Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011: The Draft

I'm stoked for another season of football, both real and fantasy. In real life, my Browns look like they'll improve on last year's 5-11 record, but more on that in a future post. Tonight was the big fantasy football draft. In 2009, I went 4-9 in the regular season but won both playoff games in the consolation bracket to finish # 7 out of 10 teams. In 2010, it was almost the reverse: I went 8-5 in the regular season, but dropped both playoff games to finish # 4 in the league. I'm looking forward to this season more than any other, because, with The Wife's encouragement, I organized the league and so I know six of the nine people running the other teams. This means a lot more of the best stuff about fantasy football: more trades, more trash talk, and more of the Royal Karameikan League's official motto: "Mock the Losers!" Even this year's draft itself was more fun, as there was a lot of chatter and discussion of picks. As in the past, I avoided reading up a lot on fantasy football strategy and instead relied on a combination of ESPN's projections and a lot of "that player looked great in preseason!". It's always satisfying to draft a player no one else knows about and have him turn out big: last year, I drafted little-known RB Peyton Hillis solely because I wanted a Brown on my team and he was knocking guys down in preseason games. Anyway, below are my picks for 2011 (in order) along with some commentary.

#6: Arian Foster, RB Texans Most teams in the league today operate on "running back by committee", so it was important to draft one early that sees the bulk of a team's playing time. Foster not only runs great, he catches a lot of passes out of the back field. I'm a touch nervous with that minor hamstring injury though . . .

# 15: Philip Rivers, QB Chargers I was hoping to snag Tom Brady again, but he went in the first round along with Aaron Rodgers and Mike Vick. Rivers isn't a QB I personally like, but he puts up a lot of yards and touchdowns, so I can't complain too much.

# 26: DeSean Jackson, WR Eagles This was my toughest early pick. I wanted a marquee wideout and Andre Johnson, Roddy White, and Larry Fitzgerald were all gone. The Football Outsiders 2011 Almanac predicts that Jackson will have a down year due to regression to the mean and his number of drops. My alternative was Calvin Johnson, but I'm not 100% sold on Stafford . . . so, Jackson it is.

# 35: Felix Jones, RB Cowboys It looks like the Cowboys have settled on him as their feature back, and I think they're going to have a revitalized team this year.

# 46: Chad Ochocinco, WR Patriots A little bit of a risk here, but Ocho seems to be dedicating himself to seriously getting back to being a #1 receiver and I know Tom Terrific will put the ball where he can get it.

# 55: Sebastian Janikowski, K Raiders According to The Wife, you should never draft a kicker before the final round. Hogwash! Janikowski has one of the strongest legs in the game, so I'm counting on some extra points from long field goals.

# 66: Jets D/ST I would have gone with the Steelers, as I think they're overall more consistent and don't get burned by blitzing too much like the Jets sometimes do. But they were already off the board, so Jets it is.

# 75: Benjamin Watson, TE Browns Not my first choice as starting TE, but I think he'll be Colt McCoy's favorite target this year and I needed a Brown on the team . . .

# 86: Tim Hightower, RB Redskins Won the starting job for the Redskins, and with their uncertain passing game I think he'll get a lot of carries, which not every bench fantasy back can say.

# 95: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Bills I think Fitzpatrick is poised for a big year, at least in terms of yardage.

# 106: Brandon Jacobs, RB Giants Jacobs will split time with Ahmad Bradshaw, but will still get close to half the carries. At this point in the draft, I just want to make sure I have back-up RBs who will play.

# 115: Lee Evans, WR Ravens I think Evans could be a Round 12 steal. He'll be the Ravens main deep threat, and I'm not too worried about his foot injury.

# 126: John Phillips, TE Cowboys I needed another tight end and he's looked great in some of the games I've seen him in even though he may not get a lot of playing time.

# 135: Chargers D/ST I read somewhere that the Chargers Defense was #1 in fewest yards allowed, and their special teams *have* to improve over last year's debacle.

# 146: Neil Rackers, K Chargers Took him purely because ESPN had him ranked as the highest kicker left on the board.

# 155: Darren Sproles, RB Saints More of a spot back I can stick in the RB/WR slot if necessary from time to time, confident he'll get me 3 to 5 points.

With these players, I feel set at every position except TE and maybe WR and I'll have to see what can be done through waivers and trades.

Comments welcome!

1 comment:

Steve - an Av in Nebr said...

Foster was definitely a back that I was hoping to get. He could certainly be used to upgrade your WR/TE positions. ;)

I might be willing to work something out with you given my risky picks in the backfield. I'll be curious to see what you think of my picks and I'll do a similar post here in the next couple of days for you to comment on.

Looking forward to the season!