Every year I’m part of a rip-roaring group of fantasy folks who do the first official “experts” draft of the year with the FSGA. This July 5th we embarked on a 14-team fantasy football draft that will end with a champion at the end of the calendar year. Here is that squad, after laying out for you all the info you need to follow the results.
|1||Steve / Austin||US Integrity|
|2||Raph / Josh||Rotoballer|
|3||Steve / Howard||US Today|
|4||Digger Turnbull||Forecaster Games|
|6||Tim Jensen||RT Sports|
|8||Scott / Corey||Sports Illustrated Fantasy|
|9||Cory / Ryan||The Huddle|
|10||Jason Gold||Champions Round|
|12||Rob / Corey||Sports Info Solutions|
|13||Rick / Glenn / Stacie||Colton & The Wolfman|
|14||Marc / Zach||ZwillGen|
1 Quarterback, 2 – Running Backs, 3 – Wide Receivers, 1 – Tight End, 1 – Flex Player (RB, WR or TE), 1 – Kicker, 1 – Team Defense/Specials Team, Bench 6 – Reserves
PASSING: • 1 point every 25 yards Passing • 4 points for every passing touchdown • 2 points for every 2-Point conversion • minus 1 point for every interception and fumble lost
RUSHING: • 1 point every 10 yards Rushing • 6 points for every rushing TD • 2 points for every 2-Point conversion • minus 1 point for every lost fumble
RECEIVING: • 1 point every 10 yards Receiving • 6 points for every receiving TD • 1 point for every reception for RB’s, WRs & Tight Ends, • 2 points for every 2-Point conversion (rushing or receiving) • minus 1 point for every lost fumble
KICKING: • 1 point for every extra point • 3 points for every field goal from 1-39 yards • 4 points for every field goal from 40-49 yards • 5 points for every field goal from 50-59 yards • 6 points for every field goal of 60 or more
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: • 1 point for every sack • 2 points for every interception or opponents’ fumble recovery • 6 points for every touchdown (interception return, defensive fumble return, punt or kickoff return, blocked field goal return, blocked punt return). All special teams and defensive points are awarded to the team responsible, not the individual player. • 2 points for every safety • 6 points for a shutout by the entire team • 3 points for allowing 2-10 points by the entire team
The ‘top 6 teams’ in league: Seed #1: Best H2H Record (points is the tie-breaker) Seed #2: Next Best H2H Record (points is the tie-breaker) Seed #3: Next Best H2H Record (points is the tie-breaker) Seed #4: Next Most Points Seed #5: Next Most Points Seed #6: Next Most Points
*NOTE: The comments below, the round-by-round discussion, is my voice in real time. Between picks in the draft, I kept a running diary of my thoughts.
QB: Lamar Jackson (5), Daniel Jones (16)
RB: Austin Ekeler (1), Javonte Williams (2), Raheem Mostert (6), Zack Moss (9), Alexander Mattison (10), Darrel Williams (14)
WR: DeAndre Hopkins (2), Allen Robinson (3), Tyler Boyd (7), Michael Pittman (8), Terrace Marshall (12)
TE: Irv Smith Jr. (11)
K: Harrison Butker (13)
DEF: Denver Broncos (15)
*Round in parenthesis.
ROUND 1: The pre-draft debate, as the clock on Round 1 begins… has me debating the following with my first pick: Kelce/Ekeler/Chubb. None of those men will be available at my next pick. If ADP can be trusted, and we know it cannot in every draft, I could end up with Metcalf or CEH with my second pick. Do I go RB and hope Metcalf is there in Round 2? Do I go Kelce and hope CEH is there is Round 2? Would I really go two Chiefs like that? I wouldn’t. I could hope that Mixon makes it, but ADP suggests that is unlikely. Would I feel good about D. Swift being my first back? Not really. Ideally, it’s RB/Metcalf. Does the world ever work out that way, ideally? Here we go. Austin Ekeler is the pick in this PPR setup. I think Jeff Mans said it best… Ekeler averaged 18.1 fantasy points per game last season, fifth most among RB’s. With Justin Herbert under center, Ekeler averaged seven targets, 5.8 receptions, 44 yards, while racking up two TD’s and 11.5 fantasy points per game receiving last year. The new Chargers offensive coordinator is Joe Lombardi who comes from New Orleans where he mentored Alvin Kamara to four consecutive 80+ reception seasons. Monster season incoming for the Chargers feature running back in 2021.
ROUND 2: Calvin Ridley or D.K. Metcalf are the hope. As the picks go off the board, there’s a chance. Again, ADP says Ridley will be gone, but Metcalf will be right on when my next pick is up. With all the RB love, a couple of tight ends, and maybe a QB in the mix, there is hope. Crap. Metcalf went, so much for that dream (and again, don’t just trust ADP). Three picks to me. I’m sure Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins will go and leave me without that WR I wanted, right? If CEH goes too, then I quit. Ridley is gone. How the hell does DeAndre Hopkins fall? Transparency’s sake… we have him ranked ahead of all the wideouts I mentioned above. I just never dreamed he would fall to me in Round 2. The best hands in the business is now part of Team Ray.
ROUND 3: Allen Robinson is a pipe dream. If he’s not there, likely going with a back. Hoping on J.K. Dobbins. Amazingly, Robinson is available, and now he is mine. That’s two wideouts with a legit shot to haul in 200 passes in a PPR setup. That’s pretty damn amazing. Ideally, I would go two backs in the first three picks, but I cannot complain about being able to grab two wideouts that are legit WR1’s, with the ability to catch 100 passes a piece. Bank on that production baby.
ROUND 4: I’m hunting a back now. Carson/Davis/Williams are the three I’m eyeing. Carson just went, so down to two top options. Looking at the options if the other two go… I’m not impressed. I don’t want to be the guy who goes three wideouts the top-4 picks, but we might be backed into that corner depending on how the next round plays out. Could go rogue and consider a QB, but I doubt that will be something I feel comfortable with when it comes time to select a guy (Kyler Murray and Hopkins combo?). There goes Davis. We are down to hoping the rookie from Denver is left. I don’t feel confident in that at all with six picks to go. Julio Jones falls to the fourth round. Surprised by that. Two picks now… Javonte Williams is on the squad, and somewhere Jeff Mans gives an F-yeah.
ROUND 5: Let’s see if Melvin Gordon falls to the 5th round so I can scoop him up. Would it be wise? I would lock down the Broncos backfield, and there is always some strength in that, despite what some folks teach. Oh well, he just went off the board. I could go Kyler Murray here. I could go Raheem Mostert and hope that Trey Sermon makes it to the 6th. Ideally, I could have used picks 4/5 to get both backs in a backfield since I had those two wideouts earlier than I was expecting. Pretty sure I can get one of the Niner backs, but both? That seems unlikely. Maybe I try to go Edmonds/Conner? I would think that is possible, but I already have Hopkins so I don’t think that is an ideal move. Craptastic. Kyler went one pick before me. Amazing. I’ve always said it… we don’t record QB points the right way as we give too much value to rushing QBs. This league is four points for passing scores, and six for rushing. I’ll be that guy, and grab Lamar Jackson for the first time ever. What the hell. I will be pretty pissed though if both Niners backs are there at my next pick signaling that I might have been able to get both.
ROUND 6: Crap. Looks like both Niners backs are gonna make it to me. Certainly, possible if I took one in Round 5 that the other would go in Round 6, but that stings a bit because I would have loved to lock down that uber-productive backfield. Never mind. There went Trey Sermon. Now I feel better. Not going to be able to handcuff as hoped, but you gotta work with what cha got – and I’m still grabbing Raheem Mostert. I would have been furious to have gone Mostert in five, only to lose out on Sermon by a couple of picks in Round 6.
ROUND 7: What to do here? Likely a third wideout or another back. It will all depends on who is left when I’m up. Jerry Jeudy seems like a nice option, though I do have Williams in the backfield. James Conner could be a big-time goaline back, but I have Hopkins out wide. DeVante Parker could be the pick… but he has that noodle-armed second year QB. Parker goes. Ideally, Jerry Jeudy this round and James Conner the next. Life never plays out like you hope though, does it? I guess it did a bit earlier on, so a kid can hope. Three picks to go now. Two picks… and there goes Jeudy. Poo pants. Tyler Boyd has the same bye week as Robinson, but he’s the best WR left on the board, an ideal third wideout in a 14-team league, and that gives me a legit shot at 275 catches from my top-3 wideouts which is pretty epic.
ROUND 8: James Conner is the target here – if I can get past using two Cardinals each week. I might pivot and go Kenyan Drake to diversify. If either is available, I’m grabbing him one. If they are not, I’m likely looking tight end as that position is getting close to the random zone. Maybe though, I should flip back to wideout? Starting to look pretty thin there in terms of consistent week-to-week options. Still, guys always emerge at wideout throughout the season, and it is usually easier to get an 11 point a week wideout than it is to find a consistent 11 point a week back in-season. Still, I’m dreaming on Michael Pittman here. He’s the hotter piece than Conner, right? Might Conner still be there in Round 9 if I pass? Can’t think Drake would be, but people seem to really dislike Conner. Ray Flowers usually goes the safe pick, and that would be a running back. To I go more aggressive, take the player I really want? Project out based on potential? Just do it baby. Michael Pittman. Let’s keep those Conner fingers crossed… really tight.
ROUND 9: I immediately doubted my Pittman selection when Drake went right after my last pick. The nail biting starts with Conner. He’s the highest left player on the websites draft board, so I’m thinking he will not make it back. Let’s hope that it’s the right call, taking Pittman. Crap. There went Conner. I don’t know if there is a potential difference maker left at the position, so I’m left to go – Gus Edwards (I already have Lamar) – or Mike Gesicki as the last upper end tight end I see on the board. You can make the argument in both directions, and if I were to go nine rounds with three backs that would likely be the lightest I have ever been in an FSTA/FSGA draft, ever. Devin Singletary just went… and I was giving some thought to Zack Moss/Singletary combo too. Still might go Moss given that I already have Lamar (as noted above). Couldn’t do Gesicki, so I went Zack Moss for that fourth back, an ideal fourth back in a field this large.
ROUND 10: Three men – Gus Edwards, Mike Gesicki, Noah Fant – and one will be on my team. Down to two with Fant gone. Gotta figure Gesicki is gonna go now. If you took Dobbins earlier, and you don’t take Edwards here, I don’t know what to tell ya. There went Edwards. Dang it. I’m not getting any of those three. Down goes Frazier with the pick of Gesicki. Shoot. Hey, things played out swimmingly through nine rounds, so I cannot complain at this situation at all. Robert Tonyan is the top tight end left, and I wouldn’t mind him at all. So much of his production is touchdown based, and of course, that’s all on the Aaron Rodgers returns to GB train. Is Tonyan enough of an upgrade over the others that are left? Maybe, maybe not. Alexander Mattison is the pick. Look, I think it is a mistake to draft Dalvin Cook, who doesn’t play a full slate of games, and not grab his backup through nine rounds. I’ll take Mattison who will start at some point, when Cook misses games. Count on it. Robert Tonyan went with the next pick.
ROUND 11: I basically went earlier than normal with the QB, and that led to the draft playing out with me waiting on TE. I just feel better doing that, almost like it is one or the other early. I’m thinking Irv Smith Jr. here. I also like Breshad Perriman, but with BP’s ADP being so much lower, I feel better about waiting there. I know that Ty Conklin is getting some hype in Minnesota, but Smith is a total mismatch on the field, and with their top-2 wideouts causing fits, how can defense also account for Smith as well? Jonnu Smith just went, and that makes me a bit nervous. Gronk went. Then… Ertz. Wow, a tight end run and amazingly, I still got my guy Irv Smith.
ROUND 12: Now we go wideout hunting with Perriman/Slayton/Marshall/Shepard on the wish list. Perriman just went, a solid selection with the second to last pick of 11th round. I went with Terrace Marshall. Taking the shot on the youngster and hoping he can come through in the second half of the season.
ROUND 13: Debating now. I think Justin Jackson is better than Joshua Kelley, but there are also recent reports suggesting that Jackson may not even make the final cut. So, do I go Kelley, who showed little last year and looked sluggish, or do I go Darrel Williams who would step in to the potent Chiefs’ offense if CEH were to go down? We preach handcuffing at FG, so I’m focused on Kelley. Given that I cannot see anyone taking him, I might push my luck here, given the slight uncertainty on which back is actually the backup in Charger-land, and go the kicker route. That was until Rotoballer took Kelley making up my mind. They “got me,” after I got them in the backfield as we both grabbed the others handcuff. Perhaps a trade can be worked out? I’m really surprised by their pick of Kelley. His ADP at the NFBC since the month of June started is 278.3 meaning they jumped his ADP by more than 100 spots here. Shocking really. Why? Wow. Guess I’m taking Jackson later. Oh well. Justin Tucker is the best kicking option, but I already have Lamar, so I’m going Harrison Butker in the best offense in football as my kicker. Can’t remember the last time I was this aggressive at the kicker spot. A Week 12 bye helps too.
ROUND 14: Darrel Williams, mentioned above, is my target here, either him or the Colts’ defense. I’m thinking Williams in 14th, a defense in Round 15, and then Justin Jackson in the 16th may not be the worst plan, though the addition of Larry Rountree, and that recent report about Jackson maybe not making the team, does make me nervous. Might still go a second QB, depending on how the draft plays out. Thinking I will likely pass on that plan though. Looks like it is coming down to Darrel/Defense. You gotta play the D each week, Williams is just depth, but at the same time he could be a huge asset if CEH went down as Andy Reid teams always have a top-20 RB, if not an RB1. Darrel Williams is the pick.
ROUND 15: Thinking defense here. Probably unrealistic to dream that the Colts will make it back to me. The Colts just went. Thinking Patriots or Broncos here, maybe even the Chargers. I don’t really have a QB preference, and if Lamar goes down, I’m in big trouble anyway, so even if I’m going a QB with one of last two picks, might as well just wait. The Broncos get a strong start to the schedule and the Chiefs matchups aren’t until Weeks 13 and 18.
ROUND 16: So, we are down to a backup QB, Justin Jackson, Darrius Slayton or something else? The QB spot is a real mess right now, as everyone is seemingly taking two QBs. I bag on Jones all the time, but as the 24th QB off the board, with all those weapons, he’s worth a selection at this point in a draft. There is always the chance that a light goes off and the turnovers vanish from his game. He’s not starting unless Lamar is hurt, so he’s merely a QB handcuff. Daniel Jones is the pick
Here is a link to the draft board.
The first seven picks went aces. I never dreamed I would grab two WR1’s, and if Ekeler can stay healthy he could be my fourth player with 80 catches (Hopkins, Robinson, Boyd, Ekeler). I’m thinner at RB than usual, and I wasn’t able to handcuff my guys which hurts too, but I do at least have some guys who would really emerge if an injury hit. I went young with my depth receivers, projecting out some success, and Irv Smith should help me keep pace with all but about 6-7 tight ends in the game. Should I have waited at QB? In retrospect probably. Jackson can win any weekly matchup with a massive effort, and that’s something that the likes of Brady/Stafford types are less likely to do if I were to have waited. It’s a team that I’m comfortable with and that’s a pretty solid accomplishment in a 14-team battle.