Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mad Decent Draft Review 2k13

It's that time of year again, folks.  Time to start pretending like I know more than everyone else about fantasy football!  You may recall that I had a bit of a breakdown at the end of the previous fantasy season, but as you might expect given the state of the Phillies, I'm bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to go find some acorns!  You know, if acorns were, uh, sleeper picks.  Yeah, that works.

Moving on.

Last season I did a pretty thorough review of the Mad Decent Jawnskies fantasy draft, giving position ratings for each team and weighting them against the impact that each position tends to have on scoring.  I'll be doing a bit of a lighter version of that this year (work sucks), but I'd also like to take a look at what I did last year to see if I really do have any ability to predict anything.

Team Predicted Actual
Juice Springsteen 1 4
TheChampIsHere 2 10
Half in the Hand 3 9
Goddamnit Donald! 4 7
Dallas Cowboys 5 6
The Girl 6 2
West Coast Offense 7 5
lustcheese 8 8
Team Functionality 9 1
Mr. TitleTown 10 3
Correlation -0.527  

Uh... we should probably just move on.

Remember, this is a 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE league, so there's a pretty big premium placed on receivers and quarterbacks, and they disappeared pretty quickly.  You'll also know that I didn't put defenses or kickers in these rankings.  Serves all you defense-in-the-9th-round-drafters right.

1  RB Adrian Peterson
2  QB Tom Brady
3  WR Dez Bryant
4  WR Andre Johnson
5  QB Tony Romo
6  WR James Jones
7  TE Jason Witten
8  RB Ahmad Bradshaw
9  TE Kyle Rudolph
10  WR Golden Tate
11  WR Brian Hartline
12  RB Michael Turner
13  RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
14  QB Philip Rivers
15  K Blair Walsh
16  DEF St. Louis
17  RB Michael Bush

QB -- 3rd: In a 2 QB league, Getting Brady at the end of the second round and Romo at the start of the   5th (as the 12th QB off the board) is a steal, as they're very likely to both be top-10 options, but neither of them is likely to be in the top 3 this year given Brady's lost weapons and Romo's Romo-ness.
RB -- 7th: Starting with AP is all well and good, but having injury-prone Bradshaw as your second RB and not-on-a-team Michael Turner as your third?  smh.
WR -- 3rd: He's gotta depend on James Jones keeping up his otherworldly touchdown pace from last year and Andre Johnson staying healthy, but it's a pretty good group, with some interesting backups in Tate and Hartline.
TE -- 3rd: He took a second tight end before five teams took their first, so this is as much a depth ranking as anything, but Witten and Rudolph should both be good enough to start most weeks, and with the TE being flex-able, it's a good bye-week option.

Half in the Hand

1  QB Aaron Rodgers
2  RB Matt Forte
3  WR A.J. Green
4  QB Robert Griffin III
5  RB Reggie Bush
6  WR Antonio Brown
7  WR Jordy Nelson
8  RB Darren Sproles
9  RB Eddie Lacy
10  WR Anquan Boldin
11  RB Rashard Mendenhall
12  QB Carson Palmer
13  TE Fred Davis
14  WR Kenbrell Thompkins
15  RB Fred Jackson
16  DEF Green Bay
17  K Matt Prater

QB -- 2nd:
Well when you take Aaron Rodgers at 2 and follow it up with a high-upside pick like RGIII, you can't be too bad off.  Palmer should be pretty solid in relief, but this not being #1 is mostly about the risk in the RGIII pick.

RB -- 3rd: Sure, Forte-Bush isn't the best starting pairing out there, but having Sproles, Lacy, and Mendenhall in the wings shows a lot of depth at a position that usually requires it.  And Fred Jackson is an injury away from being top-15 himself.

WR -- 4th: We really could have seen the Packers fan picking Jordy Nelson coming, but as a third receiver he's a pretty good proposition despite the injury concerns.  Boldin should be a perfectly acceptable bye-week fill-in, and Thompkins is a good sleeper-du-jour pick.

TE -- 9th: Fred Davis is a forgotten man at the position because of his injury last year, and that makes him an intriguing value pick in the 13th round, but it's a lottery ticket as much as any other tight end that late.

The Girl

1  QB Drew Brees
2  RB Stevan Ridley
3  WR Brandon Marshall
4  RB Lamar Miller
5  QB Eli Manning
6  WR Reggie Wayne
7  WR Steve Smith
8  RB Giovani Bernard
9  TE Greg Olsen
10  WR Greg Jennings
11  DEF Houston
12  RB Andre Brown
13  WR Emmanuel Sanders
14  QB Jake Locker
15  TE Rob Housler
16  RB Shonn Greene
17  K Justin Tucker

QB -- 1st: Brees was somewhat quietly the best fantasy QB last year, and if the Eli See-Saw goes back up this year (and he should be able to watch a lot more film now because he's got football on his phone), this is a great combo.  I'm not a Locker fan, but a starter with running ability is a decent fantasy backup.

RB -- 9th: After Ridley, there are a lot of questionably-involved backs on this roster.  Miller is assumed to be a starter, but he's got almost no experience, and Bernard, Brown, and Greene could easily be on the short end of committees.

WR -- 2nd: I'm as much a Marshall fan as anyone, and pairing oldies-but-goodies Wayne and Smith with him likely means consistent production over the course of the season.  With their age, though, comes bust potential, and Jennings and Sanders should be consistently involved in their respective offenses, so they'll be decent fill-ins.

TE -- 7th: I like Olsen as a starting TE, but as the 7th off the board I'm not sure the value is there.  Housler has been getting some buzz, but a new QB and little experience makes this more of a lottery play.

Red-Not So PC-Skins

1  RB Doug Martin
2  RB Trent Richardson
3  RB Maurice Jones-Drew
4  WR Roddy White
5  WR Vincent Jackson
6  WR Hakeem Nicks
7  TE Rob Gronkowski
8  QB Joe Flacco
9  DEF Seattle
10  QB Alex Smith
11  K Phil Dawson
12  RB DeAngelo Williams
13  RB Ronnie Hillman
14  TE Jared Cook
15  WR Rueben Randle
16  QB Brandon Weeden
17  DEF Arizona

QB -- 9th: Somehow I'm not making this set of quarterbacks the worst, despite the fact that he took his first quarterback after every other team had taken two.  However, I think Flacco and Smith have more upside than Bradford and Schaub (who start for the 10th-ranked team), and Weeden has shown some actual life this preseason.

RB -- 1st: Easily the best running back crop in the league, Martin, Richardson, and Jones-Drew* were drafted before 8 teams had taken their second RB.  And D-Will and R-Hill are great upside plays given the uncertainty about the role of their backfield mates.
*MJD was dropped soon after the draft for Zach Sudfeld, so this ranking is already outdated, but this is a draft review after all

WR -- 8th: If this were two years ago, this team would be in a position to be number 1 at the position, but White's declining role, V-Jax's questionable quarterback play and big-play dependence, and Nicks' injuries make this a pretty risky roster to have.  Add that to the fact that there's only one backup, and that backup's upside is mostly as a handcuff to Nicks' injury-prone-ness, means that there may be some issues as the season progresses.

TE -- 2nd: Gronk should return relatively early in the season*, and when he does, he'll probably go back to being dominant.  In the meantime, an upside play in Cook is as good a shot as any to hit it big.
*The pickup of Sudfeld after the draft makes this group even more intriguing, as Sudfeld has shown some serious upside in the Pats' offense absent Gronkowski.


1  RB LeSean McCoy
2  QB Russell Wilson
3  WR Demaryius Thomas
4  QB Michael Vick
5  RB DeMarco Murray
6  TE Vernon Davis
7  WR DeSean Jackson
8  WR Cecil Shorts
9  WR Tavon Austin
10  RB Ben Tate
11  WR Josh Gordon
12  WR Michael Floyd
13  RB Mark Ingram
14  TE Antonio Gates
15  WR Alshon Jeffery
16  DEF Denver
17  K Josh Brown

QB -- 6th: This is certainly the most run-heavy QB roster, and therefore there's a fair amount of risk here.  Wilson will need to keep up his running success and improve as a passer to justify his position, but this is really more about Vick staying healthy and turnover-free, as he doesn't have a third QB like many teams that probably need it less.

RB -- 10th: I had a hard time organizing the lower-end teams at this position, so it hurts me to put a team with Shady in last.  But with only four backs and two of them being limited in upside in their current roles, this ranking is more about depth than the starters.

WR -- 9th: Demaryius seemed like a reach in the mid-3rd round given the glut of mouths to feed in Denver, but really this is about waiting to fill the other slots and ending up with a bunch of question marks in D-Jax, Shorts, Austin, and Gordon.  I think it's a good group of upside plays, and at least one of them should hit, but at the start of the season it's a pretty concerning roster.

TE -- 4th: Vernon Davis almost singlehandedly killed one of my fantasy teams late last year, but he rallied in the playoffs, so it's hard to know what to expect here.  Gates is way past his prime, but having 2 TE is better than one, I guess, so this team may be a bit over-ranked.

West Coast Offense

1  RB C.J. Spiller
2  QB Colin Kaepernick
3  WR Julio Jones
4  RB Chris Johnson
5  QB Andy Dalton
6  WR Wes Welker
7  WR Mike Wallace
8  RB Ryan Mathews
9  WR T.Y. Hilton
10  RB Daryl Richardson
11  WR Chris Givens
12  QB Ryan Tannehill
13  WR Ryan Broyles
14  TE Martellus Bennett
15  DEF Cincinnati
16  TE Brandon Myers
17  K Kai Forbath

QB -- 8th: Kaepernick is a fine starter, but Dalton and Tannehill are not likely to set the world on fire as possible second starters.  He was one of the last teams to fill his second QB slot, so this is understandable, but it's just not an inspiring group.

RB -- 4th: With four starters on the roster in Spiller, Johnson, Mathews, and Richardson, this is a roster with similar top-end quality to Half in the Hand, but there are much more significant performance/injury concerns about this group than about some of the other teams ranked higher.  And as a Ryan Mathews owner last year, I should know.

WR -- 7th: There's some nice later picks in Hilton, Givens, and Broyles, but I'm not a huge fan of Welker and Wallace as starters given their uncertain roles in new offenses.  Now that I look at it this might be an under-ranking, but there's enough question-marks to make me feel OK about it.

TE -- 8th: As the last team to take a tight end, this ranking is a testament to the picks made.  Picking up a second upside play at the position moved him above teams who took a TE late without one.

King in the North!

1  QB Peyton Manning
2  RB Alfred Morris
3  TE Jimmy Graham
4  QB Andrew Luck
5  WR Torrey Smith
6  RB David Wilson
7  WR Stevie Johnson
8  WR Miles Austin
9  RB Montee Ball
10  WR Sidney Rice
11  RB Shane Vereen
12  WR Lance Moore
13  WR Denarius Moore
14  WR DeAndre Hopkins
15  RB Jacquizz Rodgers
16  DEF New England
17  K Steven Hauschka

QB -- 4th: Manning should be money-in-the-bank this season, but I don't think Luck returns his top-10 draft value because of the less pass-heavy offense he will run this year.  Not drafting a third QB could cause a problem in bye weeks as well.

RB -- 8th: Morris should be just fine this year, but having Wilson, Ball, Vereen, and Rodgers behind him means that you're worrying about workload all year long.  I like the upside of those guys, but you would need another steady starter to make me feel better.

WR -- 10th: Three teams took a second WR before Torrey Smith was taken as this team's first, and a Smith/Johnson/Austin starting group is a pretty low-upside collection.  At least there's a lot of depth and presumably productive bye-week and injury fill-ins, but I'm not sure any receiver on this roster except Smith has top-10 upside.

TE -- 1st: Jimmy Graham.  'Nuff said.

Bust a Kaep

1  RB Arian Foster
2  RB Marshawn Lynch
3  WR Larry Fitzgerald
4  WR Randall Cobb
5  WR Dwayne Bowe
6  WR Marques Colston
7  QB Sam Bradford
8  QB Matt Schaub
9  TE Jermichael Finley
10  DEF San Francisco
11  WR Percy Harvin
12  QB Josh Freeman
13  TE Owen Daniels
14  RB Danny Woodhead
15  WR Michael Crabtree
16  K Sebastian Janikowski
17  RB LaMichael James

QB -- 10th: Mentioned in passing above, a Bradford-Schaub combo is thoroughly uninspiring, and frankly, I think I'd draft his backup Freeman over either of those two, so perhaps it's not so bad.  Obviously, the strategy was to load up at skill positions, and it looks like it worked.

RB -- 2nd: Foster and Lynch are probably the best 1-2 in the league, but waiting until the 14th round to take another back is risky.  And LaMichael James appears to just be a 49ers-fanboy pick.
*Ronnie Hillman was picked up after the draft, so this makes the roster look a bit deeper.

WR -- 1st: Obviously the skill-position-heavy draft strategy was in play here, as this team had four receivers before five teams even had two.  There is literally no depth after that, though, as seriously-injured-and-not-likely-to-play-for-two-months-or-more Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree are nonsensical picks*.
*Harvin and Crabtree have since been dropped for depth at other positions.

TE -- 6th: Finley is gaining some steam as a bounceback candidate, and I sort of buy it considering the loss of some WR talent in Green Bay.  Daniels is a solid second tight end, but his upside is limited.

Juice Springsteen (this guy)

1  WR Calvin Johnson
2  RB Ray Rice
3  QB Matt Ryan
4  QB Matthew Stafford
5  RB Frank Gore
6  WR Pierre Garcon
7  RB Darren McFadden
8  WR Mike Williams
9  RB Chris Ivory
10  WR Vincent Brown
11  RB Bernard Pierce
12  WR Kenny Britt
13  QB EJ Manuel
14  TE Jordan Cameron
15  DEF Pittsburgh
16  K Stephen Gostkowski
17  WR Kenny Stills

QB -- 5th: With nearly back-to-back picks at the end of the third and start of the fourth round, I felt I had to pull the trigger and get two solid QBs while I still could.  I think they'll be solid top-10 options, and as a flier, I like going with the running QB with some decent skill position players around him in Manuel.  However, without a top-flight starter, I can't rank myself too high.

RB -- 6th: My draft position sort of squeezed me out of more exciting options, so I'm really not happy with this group*.  I immediately regretted the McFadden pick, but think I recovered nicely with an upside starter in Ivory and handcuff in Pierce.
*However, I was the fortunate recipient of the MJD gift basket, so this would be a top-3 group if I drafted that way.

WR -- 6th: With a bunch of RB's and the top 3 QB's off the board by the time I picked and Charles, Rice, and Lynch still available to drop to me in the second round, I went with Megatron, who is really the only solid pick of this group.  I love Garcon, but he's an injury risk, and there's a lot of question marks around Williams, Brown, and Britt.

TE -- 10th: I was the second-to-last team to take a TE, and was definitely not taking two, so I'm willing to rank myself last here.  However, there's a lot of hype surrounding Cameron this season, so maybe I can get lucky and get a top-8 season out of him.

The Lady Macarthurs

1  RB Jamaal Charles
2  QB Cam Newton
3  WR Victor Cruz
4  RB Steven Jackson
5  WR Danny Amendola
6  TE Tony Gonzalez
7  WR Eric Decker
8  QB Ben Roethlisberger
9  K Matt Bryant
10  RB Le'Veon Bell
11  DEF Chicago
12  QB Jay Cutler
13  RB Bryce Brown
14  RB Vick Ballard
15  WR Malcom Floyd
16  WR Justin Blackmon
17  WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

QB -- 7th: Cam bounced back very well in the second half last year to convince people he wasn't a fluke, but being the 8th team to take a second quarterback limits the ranking here.  Roethlisberger should be pretty good as long as he's healthy, but the O-line concerns still remain.  Cutler's a more-than-serviceable backup, but there's no upside there.

RB -- 5th: Very good starters in Charles and Jackson, but a potential-committee-member in Bell* and two backups in Brown and Ballard make this a shallow group.
*At the time of the draft, Bell was not yet injured and out for a month or two.  This obviously bumps the group down to more like a 7th-8th ranking.

WR -- 5th: No top-tier options, but some nice top-20 starters in Cruz, Amendola, and Decker followed by some decent backup fliers makes this an intriguing group, if slightly limited in upside.

TE -- 5th:  Gonzalez is a no-frills consistent option, but at some point his age has to catch up with him, right?  If that happens, without a backup this could get ugly.

The Verdict

Using a rough estimate of the average scoring of each position multiplied by the number of roster spots available for that position multiplied by the rank, here's how I see the season shaking out (which, of course, will mean that my worst-rated teams will win):

10. TheChampIsHere -- Ranked highly last year but disappointed, and did poorly in fantasy baseball this year, so maybe he's just not good at this.
9. West Coast Offense -- Interesting running backs but ending up on the back end of the quarterback and receiver runs hurts.
8. King in the North! -- Sure, getting a top QB and TE is good, but going Manning and Graham in the first three rounds really hamstrung the RB/WR positions.
7. Juice Springsteen -- I just don't like the way my team ended up coming out of the draft.  Consistent performers, perhaps, but no real championship upside.  Until I picked up MJD.
6. Red-Not So PC-Skins -- Dominant running backs kept the ranking up, but really bad QB play and low-upside receiver options make this a bottom-five roster.
5. The Lady Macarthurs -- Excellent League-inspired team name, and decent roster.  No particularly impressive positions, but a solid all-around roster that should at least be competitive.
4. Bust a Kaep -- Didn't get its namesake, and therefore suffered at the highest-scoring position.  Excellent backs and receivers will carry this team, and maybe one of the QB's has a career year.
3. lustcheese -- Some nice value picks at QB and good receiver (and, yes, even tight end) depth should keep this team afloat, but I'm not sure I see the championship upside.
2. The Girl -- I taught her well. Excellent play at the two positions which will comprise the highest percentage of the team total most weeks will make my rankings calculation swoon.
1. Half in the Hand -- All-around above-average contributors everywhere but tight end make this the team to beat heading into the season.

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