Fantasy Football Fest Expert Draft – Review and Analysis

On August 18, 2012, I participated in the Fantasy Football Fest Expert Draft in Atlantic City, NJ.  I had the privilege of drafting with some of the industry’s biggest names such as Jeff Mans, A.J. Mass, Mike Beacom, Scott Engel, Tony Cincotta, Adam Ronis, Dr. Roto, Mike Clay and Rob Shaw.  I had the fortune of getting the first overall pick which made my life much less stressful.  Here is a review and analysis of my team in the order the players were drafted.  If you would like to see the entire draft board, please email me at, send me a message on Facebook, or send me a tweet to @FantasyJudgment.

1. Arian Foster (RB-HOU).  Having the first pick in this draft made my life pretty easy.  This was a no-brainer as Arian Foster is the undisputed top choice.  He does have an injury history which is always a concern, but he appears healthy and will be the best offensive player on a very good Texans team.  He catches passes out of the backfield and can break loose for long runs at any time.  Unless your league is heavily favored for quarterbacks, Foster is the unconditional top overall pick.

2. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB-NYG).  Ironically, right before the draft I had a discussion with Jeff Mans and Ted Schuster on the Fantasy Alarm Show about whether Ahmad Bradshaw was a good pick at the end of the second round.  Sure enough, he made it all the way back to me and I grabbed him with my second pick.  Bradshaw has missed a few games over the past several seasons with various injuries, but he is the Giants top rusher and their primary goal line option.  Even if he misses a game or two during the season, he should still be good for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as my second running back.

3. Greg Jennings (WR-GB).  With the wrap-around pick, I took Greg Jennings over Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker and Roddy White.  While Jennings has sat out most of the pre-season with lingering concussion issues, all indications are that he will be ready to go once the season starts.  Green Bay is rightfully being cautious with him so he is as close to 100% for Week 1.  Jennings is still Aaron Rodgers favorite target and should rack up receptions and touchdowns all season.

4. Miles Austin (WR-DAL).  I took another chance on a receiver who has missed a lot of time during the pre-season by taking Miles Austin as my second wide receiver.  He has the ability to light up the scoreboard as well as Tony Romo’s go-to guy, especially without Jason Witten.  Austin has breakaway speed and, if healthy, gives me a potentially dynamic 1-2 combo with my receivers.

5. Aaron Hernandez (TE-NE).  While Rob Gronkowski went ninth overall in the first round, I got Aaron Hernandez in the fifth round.  Hernandez is equally as solid a receiving option for Tom Brady and could emerge even more this year as opposing defenses scheme to shut Gronk down.  I expect big things from Hernandez who runs patterns like a wideout.  With New England’s new additions on the outside, Hernandez should be able to take advantage of one on one coverage by slower and less athletic linebackers.

6. Tony Romo (QB-DAL).  Normally I draft a top quarterback earlier than the sixth round regardless of what format the league is.  But for this draft, I opted to fill in other positions and wait to get a second tier QB.  There is no denying Tony Romo’s ability to put up big numbers during the regular season.  The loss of Jason Witten will hurt, but he has other weapons to throw to.  Plus, Dallas’s defense is suspect so they could be playing from behind quite a bit which means he will throw for a lot of garbage yards and touchdowns late in games.  I am very pleased with his value in the sixth round.

7. Santonio Holmes (WR-NYJ).  For my third receiver, I took yet another chance on a guy who has been riddled with injuries during the pre-season.  Santonio Holmes is essentially the only legitimate receiver the Jets have, so they will throw him the ball as often as they can.  It remains to be seen how effective Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow will be getting the ball down the field.  But as my third receiver I can live with the frustration of hoping for offensive production from the Jets,

8. Ronnie Hillman (RB-DEN).  This may have been a bit of a stretch taking Ronnie Hillman here, but I like his upside.  With Willis McGahee getting older, the Broncos will need some youthful speed in the backfield as an alternative option to Peyton Manning throwing the ball all over the field.  Hillman could thrive with Manning catches passes and running routes. 

9. Malcolm Floyd (WR-SD).  The stars have aligned for Malcolm Floyd to emerge as Philip Rivers primary wide receiver target after Vincent Jackson left for Tampa Bay and Vincent Brown got injured during the pre-season.  San Diego is always an explosive offensive team and Rivers typically puts up big numbers.  I expect Floyd to step up this year and emerge as one of the better receivers in the AFC.  Remember, he is my fourth WR and could easily crack my starting lineup over Holmes.

10. Matt Schaub (QB-HOU).  In the search for a backup quarterback, I was happy to land Matt Schaub here in the tenth round.  Schaub missed the last half of the 2011 season and the playoffs, but he appears healthy and ready to go.  A lot of his success will be dependent on the health of Andre Johnson who had multiple leg injuries last year.  I would only be playing him on Romo’s bye week in all likelihood, so I don’t need a monster season out of him.

11. Cedric Benson (RB-GB).  This pick could be a steal.  Cedric Benson recently signed with Green Bay and could become their primary running back due to the regression of James Starks.  Benson still has something left in the tank and could see a lot of action if the Packers light up the scoreboard early and need to run out the clock for more than a quarter. 

12. Coby Fleener (TE-IND).  For my backup tight end, I took a chance on Coby Fleener of the Colts.  With the Andrew Luck era set to begin, he will look to develop a rapport with his fellow rookie.  The Peyton Manning to Dallas Clark combination worked well in the previous Colts’ regime, so there is good reason to think they will explore it again with these players. 

13. Baltimore Ravens (DEF).  Despite injuries to Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, the Ravens are still one of the most fearsome defenses in the league.  They typically hold opponents in check and have a great pass rush.  Plus, they play the Browns and Bengals twice during the season which is always good for defensive purposes.

14. Anquan Boldin (WR-BAL).  I was surprised that Anquan Boldin lasted until the 14th round.  He is not as fast as he used to be, but he is still a solid receiver and one of Joe Flacco’s main targets.  For depth, I was very happy to get him as I think Boldin has great value at this point in the draft.

15. Matt Prater (K-DEN).  For my kicker, I went with Matt Prater who has become notorious for his 60+ yard field goals.  With Peyton Manning running the offense, Denver is guaranteed to move the ball up and down the field.  This all but assures Prater of getting lots of field goal opportunities.  Plus, Manning’s previous kickers Adam Vinatieri and Mike Vanderjagt always scored a lot of points during the season.

16. Tim Tebow (QB-NYJ).  I saved the best for last.  And by best, I mean controversial.  I took Tim Tebow with the final pick of the draft.  I did this for a few reasons, and one of them is admittedly to create a buzz and be talked about.  The Jets will certainly give him a good amount of playing time with the Wildcat offense, so he should amass rushing yards and possible touchdowns at the goal line.  At the very least, I can use him as trade bait or get my picture taken as a messiah in GQ Magazine.



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