How great is it to turn on the TV and see 11 monsters in helmets and shoulder pads trying to kill an equally impressive 11?
The excitement of the season is running rampant through Bleacher Report, and that excitement got to 12 of B/R’s most esteemed Featured NFL Columnists.
With a meeting of the minds like this, it can only mean one thing—a fantasy football draft.
Here’s a round-by-round recap of the madness that went down: Learn from their mistakes, take note of their successes, and pay attention to how many home team picks were made.
Here’s the draft order:
The scoring is standard for the most part, and teams must start QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, RB/WR, TE, K, DEF.
1. Adrian Peterson, RB—J. Butt
2. Michael Turner, RB—S. Bedinger
3. Drew Brees, QB—T. Flowers
4. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB—R. Resch
5. Calvin Johnson, WR—M. Schottey
6. Matt Forte, RB—S. Kimberly
7. DeAngelo Williams, RB—J. Cyprowski
8. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB—B. Mills
9. Frank Gore, RB—D. Miller
10. Steven Jackson, RB—R. Clements
11. Larry Fitzgerald, WR—M. Eccher
12. Chris Johnson, RB—K. Winslow
Butt didn't panic with the first pick pressure, taking Peterson without hesitation. There is no fantasy player with fewer question marks; he has 3,101 yards and a 5.2 YPC through his first 30 NFL games.
Unfortunately, Bedinger may have made the wrong pick with Turner second. I understand Turner had an amazing season last year, but he won't be playing the same lame defenses this year. He took a beating with 394 carries including the postseason, and he doesn't catch the ball.
Additionally, new TE Tony Gonzalez had nine red zone TDs last season, including six inside the 10, and he will take TD opportunities away from Turner.
It was a big surprise to see Calvin Johnson in the first round, especially the top five, but not a stupid pick.
Johnson has great potential to beat the 1,331 yards and 12 TDs on 78 catches he posted last year, but it looks like Schottey would have had a good chance of getting him in the second round.
Is Brees worth a top three pick? I would draft Tom Brady over him, maybe even Peyton Manning too. Brees did post career numbers last year (5,069 yards and 34 TDs), but the Saints will look to run more, and they play tougher matchups this season.
1. Andre Johnson, WR—K. Winslow
2. Tom Brady, QB—M. Eccher
3. Reggie Wayne, WR—R. Clements
4. Brandon Jacobs, RB—D. Miller
5. Brian Westbrook, RB—B. Mills
6. Steve Slaton, RB—J. Cyprowski
7. Randy Moss, WR—S. Kimberly
8. Peyton Manning, QB—M. Schottey
9. Clinton Portis, RB—R. Resch
10. Marion Barber, RB—T. Flowers
11. Greg Jennings, WR—S. Bedinger
12. Pierre Thomas, RB—J. Butt
How does Steve Slaton make it to the 18th pick? He had more yards with fewer carries than Matt Forte and is one of the better receiving backs in the NFL—only an injury will stop him from being a top five fantasy back.
Almost as unsettling is Portis at 21. He has 3,356 total yards and 20 TDs over the past two seasons and hasn't missed a game.
It's not a blunder pick because he is an outstanding back, but Barber is questionable in the second round. His physical running style increases the chance of injury, and the Cowboys don't want to be without Barber this year, so they will use a healthy mix of Felix Jones and even Tashard Choice.
Reggie Wayne or Randy Moss? Tom Brady (good pick at 14 overall) looks to be back, and when he's in the game, Moss has the most potential of any receiver.
Wayne won't compete with Marvin Harrison this year, but he also won't have him to deflect pressure. I take Moss over Wayne, but he wouldn't have been there with Clements' pick in the third.
1. Philip Rivers, QB—J. Butt
2. Anquan Boldin, WR—S. Bedinger
3. Roddy White, WR—T. Flowers
4. Marques Colston, WR—R. Resch
5. Ronnie Brown, RB—M. Schottey
6. Steve Smith, WR—S. Kimberly
7. Aaron Rodgers, QB—J. Cyprowski
8. Ryan Grant, RB—B. Mills
9. Brandon Marshall, WR—D. Miller
10. Larry Johnson, RB—R. Clements
11. Dwayne Bowe, WR—M. Eccher
12. Marshawn Lynch, RB—K. Winslow
Some may think Larry Johnson is a reach late in the third round, but I call it a steal. Johnson has rededicated himself to the Chiefs and is looking to impress the team's new leadership. He says he's ready to be a 400-carry back once again.
Why draft Lynch in the third round? The appeal on his three-game suspension was rejected, and it may take him a game or two to get in rhythm. Sure, he will be an asset come playoff time, but will you even be there?
Of the third round receivers, I have questions about Smith's health, Bowe's dedication to his team, and a little of both for Marshall.
1. Joseph Addai, RB—K. Winslow
2. Kevin Smith, RB—M. Eccher
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR—R. Clements
4. Thomas Jones, RB—D. Miller
5. Donovan McNabb, QB—B. Mills
6. Terrell Owens, WR—J. Cyprowski
7. Kurt Warner, QB—S. Kimberly
8. DeSean Jackson, WR—M. Schottey
9. Wes Welker, WR—R. Resch
10. Vincent Jackson, WR—T. Flowers
11. Knowshon Moreno, RB—S. Bedinger
12. LenDale White, RB—J. Butt
Wes Welker and Vincent Jackson are two great picks late in the fourth round. Welker is a lock for 100 catches and 1,000 yards in 16 games, and he will best his three TDs from last season with Brady back.
Jackson is impossible to stop downfield and should eclipse 1,000 yards and 10 TDs for the first time in his career.
We saw a few homer RB picks this round, and neither looks to be the right one. Addai will be splitting a lot of time with rookie Donald Brown, his YPC dipped to 3.5 last season, and he has struggled with injuries.
Moreno's recent knee injury happened after this draft took place, but it should be a red flag to fantasy owners from this point on.
DeSean Jackson seems like a reach here. He has great big play potential, but Philly has added more weapons to its offense, and the Eagles are doing their best to make sure Kevin Curtis doesn't enter the season injured.
1. Hines Ward, WR—J. Butt
2. Tony Romo, QB—S. Bedinger
3. Derrick Ward, RB—T. Flowers
4. Reggie Bush, RB—R. Resch
5. Braylon Edwards, WR—M. Schottey
6. Darren McFadden, RB—S. Kimberly
7. Jonathan Stewart, RB—J. Cyprowski
8. Antonio Gates, TE—B. Mills
9. Jason Witten, TE—D. Miller
10. Dallas Clark, TE—R. Clements
11. Tony Gonzalez, TE—M. Eccher
12. Anthony Gonzalez, WR—K. Winslow
Braylon Edwards needs to put the drops behind him this season to catch a big paycheck, and his numbers will be much closer to 2007's than 2008's because of it.
Darren McFadden is primed to explode this season. He broke a beautiful 45-yard run in Oakland's first preseason game and can catch the football with ease.
Why draft Anthony Gonzalez—the third option in the Colts' passing game—before Roy Williams, Chad Ochocinco, or Torry Holt? If Indy is running the ball more, they will be passing less in 2009. Gonzalez is not Marvin Harrison Jr.
1. Matt Schaub, QB—K. Winslow
2. Chris Wells, RB—M. Eccher
3. Sammy Morris, RB—R. Clements
4. Matt Ryan, QB—D. Miller
5. Lance Moore, WR—B. Mills
6. Pittsburgh, D—J. Cyprowski
7. Willie Parker, RB—S. Kimberly
8. Cedric Benson, RB—M. Schottey
9. Roy Williams, WR—R. Resch
10. Baltimore, D—T. Flowers
11. Greg Olsen, TE—S. Bedinger
12. Antonio Bryant, WR—J. Butt
Beanie Wells has already been hurt in camp; he is a nice value in the sixth, but he looks like a potential headache.
Sammy Morris is one of many backs in New England’s super committee, and Fred Taylor will be the one getting the goal line carries. The 32-year-old Morris shouldn't beat the career rushing highs he posted last year.
I really love the Roy Williams pick. He is the top receiver on a high-powered offense and will be focused playing 16 games for a serious contender for the first time in his career.
Where to draft Antonio Bryant is tough this year. His 83 catches, 1,248 yards, and seven TDs from last year are very attractive, but his recent knee injury is going to keep him out for the preseason, maybe even longer.
1. Santana Moss, WR—J. Butt
2. Chad Ochocinco, WR—S. Bedinger
3. Eddie Royal, WR—T. Flowers
4. Chris Cooley, TE—R. Resch
5. Julius Jones, RB—M. Schottey
6. John Carlson, TE—S. Kimberly
7. Santonio Holmes, WR—J. Cyprowski
8. Muhsin Muhammad, WR—B. Mills
9. Lee Evans, WR—D. Miller
10. Eli Manning, QB—R. Clements
11. Bernard Berrian, WR—M. Eccher
12. Owen Daniels, TE—K. Winslow
If you believe Carson Palmer will remain healthy, then you can believe Ochocinco is a lock for over 1,000 yards.
The Seahawks look to pound the ball this year under their new scheme, and Julius Jones has been looking outstanding in camp. He's a fantastic fantasy backup.
Santana Moss and Bernard Berrian are both guys who will win you games one week, but their lack of production will have you cursing them the next. If you are a high-risk player, these are your guys.
1. Donald Brown, RB—K. Winslow
2. New York Giants, D—M. Eccher
3. Green Bay, D—R. Clements
4. Minnesota, D—D. Miller
5. Le'Ron McClain, RB—B. Mills
6. Torry Holt, WR—J. Cyprowski
7. Fred Jackson, RB—S. Kimberly
8. Jay Cutler, QB—M. Schottey
9. Carson Palmer, QB—R. Resch
10. Visanthe Shiancoe, TE—T. Flowers
11. Laurence Maroney, RB—S. Bedinger
12. Laveranues Coles, WR—J. Butt
I was harsh on Winslow for the Addai pick, so now I will give him big props for drafting Brown. The Colts wouldn't have drafted him late in the first if they weren't going to use him.
Holt and Palmer are top 75 talents that no owner should let slide past them this late in the draft.
Green Bay's defense is off the board way too early here. They've moved to the 3-4 and drafted some good players, but they were awful last season.
Schottey sticks to his guns, exercising a two-quarterback strategy (Cutler and Manning), but after watching the Bears' preseason game, I'm still wondering who Cutler will be targeting. He had no trouble getting the ball to the other team.
Why draft Visanthe Shincoe and Laurence Maroney here? Both guys should be there towards the draft, and there were much better players on the board (Kellen Winslow and Fred Taylor).
1. Steve Breaston, WR—J. Butt
2. Peyton Hillis, RB—S. Bedinger
3. Willis McGahee, RB—T. Flowers
4. Darren Sproles, RB—R. Resch
5. New England, D—M. Schottey
6. Matt Hasselbeck, QB—S. Kimberly
7. Rashard Mendenhall, RB—J. Cyprowski
8. Donald Driver, WR—B. Mills
9. Chris Chambers, WR—D. Miller
10. Stephen Gostkowski, K—R. Clements
11. Jamal Lewis, RB—M. Eccher
12. Matt Cassel, QB—K. Winslow
Rumor is Hillis has been knocking people out in practice. Broncos fans like Bedinger appreciate his tough play, but there is nothing suggesting he will be a starting-caliber fantasy football player.
Lewis is the best pick of the ninth round, which isn't saying much. He's only been below 1,000 yards once in his career and is still the premier back in Cleveland.
Is Gostkowski worth a ninth-round pick? I'm a fan of kickers who score a lot of points, and with Brady back, Gostkowski is exactly that. It's not traditional fantasy football strategy, but it's nice to think outside the box.
1. Donnie Avery, WR—K. Winslow
2. Kevin Walter, WR—M. Eccher
3. Derrick Mason, WR—R. Clements
4. Rob Bironas, K—D. Miller
5. Kyle Orton, QB—B. Mills
6. Ben Roethlisberger, QB—J. Cyprowski
7. Ray Rice, RB—S. Kimberly
8. Dustin Keller, TE—M. Schottey
9. Felix Jones, RB—R. Resch
10. Tim Hightower, RB—T. Flowers
11. Tennessee, D—S. Bedinger
12. Trent Edwards, QB—J. Butt
Walter is a total steal at this point of the draft. He posted 899 yards with 60 catches and scored eight touchdowns. He may not surpass those numbers by much, but he can easily repeat them.
Avery would be another sleeper steal this late in the draft if it wasn't for the foot injury that will be holding him back for the first few games if the season, maybe even longer.
Edwards will get plenty of opportunities to chuck the ball around, but his career 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio should not be overlooked, especially with him being asked to take more chances in the passing game.
Rice, Jones, and Hightower are three backup RBs who could see starts throughout the year, all nice grabs in round 10.
1. Jerious Norwood, RB—J. Butt
2. Michael Crabtree, WR—S. Bedinger
3. Ryan Longwell, K—T. Flowers
4. Philadelphia, D—R. Resch
5. Shonn Greene, RB—M. Schottey
6. Earl Bennett, WR—S. Kimberly
7. Kevin Boss, TE—J. Cyprowski
8. Joey Galloway, WR—B. Mills
9. Jerricho Cotchery, WR—D. Miller
10. Domenik Hixon, WR—R. Clements
11. Devin Hester, WR—M. Eccher
12. LeSean McCoy, RB—K. Winslow
Earl Bennett is a name fantasy owners better become familiar with, and fast. Some would call drafting Cutler's former college and current Bears teammate over Devin Hester crazy, but Hester did not look anything like a No. 1 or even No. 2 receiver in his first preseason game.
Shonn Greene looks really good running the football, but how many opportunities will get when the season comes around?
Michael Crabtree? It's still early enough that he can make a mends with the Niners, but as every day passes, he becomes more and more fantasy irrelevant.
1. Leon Washington, RB—K. Winslow
2. Kris Brown, K—M. Eccher
3. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB—R. Clements
4. Kellen Winslow, TE—D. Miller
5. Michael Vick, QB—B. Mills
6. Nate Kaeding, K—J. Cyprowski
7. Ted Ginn Jr., WR—S. Kimberly
8. Nate Washington, WR—M. Schottey
9. David Garrard, QB—R. Resch
10. Percy Harvin, WR—T. Flowers
11. Mason Crosby, K—S. Bedinger
12. Michael Jenkins, WR—J. Butt
Mike Vick is back! I can't say he's a worthy fantasy football option unless they develop a wildcat-only position, but it’s good to see his name back on the draft board.
Some really nice picks went in the 12th. Kellen Winslow, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Garrard, and Percy Harvin are all fabulous sleepers at their respective positions.
Will this be the year Ted Ginn lives up to his potential? Only one person can answer that question, but he is a worthwhile late pick.
With Kris Brown and Vick going in the same round, the chat board comedians must have loved the 12th.
1. Tony Scheffler, TE—J. Butt
2. Jake Delhomme, QB—S. Bedinger
3. Jason Campbell, QB—T. Flowers
4. Fred Taylor, RB—R. Resch
5. Sidney Rice, WR—M. Schottey
6. Seattle, D—S. Kimberly
7. New York Jets, D—J. Cyprowski
8. Tashard Choice, RB—B. Mills
9. Chester Taylor, RB—D. Miller
10. Jeremy Shockey, TE—R. Clements
11. Hakeem Nicks, WR—M. Eccher
12. Carolina, D—K. Winslow
Fred Taylor shouldn't be the third Patriot back drafted, especially if Kevin Faulk is still on the board. Some may be worried about the 556 yards and one TD Taylor had with a 3.9 YPC, but the Jags' O-line was the real culprit behind those numbers.
The only way Tashard Choice will be a worthy fantasy start is if Barber and/or Jones goes down in Dallas. That could happen, but I wouldn't stash Choice in hopes that it does.
If the comparisons to Anquan Boldin are correct, Hakeem Nicks will be the biggest steal of the 2009 season. Boldin had 101 catches, 1,377 yards, and eights TDs as a rookie—something Nicks could do on a team hurting for a stud WR.
1. Correll Buckhalter, RB—K. Winslow
2. Deion Branch, WR—M. Eccher
3. Dallas, D—R. Clements
4. Chicago, D—D. Miller
5. Laurent Robinson, WR—B. Mills
6. Anthony Fasano, TE—J. Cyprowski
7. Jerome Harrison, RB—S. Kimberly
8. Zach Miller, TE —M. Schottey
9. Vernon Davis, TE—R. Resch
10. Tampa Bay, D—T. Flowers
11. Daniel Graham, TE—S. Bedinger
12. Josh Brown, K—J. Butt
While many were wasting picks on backup TEs, Mills made a very good pick with Laurent Robinson, the Rams' potential No. 1 receiver with Avery out. Someone has to catch passes for the Rams, and the former Falcon will be one of those guys.
Why draft Tampa Bay's defense? They let their heart and soul, Derrick Brooks, go this summer, and they face a much tougher schedule this year. Many teams got better this offseason; the Bucs were not one of them. Another homer pick gone wrong.
1. Miami, D—J. Butt
2. San Diego, D—S. Bedinger
3. Jared Cook, TE—T. Flowers
4. Nick Folk, K—R. Resch
5. Jason Hanson, K—M. Schottey
6. Phil Dawson, K—S. Kimberly
7. Garrett Hartley, K—J. Cyprowski
8. Gary Barnidge, K—B. Mills
9. Joe Flacco, QB—D. Miller
10. Chad Pennington, QB—R. Clements
11. Jeremy Maclin, WR—M. Eccher
12. Jamaal Charles, RB—K. Winslow
The San Diego defense could be the gem of the 15th round. They have serious playmakers at all levels, and playing in the AFC West is a plus.
If you're looking for a backup QB, I'm a big fan of Pennington. He's not someone who will be in the mix for playing time every week, but you can trust that he won't sink you on your starter’s bye week.
What will Maclin's production look like? Can he replicate what Jackson did as a rookie on the Eagles last year? Are his routes as unpolished as some said around draft time?
My guess is somewhere in between—it’s going to be impossible to stop him deep and in the open field, but he may struggle to get open on plays that aren't designed specifically for him.