The team formerly known as "Xtreme Will Finish Last" (now Risky Business) was glad his prediction was wrong as he got his pick of anyone in the league and got us started off. He wasted no time and selected Aaron Rodgers first overall. Can't make any complaints there as he'll probably be in the top 3 in fantasy points when its all said and done.
I was up next and I knew for weeks who I was going to pick, one of the nice things about knowing your draft position. As I mentioned in my QB review, Tom Brady and the Patriots are going to air it out quite a bit this year and he has a couple new weapons to add to his already potent arsenal. It won't be another 2007, but I feel good about a repeat or better of last year.
Worthless Burgers got the third pick and kept the QB theme going with the pick of
AFL New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. While everything else on the Saints offense is a mystery, fantasy wise, Brees is as good as they come when it comes to fantasy players. Finally the auto drafting ANNIHILATORS broke the streak and picked Ray Rice. I don't know how he had his players ranked for the auto draft, but grabbing the best RB on the board after those three QBs get taken is a pretty good move.
Our new owner with the STEAGLES picked next and went back to the QBs with Matthew Stafford. Never has a pick been so safe, yet gutsy. Safe because he's a great QB, throws to the best WR in the game and doesn't have to worry about weather playing inside a dome. Gutsy because last year was his first full year in the NFL. He played a combined 13 games in the two previous seasons. North Side, with the 6th overall pick chose Arian Foster, who has been a fantasy gold mine the past few seasons. He's a threat running and catching and scores plenty of TDs for an explosive Texans offense.
Benchwarmers went with, what I thought was a little surprising, Cam Newton. Don't get me wrong, he's great and was on my team last year, but 7th overall seems maybe one round too early. He is a dual threat. He throws for a decent amount of yardage, rushed for over 700 yards last year and scored 14 rushing TDs. I just wonder if the NFL will be better prepared for him the way they were better prepared for Michael Vick in his second year as Eagles QB. Speaking of the Eagles, Fighting Pugs went with Philly and former Pitt RB LeSean McCoy. Like Foster is a great all around threat out of the backfield, however with a running QB like Vick, he may not get as many TDs. That wasn't the case last year as he scored 17, but it was in 2010 when he just had 7.
Zombies, one of the perennial strong players in all my fantasy leagues, picked the best WR in the draft, Calvin Johnson. Even when his opponents know he's going to thrown to, he still makes the grab. He's a freak of nature and with a healthy Stafford will continue to put up big numbers. Last and certainly not least, our defending champion Ray Finkle's Mom. I was a bit surprised to see him snag Maurice Jones-Drew though. He was a beast last year and is still the Jacksonville offense, but he missed the entire preseason, will be eased back into the lineup slowly serving as a backup and 3rd down back initially. He also touched the ball 386 times last year. I don't care who you are, when you're close to 400 touches, you're going to be banged up the next year. Maybe missing the preseason will alleviate those worries.
It was a long wait in between picks for me, but that was alright. Mrs Fantasy Factor was out and the kids were jumping around me wanting dinner. After I finished making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it was again my turn. Unfortunately I hadn't really been paying attention to who was getting picked and who was still available. I wanted another QB, but out of what was left, Peyton Manning was the only one I really trusted the most. Shocking considering I picked him early last year and he didn't play a single snap. However, I'm willing to take a gamble (again) on Peyton and believe that he'll be healthy and effective all season. Plus, how many chances do you get to put in both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady every week?
With my QBs set and the RBs looking pretty picked over at this point, I turned to receivers. "Gronkowski or Andre Johnson? Or maybe Gronkowski and Welker? Get the Patriots connection going" Before I could make my selection however, Risky Business picked Rob Gronkowski and made it easier for me. Oh well, Andre Johnson it is, I guess. His injury history does make me nervous, however when he is in the lineup, he's great and I didn't think there were any other receivers out there that could make an impact like a healthy Andre Johnson.
My next plan was to go after a couple of RBs who had their stock drop due to injuries last year. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. You'll probably never be able to get these RBs this late ever again, however both were snatched up shortly after my Johnson pick. Oh well. Plenty of good WRs out there still. Who was that other receiver I wanted to get? Oh yeah, Wes Welker. Brady's favorite target should be a lock for another 100 catch, 1000 yard season.
Risky Business practiced his name by selecting Jay Cutler with the first pick in this round, making it his 3rd QB in 5 rounds. Actually not a bad pick considering the little bit of injury history with Vick and Rodgers. So Gronk and Jimmy Graham were gone and I had yet to pick a TE. The TE that usually would go first, Antonio Gates, was still out there. For the first time in a long time, Gates is completely healthy and could return to glory and be in store for another big year.
Next on my que were Michael Turner, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Reggie Bush and Eric Decker. All were selected before it was my turn again. Wonderful. My situation with RBs is getting a little dire and so I had to take a serious look at the RBs out there. Even though he's north of 30, Willis McGahee showed he could still be a force on the ground. With Peyton Manning behind center, he may have even more room to run and should have no problem hanging onto the job as long as he stays healthy.
Last year, I had two Mannings on my team. This year I'm going to have two Peytons. Peyton Hillis isn't the most talented back on the Chiefs roster. However, he is a big bruising back that will be a good change of pace from Jamaal Charles and will see all goal line carries. Splitting carries might actually help him production wise and the Browns were basically just running him into the ground and wearing him out.
Every year its either WRs or RBs that give me problems. Usually its RBs. I can never find a good one, no matter my draft position. If I draft him high, he's a disappointment or gets hurt. If I draft him low, he's terrible or gets hurt. If I draft enough RBs though, at least two of the gang have to be serviceable right? DeAngelo Williams put up some strong numbers despite getting injured and seeing limited carries. Talent wise, he has it. Time wise... ehh... he splits time with Jonathan Stewart. Hopefully the run first minded Panthers will give D-Will the majority of the carries and my low risk pick will end up with a big reward.
Continuing my quest to find competent RBs for my team, I looked to Cedric Benson in the 9th round. The Packers are a passing team, but in my eyes that just means the focus of the defense won't be on the guy that's rushed for over 1000 yards in 3 straight seasons. If he can do it in Cincy, he can do it in Green Bay.
After my 4 straight selections of RBs, the remaining WRs available looked pretty thin. It was time to take a chance on someone for my WR3 slot. If you're going to take a chance, why not take one on one of the greatest WRs of all time who's looking to prove something? Randy Moss did very little in 2010, besides get traded a couple times, and did even less in 2011 as he sat out the whole season. Well Randy is back with a purpose and is slated to be the starter in San Fran. I don't expect him to be the Moss of old, but I'm hoping he can be a strong WR3 for my team.
Need to pick a defense. I usually go for one in the 10th round, but elected to go with Moss instead. Plenty of good defenses out there, but nothing with as many playmakers as the Green Bay Packers D/ST. They don't shut down opposing offenses, but they are a good fantasy defense as they make a lot of plays. Sacks, INTs, fumble recoveries, TDs.
Lots of directions I could go in here. Back up QB in case Peyton or Brady get hurt? Back up TE in case Gates gets hurt? Another WR? Nope. I decided to go with current Steelers starting RB Issac Redman. He had a good showing in limited time last year as a starter. There are some soft run defenses he'll be matched up against in the first few weeks of the season. Maybe he can cement himself as the starter in that time.
When I selected Randy Moss, I kept thinking "Do I really want Moss? Or maybe I should go with the guy who will definitely start and play all season." Amazingly enough, Michael Crabtree was still on the board and I scooped him up. If the Moss experiment fails, I will have someone capable of filling that hole in the lineup.
Still a little worried about my GB defense, I picked up another strong fantasy defense in the New York Jets D/ST. Not very good against the run, but very strong against the pass and has enough playmakers on defense and on special teams to make this defense worth owning.
Interestingly enough, right before my pick, Risky Business selected Tim Tebow. Interesting because Tebow is a backup as of right now and interesting because he now has 5 QBs. Not sure about that, but his pick did remind me that I really should get a backup for Brady and Manning as they will have bye weeks. As of right now Mark Sanchez is still slated to be the Jets starter and he's as good as anyone else still out there.
At this point, I'm basically just looking over what's left and looking for anyone that might show anything during the season. With the injury to Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown is scheduled to take over as the starter. Norv Turner said he liked what he saw from Brown in the preseason and plans on using him a lot in Week One. (UPDATE: Yeah, what happend there Norv. 5 carries?)
It really didn't seem that long ago that Dallas Clark was the highest rated TE in fantasy football. Not having Peyton Manning as your QB will do that to you, I suppose. On the Bucs now, Clark will be Josh Freeman's security blanket and will be my competent TE fill in for the season.
For those occasions when Calvin Johnson is being jammed at the line or quadruple covered, Stafford always goes to his second receiver Nate Burleson. Burleson has some big games when Johnson doesn't and could be a good fill in when they play against a soft pass defense.
Welcome to the kicker round. 6 out of the 10 picks in this round were kickers. There really isn't a strategy to picking one either. You want one that plays for a good offensive team, typically kicks indoors or in nice weather. I like the Falcons offense, so I went with Matt Bryant. More than half of his games are indoors and when they're not, they're in nice weather.
Risky Business (C+): When you're in a league where you can play more than one QB, draft more than one, but 4 QBs? They will make for good trade bait, but until that trades happens, it'll be tough. Not much in the RB position and a little thin at WR too.
Xtreme Machine (B-): Being able to put Peyton Manning and Tom Brady out there for most weeks makes me feel good. What doesn't make me feel good is most of my good players have been injury prone throughout their careers. My season could be derailed really quick if I get bit by the injury bug again. I'm pretty thin at RB too, not many sure things.
Worthless Burgers (B-): As you look at his team from top to bottom, the grade starts off very high with Brees, Julio Jones, AJ Green, Greg Jennings, then it starts to dip and dip fast. Doug Martin, Sproles, Tony Gonzalez, Andrew Luck, Greene. Obviously still too early to tell, but some of these players when its all said and done won't have made a huge impact. He'll be relying on the top half to do it all.
ANNIHILATORS (B): This team actually has the opposite problem as everyone else. Strong group of RBs, good WRs, terrible QBs. The auto draft wasn't kind to the ANNIHILATORS as he ended up with Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and John Skelton as the QBs. However, Ray Rice, Kevin Smith, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Mathews, Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, Miles Austin, Aaron Hernandez. Good all around team. Now if he could just fix his QBs situation, he'd be an A.
STEAGLES (B+): A solid all around team. No weaknesses really. Matt Stafford and Philip Rivers at QB. Brandon Lloyd, Reggie Wayne, Dem Thomas and Jimmy Graham receiving. Steven Jackson and Michael Turner at RB. Nobody's great, but nobody's bad either.
North Side (B+): Another solid lineup. Eli, Victor Cruz, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Arian Foster, Reggie Bush, Stevan Ridley, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. No weak point on the team really. Eli and Matt Schaub could struggle or get injured, but that would be my only concern witht his team.
Benchwarmers (B): Strong with the QBs, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan. Decent set of WRs with Steve Smith, Decker and Garcon. Not sure about the RBs though. Jamaal Charles could be great. Fred Jackson will have to split time with CJ Spiller though. Not sure how well Frank Gore will do coming off a bad injury. Same with Mendenhall.
Fighting Pugs (C): Basically its the ANNIHILATORS without the WR or RB depth. Josh Freeman and Matt Flynn are the only QBs on the team. Wallace, Maclin, Moore, Santana Moss, Vernon Davis as the receivers. LeSean McCoy and Chris Johnson could be a strong duo, but we still need to see something out of CJ. DeMarco Murray is good, but a long way from being a proven RB. Marshawn Lynch is inconsistent, but could possibly have another strong year in Seattle.
Zombies (A): If Ben Roethlisberger passes a lot this year, this will be the team to beat. The WR corps are stacked with Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald (even though he didn't want him), Dez Bryant and Marques Colston. The RB situation is a little sketchy with just Darren McFadden, Donald Brown and Beanie Wells. Pretty much a complete team though. A couple enhancements here and there, but all around a good team.
Ray Finkle's Mom (A): The defending champ has a good duo at QB with Romo and RGIII. MJD, Forte and Trent Richardson at RB. The WRs are decent with some room to improve, with Bowe, Harvin, Britt and Stevie Johnson. Pettigrew at TE and Jason Witten backing him up. Good depth, good team. He'll defend his crown well.