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Draft Recap - RotoBaller's Staff League on Fleaflicker


Hey there from Brett Mitchell (aka AllBenchRB). This is my first year in the RotoBaller Experts staff league (7th year running) - and with that comes great excitement to participate, compete and analyze the draft. I’ll make a few key observations before I get into the thick of it.

This was a very fast draft and as a collective these RotoBaller experts couldn’t gobble up running backs fast enough. This was a bit of a surprise given the Half-PPR and three WR format. In opposite fashion, TEs and QBs went super duper late. I think both of these dynamics can be expected with a group of experts, but not to this extreme.

In my article entitled Unorthodox Draft Strategies, I talked about implementing creative strategies to compete with experts. In this draft, my plan was to go for top positional players such as TE and QB to offset value drafting with positional advantages. As you will see, I was able to execute my strategy, but it did not account for the RB Frenzy. And so, my team, AllBenchRB, was left bobbing for the gross moldy apples at the bottom of the RB barrel. It’s a good thing I coined the #AllBenchRB strategy and like to party with the likes of C.J. Anderson. Enough of my blabbering, let’s get to the draft playas.

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The Draft Board on Fleaflicker

We use Fleaflicker to host our league, which is a fantastic, incredibly customizable platform – and I highly recommend that you check it out.

 

Previous League Winners

 

Round 1

See round-by-round picks

Reddit Troll got us off to some unorthodoxy by selecting Alvin Kamara 1st instead of consensus favorite Saquon Barkley. I actually love this pick for two reasons: (1) I think Kamara will actually have a bigger role this year with Ingram gone and we saw what he can do with the extra carries. (2) Saquon’s numbers dipped by 3 points without OBJ last season. Kudos to the Troll. I believe the biggest values of the round were Ezekiel Elliott at 1.6 (we were unaware at the time of the signing, so kudos to Rock and Sock Connection for having some juevos) and Nick Chubb at 1.12. I think Chubb is the Christian McCaffrey of this year (CMC pick 13 last year) that can jump into the top 5.

 

Round 2

See round-by-round picks

This was the round where we began to see that running back frenzy I mentioned, with three running backs typically going in the third making guest appearances in the second. Rock and Sock Connection grabbed Kerryon Johnson at 2.7, La Venganza De Los Clones chose Damien Williams at 2.10 (has fallen to the 3rd post McCoy news) and Dubs’ Dime Package reached a bit for Aaron Jones at 2.11. Out of the three, I personally like the Jones pick best because I believe he can be a potential league winner. I opted for a little George Kittle right after I was sniped by Katz on Travis Kelce. At the time these two picks seemed opportunistic, but retroactively we both probably could have waited and waited and waited for some huge TE values. Oh well, sigh.

 

Round 3

See round-by-round picks

I had promised myself that if Patrick Mahomes fell to the third, I’d instantly click, and so AllBenchRb closes out the first three rounds with three top position players in DeAndre Hopkins, Kittle and Mahomes. Reddit Troll led off the round with one of my value picks Antonio Brown (a risky statement) followed by Adam Thielen (Dubs’ Dime Package), Keenan Allen (La Venganza De Los Clones) and then another RB run. I was surprised to see Sony Michel (Good JuJu) go at 3.8 as well as Chris Godwin (I’m The Dude) at 3.11. I guess even experts fall a little bit for the hype train. I personally think Julian Edelman was a less sexy but stronger pick there, but who can blame The Dude for getting a little turned on.  Chris Carson (Rock and Sock Connection), Devonta Freeman (Chicks Dig The Deep Balls) and Josh Jacobs (It Ertz when Eifert) also flew off the board. Let’s see if the skew towards RBs continues into the fourth, where there has been a lot of great WR value.

 

Round 4

See round-by-round picks

I’ll give myself (AllBenchRB) kudos for fourth round value at 4.9 on Amari Cooper, along with Katz 4.8 selection of Robert Woods and Chicks Dig the Deep Balls 4.6 of Tyler Lockett. If there was a WR to reach for above the Brandin Cooks / Robert Woods / Chris Godwin group I believe it was Tyler Lockett. I think Lockett has the talent and opportunity to wind up on many championship teams, especially at a fourth-round selection. Only four RBs flew off the board in Round 4, to be expected. I guess the frenzy took a one round break.

 

Round 5

See round-by-round picks

My three favorite picks from this round were Katz with Cooper Kupp at 5.5, Good JuJu with Melvin Gordon at 5.8 and Big Ballage Brand with Derrius Guice at 5.10. If you want to win a tough league you must take chances and these ballers went for it. I love Kupp and so does Jared Goff. If healthy, I believe he finishes ahead of Woods and Cooks. Melvin Gordon should deliver when he returns, and if not then a 5th round selection risk can be mitigated unlike the Le'Veon Bell pick of last year. And lastly, I think Derrius Guice is another potential league winner. The Skins have stated that the offense will go through him and he seems to have been a little forgotten because of injuries. This guy was being talked about in almost the same ilk as Saquon just a year ago. Other usual suspects drafted in the fifth include Calvin Ridley, Mike Williams, Miles Sanders and D.J. Moore. Onto the sixth we go.

 

Round 6

There were a few reaches in the 6th to mention: we saw Josh Gordon go at 6.4 from It Ertz when Eifert, Curtis Samuel at 6.7 by Rock and Sock Connection and Matt Breida at 6.12 by Reddit Troll. Latavius Murray, Kenyan Drake, James White, Tarik Cohen and Breida make for a heavy sixth round of RBs, cutting down the remaining supply some more. I believe Drake at 6.8 by Katz could be a big steal since I think he’s the #1 there. If Evan Engram (I’m The Dude) gets 100+ targets, I believe he could potentially leapfrog Ertz into that top tier, and we all know what Josh Gordon (It Ertz when Eiffert) is capable of. After going through the rounds, I’ll also chat about the teams below so we can put these picks into context.

 

Round 7

See round-by-round picks

Reddit Troll reached for Tony Pollard prior to the Zeke news, but will be subjected to Zeke's crop tops sooner than his liking. My favorites for this round were Rashaad Penny at 7.9 by It Ertz, Justice Hill at 7.11 by The Dude and of course Hunter Henry at 7.12 by Creed Bratton. If I knew I could get Henry in the 7th I for sure wouldn’t have drafted Kittle, so major kudos to Creed for some great value. I think Penny will get a tremendous amount of work in Seattle even with all the Carson hype, and Baltimore just announced they will go with the hot hand. I’ve seen Hill’s hands and can tell you they're straight fire. Another six RBs off the board with Kalen Ballage, Justice Hill, Devin Singletary and Tony Pollard all ahead of their ADPs to add to that RB shortage in the later rounds.

 

Round 8

See round-by-round picks

With arms wide open, Creed Bratton took a solid value risk with A.J. Green at 8.1 and Big Ballage Brand took advantage of a reeling Giants WR core with Sterling Shepard who should see lots of targets. The round winner goes to Chicks Dig The Deep Balls who lands Vance McDonkey (you know who that’s for) at 8.6, a full round later than where he’s been going. Aaron Rodgers at 8.7 from Rock and Sock shows how long I could have waited for a QB ☹.

 

Round 9

See round-by-round picks

Matt Ryan (Big Ballage Brand) was the pick of this round at 9.1 in my opinion. Atlanta has two extra dome games, so wheels up. My favorite player, David Njoku, went at 9.8 for Good JuJu.  El Camello has clearly been reading/editing my articles. Another two QBs flew off the board in Drew Brees (Reddit Troll) and Jared Goff (Dubs’ Dime Package). Goff has crushed with Kupp in the lineup, so I like him as a potential MVP candidate this year, and Brees finished fifth last year with his lowest attempts ever. I went with Emmanuel Sanders here at 9.4 and think that’s great value with little risk at that ADP. Katz could benefit greatly from the LeSean McCoy trade, and Chicks Dig the Deep Balls could potentially see Justin Jackson get more of the share with Austin Ekeler than initially anticipated.

 

Round 10

See round-by-round picks

No QBs were drafted in this round which means that Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Cam Newton and Dak Prescott were still on the board going into the 11th. Good job as a collective to hold tight. Nothing really worth mentioning this late and so I’m going to move on to team analysis rather than bore you with Donte Moncrief and House Tyrell Williams chatter.

 

Team Strengths

Okay, so I pointed out some value picks and reaches, but how did these teams turn out? Here are my quick hits:

 

Rock and Sock Connection – Dennis Clausen

  • Strengths – Insanely strong RB unit with Elliot, Carson, Mack, Johnson. Aaron Rodgers has a high floor and could return to brilliance (maybe after last night).

Katz – Jason Katz

  • Strengths – The best TE in football, Travis Kelce. Baker Mayfield has enormous upside with an amazing supporting cast. Very solid starting RBs with DJ and Fournette. B+/A- wide receiver cast with a high floor including Woods, Kupp and Kirk. Cowboys DEF has a great schedule the first two games. Tyrell Williams is a strong bench WR.

AllBenchRB – Brett Mitchell

  • Strengths – Mahomes, Kittle, Zuerlein and Rams give positional advantages. Strong WR core with Hopkins and Cooper backed by Marvin Jones and Mani Sanders.

Creed Bratton – Nick Mariano

  • Strengths – Maybe the strongest starting RBs with Chubb and Bell. Deshaun Watson has the talent to finish in Mahomes territory. Strong WR core with Edelman and Cooks and I looooove Hunter Henry.

It Ertz when Eiffert – Ben Rolfe

Good JuJu – Pierre Camus

  • Strengths – Another strong RB group with James Conner, Sony Michel, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. JuJu Smith-Schuster should be a target hog and Jameis Winston has tremendous upside with Bruce Arians. Njoku has the talent to surprise many.

I’m The Dude – Phil Clark

  • Strengths – High upside WRs with Tyreek Hill, Chris Godwin and D.J. Moore. Engram to see 653 targets. Serviceable RB starters in Cook and Henry, both with big upside if their teams use them as planned. Ravens DEF has a great early season schedule.

Chicks Dig the Deep Balls – The Roto Mechanic

Dubs’ Dime Package - Bill Dubs

  • Strengths – Monster starting RBs in Saquon and Aaron Jones. O.J. Howard is a stud and I think Jared Goff is an MVP candidate with a healthy Kupp.

La Venganza De Los Clones – Real Talk Raph

Reddit Troll – Uncle Leo

  • Strengths – Well rounded team with educated risks. Love Kamara as the first pick and love Mike Evans to impress this year. Drew Brees finished 5th last year throwing the fewest passes of his career.

Big Ballage Brand – Josh Hayes

  • Strengths – Matt Ryan and Zach Ertz should give Josh nice positional advantages. Love Mixon and Montgomery to lead the team as RB starters backed by Derrius Guice and Kalen Ballage.

 

Best Team

I’ll award draft winner to Nick Mariano aka Creed Bratton. His team consists of QB - Watson, RB - Bell, RB-Chubb, WR-Cooks, WR- Edelman, WR-Gallup, TE-Henry, DEF-Jets, K-Hauschka, Bench- Green, Washington, Barber, Murray, Gore, Burton, Crowder. This team scares me and if A.J. Green can return to proper form it will be difficult for the rest of us plebeians to compete.

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