12-Team NFFC Online Championship Draft Review

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by John Hansen, Publisher

Published, 8/10/12 

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No matter how successful I am in my field, there’s always a bit of doubt in my mind about my performance. That harsh truth has very little – or even nothing – to do with effort; it’s mainly due to the unstable nature of my profession, which is based on handicapping a game that features 22 human beings on an open field chasing around an odd-shaped ball. 

But last night I quickly learned that, if I need validation in my efforts and the efforts of our entire staff, the best way to get it is to draft a fantasy football team with some of our more ardent supporters and interested observers.
I’ve known and have worked with the guys behind the NFFC, Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich, for about 15 years.
They’re great guys, honest guys. Family men.
But I may never speak to these guys again.
It was their idea to form a league in the NFFC Online Championship comprised of only subscribers. “Beat The Guru” was the theme! Weeeeee!
I’ll admit I deserve to be beaten simply by allowing people to call me “The Guru,” but I’d refer to the process of drafting against 11 subscribers as a little more intense than a mere beating; this was more like torture.
I’ve always said that high-stakes players are the best players out there. But I had no idea how tough it would be drafting against 11 high-stakes players who are also subscribers. They obviously have brains of their own, but it didn’t help that they know all my sleepers, targets, avoids, etc., which absolutely killed me.
This was a 12-team, PPR draft with 3rd-round reversal and 6 points for TD passes.
The full draft report:
Roster Grid:
League Rules:
Note: I’m not going to spend a lot of time on values for this draft because there weren’t nearly as many as we normally see. Usually, in a high-stakes league, if you want a player, you have to go get him, and you can’t assume he’ll fall to you. That element was intensified in this one – big time.  
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
1        1        Arian Foster            Albert Snodgrass
1        2        Ray Rice                  Goggles Pisano
1        3        LeSean McCoy          Sauce on Side
1        4        Aaron Rodgers         Team Crider
1        5        Ryan Mathews         Rex's Lap Band
1        6        Calvin Johnson         Team BBG
1        7        Drew Brees              Team Hansens
1          8          Chris Johnson           Gurrific
1        9        Tom Brady               Melvillains
1        10      Maurice Jones-Drew  Vigilant Jesters
1        11      Jimmy Graham         Festivus Miracles 3
1        12      Matt Forte               Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: I didn’t really like Chris Johnson last year, and I was on the right track. I like him this year – and I’m on the right track. All the vibes are good on Johnson, and while I’m certainly not expecting 2008-2009 production, I think he’ll be a little better than 2010, and I do want a RB if at all possible early in my draft. Darren McFadden was really hard to pass on, but I have to give CJ credit here: The guy’s durable. In a high-stakes league, that was a priority for me, so I passed on McFadden.
Other Picks: No real surprises, quite frankly. Matt Forte makes it into Round One because of the PPR format, and I can see that. Jimmy Graham goes off the board in the first as well, which I’m fine with. Three QBs went in the first, which is totally understandable.
Note: Obviously, this draft was conducted before Thursday night’s Ryan Mathews injury.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
2        1        Rob Gronkowski       Arkansas Roid Ragers
2        2        Darren McFadden     Festivus Miracles 3
2        3        Roddy White           Vigilant Jesters
2        4        Trent Richardson      Melvillains
2          5          DeMarco Murray      Gurrific
2        6        Larry Fitzgerald        Team Hansens
2        7        Cam Newton          Team BBG
2        8        Julio Jones              Rex's Lap Band
2        9        Jordy Nelson          Team Crider
2        10      Matthew Stafford     Sauce on Side
2        11      Wes Welker            Goggles Pisano
2        12      Marshawn Lynch       Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: I’ve been kicking around the idea of going “old school” with RB-RB if drafting near the bottom of Round One, and the plan would have gone beautifully had I been drafting against “regular” players. Hell, it would have gone well if I was drafting against “experts,” but I paid a little bit of a price for it. Nothing terrible, but I am a little light at WR, Again, normally, I would have been fine, but these bastards made some good picks later in the draft. Still, I like DeMarco Murray and I’m very encouraged by the talk in Dallas that they’re going to use Murray more in the passing game. I’ve been saying for a while that Murray has major untapped potential as a receiver, and ESPN Dallas’ Todd Archer made a good point to me this week in that their receiving corps is really thin, so they’re going to need their backs to step up and help in the passing game. As for going RB-RB, I like to zig when others zag. I think I was ahead of the curve with RBs being devalued, and now I’m flipping the switch again.
Other Picks: That was a great value with McFadden. If he’s healthy, that’s deadly. We could have a bit of a value in Trent Richardson in the second, but he obviously has some issues with the knee. My feeling he will be okay, but I certainly can’t say that with confidence, and missing possibly the next 3-4 weeks would hurt him, for sure. This league was 6 points per TD pass, so passing on Mathew Stafford was very difficult to do. But the Murray talk of more action in the passing game put it over the top for me, and I’m enamored by the prospects of getting a little more value for an impact player at QB in Michael Vick.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
3        1        A.J. Green              Arkansas Roid Ragers
3        2        Doug Martin             Festivus Miracles 3
3        3        Percy Harvin           Vigilant Jesters
3        4        Steve Smith            Melvillains
3          5          Michael Vick            Gurrific
3        6        Brandon Marshall      Team Hansens
3        7        Darren Sproles         Team BBG
3        8        Greg Jennings          Rex's Lap Band
3        9        Jamaal Charles         Team Crider
3        10      Adrian Peterson        Sauce on Side
3        11      Marques Colston       Goggles Pisano
3        12      Victor Cruz               Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: Well, I’ve been talking Michael Vick up, so I had to put my money where my mouth is. He was a top-12 pick last year, yet he lost his way with the lockout and had two WRs dealing with issues. Those aren’t issues this year, and he’s looked very good this summer, so it’s simply an issue of health. If healthy, I have a top-15 fantasy talent about 30 picks in.
Other Picks: You can tell the PPR guys are flying off the board, and you can tell this draft is full of people because Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson fell to the third round. Both could absolutely do well, and we could, in turn, be underrating them, but is anyone 100% confident they will deliver this year? You can’t be, and that’s the point: You should be 100% sold on at least your first 1-2 picks, preferably your first 4-5 picks. I don’t want to use a #2 pick on a guy I’m hoping does well; I want to know he will do well. By the way, this is where we’re at with Doug Martin. Either you reach out there and get him or you’re likely going to miss out, unless your league is inexperienced and/or conservative. Taking him in the 3rd is a risk, but I don’t think it will go down as a bad move.
Note: I’m not sure I would have taken Vick here after last night’s scare, but let’s not go overboard; I certainly knew he was an injury risk, which is why I drafted not one but two other upside-oriented backups.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
4        1        Andre Johnson         Albert Snodgrass
4        2        Antonio Gates          Goggles Pisano
4        3        Fred Jackson RB      Sauce on Side
4        4        Steven Jackson        Team Crider
4        5        Aaron Hernandez TE Rex's Lap Band
4        6        Willis McGahee         Team BBG
4        7        Frank Gore              Team Hansens
4          8          Antonio Brown         Gurrific
4        9        Ahmad Bradshaw      Melvillains
4        10      Michael Turner         Vigilant Jesters
4        11      Hakeem Nicks          Festivus Miracles 3
4        12      Peyton Hillis    RB      Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: This may seem like a bit of a reach, but I broke down all the remaining WRs and simply felt Brown was the safest. He’s a really nice player and he’s going to get a lot of targets in this offense, there is no question. He’s young, durable, and he’s still ascending. I may not be 100% sold on him in general as a 4th-round pick, but I was as it relates to guys with some issues, like teammate Mike “Holdout” Wallace, Miles “Hamstring” Austin, Hakeem “Injury Bug” Nicks, and Dwayne “Holdout” Bowe.
Other Picks: At some point, any questionable player is a value, and that’s not bad for Andre Johnson. I felt the Fred Jackson pick was a steal. In fact, had I known he would fall to the fourth, I might not have gone RB-RB. Of course, I wouldn’t have gotten him, so maybe it’s a moot point. You have to feel pretty good about RB Steve Jackson in the fourth. But we did see some RB reaches here, namely Willis McGahee. I do like him a lot as a value, but there wasn’t much value this high. That was also a bit over the top for Peyton Hillis.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
5        1        Matt Ryan               Arkansas Roid Ragers
5        2        Tony Romo              Festivus Miracles 3
5        3        Philip Rivers            Vigilant Jesters
5        4        Vernon Davis           Melvillains
5          5          Dez Bryant                Gurrific
5        6        Jeremy Maclin          Team Hansens
5        7        Reggie Bush            Team BBG
5        8        Demaryius Thomas   Rex's Lap Band
5        9        Stevie Johnson         Team Crider
5        10      Miles Austin              Sauce on Side
5        11      Eli Manning               Goggles Pisano
5        12      Dwayne Bowe          Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: Hey, if you’re going to take a chance on a guy with issues, he better have massive upside, which does describe Dez Bryant, so I couldn’t pass on him, especially after my “safe” pick of Antonio Brown and especially since I didn’t address WR in my first three rounds. I’ll roll the dice on Bryant in the 5th and sleep with relative confidence. Granted, I may need a sleep aid, but I’ll probably get some solid shuteye. I like Jeremy Maclin a lot, but I was a little concerned about putting too many eggs in the Eagle passing game’s basket. QB-WR hookups aren’t necessarily bad, but they are scarier when the QB does have legit durability concerns.
Other Picks: You can tell the QBs got a little more love in this draft with guys like Ryan, Romo, Rivers, and Manning going off the board, several of them 1-2 rounds earlier than their ADP. That’s a reflection of the 6 points per passing TD, most likely, so it makes sense.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
6        1        Mike Wallace            Albert Snodgrass
6        2        Eric Decker              Goggles Pisano
6        3        Brandon Lloyd          Sauce on Side
6        4        Vincent Jackson       Team Crider
6        5        C.J. Spiller               Rex's Lap Band
6        6        DeSean Jackson       Team BBG
6        7        Shonn Greene          Team Hansens
6          8          Jermichael Finley    Gurrific
6        9        Jonathan Stewart      Melvillains
6        10      Fred Davis               Vigilant Jesters
6        11      Nate Washington      Festivus Miracles 3
6        12      Kevin Smith            Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: This is where I got destroyed. I had Decker, Lloyd, V-Jax, and Jackson all ready to go for a great #3 option, and they all went. These guys in this draft forced my hand on Jermichael Finley, which I really didn’t want to do. I wanted to target Jermaine Gresham and hold off on TE, but I just couldn’t find a WR or even another RB worth taking in this round. So now I’m stuck hoping Finley comes through. Now again, I don’t love my pick, but at least Finley is a major talent in the best passing game in the league, so it’s not all bad.
Other Picks: All of those WRs were nice picks and decent values, for sure. I get the pick of C.J. Spiller for upside, and in fact I would have taken him, too, if he was there and those WRs were gone. Amazingly, one of the reasons I settled on Finley was because I figured I could still get a value like Nate Washington a few rounds later – and he was gone a few PICKS later! Unbelievable, but the thing is I can easily see his performing to this pick’s level. We’ve been all over him, but this was too high for Kevin Smith. I like him, but he’s a walking injury report and I can’t see him being very viable for all 16 games for a variety of reasons. I’d be a little concerned with Fred Davis given his issues as well, this high in the draft.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
7        1        Denarius Moore        Arkansas Roid Ragers
7        2        BenJ. GreenEllis       Festivus Miracles 3
7        3        Torrey Smith           Vigilant Jesters
7        4        Pierre Garcon                     Melvillains
7          5          Stevan Ridley           Gurrific
7        6        DeAngelo Williams     Team Hansens
7        7        Ryan Williams           Team BBG
7        8        Peyton Manning        Rex's Lap Band
7        9        Isaac Redman          Team Crider
7        10      Greg Little               Sauce on Side
7        11      Mark Ingram            Goggles Pisano
7        12      Jason Witten          Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: What I should have done in the 6th is suck it up and grab Denarius Moore, but I guess at this point it didn’t sink in that I had to go and get anyone I liked, since we have all disciples in this league. I was hoping he would slip to me in this round, but, of course, he didn’t. It’s always treacherous dealing with NE backs, but Stevan Ridley is the guy right now with a good camp, and he’s talented, so I was comfortable with him in this round, especially since there apparently isn’t such a thing as a “value” when drafting against Guru subscribers. I also thought Greg Little might slip to me in the next round, but again, the answer to that question is “hell, no.”
Other Picks: Once again, people are proactive about the sleepers like Denarius Moore, Ryan Williams, and Greg Little, plus also Torrey Smith and solid values like DeAngelo Williams. Jason Witten isn’t a sexy pick, but that was a solid value, since he’ll probably catch 80 balls again.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
8        1        Ben Tate                 Albert Snodgrass
8        2        Donald Brown          Goggles Pisano
8        3        Kenny Britt              Sauce on Side
8        4        San Francisco          Team Crider
8        5        Toby Gerhart           Rex's Lap Band
8        6        Michael Bush            Team BBG
8        7        David Wilson            Team Hansens
8          8          Reggie Wayne          Gurrific
8        9        Mikel Leshoure         Melvillains
8        10      Robert Meachem      Vigilant Jesters
8        11      Roy Helu                 Festivus Miracles 3
8        12      Michael Crabtree       Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: Not exactly my kind of pick, but I feel I need some stability at my #3 WR spot, and Wayne should afford me with that. Again, in almost any other draft in the country I would be doing better than this, but these guys are killing me.
Other Picks: I probably would have taken David Wilson here, but of course he went right in front of me. But that’s a good example in a tough league, in which you have to get a guy if you want him. Kenny Britt makes sense on the surface due to the upside, but I’m here to say there isn’t much upside at this point and only downside, so that was too much. Roy Helureally fell in this draft, I felt, yet I still can’t call him a value in the 8th round.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         POS    TEAM
9        1        Evan Royster           Arkansas Roid Ragers
9        2        Malcom Floyd           WR     Festivus Miracles 3
9        3        Jon Baldwin    WR     Vigilant Jesters
9        4        Jermaine Gresham    Melvillains
9          5          Kendall Wright         Gurrific
9        6        Tony Gonzalez          Team Hansens
9        7        Brandon Pettigrew    Team BBG
9        8        Jacquizz Rodgers      Rex's Lap Band
9        9        Lance Moore          Team Crider
9        10      Jacob Tamme          Sauce on Side
9        11      Austin Collie             Goggles Pisano
9        12      Ryan Fitzpatrick        Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: After that unexciting Wayne pick, I’ve got to get back to my roots and go for some upside, and Kendall Wright fits the bill. In another draft, Wright may have fallen another couple of rounds, but no one appealing is falling in this league, so I went out and got Wright. I’m not sold he’ll excel out of the gate with two QBs in the mix, but this guy can absolutely ball.
Other Picks: By the way, once again I got hosed a bit because I was going to take Jermaine Gresham, so that was a good pick. I also considered Lance Moore and Austin Collie, so they were good picks. This was a little overly proactive for Jon Baldwin, but he does at least have upside. I didn’t like Jacob Tamme this early, so that was a little bit of a reach with some better options on the board.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
10      1        B. Roethlisberger      Albert Snodgrass
10      2        Green Bay               Goggles Pisano
10      3        Alex Green              Sauce on Side
10      4        Brent Celek             Team Crider
10      5        Titus Young              Rex's Lap Band
10      6        Ronnie Hillman          Team BBG
10      7        Mike Williams           Team Hansens
10        8          Jahvid Best               Gurrific
10      9        Robert Griffin           Melvillains
10      10      Jay Cutler                Vigilant Jesters
10      11      James Starks           Festivus Miracles 3
10      12      Beanie Wells            Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: Well, again, if you’re going to make a reach, and Jahvid Bestmay even be a reach at this point even in the 10th, the player had better have some upside. Best is a guy who was being drafted in the 2nd round this time last year. It’s a shaky pick, but I was okay with it after checking his ADP in the mid-80s (granted I’m sure that’s going down).
Other Picks: Nothing gets past these people, so they likely have heard that rookie Robert Griffin III has been a little up-and-down in camp, so he fell a little. Not a bad value there at that point. I’m not in love with the DTs going this early, I do have to say. I get it on RBs Ronnie Hillman and Alex Green and would have taken either over Best at this point, but that was not to be.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
11      1        Danny Amendola      Arkansas Roid Ragers
11      2        Doug Baldwin Festivus Miracles 3
11      3        Pierre Thomas          Vigilant Jesters
11      4        Terrell Owens           Melvillains
11        5          Santonio Holmes    Gurrific
11      6        Darrius Heyward-Bey Team Hansens
11      7        Sidney Rice              Team BBG
11      8        Jared Cook              Rex's Lap Band
11      9        Matt Schaub            Team Crider
11      10      Randy Moss            Sauce on Side
11      11      Daniel Thomas         Goggles Pisano
11      12      Montario Hardesty     Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: I was targeting Danny Amendola and Doug Baldwin in this round, and, of course, they got drafted. These people are good. Amendola I bet in another league right now could last until the 16th round. But not here, so good pick. I know Holmes has issues or else he’d be a 7th-round pick, so I figured the 11th was decent, since he’s really talented and is clearly the #1 WR. I actually got something of a value in this draft.
Other Picks: Interesting that Randy Moss and Terrell Owens went in the same round. I get it, but I probably would not have taken either here. I didn’t like Sidney Rice, who is off the grid for me essentially now that it’s come out that he might not be ready for the season. The team that took Montario Hardesty does not have Trent Richardson. I think Hardesty is a must at this point if you draft Richardson, but that was a bit of a reach.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
12      1        Isaiah Pead              Albert Snodgrass
12      2        Carson Palmer         Goggles Pisano
12      3        Rashard Mendenhall Sauce on Side
12      4        Felix Jones               Team Crider
12      5        Jake Locker            Rex's Lap Band
12      6        Laurent Robinson      Team BBG
12      7        Kendall Hunter          Team Hansens
12        8          Kyle Rudolph            Gurrific
12      9        Justin Blackmon       Melvillains
12      10      LeG. Blount              Vigilant Jesters
12      11      Anquan Boldin          Festivus Miracles 3
12      12      Joe Flacco                Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: I damn near blew a gasket in this round. I have DeMarco Murray, who does have some durability issues. So I figured here is where I grab Felix Jones, who is nice protection for Murray. Jones isn’t on the radar at all, yet he does still have talent, and he’s in a contract year, so if he gets a chance I have to think he’ll do something. He might, but not for me. And then my guy Jake Locker goes, and he was going to be my next pick. I have to at this point get someone I really like, so I went with Kyle Rudolph, who looks like the #2 option in the passing game here. But the Jones pick really disrupted my draft, I felt.
Other Picks: A lot of good picks here, other than probably Leg Blount.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
13      1        Philadelphia              Arkansas Roid Ragers
13      2        Vincent Brown          Festivus Miracles 3
13      3        Randall Cobb           Vigilant Jesters
13      4        David Akers            Melvillains
13        5          Andrew Luck            Gurrific
13      6        Josh Freeman          Team Hansens
13      7        Coby Fleener           Team BBG
13      8        Detroit                    Rex's Lap Band
13      9        Delone Carter          Team Crider
13      10      Houston                  Sauce on Side
13      11      Shane Vereen          Goggles Pisano
13      12      Mike Goodson          Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: You have to keep your emotions in check in a tough draft and not get too upset if things don’t fall your way. I’m getting aggravated with all the value/sleeper types going off the board earlier than their ADPs, so I go get Andrew Luck, and I did so over Josh Freeman. We’ll see how that goes, but Freeman is a guy I recommend if you draft Vick, since he’s steady and should be solid. Then again, Luck may actually have a little more upside. I also took another QB to protect myself, and that guy has upside, for sure.
Other Picks: Not exactly getting the DTs and PKs going off the board this early, but I suppose they are impact starters. I should have taken Shane Vereen in this round, although having both might drive me insane. But it would have been some protection, and he was a solid pick this late. I liked the Coby Fleener pick here. I have been projecting some value for Delone Carter, but so far he appears to be buried on the depth chart, but it’s at least very early. Mike Goodson was a nice pick, too.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
14      1        Sam Bradford          Albert Snodgrass
14      2        Rashad Jennings       Goggles Pisano
14      3        Michael Floyd           Sauce on Side
14      4        Emmanuel Sanders  Team Crider
14      5        Tim Hightower          Rex's Lap Band
14      6        Keshawn Martin        Team BBG
14      7        Dustin Keller            Team Hansens
14        8          Jacoby Ford             Gurrific
14      9        Seattle DST              Melvillains
14      10      Alshon Jeffery          Vigilant Jesters
14      11      Earl Bennett            Festivus Miracles 3
14      12      Alfonso Smith          Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: I’m in upside mode, and Jacoby Ford has had a good camp thus far from what I can gather, and our Adam Caplan was at practice this week and said he’s building a nice chemistry with Carson Palmer, plus as much as I love Denarius Moore, he does have some injury issues. Ford could be a nice value.
Other Picks: This was a little high for Keyshawn Martin, who is tearing it up in camp at least. I liked Earl Bennett for cheap catches, for sure. Didn’t really get the Alfonso Smith pick, but I did tweet that he’s pretty decent and that I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some time this year due to the injury issues of the two guys ahead of him. This owner does have Bean Wells. Emmanuel Sanders wasn’t a bad pick at all.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
15      1        Rueben Randle         Arkansas Roid Ragers
15      2        Bernard Scott          Festivus Miracles 3
15      3        Buffalo                   Vigilant Jesters
15      4        LaMichael James       Melvillains
15        5          Mike Tolbert             Gurrific
15      6        Steve Smith            Team Hansens
15      7        Santana Moss          Team BBG
15      8        Robert Turbin           Rex's Lap Band
15      9        Dan Bailey               Team Crider
15      10      Owen Daniels Sauce on Side
15      11      Brandon LaFell         Goggles Pisano
15      12      Nate Burleson          Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: I’m hearing the Panthers may actually look to replace Jeremy Shockey essentially with Mike Tolbert, so I took a shot with a pretty darn good football player at a bargain price. I was targeting Bernard Scott in this round, and he, of course, got drafted.
Other Picks: Solid picks on Scott and Steve Smith could be a little bit of a sleeper. Brandon LaFell was the value of the round, easily. Owen Danielscould be a decent value as well, but I’m just not sold on him just yet until I see something in the preseason.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
16      1        David Nelson           Albert Snodgrass
16      2        Lamar Miller            Goggles Pisano
16      3        Baltimore                Sauce on Side
16      4        Steve Breaston        Team Crider
16      5        Brian Quick              Rex's Lap Band
16      6        Marcus Easley          Team BBG
16      7        Sebastian Janikowski Team Hansens
16        8          Taiwan Jones           Gurrific
16      9        Mario Manningham    Melvillains
16      10      Greg Olsen               Vigilant Jesters
16      11      Dallas Clark              Festivus Miracles 3
16      12      Le'Ron McClain         Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: Once again, looking for some upside. My guess is that Taiwan Jones will get a chance for some touches every week no matter who the RB is, so I see him as a satellite player, and I know they love his explosiveness and speed.
Other Picks: Lamar Miller is still raw, and there are a ton of guys here, but he was a solid flyer here because his speed is pretty darn good, if not elite. I almost took Brian Quick two rounds ago, so he was actually a great value. At this point, who cares if he winds up needing a year to develop, which is possible. We know they’d love to see him grab a starting spot, for sure. Le’Ron McClain was a bit of a reach at this point.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
17      1        Dexter McCluster      Arkansas Roid Ragers
17      2        Andy Dalton            Festivus Miracles 3
17      3        Josh Gordon            Vigilant Jesters
17      4        Damian Williams       Melvillains
17        5          Pittsburgh DST         Gurrific
17      6        James Jones           Team Hansens
17      7        Davone Bess           Team BBG
17      8        Cedric Benson          Rex's Lap Band
17      9        Chicago                   Team Crider
17      10      Matt Flynn               Sauce on Side
17      11      Stephen Gostkowski Goggles Pisano
17      12      Mason Crosby          Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: I noticed this league definitely has some points allowed action for DTs, so I grabbed Pittsburgh. I’m not in love with them, but they always do have potential and the Points Against helps.
Other Picks: You have to love Josh Gordon this late. He’s a great example of going for upside this late, and he has some of it. I talked to a Browns guy today and he looks like he’ll rotate in as the #3, although the rigors of camp are catching up to him, which is understandable, since he didn’t even play football last year. Davone Bess is a guy I was thinking about, for sure, so he was a value.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
18      1        New York (A)                    Albert Snodgrass
18      2        Bilal Powell               Goggles Pisano
18      3        Rob Bironas            Sauce on Side
18      4        Heath Miller              Team Crider
18      5        Matt Prater              Rex's Lap Band
18      6        New York (N) DST    Team BBG
18      7        New England DST     Team Hansens
18        8          Joe McKnight            Gurrific
18      9        Chad Johnson           Melvillains
18      10      Alex Henery            Vigilant Jesters
18      11      Jason Hanson           Festivus Miracles 3
18      12      Robbie Gould K        Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: In a 20-round draft, Joe McKnight was absolutely a viable pick for some upside. It’s possible he emerges as a guy who is worth considering as my flex if I’m in bye week hell. The guy has had issues, but he’s flashed when he’s played, and they are looking to get the ball to their backs in the passing game and in space a little more.
Other Picks: He’s certainly not someone I’m targeting, but Chad Johnson made some sense here, for sure. It looks like he’s going to start, and he could catch 50+ balls, for sure. I liked the Matt Prater pick and was prepared to get him.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
19      1        Brandon Jacobs        Arkansas Roid Ragers
19      2        Denver                             Festivus Miracles 3
19      3        Lestar Jean              Vigilant Jesters
19      4        Dallas                     Melvillains
19        5          John Skelton             Gurrific
19      6        Cincinnati                Team Hansens
19      7        Donnie Avery           Team BBG
19      8        Arizona                   Rex's Lap Band
19      9        Alex Smith               Team Crider
19      10      Dion Lewis               Sauce on Side
19      11      Knowshon Moreno     Goggles Pisano
19      12      Leon Washington      Albert Snodgrass
My Pick: I’ve been eyeing John Skelton for a few rounds because he’s taken the early lead in the QB battle, possibly. He’s a little tricky in a high-stakes league because he’s not exactly someone you can rely on. But as my #3, and with some upside needed at QB in case Vick goes down, he made sense for me.
Other Picks: I have Alex Smith a lot higher than Skelton, and I do actually like him this year as a really cheap backup. And boy was he cheap in this league.
ROUND          PICK  PLAYER         TEAM
20      1        Danny Woodhead      Albert Snodgrass
20      2        Neil Rackers            Goggles Pisano
20      3        Bernard Pierce         Sauce on Side
20      4        Matt Bryant              Team Crider
20      5        Jerome Simpson       Rex's Lap Band
20      6        Mike Nugent            Team BBG
20      7        Nate Kaeding           Team Hansens
20        8          Ryan Succop             Gurrific
20      9        Connor Barth           Melvillains
20      10      Josh Morgan            Vigilant Jesters
20      11      Eddie Royal              Festivus Miracles 3
20      12      Devin Hester           Arkansas Roid Ragers
My Pick: These guys even got me at kicker. In a normal league, I’d definitely get a solid kicker, but they pinched me at this position somehow. Flustered, I grabbed a decent kicker on what should be a good team in Ryan Succop.
Other Picks: Neil Rackers was shaky because he might not even win the job over Graham Gano. Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, and Jerome Simpson, your starter opposite Percy Harvin when he returns from suspension, were solid values.
Conclusions: I don’t want to rehash a million things that have been covered elsewhere on the site, so let me narrow my lesson down to this simple fact: If you’re in a very competitive league or a high-stakes league, and if you like a player, you have to go get him. It’s nice and all to sit back and let the draft come to you, but if you’re sold on a player in a tough league like this, you have to be proactive about acquiring him. If not, you might find yourself settling for players round after round, and you might wind up with a team that doesn’t excite you and doesn’t make an impact.  

Obviously, I was at a disadvantage drafting against some savvy players who really had a great idea what I was going to do and knew all my values and sleepers. Who knows if those players will actually be sleepers, but they had a serious jump on me. I think I handled it relatively well, at least.

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