I thought I was pretty prepared this year, for both drafts. One thing I have learned is to research the players that I expect to be available in the late rounds. Spent a lot of time looking at Wide Receivers, a position that, in many leagues, is very deep and you can mine some good sleepers from. Helps that in most leagues you have to start 3 so a lot of big names go fast. Good rookie class of Running Backs this year also. Of course, drafting in mid August, you never know how preseason is going to end up or when the dreaded injury bug pops up. Let's start with the Redraft League
Redraft League - Standard Scoring
Ended up with the 3rd over all pick. I was pretty happy with that. I always like to load up on RBs in this league. Last year we added a Flex position. So, having the option to start 3 RBs that could possibly score a lot of points, I had to get off to a good start. My first pick, I went with Jamaal Charles - I figured he had such a great season last year after his injury that a full year removed from it and with a better coaching staff in place, he could really put up some good numbers. Plus, I really like RBs that catch. Watching the other teams draft, it became clear that I would be choosing a couple more top tier RBs with my next 2 picks. Second pick, I went with C.J. Spiller. Slight injury concern but I could not pass up on the upside. 3rd pick, Maurice Jones Drew. Again, slight injury concern but he gets the ball a ton and in this offense he will be given every chance to score, plus he will be playing this year for a new contract.
I decided to wait on drafting my first Wide Receiver. My first WR, I went with Pierre Garcon. With a healthy RG3, Garcon was a stud last year and he played most of the season hurt. RG3 should not be running the ball as much as last year so that means more down field passes to Garcon. Felt pretty good about that pick. We start a Tight End in this league so I tried to get a good one. Jermichael Finley should have a good year. It sounds like Aaron Rodgers has more trust in him than in previous seasons and with Greg Jennings gone and Jordy Nelson on the mend from knee surgery, Finley should see a fair amount of targets.
With so many good Quarter Backs this year I held off as long as I could. I knew I could still land a good QB in later rounds and I did with Andrew Luck. He looked great as a rookie last season. More experience, some good receivers and a not so great running game and I see a great season in Luck. I also drafted T.Y. Hilton in the 9th round. He also looked good last year, doubling up on Colts, I never would have done that a few years ago, but these guys should score a lot this year. My second WR was Antonio Brown. I figured in the Steeler offense, Brown has a good shot at being the number 1 target down field. I feel even better about this pick now as news comes in about the injury to rookie RB Bell. Back field mess, with good QB and good receivers, should put up some nice numbers.
Pick in the 9th round went to Hilton. My next 2 picks I went with WRs also. Josh Gordon, he should have a good year. Browns offense is not the greatest BUT their QB is improving and they have a really good RB. Should help give him room to shine. I feel good about this next pick, Cordarralle Patterson. He's a rookie but he has a similar skill set to Percy Harvin, who was traded away. I don't have a lot of confidence in the Vikings QB, but Harvin still had great seasons with him. Took a chance with Patterson. I also took a shot with Eddie Lacey in the 8th round. If he ends up with the starting job he could do well with the Packers offense.
Grabbed a good back up QB in Dalton. He should have a good year and if my first pick pans out, I won't have to start Dalton except to cover the bye week. But if Luck happens to have a down year or get hurt, I have confidence in Dalton to be able to start for my team every week. In the 13th round, I took one of my "sleepers". Danny Woodhead. He is listed as a 3rd RB with the Chargers but if we all look back on the Chargers last year, their "star RB" Ryan Mathews, he gets hurt a lot and he had a lot of bad games last year. Recent reports have the coaches talking about using Woodhead in a "Sproles" type of roll, which I was hoping for here. Change of pace RB that will catch a lot of balls also. I don't expect a lot out of the Chargers with year but Woodhead could shine.
I believe I left this draft in really good shape. I have a strong group of starters and some really good back ups. Even if I lose one or two guys to injuries, I can still field a good team every week and that's with not taking any guys off the waiver wire yet. I have a few names in mind for that also, but that will have to wait until the season starts to see how my team pans out.
Keeper League - PPR Scoring
I kept way to many scrubs last year and I had a bad season because of it. I did some thinking and decided to only keep 2 players this time around. Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch. Knowing that I would be drafting 3rd I liked my chances of landing a rookie RB to help build around. But of course, the 2 teams ahead of me decided to go "all in" and not keep anyone, thus giving them the first 6 picks. So basically in the first 2 minutes of the draft I was looking at picking up a guy that I really didn't want or start drafting the guys I put back into the pool this year. It can be easy to get frustrated on draft day in this league because every team know so much about the game and they do so much research it can be hard to "pull a fast one" and sneak a guy that no one else really knows about. But, my team needs RBs.
I was able to land some good guys. Not on the best teams in the world but, they should all be starters and get a good work load every week. My first few picks I grabbed, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram and Rashard Mendenhall. Not my ideal team but upon closer inspection, they should all be starters on opening day. Not super concerned with injuries out of these guys either. Mendenhall was pretty bad last season but was not 100% healthy either. He should have a much better year in Arizona. Ivory's switch to the Jets, I'm not too stoked about because, c'mon, it's the Jets, but they will have to run the ball a lot since their QB situation is a mess. Ingram should put up good numbers with the Saints. The Saints are well known for passing but they also have a strong running game and Ingram should get the bulk of the carries.
Since this league is PPR scoring, having some good WRs is a must. I had Garcon last year and was able to pick him up again this time. I also landed Brown from the Steelers (see above). I really wanted DeSean Jackson and I was able to get him. I don't really like the Eagles but that new coach seems to have a fast game plan in mind and losing Maclin for the year will only mean more targets for Jackson. Plus we gets points for return yardage and Jackson makes a lot of noise on Special Teams. I took a look at the best available pass catchers and I decided to go with Vernon Davis. He should have a great season with most of the other receivers in San Fran either hurt, over the hill or just not that good. Also picked up Josh Gordon and Cordarralle Patterson again. Young guys that should be able to step up and put together a good year.
In this league, it pays to take a chance on some rookies and hope they pan out. I grabbed 2 and so far I'm really happy with one of them. Christine Michael RB in Seattle. I've seen him run in the preseason games and he looks just like Lynch if not a little quicker. I drafted Turbin last year as my handcuff for Lynch but something just stands out about this kid. My other reach was for Latavius Murray RB with Oakland. I know I know. I had some good games with Reese last year when he started for the often injured McFadden. I really felt good after the draft about this pick but now reports are saying he might not even make the team. Oh well. If he doesn't it's not like a wasted a high draft pick on him. I might just hang on to these 2 guys for a while and see what happens.
I did make a HUGE mistake this year. I still kick myself for it. I had back to back picks in the late rounds. Percy Harvin was just sitting there and went undrafted and being that he won't even see the field until late in the season, most teams just passed him up. I totally forgot about this league and the IR spot. You can have one guy on it, if a player is officially placed on Injured Reserve by his team. So my plan was to draft Harvin late, but forgetting about our IR spot I thought I would have to forget about grabbing some of my late round "sleepers". so I went ahead and drafted those other guys and right after I did I regretted it. The very next pick, someone drafted Harvin and placed him on his team IR spot. Total facepalm move on my part. Maybe Harvin won't pan out in Seattle, maybe he will always get hurt and not score much. Yeah.
Draft Review for both leagues
I really feel I have a good team in the Redraft League. I might have to mine the waiver wire sooner than later but I think I'm off to a really good start. We also decided that our draft order for next year will be based on record from this year and not random. We have always done it that way before so this will be something new and will give some teams that tanked a chance at some better picks next season. I plan on having the 10th pick next year. I noticed this year that I tend to get excited when other teams start drafting QBs and WRs early and I have my choice of top 10 RBs. I ended up with 3 of them this year. Last year I had too many starters and not enough roster spots, it became a game of who to start when they can all have big games. Let's hope I don't end up like that again this year.
Aside from my Harvin facepalm moment I think I did OK. Not at all what I was expecting my team to look like after the draft but not too horrible. My only concern is that if my team starts out slow and I have to start dropping guys and combing over the waiver wire everyday I might be in trouble. I have to be patient. Too many times have I drafted a guy, dropped him to early, only to have him scooped up by another team and all of a sudden he's a starting running back on a team that run a lot.
Be patient. If you really want a guy, pick him when you want. Don't wait. If you feel like that player will help you win, do it. Unless your choice is drafting a Defense in the 4th round. Don't do that. Yes, that did happen in the redraft league. I facepalmed for him.
I already have some new plans for drafting next year. I want to try and keep track of the draft as it happens and keep an updated draft board. Not just crossing names off my book. That helps for knowing who is gone but does nothing with trying to predict what a team needs as the draft progresses.
My Rosters for both teams
Redraft League (drafted in this order)
RB CJ Spiller
Keeper League (not drafted in this order)