Sunday, August 26, 2012

Draft Day 2012

Ah, Draft Day! In my opinion, the best day of the year. A day of cheap jokes and playful trash talk. A day of unbridled optimism and enthusiasm. A day of parity for all ten franchises in the Draft and Draught League. Before we get to my strategy and results, I present to you:

Highlights of the 2012 Draft and Draught Draft
(directed at a Cowboys fan) "Did you know that Eli Manning has more Super Bowl rings than Tony Romo has playoff wins?"

(after Marshawn Lynch went 8th overall) "First player off the board with pending legal issues!"

(after Chris Johnson went 7th overall) "First player off the board who quit on his team last year!"

(after Jamaal Charles went 12th overall) "First player off the board who is returning from a season ending injury!" Actually, this joke was probably mentioned for the next 30 running backs, which made it less funny once we all had crippled players starting for us.

(after Michael Vick went 39th overall) "First player who is legitimately evil is off the board!" Can't fault the value there, though. It's the classic karmic risk/fantasy football reward dilemma pick. Ben Roethlisberger prompted a similar vein of conversation in the 10th round.

Matt Ryan in the 4th round prompted the always classic, "Nice pick, that's great value in the 7th round! ...oh wait what round is it? Four? Oh."

Other things we learned:

That Arian Foster is a vegan. Technically, I knew this already, but we certainly heard a lot about it from the two vegans present. He went 2nd overall, by the way. To our vegan owner. What a shocker.

That there are not one, not two, not three, but four players named after Roman senators in the top 200 ESPN rankings. They are, in order of appearance on the list, Demaryius Thomas (#63), Denarius Moore (#82), Darrius Heyward-Bey (#112) and Titus Young (#113). Marcus Easley (#289) just missed the cut. This fact is presented to you by my team's front office staff, Vice President of Football Operations Mary. No, really, I have a front office and a vice president.

That twenty players listed on's fantasy page have the last name "Johnson."

That no one in my league trusts Maurice Jones-Drew, an elite running back who currently is holding out for a new contract and isn't playing with his team yet. He dropped from 4th overall in consensus rankings a month ago to the 23rd pick in our draft. Will he be good? We have no idea.

Rich Liberal Trendy Cause Draft Strategy and Results
Vice President of Football Operations Mary and I wanted to avoid risk as much as possible in the early rounds. I obviously hoped that one of the three sure-fire running backs on the board (LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, and Arian Foster) would fall to me, but this was unlikely. I felt a few things were true at this point:

1) There are three elite quarterbacks(Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees) and then a significant drop off to the next tier(Matthew Stafford et al.)
2) There is one elite wide receiver(Calvin "Megatron" Johnson) and then the next 20 or so have very similar value. Wide receiver is "deep" this year, because you can wait until later to find roughly equivalent value.
3) There are no identifiably elite running backs after the top 3. It isn't that none of them will be really good, but rather it's that I can't tell you which of them will be good with any certainty.
4) There are two elite tight ends(Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski), then a very good one(Antonio Gates) and then everyone else is about the same - good, but not stellar.

With these thoughts in mind, I decided that I was going to wait a bit to grab my first wide receiver, wait quite awhile to grab my first running back, and make sure I had one each of the elite quarterbacks and tight ends. My thought was that, in the first couple rounds of a draft, I wanted to find ways to gain an edge over my opponents, and leave the guessing at wide receiver and running back to the other teams.

Here is my draft:
1.06 - Drew Brees, QB
2.05 - Rob Gronkowski "The Gronk", TE
3.06 - Hakeem Nicks, WR
4.05 - Ryan Mathews, RB
5.06 - "The Law Firm" BenJarvis Green-Ellis, RB
6.05 - Antonio Brown, WR
7.06 - Shonn Greene, RB
8.05 - Torrey Smith, WR
9.06 - CJ Spiller, RB
10.05 - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR and former Roman Senator
11.06 - DeAngelo Williams, RB
12.05 - Mark Ingram, RB
13.06 - Lance Moore, WR
14.05 - Randall Cobb, WR
15.06 - Eagles D/ST
16.05 - Matt Prater, K

Brees was the quarterback left after Rodgers and Brady went in the top five. I like Jimmy Graham just a touch more than Gronkowski, but picked The Gronk instead because I try to avoid having quarterbacks and receivers/tight ends from the same team.  Soon after the draft, however, I made a rather big-name trade: I sent Brees and The Gronk to the Montclair Mounties for Tom Brady and Jimmy Graham, my preferred QB/TE combo. He seemed happy to have Gronk, and I'm certainly happy to have both.

So my team currently stands as:

QB: Tom Brady
RB1: Ryan Mathews
RB2: The Law Firm
WR1: Hakeem Nicks
WR2: Antonio Brown
Flex: Shonn Greene
TE: Jimmy Graham
D/ST: Eagles
K: Matt Prater.

Bench - WRs Torrey Smith, Darrius "The Senator" Heyward-Bey, Lance Moore, Randall Cobb,
RBs CJ Spiller, DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram

I'll introduce the players on The Cause in-depth in a later post, but upon initial review, there are a couple of things I really like about my squad. We succeeded in outstripping pretty much everyone other than the Mounties at quarterback and tight end, and I think mine are slightly better than theirs. My wide receivers are very talented, and I think that my bench wide outs are incredibly strong as well. The running backs are actually not terrible, considering how late I waited to acquire them. Every pick after round 1 at running back was pretty much akin to throwing a dart at a dart board, and I like the darts I chose. That said, running back is the weakest position on my team, and I will spend the rest of the preseason and early weeks at least examining ways to improve there.

Overall, I think the draft went very, very well for the Rich Liberal Trendy Cause. We shall see in the coming weeks, but for now I will participate in America's real favorite pastime - staring at my team page and switching people in and out of flex for the next two weeks. I can't wait for Week One!


  1. He got Eli? And does he know he's not a Top Tre Dawg?

  2. @doyle - Actually, yes, Eli is probably aware of his not-quite elite status, at least as it pertains to fantasy football.

    Here's why:

    2011 Quarterback Fantasy Points Rankings
    396.3 points - Aaron Rodgers
    390.2 points - Drew Brees
    367.9 points - Cam Newton
    364.7 points - Tom Brady
    342.0 points - Matthew Stafford
    279.7 points - Eli Manning

    The difference between Eli and Rodgers last season was equivalent to an extra top-30 running back, and even the jump from Eli to Stafford represents about a 22% uptick in value . I expect Eli to remain a top NFL quarterback this season, but he turns the ball over too frequently and doesn't score quite enough touchdowns to make that extra leap.

    Quick thoughts about the rest of those ranks: 1) Rodgers is going to be a beast. 2) Brees will be very very good, but there is some risk this year, given Bounty-gate and some personnel moves that make the Saints a touch thinner on offense. 3) Cam's passing stats dropped significantly in the 2nd half of last season, and I doubt his rushing touchdown numbers are repeatable. He will be beating the odds to repeat last year's numbers, even if he improves skillwise in his second season. 4) Matthew Stafford is still an injury risk, and he relies heavily on a single player (Calvin Johnson) for his value.

    I like Rodgers first, but I think Tom Brady is as sure a thing as there is in fantasy right now. Of course, I thought that in 2008 as well. Stupid Bernard Pollard...

    @paragon249 - Hey there, Mounties owner! Glad to have you aboard, good luck throughout the season! Except, of course, against the Cause.

  3. Oh hey there KPd.! One quick thought on Eli - he doesn't miss games. Ever. That is a trait he shares with Rodgers and Brady, and it really really matters this season - missing a start or two out of your quarterback will be a nightmare if you're playing against, say, Aaron Rodgers. That actually gives him a big value bump - not enough to hop him into my top 5, but certainly enough to put him into his own tier. I'd rather him than Romo, Rivers, Shaub et al for that reason alone.