nice draft especially for a 12 teamer. I woulda thought this was a 10 teamer.

  18. Cooper says:

    Nice draft John.
    I really feel like the upside for Leon Washington is HUGE. If he doesn’t have another set back this season, you may be plugging him into your line up some weeks. He looked like he was about to have a big season last year, before the injury. I think after we get closer to the start of the season, you may not be able to grab him in round 12 of your draft.

  19. Bob says:

    always good insight john. thanks.

  20. Burton says:

    John, I can’t help myself… I noticed that T.Owens is now ranked behind TJHoush and Santana Moss on your recent Top 200. Looking for information, I found that you already have an updated player profile… “Given the one-year, incentive-laden deal T.O. is on, we’re expecting at least solid behavior (just like in Buffalo). And for what it’s worth, he definitely wasn’t completely washed up a season ago. But the T.O. show isn’t just on VH1 now. We’re legitimately interested to see if he can become a viable fantasy option for QB Carson Palmer.” Over the next few weeks, he has to move up the rankings some, right?

    Actually I think Marshall Faulk said something like the “Bad News Bengals” in reference to the Bad News Bears, meaning they actually may pull off something better than last year. I have poured myself a little cup of Kool-aid but haven’t sipped it yet. So far I’m liking the move, but can’t figure out if it is just for good TV or for football. I do however feel sorry for M.Lewis and eventually C.Palmer.

  21. Red says:

    Nice John. I usually tend to agree with you more than Adam and the others. I was surprised you like AP over MJD though…Makes my decision harder as that is my choice picking at 2 and knowing CJ28 will be gone!

  22. John Hansen says:

    Childress said today AP will be on the field a lot more on 3rd down. I’ve asked MJD personally THREE TIMES over 2-3 years about his action in the passing game and he just can’t give me a straight answer about his action (or lack of action) in the passing game.

  23. Vicki says:

    Very nice team, John.

    For comparison, I drafted at the #4 position in a 12-team non-ppr league on 7/25 and wound up with:

    QB-Kevin Kolb (5th)

    RB-Ray Rice (1st)

    RB-Ryan Mathews (3rd)

    WR-Miles Austin (2nd)

    WR-Chad Ochocinco (4th)

    WR-Jeremy Maclin (9th)

    Flex-Fred Jackson (7th)

    TE-Jermichael Finley (6th)

    K-Ryan Longwell (14th)

    Def-New Orleans (11th)

    Bench consists of Carson Palmer, Laurence Maroney, Darren Sproles, and Nate Burleson.

    Thanks for the cheat sheet and all your other help.

  24. Austin says:


    Are you saying that if you did the draft over you would go Mathews in the 2nd and then grab a WR in the third? Interesting idea….

  25. Austin says:

    I think Steve Smith (car) is a great third or 4th round pick if a team goes RB heavy to start. People forget that he was top 7 the 2nd half of the year and will have even more time to work with Moore. The broken arm shouldn’t effect his play on the field either.

  26. Red says:

    Thanks John… How do you create your rankings on your site…updated yesterday and under my custom rules (PPR) you have MJD 13.5 points ahead of AP… Just curious how it works.


  27. MDS says:

    snake drafts are a dead format, it’s auction or nothing.

  28. John Hansen says:

    Pretty good team, Vicky. Good call also on Smith, Austin, not a bad idea. Red, not sure what your custom scoring is but if you are giving for return yards, we do give MJD a little, which could put MJD over AP.

    MDS, I wouldn’t call a format that 90% or more of the participants utilize as “dead.”

  29. Jeff VerSteegh says:

    Nice draft John, I’m prepping for a dynasty draft and I’m looking at possible replacements for Peyton Manning. I have had manning since he was a rookie, do you think Kolb has enough of “it” to surpass manning? It is a 12 team league and all the proven QBs are gone. Thank John

  30. steveb says:

    I think you’re going to regret the Brandon Marshall pick. I like the Maclin pick a lot, not as fond with Sims-Walker. No way Benson reproduces what he did last year,so no value to the pick. I keep wondering how you pass over Greg Jennings in the 2nd. Sorry, I usually agree with you on most players.

  31. MDS says:

    they’re dead. 90% of participants dont know/care what they’re doing

  32. John Hansen says:

    Benson’s not a value in the 4th round? Wow, strongly disagree. I pass on Jennings over Marshall in a PPR, as I should. I love the guy, but a lot of weapons in GB whereas Marshall’s the guy in the passing game.

  33. steveb says:

    I don’t see either Marshall or Benson approaching last year’s stats, and you do. My reason is I don’t trust Benson to repeat. The T.O. signing will have them chucking the ball all over the place.They had over 500 rushes last year,gaining a measly 4.1 yards a carry.128 yards a game,but it took them 31 rushing attempts to get there.They didn’t sign Bryant and T.O. to run the ball. I see them throwing a lot more.
    With Marshall, the touchdowns masked a step back to a more pedestrian offense last year. Now, he will play for the Dolphins,which is a step even further back. 198 yards a game passing. Marshall is number one with a star in a system that generated 750 yards from their leading WR last year. That seems like a leap in faith in the 2nd to me. The PPR offset it a little, but I’m still on Jennings over Marshall, even in a PPR. You take Miami’s offense- I’ll take Green Bays..lol.

  34. Austin says:

    Steve B-Miami will run a more conventional offense this year and Marshall will approach stats he seems to hit every year regardless of QB, Vibes etc. the guy is a special talent and the coaching staff will figure out ways to get him more than 750 yards or whatever they gave the #1 last year. I do love Jennings this year though too so I see your point even though I like Marshall more than Jennings it is close. I also can’t understand the lack of love Sidney Rice is getting. Check out his game log from last year including the playoffs. The hip is worrisome but he is every bit as talented as Jennings and others who are going way before him.

  35. steveb says:

    I’ve won my leagues for years from John’s analysis. He is primo. I also had Eddie Royal, Brandon Jacobs, and Clinton Portis last year,which is why I am looking a lot harder at some players in the middle rounds, and trying to not assume repeat performances in all instances. I’m trying to challenge the thinking behind a draft list, the best in the biz, that pays off so well, that can also miss at times.

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