We don't yet know how many teams/leagues will wind up competing for the FBG Players Championship this year, but the 10 PM draft on Friday, August 6 was certainly one of the more interesting and widely talked about.
Part of that is because all twelve participants in that draft agreed to let the draft picks be broadcast on Scott Atkins RedvsBlue fantasy football show on blogtalk radio. I had suggested that to Scott after we had decided to be partners on a FBG PC entry, but little did I know the competition the league would draw and that David Dodds would be a guest commentator on the show.
First let's give big props and acknowledge the competitors in this draft and give you the draft order:
1.01 - Ed Nolan, Gridiron Irishmen 3 1.02 - Darren Armani, FantasyMojo.com 1.03 - Ormond Rose, MONEY INCORPORATED 1.04 - Henry Muto, Chimeras 1.05 - Vince Barkman, Greenwood Invincibles 1.06 - John Duckworth, War Kittens 1.07 - Lou Tranquilli, BFDFANTASYfootball.com 1.08 - Donny Terminelli, Azzurri 1.09 - Wayne Ellis, Coltsfan 1.10 - Lenny Pappano, Draftsharks.com 1.11 - Scott Atkins & Perry Van Hook, Hook's Legacy 1.12 - Ollie Radakowitz, Army of Darkness
Recognize a few names there? On any measure this would be one of the highest ranked list of participants in high stakes fantasy football. Lenny Pappano was one of the co-founders of the WCOFF, and almost every one of these players has cashed multiple times in WCOFF, FFPC and NFFC leagues over the past eight years.
So what happened in this draft and how can that help many of you who have yet to draft in the inaugural Football Guys event?
First, just a brief review of the scoring and lineup changes that makes the FFPC and thus FBG PC unique. First while it is a PPR league, tight ends get 1.5 PPR, important because that means that tight ends like Dallas Clark or Antonio Gates are going to outscore most RB and WR. In fact in the 2009 season, Clark was the twelfth leading overall scorer, outpointed amongst non quarterbacks by only Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Second, the lineup requirements feature a dual-flex of RB/WR/TE, so each team will start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE and then any two other runners or receivers. Together the two changes make it possible for a myriad of draft strategies to be in play and for competitors to change their lineups dramatically from week to week. There is no longer a first round of just running backs and wide receivers and of course the all RB first rounds are a distant memory. So let's look at the first round in this draft.
1.01 - GridIron Irishmen 3 - Chris Johnson, RB, TEN 1.02 - FantasyMojo.com - Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN 1.03 - MONEY INCORPORATED - Andre Johnson, WR, HOU 1.04 - Chimeras - Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC 1.05 - Greenwood Invincibles - Frank Gore, RB, SF 1.06 - War Kittens - Ray Rice, RB, BAL 1.07 - BFDFANTASYfootball.com - Randy Moss, WR, NE 1.08 - Azzurri - Antonio Gates, TE, SD 1.09 - Coltsfan - Reggie Wayne, WR, IND 1.10 - Draftsharks.com - Miles Austin, WR, DAL 1.11 - Hook's Legacy - Roddy White, WR, ATL 1.12 - Army of Darkness - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, AZ
Andre Johnson at the third pick - BOLD
Gates in the first round - welcome to FFPC rules
And not so unexpectedly the back half of the round eschews running backs with question marks or very few receptions to start with the best wideouts.
What about the second round:
2.01 - Army of Darkness - Steven Jackson, RB, STL 2.02 - Hook's Legacy - Greg Jennings, WR, GB 2.03 - Draftsharks.com - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT 2.04 - Coltsfan - Calvin Johnson, WR, DET 2.05 - Azzurri - Dallas Clark, TE, IND 2.06 - BFDFANTASYfootball.com - Brandon Marshall, WR, MIA 2.07 - War Kittens - Michael Turner, RB, ATL 2.08 - Greenwood Invincibles - Jamaal Charles, RB, KC 2.09 - Chimeras - Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB 2.10 - MONEY INCORPORATED - Jermichael Finley, TE, GB 2.11 - FantasyMojo.com - Jason Witten, TE, DAL 2.12 - Gridiron Irishmen 3 - Ryan Matthews, RB, SD
By themselves the picks don't look so strange
BUT pair them up and Azzurri started TE/TE, and DeAngelo Williams is still not off the board.
Let's look at the top scorers from last season with FFPC scoring.
From Aaron Rodgers at 380.35 to Randy Moss/Brandon Marshall, tied at 276.90, the top twenty scorers included 11 QBs, 4 RBs, 1 TE, and 4 WRs.
The next ten players were in a tighter range, 257.10 to 276.90 points.
And the distribution of the top thirty scorers:
15 Quarterbacks 4 Running Backs 3 Tight Ends 8 Wide Receivers
Look CAREFULLY at those numbers! Aside from trying to pick out the top scorer in any given year, that is a pretty strong recommendation to wait on picking a quarterback while loading up on your running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.
So how did our drafters start their teams by position?
RB/RB/WR RB/TE/WR WR/TE/TE RB/QB/RB RB/RB/TE RB/RB/TE WR/WR/WR TE/TE/WR WR/WR/QB WR/RB/RB WR/WR/RB WR/RB/WR
Don't bother to count - that is
13 - Running Backs 14 - Wide Receivers 7 - Tight Ends 2 - Quarterbacks
Interestingly enough I had made those notes before I saw Jeff Pasquino's "Perfect FPC Draft" article on Monday morning. Jeff does a great job of adapting David Dodds Perfect Draft articles to the FPC format, but I found one thing interesting. He states
"The Perfect FPC Draft should have 1 QB, 3 RBs, 3WRs and 2 TEs after nine rounds."
Well our drafters didn't quite agree.
Only one of the teams (Money Incorporated at 1.03) had the 1-3-3-2 distribution, but two of his three running backs are Joseph Addai and Donald Brown which Jeff suggests is a losing play (handcuffing players in the first eight picks).
Coltsfan was close at 1-4-2-2 while Azzurri had 1-3-2-3 and the other drafters took much different paths.
The reality is that there is NO perfect recipe.
The challenge is to be as strong as you can with your starting players and get enough upside and protection with your additional picks. Whether you take your starting quarterback in the second, third or fourth round (three teams - Rodgers, Brees, P. Manning); take a middle approach (Romo, Brady, and Schaub) in the fifth round; or wait for better value - two (E. Manning, Cutler) in the seventh, two more in the eighth round (Rivers and Kolb); and the last two in the ninth round (Palmer and Favre); you can still assemble a strong team.
Every single draft is unique. The one common thread in the comments of these experienced drafters was that because of the other participants it was hard to get the value or specific players you wanted later in the draft because others were on the same page. As Vince Barkman (Greenwood Invincibles) said, "...the draft was tough. Not that I didn't expect that with so many top guys in this league, but when you come to the later half of the draft looking for value and it just isn't there because everyone has pretty much draft guys exactly where they should go, it gets really, really tough."
You can see all the teams from this draft at FantasyMojo.com in a nice color coded representation. Study all of them carefully and you will probably agree with Wayne Ellis (Coltsfan) who said "This is probably the most balanced league I have ever been in. I don't see any teams that are just much better than the rest and I don't see a single weak team in this league."
And yet these twelve FF chefs came up with twelve different recipes for the same cake:
Nine teams took two QBs (one had 1 and two had 3) Seven teams drafted six RBs (one 4, two 5, and two 7) Six teams took eight WRs (one 5, two 7, and three 6) Six teams drafted two TEs (one 4, and five 3) Four teams took two DSTs, the others just one Only one team drafted two PKs while all the others will start with one
So the team management - free agent acquisitions and lineup choices will frost the winning team. Maybe it will be YOUR team from an entirely different draft.
1.01 - Ed Nolan, Gridiron Irishmen 3
QB - Fine with Brady and Campbell backing up RB - Matthews better be worth that pick at 2.01 WR - If Hester is not WR1 in Chicago he will have to hunt for WR to Flex TE - Cooley better be healthy
1.02 - Darren Armani, FantasyMojo.com
QB - Fine with Romo and Stafford RB - Desperately needs Forte to be good WR - Lots of question marks here TE - Witten is good
1.03 - Ormond Rose, MONEY INCORPORATED
QB - Questionable committee with Palmer and Flacco RB - Very iffy stable with very little if any Flex potential WR - Very good with AJ and Welker TE - Excellent duo of Finley & Celek Why two K AND DST?
1.04 - Henry Muto, Chimeras
QB - Rodgers, nuff said RB - Must guess which Carolina RB(s) to play WR - Below average receivers TE - Needs Heath Miller to have another great season or Davis to beat out Cooley
1.05 - Vince Barkman, Greenwood Invincibles
QB - Needs another QB1 season from Eli RB - Gore & Charles and lots of question marks WR - Not a WR1 in the bunch TE - Gonzo fine; needs Shockey to be good
1.06 - John Duckworth, War Kittens
QB - Schaub with good backup in McNabb RB - Rice & Turner great, Barber must Flex and no depth WR - DJax and pray TE - Good with VD
1.07 - Lou Tranquilli, BFDFANTASYfootball.com
QB - If Favre doesn't play it's a Henne party RB - Needs Ricky or Bradshaw to be strong WR - Outstanding and needs them all TE - Pretty poor TE committee
1.08 - Donny Terminelli, Azzurri
QB - Peyton all you need RB - Several RB2s WR - Well below average - good luck guessing which to play TE - Clark & Gates great but needs Carlson to Flex, or….
1.09 - Wayne Ellis, Coltsfan
QB - Brees is great RB - Full blown committee of RB2s, but upside WR - Very strong trio of Wayne, Calvin, Driver TE - Miller should be strong needs Shiancoe to duplicate 2009
1.10 - Lenny Pappano, Draftsharks.com
QB - Good committee (Kolb, Ryan, Leinart) RB - Should play three good ones each week WR - Austin & Boldin great but needs VJax to return or Wallace to play up TE - Hard to count on rookies to help Keller
1.11 - Scott Atkins & Perry Van Hook, Hook's Legacy
QB - Big Ben in reserve if Cutler not a stud RB - Greene & Wells should be fine - needs Mike Bush to play WR - Strong duo of White/Jennings and lots of flex candidates TE - Fine if Winslow can stay healthy; poor backup
1.12 - Ollie Radakowitz, Army of Darkness
QB - Rivers should be good and VY a play RB - Needs good doctor to keep SJax and Knowshon healthy WR - Solid, deep group TE - Needs Daniels healthy