The 2 Point Conversion

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That Time of Year Again

When Jamarcus Russell and Michael Vick, a backup and a free agent, dominate the news across the NFL landscape, you know it’s a slow time of year. What to do to fill the time? Besides LeBronapalooza and the World Cup, the correct answer for sports nuts would be fantasy football. Today, I completed my first two fantasy mock drafts. For those of you only concerned with actual football, I advise you to leave this page and go read about Jamarcus some more.

I was very curious about this season, and going in I kept my eye on a few situations. First, there are eight quarterbacks most fantasy players would consider at least 3rd or 4th round picks (Rodgers, Brees, Manning, Favre, Romo, Brady, Rivers, Schaub in no particular order). I doubted very seriously that eight of ten people would be willing with such a high pick to guarantee themselves a top flight signal caller. Make that eight of nine, because I refuse to take a QB in the first two rounds and it would take great value for me to pick one in the third or even fourth round. I did want one of the seven (I don’t consider Favre elite this season) however, and was resigned to taking one in the fourth. To my chagrin, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, and Philip Rivers all went in the fourth round and before my pick. I later settled for Favre in round 6. Those same seven quarterbacks lasted even shorter in my next draft in which I was able to snag Philip Rivers with the 29th overall pick.

The implications of the 7 passers in the first 30-35 picks were both obvious and big. They push talented backs and receivers way down the draft board, and this is a trend I expect to continue right up until late August. In my first draft, I was able to net DeAngelo Williams with the 25th selection, a full round after he should go in my opinion. In my second draft, three QBs went in the first round, which allowed me to pick Andre Johnson with my #9 selection and Greg Jennings early in the fourth round. With less elite passers, Johnson would have gone between the 5 and 7 slots and Jennings would have been a sure-fire third rounder. My advice would be to resist the temptation of drafting Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees with a top 5 pick and wait until the third or early fourth round to get your Matt Schaub or Tony Romo. The difference between Rodgers and Schaub will probably be smaller than the difference between Ray Rice and Felix Jones.

Another situation I wanted to observe was where first year starters would find their niches in a fantasy draft. Do people really want to spend a top 15 pick on Rashard Mendenhall or Shonn Greene or will they opt for a proven veteran instead? How will people look at Jamaal Charles, Ryan Mathews, and Jerome Harrison? The biggest surprise was without a doubt Jerome Harrison. While Jamaal Charles (my #19 RB) consistently went in round 3, people viewed Harrison (my #22 RB) in a much different light. In fact, I was able to pick him up in round 12 in one of the drafts. Why are their perceived values so different? Both play on lousy offenses with dreadful passing games and offensive lines with considerably large holes in them. Both took on large roles towards the end of the season and gave their teams huge boosts in their ground games. I give Charles the edge because he plays in a much easier division and is more explosive. He was also more highly regarded coming out of college, and was very impressive at Texas. Harrison however was the MVP for Cleveland’s four game win streak at the tail end of the season, costing them Sam Bradford in all likelihood.

I also found out that I had no idea where kickers played. Since when did Shayne Graham move to the rival Ravens? Rackers plays for Houston? Jay Feely’s left the Jets? I’m already getting a good feel for this season. Last year, I wanted a top 4 pick, but I’m loving the middle picks this year. I was comfortable at #9 out of 10 as well, but I much prefered the fifth slot. I’ve also found out that you can find a #2 RB in round 5 or even round 6 if you get lucky. So, I my early strategy looks roughly like this: RB-WR-QB-WR-RB-WR.

I’m also quite surprised at how low some players are going, so I now have sleepers that I didn’t expect to be. Keep in mind that these drafts had only 10 teams. At quarterback, the most undervalued guys are Joe Flacco and Donovan McNabb. I consider Flacco a low-end #1 QB who can be had in round 9. McNabb is a real nice backup plan available in rounds 10 or 11. At running back, Steven Jackson (my #5 RB)  is going in the middle of the second round, a victim of the early run on signal callers. DeAngelo Williams is slipping out of the second round way too often. Brandon Jacobs and Jonathan Stewart are often lasting as long as round 7 or 8 and I already mentioned Jerome Harrison. As far as pass catchers go, I love Anquan Boldin. He never cracked the top 35 or 40 picks and has top 5 overall potential as a true #1 playing with a franchise QB. Braylon Edwards is a guy I happily snatched up in the 13th round of both my drafts. Malcom Floyd is one of my favorite sleepers who is well worth a flier after round 12. He is a big-time red zone target a 6’5″ for an elite quarterback in a passing offense. He will also be the #1 wideout during Vincent Jackson’s suspension. He had nearly 800 yards last season and he will almost surely best those numbers by a sizeable margin. He should be fine to draft as a #3 WR. The most undervalued player, however, is Zach Miller, the Raiders’ tight end. At age 24, he is poised for a breakout season alongside a potent passer for once, Jason Campbell. Last season with Bruce Gradkowski/Jamarcus Russell at the helm, Miller caught 66 passes for over 800 yards despite missing a game due to injury. Campbell also loves his tight ends, so expect Miller to match Chris Cooley’s production he had between 2005 and 2008. Until more mock drafts get done, this is the most advice I have for you. Good luck this season guys.


July 6, 2010 Posted by | Fantasy Football | Leave a comment