Painstaking Analysis of a Fantasy Draft Pt. 2

As the next installment in a five-part series, Part 2 examines Rounds 4-7 of one of my fantasy drafts. For Rounds 1-3, see Painstaking Analysis of a Fantasy Draft Pt. 1.

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Duh:

I had a hard time narrowing it down to one duh pick in this round as there were many “pick ’em now or regret it later” players. It is mostly between Sammy Watkins and Matt Forte. Watkins posted approximately 200 yds. more than the league average with 8 less receptions last season. He has talent, no doubt, but the very quick and mobile Buffalo QB, Tyrod Taylor, has a tendency to be short-sighted and look to run rather than focusing downfield to make completions. This could potentially hurt Watkins’ numbers, but it’s a stretch because he’s so damn good. Forte, on the other hand, is tried and true and has the potential to be a difference maker for the Jets. Yeah, he’s splitting play time with some dynamic WRs, but Ryan Fitzpatrick lacks the deep arm strength to entirely rely on passing and forget about his new all-star rusher in the backfield. Don’t make me pick between Watkins and Forte. I just can’t.

Surprise:

I almost spit my beer onto the computer screen when Jarvis Landry was chosen before, basically, every other WR picked in this round (but especially before Sammy Watkins and Amari Cooper). I think I speak for everyone when I say, “What the actual fuck?” Landry is, by no means, a poor athlete or lacking in skill. However, as a Tier 4 WR, he was picked far too early and over high Tier 3 WRs with way more potential. Landry has played in the NFL for 2 years with a commendable improvement in terms of receptions and yardage from his first to his second season. Here’s my problem with him: he had one less touchdown in his second season than in his first, which says a lot considering he only had 5 end zone visits in his first season. Putting this into perspective, Watkins, who has also spent two seasons in the league, racked up 9 touchdowns last season alone (and 6 in his rookie year). Cooper is heading into his second season, but had more touchdowns as a rookie than Landry has ever earned in a season. Landry’s touchdown issue is complicated by the fact that he was ranked fifth in WR red-zone targets and second in 10-and-in targets last season. We can probably point to Ryan Tannehill and the Miami coaching for blame, but those factors didn’t change a whole lot coming into this year, dooming Landry to another season of disheartening stats. I strongly believe he will ultimately have a breakout season, but I have serious doubts that this is the one. I could go on for hours about why this was such a befuddling pick, but I’ll leave it at that.

Value Pick:

Hands down, Amari Cooper was the most valuable pick of the round. His ADP (average draft position) is pick No. 13 amongst WRs and No. 27 overall. In this draft, he went No. 21 amongst WRs and No. 48 overall. I know, I don’t get it either.

What I’d Do Differently:

Nothing. I’m still thanking the powers that be for the mass lapse of consideration, memory, and/or judgment in my opponents, which allowed me to get my hands on Cooper.

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Duh:

I think Julian Edelman is the cliche duh pick of this round. Like every player, he has some downsides: he is injury prone and ineffective when jammed on the outside, and he shares the ball with super-producer Gronk. However, Edelman has proven that he’s capable of being an impact player. He’s probably one of the best slot receivers in the game and will be one of the players relied upon by Garoppolo in Brady’s absence. Don’t expect him to earn points with his yardage stats because he is usually utilized in short gain and goal line situations; but, you can bet your sweet ass he’ll kill it in receptions and touchdowns. Keeping in mind that he played only 9 games last season, he had 7 touchdowns (2 more than the league average) and 692 receptions (a mere 200 or so less than the league average). He was on pace for 12 touchdowns and 1,232 receptions on the season, but a foot injury cut him short. Edelman’s a consistent performer and taking him at overall pick No. 49 was a deal in light of his ADP of overall pick No. 47, which some analysts believe undervalues Edelman where they instead value him as a No.38-44 pick.

Surprise:

I did not expect Tavon Austin to get picked with Kelvin Benjamin still available. I’m going to be brutally honest: this pick makes me want to drink bleach. Though a dual-threat with some upside, Austin has posted some mediocre numbers over his 4-year career, last year being his best with 52 receptions for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. I see little hope for Austin this year with so many external factors at play, including an organization relocation to L.A. and an untested QB, Jared Goof (not a spelling error), at the helm of the team (we can talk later about why Goff is one of the worst draft picks in NFL history). Austin would probably be a slightly better pick if this was a PPR flex league, but the pick makes no sense in a 3-WR league with Cam Cam’s go to man in the air, Kelvin Benjamin, on the board. Benjamin, that bastard with the big, beautiful, enviable eyelashes and imposing size which creates mismatches downfield on the reg, is often overlooked due to being out last season with a torn ACL; but, his rookie season the year before suggests he is a rising star (73 receptions, 1,000+ yds., 9 touchdowns). Some may argue that Newton will spread the ball around to his new offensive weapons thus limiting Benjamin’s opportunities, but he established a fairly solid rapport with Benjamin in 2014 which I think will carry over this year despite losing 2015 together. Take this with a grain of salt, dear readers, because I have a soft-spot for big-bodied WRs with inhuman catching radiuses (e.g. Megatron, swoon). Oh, and did I mention, Benjamin has the best goddamn eyelashes, which doesn’t really have a bearing on his performance, but I’m a girl and I notice these things and now you will too. You’re welcome.

Value Pick:

Ok, I might spark some debate over this one, but I’ve got to go with my gut. I think Jeremy Hill at pick No. 59 was fantastic. Hill’s ADP is No. 52 overall and, out of 105 experts, 66% rank him at or better than his ADP. But, since this is my blog and the experts don’t matter here (just kidding, please notice me ESPN), this is why I think Hill is perhaps one of the most underrated RBs in fantasy:

  1. Hill is a spectacular athletic specimen. Drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2014 draft, Hill fell into the shadow of Giovani Bernard and did not get many chances to prove himself; however, he demonstrated his prowess long before. In high school, Hill competed at elite-levels in football, baseball, and track. During his senior year at LSU, he rushed for 1,401 yds. and 16 touchdowns and was named MVP of the Outback Bowl. He’s 6’1″ and 235 lbs. of Louisiana-bred brawn, making him slightly slower (4.66 40-yd. dash at the combine) yet much harder to stop once he gets moving.
  2. Cinci has the best offensive line in the AFC North which is conducive to Hill’s power-runner build and style and will create the holes he needs to charge downfield (that’s what she said). For those who don’t know me, I’m not huge on power-runners, but I like this particular power-runner because he has the right O-line.
  3. Tyler Eifert is hurt and that’s oddly a good thing. Let me explain, the games Eifert missed last season were also the games Hill excelled, signifying reliance on the running game when the star TE is out. Eifert’s ankle injury persists into this season, so expect more touches for Hill.
  4. Gio Bernard bores me. I’m sorry, I have never really seen what others have seen in him. Good news is that it appears the Bengals have gotten smart and are trusting Hill with the RB1 spot over Bernard.
  5. Going back to the power-running thing, Hill is perfect for utilization on the goal line. Now that he’s Cinci’s RB1, he’ll get more chances for touchdowns and easy fantasy points.

What I’d Do Differently:

Well, if I had picked a WR in the third round instead of another RB, I would have gone with Jeremy Hill in this round rather than Edelman. In that situation, I would have needed another solid RB and could tolerate passing up Edelman for Hill. Otherwise, I feel comfortable with this safe pick.

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Duh:

Jordan Matthews had to go this round. Matthews has been a bit of a disappointment to fantasy owners during his first two seasons due to his inconsistency and frustrating ability to drop passes peewee players routinely take to the house. However, in his last three games of 2015, Matthews had 27 receptions for 327 yds. (and that was with Mark Sanchez at QB, making it even more impressive). The Eagles lack depth at the WR position, which means Matthews will see a general increase in targets, and have what I like to call “meh” rushers (they don’t excite the masses on a constant basis), which means Matthews will also see an increased role in the offense. Please note that Matthews is at high risk for busting due in part to the change in coaching and the volatile QB situation in Philadelphia which could thwart his projected success.

Surprise:

First of all, I’m surprised by how many TEs were going this early in the draft. With Gronk off the board in the second round, there was really no reason to rush to pick up the other TEs as there’s a rather small variance in predicted fantasy output between those remaining. But, I digress. The pick that surprised me the most was Delanie Walker over the other TEs taken in the round, but particularly over Travis Kelce. Last year, Kelce boasted 72 receptions (21 more than the league average), 875 yds. (over 300 more than the league average), and 5 touchdowns (a fraction more than the league average). These stats are nearly identical to those from Kelce’s rookie season the year before, and it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll mirror them again this year. On the other hand, Walker had a fluke season last year because everyone else on his team sucked (sans Marcus Mariota because I’m admittedly biased in favor of Oregon’s golden boy). And maybe I’m being too harsh. It wasn’t that everyone else sucked; it was that the other receivers couldn’t handle the quickness and heat of Mariota’s cannon, leading to frequently dropped picture-perfect passes. In addition, the Titans stocked up in the rushing department over the off-season indicating that they are gearing more towards the run-first offense which may leave Walker’s role limited to blocking rather than racking up fantasy points.

Value Pick:

We all know I’m going with Kelvin Benjamin at pick No. 65. Please refer back to the discussion of Round 5’s surprise pick for more information. I’ll add that Benjamin’s ADP is overall pick No. 45 in standard scoring leagues and No. 39 in PPR leagues. And, in closing, Kelvin Benjamin has unfairly luscious eyelashes (if you didn’t see that coming, kindly punch yourself in the face).

What I’d Do Differently:

A little piece of me dies whenever I have to draft DeSean Jackson. He has let me down over the past few years, and I just kinda hate his guts on a personal level. So, I don’t know how I objectively feel about this pick. I mean, he’s going to be the number one WR at Washington, and Kirk Cousins is actually relatively efficient contrary to popular (and oblivious) belief. I suppose I’d do nothing different in this round, but that’s mostly because I can’t justify taking a QB or TE at this point in the draft. 

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Duh:

This league was trending towards early TE picks, and Zach Ertz was the only TE in the top three Tiers left to pick. Also, word on the block is that new coach, Doug Pederson, favors the TE position which could mean increased targets and generally better utilization than under Chip Kelly, engendering additional appeal for Ertz. With this being said, Ertz is the best candidate for the duh pick of Round 7.

Surprise:

Picking Kevin White before Round 9 is utterly unpardonable. White is untested due to sitting out his rookie season with a stress fracture, competes for targets with Alshon Jeffery, and has an offensive line that isn’t good enough to allow sufficient time for routes to develop. This is not to mention the ridiculous amount of superior players left on the board. It’s just…a really, really bad pick.

Value Pick:

Michael Floyd at pick No. 78 was the strongest of the round. Floyd is WR2 to Larry Fitzgerald who struggles with injuries and inconsistency. Floyd could consequently attract more looks from the QB and evolve into a main target. Moreover, this pick is especially valuable given Floyd’s ADP of pick No. 65 overall.

What I’d Do Differently:

Remember how I said last round that I was unable to justify picking a QB at that point in the draft and then I immediately picked a QB one pick later? HAHAHA…idiot. I hate that I drafted a QB this early and, ultimately, it was a huge mistake. Rivers isn’t the problem. The problem is that I pulled the trigger and picked a QB before pulling my head out of my ass and adjusting my strategy to fit the trends of this draft. One big trend in this draft, as I’ve already mentioned in a different context, was early TE picks. One minute I’m like, “Ugh it’s so dumb that this many TEs are getting picked” and then the next minute I’m like, “Derp I’ll draft a QB even though there’s more depth on the board in that position than in the TE position.” I probably should have picked a TE, specifically Zach Ertz, and waited until the next round to get a QB. Instead, I went with the Rivers pick like a dummy, and it really backfired on me which I’ll further elaborate on in forthcoming What I’d Do Differently discussions.

This concludes Part 2 of the series. Stay tuned for Rounds 8-10.

2 thoughts on “Painstaking Analysis of a Fantasy Draft Pt. 2

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