The Carolina Cat Chronicles 2nd annual fantasy draft took place last night. The Muhammed League that I'm in had a good time - after the inevitable "no-shows" got put on autodraft after the first round. I've broken down the results below, round-by-round.
I had the dreaded #1 pick overall, which means in a snake draft, I don't get my 2nd player until all other teams have picked two. However, I'm the only team to pick 3 of the top 25 players - it's just that month-long wait between "pick-clumps" that you have either at the beginning or the end of the round if you draft first or last that makes the drafting difficult and a bit disjointed.
When you draft and have to wait that long, you're either going to appear to reach a little bit or you're picking up sliding draftees. There's a generally significant drop-off in quality with each new pair of picks since 22 other choices get made before the draft snakes its way back, when you get to make that next pair o' picks.
Now that all the posturing and whining is out of the way, let's take a look, shall we? I am team "Double-Cam Offense:"
NOTE: Click the images to enlarge.
Round 1: I took Adrian Peterson, RB, Min over Le'Veon Bell for several reasons. The most obvious is the short suspension. Then, there's AP playing with a chip on his shoulder, in a Norv Turner RB-friendly offense, and AP is no longer the sole option for that offense so stacked boxes shouldn't be an issue. He's the dreaded "30" yrs old, but his body's age is only 28 as he missed a season due to an ACL tear and then missed last season due to using switches on his son. Yeah - SUCH an evil man, punishing his child the same way he was raised, and he became an NFL superstar. So much for the NFL's overly politically-correct mess.
Best Pick: Hard to argue against Gronk, who makes the TE position relevant in FFL.
Worst Pick: DeMarco Murray. NFL history is replete with examples of running backs following a career year with a relatively poor one, especially when the number of touches (read: HITS TAKEN) from the previous season was so high. Murray's a second-round pick at best this season, I think.
Best Risk/Reward pick: Hard to have a risk/reward guy early on, but of the first-round group here, I'd say it's Shady McCoy. I'm hearing some rumors that he's not healthy, not this, not that, but I will say this: If he IS healthy, he'll be playing with a chip on his shoulder too, and we all know Rex Ryan loves to pound the rock. McCoy's FFL output could be anywhere from an average RB2 to a top-ten RB1. Time will tell.
Round 2: I'm first every odd round and last every even one, so I took WR Brandin Cooks with the first of my 2 consecutive picks. I'm banking on the injury last year being a fluke, and hope to see Cooks on the field, reasonably, for 13 or 14 games.
Best Pick: Jeremy Hill. No way should he have lasted to #17 and was a real good value taken there. He should way out-produce the other Bengals backs this year, and I would have taken Hill at #10-12 in round one, had I been drafting there.
Worst Pick: TIE - QB Andrew Luck; QB Aaron Rodgers. It's not that these guys won't be top-3 FFL QBs; they will. I just hate taking QBs early because of the fact it puts you behind the 8-ball with your choices at other positions, and frankly I don't think there will be all that much drop-off in production this year between these two and, say, Big Ben. Coulda waited for a QB, but if you wanted a safe producer in round 2, you can't really argue with either one. I'm generally looking more for value than FP production in an absolute sense when deciding good/bad picks per round.
Best Risk/Reward Pick: Actually, it probably IS Brandin Cooks, only because he has a bit more risk with his injury history than the others. His upside is even higher than it was last year, however, as the Saints go for a more balanced approach - and while I don't see Brees flirting with 5,000 yards again, and some of Kenny Stills' and Jimmy Graham's production has to go someplace. Cooks is the obvious man there.
Round 3: I took T.Y. Hilton here. Having only the one RB spot and having done mock-draft research, I figured I'd have a productive back-up later in the draft to pickup (I think I did), I went ahead forward with a receiver-heavy draft. Sure, Andy Luck likes to spread the wealth around, but Hilton's a game-breaker and I kept in mind the league scoring rules of bonus points for long TDs. Hilton's quite capable of delivering on that front, although he tends to disappear a few games a year. I'll take it.
Best Pick: Alfred Morris. He should get 1300 yards from scrimmage and 6-8 TDs, and is about an un-sexy a pick as you can get. However, at the end of the 3rd round, finding a strong starting RB is never a bad thing. Nice job.
Worst Pick: Russell Wilson. Sure, he'll have some monster games, but those will come at odd times via using his feet. And yes, they did add one of the NFL's most dangerous red-zone threats in Jimmy Graham, but the team is a run-first offense and Wilson isn't asked to carry them on his shoulders very often. Besides, as I said I'm not a fan of taking QBs early.
Best Risk/Reward Pick: TIE: Mark Ingram, Carlos Hyde. Both are RBs with no huge history of production for various reasons, but it doesn't mean they can't. Ingram probably gets the slight edge because he has a QB threat that Hyde lacks.
Round 4: I nabbed WR Golden Tate with the last pick. A WR2 on a team where he should see WR1 production, this guy is the real deal. He was stuck in Seattle, capping his output, until last year when he broke out in Detroit. No Megatron last season, but his presence this year only means Golden Tate won't be seeing double-coverage and should do about the same damage as he did last year.
Best Pick: Golden Tate. I really think he'll be a monster again, and the only other player with as high a ceiling as Tate in this round is Amari Cooper, but he's an unproven rookie with no real threat opposite him - at least not like a Megatron - to pull defenders away from him.
Worst Pick: Peyton Manning. He can't throw the deep ball anymore and that was exposed in his Super Bowl fiasco by the Seahawks. He throws the shortest routes of any NFL QB, meaning his own production will depend on his receivers' ability to YAC it up...then again, he does still have Demaryius Thomas. I just don't like using a 4th-round pick on a QB who freely admits he can't feel his fingertips. Bad sign.
Best Risk/Reward pick: Melvin Gordon. Taking rookies in the top-four rounds always carries a risk, but Gordon is "da man" in San Diego pretty much by default. Brandon Oliver and Danny Woodhead have nice skill sets, but are not every-down backs. A lot should hinge on how well the Wisconsin rookie can pick up pass-protection schemes the NFL has that the Badgers never asked him to try in college.
Round 5: I took Davante Adams of Green Bay. Should be rather obvious why - with Jordy Nelson being out for the season with an ACL, Aaron Rodgers isn't going to miss much. Randall Cobb is very dangerous, so I don't see defenses paying Adams undue attention because they can't with Cobb and Lacy on the field. Adams will likely be facing the defense's CB2 and that makes for an upside off the charts.
Best Pick: Lots of really good choices make this round difficult, but I'd have to say Andre Ellington at the end simply because it's at the end of the round. He's Arizona's main RB, but durability is always a concern with this smallish RB. However, he has great hands and should see 15+ touches per game, easily - not bad at all to get a starting RB with upside at the end of the 5th round.
Worst Pick: Jason Witten. He's getting old and will run fewer routes than most starting TEs because Dallas is more of a run-first team these days. With Dez Bryant catching the TDs and Terrance Newman likely grabbing his share too, I just don't see much upside for the stalwart Witten. He was probably drafted on name recognition or just to have a TE who should put up SOMETHING each week, even with a low ceiling.
Best Risk/Reward pick: Pretty obvious - Todd Gurley. If he can heal up he could be devestating the second half of the season. The risk? That he won't be healthy enough to contribute much. All up in the air right now, but this kid's talent is undeniable.
Round 6: I took Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin here - he's the guy I mentioned before about "waiting for." In the preseason, he has looked more like the rookie version of the Muscle Hamster, and with a rookie QB, he'll be asked to help take the load off so his upside is quite high once again.
Best Pick: Jarvis Landry. I think he and QB Ryan Tannehill have developed good chemistry and he has seen a lot of targets in the preseason. I think it'll continue. In fact, I think Landry has the potential to be one of the biggest "surprise" producers in the entire NFL this season, depending on how Devante Parker develops.
Worst Pick: Panthers DEF. WAAAAY too early to take a defense, CHEEZ! 6th round, seriously? Then again, it's a Panthers fan league, so it's understandable. I'm just not a fan of taking defenses before about the 10th round, so this is just way early for my taste.
Best risk/reward pick: Rashad Jennings. The Giants offense is a mess, mainly due to the o-line and the uncanny ability Eli Manning has of throwing the ball to the guy in the wrong hat, at least until the playoffs where he seems to play up to the moment. He also seems to play "down" to the moment during the regular season, and Jennings' production is darned near impossible to predict.
Round 7: I chose John Brown's mouldering body. I think his upside is highest on the Cardinals' offense.
Best Pick: John Brown. Seriously. He showed flashes of brilliance last season, with the likes of Ryan Lindell throwing the ball to him. If he can produce with practice-squad-level QBs, I can only imagine what numbers he'll put up if Carson Palmer can stay healthy. Sky's the limit for this kid - another game-breaker receiver for me! I almost took Martellus Bennett as a productive TE, but Chicago and Jay Cutler....YEESH!
Worst Pick: Sammy Watkins. No knock on Sammy here, but his QB is Tyrod Taylor - certainly an unknown quantity. With a guy like rookie Nelson Agholor on the board, knowing Chip Kelly's offensive strategy, and seeing him haul in some difficult throws in the pre-season, I'd have gone with him instead. I think Watkins' production will be unpredictable for 2015 game-to-game, making him difficult to project on a weekly basis for the FLEX spots. Also, it's still too early to take a defense, but if you have to, the Texans defense (with FFL machine JJ Watt) is the one to grab...even before Carolina's. Sorry for the news...
Best risk/reward pick: Gotta be Cam Newton here. While he's not a reach nor a value pick in the 7th round, no Kelvinator throws his whole passing production into question. Yes, he'll dump off to Pro Bowl TE Greg Olsen, but Olsen's no game-breaker but a chains-mover. If a once-again healthy Cam has to run more, his FP should put him in the top-ten...if he gets his own share of goal-line QB draws/sneaks. If rookie Devin Funchess can replicate Kelvin Benjamin's rookie stats, Newton COULD be a top five QB fantasy-wise by season's end.
Round 8: I picked TE Delanie Walker because of the reportedly "very accurate" rookie QB in Marcus Mariota. Walker's ceiling is probably a bit higher than most people seem to think, I believe, due simply because of the QB learning curve. He should see his share of dump-offs and put up SOME points every week, which is fine for the thinnest overall position in fantasy football. My thinking is if you don't get a top-four TE, most of the rest are going to probably wind up about the same overall so I was in no rush since I passed up Martellus Bennett the previous back-to-back round I had.
Best pick: Isaiah Crowell. Yes, it's Cleveland, but with their passing game up in the air (and NOT in a good way), they'll be a run-first team with Crowell at the top of the rock-toter list. He's not flashy and won't put up monster games, but I think he's a safe, steady guy for the bench which is exactly what you want at this point.
Worst pick: Torrey Smith. He lives and dies with the deep ball, and Colin Kaepernick struggles throwing the deep pass even more than Ryan Tannehill does. Torrey would have been a PERFECT fit in Seattle, with Russell Wilson throwing perhaps the best deep pass in the NFL, but alas, he's with a different NFC West squad, and the worst one for his ceiling. If he gets over 700 yards this season, I'll be shocked.
Best risk/reward pick: Devin Funchess. As I mentioned earlier, no Kelvin, so Funchess could see a tough rookie campaign with Corey Brown being the new spokesman for Butterfingers candy bars and Olsen not being a threat to take the top off the defense. Ted Ginn has the speed, but lacks other skills to be that deep vertical threat, so Funchess is going to really have to come on strong. The good news? He has the skill set to do so and one of the NFL's finest WR coaches in Ricky Proehl. We'll see, but hopes for this kid are high.
Round 9: I finally took my QB - Phillip Rivers. Good producer, good draft position to get a QB.
Best pick: David Cobb may or may not be the BEST pick, but he's the most intriguing one. Kinda hard to say sometimes when you get to the latter rounds, but with the rookie QB and Bishop Sankey in the tankey, someone's going to be racking up rushing yards and it might as well be David Cobb.
Worst pick: Michael Floyd. Floyd had a down season last year and while some of that is due to QB woes, it didn't seem to bother his young teammate, Josh Brown, whom I drafted previously. With Fitz still having awesome hands and never having had the speed to lose as he ages, Floyd's role in this offense would seem to be a tertiary one. I'd have chosen someone else.
Best risk/reward pick: Zach Ertz has been touted as a great TE with upside since entering the NFL, but for various reasons hasn't reached his potential. With Chip's offense, however, if the stars align, Ertz has as high an upside as most any TE in the league - especially considering he has yet to light it up at the pro level so far.
Round 10: My choice was Devante Parker, the rookie wideout in Miami.
Best pick: Antonio Gates. I passed him up for Walker a couple of rounds before due to the 4-game suspension, but once he's back, Gates is the ageless wonder at TE that Tony Gonzalez used to be a few years ago. However, I didn't want BOTH Rivers AND Gates on my roster. That said, I was thinking about drafting Gates next, even though I had no plans to take a 2nd TE. Great gem of a pick this late!
Worst pick: Pierre Garcon. Washington is starting Kirk Cousins, who bites, and if the preseason is any indication, their o-line is still going to be a huge mess. They just couldn't protect whoever the QB was, and that bodes well for Alfred Morris and just as poorly for all their WRs - including Garcon, who isn't the primary guy on the team anyway. I just can't get excited about this guy this year.
Best risk/reward pick: EASILY it's Sam Bradford. He's another guy I was going to pick next - I had both Bradford and Gates in my pick list until they were peeled off, as he was to be Rivers' back-up with the hopes of playing match-up QB ball, perhaps. He fell this far obviously due to his fragile nature, but I've got a gut feeling this year that Bradford could be the "Comeback Player of the Year."
Round 11: I nabbed the Rams Defense. They have very likely the most imposing front-seven in the NFL, especially considering their absolutely murderous D-line. Lots of sacks, low scores mean lots of FP...and I didn't have to use a 6th-round pick like the team who took the Panthers, and the Rams should out-score the Carolina defense as far as FP are concerned. Also considered the Bills, but the AFC East looks to be the toughest division in the NFL this year. The NFC West? Not so much as the teams in the NFC West are mostly strong due to their defenses.
Best pick: Matthew Stafford probably is the best overall value with Megatron and Golden Tate on the outside.
Worst pick: Adam Vinatieri. The first kicker off the board should be Stephen Gostkowski, period. Also, it's too early to draft your kicker....let alone a 41 (?) year old one.
Best risk/reward pick: Tyrod Taylor. Yes, the Bills QB carousel landed with Taylor as the starter - for now. I think his inexperience combined with mobility could give him some decent FP outings due to his legs. He should also make some spectacular big plays in the passing game, if you can put up with some multiple-INT games.
Round 12: I took Cameron Artis-Payne...half due to the need to have "A" Carolina Panther for Homerism purposes and also because J-Stew's health is always a concern.
Best pick: Stephen Gostkowski. Although I'm not a fan of taking kickers until the final round, Gostkowski is the lone exception to this rule. Brandon LaFell is a close second here.
Worst pick: Knile Davis. He hasn't done anything since his days at Arkansas, and looks to be a reach for a warm body at RB. Wrong warm body.
Best risk/reward pick: Cameron Artis-Payne. Although this late in the draft, the "risk" is always relatively small, I'm basing this choice on Jonathan Stewart's health history. Stewie was taken in the 3rd round, and if he stays healthy, C A-P probably won't produce more than a few hundred yards. It's the upside that I was drafting for, and the "other" Cam in the Double-Cam Offense is, in fact, a lottery ticket. A 12th-round pick is a small price to pay for a guy that could hit the jackpot in a fantasy sense if Stewie does go down again. I went light on the RBs this season because of the lone-RB format, but am feeling pretty good with All Day as my starting RB and the Muscle Hamster backing him up. Cam can sit on the bench as long as Stewie produces and I'm fine with that.
Round 13: I took QB Derek Carr as my back-up QB...mainly because the Raiders play Jacksonville during Phillip Rivers' bye week, so I'm happy with this pick.
Best pick: Terrance WIlliams. He's the "forgotten guy" with Dez around, and the Cowboys' WR2 had 8 TD grabs last year so he's got a nose for the end zone. Pretty good to get a WR3 with high-WR2 upside in the 13th round.
Worst pick: Bengals DEF. It's hardly a horrible choice, as the pickin's get slim around here, but they play the high-octane offense of Pittsburgh twice and Baltimore's O is not a slouch these days, either, so having the Bengals DEF is going to make scoring interesting about every other week or every third week.
Best risk/reward pick: Percy Harvin. He hasn't done anything in years, can't seem to stay healthy OR on the coaches good side, but Rex Ryan is a different animal. He wanted him in NY when he was the Jets' coach and now has him again in Buffalo. Apparently, Rex loves the guy, so he should see opportunities if all else lines up. The biggest issue is he's one to have big games at random times, and I don't see putting him in as a starter much to begin with. Sit on him for a month or two and he might re-emerge. Worthy of a late pick here for sure.
Round 14: I took Greg Zuerlein, "Legatron." NFL's strongest leg and plays half his games in a dome, so I took my kicker as the draft's "Mr. Irrelevant."
- No best/worst/risk/reward selections here as mostly kickers were taken and kickers, other than a few, are always a toss-up in FP production from one year to the next.
Overall, my own strategy was to get speedy, game-breaking, big-play types of guys due to the bonus points for long TDs and games of over "X" number of yards. Over time, I think they'll help pile up the scoring and hopefully get me Shaq's jersey - and the $300 for this needy writer!! :)
See you on the C3 FF gridiron!
Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye