It’s nearing the end of August, we all know what that means – NFL regular season is almost here! This is the season diehard fantasy football players have been waiting for since the NFL Draft in May. Tons of drafts are on this week and weekend.
For myself and my 8 leagues, I just finished the draft in my favorite league. I finished in the playoffs each of this league’s three years and I won the championship the second year. Here is my draft recap of this league.
A little league information before going on: 14 teams, PPR, Individual Defensive Players (IDP), and it is a relatively deep keeper league. Each owner is required to keep 5 offensive players and 3 defensive players. They then have the option of keeping up to three more players on each of offense or defense, but it would cost draft picks to do so.
To keep one additional offensive player, the owners loses their 1st round pick; keep 2 additional offensive players, lose 1st and 2nd round picks; and keep three additional offensive players, lose 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks. The same rules apply to defensive players, but lose 4th, 5th and 6th round picks.
Even though IDP is a major part of this league, I will only focus on offensive player explanations. Starting rosters are composed of QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, Flex and K.
I kept the following players: Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Michael Floyd on offense; Lavonte David, Karlos Dansby and Olivier Vernon on defense. In my opinion, that’s very solid core to start with. My only “locked in” draft strategy was to get a good second running back in the 1st round. Then, I’d have to see who was available and go from there.
Pick 1.12 (1st round, 12th pick): RB Joique Bell, DET
I was hoping for either Rashad Jennings or Joique Bell, and I got my wish! In 2013, the total touches for Bell compared to Reggie Bush were 44% to 56%. Bell had the edge on touchdowns over Bush 8 to 7. I, along with many fantasy experts, believe this is the year Bell surpasses Bush as the lead back in Detroit. Let’s hope we are right.
Pick 2.12: TE Dennis Pitta, BAL
Dennis Pitta was injured in 2013, and he only played in four games. For those four games, he had a stat line of 20 receptions-169 yards-1 touchdown, which is not to shabby considering. A healthy 2014 equates to a big year for Pitta. Not only does Joe Flacco rely on Pitta, but the Baltimore Ravens brought in Gary Kubiak to run the offense and he loves using his tight ends. Since 2008, while in Houston, Kubiak’s tight ends were amongst the most targeted in the league. I expect big things from Pitta this year.
Pick 3.11: DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG
Pick 5.05: DB Kenny Vaccaro, NO
Pick 6.12: DB Dawan Landry, NYJ
Pick 7.12: LB Danny Trevathan, DEN
I decided to go with defensive players with high upside potential. Even though Danny Trevathan is hurt, I can throw him on my IR and pick up another linebacker until he comes back.
At this point, I made a trade: I get picks 8.06, 10.06, and 11.06 for Karlos Dansby. Even though Dansby was a Top 5 linebacker last year, I had other players on my radar with more potential.
Pick 8.06: RB Mark Ingram, NO
Mark Ingram is the number one running back in a crowded New Orleans backfield. So far this preseason, he has been showing signs of rejuvenation. He not only could be a great bye-week fill in for Lacy and Bell, since they both have week 9 byes, but he may finally perform to the high expectations from when he was initially drafted.
Pick 8.12: LB Jamie Collins, NE
Pick 9.12: DB Janoris Jenkins, STL
I targeted players that will be on the field every down, which leads to the opportunity for high tackles, sacks, and big plays.
Pick 10.06: QB Blake Bortles, JAC
Already having an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, I was looking to strike lightning in a bottle and possibly have a great trade piece for in-season. Blake Bortles won’t start the season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. From what Bortles has shown this preseason, this is his job at the first sign of a struggling Chad Henne. I assumed, when Rodgers reached his bye, Bortles will be starting and I can plug him in to play for the week.
Pick 11.06: RB Bernard Pierce, BAL
A few factors went into this decision: 1., with Ray Rice suspended the first two games of regular season, Bernard Pierce has some value to the Rice owner, so maybe there is potential for a trade, and 2., Rice isn’t a lock for the fulltime starting role, he will likely split carries with Pierce. However, if Pierce does well to open the year against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, which will be no easy feat, the Ravens will have a hard time taking him off the field. I thought this was a great value pick-up.
Pick 11.12: LB Keenan Robinson, WAS
Pick 12.12: DL Kyle Williams, BUF
Pick 13.12: WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
I have been seeing many analysts praising Hopkins as he’s having a great preseason. He’s catching everything thrown his way. Playing opposite Andre Johnson, who still warrants double coverage, Hopkins may see one-on-one coverage and he has the speed to blow past those defenders. He is only in his second year in the league. In his rookie year last year, he put up 802 receiving yards but with only two touchdowns. I see him breaking 1,000 yards this year (yes, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to him) and hopefully at least five touchdowns. He could be a potential keeper next year.
Pick 14.12: DB Mike Mitchell, PIT
Pick 15.12: LB Brad Jones, GB
Pick 16.12: K Nick Novak, SD
Pick 17.12: QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN
Similar to the Blake Bortles selection, Bridgewater should be handed the reigns soon than later for the Minnesota Vikings. In a keeper league this deep, someone may be keen to trade for him if he shows well as a rookie.
QB Aaron Rodgers, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater
RB Eddie Lacy, Joique Bell, Mark Ingram, Bernard Pierce
WR Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Michael Floyd, and DeAndre Hopkins
TE Dennis Pitta
K Nick Novak
DL Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kyle Williams
LB Lavonte David, Brad Jones, Keenan Robinson, Jamie Collins, Danny Trevathan (IR)
DB Janoris Jenkins, Dawan Landry, Kenny Vaccaro, Mike Mitchell
Being a 14-team league, I am very satisfied with this roster. I have an elite quarterback, a Top 5 running back and potentially a few other lead backs, two-Top 5 wide receivers along with two young receivers with big upside, and a very good tight end. Let’s hope this is the formula for another championship run!