Annotated Love: Recap of a Fantasy Football Draft (2015)

by Kolby Solinsky

White Cover Magazine


Chances are, you’ve absolutely definitely already finished your Fantasy Football draft.

The season starts on Thursday. So this is sorta useless. But if you’re like me, you’ll use every resource possible to you in advance of any second you get before Week 1 – and a resource could just be some random guy bullshi*ting on the Internet, like me – to research and gather intel on the players you’ve drafted. Or, on the players you for some reason didn’t draft, who are sure to be claimed off the waiver wire by someone after their first touchdown this coming Sunday.

Guys like Tre Mason or Denard Robinson or Brian Hartline, they’re all sure to make an impact at some point this year. Meanwhile, studs like Arian Foster, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Gates will miss a month or something like that each, tossing your planning and scheming into development hell.

So you can read the experts, if you want.

Instead, I’ll advise you to read my thoughts on the 168 players listed below, who were all selected in my fantasy league’s draft last night. I’ve got annotated thoughts on most of them, with a paragraph on every selection I made.

I’m not an expert, but I’m the kinda guy you’re playing. And what I think – not what an expert thinks – stands between you winning your week or losing your week.

*My picks are bold and in PURPLE.


Round 1

1. Le’Veon Bell, Running Back – Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Adrian Peterson, Running Back – Minnesota Vikings

3. Eddie Lacy, Running Back – Green Bay Packers

4. Jamaal Charles, Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs

5. Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback – Green Bay Packers

7. C.J. Anderson, Running Back – Denver Broncos

8. Marshawn Lynch, Running Back – Seattle Seahawks

9. Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers

10. Jeremy Hill, Running Back – Cincinnati Bengals

11. Matt Forte, Running Back – Chicago Bears

12. Andrew Luck, Quarterback – Indianapolis Colts


The dude who had first pick showed up late to the draft, so it auto-picked Bell for him. I woulda been happy taking Bell – even though he’s suspended for the first two games of the regular season, his combined rushing and passing stats in a PPR league are overwhelming for any opponent – but I ‘settled’ for Peterson instead.

Yeah, AP had a rough year last year. Although, his son had it worse.

But from a pure footballing perspective, there’s not a more dominant runner in the game when Peterson’s healthy, and there hasn’t been for almost a decade now. With the second overall pick, not sure I would have been comfortable swinging for the fences on Antonio Brown or Andrew Luck, especially since I’d have to wait more than 20 picks before I could make my next selection.

AP it is, and it’s a luxury.

NOTES:

Jamaal Charles: Love the player and debated him with the second overall pick. He has a tendency to swing between highs and lows with every week however, and I don’t want that for the postseason – if I make it there.

Aaron Rodgers: Obviously, that’s a glaring selection at sixth overall. Luck’s fantasy ceiling is much higher, given his receivers. But I’ll defend the pick – if you want Rodgers, you may as well get him while you still can. If you like him more than Luck (and I did last year, selecting Rodgers in the early second round), then this is a confident pick, not a reach.

Randall Cobb: This one stands out the most. Cobb’s not the second-best fantasy receiver in the game, by almost anyone’s ranking. But again, with the eighth overall pick, you know you’re going to get another good player only a few minutes later. Cobb’s ceiling could be insanely high in 2015, with Jordy Nelson out for the whole season, so there’s some logic in taking him over Demaryius or Dez. Cobb was a very legit WR1 last season, and he’s one of the few receivers in the top 10 who’s almost guaranteed to be better this year.

Jeremy Hill: I’m calling it – Hill will be a top five, maybe even top three running back in 2015. As long as Gio Bernard doesn’t steal too many touches, this guy is primed for a huge sophomore season – barring injury, of course.


Round 2

13. Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver – Denver Broncos

14. Rob Gronkowski, Tight End – New England Patriots

15. Julio Jones, Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons

16. Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys

17. Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions

18. Odell Beckham, Wide Receiver – New York Giants

19. LeSean McCoy, Running Back – Buffalo Bills

20. A.J. Green, Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals

21. DeMarco Murray, Running Back – Dallas Cowboys

22. Alshon Jeffrey, Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears

23. Mike Evans, Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

24. T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts


It felt a bit weird taking Evans in the second round, making him my WR1.

But it shouldn’t, really. He’s not as established as the guys who were drafted only a few minutes before him – Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, or Demaryius Thomas, especially. But then again, most of those guys were sleepers or ‘potential’ stars early in their careers, too. Evans had a monster rookie season in 2014, with 12 touchdowns on a Bucs team that looked like it only won – when it rarely did – by accident.

So instead of pouting over the guys I missed out on, I instead weighed Evans against the other wideouts who were still on the board: T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, and Jordan Matthews. All fine players but, for me, I have more confidence laying the big blind on Evans. (Also, the Colts offence scares me, looking at Hilton. I would have taken him if he fell to my next pick in the third round, but I’ll take an entrenched No. 1 like Evans over that bird’s nest in Indianapolis.)

NOTES:

LeSean McCoy: Somehow, this guy’s a sleeper. Yes, there’s uncertainty over how he’ll fare in Rex Ryan’s Buffalo system. But reports so far suggest an offence that will lean on the run and almost only the run. Of course, that could mean quarterback Tyrod Taylor steals some snaps from McCoy. But by this point in the draft, you could be getting a first-rounder on fire sale.

Rob Gronkowski: The dude who pulled this off entered the draft with the 11th overall pick and walked away with Matt Forte and Gronk. Lemons, you’re now lemonade.

Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant: I had these two as my second- and third-best receiver for 2015, behind Antonio Brown. They’re both headliners, both worthy of even late first-round picks. And they’ll both get plenty of looks from two capable arms. Personally, I would have taken Dez and then Demaryius, but your season doesn’t hang on that decision.


Round 3

25. Mark Ingram, Running Back – New Orleans Saints

26. Arian Foster, Running Back – Houston Texans

27. Justin Forsett, Running Back – Baltimore Ravens

28. Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver – New England Patriots

29. Lamar Miller, Running Back – Miami Dolphins

30. Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver – Denver Broncos

31. Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

32. Carlos Hyde, Running Back – San Francisco 49ers

33. DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver – Houston Texans

34. Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles

35. Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts

36. Frank Gore, Running Back – Indianapolis Colts


With Foster’s recovery ahead of schedule, word is he’ll miss just one – maybe two – games to start the season. That makes him basically a lock for his always-terrific output, since he usually misses a couple games a season with injuries anyway, and getting him in the third round was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

Yes, I coulda instead gone with another receiver for some insurance against my Evans pick, just in case the rookie falls in his sequel. DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks had my attention, primarily. But when I considered how awesome it would be to look at my roster on Sunday morning and see both Foster and Peterson in my running back slots, my mind made up itself.

NOTES:

DeAndre Hopkins: I don’t know much about the guy, other than that I feel like he beat me every single week in 2014. There are always a few players like that, and Hopkins – like Cobb or Evans – is only projected to see more and more passes this year, without another stud contender for his place atop the depth chart. Hopkins was the only other guy I was considering over Foster, and I could have made a huge mistake letting him go elsewhere.

*The dude who drafted Hopkins started out his team with three straight wide receivers – Cobb, Dez, and now DeAndre. It’s a bold strategy, ignoring the ground like that, but that’s a towering threesome of WR1s for one team.

Frank Gore: There are some concerns about whether Gore’s a high-end RB2 anymore, either because of his age or because he’s changing scenes, abandoning San Francisco for Indiana. But there shouldn’t be. Even when he’s not explosive, Gore’s a lock; his productivity is basically guaranteed, and it always has been.


Round 4

37. Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver – Oakland Raiders

38. Latavius Murray, Running Back – Oakland Raiders

39. Alfred Morris, Running Back – Washington Redskins

40. C.J. Spiller, Running Back – New Orleans Saints

41. Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills

42. Ameer Abdullah, Running Back – Detroit Lions

43. Jimmy Graham, Tight End – Seattle Seahawks

44. Jonathan Stewart, Running Back – Carolina Panthers

45. Joseph Randle, Running Back – Dallas Cowboys

46. Melvin Gordon, Running Back – San Diego Charges

47. Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver – Kansas City Chiefs

48. Davante Adams, Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers


I’m pumped to get Maclin as my WR2. I know there are doubts about him on the Chiefs, mainly because not one Kansas City receiver had a touchdown in 2014 – that’s a real stat, by the way.

But so what? Maybe no receivers had touchdowns last year, but the Chiefs still had 18 passing touchdowns over the season, and they didn’t have a guy like Maclin to throw to. Andy Reid’s teams have never shunned that position – remember Terrell Owens? – and Maclin doesn’t get enough credit for what he did in Philly last year. There’s nothing ingrained about KC or quarterback Alex Smith to suggest there’s a cultural poisoning of the passing game.

And when you look at the guys who’d follow Maclin – Adams, Keenan Allen, DeSean Jackson, Golden Tate, Mike Wallace – they all come up with as many or more questions and doubts than Maclin does.

NOTES:

Joseph Randle: Yards-per-carry doesn’t matter in fantasy. You don’t get more or fewer points for this stat, so all that matters are touchdowns, yards, and (in our PPR league) receptions. But yards-per-carry is still a pretty effective stat for measuring just how good a running back can be, and Randle’s 6.7 yards-per-carry in 2014 were astronomical. He won’t touch six yards-a-carry this year, but if he gets anything close to the attention DeMarco Murray got in Dallas, Randle could be the steal of this draft.

C.J. Spiller: I’m hoping Spiller returns to prime form in 2015, just so the universe slip off its tilt. It makes zero sense that a guy with this much ability should be a backup on a bi-polar Saints rushing attack – but then again, that makes all the sense in the world. Mark Ingram’s the starter and that’s fine, but Spiller’s a beauty in PPR leagues, and he’s probably worth grabbing while he’s still available.


Round 5

49. Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver – San Diego Chargers

50. Greg Olsen, Tight End – Carolina Panthers

51. Golden Tate, Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions

52. DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

53. Russell Wilson, Quarterback – Seattle Seahawks

54. Mike Wallace, Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings

55. Andre Ellington, Running Back – Arizona Cardinals

56. LeGarrette Blount, Running Back – New England Patriots

57. Peyton Manning, Quarterback – Denver Broncos

58. Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins

59. Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver – New York Jets

60. Chris Ivory, Running Back – New York Jets


It’s at this point that I look at my roster, after being totally confident in my first four picks, and panic sets in: Yes, I’m happy to have Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson as my one-two running attack, but are Mike Evans and Jeremy Maclin really good enough to be my best two receivers?

So I scan the remaining crop and commit to picking a receiver in Round 5. And I end up going with Greg Olsen, a tight end.

I mean, how important are wide receivers in fantasy football, anyway? (Answer: They’re incredibly important. I’m an idiot and I’m screwed.)

With Olsen though, like with Jimmy Graham and Gronk before him, you’re not drafting a tight end tight end: you’re actually drafting the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver. He’s Cam’s Newton best option through the air, unless rookie Devin Funches moves mountains in 2015.

Instead of drafting by position, I grabbed the best player available. And that was Olsen.

NOTES:

Russell Wilson: By comparison, Wilson’s a steal in Round 5, when you consider that Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck went sixth and 12th overall. Wilson’s fantasy numbers last season – in our PPR league – were only a tiny bit behind both Luck’s and Rodgers’, and he’s in no danger of sinking, either. Because Wilson runs the ball so much, and because Graham gives him another new passing option this season, the quarterback is basically going to get points whenever the Seahawks score. He’s a unique fantasy player in that way – whenever he doesn’t throw a touchdown, it means he’s running for one. And because Pete Carroll’s got a crush on him, Wilson’s going to have plenty of chances to win your weeks for you.

– Mike Wallace and Brandon Marshall: Even when these two players are supposedly having bad years, they’re still having very good years. And either would have been a legit WR3 for me. Wallace had 862 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014; Marshall finished with 721 yards in eight touchdowns in just 13 games with the impotent Chicago Bears. Both get a change of scenery – both might be elite. Might be

Chris Ivory: One of the last true starting running backs is off the board, and all the way down in the fifth round. Ivory scares some people off, because he seems like he’s useless. But if the Jets are better this year – and they definitely should be at least more efficient and less dysfunctional – the Ivory could be the man. Or, you know, more like someone you’d call The Man.


Round 6

61. Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver – Jacksonville Jaguars

62. Rashad Jennings, Running Back – New York Giants

63. T.J. Yeldon, Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars

64. Doug Martin, Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

65. Travis Kelce, Tight End – Kansas City Chiefs

66. Steve Smith, Wide Receiver – Baltimore Ravens

67. Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver – San Francisco 49ers

68. Todd Gurley, Running Back – St. Louis Rams

69. Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver – Tennessee Titans

70. Brandon LaFell, Wide Receiver – New England Patriots

71. Ryan Mathews, Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles

72. Drew Brees, Quarterback – New Orleans Saints


Here’s why I had to take Ryan Mathews, and why I was excited to take Ryan Mathews…

This is a PPR league. So even when DeMarco Murray is starting and getting the majority of the touches (which could still mean only a 60-40 split with Mathews), the former Chargers rusher is going to get points. Also, Murray being healthy for a full season – even though he was last year – is a gamble in itself, so Mathews could be a No. 1 running back on an offensively juiced Chip Kelly team for at least a couple weeks this season.

I’m a little worried about Darren Sproles stealing touches from both Murray and Mathews, and I’m a little insecure about relying on both Mathews and Foster – two China dolls – this season. But by Round 6, there’s nothing that comes without questioning.

NOTES:

Allen Robinson: No doubt, every single fantasy player has Robinson on their sleeper list. And he’s not even that much of a sleeper – he’s the lead on Jacksonville’s depth chart, and an overall better roster (plus the presumed improved play of quarterback Blake Bortles) should give Robinson more room and more opportunity. That’s really all a capable receiver needs to breakout, and Robinson’s a candidate to jump a couple rounds by next year’s fantasy draft.

Doug Martin: This guy’s as frustrating as he’s been overrated. One terrific rookie season three years has plagued every fantasy player, who now have to consider Martin as a potential RB1 simply because we’ve all seen him be one before. But in Round 6? He’s not overrated anymore, he’s been great for the Bucs in the preseason, and Tampa Bay’s gonna be a whole lot better in 2015 with Jameis Winston under center. This is a terrific grab, even though he’ll be shoehorned into an RB2 position in our league.

Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon: The top three rookie runners – including Melvin Gordon – are now off the board, and probably at the right times. It’s always hard banking an earlier pick on any rookie, even a receiver like Amari Cooper, because you sort of feel forced into it. ‘Well, somebody’s gotta pick this guy, right? It may as well be me.‘ I’m not offering any analysis of either player here, I just wanted to talk about that for a paragraph…


Round 7

73. Joique Bell, Running Back – Detroit Lions

74. Nelson Agholor, Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles

75. Tony Romo, Quarterback – Dallas Cowboys

76. Tom Brady, Quarterback – New England Patriots

77. Martellus Bennett, Tight End – Chicago Bears

78. Vincent Jackson, Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

79. Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers

80. Matt Ryan, Quarterback – Atlanta Falcons

81. Giovani Bernard, Running Back – Cincinnati Bengals

82. John Brown, Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals

83. Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback – Pittsburgh Steelers

84. Charles Johnson, Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings


I’m sorta forcing myself to like my Nelson Agholor pick.

That’s no disrespect to the receiver, because his skill and his potential – which should mesh with Kelly’s system in Philly – are the reason he’s going anywhere from Rounds 5 to 7. The fact that he’s probably the consensus No. 2 rookie receiver this year, behind Amari Cooper, speaks to how highly regarded Agholor is… or it shows maybe a lack of confidence in presumed go-to guy Jordan Matthews.

But at the same time, I left Martavis Bryant on the board.

Yes, Bryant is suspended for the first four games of the season. Yes, I was able to draft Markus Wheaton way later (scroll down), and there’s a chance Wheaton could steal Bryant’s spot while the aforementioned is in the sin bin. But then again, I’m now wondering why I didn’t reach for both Steelers receivers, instead of putting my chips into Chip’s corner (pun completely intended).

There’s a ton of upside with Agholor. But now I’m realizing that, between Evans and Maclin and Foster and Agholor and whoever my quarterbacks will be, I’m all potential. And that’s stupid.

NOTES:

Tom Brady: Steal. This was the round of the quarterback run, with Brady going alongside Romo, Big Ben, Matt Ryan for some reason, and Drew Brees with the last pick of the sixth round. Brady’s not only the best of them all – at least, the most reliable – but he’s also consistent. Money says Brady will top any of these other guys once the playoffs get going in Week 13 or 14.

John Brown: A little early for this sleeper, I think. But then again, upside. And if you believe Carson Palmer’s return will reset a decent Cardinals offence, then you should believe in John Brown, who’s got a higher ceiling than just about anyone in Glendale.

Charles Johnson: The next Antonio Brown? It’s hard to look past Mike Wallace or the other weapons at Teddy Bridgewater’s disposal, but it’s also easy to imagine Charles Johnson vaulting himself into a No. 1, possible elite receiver with Minnesota this season – just like DeAndre Hopkins did with Houston last year, usurping Andre Johnson. In Round 7, you’re best advised to put your money on talent, and Charles Johnson has a ton.


Round 8

85. Danny Woodhead, Running Back – San Diego Chargers

86. Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver – Tennessee Titans

87. Charles Sims, Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

88. Jordan Cameron, Tight End – Miami Dolphins

89. Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver – New York Giants

90. Matthew Stafford, Quarterback – Detroit Lions

91. Alfred Blue, Running Back – Houston Texans

92. Devonta Freeman, Running Back – Atlanta Falcons

93. Anquan Boldin, Wide Receiver – San Francisco 49ers

94. Jason Witten, Tight End – Dallas Cowboys

95. Sam Bradford, Quarterback – Philadelphia Eagles

96. Charles Clay, Tight End – Buffalo Bills


I’ll talk more about my Bradford pick in the section for the next round…

You’ll see why.

NOTES:

Charles Clay: Love this pick, and this player. I’m not sure about his situation in Buffalo or how Tyrod Taylor will even use his tight ends this year, and I don’t think others are sure about it, either – which is probably why Clay fell this far, and why he was a waiver wire player for most of last year with the Dolphins. Clay can pass anyone’s eye test – now he just needs the show the results.

Danny Woodhead: In a PPR league, with an unproven rookie Melvin Gordon supposedly starting at running back, Woodhead could be a monster acquisition. Well, as monster as a 8th round pick could be…

Alfred Blue: There’s a belief with players like Blue, that they’re only worth having until the Arian Fosters of the league return on a white horse. But there’s a chance Blue may be much better than a seat-filler, and he’s only in his second year – I’m worried about Blue, because I wouldn’t want to see Foster cut in half by some sort of committee attack.

Dorial Green-Beckham: If he makes the team, Green-Beckham could be this year’s Odell Beckham. Stash him on your bench, and be patient with him there. Players like Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright – not to mention tight end Delanie Walker or running back Bishop Sankey – should steal rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota’s attention early on, but I’d count on Green-Beckham having a few big weeks in the season’s second half.


Round 9

97. Darren McFadden, Running Back – Dallas Cowboys

98. Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback – Minnesota Vikings

99. Roddy White, Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons

100. Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver – Oakland Raiders

101. Eric Decker, Wide Receiver – New York Jets

102. Zac Stacy, Running Back – New York Jets

103. Devin Funchess, Wide Receiver – Carolina Panthers

104. Isaiah Crowell, Running Back – Cleveland Browns

105. Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals

106. Tyler Eifert, Tight End – Cincinnati Bengals

107. Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears

108. Brian Quick, Wide Receiver – St. Louis Rams


Some will say I reached for Bridgewater here – I know they’ll say it because I heard it last night. But I disagree.

Reaching, to me, means you took someone before they’re worth picking. But Bridgewater is absolutely worth a ninth round pick, based on how he played last year and based on how improved the Vikings’ roster is, even with just the return of Adrian Peterson. Personally, I won’t be shocked if Bridgewater finishes this year with more fantasy points than Peyton Manning, Romo, Stafford, or Ryan.

But Bridgewater may need a few weeks to warm up, and Bradford may not stay healthy longer than a month. In the season’s first half, I expect Bradford to be elite in the Eagles’ offence – he’s looked like it so far, even if it was just the preseason. And unlike where he was in St. Louis, Bradford’s now protected by a system tailor-made to suit him, with a few good receivers, a stud offensive line, and three running backs.

I’m gonna ride Bradford to a few 30-point weeks, and then I’ll toss in Bridgewater when the Vikings make their playoff push.

NOTES:

Roddy White: I get why White’s stock has fallen so much, when Julio Jones is right across the huddle stealing his touchdowns and his targets. But just because Jones is better doesn’t mean White is useless – and being selected 99th is almost useless. Sure, I could have selected him, too… but I suppose it’s just a ‘mob mentality’ thing.

Eddie Royal: Alshon Jeffrey’s the No. 1 in Chicago. Maybe tight end Martellus Bennett is the No. 2. That makes Eddie Royal – who had a few good weeks last season, but was buried by San Diego’s scheme – an excellent receiver to stash, with the potential for a few 20-point weeks only a roster switch away.


Round 10

109. Marques Colston, Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

110. Steve Johnson, Wide Receiver – San Diego Chargers

111. DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins

112. Duke Johnson, Running Back – Cleveland Browns

113. Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals

114. Adam Vinatieri, Kicker – Indianapolis Colts

115. Malcolm Floyd, Wide Receiver – San Diego Chargers

116. Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

117. Roy Helu, Running Back – Oakland Raiders

118. Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts

119. Bishop Sankey, Running Back – Tennessee Titans

120. DeAngelo Williams, Running Back – Pittsburgh Penguins


Even though I remember what I was thinking when I drafted Sankey, I still don’t know why I picked him. And I wish I hadn’t.

I thought, He’ll benefit from having Mariota playing quarterback. He’ll benefit from an improved Titans attack. He’ll start because David Cobb is injured, and would I really pick Terrance West over Sankey? He could be like Lamar Miller, turning into a star after an awful rookie season.

But then I realized, there’s a reason the Titans traded for Terrance West – they don’t trust Sankey, not enough. Then I realized, Miller never had stats (yards-per-carry) as bad as Sankey’s were last year, and Sankey played all 16 games for Tennessee.

I thought I was drafting the last starting running back available. Instead, I ended up with a liability – a guy I’ll be forcing into my starting lineup, pushing rope with when Foster and Mathews inevitably miss a game or two to injury.

NOTES:

Roy Helu: Did you know Helu’s only 26 years old? I swear he’s 35: every year he pollutes the waiver wire, sitting atop the running back free agent rankings every week, even though the Redskins didn’t know which endzone was theirs. But now, with a fresh start in Oakland, Helu could be primed for a value year sharing the backcourt with Latavius Murray. Murray will get the handoffs; Helu gets Derek Carr’s passes. And in a PPR league, that’s all good if you have Helu.

Malcolm Floyd: Floyd is an underrated player with a fantasy ceiling, due to a crowded space in San Diego. He takes value away from Keenan Allen, and Steve Johnson’s about to take value away from Floyd. But he’s good enough to play, and sometimes he’s good enough to start.


Round 11

121. Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills

122. Markus Wheaton, Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers

123. Julius Thomas, Tight End – Jacksonville Jaguars

124. Owen Daniels, Tight End – Denver Broncos

125. Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver – Jacksonville Jaguars

126. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Running Back – Baltimore Ravens

127. Delanie Walker, Tight End – Tennessee Titans

128. Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys

129. Tevin Coleman, Running Back – Atlanta Falcons

130. Cam Newton, Quarterback – Carolina Panthers

131. Richard Rodgers, Tight End – Green Bay Packers

132. Shane Vereen, Running Back – New York Giants


Taking Wheaton here, I’m psyched to get a No. 2 receiver in the 11th round. But I realize of course, Bryant could knock Wheaton back to the slot-only when he returns in Week 5. So I’m a little self-conscious to that, knowing I chose Agholor over the Steelers duo, especially when that franchise has been artistic at carving stars out of their wide receiving depth – think about where Brown is now, where Sanders is with Denver, and their history developing Plaxico Burress or Santonio Holmes, who both lived to serve under Hines Ward.

NOTES:

Cam Newton: There’s a thought out there that Newton will be awful without Kelvin Benjamin. With only Greg Olsen and maybe rookie Devin Funchess to throw to, how can you trust Newton to invade the endzone in 2015? The different is, Cam may actually be a better fantasy player when he doesn’t have to throw: without any mouths to feed, Newton will be able to roll, run, and sneak his way to rushing touchdowns and yards, and could be dynamist given the right (or wrong) matchup.

Owen Daniels: You might believe Julius Thomas is as good as his stats were in Denver. But Owen Daniels isn’t that far off Thomas’s level, and he could have a great year as a short-yardage option for the finally-aging Peyton Manning.


Round 12

133. Vernon Davis, Tight End – San Francisco 49ers

134. Seattle Seahawks, Defence

135. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Tight End – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

136. Houston Texans, Defence

137. Buffalo Bills, Defence

138. Jeremy Langford, Running Back – Chicago Bears

139. Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker – New England

140. Cody Parkey, Kicker – Philadelphia Eagles

141. Rueben Randle, Wide Receiver – New York Giants

142. Philadelphia Eagles, Defence

143. St. Louis Rams, Defence

144. Arizona Cardinals, Defence


Once the Seahawks were taken, it was time a take a defence.

Sure, I’ll probably drop the Rams halfway through the season – they’ll stop a lot of teams from scoring, but it’s impossible to know in September who’s going to have the best fantasy defence, because points come turnovers and points scored off turnovers, not low scores.

But I trust the Rams and I’m happy grabbing them in the 12th round – maybe I would have taken the Bills or the Eagles over them, but that’s about it. I had the Seahawks last year and they were tremendously disappointing, even though they were Super Bowl-calibre.

NOTES:

Rueben Randle: Wait, he was still available? It’s not like Randle’s a breakout threat or a Pro Bowler, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him overtake Victor Cruz and become Eli Manning’s second-favourite weapon this year, behind Odell Beckham. That’s worth more than the 141st selection, to me.


Round 13

145. Steven Hauschka, Kicker – Seattle Seahawks

146. Antonio Gates, Tight End – San Diego Chargers

147. Matt Bryant, Kicker – Atlanta Falcons

148. Dan Bailey, Kicker – Dallas Cowboys

149. Cristine Michael, Running Back – Dallas Cowboys

150. Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback – Miami Dolphins

151. Coby Fleener, Tight End – Indianapolis Colts

152. Mason Crosby, Kicker – Green Bay Packers

153. Justin Tucker, Kicker – Baltimore Ravens

154. New York Jets, Defence

155. Brandon McManus, Kicker – Denver Broncos

156. Blair Walsh, Kicker – Minnesota Vikings


Getting an all-around studly fantasy player like Gates – even at his age, and even though he’s sitting out the first four games of the season – is a huge nab for me, I think.

He’ll be a great bye week option filling in for Olsen, and maybe even a Flex player down the road if Mathews or Foster are injured, or if my receiving corps thins itself.

But I’m already thinking of dropping him…

NOTES:

There were seven kickers selected in this round. I have no thoughts on any of them, because they’re kickers…


Round 14

157. Green Bay Packers, Defence

158. Philip Rivers, Quarterback – San Diego Chargers

159. Dan Carpenter, Kicker – Buffalo Bills

160. Reggie Bush, Running Back – San Francisco 49ers

161. Doug Baldwin, Wide Receiver – Seattle Seahawks

162. Minnesota Vikings, Defence

163. Antonio Andrews, Running Back – Tennessee Titans

164. Carolina Panthers, Defence

165. Miami Dolphins, Defence

166. Ty Montgomery, Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers

167. Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals

168. Breshad Perriman, Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears

So, I finished the draft without taking a kicker.

I committed to this when I took Gates last round, knowing I’d probably have a chance to select Marvin Jones in the final round. (Jones, to me, is a WR2 on Cincinnati, which gives him WR3 potential in fantasy. He was huge on occasion in 2013, even though the Bengals’ depth chart was even more confusing back then, and he’s a better receiver than his competition, Mohamed Sanu.)

So I don’t want to lose Jones. I’m not bailing on Wheaton, not yet anyway. And it’s tough to let go of Bishop Sankey, even though he’s a pretty average back. Fact is, if I’m going to let go of Sankey, it’ll be to grab another running back – think Tre Mason on St. Louis, or Denard Robinson on Jacksonville. Backs are a premium, and they vanish once the season starts.

I’ll probably have to bail on Gates, and hope another tight end emerges in time for Olsen’s bye week.

NOTES: Notable Undrafted Players Remaining

– Zach Ertz, Tight End – Philadelphia Eagles

– Zach Rudolph, Tight End – Minnesota Vikings

– Dwayne Allen, Tight End – Indianapolis Colts

– Tre Mason, Running Back – St. Louis Rams

– Terrance West, Running Back – Tennessee Titans

– Denard Robinson, Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars

– Darren Sproles, Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles

– Robert Woods, Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills

– Andrew Hawkins, Wide Receiver – Cleveland Browns

– Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins

– Eli Manning, Quarterback – New York Giants

– Carson Palmer, Quarterback – Arizona Cardinals