2014 RotoBowl Draft Recap
A few weeks ago, I drew up a Rotobowl Draft Strategy piece. In that article, I introduced the Rotobowl competition and laid out my gameplan for my draft, which was held on Monday night. I also promised to recap the draft once it was complete.
Included here is a comparison between my strategy and what actually happened on draft night, a thorough analysis of my roster, and league Power Rankings, which includes analysis of the other 11 teams in the league.
Strategy vs. Actual
If you read the Draft Strategy piece, you should have a pretty decent idea of who I would be targeting throughout the draft. Let’s see how accurate my predictions turned out:
Considering both the fact that quarterbacks receive only four points for a passing touchdown and the depth at the position, I’ll be waiting a while to select one…my target will be one of Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler. At least one figures to be available in Round 8 or 9.
I was correct that quarterbacks would fall quite a bit in this draft (not exactly a bold prediction these days). I grabbed Nick Foles in the 10th round. I think he easily has Top 5 upside in Chip Kelly’s offense, so I’m pleased. In fact, I was so pleased that I didn’t draft another passer. Romo went in the 12th round and Newton in the 13th. Both were great value picks. Wait at quarterback, kids.
The gameplan early on will be to focus on superstars. The Top 5 backs (Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Eddie Lacy), Top 6 wide receivers (Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Brandon Marshall), and Top 2 tight ends (Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski) will be atop my cheatsheet. My goal will be to get one stud tailback here, but I won’t reach for one over studs at wideout or tight end.
Much to my chagrin, I picked at the 12/13 turn in this draft. I was unable to get one of the stud running backs here, so I followed my strategy and went with a pair of superstar wide receivers in Jones and Marshall. Remember, I only need to start two backs because this is a 2 RB, 3 WR, 2 Flex, PPR league. Incredibly, Gronkowski, who I considered over Marshall, made it to the seventh pick in the third round. Almost had him, too.
Wide receiver is as deep as ever, but I’m likely to need a total of four or five in my starting lineup, so I’ll be addressing the position early and often.
I wasn’t kidding here. I added Victor Cruz in the third round, Kendall Wright in the fifth, and Eric Decker in the sixth.
Tier 2 [tight end] options like Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron will come off the board earlier than where I’d take them, but there will be value to be had in the mid rounds. Jason Witten, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed, Dennis Pitta, and Kyle Rudolph are big-time values at their ADPs.
Because I missed on Graham (ninth overall) and aforementioned Gronkowski, I didn’t pick a tight end until the ninth round. I went with underrated Martellus Bennett, who was fantasy’s No. 7-scoring tight end when Jay Cutler played last year. He may not have the high ceiling of other TE1s, but I accounted for that by grabbing Ladarius Green in the 11th and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the 18th.
Considering this will be approximately my 20th 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 is a summary of guys I’ll be targeting:
(The names shown in bold are the players I did land off of my target list.)
QB – Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Jake Locker
RB – Andre Ellington, Shane Vereen, C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice, Lance Dunbar, Ka’Deem Carey
WR – Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Victor Cruz, Kendall Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Julian Edelman, Greg Jennings, DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Hunter, Jordan Matthews, Markus Wheaton, Cody Latimer
TE –Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Ladarius Green
Here is my complete roster. In parentheses is round selected.
QB – Nick Foles (10)
RB – C.J. Spiller (4)
RB – Steven Jackson (7)
WR – Julio Jones (1)
WR – Brandon Marshall (2)
WR – Victor Cruz (3)
TE – Martellus Bennett (9)
K – Mason Crosby (20)
D/ST – Eagles (19)
FLEX – Kendall Wright (5)
FLEX – Eric Decker (6)
RB – Bishop Sankey (8)
RB – Lance Dunbar (12)
RB – DeAngelo Williams (13)
RB – James White (16)
WR – Marvin Jones (14)
WR – Donte Moncrief (15)
WR – Davante Adams (17)
TE – Ladarius Green (11)
TE – Austin Seferian-Jenkins (18)
Quarterbacks: B+ : I only drafted one passer, but I like Foles as a Top 5 option. Considering I landed him in the 10th round, this is a great value.
Running Backs: C : My draft slot didn’t allow me to get an elite back and I refuse to reach on mediocre running backs over wide receivers with big upside. You just can’t win that way. I definitely went for the high-ceiling with my Round 4 pick, grabbing Spiller over safer options in Rashad Jennings, Ryan Mathews, and Alfred Morris. Jackson was a risky investment in Round 7, but he’s a candidate to score 10 times if he holds up. I offset the Jackson pick by grabbing Sankey in the eighth. Dunbar will have stand-alone flex value right off the bat. White will be on the RB2 radar if Stevan Ridley returns to the dog house. Williams has a low ceiling, but adds depth. I’ll look to waivers during the season to improve at the position (hey, Zac Stacy helped me a lot last year).
Wide Receivers: A : I went heavy on wideouts early, so they better get an A. Jones, Marshall, Cruz, Wright, and Decker are all candidates for 100 receptions. A combined 450-plus catches is conceivable. Jones will be on the WR3 radar when he returns from injury in a few weeks. Adams and Moncrief are one injury away from a No. 3 job in a great offense.
Tight Ends: B- : Bennett is a solid TE1 option, but he’s unlikely to crap the Top 5. Green can get there, but he likely needs Gates out of the way in order to break out. “ASJ” started for Tampa Bay in the team’s “dress rehearsal” so I’m taking a shot that he’ll bust out early this season
Overall: B : Probably the lowest grade I’ve given myself over the past half-decade…which probably means I’m bound for a title!
League Power Rankings
1. Behind the Woodshed (Picked 8th) – Love the wideouts here with Bryant-Jackson-Garcon-Wallace-Welker. Despite going that direction, has Ball and Gerhart at running back, which is formidable. Witten-Reed duo at tight end is great. Witten was a steal in the eighth. Was the lucky winner of Romo in the 12th and grabbed Dalton later. Hyde and Jennings in the middle rounds were excellent picks. Outstanding work here.
2. The Fantasy Ace (1) – McCoy-Cobb a good start from the one spot. Love the running back depth (Tate a great get) and landed some nice wide receiver values in Jackson and Randle. Starting lineup is formidable from top to bottom. Cunningham and Rodgers are excellent fliers. Well done.
3. My squad (12) – See extensive analysis above.
4. Governor Blam (9) – Graham-Lynch is a great start. I absolutely love Patterson and my wife will confirm I was pretty ticked that someone snagged him before I even picked in the third round. I don’t like Harvin in the fourth, but there’s upside there, of course. Went with PPR monsters Thomas/Woodhead to cover the RB2 slot. Pitta in the seventh I don’t love after the Graham pick. Wilson-Roethlisberger is fairly weak at quarterback, so he’ll need to play the matchups well. Latimer, Michael, Crowell, and McKinnon are good late-round fliers. B-
5. Steel City GMY (3) – Attacked running back with four of first six picks. Started well, but Miller in the sixth is bad news with Moreno emerging. Taking the plunge on Hunter, Evans, and Matthews, who are high-upside but risky. May need to start at least one early on. Cutler-Newton provided excellent value. Kelce-Walker will do at tight end.
6. Team Espinoza (5) – Went with four running backs to start and ended up with a good value at each spot. Considering the strategy, probably should’ve waited at QB (Luck in the fifth). Maclin-Wayne-Boykin-Hartline-Shorts is serviceable at wideout, but there’s not even that much upside here. Cotchery and Kerley were only late-round fliers. Olsen was a good pick and Ebron/Eifert gives him some breakout candidates.
7. Sebastian K (6) – Started with Demaryius and managed to land Murray 19th overall. Nice! Next three picks were wideouts, which is a good strategy, but Tate in the fifth I didn’t love. Brady is a favorite target of mine, but probably could’ve been had two to four rounds later. Risky bets at RB2 with Ridley, Freeman, Williams, and Helu. Graham-Cook at tight end gives him a decent TE2 option at best.
8. Team JM (10) – Was the only owner besides me to start WR-WR and probably did a better job than I with his next two picks (Foster-Fitzgerald vs. my Spiller-Cruz). Cameron is okay in the fifth, but who go Davis in the sixth, especially in PPR? Kaepernick in the seventh is a massive reach in this format. Moreno-Pierce will work in the RB2 slot and maybe even in the flex if things go well. Amendola-Thompkins-Sanu is shaky, leaving him top-heavy at wideout. Hoping the Trey Burton pick was an accident.
9. Glassholes (7) – Love the first three picks here (Lacy – Martin – Gronkowski). That’s how you win a title. Stafford in the fourth I don’t love, but I don’t hate it either considering the 20 yards per point scoring. It’s downhill from there. Wideout is a major concern as a result of the Stafford pick. Colston-Williams are best as No. 2 and No. 4 options, respectively, but they’re his one-two. Bowe, LaFell, Hawkins, and Williams offer little upside, but at least one will have to start regularly. Rudolph in the seventh is a head-scratcher after the Gronk pick. Welker, Wheaton, Randle were among the wideouts available at that spot.
10. MagicMan (11) – Tied his hands a bit right out of the gate by taking Peyton 11th overall. Fortunately, it is a 20 yards = 1 pt league. Brown-Johnson is a good one-two WR punch, but Watkins/Austin/Austin is shaky. And at least one of them has to start. Running backs are either old or bad in most cases, but Rice was a nice gamble in the sixth. Miller is a nice get in the ninth and Allen offers some TE upside. Reached badly on the Seahawks defense in the 10th and Steve Gostkowski in the 13th. I like the Beckham pick in the 18th.
11. It’s Bear Fighting Time (4) – Started RB-WR-QB and thus ended up with a strong option to lead each position. Reached on several young (three rookie) wide receivers and absolutely needs Sanders to pan out as a result. Old at running back, which is risky. Near-guaranteed at least one doesn’t hold up. Tight end is intriguing with Ertz-Gates-Wright.
12. BabieZeus (2) – Healthy group of wideouts. Offset a reach on Cooper with Wheaton the next round. Ellington is a nice get in the second, but Gore as a No. 2 back, Ingram as a No. 3, and little depth otherwise is scary. Clay-Fleener is as underwhelming as it gets at tight end. Brees is too high in the second considering how far other passers fell.
That is a wrap. Bookmark the league homepage if you’d like to check in during the season and see if my team is living up to expectations. In the meantime, it’s not too late to sign up for Rotobowl where you can compete against me for $50,000. The final draft of the year is scheduled for September 5.
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Follow Mike Clay on Twitter: @MikeClayNFL