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I was at it again Thursday night drafting another fantasy football squad in a random ESPN 10 team free league. On Monday night, my New York Muggers drafted from the second slot (results posted on blog dated 09/01/09). I went with the same league format again and finally drafted from the middle of the pack which is right where I wanted to be (#5). Drafting fifth (of ten) allows fantasy owners opportunities to gain valuable players even though some of the games projected elite players get gobbled up 1-4. Unfortunately, 3 drafters never showed up. Luckily, one of them had pre-ranked players.
Here's my round by round results for the "Gridiron Bruisers" (round #/overall pick #):
1/5 - RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR) - Almost went with Brees here but had to nail a top RB in 1st round. Williams had huge fantasy games in '08. Hoping for bigger and better in '09. Peterson, Turner went 1-2.
2/16 - WR Andre Johnson (HOU) - Went off script early. Rule of thumb is pick up the best RB's early. However, most were taken so I gambled a quality back would still be available by my next pick especially since Moss/Fitzgerald were taken right before my turn. Johnson is a playmaker. He just needs a healthy QB to get him the ball. Had big yardage games in '08. I'll need him to record more td's to make this pick look better.
3/25 - RB Ronnie Brown (MIA) - I like this pick here while most others might scoff it. Brown completely healthy and in a contract year. You know what that means. He's going to be on top of his game. Miami is a run first team. Hoping he's the go to guy in goal line situations.
4/36 - RB Thomas Jones (NYJ) - Don't really like this pick. TJ hasn't played well in preseason but I credit this to Jets giving rookie QB Sanchez every opportunity to find his rythm. Leon Washington is also hungry for carries and could cut into Jones playing time. TB's Ward & Indy's Addai would have been better here. This could be a strong pick or major early round bust.
5/45 - TE Tony Gonzalez (ATL) - Future Hall of Famer should get plenty of looks from 2nd year QB Ryan as Atlanta opens up their new passing game. Gonzo is one of my all time favorites.
6/56 - WR Eddie Royal (DEN) - Denver's #1 speedster wideout will see plenty of deep passes. He's been going late in most drafts. I'm expecting major production here. 91 catches as a rookie and NFL 2nd best 72.2% catches of balls thrown in his direction.
7/65 - RB Cedric Benson (CIN) - Most analysts do not like his fantasy value. I'll differ for one reason and one reason only. He's never played with a game breaking QB. Was last of full time starting RB's available. Plenty of QB's remained so this was a no harm no foul depth pick.
8/76 - K Stephen Gostkowski (NE) - Why take a kicker here you ask? Because he's #1 on my charts worth no less than 140 points playing for one of NFL's best offenses. That's why.
9/85 - QB Carson Palmer (CIN) - Once a gambler, always a gambler. Palmer's elbow is a concern after missing 3/4 of '08. He has great WR's (Ocho Cinco & Coles). Threw for 32, 28, 26 TD's and averaged 4000 yard seasons before getting banged up. Calculated gamble should pay dividends especially when Cincy plays most of their games from behind meaning more passes to catch up.
10/96 - WR Devin Hester (CHI) - One of NFL's best deep threats. Pure speed. Outstanding special teams kick returner. Finally has a QB who can deliver a deep pass. One question... can he catch?
11/105 - WR Laverneaus Coles (CIN) - Deep threat left Jets for bigger bucks in Cincy. Another depth pick gamble. My opinion he was best available starting WR. He'll probably only start when my others have bye weeks unless he becomes a favorite target for Palmer.
12/116 - D/ST New England Patriots - Uncharacteristically waited a long time before selecting a defense. One of two things can happen with Pats D. Either they'll pick off a ton of passes when playing way ahead (NE has top offense) or they'll give up a lot of meaningless late game points. Maybe both. Not expecting much here and will start them in favorable matchups. Buffalo is opening game. Pats D will play big vs terrible Bills.
13/125 - QB Jake Delhomme - Everyone except me seems down on Jake in '09. He's healthy, a winner and plays for a great offense. Running game will take away passing attempts but open up play action for potential red zone td's. Solid backup and starter in favorable matchups.
14/136 - D/ST Miami Dolphins - Nice compliment to NE's D. If offense can play ball control games then Dolphins D could record good fantasy numbers.
15/145 - K Nate Kaeding - 607 points in 5 Charger seasons. Good backup for Gastowski.
16/156 - TE Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) - Favre loves his TE's and looks for them often. Final two picks in this draft mirrored Monday night. Surprised no one has been taking Shiancoe. I'm betting he's a big go to guy inside redzone in '09.
Gridiron Bruisers aren't great on paper. However, favorable scheduling matchups could provide big dividends from this bunch. Selecting Thomas Jones was this drafts snafu. My crystal ball claims this team will put up points. Having multiple teams affords plenty of drafting variations. Two drafts in the books. First draft far better on paper. Bruisers have me curious.
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