It’s that time of year again folks…
That’s right, it’s drafting season. Last year I wrote about a live draft I did in order to give everyone a glimpse into the mind of a Fantasy Jag. I wanted to keep everyone updated on the progress of the team, but I couldn’t afford to. The team kept winning and winning and I couldn’t risk toying with the mojo to give an update; I’m way too superstitious. The squad from last season finished at 15-1, taking home my first championship in that league’s short history (3 years to that point). This year, however, every 3 weeks we will have a check-in with the season long group, titled “How Yinz Doin’?”
Doing good, Joey. Thanks for asking. As you can see, we here at JagsHQ had a strong off-season and have figured out how to include more than just a wall of text in articles. Look for more pictures, GIFs, and other forms of visuals because let’s face it….everyone likes pictures more than text. Alright enough housekeeping.
I love live drafts, as you may have figured out by now. I like having to actually do some research about players rather than just being spoon-fed the next best available player by some online draft room. It’s more of a human-element and, therefore, more unpredictable. I’ll get back to the unpredictability in a minute, but first let’s start by looking at the process by which draft slots are selected. Like any normal draft, numbers are selected at random (i.e., written on bottom of shot glass (kids make sure you’re 21 to do it this way 😉)…bottoms up). So I ended up with pick number 4. Not bad! A pick in the first half of the draft and guaranteed me a “Big 4” running back. Now let’s see why live drafts are unpredictable.
This draft took place the night of August 17. It is 12 teams; .5PPR scoring; snake draft (1-12, 12-1, 1-12, and so on)
1.04 Ezekiel Elliot (RB)
- Like I said before, picking 4th guarantees me a “Big 4” running back (Gurley, Bell, Zeke, or Johnson). I loved the 4 spot because I figured I wouldn’t have to make a choice, I would just take whoever was left between those 4. However, the third pick of the draft was Alvin Kamara!! Well, shit, a decision I didn’t want to make and it’s only the first round. I went with Elliot over Johnson. Talks out of Cowboy camp are that they want to get Zeke more involved in the passing game and he had a better offensive line at this point (pre Travis Frederick diagnosis). Still, it’s hard to go wrong with Zeke.
Editor’s Note: O-H! … I-O!
2.09 Davante Adams (WR)
- By the time my pick rolled around in the second (pick 21 overall), 14 running backs were already off the board…14!!! Meanwhile, only 6 receivers were chosen. I knew I wanted a receiver in the second if one of my top 8 were available. Turns out, both AJ Green and Davante Adams both were available at my selection (another decision I didn’t want to have to make…Why can’t someone just draft one of the two I’m considering?). Although I had Green rated higher (by a single point), I chose Adams. Aaron Rodgers has had two receivers finish in the top 15 in red zone targets each season he’s played 16 games. Adams already proved he could handle the workload as a number 1 receiver last year and now is poised for an even bigger breakout in Green Bay.
3.04 Joe Mixon (RB)
- Remember when 14 running backs were off the board by my second pick? Well coming into my third pick there was only 1 additional running back selected (Thank you everyone selecting before this pick!). Joe Mixon fell from his 2.06 ADP to me in third round and I could not be happier. Looking to shake what could be considered a disappointing rookie campaign, Mixon comes into the season as the undisputed lead back in an offense who upgraded their offensive line in the off-season. Yes, Gio Bernard will get his catches, but Mixon tallied 30 catches for 9.6 yards per reception and ranked 6th among RBs in yards per target with 8.4 (min. 25 receptions) in 2017. This was one of my targets coming into the draft so getting him is a win.
4.09 Royce Freeman (RB)
- This is where some draft sites (not pointing fingers…YAHOO!) think I went off the deep end. I will agree to some extent, but I knew nobody behind me even knew who Royce Freeman was, so I probably could’ve gotten him in the next round. However, Freeman had been going in the 4th round according to his ADP (4.06 to be exact) and with nobody else I liked worth the selection in this spot, I went with Freeman. A rookie out of Oregon, Freeman is a rocked-up 6’0, 229-pounder who tested as a 55th percentile athlete among RBs. He was especially impressive in the agility drills, recording a 72nd percentile time in the 3-cone and a 71st percentile mark in the short shuttle. Some may call this “Workhorse Potential” as the Broncos do. He is expected to start the season in no worse than a time share with Booker, but should easily take over the early down and goal line work within a week or two from the beginning of the season. This ain’t a Beamer, a Benz, or a Bentley. This is a “Rolls Royce”
5.04 Chris Hogan (WR)
- My decision here was between Golden Tate or Chris Hogan. Although Tate is ranked a few spots higher, I went with Hogan who was Brady’s favorite target before a shoulder injury sidelined him last season. Hogan was actually WR10 in those first eight games last season and with Edelman being suspended for four games, Hogan figures to be a prominent fixture in the Patriot offense. If healthy, it’s not out of the question for Hogan to record double-digit touchdowns. For a WR2, now that’s golden. Side note: Hogan’s ADP was 5.08 so this was a little early, but Golden Tate’s ADP was 6.06 so I thought I could get both of them.
6.09 Marquise Goodwin (WR)
- Spoiler…I didn’t get Tate. He was drafted later on in the 5th. Since I already drafted three running backs, I figured I could use another receiver here. Luckily, I just happened to have another one of my targets staring me right in the face. Marquise Goodwin exploded onto the scene last year when Jimmy G took over at quarterback, hauling in 32 of his 42 targets in those five games for 384 yards and a touchdown. Those are some ridiculous numbers. Couple that with all the reports out of 49ers camp that Goodwin and Garoppolo have some Starsky and Hutch type connection (paraphrasing of course), and you could say I am very happy I decided to “do it” and draft Goodwin.
7.05 Kyle Rudolph (TE)
- To me, this was an interesting pick. Delaine Walker was still on the board and I had him as my number 5 TE and in a completely different tier than Rudolph. As you can tell this is a common theme with the draft; someone is higher on my board but I have a feeling about someone else. Rudolph won’t “wow” with huge stat lines, in fact, he only has two games over 100 yards receiving. But, he is a steady bet for red zone work (averaging over 6 TDs in the past three years). Now he gets Kirk Cousins as his quarterback. Cousins loves his tight ends (ask Jordan Reed, if he’s not in the hospital that is). Over 50% of Cousins’ touchdown passes have come within the red zone and in the red zone is where Rudolph makes his money so sign me up.
8.09 Isaiah Crowell (RB)
- The experts, myself included, were buying into the Crowell hype going into last season. I drafted him as my RB1 last year in the fourth round. Oh my were we wrong. That being said I still ranked him as a top 25 running back going into the draft. On a new team, Crowell figures to battle with Bilal Powell for touches and I foresee Crowell taking over early down and goal line work at some point this year. Even if he doesn’t an eighth round pick not performing won’t kill me.
9.04 Cooper Kupp (WR)
- Round 9 and we’re officially on QB watch for the squad . At this point in the draft all but three teams have selected their starting quarterbacks and if you followed this article last year you know that I’m one of them. Also, people have started drafting kickers and defenses. Hey yinz guyz, if some jagoff does this in your draft make sure you point and laugh at them…but also make sure you thank them, because that means that you’re getting better skilled position players because of their ineptitude. Another one of my preseason favorites, Cooper Kupp is ready to build on his rookie season. Kupp figures to continue his work as a target hog in the slot (95 last season). I’m not only excited by the volume he will be seeing, but also with his connection with Jared Goff. Kupp led the team last season in red zone targets and reports out of camp say that he looks poised to do that again. Yes, please.
10.09 Duke Johnson (RB)
- All teams have selected a QB at this point, so I know that I can draft one more position player before locking up my QB. Another player I drafted last season, albeit 4 rounds earlier this year, Duke Johnson. Johnson is still the pass catching back in a muddled Browns back field. I feel like there’s a constipation or poop joke in there somewhere, but I digress. Johnson actually led the team in receiving yards last season reeling in 74 balls for 693 yards and 3 touchdowns (lol @ the Browns…). While I don’t look for him to lead the team again this season, he is more than capable of returning FLEX value here exploding out of the Browns backfield…ah there it is.
11.04 Philip Rivers (QB)
- Last year in this round, I drafted Russell Wilson and the rest was history. Unfortunately, no one in my top 5 QB rankings was still available at this point. So, I went for the safe bet in Philip Rivers. Rivers is a lock for 4,000 plus yards and about 30 touchdowns. That’s as safe as anyone can hope for in fantasy. Speaking of safe, he hasn’t missed a game since he became a starter in 2006. With that kind of health record, I feel confident in not having to draft a backup QB. While this is not as much of a steal as Wilson was last year, Rivers could easily provide me top 5 QB numbers all season.
12.09 Giovani Bernard (RB)
- At this point I’m loving my team and being able to draft Bernard just in case Mixon goes out makes it that much better. Bernard carries some value on his own as he has a history of being the receiving back for the Bengals and like I’ve proved before (see Duke Johnson), I love me some receiving backs. If either he or Mixon were to miss any time, the other would be in line for some serious volume and volume means points in fantasy (loosely).
13.04 Chris Godwin (WR)
- Selected mainly for his close name relation to Goodwin, Chris Godwin is one big awe-inspiring play away from Goodwin (because he’s missing an “O” in his name, get it?……. I didn’t think so). Godwin has been running with the first team in training camp and has been lining up opposite of Mike Evans. He has reeled in seven catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets this preseason, making him late round sleeper material in my book (i.e., a dart throw that has the potential for high upside).
14.09 Matt Breida (RB)
- Yes, as of now he has an injury and won’t be playing again until the regular season, but all accounts out of San Fran indicate that they don’t want to use McKinnon as a workhorse back. That makes sense seeing as in Jerrick’s four year career he hasn’t had the workload of a bell cow. Additionally, head coach Kyle Shanahan loves using two backs (see Freeman and Coleman in Atlanta). What that means is that there is an opportunity for Breida to take some carries and catches from McKinnon and if he were to miss any time, Breida would be in line for some major chances in a much improved offense.
15.04 Geronimo Allison (WR)
- Remember back when I talked about Aaron Rodgers and his propensity for elevating two pass catchers to top 15 in red zone targets? Insert calculated dart throw number two. Here’s to hoping Adams is number one and Allison is number two. Allison has the inside track to be the Packers number 3 receiver and should set career highs across the board especially in touchdowns. Cobb has an injury history which could set up Allison as the number 2 in Green Bay and in reality Aaron Rodgers could make anyone look good.
16.09 Ricky Seals-Jones (TE)
- After making the most of his opportunities last year, Seals-Jones will see an increase in playing time this year in Arizona and having Sam Bradford most likely throwing him the ball will really help. Throughout Bradford’s career nearly 29 percent of his touchdown passes have gone to tight ends. Hey, someone in Arizona has to catch the ball besides Larry Fitz, right? Honestly, just a guess. I don’t expect to use him more than once this season barring injuries, but I hope he surprises me.
17.04 Kansas City Chiefs (DEF/ST)
18.09 Ryan Succop (K)
- NEVER select a kicker or defense before the final 2 rounds. Just, don’t. If there is one thing you take away from this article, please let it be this. These positions are not important enough to warrant drafting any earlier, and the longer you follow the Jags you’ll understand why.
- Much like last year, I love my team, again I drafted them of course I love them. I thought I got great value in my top 3 picks (Elliot, Adams, and Mixon). Obviously Elliot was a given, but to get Adams and Mixon later than their ADPs (2.07 and 2.06 respectively) was super helpful. One thing that you will notice about my teams is that while there is some upside (mostly late but sprinkled in every where) I mainly go for higher floor players. In my mind a higher floor equates to better consistency week to week and that’s most important in fantasy, week to week production rather than a roller coaster season where the numbers may be there in the end, but you have no idea when to play them (see Julio Jones last season). I feel even more strongly about this year’s team than I did for the team last year. So that probably means that I will struggle to make playoffs.
Editor’s GRADE: B-
- As any serious fantasy player should, DJ had a game plan entering the draft and more-or-less executed as designed. Although it pains me to admit, DJ is the superior season-long fantasy football player of us two Jags and has a proven track record. I love the Rivers and Rudolph picks, but a few question marks and narrative driven picks prevented me from grading any higher. Zeke is a no-brainer and a stud, but there are some question marks with the other RB’s selected. Mixon, Freeman, Crowell, Johnson and Bernard. Clear cut RB2 on the team? I don’t think so yet at this point in the preseason. But, as DJ mentioned, some speculation on roles will clear up after the first few weeks. If he can get off to a hot start and win some weeks while waiting for answers at RB, he could be looking at another big year. Freeman is a question mark as a rookie, and if Mixon flails and has just an average year, it could get rough. Luckily, I think DJ makes up for this with his WR selections. He’s always been into those gritty, high football IQ, slot guys (assume what you want), and he sure got his fill. Pair Kupp and Hogan with the upside of both Adams and Goodwin, and you have a strong receiving core ready to put up consistent points every week. Kicker and Defense, who cares.
Yahoo GRADE: D
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*player photos from ESPN.com, goducks.com, nyjets team page
*gifs from giphy.com and tenor.com