Monday, October 31, 2016

The Perfect Draft 2.0

When it comes to fantasy drafting, we all have regrets, don’t we? 

Wouldn’t you like a do-over on your Todd Gurley pick or, heaven forbid, Adrian Peterson? Maybe let Allen Robinson slide right by and take Mike Evans instead? Figured Jamaal Charles would be lighting it up for you by now?

Yeah, not so much.

That’s right, friends. It’s time for our semi-annual exercise in self-flagellation, when we reflect back two short months on what could have been had we made all the right moves during our preseason draft.  Step right up for The Perfect Draft 2.0: Midseason Review.

First, let’s review our parameters. We will draft from the middle (fifth) position in a 10-team non-keeper league using a standard scoring system that starts one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, and one flex, tight end, kicker and team defense. Since all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. And, as always, our goal is nothing short of total domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.

Now, with the fifth pick of the 2016 Perfect Draft, we should have selected…

Round 1: David Johnson, RB, Cardinals. Johnson is the leader at the turn for Fantasy MVP honors. Even on the two occasions when he’s been shut down on the ground, Johnson has made up for it as a receiver. Only Julio Jones and Ezekiel Elliott have similarly lived up to their first-round draft status.

Round 2: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers. If you can’t have Julio or A.J. Green, Evans is your guy. His six receiving TDs are tied for the league’s lead.

Round 3: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. Unlike most seasons, there hasn’t been a receiver who’s come out of nowhere to flirt with elite status, though Terrelle Pryor has made some noise. So if you wanted two top-shelf wideouts, like Evans and Hilton, you’d better have used premium picks on them.

Round 4: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers. Despite his rough outing on Sunday, Olsen still sets the pace at his position. 

Round 5: DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans. Thought he was all washed up after his horrific tenure in Philly? Yeah, me too.

Round 6: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers. After a rookie season in which he failed to reach the end zone, Gordon’s 10 combined TDs lead the league among non-QBs.

Round 7: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Draft him and stash him till Week 5, then buckle up for the ride.

Round 8: Marvin Jones, WR, Lions. For a brief stretch, Jones was the leading wideout in Fantasyland. He’s trailed off significantly since then, but let’s keep him off our opponent’s roster just out of spite.

Round 9: Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders. Like Evans, Crabtree has become a TD machine. He’s an integral part of Oakland’s potent passing attack that is just starting to hit its stride.

Round 10: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Need a touchdown? Just stick the ball in Blount’s hands and enjoy. He’d be even more valuable if Brady wasn’t so selfish in the red zone.

Round 11: Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots. His production has come in spurts, but Bennett nevertheless ranks among the elites at the halfway point.

Round 12: Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons. Coleman would probably never make it off our bench, but we’d wish we had started him in several games prior to his Week 7 hamstring injury. Don’t be surprised if he makes another strong push for starting consideration down the stretch.

Round 13: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons. How did we let him drop this far? In his ninth year, Matty Ice has been the most prolific passer in the league over the first half of the season. But beware the dreaded second-half slump.

Round 14: Vikings defense/special teams. We’d have to grab Denver’s unit several rounds earlier, so we’ll “settle” for Minnesota’s ball-hawking defense here.

Round 15: Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs. Ware was putting up Top 10 stats until he suffered a concussion on Sunday.

Round 16: Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens. Though he hasn’t scored since Week 2, Wallace has been much more consistent than in previous seasons. Still, he’ll rarely get to see the field on our perfect team.

Round 17: Matt Bryant, K, Falcons. Want the best fantasy kicker? Pick the guy on the highest-scoring team. It’s simple, really.

If it makes you feel any better, the final Perfect Draft roster will likely see plenty of turnover. It always does.


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Tim Hightower, RB, Saints. Mark Ingram was benched after fumbling for the second consecutive game, and Hightower promptly posted the Saints’ first 100-yard rushing game of the season. Against the Seahawks, no less. We don’t know how long Ingram will be in the doghouse, but Hightower is a must-add for his owners at the very least.

Charcandrick West, RB, Chiefs. There’s a very good chance West will start in Week 9 against the lowly Jaguars run defense, with Spencer Ware now in the concussion protocol. Jamaal Charles’ surgically repaired knee still isn’t right, and the news keeps getting more worrisome for him. That leaves West as the next man up in the Chiefs’ run-heavy offense. He’s had his moments in the past, and there’s every reason to think he can perform well again.

Derrick Henry, RB, Titans. DeMarco Murray is “day-to-day” with a toe he injured on Thursday night, though it doesn’t appear to be serious enough to sideline him in Week 9. That said, it’s a helpful reminder that Henry is just a play away from being the lead horse in a very productive stable.

Don’t be fooled

Nick Foles, QB, Chiefs. Alex Smith is almost certainly going to miss the team’s next game after two hard hits to the head on Sunday. Foles stepped in and performed well against the sorry Colts defense and he’ll draw the equally inept Jaguars next. But while Foles can be a capable backup, it’s been three years since he pleased any fantasy owner.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins. I actually think Crowder is a worthy add, given that he has arguably become the most effective wideout in the Redskins’ receiving corps. However, he’s heading into the bye, and the Vikings are up in Week 10. Unless your bench is bottomless, he’s not worth stashing for two weeks.

J.J. Nelson, WR, Cardinals. Sunday’s two-touchdown performance was a career-best for the second-year wideout. But Arizona’s passing attack is still off-kilter, and Nelson benefitted from Michael Floyd’s inaction. Floyd and his fellow WRs will have the bye week to heal up, and Nelson should return to his tertiary role thereafter.

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