While having drinks at the pool today, a friend of mine left a voicemail asking to draft his fantasy football team for him. He was on vacation and did not have access to a computer to complete the draft, and did not feel comfortable relying on auto-pick. So he turned to me, which I am assuming was based on the last few articles of fantasy football advice I had published.
I found it a compliment that someone had enough faith in me to draft a team on their behalf. It also brought on feelings of anxiousness and unease. What if I drafted poorly? What if he had been wanting one player in the draft and was available at his pick, but I went a different direction? I have drafted many teams this season and have gone many different ways with each team, but there were certain people I stayed away from throughout every team. Would the same occur with my buddy's team?
So I drafted the best I could, amongst a group of people I did not know, sitting with the sixth pick. The draft went something like this:
Pick 1: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
I wasn't comfortable drafting Jones-Drew until today, upon hearing the news MJD ended his holdout. Yes, the Jags have named Jennings the starting RB for Week 1, but that's not going to last. Watching Foster (1), Rice (2), McCoy (4), and Chris Johnson (5) fly off the board, the pressure was on to get an elite running back on the team.
Pick 2: Matt Forte, RB
At this point, the top five quarterbacks were off the board. Some elite receivers were available (White, Jennings, Welker), but in a year this deep in receiving options, you have the option to hold off.
Who will have a bigger year?
Pick 3: Darren McFadden, RB
Everyone knows that McFadden is an injury risk. If McFadden can stay healthy, he is an absolute steal with the 26th overall pick. This league has a flex spot, so you are looking at Jones-Drew, Forte, and McFadden starting every week (outside of bye weeks).
Pick 4: Julio Jones, WR
Remember what I said about being able to wait for a receiver? I was able to grab Julio Jones in the fourth round, and Jones was lights out in preseason play.
Pick 5: Dez Bryant, WR
Personal issues aside, Bryant is a solid WR to have on your team. With Miles Austin often injured, Bryant is Tony Romo's best option on the field.
Pick 6: Dwayne Bowe, WR
Typically I am not one to start filling bench spots until all the starting offensive positions (minus the kicker) are filled. Bowe was just hanging out there so I had to draft him. This was the first time this year I had drafted Bowe as I am concerned with Matt Cassel's capabilities.
Pick 7: Jermichael Finley, TE
Finley is low on this year's draft, and no one should have issue with drafting any receiving option among the Green Bay offense. He's a better option than Vernon Davis, who gets picked far before him in most drafts.
Pick 8: Ben Roethlisberger, QB
The quarterback position was the one big fault I had with this draft. I had been saving Matt Ryan in my back pocket throughout the draft, not knowing that he had been picked shortly after I chose Bowe. Romo and Rivers were also picked shortly thereafter, leaving Big Ben as the best remaining option on the board.
Pick 9: Pierre Garcon, WR
Garcon had a career year in Indy last year with the likes of Curtis Painter throwing to him. This year, he finds himself as practically the lead receiver in Washington with RGIII throwing to him. Looks like Garcon's first 1,000 plus receiving yard season is upon us.
Pick 10: Kevin Smith, RB
The first backup RB on the team, Smith should be set up nice for a decent 2012. Jahvid Best is on the PUP list, so he won't be back until at least mid-October and will most likely still be suffering from lingering concussion symptoms.
Pick 11: Santonio Holmes, WR
I typically have stayed away from Holmes for multiple reasons. Temper tantrums, lackluster stats, and a duo of quarterbacks who shouldn't be starters in New York. But the kid loves the Jets, so I had to throw him a bone based on what was available on the board.
Pick 12: Justin Blackmon, WR
I had lined up to pick Brandon Pettigrew in this round, but he was stolen from me just one pick before mine. I have drafted Blackmon quite a bit this year, and I believe it is a smart decision. He is the best receiving option on the team, even as a rookie.
Would you pick Santonio Holmes?
Pick 13: Josh Freeman, QB
Every team needs a backup QB, and Freeman is not a bad choice. He can run, and should be on the rebound in 2012 from an off-season last year.
Pick 14: Brent Celek, TE
He is a good option as a backup TE who consistently puts up decent numbers. Good for a handful or more of TDs.
Pick 15: Jets D/ST
Again, the kid loves the Jets, and the Jets have a good defense. I did plan on picking Pittsburgh with this pick, but they were snatched up a few picks before in round 15.
Pick 16: Rob Bironas, K
Tennessee has a rookie QB starting with mediocre receivers (outside of Kenny Britt) and a running back trying to find his groove. Look for Bironas to have the opportunity to kick a bunch of field goals.
All in all I believe I did a good job. Someone else in the draft thought so as well, saying "whoever drafted for ____ did a nice job." I think I would feel comfortable if the opportunity came up again to draft for another person in need.