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Immaculate selection: 2007’s perfect draft

Posted by zewkey on August 29, 2007

10:03 PM CDT on Monday, August 27, 2007


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Perfection is a relative term. And believe me, I’m not referring to my relatives. Especially my in-laws.

As much as you and I would love to field a fantasy team piloted by Peyton Manning, anchored by LaDainian Tomlinson and Steven Jackson in the backfield, with Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison and Antonio Gates catching passes, that’s about as likely as George Clooney having trouble finding a date on Saturday night.

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Unless you’re playing in a league of monkeys throwing darts at a draft board, you simply must accept that many of the players you covet most will be stolen by your competitors. That’s why they are no longer your friends.

Our challenge, therefore, is to secure the best value with every pick, methodically assembling a team that will dominate from Week 1, withstand an injury to one or two key players, and peak during the fantasy playoffs.

With that lofty goal in mind, I’ve once again done the research for you – analyzing the average draft position of each player from several mock draft sites to determine the best pick in each round – resulting in the 2007 Perfect Draft.

As always, we start with a few key assumptions. First, we’re in a 10-team league using a standard scoring system that starts 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 Def. Second, we are drafting from the middle (fifth) position in a zig-zag format, meaning LT is long gone by the time we pick. Third, because all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. And finally, our goal is nothing short of total domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.

Now, with the fifth pick of the 2007 Fantasy Draft, we select …

Round 1 – Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis: We’re in great shape with the Colts workhorse in our backfield. He can’t help but rack up yardage and scores in that offense, and there’s no one threatening to share carries. If he’s gone, Fast Willie Parker is the pick.

Round 2 – Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati: If Travis Henry falls to us here, we raise our fists and declare victory. Otherwise, we take the top fantasy receiver in the land, and pray that our competitors allow at least one top RB to fall to us in the next round.

Round 3 – Cedric Benson, RB, Chicago: As tempting as it may be to load up at WR with Reggie Wayne, we must secure our RB2 with Chicago’s workhorse. Edgerrin James is arguably a better option but is probably gone.

Round 4 – Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: Pass on Peyton Manning three rounds earlier and get the next best thing. We’ll love his creampuff schedule during the fantasy playoffs. If Brees is gone, Marc Bulger will be just fine.

Round 5 – Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: Let’s grab the 2007 Rookie of the Year while we can and shore up our backfield at the same time. We may keep him on the bench for a couple of weeks, but it won’t be long before Peterson gives us fits when making our start/sit decisions.

Round 6 – Reggie Brown, WR, Philadelphia: DeAngelo Williams, my leading candidate for Breakout Player of the Year, may prove to be a better pick. But we’ll take Donovan McNabb’s go-to receiver here instead. We’re stacked at RB.

Round 7 – Tony Romo, QB, Dallas: He may have slipped to us in the next round, but let’s not risk losing one of the steals of the draft. We now have two of the top six QBs in Fantasyland.

Round 8 – Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay: Tatum Bell may fall in our lap here, especially if our competitors are leery of his shin injury. If not, Jackson has the inside track on the Packers’ starting job, with Vernand Morency still nursing a strained knee.

Round 9 – Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego: A potent end zone target, Jackson will be a prime beneficiary of Philip Rivers’ continued development. If he’s gone, we take Bernard Berrian, Chicago’s home-run threat.

Round 10 – Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh: Let’s scoop up another sleeper to round out our receiving corps. Let someone else spend big on Hines Ward. We’ll take the more explosive receiver who will out-produce the veteran in his third year.

Round 11 – Jason Witten, TE, Dallas: We gambled a bit waiting on our tight end, but Witten is severely undervalued this year. He’s poised for a sensational season running deeper routes for his dynamic quarterback and good friend Romo.

Round 12 – Drew Bennett, WR, St. Louis: There are several intriguing options here, including, possibly, Warrick Dunn. Bennett offers terrific upside in the Rams’ passing game, particularly given the worries over Torry Holt’s slow recovery from off-season knee surgery.

Round 13 – Jaguars defense, Jacksonville: Waiting on our defense allowed us to stock up at the other positions. Meanwhile, the Jaguars give us a formidable unit at a great price.

Round 14 – Brandon Marshall, WR, Denver: A steal this late, Marshall should develop a solid bond with fellow second-year player Jay Cutler.

Round 15 – Owen Daniels, TE, Houston: We need a backup to Witten, and Daniels offers significant upside after a surprising rookie campaign.

Round 16 – Adrian Peterson, RB, Chicago: This is the time to backup our top RB, but there’s no clear handcuff to Addai. The “other AP” has looked good when given the opportunity, and could fill in admirably if Benson is injured or wears down. A flier like Packers WR James Jones is another decent pick here.

Round 17 – Nate Kaeding, K, San Diego: I don’t always insist on waiting for the last round to take a kicker; but when a sure thing like Kaeding is going to be there, it only makes sense.

There you have it. Great players at every position, no major bye problems, and, best of all, no Raiders, Browns, Bills, Titans, Chiefs, Dolphins or Bucs.

Here’s hoping your draft is perfect, too.

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Mock Draft Review: QBs go early

Posted by zewkey on August 20, 2007

August 17, 2007

By Jason Lake

It’s official: The Tom Brady bandwagon has spilled over into fantasy football.

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Our cracked editorial staff held its 18-round draft Monday morning. We’ve got 12 teams separated into three divisions: Animals, Vegetables and Minerals. Yours Truly is the manager of The Torn Labrums, and I’m already giddier than a schoolgirl after what went down at the draft.

Things began simply enough. LaDainian Tomlinson went first overall to the Cowboys, followed by Steven Jackson to the ChalkDogs. But then my divisional rivals, jimmyville, selected Brian Westbrook with the No. 3 pick. Interesting. He was the fourth-ranked RB from 2006 on the Bodog Fantasy charts. Perhaps jimmyville was worried Larry Johnson might be caught up in an extended holdout with the Kansas City Chiefs? No matter. I was more than happy to snap him up with the No. 4 overall pick.

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Then things really went off-Broadway. The Reds put their faith in Reggie Bush with the fifth pick, and the LTown Wondercats, another charter member of the Minerals division, took Mr. Brady sixth overall. Clearly the Wondercats have been seduced by the major WR upgrade the Patriots enjoyed during the offseason. Otherwise, Brady was ranked No. 7 among QBs last year. So much for conventional wisdom. However, sometimes you have to take the road less traveled to win in a sharp league, which we most certainly are (cough, cough).

The Mels are my other competitors in the Minerals division, and they went with Joseph Addai. He’ll get more touches with Dominic Rhodes moving to Oakland, but this is still a gamble. That left the next three teams drooling to make their picks: Frank Gore to the Confused Moose, Shaun Alexander to the Riggo Redskins, and Willie Parker to the Cougars.

The Seahawks followed up by picking Laurence Maroney, who again figures to handle the rock more often in 2007. Last but certainly not least, the Ancaster Football Club grabbed Peyton Manning with the No. 12 pick. Manning is usually the first QB off the board, and a solid pick this late in the first round.

Other picks of note: Steve Smith (Confused Moose, 17th overall) was the first WR off the board, Antonio Gates (Seahawks, 35th) the first tight end, Chicago (LTown Wondercats, 67th) the first defense, and Adam Vinatieri (Seahawks, 83rd) the first kicker. Let the games begin.

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Mock Draft

Posted by zewkey on August 15, 2007

July 2007 10 Team Mock Draft

By Roberto Baltazar, Fantasy Football Cafe Regular

As the “real” drafting in fantasy football leagues will soon begin, 10 Cafe members signed up for a mock serpentine draft, and were given the opportunity to choose their draft spots with the intention of enabling them to practice their drafting skills in preparation for the all-important player selection process, as well as to assess the quality of the fantasy team they would end up with given their respective drafting strategies.

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The roster requirements for this draft consisted of a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, one team defense, and six bench spots, with standard scoring.

Below are the results of the mock draft, and if you are curious to know the reasons why some drafters picked or passed on a certain player read on, as 3 of the drafters have provided their insights regarding these matters. These gentlemen were not merely drafting for the sake of doing a mock, but also to help them build a team of championship caliber in their “real” leagues.

Pick # Player Round Team

Mockers’ Analysis/Opinions:

Mocker: benb18a

My two most difficult decisions were my first two picks of the draft. I was drafting from the precarious fifth position, which I think is the hardest spot in the draft because it comes right after the “big four”, who are the consensus top four picks. After that quartet the next several spots become extremely cloudy. I have seen Alexander, Addai, Westbrook, and Parker drafted and ranked at this spot, with no clear cut favorite. The choice for me came down to Alexander and Westbrook. Both have proven their ceilings can be pretty high, but both are also injury risks. The fact that there was no PPR played a big part in this decision, as so far as TDs and total yards are concerned I predict Alexander will have the better season. I’m not crazy about drafting young or unproven players this high, which eliminated Addai. I also liked how Alexander looked at the end of last season, and the fact that he plays in the worst defensive division in football.

With my second round pick I was faced with the decision of either grabbing an elite WR before they were all gone or getting a top-tier RB2. This was a difficult choice, as I had no idea if a wide receiver run might force me to settle for a WR2 as my WR1. A majority of fantasy players put RB depth as their number one priority on draft day, but I am part of the “starting roster first” camp, so I decided to draft all three of my starting wideouts before getting a RB3, since there were still some decent guys left in the sixth round. I am glad I made that choice, as Travis Henry fell to me in round three, giving me the possibility of having two potential top ten running backs and a top five wideout.

As far as having a drafting strategy, I don’t really employ a certain strategy every time, as all drafts look different after the first round is in the books. I go with the flow, and simply try to figure out who will be there the next round, what position has the best values, etc. This is why I drafted Lee Evans in the fifth round instead of Brandon Jacobs. I decided to give myself a very solid WR3 who has a ton of upside at that position over a running back who has never carried a full workload.

I tried to get an elite QB, but as you can see by the draft results those players were all drafted within three picks before mine, but I didn’t really place too much emphasis on it, as I try not to reach for anybody. I was content to wait until the middle rounds to pick up two quarterbacks to platoon. I am happy with Kitna and Hasselbeck, but not thrilled. They didn’t exactly impress me in 2006 so far as turnovers are concerned, especially if we consider their performance during the second half of last season, but they are capable of having big games and putting up top 10 seasons, so I feel I could use those two depending on their matchups.

I usually wait until the last two rounds to pick up a defense because I was able to use the WW matchup strategy last season with positive results. I ended up with Miami in the fourteenth round, which I was pleased with, as I think they have a decent chance of being a top five D/ST this season. I don’t feel the temptation to reach in the middle rounds for a defense, and I instead picked up some bench players that while not spectacular, weren’t unreliable either.

Mocker: Indys_Time

Running Backs: With my first round pick (1.04) I selected Frank Gore, who I feel is due to mirror last season’s production for an improving team in San Francisco. At 2.07 I drafted Clinton Portis, as even though Portis will likely split time with Ladell Betts he could easily amass 1400 total yards with 10+ total touchdowns, and the timeshare actually makes Portis less of an injury risk since Betts will be taking some of the carries and punishment. For my backups I chose Jamal Lewis (5.04), Warrick Dunn (7.04), and Reuben Droughns (12.07). Jamal Lewis is a solid back who could top 1000 yards with 6+ TDs. Dunn might be near the end of his career, but in a redraft league he still has a fair amount of value. Finally, while Droughns might be #2 on the depth chart in New York for now, I have a feeling he will be the number 1 back for the Giants by midseason.

Quarterbacks: For my starting QB I went with Vince Young (11.04), who I feel is an explosive, fast, invigorating new talent who could easily throw for 2500 passing yards and 20 touchdowns along with and additional 700 rushing yards and 10 TDs. The fantasy points he adds to a roster with his legs are why Vince Young is poised to finish among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks, and are what convinced me to pick him. Just in case the Madden Curse strikes again I chose a proven fantasy backup in Carolina’s Jake Delhomme at 14.07.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: In my Starting wide receivers, Marques Colston (3.04), Plaxico Burress (4.07), and Santana Moss (6.07) I have 3 primary receiving options for their teams, and a trio that should give me solid production. My reserve wideouts include a potential breakout player in Pittsburgh’s Santonio Holmes (9.04) and a seasoned veteran in Derrick Mason (13.04). My tight end, Kellen Winslow (8.07), is due to produce again like last year, and should once again finish in the top 5 at his position.

Defense/Kicker: At D/ST I took the Chargers (10.07), as I feel that an elite defense can be the difference between winning and losing some weeks. I finished up my draft by selecting a solid kicker in Neil Rackers (15.04).

Steal of the Draft: The biggest steal that I could see in this draft was likely the Brandon Jacobs pick at 6.10. Jacobs is, for now, considered the starting RB for the New York Giants, and could potentially produce 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs.

Sleepers: There are several “sleeper” picks that I like in this draft. Santonio Holmes, while the #2 wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is quite capable in my opinion of gaining over 1000 yards with 7 touchdowns this season. Also, Anthony Thomas of Buffalo, at 14.04, fell very far for a redraft league. He could be a solid starter for most of the year and keep incoming rookie Marshawn Lynch behind him on the depth chart. In a year Lynch will probably have the starting spot, but for now the A-Train might be carrying the Buffalo Bills.

Mocker: BlueBandit24

Round 1: Willie Parker – Parker was the last “stud” RB on the board, and when both he and Westbrook dropped past 1.06 I decided I would take whoever fell to 1.08. He provided a solid #1 back to build around.

Round 2: Steve Smith – With 3 starting wide receivers, taking an elite one seemed like a logical choice in Round 2, especially with plenty of serviceable RBs to be had in the 3rd.

Round 3: Edgerrin James – I felt the need to secure my 2nd running back. Arizona has made some changes that should benefit the running game, and Edge doesn’t have anyone who will compete with him for carries.

Round 4: T.J. Houshmandzadeh – “Housh” is one of the top #2 wideouts and his numbers have improved every year.

Round 5: Deuce McAllister – RB depth is extremely valuable and I see Deuce as having RB2 value. If this were a “real” league, Deuce would be great injury insurance or trade bait.

Round 6: Marc Bulger – With no other players that I really liked available in Round 6, I went with an elite quarterback to further strengthen my starting lineup.

Round 7: Laveranues Coles – Filled out my receiving corps with a very reliable player. Not a “sexy” pick, but I feel very comfortable with him as a WR3.

Round 8: Ladell Betts – I had good RB depth already, so I gambled with Betts. If Portis goes down, he immediately becomes extremely valuable. Even if Portis stays healthy Betts is a good RB4.

Round 9: Brandon Jackson – A high upside running back to provide additional depth.

Round 10: Jason Witten – Not a great tight end, but a serviceable one who fills my need at the position.

Round 11: Robert Meachem – I’ll admit I immediately regretted not taking Matt Jones, but if Meachem wins the #2 gig across from Colston in New Orleans he has excellent potential with Drew Brees at the helm.

Round 12: Denver Broncos D/ST – A Top 5 defense in my opinion, and I wanted to secure a elite unit at that position.

Round 13: Ronald Curry – Hoping that this sleeper receiver comes through as Oakland’s top wideout.

Round 14: Kevan Barlow – Simply a handcuff for Parker, nothing more.

Round 15: Mike Nugent – I never take a kicker before the last round. However, Nugent did lead all kickers in scoring in the 2nd half of 2006, so I’m hoping that carries over.
Special thanks to benb18a, Indys_Time, and BlueBandit24 for contributing commentary for this article.
Robert is an active Cafe member who resides in Asia and is considered one of the best “sig” designers at the Cafe. You can find him in the forums where he posts under the name madaslives911.

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