Monday, August 29, 2016

This year's exercise in nerdery

Nerd Up!
Here's how my draft ended up, on the off chance that you care, haven't drafted yet, or, most wisely, use this kind of thing as anti-advice, seeing how I never win my own damn league. Italicized players were protects, as this is a keeper single-round auction league.

     Player    TM    2016    2017
QB    Ben Roethlisberger    PIT    15    19
RB1    Jeremy Hill    CIN    14    17
RB2    Doug Martin    TB    46    51
WR1    Brandon Marshall    NYJ    41    46
WR2    Randall Cobb    GB    28    33

WR3    Doug Baldwin    SEA    33    38
FX    Jamaal Charles    KC    66    71
TE    Zach Ertz    PHI    24    28
DEF    Green Bay    GB    1    4
PK    Brandon McManus    DEN    1    4
B1    Devin Funchess    CAR    15    19
B2    Rishard Matthews    TEN    3    6
B3    Kamar Aiken    BAL    8    11
B4    Christine Michael    SEA    3    6
B5    Martellus Bennett    NE    1    4
B6    Tyrod Taylor    BUF    1    4
     TOTAL         300    361

Sorry for the formatting weirdness; Excel and Blogger don't like each other much. Anyway, you get the gist.

This was an odd draft for me, in that I had early position, a strong need for two starters in a league where something like 24 of the top 26 WRs were kept, and a historical aversion to going to a true stars and scraps philosophy, given how injuries dominate fantasy football. To my eye, there were only 9 total true difference makers in the draft, and my entire goal was to somehow get two of those guys without having to go to just $1 guys for the rest of the day.

With the first pick going off the board (Ezekiel Elliot, $76, about where I suspected he'd go), I had my choice between LeSean McCoy, CJ Anderson, Baldwin and Charles. The way I view the AFC this year is that the Chiefs are the conference's best team, and while Charles has clear committee potential and a highly worrisome injury to recover from, I'm just not seeing Andy Reid get modern enough to move off his best back with the historically high yards per carry average. McCoy's a great player and might be Buffalo's second best threat in the passing game, but the nicks from last year makes me think he might be more likely to be brittle this year. Anderson, too scared of his QB situation, and I had the hope that no one would nominate Baldwin until my pick in the second.

It was a coin flip decision, but in those, give me the RB from the team that I think will be playing from ahead more often. As for the price I paid for him, while it was half my cap, it was what I expected to pay, and even a few bucks less than where I was prepared to go. By the auction cost, JC is my first round pick, and while he's a little shaky there, he's also not a terrible bet to be the best player in fantasy this year.

While active in bidding up others in the next dozen picks, there wasn't anything that broke my heart (Moncrief for 45 was somewhat reassuring), so I put Baldwin in motion. I started the bidding at $6 instead of $1 to try to make it look like I was just throwing his name out there to draw money out of the pot and punt the pick -- I've done this kind of thing before, honestly. I'd have gone 10-20% higher for him, as I think the Regression Police have gone too far in downgrading his prospects. Sure, he's not going to have a full year that looks like the hot months of 2015, but the Hawks aren't going to be able to just turtle up and not throw the ball this year. Getting a 1000 / 8 TD kind of year from Baldwin doesn't seem impossible to me.

With my two big bets in, the draft got fairly passive for me for a while. I nominated some QBs and Defenses to draw money out of the pool, then stood the course for Funches. Too many reports have him outplaying Kelvin Benjamin to ignore, and KB's storied 2014 seems to be a matter of targets over talent. Mathews was a small moment of price protection that backfired, but $3 for a WR1 seems pretty tolerable. Aiken was something of an all-in moment to keep him from going for under market value , and took the majority of my remaining budget.

The late picks are all players I wanted. Michael is a tease who has burned a ton of people, but the reports and results this August are just too good to let go, and I've got hope of strong performance there. McManus was my preference at kicker -- I love altitude for kickers, since long figgies score higher -- and Bennett has Aaron Hernandez potential n NE's 2-TE sets, along with poaching potential if Gronk can't stay healthy. While I'm a big fan of Zach Ertz's potential this year, I wanted a safeguard in the event of Eagle collapse. Tyrod Taylor is good Ben injury insurance with dual scoring threats, and the Green Bay defense has a good Week 1 matchup (Jacksonville), since we have a victory bonus that, in my opinion, should be in a lot more leagues.

I think it's a top half team, looking at the others in my league, with the potential to actually win me some money... but it's football. The waiver wire and injuries are nearly as important as the draft, and predicting how you'll do in both is impossible. But at least I've got some hope, and that's all you can really ask for on Opening Day.

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