Anatomy of a March Best Ball Draft – Part 4
We cover seven rounds in this part of analysis, from round 13 to round 20.
Thus far team 1 has its core defined, though with only 3 wide receivers in the first 12 rounds, it wasn’t unexpected to see them acquire 3 more in their next 8 picks. Randall Cobb, Jordan Matthews, and Kevin White all had subpar (or non-existent) production in 2017. Their situations are still a bit unclear for 2018. Though Jordy Nelson has departed in Green Bay, Jimmy Graham has entered the picture, and Geronimo Allison may make some noise as the #3. Still, the 13th round seems like pretty decent value for Cobb. The two TE’s taken in the 14th and 15th are Jonnu Smith and Adam Shaheen. Shaheen makes some sense as a handcuff to his Trey Burton pick and probably yields some productive games even with Burton in there. The Jonnu Smith pick is a headscratcher by ADP standards. With Delanie Walker in front of him, it would seem an injury would have to take place to justify the 14th round cost for Jonnu. His ADP currently stands at 23.01 . 3 kickers round out the rest of the picks for “I Have no MOJO” in this stage of the draft.
Team 2 spends most of their picks here on kicker and defense, with 5 out of their 8 picks here used on them. Rather than wait on defense, they get a jump on them and grab Minnesota and Philadelphia, two of the premier defenses. The only positional players taken are Austin Ekeler and Corey Coleman. Ekeler should see more usage in San Diego, and is one of the most valuable handcuffs you can grab (though he doesn’t roster Melvin Gordon in this draft). Coleman is a face in the crowd in Cleveland, so predicting his output this year is tough.
Team 3 snipes Corey Clement from me in the 13th. Though not a featured guy, he’s in the mix as part of that rotation in Philly. As we saw with the “Philly Special” in the Super Bowl, they incorporate plays specifically around Clement. He’ll be non-existent some weeks, but could pop for 1 or 2 20+ point games in 2018. (He had 25.6 points in week 9 of 2017). With the Luke Wilson selection in round 14, he is seriously thin at TE. That gives him just George Kittle and Wilson through 20 rounds in this tight end premium format. I expect he has something up his sleeve towards the end of this draft at the tight end position. His additions at WR here of Paul Richardson, Keelan Cole, and Geronimo Allison are all nice picks. I expect all three of those to contribute worthwhile games this year. Richardson may even lead his team in receiving, so he’s a very under the radar pick right now in drafts.
Team 4 grabs 3 kickers in a row from prolific offenses in Gostkowski, Prater, and Jake Elliott. This early in the draft season, it pays to draft kickers a tad earlier if you’re interested in ones with job security. And as mentioned elsewhere, the Theo Riddick selection was a snipe of one of 3 RB’s I had queued up that resulted in my rostering of Doug Martin (yuck). Jermaine Kearse and Torrey Smith are both low profile wideouts that will have decent output this year, so definitely good ones to roster as later picks in this format.
My biggest need after 12 rounds was running back. I only had Ingram, Hyde, and Marshawn Lynch. To address this I targeted a running back in the 13th, and ended up with Doug Martin. Perhaps a tad early on him, and not thrilled with the pick, but in theory this secures the Oakland backfield for me as I pair him with Lynch. (How’s that for rationalizing a bad pick?) The LeGarrette Blount pick I like because he should have a lot of opportunity in Detroit. If he gets 8 TD’s in a short yardage specialist role, I’ll be happy with that. But I think he showed in Philly that he is still useful between the 20’s as well and has a lot of juice left. In the 15th I was debating between Robby Anderson and DeSean Jackson. Even if Anderson ends up suspended for a game or two, he’s proven to be an up and coming star in this league, so he’s worth the risk in my opinion. He yielded a ton of productive 10+ point games in 2017. Shockingly, Jackson was still on the board when the pick came back to me in the 16th so I snagged him up. He’s a great boom/bust guy for this format, as well as Mike Wallace, who I picked in the 18th. With the Eagles, Wallace is in a good spot to put up 5-7 games with 10+ points. Very happy to have added those 3 wideouts in the late teens of this draft. My third tight end is Mike Gesicki. Gesicki has that strong basketball background that seems to be characteristic of a lot of tight ends these days. In a perfect world, he gets drafted by a team like the Saints. Rookie tight ends don’t often contribute consistently, so even if he does land in a favorable spot, it may be just 3-4 games that he’s inserted into the lineup based on the optimization of players. Wayne Gallman showed that he can catch the ball and put up a lot of useful weeks based on that skill alone. Jonathan Stewart won’t threaten Gallman’s catches in 2018, but if a pass catching rookie gets drafted by the Giants, that might sink this pick altogether (Saquon).
Team 6 gets a good value with CJ Anderson in the 13th round. It never works out as expected for C.J. in Denver. He’s always in and out of favor with the coaching staff. That won’t be as much of a worry in this best ball format. The “Murray Brothers” (DeMarco and Latavius) are also drafted by team 6. DeMarco’s landing spot is unknown as of this writing. Latavius should get a decent amount of work with McKinnon out of town in Minnesota, as Dalvin Cook’s backup (and should Cook get hurt, look out). Ed Dickson goes as his 3rd TE in the 20th. He’s a recent signing in Seattle, but tight end usage on that team is tough to figure out.
With just 3 wideouts rostered through round 12, Team 7 goes to work and drafts 3 among its next 8 picks, along with 2 kickers and 2 defenses. Ted Ginn is a perfect later round pick in best ball as a big play threat, but he’s become even more than that in New Orleans delivering consistency in the that offense. Still, they have only 4 total running backs after that top-heavy Hunt/Dalvin Cook/ Joe Mixon start.
Team 8, Avada Kamara, also adds 3 more wide receivers, but this is in addition to 6 they ALREADY have, giving them 9 through 20 rounds. Tyrell Williams and Quincy Enunwa each have a year of productivity on their resume but are not guaranteed to produce in 2018. Kenny Golladay never had as much regular sesason success in 2017 as he did in the preseason, but maybe he can deliver more than a handful of useful games this year. After drafting Aaron Rodgers early, they’ve selected Sam Bradford as their second QB in round 15. Bradford is a dicey pick as a backup QB as we all know his injury history. Rodgers will need to stay healthy for this team to land in the money. Adding Rawls and Prosise as their 4th and 5th backs are dart throws, though Prosise had shown glimpses of promise in the past, and the featured running back in Seattle changes by the hour.
A lot of nice picks by Ghost Tesla out of the 9th position in this sequence. Dede Westbrook and Moncrief represent a large chunk of the targets in the Jacksonville offense, and Rishard Matthews is quietly the most consistent producer at WR in the Tennessee offense (we’ll see what Corey Davis does in his 2018 campaign). With Chris Ivory out of the picture, TJ Yeldon should have multiple 10+ point games in Jacksonville. Fournette is no stranger to injury, and he does get spelled quite a bit by the reserves there. Throw in a couple of kickers and he’s got what appears to be a perfectly balanced roster through 20 rounds. He hasn’t selected a defense yet, but no rush there.
T Fun, in the 10th spot, waited until round 12 to select his first tight end in Jason Witten. We see him follow up with some cheap upside candidates in rounds 14/15 with Vernon Davis and Ricky Seals-Jones. The Cardinals should want Seals-Jones to succeed with Jermaine Gresham coming off the Achilles injury. Sam Bradford does like to throw to his tight end, so I think Seals-Jones will definitely outperform his draft position in 2018. Mr. Fun also grabs a couple of kickers and throws in Chris Hogan. With Amendola out of New England, Hogan should continue to mix in the occasional big game in that offense. He’s more attractive in Best Ball than your typical season long league, where you will be guessing when those games will come.
After drafting 2 WR’s to start his draft, Cromarties Daycare (Team 11), finally pulls the trigger on some backups, waiting until the 14th round to draft his third in Calvin Ridley. He follows Ridley up with another 2 rookies in Courtland Sutton and James Washington. His selection of Samaje Perine at the 19.02 represents the latest draft position for Perine in any of the 67 best ball leagues we’ve tracked so far. The previous high was 17.5. Perine was personally on my watch list, but I kept passing on him. I really think Washington is a team that will draft a running back this year, and Perine performed like “just a guy” last year. Still, this is a tremendous value.
Given how late Team 12 waited to draft their first QB (round 12), they came out of that looking solid with Mitch Trubisky in the 13th and Joe Flacco in the 18th. The’ve got 3 definitive starters, and that’s good enough in the best ball format. Ben Watson goes in the 14th and if in fact the Saints don’t draft another tight end, Watson should deliver many useful best ball weeks in that offense. Cameron Meredith is coming off an injury, but if healthy, he projects as the #2 receiver in Chicago. As far as Albert Wilson goes in Miami, you can’t expect much with so many faces there. Even their projected #1 (Devante Parker), is impossible to rely on for consistency.