Saturday was a big day for football. Not only was it the first full day of the college season, but I also had both of my fantasy football drafts happening in a day-night doubleheader that day. The Bloggers League draft occurred in the early afternoon, while my other league, the KPK Cup (named in honor of our first champion), drafted around dinner time. This league features, among others, myself, Sports Matters contributors Andy Grabia, Nathan Muhly and Kevin Kimmis, and frequent SM/oilogosphere commenters ‘tothebank’ and ‘J.R. Hippe’.
You can read all about my team in the Bloggers League here.
In the KPK Cup, I had the 9th pick (out of 12), which meant that I had a good chance of adding a top running back, then a second one as well on the turnaround in the second round. This league uses a close to standard scoring system, so running backs are like gold. The starting lineup is as follows:
2 Running Backs
2 Wide Receivers
1 Tight End
1 Wide Receiver/Tight End
As much as I wanted a Tom Brady or Carson Palmer (this year’s MVP) on my team, I went in knowing that it was very unlikely I would get them unless I reached with the 16th pick. Unfortunately, that would compromise my chances of adding a good #2 back, so I would have to pass and hope to add a solid quarterback in round 3 or 4.
Round by round, here is my team shapes up:
1. Rudi Johnson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (9th Overall)
There were no real surprises in round one. Nathan was picking in front of me, and he made my decision easy by taking Steven Jackson. I had been torn between Jackson and “A Message To You” Rudi Johnson (Ronnie Brown was my third choice), so Johnson was my pick.
2. Willis McGahee, RB, Buffalo Bills (16th)
In the second round, I picked Willis McGahee, the last of the solid running backs left on the board (I’m not a fan of Westbrook or Parker), so I was sitting pretty at that position. As expected, Palmer and Brady went off the board, so I was left to pick from the second-tier of quarterbacks in round three.
3. Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (33rd)
He was the clear choice here. He may not pile up huge yardage every week, but our scoring system gives you 1 point per completion, meaning that West Coast quarterbacks like McNabb have great value. I like the Eagles’ chances a lot this year, and think that McNabb is due for a big season.
4. Javon Walker, WR, Denver Broncos (40th)
5. Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo Bills (57th)
The next two picks were devoted to my receiving group. I had planned on adding a 3rd running back in round four, but given that there was a run of receivers, I figured I should get in while there were still some good ones left. I took Javon Walker, coming off a season lost to injury, in round four. I think he’s due for a big year in Denver. I added Lee Evans in round five, who is another solid performer. At this point, it dawned on me that two of my top five picks were Buffalo Bills, which dampered my enthusiasm by about 50%.
6. Ben Watson, TE, New England Patriots (64th)
With the tight ends starting to come off the board, I jumped on the bandwagon in round six and picked Ben Watson of the New England Patriots, who I strongly believe is poised for a breakout year. With Deion Branch on the sidelines, he’s going to become Brady’s go-to target. As I said in the draft room, he’s going to be the new Ben Coates. Believe.
7. Thomas Jones, RB, Chicago Bears (81st)
8. Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (88th)
9. Laurence Maroney, RB, New England Patriots (105th)
10. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (112th)
11. Antonio Bryant, WR, San Francisco 49ers (129th)
12. Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (136th)
13. David Akers, K, Philadelphia Eagles (153rd)
14. Antonio Chatman, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (160th)
15. Philadelphia Eagles Defense (177th)
Beyond this, most of my picks were for depth. I’m very excited about having two guys named Antonio, and one named Santonio on my team. This won’t lead to any confusion at all.
With my last two picks, I filled the kicker and defense positions. Even though I got burned with them last year, I went back to David Akers and the Eagles D. I feel good this year for a couple of reasons. First, I took them with my last two picks. Last year, I spent middle round selections on them; I’m pretty certain they were both the first at their position to come off the board. Second, as I said earlier, the Eagles are poised for a comeback year.
I’m confident in my team’s chances. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, though. I have a couple of Patriots and a token 49er, which is awesome, but my team is depending on several Eagles and Steelers to perform well. So even if my team succeeds, it will likely be a form of self-loathing success. In any case, it should be a fun (fantasy) football season.