Monday, August 24, 2015

In this year's news you can't possibly care about...

He was mine first, dammit
Here are the results from the end of the auction draft. Keepers have asterisks.

    Player    TM    2015
QB    Matt Ryan    ATL    23 *
RB1    Jeremy Hill    CIN    11 *
RB2    Doug Martin    TB    41
WR1    Calvin Johnson    DET    65
WR2    Randall Cobb    GB    24 *
WR3    Brandon Marshall    NYJ    36
FX    Rashad Jennings    NYG    26
TE    Zach Ertz    PHI    20 *
DEF    Philadelphia    PHI    2
PK    Connor Barth    DEN    1
B1    Ben Roethlisberger    PIT    12
B2    Brian Quick    STL    4
B3    Darren McFadden    DAL    3
B4    Brandon Coleman    NO    13
B5    Ladarius Green     SD    6
B6    Pierre Garcon    WAS    1
    TOTAL        288

The story behind this draft... I lost Kelvin Benjamin to injury the other day, which was a real setback, as I had him for a tolerable low number to boot. The Tier 1 of available talent was very thin (Johnson, Matt Forte, Justin Forsett and CJ Anderson), and when Megatron wasn't named before my nominating position, I knew I had to go very hard for him, as the next tier of WR just wasn't anywhere close to WR1 status. I'd have paid $80 for him without a blink, so getting him for $65 is utterly fine.

Getting shut out on firm attempts at other RBs, I was left with either ending the run with an early shot at Martin, or naming another WR. Marshall offered the highest floor, and he's made hay with mediocre QBs before, so the move to New York doesn't fill me with terror. He's WR2 material in a WR3 slot, and 1K / 10 TDs doesn't seem impossible.

Martin was the last tolerable RB to me, and I know, he's not really a great shot at RB2, with the possibility of losing the starting spot. He's shown well in preseason and gotten touch from the PR, is in a contract year, and I think Jamesis Winston will give Tampa fewer stacked boxes. It's not a great price -- another owner correctly read that he was the last RB on my tier, and jumped the price by at least $15 over what the rest of the room was willing to pay -- but going without was too grim to contemplate. If I had the draft to do over again, and could have taken his money and my leftovers to land Forsett, that would have been optimal.

Backing up the shaky RB2 with the next best thing from Jennings seemed best, as I don't believe that Tom Coughlin will tip his hand so much with obvious run or pass backs in the other members of the committee, and the Giants play in a cake division. Quick was an actual WR1 before getting hurt last year, and has a possible QB upgrade now. The price is fine here.

Next time up had Roethlisberger as the best available player on the board, and several teams had a lot more money than I did, and we've got some Steeler fans in the league. I tossed him out under the hope he'd get bid up too much, but I guess 2014's numbers didn't impress them the way they did me, and leaving him with the last bidder would have made for too strong a move for an opponent. At $12, it's a great price for a very clear QB1, and might give me trade bait if both guys play to their level.

The last move of consequence is Coleman at $13. I don't buy into the idea that New Orleans is going to stop throwing the ball everywhere, or that Marques Colston and Josh Hill are going to be world beaters. Brandin Cooks is nails, but he's small, so there's the chance that Coleman winds up as a #1 in a dome team with Drew Brees at the controls. Worth a shot.  Garcon at the close is just too much chance of upside -- he's a DeSean Jackson injury away from being force-fed the ball on a team that will be behind a lot, and throwing all the time -- to go undrafted. It's probably a pipe dream at 29, but it's not like his game was built on speed anyway. 

McFadden is a terrible football player now, but he's also playing behind the world's best offensive line, and was signed by the only GM in the NFL who has ego skin in the game of him doing well. Joseph Randle is also unstable (stealing underwear and cologne, seriously?), so there's a chance that he'll have a handful of RB1 games. Green gets the Do It Or Else role for four games with Antonio Gates suspended, and might actually, well, do it. Gates is also a billion years old, so if Green does it, there's the chance he'll keep doing it. If not, he's waiver bait for the hopeful Ertz breakout, because none of the Eagle QBs strike me as terribly adverse to overusing the security blanket.

Defense and kicker don't matter, and I still think the Eagles are more likely a .500 team or worse than a real contender, but the run defense looks stout, and so long as the skill players are healthy (not for long, likely), they'll have lots of shots at INTs in catch-up positions in the first half of the year. The second half, not so much, but it's not as if you keep a defense all year anyway. Barth has a job in altitude, which means more shots at big long figgies, so whatever.

All in all, I'm reasonably pleased with the draft, with the exception of (a) leaving money on the table, never encouraging, (b) not getting a better RB2, and (c) not having a truly great young talent to upside and save the year if things go wrong. Well, maybe that's Coleman, but last year was made tolerable by Hill and Benjamin, and I've got less of that goodness now. It's what happens when you zig when the market zags, and with everyone shoving hard on RBs and young sexy talent, locking down Big Ben, Marshall and other known quantities seemed like the better play. Being contrary is rarely fun, but it usually does better for you in ROI.

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