Leading up to the 2009 season I'll be introducing a 'fantasy football' angle to the blog, with the first episode published today. I must confess to being something of a fantasy addict, I competed in four leagues last year and already look ahead to this year's drafts with anticipation. Did I win any of the leagues? One from four... so essentially I had the same .250 as the Seahawks last year.
In order to quench some of the impatience, this week I took part in a mock fantasy draft. I've published the results in full below, with some thoughts and expectations. As always I'd also love to read your opinions, so click on the 'comments' section at the bottom of the article and let me know your view.
(1) Jason - Tom Brady (NE - QB)
(2) chuckred21 - Adrian Peterson (Min - RB)
(3) wprizee - Michael Turner (Atl - RB)
(4) Mike C - Drew Brees (NO - QB)
(5) j_n_d543 - Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Matt Forte (Chi - RB)
(7) ethman_19 - DeAngelo Williams (Car - RB)
(8) The MaeStro - Steven Jackson (StL - RB)
(9) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Brian Westbrook (Phi - RB)
(10) Âµ-Ziq - LaDainian Tomlinson (SD - RB)
(11) brent34bokel - Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Randy Moss (NE - WR)
(13) Rob - Chris Johnson (Ten - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Frank Gore (SF - RB)
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Obviously the first thing that stands out is the odd choice of Tom Brady first overall by 'Jason'. When quizzed on his decision, he complained that he'd chosen the wrong guy by mistake... he really wanted Randy Moss. OK.
Selecting at the back end of the round, I was hoping Larry Fitzgerald would fall to #13. I have a theory this year that the depth at receiver is pretty weak and that there are a handful of sleeper RB's hanging around rounds 2-4. With my first two choices I wanted to go RB and WR, but with Fitzgerald off the board I took Chris Johnson (Titans). Expecting the Titans to be run heavy again in 2009, Johnson presents good value at the back of round one.
(1) sclayton1988 - Brandon Jacobs (NYG - RB)
(2) Rob - Andre Johnson (Hou - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Calvin Johnson (Det - WR)
(4) brent34bokel - Peyton Manning (Ind - QB)
(5) Âµ-Ziq - Clinton Portis (Was - RB)
(6) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Philip Rivers (SD - QB)
(7) The MaeStro - Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR)
(8) ethman_19 - Steve Slaton (Hou - RB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Marion Barber (Dal - RB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Steve Smith (Car - WR)
(11) Mike C - Reggie Bush (NO - RB)
(12) wprizee - Greg Jennings (GB - WR)
(13) chuckred21 - Roddy White (Atl - WR)
(14) Jason - Santonio Holmes (Pit - WR)
I want to state at this point that I really don't see the benefit in picking early this year. None of the RB's at the top of the draft are worth picking late in the second for. The value in the late first/early second is much better. However, it's scandalous Clinton Portis lasted as long as he did here. Taking Philip Rivers before Steve Slaton is inexcusable. I personally feel unless you're getting Drew Brees or Peyton Manning in round two (guys who are near guaranteed to start every week with strong value) you might as well wait deep into the draft and take a Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Schaub.
Having missed out on Fitzgerald I didn't waste any time taking Andre Johnson. The guy just flat out scores points every week. It was tough to pass on Portis but Johnson is the kind of guy you don't worry about taking in the second round.
(1) Jason - Hines Ward (Pit - WR)
(2) chuckred21 - Kurt Warner (Ari - QB)
(3) wprizee - Ronnie Brown (Mia - RB)
(4) Mike C - Thomas Jones (NYJ - RB)
(5) j_n_d543 - Pierre Thomas (NO - RB)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Anquan Boldin (Ari - WR)
(7) ethman_19 - Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR)
(8) The MaeStro - Marques Colston (NO - WR)
(9) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Terrell Owens (Buf - WR)
(10) Âµ-Ziq - Tony Romo (Dal - QB)
(11) brent34bokel - Wes Welker (NE - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Jason Witten (Dal - TE)
(13) Rob - Jonathan Stewart (Car - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Brandon Marshall (Den - WR)
I begin to wonder if Jason warrants an invitation to one of my leagues - in three rounds he's taken Tom Brady, Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward. He's the Oakland Raiders of this draft. How do you take Hines Ward ahead of Anquan Boldin and Terrell Owens? He has no running backs so far. It's a sign of the relatively weak depth at running back that Pierre Thomas and Thomas Jones go here. Neither are guaranteed anything at their respective teams, with Jones recently holding out in New York.
Needing a second running back I take a shot on Jonathan Stewart. In a supportive role to DeAngelo Williams last year, Stewart scored a respectable 836 yards and 10 TD's. There's an element of risk involved because of the time share in Carolina, but Stewart should at the very least maintain the number of carries he had as a rookie.
(1) sclayton1988 - Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB)
(2) Rob - T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Sea - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Ryan Grant (GB - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - Kevin Smith (Det - RB)
(5) Âµ-Ziq - Antonio Gates (SD - TE)
(6) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Marshawn Lynch (Buf - RB)
(7) The MaeStro - Joseph Addai (Ind - RB)
(8) ethman_19 - Antonio Bryant (TB - WR)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Roy Williams (Dal - WR)
(10) j_n_d543 - Donovan McNabb (Phi - QB)
(11) Mike C - Kevin Walter (Hou - WR)
(12) wprizee - Vincent Jackson (SD - WR)
(13) chuckred21 - Tony Gonzalez (Atl - TE)
(14) Jason - Pittsburgh (Pit - DEF)
Jason aka Oakland Raiders still struggles to grasp the concept of this draft, choosing to take the Pittsburgh defense in round four before he's even drafted ONE running back. Personally, I never draft a defense higher than the last two rounds. Put it this way - there is always a defense on waivers. However, RB's and WR's that have fantasy legitimacy are harder to find. Would you rather start a RB who might have the odd carry, or a defense that will definitely start but aren't considered worthy of being drafted? It only takes a wet afternoon or a weak opposition to make an undesirable defense fantasy relevant.
I was seriously tempted by Ryan Grant and Marshawn Lynch here, two backs who were taken in the top two rounds last year. Lynch starts the season suspended but could have value later on, whilst Grant is likely to start in Green Bay. However, with weak options at WR ahead I decide to take a chance and show some love to the Seahawks.
(1) Jason - Santana Moss (Was - WR)
(2) chuckred21 - Larry Johnson (KC - RB)
(3) wprizee - Matt Ryan (Atl - QB)
(4) Mike C - Muhsin Muhammad (Car - WR)
(5) j_n_d543 - Braylon Edwards (Cle - WR)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Chad Ochocinco (Cin - WR)
(7) ethman_19 - Lee Evans (Buf - WR)
(8) The MaeStro - Eddie Royal (Den - WR)
(9) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Tennessee (Ten - DEF)
(10) Âµ-Ziq - Anthony Gonzalez (Ind - WR)
(11) brent34bokel - Devin Hester (Chi - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Jay Cutler (Chi - QB)
(13) Rob - Knowshon Moreno (Den - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Dallas Clark (Ind - TE)
It's quite clear what kind of fantasy player Jason is. He turns up to the draft, makes some wild picks. He loses every single game until it's your turn to face him - and suddenly every single one of his turgid selections has a monster week. He again snubs the chance to take a running back to select Santana Moss. Despite my claims that the options at WR are weak later on, round five really was last chance saloon to get a solid sleeper. Braylon Edwards is a steal here and well worth the risk. Lee Evans can be dependable but should see some targets snapped up by T.O.
I contemplated Cutler here until he was snapped up the pick before. He might not have great targets at Chicago but he does have a very good back in Matt Forte who will keep things honest and a tight end (Greg Olsen) who should offer a safety net. I go to my second choice here in Knowshon Moreno. I made no secret of my appreciation for Moreno's talents leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft and he could be this year's Matt Forte. He'll start for the Broncos and should see plenty of action to take the strain from Kyle Orton. Denver have run the ball productively in the past and I'd have no hesitation taking Moreno a couple of rounds earlier if needs be. Don't be afraid to draft Knowshon.
(1) sclayton1988 - Donnie Avery (StL - WR)
(2) Rob - Bernard Berrian (Min - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Darren McFadden (Oak - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR)
(5) Âµ-Ziq - Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ - WR)
(6) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Laveranues Coles (Cin - WR)
(7) The MaeStro - Torry Holt (Jac - WR)
(8) ethman_19 - Matt Schaub (Hou - QB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Carson Palmer (Cin - QB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Lance Moore (NO - WR)
(11) Mike C - Baltimore (Bal - DEF)
(12) wprizee - New York (NYG - DEF)
(13) chuckred21 - Steve Breaston (Ari - WR)
(14) Jason - Jamal Lewis (Cle - RB)
Jason finally takes a running back and boldly declares (without a hint of sarcasm) that 'Jamal Lewis is a steal here'. Just to confirm, Lewis is currently the only running back on his roster and we're at the end of round six. The team defenses continue to be drafted ridiculously early with Baltimore and New York going ahead of the potentially high fantasy value of Steve Breaston.
I took a bit of a gamble on Bernard Berrien here. I expect Brett Favre to sign for Minnesota and if he does, Berrien will be his #1 target. If he can get nearly 1000 yards and 7TD's with Tavaris Jackson and Gus Ferotte throwing the ball, he should do well with Favre behind center.
(1) Jason - Derrick Ward (TB - RB)
(2) chuckred21 - Derrick Mason (Bal - WR)
(3) wprizee - Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)
(4) Mike C - Visanthe Shiancoe (Min - TE)
(5) j_n_d543 - Owen Daniels (Hou - TE)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Greg Olsen (Chi - TE)
(7) ethman_19 - Chris Cooley (Was - TE)
(8) The MaeStro - Donald Driver (GB - WR)
(9) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Eli Manning (NYG - QB)
(10) Âµ-Ziq - Domenik Hixon (NYG - WR)
(11) brent34bokel - LenDale White (Ten - RB)
(12) Doug Fresh - Deion Branch (Sea - WR)
(13) Rob - Ben Roethlisberger (Pit - QB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Philadelphia (Phi - DEF)
Finally, Jason makes a brilliant choice. Derrick Ward in the 7th round is superb value. He'll start for Tampa Bay - a team who will lean on the run with an unclear QB situation. It almost makes up for the decision not to draft a RB until round six. Actually, no it doesn't.
I was disapointed to see Matt Schaub go in the last round and really needed to take a QB. Roethlisberger's fantasy value is very hit and miss but he was the best option here. If Greg Olsen had stuck around long enough he would have been my choice here - I predict he'll have a great year.
(1) sclayton1988 - Chris Chambers (SD - WR)
(2) Rob - John Carlson (Sea - TE)
(3) Doug Fresh - Willis McGahee (Bal - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - Kellen Winslow (TB - TE)
(5) Âµ-Ziq - Minnesota (Min - DEF)
(6) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - David Akers (Phi - K)
(7) The MaeStro - Willie Parker (Pit - RB)
(8) ethman_19 - Dallas (Dal - DEF)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Chicago (Chi - DEF)
(10) j_n_d543 - Miami (Mia - DEF)
(11) Mike C - Le'Ron McClain (Bal - RB)
(12) wprizee - Tony Scheffler (Den - TE)
(13) chuckred21 - Darren Sproles (SD - RB)
(14) Jason - Jeremy Shockey (NO - TE)
Miami's defense and David Akers in round eight? Wow. I would always advise resisting the temptation to go too early on kickers and defense. You'd be much better taking a gamble on a rookie running back like Beanie Wells or Donald Brown here, or one of Julius Jones and Cedric Benson (who will both start).
Needing a tight end and with options becoming increasingly slim, I go to the Seahawks again to take John Carlson.
(1) Jason - Nick Folk (Dal - K)
(2) chuckred21 - Matt Cassel (KC - QB)
(3) wprizee - Donald Brown (Ind - RB)
(4) Mike C - Ted Ginn Jr. (Mia - WR)
(5) j_n_d543 - Stephen Gostkowski (NE - K)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Rob Bironas (Ten - K)
(7) ethman_19 - Kris Brown (Hou - K)
(8) The MaeStro - Zach Miller (Oak - TE)
(9) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Jerious Norwood (Atl - RB)
(10) Âµ-Ziq - Ryan Longwell (Min - K)
(11) brent34bokel - New York (NYJ - DEF)
(12) Doug Fresh - Matt Hasselbeck (Sea - QB)
(13) Rob - Chris Wells (Ari - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Mason Crosby (GB - K)
I don't think there's any guaranteed starting QB who I dislike more than Matt Cassell this year. It's one thing to look good for the Patriots, quite another when you're in Kansas City. The Chiefs' will struggle on defense adjusting to a 3-4 (with a roster full of 4-3 guys) and lack any support at RB. Losing Tony Gonzalez will hurt, putting a lot of pressure on Dwayne Bowe to get free.
I'm happy to take a gamble on someone like Beanie Wells in round nine. Last year, rookie RB's like Matt Forte and Chris Johnson offered great value deep into fantasy drafts. He'll share carries with Tim Hightower and doubts remain about his durability. However, he's extremely talented and has a point to prove after falling to #31 in the draft. Worth a roster spot this late.
(1) sclayton1988 - Cedric Benson (Cin - RB)
(2) Rob - Julius Jones (Sea - RB)
(3) Doug Fresh - Earl Bennett (Chi - WR)
(4) brent34bokel - John Kasay (Car - K)
(5) Âµ-Ziq - Felix Jones (Dal - RB)
(6) Miguel TreviÃ±o Cedillo - Anthony Fasano (Mia - TE)
(7) The MaeStro - David Garrard (Jac - QB)
(8) ethman_19 - Fred Jackson (Buf - RB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Rashard Mendenhall (Pit - RB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Shonn Greene (NYJ - RB)
(11) Mike C - Isaac Bruce (SF - WR)
(12) wprizee - Jason Elam (Atl - K)
(13) chuckred21 - Leon Washington (NYJ - RB)
(14) Jason - Brett Favre (NYJ - QB)
Cedric Benson (surprisingly) did a good job for the Bengals last year and will start for Cincy in 2009. He's good value this late on even as an occasional starter based on good match-ups.
Another Seahawk. I usually avoid drafting guys from Seattle for no obvious reason. I was regularly burned by John Carlson last year so I've given the Seahawks more love in this mock draft. Julius Jones will likely last this long if you're in a draft not filled with Seahawks fans. TAKE HIM! He's not a lock to put up big numbers, but he will start and get most of the carries in Seattle. Like Benson, he's probably not an every week starter, but he's worth having for the two games (and multiple points) against the Rams.
My last five choices:
R11 - Trent Edwards, QB Buffalo
R12 - Steve Smith, WR NY Giants
R13 - Hakeem Nicks, WR NY Giants
R14 - Arizona defense
R15 - Neil Rackers, K Arizona
Edwards could be something of a sleeper. With Lynch suspended early on, the Bills could lean on their passing game which now consists of T.O., Lee Evans and last year's second round pick James Hardy.
With Plaxico Burress out in New York they'll need someone to step up. Taking Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks gives me a shot on one of them becoming a regular feature for Eli Manning. It's not much of a gamble in rounds 12 & 13.
I went all Cardinals at the end of the draft, taking their playmaking defense and kicker Neil Rackers. They have a defense that is capable of scoring TD's and a productive offense should create ample opportunities for Rackers.