Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mock Drafting

Lately in my boredom at work, instead of writing columns.. er… blog posts…hang on a second.

Quick tangent: I want to write about sports for a living, which is the purpose of starting this blog in the first place, so every time I write about something I envision myself writing it for a newspaper, magazine or ESPN. Those are my goals and each of those three outlets put out columns, not blogs (ESPN.com has blogs, but for the most part they’re columns). Do not get me wrong; I like blogs. I have nothing against them, you’re reading my blog right now for crying out loud, but from now on I would like all those who read my work, tell yourself that you’re reading my column. You’re reading my column that happens to be posted on a blog. Yeah? I know it’s stupid, but it helps me feel important in some weird way, so just bear with it because from now on all posts will be reference as columns. This collective thinking helps. As Marion Peru’s mother would say in her Irish accent, “The ‘tink system.” Let’s use the ‘tink system together.

Anyhow, I’ve been dividing my time at work between doing absolutely nothing, figuring out ways to look like I’m doing something while doing absolutely nothing, doing work tasks that appear to more important than they really are, doing the occasional blip of real work, some class work, this and that but lately the majority of my time I’ve been doing as many mock NFL drafts as possible. I’m addicted. I cannot get enough of them, especially the auction drafts. Auction drafts, who knew? I’ve never done one of those before and I love the idea. I don’t think I ever want to do an ordered/snake draft again. The best part about an auction draft is that you can manipulate total morons in doing what they do best: totally moronic thing.

In a snake draft, let us say there are eight people in the draft; it goes in an order like this:

Round One:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Round Two:
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

You get the idea, and you understand that you need to get while the gettin’s good. In a snake draft you have to pick your spots, understand what you need and who others like so you can get some trades going on later in the season, know if the player you like/need are going to be there by the time your turn rolls around again ect.

In an auction the draft becomes a whole new ballgame. There is still a draft order but it becomes a “nomination” order. Each team has $200 dollars to spend on players. At the start of turn you can nominate any player you want put on the auction block. Anyone at all, it doesn’t matter. If you wanted to, you could start a draft by nominating Keith Null. Typically, you when you are nominating the player, you start the bidding at $1 but you can start it higher if you’d like. There is a cap at $100 for any one player.

I like the auction draft because you have a shot at getting any single player. In a snake draft, if I held the #8 pick, there would be no chance for me to ever get Adrian Peterson.

Currently, ESPN’s Top 150 start:
1) RB, Chris Johnson, TEN
2) RB, Adrian Peterson, MIN
3) RB, Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
4) RB, Ray Rice, BAL
5) RB, Steven Jackson, STL
6) RB Frank Gore, SF
7) WR Andre Johnson, HOU
8) RB Michael Turner, ATL
9) QB Drew Brees, NO
10) WR Randy Moss, NE

For their auction values, they have Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson at $60 and it whittles it way on down from there. I put my Top 10 way different:

My Top 10:
1) RB, Adrian Peterson, MIN
2) RB, Ray Rice, BAL
3) RB, Frank Gore, SF
4) WR, Andre Johnson, HOU
5) WR, Randy Moss, NE
6) QB, Aaron Rodgers, GB
7) WR, Reggie Wayne, IND
8) RB, Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
9) QB, Drew Brees, NO
10) WR, Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

“Whaaaaaaat?! Are you crazy?!” No, I’m not. You are for thinking about picking CP2K number one overall. Here me out. Chris Johnson had a great season… LAST season. I think that he will be good but I do not believe that he will not be a top three back this year. I repeat: he will not be a top three back. Understand this and recognize that he is not proven. He is not the next Barry Sanders, he’s not the evolution of Barry Sanders, and the only thing that is similar to Barry Sanders is his size. He is not going to have the same type of year as last season. I will not be convinced otherwise. Furthermore, Chris Johnson is not even going to hit the projected 1,600 rushing yards and 12 TD’s. Every defense in the league is going to structure their defense each week to shut Chris “Looks like Lil Wayne” Johnson down. Everyweek. What you should expect is something around 1,250 rushing yards and 9 TD’s, and the only thing that will mirror 2009 are the receiving numbers. Something like 400 yards and 2 scores. You can call me hater all you want, learn that I’m a realist. Expect anywhere from 80-90 fantasy points less than all the projections out there. You want to know the best thing about Chris Johnson? It’s that he will make it easier for you to draft better players and save money so you can win your league.

Take a look at this:

In the four of the snake drafts I did, Chris Johnson went #1 overall three times and fell to #2 overall once, and that is only because I had the number one pick and chose Adrian Peterson. In four of the auction drafts so far he has gone for $56, $60, $70 and wait for it, $100. Thank you, you clown-shoe-wearing tools for making this year’s draft so easy. Those people found it prudent to spend 25-50 % of their money on one guy, for team that needs to fill 16 positions. I’m telling you, do yourself a service and stay away from Chris Johnson. You can thank me later.

Auction Fantasy Tips:
1. Never pay more than $45 dollars for any one player
        a. Unless you’ve really need a quality guy at that role
        b. You know for certain you can trade for 2 quality guys
2. Nominate players you know that you do not want, that way other people spend money that they could possibly     use to bid against you for a player you want
3. Go for a kicker and defense early
        a. That way you are not worried about your cash flow when drafting bench spots
        b. You might get a two knuckle heads who bid the Ravens DEF up to $6 when it should only go for $2             maximum. Same idea for a kicker.

Also, don’t be afraid to try new angles. I read a tip of trying to pick your guys so they all share the same bye week. Obviously you’d lose your game that week, but they said you’d gain 4-8 points more for every other game that year. The problem I found in mock drafting with that strategy, is it is hard to get quality starters that share the same bye week. I think the best I got were 4 starting spots and I didn’t feel good with the rest of the draft. I tried position stacking and went for WR’s and ended up pulling out one of my best teams overall. My starting lineup was staunch, and the most I paid was for a player was $38 and it was for Andre Johnson, the top wide out in the draft. My lineup went:

QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Knowshon Moreno
RB: Felix Jones
WR: Andre Johnson
WR: Randy Moss
WR/RB: Reggie Wayne
TE: Antonio Gates
D/ST: Cowboys
K: Nate Kaeding

SHWING! I landed, in my opinion, the Top 3 wide receivers (three of the Top 4 to ESPN), the #1 quarterback (#2 to ESPN), the second best tight end (ESPN agrees) and solid starting running backs.

Knowshon Moreno notched 947 yards, 7 TD’s on 250 touches in his rookie debut. Felix Jones averaged 5.9 YPC last year and has the explosiveness to bust a run of 40+, also take in to consideration that he bulked up to 220 pounds and I like where 2010 is heading for him even while sharing carries with Marion Barber. For my bench players I was snagged WR Roddy White for $16 bucks (the #6 WR in the draft), secured two rookies who I think will have an instant impact in 2010 WR Dez Bryant and RB Javid Best. I picked Donovan McNabb for my back-up QB even though his NFL career is done but all I need is one good game during Rodger’s bye week and he was the best that was available. I usually make it a point to stay away from Seattle players but RB Justin Forsett who I got for $1, could do things. Probably not. For the record I’ve never been a fan of the Seachickens even though I grew up in Washington. Every year I try and use my last two picks on guys who probably won’t do much, but I want them on my team so it is easier to follow their stats. This year I finished my bench with BYU All-stars Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta. Last year I did the same thing with Collie and thanks to Anthony Gonzalez getting hurt, he was more productive than Terrell Owens, my #1 overall pick last year (I’ve played in a keeper league that keeps two players per team for seven years to shed some perspective). I hope the Ravens use their Mormon TE’s a bunch this year because Pitta was the best tight end in college football last year.

Speaking of last year, I want a competitive fantasy league with people that live near me. The Licious Leauges (previously mentioned) offer the kind of competition you want in a fantasy league: people that adjust their rosters each week, make trades, post smack talk, and ect. The problem is that everybody lives in different states and the league is our only communication really. I want to be in similar league this year, but with people that I can discuss trades with face to face and not by exchanging e-mails. I want to be able to watch games together those people and be able to root for my guy or against their guy while sharing a pizza, chips and dip. Last year I tried to get something like that when I put together a league of our married friends. I didn’t expect anything from the girls really, but at least I thought I’d get something from the guys. Nope. I felt like Farva from Super Troopers trying to make it happen: “Hey guys, lets pop some Viagra’s and issue tickets with raging, mega-huge boners!” Turned out each of them already had the league I was trying to create elsewhere, so the top contributors to the couples league were myself, my wife (who won) and her cousin Lauren. I was Fantasy Football sad last year.

This year, like Chris Johnson, will not be last year. I am going to find people that want that same type of league. A league with a real draft, a draft like the Licious Leagues were able to do back in the day, where everyone shows up with laptops, cheat sheets, draft magazines, a big board and insults ready to fire off at each other on a moment’s notice. We’re going to make a night of it. Turn off the cell phone, pick up some prostitutes, have a mountain of blow in the middle of the table, bottle after bottle of Everclear and Tarantula, cigars, the whole nine yards; you name it. Ok, none of that because I’d end up divorced, but at least the cell phone part. We’ll send the wives/girlfriends off to dinner and the latest Zac Efron movie and be golden. I cannot be the only person that this is appealing to.

The pre-season is less than a month away and I’m bringing my game face this time round!

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