Summer is an amazing time for dynasty fantasy football. We are beginning to get some practice reports; all kinds of fantasy football drafts are underway which gives everyone a chance to put their money where their mouth is in respect to player evaluation and strategy. Despite my best efforts to cut down on the number of leagues I am in, I joined one more start-up league (still down to eight from eleven leagues last year). It is a 12 teamer with 40 regular roster spots and five taxi squad spots (rookies only). The lineups are as follows: 1 QB, 2-3 RBs, 2-5 WRs, 1-3 TEs (need eight combined players out of RB/WR/TE spots), 1 K and on the defensive side 3-4 LBs, 3-4 DBs, 2-3 DLs with ten total defensive starters. It is PPR scoring for all positions, tackle heavy IDP scoring, 6 points for every touchdown, .1 points per 1 yard of offense (rushing and receiving), and .05 per yard of passing and/or returns. Through a little of my influence, I coaxed the commissioner to use the Kentucky Derby format to pick our draft positions (I was lucky enough to end up with my favorite roster spot, 10th overall in a straight snake format). You can find the league here: http://football24.myfantasyleague.com/2014/options?L=32962&O=17
Since we have more information in June/July, I think it’s a good time to see how strategies might change from the start-up I did in late February. The league seems to be a good mixture of veteran players, so hopefully there will be less of a chance for an outlier. Much like a few of my previous articles, I will discuss some reaches and values during the draft.
1.02 AJ Green, WR CIN
While it is true that wide receivers will remain fantasy relevant longer than running backs, I found this pick to be one the reach side. The Bengals offensive coaching staff promised more of a commitment to the run and Andy Dalton had a great year overall, but struggled with consistency from week to week. I would have liked this pick four or five spots later.
1.03 Eddie Lacy, RB GB
I understand the owner wanting to get a young stud player, but I’m not convinced that Lacy deserved the pick here. Jamaal Charles plays in an offense that features him (my second overall player), while the second year back Lacy is a cog in Aaron Rodgers offense. Sure this puts defenses on their heels, but it doesn’t guarantee week to week production. Once again, I would be happier with this pick a few spots later.
1.10 Gio Bernard, RB CIN
Full confession, this is my selection. The rookie Jeremy Hill hype is in full force, so he dropped in this draft. I think Hill helps Bernard’s cause more than hurts it. Sure Hill is a thumper, but the second year back is silky smooth and is a great pass catcher who won’t need to touch the ball more than 20 times a game.
1.12 Michael Floyd, WR ARIZ
It’s not that I don’t think Floyd is a talented receiver, but there were better players on the board like Jimmy Graham, Adrian Peterson, and Le’Veon Bell. This owner should have traded back to grab him at least a round later. It is courageous to get your guy, just not at that price.
2.02 Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
The super freak was the fifth running back off the board. Sure there is injury and age concerns, but Peterson is a steal in the second round. This selection makes the owner in a win now mode, however.
2.04 Jimmy Graham, TE NO
In this type of format, Graham is sometimes an early first round selection. Grabbing him as the 16th overall is huge value. This gives the team a huge advantage at tight end for the foreseeable future, if he remains a tight end.
2.09 Randall Cobb, WR GB
This was a big reach to me with his free agent status in 2015 along with Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson still on the board. I have my doubts that he will be back in Green Bay and/or that he will have a great quarterback throwing him the ball, think Eric Decker this year.
3.02 DeMarco Murray, RB DAL
Value hit this owner over the head. Murray gets to have Scott Linehan as his offensive coordinator and was only the 8th runner picked so far in the draft. Many considered him injury prone at the start of his career, but this slasher runs and catches the ball well. Murray might be the steal of the entire draft.
3.06 Paul Posluszny, LB JAX
Picking a 30-year-old linebacker in the third round of a start-up draft is a reach any way you slice it. Sure this is a tackle heavy scoring, but how much longer will “the Poz’ be effective at his job? This selection belongs a few rounds later.
3.07 Cordarrelle Patterson, WR MIN
Since this league rewards return yardage, Patterson was a great pick in the middle of the third round. Going to a Norv Turner offensive system will be a huge advantage for him. Patterson still has some issues catching the ball consistently, but with Turner drawing up specific plays for him to get the ball is a good thing.
3.10 Michael Crabtree, WR SF
This was my pre-drafting error. While I like Crabby, there are a few other wide outs I like more at this spot: Brandin Cooks (who I got the next round) and Percy Harvin jump to mind. Crabtree is a good receiver, but unfortunately he plays on a run-first team.
3.12 Christine Michael, RB SEA
I understand about getting excited about younger players in a dynasty league. With Michael being the 13th runner picked in this draft, this screamed overpay to me. This young back has injury concerns and a trouble filled college career. This pick could have waited another round or two, in my mind.
4.04 DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU
While I like the upside that he brings, the Texans offense is a mess with unknowns at QB and the Andre Johnson isn’t happy angle. Hopkins got benched a few times during the 2013 season and recent reports haven’t exactly been glowing. I have his value a few rounds later than this.
4.06 Andre Ellington, RB ARIZ
If the reports of his getting 20 touches a game are true, Ellington is a steal here. He is a dynamic playmaker with a lot of downfield weapons that should free him up in space. I almost chose him two picks earlier.
4.10 Percy Harvin, WR SEA
Perhaps it was the injury concerns, but Harvin here represents a lot of value at this point in the draft. When he is healthy, the wide out can lineup everywhere, including in the backfield. I just don’t know if the Seattle coaching staff will scheme to him.
4.12 Russell Wilson, QB SEA
First things first, I love the kind of quarterback that Wilson is; however, he was a huge reach as the fifth quarterback taken. Wilson belongs in the top ten fantasy quarterbacks, not the top five.
5.04 Toby Gerhart, RB JAX
Sure he is a little older than most backs are when they get the chance to start. Gerhart played behind all-pro Peterson and was very effective after contact on his limited touches. The back has a lot of young passing targets (Allen Robinson, Cecil Shorts, Marques Lee) to hopefully take some of the focus away from him.
5.05 Andre Johnson, WR HOU
An over 30-year-old, unhappy with his contract wide out does not make a great selection this early in a start-up draft. Plus to make matters worse, Mr. Johnson is a bit allergic to the end zone. There are better receivers to invest in at this point in the draft.
5.06 Navorro Bowman, LB SF
This is a huge risk-reward pick. Bowman is a warrior, but is coming off a late season serious knee injury. It might take him all of 2014 to get healthy. I’d rather draft a younger, healthier player instead.
5.12 Robert Quinn, DE STL
He replaced JJ Watt as the most effective defensive lineman last season. By drafting DT Aaron Donald, it will make things even harder to deal with the attacking Rams defensive line. I love this pick because Quinn is a difference maker with at least 24 defensive linemen started each week.
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