Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 12th in a 12 Team League
As I embark on my first Perfect Draft article this year, I find myself dividing my thinking between “old school” and “new school” and how those philosophies blend together in the fantasy world.
The new school side of the equation is Draft Analyzer. A great new tool for all 4for4 subscribers, Draft Analyzer is an unparalleled tool when it comes to helping you build a playoff contender.
The old school side, in some ways, would also be considered new school. Except I seem to bring up this same topic almost every year, so that makes it old school. When it comes to taking wide receivers, draft them as early as possible. There might be depth at the position, but there are not many true difference makers once you get past the early rounds. And serviceable runners are certainly out there during later stages of the draft or in free agency.
I can draw on recent experience as to why I believe in this philosophy. Last year, in a 12-team standard league, I was lucky enough to land the first pick in the draft and took LeSean “Shady” McCoy. Of course, Mr. McCoy was a disappointment. Still, that team made it to the league title game thanks in large part to three other players. Two were my next two picks after McCoy, the dynamic duo of Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones, who helped save the season with plenty of big games. The other was a much later selection, Jeremy Hill.
When you have stability at receiver, you can gamble in the backfield. Chances are, you will find competency, if not much more. I was fortunate to have Hill, but players such as C.J. Anderson, Justin Forsett, Tre Mason, and even Jonathan Stewart also came out of nowhere to help fantasy teams. Ahmad Bradshaw and Denard Robinson were assets until they suffered season-ending injuries. Matt Asiata scored 10 touchdowns for Minnesota. Additionally, players such as Lamar Miller and Mark Ingram were available in a lower ADP range. Even LeVeon Bell and DeMarco Murray, while still going early, were probably taken after the first round in many leagues.
So with all of that in mind, Draft Analyzer and I will be looking to build the Perfect Team, and it will be a challenge as we have the twelfth pick in a 12-team league. The draft will last 16 rounds. In any league, before you draft a Super Bowl contender, you need to know the rules. In our setup, the scoring is based on Yahoo’s default scoring rules. Teams will start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 defense. Teams are required to draft two quarterbacks, five running backs, five wide receivers, two tight ends, one kicker and one defense.
Let’s take a look at our team:
Pick 1.12 Odell Beckham
Draft Analyzer recommends Odell Beckham, last year’s rookie superstar who everyone remembers for his legendary one-handed catch for a touchdown against Dallas. But Beckham had even bigger games against Washington and St. Louis later in the season. He was pretty much unstoppable at times. We are in total agreement about this pick, and feel Beckham fits our philosophy perfectly.
Pick 2.1 Demaryius Thomas
While I am a little worried about Peyton Manning’s decline and Denver’s increased commitment to the running game, the departure of Julius Thomas should help Denver’s remaining Thomas. Julius, now with Jacksonville, led Denver with 12 receiving touchdowns. Demaryius was no slouch in the touchdown department, finding the end zone 11 times, but he could increase that total with Julius gone. Sure, Denver has other threats, such as Emmanuel Sanders, but Demaryius Thomas has more size and should be the top red zone threat for the Broncos. And of course, Demaryius is one of the best in the NFL at taking a short pass and turning it into a long touchdown. At this point in the draft, he was considered an optimal pick by Draft Analyzer and once again I feel my tag team partner was on target.
Pick 3.12 Alfred Morris
This is the first pick were Draft Analyzer and I had differing thoughts. DA wanted Russell Wilson. While I like Wilson this year, especially with the addition of Jimmy Graham, I figure we can wait until later to draft a quarterback. In past eras of fantasy football, a dependable player like Morris, who is capable of 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, probably would have been drafted earlier. He pretty much embodies the unexciting but steady player some fantasy owners are not thrilled to draft. That’s because he does not have the upside of a franchise player. However, he is a nice fit for teams who do not take a back in the first or second round.