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8/16/2019 - 12 Teams, PPR

On August 14th, a portion of the FFToday crew got together for our staff league draft. This is a real league that will be played out during the season. Team-by-team results and commentary from each owner are below.

12 owners, 18 Rounds, PPR

Starting line-up: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WRs, 1TE, 2 Flex (RB, WR or TE) & 1 D/ST.

Scoring:
1 point for every: 10 yards rushing, receiving, 20 yards passing, reception, sack, FUM Rec, INT Ret
2 points for every: safety, PAT rushed, PAT received, PAT thrown
3 points for every: field goal
4 points for every: touchdown thrown
6 points for every: touchdown rushed, received, fumble returned, interception returned, kick returned

You can view the Round by Round results here.

Looking to ace your draft? Pickup a copy of the Draft Buddy and get customized projections and rankings for your league.

 Nick Caron - Pick No. 1
1.01 RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2.12 RB Kerryon Johnson, DET
3.01 WR Keenan Allen, LAC
4.12 RB Derrick Henry, TEN
5.01 WR D.J. Moore, CAR
6.12 WR A.J. Green, CIN
7.01 RB Derrius Guice, WAS
8.12 RB Royce Freeman, DEN
9.01 WR Dede Westbrook, JAC
10.12 RB Damien Harris , NE
11.01 RB Justice Hill , BAL
12.12 QB Dak Prescott, DAL
13.01 TE T.J. Hockenson , DET
14.12 WR Tre'Quan Smith, NO
15.01 QB Josh Allen, BUF
16.12 TE Mike Gesicki, MIA
17.01 WR Jakobi Meyers, NE
18.12 DEF Seattle Seahawks, SEA
Pick #1 - Nick Caron

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Too much discussion often goes into the top overall pick in fantasy drafts, but I was happy that I had my choice of the entire draft board. The “big four” has recently become the “big three” due to the Ezekiel Elliott hold out, but I still strongly believe that the other three backs currently being selected at the top of drafts - Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara - are all worthy of the top overall pick. I opted for McCaffrey primarily because this is a PPR league and McCaffrey has an impressive 187 receptions over his first two seasons. Most drafts will see Barkley go first and I believe he’s the most talented of the bunch but he is also in what I believe to be easily worst offense of the three.

I decided to go with a player who I’ve changed my opinion on quite a bit this offseason in Round 2, and that was Kerryon Johnson. I’m not a believer in Johnson as an elite talent but I am a believer that the Lions view him that way and that’s ultimately what matters for fantasy purposes. The Lions moved on from Theo Riddick and without a pass catching specialist on the roster to replace him, it seems likely that Johnson is in line for a big workload not only as a runner but also as a receiver.

Picking at the turn allowed me to select two running backs in rounds one and two while still locking in a high-floor WR1 in Keenan Allen with the first pick of Round 3.

What player(s) did you miss out on? The end of the second round was excruciating for me to sit through as four straight backs - Nick Chubb, Damien Williams, Todd Gurley and Joe Mixon - all were selected right before my pick. While I was still okay with getting Kerryon Johnson, I would’ve rather taken any of those backs ahead of him.

Two other players that I was disappointed to see go off the board a few picks before me were both rookies - Miles Sanders in the sixth round and Kyler Murray in the eighth round. Picking at the turn meant that I was often having to reach deep down on my board to select players who I was higher on than consensus and I just wasn’t gutsy enough to do that with Sanders and Murray. I think Sanders has RB1 upside for the second half of the season and Kyler Murray is a top five overall quarterback for me.

Final thought: While Andy Swanson shocked all of us by selected Patrick Mahomes in Round 2, the rest of the league was not nearly as interested in the quarterback position as another QB didn’t go off the board until the middle of Round 5. However, at that point the run began as four were selected within nine picks.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was that a few owners in this league seemed to be utilizing a “zero-RB” or at least a modified zero-RB strategy with one stud back followed by deprioritizing the position until the middle rounds. While I believe this strategy can be effective, I also believe that it’s a very risky strategy in a league with two “Flex” spots unless you plan to trade one of your wide receivers for a running back after the draft. It’s possible to roll out up to five wide receivers per week, but we also need to start at least two running backs and a few teams in this league simply do not have more than one back who can be trusted to produce, especially early in the season.

 Kirk Hollis - Pick No. 2
1.02 RB Saquon Barkley, NYG
2.11 RB Joe Mixon, CIN
3.02 WR Adam Thielen, MIN
4.11 WR Cooper Kupp, LAR
5.02 RB Mark Ingram, BAL
6.11 WR Jarvis Landry, CLE
7.02 RB Tarik Cohen, CHI
8.11 TE Vance McDonald, PIT
9.02 QB Andrew Luck, IND
10.11 WR Tyrell Williams, OAK
11.02 QB Drew Brees, NO
12.11 WR James Washington, PIT
13.02 DEF Chicago Bears, CHI
14.11 QB Kirk Cousins, MIN
15.02 RB Giovani Bernard, CIN
16.11 WR Mecole Hardman , KC
17.02 TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN
18.11 WR Kenny Stills, MIA
Pick #2 - Kirk Hollis

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Last year, in this same draft, I had this exact same pick and I chose Le’Veon Bell (thankfully I grabbed James Conner in Round 18). We all know how that turned out, so my primary objective at pick No.2 overall was to avoid Ezekiel Elliott so as not to re-create the past. The top three picks are pretty set in stone at the moment and Barkley was at the top of my wish list due to the sheer volume of touches he is likely to amass. A new scoring rule this year in this league which allows for up to 4 starting RBs altered my strategy beyond Barkley. Normally, I would look to go WR-WR in rounds two & three, but the ability to compile quality RBs at a position where touches are scarce led me to taking Joe Mixon in the second round. I thought Mixon fell a bit too far as I had him ranked ahead of Todd Gurley and Damien Williams. As such, I was thrilled to pair him with Barkley to form what I hope will be the best 1-2 punch at RB in the league.

What player(s) did you miss out on? I was able to hit my “targets” in most rounds, but did get a couple of receivers taken on the turn right in front of me that altered the overall plan. I was hoping to pick up A.J. Green at 7.02 right after I drafted Jarvis Landry, but Green got taken by Nick just prior. Then, Nick took Dede Westbrook one pick before I was going to nab him at 9.02. In response to those two disappointments, I actually went away from WR both times and chose Tarik Cohen (RB) and Andrew Luck (QB). Getting Luck in the ninth could be the steal of the draft or a completely wasted pick at this point. After losing out on Westbrook and with no other targets in sight, I decided to roll the dice. Fingers crossed…

Final thought: My head was spinning during this draft trying to figure out how to best fill out a roster in which the starting lineup can contain up to 4 RBs and 5 WRs. Would a RB-heavy roster thus be the play…or does the scoring system (PPR) lend itself to needing to take WRs early and often? In the end, I opted to go RB-heavy simply because I thought that’s where the value was when it was my turn to pick. I also found some of the picks of rookies and unproven players fascinating. The Kyler Murray discussion that took place during the draft was particularly interesting as some of the guys had him ranked as high as No.3 on their QB board. At times, it felt we were choosing teams for a keeper league and not a re-draft league.

 Doug Orth - Pick No. 3
1.03 RB Alvin Kamara, NO
2.10 RB Todd Gurley, LAR
3.03 WR Chris Godwin, TB
4.10 RB Chris Carson, SEA
5.03 WR Tyler Boyd, CIN
6.10 WR Allen Robinson, CHI
7.03 TE Jared Cook, NO
8.10 QB Carson Wentz, PHI
9.03 WR Anthony Miller, CHI
10.10 RB Ronald Jones, TB
11.03 QB Lamar Jackson, BAL
12.10 TE Austin Hooper, ATL
13.03 RB Peyton Barber, TB
14.10 TE Darren Waller, OAK
15.03 WR Miles Boykin , BAL
16.10 DEF Denver Broncos, DEN
17.03 WR Trey Quinn, WAS
18.10 WR Jalen Hurd , SF
Pick #3 - Doug Orth

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: There may not be a better draft slot this year than No. 3 - owners are guaranteed a high-end RB1 who isn't holding out, injured or otherwise limited in some way - so grabbing one of those (Kamara) was a no-brainer. After that, it's a question of taking whichever one of the lower-end elite receivers or red-flag, high-end running backs that fall into your lap at No.22. I happen to like the mid-tier tight end market this year and quarterback is roughly 18-20 players deep, so it's hard to justify burning a top pick at those positions.

What player(s) did you miss out on? It was tough to see O.J. Howard selected one pick before mine in the sixth round when I couldn't have asked the first five rounds to go much better than they did. At least in my mind, Howard is the odds-on favorite to join the top three players at the position if any of the mid-tier tight ends make that move this year. It also hurt to see Darwin Thompson taken three spots before mine in the 12th round when I've seen him go much later than that.

Final thought: I learned just how versatile my last name was. (Orth is apparently a noun, verb and adverb. I was unaware of this before draft night.) Seriously though, I was stunned by how far some of the more hyped players of the offseason slid, most of whom seemed to find their way onto my roster in Round 10 or after. It's hard to know if this phenomenon had more to do with owners unwilling to budge on their rankings or were slow to react to the news coming out of camp. I spend at least a few minutes every day - some more than others - tweaking my projections and rankings. This doesn't mean a player moves up four rounds based on a glowing report from a beat writer, but there is almost always be a tidbit that pops up during my research that I may not have considered before. Embrace the change.

 Joseph Hutchins - Pick No. 4
1.04 WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
2.09 RB Damien Williams, KC
3.04 RB Aaron Jones, GB
4.09 RB James White, NE
5.04 WR Mike Williams, LAC
6.09 TE O.J. Howard, TB
7.04 WR Dante Pettis, SF
8.09 QB Jameis Winston, TB
9.04 RB Jaylen Samuels, PIT
10.09 RB Devin Singletary , BUF
11.04 WR Adam Humphries, TEN
12.09 QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
13.04 TE Trey Burton, CHI
14.09 RB Rex Burkhead, NE
15.04 WR Albert Wilson, MIA
16.09 WR Jake Kumerow, GB
17.04 DEF Tennessee Titans, TEN
18.09 WR Ted Ginn Jr., NO
Pick #4 - Joseph Hutchins

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Sitting in the four slot confident the top three RBs would go 1-2-3 in some order, I was in the unusual position of both knowing which player I wanted before the draft started and, more importantly, knowing I’d get him. DeAndre Hopkins was a clearly superior option to the next tier of RBs, especially in a PPR league, and once I made him the first WR selected, the next couple rounds were pretty simple. RB was a guarantee for the second round and, unless pickings were very slim, again in the third. Oddly, the two backs I waffled over in the second round—Damien Williams and Aaron Jones—both ended up on my squad.

What player(s) did you miss out on? I’m not sure it will ultimately cost me, but I had Tyler Boyd all queued up early in the fifth round when Doug O. snatched him right before me at 5.03. I panic-picked Mike Williams instead. Don’t get me wrong: I love Williams this year. I just think I over-drafted him a bit, maybe a full round. He was our WR22 but his ADP in 12-team leagues is WR27. If he scores 11 more times this season, I won’t care.

Final thought: Somebody has to pull the trigger on guys like Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon but I’m always fascinated when they do. The two studs got nabbed at 2.10 and 3.12, well below their natural abilities. Still, I’m not sure I’d have drafted either of them even a full round later. Gurley is going to cause more heartache than he probably should and Gordon could end up providing as many fantasy points as I do this season. I figured Le’Veon Bell’s full-year protest might cause GMs to be a bit more cautious heading into this year’s drafts, but...best of luck, Mr. Schwartz.

 Antonio D'Arcangelis - Pick No. 5
1.05 RB David Johnson, ARI
2.08 RB Nick Chubb, CLE
3.05 WR Stefon Diggs, MIN
4.08 RB Josh Jacobs , OAK
5.05 QB Deshaun Watson, HOU
6.08 WR Calvin Ridley, ATL
7.05 WR Sammy Watkins, KC
8.08 WR Will Fuller, HOU
9.05 RB Dion Lewis, TEN
10.08 WR D.K. Metcalf , SEA
11.05 QB Jared Goff, LAR
12.08 TE Mark Andrews, BAL
13.05 TE Delanie Walker, TEN
14.08 RB Jalen Richard, OAK
15.05 WR Andy Isabella , ARI
16.08 DEF Cleveland Browns, CLE
17.05 WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
18.08 TE Tyler Eifert, CIN
Pick #5 - Antonio D'Arcangelis

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: I’m not a big believer in too much draft prep, other than knowing who you like and having a good tool like the Draft Buddy to handle the heavy lifting. It’s really just a matter of adapting to the chaos, reaching when necessary for the players you really like and minimizing risk in the early rounds. In PPR leagues, that’s in the hands of what Joe Hutchins last year called “pass grabbers.” Go look it up -- he said that he wanted Christian McCaffrey and Davante Adams at pick 2.05. Look at what those guys turned into: fantasy gold. Joe's a smart guy.

For me this year at 1.05, that pick was David Johnson. DeAndre Hopkins was sniped ahead of me, Ezekiel Elliott and his willful path can’t be trusted now, and Johnson is a proven performer who could catch over 70 balls this season in addition to his rushing production. He’ll likely score more TDs and rush for more yards as well in a fresh offense.

Nick Chubb is a budding, hard-chugging game-breaker, the clear lead back on a team that just traded away Duke Johnson and cleared up a huge chunk of passing game work. And, if you thought he broke off some nice runs last year, wait until he gets some of the pressure taken off by a receiving corps and young flame-throwing QB. I think he's a Top 10 back and I absolutely love my first two RBs and RB flex options.

What player(s) did you miss out on? I ended up getting DeShaun Watson but had already wanted the aforementioned Hopkins at 1.05. Beyond that, I had wanted David Montgomery (4.06) for his upside and PPR value, but he was gone way too fast for me. I wanted a share of the Rams receivers too, and Goff is my high-profile backup, a luxury you can afford in a two-FLEX league with 18-man rosters.

O.J. Howard was on my wish list, but after him I thought it wasn’t worth reaching for any TE so I built a stable of upside (Mark Andrews at 12.08) and veteran value (Walker at 13.05). Michael Gallup (14.06) went right before I would have taken him at 14.08. I wanted Noah Fant (18.03) with my last pick but ended up with achy-breaky Tyler Eifert.

Final thought: I felt I was on the proper end (the front) of the position runs, and I really think my team has a good shot at rediscovered glory, especially after reviewing the rest of the teams at the end of the draft. I found some high upside WRs like Diggs, Ridley and Watkins to form the corps of that group. I have a bunch of the guys that have gotten me places before, some others who are in much better position to this season, and eager youth – which is important in the NFL when guys like Greg Olsen and LeSean McCoy can go from diamonds to later-round dirt in the blink of an eye.

 Mike Krueger - Pick No. 6
1.06 RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
2.07 WR Mike Evans, TB
3.06 WR Antonio Brown, OAK
4.07 WR Kenny Golladay, DET
5.06 QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
6.07 RB Austin Ekeler, LAC
7.06 RB Latavius Murray, NO
8.07 WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB
9.06 WR Donte Moncrief, PIT
10.07 TE David Njoku, CLE
11.06 WR Devin Funchess, IND
12.07 RB Darwin Thompson , KC
13.06 TE Jordan Reed, WAS
14.07 RB Malcolm Brown, LAR
15.06 QB Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
16.07 RB Chris Thompson, WAS
17.06 DEF Kansas City Chiefs, KC
18.07 WR Breshad Perriman, TB
Pick #6 - Mike Krueger

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Having the 6th pick in a PPR league I was 75 percent sure I would be taking a wide receiver the likes of Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins or Julio Jones. I knew there was an outside chance that Zeke would fall to me given his holdout situation and sure enough… I ended with a running back in Round 1. IMO, the optimal draft strategy is to land a high-end RB1 then set your sights on the deep WR position the next two or three rounds. I briefly considered RB Nick Chubb in Round 2 but couldn’t pass on Mike Evans who was the last WR in my Tier 2. Throwing caution to the wind, I added more risk with WR Antonio Brown in Round 3 and then completed my RB-WR-WR-WR plan with Kenny Golladay in Round 4.

What player(s) did you miss out on? I’ve been grabbing Sammy Watkins in the 6th-7th round in most of my early drafts and had my sights set on him at 7.06 but got sniped by Antonio. However, I could’ve avoided this situation by not taking Aaron Rodgers back in Round 5. By doing so, I felt obligated to take a running back in Round 6 (Austin Ekeler). If I pass on the QB position in Round 5 in favor of an RB, I likely would’ve been able to snag Watkins in Round 6 and still have the opportunity to take Jameis Winston or Carson Wentz in Round 7 if so desired. This is one example of what kind of effect taking a QB in the early/mid-rounds can have on your draft.

Final thought: Don’t get wrapped up in ADP on draft day. Yes, it’s nice to have a general idea of player values and where they might be taken, but with each league so specific as to rules and owner quality, you’ll come out of your draft a lot happier taking the players you desire instead of fishing for value with every pick. James Conner (1.08), Patrick Mahomes (2.05), Zach Ertz (2.06), Chris Godwin (3.03) all were taken ahead of their ADP in this league… and that’s OK. I’m guessing each owner is just fine with these picks knowing they got the players they covet.

 Bill Anderson - Pick No. 7
1.07 WR Julio Jones, ATL
2.06 TE Zach Ertz, PHI
3.07 RB Marlon Mack, IND
4.06 RB David Montgomery , CHI
5.07 WR Corey Davis, TEN
6.06 RB Miles Sanders , PHI
7.07 TE Hunter Henry, LAC
8.06 WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
9.07 WR John Brown, BUF
10.06 QB Russell Wilson, SEA
11.07 WR Geronimo Allison, GB
12.06 WR Jamison Crowder, NYJ
13.07 RB Chase Edmonds, ARI
14.06 WR Michael Gallup, DAL
15.07 QB Sam Darnold, NYJ
16.06 DEF New England Patriots, NE
17.07 QB Derek Carr, OAK
18.06 DEF New Orleans Saints, NO
Pick #7 - Bill Anderson

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: At pick 7 I knew there was a 98% chance I would be going WR, and it worked out that way. My personal rankings have Julio/Adams/Hopkins so I was happy to get my No.1 wide receiver. On the way back, I was just looking for best available player and was deciding between Chubb/Evans/Ertz. In most scenarios I'd probably lean Chubb but wanted to try something different by getting a top TE. Hindsight being what it is I think I'd pass on Ertz but it's not a terrible pick here. I think 85% of my drafts so far have either been RB-WR, WR-RB, or WR-WR, so it was fun to go WR-TE here.

What player(s) did you miss out on? So many! I was sniped four times in a row! Moncrief, Ballage, Coutee, and Trubisky were all guys that were on top of my queue that were sniped one pick ahead of me. I missed out on some players that I have normally been taking in other drafts including Lockett, Samuel, Darwin Thompson, and Kerryon Johnson.

Final thought: What stood out for me in this draft were players taken quite a bit earlier than their ADP. Kyler Murray (8.03) was one such guy, who went before Wentz (8.10) Cam (9.11) and Wilson (10.06). While I personally wouldn't have done that, I respect owners that have convictions on players and pull the trigger early to get them. Often times, especially in my younger days, I'd be afraid to reach early for a player I loved for fear of getting ridiculed or wasting value. Bottom line, if you really LOVE a guy, take him and don't look back.

 Andy Swanson - Pick No. 8
1.08 RB James Conner, PIT
2.05 QB Patrick Mahomes, KC
3.08 WR Amari Cooper, DAL
4.05 WR Julian Edelman, NE
5.08 RB Sony Michel, NE
6.05 TE Evan Engram, NYG
7.08 WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI
8.05 RB Rashaad Penny, SEA
9.08 WR Marvin Jones, DET
10.05 RB Kalen Ballage, MIA
11.08 RB LeSean McCoy, BUF
12.05 WR Keke Coutee, HOU
13.08 WR Marquise Brown , BAL
14.05 DEF Baltimore Ravens, BAL
15.08 DEF Los Angeles Chargers, LAC
16.05 WR Parris Campbell , IND
17.08 TE Greg Olsen, CAR
18.05 WR David Moore, SEA
Pick #8 - Andy Swanson

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: In an upcoming article that will be posted on FFToday.com, I explain why the fantasy football industry is wrong on the consensus ranking of Patrick Mahomes. Yes, I understand the idea of late-round quarterback and why it is a wise move to wait on a QB because the position is 20-deep and you only need to start one. I also agree that the opportunity cost of the players you pass on in the second round to take Mahomes may set you back compared to the rosters of your opponents.

But as I detail in my article, a player like Mahomes who provides such a massive advantage in point production and consistency is worth taking in the middle of the second round. In the last three seasons, nearly 50% of the players taken in the top 24 based on Fantasy Football Calculator ADP failed to provide top-24 point production. Mahomes scored 75 more points than any other quarterback in a record-setting year for QBs and posted a consistency score of over 20 points higher than the number two finisher.

Fantasy writers love to use the term regression for Mahomes based on the fact that no QB who reached 50 TDs and 5000 yards posted a strong season the following year. While I agree reaching 50 touchdowns may be difficult, I think Mahomes will still be head and shoulders the No.1 QB, and his consistency makes him even more valuable. Why risk a 50/50 chance on a bust in the first two rounds when you can get a sure thing as a foundation to pair with an RB or WR in the first round?

When I found out, I would be picking from the eighth spot in the draft, I decided I wanted to put this theory to the test. The plan was to take James Conner or Davante Adams with my first-round pick and pair him with Mahomes. The only alternative to my plan would be if Michael Thomas fell to me in the second round. At pick 17 in a full PPR format, Thomas is too good of a value to pass up at that point in the draft. Thomas went 14th overall, which sealed my decision to take Mahomes at 17.

What player(s) did you miss out on? In a full point per reception format, I was hoping that Hopkins or Jones would fall to me at pick eight. I considered going Davante Adams over Conner but chose to go with Conner based on the assumption that I could add a strong PPR wide receiver like Julian Edelman in the fourth or fifth round.

My plan on going Patrick Mahomes in the second round at pick 17 would have changed if Michael Thomas somehow fell to that spot. Although Thomas may not get the same massive target volume that Hopkins and Jones typically get, his 80% catch rate makes up for the lack of volume and makes him a PPR stud.

Final thought: You can make the argument that taking Mahomes in the second round was too high based on the fact that Watson and Rodgers, the next two QBs off the board, did not go until round five. I decided to pull the trigger on Mahomes because not only do I think he will be a difference-maker at the position and post a much higher point per game average and consistency score. I also did not think he would make it back to me in the third round.

I know I am going against the grain on Mahomes, a player who often finds himself on “do not draft” articles by other fantasy writers. Negative regression is possible. But I think we are just starting to see the brilliance of Mahomes. The fact that he has all of the factors in place that made him a stud last year, including an elite skill position corps, one of the best offensive minds in the history of the NFL, and a dreadful defense, will help him once again finish head and shoulders above all other quarterbacks.

 Colby Cavaliere - Pick No. 9
1.09 WR Davante Adams, GB
2.04 RB Dalvin Cook, MIN
3.09 RB Leonard Fournette, JAC
4.04 WR T.Y. Hilton, IND
5.09 QB Baker Mayfield, CLE
6.04 WR Robby Anderson, NYJ
7.09 RB Duke Johnson, HOU
8.04 TE Eric Ebron, IND
9.09 RB Nyheim Hines, IND
10.04 RB Carlos Hyde, KC
11.09 WR Golden Tate, NYG
12.04 RB Alexander Mattison , MIN
13.09 RB Ito Smith, ATL
14.04 QB Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
15.09 DEF Los Angeles Rams, LAR
16.04 TE Chris Herndon, NYJ
17.09 DEF Houston Texans, HOU
18.04 TE Ben Watson, NE
Pick #9 - Colby Cavaliere

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Picking 9th overall I knew I had no chance at one of the top running backs, so my strategy going into the draft was to nab a top receiver in round 1 and go with a “best available” approach in round 2. I was pleasantly surprised to get Devante Adams 9th overall, as I anticipated Julio Jones would be my pick. I didn’t think I had a prayer getting Adams, who has No.1 overall receiver potential and was personally my 2nd ranked receiver behind Hopkins.

I really tried to stay flexible with my 2nd round pick, crossing my fingers that Michael Thomas or Tyreek Hill might fall into my lap. But after they went back-to-back right before my selection, I went with Dalvin Cook, who with some health luck, has top-5 upside as the focal point of the Vikings offense. I like Cook the best of the second tier of backs over guys like Bell and Conner.

What player(s) did you miss out on? David Montgomery. I was at a crossroads in round 4 whether to go with the best receiver available (Hilton, the last of the legit WR1s) or gamble on Montgomery’s monster ceiling. We have an extra FLEX slot in our league this year and Montgomery would have fit great there as I feel he has a chance to be the Kareem Hunt in Matt Naggy’s offense. Instead, I banked on Andrew Luck’s health (possible mistake here!). I thought maybe Montgomery might fall one more round, while I knew there was no chance Hilton would. Montgomery was taken two picks later. DOH!

Final thought: I’ve been through enough drafts to realize that yes, you don’t win fantasy championships in the first round, but you DO win them in rounds 3-6. 2019 is a particularly tricky year, as the status of Zeke, Melvin Gordon, and Andrew Luck are going to greatly shape these rounds. Maybe things will clear up in the next week or so, but you really need to have a plan regarding the status of these three players going into your draft. Decide beforehand where you feel comfortable taking those players and stick to it! Personally, I think the two running backs are going to miss regular season games. I do believe Luck will play sooner than later, so I took advantage of the depressed value on Hilton and Ebron. If he turns out he misses a large portion of the season it’s going to weaken my lineup considerably.

Looking back at the draft I’m sure I picked Mayfield a round or so too early. I knew I was making a sacrifice for a better positional player like O.J. Howard, but hey, at the very least Mayfield has top-5 upside and he helped me win the title last year, so I couldn’t help myself. Sometimes in fantasy football you take the guy who excites you and makes playing this game fun, even if the numbers say it’s not the best value.

On the flip side, two guys that were great value picks were George Kittle at the top of the 4th and Mark Ingram at the top of the 5th. Ingram is going to get plenty of touches in a run-first offense and should approach double-digit touchdowns as well. What Kittle might lose in yardage totals from last-year should be offset by the value he brings to the position in a PPR league.

 Jason Katz - Pick No. 10
1.1 TE Travis Kelce, KC
2.03 WR Tyreek Hill, KC
3.1 RB Devonta Freeman, ATL
4.03 WR Tyler Lockett, SEA
5.1 RB Tevin Coleman, SF
6.03 WR Christian Kirk, ARI
7.1 WR Curtis Samuel, CAR
8.03 QB Kyler Murray , ARI
9.1 RB Matt Breida, SF
10.03 WR DeSean Jackson, PHI
11.1 RB Justin Jackson, LAC
12.03 RB Tony Pollard , DAL
13.1 RB Adrian Peterson, WAS
14.03 WR DaeSean Hamilton, DEN
15.1 WR Marquise Goodwin, SF
16.03 QB Tom Brady, NE
17.1 DEF Dallas Cowboys, DAL
18.03 TE Noah Fant , DEN
Pick #10 - Jason Katz

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Picking at the 10 spot, or rather, anywhere on the back end, is a challenge because you have your pick of the elite wide receivers and will feel better about them than the running backs. I thought about going WR-WR, but at the last minute I pivoted to double Chiefs. I was confident I would be able to grab Tyreek Hill in round two so I selected Travis Kelce first. In 2018, either Hill or Kelce was a WR1 in pretty much every game and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being heavily invested in the league’s best offense. The more I think about it, the more I think Patrick Mahomes can somewhat repeat his 2018. He’s not throwing 50 touchdowns, but I really do believe he will eclipse 40. Both Hill and Kelce have massive weekly upside and Kelce gives me a decisive advantage at TE over every team in the league.

What player(s) did you miss out on? Leonard Fournette. I had absolutely no delusions of being able to grab Fournette at 3.10 before the draft started. But then all of a sudden we were at 3.09 and Fournette was still there. As fate would have it, I was sniped by Cavaliere. I settled for discount Fournette, otherwise known as Devonta Freeman. Both Fournette and Freeman have RB1 upside and I’m quite confident that they will perform as RB1s as long as they play football but it’s that playing football part that’s eluded them over the past couple years. Freeman should see a 60% opportunity share and I’m comfortable with the pick, but I fear his injury concerns more than Fournette.

Final thought: Doing a real draft compared to a mock really puts things into perspective. In a mock, people are practicing. Here, everyone is doing what they legitimately think is best. It is simply not possible for me to get all of the mid-round guys I want. In an ideal world, I would be able to draft Christian Kirk, Latavius Murray, Allen Robinson, Kyler Murray, Curtis Samuel, and Jaylen Samuels. Given their converging ADPs, it’s just not possible. This was the first of many real drafts and I am now mentally preparing myself for not just having to choose between my guys, but for the possibility that many of them aren’t available when I pick.

 Mike Davis - Pick No. 11
1.11 WR Odell Beckham Jr., CLE
2.02 WR Michael Thomas, NO
3.11 WR Brandin Cooks, LAR
4.02 WR Robert Woods, LAR
5.11 RB Phillip Lindsay, DEN
6.02 RB Lamar Miller, HOU
7.11 RB Kenyan Drake, MIA
8.02 RB Darrell Henderson , LAR
9.11 QB Cam Newton, CAR
10.02 WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
11.11 WR Josh Gordon, NE
12.02 WR DeVante Parker, MIA
13.11 RB Jerick McKinnon, SF
14.02 RB Mike Davis, CHI
15.11 TE Jimmy Graham, GB
16.02 DEF Minnesota Vikings, MIN
17.11 RB Gus Edwards, BAL
18.02 TE Jason Witten, DAL
Pick #11 - Mike Davis

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: With the 11th pick overall, I went into the draft wondering whether skittishness about Ezekiel Elliott's contract could possibly allow him to slip that far. When Mike Krueger took Zeke with the 6th pick, the main thing I felt was relief. With the most attractive RBs off the board, I decided to grab two elite WRs. According to ADP, I should have taken Michael Thomas at 1.11 in the hope that OBJ would still be available at 2.02, but I'm excited about the Browns this year and wanted to have their most dangerous weapon on my team. So I took Beckham first and was pleased to see Thomas waiting for me at 2.02.

What player(s) did you miss out on? Too many to count. After committing to a zero-RB approach with a pair of Rams WRs in rounds 3 and 4 (Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods), I expected to snag either James White or Tevin Coleman at 5.11. White went a full round earlier than that; Coleman was sniped at 5.10--just one pick before mine. I took Phillip Lindsay instead, but I don't have nearly the confidence in him that I have in White picking up the slack for Gronkowski in New England or in Coleman being ideally suited to play the celebrated Coleman role in a Kyle Shanahan offense.

Final thought: People seem to have forgotten how great a QB Cam Newton is. He's a 9th-rounder according to ADP, and I decided before the draft that I would take him at 9.11 if he was available. He was--in part because other owners had already drafted Kyler Murray, Jameis Winston, and Andrew Luck. Murray could be amazing, but we still haven't seen proof that he can stand up to the punishment of NFL defenders. Winston could be great in Bruce Arians' offense, but he could also struggle to adapt. Luck will be elite if he's healthy, but we all know better than to trust Jim Irsay's timeline for the recovery of a player. These QBs could certainly finish ahead of Newton on the season, but with the question marks hanging over them, I'm surprised that all 3 of them went before he did.

 Steve Schwarz - Pick No. 12
1.12 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
2.01 RB Le'Veon Bell, NYJ
3.12 RB Melvin Gordon, LAC
4.01 TE George Kittle, SF
5.12 RB Jordan Howard, PHI
6.01 QB Matt Ryan, ATL
7.12 WR Sterling Shepard, NYG
8.01 RB Kareem Hunt, CLE
9.12 WR Courtland Sutton, DEN
10.01 WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL
11.12 TE Dallas Goedert, PHI
12.01 QB Philip Rivers, LAC
13.12 WR N'Keal Harry , NE
14.01 RB Ty Montgomery, NYJ
15.12 WR Deebo Samuel , SF
16.01 DEF Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC
17.12 RB C.J. Anderson, DET
18.01 WR Marqise Lee, JAC
Pick #12 - Steve Schwarz

Strategy for Rounds 1 & 2: Being the last pick of the first round, or for that matter any of the later positions, requires the owner to be flexible. In the case of this draft, the top-six running backs were taken early, the top-four wideouts and Travis Kelce. I was not going to double-up on any one position, because that can limit your ability to take advantage of any mistakes made by other owners.

I chose the top wide receiver on my board, JuJu Smith-Schuster, in the first round. Ben Roethlisberger will use JuJu like he used Antonio Brown. He took a big step forward last season and all he has to do is maintain that level of production.

After eliminating the idea of taking Patrick Mahomes this early, I selected the “well-rested” Le’Veon Bell. Bell may not be the same guy he was in Pittsburgh due to a weaker offensive line and a young relatively-inexperienced quarterback, but his ability to catch 75+ balls in a PPR league made him too valuable to pass. He didn’t come to New York, and the team didn’t sign him to the big contract, to be in an RBBC. His volume should make up for his new team’s perceived deficiencies.

What player(s) did you miss out on? I gambled on Melvin Gordon in the third round, since he was, by far, the best RB on the board, but that pick came with big risk as he’s holding out for a bigger contract. I was therefore planning on selecting Gordon’s handcuff, Austin Ekeler, at the end of the seventh-round. Alas, Ekeler didn’t last that long, going to Team Mike Krueger in the middle of the sixth round as his No.2 RB. That’s a gamble for Mike too, since a signed Gordon would drastically reduce Ekeler’s role and leave him with only backup running backs as his second starter (Latavius Murray, Darwin Thompson or Chris Thompson) alongside another holdout back Ezekiel Elliott.

Final thought: I thought Baker Mayfield was taken a bit too high, as the fourth QB off the board. That’s the media’s fault. He’s been a key figure on the “hype” train that is the 2019 Cleveland Browns. This team should have a balanced run/pass percentage with talented Nick Chubb and later on 2017 Pro Bowler Kareem Hunt in the backfield.

Three players will determine my fate. Obviously, Gordon showing up before Week 10 will be essential. Matt Ryan, who I believe, and have written about, could end up as the top fantasy quarterback, and one of my receivers other than Smith-Schuster needs to raise his game. I think Sterling Shepard will be that guy to emerge now that he’s out of Odell Beckham Jr.’s shadow.

Round by Round Results





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