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Fantasy Draft Recaps

Schauf's Pros vs. Joes Draft Recap

By Matt Schauf 8:50am EDT 7/31/15

        

Know your format.

It's 1 of those lines we fantasy football writers mention merely out of obligation at this point -- because it's so friggin' obvious. How you can you draft your best team if you haven't bothered to look over the lineup and scoring settings for that league?

Yet, when 1 of the "Joes" mentioned less than halfway through my "Pros vs. Joes" draft Tuesday night that TEs score 1.5 points per reception in this arena, 1 Pro actually admitted to not knowing about that scoring wrinkle.

Kinda important.

Besides the 1.5 PPR thing at TE, drafts in all FFPC formats also start 2 RBs, 2 WRs and 1 TE, with 2 flex (RB/WR/TE) spots. (One QB, 1 K, 1 D/ST.)

This particular series of drafts goes 28 rounds and plays out best-ball style, which means I automatically get my optimal scoring lineup each week of the season. So I took my MVP Board, the knowledge gleaned from the MFL10 strategy series and a quarter (to make the really tough choices) into Tuesday night's draft and came away with a team that I expect to compete for the title ...


1.04 -- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

I'm with Jared on at least considering Gronk as the top pick in any format this year, so I was quite happy to see him sitting on the board at 4 in this TE-heavy format. Easy pick.


2.09 -- Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens

I hoped LeSean McCoy would make it to this spot but watched him go 2 picks earlier. He's the clearer feature-back type on a team telling everyone it plans to treat him as just that, so I think the week-to-week floor and ceiling should both be attractive.

My MVP Board had Forsett just ahead of DeMarco Murray as my suggested pick, setting up a semi-dilemma of whether the best-ball format made the Chip Kelly RB worth a gamble. But then Murray went a pick ahead, and I quickly drafted the guy who just might enter this season as the favorite to lead the league in RB receptions.


3.04 -- Frank Gore, RB, Colts

Two QBs (Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers) and C.J. Spiller went before I got Gore here. None of those things should happen. Even if the 32-year-old loses efficiency, he should see significantly more TD and reception upside than he did the past 2 years in the most explosive offense he's ever had.


4.09 -- Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

Allen's not exciting, but he's easily worth the 19th WR pick in the draft and a starting spot in a 2-WR lineup. Antonio Gates' 4-game suspension to start the season could help Allen in the red zone ... and undoubtedly helped me steal Gates later in this draft.


5.04 -- Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

I sat at this spot hoping Stewart would get to me and cheered as the 6 picks between my turns produced: Latavius Murray, Joseph Randle, Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Drew Brees and Gio Bernard.

I'd take Stewart ahead of all of those players -- and was quite surprised to see Randle and Robinson climb all the way into Round 4. The Pro who drafted Randle also took Darren McFadden in Round 6. He then picked up a Lance Dunbar voodoo doll in Round 15.


6.09 -- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions

I was all set to take Jeremy Maclin as my WR2 here, but then he went the pick before. Steve Smith sat next on my WR list, but I figured (correctly) that he'd probably stay on the board a while longer. So I instead grabbed the most exciting RB in Detroit.

Smola and I each picked out Abdullah as our "favorite" rookie RB to draft in our RB preview podcast a few weeks back. The 2nd-round Lion went a little more than 3 rounds after Melvin Gordon in this draft, a little more than 2 rounds after Todd Gurley and almost 1 round after T.J. Yeldon. Abdullah's physical upside plus Joique Bell's injury questions give the youngster upside into the top 20 at his position.


7.04 -- DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington

Take Steve Smith here, or go for the boom/bust player who was made for best-ball formats? My next pick proved that D-Jax was the right choice. Jackson reached 16.6 PPR points 8 times in 15 games last year. As a scoring average, that would have ranked 13th in the league last year. In this setup, I don't have to worry about his down weeks.


8.09 -- Steve Smith, WR, Ravens

I don't understand why more people aren't clamoring for this vet to get drafted earlier -- but I'm glad they aren't. If you're worried about reports that the Ravens want to play him less than last year to keep him fresh ... well, just keep in mind that at this time last year Smith was calling himself the Kevin Walter in Gary Kubiak's offense. Six weeks into the year, he was a top-10 fantasy wideout.


9.04 -- Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

Again, this is a TE-heavy setup. And the best-ball format will automatically fill your spots those 1st 4 weeks while Gates sits through his suspension. Yet, 13 other TEs left the board before this longtime stud. That included Josh Hill, Owen Daniels and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That's just stupid.

Sure, Ladarius Green might step in that 1st month and command more playing time even after Gates returns. But we're talking about a guy who has caught 7+ TD passes in 10 of the past 11 seasons -- including 12 last year. Gates finished 3rd among PPR TEs last year at age 34.


10.09 -- Eric Decker, WR, Jets

The MVP Board has been yelling at me to take a QB for a few rounds now because it's worried about there being enough to go 'round in such a long draft. I'd have snapped up Cam Newton if he lingered to my pick, but he finally left the board at 10.04. Then Matthew Stafford became the 11th passer drafted the pick before mine. Go for Ryan Tannehill here, or hold out for my next pick?

Gimme a 4th WR who finished 26th among PPR wideouts last season. Decker might suffer for targets a bit with Brandon Marshall now in town. But he'll remain 1 of the top 2 targets and would benefit from any improvement to an offense that welcomed OC Chan Gailey this offseason.


11.04 -- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

Waiting on a QB pays off. Sure, he'll miss the 1st 5 weeks -- including the bye. But Brady just might deliver top-5 QB numbers after he returns. And plenty of early fill-ins remain on the board.


12.09 -- Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins

I was eyeing Jordan Reed here, but he went a few picks earlier. I considered Larry Donnell (who wound up going 1 pick later) and might go that way the next time. But I thought it better to stock the WRs further after only drafting 1 through the 1st 6 rounds.

Stills doesn't seem to carry as much upside as he did last year, but the Dolphins' receiving picture really isn't that clear. How soon will DeVante Parker's foot allow him to play? Start? Will Jarvis Landry become any more than a short-range target? Will Jordan Cameron stay healthy? I still love Stills the player. And there's not much risk in adding him as a 5th wideout at this point.


13.04 -- Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

Tough choice between Kaep and Sam Bradford here. But my own preseason projections easily favored Kaepernick, and we at least know that he'll start. We expect Bradford to start, but he will have to beat out Mark Sanchez this summer. That's a bigger gamble when you can't touch your roster after the draft. If you want to read any more about why to draft Kaep, go here.


14.09 -- Terrance West, RB, Browns

Defenses started going in this range, and the well of viable TEs began to run low. But I fought off any urges to get caught in a position run and instead filled my 5th RB slot with a guy who could at least start for the Browns in some weeks. There's not nearly as much separation between the players in the Cleveland backfield as the draft positions would suggest. (Perhaps there will be in 2 weeks, but there isn't now.) In this draft, Duke Johnson got picked in the 1st half of Round 8; Isaiah Crowell in the 2nd half of Round 9.


15.04 -- Cody Latimer, WR, Broncos

I don't like any of the remaining TEs at this spot, so it's a good time to take a swing for the fences. If Latimer breaks out, this pick could look awesome. If Kubiak's system keeps his ceiling low, then the 2nd-year wideout should at least enjoy a couple of nice (re: starter-level) games.


16.09 -- Jace Amaro, TE, Jets

OK, time for another TE in the TE-friendly format. That's about all I can say for Amaro.


17.04 -- Robert Griffin, QB, Washington

With 28 roster spots and a QB1 who'll miss the 1st 5 weeks, adding a 3rd makes sense. Say what you want about Griffin, but 25 other QBs preceded him off the board. I love the upside in stashing a guy who finished top-12 in fantasy points per game 2 of the past 3 seasons.


18.09 -- Ravens D/ST

Defenses are starting to fly, and I know I want 3. I was hoping for the Vikings to get here, but they went 4 picks earlier.


19.04 -- Chiefs D/ST

We'll see how good this D will be in 2015. But the Chiefs at least finish the year with a seemingly nice schedule. Tuesday night's news that S Eric Berry is cancer free and ready to go certainly won't hurt.


20.09 -- Blair Walsh, K, Vikings

Just like 2 rounds earlier: I know I want 3 kickers, and they're starting to fly off the board. Time to grab 1.


21.04 -- Chris Polk, RB, Texans

Shaun Suisham going 1 spot before this made it easier for me to steal someone else's handcuff. Everyone started snatching up reserve RBs well before this, including a Round 14 pick for Trent Richardson, Robert Turbin at the start of this round, and even Ray Rice a round earlier.

Alfred Blue, meanwhile, went all the way back in Round 11. That owner's gonna be mad when Polk wins the Houston handcuff job.


22.09 -- Dan Carpenter, K, Bills

Time for that 2nd kicker.


23.04 -- Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks

Time for my boy. Lockett's extremely late ADP makes him a low-risk shot in any format. The weak Seattle WR depth chart and Russell Wilson's terrific passing efficiency give the young receiver exciting upside.


24.09 -- Titans D/ST

Fun fact: Tennessee produced 8 fantasy-starter weeks last season. Only 3 defenses beat that total. (Five others tied it.) That's why you wait to draft 1.


25.04 -- Virgil Green, TE, Broncos

I weighed Green vs. Lockett 2 rounds earlier and decided the WR more worthwhile. A round before this, I knew I needed to move on a 3rd D. So I was happy to see Green make it to this point. Maybe Owen Daniels does stay healthy and enjoy a top-12 season under his foster dad. But Green's a superior athlete, and I have trouble imagining he re-signed in free agency to remain a blocking TE his whole life.

Green's Scouting Combine performance from 2011 placed him among the top 6% or better among TEs in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds), broad jump (10'10) and vertical (42.5 inches). That guy's just gonna block for you now that Julius Thomas is gone? I don't think so. It doesn't hurt that Green attended Peyton Manning's annual offseason passing workouts at Duke this time around.


26.09 -- Mike Nugent, K, Bengals

Kicker #3. I was surprised to see that 5 teams drafted 2 or fewer.


27.04 -- Josh Robinson, RB, Colts

Like with Polk, I was a little surprised to see Robinson float through the RB grab-a-thon. Pierre Thomas, Chris Johnson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kendall Hunter, Matt Asiata and Zac Stacy all preceded him off the board. Robinson could at least force Dan Herron to share the backup job with him if he enjoys a strong summer. His college tape from Mississippi State makes Robinson look like a good bet to command inside-running work should Gore go down. As the Gore owner here, I'm particularly happy to take a shot on the rookie with my 2nd-to-last pick.


28.09 -- Leonard Hankerson, WR, Falcons

Hankerson vs. Jermaine Gresham here. Guess I'll take the potential handcuff to Julio Jones and Roddy White, who combined to miss 17 games over just the past 2 seasons. Rookie Justin Hardy figures to man the slot, but Hankerson fits the outside role of the 2 starters. I've never been a fan of his route-running or hands, but OC Kyle Shanahan clearly likes him (having coached Washington when that team drafted him), and Hankerson at least brings size and speed. He's an interesting late flier in a quality offense.


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