My first fantasy football draft went down last Thursday, so I thought I would share with you all my strategy for victory as well as my full lineup. This league is 10 teams, so it’s a fairly small but still competitive league, and we used the standard QB, 2RB, 2WR, RB/WR, TE, D/ST, K lineup.
Going into the draft, I am picking ninth overall, which I am more than fine with. I think picking later in the first round is just as beneficial as picking near the front of the draft. I don’t really like having the pressure of picking between guys like Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster, and I’m confident enough in my drafting and GM abilities to put a good product out every week.
This is a non-PPR league, and quarterbacks are given fewer points for touchdown passes (4) than position players (6). My strategy early on is to wait to be one of the last teams to take a quarterback because there won’t be much of a difference between points from 1st to 10th (in my opinion), and I feel like I need to hold off on my affliction for wide receivers (I love taking WR early).
With the 9th pick in the draft, I selected the best running back available–Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD’s injury doesn’t worry me really because he hasn’t barely missed any time in his NFL career thus far. Running backs are always banged up, so I wasn’t worried, plus knowing that I have a pick coming up right away, I feel like I had some flexibility with that pick.
My initial thought in the first round was to go with Andre Johnson, the Houston wide receiver and the top receiver easily in fantasy leagues. Johnson plays on a high-octane offense and he’s a bona fide super star. I went with my (hopefully) better judgment and left Johnson on the board, especially in a non-PPR league.
To my surprise, Johnson was still there three picks later for my second round choice. He has helped me do extremely well in leagues, so I decided to haul him in. There was really no question at that point–Johnson was my guy. I feel like I had just gotten two of the best picks I could have possibly gotten at that point in the draft, and I still felt good about my strategy leaving some running backs on the board that I still liked.
At this point, backs are just flying off the board, but I caught a bit of a break when there was a short run on quarterbacks as well as some receivers that I thought to be slightly average. My strategy all along was to load up on position players in the beginning, specifically getting as many dual-threat running backs as I could find.
In the third round, picking 9th once more, I was elated to have Peyton Hillis still on the board. I feel like a running back duo of Hillis and MJD can get me really far in a fantasy league, because both guys are durable and both are excellent receivers out of the backfield. In terms of touchdowns, last year was an absolutely down year for MJD, but I feel like he will bounce back again in 2011.
Hillis had a breakout year last year, but some think he is just a one-year-wonder. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have followed Hillis’ entire career, and the guy is a straight up gamer, plus he’s one of the best receiving backs in the NFL. He can hurt you in so many ways, and being in the West Coast offense, his skills could really be amplified, especially as a receiver (see Steven Jackson).
Three picks later, the running back crop was getting thin, but I felt like he had a good enough year last year to warrant a high pick in the fourth round. He showed upside as both a runner and receiver, and had over a thousand total yards and six total touchdowns. Now that he’s had a year of seasoning, I think he will only get better.
My strategy from then on was to load up on position players (WR, RB) who could provide my team with depth, and then when the time was right, I would take my quarterback.
By the time I had finally taken a quarterback, the rest of my position groups (WR, RB) were already pretty much set. I picked up St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, though looking back, I wish I had taken Josh Freeman, who was still on the board. However, with Bradford in the Josh McDaniels offense, I think he can really emerge as a top tier fantasy quarterback.
I also didn’t take a tight end until there were only four rounds left, but I still got Owen Daniels. If Daniels can return to pre-injury form, I think that will be some kind of steal. I took my defense in the second to last round (Chicago Bears), and a kicker with the second to last pick (Vinatieri).
Here is my roster recap:
Sam Bradford (STL), Jay Cutler (CHI), Tim Tebow (DEN)
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC), Peyton Hillis (CLE), Jahvid Best (DET), Felix Jones (DAL), C.J. Spiller (BUF)
Andre Johnson (HOU), Percy Harvin (MIN), Chad Ochocinco (NE), Mike Sims-Walker (STL), Roy Williams (CHI)
Owen Daniels (HOU)
Adam Vinatieri (IND)