Draft Analysis: Phi Tau Keeper League

Recently we held the second annual draft for the Phi Tau Keeper League, using the rules explained here. As this was the second year of the league, this was the first official “keeper” draft, where managers could decide which players they wanted to keep from the previous years roster, which definitely made the draft a bit interesting. The most obvious change this was going to make was looking at the keepers and realizing that top round picks such as Joseph Addai, Cedric Benson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Laurence Maroney, Deuce McAllister, Carson Palmer, Travis Henry, Marques Colston and Brandon Jacobs were already taken. Just the fact that so many running backs were being held as keepers was troubling to teams who didn’t already have a starting RB being kept (luckily I wasn’t one of them). Anyways, without wasting any more time, let’s get to the draft analysis…

(Note: “Keepers” are in bold)

sagernator

1. (1) LaDainian Tomlinson
2. (24) Larry Fitzgerald
3. (25) Reggie Wayne
4. (48) Matt Hasselbeck
5. (49) Cedric Benson
6. (72) Greg Jennings
7. (73) Todd Heap
8. (96) Kevin Curtis
9. (97) Kevin Faulk
10. (120) Eli Manning
11. (121) Reggie Williams
12. (144) Maurice Jones-Drew
13. (145) Jacksonville
14. (168) Brady Quinn
15. (169) Shayne Graham

Analysis: Before the draft, we knew Sagernation was going to be happy because he already had 2 starting running backs as keepers. Then, we did a random drawing to determine the draft order and what do you know? He gets first pick. So pretty much before the draft even began, we knew that this would be a top team to contend with, especially in a league with a flex position where he can start LT, Benson and Jones-Drew. Because the hard stuff was out of the way with running backs, the focus switched to wide receivers naturally, which was going well until round 4 when the manager inexplicably took a quarterback (and not even that great of one…one that we even suggested might be looking at a setback this season). Considering Philip Rivers went 22 picks later and Brett Favre went 31 picks later, this was a botched pick. Using what started off with a top notch roster, this team decided to go crazy with picks that I would never had made in my life. Kevin Faulk in the 9th round (in any round?)?! Reggie Williams in the 11th round?! Brady Quinn (his 3rd QB in a 1 QB league) in the 14th round?! This team is lucky that it was blessed with solid keepers, otherwise it would find itself in the abyss of the league very quickly.

Rank: 2/12

Tastes Like Fish

1. (2) Larry Johnson
2. (23) Marvin Harrison
3. (26) Javon Walker
4. (47) Plaxico Burress
5. (50) DeAngelo Williams
6. (71) Chicago
7. (74) Vincent Jackson
8. (95) Vernand Morency
9. (98) Matt Jones
10. (119) L.J. Smith
11. (122) Tony Romo
12. (143) Ladell Betts
13. (146) Alex Smith
14. (167) Jason Hanson
15. (170) Ted Ginn Jr.

Analysis: Here’s a team where I questioned the point of even having any “keepers” if Romo and Betts were going to be them, but I guess he ended up taking them at a better value than he otherwise would have, so it panned out. Overall, this team is not the strongest I’ve seen. Larry Johnson will represent, as will a strong wide receiver core of Harrison, Walker and Burress. However, not taking a solid second running back will come back to haunt this team. DeAngelo Williams, Vernand Morency and Ladell Betts make for good spot starts, but the idea of having to start one of them on a weekly basis is scary. At the QB position, Romo and Alex Smith don’t make for a very intimidating combination, but I think Smith will do alright this season and possibly save the position for this team. Taking Chicago in the 6th round is a stretch, but at least it guarantees solid points on a weekly basis, something that can’t be said for a few other positions on this squad.

Rank: 6/12

Vick Dog Beaters

1. (3) Steven Jackson
2. (22) Marshawn Lynch
3. (27) T.J. Houshmandzadeh
4. (46) Hines Ward
5. (51) Lee Evans
6. (70) Philip Rivers
7. (75) Chris Brown
8. (94) LenDale White
9. (99) Kellen Winslow
10. (118) Mike Furrey
11. (123) Joe Jurevicius
12. (142) Denver
13. (147) Brian Leonard
14. (166) Jeff Garcia
15. (171) Jeff Wilkins

Analysis: Representing St. Maarten in this league, the Vick’s decided to only keep one player from last season, Lee Evans. Luckily he was blessed with the third pick, because with no running back keeper, he was in dire straits without a solid back. Marshawn Lynch as your second running back is muy espantoso! Housh, Ward and Evans rounds out a solid, but not overwhelming receiver crew…the same with Rivers at the quarterback position. Other picks I liked were Kellen Winslow and Denver defense in the 12th round. However, the rest of the roster reads like a laundry list of players I don’t want near my roster: LenDale White, Mike Furrey (being added to my “bust” list shortly), Joe Jurevicius, and Jeff Garcia. I’m pretty sure another person was drafting for this manager, so maybe they had a hidden agenda, but I do not see this team contending for that long in the league.

Rank: 10/12

WR 15 Denver Broncos (Me)

1. (4) Shaun Alexander
2. (21) Torry Holt
3. (28) Adrian Peterson
4. (45) Antonio Gates
5. (52) Deion Branch
6. (69) Devery Henderson
7. (76) Joe Horn
8. (93) Leon Washington
9. (100) Baltimore
10. (117) Jerry Porter
11. (124) Travis Henry
12. (141) Jay Cutler
13. (148) Brandon Marshall
14. (165) Robbie Gould
15. (172) Steve McNair

Analysis: I feel pretty confident with the squad I was able to put together here. I kept 3 players from last years team, all of which were free agent pick ups or my 15th pick in the draft, so they were very “cheap”. Having Travis Henry coming to me in the 11th round was very comforting. Because of that, I was able to focus on getting a top tier RB and WR with the first two picks. I went with a questionable pick at 3 with Adrian Peterson, but I think he has the moves to be a very good running back this year. If he can produce, I should have my flex position locked up for the year. I think my receiver core is pretty good…one top tier guy with a bunch of third tier guys. I should be able to find 2 good receivers during any given week from the group of Branch, Henderson, Horn, Porter and Marshall, especially with Gates pulling in WR numbers at the tight end position. My Baltimore pick in the 9th round was solid, considering Chicago went 3 rounds earlier. Cutler and McNair as my quarterbacks scares me a little, until Cutler proves that he’s back in form from the end of last year. I like Leon Washington as a sleeper candidate this year and Porter is a complete shot in the dark. Overall, I give myself a pat on the back for drafting this squad, but we’ll see a couple months from now if I’m still feeling the same.

Rank: 3/12

Stankbutt

1. (5) Frank Gore
2. (20) Thomas Jones
3. (29) Roy Williams
4. (44) Deuce McAllister
5. (53) Reggie Brown
6. (68) Brandon Jackson
7. (77) D.J. Hackett
8. (92) Bernard Berrian
9. (101) Vernon Davis
10. (116) San Diego
11. (125) Jon Kitna
12. (140) Wes Welker
13. (149) Dwayne Bowe
14. (164) Adrian Peterson
15. (173) Ben Roethlisberger

Analysis: This team draws its name from a nickname the manager was given during his early school years. His team however, turned out to be pretty solid. He has a man-love for Frank Gore, so naturally he had to take him with the 5th pick. With injury questions, the pick of Thomas Jones in the second round was a bit questionable, especially when he already had Deuce as his keeper in the 4th round. He might have had more success using that pick on a top tier WR so he wouldn’t be left deciding between D.J. Hackett and Bernard Berrian for his third receiver each week. However, Kitna should have a solid year, as should Vernon Davis. There are not many glaring weaknesses on this squad, so I expect him to be contending week-to-week, but I don’t expect to see him at the top of the standings anytime soon.

Rank: 4/12

Shaw

1. (6) Willie Parker
2. (19) Joseph Addai
3. (30) Andre Johnson
4. (43) Donovan McNabb
5. (54) Laveranues Coles
6. (67) LaMont Jordan
7. (78) Santonio Holmes
8. (91) DeShaun Foster
9. (102) Chris Cooley
10. (115) Matt Leinart
11. (126) Michael Bush
12. (139) Jerious Norwood
13. (150) Adam Vinatieri
14. (163) Dwayne Jarrett
15. (174) Priest Holmes

Analysis: Probably the best combination of starting running backs in the league, especially considering it is a PPR league. Parker and Addai should dominate at the position. With Jerious Norwood already secured in the 12th round though, LaMont Jordan in the 6th round was questionable. Taking Jordan there meant that he was passing on guys like Devery Henderson, Joe Horn and Vincent Jackson…now he’s forced to start Santonio Holmes in the three spot, which I guess isn’t the end of the world, but is not a position I want to be locked into every week. Michael Bush was a waste, as no Oakland runningback will produce this season and DeShaun Foster will be nothing more than a spot fill on a week to week basis. Although the WR core might be a small bit lacking, I think the dominant RB combo will be enough to carry this team to good winning record and make it a contender come playoffs time. One thing though…Priest Holmes?

Rank: 5/12

pbrmeasap

1. (7) Brian Westbrook
2. (18) Marion Barber III
3. (31) Carnell Williams
4. (42) Santana Moss
5. (55) Braylon Edwards
6. (66) Drew Bennett
7. (79) Brett Favre
8. (90) Alge Crumpler
9. (103) Muhsin Muhammad
10. (114) Chris Henry
11. (127) Troy Williamson
12. (138) J.P. Losman
13. (151) Philadelphia
14. (162) Tony Hunt
15. (175) Josh Brown

Analysis: Ummm…not sure about this team. The PBR’s decided to not keep any players from his last year team, which was interesting. It also ended up costing him dearly as he ended up weak in all positions. Based on this team, I’ve now learned the importance of having good keepers. Beyond Westbrook (who will be nasty barring injury considering the leagues format), this team has questions at the second RB position (Barber III vs. Cadillac), wide receiver (Santana Moss, Braylon Edwards and Drew Bennett?), as well as at quarterback with Brett Favre. Alge Crumpler will hold down the tight end position, but I’m not sure that will be enough. I expect to see this team spending the majority of the season in the proverbial “fantasy basement”.

Rank: 12/12

DickiesBigBro??

1. (8) Rudi Johnson
2. (17) Terrell Owens
3. (32) Tom Brady
4. (41) Donald Driver
5. (56) Mark Clayton
6. (65) Tony Gonzalez
7. (80) Warrick Dunn
8. (89) Laurence Maroney
9. (104) Ronald Curry
10. (113) Brandon Jones
11. (128) Chad Pennington
12. (137) Mike Bell
13. (152) Dallas
14. (161) Nate Kaeding
15. (176) Robert Meachem

Analysis: In contrast to the previous team, here’s a situation where having a top tier running back as a keeper pays off. Because Dickie’s big brother could keep Laurence Maroney in the 8th round (about 7 rounds later than he would normally go), he was able to snatch up a top tier RB, WR and QB with the top three picks. After saying all that though, I still think this manager made some mistakes that could cost him throughout the season. If he had done a little more research on FFGeekBlog.com, he might have realized that his 4th round pick wasn’t as solid as it could be, and taking Gonzo in the 6th round is a stretch. Ronald Curry and Robert Meachem as your backup wide receivers is worrisome, especially considering Driver already hurt himself in the pre-season. While this team is secure at the running back and quarterback position, it is fairly weak at the other positions, which doesn’t inspire a whole lot of hope for a good season.

Rank: 7/12

OCHO CINCO IS BACK

1. (9) Willis McGahee
2. (16) Clinton Portis
3. (33) Anquan Boldin
4. (40) Drew Brees
5. (57) Terry Glenn
6. (64) Chris Chambers
7. (81) Dominic Rhodes
8. (88) Jason Witten
9. (105) Eric Moulds
10. (112) Vince Young
11. (129) New England
12. (136) Anthony Thomas
13. (153) Neil Rackers
14. (160) Damon Huard
15. (177) Arnaz Battle

Analysis: Ocho Cinco is back…which is where this team could be if Portis doesn’t play the whole season (the back of the league I’m talking about). McGahee as your top pick is alright, if he’s combined with another solid running back. If Portis gets hurt again this year, the running back position becomes very shaky for this team. Having his QB position locked up as keepers was helpful, but he didn’t really see too much of an increase in value for the picks. As appears to be the theme for the year, the WR position is somewhat shaky. Terry Glenn and Chris Chambers don’t inspire all that much fear as the 2nd and 3rd guys…and Eric Moulds and Arnaz Battle backing them up inspires even less. I’ll pretty much leave this teams fate in the hands of Portis’s health. If Portis is healthy, this team has a shot…otherwise, no shot.

Rank: 9/12

The Real LT

1. (10) Reggie Bush
2. (15) Chad Johnson
3. (34) Jamal Lewis
4. (39) Randy Moss
5. (58) Marc Bulger
6. (63) Darrell Jackson
7. (82) Brandon Jacobs
8. (87) Reuben Droughns
9. (106) Randy McMichael
10. (111) Ron Dayne
11. (130) Anthony Gonzalez
12. (135) Jerricho Cotchery
13. (154) Matt Schaub
14. (159) Miami
15. (178) Jason Elam

Analysis: Finally we get to a team that is pretty secure at all the major positions. Keeping Brandon Jacobs in the 7th round was a godsend for this team, as it allowed them to take a top notch RB/WR combo with the first two picks. In a PPR league, Bush will tear it up, and Chad Johnson, Randy Moss (if he doesn’t play opossum all year) and Darrell Jackson should handle the wide receiver position nicely. Jerricho Cotchery as the backup isn’t too bad either. This team also has two players I’m expecting to have great seasons, Marc Bulger (you’re my boy!) and Randy McMichael. Adding to a decent roster is the fact that he handcuffed Reuben Droughns with Jacobs, which was a very smart move. Schaub backing up Bulger isn’t that awesome, nor is Miami at defense, but with the rest of the team being very solid, those aren’t things you can really complain about all that much.

Rank: 1/12

NoMoreTiki

1. (11) Edgerrin James
2. (14) Steve Smith
3. (35) Carson Palmer
4. (38) Fred Taylor
5. (59) Chester Taylor
6. (62) Joey Galloway
7. (83) Isaac Bruce
8. (86) Jeremy Shockey
9. (107) Derrick Mason
10. (110) Jake Delhomme
11. (131) Pittsburgh
12. (134) Sammy Morris
13. (155) Eddie Kennison
14. (158) Najeh Davenport
15. (179) David Akers

Analysis:
Najeh Davenport
?! Alright after my initial shock of that pick, I see another team lacking at the WR position. After Steve Smith, this team is blessed with having a couple senior citizens rounding out its squad in Galloway (36) and Bruce (35). Palmer as a keeper in the third round probably hurt this team more than helping t, as it was in dire need of a starting quality RB and WR to help out Edge and Steve Smith. If he could combine picks 4 and 5 into one player, he might have a starting quality RB to put in the lineup alongside Edge. There’s just not much I can say positive about this team, so I’ll just say Good Luck!

Rank: 11/12

Ookie (Matt)

1. (12) Ronnie Brown
2. (13) Peyton Manning
3. (36) Ahman Green
4. (37) Julius Jones
5. (60) Tatum Bell
6. (61) Calvin Johnson
7. (84) Donte’ Stallworth
8. (85) Kevin Jones
9. (108) Benjamin Watson
10. (109) Devin Hester
11. (132) Michael Turner
12. (133) Marques Colston
13. (156) Jason Campbell
14. (157) Carolina
15. (180) Matt Stover

Analysis: Finally, we get to the analysis of my co-FFGeekblog’ger’s team. He wasn’t too high on this team, but after a second look at it, I think he might be underestimating it. A lot of the success of the team depends on the success of Calvin Johnson and Donte’ Stallworth. If Stallworth can stay healthy and Johnson lives up to expectations, that would secure the weakest position on the team. While he has no dominating running back, he should be able to mix and match a combination of Ronnie Brown, Ahman Green, Julius Jones, and Tatem Bell/Kevin Jones on a weekly basis. In the outside chance that LT gets hurt, he immediately gets a great running back with Turner the Burner…but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen. Devin Hester at the 10th round is a stretch though, considering he is a complete mystery since switching to the offensive side of the ball. Peyton Manning should have another big year though, possibly even better than last year as the defense may have regressed a bit (forcing more points to be scored) and the running game is no longer as solid as it was with the two headed monster of Addai and Rhodes. Although I’m glad I’m not the manager of this team, I don’t think Matt should be tooooooo disappointed in it. I mean he did have Colston as a keeper in the 12th round…not much to complain about there.

Rank: 8/12


So there you have it…the analysis of the first real “keeper” league draft we’ve participated in. If you haven’t joined a keeper league yet, I recommend you do so immediately. The draft process is quite a bit more interesting and strategic, and there are long term rewards for picking up good players during the season. If a few breaks go my way, I might even get to see my team in the championship this year, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.