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King's Classic Snake Draft Recap - Fantasy Football Round-By-Round Draft Analysis

Travis Etienne Jr. - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Last weekend I had the chance to visit the Fantasy Football Expo in Canton, OH for the first time as part of our RotoBaller contingent. It was an awesome experience getting to meet a lot of the writers and content creators, as well as hundreds of die-hard fantasy football fanatics.

One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to participate in the King's Classic drafts on Saturday. My fellow RotoBaller colleague Dennis Clausen and I are co-managing two teams this year in the George Blanda Division and we set out to draft the best possible team that we could against 13 other members of the fantasy football industry. Dennis is going to be doing a feature on our auction draft team and I'm going to share our traditional snake draft results with you in this piece. To add some much-needed context, this is a full-PRR league that does not have any kickers or defenses and replaces those positions with two additional utility slots for a total of three utility players (RB, WR, TE) but it's not Superflex.

I'll take you through the first round and then take a closer look at our team. I pulled some of our RotoBaller rankings and compared them to where we drafted our players in order to evaluate how well we did as far as getting value out of our picks.

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First Round At-A-Glance

I'm not going to post the entire draft board with 14 teams and 16 rounds and force you to zoom in on every pick. But here are the first fourteen picks off the board and despite this being an expert draft, the results were pretty predictable for the most part. We were drafting seventh, so I thought we may have a chance to snag Travis Kelce but our good friend Scott Engel selected him fifth overall (and then grabbed Patrick Mahomes in the second round for a killer KC stack early).

I was hoping Kupp didn't slide to us because he's the one top pick that I am a bit leery of given the uncertain season ahead for the Rams. We were happy to take Ekeler seventh as he feels pretty safe in a PPR league but Dennis was in my ear about A.J. Brown and sure enough, he went next at eighth overall which was probably the biggest ADP difference here since he's usually around pick 13-14 depending on which site you're looking at for ADP.

Barkley fell all the way to #14 where our friend and fellow RotoBaller Matt Donnelly took him on the turn along with Derrick Henry. When I talked to Matt, he wasn't planning on a double-RB build in the first two rounds but he felt like they were the best available values and he was going to have to get creative with drafting on the turn in such a big league.

It's the year of the wide receiver, especially in full-PPR leagues as only four running backs were taken in the first round. The only one of those backs who isn't a pass-catcher, too, is Nick Chubb who is just really, really good at running the football averaging over five yards per carry for his career.

 

Team RotoBaller: Rounds One Through Five

I am using our RotoBaller consensus rankings in order to attempt to gauge where we may have reached and where we found value in this draft. After getting a running back in round one, we really wanted a receiver in round two, especially after seeing so many of the elite options go off the board. Smith was a guy who came on late last season and ended up providing even more value than A.J. Brown during the second half of the season. I am a big believer in the Eagles offense this year again and so it made a lot of sense to snag Jalen Hurts in round three to create a natural Philly stack. Hurts should be even better this year throwing the football and his rushing yardage and touchdowns could help push him to a QB1 finish in 2023.

Here is where things get interesting. With so many teams going WR-heavy in the early rounds, we felt like we had some serious running back value fall into our laps with Travis Etienne Jr. in round four and Kenneth Walker III in round five. I know that both Tank Bigbsy (JAX) and Zach Charbonnet (SEA) are talented rookies who are going to fight for touches, but both ETN and KW3 had impressive seasons last year and are still set to be the lead backs in what are expected to be good offenses this season. I didn't expect us to draft three running backs in the first five picks, but this is a perfect example of remaining flexible with your build and reacting to what other managers are doing. Hopefully, this strategy pays off for us and the unique 3-flex roster of this league really allows for some less traditional builds. I mean, the Late-Round QB Mr. J.J. Zachariason took receivers with his first five picks!

 

Team RotoBaller: Rounds Six Through Ten

You can see we addressed our wide receiver position right away in rounds six, seven, and eight. Did we reach for Pickens? Probably, but I have become a bit enamored with him this preseason and it's hard not to have at least one player from your favorite team on the roster, right? In all seriousness, though, Pickens is immensely talented and could emerge as Pickett's top target in Pittsburgh for what should be an improved offense.

I like Courtland Sutton this year, especially now that Tim Patrick is out for the season. A lot of people are hyping up rookie Marvin Mims, and I get it, but I would expect Sutton to eat before Mims in this offense and provide more reliable production. Nico Collins burned some people down the stretch last season, but I still think he's the most reliable option for C.J. Stroud of the receivers in Houston.

I have been targeting McKinnon in this part of the draft quite often and it felt good to grab at least one small piece of the Kansas City offense. Yeah, he probably won't score as many touchdowns this season but it feels like he has really cemented his involvement as a pass-catcher and part-time runner after last season's production.

We waited on getting a tight end until we could wait no longer! I don't always recommend that strategy, but once again we were trying to pivot mid-draft and adjust to how the rest of the managers were drafting. As teams started to take a second tight end, we decided our first one would be Kmet, who felt like a nice value here and should be poised for another solid season on an improved Bears offense.

 

Team RotoBaller: Rounds 11 Through 16

If you're playing in a 10-team league or a shallower format, you're probably not going to be rostering many of these players. Our 11th-round pick was 147th overall and despite already having a solid running back room we couldn't pass up the value here on Tyler Allgeier. Bijan Robinson is getting all the hype this preseason - and for good reason. But Allgeier is going to still be involved and let's not forget that Atlanta was one of the most run-heavy offenses in the entire NFL last season. Will they open it up this year? Perhaps a little bit more, but with a young QB they are still going to want to pound the football and not have to ask Desmond Ridder to have to go win them games unless they have to do so.

Our next two picks don't look too great on the value meter, but we are really just gambling on talent here. Irv Smith Jr. is one of the most athletic tight ends in the game, and that's saying something since there are so many great athletes at the position these days. How much he is used on this already-loaded Bengals offense remains to be seen, but there's a path to a solid season if he stays healthy and is able to gain Burrow's trust. If we think that Justin Fields takes another step forward as a passer, then it's certainly possible that Claypool or Darnell Mooney emerge as a decent value late in drafts as Fields can't throw to D.J. Moore or Cole Kmet on every play, right?

It was either Carr or Kenny Pickett as our backup QB and despite my love for Kenny this year, I went with Carr who feels like a better bet for more passing volume. Josh Palmer probably needs an injury to either Mike Williams or Keenan Allen to be relevant and is competing with rookie Quentin Johnson (love him and have him on a lot of teams) for snaps as the third receiver, but we know how injury-prone Allen and Williams are so we felt like he was a good insurance policy to grab late.

I don't expect Boston Scott to do much of anything as the RB4 for the Eagles and I am pretty sure I had left the draft to go to the bathroom when Dennis picked him in the last round. He's the first guy we will drop in Week 1 in order to add someone who starts out hot. I feel pretty good about our team and how we handled what was a challenging draft room. But it stands to be seen how we do this year and so much of that will be determined by players staying healthy and maybe just a little bit (or a lot) of things breaking just the right way (you thought I was going to say "luck"!)

Now get out there and draft as many teams as you want and don't forget to use all of the available resources here at RotoBaller to dominate your drafts! Good luck this season and thanks for reading!



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