Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day of Surprises on Fantasy Draft Day! (Full Fantasy Draft Recap)

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Who would have thought Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) would go number one overall in the 2010 fantasy draft? I knew Rodgers would be a first-rounder, but not that high. Here's why it's not a big deal; Rodgers will most likely be in the top 10 in scoring along with the likes of Johnson and Peterson. If you like Rodgers, go with him no matter where your pick is. Another surprise was Peterson dropping all the way to four; let me explain. That stunt should emphasize how much I hate the Vikings. I'll take the hit to avoid rooting for the Vikings every week. Ray Rice and Frank Gore were above Peterson on my draft-board.

For the third year in a row, I will pick the owner who had the best draft. Let's take a brief look at my picks the last two seasons:

2008: Chad Breiby (Best team in the regular season knocked out in the playoffs by ME!)
2009: Kari Klitzman (First-Ever Championship) (View last year's article here)

Let's just say I have an eye for a decent fantasy team. Before I elect a winner, let's take a quick look at each and every team (click on the name to be taken to their ESPN page):

City 14s (Jason Szmanda)
First Four Picks: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Beanie Wells (RB), Calvin Johnson (WR) and Joseph Addai (RB)
Review: In my opinion, the first and last picks are the hardest spots in a 10+ team fantasy league. They provide no flexibility, you really need to grab who's available or stretch for wants. Jason did a great job with his first three picks by grabbing solid options at each core position. Rodgers, Wells and Johnson will not disappoint by putting up at least respectable numbers. After that, it gets really shaky. Outside of Wells, the running back position is going to be questionable at best for Jason with Addai, Thomas Jones, Darren Sproles and Larry Johnson. However, if injuries occur in Indianapolis, Kansas City, San Diego or Washington, Jason will be in prime position to pounce. A solid defense/kicker/tight end is also a plus for this fantasy team.
First Week Matchup: Team Merrill (Seth Merrill)

Team Szombatfavly (Mike Szombatfalvy)
First Four Picks: Chris Johnson (RB), Miles Austin (WR), Philip Rivers (QB) and Jason Witten (TE)
Review: Have to be happy with Chris Johnson at number two, the guy is amazing. I'm kind of surprised by Mike's running back picks this season. He's putting a lot of stock into Jerome Harrison because Slaton, Choice and Moore are all down on the depth chart. Mike is the Browns fan, so I won't put too much analysis on the pick. He'll need a lot of help from his wideouts which is not a deep position on his team; I'm not high on Austin, but many people are. I feel Mike will be searching for points some weeks and not others.
First Week Matchup: Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy)

Team Grays (Nick Grays)

First Four Picks: Ray Rice (RB), Matt Schaub (QB), Steve Smith (NY) (WR) and Jermichael Finley (TE)
Review: At a second glance, I have a lot of guys who I had no idea I would be choosing a week ago. I like Ray Rice because I think he has all the tools to put up great numbers. After two years of mediocre QB's (Gerrard, Campbell and McNabb), I decided to use my second pick on an elite quarterback, let's hope the injury bug doesn't creep up like everyone said last season. I also stretched with Finley because I wanted a solid Packers player. Overall, I think my team has good depth. Don't worry, I won't pick myself as having the best draft, but if I win the championship, remember these words!
First Week Matchup: Team Linton (Rory Linton)

Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg)

First Four Picks: Adrian Peterson (RB), Roddy White (WR), Tony Romo (QB) and Ricky Williams (RB)
Review: This is one scary team. If everything works out for the starters, Lowenberg may be tough to stop. Peterson dropping to four is a god-send and the addition of White and Romo is nothing to shy away from. All three of those guys can put up huge numbers on any given week. I also like the drafting of Williams and Brown for two reasons. He won't miss out on any dolphins touchdowns from the running back position and if one of them gets hurt, the other is a goldmine. I'm not a huge fan of Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery because I think Sanchez is a bad passer. However, with the suspension of Santonio Holmes, the move could pay off early.
First Week Matchup: Harwood's Harwitzers (Tim Harwood)

Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman)
First Four Picks: Frank Gore (RB), Ryan Mathews (RB), Joe Flacco (QB) and Dwayne Bowe (WR)
Review: The returning champion stuck to her game-plan last season by picking two strong running backs. I think Gore will be one of the best in the league and Mathews is going to get his carries. Kari stayed true to her "Best Draft," award from last season by providing depth with a talented wide-receiver corps. Bowe, Nicks and Mason are all legitimate threats to put up 1,000 yard seasons and double-digit touchdown totals. The only problem I see with Kari's line-up are some bye week issues; she may struggle to pull out wins on week 4 (vs. Team Lowenberg) and week 8 (vs. Team Breiby).
First Week Matchup: Team Grande (Anthony Grande)

Team Merrill (Seth Merrill)
First Four Picks: Maurice Jones-Drew (RB), Shonn Greene (RB), DeSean Jackson (WR) and Antonio Gates (TE)
Review: I see a couple of parallels in this team to my team last season. First off, let me say Seth is one lucky man for getting MJD at the sixth spot in the draft. Secondly, he waited for a quarterback by picking Jay Cutler in the seventh round. Cutler is a big gamble in my opinion because he could throw a bunch of interceptions or flourish in Mike Martz new offensive scheme. Gates is a great pick-up because I see him as basically the number one receiver in San Diego. Seth also won the lottery on Mike Sims-Walker to give him a young and solid receiving corps. Running back drops off after his two starters, but doesn't matter when Greene and MJD are in the line-up every week. A lot hinges on how Cutler plays, but overall, the prospectus looks good for this team.
First Week Matchup: City 14s (Jason Szmanda)

Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy)
First Four Picks: Michael Turner (RB), Tom Brady (QB), Knowshon Moreno (RB) and Percy Harvin (WR)
Review: Matt put together an interesting dynamic of young and old on his team. Turner is a good first-round pick because he should return to what he did two years ago. I would love to see Brady fail in New England, but he probably won't. Moreno and Harvin are two young guys who are questionable, but super talented. Moreno is dealing with a hamstring issue while Harvin continues to struggle with migraines. Beyond those guys, Matt has more young guys like C.J. Spiller, Mike Wallace and Darren McFadden to try to take his team to the playoffs. I'm not sure if Matt has the best fantasy team, but one thing is for sure; he has an exciting group of guys to watch every week.
First Week Matchup: Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy)

Team Lee (Isaac Lee)
First Four Picks: Drew Brees (QB), Rashard Mendenhall (RB), Steve Smith (CAR) (WR), Brandon Jacobs (RB)
Review: Little man was on his game this year as he picked a quarterback in Drew Brees in the first round and still benefited with a couple of bruising running backs. Mendenhall and Jacobs should be healthy and ready for big seasons. What's even crazier is Isaac's wide receivers; Welker, Smith, Bryant, Massaquoi and Williams who can all make cases for a starting spot each and every week. The only blemish in his draft is picking two tight-ends with the same bye week.
First Week Matchup: Team Trader (Robert Trader)

Team Selbo (Joe Selbo)
First Four Picks: Steven Jackson (RB), Greg Jennings (WR), Jonathan Stewart (RB) and Carson Palmer (QB)
Review: After this draft, I'm convinced you want to draft in the 8-10 range because these guys took advantage of some great players. If there was an award for the best first four picks in their specific situation, I would give the award to Joe. I love the pick of Stewart who will surpass DeAngelo Williams on the depth chart this season. Jackson, Jennings and Palmer are all perfect picks from where Joe picked at. After that, Joe has a decent team, but really needs his reserves to step up while Holmes and Roethlisberger serve out their suspensions. I also believe this team is in need of one more solid wideout.
First Week Matchup: Team Breiby (Chad Breiby)

Team Grande (Anthony Grande)
First Four Picks: Andre Johnson (WR), Brandon Marshall (WR), Pierre Thomas (RB) and Dallas Clark (TE)
Review: Anthony is the only member of our league to draft two wide receivers with his first two picks. And what a genius move, Johnson and Marshall should be two of the best in the game this season. Picking up Pierre Thomas in the third round was also a great idea because passing on a running back there would have hurt. I love the pick of Vince Young because I feel he has what it takes to be a starting fantasy player. This team is stacked, don't know anything about the NFL? Nonsense Grande!
First Week Matchup: Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman)

Team Linton (Rory Linton)
First Four Picks: Randy Moss (WR), Cedric Benson (RB), Marques Colston (WR) and Jahvid Best (RB)
Review: I'll start out with what I don't like. Jahvid Best in the fourth round, really? I know he has talent and will most likely be the starter if Kevin Smith can't come back off of his torn-ACL, but it's still the Detroit Lions with an absolutely horrible offensive line. Don't worry, a lot of people have been taking Best high, i just don't get it. I also think Moss is in the decline, but I like the picks of Benson and Colston who should be pro-bowlers this season. Knox may emerge as that Bears' wild-card player, but once again, I'm not sure about Toby Gerhart (another rookie running back). If Jackson does come back, Rory has a great wide-receiving corps, but I think the running backs are going to struggle if Best or Gerhart don't come through.
First Week Matchup: Team Grays (Nick Grays)

Team Breiby (Chad Breiby)
First Four Picks: Peyton Manning (QB), Larry Fitzgerald (WR), LeSean McCoy (RB) and Anquan Boldin (WR)
Review: I know no one will take my opinion as serious as Chad, so I made sure to take my time on this review. The first two picks were awesome; Manning and Fitzgerald headlining is great. McCoy dropping to Chad in the third round was even better. Boldin in the fourth round was the second piece in a great starting wide-receiver core. After those picks, I think it went down hill a little. I don't like Foster because he's only seen the field in two games (he was supposed to be a sleeper last season) and Portis has too much competition in Washington to put together a solid year. If Maroney can step his game up in New England, I think Chad will be alright, if not, the running back position may struggle. Don't get me wrong, this will be a good team, but it does have some holes.
First Week Matchup: Team Selbo (Joe Selbo)

Team Trader (Robert Trader)
First Four Picks: Ryan Grant (RB), DeAngelo Williams (RB), Chad Ochocinco (WR) and Jamaal Charles (RB)
Review: Firstly, let's all give Robert a round of applause for his appearance at the draft because we missed his presence last season. My first impression says WOW at the running back class. Who can match the likes of Grant, Williams, Charles and Donald Brown? Not many and I like the wide receivers too. Ochocinco and Garcon will get their receptions, it will be the touchdowns that are questionable. If Kolb or Henne have even a decent year, Robert's fantasy luck will turn around this season. I think Robert's new team name "Bobby's Bad-Asses," is fitting!
First Week Matchup: Team Lee (Isaac Lee)

Harwoods' Howitzers (Tim Harwood)
First Four Picks: Reggie Wayne (WR), Brett Favre (QB), Matt Forte (RB) and Hines Ward (WR)
Review: Once again, I think the first and last spots are the hardest to draft from in a 10+ team league. Maybe that's why Tim's first two picks don't make sense from a fantasy perspective. I'm not personally high on Reggie Wayne this season and Tim loves those damn Vikings. Despite the homer pick at number two, I love his Matt Forte pick in the third round because calling him a bust last season is just stupid; he shouldn't of been rated that high in the first place. Forte will bounce back just fine under the new offense this season. Tim's team also lacks depth on the bench with only a couple of so-called "safe" contributors in Wayne, Forte and Ward. The other guys can range anywhere from 0-20 fantasy points on any given week. Strap up for a roller-coaster ride this season!
First Week Matchup: Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg)

AND THE WINNER IS: The Owner with the "Best Draft" this year goes to Team Lee (Isaac Lee, pictured to the right). I think he has the right balance to make a run during the season and in the playoffs. Mendenhall and Brees are fairly sure-bets to be among the league leaders and Isaac's supporting cast of Jacobs and an awesome wideout class is an apparent recipe for success. I'll admit I struggled between naming five different people for this award because it really is a more even playing field this season. I have a feeling no one is running away with the championship this season. Kudos to the members in the 8-10 spots for putting together some balanced teams.

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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