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Wednesday 18th Oct 2017

Over the weekend, Greg Morgan and I started an online draft in the Scout Online Championship (formerly known as Rotobowl). These are 12-team PPR leagues with a $299 entry.

This is much better practice than a mock draft because people have some skin invested in the draft and if prepping for the FFWC (Fantasy Football World Championship), it has the exact same rules. Plus, there is something to be won at the league level (like a free FFWC entry for next year for the league champion) in addition to a huge $50,000 payout for first place overall.

To get to the league playoffs, you want to be first or second in H2H record and/or total points. First in either is better because it wins you $200 even before the playoffs. Then you take your weekly average score and add on your scores from weeks 14, 15, and 16 to get your final total for both league (1st and 2nd) and overall prizes.

The lineups will be QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE and two Flex spots (RB/WR/TE) in addition to your kicker and defense. So let’s get straight to the draft as it unfolded and analyze good picks and not so good choices.

1.01  Dez Bryant, WR, DAL

1.02  LeVeon Bell, RB, PIT

1.03  Julio Jones, WR, ATL

1.04  Antonio Brown, WR, PIT

1.05  Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN

1.06  Eddie Lacy, RB, GB

1.07  Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

1.08  Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE

1.09  Odell Beckham, WR, NYG

1.10  Jamaal Charles, RB, KC

1.11  Jordy Nelson, WR, GB

1.12  Justin Forsett, RB, BAL

Fantasy football players have gotten away from the straight string of running backs to open the draft, especially when the top wide receivers may well outscore the top running backs. Today there are two principle camps of drafters – those who want one of the top runners to anchor their team or those who will take their highest projected scorer in the first round of the available RB/WR/one TE. There is another segment that is willing to chart a “No RB draft” – well, not actually none, but starting the draft with several wide receivers, perhaps a top four TE, maybe even a stud QB and then make several picks in later rounds to cobble together a stable of running backs where they can play the best two on matchup or performance each week while they play more receivers.

Color me old school but I think for roster construction, I would prefer to take an excellent running back at the top of the first round. Fortunately, Greg and I agree on this, so the “Captain Morgan” was going to take either Bell or Peterson with the second pick in the draft. Yes, Bell will miss the first two games of the season, but I think he will have a huge chip on his shoulder when he returns and I think he will come close if not lead all running backs in PPR points again this year.

I don’t really have an argument with most of the picks in this first round – perhaps a different order of the names although I do think that Forsett is really a second round pick, but you can flip Team #12’s picks since they are essentially made together. I do think the one top runner who was missing from the first round or early second was C.J. Anderson of the Broncos, who I would have taken earlier, but let’s look at round two and see where he fell.

2.01 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA

2.02 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET

2.03 A.J. Green, WR, CIN

2.04 Matt Forte, RB, CHI

2.05 Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI

2.06 Randall Cobb, WR, GB

2.07 C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN

2.08 Brandin Cooks, WR, NO

2.09 Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN

2.10 DeMarco Murray, RB, PHI

2.11 T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND

2.12 Mike Evans, WR, TB

Greg and I thought originally that we would be going WR/WR on the 2/3 turn as the top running backs should have been drafted before it got to us with the 11th pick this round. Oh so close to lose the Bell-Murray start to the drafter in front of us. One other sour spot for our team was Brandin Cooks, who should have a monster year with Drew Brees this season, going in the second round. Usually, he has been going early to mid-third round in most drafts. But that is why ADP is only a guide – when people get to the table in September with money on the line – especially at the high stakes drafts in Las Vegas – the conventional picks go out the window with every succeeding pick.

Still, we were happy to roster Andrew Luck’s favorite target and would see who our third pick would be shortly.

3.01 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR

3.02 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU

3.03 Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI

3.04 Andre Johnson, WR, IND

3.05 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN

3.06 Andrew Luck, QB, IND

3.07 LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF

3.08 Amari Cooper, WR, OAK

3.09 Lamar Miller, RB, MIA

3.10 Julian Edelman, WR, NE

3.11 Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA

3.12 Golden Tate, WR, DET

We were actually debating potentially top wide receivers with bad quarterbacks – Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins. Maybe too harsh to call Jameis Winston bad but certainly unproven, but Hopkins didn’t have a much better QB situation last year and still emerged. Plus, Houston’s senior wideout Andre Johnson is now catching balls in Indianapolis. I think we would have gone with Hopkins if both were available but we won’t know until the next draft.

There were both good and bad picks in this round – even if you love Jonathan Stewart, which might mean you are a doctor, round three is pretty early for that pick. I also think that it was early for Amari Cooper, a very talented rookie but in less than an ideal situation – well, except for playing from behind a lot. I would also question the Graham pick at the end of round three – he is not in the Saints passing offense anymore and while he may be a favorite red zone target for Russell Wilson, I don’t see a lot of difference in his projected points for this season versus Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce, which means that at least the drafter could have had him in the early fourth round or an equally productive tight end.

While this draft has now inched into the seventh round, I don’t want to make this article too long, so I will (hopefully) recap all of our picks in next week’s column. Always glad to see your questions here or in the Forums.

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