I did something I never do. By making that decision I'm likely to draw the scorn of many including my followers (you) and my co-host Kyle Elfrink on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (he banned me from our show Wednesday). What did I do in the 2014 FSTA Fantasy Football Experts Draft that was so off the beat and path that some thought I must have been possessed by an alien or still drunk on vodka Red Bull from the night before? Keep reading to find out.
THE LEAGUE SETUP
We were in San Francisco for the first experts draft of the 2014 fantasy football season. Hosted by the FSTA, first class all the way by the way, we completed a 14 team draft over the weekend in San Francisco. Here are the participants.
2014 SiriusXM FSTA experts fantasy football league draft order.
1- Jeff Mans & Ted Schuster, Fantasy Alarm
2-Chris Liss, Rotowire
3- Bob Harris, Football Die Hards
4- Charlie Wiegert, CDM Sports
5- Keith Lipscomb, ESPN
6- Greg Ambrosius, Stats Inc., NFFC
7- Steve Gardner, USA Today Sports
8- Brett Baker/Ty Ward, Big Game Software
9- Rick Wolf/Glen Colton/Stacy Stern, Colton & The Wolfman,
10- Ray Flowers, SiriusXM Fantasy Drive
11- John Hansen, Fantasy Football Guru
12- Anthony Perri, Fantistics
13- Ryan Bonini/Cory Bonini, KFFL
14- Dan Shaffer/Jeff Collins, Fanmouth
The league is PPR and the draft was 16 rounds with the following starting positions:
QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, K, DEF
Again, 16 rounds, drafting out of the #10 spot. Round taken in parenthesis.
QB: Peyton Manning (2), Alex Smith (13)
RB: Alfred Morris (3), Joique Bell (4), Terrance West (8), Christine Michael (9), Andre Brown (12), Jordan Todman (16)
WR: Demaryius Thomas (1), DeSean Jackson (5), Golden Tate (7), James Jones (10)
TE: Jordan Reed (6), Eric Ebron (11)
K: Nick Novak (15)
DEF: Cincinnati Bengals (14)
* For tons of audio of the event click on this link to SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio where the participants explain why they did what they did (including me talking about the Manning selection).
* For overall draft results you can click on the link to RT Sports.
Demaryius Thomas (1): I really wanted to go with Dez Bryant, but with Tony Romo's health a wee bit uncertain at the moment and the fact that Bryant is always seemingly beat up too, I went with Thomas.
Peyton Manning (2): This is the big pick that has everyone talking. Blow by blow. (1) Manning went in the top-5 in the other FSTA draft. (2) Manning's ADP is easily within the top-10 overall. (3) The plan was to go running back at this spot. However, all three picks before me went the three runners I would have taken: Lynch, Foster, Bernard. (4) I didn't want to start my draft with two wideouts. (5) It's Peyton Manning, the most consistent QB in football. (6) If he gives 85 percent of last years effort he goes for 4,655 yards, and 46 scores. Crazy. (7) In retrospect this was more of a teaching moment. I could have gone with the runner and played it safe like I always do. But honestly, with Manning still sitting there I thought why not. Draft the QB, show people how the team turns out when you do (more on that below), and be ready to have folks castigate me for turning my back on your my preached position of avoiding taking QBs early. I know, I'm such a hypocrite.
Alfred Morris (3): He doesn't catch the ball, and the offense is changing, but he's run for 1,275 and seven in both of his seasons. Stable.
Joique Bell (4): A top-20 option in PPR last year, Bell was paid during the offseason a clear indication that the Lions intend to feature him heavily. Does a little bit of everything and should get the goaline work, and Reggie Bush always makes me nervous with his health.
DeSean Jackson (5): Risky. He's not a great option in PPR formats. I really wanted Mike Wallace who went the pick before me. It's 14 teams so you can't end up with everything you want, and that can be exacerbated by going QB early. Think of it. I could have taken Antonio Brown in the second and then taken Matthew Stafford in the fifth instead of what I ended up doing. You want Manning/DJax or Brown/Stafford? I clearly would prefer the second option. See why going QB early isn't always the best idea?
Jordan Reed (6): Could be a top-5 tight end, maybe top-3 depending on how things shake out. Concerns about concussion woes prompted me to go with a second TE later.
Golden Tate (7): Boring? Maybe to some, but as a third WR in a PPR Tate could be gold (see what I did there?). With defenses focusing on Calvin Johnson, and the Lions throwing the ball 40 times a game, Tate is likely to have a nice PPR season.
Terrance West (8): When was the last time that Ben Tate was healthy? Exactly. This could be a blah pick or it could end up paying huge dividends if Tate does indeed go down.
Christine Michael (9): An elite talent in an offense that loves to run the football. Moderate option at best as long as Marshawn Lynch is healthy, but if Lynch goes down Michael will explode and could be a RB1, no question.
James Jones (10): He's in Oakland, and the Raiders are dysfunctional, but all this guy does is score touchdowns. One of the most overlooked wideouts as we start the 2014 draft season. Love him as a WR4 in this setup.
Eric Ebron (11): An immense talent who could struggle early on. Could also be a red zone beast. A needed backup given the health issues with Reed and the fact that in 14 team league, with teams taking two tight ends, the waiver-wire will not be plentiful.
Andre Brown (12): Arian Foster should be fine but he's also struggled to stay healthy. If he is once again sidelined Brown becomes, at worst, and early down pounder who gets the goaline work.
Alex Smith (13): If Manning goes down I'm sunk so I'm only looking at Smith as a bye week fill-in.
Cincinnati Bengals (14): A potentially beastly defense.
Nick Novak (15): I would have preferred Roy Helu in the 15th round to support Morris, but when he was taken I went with a warm weather kicker in a strong offense.
Jordan Todman (16): Is Toby Gerhart gonna be able to handle 300 touches?
So there it is. As I noted above, I think it's pretty clear that this team would have been stronger if I hadn't taken Peyton Manning in the second round. According to early ADP numbers that selection was a huge win since he I rostered him a good 10-12 spots after where he normally is going. At the same time that early move to select a QB left me without a top-10 runner, left me to hope that a series of supporting runners end up in a position of strength at some point in 2014 and with a little less depth at WR than I had hoped for. I still think going quarterback is not the best way to attack a draft, and I think this effort proved that.