Last night on FX’s show The League they gave us a quick glimpse of Jenny and Ted’s fantasy teams, which were in the semi-finals of their leagues playoffs. I am going to give you a breakdown of what I think each teams drafting strategy was and tell you which team I would have rather drafted.
“The Lady MacArthurs” (Jenny):
Since she drafted Ray Rice we know that she was picking in the top three of this years draft. Let’s assume that Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy went one and two and Ray Rice went third. She likes the running back – running back strategy so she followed up that pick with Matt Forte, who she got nice value with since he was a late first/early second projection. Since Taco is in the league and Ruxin is awful at fantasy football Matt Forte sliding to the end of the second round isn’t that far off.
She already loaded up with running back’s so she decided to get her stud wide receiver and draft Larry Fitzgerald. At the time it looked like a solid pick but little did she know that this would turn out to be the worst pick of her draft thanks to the merry-go-round of CFL quarterbacks that threw to Fitz this year. She is super elated to see that on the way back in the fourth round Mr. PPR Wes Welker is sitting there so she is sitting pretty at wide receiver (I’m not sure if this is a PPR league but regardless he’s a solid pick here). Since she thinks that quarterback is deep this year she decides to fill out her flex spot and give her some wide receiver depth by taking high upside Antonio Brown. There is one problem, her lineup says A.Brown (NYG-WR) and there is no such player that exists. There is an Antonio Brown who plays wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there’s Andre Brown who plays running back for the New York Giants. Both the Steelers and Giants play at the Ravens this year so unfortunately that won’t help tell us which player it really is. I’m saying that it’s more likely that this is Antonio Brown since it would fit her draft strategy and Andre Brown is injured and no longer relevant in fantasy football. Therefore the odds of it being him are super slim, especially considering that this is the fantasy playoffs.
At this point in the draft she looks like she’s got a very good lineup even in an eight team league (which is what theirs is). Since she waited on quarterback and RGIII is starting for her it’s very likely that in the sixth or seventh round she drafted someone like Philip Rivers or Joe Flacco. In the pre-season there was talk about if this was going to be Flacco’s breakout year and if he’d become an elite quarterback. Major Fail. Luckily for Jenny she decided to roll the dice and draft RGIII a few rounds later as an insurance policy. This move single handedly got her to the fantasy football playoffs because RGIII was a top three scoring player all year.
Jenny must have read a lot of ESPN/Matthew Berry articles before the draft because she listened to what they said about the Seattle Seahawks being a sleeper defense that would emerge. Nice job. Since Jenny has Jason Witten and RGIII it looks like she isn’t afraid to take some risks. Before the season Jason Witten had some sort of spleen injury that left him as a big question mark. Knowing that Jason Witten, when playing, is a top five tight end who has consistently put up results she figured it was worth the risk. At that point her other options were guys like Jacob Tamme and Jared Cook so it’s not like there was a sure thing just sitting there.
Overall I think that she had a nice draft. I was more of a fan of waiting on wide receivers this year so I probably would have passed on Fitzgerald and opted to take a quarterback instead. Luckily for her two of her wild cards, RGIII and Jason Witten, panned out big time for her.
“The Balls-Deeper” (Ted):
Ted, whoever he is, had the second pick in the draft and since Arian Foster was gone went with LeSean McCoy. McCoy was coming off a career season in which he ran for 17 touchdown to Ray Rice’s 12 so that was the deciding factor. In round two he couldn’t believe that his number two overall quarterback, Drew Brees, was still on the board (he liked Brees more than Brady). We’ll assume that Ted is a huge New Orleans Saints fan so he did have a little homer bias added in.
Since he didn’t want to get stuck having to choose from the Reggie Bush’s of the world he decided to take Frank Gore early in round three. Alex Smith isn’t going to be a 5,000 yard passer so the Niners are going to rely heavy on Gore. He now has two solid running backs and doesn’t have to worry about if someone like Jamaal Charles is going to bounce back from injury.
Now that running back and quarterback were taken care of it was time to focus on wide receivers. Before he could pull the trigger on the Hakeem Nicks he saw that his and Drew Brees favorite target, Jimmy Graham, was still sitting there. There seem to be a lot of depth at receiver still left on the board and having the Brees to Graham combo was too juicy to pass up. He took Graham and now has a top two tight end on his roster. On top of that he gets to really enjoy watching his favorite team play every week.
Coming right back in the fifth round he was able to take his initial target in the fourth round, Hakeem Nicks. He didn’t buy into Victor Cruz being able to repeat last years performance so he thinks that Nicks will be money this year. Ted thought that Mike Wallace was going to go HAM since it was a contract year for him so he took him on the way back in the sixth.
Since all of the sure fire, no questions asked starters were taken already Ted continued to go homer and add to the already Saints heavy lineup by selecting Darren Sproles. The previous season the Saints lead the NFL in yards per game by almost 40 yards so there are definitely plenty of balls to go around. Plus, in case of injury Sproles can be a fill in at the RB2 position.
Ted is a smart owner and decides to wait until his last two picks to take a defense and a kicker. Thank you for not being an idiot Ted.
Overall I really like Ted’s draft. I believe that having an elite quarterback is key to a successful fantasy team and loading up on Saints players isn’t a bad thing too.
Final Verdict on the Draft:
If choosing between the two teams based solely on their draft I’d rather have Ted’s team. Before the season started no one predicted that RGIII was going to turn into an all world fantasy football stud in year one. I wouldn’t want to go into the season having to hope that Philip Rivers or Joe Flacco play better than they are expected to. I’d much rather have the stability of Drew Brees, who has proven year after year that he can put up top three numbers.
Looking back on the year:
Wow, what looked like two good drafts before the season started sure had some crazy and unexpected things happen. Who would have foreseen Larry Fitzgerald going from top three wide receiver to droppable by the end of the season? Antonio Brown most certainly didn’t live up to his draft expectations as he’s had zero 100 yard receiving games this year. On Ted’s side he got really crushed by Hakeem Nicks getting injured, LeSean McCoy not playing up to his elite level and then getting injured, Mike Wallace being very inconsistent and not taking the next step towards being an elite wide receiver, and Jimmy Graham not living up to the expectations of being a top two tight end.
Winner of the Matchup:
Heading into Week 16 I’d expect Ted’s team to eek out a close victory though with the way Week 15 went I think anything can happen and Jenny could definitely pull it out. I’d rather have Drew Brees over a gimpy RGIII (advantage Ted), Ray Rice and Matt Forte over LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore (slight advantage Jenny since I’m not expecting a ton from McCoy), Hakeem Nicks and Mike Wallace over Larry Fitzgerald and Wes Welker (big advantage Ted since Fitzgerald is unstartable at this point), Darren Sproles barely over Antonio Brown (tiny advantage Ted), Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham are about the same (in a Nick Bakay voice: advantage…push), both kickers have good matchup’s though Mason Crosby has been very bad this season and currently has no confidence (tiny advantage Jenny), and Seattle’s defense has been money this year so I definitely want them over the New York Giants defense (advantage Jenny).