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Stampede Blue fantasy football opening weekend draft notes

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This year, I’ve been tasked with commissioning all of the Stampede Blue fantasy football leagues and I also have several leagues I’m in with my friends, so just like every other year, I keep saying “I’m going to cut back on fantasy football.” So much for that.

As of today, I’ll have completed four PPR drafts that “matter” and have done 10 other “practice drafts”. I refuse to do mock drafts because too often it’s just me and ESPN’s random rankings going at it because everyone leaves after Round 4.

One of the drafts was the Stampede Blue Champions League (all team owners are former champions as the name implies), I had a couples league draft Saturday as well, Monday night I had one of our free leagues complete its draft, and last night Stampede Blue staff had its draft. I also have another six leagues to draft between now and September 5th. That puts me about 20 actual drafts I’ll do this year.

I think I’ve got some good information from a variety of experiences here to share that may shed some light on how your drafts are going to go.

First, most of the people you are drafting with do not use anything but the default rankings and largely have no idea what they’re doing even if you try to help them by literally putting all the information in front of them and show them how to do it. Even people who pay to draft tend to not care about data. In fact, my friend’s wife took Zach Ertz 5th overall and my best friend’s wife drafted Saquon Barkley because she likes the way his butt looks in football pants. I don’t have an argument against that pick, but Ertz in the first! Come on!

Let’s talk picks!

First, Saturday evening, I had an 8-man PPR draft that I hosted with 3 other couples and randomly, my wife and I got 1st and 2nd pick (not a rigged game at all, nothing to see here!). I chose Todd Gurley because I’m a sensible human, and then my wife took Julio Jones 2nd overall and blew the draft wide open. For perspective, the first round picks were:

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Julio Jones
  3. Le’Veon Bell
  4. Antonio Brown
  5. Zach Ertz
  6. Saquon Barkley
  7. David Johnson
  8. Ezekiel Elliott

It’s pretty evident from the first round that only about 34 of the people in this league have any inkling as to what they’re doing, and the rest of us are just pretending. Rules were broken, right? Don’t draft a TE early. Running backs are scarce so you should invest your early picks in solidifying that position. Oh, you don’t know what half those words mean? Nevermind. As long as you have fun, right!?

In case you’re wondering how that draft went for me, I had the bookend picks (last pick Round 2, first pick Round 3) and wound up going Leonard Fournette into Michael Thomas. I’d say there’s one other good team in this league. I’m feeling good about it.

Moving along.

Later Saturday night, I had another draft. This time, I was drafting with a different group than most people will ever play against. I’d say this was my most complicated draft because each member of this league is last year’s league champion from a different league Stampede Blue hosts. This was a 12-person PPR draft with zero auto-drafters and it took place after I’d already drafted that day. I had the 9th overall pick. Here’s the first round of picks.

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Le’Veon Bell
  3. David Johnson
  4. Ezekiel Elliott
  5. Antonio Brown
  6. Saquon Barkley
  7. Alvin Kamara
  8. DeAndre Hopkins
  9. Odell Beckham, Jr.
  10. Melvin Gordon
  11. Kareem Hunt
  12. Julio Jones

Nothing to see here in terms of the players drafted here. I’m happy to grab Odell 9th — especially since he just signed that monster contract — we all know he’s going to ball out. This draft was unique for me, because the other drafters ate away at the running back depth early and often, forcing us to go WR/WR/WR in the first three rounds instead of reaching for a running back. We wound up with OBJ, Keenan Allen and Doug Baldwin fell to us at 33rd (ADP 26).

Again, sitting pretty.

Last night, Stampede Blue had its staff PPR draft. We wound up with the last pick in the round (not bad!) in a 10-man draft.

Here is the first round:

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Le’Veon Bell
  3. David Johnson
  4. Ezekiel Elliott
  5. Antonio Brown
  6. Saquon Barkley
  7. Kareem Hunt
  8. DeAndre Hopkins
  9. Alvin Kamara
  10. Odell Beckham Jr.

This was a perfect round. I like every pick but the Hunt pick (ADP 13 and he goes #8?) That’s essentially giving up a wheeled pick. We got OBJ again for value (ADP 9). We took Melvin Gordon with the 11th pick and went WR/RB every round except when we took Kirk Cousins 70th (ADP 76, so not much of a reach, just projected about 20 more points than whoever was behind him in the rankings.)

Yahoo’s draft app crashed (it has crashed between rounds 12-14 in each of the 3 drafts I’ve done so far this year) and I’m assuming it’s a Java timeout issue? I don’t nerd that hard, but you get what I’m saying.

I’m going to reiterate the same things I’ve been saying all along the way, but with some new advice.

  1. Edit your pre-draft rankings. Most people don’t and the default rankings are trash beyond the first few rounds!
  2. Don’t draft a QB, TE, K or D/ST early (in the first 7 rounds) if you can help it. You can help it! I know you know more players than that. Also, JAX had the easiest strength of schedule in the league defensively last season, which made it look good and a lot of people are investing early picks on them. I see you taking JAX 63rd overall (ADP 189!). You’re gonna be really let down when that defense gets roughed up this season. Go Colts!
  3. Don’t draft multiple QBs or TEs. You are wasting roster spots. There’s math for this. See, your #5-6 WR/RB is going to play for you because of injuries. You are going to end up dropping that QB or TE for a WR/RB and you will lose your league (YOU WILL NOT WIN YOUR LEAGUE) if your roster has multiple QB/TE or D/ST/K. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m just telling you the truth. Last year I won ~65% of my leagues and never fielded multiple D/ST/K/TE/QB in a winning league (I have experimented with fielding multiple of those positions to no avail). Show me ONE credible fantasy expert that advocates for multiple of those positions (and does it successfully). THEY DON’T EXIST. You aren’t a trailblazer. You’re in 4th place at the end of every season because you were ONE PLAYER SHORT. It’s never the TE/QB deficiency that beats you (there isn’t a significant point difference between the 8-10th and 10-12th ranked QB/TE over a season). Why field them?
  4. Again, have fun and enjoy yourself. Use all the free information out there to help you have an easier time making decisions during your draft.

I’d tell you all to follow me on Twitter, but I’m not a robot and I have opinions of my own that some of you may not like, so let’s just chat in the comments and go from there.

Now show me your fantasy football rosters from drafts you’ve done. Comment with # of players in league, what pick you were, scoring type, etc. Or don’t.