I went through Draft No. 1 this season on Sunday and literally got everything our South Austin Purple Llamas needed.
I wrote a bit about this year-round keeper league last week. By the time Sunday’s “draft” arrived, our 12 teams all had different situations in terms of how many roster spots needed to be filled, what positions were needed more than others, and how much salary cap we had to play with. Our Llamas were in pretty good shape: We had only four spots to fill and had $25 to fill them with.
We don’t hold a traditional draft. We hold an annual silent bid auction. There’s a list of players available — veterans whose fantasy contracts have played out, unclaimed waived guys and rookies who went undrafted in our five-round rookie draft in May. The big names out there were Andrew Luck, LeSean McCoy and A.J. Green. For some reason, Carlos Hyde was a hot commodity as each team’s bid sheets were announced and revealed.
We needed, in order, an elite receiver, a third-string quarterback, a second kicker, perhaps another receiver with potential, and upgrades at defensive line and linebacker. (Yes, we draft individual defensive players). We ended up spending $23.20 (the highest single salary in the league this year, by the way) to get Green, outbidding our archrival by $4 to get him. That gives us Julio Jones and A.J. Green for the next three seasons. And we also landed the No. 1 DL and LB on our board, both for only .50 bids (the minimum).
We have a bloated roster. Will need to cut four players and somewhere around $5 in salary, but have until Labor Day to do it. So we’ve got a couple weeks of preseason games to monitor.
Right now, here’s where our roster stands:
QBs: Kirk Cousins (4.00), Carson Wentz (3.00), Brian Hoyer (.80)
RBs: Jordan Howard (1.00), LeGarrette Blount (2.80), DeMarco Murray (5.10), Danny Woodhead (1.00), Jeremy Langford (.50), Tim Hightower (2.00)
WRs: Julio Jones (15.00), A.J. Green (23.20), Jeremy Maclin (5.60), Brandon Marshall (6.50), Mike Williams (3.00), Cameron Meredith (2.00), Anquan Boldin (.50), Mohamed Sanu (1.10), Curtis Samuel (.50)
TEs: Antonio Gates (.60), Kyle Rudolph (2.80), Evan Engram (1.00)
Ks: Caleb Sturgis (2.00)
DL: Calais Campbell (.50), Muhammad Wilkerson (2.50), Damon Harrison (.50), Michael Bennett (1.20), Solomon Thomas (.50), Brian Robison (2.00), Jonathan Allen
LBs: Bobby Wagner (2.00), Sean Lee (.50), Lavonte David (.80), NaVorro Bowman (2.80), Lawrence Timmons (.50)
DBs: Reshad Jones (1.00), Morgan Burnett (.50), Eric Weddle (.80), Earl Thomas (2.90), Reggie Nelson (2.00)
Initial thoughts: Two more defensive linemen than we need, same with receivers. We may hold on to Langford as a Howard handcuff. Crossing fingers that Williams comes back for the Chargers sometime in October, as it’s being reported. Still need a second kicker but can address that in waivers.
We were league semifinalists in 2015, then missed the playoffs last year. Hoping to get things back on track.
I play in four or five leagues a year, and it usually works out that I’ve got two or three players who are common to most or all of my teams. Partly because I believe in them, partly because it just makes things easier while watching games and following league matchups on Sundays. For me last year that was Cousins and Blount.
I don’t necessarily adhere to the QB0 philosophy — Cousins, to me, has been a QB1 these past two years and certainly is being ranked as a top-10 guy this season on most of the lists I’ve seen — but don’t think you have to spend a lot for a Brady or Rodgers or use a high pick on one in order to win your league. I’ve won our work league three straight times and our quarterbacks have been Aaron Rodgers in 2014, a combo of Russell Wilson and Blake Bortles (whom I started in the title game, much to Kirk Bohls’ chagrin) in 2015 and a combo of Cousins and Dak Prescott last year.
I was in four leagues last year. I won one, came in second in two others and missed the playoffs in the fourth. My quarterbacks for those were, respectively, Cousins/Prescott, Drew Brees, Prescott and Cousins. And I didn’t draft Brees until the fifth round.
So, what do I believe, then?
Here’s my Bull Durham philosophy when it comes to fantasy football:
Well, I believe in the draft, the waivers, the trade, the discovery of an overlooked sleeper, the NFL Red Zone, high ceilings, recent stats, that the number of targets are just as important as the number of catches. I believe those CBS draft kits with the color-coded stickers should just go away. I think quarterbacks are overvalued and wide receivers are the best path to a championship. I believe three of your most important picks on draft day will come somewhere in the fifth to 10th round. I believe you can win a league whether you’re drafting first or last in any given season. I believe in PPR, keeper leagues, turning your draft day into something beyond just holding your draft, and I believe in total, absolute, dominating, in-your-face league championship runs that last three or more years.
1. They say Chargers rookie receiver Mike Williams may be back sometime in October. He was the best receiver in this year’s draft and is worth stashing on your roster if he’s out there in later rounds. Especially if you’re in a keeper or dynasty league. The fact that he’s injured and may start the season on the PUP list only plays to your advantage on draft day. He’s a rookie, he’s hurt and he’ll have logged zero plays in the preseason.
2. The Eagles cut Ryan Matthews on Tuesday. That’s good news for LeGarrette Blount owners. Very good news — it was Matthews getting those goal-line carries last year, something Blount did so well as a Patriot. Keep an eye on Matthews, though; he’s a viable running back and there are several teams out there who could use him.
3. Speaking of the Eagles, we’ll get our first look at Alshon Jeffery on Thursday night against the Bills. He’s one of those mid-to-possibly-later-round guys that can really help you with depth.
4. Have completed my first set of preseason rankings. Will spare you the process, but it’s worked for me in recent years:
Quarterbacks — 1. Rodgers, 2. Brady, 3. Brees, 4. Wilson, 5. Ryan, 6. Winston, 7. Cousins, 8. Prescott, 9. Rivers, 10. Mariota
Running backs — 1. Johnson, 2. Bell, 3. Freeman, 4. Elliott, 5. McCoy, 6. Howard, 7. Gordon, 8. Gurley, 9. Ajayi, 10. Crowell
Tight ends — 1. Gronkowski, 2. Olsen, 3. Kelce, 4. Graham, 5. Reed, 6. Walker, 7. Ertz, 8. Rudolph, 9. Bennett, 10. Eifert
Wide receivers — 1. Brown, 2. Beckham, 3. Jones, 4. Nelson, 5. Evans, 6. Bryant, 7. Green, 8. Hilton, 9. Cooper, 10. Hill
Kickers — 1. Gostkowski, 2. Tucker, 3. Bailey, 4. Crosby, 5. Bryant, 6. Sturgis, 7. Boswell, 8. Santos, 9. Hopkins, 10. Prater
5. Have had some fun poring through various online fantasy leagues, the ones that are still trying to recruit members and allow you to click on the league and check out the teams that have already signed up. Why? To find great team names:
Tedy Brewskies. A perfect fantasy football name.
It Ertz When Eifert. Obviously a team built around a tight end.
Rashington Wedskins. Bot nad.
NachoBizness. Well, it’s not.
Lemay Fighting Lemurs. Because you can never go wrong with lemurs.