The second the calendar switches to August, fantasy football drafts break out. My first was a 10-team PPR league with some friends. This is the first year of this league, and it will be a keeper league from this year on. Drafting before the preseason brings its own set of challenges. We don’t know how serious several injuries are. Several training camp battles are still being decided. But with this group, the answer to “Are you up for a draft this Sunday?” is always yes.
Round 1 – I’ll have the seventh pick in the draft. The middle is my least favorite draft spot. At the top, you’re guaranteed an elite runner. At the bottom, you have two choice picks back to back. I am a firm believer in the theory that may not win it all with your first pick, but you can certainly lose it all. I went for Drew Brees, because you know what you’re getting with the Saints offense.
Round 2 – Trent Richardson’s fallen because of a nagging shin injury. It’s worth a gamble in the second round. I’ll have to take several risks at RB, because I’m not coming back to the position for a few rounds.
Round 3- Roddy White is Mr. Consistency for Atlanta, and I’m glad to see him still here. Thank you, Julio Jones!
Round 4- Consistency is a theme for this squad. Marques Colston has posted at least 1,000 yards in every season in which he’s played 14 or games, and eight scores or more in all but one. Oh, and I snagged the guy throwing him those touchdowns in the first round.
Round 5- Is it time to take my second RB yet? Nope, not yet. I still need a TE, and Vernon Davis is available. With Michael Crabtree out, Davis should see a lot more targets than in 2012.
Round 6 – Yes, I still only have one RB and he has a gimpy leg. At this point, I’m extremely confident in my QB, WRs and TE but need help here. Time to roll the dice the next several rounds. I start with rookie Le’Veon Bell. I would ordinarily be uncomfortable with a rookie as my no. 2 back, but most rookies don’t inherit the Pittsburgh job and little competition.
Round 7 -Next rookie possibly inheriting a starting job for me is Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy. He looked good scrimmaging against Green Bay’s run defense, and yes that’s me trying to talk myself into the pick a little more. I’m going runners here hoping at least one pans out.
Round 8 – Jonathan Stewart is on the PUP list for Carolina, so DeAngelo Williams is worth an eighth rounder.
Round 9 – During the ninth round, “Don’t You Forget About Me” plays in J. Gilligan’s where we’re drafting. If ever there was a theme song for Round 9, that’s it. Vincent Jackson is still alone, dancing you know it baby. I tell him my troubles and doubts about my WR depth.
Round 10 – There’s no predicting what anyone will do at this point. Some are taking defenses, and have been for several rounds. Some, including myself, don’t even have a backup QB. I won’t after this round either. I go for Justin Blackmon, who came on after getting a QB not named Blaine Gabbert. His four-game suspension helped him fall this low.
Round 11 - Jackson has been my steal of the draft until now, when I find Matt Schaub available. I would be more pumped if I planned to start him anytime other than the Saints’ bye week.
Round 12 – I can’t wait any longer on a defense, as the projected Top 5 are already gone. I’ll take Pittsburgh and hope they rebound.
Round 13 – It’s the time when you take a guy just for some name recognition. I grab Antonio Gates as a backup and hope he can stay healthy this year.
Round 14 – Johnathan Franklin is still available, and the good news is I’m covered in Green Bay as long one of them gets the starting nod. Yes that gives me three rookies in the mix at RB. I also have three with a Week 4 bye. But by then I should know who my starters are and if I need to still be carrying all these guys.
Round 15 – I’ve waited until the last round to pick my kicker and I got a good one: Greg Zuerlein. He has a Week 11 bye, always a bonus. I want to wait as long as possible to worry about having to pick up another kicker.
Overall Strategy: Best player available, really. The Brees-Colston combo should be profitable and if healthy, Trent Richardson’s a steal.
Favorite Pick: Tossup between Richardson and Vincent Jackson. I can only assume concerns about his quarterback are why a Top 10 receiver fell so far. As I mentioned, if Richardson’s health concerns don’t linger, I committed robbery in Round 2.
Highest Bust Potential: Antonio Gates’ expiration may be close. I’m not expecting much, and he’s a player I’ll look to trade if he has a good week.
When do you like to draft? Early, midway through training camp or seconds before the opening kickoff?