I guess I picked a pretty good time to write that strategy piece on auction drafts, no?
On Sunday night, myself and a few other writers here at Rant participated in an 8-team auction mock. We were hoping to get 12 people to make it more realistic, but it didn’t work out. Obviously, you will see some pretty stacked rosters in 8-team leagues, which is something I hate, but what are you going to do? Anyway, the draft took about two hours, which is actually good timing for an auction. Below you can find my roster and the price I paid for each player.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins ($45): Morris continuously doesn’t get the love he deserves in fantasy land, and I was more than okay with spending 45 dollars on him as my RB1. The Redskins are one of the most run-heavy teams in football, having posted the third-most attempts in the league last year (519). Morris, meanwhile, is coming off one of the more impressive rookie campaigns in quite some time, rushing for 1,613 yards, 100.8 yards per game and 13 scores, all of which finished second in the league. Those numbers were good enough for him to finish as fantasy’s number five running back, and with Robert Griffin III (hopefully) playing more conservative this year, the Redskins may very well lean on Morris in the running game.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears ($32): I’m all in on the Bears this season, but especially Forte. Despite not being used as much as he should at times, the dude is still one of the elite pass-catching backs in the game, and under new head coach Marc Trestman, he’ll remind everyone in 2013. Guys like Larry Centers (a fullback) caught over 60 balls under Trestman in previous years, so I can’t wait to see what an explosive guy like Forte can do. Of course, he is very poor in the red zone, which is why the team uses Michael Bush in certain situations. Per the Sultan of Stat, Tristan Cockroft, over the past five seasons, Forte has only converted on 18 percent of his opportunities inside an opponent’s five-yard line. However, that’s what I have Morris on my team for. I like the balance of Morris, a guy who excels up close, but doesn’t catch passes, and then Forte, an excellent receiving threat in an offense that should throw the ball a ton more.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos ($26): I’m not scared at all of the presence of Wes Welker. Thomas is still 100 percent the top dog in town, and quarterback Peyton Manning will be looking for him a ton. Last year, Thomas was targeted a very healthy 141 times, in route to a top-five fantasy season among receivers. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination of size and speed from a number one wide receiver, and just entering his prime, I expect big things from Thomas. The presence of Welker, in my eyes, will most likely help Thomas. Less attention will be on the Broncos number one option, and with Manning always looking to find those intermediate gains to get the first, Welker should extend a ton of drives this year. I wasn’t looking to grab one of the top-three or four wideouts on my team, and you’ll see why in a minute.
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons ($26): I was very happy to spend $26 on both of my number one wideouts. Despite many people being fascinated with the emergence of Julio Jones, I still prefer the veteran. Last season, White actually had more catches, targets and receiving yards than Jones, and finished as the number ten fantasy wideout, just barely behind Julio. The Falcons love to throw the ball, and over the past three seasons, White has been targeted 143, 181 and 179 times, respectively. He may be 31-years old, but Roddy isn’t anywhere close to being done.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($19): Like I said, it is only an 8-team draft, so my receivers are officially stacked. Cobb, a guy who is in my top-10 rankings among receivers, is my number three option on this roster. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers believe that Cobb can be a 100-catch guy for them this year, and quite frankly, so do I. He caught 80 balls last season, and the belief is that he will become an even more featured part of the offense in 2013. Expect him to create tons of matchup nightmares out of the slot again this year (ran 84.4% of his routes from slot in 2012).
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts ($15): I don’t love Luck as much as my price tag indicates, but I need a quarterback and at the time, I still had over 60 dollars to spend with few roster spots needed to fill. I think Luck will still finish as a top-12 fantasy signal caller, but the new West Coast offense will improve his efficiency, not so much his stats. I definitely don’t think Luck will lead the league in pass attempts of 20-yards or more, but he won’t throw 18 interceptions again either. He has some strong receiving threats in Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, as well as a pair of high upside tight ends. Not a problem with Luck as my starting fantasy quarterback.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders ($15): One more year. I’m giving McFadden one more year, and if he doesn’t come through, I’m done. However, McFadden may be a candidate for a post-hype sleeper this season. The team is going back to a power running scheme, and the last time McFadden operated out of this style of running, he averaged over five yard per carry. McFadden isn’t a very patient, decisive runner. Instead, he is a guy who wants to run through you, run over you. I think this will benefit his fantasy prospects, but he’ll also catch the ball for the Raiders, basically because who else will? Obviously, there is still risk with Run DMC, but adding him for 15 dollars as my flex is fine by me.
Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints ($13): And if (when) McFadden fails, I’ll still have a trustworthy guy in Sproles on my bench. During his tenure in New Orleans, Sproles has averaged 5.6 catches for slightly over 47 yards per contest, making him one of the hottest commodities in PPR leagues. However, Sproles isn’t exactly a slouch in standard leagues, either. He gets a ton of looks from Drew Brees in the red zone, part of an offense that airs the ball out a ton. As my fourth running back, I will gladly take that all day, every day.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ($9): Brown is on my love list this year, so I am pretty much always looking to add him to my teams. The guy missed three games last season, but still caught a respectable 66 balls on 105 targets. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always favored Brown over Mike Wallace, and now that Wallace is gone, Brown will get an absurd amount of looks. He fits Todd Haley’s style of offense very well, and grabbing a top-20 guy for only nine dollars is a steal, in my eyes.
Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams ($6): Someone in this draft spent 1o dollars on rookie wideout Tavon Austin, which is fine. However, I would much rather pay four dollars less on a guy like Givens, who is already looking like Sam Bradford’s number one target. He has that big play potential, having posted a 50-yard touchdown catch in five straight games last year. If he can add some consistency to his game, Givens will most certainly breakout in 2013. Don’t forget, this is that magical 3rd year for wide receivers. Whether you believe the myth or not, Givens will shine in St. Louis.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns ($5): I was more than okay with watching the rest of the pack splurge their money on the top tier tight ends, while I sat back and spent just five dollars on Cameron, a guy with massive upside. Cameron is a freak athlete, has already shined during the preseason (great, now everyone knows about him) and we know about both Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner’s history with tight ends. Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator with the Panthers last season when Greg Olsen posted his best statistical season of his career. With Josh Gordon suspended for the first two games, Cameron will get plenty of looks from quarterback Brandon Weeden, who looks great this preseason. If he can play like this during the regular season, Cameron could explode in fantasy land.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns ($2): Gordon has massive upside, and I got him for relatively cheap. A guy with a strong combination of size and speed, sure, he’s suspended for the first two games, but he’ll be the top target in the passing game the second he returns. If Weeden can play better, Gordon will benefit in a big time way.
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers ($1): Too many people are terrified of the Carolina running back situation, but for a measly dollar, I’ll take Williams every single time. Carolina wants to run the football more, and with Jonathan Stewart struggling to stay healthy, Williams will most likely start the season as the lead back. Of course, his touchdown potential is capped because of the presence of both Cam Newton and Mike Tolber, but last year, when Williams was the lone man in the backfield, he had some productive fantasy outings.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST ($1): I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Drafting an elite defense is vastly overrated. Having said that, I waited until the very end of the draft, nominated the Tampa defense, and salivated at the thought of them dominating whoever is under center for the Jets in Week 1. I’ll stream my defenses all year, and after Tampa plays the Jets, I’ll drop them and pickup whoever has the next best matchup.
Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys ($1): I like the Dallas offense to be in the red zone quite a bit this season, but this unit has struggled in that area recently. Enter Bailey, a very good fantasy kicker who’s 68 attempts are tied for third-most over the last two seasons.
QB- Andrew Luck
RB- Alfred Morris
RB- Matt Forte
WR- Demaryius Thomas
WR- Roddy White
TE- Jordan Cameron
Flex: Darren McFadden
D/ST- Tampa Bay
K- Dan Bailey
Bench: Randall Cobb, Antonio Brown, Chris Givens, Josh Gordon. DeAngelo Williams, Darren Sproles
I am too thrilled with this team. A combination of safety and depth makes this roster a lock for a playoff birth, you know, if this league were to actually be played out. My bench is absolutely stacked, which will put me n fine shape during bye weeks or unfortunate injuries. I’m loving this team.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.