FLEX League PPR Fantasy Football Draft Review
On August 8, 2015, I participated in the FLEX League PPR fantasy football draft live at the SiriusXM studio in Washington D.C. The FLEX (Fantasy Leagues of Experts) Leagues are comprised of some of the best talent in the fantasy sports industry. This was the vision of Jake Ciely from RotoExperts who wanted to create a fantasy football version of Tout Wars. It certainly looks like we are headed in the direction after the success of both the standard and PPR drafts that took place in Washington.
This is a 12-team PPR league where you start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, two FLEX (RB/WR/TE), and one team defense. There are no kickers in this league. I was assigned the 12th overall pick which got me very excited to have the back-to-back picks at the end of every other round. With that spot, I targeted two players that I wanted to build my team around and was hopeful they would both last to me.
Here is a breakdown of each pick I made:
Round 1 – Matt Forte (RB-CHI)
Forte was hyped as an option for the first overall pick in 2014 but failed to live up to the expectations that were placed on him. He still had a solid season overall, especially in PPR leagues thanks to his significant involvement in the Bears’ passing game. However, expectations have been lowered a bit for Forte so I was hoping he would last to the end of the first round for me. Sure enough, he did. Forte will be an even bigger part of Chicago’s offense now that Brandon Marshall is gone so I expect him to lead the league in receptions by a running back and also run for over 1,000 yards with double digit touchdowns coming on the ground or through the air.
The other player I targeted with the first pick of the second round was the Giants’ phenomenal wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. Being a Giants fan I got to see him play every week and it was absolutely incredible to watch what he can do on the field. Despite missing the first four games, Beckham still caught 91 passes for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Eli Manning and the Giants new offense really clicked in the second half of the season so it is scary to think what Beckham can do now with a full season of that high-octane offense. Plus, Victor Cruz will be back and should help alleviate some of the coverage on the field.
Round 3 – Kelvin Benjamin (WR-CAR)
Since this is a PPR league I wanted to ensure I had at least two stud wide receivers in the first couple rounds. Benjamin sort of gets lost in the shuffle when talking about rookie wide receivers who had incredible seasons in 2014. He was nothing short of spectacular as Cam Newton’s only option at wide receiver and he should be able to build upon that with a year’s worth of experience and a healthy quarterback throwing the ball to him down the field.
Round 4 – Mark Ingram (RB-NO)
I considered taking another receiver here, but I wanted to make sure I had a second running back that I could at least count on to receive significant playing time. Ingram had his most productive season in 2014 and should see at least 10-15 carries a game and be the featured goal line option for the Saints. The acquisition of C.J. Spiller will definitely cut into Ingram’s time, but Spiller always gets hurt and the Saints seem to be heading towards a much more balanced and reserve offensive approach.
Round 5 – Alfred Blue (RB-HOU
This might have been a bit of a stretch, but I did not think Blue would make it all the way back to me. The news about Arian Foster’s injury put Blue on everyone’s radar since he is the most likely candidate to get the opportunity for playing time in Foster’s absence. Houston does have other options and may even bring in some veteran free agents, but Blue gained experience in 2014 and should have a leg up on everyone else. Plus, he is my third running back so it isn’t like I am heavily dependent on him outside of Forte or Ingram’s bye weeks.
Round 6 – Golden Tate (WR-DET)
I was a little surprised Tate was still available at this point because of how impressive he was in 2014 catching 99 passes for 1,331 yards. Tate really stepped up when Calvin Johnson was injured and played like a WR1 for several weeks. Opposing defenses still base their coverages and schemes against Megatron, so the opportunity should be there again for Tate to have another big season and hopefully find the end zone more than four times.
Round 7 – Victor Cruz (WR-NYG)
I’ll admit that my hometown bias played a small role in this selection. Normally I do not let my fandom ever influence my drafting of players, but in this case it did just a tad. I already have Beckham who I would love no matter what team he is on because of his incredible talent. But Cruz is coming back from a terrible knee injury after people questioned whether he would ever play again. He has rehabbed and recovered, and should be on the field Week 1 ready to contribute in the Giants high-powered offense. I really do think Cruz could have a big year as opposing defenses will be double-covering Beckham allowing single coverage and some mismatches against Cruz. Health will be a concern all season, but he is my fourth wide receiver so I chose the upside over the risk.
Round 8 – Drew Brees (QB-NO)
Despite what I said earlier about the Saints offense, I went ahead and drafted Drew Brees when a couple other quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Cam Newton were still available. Brees still put up excellent statistics last year despite having some very poor games. His offensive arsenal has changed drastically with Jimmy Graham being sent to Seattle. However, a new and improved offensive line should help give Brees more time and better protection to make the throws he is accustomed to. His better days may be behind him, but he has enough good days left to make him worth being my starting quarterback.
Round 9 – Dwayne Allen (TE-IND)
I finally took my first tight end after waiting quite awhile. I settled on Allen because he is going to play the most over Coby Fleener due to the likely three and four wide receiver formations the Colts are going to employ. Plus, they now have Frank Gore who can actually run and Allen is a much better blocker than Fleener. Allen will not lead tight ends in targets or receptions, but he will certainly be a red zone target for Andrew Luck as defensive backs scramble trying to cover all of the other weapons the Colts will be sending out there.
Round 10 – Terrance Williams (WR-DAL)
Williams caught eight touchdowns in 2014 despite only have 37 receptions. He figures to have a bigger role in the Cowboys’ offense this year now that DeMarco Murray is gone and their running game likely will not be as effective. Williams is also my fifth receiver so he just adds more depth to what should already be a strength on my roster.
Round 11 – Jay Ajayi (RB-MIA)
The initial reports out of the Dolphins’ pre-season camp have not been good for Ajayi who was drafted with the aspirations of being Lamar Miller’s handcuff or possibly supplanting him. By the 11th round there are slim pickings in terms of running backs so I took a chance on a guy with a lot of talent but clearly is a work in progress.
Round 12 – Seattle (DST)
I was the first team to take a defense so I knew some eyebrows may get raised. It didn’t start a run on defenses either, but that wasn’t what I was trying to do. Having the picks at the end of the round leaves an awful lot of picks in between my next turn. I was afraid that a run on defenses could start and that I would be left with crap to choose from. So after drafting my entire starting squad, I decided to take the best defense available in Seattle.
Round 13 – Matthew Stafford (QB-DET)
A lot of teams didn’t bother taking a backup quarterback, and I also considered punting it as well. But injuries can happen to anyone and Drew Brees is no spring chicken. I took Stafford who could be a starter on some other teams. In fact, part of the motivation for drafting him here was so that I could use him as trade bait during the season.
Round 14 – Fred Jackson (RB-BUF)
I wanted one last running back and based this pick on Jackson’s lengthy resume. He has never been intended to be the featured back in Buffalo but always seems to get his fair share of carries and touchdowns. He is one of the older running backs in the league and will probably not see enough carries to make much of an impact. He is probably the first to go when I make a waiver wire transaction.
Round 15 – Mohamed Sanu (WR-CIN)
Sanu was the Bengals’ number two receiver by default in 2014 thanks to Marvin Jones’ injuries. He did have 56 catches and five touchdowns but also dropped the ball more than George W. Bush during the Iraq War. With Jones coming back this year Sanu will slip back to being number three and will need to re-assert himself. Because of that it is doubtful he will crack my starting lineup.
Round 16 – Larry Donnell (TE-NYG)
As if having both Beckham and Cruz wasn’t enough, I filled out my roster with the Giants’ starting tight end. Donnell got off to a hot start in 2014 before opposing defenses figured out how to cover him. He will need to make adjustments and could have himself a big season with defensive backs dedicating their attention to the Giants other arsenal of weapons.
QB Drew Brees-NO
QB Matthew Stafford-DET
RB Matt Forte-CHI
RB Mark Ingram-NO
RB Alfred Blue-HOU
RB Jay Ajayi-MIA
RB Fred Jackson-BUF
WR Odell Beckham, Jr.-NYG
WR Kelvin Benjamin-CAR
WR Golden Tate-DET
WR Victor Cruz-NYG
WR Mohamed Sanu-CIN
WR Terrance Williams-DAL
TE Dwayne Allen-IND
TE Larry Donnell-NYG
Overall I am happy with this team. I targeted both Forte and Beckham so I was quite pleased to land them with the 12th and 13th picks. This roster should be good enough to compete for the league title and the heavyweight championship belt that is the big prize. Let me know what you think of the team I drafted by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).