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My Fantasy Football Draft
By Jason Behr
ugust 26, 2012

Not only did this weekend feature the ever important 3rd pre-season games for teams, but also
saw fantasy drafts kick into high gear with just this past weekend and the next to go.

I live in Michigan home of the Lions, Wolverines, and Spartans, but I have played in a league
based in North Carolina for the past 5 years or so.  All it takes is having one friend you used to
work with move to another state and calls saying “my work league needs one more are you in”,
and you find yourself playing in a league with people you have never met before.

The league has varied in number of teams over the years and this year I found myself in an 8
team league down from 12 teams the year before.  This was quite a big drop, but was an
attempt to keep some of the inactive owners of the previous years from playing.

Since the draft order isn’t predetermined, I have to consider several different options depending
on where I am drafting.  I went into the draft hoping to pick an elite quarter back to provide that
week to week advantage like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodger, if I was drafting outside the top 2
spots.  I only considered Ray Rice and Arian Foster as the top running backs because I tend to
not trust Eagle’s all purpose backs like Bryant Westbrook in the past and now LeSean McCoy.  
I thought with only an eight team league that my odds of a Brady or Rodgers were pretty good
but alas I ended up picking 7th out of 8 teams.

By the time it got to my pick all of the elite players I had considered were off the bored so had to
decide what the best of the next tier of players was.  I went with Chris Johnson over Larry
Fitzgerald, Drew Brees, and possibly Darren McFadden.  I was banking on Chris Johnson
being at full health this year and motivated for a bounce back year.  I was also hesitant to take
Brees given all of the turmoil the Saints are dealing with this year.

My league starts 2 running backs and a flex position so I decided to go a bit old school with a
heavy emphasis on running backs.  I thought only having 8 teams would really give me a chance
of a high quality group capable of giving me a week in week out advantage.

My first 3 draft picks were all running backs after I selected Darren McFadden in the 2nd round
and followed that up by taking a chance on Maurice Jones Drew in the 3rd round.  I am
gambling on both these picks.  One being health and the other being in a protracted hold out,
but I thought MJD in the 3rd round was worth a high risk/high reward pick.

After that I did manage to land that elite tight end in Rob Gronkowski who oddly went 5 picks
after Jimmy Graham did.  Normally I shy away from record breaking players from the year
before like Drew Brees who I had last year, and could have drafted in the 2nd round this year,
but I didn’t.  But I just couldn’t ignore how far ahead he was of every other tight end out their not
named Jimmy Graham or his own team mate Aaron Hernandez.  Even if his stats go down by
20% from the 100+ points of separation he got in 2011 from the other tight ends, he will still give
me on average a 5 point week to week advantage.

Going so running back heavy early on forced me to sacrifice two other positions being quarter
back and wide receiver.  I missed out on the elite QB’s early on so I knew I would wait on that
position, but I was banking on a deep and talented pool of wide receivers being available.  That
and the fact that WR’s are the most inconsistent position year to year and the easiest spot to fill
in from the waiver wire.

Oddly enough in my draft I had several big name receivers still around heading into the 5th
round like Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, and Marquis Colston.  I was really excited seeing
Roddy White available especially when his partner Julio Jones was drafted ahead of him in the
4th round.  This would not be the only time of a #2 receiver going ahead of a #1 this draft.  But
alas all 3 of them plus Mike Wallace got scooped up in the 6 picks prior to mine in the 5th
round.  This left me going with my top receiver from last year’s team in Percy Harvin.  I have now
owned him 3 years in a row and really like his ever expanding role in the offense.  My league
also has a quirky scoring system where we get 1 point for every 25 return yards by the individual
player and Minnesota often utilizes his speed in the return game.

I then took perhaps my biggest gamble of the draft when I picked Michael Vick as the 8th and
final starting QB on the league.  I was down to Phillip Rivers and Matt Ryan territory and felt like
this was a risk worth taking.  When he is healthy and the offense is rolling Michael Vick is
capable of off the chart fantasy numbers thanks to his running ability.  However since health is a
big issue, I decided to go with a solid back up that also knows how to put up big numbers in
Ben Roethlistberger of Pittsburg.  I was also fortunate enough to pick up DeSean Jackson in the
next round to match up with Vick, and he also oddly went 2 picks after #2 receiver Jeremy

The rest of the draft was left to add receiver depth and take some chances at the running back
position thanks to my starting quality.  I took a chance that Peyton Manning will do wonders for
Eric Decker, and also drafted his previous favorite target Reggie Wayne in the 12th round.  I
took some chances later on down the draft in the 7th round taking the injured Trent Richardson
along with capable back ups of Peyton Hillis and Rashad Jennings in the 10th and 13th
respectively.  The one backing up a starter recovering from a major knee injury  the year before
and the other as a “handcuff” to the Jones Drew hold out situation.

Of course I left the last 3 rounds for my defense/special teams, Kicker, and individual defensive
player like any good fantasy player should.  I managed to grab a quality defense in the Pittsburg
Steelers in the 14th round, my defensive player Eric Weddle (if you don’t recognize the name
don’t feel bad because I didn’t either) in the 15th, and Robbie Gould as my kicker.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the season to begin and let the fun and games start!!!

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