Fantasy Files: It’s Hip to Be Squared

Now is the time of year when a man’s thoughts go to sweating profusely during the walk from the front door to the car in the morning. In my case, this is about six feet. What the bleep is going on? My site was taken over by a travel diary for the past week, and nothing the week before, so it’s time to get back to hot sports talk.

I didn’t miss much during my week away. Apparently Colin Kaepernick wears hats. OK, that was exciting. Let’s get into my semi-hasty decision to join Redraft2. I still can’t figure out how to add the squared mark on my Twitter.

I earned the number one pick in Conference #2. For the newbies, here’s how this league works. You draft a team, you’re in a four-team division, and you play one of those three division opponents each week until you’ve played them all twice in the first six weeks of the NFL season. The top two teams in each division get to advance to the second round, in which the top 8 of each conference unite to create a super conference and there’s a second draft.

Last year I did it and I finished third in my division. I’ll use a soccer term and say I was in the Group of Death even though I can’t recall who defeated me. This year, my goal is to advance. The league fits my rule for joining new leagues. Either there are funky rules or I’m in a group of people I really like and the smack-talk will be enjoyable even if I struggle. 16 teams with the first pick, I knew that was going to be a challenge.

What was the strategy? I made a bit of a rookie mistake in last year’s draft. In the first round, I took Calvin Johnson. There’s no shame in taking Calvin, but he had a bye week in those first six weeks. If you’re playing a full-season league, the bye weeks are “baked in” as the experts like to say and that evens out the field. In this league, players who have a bye in weeks 4-6 are going to contribute one less week. It’s not a straight mathematical thing in that the player is worth 83% of a player who does not have a bye since there are bench spots and this is best ball, but it’s a hit on a player’s value. I vowed to avoid bye week guys, and I even stuck with that theory for a few rounds.

It’s a pretty deep starting lineup, especially considering the 16 teams. Starting lineup’s QB/2 RB/3 WR/flex/TE/D/K. There are ten starters and eight bench spots. All summer the hot talk has been about waiting on QB. In this case, with 16 teams, if each team gets two QBs, that’s 32 guys, and as we know, there really aren’t 32 solid starters in the league.

With my first pick I took Jamaal Charles because the top two consensus guys, ADP and Doug Martin, had Week 4 byes. ADP actually dropped to the 4th pick. I felt good at RB1, and by the time my second pick came up, Chris Johnson was there. I know, it’s the notorious CJFUk. You can quickly tell what kind of sense of humor a Titans fan has when you introduce them to the nickname. Anyhoo, CJ’s getting dinged because of Shonn Greene. He had one touchdown from within the ten-yard-line last year, so what’s going to drop? Even if there’s a LenDale White/CJ split like in 2008, Johnson still had a 294/205 touch edge over White and finished as the RB11. I think he’s a fine RB2. I will admit that I was looking at the 4for4 rankings (please subscribe, they’re cool) when checking out my potential picks. I looked up David Wilson and saw that he was far down the list. I thought about taking a WR in that spot. I went with Wilson. It’s an upside pick and I like him in the RB3 range. I knew I probably wouldn’t like my wide receivers, and that was a correct instinct.

I have been impressed in that I have been able to draft one “turn” a day this week. The only pain is seeing so many beautiful players get drafted in the interval. My instinct was to automatically take a wideout. That’s what I didn’t do. When you’re at the turn, the first pick is to take a player who falls and the second pick for the reach, anticipating what’s going to happen. The top player according to ADP was Rob Gronkowski. He’s a risky pick in any league but even moreso because of rumors that he’s going to miss time at the start of the season. My opinion is he’ll suit up in Week One or he’ll be on the PUP. Either I’m getting a stud TE or the position will be a bust. If Gronk was healthy, I’d probably not take another TE and save the roster spots, like the dolphins.

With that second pick, I had a WR cued up. I switched to Andrew Luck at the last second. I knew that QBs would be past the top 12 by the time my next pick came up (top ADP guy was Flacco) and I like his moxie. I have the option to not draft another QB, but with the best-ball scenario, I’ll probably grab someone.

At the 6/7 turn, I had to go wide receiver. If you look at how leagues draft, they lean RB for the first few rounds, but eventually wide receiver catches up. 15 WRs went between 5.01 and 6.16. I got Pierre Garcon and Kendall Wright. Garcon broke my no-bye rule but he was a rare player who fell to me and has WR1 upside. Wright’s been dropping in ADP, something I just noticed due to the Kenny Britt love.

I still didn’t have a full “skill position” starters list until the 8/9 turn. I got Chris Givens and Zac Stacy. I’ve taken Stacy in too many mocks to date, but I decided to go RB4 over WR4. I think I can grab some WRs who will have at least a week or two of productivity whereas the RB position has been all but picked clean.

Let’s see, my starting lineup is currently Luck/Charles/CJFUk/Wilson/Garcon/Wright/Givens/Gronk. That’s not bad. I’ll use half of my bench spots on wide receivers and heck, most of them will be of the RB/WR ilk. As my 10th pick approaches, I see that Rob Housler and Jordan Cameron went, two guys I hoped to scoop up to cover for Gronk. In any case, that’s my haul to date.

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