The FanEx Fantasy Experts League FAD – that stands for Fantasy Analysis Draft – is underway for the 2018 season. This is the first of my fantasy football experts leagues to get underway, and frankly, my first draft of the year with the exception of a couple of dynasty mocks. From the FanEx commissioner Chris Rito, “participants are expected to write a brief rationale for (their) pick.”
This is only my third year as a member of FanEx, but my first in the FAD. I always liked the concept of the FAD because I usually try in any draft – time permitting – to write draft pick comments in showcase league drafts, to provide my thought process behind the pick as opposed to simply the pick with no explanation as to why. The FAD seemed like a natural fit for me. This is a fantasy football draft recap of the FAD while it is ongoing.
FAD is structured as a draftmasters / best-ball league, meaning no trades, free agent pickups or even lineup submissions. Each week the optimal starting lineup is automatically started and scored. This is a 12-team league, starting lineup 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, 1 RB/WR/TE and scoring standard performance plus 1 point-per-reception, 4 points per passing touchdown, -1 for interceptions. The team with the most total points at the end of the season is declared the FAD Champion. I was randomly assigned the 6th overall pick in the draft.
Round 1 (June 13)
The first pick was Todd Gurley by Team Chris Rito / Mike Nazarek. Team Chris Dolfi / Tom Walls followed that up with Le’Veon Bell. So, I need four players to decide between for my first pick. I am behind doing my projections and rankings (thanks World Cup), so I will for now defer to Draft Buddy with the FF Today projections to look at my top available options.
In doing that, I created a short Draft Buddy rules and scoring setup video for my FanEx draft.
I let the other picks before me play out – Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Antonio Brown – and I am up with 1.06. And the picks is…
With all due respect to Tony Holm (drafting 5th) daring me to take RB David Johnson at this pick, I’ve been called worse than nuts before and will pass. Without panning Johnson too much, the Cardinals are undergoing a lot of changes that don’t give me a ton of confidence in the potential success of their workhorse running back.
On to DeAndre Hopkins, there are concerns about regression by his sophomore + small sample size quarterback, returning from a major knee injury, and an unsustainable target share by Nuk. Between these two top choices however I prefer the situation in Houston, and will put my faith in DeShaun Watson (early rehab reports are good), and Hopkins solidly in his prime at 26. I also echo Tony’s thoughts about WR versus RB value in this league format.
Rounds 2 to 5 (June 14-18)
The draft is going slow, which isn’t a surprise this time of year (World Cup!). At this point I will post the commentary I added to the draft report at MyFantasyLeague.com. Go there to read the commentary on picks by the other members of the league, and perhaps I will post again next week after we get through another 5-6 rounds, to assess how my team is shaping up.
Since I already drafted Hopkins in the first round, this was a bit of a tough call between Davante Adams and a running back, most likely Christian McCaffrey, as the next tier RB are getting thin-ish. One reason I typically prefer to draft near either end as opposed to the very middle of a draft is to be less restricted position-wise with every other turn a short turn around. Ultimately I chose Adams as BPA because of his situation – great QB, clear number one WR with Jordy Nelson departing – and trending performance – back-to-back double digit touchdown season entering year five at age 25. Adams is a safer pick at this point to be a major difference maker over a middling RB who could have trouble scoring.
At my last pick I felt the current RB tier was getting thin, but thankfully my fellow drafters did not leave it completely bare. Enter Devonta Freeman, ranking 1st, 6th and 14th at the position 2015-2017. The slight drop off last season primarily due to the loss of OC Kyle Shanahan, an additional year to adjust to that change should help. Sign me up for the RB1 and primary pass catching RB on a team capable of being one of the top offenses in the league.
I know I am reaching a bit here to add second year player Evan Engram, but I believe it is important to get a top tight end because of the advantage that player provides. There are not a lot of top TE to go around, and the points drop off somewhat significantly. As for Engram over Zach Ertz, it is a close call. I expect some regression from Ertz as he picks up some slack outside the passing game from the departure of Trey Burton. Engram performed well last season without Odell Beckham or Saquon Barkley. Does that open up more big play and scoring opportunities for Engram playing in what should be a much more dynamic offense? How much does he develop from his rookie season? Banking on Engram’s talent, I am positive-optimistic on those questions.
Derrick Henry is a tough one to peg. He’s impressed since his rookie season with 4.3 rushing yards per attempt, 11 touchdowns and shown to be a decent receiver when called upon. However, Henry played in the shadow of DeMarco Murray while fantasy players waited for something to happen to Murray so Henry could ascend to the workhorse back role and become the next Larry Johnson or Michael Turner. Yes, I’m dating myself.
Well now Murray is gone and the Tennessee Titans signed Dion Lewis to a 4-year deal. In today’s NFL, we as fantasy players almost don’t want a RB with no quality depth behind him, because the risk of overuse and injury is too great. So, Lewis’ presence provides some uncertainty to usage, but is not the worst thing in the world. Draft talent, talent usually rises to the top. Henry is a talented back reasonably priced at a mid-5th round pick.