C3 held its first mock draft this past Tuesday. We learned some things you will want to know. If you didn’t get in this mock, keep checking in on the website. We’ll try to run at least once a week until the big draft. Yes, we’re talking about “practice.”
1) You need Java. Unfortunately, it’s just the case. Most likely, you will not be able to draft from a mobile device or tablet. There are some workarounds, but the look pretty complicated. The surefire bet is a computer (Windows or Mac) that can run Java.
2) Be comfortable with the process prior to draft night. Make sure you participate in a mock draft or two before the big night. The platform is clean and efficient, but everyone could benefit from familiarizing themselves with the site’s nuances. The draft room isn’t cluttered with a lot of extra fluff. You can see the listing of you team, the draft boards, and the chat room clearly. I didn’t see a lot of extra player analysis, so keep an extra cheat sheet or two around to add to what FleaFlicker provides--which is minimal. C3 will organize several drafts in the upcoming weeks. Try to jump in one. Flea Flicker also runs mock drafts all day, every day.
3) C3 Ballers are homers. Panthers players did indeed seem to go a round or two higher than they probably should, so keep that in mind when you start to see them come off the draft board. Cam will be the first one, Jonathan Stewart, Olsen, and Benjamin were all drafted but DeAngelo went next to last in the entire draft! Interesting. Fans seem to know about the “age 30” wall for running backs. As for Stewie’s being drafted, reports are that he’s in great shape and feels better than he has in a long time, and since he has great hands he’s worth that much more in PPR leagues...so long as he can stay healthy??? Kelvin Benjamin was likely over-drafted, but he’ll probably have a few games where he could really be a factor if he’s playing in your fantasy league. The trick is figuring out which ones those may be beforehand!
4) 3 minutes on the clock. Each player gets three minutes to make a pick, If you pay attention to your team needs vs. who is drafted carefully, three minutes should be plenty of time to make your selection. My main complaint about the draft is that you can’t see a player’s bye week if you queue him up to draft, so it’s probably a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy to jot those things down for guys you’re targeting, especially when you’re drafting the second or third players at any given position. Sure, it’s great to have five good or great wide receivers but it would really bite the big one if they all have the same two bye weeks. Believe me, I almost screwed it up when I had drafted Tom Brady, with bye week 10, while I was eyeing RGIII to play matchup QBs each week. Problem was RGIII has bye week…..10. I nearly missed that and it would have all but guaranteed me a loss that week.
5) Be ready for later rounds. In this draft particularly more than others, I saw players I wanted being snatched before I was up to pick. However, as I picked first in a snake draft, the wait was quite long before I got to make back-to-back picks. It has its good and bad sides but, no matter where you draft, someone pretty sharp will be looking at the same players you are. Since the teams bought our draft guide and got entry to the league, I maintain that those folks are going to be above-average in knowledge or they wouldn’t be parting with any money to play with in the first place. Do your research! With that said, I still had a number of nice “sleeper” candidates left over when the draft ended, so it can be done.
6) First picks are for the money. The initial flow of the draft was normal with a couple of notable exceptions. Yes, premium RBs went at the top. I had the #1 overall and went with Shady McCoy since he’s a workhorse back that can catch and it’s a PPR league. The top four were RBs, then A.J. Green was amazingly taken at #5 overall….ahead of Megatron! I suppose statistically it could work out and Green has been a force since he first stepped on an NFL field, but it just seems a bit weird. Jimmy Graham went #8! So if you want him, you’re gonna have to pony up your top pick it would appear. It’s actually not a bad strategy because he should lead all TEs in production by a mile. All first round picks were understandable, but they galvanized each team’s draft strategy--possibly more than the owner expected.
7) Quarterbacks fell. The top QB in our first mock was Drew Brees at #15 overall! Manning and Rodgers went 16th and 18th, and I had even considered taking Manning with my #1 pick overall! I was sitting there at 22nd and 23rd salivating until they were gone just out of my reach. I could have had Nick Foles, who went right after me at 24th, but I went with a WR and a second RB for one of my two flex positions. Foles went a bit high since I don’t think he can repeat last year’s 2 INT campaign. I spent a 4th on Tom Brady and a 9th on Tony Romo. I want my starting FFL QB to be an established guy….and so should you!
8) Rookies were appealing. In the deeper rounds, I was looking to stockpile receivers and running backs to prepare for injuries or maybe look to trade throughout the season. There were a lot of mid to lower tier guys, where their names were familiar, but their continued productivity remains questionable. I ended up going after guys like Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks, hoping that they will be featured because of their draft status. You never know, the hype could be true. It’s hard to believe Sean Peyton won’t try to integrate a guy like Cooks substantially. There's a vision that accompanied these selections. You can believe Benjamin is going to get his targets this season. I’d hate a guy like Dwayne Bowe, Jeremy Maclin, or even Steve Smith sway me because of familiarity. Likely you aren’t trying to grab your starting wideouts this late in the draft, so why settle for a guy you will never start. Instead of laying down a bunt, take a swing and get a late inning RBI.
9) Dont forget injured guys! A lot of FFL GMs have short memories and don’t consider talented players that had little fantasy impact last year due to injury. For instance, I stole Reggie Wayne in the bottom of the 10th round while T.Y. Hilton went in the 6th. If they have similar fantasy numbers, who got the better end of that one? Marques Colston went in the 11th round. Despite being injured, the Muscle Hamster still went tenth overall and was overdrafted as he’ll be in a BBC (backfield by committee) situation from what it looks like right now. Who knows what Lovie Smith has in store though? Doug Martin could be worth a #10 overall in late August but not at this point. He has the talent so pay attention to that one.
10) Blue Chip or Penny Stocks? Positional needs didn’t always dictate draft selection, illustrated by both the QB and TE selections. In this draft, QBs were strung all over the draft board. Yeah, the top ones went by round two, but there were value picks through the top ten rounds. Amazingly RGIII and Tony Romo didn’t go until the 9th round. Both Big Ben and Philip Rivers were still around in the tenth. Rivers in the tenth is 0an absolute fantasy steal, but I had taken Romo as my backup QB in the 9th. Romo was “BPA” pick that allows me to play match-ups with my other QB, the league crybaby, Tom Brady.
Tight ends were also either blue chip or penny stocks, leaving little in between. Several GMs forewent filling the position wasn’t a particularly worthy guy when the started thinking tight end. Many went looked to stockpile different positions and fortify their benches instead of reaching for a guy too early. The Fleaflicker.com site even makes suggestions when you pick like “Your weakest position is QB and so-and-so is available,” but those were largely ignored as well since GMs appeared to come to the draft room with a plan of sorts. Nobody overdrafted team defenses or kickers simply because they didn’t have one yet - again, people were looking for value for their picks….just like it happens in the real NFL draft rooms. Well played, everyone!
Baker's 10? Let’s crush this together. C3 created the Fantasy Football Challenge to bring Panthers together through friendly competition. There will be tons going on throughout the challenge, and we can all benefit from discussing draft strategy, standings, trade opportunities, or even just a little friendly smack talk. Let’s open this thread up to additional advice and observations. Here are the draft results. Take a peek at them, and leave a comment about what you see, what you like, and what you feel were poor moves. My boy Mel Mayock didn’t like C3’s pick of Chris Johnson early in the second round. Do any other moves jump off the page?