2013 Rotobowl Draft Strategy
On Monday, I’ll be participating in my annual RotoBowl draft. Before I do that, I want to share with you the details of the contest and I’ll also be doing a full breakdown of my draft strategy.
What is Rotobowl?
Rotobowl is a high stakes league hosted by FFToolbox.com.
Around since 2005, this year’s RotoBowl Tournament with be the ninth of its kind. RotoBowl is set up a lot like your normal Fantasy Football league, but it’s a National Tournament with hundreds of participants. There are only a handful of National tournaments for Fantasy Football and, at $279, RotoBowl’s entry fee is among the lowest.
Why join? For the $25,000 grand prize, of course. And that’s not all. $2,150 is paid out to members of each 12-team league, including $1,250 to each league champ.
If you’d like to compete against myself, other industry experts, and possibly a few celebrities in this year’s RotoBowl Tournament, head over to RotoBowl.com and sign up. Once you’re in, you’ll be placed in a random league of 12 competitors. This is where you’ll compete for the individual league prizes. From there, qualified participants are eligible to compete for the aforementioned Grand Prize, which is awarded based on your team’s performance in the fantasy playoffs.
Live online drafts are already underway and there are only a few dozen seats still open, including a few in my draft on August 26 at 7 pm EST.
Here are some additional facts about the RotoBowl competition. Each team’s roster will include 20 players, 11 of which are starters. The large starting lineup (it includes 2 flex spots) is another feature that attracted me to this Tournament. Anyone can pick a few studs in the first five rounds, happen to catch those players in career seasons, and ride that to a league championship. The 11-man starting lineup means you really have to know what you’re doing to compete for the Grand Prize. The scoring is pretty standard, but it’s worth noting that it is a point per reception (PPR) league.
In addition to RotoBowl, I’ll also be participating in the Loaded Salary Cap contest at RosterDoc.com. For just $24.99, you can choose any players you want to fill out your weekly line-up…as long as you stay under the $100 million team salary cap. Play the market well and you could take home a $10,000 prize. The top-20 overall finishers get a prize, as do the top-four in each league of 25 participants.
Special Promotion – Sign up using the promo code ‘CLAY2013’ and get 30 percent off your Salary Cap squad!
What really appeals to me about the Salary Cap contest this year is the new PFF Fantasy Gold tools I can use to get an advantage. Our Custom Ranking Tool will supply you with weekly auction values. That’s right. Plug in your league roster and scoring settings and the system will spit out full weekly projections, rankings, and auction values.
My Draft Strategy
Much like I did each of the last three seasons, my plan here is to update all of you throughout my RotoBowl journey. Today, I introduced the contest and will give away my draft-day strategy. Following the draft, I’ll provide a recap. During the season, I’ll update my progress in the quest for the $25,000 Grand Prize.
The first step in preparing for a Fantasy Draft is to study and be sure you understand the league rules. That being said, here are the highlights:
- 12 teams will participate in the league
- Rosters will include 20 players, 11 of which are starters
- The 11-man starting lineup is as follows: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, FLEX, K, D/ST
- Scoring is fairly standard. Passing touchdowns score you four points. All other touchdowns are worth six points. One point is awarded for every 20 passing yards and every 10 rushing/receiving yards. This is a PPR league, which, of course, means an award of one point is given for each reception.
Considering both the fact that quarterbacks receive only four points for a passing touchdown and the depth at the position, I’m very likely be waiting to select one. Once I fill in most of my running back and wide receiver slots, my target will be one of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, and Tony Romo.
As is the case in all of my leagues, the gameplan early on will be to get, at least, a pair of tailbacks. The position is always on the shallow side, so grabbing a pair of strong backs, and potentially a third for security and likely one of the flex slots, will be my strategy. Looking over my player projections, the numbers say the flex spot should be about 30 percent running backs, 70 percent wide receivers.
Wide receiver is as deep as ever, but I’m likely to need a total of four in my starting lineup, so I’ll be addressing the position not long after I fill my running back slots.
Tight end has become tricky because of injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Dennis Pitta, as well as, the loss of Aaron Hernandez to off-the-field issues. Like many, I feel that Jimmy Graham is the top fantasy tight end by a massive margin. He’s worth considering around the 12/13 turn. That said, there are a ton of intriguing players at the position with significantly lower average draft positions. Rob Gronkowski may miss a few games, but he’s a value in Round 4. Jason Witten set the tight end record for catches in 2012, but can be had a round later. Solid options Greg Olsen and Owen Daniels and breakout candidates Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron are going after the eighth round. I’ll be taking a wait and see approach at the position.
I don’t have an assigned draft slot just yet, so I’ll assume I’m picking in the middle of the round and do a bit of a round-by-round examination of who I’ll be targeting.
As mentioned earlier, I’ll be going all out to get a pair of strong tailbacks in the first three rounds. In the first, I’ll be looking at the likes of LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, and maybe even Arian Foster (the way he’s falling recently) as my primary targets. In Round 2, I’ll be taking a long look at Graham, but the likes of Matt Forte, Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Darren Sproles will be on my radar. Sproles sometimes makes it to the third, so a first-round back followed by Graham and Sproles would be a homerun.
Examining ADP, we see an underwhelming group of available backs in Round 4, but some solid PPR wideouts. That being the case, my goal—assuming I take Graham in Round 2—will be to grab one of Sproles, Frank Gore, DeMarco Murray, or David Wilson in the third. If I start RB-RB, I could go ahead and snatch up Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald, or Randall Cobb in the third. Similarly, the fourth round will see me taking a back or wide receiver. Victor Cruz, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, and Danny Amendola highlight the best available players. Gronkowski could also be my pick here if I pass on Graham.
At this point, I’m probably going to have two backs on my roster, but I want three strong options and the position is getting a bit shallow. I’ll be looking for a breakout candidate at the position and the fifth round includes quite a few options. Daryl Richardson and Chris Ivory will be atop my list, but Shane Vereen and Gio Bernard should be available as well.
After more-than-likely addressing wide receiver in the sixth (Eric Decker, Torrey Smith, Jordy Nelson stand out), I’ll finally start considering quarterbacks in the seventh. Currently, Colin Kaepernick, Griffin, Luck, Wilson, and Romo can be had after the first 70 picks are off the board. That’s strong value in the seventh or eighth round.
I’ll be using the next two rounds to fill out the final slots of my offensive starting lineup. The names that jump off the page all happen to be wide receivers: Josh Gordon, Mike Williams, Miles Austin, Michael Floyd, Lance Moore, and Kenbrell Thompkins There’s a good reason for that. It really shows the depth and appeal of the wide receiver position in the middle rounds, as opposed to the shallow, underwhelming cast of available running backs.
After my starting lineup (minus defense and kicker) is filled out, I’ll be looking for running back depth, but I’ve learned in past drafts that this is where a lot of potential breakout wide receivers are coming off the board. A few of Floyd, DeAndre Hopkins, Vincent Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Ryan Broyles, and Chris Givens are likely to land on my roster.
Considering this will be approximately my 30th fantasy draft/mock of the year, I obviously have a short list of guys I’ve accrued on most of my teams, including those late-round upside targets. Here are a few names I’ll be targeting on Monday:
QB – Robert Griffin III, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill
RB – Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Daryl Richardson, Chris Ivory, Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Hillman, DuJuan Harris
WR – Randall Cobb, Eric Decker, Torrey Smith, Mike Williams, Michael Floyd, James Jones, Lance Moore, Josh Gordon, Chris Givens, Ryan Broyles, Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill
TE – Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook, Greg Olsen
Now that I’ve given away all my secrets, all that’s left to do is wait patiently for 7 p.m. ET on Monday. Check back soon after the draft for the recap.
In the meantime, head over to RotoBowl.com and check out their impressive list of contests and fantasy games. If you’d like to compete with me and hundreds of others for $25,000, sign up today for RotoBowl. The deadline to register is just days away.
Follow Mike Clay on Twitter: @MikeClayNFL