So once again, I am in a fantasy football league.
And unlike last year, I’m not the returning champion. In fact, I didn’t even make the playoffs last season, thanks to some bad luck, injuries and guys not living up to their draft potential.
So I went into this year’s draft more optimistic. I mean, what are the odds that I could have bad drafts back-to-back?
Just a few notes about the league for those that follow fantasy sports: We dress two QBs, two RBS, two WRS, one tight end, one WR/RB, one WR/TE, one kicker and two team defences. We also have six bench spots.
Our league stats are also a bit different than normal. Touchdowns are worth 6 points each, and every 50 yards passed, and 20 yards rushed and received, are worth an additional point. You can lose points for interceptions, sacks, fumbles lost and missed field goals (and missed points after touchdowns).
Here’s how my lineup shakes down after the draft:
Round 1, 2nd overall: Adrian Peterson. I’m very excited with this choice. I planned to take him even if I had the #1 pick. No disservice to Chris Johnson, but I don’t think Johnson can replicate his numbers from last year. Peterson has been consistent his three years in the league, and will be expected to carry more of a workload since the receiving corps in Minnesota is injured. And since touchdowns are worth so much in our league, having a back that can score 18 touchdowns is a great thing.
Round 2, 23rd overall: Philip Rivers. With the way our system is set up, QBs are more valuable than RBs in general (at this point, eight other QBs were taken). So it’s important to get a top-notch quarterback, especially since we start two quarterbacks a week. Rivers fills that need for me. He throws for a lot of yards, and keeps his interceptions down (only nine last season). Solid pick.
Round 3, 26th overall: Matt Ryan. Same situation as with my second rounder. I needed a good quarterback, and Ryan was the best available. After this pick, the quality of quarterbacks left took a huge nosedive, with the best available being guys like Jay Cutler, Donovon McNabb and Carson Palmer. Serviceable guys, but not great guys.
Round 4, 47th overall: Anquan Boldin. Now I needed to focus on a quality wide receiver. Boldin moved away from Arizona at the right time, and steps into a good situation in Baltimore. There’s some talented wideouts to help keep focus away from him, and there’s a good quarterback to get the ball to him. Even with an off-year last year, he kept getting the yards. I see Boldin getting back to the 10+ touchdowns he used to get.
Round 5, 50th overall: Thomas Jones. I was surprised he was still available here. He has at least 1,000 yards rushing in each of the last five seasons. Scored 27 touchdowns in the last two seasons combined. He’s the #1 runningback in Kansas City. He doesn’t fumble the ball (a maximum of two in any of his last six seasons). A good solid runningback to have on the team.
Round 6, 71st overall: Green Bay defence. It may sound early to take a defence team, but it actually isn’t. With 12 people in the pool, and us dressing two defences a week, it meant a manager has to choose three defences. If not, you wind up seeing all the defences snapped up. Then, when one of your teams is on a bye week, there’s nothing to replace them with. Plus, with our scoring system, team defences are important cost you more games then you think. So I wanted to get a quality team defence. Green Bay fits that bill.
Round 7, 74rd overall: Ben Roethlisberger. Yes, I realize he’s suspended for the first four games of the season. But I already have two top-tier quarterbacks. Roethlisberger will be my replacement when one of those guys have a bye week. Or if they get injured, he’s a capable replacement. He’d be a lot better if he didn’t get sacked eight times a game, but I can live with him being the backup on my team.
Round 8, 95th overall: Terrell Owens. At this point, I only had one wide receiver on my team, so I needed another guy that would dress every week that has the potential to put up big numbers. The only one left was #81. Owens excels best when he’s not the only weapon on the team. And in Cincinnati, he’s not even the top weapon. There’s Chad Ochocinco as the #1 wide receiver, which should open Owens up for more plays, leading to more yards and more touchdowns.
Round 9, 98th overall: LeSean McCoy. McCoy had an okay season last year, but he was the backup to Brian Westbrook. With Westbrook now in San Fran, that leaves McCoy as the #1 RB option in Philly. So let’s see, I could choose a #1 runningback, or a #2 wide receiver (or even a kicker, which was the next choice). I will take the #1 RB every time, thank you very much.
Round 10, 119th overall: Chicago Bears defence. Okay, I’ll admit I blew this one. I put them in my queue to keep them in my mind as my third team defence. But my other defences starting going, so I drafted these guys in the panic. No matter. I have a few days to convince myself that they’ll be a top defence again this season. Plus, they play the Lions twice, so at least I know I have at least two good fantasy weeks coming from these guys.
Round 11, 122nd overall: Justin Forsett. He will be the starting runningback in Seattle, at least at the beginning of the season. He may not keep it though. But he’s my fourth runningback option, so I’m not too worried. For now.
Round 12, 143rd overall: Austin Collie. Without a doubt, my steal of the draft. As a rookie last year, he had 676 yards and seven touchdowns. Plus, he gets to play with Peyton Manning for another year. He should get better as he goes along, so he could be a threat for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.
Round 13, 146th overall: Carolina defence. I still needed one more defence. Carolina was fifth in the league last year for interceptions, and first for fumbles recovered. So I like this team as my third defence (or #2, depending on how well Chicago does).
Round 14, 167th overall: Fred Davis. My first and only tight end. I believe that the tight end position is overrated in fantasy football. Instead of grabbing an Antonia Gates or a Dallas Clark early (both were fourth round picks in the draft), I choose to wait and grab someone who could help my team in a later round. Davis had six touchdowns last year, and should benefit from the Redskins addition of Donovan McNabb. Solid pick.
Round 15, 170th overall: Seneca Wallace. Interception machine Jake Delhomme is the starting QB in Cleveland. Wallace is the backup. How long before Wallace is the starter? Three weeks? Four? Does Delhomme even make it to the bye week?
Round 16, 191st overall: Kareem Huggins. This is when you start to go for a couple of sleeper picks. Huggins is a rookie in the Tampa Bay organization, and is second on the depth chart for runningbacks. The only man ahead of him is Cadillac Williams. That’s right, the same Cadillac Williams who spends more time on the IR than off it. The same Cadillac Williams who, despite playing all 16 games last year, had only 832 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. I think Huggins will become the main guy there by about the mid-point of the season.
Round 17, 194th overall: Demaryius Thomas. Another potential sleeper. I know he’s had some foot problems this summer, but the wide receiver is expected to replace Brandon Marshall in Denver. That means a lot of footballs being thrown his way. If he works out, awesome. If not, he’s a bench player anyways, so no harm, no foul.
Round 18, 215th overall: Jay Feely. The second-last overall pick of the draft. So of course, I pick a kicker. When I choose a kicker, I look for two things. One, they play in a dome, and two, if not a dome, then a nice warm-weather area. I stay away from kickers from Pittsburgh and Chicago because the weather can play havoc with a field goal attempt. And since we have it set up that you lose points for kickers missing a field goal, I tend to stay away from them. I’m happy with this strategy. I ended up with Feely, who was eighth in our league last year for points. The first kicker drafted was Stephen Gostkowski, way back in the seventh round. In that round, guys like Roethlisberger and Matt Cassel were drafted. I’d rather have the QB, RB or WR at that point, and save the kicker for last.
I’m happy with my team. This is how it breaks down by position:
QB: Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Seneca Wallace
RB: Adrian Peterson, Thomas Jones, LeSean McCoy, Justin Forsett, Kareem Huggins
WR: Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, Austin Collie, Demaryius Thomas
TE: Fred Davis
K: Jay Feely
DEF: Green Bay, Chicago, Carolina
I’ve got the top runningback in the league, solid quarterbacks, good receivers and strong defences. I have everything I need to win the league.
I just wish Yahoo didn’t predict my opponent would outscore me the first week.