On Friday night, I participated in the annual Triple Crown IDP League. This 12-team PPR industry draft ran 20 rounds with the following starting lineup requirements:
1 RB/WR/TE FLEX
1 DL/LB/DB FLEX
Here’s how my draft shook out …
1.07 -- Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
This pick came down to Rice vs. LeSean McCoy. Ultimately, I followed the MVP Board and grabbed the “safe” RB. Rice has finished among the top 8 PPR backs every year since 2009.
Yeah, Bernard Pierce is a talented backup. And sure, he might siphon 8+ touches per week. But you don’t neglect a proven stud like Rice -- not on an offense lacking playmakers. He could grab 70 balls, and I’m happy to land him here.
2.06 -- Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
TE is flush with mid-to-late round options. You can grab several guys outside the top 10 of our TE Rankings and feel content.
But there’s only one Jimmy Graham.
Besides, the position lacks elite options -- the result of a hobbled Rob Gronkowski and an expelled Aaron Hernandez. It’s tough to overstate Graham’s safety and gargantuan upside.
3.07 -- Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Fitz’s ADP is inching toward Round 2, so I was thrilled to add him in the 3rd. He remains an elite talent on an offense that should enjoy a massive upgrade at QB.
No, Palmer isn’t Kurt Warner. But he’s talented enough to supply Fitzgerald with top 3 upside.
4.06 -- Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots
Barring another hard-luck injury, Amendola is poised for a monster season. In the mid-4th as my WR2, this pick was a no-brainer.
5.07 -- Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
Many fantasy owners understandably shun Mathews. He’s quickly garnered an injury-prone label. And his O-line is generally thought of as 1 of the NFL’s worst.
I’m not going to discount a talented starting RB who doesn’t turn 26 until October, though. And as for the line, I think it’ll be OK in run-blocking. (It’s Philip Rivers and the passing game that need a miracle.)
Even with Danny Woodhead likely to steal the 3rd-down role, Mathews has the talent to snag 20+ balls en route to a top-25 PPR finish.
6.06 -- Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
Did we forget how dominant this guy was at Alabama? Now on an elite NFL offense -- with a sizable role locked up -- his TD upside is undeniable.
7.07 -- Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
Yep … another DS team with Romo. We’ve liked him since the beginning of draft season, and a strong preseason showing won’t have us backing down. He came off the board 11th among QBs, which still doesn't make sense.
8.06 -- Chris Ivory, RB, Jets
I was satisfied with my stable of RBs. But then, Ivory dropped into my lap.
Of course, the newly minted Jet comes with myriad concerns. Most players available in Round 8 do.
Yet I’ll take my chances with Ivory as a 4th RB. When healthy, he’s slated for 15+ touches per game -- including goal-line work.
9.07 -- Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers
I’m higher on Sanders than my DS cohorts are. I see him attracting 100+ targets and becoming a player Pittsburgh needs to lean on. After all, the running game is in flux with Le’Veon Bell’s health in question. They don’t exactly have proven depth, either. Insert Sanders, a player capable of excelling both inside and outside the numbers.
10.06 -- Von Miller, LB, Broncos
In case you needed it, here’s proof that I can’t predict the future.
I took the sack-crazed Miller at this point assuming he’d miss a maximum of 4 games. Some league buzz even suggested that he could dodge a suspension.
Thanks to a sack-friendly scoring system, I’ll hang on to Miller. It’ll just push Jeremy Kerley off my roster. (Sorry, bud.)
11.07 -- Jared Allen, DE, Vikings
11+ sacks in each of the last 6 seasons. 5 straight seasons of starting all 16 games.
Need I say more?
12.06 -- Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
Here’s another tough-luck pick.
Wright looked like a solid value at this point. The 2nd-year man impressed in training camp, building off of last year’s promising campaign. Then, he suffered a sprained knee in Saturday’s preseason action.
He’s out for the remainder of the preseason, although he should return for Week 1. I just need to temper expectations for a guy I hope to use sparingly this season.
13.07 -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
I don’t care that Blackmon’s suspended for 4 games. Or that his QB situation is among the league’s worst. At this point in the draft, you won’t find another player of his caliber. Besides, he posted nearly 900 yards and 5 TDs as a rookie last year.
14.06 -- Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
Is there anyone in fantasy football who’s disrespected as much as P.T.? (That’s a resounding NO.)
He’s a versatile back with the ability to run between the tackles -- or catch the ball in space. Mark Ingram’s career-long ineffectiveness should lead to another season of ~150 touches for Thomas. I’m thrilled to roster him as my RB5.
15.07 -- Bruce Carter, LB, Cowboys
Carter’s never been short on talent, instead falling victim to injuries. Not this season. The 25-year-old is enjoying a dominant summer, putting him in prime position for a breakout.
16.06 -- Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns
There’s no way Cameron should have lasted this long -- especially in a league where you can flex a TE. He’s tore it up in training camp and in preseason action. His HC and OC are known for featuring TEs. Plus, Cameron’s raw athleticism is materializing into football skill. At worst, I see him as an in-season trade chip.
17.07 -- William Moore, DB, Falcons
Moore’s a favorite of our IDP wiz, Matt Schauf. And that’s more than enough for me.
In case it’s not enough for you … consider this: Moore appeared in just 12 games last year, yet he finished as a top-25 DB. A contributor in all relevant categories, he should provide reliable weekly production.
18.06 -- Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs
I considered Philip Rivers at this spot, but I opted for the QB with an NFL-caliber O-line.
19.07 -- Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets
As noted in Von Miller’s blurb, Kerley isn’t long for my roster. And it’s too bad. He carries sneaky PPR upside in New York’s shallow passing game. Fortunately, WRs are relatively easy to replace in season.
20.06 -- Greg Zuerlein, K, Rams
QBs: Tony Romo, Alex Smith
RBs: Ray Rice, Ryan Mathews, Eddie Lacy, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas
WRs: Larry Fitzgerald, Danny Amendola, Emmanuel Sanders, Justin Blackmon, Jeremy Kerley
TEs: Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron
K: Greg Zuerlein
LBs: Von Miller, Bruce Carter
DL: Jared Allen
DB: William Moore