Through my FF Today connection I received an invite into an early mock draft organized by Jeff Christiansen over at FF Toolbox, and it kicked off yesterday. I was randomly assigned the 9th pick of 12 which in my opinion is a ho-hum draft position. Too late to grab the best at RB, and seemingly a bit too early to get a WR. I’m usually not keen to pull the first player off the board at a position, unless I have the 1st pick of course, but I can’t even remember the last time that happened. Circa 2006. Maybe.
The scoring is standard performance plus 1 point per reception, giving the WR position more umph, but then the starting lineup is a modest 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, as opposed to a 1-2-3 QB/RB/WR setup or additional flex player options, therefore resulting in a decrease in the value of WR relative to RB.
I went to bed last night waiting on the last pick in the first round. Yes, I went to bed early (for me) last night. When I logged on this morning I was due up for my second round pick. The draft results are copied below.
I strongly considered Frank Gore at the 1.09, and DeAngelo Williams to a lesser extent. I think each are better RB options than a few backs taken earlier, most notably Michael Turner. Given the scoring system and considering Turner catches very few passes – a grand total of 6 last year – Turner really has to churn out the rushing yards on a lot of attempts to get his fantasy numbers in line with the higher reception backs. He did it last year, so it isn’t impossible, but it is a tougher mountain to climb. I would also lean to Gore and perhaps Williams over Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson. However, you can essentially see at 1.09 I’m sitting looking at some very similarly ranked 2nd tier RB, and the top tier WR.
I decided to go WR to guarantee myself one of Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson or Randy Moss. In opting for Fitz over the other two, it is really a toss up for me between Fitz and AJ. Fitz plays in an easier division, but AJ is relied on more by his team to produce as Fitz competes for catches with Anquan Boldin (as of today anyway) and an overall better supporting cast. Between their respective quarterbacks, Kurt Warner is considered to be better than Matt Schaub, but is older and each of them is somewhat prone to injury. I’d call it pretty close to a wash in terms of QB play impacting each of these guys. All in all, I went with Fitz because if there was a chance either one would fall to my second round pick, it was going to be AJ.
As for Moss, I can justify passing on him by saying Moss relies more on TD scoring than receptions, and TD are more likely to fluctuate. Plus, we don’t have a great idea how Tom Brady’s recovery is coming along. Truthfully though, I’m personally just not a big Randy Moss fan or Pats fan. If I think Fitz and AJ have essentially the same point potential, then I’m going to go with them because I like them better.
The second round pick of Marion Barber is interesting because I thought there was going to be a good chance I would start this draft WR-WR just to see how it turns out. Then there was a run on WR kicked off by FantasyFootballTrader going WR-WR at the turn. Given the starting lineup requirements of 2 RB, 2 WR, I really think the smart play is drafting one of each in the back end of the first round. It gives a lot more flexibility once the third and fourth rounds come around.
Barber didn’t have a great year last year in his first as the featured guy instead of a significantly contributing committee guy like the prior 3 seasons, starting only 3 games in that span, and also in college where he shared the spotlight with Laurence Maroney. Some of his 2008 workload increased when rookie Felix Jones went down in Week 6 and didn’t play again. Barber plays a punishing game, but this results in injury that caused Barber to bow out of some games or miss them entirely. Late in the year, another rookie, Tashard Choice became the feature back.
There is no doubt Barber is a talented player, who has a great nose for the end zone and catches the ball well. He had a career high 52 catches last year. With the departure of Terrell Owens, and I have to say, I’m not at all sold on his replacement Roy Williams, more receptions (and TD?) could flow to the RB position. Hopefully the coaching staff and Barber himself learned a little from last year to better manage Barber’s playing time and maximize his output.