Happy Friday everyone. We are officially less than one week away from the start of the NFL season!
Last night we drafted in my league of record - Monday Morning Tears - the home league I’ve been a part of for nearly a decade.
Shoutout to our commish Bird, always keeping things organized and in control with a rowdy group of guys. Also helping establish some new rules and a format change for our league. We are officially a keeper league!
I’ve split this into two columns, with my thoughts on picks 1-6 below and the column describing the teams that drafted 7-12 releasing on Monday. I break down each team, what I liked and didn’t like, who I think will be the contending teams and more.
Without further ado…
Red Carpet Event (First Pick)
There was some pre-draft chatter that Red Carpet Event was hesitant about selecting Christian McCaffrey with the first pick, but he came to his senses and took the undisputed fantasy king.
RCE followed up Keenan Allen at the end of the second round and was the first drafter to take a QB, selecting Patrick Mahomes with his next pick. From previous experience (I drafted Mahomes last year in the third round), I knew I was going to avoid drafting a quarterback early, but RCE still ended up with some solid skill players and has the No. 1 RB and QB heading into the season.
He then went with D’Andre Swift, Adam Thielen, Trey Sermon and Logan Thomas. Swift is a question mark, but if he can stay healthy I love the value there of a potential workhorse back. Thielen will be consistent as his WR2 and Sermon has a chance to pop. I think the Thomas pick was a reach, but tight ends were going fast so I understand the move.
Rounds 8-11 RCE took Leonard Fournette, Michael Gallup, Marquise Brown and Mike Gesicki. Here’s where he took some high-risk, high-reward options, as Fournette, Brown and Gesicki will be hard to trust week in and week out, but can certainly put up solid numbers on any given week. I love the Gallup pick, but starting him as your WR3 (we are a 3-WR league) could pose some risk. I prefer Gallup as a flex play.
He rounded out the draft by picking the first defense in Round 12, the LA Rams D/ST, scooped up Carlos Hyde, Matt Ryan, Jamison Crowder and Darius Slayton.
Crowder and Slayton are obvious depth pieces, Hyde should have some run in Jacksonville and can vault into a flex play if James Robinson were to get hurt. The LA Rams are the highest-ranked defense, but with matchups against the Cardinals, Seahawks and Ravens late in the year, I would have let someone else deal with that.
QB - Patrick Mahomes
RBs - Christian McCaffrey, D'Andre Swift
WRS - Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen, Michael Gallup
Flex - Trey Sermon
TE - Logan Thomas
D/ST - LA Rams
K - Daniel Carlson
Bench - Leonard Fournette, Marquise Brown, Mike Gesicki, Carlos Hyde, Matt Ryan, Jamison Crowder, Darius Slayton
Is this team a contender?
If Swift stays can remain uninjured, Red Carpet Event has one of the best 1-2 RB punches in the league. His first two WRs are as consistent as they come, but the third WR spot could pose a headache each week. The bench is lacking spark and depth.
This team is A CONTENDER if Swift stays healthy, Thomas repeats last year’s performance and Gallup or Brown becomes a consistent WR option.
Cookie And The Rookie (Second Pick)
Cookie And The Rookie followed protocol by selecting Dalvin Cook with the No. 2 pick. A.J. Brown was there for him in round 2 and he then took a personal favorite of mine in Chris Carson in round 3. Great start with two bell cow backs and a bonafide stud WR.
CATR continued to stack RBs, drafting Miles Sanders and Mike Davis in rounds 4 and 5. He made sure to then fill out his starting wideouts with Ja’Marr Chase and JuJu Smith-Schuster with his next two picks. I don’t trust Chase as a WR2 but I certainly could be wrong. Having Sanders and Davis as your third and fourth running back is great depth. I foresee him trading one of these RBs down the road.
In rounds 8 and 9, Cookie took Tyler Higbee as his TE who I think can be a steal here, and as the last person to take a quarterback, selected Trevor Lawrence.
Big time reach and risk with the Lawrence pick. I would have preferred Ryan Tannehill or Joe Burrow, both of whom were available at the time of his selection. He could have also waited on QB since everyone else drafted one and cashed in on more skill players who were still available like Will Fuller, Laviska Shenault Jr., Kenyan Drake, Michael Thomas and others.
CATR scooped up Marvin Jones Jr. next to pair with Lawrence, took Jaylen Waddle in round 11 and rounded out his draft with Tevin Coleman, Marlon Mack, Carolina Panthers D/ST, Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper. Love the Waddle selection, but pretty baffled by the double TEs at the end, giving him three total when I think Higbee will be serviceable.
QB - Trevor Lawrence
RBs - Dalvin Cook, Chris Carson
WRS - A.J. Brown, Ja’Marr Chase, JuJu Smith-Schuster
Flex - Miles Sanders
TE - Tyler Higbee
D/ST - Carolina Panthers
K - Harrison Butker
Bench - Mike Davis, Marvin Jones Jr., Jaylen Waddle, Tevin Coleman, Marlon Mack, Zach Ertz, Austin Hooper
Is this team a contender?
While some of Cookie’s picks were solid, some had me scratching my head, namely the Lawrence selection early and selecting two bench tight ends at the end of the draft.
I believe this team is NOT A CONTENDER unless he is able to trade one of his running backs for WR help.
Big Waller Brand (Third Pick)
The commish picking third had some debate on who he wanted to go with, but ended up sticking with his gut and selecting the player he’s eyed for weeks, Derrick Henry.
With his second and third picks, BWB scooped up the second TE off the board with Darren Waller, then grabbed Terry McLaurin to lead his wide receiver corps.
To solidify his strong starting trio, the commish went past the ADP of Damien Harris, grabbing him in the fourth round then taking, a personal favorite of mine Diontae Johnson with his 5th-round selection. I think the Harris pick was a little bit of a reach, with other RB options like Miles Sanders, D’Andre Swift, Myles Gaskin, Gus Edwards and Darrell Henderson available. But if you have strong belief in a player like he does with Harris, I always recommend going with your gut.
In the 6th round, BWB found his starting QB in Justin Herbert. He snagged Antonio Brown as his WR3, then hoping to cash in on some running back depth, selected Zack Moss and Sony Michel back-to-back.
The commish was able to grab some WR talent late, snatching Jarvis Landry and Mecole Hardman in the 10th and 11th rounds then followed up with touchdown TE extraordinaire Rob Gronkowski.
To round out his draft, BWB took rookie QB Justin Fields, WR Rashod Bateman (for his IR spot), New England’s D/ST and Darrynton Evans as insurance for Henry.
QB - Justin Herbert
RBs - Derrick Henry, Damien Harris
WRS - Terry McLaurin, Diontae Johnson, Antonio Brown
Flex - Jarvis Landry
TE - Darren Waller
D/ST - New England Patriots
K - Greg Zuerlein
Bench - Zack Moss, Sony Michel, Mecole Hardman, Rob Gronkowski, Justin Fields, Rashod Bateman, Darrynton Evans
Is this team a contender?
Two of my favorite WRs in McLaurin and Johnson will provide consistency, but also carry boom-ability for this team. Henry will be the rock, while BWB banks on Harris carrying the load as his RB2. An injury to Darrell Henderson or Devin Singletary will drive up the value of Moss and Michel. Waller is nothing short of a baller (sorry for the corny rhyme).
This team is A CONTENDER and will be one of the harder outs this season. Commish is eyeing his first trophy, and this might be the year he gets it.
Tryfus (Fourth Pick)
Selecting right before me, I knew coming into the draft Tryfus would muddle things up for yours truly. He did so with his first pick, selecting Ezekiel Elliot, while I of course was grabbing him in nearly all my mock drafts.
The defending champ added to his arsenal with WRs Justin Jefferson and Allen Robinson with his next two picks, found his RB2 in Josh Jacobs in round 4, and solidified his core starting 5 with Julio Jones as his WR3.
Tryfus grabbed another favorite of mine, running back Raheem Mostert in the 6th round (I would have selected him but found a player I didn’t think would be there in round 6. More to come on that shortly). He drafted another starting-caliber RB with Melvin Gordon in round 7, then took his QB Tom Brady, followed by Will Fuller to be his fourth WR.
He was the last to select a tight end, grabbing Gerald Everett, who is a big unknown at this point. Tryfus followed up with Cole Beasley and Evan Engram as insurance in case Everett doesn’t pan out. He drafted the Cleveland Browns D/ST then Emmanuel Sanders, and another D/ST - Denver.
QB - Tom Brady
RBs - Ezekiel Elliot, Josh Jacobs
WRS - Justin Jefferson, Allen Robinson, Julio Jones
Flex - Raheem Mostert
TE - Gerald Everett
D/ST - Cleveland Browns
K - Justin Tucker
Bench - Melvin Gordon, Will Fuller, Cole Beasely, Evan Engram, Emmanuel Sanders, Denver D/ST, Jason Sanders
Is this team a contender?
The defending champ started off very strong, solidifying his core running backs and wide receivers with his first five picks. He added solid depth at the RB position, but he’s lacking at TE. His first few picks also bring risk, as Jacobs has new competition in the backfield with Kenyan Drake and Jones in Tennessee is an unknown.
Doubling up on defenes and kickers was also a strange strategy, as well as doubling up on the Buffalo Bills wide receivers.
He’s the defending champ and three-time champ for a reason. This team is A CONTENDER and will be hard to deal with if all the pieces fall into place.
Auyiken! (Fifth Pick)
The entire offseason I was mock drafting with Ezekiel Elliot in mind, but once he went the pick before me, I didn’t hesitate to grab Alvin Kamara. I wanted to double up on RBs, but the three players I was targeting in Najee Harris, Joe Mixon and Antonio Gibson all went, so I selected high-upside WR DK Metcalf.
I contemplating taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire with my second pick, but thankfully the second-year RB fell to me in the third round. If he had been selected, CeeDee Lamb would have been my choice. I formulated my core starting 5 by taking DJ Moore and Brandon Aiyuk in the next two rounds.
I wasn’t expecting to take a tight end until the later rounds, but the value of T.J. Hockenson in the middle of the 6th round was too much to pass up, then I added Courtland Sutton as my flex piece.
With just three of us left without QBs, I decided the 8th round was the right time to grab mine, drafting Jalen Hurts to round out my starting lineup. Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill and Matthew Stafford were all available, but in a league that rewards four points for passing touchdowns and six points for rushing scores, I decided to take the mobile quarterback.
With RBs dropping like flies, I took a risky pick in round 9 with Michael Carter, hoping he become the clear favorite in New York towards the middle of the season. I followed that pick up with Curtis Samuel and Phillip Lindsay, who may or may not be the starting running back in Houston.
With the new keeper factor in mind, I took Trey Lance as my backup QB in round 12, then grabbed one of my favorite sleepers Bryan Edwards. I drafted the Washington D/ST before finalizing my roster with Salvon Ahmed and A.J. Green.
QB - Jalen Hurts
RBs - Alvin Kamara, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WRS - DK Metcalf, DJ Moore, Brandon Aiyuk
Flex - Courtland Sutton
TE - TJ Hockenson
D/ST - Washington Football Team
K - Younghoe Koo
Bench - Michael Carter, Curtis Samuel, Phillip Lindsay, Trey Lance, Bryan Edwards, Salvon Ahmed, A.J. Green
Is this team a contender?
Of course this team is A CONTENDER. I’m biased, I’m writing about my own team!
But in all seriousness, I’m very happy with my starting core and pleased I got players like CEH and Hockenson where I didn’t think I’d be able to. I’m concerned about my running back situation, and really need Carter to hit to feel more secure in that area. I’d hate to start Lindsay if one of my starters were to go down.
Brian (Sixth Pick)
With the 6th pick, Brian went with Aaron Jones to make sure he got in on the RB sweepstakes. He stacked the position with Najee Harris next, then grabbed one of the best young wideouts in the game, CeeDee Lamb.
Brian continued to grab young studs, drafting Kyle Pitts in the 4th round and Gus Edwards in the 5th. To add a little veteran experience, he selected Odell Beckham Jr. in round 6.
He found his QB-WR stack in round 7, grabbing a great value in Dak Prescott. Love this stack and I believe Prescott can finish as a top-3 QB this year if he remains healthy.
Brian took his WR3 in round 8 with Corey Davis, then was the savvy drafter to select Michael Thomas, who can pay big dividends in the second half of the season.
Another young WR with tons of potential, Henry Ruggs III, was taken by Brian in round 10. Sterling Shepard went off the board next for him followed by backup QB Ryan Tannehill, who could definitely fill that starter role if Prescott were to get hurt.
Another sneaky pickup was Wayne Gallman Jr. in round 13 who just got picked up by the Atlanta Falcons earlier that day. Brian rounded out his team with the Baltimore D/ST, backup tight end Blake Jarwin and veteran RB Mark Ingram II.
QB - Dak Prescott
RBs - Aaron Jones, Najee Harris
WRS - CeeDee Lamb, Odell Beckham Jr., Corey Davis
Flex - Gus Edwards
TE - Kyle Pitts
D/ST - Baltimore D/ST
K - Josh Lambo
Bench - Michael Thomas, Henry Ruggs III, Sterling Shepard, Ryan Tannehill, Wayne Gallman Jr., Blake Jarwin, Mark Ingram II
Is this team a contender?
While doing my post-draft analysis, I realized how much I love this team. Brian drafted with great savvy, selecting some bench players who can end up being solid contributors. Grabbing Thomas late was a great play. Ruggs III could end up being the No. 1 WR in Las Vegas and if the Mike Davis experiment doesn’t work out in Atlanta, Gallman III has shown in the past he is start worthy.
I don’t think there is a starting trio I love more than Jones, Harris and Lamb. While I think Pitts was a bit of a reach, he has the potential to break every rookie TE record and would also make for a great keeper pick.
This team is A CONTENDER. I think Brian has a great chance to make the championship round this year with the roster he constructed.
Tune in Monday for my analysis of picks 7-12. Have a great holiday weekend!