2015 Flex Leagues Draft Review
I feel like the Fantasy Football Frenzy has officially begun after spending the weekend in Washington DC with some of the best Fantasy Football minds in the business. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the 2015 Flex Leagues Standard Draft by Jake Ciely (@AllinKid) of RotoExperts and this time we took the show on the road to Washington DC and the Sirius XM Studios. The weekend was amazing as I got to spend a lot of time with some of my friends in the industry as well as meet people I only knew through Twitter avatars or Podcast Voices.
The PPR draft went off first on Saturday morning and all of us in the Standard League got a sneak peek into some of the values “experts” placed on players. While we had completely different scoring systems, watching the PPR draft happen was definitely a great primer for all of us. John Halpin of Fox Sports was helping do the draft board and he commented on the Podcast that will post next week, that he really benefited from getting the bigger picture of how 2015 drafts are going. While the PPR Draft had two owners drafting by phone, we had a full house for the standard draft with only Jamey Eisenberg of CBS showing up a little late after inciting a brawl at the Houston Texans/ Washington Redskins joint practice.
The Standard League Draft Order
So I drew the the second overall pick in the Standard League Draft and I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy taking a really good player at the top of the first round, but picking so high this year really makes it difficult to get a solid second round player on the way back. From about the 5th spot back I can be happy in drafts and especially happy in PPR drafts. My hope against all hope was Alshon Jeffrey or Mike Evans would fall to me in the second and I knew I was going to be disappointed, but I digress. I’m only going to discuss the picks I made and the ones that happened around my pick as I really don’t like critiquing or judging other people’s drafts.
Did I mention that we were drafting LIVE on Sirius XM Radio with Matt Camp and Joe Dolan doing their show live in the studio as they drafted with us and analyzed our picks? No….well than you now know why I tried my best to draft the best team possible under all that pressure. I’m only kidding, as it was such a loose, cool environment as we all cracked on each other as both drafts were happening. Just word to the wise, don’t put a live Microphone near Eric Mack of Fanduel.
Any way, I was saying how much I hated the second overall pick and it proved to be a really difficult spot in an “expert” draft. Josh Collacchi of RotoCurve was picking in front of me and John Halpin of Fox Sports was picking right behind me. Being that I’m right near the turn I’ll concentrate on those picks as I analyze my draft.
Josh started the draft off with Adrian Peterson and honestly that was a huge relief to me. I passed on Peterson in last year’s Flex Standard Draft in a much later spot and I’m not sure why I would want to take a player coming off of a year lay off that high in a draft. I think he’ll have a solid year, but I’m not betting on it in the first five picks of drafts. With Peterson off the board I selected Le’Veon Bell with the second overall pick and I was pleased. I teased Jake Ciely that I might take his man-crush C.J. Anderson second overall, but that was a bluff. I like Anderson, but I’m not passing on Bell there. John Halpin threw a bit of a curveball in the three spot as he took Antonio Brown third overall. That’s the highest i have seen Brown go in a Standard League draft and I asked John about it when he came on the podcast.
I was starting to get hopeful that one of my wide receiver targets could get to me when Jake Ciely took Justin Forsett with Alshon Jeffrey still on the board. John Halpin had already taken a wide receiver in the first round so I thought he might go RB, but instead he doubled up and took Jeffrey right out of my Chick Fila covered hands. I went with the last receiver I still have on that tier in Randall Cobb and I hated doing it. I like Cobb as a player, but I hate buying off of a career year. Josh took DeAndre Hopkins with his first pick at the turn and then he went outside the box and took Jordan Matthews. I had contemplated Lamar Miller in the second round and would have taken him over Forsett had Cobb not fallen to me, so I jumped at the chance to take him. TY Hilton went with the next pick to Halpin and he now had his three starting wide receivers with his first three picks.
The fourth round is where it really starts to become who you like as an individual and how you want to build your particular team. John took Andre Ellington in front of me and I would have loved to go wide receiver, but there wasn’t anyone that jumped off the board to me. I liked Allen Robinson, but in a standard league I decided for the upside of Latavius Murray at the RB position. Josh took Brandon Marshall and LaGarrette Blount (RB24 picked) and then it was back to me. My plan in a double flex league is to really shy away from the tight end position if I can help it. The upside of Travis Kelce was just too much to pass up on. John took Amari Cooper with the next pick and I like Cooper, but I’m not as high on him standard leagues as I am in PPR leagues.
In round six I started to get excited about Doug Martin falling to me, but Jake Ciely took him two spots ahead of me and then John Halpin took Tevin Coleman. I’m not a huge Coleman fan so I was happy to have my choice at WR. I really like Charles Johnson this year and I wanted to make sure I got him so I grabbed him a little early. Josh went with Larry Fitzgerald and Bishop Sankey. Josh was taking “his” guys and at this point it’s tough to really talk value. I was basically forced to take Eric Decker with my next pick as his value in a Standard is a little better and he was the 36th WR off the board when i took him. Halpin took Arian Foster with his next pick and we talked about it on the podcast.
As the 8th round went on Russell Wilson started to slide down the board and he looked might enticing in this 4 point passing TD league, but once again Ciely grabbed a guy I hoped would last a few more picks. Halpin took Victor Cruz and then I decided to take Marques Colston. Josh took Alfred Blue (which I thought Halpin would take) and Drew Brees. The Brees pick made me really think about going QB as I could feel a QB run coming. Instead I went with Julius Thomas. Before you say Ewwwww, let me explain my thinking. This is the Flex Leagues after all and you have the opportunity to start up to three tight ends as long as they are better options than the running backs and wide receivers you have. With so many wide receiverss already off the board I saw Thomas as a bit of an upside value in the 9th round. A possible number one target on a team that should improve on offense. Why not? I immediately regretted it as Cam Newton came off the board with the next pick and from then on it was a bunch of QBs for the rest of the round. I thought Matt Camp got a great value with Ben Roethlisberger in the middle of the 9th round.
After those top QBs went there was no need to go back there so I decided to keep trying to load up on Wide Receivers. I was really happy to get Brian Quick in the 10th round, especially after so many wide receivers had already gone and then i followed that up with Rueben Randle who could benefit from the extra attention Odell Beckham should be getting. John Halpin went with Michael Floyd right in front of me and we discussed it on the Pod because I would have taken Floyd as well, even with the injury. Josh took Dwayne Allen, who I like in this format, and Kevin White, who definitely has upside now that he’s going later in drafts. Halpin took Andre Williams after I took Randle and that could be a sneaky pick if Jennings gets hurt again.
I couldn’t ignore the QB position any longer as I could tell some owners were itching to grab backups. Matt Camp threw a wrench into my late QB plan as he took Sam Bradford to back up Big Ben in the middle of round 12. I had a choice between Phillip Rivers and Matthew Stafford and I chose Rivers. I was tempted to double up at QB, but I needed to grab DeAngelo Williams for those two suspension weeks for Bell and of course it’s never terrible to hand cuff the 2nd overall pick, especially if it doesn’t cost you much. A 13th rounder is so cheap that it makes taking Bell and Williams a no-brainer. The funny thing is Chad Parsons waited forever last season to grab his QB in the Flex Standard League and this year he out-waited everyone and still ended up with Stafford as his starter in the 14th round. Last year he tried to wait just a little too long so I thought he did the right thing there. 14-15 Turn:
Because I took such a late QB with Rivers I wanted to take an upside QB to team with him and maybe play some match ups to make up the difference that the top QB’s will score over Rivers. I got lucky that John Halpin valued Jameis Winston over Teddy Bridgewater so I was able to grab Dwayne Bowe and Bridgewater with my two picks. I really like Josh’s two picks at this turn as he took Kenny Britt and Nick Toon. I think both could be valuable this season and they were a great value there.
I won’t bother you with the last round, which was almost all defenses, but I did like Jamey Eisenberg grabbing Colin Kaepernick to team with Matt Ryan. I did slightly regret not grabbing the Bills Defense in the second to last round and then trying to grab Bridgewater int he last round after as I was stuck taking the Patriots as the 11th Defense off the board.
Here’s the Draft Board provided by David Gonos: