Anatomy of a March Best Ball Draft – Part 3
This installment of the FFPC Best Ball league analysis covers a bit more ground as we review 5 rounds of picks covering rounds 8 through 12. The theme of these five rounds is red and purple. 50% OF THE PICKS MADE IN THESE ROUNDS ARE QB OR TE!!!!!!
Team 1 continues to deal with the nuances of drafting out of the 1 spot where you have to really take into consideration that 22 players are going off the board before you pick again. With a somewhat balanced roster, they double up on the turn with 2 RB’s (J. White / Cohen) and 2 QB’s (Ryan/Winston). They’ve got a REAL strong QB group in Newton/Ryan/Winston. TE is a bit of a different story as they backup their Trey Burton investment by taking Gerald Everett with their 12th round pick. Everett had 1 game with 10+ points last year, and he’s still sharing time with Tyler Higbee. Expectations can’t be high, but in the FFPC, TE’s go deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. By the time this draft is over, it’s likely 50+ tight ends will have been taken. Still plenty of time to dig for more.
3 of the 5 picks made by Team 2 are QB or TE. They have waited until round 8 to draft their first tight end in Tyler Eifert. That’s shaky given his injury history. Backing him up with Vance McDonald in the 12th doesn’t help much. They do grab a couple of nice late WR’s in Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee. That’s a pretty nice #3 and #4 wide receiver if you are going to wait on wideouts. With Tom Brady secured as their #1 QB back in round 6, they can now afford to go for some young upside at QB with Patrick Mahomes in the 9th.
Team 3 also grabs their first tight end in the 8th in George Kittle. The arrow is pointing up for Kittle, and that’s a solid later round TE to grab if you are going to wait. With the addition of 2 more wideouts in Parker and Doctson, they’ve grabbed 6 in their first 12 picks, so with Lev Bell as a strong anchor at RB, they’ve chosen to load up at wide receiver. D’Onta Foreman could very well turn out to be the lead back in Houston, so that’s a nice pick and their selection of Philip Rivers two picks ahead of me is a flat out snipe. I was hoping he would last a couple more picks to me, but no luck.
For Team 4, they draft 3 QB’s in these next five picks. Garoppolo/Roethlisberger/Keenum. That’s a wrap on QB for them in this league (if they want to stop now). A great corps there. Their Garcon pick in the 9th is yet ANOTHER snipe against me. I had him queued up but got robbed again. WTF. They add Stills as their WR4 in the 11th and overall, I really like this team. I wish I was not drafting right next to them.
In round 8 I finally pull the trigger on my first QB in Kirk Cousins. His durability is a plus in the Best Ball format (hasn’t missed a game the past 3 seasons), and he should thrive in Minnesota. I mix in another couple of receivers that I like (Agholor/Shepard) and then my second QB in Dak Prescott. As it stands now it is a Dak/Dez stack, but they could change based on Dez rumors. In the 12th I grab Jared Cook, who I think is a pretty decent value, but not what I really was looking for as my 2nd tight end. Nevertheless, he saw the 9th most targets last year at TE, but is the 23rd TE off the boad. He’s the only game in town in Oakland (at least until the draft comes) with Clive Walford getting the boot. I seem to be mighty thin at the RB position at this point with just Ingram, Hyde, and Lynch. This is a problem.
Team 6 has also dipped their toes into the QB pool, snaring the high upside / high downside Andrew Luck and Derek Carr. With the Jordy Nelson pick in the 8th, he has his own mini stack. On paper his wideouts of Hopkins/ Keenan Allen/ Edelman/Jordy look good, but I have questions about Jordy. I can’t pull the trigger on that guy at this time. I’ve been eyeing Gio Gernard, his 12th round selection, and like that pick, but I couldn’t work in a RB somehow over the course of these 5 picks. I like ASJ who he picked in the 10th, but TE’s don’t see a lot of targets in Jacksonville. He’ll have a few big games along the way though.
Team 7 is leading the league in rostered tight ends, as they add Eric Ebron to a stable that already include Greg Olsen, Hunter Henry, and Jordan Reed. With 4 tight ends in the first 10 picks, it’s an overweight approach. You can roster a maximum of 3 tight ends in a given week. Given the uncertainty around Ebron as the second tight end in Indy, one wonders if grabbing a WR there might have been more prudent. As it stands at the end of round 10, they have WR’s of Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Martavis Bryant. WR won’t be a position of strength on this squad, but perhaps a late round splurge on WR is coming for this team to compensate, and hope that the weekly scoring optimization used in Best Ball comes to the rescue.
In contrast to team 7, Team 8 has rostered 6 WR’s out of its first 12 picks. Sanu is sneaky productive and Tyler Lockett provides some extra value because in the FFPC, a kick return for a TD rewards points both for the Defense AND the player who scores the touchdown. Austin Hooper is drafted in the 11th as the #2 tight end on this squad to back up Gronkowski. He really disappeared in the 2nd half of 2017, not eclipsing the 10 point mark at any time after week 10, doing his best Coby Fleener imitation. In the 9th and 10th round, they grabbed Royce Freeman (combine standout) and Isaiah Crowell. As the #2 and #3 running backs for this team, there is not a lot of certainty there.
After grabbing Rashaad Penny as a rookie hopeful in the 8th, we see Team 9 grab both TE’s from Tampa with OJ Howard and Cameron Brate. Though tight end timeshares are something to avoid, in this case they’ve invested in one of the best ones out there. Between the two of them, there were 12 touchdowns in 2017, so it’s a position that Winston loves to go to. Sandwiched between the TE’s are two QB’s. Goff and Mariota are not pictures of consistency at QB as far as eclipsing 20 points per week. This is the total I consider as the minimum for a ‘good’ best ball week for QB. Both have a good chance to better their 2017 performances so it’s still solid.
Team 10 leads the league thus far in running backs rostered, adding Chris Carson and Marlon Mack. With Gore gone in Indy, Mack should yield a lot of useful weeks in the best ball format. There are a lot of backs to compete with in Seattle, but a few folks are betting heavily on Carson to come out on top. He has been drafted in the 5th round multiple times. A bet placed in the 10th round sounds like a more reasonable price to pay for his potential.
Team 11 drafted Odell Beckham and Michael Thomas to start their draft, and since then haven’t added a single one. This is a perfect example of how flexible the FFPC format is. This is not a strategy you can employ successfully in an MFL10 where you HAVE to start 3 wide receivers. It’s freedom of choice and they choose to say no after investing their two top selections in that position. Their QB selection of Carson Wentz in the 8th makes for an interesting pairing with DeShaun Watson. They have two QB’s coming off season ending injuries. This is a risky proposition. We also see them grab the top options in the Green Bay backfield. From the 11th spot, they leverage the turn to take Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. This is a veteran move and comes at an opportune time with only Sony Michel and Ronald Jones at RB thus far. They also leverage their position at the turn to grab the two top options at defense in the Jags and Rams. Nice technique, but investing your 11th and 12th picks in defense is not widely recommended.
After drafting all running backs and wide receivers during the first 9 rounds, Team 12 finally secures some late TE’s and a QB with their picks in rounds 10-12. David Njoku and Charles Clay are the TE’s and I like the Clay pick. I was hoping he would make it back to me as he seems like one of the more reliable options in a flimsy receiving crew in Buffalo. I’m lukewarm on Njoku as there are so many receiving options now in Cleveland. Tyrod Taylor is happy to spread the ball around so I can’t see huge returns from Njoku, though he should have a handful of worthwhile games. Team 12 is also the team to wait the longest to grab their first QB with the Alex Smith pick at the beginning of the 12th. Smith has never gotten respect but he puts up some pretty big games annually, not to mention that the Redskins are way better off with Alex Smith instead of Kirk Cousins (according to Jay Gruden).