what a difference a couple of days make. After writing my last piece, all of the reports were saying "the injury to Greg Jones doesn't look that serious, so that's good news for the Jaguars" and the bombers I thought. 24 hours later, it's a torn ligament and he is out for the season!
But, that's the way things go in fantasy football. One season a player cannot be stopped, the next season he virtually disappears(see Michael Clayton, rookie year versus second-year). And of course, it swings the other way as well. That player who couldn't do anything the yearbefore suddenly becomes the main man (see Priest Holmes in Baltimore versus Priest Holmes in Kansas City)
The same basic thing happens with your fantasy drafts. For whatever reason, players stay on the board longer in one draft than they do in another, other teams panic and start drafting different positions earlier than expected or maybe your draft position just falls a little differently in each round.
So, let's take a look at my second fantasy football franchise. This league has the same basic scoring as my other league with just a few minor differences. In this one you get one bonus point for anything scored over 50 yd. and we only start 9 players, there is no special-teams player. The rest of the scoring is the same, we still draft 22 players, but there are 12 teams meaning more players overall get taken.
They use a standard snake draft, so if you draft first in the first-round, you are going to draft last in the second round (meaning 22 players are going to disappear after you take your first player and before you take your second). This makes for a real dilemma. Do you want that first overall selection, knowing that you will be getting one of the very top players but then having to watch as 22 additional top players go to your opponents? Or, do you want to draft 12th in the first-round, knowing that the very top end of the players are going to be long gone, but you get to draft two players out of the top 13?? Everybody has their preferences. Mine personally is to draft lower, just because I am confident in my research and that my team will wind up with greater depth in the later rounds.
Also, there is absolutely no trading in this league. So, whoever you draft, that's going to be your team until after the eighth week where they also have a 3 rounded midseason draft.
So, here is the round by round breakdown of my second franchise
Round 1. After randomly drawing cards to determine draft order, I am drafting second. This means I'm definitely getting a good player, I just have to hope there are some good players left in rounds two and four to really round out my starting lineup. At the overall top of my draft board is Larry Johnson. Larry went first overall in my other fantasy draft, so I am figuring I'm going to wind up with Alexander. However, the person right in front of me sees things a little differently and goes with Alexander, leaving Larry Johnson to me. I am happy with my first round.
Round 2. Now begins the long wait. 20 players are going to fall by the wayside before things get back to me. Tomlinson goes right after I take Larry Johnson, and to my surprise Rudi Johnson goes forth rather than big Brother Manning. This sets off what can only described as an avalanche of running backs. The player with the fifth selection actually hesitates before drafting Manning, apparently thinking of drafting another running back somewhere. The big Brother Manning does indeed go fifth followed by a whole host of running backs including Lamont Jordan, Tiki Barber, Ronnie Brown, Julius Jones, Kevin Jones... even Reubin Droughns! In the second round, wide receiver Chad Johnson falls all the way to me! While I was not happy with Johnson as my first overall pick in my first draft, I'm ecstatic to get him at this point in my second draft
Round 3. Only two players disappear before it's my turn again, and evidently the knee injury to Carson Palmer really has people hesitating on him. This guy led the league in touchdown passes last season. Sure, he had not played a single down prior to this draft in the preseason, but sometimes you have to take that risk. There is no way I can pass up Palmer here in the third round, knowing that if he is healthy he is going to be throwing touchdown passes all season long, hopefully to my wide receiver Chad Johnson. Since this draft, Carson has had two outstanding performances in the preseason
Round 4. Another 20 players go away before things get back to me. Now, people were suddenly scrambling to get their quarterbacks and wide receivers. I am absolutely astounded that fast Willie Parker falls all the way to me. 46 players have gone away, and the starting running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers is still available. The starting running back who the coach just the day before said is NOT going to come off the field on the goal line and will get a chance to be the goal line back is still available. I suddenly have a really nice 1-2 punch on the ground with Larry Johnson and fast Willie.
Round 5. A quick two players and I am looking to start filling out my starting lineup. Anquan Boldin is still available and while he may not be a number one receiver, he is great as a secondary receiver.
Round 6. We still have one flex position to fill as our starter and Brandon Jacobs is still available. If you've seen this guy, you know he is a monster! He is a young kid, huge and the main goal line back for the New York Giants. He is pretty much strictly a short yardage back, so he's not going to get you many yards. But, in this league touchdowns are what matters and if he's healthy, Brandon is going to get a lot of them. This is a huge steal in the sixth round
Round 7. This round we get a little tricky (I have a partner in this league. I've had the team for 16 years, the last few I've been bringing in a partner to join in the fun). Not every team has a starting quarterback yet. In this league it is extremely important to get yourself three starting quarterbacks if possible. Of course, that isn't possible for every team since there are only 32 teams in the NFL, 32 starting quarterbacks, and 12 teams in this league. So, even though we do not have our entire starting lineup filled yet, we decide to go with Brett Farve in hopes of setting off a quarterback frenzy and having some other position players fall back to us.
Round 8. It works! Virtually every team takes at least one quarterback on the way up and back to me. We decide this is a good chance to fill out our starting lineup and go with tight end Todd Heap. He is arguably one of the top five tight ends in the NFL, and Antonio and Tony are both gone are ready, as is Mr. Miller from Pittsburgh. So, even though tight ends have not historically scored a lot of points, they are becoming more and more part of many teams offenses and this is a good selection at this point.
Round 9. Kickers are starting to go, and while they are a dime a dozen, we cannot pass up the opportunity of drafting Shayne Graham, kicker for Cincinnati. Cincinnati is going to score a lot of points, so that's good enough. But, the fact that we have Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson gives us a three player connection. Every time Carson Palmer throws a touchdown we get 4 points... every time Chad Johnson catches a touchdown we get 6 points... every time Shayne Graham kicks a extra point we get one point. That means every time Carson Palmer throws a touchdown to Chad Johnson with Shayne Graham taking the extra point, we get 11 points! 11 points for just one touchdown is hard to pass up.
Round 10. We still need a starting defense, but backing up your starters in this league is of huge importance. Eddie Kennison has pretty much developed into the number one receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs. While most of their touchdowns end up going to the running back, Kennison is going to get his fair share, so he is a fantastic backup
Round 11. There are only a couple of NFL starting quarterbacks remaining, and a couple teams still only have one quarterback. While we hope we never have to start him all season long, we go with Mark Brunell from the Washington Redskins. He had a great year last year, best of his career, but I do not expect him to come anywhere near repeating that. However, he is a starting quarterback and now we have three starting quarterbacks on our roster
Round 12. We are still not completely comfortable with our wide receivers, so even though we only have 3 running backs, and all of them are projected as being starters for us, it's best to get another decent wide receiver if possible. We can always plug a wide receiver into the flex position if need be on any given week. Braylon Edwards is still available. He's a young, explosive wide receiver for Cleveland. He's definitely got potential, and that is good enough for me at this juncture.
Round 13. Looking over our draft board we are pretty sure we have missed somebody taking up the Baltimore defense. There's no way that Baltimore can still be available, they are one of the top two or three defenses in the NFL, and there are six or seven other defenses already gone. We ask just to make sure... and they are still available! Well, they were before just now anyway because there's no way we can pass it up.
Round 14. With all nine of our starting positions now filled, it's time to start backing everybody up. There are not many starters remaining, but Derek Blaylock at least has a shot of getting some time in New York with the Jets, so that's who we go with.
Round 15. Kickers may be a dime a dozen, but in a league where there is no free agent pickups, if your kicker gets hurt and you don't have a good backup, your team is suddenly decimated. So we go with David Akers from Philadelphia and now I have two solid, high scoring kickers.
Round 16. Our starting three running backs are looking great... after that, not so much. We need somebody else who might get some playing time, so Travis Henry gets the call from Tennessee. He was an all-star for Buffalo, but he's had some off the field problems the past couple of seasons. But, at this stage in the draft you can always hope he returns to his previous form.
Round 17. If you told me I was going to draft back-to-back players from Tennessee in any of my drafts, I would have said that was highly unlikely. But, you would have been right as we go with David Givens. He has always been a steady wide receiver for New England, but this year finds him in Tennessee.
Round 18. As much as I hate doing it, we go with a backup tight end just in case our main man gets injured. Jeb Putzier isn't going to turn any head in Houston, but you never know. They have 2 good receivers now, and a solid tight end is every quarterback's best friend, so he may wind up being a diamond in the rough.
Round 19. We need a backup defensive team to fill in for the week Baltimore is off. We are again shocked to find out the Patriots are still available. That gives us a nice backup to Baltimore.
Round 20. We don't really have any holes to fill at this point, so we are more or less in a best player available situation. Doesn't really matter what position they play, we are just looking for a sleeper, a solid player at any position or somebody with a huge question mark. We decide to go with a solid player and go with Bobby Engram, wide receiver out of Seattle
Round 21. Since we went solid player last round, we decide to go question mark this round. Last season this guy was a first round selection. The season before that, he was the number one overall pick. We know he won't be playing for the first six weeks, but he is on the physically unable to perform list, not the injured reserve, which means the team is hoping he is going to be able to play at some point. We go with Priest Holmes
Round 22. Might as well finish off the trilogy with a potential sleeper. We go with speedster Sinorice Moss, wide receiver and rookie for the Giants.
Reviewing the entire team, and I am extraordinarily happy after this draft. I have my overall number one rated player, my overall number two rated wide receiver, possibly the top quarterback in the league if he is healthy, my second running back is now a top 10 running back as well, I have a top five tight end, a top three defense and my main player who will be taking the flex position is a huge goal line guy who might score as many touchdowns as anybody. In my mind, we have the team to beat in this league this season