Amateur Fantasy Football Advice: Draft Position is Everything
Last night I had a draft in a major money league with a $60 buy in (up from $50 the year before). The payoff for this league is tremendous, with $450 going to the winner, $150 going to second place, and THAT’S IT. So it was imperative that I make a big impact in the draft.
Unfortunately, I was saddled with the 7th pick out of 10.
I’d argue that having a pick at the end of the round isn’t so bad because the draft swings back to you immediately and you can get a second pick. The worst types of picks to have are the middle picks, because you wait, pick, and wait some more. I had to wait 6 picks before making my first pick, and then had to wait 6 more before round 2, and then had to wait TWELVE more before round 3. So needless to say, last night didn’t quite go my way, and I’m left with a motley crew of a team. Here’s how it went.
QB: Tom Brady RB1: DeMarco Murray RB2: Jamaal Charles WR1: Brandon Lloyd WR2: Eric Decker WR3: Torrey Smith FLEX: Darren Sproles TE: Jared Cook
I can find a fault with pretty much every guy on this roster. Brady’s protection has subjected him to some serious hits this preseason, and I’m playing in a league where QB sacks count as -1 against the quarterback, but the top 6 were gone (Foster, Rice, McCoy, Rogers, Brees, Chris Johnson) and I didn’t feel good about anybody else, especially Stafford after injuring his non-throwing hand, which was a stark reminder of how brittle he used to be. Now I have to roll with Brady and hope that no Bernard Pollard is waiting to derail his season.
Lloyd and Decker both have elite QBs throwing to them, but this is their first year with them, and there’s no evidence (especially in Lloyd’s case) that the chemistry is there. Ideally I’d love to see the Brady-to-Lloyd connection, but I realize that Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker will be eating into the touchdowns (which is fine, since I have Brady). Smith is a homerun threat, but he’s got Joe Flacco throwing to him and Flacco isn’t exactly the model of pin-point accuracy. But trust me, the other options weren’t that attractive at the time I drafted him.
Murray and Charles both came off torn ACLs. I actually also drafted Peyton Hillis so if Charles goes down again, I have the handcuff. Murray is just a prayer, and I took him over Marshawn Lynch (interestingly enough, I also wanted Charles in Round 2 but he managed to hang around until Round 3, so I scooped him up with the quickness!).
I waited too long to draft a TE, and went for upside with Cook, although Yahoo has his projections pretty dang low. My man Coby Fleener is still in the free agent pool if I need him.
But compare this with the draft I had last week. I felt so much more confident about my picks, and that’s mainly because I had the number 3 pick and could dictate the tempo of the league. With a later pick, I had to let the tempo dictate what I was doing. Everybody made a run on backup quarterbacks, so I decided not to draft one (I’ll most likely have my eye on Ryan Mallett if Brady goes down, and I’ll look at Ryan Fitzpatrick, Russell Wilson, or Andy Dalton during Brady’s bye week).
The best I’ve done in fantasy leagues is when I’ve had a high pick. I won a league after drafting first overall and coasting on Adrian Peterson back in 2009. Even though I made the championship last year after trading away pretty much my entire team, I had the second pick, so some of the trade chips (Michael Vick, Calvin Johnson), were more attractive so I could get better players (Ray Rice). There is some skill in finding late-round values that will come out of nowhere to lead your team to a championship, but it’s imperative that you hit on the first couple of picks, and taking a sure thing with the first, second, or third pick certainly relieves some stress.
That's it for this week. Sorry for the short column. Next week I'll go game by game and tell you the guys I'd feel comfortable starting.