Going into the #BreakingFootballDraft this past Wednesday night, I ended up with the first overall pick and I can’t say I was the most ecstatic about that. I don’t know many people who would prefer the pick and the extra long wait time that goes along with it. One plus, however, is you get to snag two players back-to-back which can sometimes play to your advantage. Where most people go “Zero Running Back” nowadays, I go running backs straight out of the gate. In a 16-team league. the amount of viable running backs is slim and you better jump on those dual-threat guys before they’re all snatched up. With it being a PPR league as well, I snagged several solid wide receivers who are known to be trusted options for their quarterbacks. In the middle of the draft, I actually missed my picks and auto-drafted the two defenses I had queued-up at the time. Good news for me, they are two of the top-5 defenses from a year ago so that could have been a lot worse. Once the later rounds arrived I simply took advantage of the best receivers available and tried to snag the best value still on the board. When it was all said and done, I also found myself with one of the best quarterbacks in the league that I believe fell to a really good spot for me in the seventh round.
*For this piece, I am only going to dissect my first 10 picks because after that point it just becomes a toss-up on who to select*
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Draft Slot: First Overall Pick
League Type: 16-team PPR
Round 1 – Pick 1: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Like I touched on earlier, having the first overall pick isn’t always the best thing. Regardless, I knew I was getting the chance to choose between two absolute studs in David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell. In all honesty, I really could not have gone wrong with either of the two. Both are at the peak of their positions and are point-generating machines. Both can run it, catch it, and perform stupid feats of athleticism that leave fans, and defenders, in awe. In the end, I went with the Iowa-native who has served me well in the past. After an offseason that saw Bruce Arians say “You can’t overuse David Johnson.”, my confidence is sky-high and I hope to ride that straight into the season.
Round 2 – Pick 32: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
As I wrote about last week, I still really like Keenan Allen as a top-tier receiver in the NFL, regardless of his recent injury woes. Most pundits would find this “being loyal to a fault”, but they don’t know what Allen and I have been through, man. We have been through the highs (winning my league his rookie year) and the lowest of lows (drafting him with my second pick in each of ’15 and ’16). That kind of bond isn’t severed easily. He is one of the premier PPR wideouts when he is healthy and I CANNOT believe the bad luck will continue into a third season. I’m also way more confident than most in grabbing Allen this early because, well, after he went down in Week 1 last season, I pretty much just streamed receivers the whole season and somehow waltzed into the number one seed. I’m confident in my abilities to recover from a sudden loss and I’m not afraid to take a risk.
*knocks on all the wood, ever*
Round 3 – Pick 33: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
I bet a lot of you are wondering why someone from the Cleveland Browns would ever be taken this high, especially when he isn’t exactly the undisputed bell-cow back for the offense. I got one thing to say to you all, “Dat O-Line, Doe.” If you have followed me at all, you’re aware of my love for good offensive lines. The Cleveland Browns, seemingly out of nowhere, have one of the best looking lines in the league. Backfield mate Duke Johnson is still in the mix and some would view him as a vulture to Crowell. Johnson is definitely their guy on passing-downs but you can’t ignore that Crowell still doubled his previous receptions mark last season with a healthy Johnson in his way. If Crowell is able to take advantage of the new and improved offensive line and at least repeat his receiving performance, he can be a top-10 running back this year. And when you have a young and inexperienced quarterback, you’ve got to be able to run the rock to take the pressure off. Look for the Browns to do just that.
Round 4 – Pick 64: Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
In a league of 16 teams, with maybe a full 32 viable running backs, I was beyond surprised that Coleman lasted until the fourth round. He has proven to be one of the best running backs in the league who doesn’t actually start for his team. He scored 11 touchdowns in the shadow of Devonta Freeman. Eleven. It’s not realistic to expect a repeat performance but it’s hard to rule out anything when it comes to an offense such as Atlanta’s. Coleman somehow managed to exceed 500 and 400 yards on the ground and in the air, respectively, while playing second fiddle and missing several games. He is a legitimate threat whenever he has the ball in his hands and could start for many other teams around the league. I am more than pleased to have him in my flex.
Round 5 – Pick 65: Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Adam Thielen was a guy I’ve had my eye on since before the end of the 2016 season. I love his story and I believe he is going to be a big part of my impending success this year. Thielen is not going to be a burner nor a dynamic playmaker. He does, however, run crisp routes and always finds his way back to the ball. You have got to love the players who find their way into their quarterback’s “most trusted” role. According to Pro Football Focus, Sam Bradford and Adam Thielen combined for the highest rating for a QB/WR duo in 2016. Obviously this is over the likes of Ryan/Jones, Roethlisberger/Brown, and Manning/Beckham, as well. After WR1 Stefon Diggs sat due to injury, Thielen did more than enough to show he can be a big piece within this offense. Add in unproven Laquon Treadwell as their WR3 and you can feel fairly confident that Thielen will have a fairly large target share from the very start of 2017.
Round 6 – Pick 96: Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
Isn’t Delanie Walker really something? I mean, he is undersized at 6’2” and 248 pounds and is heading into his twilight years at the age of 32. He hadn’t reached the 500 yard receiving mark until the 2013 season and he is all of a sudden one of the best and most consistent players at the tight end position. After three straight seasons of at least 800 receiving yards, Walker heads into 2017 as Marcus Mariota’s most trusted target. It’s always important to focus on who the player’s quarterback look towards the most in clutch-time. Whenever the Titans find themselves in the 2-minute drill, you know Walker will be targeted early and often.
Round 7 – Pick 97: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
This is another pick I am surprised worked out for me. I usually wait until the middle rounds to snag a quarterback and it just so happened that a premier player landed in my lap. Big Ben has the reigns to one of the most explosive offenses in the league, as well as two of the best players at their positions in his arsenal. I could have done a lot worse with this pick so I am more than content. My only issue is his injury concerns and his age so my QB2 situation will have to get re-evaluated before the season gets here (i.e, I didn’t draft a backup).
Round 8 – Pick 128: Arizona Cardinals D/ST
So I had this selection in my queue but I actually did not want to draft a defense this early. I unfortunately was enjoying a nice adult beverage with some friends at the time and the pick got away from me…..
Round 9 – Pick 129: Minnesota Vikings D/ST
*See Round 8 selection*
Round 10 – Pick 160: Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta Falcons
After going back-to-back defenses (face meet palm), I came back and snagged another dynamic player within the Atlanta offense. Gabriel really turned on the burners towards the end of 2016 and I hope he is able to pick up where he left off in 2017. Mohamed Sanu is currently slotted as the Falcons’ WR2, but I would not be surprised to see Gabriel’s skillset utilized a bit more. He really has some jets and if the Falcons are to catch people off-guard this season, he needs to be in the mix. To get a borderline WR2 in an offense like this, in a round this late, was also a big win for me, too.
Round 11 – Pick 161: Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Round 12 – Pick 192: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans
Round 13 – Pick 193: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Round 14 – Pick 224: Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’
Round 15 – Pick 225: Jeremy Kerley, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Round 16 – Pick 256th: Graham Gano, K, Carolina Panthers
Tell me what you guys think. How does my squad look? Am I too high or too low on any players? Let me know in the comments below!