Okay folks, I’m as guilty as the rest of you in that I enjoy playing fantasy football.
Over the years, I’ve found it fun because it gives me “rooting interest” in players I otherwise wouldn’t care to follow. It helps you keep abreast of what’s happening around the league in any given week as you hunt down stats for that 3rd WR, playing on Sunday or Monday night, who will make or break your week.
I had two drafts yesterday. One was for my 16-team league (which I will post about later in the week) and this, my run-of-the-mill 12-team league with standard scoring. Neither is a PPR (Points Per Reception) league.
This article will focus on my own team and why I drafted each player when I did. As a supplement, I’ll also post the entire draft so you’ll get a feel for whom you can expect to see go off the board and in which round for team “Carolina Rifles:”
1. Cam Newton QB – CAR PICK 8 – Okay, so I put my fantasy money where my mouth is. However, the first round saw 4 QBs go before my pick at #8 overall. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, and Stafford all went before I had my pick so I went ahead and got the last first-round quality QB on the board in Cam Newton. Part of it was the sentimentality of the pick, being a Panthers fan, but also the fact that fantasy leagues give good points to running QBs – especially ones that score rushing TDs. Cam’s going to get fantasy points every week even if he has to use his feet sometimes. While you shouldn’t expect the 700 yard, 14 TD rushing stats from last year, he’ll get 500 and 7 TDs – in addition to having a full training camp behind him after a record-setting rookie campaign.
2. A.J. Green WR – CIN PICK 17 – While the Bengals may struggle to produce the same win total this season, A.J. Green had a rare 1,000-yard rookie season and should only be better in this, his second season. I needed a true #1 WR and grabbed him in the hopes that rookie WR Mohamed Sanu will help peel coverage from him a little more. Green looks anything but green on the field and reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald with his huge hands, long arms, balance, agility and ability to go up and get the ball at the highest point.
3. Adrian Peterson RB – MIN PICK 32 – A bit of a no-brainer here. I needed a feature back to be my #1 RB and the best RB in the NFL sat there in the third round. His ACL problems from last year have caused his stock to fall or he’d have been a sure-fire top-ten pick again this season. Getting him in the third round gives my team a humongous upside at the position and was a nice value pick, even if he may start slowly. He’s Adrian Peterson!
4. Marques Colston WR – NO PICK 41 – Colston is a big red-zone target for QB Drew Brees and his co-number-one guy (Antonio Gates arguably is as well), so Colston is more of a borderline #1 WR. Brees spreads the ball around, but Colston gets his. He should get 1,000+ yards and 8 TDs again this season. Robert Meachem is in San Diego and that could slightly elevate Colston’s numbers from last year.
5. Doug Martin RB – TB PICK 56 – I thought Martin would be a good value here since he’ll start over LeGarrette Blount. Martin isn’t great at anything but he’s good at everything, including pass protection, which means he can be a 3-down back. That’s huge in the fifth round, and with the WRs the Bucs added from last season, there should be holes available for Martin to exploit in the running game. Blount has a tendency to fumble and that could limit his touches and help Martin’s production. Martin is even more valuable in PPR leagues.
6. Kenny Britt WR – TEN PICK 65 – Britt looks like a top-five WR when healthy but injuries and off-field issues have kept his production quiet over most of his young career. This was my big “risk/reward” pick in the draft, as he could have a monster season with Locker at QB and rookie WR Kendall Wright in the game. While chances are good Britt won’t be consistent when he does play, he can take over a game and post huge numbers in any particular week that can really put this fantasy team over the top.
7. Peyton Hillis RB – KC PICK 80 – Hillis the hammer will split carries with lightning-quick RB Jamaal Charles, but you’re not going to have any feature backs available in round seven. I picked Hillis because, since he’s the power back, he could easily be a TD vulture while still generating some stats in the middle of the field. He’ll have plenty of games where he doesn’t do much, but he’s really the only RB the Chiefs have that is well-suited to goal line carries when you compare him to Charles or Dexter McCluster.
8. Jermaine Gresham TE – CIN PICK 89 – I was a little bit surprised to see Gresham still here so I nabbed him as I needed a TE position player. I was thinking…I could spend a second-rounder and get Gronk, or wait until much later in the draft and grab someone who should be in the ballpark of Gronk’s projected 2012 numbers without the high price tag. I think Gresham’s numbers will go up while Gronk will have difficulty matching last year’s totals. So that’s what I did.
9. Seattle Seahawks DEFPICK 104 – While I went a little early for a defensive team, the Seahawks play in an otherwise weak division, save for the 49′ers, and Pete Carroll has built a top-10 unit in Seattle. Playing the Arizona Cardinals twice a year helps too.
10. Andrew Luck QB – IND PICK 113 – I took Luck for lots of reasons, but some were just “because.” He’s my bye-week starter when they draw the Jets, so my research was lacking a bit in that department. However, the Colts seem to be building mostly the offense first and are trying to give Luck as much of a jump-start as possible. With a few games under his belt I’ll better be able to judge his progress, and playing a 4th-place schedule was on my mind. Should Newton have a big sophomore slump and Luck play like we’ve seen so far, there could be a QB controversy brewing on my team. I don’t think that’ll happen, but most other good starting QBs were off the board so I went with the risk/reward player since I don’t figure to start him more than once anyway.
11. Danny Amendola WR – STL PICK 128 – Amendola has some talent and a new coach in Jeff Fisher. With Sam Bradford’s ankle healed, he should bounce back in his 3rd season. Amendola can also return kicks, adding to his value on the bench.
12. Rashad Jennings RB – JAC PICK 137 – A complete risk/reward guy, he’s no reach in the 12th round. If and when MJD returns to the team, Jennings should still see his share of carries in early games as Pocket Hercules gets caught up to speed. If he is traded or continues his holdout, I just got a feature back for pennies on the dollar.
13. Greg Olsen TE – CAR PICK 152 – I needed another TE and drafted Olsen while watching the bye weeks. Since Jeremy Shockey won’t be with the Panthers in 2012, Olsen’s production should increase somewhat and any stats he generates will give me “double points” since he’ll be catching passes from my top pick, Cam Newton.
14. Atlanta Falcons DEF PICK 161 – The Falcons’ defense should be pretty good this year and has looked it so far in the preseason. Since I drafted the Seahawks already, I was looking for a “bench” defense that I could pull out for matchup purposes during the week.
15. Billy Cundiff K – BAL PICK 176 – I went ahead and drafted a kicker last, but Cundiff is the poster boy as to why you don’t even draft a kicker, you pick one up off waivers. But I figured he’d be a good choice, given how high-octane the Ravens’ offense has looked so far. Cundiff was waived later in the day and I picked up New York Jets Kicker Nick Folk. I’m counting on Tony Sparano’s offense to manufacture 5 field goal attempts per game, so Folk should fill in nicely.
The draft was done under standard setting on nfl.com’s website. Team positions are as follows:
QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, K, DEF and 6 bench spots.