By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports
We wanted to give our readers a look into the thought process going into some of the picks of our "Champions Draft." So here is a look at each team and some of their thoughts on their picks during the draft. If you want to see the thoughts on my picks, check out the "Mock Draft Analysis" story on our site. I go through every one of my picks in the story.
Again, here is a rundown of the league. The draft this season consists of the top rated fantasy players on our site - we invited players rated in the Top 15 in our Top Fantasy Players report. So this is the best of the best on our site.
Azzurri, Don T.
Ray Rice (1.8). Was hoping for McCoy or Charles somehow but it wasn't meant to be. Two weeks ago I had taken Richardson and been quite happy but passed him after his latest shin problems and took the next sure thing on board. So I took Ray Rice with the name Bernard Pierce in the back of my head for later reference. (others considered Richardson, Lynch, A.J. Green)
Steven Jackson (2.5). Unless A.J. Green or Dez Bryant got back I was almost certainly looking to get strong at RB in this champs draft. May have gone Forte had he been on the board but the more I thought about it, I'll take all the TDs that Steven Jackson will surely be getting that Forte will not and still have all the PPRs also. (others considered Jimmy Graham, Julio Jones, Chris Johnson)
David Wilson (3.8). A bit of a change up for me here. Normally this year I'd go best WR on board with this. But I wanted to be strong at RB in this league so changed things up and took Wilson, who I'm high on even though he may be in a time share in New York. He'll still see a ton of work and get lots of PPRs and big plays. I would have gone MJD had he been practicing at all yet. (others considered MJD, Lamar Miller, Welker)
Danny Amendola (4.5). Thought I could do better than this but with such tough drafters this was about the best PPR WR I could get. I wanted Cruz but went just ahead of me. Almost went Nicks but was hoping might get back to me for my next pick. (others considered Nicks, Bowe, Rodgers, Brees)
Antonio Brown (5.8). I was torn between Garcon and Brown here. I wanted Garcon badly but at last second I thought about how much he was in and out of line up last year and hasn't had that same injury fixed and is hoping time will work best for it. So I took Brown, who may be more dependable. (others considered Garcon, Wallace, Cam Newton)
Torrey Smith (6.5). I wanted to stack some WRs while top ones were still available, so grabbed Smith, who should see a big increase in targets with Boldin gone to San Fran.
Tony Romo (7.8). Whew, sweated that out. When two other owners took their second QBs in this round, I was worried I'd be shut out of the last QBs. I wanted Russell Wilson here and thought I could get him but I'll live with Romo without problem as he is undervalued and all he does is put up points about every week. Had I missed Romo here I had gone elsewhere and played match up QBs later in draft with two of best I could get.
Cecil Shorts III (8.5). Was happy to land Cecil for my No. 4 WR here and am high on him than most.
Bernard Pierce (9.8). I had to pull trigger on my very important handcuff to Rice. I am sky high on Pierce and feel he's not a big drop off from Rice - if any at all. Not a big PPR guy but wow, he can he run the football.
icon, Joseph H.
Darren McFadden (3.1). McFadden is one of the most polarizing figures in all of fantasy football this season. I started my team off with Adrian Peterson, so when it got back to me on the 2.12 and 3.1 turn, I felt that I could take a chance on his immense upside knowing that even if he got injured or was ineffective again this season that I would still be fine at the RB position.
Hakeem Nicks (4.12). Nicks is one of the most talented and dynamic WRs in the entire NFL. He plays in one of the best passing offenses in the league. He was also one of the most frustrating fantasy players in 2012 because of injuries that would never go away. His value has slipped to roughly the fifth round and at that price I will take his upside any day.
Dennis Pitta (8.12). Pitta is one of my PPR darling picks this year. He lines up in the slot for Ravens more often than not. He is going to get tons of targets now that Boldin is out of town. He is a very underrated TE that is a steal in the middle rounds in PPR formats.
Kyle Rudolph (9.1) I know taking Rudolph might make no sense considering I just took Pitta, but I have Rudolph ranked equally as high as Pitta. Without Harvin he should be the focal point of their red zone passing attack. I could not allow a TE needy team in the ninth round to snag him at this value, just in case he realizes his touchdown potential this season.
Justin Blackmon (11.1). This is the perfect spot for me to grab him. He is suspended for the first four games of the season, but Gus Bradley is on record as saying this will not change his perception of Blackmon because the things he was suspended for didn't occur under Bradley's watch. He will come back just in time for the bye weeks. He is coming into his second year and I believe he will be a very serviceable piece of my roster as soon as Week 6 or 7.
Believe, Jeffrey J.
Jonathan Dwyer (13.9). I'm not giving up on Dwyer just yet. Pittsburg has shown preference to veterans over rookies, especially if a rookie fumbles once or doesn't work up to the team's standards. Plus, I think Dwyer is a good back that is extremely hard to tackle.
Chris Wells (14.4). I'm not sure if Wells is waiting for the spot to start or the teams in need are waiting for his price to come down. As of now, he is a quality MJD replacement although he could still end up in Pittsburgh or Cincy.
Tyler Eifert (15.9). Eifert is a talent but it is a wait and see on his touches.
Tim Tebow (16.4). I didn't draft a regular QB because two teams took three and couple more took their second too early. I should have five or six decent ones to choose from by Week 1 or 2 at the latest if I don't acquire one in a trade before that at their lower real value. Tebow may end up listed as a RB or TE by the season opener with NE.
Redshirted Champs, Dave A.
Calvin Johnson (1.7). I found myself in an interesting predicament after my top six ranked running backs went off the board. I am a big proponent of going with running back in the first round but I couldn't pass on the difference making impact Johnson offers. If not for a fluky touchdown total, his season might have gone down as the best all-time season for a receiver.
Jimmy Graham (2.6). Much like Johnson, Graham is in a tier of his own at his position. He still put up gaudy numbers in a season many consider disappointing. With his coach returning and the receiving core getting another year older, the sky's the limit for Graham. The uncertainty surrounding Gronk's health only adds to Graham's relative worth.
Percy Harvin (3.7). I was hoping for one of my running back targets to fall to me here. That didn't happen. So I went with the best player available. Changing teams is rarely an easy transition for wide receivers. However, Percy had very pedestrian quarterback play and wasn't particularly happy in Minny. With the headaches cured, it could be a monster year for Harvin. He had top-three numbers before his season was cut short last year.
Le'Veon Bell (4.6). I was desperate for a running back at this point. I wanted to assure myself of someone who will get a lot of carries. Bell is going to get every opportunity to be the bell cow in Pittsburgh. He's said to have soft hands for a big back, so there's also some pass catching ability for this PPR format. At the very least, he's going to amass early-down carries and goal-line opportunities.
Tom Brady (5.7). There was a time when Brady was an automatic first-round pick. Wow. How times have changes? If Brady's going in the mid-fifth, I'm buying. He could easily finish as the top fantasy quarterback in that pass happy, whirlwind of an offense. It's nice to have a quarterback you can rely on with consistently high production week in and week out.
Robert Griffin (7.7). RGIII was the last quarterback in the lower QB1 tier. All the reports out of Washington have been extremely positive and it looks like he's locked and loaded for Week 1. Few players offer the upside of Griffin. With my weak running back group, either Griffin or Brady should prove to be a valuable trading piece.
Kendall Wright (10.6). I loved what I saw from Wright last year. In what was a pretty dysfunctional Titans' offense, Wright was still able to tally a rather impressive 64 catches in his rookie campaign. He's the type of receiver that should be targeted often throughout a game because he can work the underneath routes but also has the speed and quickness to separate deep. With no legitimate tight end option in Tennessee and a year under his belt, I like Wright's chances of putting up some pretty impressive numbers if Locker can get his act together.
Christine Michael (12.6). I was looking for the running back with the most upside at this late stage of the draft. Michael appears to have quickly bypassed Turbin on the depth charts in Seattle. The Seahawks are a run-heavy offense. Additionally, Lynch is facing a possible suspension early in the season and his gimpy back isn't particularly reliable. Hoping to cash this lottery ticket in.
Sam Bradford (13.7). It looks like the Rams are going to open up the offense. With all the new weapons and the improvements to the offensive line, Bradford has the potential to put up QB1 numbers. The only drawback is the tough NFC West divisional foes that he'll face throughout the season. If I end up trading Brady or Griffin, I want a backup quarterback with upside.
Midget Monkeys, Michael T.
Jamaal Charles (1.4). This was an easy decision once AP/Martin were gone. The guy has never lacked talent, just the right coach to use him the right way. In Andy Reid I trust. Expecting huge things from Charles this year.
Julio Jones (2.9)/Larry Fitzgerald (3.4). Basically was set on NOT going RB/RB to start the draft unless something crazy happened and there was a big drop, which I doubt would happen in this league. Julio was an easy pick once Graham was gone. Fitz on the other hand was a bit of a struggle. Wanted to go Cobb there but decided to give Fitz and his huge bounce-back potential another try.
Drew Brees (4.9). Here I was just going on pure value. Everyone knows the QB position is deep but I would say, along with Rodgers, these two are as safe as it gets at the QB position and at that spot seemed like the right price to me. Having his coach back is just the cherry on top of this very tasty sundae.
Giovani Bernard (5.4)/BenJarvus Green-Ellis (6.9). With these next two picks, I had my eyes set on two backfields, Cincy/GB. With the Cincy duo, I had to use two higher picks while I know I can wait a few rounds to grab Franklin had I gone with Lacy. This pick right here will determine how I do in this league. Simple as that.
Rob Housler (15.4). With this being my first draft of the year and not having all my ducks lined just yet, I didn't have a firm grasp on the latter part of the draft but I have been eyeing this guy for a couple years and I think this is the year with Palmer in town. Brandon Myers anyone?
THE CHAMP IS HERE, Logan P.
Arian Foster (1.6). I think everyone is starting to jump off the bandwagon a little early on this one. I know his calf is a concern, but I could not live with myself if I passed on him at 1.6. Once I made this pick, I locked myself in to Ben Tate in the eighth round if he was there. Even if Foster does not have his yearly totals from the past three years, I think he will be right there. He might not have the upside like Spiller, Martin, and Charles but I was thrilled to get him at 1.6. Thanks again fellas.
Frank Gore (3.6). Most running backs on the wrong side of 30 fall off the map. Frank has a multiple things going for him that make me think he will be around for at least one more year. Frank has a top-three offensive line, a top-three defense, a coach who likes to run the ball, and he is the main guy in the rushing attack. Hunter and James will take touches from Frank, but not enough to make him fade away. IF. . . .big IF Frank can stay healthy, I can see Frank with 250 rushing attempts, 30 catches, 1,250 total yards, and 12 touchdowns. That would make him a top 10-13 RB and I took him as the 19th RB off the board. I took Frank four spots ahead of his current ADP (34.26), because I felt like he would not make it back to me at 4.7. He is a solid RB2, and should do just fine this season.
Chris Ivory (4.7). Ivory is a hard runner who has averaged a ridiculous 5.1 YPC in his career. Ivory will see more men in the box this year since he went from Drew Brees to Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith at QB, so that number has to go down. The Jets offensive line is underrated and Rex Ryan is committed to the run game. Green was horrible last season and ended up being a low-end RB2. Ivory is a better runner, the o-line is better, and the pass game can't be any worse, right? If Ivory somehow stays healthy, I can see 260 rushing attempts, 20 catches, 1,300 total yards, and eight touchdowns with upside for more. That would make him a top 15-18 RB and I took him as the 26th RB off the board. I felt like the RB pool was getting low, and I knew he was not getting back to me at 5.6. He should be at worst, a low-end RB2 this season.
Cam Newton (6.7). Cam finished last season as the fourth ranked QB in fantasy football. I don't see that changing much this year. I took him as the sixth QB off the board and have him with 3,500 passing yards with 22 passing touchdowns and, 700 rushing yards with eight rushing touchdowns. That would make him a top 3-5 QB in fantasy.
Mike Williams (9.6). Mike Williams finished last season as the 19th ranked fantasy receiver. Tampa Bay's offense showed signs of improving last season with the young Josh Freeman at quarterback. Besides Vincent Jackson and Williams, Tampa Bay does not have any threats as pass catchers. I can see the Bucs' offense taking the next step. I have Williams getting 65 catches for around 950 yards and nine touchdowns with upside for more. That would make him a top 17-21 WR and I took him as the 38th WR off the board. Based off his current ADP (97.2), I did not get a deal, but I feel like he was a safe pick who can get me flex scoring.
Brian's Team, Brian M.
Dez Bryant (1.12). I had him ranked as my No. 2 WR behind only Calvin Johnson. I believe his upside is 1,700 yards and 15 TDs. When I knew I was drafting 12th, I knew he would be one of my first two picks.
Brandon Marshall (2.1). This pick came down to Marshall, A.J. Green or Alfred Morris. I gambled on guys Like David Wilson and or Lamar Miller (love those two guys) being available at the end of third and early fourth by taking Marshall. Marshall is a PPR monster and I'm unconcerned about his offseason hip scope.
Montee Ball (4.1). I like Ball but he's not ideally a No. 1 RB in a PPR league such as this one. If I could do it over again, I'd take Morris over Marshall. Ball should have success with Denver and churn out 1,000 yards and possibly 10 TDs.
Ryan Mathews (3.12). I hated this pick. There were no RBs left and I can't believe I drafted him over Aaron Rodgers! This is reason No. 2 why my gamble of waiting on RBs really backfired from the 12 spot. Hopefully Mathews can bounce back and produce No. 2 fantasy RB numbers.
Eli Manning (7.12). I wasn't expecting Midget Monkey's or Redshirted Champs to take their No. 2 QBs so fast after already having Brees and Brady respectively. The result? Monkey's take Russell Wilson and Redshirted Champs took RG III which in turn caused Romo to come off the board as well. This left me With Eli Manning. Eli is solid if unspectacular compared to the top-11 QBs. Unfortunately, this left me with both the worst RBs and worst QB. My receivers will have to carry this team.
ZILLA-TIME, Robert O.
Marshawn Lynch (1.10). Happy to get Lynch at the 10 spot. He was a top-five RB last year. He should put up similar numbers this year in a good Seahawk offense.
A.J. Green (2.3). Stud WRs go off the board fast with three gone already. This was my only chance to get a top-five receiver, capable of 90-100 receptions for 1,500 yards and 13-16 TDs.
Lamar Miller (3.10). With Reggie Bush in Detroit, it is Miller time in Miami. With 4.9 yards per carry last year and Mike Wallace to stretch the field, Miller will have a big year, getting around 1,700 total yards and 10-15 TDs.
Jason Witten (4.3). I wanted Vincent Jackson here but he was drafted just before my pick. I wish I would have drafted Colston or Bowe and draft a TE later like Owen Daniels or Pettigrew but on the bright side, Witten has scored over 200 points five years in a row.
Peyton Manning (6.3). My No. 3 ranked QB this year. This is his second year in Denver with one of the best receiver group in the league. He'll get 5,000 yards and 40-45 TDs.
Ahmad Bradshaw (7.10). He will win starting running back job in Indy if healthy. He is capable of being a top-15 RB, so getting him in the seventh round is very firstname.lastname@example.org