Vegas League Draft Review

Every year RotoWire gets together at the All-Star break in Las Vegas. It’s a great time for everyone to relax, do a football draft or two, play in a poker tournament or just hang out by the pool. It allows us to recharge the batteries for the baseball stretch run and NFL draft season.

This year we had two 14-team leagues drafting at the same time on Tuesday afternoon. The leagues are standard (non-PPR) – RotoWire President is the commissioner for each league and he *hates* PPR leagues, using three WR’s and a flex spot, along with team kickers instead of individual kickers. Before divulging the results, just remember when you look at the rosters that nearly every 14-team roster looks terrible if you’re used to playing in 12-team leagues, let alone 10-team leagues. That horribleness is exacerbated by the early draft date, when so much news happens in training camp and the preseason.

A note about the photos – we had to fit 14 teams onto a 12-team board, so it’s a little clunky on the sides. Hence, four photos to complete the draft board. I drafted out of the 12th slot:

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This draft featured a series of runs, with a lot of green (RBs) in the first round and a lot of yellow (WRs) in the fourth round. It makes sense in a standard scoring league that the group as a whole would be especially focused on finding their workhorse backs. It’s not easy to get by when you don’t get a baseline of 5-6 points per reception. Here’s who I ended up with:

1.12Davante Adams: Ten of the first 11 players taken were running backs, with only DeAndre Hopkins breaking up a complete run. That’s the extreme version of the early trends I’m seeing this year. I’m happy to zig with the rest of the league zagging, however, given that we need to start three wide receivers and a flex. That it’s a standard scoring league pushes Adams, who led the NFL both in red zone targets and percentage of his team’s red zone targets, ahead of the other top wide receiver choices for me.

2.3Damien Williams: Andy Reid keeps affirming that Williams will be the starter and will get heavy use, short of actually saying he’s a bell-cow back. I’m buying Williams’ production last year and the likelihood that he’ll perform at a near facsimile of that level this year. I think that you can make pretty good cases for Nick Chubb or Travis Kelce here, too.

3.12Amari Cooper: From a team structure standpoint, I could have been better suited taking Josh Jacobs or Sony Michel here, but I think that Cooper was too good of a value to pass up. A full season with the Cowboys should only help.

4.3Kenny Golladay: Tough call between Golladay and Stefon Diggs, who went immediately after this pick, but I chose the guy that I think will have a higher volume this year.

5.12 – Tevin Coleman: To account for my lack of a sure second starter, I’ll have to attack RB with lots of volume, starting with Coleman, who I think is a great fit in a Shanahan system and has already gotten a head-start against his competition (Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostart) due to their collective injuries.

6.3 – Rashaad Penny: A back like Lamar Miller or Penny’s teammate Chris Carson would have been safer alternatives, but I’m not interested in safe plays in the mid-rounds, and Penny averaged over five yards per carry from Week 4 on, when he was healthy. I don’t love Bryan Schottenheimer’s offense (who does?), but at least he emphasizes the run.

7.12 – Nyheim Hines: We’re at the point of the draft where the only RBs available are third-down backs or handcuffs on bad teams, I went with the former on what I think will be one of the better offenses in the game.

8.3 – Mark Andrews: I have a tinge of regret on this one – not that I have doubts about Andrews, but because of the opportunity cost of taking another RB lottery ticket like Royce Freeman or Jaylen Samuels, with no other TE’s going near this pick.

9.12 – Jalen Richard: Just another lottery ticket, on a team that should have to throw the ball a lot, assuming that they’re playing from behind as often as I anticipate.

10.3 – Carson Wentz: I played the standard wait-on-the-qb’s strategy here and yet still got one that I really like in Wentz, who should finally be fully healthy and have upgraded options to work with this season.

11.12 – Deebo Samuel: Trolling for upside here, right now it looks as if there’s a chance that Samuel could be a starter right away.

12.3 – Matt Breida: I like Breida better than McKinnon as a handcuff for Tevin Coleman, and I like Breida’s skills on the merits.

13.12 – Dallas Goedert: I’m not sure that Philly will provide enough targets for Goedert, but I do like his skills.

14.3 – A.J. Brown: Another swing for the fences upside play.

15.12 – Colts defense: By law we’re required to draft a defense, and they were the best available in the second-to-last round. Plus they get the added bonus of facing the AFC South, which is as good a spot as there is.

16.3 – Eagles kicker (Jake Elliott): We use Team Kickers, in case Elliott doesn’t hold the job or gets hurt during a game. Just trying to find a decent kicker on a good offense.

By position:

QB – Carson Wentz
RB – Damien Williams, Tevin Coleman, Rashaad Penny, Nyheim Hines, Jalen Richard, Matt Breida
WR – Davante Adams, Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay, Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown
TE – Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert
K – Eagles
DEF – Colts

What do you think? Looking at the other teams, which one do you like the most?