By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports
Romeo likes Bowe's value
We wanted to give our readers a look into the thought process going into some of the picks of our "Champions Draft." So here is a look at each team and some of their thoughts on their picks during the draft. If you want to see the thoughts on my picks, check out the "Mock Draft Analysis" story on our site. I go through every one of my picks in the story.
Again, here is a rundown of the league. The draft this season consists of the top rated fantasy players on our site - we invited players rated in the Top 15 in our Top Fantasy Players report. So this is the best of the best on our site.
Romeo's Team, Romeo Rahrovi
Drew Brees (3.5). I was surprised he lasted until third round and felt the value was too high to pass up even though there are plenty of good QBs who are starting caliber.
Miles Austin (4.8). The available RBs weren't appealing for fourth round and I think Austin is a good candidate for a bounce-back season. In a great offense with weapons at every position, if he can stay upright, he'll put up good numbers.
Dwayne Bowe (5.5). Value was too good to pass up. RB left didn't excite me and had major holes, so I went with a very solid starter in Bowe, who has put up good numbers with weak QBs and now has many more weapons around him.
Donald Brown (7.5). I had to go RB here even though I rarely draft for position. Very weak depth and quality at RB this year, so in 7th round I took Brown, who has upside, talent and is the starter in Indy. This is his best opportunity to cement himself as the starter with a new coaching staff and no real competition other than Delone Carter.
Jonathan Stewart (8.8). As a stand-alone pick, he's a solid third back that can start occasionally because he is Carolina's third-down back, rotates series and gets goal-line carries too. He's also in a contract year and may even be traded to a team this summer that will use him as a featured back. In the eighth round, I felt he was solid value.
Darrius Heyward Bey (9.5). With Carson Palmer as the QB, DHB is their No. WR and put up good numbers down the stretch last year. I think he is an excellent fourth WR that has upside to become an every-week starter this year if he can stay consistent.
Smart Alex Select, Jeffrey Jones
Maurice Jones-Drew (1.8). MJD was rock solid last year and just in case the rock holds out or crumbles this year, Rashad Jennings is a more than capable replacement I picked up in the 11th round.
Jimmy Graham (2.5). Graham put up top WR numbers from the TE position. Graham is one of the two TEs worth grabbing before round six.
Aaron Hernandez (6.5). I really didn't expect Hernandez to be there but since he was, I'll take him. He might lose a few touches with Brandon Lloyd in town but oh well.
Chris Wells (5.8). Wells is still young and has shown flashes of why he was drafted so high. This could be his year and I don't want to play against him if he's ready.
Matt Ryan (10.5). Ryan in the 10th round should be a good value since they are talking pass, pass, pass in Atlanta.
Jacoby Ford (14.5). Last year, I expected a lot more out of Ford. If he didn't have to run back to catch Carson Palmer's underthrown passes, I might have got it. Hopefully, Palmer knows how fast he is this year and led him with his throws.
Azzurri, Don T.
Calvin Johnson (1.4). Had this been a bigger cash fee leagues I'd likely have taken a RB or Aaron Rodgers, but Calvin was my thought when my pick came up and I took him. Figured I'd build this team around him and the WR spot in this PPR league.
Greg Jennings (2.9). Sticking with my WR domination theme, I take the next best WR on my list at pick 2.9. I'm happy but know RB will be a spot I must get right or else.
Julio Jones (3.4). Julio is one of my target players this year, so I took the chance and went WR/WR/WR and will be starting them every week of the season that they are available or not on bye. I like my chances of gaining at least 50 to 60 points a week or more from those first three picks alone.
Reggie Bush (4.9). Onto RB and I take one of the best PPR (yep that's the theme here -PPRs!) RBs on the board in Reggie and hope he picks up where he left off last season. He sure is talking big numbers and I like that.
Mike Vick (5.4). With no RBs that I felt I just had to have at my pick in the fifth round, I decide why not be strong at QB while I can still get a top-6 QB, so I grab Vick. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder this year and I'm looking for a huge year from him because of it. Vick was the only player I take over a RB here. He's still there. He's mine.
Vernon Davis (6.9). Thinking again that I may as well be strong at other spots if I'm going to be weak at RB, I grab Davis, who if he does what he did in the playoffs should be a top-three TE. Big thing with him is that it is going to be very tough to double him this year with all the talent San Fran has brought in around him this year.
Peyton Hillis (7.4). I took a major risk holding off on RBs in this draft, so now I will concentrate on getting the best of what is left and hope to find two that will produce enough weekly to go along with the rest of my very strong line-up positions. I like Hillis enough to start him for a No. 2 RB most weeks. With him and Bush, I should get enough out of them to stay in the playoff hunt. The new offensive coordinator in Kansas City is the same one who used Hillis so well two years ago. That only can mean good things coming for him. I feel he will play enough and be the goal-line/short-yardage RB to be a fairly good No. 2 RB.
David Wilson (8.9). Nothing but rave reviews coming from the coaching staff in New York about this rookie from Virginia Tech. He will see plenty of action as the scheme there is to play two RBs and play them a lot.
Felix Jones (9.4). Building up some RBs that could play and produce at any given time. Feeling a bit better about the RB spot now.
Lance Moore (10.9). I rounded out my WR Corps with the very capable Moore. Love the pick.
Kevin Smith (11.4). My pick for the No. 1FF RB in Detroit this season is this guy. Jahvid Best won't last long and the kid Mikel Leshoure won't be around much and is coming off major injury. I am sure Smith will give me four to six quality starts this year!
Tim's Team, Timothy Taieb
Darren McFadden (1.7). I took Darren McFadden, who I was expecting to get because I draft with all these guys all the time and there all great drafters. As for McFadden, I really like him. He's a true No. 1 now that Michael Bush is in Chicago. I think McFadden could a top-three fantasy running back, but we all know the only thing holding him back from that is if he can stay healthy.
Rob Gronkowski (2.6). It was between him and Darren Sproles with this picki. Now that I see what running backs I ended up with, I would of chose Sproles. Gronk is a beast, though, so I shouldn't complain. Saw him go in the first round in a few drafts. Just not used to picking TEs so early.
Jordy Nelson (3.7). Got Nelson as my first WR, who I really like this year. He has got the best QB in the game throwing to him and that's all the Packers do is throw, so he should get plenty of chances to rack up those fantasy points.
Percy Harvin (4.6). Love this pick at 4.6. I was hoping Harvin would come back around and he did. Havin went on a tear second half of the season, scoring more points than Calvin Johnson in the same amount of games (both had a Week 9 bye). We all know what kind of season Megatron had going in the top 5 this year, so I am very pleased with getting Harvin.
Brandon Lloyd (5.7). I was planning on going RB. I wanted Reggie Bush but he got picked by Don T. My next choice was Daniel Thomas, who I like a lot this year, but me and Logan think alike. So I went with Lloyd for my third WR in a row. I like this pick - just hope Tom Brady has enough balls to go around with so many great options on the team.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (6.6). I took BJG as my No. 2 RB, which is the weakest position on my team. I usually draft RB strong in most of my drafts. I've liked BJG more and more lately and think he could have a great season. Still young at 27 and should get most of the carries. He ould be a very nice RB for Cincinnati for the next three years.
JW - Bull Rush, John Woods
Jahvid Best (5.9). Best looked great early last season (112 points in six games) until being lost with concussions, which was disappointing. However, he appears to be on pace to return, having a good offseason, and he is only a baby at 23 years old. He plays in a very explosive passing attack with Mikel Lesoure coming back to lighten the load, which I feel will help Best stay on the field. In the sixth round, among RBs like Shonn Greene, Isaac Redman, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, I thought Best was good value.
DeAngelo Williams (7.9). Admittedly a bit of a risk, but I love Williams' ability. With the trade rumors surrounding Jonathan Stewart, this could become a more valuable pick - if he moves. Either way, I think Williams has a role in an explosive offense, and I think he has a couple good years left, still being under 30 years of age. The team added Mike Tolbert from San Diego, but he will be a versatile third-down type back.
Eli Manning (8.4). All Manning has done is finish in the top-10 QBs the last three seasons and never miss a game. There is always a debate as to when to pick a quarterback, but I pulled the trigger in the eighth and got a very consistent performer in Manning, a player with a very high floor, if not a ceiling as well.
Nate Washington (9.9). I have been a Washington fan for a couple years now, and he is just one of those players that does not get any respect by fantasy owners. He was a late bloomer, but I think he is very good talent. With the young arm in Tennessee, and the unreliable Kenny Britt as the main target, I feel Washington is going to have another fine year. As a 4th/5th option at WR, I was pleased with the pick.
Laurent Robinson (13.9). After exploding on the scene in Dallas during the second half of last season, Robinson earned himself a big free-agent contract. Unfortunately, it was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While quarterback is a huge issue for the Jags, adding Chad Henne isn't a great insurance policy for the shaky Blaine Gabbert. However, the additions of Justin Blackmon and Robinson should give either quarterback option more than the pathetic receiving corps they had last season. For a late round pick, I liked Robinson to build on his breakout season.
ZILLA-TIME, Robert Oly
Aaron Rodgers (1.10). Had DeMarco Murray in the draft box when the pick before me timed out. After the delay was straightened out and Murray taken (conspiracy?) went with Rodgers.
Andre Johnson (2.3). No running back worth grabbing here so stud receiver was the pick. I would like him more if his first name was Calvin.
Fred Jackson (3.10). Will take over where he left last year. Thinking of possible handcuff later with C.J. Spiller.
Michael Turner (4.3). The Burner provides great RB value here. No committee needed in Atlanta.
Marques Colston (5.10). Colston in the late fifth = gold. Top WR in a prolific offense.
Antonio Gates (6.3). I had hoped for Isaac Redman to come back around but Gates produces when healthy.
LeGarrette Blount (7.10). Looking for RB/WR depth now and Blount is good value.
Randy Moss (8.3). Ultimate boom/bust gamble in mid-June. I like him, so why not?
Jared Cook (9.10). Call me crazy but I expect a good year from him. Need a solid TE to complement Gates just in case.
Delone Carter (10.3). Could be his time in Indy.
Mike Williams (TAM) (11.10). Like Williams' chances to rebound and need some flex depth.
David Akers (12.3). After Akers, all kickers are created equal.
Detroit Lions (13.10). The Roar has been restored. Points against don't hurt and their line gets sacks and turnovers.
Santana Moss (14.3). Why settle for one older Moss when you can have two? RG3 will need the veteran to help him produce.
Chicago Bears (15.10). Who doesn't like to say Da Bears? Like to have a pick of defenses each week.
Ronnie Brown (16.3). Last-round flier on a backup for Ryan Mathews. Brown has produced in the past.
?, Logan Price
Demaryius Thomas (4.11). Tim Tebow is not throwing him the ball in 2012. The Sheriff is in town now and the sky is the limit when talking about this guy. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, this guy presents a mismatch for most guys that try to stop him. He will see three times the amount of targets he had last season. In 2011, he had a 20.2 yards per catch average in limited time and with a limited offense. I could see around 1,200 yards, 8 to 11 touchdowns, and 80 receptions. He was the 20th wide receiver off the board and I have him ranked higher than that among wide receivers. Top-10 WR potential.
Antonio Brown (5.2). Coming into his third season with the Steelers, I expect big things from the 5-foot-10, 186-pound WR. Don't let the size fool you, though. To start the year Brown was sitting fourth on the depth chart, but due to injuries, Brown really started to break out Week 7. From Week 7 on, Brown out produced Mike Wallace on targets, receptions and yards while playing 169 less snaps. While Wallace will be on the field more, Brown has shown that he can out produce him and clearly has Big Ben and Mike Tomlin's trust. I can see 1,200 yards, 4 to 6 touchdowns, and 80 receptions. He was the 22nd wide receiver off the board and I have him ranked higher than that among wide receivers. Top-15 WR potential.
James Starks (6.11). His third year in the system and the most talented runner on Green Bay. None of the talent behind him can take away significant snaps or touches, so I feel he will have a great chance to be the guy in the backfield. The Green Bay coaching staff came out and said he would be given the chance to be the No. 1 back for the team. If he can stay healthy, I think he can get around 1,200 total yards, 6 to 9 touchdowns, and 40-plus receptions. He was the 29th running back off the board and I have him ranked higher than that among running backs. Top-20 RB potential.
Tony Gonzalez (8.11). He is a 16-year veteran to the league. No doubt he is ancient in football years, but the guy just keeps bringing it year after year.
Greg Olsen (12.11). This is an offense that I feel can be very productive in 2012. Last season, Olsen had 89 targets and that was with injuries to him and the offensive line. I do feel that Brandon LaFell will end up being a good No. 2 receiver for the Panthers, but I think Olsen will put up the second most receiving points on the team. The last report on his tight end counterpart from last season, Jeremy Shockey, is that it is "likely" they part ways. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is a tight-end friendly coach, so I think he could progress to over or around 100 targets. I could see around 700 yards, 4 to 6 touchdowns, and 50-plus receptions. He was the 18th tight end off the board and I have him ranked higher than that among tight ends. Top-10 TE potential.
GoodFellas, Inc., John Martelin
Arian Foster (1.1). Some might say no brainer, but I don't feel that. I actually may even now prefer LeSean McCoy over Foster. Nevertheless, the top draft spots are, by far, where I would prefer to draft from. Some players feel the need to have to select Ben Tate also when they go with Foster. I'm not one of them, as it usually takes a seventh or eighth round pick to do that. I don't like "wasting" those valuable picks on backup RBs.
Roddy White (2.12). I was hoping for one of the two bit tight ends or Aaron Rodgers to fall, but no chance of that happening. I thought I also had a good chance of Darren Sproles falling to me, but he went one pick earlier. But no worries here, as these are both very good value picks. White as the seventh receiver drafted is a bargain. He's still the No. 1 guy in Atlanta over Julio Jones. I see their scenario as very similar to the Marvin Harrison/Reggie Wayne tandem where it took a few years before Wayne was able to clearly take over the No. 1 role in Indy. The issue I have with Jones is his unwillingness to go get a ball, unlike fellow '11 draft-cIass receiver, A.J. Green does.
Marshawn Lynch (3.1). Lynch is also a great value as the 14th running back drafted. Many are worried that since he "got paid," he won't have the same desire now. I have no concern over that whatsoever. In a league where you MUST start a minimum of two running backs, I'll take a 13 TD/1,400 yard running back in round three all day long and not look back for a second. Some others may also be "scared" off by his Week 16 matchup against San Francisco this year. Well, in 2011 Lynch ran for 100 yards and put up 21 fantasy points, which also was in Week 16 and also against that same San Francisco run defense.
Matthew Stafford (4.12). I'm not one to take quarterbacks early, but here is the deal. The drop off in quarterback value after the top 5 (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees and Cam Newton) is drastic, in my opinion. So if one of those five is still there in round five, I'm not passing on him. Plus, I have Stafford ranked as my third quarterback. No way I let him slip by me here. In hindsight, had I known I could've gotten Matt Ryan in the ninth round I would've been all over that. That's GREAT value, but still happy to have Stafford here.
Kenny Britt (5.1). Now, by taking a quarterback in the fourth round, it means I MUST go with a receiver in the fifth as I highly doubted there would be any wide outs with No. 2 receiver value waiting for me at the end of the sixth round. And that was very true. In fact, every No. 2 receiver was gone by the end of the fifth round. So, as the 21st receiver selected, I went with Britt. Another pick with huge upside. Coming off the ACL injury is concerning, but the risk/reward ratio at this spot makes it a safer gamble than Adrian Peterson, for example, who was drafted as the 10th running back despite the fact his ACL surgery was three months after Britt's ACL surgery. To me, that is too much risk that early in the draft, and this is not at this point of the draft. The only other receiver I considered here was Antonio Brown, who is a safer pick, but also not quite the same upside as Britt.
Willis McGahee (6.12). The thinking here is I want my flex position AND either a Top 6 TE or depth at RB/WR. 7 TEs were gone, so I wasn't going to reach for a TE here and I was hoping one of the next tier of TEs would still be available at the end of the 8th Rd.
Ronnie Hillman (7.1). Thirty running backs are already gone, so finding a back who is clearly his team's No. 1 is challenging here. There were only two left in my opinion - Willis McGahee and Donald Brown. I know what I'm getting in McGahee, while with Brown I'm not as sure. So McGahee is the choice as the flex. Hillman is definitely a reach here, but I think it makes some sense with McGahee, not unlike a Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams tandem. I thought about going that way too, but with Cam Newton and now Mike Tolbert in Carolina, I don't like the inconsistency in amount of touches that Stewart/Williams will provide at this point of the draft. The other players I strongly considered here were Torrey Smith and Denarius Moore, but I knew I could get receivers in that same tier at the end of the eighth and was willing to wait.
Reggie Wayne (8.12). So after eight rounds, none of the other 11 teams in the league have more than three receivers - in a PPR league. So, I'm definitely going to pounce on two receivers. I considered four guys here: Wayne, Robert Meachem, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Malcom Floyd. Heyward-Bey is just a little too unreliable for me here, so I dismissed him and then I also considered going with the Meachem/Floyd combo, but in the end I just couldn't pass up on Wayne this late. I think fantasy players are really sleeping on Wayne this year. This is a guy who finished as the 25th ranked receiver last year with a bunch of garbage at the quarterback position. He's almost guaranteed to improve on that with Andrew Luck as his quarterback this year. That makes him a fantasy No. 2 receiver. He may very well be my flex position more often than not.
Robert Meachem (9.1). So, again I'm going with No. 1 NFL receivers here in Wayne and Meachem. The only ones believing in Meachem right now are the San Diego Chargers, as they went out and got him and paid him. The fantasy community, as a whole (including myself), is not convinced Meachem can be a No. 1. But, when San Diego lost Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert to free agency, along with that went 114 receptions and a whopping 194 targets. Some of that production will go to Ryan Mathews and maybe some to Antonio Gates (if he can stay healthy), but 125 of those targets will be spread out to the receivers.
Jermaine Gresham (10.12). Definitely going tight end here. I was happy to get Gresham here. He is essentially the second passing option in Cincinnati with no clear No. 2 receiver at this time, and I expect he will definitely improve on his '11 numbers. Again, I feel this is great value as the 15th tight end taken. It's basically been the story of my draft this year. I have Gresham just slightly below Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Tony Gonzalez, but I'm getting him at a lower price than those guys.
Jacquizz Rodgers (11.1). I think we really are going see a major drop off from Michael Turner this year. This is an Atlanta offense that was fourth in pass attempts last year, and I think this year we'll see Rodgers be a bigger part of that. I also considered Kevin Smith and Titus Young here. The issue I have with Smith is when all three Detroit running backs are healthy, Smith is the third running back. I have no issues with Young. It's just that there are other comparable receivers that will be available at the end of the 12th round. The running back position will "dry up" sooner than the receiver position.
Vincent Brown (12.12), Kendall Wright (13.1). Was hoping for Dustin Keller here as my No. 2 tight end. That didn't happen, so I don't reach and instead I went with two receivers, Vincent Brown and Kendall Wright. These guys are basically "insurance policies" here for Britt and Meachem. I really do like the upside of both players too and both will likely be bye-week fill -ins. I also considered Doug Baldwin, Austin Collie and Jonathan Baldwin here. All five are similar in value, but I'll take the "insurance policies."
Joe McKnight (16.12). Last year, the 32-yr old LaDainian Tomlinson finished as the 32nd ranked running back despite playing in only 14 games and only receiving 117 touches. Some of that production has to go to someone else now and there's not much besides Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller in the Jets' passing game. I'm expecting McKnight to easily win the No. 2 running back job over Bilal Powell.
Brian's Team, Brian Moeller
Tom Brady (2.10). I believe Brady could have another record-breaking season. Having a deep threat Like Brandon Lloyd along with Rob Gronkowski , Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez should help him stretch the field more.
Jeremy Maclin (4.10). I was hoping Percy Harvin or Dez Bryant would make it back to me. I've heard Michael Vick say that he's expecting a breakout season from Maclin, and he's the most consistent and complete receiver the Eagles have. Has the ability to go across the middle.
Frank Gore (5.3). I hated taking this guy! This just illustrates just how important it is this year to get a bell cow-type RB or two if you can. Receivers and tight ends are really deep and there appears to be a real shortage of running backs that you can consider safe. He's almost 30 and has quite a bit of mileage. The 49ers also brought in Brandon Jacobs and Drafted LaMichael James.
C.J. Spiller (6.10). I was hoping to snag Jermichael Finley here. Spiller is a high upside running back who has the talent to be a top-10 running back. In essence, I was swinging for the fences on this pick. Fred Jackson is 31 and coming off a fractured leg. Spiller proved last year that he is what the Bills thought he was and that's a game-breaking talent.
Ben Tate (7.3). I would have taken Stewart here if we were drafting today. I probably reached on Tate. Tate is the best fantasy handcuff in the league. If Arian Foster gets hurt (like last year), Tate will be a surefire No. 1 fantasy RB. Tate also proved that when Houston gets a big lead, he can still contribute even when Foster is healthy (Tate ran for 100-plus yards twice).
Fred Davis (8.10). RG III will go to Davis often as his go-to guy. Should be motivated as he signed a one-year tender. RG III may have much to learn, but at least he will no longer have to catch passes from Rex Grossman or John Beck. If he were to have another positive drug test, he could be suspended for the season. I think 80 receptions and 1,000 yards are a very real possibility for a motivated Davis in a contract year.
If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at firstname.lastname@example.org