Greetings, Fools. Can you feel it? Fantasy season is rapidly approaching.
I know this because I just participated in my second experts draft with the good folks at Sporting News Fantasy Source.
I had the 8th overall pick (yuck) in a 12-team standard draft. Here's what I did:
Pick 1.8 -- Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers. Rodgers, Megatron and five other RBs were taken. I had Mathews rated higher than MJD and Chris Johnson, who were taken higher. In my mind, only Rodgers and Megatron justify 1st-round picks at their position.
Pick 2.5 -- Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers. It was either an elite WR or QB here. Passed up my shot at Brady, Cam and Stafford to take Wallace. Might regret that, if I was actually playing this league out.
Pick 3.8 -- Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers. Gronk and Jimmy Graham were long gone, and Gates offered more value than any WR on the board. At this point, I was pretty much resigned to going with two 2nd-tier QBs.
Pick 4.5 -- Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers. I love Greg Jennings, but getting Jordy a round later is a nice consolation. Definitely wanted one of Rodgers' targets. But in hindsight, Frank Gore was still on the board. Should have jumped on him.
Pick 5.8 -- Darren Sproles, RB, Saints. If he has another year like 2011, I will have a great backfield. That's a big if, though. It was either Sproles or Bush at this point.
Pick 6.5 -- Eli Manning, QB, Giants. I don't think I've EVER drafted Eli for one of my teams. Even in a mock. But the truth is, he's a very solid fantasy QB, especially if you don't have to play him every week and can pick your spot starts. If you think Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are going to be great, you must like Eli's chances, too.
Pick 7.8 -- Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers. Hard to get real excited about this pick, unless Redman really does inherit the workhorse role in Pittsburgh. If he does, he's a heckuva RB3.
Pick 8.5 -- Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders. The pickings at receiver are getting awfully slim. Moore is one of my sleeper picks this season. If he can stay healthy, Carson Palmer can make him a fantasy star.
Pick 9.8 -- Matt Schaub, QB, Texans. Love this pick. Frankly, don't understand how he lasted this long. If Schaub comes back at 100%, I may start him more often than Eli. Regardless, he's a very salty backup.
Pick 10.5 -- Lance Moore, WR, Saints. Seems like I always draft Moore. If I could only figure out which weeks to start him, I'd be a true genius.
Pick 11.8 -- Greg Little, WR, Browns. I don't know... I don't know...
Pick 12.5 -- Steelers defense/special teams. The Packers went first, in Round 10. Philly left the board at the end of Round 11. What the heck...I dove in next.
Pick 13.8 -- Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams. Wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see him starting 4-5 games this year, given S-Jax's recent fragility.
Pick 14.5 -- Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings. Another sleeper candidate; but will have to wait out his suspension. No prob. Once he's back, I'd wager that he'll be as valuable from a fantasy perspective as Percy Harvin. Which is really more an indictment of Christian Ponder than a compliment to Simpson.
Pick 15.8 -- Alex Green, RB, Packers. This is where I admit that I didn't really take this draft terribly seriously.
Pick 16.5 -- Mason Crosby, K, Packers. A wise man once said you can never have too many Packers.
Pick 17.8 -- Cedric Benson, free agent. Yeah, he'll have a job by the time the season starts. Perhaps backing up the fragile RunDMC. Maybe replacing an injured starter, or the suspended Marshawn Lynch. I think I'll be glad I took a flier here.
In the end, this is all just a matter of getting tuned up for the season. Our next mock draft is in two weeks. We'll start our serious preseason coverage before then.
It's almost time, Fools...
About the author
Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. During the NFL season, he can be heard nationwide on Sporting News Radio as host of the weekly "Fantasy Files" program, dispensing his unique blend of wit and wisdom. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.