Fantasy Football Draft Review and Analysis – August 31, 2012

On August 29, 2012, I participated in a 12-team PPR Yahoo fantasy football draft in a league of which I am the commissioner.  I had the 6th overall pick and was hoping at least Calvin Johnson would fall to me.  As you will see, that didn’t happen.  Here is a review and analysis of my team in the order the players were drafted.

1. Aaron Rodgers (QB-GB).  With the 6th pick of the draft, my choice was made easily for me as Ray Rice, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson, and Chris Johnson were off the board.  I went with the best quarterback in the league and took Aaron Rodgers.  Green Bay doesn’t have much of a running game with Cedric Benson being taken off the scrap heap, so look for Rodgers to throw the ball 35-40 times a game to a great core of receivers.  In a league that awards bonuses for 300-yard games and long touchdowns, Rodgers was the easy pick here.

2. Roddy White (WR-ATL).  I wanted to take a running back here, but I couldn’t pass up a top receiver for someone like Jamaal Charles who is just coming back from a major knee injury.  I went with Roddy White who is still Matt Ryan’s go-to receiver despite the emergence of Julio Jones.  Jones’ presence and speed should help open up routes for White who has the ability to catch 100 passes.

3. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB-NYG).  I had to take a running back here and I was pleasantly surprised to get Ahmad Bradshaw.  Despite being hampered with various injuries each year, he is now the main running back on the Giants and will also get goal line opportunities due to his powerful and bruising rushing style.  I will have to accept that Bradshaw will probably miss a game or two during the season, but this is still a great value in the 3rd round.

4. Hakeem Nicks (WR-NYG).  It was a bit of a surprise that Hakeem Nicks lasted to the middle of the 4th round.  Granted he is just returning from a fractured foot, but he will be ready to go for the start of the season.  Nicks does have some injury history, but he has the talent and statistics of a #1 wide receiver.  The emergence of Victor Cruz has made opposing defenses second-guess putting an extra defensive back on Nicks, so he should see plenty of targets this year.

5. Shonn Greene (RB-NYJ).  I admit that this wasn’t the greatest pick in the world, but I needed my second running back and I was able to get a team’s starter.  Shonn Greene is going to receive a heavy workload this year for the Jets who do not have much of a passing attack.  They also don’t have LaDainian Tomlinson on the roster to compete for goal line chances, so Green should be able to score some touchdowns this year.

6. Vincent Jackson (WR-TB).  It has been a few years since Vincent Jackson really performed as an elite wide receiver.  After some injuries, a contract dispute and off-field issues affected him towards the end of his tenure in San Diego, he now has a fresh start in Tampa Bay as Josh Freeman’s main target.  Jackson signed a big contract so he will be expected to perform like a top receiver.  He is my WR3 which is a great value.

7. Brandon Pettigrew (TE-DET).  I was targeting Jermichael Finley as my tight end, but he was taken at the end of the 6th round.  Instead I ended up with Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions.  He developed a nice rapport with Matthew Stafford as a solid second option to Calvin Johnson.  It is reasonable to expect another 750 yards and 5-7 touchdowns from Pettigrew this year.

8. Mark Ingram (RB-NO).  Because my starting running back tandem is not the greatest in the world, I wanted to make sure I at least had some other decent options and depth.  Mark Ingram enters his second season with the Saints as part of a crowded backfield which also includes Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.  Ingram should see more touches this year as it would be unfair to expect another record-setting season from Drew Brees who will also play pseudo-coach.

9. Randall Cobb (WR-GB).  I may have reached too early for this pick, but I like Randall Cobb’s upside as he now has a year under his belt with Aaron Rodgers.  With Greg Jennings’ concussion issues and Donald Driver another year older, Cobb could get more involved in the offense and see more targets.  Rodgers has a knack for spreading the ball around, so Cobb has value assuming he gets enough snaps during the game.

10. Jacquizz Rodgers (RB-ATL).  This is a pick I am very pleased with.  There is no question that Michael Turner is slowing down and will see a decrease in his workload this year.  The Falcons are going to begin transitioning their running game to Jacquizz Rodgers who they view as an all-around rusher as opposed to a third down option.  Rodgers could be a steal.

11. Carson Palmer (QB-OAK).  With Aaron Rodgers on my roster, I will hopefully only need my backup quarterback during Green Bay’s bye week.  I selected Carson Palmer who will now have a full pre-season under his belt with the Raiders.  Palmer still has a lot left in the tank and does have valuable offensive weapons, so it would not be surprising if he threw for 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.

12. Baltimore (D/ST).  Despite the injuries to Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, the Ravens are still one of the premier defenses in the league.  Points are awarded for holding teams to lower scores, so the Ravens will certainly have plenty of chances to do that by playing the offensively-challenged Browns and Bengals twice during the season. 

13. Alshon Jeffery (WR-CHC).  While everyone is expecting the reunion of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall to reignite their respective fantasy value, Cutler will need other options to throw to as well.  Rookie Alshon Jeffery has emerges as the Bears second receiver and many pundits are predicting that he could be the rookie of the year.  For a 13th round pick and my 5th overall receiver, I can’t complain about this.

14. James Laurinaitis (LB-STL).  This league also requires one individual defensive player.  Typically I prefer defensive players who rack up a lot of tackles such as linebackers and safeties.  James Laurinaitis has become one of the better linebackers in the NFL and is a lock for 100+ tackles.  Plus, he is also related to Animal from the Legion of Doom and the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for the WWE. 

15. Matt Prater (K-DEN).  The ever-important fantasy kicker was next up on my agenda.  After Stephen Gostkowski and Sebastian Janikowksi were off the board, I really didn’t put too much thought into this.  I did decide to take Matt Prater because he kicks in Denver where the air is thinner and he can hit longer field goals.  Plus, with Peyton Manning running the offense, the Broncos will certainly move the ball down the field and set up potential field goal opportunities,

16. James Jones (WR-GB).  Much like my reasoning for taking Randall Cobb earlier, I grabbed James Jones because he could be another option for Aaron Rodgers if something happens further up the depth charts.  Plus, there are rumors circulating that the Dolphins are targeting Jones for a trade which would make him a primary option in Miami.  He is on my roster for depth, but the potential upside could be helpful for me to use as trade bait.

17. Kendall Hunter (RB-SF).  With my final pick of the draft, I selected 49ers running back Kendall Hunter.  This is another potential sleeper as Hunter could possibly become San Francisco’s best running back.  Frank Gore is getting older and has been banged up the past few years.  Newly signed Brandon Jacobs was injured during the pre-season and is clearly on the downside of his career.  Hunter is young and fast, so he could see an increased workload if the veterans don’t produce or start breaking down.

Overall I am happy with this team.  My running backs are clearly a weakness, but both Bradshaw and Green are starters and will get plenty of opportunities to contribute.  I really like my QB and WR’s, so I feel I should put up big points every week with them.  Is this a championship team?  It could be.  If Jacquizz Rodgers and Kendall Hunter blossom this year, then I could really be a force to reckon with.


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