Rejoice, it’s officially football week!
The season kicks off this Thursday night with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Dallas Cowboys. Huge fantasy football implications to start the 2021 campaign!
On Wednesday I’ll be writing my start/sit column and have my updated weekly rankings. Next week when the season is in full swing, the format of the newsletter will be as follows: Monday - weekend recap, Wednesday - waiver wire and weekly rankings, Friday - start/sit and breakout performers.
My column today is a continuation of Friday’s column, focusing on last week’s draft in my league of record, and analyzing the 7-12 picks.
Allen (Seventh Pick)
With the 7th overall pick, Allen provided the league with its first shakeup, deciding to take Austin Ekeler instead of the first WR or TE off the board. While I love Ekeler this year, I would have preferred to take Davante Adams in this spot as the No. 1 WR in fantasy as opposed to the 7th RB off the board.
Allen found his WR in round 2 with DeAndre Hopkins, following that pick with James Robinson and Tyler Lockett in rounds 3 and 4. Allen picked up a lot of talent with his first four picks, but also assumed a ton of risk. Ekeler and Lockett can very easily put up week-winning numbers but could have weeks where they disappear.
In round 5 Allen grabbed one of my favorite tight ends, Mark Andrews, then grabbed Chase Edmonds and Aaron Rodgers, continuing the makeup of a high-risk, high-reward team.
DeVonta Smith, Laviska Shenault Jr., Nyheim Hines and DeVante Parker joined his team in rounds 8-11. Trying to find that consistent WR, Allen also picked up Nelson Agholor and Tyrell Williams in rounds 13 and 14. He also grabbed one of the better RB handcuffs in the league in round 12 - Alexander Mattison. He rounded out his team with the LA Chargers D/ST and preseason favorite Rhamondre Stevenson.
QB - Aaron Rodgers
RBs - Austin Ekeler, James Robinson
WRS - DeAndre Hopkins, Tyler Lockett, DeVonta Smith
Flex - Chase Edmonds
TE - Mark Andrews
D/ST - LA Chargers
K - Matt Gay
Bench - Laviska Shenault Jr., Nyheim Hines, DeVante Parker, Alexander Mattison, Nelson Agholor, Tyrell Wiliams, Rhamondre Stevenson
Is this team a contender?
Probably the most boom-or-bust team in the league, Allen’s squad has the players to put up some monstrous numbers, but I can foresee some less-than-stellar weeks as well. Lacking a consistent third wide receiver, Allen took fliers on a bunch of WRs late, hoping Smith, Shenault Jr., Parker, Agholor or Williams will hit.
I believe this team is NOT A CONTENDER, as there are too many risky players on the roster. I like to balance riskier players with a handful of consistent players, and this roster really doesn’t have stability.
My Ditka Your Butkus (Eighth Pick)
Ditka took the best available player with his first pick, grabbing Davante Adams, then grabbed Calvin Ridley with his next pick, solidifying the best WR duo in the league.
Playing the Zero RB strategy, Ditka took George Kittle and Kyler Murray in rounds 3 and more, giving him one of the most dominant core 4.
He grabbed his first running back in the 5th round, Darrell Henderson, who definitely fits the mold of a starting-caliber RB. Instead of taking another RB like Chase Edmonds or Raheem Mostert, Ditka took Chase Claypool and finding the value too great in round 7, snagged Kenny Golladay.
While I would have taken Mostert in round 6 to stabilize my starting lineup, I understand the value of Claypool there. Ditka has one of the most solid QB, WR, TE configurations, but the lack of quality of running backs could come back to bite him.
In round 8 he grabbed James Conner as his RB2, then took Kenyan Drake and David Johnson to hopefully find that starting RB. He kept the RB train going with Tony Pollard, Latavius Murray and Rashaad Penny. With the Zero RB strategy, he’s really banking for an injury in order to propel one of his late-rounds RBs to stardom.
Ditka took a late-round flier on WR Russell Gage, which also serves as an insurance policy in case Ridley gets hurt. He drafted one of the better defenses, the Indianapolis Colts, and closed his draft with tight end Jared Cook.
QB - Kyler Murray
RBs -Darrell Henderson, James Conner
WRS - Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley, Chase Claypool
Flex - Kenny Golladay
TE - George Kittle
D/ST - Indianapolis Colts
K - Tyler Bass
Bench - Kenyan Drake, David Johnson, Tony Pollard, Latavius Murray, Russell Gage, Rashaad Penny, Jared Cook
Is this team a contender?
It’s safe to say that Ditka has the strongest starting WR core with Adams, Ridley and Claypool. Having Murray and Kittle also gives him one of the strongest plays at the two specialty positions.
Playing the Zero RB game is a risky proposition, and while I think he did well getting Henderson in the 5th round, I would have preferred passing on Claypool or Golladay to get another RB who is a safer start than Conner. Granted, he stocked up on backup RBs who have the ability to be weekly plays if starters for their respective teams were to miss time.
I believe this team is A CONTENDER. There is simply too much talent at the QB, WR and TE position not to be. If one of his RBs grabs a starting role, this will be a dangerous team to face.
La Taqueria (Ninth Pick)
Taco did what I would have done with the No. 9 pick, selecting Travis Kelce to fulfill the hardest position in fantasy to nail down.
He grabbed a personal favorite with his next pick, taking Joe Mixon, who I believe has the chance to put up top-5 RB numbers this year. He started to build his WR stable with Chris Godwin and Cooper Kupp with his next two picks, then found his RB2 in Kareem Hunt. I would have preferred Myles Gaskin over Hunt, but think the first four picks went about as well as possible for La Taqueria.
Taco wanted his preferred QB, so he took Russell Wilson in round 6, took a chance on Ronald Jones II in round 7 and snagged one of my favorite mid-round WRs in round 8, Deebo Samuel.
Michael Pittman Jr. went to Taco in round 9, a late-round WR1 that could end up being one of the steals of the draft. He continued his shrewd draft with Devin Singletary in round 10, who is my preferred Buffalo Bills RB. He got the de facto No. 1 WR in New Orleans, Marquez Callaway, in round 11 and followed those solid mid-to-late round selections with James White, Chubba Hubbard and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
To cap off the draft, Taco grabbed a couple of WRs in Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Gabriel Davis.
QB - Russell Wilson
RBs - Joe Mixon, Kareem Hunt
WRS - Chris Godwin, Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel
Flex - Micahel Pittman Jr.
TE - Travis Kelce
D/ST - Pittsburgh Steelers
K - Ryan Succop
Bench - Ronald Jones II, Devin Singletary, Marquez Callaway, James White, Chubba Hubbard, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Gabriel Davis
Is this team a contender?
The 9th pick is one of the hardest positions to draft from, and I think La Taqueria did as best as you could do. Aside from taking Hunt over Gaskin, which is a personal preference, I believe he had a flawless draft. To get Pittman Jr. and Callaway late, both No. 1 WRs for their respective teams, was an insightful move. He’ll never have to worry about the tight end position with the best player in the game being the rock for his lineup.
This team is A CONTENDER and should be one of the most consistent teams week in and week out. Most of his players provide a steady floor with a handful of them capable of putting up big numbers.
Brandon (Tenth Pick)
A newcomer to the league this year, Brandon got out of the gates quickly with Tyreek Hill and Antonio Gibson as his first two selections. Mike Evans was selected in round 3, then Brandon took the QB he was eyeing, Lamar Jackson.
Wide receivers Tee Higgins and Robby Anderson were selected in rounds 5 and 6, giving Brandon a deadly foursome at the position.
He started to slow down in the middle rounds, reaching for a pair of Packers in rounds 7 and 8 with tight end Robert Tonyan and running back AJ Dillon. A modified Zero RB strategy known as the Hero RB strategy, Brandon paired Gibson with Dillon as his RB2, which could cause headaches down the road.
However, in round 9 he grabbed Jamaal Williams, who has a very good chance of being a weekly play at RB if injury-prone D’Andre Swift misses time. Even when Swift plays, Williams is a viable flex option.
Mike Williams was Brandon’s pick in round 10, followed by Jonnu Smith and Gio Bernard. He drafted one of my favorite young WRs, Terrace Marshall Jr., grabbed the San Francisco 49ers D/ST and in a bizarre move, drafted two backup QBs in Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston.
QB - Lamar Jackson
RBs - Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
WRS - Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans, Tee Higgins
Flex - Robby Anderson
TE - Robert Tonyan
D/ST - San Francisco 49ers
K - Rodrigo Blankenship
Bench - Jamaal Williams, Mike Williams, Jonnu Smith, Gio Bernard, Terrace Marshall Jr., Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston
Is this team a contender?
I really liked the start of Brandon’s draft with Hill, Gibson and Evans providing a terrific foundation. In the middle rounds is where I believe he fell off a bit, reaching for Tonyan and bypassing solid RBs to go with Dillon as his RB2. Also, if he was so high on Jackson to be his QB that he grabbed him early in round 4, I found it perplexing he grabbed two more QBs late. I also prefer Smith over Tonyan at TE, and believe he could have grabbed more value at the skill positions in round 7.
While I love this team’s WR corps, based on the middle to late rounds and lack of RB prowess, I believe this team is NOT A CONTENDER.
Mike Ty’Son’s Punch-Out (Eleventh Pick)
Ahh, Ty’Son surely delivery a knockout punch with his draft, getting Stefon Diggs and Nick Chubb to set up his foundation. He grabbed QB Josh Allen to give him the deadliest stack in the league, then found tremendous value in David Montgomery in round 4. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than those first four picks.
Ty’Son drafted Myles Gaskin in round 5, then Tyler Boyd with his next pick. He made another value pick in round 7 with Brandin Cooks, then got high-upside TE Noah Fant in round 8. Jakobi Meyers went next in round 9 and person favorite Darnell Mooney went to Ty’Son is round 10.
He selected his backup QB Joe Burrow in round 11 and followed up with J.D. McKissic and Cole Kmet. In a move that frustrated yours truly, as I was eyeying this player just a few picks later, he selected Ravens RB Ty’Son Williams.
To round out his squad, Ty’Son grabbed rookie gadget player Kadarius Toney and the Buffalo Bills D/ST.
QB - Josh Allen
RBs - Nick Chubb, David Montgomery
WRS - Stefon Diggs, Tyler Boyd, Brandin Cooks
Flex - Myles Gaskin
TE - Noah Fant
D/ST - Buffalo Bills
K - Robbie Gould
Bench - Jakobi Meyers, Darnell Mooney, Joe Burrow, J.D. McKissic, Cole Kmet, Ty’Son Williams, Kadarius Toney
Is this team a contender?
Finding great value in every round, Ty’Son drafted like an absolute pro in the 11th spot. His biggest question mark is at the WR spot, with Boyd and Cooks serving as weekly starters, at least to start the season. But I think he drafted well late at the position in Meyers and Mooney, and I believe one if not both of those players will become start-worthy.
With the most dangerous QB-WR stack in the league, three tremendous RBs, and a TE who can vault into the top-5 if things fall his way, I believe this team is A CONTENDER.
Perry (Twelfth Pick)
The last man to draft, Perry started his team off with a bang, drafting Jonathan Taylor and Saquon Barkley to give him a tremendous 1-2 punch at RB. Both players lost some favor recently in drafts, but with Barkley set to start week 1 and Taylor getting his starting QB and starting lineman back sooner rather than later, both of these RBs can easily finish in the top-5 at the position.
To pair with his RBs, Perry selected Robert Woods and Amari Cooper, then took a pair of Broncos in Jerry Jeudy and Javonte Williams. Perry continued the strong selection in rounds 7-9, taking Dallas Goedert, Matthew Stafford and DJ Chark.
While I shied away from Goedert with the reemergence of Zach Ertz, he was one of the favorites to take a strong step forward at the TE position. The Stafford to Woods connection is the second-best stack in the league and Chark has been scaring people away, but his talent is undeniable.
Perry took a favorite in Elijah Moore in round 10, then grabbed Jalen Reagor, Ty Johnson and the projected best D/ST in fantasy, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Perry finished his draft with Hunter Henry as his backup TE, drafted Deshaun Watson and JK Dobbins to play the keeper game.
QB - Matthew Stafford
RBs - Jonathan Taylor, Saquon Barkley
WRS - Robert Woods, Amari Cooper, Jerry Jeudy
Flex - Javonte Williams
TE - Dallas Goedert
D/ST - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
K - Will Lutz
Bench - DJ Chark, Elijah Moore, Jalen Reagor, Ty Johnson, Hunter Henry, Deshaun Watson, JK Dobbins
Is this team a contender?
It doesn’t get better at the running position than Taylor and Barkley. In the offseason both of these players were viewed as top-7 picks. To get them as late as he did, Perry got a solid core for his team. The Stafford to Woods connection, while not as sexy as Allen to Diggs, makes for a solid stack.
A couple of chips needs to fall Perry’s way, namely Goedert and Williams becoming viable weekly starters. I think they have a good chance to do so and also believe one of the three late WRs, Chark, Moore and Reagor, will pay off as a weekly starter. For those reasons, plus having two RBs I believe can finish in the top-5, this team team is A CONTENDER.