“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Anytime you get to build up a team from scratch is exciting. I have been in dynasty league for ten years now and have done many different formats – ten to sixteen team leagues, non-ppr to ppr, non-idp to idp, etc. Last year, I found my true format love (32 team leagues with doubles of every player and full IDP). Now, for some of you that will seem like a huge undertaking. I won’t lie, it is. The league also holds back 20% of the winnings for a super-pot in year five which causes many to overfavor youth. Here is a link to the draft.
In part one, I went over my general draft philosophy and broke down my first ten picks or so. Don’t worry, I will not go pick by pick going over the other forty or so picks I made in this start-up veteran draft. Let’s spend the majority of the time highlighting a few choices and the philosophy behind them.
Defensive ends can be very important in this scoring as Houston’s J.J. Watt ranked 13th in overall points in 2012. To compare, the next two highest scoring defensive ends were Miami’s Cameron Wake (72nd overall) and Elvis Dumervil (82nd overall). When it reached the 12th round, it was time to get a defensive end. No fewer than 13 defensive ends had already come off the board when I chose Mario Williams. He wasn’t coming off a great season as the entire Buffalo defense struggled last year, but Williams can be a top five scorer if he remains recognized as a defensive end. There is a chance that he could be considered a linebacker by league software (if they decide to run more 3-4 instead of 4-3) and lose his ability to be a premium defensive end. I’m taking the chance he remains there, but I countered my risk six rounds later (18.16) with the surprise pick of Rob Ninkovich. Ninkovich is now listed as a linebacker according to myfantasyleage.com, but played the majority of his snaps at defensive end last season. If Williams changes to a linebacker, I hedged my bet that the Patriot linebacker will become a defensive end to take his place on my squad.
Two of my 13th round picks stand out. I took Green Bay linebacker Desmond Bishop (13.10) who is coming off a season ending injury that occurred last summer. The linebacker position was starting to get picked over and I wanted to get a solid LB2. Because of the injury, he was not on many owner’s lists as he didn’t accumulate any points last year. Always take that into consideration when you are putting together your draft lists and make sure to include everyone that you think will be fantasy relevant, regardless of the prior year’s performance. Probably my biggest mistake in hindsight was my selection of Brandon Lloyd (13.17). Instead of taking a youthful Mohamed Sanu or the almost Super Bowl MVP Jacoby Jones (return yardage counts and he finished 26th in wide receiver scoring last season), I made Lloyd my third wide receiver. A few days after that selection, it was revealed he will likely be let go by New England. I was gambling on the fact Wes Welker would sign elsewhere and Lloyd would be the defacto WR1. That hasn’t been answered at this time of this writing.
In the middle teens, I wanted to get young talented IDP players and found good value in LB Mychal Kendricks (14.12) and DE Bruce Irvin (15.17). With the Eagles moving to the 3-4 defensive front, it looks like Kendricks is the best Eagle linebacker to exploit the new defensive scheme. I expect top 30 linebacker production from him which is great in a 32 team double player league. In regards to Mr. Irvin, he fell short once Clemons was injured, but I don’t expect the undersized defensive end to play an every down role. The second year defensive end should thrive as a pass-rush specialist and increase his eight sacks in 2013 and beyond.
Since I started out so old with wide receivers (Marshall, Colston, and Lloyd), I needed to make a youth movement sooner than later. Kansas City’s Devon Wylie (20.16) and New Orleans’ Nick Toon (23.17) were my lower cost choices. Wylie is a dangerous returner and I can see him fitting into a DeSean Jackson role under Andy Reid’s guidance. The Toon selection is a Colston insurance policy more than anything else. The former Badger is a physical receiver and not a burner, so I think he could slide into a starting role once Colston’s health wanes.
My running backs do not inspire supreme confidence (Spiller, Mathews, Ingram, and DeAngelo Williams) so I drafted some high upside backs in the later rounds. The Saints theme continued with running back Travaris Cadet (25.17), then I went speed, demon speed with Tampa Bay’s Michael Smith (30.04). Cadet has the quicks to perhaps evolve into a Darren Sproles-lite player. Smith didn’t play much as a rookie, but I don’t expect Tampa to run Doug Martin into the ground. The former Utah State running back should see close to ten touches a game with some of those coming from the return game. Sometimes, you can find short-term dynasty gold. With the injury to Ryan Broyles and dismissal of knucklehead Titus Young, the Lions decided to re-work Nate Burleson’s (my 27.17 pick) contract. When the 11-year vet is healthy, he can be an effective WR3 as his 2011 stats of 73 receptions, 757 yards and three touchdowns show.
I waited until the mid-twenties before I picked a cornerback, and I took some chances on some older IDP players that were slipping in the later rounds. Although we don’t know where Dwight Freeney (pick 33.17) is going to sign, he will end up with a team that uses a 4-3 front. He could see a huge bump in value if he lands in Hotlanta or Detroit Rock City. LB Daryl Smith (35.17) only played two games at the end of the 2012 season, but will be moving to another NFL team this year. I think he will be a good one to two-year plan for a linebacker needy team. Although time is starting to slow on Israel Idonije (40.16), his six to eight sack potential still offers huge value this late in the draft.
Another great value at wide receiver was found at pick 38.16 with free agent receiver Dominik Hixon. He has been very productive when given the chance as a WR3 and offers upside with his ability to return kicks. I love having him as my WR7 before I get to draft rookies. With larger rosters, it is always good to take some shots in the dark. I did that with my 44th, 45th, and 46th rounders. Justin Forsett (44.16) looked good with limited carries in both Seattle and Houston. Bernard Scott (45.17) has shown a spark in Cincinnati when healthy. Both running backs are moving on from their 2012 teams and could end up in better situations, fourth on the depth chart, or out of the NFL. As my friend CT says, “hard telling, not knowing.” My last offensive flier of the draft was James Casey (pick 46.16). If myfantasyleague.com didn’t list him as a running back, he wouldn’t be a sleeper. If he stays in Houston, he will primarily be used as a fullback which gives him little fantasy value. If he signs elsewhere, Casey could be a TE1. When I take my next to last pick, I will always take that chance.
Take the adventure and join another start-up dynasty league. Make sure it stretches your insight and experience. Good luck and post your comments on the league, the draft strategy or the rosters below.
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