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RotoWire's First Staff League Analysis: Vegas League Draft

Mike Doria

Mike Doria

NFL Editor for RotoWire. Roots for the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and the underdog. Plus the McGill Redmen.

During the recent Major League All-Star Break, a dozen RotoWire writers gathered over brunch at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel to make their selections for our annual “Vegas League,” which is in fact played out for both pride and cash prizes, and not merely a mock draft.

The cast of characters was as follows, along with their primary RotoWire job descriptions.

1. Bernie Pleskoff (MLB Writer)
2. Kenn Ruby (MLB Writer)
3. Jeff Erickson (Senior Editor)
4. Shannon McKeown (Director of Ad Sales)
5. Tim McCaigue (Programmer)
6. Andre’ Snellings (NBA Writer)
7. Dan Roemhild (Programmer)
8. Derek VanRiper (MLB Editor)/Tim Schuler (RotoWire C.O.O.)
9. Brian Fraze (NFL Writer)
10. Carson Cistulli (NBA Writer)
11. Peter Schoenke (RotoWire President)
12. Jason Brown (MLB Writer)

I normally participate in this league, but had to pass this year, due to a friend’s wedding (congrats, Dino!), so I’ll take the opportunity to provide a brief non-participant’s impression of the draft (results posted below).

League Parameters: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (WR/RB/TE), 1 K, 1 Team D

Passing TD = 3 points


-- No surprise with the top two picks and you can’t argue with Jeff’s decision to go with Ray Rice at No. 3, especially if you believe that the up-and-coming Ravens’ back can sneak a couple more TDs in close this season, at the expense of Willis McGahee.

-- This draft illustrates that those looking to ride the Rashard Mendenhall/Shonn Greene “upside express” trains, had better act swiftly.

-- Andre Johnson breaks up the RB run at No. 8, with Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald rounding out the first-round wideout trio, a development not surprising in a three-WR league.

-- Miles Austin is no longer a secret as his selection at No. 13 overall goes to show and those who are targeting blue-chip rookie back Ryan Mathews will need to be aggressive, as he has been flying off many draft boards (including this one) in the second round.

Here's what the experts think about Mathews: Mock Draft Central Experts' ADP Statistics

-- Drew Brees at the end of Round 2 and Peyton Manning at the start of Round 3 are defensible selections, but in a one-QB league where passing TDs count for three points, Aaron Rodgers in the first round is a bold move, especially when the likes of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub and Tony Romo were still kicking around as the fifth round opened. I wouldn’t have taken Rodgers that high, but it is the sort of “swing for the fences” mentality we generally endorse, as an overly conservative drafting approach is a good way to get yourself to the bronze-medal game.

I mentioned that cluster of value QBs to tech guy, Tim McCaigue, when I questioned him about his selection of Robert Meachem in the fourth round, and he noted that the soon-to-be released RotoWire NFL iPhone Application urged him to go with Tom Brady with that pick. In his defense, while everyone is aware of running back scarcity, in three-receiver leagues, things can get pretty ugly for those who punt on the position in the early rounds. That thinking and the power of the Saints’ offense were enough for Tim to go for it with Meachem (nine TDs in 2009) that early.

-- Since this draft took place before training camp, there will naturally be plenty of developments affecting the value of players taken here, but it’s especially interesting (to me, at least) to view the draft from the bottom up, with examining each team’s late-round darts in mind.

-- Former studs in the bargain bin: Brian Westbrook in Rd. 13? Why not? He’s likely to sign on as a backup, but would be one injury away from big numbers, provided HE can stay healthy. Torry Holt? He has Tom Brady throwing to him and it’s uncertain how much Wes Welker will provide out of the gate.

-- Rookie Darts: Arrelious Benn (Rd. 13) and Mike Williams for that matter, could start as rookies, so while the Bucs’ passing offense is not to be confused with the Saints, there’s decent WR3 potential here.

-- T.O.: We’ll give him his own blurb, but in Rd. 12, there’s an opportunity for a very nice return, as we all know that he’ll eventually sign somewhere.

-- I could go on, but let’s get things rolling with what you, our readers, think about the results. We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

First Name Lastname Team Owner Round Pick
Chris Johnson (TEN) Bernie 1 1
Adrian Peterrson (MIN) Kenn 1 2
Ray Rice (BAL) Jeff 1 3
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) Shannon 1 4
Michael Turner (ATL) Tim M. 1 5
Frank Gore (SF) Andre’ 1 6
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) Dan 1 7
Andre’ Johnson (HOU) Derek/Tim S. 1 8
Shonn Greene (NYJ) Brian 1 9
Aaron Rodgers (GB) Carson 1 10
Randy Moss (NE) Peter 1 11
Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) JBrown 1 12
Miles Austin (DAL) JBrown 2 1
Reggie Wayne (IND) Peter 2 2
Ryan Mathews (SD) Carson 2 3
Calvin Johnson (DET) Brian 2 4
Roddy White (ATL) Derek/Tim S. 2 5
Steven Jackson (STL) Dan 2 6
Jamaal Charles (KC) Andre’ 2 7
Chris Wells (ARZ) Tim M. 2 8
Greg Jennings (GB) Shannon 2 9
Brandon Marshall (MIA) Jeff 2 10
Drew Brees (NO) Kenn 2 11
Marques Colston (NO) Bernie 2 12
Peyton Manning (IND) Bernie 3 1
Anquan Boldin (BAL) Kenn 3 2
Ryan Grant (GB) Jeff 3 3
Sidney Rice (MIN) Shannon 3 4
Steve Smith (CAR) Tim M. 3 5
DeAngelo Williams (CAR) Andre’ 3 6
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) Dan 3 7
Michael Crabtree (SF) Derek/Tim S. 3 8
Ronnie Brown (MIA) Brian 3 9
Pierre Thomas (NO) Carson 3 10
LeSean McCoy (PHI) Peter 3 11
Felix Jones (DAL) Jbrown 3 12
Jahvid Best (DET) Jbrown 4 1
Antonio Gates (SD) Peter 4 2
Vernon Davis (SF) Carson 4 3
Steven Smith (NYG) Brian 4 4
Dallas Clark (IND) Derek/Tim S. 4 5
DeSean Jackson (PHI) Dan 4 6
Cedric Benson (CIN) Andre’ 4 7
Robert Meachem (NO) Tim M. 4 8
Brandon Jacobs (NYG) Shannon 4 9
Mike Sims-Walker (JAC) Jeff 4 10
Matt Forte (CHI) Kenn 4 11
Montario Hardesty (CLE) Bernie 4 12
Pierre Garcon (IND) Bernie 5 1
Jason Witten (DAL) Kenn 5 2
Hakeem Nicks (NYG) Jeff 5 3
Jermichael Finley (GB) Shannon 5 4
Jonathan Stewart (CAR) Tim M. 5 5
Tony Romo (DAL) Andre’ 5 6
Marion Barber (DAL) Dan 5 7
Tom Brady (NE) Derek/Tim S. 5 8
Kellen Winslow (TB) Brian 5 9
Malcom Floyd (SD) Carson 5 10
Joseph Addai (IND) Peter 5 11
Vincent Jackson (SD) Jbrown 5 12
Dwayne Bowe (KC) Jbrown 6 1
Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) Peter 6 2
Chad Ochocinco (CIN) Carson 6 3
Philip Rivers (SD) Brian 6 4
Fred Jackson (BUF) Derek/Tim S. 6 5
Jay Cutler (CHI) Dan 6 6
Antonio Bryant (CIN) Andre’ 6 7
Matt Schaub (HOU) Tim M. 6 8
Jerome Harrison (CLE) Shannon 6 9
Brent Celek (PHI) Jeff 6 10
Braylon Edwards (NYJ) Kenn 6 11
Hines Ward (PIT) Bernie 6 12
Tony Gonzalez (ATL) Bernie 7 1
Steve Slaton (HOU) Kenn 7 2
Michael Bush (OAK) Jeff 7 3
Jeremy Maclin (PHI) Shannon 7 4
Justin Forsett (SEA) Tim M. 7 5
Kenny Britt (TEN) Andre’ 7 6
Owen Daniels (HOU) Dan 7 7
Cadillac Williams (TB) Derek/Tim S. 7 8
Lee Evans (BUF) Evans 7 9
Ben Tate (HOU) Carson 7 10
Donald Brown (IND) Peter 7 11
Eli Manning (NYG) Jbrown 7 12
Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) Jbrown 8 1
Darren McFadden (OAK) Peter 8 2
Johnny Knox (CHI) Carson 8 3
Santana Moss (WAS) Brian 8 4
Percy Harvin (MIN) Derek/Tim S. 8 5
Zach Miller (OAK) Dan 8 6
Donovan McNabb (WAS) Andre’ 8 7
Dez Bryant (DAL) Tim M. 8 8
C.J. Spiller (BUF) Shannon 8 9
Donald Driver (GB) Jeff 8 10
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (SEA) Kenn 8 11
Reggie Bush (NO) Bernie 8 12
  Team D MIN Bernie 9 1
Devin Hester (CHI) Kenn 9 2
Kevin Kolb (PHI) Jeff 9 3
Matt Ryan (ATL) Shannon 9 4
Chris Chambers (KC) Tim M. 9 5
Mike Wallace (PIT) Andre’ 9 6
Wes Welker (NE) Dan 9 7
Clinton Portis (WAS) Derek/Tim S. 9 8
Ricky Williams (MIA) Brian 9 9
Julian Edelman (NE) Carson 9 10
Joe Flacco (BAL) Peter 9 11
Chester Taylor (CHI) Jbrown 9 12
Austin Collie (IND) Jbrown 10 1
Devin Aromashodu (CHI) Peter 10 2
Roy Williams (DAL) Carson 10 3
Laurence Maroney (NE) Brian 10 4
  Team D PIT Derek/Tim S. 10 5
Brett Favre (MIN) Dan 10 6
Tim Hightower (ARZ) Andre’ 10 7
Thomas Jones (KC) Tim M. 10 8
Steve Breaston (ARZ) Shannon 10 9
Carson Palmer (CIN) Jeff 10 10
Devin Thomas (WAS) Kenn 10 11
Devery Henderson (NO) Bernie 10 12
Darren Sproles (SD) Bernie 11 1
  Team D NYG Kenn 11 2
Mike Bell (PHI) Jeff 11 3
LaDainian Tomlinson (NYJ) Shannon 11 4
Derrick Mason (BAL) Tim M. 11 5
Greg Olsen (CHI) Andre’ 11 6
Heath Miller (PIT) Dan 11 7
Donnie Avery (STL) Derek/Tim S. 11 8
  Team D NYJ Brian 11 9
  Team D SF Carson 11 10
Josh Cribbs (CLE) Peter 11 11
Tashard Choice (DAL) Jbrown 11 12
  Team D GB JBrown 12 1
Bernard Scott (CIN) Peter 12 2
Terrell Owens () Carson 12 3
Matthew Stafford (DET) Brian 12 4
Leon Washington (SEA) Derek/Tim S. 12 5
Garrett Hartley (NO) Dan 12 6
Santonio Holmes (NYJ) Andre’ 12 7
John Carlson (SEA) Tim M. 12 8
Chad Henne (MIA) Shannon 12 9
Arian Foster (HOU) Jeff 12 10
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) Kenn 12 11
Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) Bernie 12 12
Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE) Bernie 13 1
Willis McGahee (BAL) Kenn 13 2
Derrick Ward (TB) Jeff 13 3
Eddie Royal (DEN) Shannon 13 4
Vince Young (TEN) Tim M. 13 5
Dustin Keller (NYJ) Andre’ 13 6
Chaz Schilens (OAK) Dan 13 7
Brian Westbrook () Derek/Tim S. 13 8
Ryan Longwell (MIN) Brian 13 9
Torry Holt (NE) Carson 13 10
Lynell Hamilton (NO) Peter 13 11
Arrelious Benn (TB) Jbrown 13 12
Nate Kaeding (SD) Jbrown 14 1
  Team D BAL Peter 14 2
Mason Crosby (GB) Carson 14 3
Chris Cooley (WAS) Brian 14 4
Stephen Gostkowski (NE) Derek/Tim S. 14 5
  Team D MIA Dan 14 6
  Team D CIN Andre’ 14 7
  Team D PHI Tim M. 14 8
  Team D CHI Shannon 14 9
Rob Bironas (TEN) Jeff 14 10
David Akers (PHI) Kenn 14 11
Adam Vinatieri (IND) Bernie 14 12
Jay Feely (ARZ) Bernie 15 1
Earl Bennett (CHI) Kenn 15 2
  Team D OAK Jeff 15 3
Kris Brown (HOU) Shannon 15 4
Lawrence Tynes (NYG) Tim M. 15 5
Matt Prater (DEN) Andre’ 15 6
Larry Johnson (WAS) Dan 15 7
Matt Cassel (KC) Derek/Tim S. 15 8
Nate Burleson (DET) Brian 15 9
Alex Smith (SF) Carson 15 10
  Team D DAL Peter 15 11
Matt
Moore
(CAR)
Jbrown
15
12