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A Tale of Two Drafts

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times… okay, that may be a little harsh. However, I recently had the opportunity to participate in two different drafts, with two different outcomes, and with two totally different experiences for me. One draft was for The Wall (FantasyShark’s own IDP-only league) and the other was for The League of Champions (a Sharktank league comprised of various champs from last season).

 

First of all, let me set the table for you. For those of you who don’t know, I’m an IDP guy (IDP stands for Individual Defensive Players). I’d have to say that 60-70% of my partaking in fantasy football revolves around IDP. I’m the defensive coordinator for two expert league teams (one of which is the FantasyShark’s HAFAX team). My job as a defensive coordinator for these teams requires me to focus on defensive players all season long as well as the post-season. I have my original home-grown dynasty league that has mostly offense but some IDP as well (but it’s a true dynasty team with no redraft), an office league that is only offense (usually redraft), and then I have the Wall which is only IDP (redraft).

 

Then there’s the League of Champions (LOC). Shark member Dragonz20 came up with a novel idea for a league that would consist of the champions from some of the top leagues that have been formed out of the FantasyShark community forum. This LOC league was being setup with the idea that each season would possibly be an entirely different roster/scoring format and that the three bottom team’s league representation would be eliminated the following year. I received an invite for the LOC this past offseason due to the fact that I was the current champ for The Wall. It was very intriguing as it was being run this year as an offensive player league with only a team defense category – no IDPs at all. This seemed like a good challenge for me, a little bit of foreign territory, so I signed up for it figuring I’d be able to focus a little more on the offensive side of the ball and broaden my horizons a little bit.

 

Anyways, that’s a little bit of my background going into these past couple of weeks. During this time I’ve been partaking in two drafts simultaneously – The Wall and The LOC. Here are some comments about my somewhat contrasting experience with both of these drafts.

 

Round #1

 

The Wall – I have the 2nd overall pick in our random draft order. This was an easy one as all I needed to do was get someone I considered to be a top-5 guy. I went with

Keith Bulluck LB TEN. He’s just solid and dependable every year. I had to go with him.

 

The LOC – I was picking in the 3rd slot in this draft. Now keep in mind that the LOC this year is setup with big rewards for big plays. Tomlinson went #1 (Duh!) and then Steven Jackson went second. Who to take with the #3? Larry Johnson was holding out at the time and I needed to get someone I could count on, someone who could get me 500plus points over the course of the season. So, of course I went with

Peyton Manning QB

IND

(please don’t tell Tony!). Hey, he was 2nd overall last year in the LOC scoring format and he finished almost 200 points higher than almost all the RBs. Drafting on the corner side of this 12-team league I figured those points would be gone by the time I drafted again… okay, stop laughing, on to round 2….

 

Round #2

 

The Wall – Having the 2nd overall pick is great until the first round is over in a serpentine draft. After that it’s kind of the pits. My winning strategy last season in the Wall was to get a solid player at each position and to draft a lot of linebackers. Continuing on with that theme for this season, I grabbed

Roy Williams S DAL. I had him ranked as my #2 safety this year and I wanted to get him as I didn’t think he’d make it back to me for round #4. I knew I could grab a decent LB with my soon-to-be round #3 pick.

 

The LOC – Big play league, so I needed big play guys here with this pick. I knew it was going to probably have to be a big play wide-receiver. Maybe I could get two of them as I turned the corner into round #3. Everyone is just drafting running backs left and right….wait a minute….RBs are disappearing fast…I need to start at least one in this league…stick to your guns, Seadog, draft the wide receivers….nope, gotta go with a RB, so I select

Thomas Jones RB NYJ… (chicken!)

 

Round #3

 

The Wall – Coming around the corner I see

Gary Brackett LB

IND

available so I gobble him up. Not a very flashy player, but his numbers should be good based on the trouble Indy is having in the defensive tackle position. So now I have two solid LBs and a top safety – not bad so far.

 

The LOC – What in the world am I doing? I had a plan and I chickened out of it. The top 3 big play WRs are gone now as well. Very nice. I’ve gotta get somebody with big play potential so why not

Javon Walker WR DEN. I’m expecting big things for him this year. You’d better produce for me Mr. Walker. I guess it’s time to change plans – again…

 

Round #4

 

The Wall – Suddenly, an interesting dilemma develops as the news of Philly LB Jeremiah Trotter’s release hits the wire. I’ve been keen on Omar Gaither all offseason but I figured he would go a round or two later. Preliminary reports seem confused as to whether Gaither or Takeo Spikes will take over as the new MLB. Spikes wouldn’t necessarily be a bad pick-up.

  Hmmm, what to do – what to do? Since this pick is right on the elbow of a turn and since I figure Bluebeards wouldn’t draft two Philly LBs in a row this early in the draft, I decide to go with

Derrick Johnson LB KC – the guy I was initially targeting with this pick here. That way I’d still get a crack at one or both of the Philly guys after Bluebeards makes his two picks.

 

The LOC – Interesting that I’m on the elbow for both of these drafts… Anyway, what to do with my team here… I’ve kind of lost the top WR angle, so I need to come up with something different… RBs are still going and I need 3 of them. I like De’shaun Foster as a big play kind of RB but it seems kind of early. Well, it’s either

Brandon Jackson RB GB or Deuce McAllister RB NO. I decide to go with

Jackson

as he appears to be the starter and hope that Deuce might slide back around to me after a few picks.

 

Round #5

 

The Wall – Wouldn’t you know it but I’m still faced with the Gaither/Spikes dilemma. I can’t take it any longer so I decide to go with

Omar Gaither based on his youth and talent. Spikes has been getting hurt a lot in recent seasons and all I could imagine was him going down 4 weeks into this year. So Gaither it is.

 

The LOC – Okay, so Fantasyhussy grabbed Deuce before he gets back to me so now what do I do? These guys are true sharks out there and I’m just flopping around in their backwash. I’ve got to have a big year from Peyton, this year my team hinges on him… well, with that being the case, what happens if he goes down or the left side of his line can’t protect him this year? Then I’m in trouble. I need someone that can pick up the slack in case he goes down. I decide to go with

Vince Young QB TEN hoping for some extra points for his rushing ability. I know, I know, two QBs in the first 5 rounds. I am totally out of control…

 

Round #6

 

The Wall – So my strategy has always been to stock up on LBs and grab at least one key guy at each position. However, in looking at my winning team from last year I realize that I was spurred on by a very good performance from a DE (Leonard Little). I’m thinking I need a good DE soon so why not now? I pick

Trent Cole DE PHI with this pick based on my preseason rankings. Can he be another Leonard Little for me? I’m not sure but I’m willing to give it a shot.

 

The LOC – The list of RBs is really starting to get low. My man

De’shaun Foster is still available so I bite the bullet and go with him for this pick. So now I have 2 QBs, 3 RBs, and a WR – where did my original strategy go?

 

Round #7

 

The Wall – Since I need to start two DE’s each week and since there seems to be a decent supply of talent still around at the other positions, I decide to go with

Mark Anderson DE CHI with this pick. I like his potential. Besides, this will free me up to concentrate on some of the other positions, right? The LOC must be rubbing off on me…

 

The LOC – I really need to take a WR here, my team is so “un-rounded” it’s not even funny. The thought has crossed my mind to just draft as many of the top remaining QBs as I can and let some of the other teams trade for them… but really, that’s foolishness, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want to be foolish… wait a minute Chris Brown is the front-runner for the Titans RB position. Lendale White is just an overweight overvalued RB, right? Brown has to win that job. I forego everything and I decide to take

Chris Brown RB TEN with this pick. Now I have four somewhat undependable RBs…great…

 

Round #8

 

The Wall – At this point I’m looking at either Channing Crowder LB MIA or Keith Ellison LB BUF. I’m not used to all this elbow drafting but I could be looking at getting one of these guys in a couple of picks. I decide to go with

Erik Coleman S NYJ. He’s a consistent point producer and that’s one of the things I like to go for with my team. I’m hoping Ellison or Crowder come back around to me after Bluebeards picks.

 

The LOC – So now I’ve really got to come up with some big play WRs for my team. I’m just not sure. I’ve had my eye on

Santonio Holmes WR PIT and he is available. That’s my pick – I go with Holmes. Maybe he’ll at least do something for me. I decide to change the name of my team from “The Great Wall” to “Wally World”… seems fitting…

 

Round #9

 

The Wall – Ellison got taken on me so the choice for this pick is pretty straight-forward for me.

Channing Crowder has been improving each year. He’ll be playing on the weakside and if something should happen to Zach Thomas he will take over in the middle. This to me is a good solid pick at this point in the draft.

 

The LOC – Pick # 9 comes around and again I’m staring at the choice of another WR. After much debate I decide to go with the risky

Jerry Porter WR OAK. As far as I can tell he’s been handed the keys to the car this year, can he step up and exercise his true potential? It’s a big question mark, but I’m going to gamble for it.

 

Round #10

 

The Wall – I haven’t drafted any cornerbacks yet, and I’m getting a little antsy about it. Marlin

Jackson

is a player that I decided to try to get on my team before the draft even started. Was he the best CB to pick here? That’s a good question. I think he’s going to have a very good year this season, and I wanted him on my team so the pick is

Marlin Jackson CB IND.

 

The LOC – At this point, I’m not focusing on RBs at all – it’s going to be WRs or some other position. I had been thinking about taking

Green Bay

’s rookie wideout James Jones with my pick before, and surprise, surprise he’s still available. He’d been having a great camp and Favre seems to like to throw to him, so no hesitation with this one. The selection is

James Jones WR GB.

 

Round #11

 

The Wall – I had to make this pick via blackberry, and I was having trouble looking at team rosters. I decided to use my earlier DE strategy and grab another CB to round out my two starters. One of the guys on the board was someone that I had last year –

Carlos Rogers CB WAS – and he had a pretty decent year last year. It was easy enough for me to go with him so Carlos Rogers became draft pick #11

 

The LOC – At this point, I’m just trying to be proactive with my picks. My team is quite the mish-mash of talent and I’ve been drafting all over the place. I’m thinking tight end is the way to go here, but which one? Not much separation between the guys that are left on the table… once again I decide to take a bit of a risk (hey, how risky can a TE pick be anyways?)… The selection for round #11 is

Bo Scaife TE TEN. He’s kind of a favorite of Vince Young and Fisher likes to use the TE a lot in his offense so… I’m going for it…

 

Round #12

 

The Wall – There were several guys that I expected to fall here that were gobbled up by the picks in the middle of the snake. What?

Darryl Tapp DE SEA is pushing to start? Wait a minute, he’s one of my sleeper picks this year… I don’t need another DE, but I’m going for it with this one. If he’s great then I’ll look good and if he’s not then he will become a waiver wire casualty.

 

The LOC – So now, I’m looking for a kicker, a defense, or just some plain old points. I’m actually not really sure who I want here, but I’ve found myself doing a little research on

Sammy Morris RB NE. He could be a decent versatility kind of back and he may steal some TDs from Maroney at the goal line… seems like a good enough pick for me here – I’ll try to get a kicker or a defense on the elbow pick next round.

 

Round #13

 

The Wall – This was a bit of a tough pick for me. I usually like to wait until the end of the draft to go after a defensive tackle – they just don’t generate enough points it seems like to get them too quickly. Well, I wanted to get my DT position taken care of so I wasn’t pigeon-holed into it with my last pick. I went with

Tommie Kelly DT OAK here. He’s one of those guys that could get flopped to a DE in the MyFantasyLeague system but I’ll take that chance. I like the fact that he will be playing some DE this year.

 

The LOC – The defense that I want is still there so, now is probably as good a time to grab it. Now keep in mind, I’m an IDP guy, team defense is a whole other animal. But, having said that, I think

Dallas

is going to be pretty solid this year on the defensive side of the ball so my pick here is

Dallas Cowboys DEF.

 

Round #14

 

The Wall – I made up my mind to go safety or linebacker with this pick. Team Gballs was kind enough to take one of my main targets, Josh Bullocks S NO, right before I selected. Hmmm, this was probably going to be another safety as opposed to a linebacker. One of the “young guns” at safety that I really like is

Anthony Smith S PIT. I’m not sure if he will start over Ryan Clark, but I really like the way he plays. Welcome to Team Seadog Mr. Smith!

 

The LOC – Three more picks and I’ve got to make sure my roster is compliant. I need another QB and I need a kicker. Since there are still a lot of kickers on the board, I’m going to round out my QB stable, so the selection here is

Trent Green QB MIA. Welcome to the bench Buddy!

 

Round #15

 

The Wall – I wanted another CB before the draft ended, so I was definitely going for one here. I decided to go with

Deltha O’Neal CB CIN. He’s very worthy of a backup CB on my team, so I’m going to take him in this slot.

 

The LOC – Two rounds to go, do I take a kicker now or wait until the last round? Now is as good a time as ever, I guess. I really have no clue about kickers.

 David Akers, Josh Brown, John Carney – those are some guys that have been reliable in the past for me… there’s also been a lot of preseason fantasy hype swirling around

Stephen Gostkowski PK NE… I decide to go with the hype on this one and take the guy from the Patriots.

 

Round #16

 

The Wall – This is the next to last pick, and I’m pretty satisfied with my team. I’m still looking for a LB possibility, but I don’t like much of what’s out there. Should I go safety? Cornerback? Then again, I’m not 100% sure that my DT is going to stay as a DT… I better try for some insurance. I’m going with

Darnell Dockett DT ARI with this pick… I’ve got way too many defensive linemen on this team…

 

The LOC – Last pick for this league, all my requirements are covered, this becomes a free pick – sort of. I think I’d like to go with another kicker, defense or TE, but I need more help then those positions will give me. Sticking with the

New England

theme, I’m selecting

Wes Welker WR NE. No real reason. He’s kind of a sparkplug-type of player. That’s what I need – a sparkplug. Go Wes go!

 

Round #17

 

The Wall – Not too many guys left on the list that are players that I feel that I need on my team… maybe Ryan Clark S PIT just to cover my bases for the starting safety opposite Polamalu in Pittsburgh… nah, I’m going to just go completely wacko and take another cornerback. I never try for 4 CBs in this league. With my last selection in the 2007 Wall draft, I select

Kelly

Jennings

CB SEA….Team Seadog is now complete.

 

So there you have it – two different drafts, with two different outcomes, and with two totally different experiences for me. I’m pretty satisfied with my team in the Wall league. I’d prefer to have another LB or two, but I think I’m going to be competitive in that league again this year. As for the LOC, I don’t know what to expect. I’m not totally unhappy with my team, I’m hoping to be competitive, and I’m hoping to stay above the bottom three teams and not embarrass my Wall league representation. Time will tell. I can tell you for sure that every draft is a learning experience for me… maybe I should have read Tony’s draft article before these drafts instead of after-the-fact. It might have knocked some better sense into me… oh well… it was the best of times and it was the worst of times… bring it on boys!

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FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.