It was a dark Sunday evening. Papers piled high next to not one, not two, but three laptops on the coffee table. The clock struck 9:30PM, and then all of those resources were useless: the most competitive fantasy football draft I've ever been a part of had begun. There were twists and turns from pick 1 until pick 288. I had the pleasure and misery of picking fifth amongst this all-star cast of characters. My picks will be in CAPS and will most likely be the worst of each round.
1. Toole: Ray Rice, RB Baltimore
2. Kingston: Tom Brady, QB New England
3. Rzepka: Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota
4. Mertz: Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay
5. GOTTLIEB: ARIAN FOSTER, RB HOUSTON
6. Bateman: Michael Vick, QB Philadelphia
7. Andrade: Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City
8. Heim: Drew Brees, QB New Orleans
9. Stanton: Chris Johnson, RB Tennessee
10. Alsip: LeSean McCoy, RB Philadelphia
11. Last: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Jacksonville
12. Ortiz: Andre Johnson, WR Houston
My pick: There wasn't a single tweet that could scare me from taking Foster at pick 5. The potential upside of a consensus #1 pick until a few days ago was too much to pass up. I was shocked to see not one, but two quarterbacks already taken in the top 4 picks. It's clear that the 6 points per passing touchdown in this league was valued more highly than the 1/2 point per reception. My goal of nabbing one of the top quarterbacks in the third round was looking to be foiled.
The Rest of the Round: Toole started the draft with my original target for pick 5 in Ray Rice. We had engaged in conversations about switching draft positions but could not agree on which extra pick would be necessary in compensation. Regardless, we were on the same wavelength on who to take first. Immediately after selecting Rice, Toole posted "let the hate begin." No hate here. First surprise came at pick #2 with Tom Brady being taken as the first QB by Kingston. He was talking about taking a QB first and he stuck by his position. The strategy of taking QB first was a popular one with three more QB's being taken in the first round, which left a number of quality RB/WR options available in round 2.
13. Ortiz: Roddy White, WR Atlanta
14. Last: Calvin Johnson, WR Detroit
15. Alsip: Phillip Rivers, QB San Diego
16. Stanton: Darren McFadden, RB Oakland
17. Heim: Rashard Mendenhall, RB Pittsburgh
18. Andrade: Frank Gore, RB San Francisco
19. Bateman: Greg Jennings, WR Green Bay
20. GOTTLIEB: PEYTON HILLIS, RB CLEVELAND
21. Mertz: Steven Jackson, RB St. Louis
22. Rzepka: Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona
23. Kingston: Michael Turner, RB Atlanta
24. Toole: Hakeem Nicks, WR New York (n)
My Pick: Hillis was my preferred target in the second round and I got him. I now have the recently injured Foster and the “cursed” Madden coverboy in Hillis. Curses, like rules, were made to be broken so I had no fear in taking the best biceps in football. My only debate was taking Larry Fitzgerald with my pick but I have always had the philosophy to never let a RB who catches passes and gets goal-line touches go, and I stuck to it.
The Rest of the Round: Alsip upset me a little bit by taking Rivers, who I wanted in the third round, but overall this round went as planned. Andrade had to be pleased that his team consisted of Gore and Charles, two great PPR options at RB. Bateman decided to go QB, WR in the first two rounds respectively, which has proven to not be the most successful strategy in the past, but Bateman has a great track record of out-of-the-box thinking to get him into the playoffs, so I will reserve judgment.
25. Toole: Mike Wallace, WR Pittsburgh
26. Kingston: Vincent Jackson, WR San Diego
27. Rzepka: Matt Forte, RB Chicago
28. Mertz: Reggie Wayne, WR Indianapolis
29. GOTTLIEB: ANTONIO GATES, TE SAN DIEGO
30. Bateman: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB New York (n)
31. Andrarde: Dwayne Bowe, WR Kansas City
32. Heim: Miles Austin, WR Dallas
33. Stanton: DeSean Jackson, WR Philadelphia
34. Alsip: Knowshon Moreno, RB Denver
35. Last: DeAngelo Williams, RB Carolina
36. Ortiz: LeGarrette Blount, RB Tampa Bay
My Pick: My plan was to take Mike Wallace or Matt Forte here, but Toole and Rzepka ruined that plan so I went with Gates over Bowe because I give the PPR edge to Gates. I typically punt the TE position, but this year I see value in the TE considering the ½ point per reception.
The Rest of the Round: Have to love what Rzepka is doing grabbing Peterson, Fitzgerald, and Forte in the first three rounds. He has learned previous miscues and ignored taking any Buffalo Bills multiple rounds too early. Bateman had to be tickled pink seeing that Ahmad Bradshaw was still available to fill his RB1 slot, but Alsip grabbed one of my early round sleepers in Moreno who will benefit greatly from new head coach John Fox’s running system in Denver.
37. Ortiz: Matt Schaub, QB Houston
38. Last: Peyton Manning, QB Indianapolis
39. Alsip: Mike Williams, WR Tampa Bay
40. Stanton: Josh Freeman, QB Tampa Bay
41. Heim: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB New England
42. Andrade: Ben Roethlisberger, QB Pittsburgh
43. Bateman: Jason Witten, TE Dallas
44. GOTTLIEB: DALLAS CLARK, TE INDIANAPOLIS
45. Mertz: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB Arizona
46. Rzepka: Marques Colston, WR New Orleans
47. Kingston: Jeremy Maclin, WR Philadelphia
48. Toole: Felix Jones, RB Dallas
My Pick: I am not satisfied with the available WR and thought that Felix Jones would make it back to me in round five, so I decided to corner the market on TE and draft Clark for my FLEX spot. Some may see all of the Colts as a risk, but when Peyton Manning does return healthy they will be valuable trade commodities. I do not intend to keep two top tight ends on my roster the entire season.
The Rest of the Round: Ortiz took who I wanted in Matt Schaub at pick 37 to accompany his first round selection of Andre Johnson, a dangerous duo. As expected, there was a run on QBs, but the selections of Freeman and Roethlisberger were a little too early for my taste. Interesting side note, the three main guys in Tampa Bay (Freeman, Blount, and Williams) all went within four picks of each other.
49. Toole: Wes Welker, WR New England
50. Kingston: Jermichael Finley, TE Green Bay
51. Rzepka: Fred Jackson, RB Buffalo
52. Mertz: Ryan Mathews, RB San Diego
53. GOTTLIEB: DEZ BRYANT, WR DALLAS
54. Bateman: Vernon Davis, TE San Francisco
55. Andrade: Brandon Marshall, WR Miami
56. Heim: Owen Daniels, TE Houston
57. Stanton: Steve Johnson, WR Buffalo
58. Alsip: Santonio Holmes, WR New York (a)
59. Last: Lee Evans, WR Baltimore
60. Ortiz: Jahvid Best, RB Detroit
My Pick: I got very fortunate to see Dez Bryant fall all the way to pick 53 so I could fill my WR1 slot. I figured that someone was going to take Bryant between my previous pick at 44 and this one at 53. My only other consideration was to take Ryan Mathews, but Mertz made my decision very easy when he selected the second year running back for my beloved Chargers.
The Rest of the Round: Toole made a fantastic value selection by taking the receiver with the most receptions since 2007 in Wes Welker. Naturally, Rzepka needed to fill his quota of Buffalo Bills on his team so he took Fred Jackson. The one big surprise of the draft was Last taking Lee Evans. Evans has shown some great things for Baltimore this preseason after being traded there from Buffalo, but taking him above his counterpart in Anquan Boldin was a bold move. Can’t wait to see how that pans out.
61. Ortiz: Shonn Greene, RB New York (a)
62. Last: Brandon Lloyd, WR Denver
63. Alsip: Cedric Benson, RB Cincinnati
64. Stanton: Pierre Thomas, RB New Orleans
65. Heim: Anquan Boldin, WR Baltimore
66. Andrade: Ryan Grant, RB Green Bay
67. Bateman: Jonathan Stewart, RB Carolina
68. GOTTLIEB: TONY ROMO, QB DALLAS
69. Mertz: Marcedes Lewis, TE Jacksonville
70. Rzepka: Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta
71. Kingston: Mike Tolbert, RB San Diego
72. Toole: Mark Ingram, RB New Orleans
My Pick: Could not ask for more than to follow up my pick of Dez Bryant with the selection of Tony Romo. I’m sure this pick was much to the dismay of Rzepka who was also looking for a QB. Only other consideration was to take another WR but there were plenty still on the board that I wanted so I decided to wait.
The Rest of the Round: Kudos to Alsip who took the underappreciated Cedric Benson. Fantasy wise, Benson is one of the few RB options that does not have any competition for carries. Last year, if I told you that Ryan Grant was a sixth round pick, you would have laughed me. This year, Andrade grabs a steal in the Green Bay lead back. Heim also found value in this round taking Anquan Boldin.
73. Toole: Percy Harvin, WR Minnesota
74. Kingston: Austin Collie, WR Indianapolis
75. Rzepka: Tim Hightower, RB Washington
76. Mertz: Mario Manningham, WR New York (n)
77. GOTTLIEB: SANTANA MOSS, WR WASHINGTON
78. Bateman: Plaxico Burress, WR New York (a)
79. Andrade: Chad Ochocinco, WR New England
80. Heim: Joseph Addai, RB Indianapolis
81. Stanton: Kenny Britt, WR Tennessee
82. Alsip: Daniel Thomas, RB Miami
83. Last: Sidney Rice, WR Seattle
84. Ortiz: Pierre Garcon, WR Indianapolis
My Pick: Santana Moss was my consolation prize after Rzepka selected Hightower. Not a bad WR2, but also not a good one. This is definitely the weakness of my starting lineup on offense.
The Rest of the Round: Mertz could no longer go by seeing his beloved Giants be drafted by other players so he grabbed Manningham. Kenny Britt fell all the way to Stanton at 81, so he got great value there. Sidney Rice was a good value pick by Last because if Rice plays like he did two years ago in Minnesota, Last will do some damage in this league.
85. Ortiz: Marshawn Lynch, RB Seattle
86. Last: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Buffalo
87. Alsip: Joe Flacco, QB Buffalo
88. Stanton: Kellen Winslow, TE Tampa Bay
89. Heim: Brandon Jacobs, RB New York (n)
90. Andrade: Jerod Mayo, LB New England
91. Bateman: Michael Bush, LB Oakland
92. GOTTLIEB: LANCE MOORE, WR NEW ORLEANS
93. Mertz: Eli Manning, QB New York (n)
94. Rzepka: Malcom Floyd, WR San Diego
95. Kingston: Ray Lewis, LB Baltimore
96. Toole: Matthew Stafford, QB Detroit
My Pick: Another consolation prize after Ortiz selected Lynch at pick 85. Moore does stand to gain the most from Reggie Bush’s departure. The speedy receiver will get more bubble screens and opportunities to hit the big play in the passing game. Also, for a small receiver, he catches a lot of balls in the red-zone.
The Rest of the Round: We get our first taste of defensive players! And none of them are named Patrick Willis! Needless to say, I am surprised. Andrade keeps up his reputation from last year being the first guy to draft a defensive player, but instead of drafting Willis (like he did last year), he goes with Mayo. Kingston follows suit by going with whom he calls, “Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Murderers.” Mertz is not satisfied with one Giant so he makes it two in a row with the truncated version of his last pick of Manningham in Eli Manning. Toole finally drafts a QB in Stafford. If Stafford can stay healthy, Toole will have a great chance to win the league.
97. Toole: Jimmy Graham, TE New Orleans
98. Kingston: Ndamukong Suh, DT Detroit
99. Rzepka: Julio Jones, WR Atlanta
100. Mertz: Steve Smith, WR Carolina
101. GOTTLIEB: MIKE THOMAS, WR JACKSONVILLE
102. Bateman: Roy Williams, WR Chicago
103. Andrade: James Starks, RB Green Bay
104. Heim: Braylon Edwards, WR San Francisco
105. Stanton: Patrick Willis, LB San Francisco
106. Alsip: James Harrison, LB Pittsburgh
107. Last: C.J. Spiller, Buffalo
108. Ortiz: A.J. Green, Cincinnati
My Pick: This is a pick that I look at in shame. Mike Thomas is not very good, and I had the opportunity to take Patrick Willis, but I blew it. Hopefully this pick will not bite me in the butt too much.
Rest of the Round: Stanton grabs Willis at pick 105 and will be a thorn in my side all season. Alsip following Willis up with Harrison was a good idea, as well. Unlike in the real-life NFL draft, A.J. Green gets drafted after Julio Jones. Andrade correctly grabs the handcuff to his Ryan Grant pick in James Starks. This was one of the few rounds where I really think I made the worst selection.
109. Ortiz: Johnny Knox, WR Chicago
110. Last: Zach Miller, TE Seattle
111. Alsip: Greg Olsen, TE Carolina
112. Stanton: Reggie Bush, RB Miami
113. Heim: Hines Ward, WR Pittsburgh
114. Andrade: Visanthe Shiancoe, TE Minnesota
115. Bateman: LaDanian Tomlinson, RB New York (a)
116. GOTTLIEB: JUSTIN TUCK, DE NEW YORK (N)
117. Mertz: Davone Bess, WR Miami
118. Rzepka: Kevin Kolb, QB Arizona
119. Kingston: Paul Posluszny, LB Jacksonville
120. Toole: Danny Amendola, WR St. Louis
My Pick: Justin Tuck is the best defensive-line option in fantasy and I grabbed him. I was very happy to see him still available after the run on defensive players.
The Rest of the Round: Everyone in this round made great selections. I particularly loved Alsip’s choice of Greg Olsen, Stanton’s pick of Reggie Bush, and Mertz’s pick of Davone Bess, even though I’m sure he would have loved to have had Tuck.
121. Toole: Sam Bradford, QB St. Louis
122. Kingston: Mark Sanchez, QB New York (a)
123. Rzepka: Rob Gronkowski, TE New England
124. Mertz: Trent Cole, DE Philadelphia
125. GOTTLIEB: JAY CUTLER, QB CHICAGO
126. Bateman: Robert Meachem, WR New Orleans
127. Andrade: Clay Matthews, LB Green Bay
128. Heim: Tony Gonzalez, TE Atlanta
129. Stanton: Jordy Nelson, WR Green Bay
130. Alsip: LaRon Landry, S Washington
131. Last: James Jones, WR Green Bay
132. Ortiz: Jerome Harrison, RB Detroit
My Pick: Now was as good a time as any to find a backup QB given the run on the second-tier QB’s in the recent rounds so I went with Cutler. Hopefully the one week he has to play for me he will not throw 5 interceptions.
The Rest of the Round: A few picks didn’t make much sense to me, like Rzepka selecting Rob Gronkowski over Aaron Hernandez and others at tight end. Tony Gonzalez was another puzzler when Brandon Pettigrew was still available, but Kingston took the cake selecting Mark Sanchez. As a Patriots fan, he should be shunned for owning both Brady and Sanchez.
133. Ortiz: Ryan Torain, RB Washington
134. Last: Brandon Pettigrew, TE Detroit
135. Alsip: Stephen Tulloch, LB Detroit
136. Stanton: Willis McGahee, RB Denver
137. Heim: Danny Woodhead, RB New England
138. Andrade: Jared Allen, DE Minnesota
139. Bateman: Denarius Moore, WR Oakland
140. GOTTLIEB: ERIC BERRY, S KANSAS CITY
141. Mertz: Lawrence Timmons, LB Pittsburgh
142. Rzepka: Matt Cassel, QB Kansas City
143. Kingston: Charles Woodson, CB Green Bay
144. Toole: Terrell Suggs, DE/LB Baltimore
My Pick: Berry showed why the Chiefs selected him in the top-5 two years ago in the real-life NFL draft. I’m wicked excited to add him to my team and see him get tons of tackles after Antonio Gates beats him on some post routes.
Rest of the Round: We started to see the transition to building the defensive rosters in this draft. Kingston taking Woodson and Toole taking Suggs were particularly nice picks. Timmons and Tulloch are no slouches by Mertz and Alsip, respectively.