Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fantasy Football Week: Challenge #2 – Which 1st rounders were ‘steals’ and which were debacles?

Post II of III

As I mentioned in my previous post (focusing on which of THESE four teams you wanted most), this past Saturday, Armin/Sum/Pay/myself (Clement) met up at the world’s greatest unofficial draft headquarters for our yearly fantasy football draft (#1 of 2 actually) for a league we playfully have been a part of named the ‘Frank Stallone League’.

For this II post of III (I dig roman numerals) I’m going to post the 12 first-round picks (in fairness, one was auto-drafted from Yahoo’s top 500 list…can YOU guess which one it was???) from our draft.

I’ll format the rest of this post by offering up one statement that is positive, one that is negative, and the owner-factor.

Don’t fret; you’ll understand it all very shortly.
I hope.

The basics were described in my last post; however, I want to add just a few ‘reminders’ for the lazier readers who either missed the last (brilliant) posting or have short-term memory issues.

A) 12-teams.
B) 16-round ladder draft.
C) Starters include 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, & 1 DEF. 6 reserve sports.

D) Each team has two keeper allocations; 1 for rounds 4-9 and 1 for rounds 10-16. Keeper allocations CAN be traded. They DO NOT carry over to next season.
E) If you drop a player during the season, you cannot keep him next year (unless due to season-ending injury or a QB-related forced drop.)

Enough of that…let’s roll!!!

Whoops, wrong 1st-round draft.
Credit: EMQB

1st Pick – LaDanian Tomlinson

Positive: LT is as safe a fantasy pick as there is out there. Not to mention he is resting all pre-season long and returning on a Super Bowl-contending team. He might even toss a TD or two this season for good measure.
Negative: He is closing in on 30, couldn’t play in an AFC Title game because of an injury, and doesn’t have Michael Turner behind him anymore.
Owner: Wisely, LT was the smart-money pick for this owner. Fortunately, it became easier when she realized A-Pete was already off the board (keeper allocation).

2nd Pick – Tom Brady

Positive: Touchdown Tom was the fantasy MVP last year and remains HIGHLY valuable in a 2-starting QB league. His receiving corps remains loaded (even sans Stallworth) and there’s zero reason to doubt the reigning NFL MVP fantasy-wise.
Negative: He may or may not have foot issues, Moss has been off in recent “odd” years, and it still might’ve been too early to dismiss Manning’s fantasy-dominance over him in any other year than last.
Owner: With Laurence Maroney already in tow (keeper) for a cheap 5th-rounder, the RB position could wait. Especially in a two-starting QB league in which owning one of the three dominant QBs is a luxury one can ill afford to pass up.

3rd Pick – Peyton Manning

Positive: He’s the fantasy QB god of the past 5+ seasons. In fact, he’s one of the few guys who it seems almost impossible to knock drafting in any spot…fantasy-wise at least.
Negative: Romo outdid him last year, Harrison’s injury status is TBD, Peyton’s own knee isn’t 100%, and he did have several 1-TD or less games last year.
Owner: Briefly flaunting the idea of taking Romo, we all knew Peyton was a synch for the third pick. He and Wayne are as dominant as Manning and Harrison once were. In the end, there’s hardly a safer pick than the NFL’s most savvy TV personality.

You can't have one with the other...
Credit: Hogwild

4th Pick – Tony Romo

Positive: It’s been said too many times already, but he OUTSCORED Peyton last season (I’ll say it again too!). Not to mention…he’s young, on an All-Star team, and has two targets (TO & Witten) other QBs would die for.
Negative: He’s still new at the 16-game thing, JESSICA SIMPSON, and his wideout (that’s my quarterback!) isn’t exactly the most dependable of primadonnas.
Owner: In what some claimed was a surprising move, it made complete sense given the importance of landing one of the 3 elite fantasy QBs of last year. Romo outscored Peyton last season (haha!) and has the highest of expectations in Big D to perform each and every week. Jessica Simpson is pretty hot too.

5th Pick – Stephen Jackson

Positive: New contracts sometimes put players at ease, right?
Negative: New contracts sometimes put players at too much ease, right?
Owner: Can’t say I wasn’t just a little surprised when a noted Iggles fan traded up for the pick (right in front of me!) and then took the former holdout (okay, I wanted Westbrook). Coming off of a highly disappointing ’07 campaign, Action Jackson’s got a fatter contract and an offense that’s only get older. Nevertheless, it might be insane value at #5.

6th Pick – Brian Westbrook

Positive: He finally became a double-digit TD guy, led the NFL in all-purpose yardage, and is the #1-weapon on an offense that can light it up (although not weekly).
Negative: His QB is never healthy, he’s a year older, he has a fatter contract too (see above), and this team needs to potentially save him for a playoff stretch drive.
Owner: It’s the consensus top-5 guy a lot of mags are calling an insane sleeper outside of the top 5 overall. In a 1-QB league (amateurs), he’s been a fixture at 2 and 3 on most boards and mocks. Given it’s pick 6, you gotta love a guy who essentially starts as an RB and WR most weeks on fantasy squads.

What I did on my summer Marshawn Lynch.
Credit: Automobile Insurance 101

7th Pick – Marshawn Lynch

Positive: Second-year back who the team loves to love, especially in the redzone.
Negative: Off-season stuff should be fine, yet it isn’t enthralling to read about. Traveling to Toronto for home games just seems weird to me. Not to mention that perhaps the Jets acquiring Kris Jenkins means opposing RBs will be limited to 100+ yards and 1 TD instead of the typical 150+ and 2 TDs.
Owner: Selected right before a Bill fan could’ve taken him. I love it!

8th Pick – Frank Gore

Positive: In a word or two: Mike Martz.
Negative: In a word or two: Mike Martz.
Owner: I love the value; however, health and a certain aforementioned offensive coordinator give me the willies. Of course, the thought of a new Marshall Faulk does that too. Of course, JT O’Sullivan or Shaun Hill might have a lot to do with that (happening or not).

9th Pick – Larry Fitzgerald

Positive: Unlike Anquan, somebody has a fat contract!
Negative: Anquan’s ordeal could be bothersome. Not to mention, the QB position is unstable at best in ‘Zona (even with solid production from Warner/Fitz last season). Health isn’t flawless for Fitz either.
Owner: It might seem a headscratcher, but value at QB had dissipated with the Big 3 gone, he has Addai in tow for a measily 3rd rounder (keeper), and Dwayne Bowe is another insane keeper for a 10th rounder. Nevertheless, I kinda question Fitz going in the 1st round with guys like TO, Brees, Wayne, and even Andre Johnson around. Interesting indeed.

10th Pick – Larry Johnson

Positive: Two seasons ago he was the most used back in the NFL and a fantasy god. That does seem sooooo long ago though.
Negative: He burned me in a league last season, never seems to catch passes, and is on a terrible team. What can I go with 60 yards a game and no TDs most weeks? What have I done???
Owner: I have stopped researching and making any sense. I knew I wanted an RB over my next top-rated QB (Brees), I’d tab TO or Wayne next round (taking TO over Reggie), and I began to wonder if I could really take Clinton Portis at #10 overall. In the end, I saw some stacked teams (already) above me and went for the highest risk/reward possible. If only Gore had slipped...

Does A-Pete lose any value with potential injury issues with Bryant "Love Boat" McKinnie?
Credit: ABC

11th Pick – Adrian Peterson [keeper]

Positive: You could make a very sturdy argument for him being #1 overall. Slide him to #11 and you’re the happiest guy at the draft.
Negative: INJURY HISTORY. In fact, with his track record, it’d be a surprise if he played in 16 games (not counting the real playoffs, folks).
Owner: That’s why he was the ultimate 4th round steal last season and why he’ll likely be a major steal as the 11th overall pick this season. Damn.

12th Pick – Clinton Portis

Positive: New offense, carefree attitude, and enhanced performance last season.
Negative: Isn’t every year in DC (5 and counting now) supposed to the major breakout statistical season?
Owner: With the next pick up-coming, it’s strong value, especially when a guy named Brees is just sitting there waiting to be gobbled up, to take a talented RB in the latest of stages in round 1.

So which two names are missing???

While I think a few might stand out – especially in a 12-team league – it has to be noted that because of the aforementioned keeper allocation rules RANDY MOSS & JOSEPH ADDAI were taken in later rounds. Another interesting caveat to consider in such an amazingly competitive league.

I’ll see you sometime this weekend with part III, focusing mainly on keeper decisions made during the draft (whether the owners knew it or not!).

Until next post…


Paymon said...

A few factors led to my lean towards Jackson over Westbrook.

First, Jackson has much to prove.

Second, the o-line actually got younger. I'm not so sure that it's better. The left side with Pace and Jacob Bell is pretty solid.

Third, the Rams play in the NFC West. The Eagles play in the NFC East.

Fourth, I can see the Rams with Chris Long causing more turnovers leading to shorter fields.

Fifth, with a backfield containing Correll Buckhalter and Lorenzo Booker, I expect the Eagles to pace Westbrook. Also, without Curtis, I can see him being split wide more often and utilized as a decoy on a few occasions more than usual to maximize value for the tailbacks.

Sum said...

Steven "No Action in Training Camp" Jackson is one of those rarities who has potential to be either a bust or a sleeper this fantasy season, depending on your perspective.

Personally, I don't think he'll be any good unless Bulger goes back to 2006 and earlier form. If the Rams remain the one-dimensional team that they were last year, Jackson will have struggles.

That said, at 5 he could end up being a steal. I still view Westbrook as the safer pick, but Jackson does have more upside. If I wasn't able to trade out of that 5 spot down to 12 (and 13), then B-West would've been my selection.

The Fitzgerald thing is kinda shocking, as was LJ going in the first round.

Deihim (All-Day's owner) said...

I don't feel there's anything about Stephen Jackson that warrants use of the word "sleeper". What's the worst ranking anyone has seen of him on a big board tailored to our league? 10? maybe? Perhaps you just misspoke. Perhaps what you meant is that he could either be a bust or a stud, in which case, I completely agree. Word has been straight hit or miss concerning Jackson and his hold-out rubbed some the wrong way. My take -- it's Stephen Jackson. He's healthy. He put in some good work late in the season (keep in mind that they intentionally held him back at times because they weren't in contention). While not impossible, it's hard to put him outside the top 5 RBs.