Fantasy Drafts, Fantasy Football

Annenberg League – 12 Team Draft Recap

Surprise! The league that I joined last year with my grad school buddies, it’s gone up from a 10-team league to a 12-team league! Surprise! It’s still a PPR League. And surprise! I randomly picked last.

Actually, the 12th spot is perhaps exactly where I wanted to be. It’s where I had more or less assumed I would be drafting in other 12-team mock drafts, and in that spot, you have the luxury of two picks back to back, which gives you options in terms of what position you need to pick next and what position you can stock up on.

Except having 22 picks in between your next two is a lot more than having just 18 in between your next two picks. And I found that Wide Receiver, as deep as it is, was a lot more depleted by round 3 than it had been in my 10-team league. A deeper league meant a shallower field of starters but what I felt was a much higher upside field of bench players. Whereas I had to let certain high-caliber lottery tickets go in my previous draft, I found I was able to stock up in the late rounds without much competition. The overall draft grade from Yahoo, which has seriously bizarre rankings and ADPs, gave me a B, although the best team only mustered a B+, and the worst a C. Let’s see how I did:

Springfield Wildcats
1. (12) Rob Gronkowski (NE – TE)
2. (13) Lamar Miller (Hou – RB)
3. (36) Randall Cobb (GB – WR)
4. (37) Jamaal Charles (KC – RB)
5. (60) Kelvin Benjamin (Car – WR)
6. (61) Jordan Matthews (Phi – WR)
7. (84) Kirk Cousins (Was – QB)
8. (85) Seattle (Sea – DEF)
9. (108) Ameer Abdullah (Det – RB)
10. (109) Sterling Shepard (NYG – WR)
11. (132) Ryan Tannehill (Mia – QB)
12. (133) Zach Miller (Chi – TE)
13. (156) Tyler Boyd (Cin – WR)
14. (157) Bilal Powell (NYJ – RB)
15. (180) Roberto Aguayo (TB – K)

This year, I own Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Matthews, Sterling Shepard and Roberto Aguayo on both teams. Whereas in my 10-team league I went with strong receivers early and feel light in running back, in this league I’m disappointed that my WR1 is Randall Cobb, who I had ranked #15 overall in my personal pre-draft board. And I might feel a lot better if my starting running backs were say, Adrian Peterson and Le’Veon Bell instead of Lamar Miller and Jamaal Charles.

Truth is, with perhaps the exception of AP, just about all of those top tier running backs carry a serious amount of risk. Ezekial Elliot is a rookie. David Johnson, Todd Gurley and Devonta Freeman may as well be rookies as this is will be their first full season as starting running backs, and all of them could be due for regression. Bell is suspended, and Charles is likely injured and sitting out Week 1, and who knows for how long. Miller was a stud last season, and the kind of guy who if you drafted in the middle rounds last year you were happy to have carry you to a title. But now in a new offense with the Texans (granted, the one that made Arian Foster a star for so many years. Foster now has Miller’s old job), Miller is suddenly the guy I’m building my team around behind Gronk. In fact I was so nervous about taking Miller that I wondered if I should’ve already taken Jordy Nelson or Brandon Marshall. After all, I took Jordy second in my other league. Jordy’s ADP was far lower in Yahoo drafting, and he even fell to the middle of the third round, but I regret sleeping on him. Same for Marshall, who finished last year’s PPR scoring as the #3 WR but is being drafted as a back end WR1.

If all goes well, that running back duo could be the most formidable in the league (other league RB1 and RB2s I like: David Johnson and Doug Martin on defending champion Super Nintendo Chalmers, and Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy on new team and the commish’s pick for sleeper team, Too Live Crew). If Miller doesn’t live up to his draft pick and Charles continues to be injury prone, I could be fucked.

But then, as I said mid-draft this year, RB is trash this year. I’m not the only one with issues. Charles is a reasonable enough pick at the start of the 4th round, considering a week ago before there were any injury concerns, he could’ve been going in the first round. I’ve now owned him in at least one league for each of the last three years, and you can see why I would be both excited and nervous.

There was a note that Cobb played through an injury last season and could be primed for a bounce back. In fact the whole Packers offense could be primed for a bounce back. There are similar questions and hopes for both Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews. Picked right before them were Eric Decker, who is as consistent as they come, and Jarvis Landry, who is PPR gold but otherwise a far lower pick.

By the 7th round, I was hoping Tom Brady might still be available (taken by Super Nintendo Chalmers). He was, but not by my late pick. With Eli and Philip Rivers both absent as well, I settled for Kirk Cousins, who carried my team to a finals victory with a 40 point game last year and could be poised for greatness this year, but who I never imagined would be a QB1 on either of my teams from the get-go.

With the 8th pick, I likely should’ve solidified my RBs, especially knowing that Charles might be out. I reached for the Seattle defense, the second off the board, when I could’ve had Frank Gore, Danny Woodhead (another solid PPR play), Ryan Mathews (who I’ve never been excited by for whatever reason) or Giovani Bernard. Chris Ivory got snaked a few picks prior in the 9th (Super Nintendo Chalmers again) and I ended up with Ameer Abdullah as my Week 1 RB2. He’s got a good matchup against a weak Colts defense, and he could be a post-hype sleeper considering how much excitement there was moving into 2015. But I was hoping to wait and see.

I also seriously blew it on drafting Jamaal Charles’s handcuff in Spencer Ware. He went a few picks after my Sterling Shepard selection, and frankly I can live with having missed out on that. Handcuffs are overrated, but in a 12-team league or deeper, with so many of them drafted in a way they weren’t in the 10-man league, I can see why they’d be tempting.

Late rounds, I love Tyler Boyd as a potential breakout in Cincinatti. Bilal Powell is another solid PPR play who could be working in a committee with Matt Forte. Zach Miller is an exciting TE2 considering how many looks he got from Jay Cutler last year. And I already said my piece about Aguayo.

It goes to show, drafting is hard. You can do all the mock drafts in the world, and you’ll never predict the eccentricities of being in a real one. ADP will always lie, someone will always surprise you, and your logic will escape you in the heat of the moment. Surprise!

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