Preparing for the #BreakingFootballDraft was easier than I thought. My strategy was simple; draft the best player available while maintaining a balanced roster. I targeted high floor wide receivers and pass catching running backs to take full advantage of the PPR scoring. However, when I landed the number four spot I was forced to make a tough decision.
Round 1 (Pick 4): Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons
Picking fourth was horrible for me. With David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown selected with the first three picks, I struggled with my decision at four. In a PPR league deciding between Ezekiel Elliot and Jones is a toss-up but when I considered the possible pending Elliot suspension, I decided on Jones knowing I would have a top five receiver on my team.
Round 2 (Pick 29): Christian McCaffrey RB Carolina Panthers
I almost botched this pick. Even with running backs flying off the board since my last pick I almost ended up taking Demaryius Thomas. I changed at the last second seeing that McCaffrey was my last RB1 in PPR scoring and decided that I needed to keep my roster balanced. Now my roster sits with one wide receiver and one running back.
Round 3 (Pick 36): Jordan Reed TE Washington Redskins
Thomas almost made it back to me in round three, going two picks before me. Needless to say I was kind of disappointed. Now suck in a spot in the draft where I didn’t like my running back or wide receiver options, I fell back on my core draft strategy: drafting my quarterback or tight end when I don’t like the board. I didn’t want to take a quarterback this early considering the depth of the position so instead I took Reed; my TE2 in both standard and PPR scoring. Now I didn’t have to worry about seeing all the good tight ends get snatched up and I can focus on adding running back and wide receiver depth.
Round 4 (Pick 61): Donte Moncrief WR Indianapolis Colts
After 25 players were selected since my last pick, the wide receiver position started to dry up on me. I like Moncrief more in standard scoring than PPR, but when he was healthy last season Moncrief was very productive and scored almost every game. He was a solid value at pick 61.
Round 5 (Pick 68): Paul Perkins RB New York Giants
Perkins is expected to be the Giants starting running back this season and after I have selected two wide receivers I decided Perkins offered a solid floor while providing upside. The Giants are going to be a pass first team this season and Perkins is expected to have role in the passing game. My roster now sits with two running backs, two wide receivers and one tight end.
Round 6 (Pick 93): Marcus Mariota QB Tennessee Titans
I really wanted to wait another round or two before picking my quarterback, but six of the last 12 picks were quarterbacks. This forced me to take Mariota if I wanted to ensure myself a QB1. Mariota has a high ceiling in part because of his ability to pick up rushing yards and touchdowns.
Round 7 (Pick 100): Jeremy Maclin WR Baltimore Ravens
Many people knock Maclin because of his poor performance last season. However, Maclin battled injures all year long, but during the 2015 season he put up a career-high 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns. Remember those numbers were with Alex Smith throwing to him on a run first team, imagine how well Maclin can preform with Joe Flacco throwing to him. Plus the Ravens lost 352 targets from last years team, opening the door for Maclin to get over 140 targets this season. A steal at pick 100.
Round 8 (Pick 125): James White RB New England Patriots
In Superbowl 51 White had a game-high 14 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. During the offseason the Patriots gave White a three year, $12 million dollar contract. The new deal cements him as the team’s pass catching back. Last season White had 60 catches for 551 yards and five receiving touchdowns. If White can repeat that performance from last season, as I expect, whatever he offers on the ground is just a bonus.
Round 9 (Pick 132): John Brown WR Arizona Cardinals
Everyone knows what David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald provide to the Cardinals offense, but Brown is a forgotten key contributor. Last season Brown struggled with injuries, but his 2015 numbers of 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns were all career-highs. With Michael Floyd in Minnesota, Brown is the number two wide receiver and assuming he can stay healthy, Brown should have a similar season as he did in 2015.
Round 10 (Pick 157): Darren Sproles RB Philaphia Eagles
At this point in the draft the talent of players really started to dry up. I was targeting Alvin Kamara but he was snatched up eight picks beforehand. I then turned my attention to Sproles who provides value as the Eagles pass catching back and on special teams. A solid value at pick 157. My roster now sits with four running backs, four wide receivers, one tight end and one quarterback.
Round 11 (Pick 164): Jaguars D/ST
Other members were grabbing D/STs as early as the seventh round! I have high expectations for the young Jaguars defense to take a major step forward this season after they added key veteran players in free agency. When picking out a fantasy defense you don’t have to reach for the Seahawks or Broncos, but instead wait for a defense that can create sacks and turnovers; that’s where the points are at.
Round 12 (Pick 189): Shane Vereen RB New York Giants
Again I had another running back I was targeting snatched up just a few picks before I was on the clock. After getting over the disappointment about being snubbed twice, I drafted Vereen for one reason: to handcuff with Perkins. My reasoning is Vereen only played five games last season, but in 2015 he had 59 catches for 495 yards and four receiving touchdowns, all career-highs. If Perkins strikes out as the Giants pass catching back then it’s Vereen job; either way I’m covered.
Round 13 (Pick 196): Tyler Lockett WR Seattle Seahawks
This deep in a draft you start looking for high upside targets who you want to evaluate for the first couple of weeks. You either decide they are worth keeping or drop them. Lockett finished tied for the third most catches on the Seahawks last season. Lockett could be in-line for a bigger workload this coming season. However, he has to get healthy from a broken leg he suffered in week 15 last season first.
Round 14 (Pick 221):Austin Hooper TE Atlanta Falcons
Tight ends tend to struggle as rookies and then breakout in their second season. Hooper has a real chance to be the Falcons’ number two passing threat behind Julio Jones this season. I needed a second tight end given Jordan Reed’s injury history and Hooper has some upside.
Round 15 (Pick 228): Chris Conley WR Kansas City Chiefs
With Jeremy Maclin’s release earlier this offseason it opened the door for the number two wide receiver spot. Conley reportedly has the inside track on that spot and with my second to last pick, he is worth a look heading into training camp.
Round 16 (Pick 253): Josh Lambo K Los Angeles Chargers
Outside of Justin Tucker and Stephen Gostkowski all kickers are basically the same when it comes to fantasy value. Lambo is likely to have a strong scoring season thanks to the Chargers explosive offense. However, since the draft I dropped Lambo to pick up Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch. I plan on watching the training camp battle and if Lynch wins the job, then I have my backup quarterback on the roster. I can always re-pick up Lambo or any other kicker when the season starts.
By the end of the draft I was mad I missed out on some of my later round targets but overall I was happy with the draft class. I ended with one quarterback, five running backs, six wide receivers, two tight ends, one D/ST and a kicker. Now comes the nerve racking part of waiting through training camp and the preseason praying none of my players get hurt. Happy hunting fantasy friends!