Zach on Fantasy Football: Rookie Draft 2018 Edition

It’s time for a hallowed May tradition. It’s time for the 2018 Zealots 34 dynasty league rookie draft (if you want to see the whole draft, here goes). I have been such a consistent winner in this league that I had the number two pick last year. Let’s see how I drafted last year:

1.02: Christian McCaffery — I have a potential trade for Duke Johnson pending my 2018 first-round pick and I’m wondering if McCaffery is Duke plus plus. His receiving ability is huge for a PPR league so I’d call this a win for now.

2.02: David Njoku — Every once in a while I have a good idea. I wanted one of the OJ Howard/Evan Engram/David Njoku tier and I got the youngest one. Generally speaking, rookie tight ends are the long game, so I picked up four last season plus former QB Logan Thomas.

3.02: traded for 2018 2nd which turned out to be 2.04. Either Taywan Taylor or Carlos Henderson was the pick and Henderson is currently fantasy flatlining. I still eventually have to make a pick and it has to be good for me to “win” this.

4.02: Adam Shaheen — Part of the great tight end migration to my roster last year and now they’re making him the “blocking” tight end in Chicago, so fireworks.

6.02: Charles Harris — Missouri dude and in time Miami will stop trading for over-the-hill dudes with eight-figure salaries.

I have the .09 pick in each round plus 2.04. What positions do I need?

QB: I’ve had pick 2.06 in the 2011 rookie draft Cam Newton and a rotation of chum for years. I got lucky last year due to the mass of injuries and found a bye-week fill-in when my free agent pickups Josh McCown and Jacoby Brissett both had the same bye as Cam. This is a weird spot as QB is kind of undervalued due to it being a start-one league but every starting QB and a few choice backups are rostered. So every year I look at potential rookies in the 2nd/3rd rounds and find RB/WR/TE better values. I like this year’s class and have a couple of potential trades on the fire so we’ll see.

RB: It’s the Derrick Henry show finally and Christian McCaffery. I picked up CJ Anderson as a UDFA his rookie year (thanks Cecil and Sig) but now he’s unrostered. Oh, now he’s on the Panthers, which means I have two RBs from which Cam will steal all the touchdowns this year.

Peyton Barber may be useful if Ronald Jones is as bad as half of RotoViz thinks he is. Bilal Powell has started a few games for me and would be a desperation start in games when I think the Jets are underdogs (aka all of them). Spencer Ware is the KC backup but his health is still up in the air. Trey Edmunds finally has a smidgen of value due to a Mark Ingram suspension.

At wide receiver, I’m acutely aware that my core is getting old. My top three are Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Crabtree. Are all three still in the NFL in 2020? Cole Beasley got a lot more interesting on draft weekend, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan are good starts for when I want to feel particularly Russian Rouletty about my chances, Tyler Lockett might actually not get hurt one of these years and Paul Richardson could be the highest paid decoy since Alvin Harper.

I happily re-did my entire TE roster last year. I dumped my middling options like Julius Thomas and Zach Miller and re-upped the position with tons of rookies. George Kittle, David Njoku, Ricky Seals-Jones, Adam Shaheen (until FA anyway), and even Logan Thomas have promise. This might be of the “dad’s going out for a pack of smokes” kind of promise. I even picked up Luke Willson.

I won’t get into IDPs since I still don’t totally understand them and it’s pretty much linebackers, a few defensive linemen, and really bad cornerbacks who can at least tackle.

How’d I do? I went into the draft with seven picks and made, like the actual Titans, four selections. I traded 1.09 and 2.04 for Corey Davis. I mentioned my aging WR corps and Davis will either give me that infusion of youth or I’ll be looking at a total rebuild in two years. This year’s class was anything but top-heavy.

2.09: Sam Darnold — I assumed that I’d have my choice of the “big four” at 2.09 but Darnold was the last guy left. Lamar Jackson went 1.08, Josh Rosen went 2.06 (too many Waldman fans in this league), and Baker Mayfield went with the pick before mine. Darnold is really young and I wanted to get a QB with this year’s class so woo hoo to me.

3.09: Darius Leonard: There was a big four of sorts at linebacker and I got Pete Best. I wanted Rashaan Evans and he went 3.08. I wanted to get a top linebacker as I have CJ Mosley and a bunch of chum.

4.09: Boston Scott — Hello, Rookie Scouting Portfolio. With the Ingram suspension, I believe Boston Scott will make the Saints’ opening day roster and may get some early-season carries. I was surprised that seventh-round darlings John Kelly and Justin Jackson were long gone.

5.01: Deon “Dean” Cain — Tell me the following situation has never happened in NFL history. A team hands in a draft card, and the recipient has to quietly say “dude’s already been taken”. I traded up, sacrificing my 5.09 and 6.09 picks for what I thought would be Marcus Davenport. He went 4.05. Instead I took the second WR the Colts drafted first. Cain was highly rated by Mr. Waldman and at this point I might as well take a shot.

The “benefit” of losing three draft picks is that I have three open roster spots for my favorite part of the rookie offseason, rookie free agency. Last year I picked up Obi Melifonwu, George Kittle, Logan Thomas and Adoree Jackson. I usually get one or two players who are at least short-term contributors during this period of the offseason. It’s fun to get a “coveted” UDFA and years later he’s C.J. Anderson. Or he’s delivering for UPS (I hear the benefits are nice).

So I have four draft picks and five acquired players. I’ll start Davis a lot, at least early in the season. Darnold should be my backup QB by, crap, Newton’s bye is Week 4. Leonard probably will start for me some. The other two are fine human beings.

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