Ray Rice

We don’t talk much about fantasy football, but we play plenty of it. Don’t want to tip our hand, you know?

That being said, we’re going to paint some broad strokes here because our first fantasy draft of the year was pretty interesting. First, some background. The league is with NFFC, which I’ve never used before, but seems pretty much like every other fantasy football setup. There are 12 teams and they’re all owned by NFL bloggers, so theoretically, these guys should know something. That being said, some of them write for SB Nation, so who knows?

Oh, and there were a couple things I’ve never encountered before. First, the draft was 20 rounds. Yeah, 20 fucking rounds and 20 spots on one team’s roster! Second, the draft order was inverse in both round 2 and 3, rather than every other round. So, I picked third and then third-to-last in both rounds 2 and 3 before picking third again in round 4 and third-to-last in round 5, etc.

Here’s my roster, as built by round.

  1. Ray Rice (RB)
  2. Greg Jennings (WR)
  3. Marshawn Lynch (RB)
  4. Peyton Manning (QB)
  5. DeSean Jackson (WR)
  6. Shonn Greene (RB)
  7. Tony Gonzalez (TE)
  8. Denarius Moore (WR)
  9. Sidney Rice (WR)
  10. Matt Schaub (QB)
  11. Michael Floyd (WR)
  12. Pittsburgh (D)
  13. New England (D)
  14. Randall Cobb (WR)
  15. Kellen Winslow (TE)
  16. Brandon LaFell (WR)
  17. Mikel LeShoure (RB)
  18. Neil Rackers (K)
  19. Jerome Simpson (WR)
  20. Billy Cundiff (K)

First, some general rules I always employ.

  1. Even though quarterbacks are always the top-scoring players, I value running backs more. The drop-off from the top running backs to the second-tier guys is much larger than the drop-off from the top quarterbacks to the second-tier guys, as you’ll see here.
  2. Do not, under any circumstance draft a kicker until the last round. Obviously, I broke that rule here because I really didn’t know who to pick when round 18 rolled around, but there was a run on kickers in round 11. Is your kicker in round 11 really going to be that superior to the guy I took in round 18? No.

With that said, here are my thoughts.

  1. As you would expect, Aaron Rodgers was a top-3 pick. He went second. During that second pick I was having a huge debate with myself. If he takes Ray Rice (Arian Foster went No. 1), do I break my rule and take Rodgers or just move on to LeSean McCoy? It would have been hard to pass on Rodgers, even though I was aiming for Manning or Cam Newton in round 4 (Newton actually went early in round 3, which I considered a reach). Thankfully, I didn’t have to make that decision.
  2. Do I love Marshawn Lynch in the third round? No. He’s probably going to be suspended for a couple games. When he’s on the field, he can be a No. 1 back though. I took him because compared to the next few guys in line, I considered him far superior. They were, in order, Trent Richardson, Beanie Wells and Fred Jackson.
  3. That brings me to Shonn Greene. I nearly shit myself when I saw he was still on the board in round 6. Did I need another back then? No, but how the hell can I pass on Shonn Greene in round 6? There’s a flex position that I’ll be plugging him into weekly and he starts in place of Lynch during the suspension. Greene was seriously undervalued in their rankings if you ask me.
  4. I’d say the same for DeSean Jackson. Receivers that went before Jackson — Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Llyod, Anquan Boldin, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Percy Harvin, Vincent Jackson. I know he pouted last season, but Jackson has his contract now. Can you really tell me any of those guys I listed are better than the No. 1 receiver on the Eagles with Mike Vick throwing the ball? I mean, someone actually took the Eagles No. 2 receiver before Jackson. What?
  5. I don’t love my tight ends. Although Gonzalez should be good enough, but I wasn’t taking Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham in round 2, which is where they were ranked and where they went. Gates, Finley and Hernandez went in round 6, in that order. I will not tolerate another season of Jermichael Finley-related frustration.
  6. For once, I didn’t really care about getting a top-tier defense. Frankly, I didn’t know who to pick. San Francisco went first in round 8, followed by Baltimore, Philadelphia, Green Bay and Houston in round 9. I’ll take my chances with Pittsburgh and New England, the latter of which should be dramatically improved from last season.
  7. I couldn’t believe Matt Schaub was available in round 10. I wouldn’t expect he’d fall this far in most drafts, but if you find yourself grabbing backs and receivers early, you can probably pull your Matt Schaub card in round 5 or 6. If he’s healthy, he’ll put up plenty of points. Here’s who went before Schaub — Rogers, Brady, Brees (1), Stafford (2), Newton (3), Vick, P. Manning, Rivers, Romo, E. Manning (4), Ryan (6), Locker (7), Freeman (8), Griffin III, Cutler (9).
  8. Nobody wanted Mikel LeShoure. If I recall correctly, he was ranked in the top 100. He’ll probably be the Lions No. 1 back when he returns from his two-game suspension. Their other guy, Jahvid Best, is injured most of the time. Yet, people were drafting backups rather than taking LeShoure. Yeah, he’s probably a boom or bust pick, but in the 17th round? You bet your ass I’m drafting him.

Click through twice for larger images of the full draft. There are two of them.