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2007 Draft Plan

Every year the
draft brings different possibilities. I do not prescribe to a
particular draft theory because year over year, there isn’t one that
fits. You need to study the available talent each year, the ADP data
to see where talent is going and then come up with strategies to
draft a winning team. Some years it’s vital to get a QB early on,
some years not. Some years you can let RB’s go a little since
there’ll be plenty later, some years you need to bulk up and open
your draft RB-RB-RB to gain the biggest competitive advantage. This
year is as strange a draft as I’ve seen in a long while because so
much depends on which course you pick for yourself early. Where is
the depth this year? The answer is actually .. everywhere! I do not
remember a time that so much depth at all positions existed and it
makes it harder to gain an edge in your draft because owners can be
plucking quality players for many rounds. More on this later but the
only place I don’t see a lot of depth is at the Team Defense position
(if you draft a Team Defense) and although I usually don’t, like last
year, I am recommending you be that person that takes the Chicago D
early in the draft and endure the whistles. We are looking for a
competitive advantage and taking Chicago gives you one this year.

Let’s get stuck
into the 2007 draft assuming 12 teams, 16 rounds, a starting lineup
of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D with standard scoring, QB TD
passes worth 3 or 4 points. 6 points per TD pass pushes QB’s way up
and that isn’t covered here.

I’ll also add the
pick I made in the FantasySharks Great White Shark League in the
round to give you some reference. Let’s get to it!

Round 1

RB, no matter what. There are exactly
13 solid RB’s in this draft and you will want to get one of them. If
you have a late pick, like 11 or 12 and one of these RB’s falls
through to you in the second round as well, then you are a happy
camper. You need a RB you can build a team around and by having at
least one stud RB in the fold, it allows you to go in any direction
later in your draft. Drafting a RB in the 1st round this
year opens up the possibility to draft Manning or Gates (not that I’m
necessarily advocating this, more in a moment) and not pay too dearly
for it. Bottom line, you have to get a stud RB early to compete so
get one and hope the guy you get ends up being better than his draft
position dictated. I have it Tomlinson, Jackson, Larry Johnson,
Gore, Alexander, Westbrook, Parker, Addai, McGahee, Bush, Maroney and
Henry as your top 12. McGahee I have a little higher than some and
Henry could be the beast of the category, it’s just his injury
history that pushes him down. I’d still be happy to get him at 12.
Do not draft Peyton Manning in the first round!

OK, stud RB in the fold, let’s move on.

My Shark Pick: (1.02) RB Steven
Jackson, STL.

Round 2

The Manning Question: Every year the
Manning question pops up and every year the answer is different. In
the past I would have said, absolutely not. I have never drafted
Peyton Manning on a team that I run myself because of my stance on
QB’s and the fact that you can get a lot of them later in your draft
that will play above where you drafted them. For Manning to play
above where you draft him, well, it’s just not possible. As good as
Manning is, the difference between Manning at his position compared
to let’s say, Vince Young when you can get him, isn’t generally worth
a 2nd round pick and I maintain that this year. However,
there is for the first time a ‘however’ scenario for Mr. Peyton this
year. If the 12 RB’s listed above are all gone, and so is Rudi
Johnson, then I would think about Manning. It comes down to Manning,
Maurice Jones-Drew and Thomas Jones. If you have a group of RB
crazed members in your league, then I’d probably stick w/ RB but if
not, or if you’re looking at Manning and every RB mentioned so far in
this article is gone, it’s time to take him. But here’s the twist.
If you take Manning you must realize your draft changes completely in
the 2nd round and your goal from that point on is to draft
a starting lineup instead of drafting for depth or value which I
usually recommend. You need to differentiate yourself as the Manning
owner and try to win the league in an unconventional way to create
that competitive edge. Most folks would panic and go into RB
collection mode as they move down their draft but this is what I will
tell you if you open RB-QB. Your next move will be WR-WR and then
come back RB-RB. So you Manning guys in the 2nd round,
your draft plan goes RB-QB-WR-WR-RB-RB. You need to differentiate,
and getting a WR in the 3rd and 4th will give
you a stud RB, the best QB in the league and the two best WR’s in the
league. The depth at RB actually allows you to do that this year.
You then need to try and get the best D and possibly K as well just
to continue to differentiate yourself at every position you can and
pad with RB’s later.

For the rest of you, go with Edgerrin
James or Ronnie Brown before looking at Steve Smith. I personally
would take a chance on Cedric Benson before looking at Chad Johnson
but to be truthful, I’d still rather have Marvin Harrison over both
of them.

My Shark Pick: (2.11) WR Marvin
Harrison, IND

Round 3

If you weren’t the
Manning guy, you now have 2 solid RB’s or an RB and a stud WR like
Steve Smith, Marvin Harrison or Chad Johnson. In Round 3, unless
Carnell Williams or maybe DeAngelo Williams fall to me, ink me in for
a WR, even if I took a WR in round 2. WR’s are funny this year in
that there are 3 super studs and then there is a 2nd tier
that will get picked clean very quickly. After that, the drop off at
WR is steep and you’re better off collecting bunches of them later.
So given the opportunity, I’m coming in hot on WR in Round 3. Holt,
TO, Roy Williams, Wayne, Walker, Housh, Fitzgerald, Evans, Andre
Johnson and Donald Driver (check his foot injury though.) For you
Antonio Gates guys, don’t do it. You will regret it later in the
draft as there are many good TE’s available all the way through and
you will pay through the nose for a position that you can scoop up
later and still get unbelievable value. Plus you just passed on what
pretty much remains of the good WR’s. Go WR. The only wildcard is
Brandon Jacobs. If he’s there late 3rd and Holt, TO, Roy
Williams, Wayne and Walker are gone. I’d think about the big fella.

My Shark Pick:
(3.02) WR Terrell Owens, DAL

Round 4

It’s mop up time.
You can breath in round 4 because it’s going to be hard to screw this
one up. Round 1 and 3 are fairly easy with Round 2 having the
potential to dictate the top half (or more) of your draft, but round
4? Sit back, enjoy that pretzel rod and just do some clean up before
we move on. I’d look at shoring up RB first, like with Deuce
McAllister though if anyone from what’s listed in Round 3 fell
through the cracks, sponge those guys up. Round 4 in general I’m not
too pleased with. Randy Moss maybe, Anquan Boldin sure, Colston
certainly worth the risk, I don’t draft rookies unless they’re a RB
so no Calvin Johnson for me but there will be many that have him
here. Marshawn Lynch worth a look here, if not already gone. I’m
not a huge fan of the available talent in the 4th but
there usually is someone I’ll grab onto. I’m not drafting Carson
Palmer but late 4th, consider Drew Brees if there is
absolutely nothing left. Getting Brees late in the 4th
won’t be a terrible pick as it will open some things up as far as
being able to hold off on getting a backup QB till later but like I
said, only if I was backed into a corner.

My Shark Pick:
(4.11) RB Marion Barber, DAL

Round 5

In general, you
will need to think QB here unless Marion Barber is available. Late
4th/early 5th round is the right spot for Barber and I am
scooping him up in just about every draft I can get him in. So if
Barber is there, take him, else think QB. QB’s you can generally
wait on but after the top 6, the position falls off quickly.
Manning, Palmer and probably Brees are gone. If for some reason one
is available still, take one. If not, look at Brady, Bulger and
McNabb but don’t panic if they’re gone too. A guy like Vince Young
or a Romo, Cutler pairing later in the draft will do nicely.

My Shark Pick:
(5.02) QB Marc Bulger, STL

Round 6

If you went hard
on RB early, there will be a lot of OK WR’s here to choose from.
Galloway, Mark Clayton, Braylon Edwards, Darrell Jackson, Chris
Chambers, all make viable WR filler here. Jamal Lewis makes an
excellent 6th rounder as does Fred Taylor and I’d even
look at Brandon Jackson here. If you follow me, you’ve opened this
draft probably RB, RB/WR, WR, RB/WR, QB or whoever fell through the
cracks. I like the 6th round a lot because there is a lot
of solid value at both RB and WR, expect a good one in this round and
there’s no reason to look elsewhere.

Let’s talk about
the TE plan for this years draft as some will start appearing here
and you’ll be tempted by them. Some will be thinking Gonzalez or Heap
but I think you lay off. I’m targeting Chris Cooley this year as my
TE who is currently the 7th TE drafted and is going on
average, late in the 7th round and that my friends is a
steal. If that falls apart, Jason Witten can be had for a song late
8th, early 9th round. It’s why it doesn’t make a ton of
sense to worry about your standard Gonzalez, Heap, Shockey cast of
characters and certainly not Antonio Gates in the third round. If
Cooley goes (and I do let out a cry when someone gets him before me)
I’ll shift gears and target Witten late 8th, early 9th
as mentioned but be forewarned that someone usually over pays for him
and he likely won’t be there. If Witten is gone I then retarget for
Ben Watson early 10th. I’ve been hitting Watson a lot in the 10th
but when Watson is gone, Randy McMichael becomes the next target in
the 11th. In every draft I’ve been in, I’ve managed to get Cooley,
Witten, Watson or McMichael as my TE, paid face value and am happy to
have one of them as you’re getting great value at the position later
on in the draft. That’s your 2007 TE plan!

My Shark Pick:
(6.11) RB Julius Jones, DAL

Round 7

I advocate thinking about pulling the
trigger on the Bears D here. You have to look at your D scoring and
if points are high for D’s, this is the place you pull the trigger.
If points are low for a D, I’d wait till the 9th round to
pull the trigger on the Bears D. So if you are keeping score at
home, that’s round 7 – 9 for the Bears D depending on how valuable
they are in your scoring system. Baring that, mop up whatever is
left at the RB position here in the 7th which includes
great value picks like Brandon Jackson if still available though
doubtful as he is climbing the draft boards, Chester Taylor or Chris
Brown. If there’s truly nothing at RB then think sleeper WR that
could explode for you like Vincent Jackson or Donte Stallworth or
Chris Cooley of course as mentioned above in Round 6. Mop up the
RB’s before Cooley but stick Cooley in with Jackson and Stallworth
and think really hard on it based on the number of WR’s you’ve
collected already. If you picked up a bunch of WR’s already, go
Cooley, else you’ll want to pad WR depth first.

My Shark Pick:
(7.02) Chicago Bears D

Round 8

Round 8 is great!
Expect a ton of QB’s to go in this round but there’ll also be pearls
like Ladell Betts and Warrick Dunn that make great deep men on your
RB depth chart. If you haven’t gone QB yet, this is it. Young,
Romo, Cutler, grab what you can and if you just started your QB
collection here in the 8th, come back in the 9th with
another one. Don’t forget Jason Witten is an option if you are
picking later in the 8th round and have things pretty much
under control at other positions. We are not going to look at WR for
a while, so it’s time to collect at all the other positions.

My Shark Pick:
(8.11) WR Donte Stallworth, NE

Round 9

If you’re coming
back in the 9th for another QB or you’re looking to backup
one of your big name QB’s taken in the 4th or 5th
round, think Phil Rivers or Matt Leinart here. If gone, LaMont
Jordan, Tatum Bell and LenDale White look great here, there’s a
plethora of interesting RB’s in Round 9 and don’t be shy to pluck one
out and stick him on your roster.

My Shark Pick:
(9.02) QB Jay Cutler, DEN

Round 10

The 10th is a minefield. If you still need a TE, then Ben
Watson is your target, if not, look at guys like LenDale White if
available, Reuben Droughns, Adrian Peterson (CHI), maybe even Mike
Bell. I’m a Jerry Porter fan (yes I did just type that) and have
been grabbing him around the 10th. The really great pick in the 10th
is Ben Watson if you need that TE, else look for an RB with upside
and if that doesn’t exist, grab a WR with upside. You’re looking
upside all the way with this pick so look hard and long for the best
upside pick you can find.

My Shark Pick:
(10.11) WR Jerry Porter, OAK

Round 11

Funny, checking a number of my drafts, for whatever reason, I picked
up Mike Bell in the 11th in all of them! That just says I
over value him a bit but that was pre-Travis Henry injury and I have
Henry down a bit because of his history. When you are looking for
bread and butter running games in the NFL there are 6 teams to target
right now. In no particular order, the Chargers, Broncos, Bears,
Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers. I always look for runners from those
teams, bump them up a little on my board and draft all the backups
that are worth something from those teams later in the draft. In
order, I believe the best backups in fantasy that would benefit the
most if the guy in front of them went down are: Michael Turner, Mike
Bell, and Adrian Peterson (Chi).

The only other place to go with your 11th pick are all the
tall TD catching WR’s that could catch fire this season like Matt
Jones, Brandon Jones and Drew Bennett.

My Shark Pick:
(11.02) RB Mike Bell, DEN

Round 12

Things are starting to wind down now. You need a K, but not yet, and
you still need to pad for some depth. It’s also still possible that
you need a TE. A RB like Leon Washington is OK here, Dominic Rhodes,
any of the tall TD catching WR’s listed about that slipped through.
You’re really just looking to pad for depth at a position that needs
padding.

My Shark Pick:
(TE Randy McMichael, STL)

Round 13 – 16

There’s not much left to do now except put this draft to bed. To
finish up your draft there are some decent sleeper picks to chase
down and pick late. I recommend any of the following:

QB J.P. Losman, BUF

QB Chad Pennington, NYJ

RB DeDe Dorsey, IND

RB Sammy Morris, NE

WR Maurice Stovall, TB

WR Troy Williamson, MIN

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL

WR Wes Welker, NE

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND

The only final note is a note I make every year when drafting.
‘Conventional’ wisdom tends to state that you draft a K or D with
your last pick. I actually don’t like doing that because you lock
out the last two rounds of your draft as you have to pick a certain
position to fulfill your starting lineup requirement, essentially
ending your creativity in the 14th round. Pick your K and
D BEFORE the last round so that your last pick can be made from ANY
position. In that way, you almost always will be able to pick up a
decent sleeper pick that fell and has greater value than your last
round Kicker.

Hope you enjoyed this years draft plan! Happy drafting and may all
your drafts be good ones.

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