On Thursday night I competed in the second of two “Beat Jeff Erickson” drafts in the RotoWire Online Championship, as part of the NFFC’s package of leagues. As a reminder, this is a 12-team league with an overall contest that has a $200,000 grand prize. It’s a PPR league, we start three wide receivers and a flex, and have 10-man benches. It’s also a 3RR (third round reversal) draft, meaning that the draft order flips in the third round so that the 12th slot picks first in the third round. We use a KDS (Kentucky Derby Style) system to determine draft order – I got the ninth draft slot, which was my 7th preference.
Before I break down my picks and share other reactions from the draft, here’s the full draft grid:
In planning for this draft, I was hoping to take Nick Chubb at 1.9 and avoid having to settle for David Johnson at the spot. Maybe I’m acting irrationally about Johnson, but I’m really concerned about the Arizona OL and am skeptical that the new offense, which hasn’t really been unveiled yet this preseason, is going to work as smoothly as anticipated. I try to avoid risk in the first round, whether it derives from injury, holdout or even performance. There’s just so many good options available in the first two rounds that if you get a zero or an extremely diminished version of that player, it’s so costly.
What I didn’t expect to happen was to have the opportunity to draft Ezekiel Elliott at 1.9. Prior to Thursday’s draft, he was on-average fourth earliest player drafted in the NFFC RotoWire Online Championship in August, and his lowest pick was 10. His average pick was 5.39. I also, quietly, did not *want* to have the opportunity to draft Elliott. See above – I’m really risk-averse in the first round, and even though this is an overall contest, I’ve got a bad feeling about this holdout, even though on Thursday the Cowboys did make Elliott a big offer. I agonized over the pick, but eventually passed on him. Team 10 ultimately passed on him as well, so for the first time, Elliott dropped to Team 11 – who doubled up on his high-risk, high-reward profile by taking Todd Gurley at 2.2.
1.9 Nick Chubb – Enough about who I passed, and more about who I took. Chubb is my RB4 with Zeke holding out, ahead of David Johnson and Lev Bell, among others. With Duke Johnson in Houston, Chubb should get a lot more targets in the passing game, though Dontrell Hilliard should figure in the mix some as well. Kareem Hunt looms beginning in Week 10, but if Chubb is as good as I believe he is, I’m not that worried about his impact. If anything, I think the challenge will be for the Browns to find a way to integrate Hunt into the mix, maybe getting both backs on the field at the same time.
2.4 Travis Kelce – I debated between him and Julio Jones /Odell Beckham Jr. Really a matter of team structure – 3RR and the depth of WR’s in rounds 4-6 steered me in this direction. Part of my decision was based on the desire to get a little Kelce in my portfolio – I wanted to build a roster with him clearly above the field at the position, and a lot of depth at WR.
3.4 Adam Thielen – Was hoping to pair my first Kelce share with my first Mahomes share, but he went one before me. Kerryon Johnson, Chris Godwin and Aaron Jones were all gone before that pick, too – Jones at pick 22. Jones was my target, but I’m happy with Thielen, who earlier was going at the end of the second round.
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4.9 Sony Michel – This cost me yet another share of Kenny Golladay, but I didn’t like what was happening to the RB pool, knowing that I would still get a WR I’d like at 5.4. Michel obviously is more valuable in a standard league, as James White isn’t going away. But the Pats are a running team now more than ever, so there should still be plenty of opportunities for him. The only other RB I liked in this spot, Mark Ingram, went immediately after me. Had I taken Golladay instead, I would have taken Tevin Coleman in the fifth.
5.4 Tyler Boyd – Though I missed out on Golladay, I still had plenty of choices with this spot. It was either Boyd or Mike Williams, D.J. Moore or Allen Robinson for me here. Boyd is legit as far as I’m concerned, and A.J. Green’s injury only bodes more targets for Boyd now.
6.9 Robby Anderson – Was among a handful of WRs I still like at this spot, and I held out on my 3rd RB hoping I’d get him with the next pick, which was …
7.4 Derrius Guice – For once, the preseason sort of worked in my favor. I bumped him up in my mind after seeing him in action Thursday night.
8.9 Darrell Henderson – Didn’t absolutely need him, but I liked the price, and the news about his likelihood of action even with Gurley at full health. The Rams have suggested that Henderson will get 9-12 touches per game, which works as a flex and/or bye week guy in a PPR league.
9.4 Marques Valdes-Scantling – I think that the Packers’ offense easily supports two wide receivers, perhaps three – I’m hoping MVS is the #2, though it’s interesting to see that Geronimo Allison went three picks later in this draft.
10.9 John Brown – I think that Brown will be the Bills’ top option this season, and that status will be meaningful in Year 2 of the Josh Allen experience.
11.4 Kareem Hunt – My lone handcuff, and one I think is necessary in this format to protect my investment in Nick Chubb.
12.9 Russell Wilson – I was one of two teams to wait until the 12th round to take the plunge on a QB (along with Team 12, after me). I really wanted to stay on RotoWire Brand and take Lamar Jackson, but thought that I could get him on the return, and that there was no way that Wilson would come back to me. That latter part was true – later on Team 12 told me that he was hoping for Wilson. Alas, he took Jackson as one of his two QB’s at the wheel.
13.4 Kirk Cousins – I probably should have just taken Brady or Rivers here, but opted for Cousins to pair with Thielen in case they pop together.
14.9 Andy Isabella – Isabella is my WR6, so I felt some latitude to take a chance here with him over more established options like Quincy Enunwa or Mohamed Sanu – in fact, when making this pick I asked myself who would I be most upset about missing if someone grabbed him before my next turn, and the answer came Isabella.
15.4 Marquise Goodwin – I have a hard time believing that Goodwin is so far out of the picture after an injury/personal tragedy-wracked year after being a Helium Guy last season. So far the Niners offense is looking shady, but those things have a way of working themselves out by the regular season.
16.9 Kenny Stills – After taking a few swings at upside with my last two picks, I went with a more “stable” option at wide receiver – at least in terms of opportunity.
17.4 Jordan Thomas – This is an endorsement of Mario Puig’s endorsement of Thomas. Just looking for upside at this point.
18.9 Cleveland D/ST – Good schedule, good pass rush – Week 1 they face Tennessee at home.
19.4 Michael Badgley – We’re required to draft a kicker, Badgley is one.
20.9 Chris Conley – One more stab at upside, and I didn’t like the RBs available. After hearing @, who talked Conley up on our podcast earlier this week, stitcher.com/podcast/rotowi… I decided to take the plunge.
Here’s my team by position:
QB – Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins
RB – Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Derrius Guice, Darrell Henderson, Kareem Hunt
WR – Adam Thielen, Tyler Boyd, Robby Anderson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, John Brown, Andy Isabella, Marquise Goodwin, Kenny Stills, Chris Conley
TE – Travis Kelce, Jordan Thomas
K – Michael Badgley
DEF – Cleveland
Overall I think that this draft was tougher than the first “Beat Jeff Erickson” draft. I think that’s normally true of the draft cycle – the later that you draft, and the more information that you and your opponents have, the tighter it gets. Your guys become everyone else’s guys (say, for example, Miles Sanders), and injuries force some of those players you like even higher (and remove guys that you don’t want off your opponents’ lists).