I drafted a team a few days ago in a shallow 14-team league where teams only get two bench spots. I ran through several mocks to prepare for the snake draft so I was able to try out several player combinations available at my position. Since I won the league last year, I ended up picking last in the first round, first in the second round, last in the third round, and so forth.
Here are the available roster positions in the league:
QB – 1
WR – 2
RB – 1
TE – 1
Flex – 1
K – 1
D/ST – 1
DB – 1
LB – 1
DB/DL/LB – 1
Bench – 2
Since my picks were always back-to-back, it didn’t really matter the exact order of my picks. I contemplated picking WR1-WR1 or WR1-RB1 pairs, and at the end of the day I just felt more comfortable picking two solid wide receivers. The strongest RB1 that I was looking at picking (both in mock drafts and the actual draft) were not terribly impressive, whereas the WRs I could choose from could all be top scorers by the end of the season.
With my first two picks, I chose Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. I had some reservations about Beckham since he doesn’t have a proven track record and the word on the street is that he’s going to be a target for defensive backs this year, but I think his upside is pretty special given the system that he’s in. I had the opportunity to choose a few other top tier players (Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, or A.J. Green), but I’m satisfied with the players I got.
My third pick is where things got ugly. The website I was drafting on was running slowly, so I decided to log off and reload the browser in between the mass of picks I had to wait through before it was my turn again at #42 overall. When I tried to re-enter the draft room, though, my browser hung again and I was not able to enter until just after my pick expired and auto-selected Jonathan Stewart. While not a bad pick, I would more likely have chosen T.Y. Hilton, who ended up going to another team a few picks later. When I was finally able to enter the room I managed to select Greg Olsen with the first pick of Round 4 (#43 overall). I knew from my mock drafts that Olsen would not be around by the time I picked in Round 5, so it was in my best interest to take one of the more reliable TEs at this point in the draft.
By the time I picked in Round 5 (#70 overall), quarterbacks had started to fly off the board. I noticed that Russell Wilson started to fall, and I would have picked him had he not been picked five selections ahead of me. Given the absence of other attractive position players, I chose Tom Brady with my pick. In Round 6 (#71 overall), I pickd ed up Julian Edelman. I now had three clear #1 receivers on their respective teams, a solid TE, and a reliable QB as the basis for my team.
By Round 7, many IDP players were being drafted, but I wanted to wait on them given the sporadic nature of those players. Before the draft, I noticed that the way the league’s scoring system was set up, D/STs actually accounted for far more points per game than they might in other leagues. In fact, in the previous year the highest scoring defense – the Philadelphia Eagles – averaged slighly more points per week than either Marshawn Lynch or Antonio Brown. Meanwhile, the highest IDP player averaged about 40% fewer points per week. With no other teams yet chosen in the draft, I was able to select the Seattle Seahawks, the consensus #1 D/ST this year.
In the later rounds, when taking risks can pay off big time, I decided to pick up both Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden. While I really do not like investing in murky running back situations like I just did, the fact that the Dallas offensive line may be the best in the game suggests to me that if one of these does win the battle, it will be a RB who may carry me to fantasy glory. I also picked up Ameer Abdullah with a late pick (#126) since he could be primed for stardom as well once the Detroit backfield gets settled.
Because I picked up three running backs for my bench, it meant that I was unable to fill my active DB/DL/LB roster spot. I would like to drop one of these benched running backs once I figure out who will be the odd man out on their actual teams, but I’m willing to hold on to them until I get a better idea which player will star for his team. Right now, I have only 10 players in active roster spots against my opponent’s 11 active players. I feel that I may be able to win this week even without the contributions of the 11th man, and if that continues into this weekend, I will go ahead and keep three players on my bench. Cutting a player in Week 1 may mean cutting a player who can potentially carry my team in Weeks 3 – 16, so I am willing to take a small risk for the possibility of a larger fantasy payout.