Receiving an invitation to Scott Fish’s annual 720-team extravaganza -- Scott Fish Bowl -- was exciting. For starters, SFB raises money for a good cause. It’s also a great opportunity to compete with hundreds of fantasy experts and fans alike.
This was my first time ever jumping into the fish bowl, so I decided to write down my thoughts as we went through the slow draft. These were written posthumously from the draft, but I still think they accurately reflect my process and sometimes internal screaming.
First, the rules.
The most important things to note about the rules are that there are no points per reception -- rather, players get points per first down with a 1.5-point bonus to tight ends -- and there are four flex spots that include quarterbacks, who get six points per touchdown pass. There are no kickers or defenses -- as God intended -- and all other touchdowns are five points apiece.
These conspicuous divergences from standard formats make for interesting draft decisions and wildly different roster construction across the SFB universe. It would have helped to do a SFB mock draft. C’est la vie.
Onward to the draft.
Round 1 -- Odell Beckham Jr, Jr., WR, New York Giants
Like I said, the scoring and roster rules make for interesting draft decisions. No wide receivers had been taken by the time my pick comes around in slot 10, likely because there are no points per reception. We also had Aaron Rodgers and Rob Gronkowski go earlier in the first, freeing up Beckham to fall right into my waiting arms.
It later comes to my attention that Beckham fell into the second round in many other SFB drafts, causing me to kick myself for a brief moment until…
Round 2 -- Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Would I have gotten Brown and Beckham had I reversed the picks? Knowing how this draft went, it’s likely. Incidentally, by law my team’s name is now the Killer Bs.
Why pick Beckham over Brown in the first place? If this was PPR I would have certainly gone the other way. Brown is going to catch more passes, but Beckham has more upside. Not that it’s a huge difference, plus I do have both on my roster so what does it matter when I drafted them? Stop asking me hypothetical questions.
Round 3 -- Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
By now I have begun to realize that wide receivers are going to tumble down the draft. Hindsight tells me that going WR-WR to start may have been a mistake, but there is no use crying over spilled milk.
Running backs have gone at a furious pace. So what do I do? Take a tight end, of course. Zig when everyone else is zagging, and all that.
I am honestly surprised that Greg Olsen has made it this far considering he had 54 receptions for first down last season, second-most to Travis Kelce and one of three tight ends to crack 50 on the year. In fact, Olsen has been the most consistent first-down-getter at his position over the past few seasons. The smirk on my face grows as I write this.
Round 4 -- Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarterbacks have also been flying off the board to this point. Knowing one team behind me has already taken Drew Brees, though, I take a chance on landing one of my remaining guys and got lucky.
Aside from the annual devastating injury that turns into a two-week absence, Roethlisberger is one of the most consistent fantasy scorers in the league. He has been a top-10 per-game scorer the past three years and in the top 12 over the past five. And his offense has never looked better with Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant forming Cerberus.
I have him in my top 5 quarterbacks for the year, and not because I took him here.
Round 5 -- Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Like Roethlisberger, Hunter Henry is underrated in my book. He is a 22-year-old physical specimen who was 12th in per-game scoring as a rookie last season. With Antonio Gates yet another year older, Henry’s role in a potentially great offense is only going to grow.
Round 6 -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
Still no running backs.
I’ve decided to ensure the rest of my roster is strong now that I am dealing with third-tier running backs. Zero RB it is, even if it wasn’t totally on purpose.
Ryan Tannehill was the best remaining option among a rapidly dwindling quarterback population. Considering there was going to be a long wait before my next pick, I decided to ensure I get someone viable as my second QB.
Round 7 -- Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Water. I need Water.
If we are being honest, grabbing Bilal Powell at the tail end of the seventh round was pretty lucky. Sure, he has less value in a non-PPR format, but Powell is going much later than he should in all formats. He will be the main man in New York unless you believe 31-year-old Matt Forte found the fountain of youth. Pay no attention to the fact my RB1 is a pass-catching back in the Jets offense.
Here’s to an avalanche of checkdowns for first downs.
Round 8 -- Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
It isn’t quite the quarterback position, but 14 tight ends have gone so far, and I expect a big run at the position after this. I am wrong.
Sure, Jack Doyle is a fantastic value as the 15th tight end off the board, and he will make his way into my starting lineup most weeks given I can start several tight ends if I see fit. But only four more tight ends went before my next move. I should have probably taken Eddie Lacy, C.J. Anderson, or Derrick Henry.
Round 9 -- Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Well, now that a bunch of viable running back options vanished, I may as well grab the last, best quarterback on the board. We’re not sure who is starting the season at quarterback in Houston, yet, but I am sure Watson will take over at some point. He has tremendous upside and a solid offense around him. He could wind up in my starting lineup most weeks once he takes over.
Round 10 -- DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As I mentioned earlier, we are proudly marching forward using Zero RB. No regrets. Please believe me.
This format is a little less conducive for consistent scoring from the likes of DeSean Jackson, but the big-play machine is going to have some huge weeks in Tampa this year. I like him as my third starter given the Killer Bs are going to put up consistently great scores as my first two wideouts.
Round 11 -- Rob Kelley, RB, Washington
I write this as the fantasy community is embroiled in another debate about the running back situation in Washington. A lot of analysts really like rookie Samaje Perine and expect him to start at some point this season.
I have long pegged Rob Kelley to be the opening day starter at the position, and we have gotten nothing but confirmation from Washington beat writers thus far.
He wasn’t the sexiest option, but Kelley did take over the starting gig as a rookie with moderate success. Fat Rob isn’t so fat anymore, it seems, and it’s a great sign that he isn’t taking the starting job for granted.
Look, I really need to be right on this one.
Round 12 -- C.J. PROSISE, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Eddie Lacy also appears to be taking his role seriously in Seattle, throwing a wet towel on C.J. Prosise as anything more than a third-down back. Still, we could see Prosise weave his way into a bigger role considering his talent.
“Should I have taken Thomas Rawls?” I ask myself as I make the pick. Rawls is gone by the time my slot comes around again.
Round 13 -- Kenny Britt, WR Cleveland Browns
Terrelle Pryor commanded 141 targets in Cleveland last season. Kenny Britt had a career year in Los Angeles and takes Pryor’s place. If Britt can grab a similar target count, I expect at least a repeat of his 2016 fantasy output. He has a better quarterback, at the very least, even if it’s Cody Kessler under center.
Round 14 -- James White, RB, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick sure made it difficult to read the tea leaves in New England. He has always hated fantasy football.
James White got a non-trivial 3-year, $12 million contract this offseason, which would indicate a large role going forward. Mike Gillislee got $6.4 million over two years, though, and Rex Burkhead got $3.1 million for this year, too. Then there is Dion Lewis.
But, wait. White got the most guaranteed money, by far, in that backfield. And he had the third-most receptions of any running back last season. Could he be in for a big, all-around role in 2017?
I’m just asking aloud, for any football gods that might be listening.
Round 15 -- Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
I was hoping Mike Wallace would make it back to me in the 15th round. Alas, I was sniped. Ten picks ago. Breshad Perriman could well ascend to the top of the Baltimore depth chart at receiver. He could also wash out of the league with another big injury.
Round 16 -- Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
From here on out, I am looking for under-the-radar No. 2 running backs. Charles Sims should be Doug Martin’s backup this year, and he could even be in my starting lineup in Week 1 considering Martin’s suspension.
Round 17 -- Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots
Round 18 -- Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers
The 6’4”, third-year receiver hasn’t been terribly involved in the offense to date, but he has the inside track to start opposite Kelvin Benjamin. If the latter continues to prove out of shape, Funchess could even wind up being the No. 1 receiver on the team.
Wishful thinking out of an 18th-round pick, but one can dream.
Round 19 -- Xavier Grimble, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
At this point we are pouring the dregs out at the tight end position. So who should I take but a high-upside receiving tight end on a team whose starter is Jesse James?
I don’t expect to need Grimble, but the upside makes him a decent backup this late.
Round 20 -- Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
Jeremy Langford was a draft darling just a year ago. My how the mighty have fallen.
The thing is, Langford is clearly the No. 2 in Chicago, and he should see some work on a weekly basis. If Jordan Howard falters or gets injured, Langford will see a lot of playing time.
Round 21 -- Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Meh. This is fine.
Round 22 -- Zach Zenner, RB, Detroit Lions
I’m all for drafting preseason warrior Zach Zenner as Mr. Irrelevant on my team. He did a decent job when pressed into action last season, and he’s a mere Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Dwayne Washington injury away from being the starter!
Self-deprecation aside, this feels like a solid roster heading into the season. Considering the format, having a solid set of quarterbacks and one of the best tight end corps makes a lot of sense given the scoring bonuses and multiple flex spots, and my top two receivers should buoy the whole corps for most of the season.
Running back is clearly a sore spot for me, in case that didn't make it through in all my rantings. But I think I can juggle a decent pair of starters at the beginning of the season with the hopes that I can nab some quality on the waiver wire down the line.