This past week, I was invited to a PPR fantasy league by Charles Towne Panther here at cactrave.com. His real first name is Joey and we have become friends outside of the writing here and he’s one of those all-around good guys.
The positions are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR/TE, K, DEF, IDP, 6 BN and it’s a 14-team league.
Knowing that it had been a few years since my last PPR league participation, I thought it would be fun so I said yes. Long story short, it was a LOT of fun despite my technical glitches. I wound up watching google drive update online as they shared the teams and picks in real time so we could all keep track of who was coming off. Here’s how it all went down:
Joey: “Hey! Guess what? YOU GOT THE FIRST PICK!”
Me: “Ugh. Good and bad. Well okay then, I’m taking A.P.”
Joey: (to the room) “A.P.’s off the board!”
I heard groans in the background as I’m sure the #2 and even #3 drafters were hoping against hope I was some dunce and A.P. would fall to them. Who else am I supposed to take, anyhow? I’m not sold on Foster’s durability this season and while Jamaal Charles might near AP’s production, I’m going with the proven fantasy point machine.
You see, in a “snake” draft common to most FFLs, You reverse the order of the draft every other round. This means that while I got the rights to Adrian Peterson, I had to wait for 28 more picks just to get to my next pick – and then pick 2 players back-to-back. While this makes for a bit easier time for building your team since you take care of two needs at once and don’t have to worry about your second guy “still being there,” the wait is VERY long between your picks and a MASSIVE amount of talent goes away during the process. BTW Joey got Jamaal Charles at #8 overall – a feat on which I congratulated him. I said “Heck if I were drafting #2, I may well have snagged him! No WAY he fell to 8, but good for you!”
Joey: “Thanks, man! I was stoked that he was still around! Talk to you in a bit when it’s almost your turn again…”
Meanwhile, the drunk guy had the #4 overall pick and took Calvin Johnson.
“OH boy,” I thought, “Megatron’s a receiving machine and will score a lot, but that’s REALLY gonna cost him in running backs.”
Joey: “You’re up! All the big-name RBs are gone…” and he read off most of the names. This was before round 4, when they got the google drive up and refreshing and the kinks worked out.
I thought for a minute while Joey fended off his friends down in Charleston already claiming I was taking too long.
Joey: (to the room) “Hey, take it easy, he’s got two picks, remember – he’s thinking.”
For the most part, I didn’t feel pressured for time. They understood.
Me: “Okay then. Hm. Well I’m sure Calvin Johnson is gone, probably Dez too…”
Joey: “No…Dez is still around.”
I’m thinking, do WHAT?
Me: “Okay then! Dez Bryant’s now gone….heck I’ll take Brandon Marshall too,” I responded after checking their bye weeks.
Joey: (to the room) “Dez Bryant…..(background groan)….and Brandon Marshall.” I heard a shriek there and some commotion apparently about two WRs of their quality both going off the board back to back…and to the same squad.
I hung up for the moment and cackled. The thing about ANY FFL is that you’re ALWAYS going to be a bit weaker than you want to be SOMEPLACE – that’s usually a given. However, since A.P. usually gets enough fantasy points for two “average” RBs, I felt good about taking two top-flight PPR-league WR guys with consecutive picks…at the end of round 2 and beginning of round 3.
With the league being a 14-team league, I felt lucky that guys of that quality were still around.
What I saw was WAY WAY WAY too many QBs going in the top 2 rounds. Before I even made my 2nd selection, 5 QBs went off the board in the previous 7 picks!
Brees went, then Richardson and Sproles, then AR-12, P. Manning, then some sucker took Darren McFadden, the drunk guy took Chris Ivory too high, then Newton, Luck, and RGIII all went off the board right before I chose, so a QB for me at this point wasn’t in the cards. I could’ve had Tom Brady, but I think the Pats are going to be more of a balanced offense with the multiple losses they’ve had – everyone knows of the Aaron Hernandez fiasco and Gronk has had multiple health issues and continues to. No Wes Welker either, and Danny Amendola has a bit more of an injury history than I’d like, so I passed on Tom Terrific. While he’ll probably still put up good fantasy numbers being Tom Brady, this particular season I believe he’ll be more “human,” although still probably a top-ten FFL QB after all is said and done. I just wasn’t prepared to take him with all the “unknowns” surrounding him.
That was fine, since there are just SOOOO MANY QBs that are going to be bunched closely together in fantasy production, its safe to wait a little bit to pick one up later while I’m getting my RBs and WRs set.
After all that, I was a BIT worried that some people would take their 2nd QB as well, and with the long wait between my 2 picks, I figured I’d go ahead and nab ONE at this point after all.
Me: “Okay…is David Wilson still around?”
Joey: “He’s still available.”
At this point I thought about playing a little psychological warfare:
Me: “Okay Joey. Say ‘He’s still available’ about 4 or 5 times with a brief pause in-between, then I’ll take David Wilson.”
Joey’s a great guy with a good sense of humor and played out my “strategy” for me. I wanted the others in the room there to think that I’ve got a long list all ready with ranked depth….when in reality I was looking for another (a third) RB who might be worthy of a pick here. Other than David Wilson, there really wasn’t anyone jumping out at me that might have RB1 upside to take here.
Me: “Well, QBs are flying off so I might as well nab ONE that is going to be productive…but can’t decide between Ryan and Romo. Eh, I’ll go ahead and take Ryan since he’s got so many weapons around him.”
Another long wait. I’m thinking, so far I’m in great shape: AP, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, David Wilson has questions but a lot of upside, and Matt Ryan has a tough schedule playing in the NFC South and scheduling the NFC West this year…might want a decent bench QB for matchups if someone is still out there 28 picks from now.
I watched the draft’s proceedings on the google drive, wondering if I should have taken Reggie Wayne instead of Ryan. Wayne went with the very next pick.
*ring* “Hey Joey.”
Joey: “Hey, you’re up. Been following on google drive okay? We’ve had some kinks but after the 4th round, everything should be showing up fine now.”
Me: “It is, thanks Joey. By the way, I was wondering about the team where the guy isn’t there…I see you’re making it a dead team with that nonsense name right before me…Kai Forbath? Haha, that’s a funny one.”
Joey: “Actually, he’s a kicker for (team X – I forget now).”
Me: “They took a KICKER in the 6th round? *pause* Well, I hope that works out for them.”
Joey: (laughing) “Exactly.”
Me: “Okay then…well, let me know if I’m missing something here, but there’s one guy that is sitting WAY WAY at the top of my best available player list…and I already have a QB.
Joey: “Who’s that?”
Joey: “Yep, he’s still available!”
Me: “Not anymore. I’ll grab him and use him and Ryan as insurance against injury for each other as well as giving me a good pair to play matchup football with each week.”
Joey: (hollering to the chaotic room there) “Ken is taking Romo!” – More groans in the background. “Okay, you’ve got your second….”
Me: “Yeah, I’m looking at bye weeks. I’ve got Brandon Marshall with a bye week 8, but I still am gonna take T.Y. Hilton.”
Joey: “OKay man, I’ll call you when it’s your turns again.”
At this point, I’m very happy with my team and am thinking about making a splash with an IDP when things roll back around to me. If JJ Watt is around, I’m grabbing him. Otherwise, perhaps Luke Kuechly.
Well, Watt went like 4 picks later, then Kuechly went about 6 picks before I chose again, then DeMarcus Ware went 3 picks before mine, so I decided to wait on the IDP.
My next two picks were Ronnie Hillman, RB from Denver, and I asked Joey to ask the group about Jacksonville’s bye week. Nine is what was returned. Cecil Shorts was the pick, and I heard yet another moan in the background after Joey announced my two picks.
When my next pair rolled around, the pickings were starting to get slim. Remember, it’s a 14-team league and I’m drafting further apart than anyone, but the flip side is taking care of two picks at once, and that makes latter-round drafting simpler if a bit more frustrating at the same time because of all the names that fly off.
Joey: “You’re up again.”
Me: “Okay, time to take a chance or two. Since it’s a PPR league, I’ll grab Shane Vereen here….and I need a deep sleeper WR here with a ton of upside…wait a minute! Is Josh Gordon seriously still available? It’s the 11th round!”
Joey: “Uh..yep, he’s still there!”
Me: “Heck, he had 800+ yards and 5 TDs as a rookie WR? I’ll take him!”
Another groan in the background as he was announced. I got the impression he had slipped beneath several peoples’ radar and in the 11th round, it really isn’t a big price to pay for a boom-or-bust bench-warmer so I was feeling great.
By now, the draft was winding down as it was getting late. They shortened the draft as a result, and the last pick is going to simply be claiming a guy off waivers on Monday, after all the teams are put in to Yahoo’s system.
But I still had my 2 picks, then a single pick at the very end of the draft.
I took Patrick Willis, figuring he would be an IDP that would probably not light it up, but would give me SOMETHING each week. Next, I took Mark Ingram since he might be a TD vulture over the scatback, Darren Sproles.
My final pick was the Dolphins’ defense – they had the NFL’s best red-zone defense in 2012.
While I was on the phone with Joey for that final choice, we laughed at some of the silly picks other owners made. Not one, but SEVERAL kickers were drafted, and in and of itself is a huge mistake to do until the final round. I didn’t even DRAFT a kicker, since I figured I’d simply pick one up off waivers since they shortened the draft that final round in the first place.
Several owners took kickers WAY too early. The drunk guy took Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein in the FIFTH ROUND – hello…McFLY…ANYBODY HOME!?!?
I also couldn’t believe someone drafted Andy Dalton instead of Tony Romo. That was a head-scratcher for sure, but I can kinda see it if you don’t know that Romo, aside from the season he broke his collar bone, is one of the most consistent FFP producers over something like the past 6 or 7 years and has finished in the top-5 in FP I think all of those years – except the year he was injured. Might be top-8, but still…
The reason I took Ryan over Romo was that I already had Dez Bryant and didn’t want both the bye-week exposure and a QB/WR tandem starting week in and week out. Too great of a “swing” there on down weeks vs. up weeks and a lot of exposure to the Dallas offense.
That said, I loved waiting the 28 picks after taking Matt Ryan to have Tony Romo, my “backup QB,” fall right into my lap….especially after almost have taken him when I chose Ryan instead. My patience was rewarded with a great value pick of Tony Romo with the 70th overall pick.
Having not one but two QBs that are quite capable of starting for me in any given week is a true luxury. Both are NFC QBs, but in different divisions and with different schedules. It allows me to see if either guy is facing a particularly strong (or weak) pass defense and adjust my starters accordingly.
It also means an injury to a star QB won’t hit me very hard in the FP wallet.
While Josh Gordon has a lot of issues both on and off the field, taking him so late in the draft means I don’t have much invested in him, and his upside is vast. While he’ll vanish in some games, he’s a bye-week benchwarmer that could wind up being a WR matchup-type guy with my 3rd WR slot being held down by T.Y. Hilton.
Also, with Trent Richardson in the Cleveland backfield, I figured enemy defenses might be cheating a safety up towards the box, leaving the explosive Gordon in one-on-one coverage on the outside for some big plays and deep scoring passes. Rookies rarely make huge impacts as WRs, but again – Gordon had 50 catches for 805 yards and 5 TDs, and knowing that WRs don’t usually hit their strides until year 2 or year 3 in the league, he could easily produce a thousand-yard season for me.
When I drafted Cecil Shorts, I thought he had a thousand-yard season last year, his second in the NFL, but I was wrong. He had 55 catches for 979 yards and 7 TDs – along with a whopping 17.8 yds/catch, and is entering his third season – again, he should improve on those totals rather than regress, one would think – ESPECIALLY with rising second-year WR Justin Blackmon’s month-long suspension.
While Blackmon might have a little bit better upside than Shorts, Blackmon will be producing 0 FP through the first month and should give whomever the Jags’ QB is (Gabbert or Henne) time to cement timing and chemistry during Blackmon’s absence, and when Blackmon returns, Shorts shouldn’t be facing any double-teams.
So…I think I had a great PPR-league draft, especially considering I joined as a last-minute thing at Joey’s invitation (THANKS JOEY!) and didn’t have the time to really do proper research into current standings of PPR-league drafts OR IDP guys.
Lastly, here’s my team, with the round drafted in parenthesis before their names. Remember, it’s a 14-team league, snake draft, and I had the #1 overall pick. Picks 2 & 3, 4 & 5, 6 & 7, 8 & 9, etc., were all back-to-back picks so keep in mind there were 28 other picks in-between my odd numbered pick and my even-numbered picks. Their bye week is in parenthesis after the names:
(1) Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN (bye: 5)
(2) Dez Braynt, WR, DAL (bye: 11)
(3) Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI (bye: 8)
(4) David Wilson, RB, NYG (bye: 9)
(5) Matt Ryan, QB, ATL (bye: 6)
(6) Tony Romo, QB, DAL (bye: 11)
(7) T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND (bye: 8)
(8) Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN (bye: 9)
(9) Cecil Shorts, WR, JAX (bye: 9)
(10) Shane Vereen, RB, NE (bye: 10)
(11) Josh Gordon, WR, CLE (bye: 10)
(12) Patrick Willis, ILB, SF (bye: 9)
(13) Mark Ingram, RB, NO (bye: 7)
(14) Dolphins DEF (bye: 6)
Yes, I have to pick up a kicker off of waivers….meh. I don’t need to drop anyone to do so since the draft ended a round early and we’re picking up our last player via waivers anyway.
When Joey was on the phone with me getting that final pick from me, he said “Man, you’ve got a KILLER squad…AP usually gets enough fantasy points for TWO running backs, and you’ve DEFINITELY got the scariest WR duo of anyone in the league with Bryant and Marshall.”
Feel free to rate my team in the comments section below and I hope you enjoyed my sharing my PPR-league FFL draft experience!
Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye