The 2013 Fantasy Football Drafting Season Recap

The 2013 NFL Pre-Season, aka fantasy draft season, is over and the season is about to start. My excitement level cannot be described through words or the internet for that matter. I feel like I’ve waited an eternity for a meaningful game; although, the pre-season is meaningful in a number of ways. I’ll get to that in a minute. Right now I’d like to analyze my drafts, strategies, players and themes that I’ve seen throughout my 15 leagues. I’ve excluded my draft with my fellow writers at FakePigskin.com because we are still in the process of an email draft, which is similar to a slow, painstaking death. That and the fact I botched my first couple picks… but that’s not the point here. The point I’m trying to make is that I feel like I had a successful drafting season. Picking a strategy and executing it is step one to having success in fantasy. Team management and luck are two and three.

In my “main league” which is aptly named ‘The Greatest Fantasy Football League EVER’ I wrote a 2000+ word power ranking detailing how the draft went, how each team ranks and random nonsense that I hope is funny. The power rankings can be found here if you are interested. In this ranking, I detail my fantasy blueprint that I attempted to stick to while drafting this year. Keep in mind that 11 out of the 15 leagues I drafted in were auctions. And 14 out of 15 were money leagues. I’m not drafting against chumps out here, well, probably a couple. Here’s a picture of every team I drafted; I’ll be talking about them a lot.

 

Blueprint Rule #1: Don’t overspend on a QB.

Quarterbacks generally have the least variation from year to year in their production. If we assume that these guys produce similar point totals this year, QB’s like Stafford, Kaepernick, Wilson, Eli and RG3 will all give you significant point totals for their value. Auction Drafts are all about maximizing value, so spending $8 on Tony Romo is much better than $40 on Aaron Rodgers. See the chart below.

Quarterback

‘12 Point Total

Cost

Points/$

A. Rodgers

401

$42

9.5

D. Brees

420

$35

12

T. Brady

393

$27

14.5

M. Stafford

322

$16

20.1

R. Wilson

312

$7

44.5

While these stats aren’t the whole story, they illustrate the point I’m trying to make. While analyzing my teams, I found that Rodgers went for an average of $34 and Drew Brees went for $37. I drafted Romo in 4 leagues for an average of $6. Romo finished just shy of Wilson’s 312 points this year. I drafted Russell Wilson for $7 and never paid more than $5 for Vick. I got Rodgers in one league, which is a .5 PPC league, justifiably so, nominating him at #1 and spending only $39. The same idea goes for standard drafts. I never drafted a QB before the 8th round and I gave every one of my friends the same advice. Sure, you pay for consistency at the top of the ranks, but when hasn’t Romo finished in the top 10?

Blueprint Rule #2: Get at least 2 top 15 WR’s.

Outside of the top 10-15 WR’s there is a lot of parity this year. Many receivers’ value, such as James Jones, Eric Decker and Mike Wallace, are still in question. They all have legitimate excuses as to why they may take a step back. There are also a lot of guys sitting in the WR35-WR45 range that are considered to have breakout potential: Chris Givens, Josh Gordon, Justin Blackmon, Kenbrell Thompkins to name a few. If I could get two known studs and 2-3 breakout candidates I’d be set. I was able to execute this for the most part, but still ended up with a couple of the guys mentioned above, especially Decker, more than I intended.

Blueprint Rule #3: Get 3 starting RB’s.
This rule is the hardest to execute. I managed to get at least two starting RB’s on every team and even managed three in half my leagues. The running back position was at its highest value in years this year. Getting three top 10 RBs was nearly impossible. I play in mainly PPR leagues, so Sproles was my RB3 of choice. I drafted most of the top 8 RBs in every league, although I didn’t end up with Ray Rice, Steven Jackson or Reggie Bush in ANY leagues. They all went for more than I was willing to pay for them and I never felt the need to reach.

Blueprint Rule #4: Don’t spend for any TE not named Jimmy Graham.

I got Jimmy Graham in exactly zero leagues so I may want to re-think my own rule. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but Jimmy went for an average of $39 in my leagues. When your budget allows for a $5 max, you aren’t getting Jimmy. In the last two leagues I drafted, both on Labor Day, I got Gronk. And I didn’t have to over pay for him. I paid $32 and $17, which will be complete steals if he comes back as projected in week 3. Zach Sudfeld takes home the honor of my most drafted players. I have Sudfeld in 8 leagues and Jordan Cameron is a close second in 6. I completely bought into these two so I’m hoping they don’t crush my hopes. I told myself I never would again, but I slowly began to buy into Jermichael Finley again this year. Luckily I got him cheap in 3 of the 4 leagues I have him in.

 

Most Drafted Players:

Z. Sudfeld – 8

J. Cameron – 6

D. Heyward-Bey – 6

A. Brown (PITT) – 5

K. Thompkins – 5

I already talked about Sudfeld and Cameron. I love TY Hilton this year; so does everyone else and their mother. Therefore, he came at a premium, late in the draft, when I was strapped for cash. Enter DHB. He’s still listed at WR2 and Indy is going to throw a lot. Brown is one of the lowest drafted WR1 and he has 2 years with Big Ben now. Wallace is out of the picture and Brown figures to see a plethora of targets. I’m sure you’ve heard/read enough about Thompkins by now. I bought in early and faded late, just so I wasn’t invested over my head.

Least Drafted Players (or players I didn’t draft):

Ray Rice

Steven Jackson

Brandon Marshall (sigh)

Arian Foster

The names above are only the top-notch guys who escaped my rosters this year. I have nothing against Ray Rice, but for the same price as Charles, Spiller and T-Rich, I decided to spend my money elsewhere. I am a little worried about Jackson’s age even though he is now in a top tier offense. It’s a gut feeling inside and I’m sticking to it. I love Brandon Marshall year in and year out. I’ll admit, the back problems gave me a scare for the first 10 drafts. I chose to stay away. Then when I wanted him, the price was just too high. It’s the same reason I stay away from Megatron every year. I’d rather gamble on two WR2’s and hope one of them breaks out then spending a huge chunk on the top guy at that position. I think everyone understands the Foster situation. I’m a Texans fan, so I vowed not to let the emotions overtake the risk. I did end up with Ben Tate in 3 leagues which I am very happy about.

 

Season Predictions

We talk about them all the time. We joke with friends over drinks at the bar. We claim to know what every player is going to do each year and the statistics they are going to put up. Hell, we may even bet $20 on whether or not Jay Cutler throws more interceptions than Phillip Rivers. But I’m here to set my bold predictions in stone for the 2013 NFL Season.

  • The Colts make it to the Super Bowl on the shoulders of Andrew Luck
  • Colin Kaepernick wins the MVP award in his first full season as a starter
  • Eddie Lacy ties Eric Dickerson’s record with a league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns
  • Michael Vick plays all 16 games and is a top-5 fantasy QB

And for some bold-less predictions:

  • Peyton Manning wins his 5th MVP Award
  • Eddie Lacy wins the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award
  • Danny Amendola stays healthy and wins the Comeback Player of the Year Award (okay, that’s bold)
  • Trent Richardson finished the year as the league’s leading rusher and as the #1 RB

I said in the beginning of this article that I would get to the preseason. “It doesn’t mean anything”. “It’s not real football”. Yeah, yeah. I understand that the preseason doesn’t hold a candle to the regular season. But this year in particular, I watched a lot more of the preseason than I ever have before. I saw the Kenbrell hype. I saw the Gordon hype. Christine Michael looks like a star in the making. The preseason doesn’t always have a direct correlation to the upcoming season. But you can always take something good out of it. Those 3 guys I mentioned above will have roles in the NFL. Starting roles. Maybe only one will break out and become a star, but we saw the potential. We get to see the potential in a lot of guys, who never really end up as good as they could be. The beauty is when we see it come to fruition. Who is going to be this year’s Victor Cruz? Or Arian Foster? Alfred Morris? The preseason may not carry all the answers, but it’s definitely showed us:

  • The Jets are bad. They will be bad this year. And they will be one of the most talked about teams in the league. Great…
  • Seattle is the real deal. Undefeated in the preseason outscoring opponents 110-36. If Harvin didn’t go down, a 14 win season would seem easy.
  • The Raiders will likely be the worst team in the league, which could oddly give Terelle Pryor some decent QB2 value. The kid can fly.
  • And in breaking news: Tim Tebow is not that accurate of a QB.

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