A Comprehensive Guide to Extension Decisions

Updated: September 27th 2017

With a ground-breaking extension feature getting rolled out next week (for more details from the league office, take a look here) Reality Sports Online GMs have been scurrying around for inside information like the Duke brothers seeking out the Frozen Concentrated O.J. insider crop harvest report in Trading Places. While this article may not have much about the “secret sauce” that factors into what offer your expiring players are receiving from Weeks 5 to 13 this season, treat this as a comprehensive strategic approach to making contract extension decisions.

These are my opinions and advice based on the information I have about extensions. Just like you, I’m not swimming in insider information. I have, however, put a lot of thought into devising the methodology to approach this decision with. Feel free to use these thoughts, critique them, ignore them and question them on Twitter . Either way, remember that the RSO guys have created something innovative based on the Moneyball mindset that may require a few kinks to be worked out early on. So if you encounter any type of issues, please be kind and patient (and refrain from social media negging) because this platform is infinitely better than what you were playing before and I’m saying that as a customer.

As a disclaimer, I’m not certain I’ll be using my one league voted in-season extension this season as I tend to be a free-market guy who would prefer to see what is going on in the auction. Being somewhat conservative, I haven’t yet been saddled with many “bad contracts” in my leagues that I haven’t been able to get out of, and ultimately that’s the biggest risk an owner faces with these extensions. The biggest risk the RSO guys face with extensions is actually the polar opposite-having the algorithm spit out too kind of a deal for extensions. Remember that when you see your initial offers.

  1. The Airline Ticket Purchase Analogy– When you are looking at taking a trip and booking flights, you don’t keep searching prices after you’ve already purchased the ticket. Likewise, you don’t get on the plane and ask the person sitting next to you how much they paid for their ticket.

So, in similar fashion, if you have extensions enabled in your league and you like the price/years offered for an expiring player the first week it is offered (note that only your team can see the offers your player is getting on your team page) and have the requisite cap space in future years to do it, pull the trigger and don’t look back.

Also, with the “everything is an asset” in an RSO league caveat-if you as an owner are transparent about what your player offers are to other owners, you may be able to work out a favorable trade with them.

  1. What’s Your Benchmark?- Since the only other viable extension opportunity for you is the franchise tag, that is a number you are now forced to know like the back of your hand for every position you have on your roster. If you haven’t calculated the Top 5 positional average for players in your league under contract for 2018 yet, you are already behind. If you are behind, don’t worry, it is not hard to calculate that average by position.

Remember, that the franchise tag for your player by position is the HIGHER of the Top 5 positional average or 120% of your current year salary for that player. The franchise tag does have a term limit of being used twice and obviously has a multiplier effect of 120% if you’ve used it once already.

That said, you should always be comparing your annual average value of your extension offer to your franchise tag cost for the upcoming year. If the extension offer is cheaper for the player of need, that may be an indication that you want to extend that player.

I’ll predict that with potentially high extension price tags and future increases to auction prices (see #3) that the franchise tag will be a more strategically used asset across leagues in the future.

  1. Predicting Future Auction Prices- I’m saying this for those who have been on the RSO platform for a short period of time where the talent in free agency hasn’t turned over much in leagues due to rookie contracts not expiring, etc. Just like you have certain expectations of what someone should cost prior to the auction via your prep, the real auction takes twists and turns and gets more unpredictable as players like Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski become free agents for the first time in your leagues. Add that into a dynamic market where several teams are coming into the auction with significant ($100m +) cap space and you get scenarios like my main league where Brown went on a huge contract for 4 years, $243.5m.

Then, when a few players trickle back into the auction and teams have bountiful cap space, you see overpayments being made for players who don’t deserve as much as they are getting. That’s where your perception of where future auction prices are headed can benefit you in looking at extending players. I’ll talk about this more in a bit, but it really is about getting over the initial “sticker shock” of the extension offers.

  1. Sticker Shock and What To Do With It- When you’ve paid a rookie that you sneakily drafted early in Round 2 of your 2014 rookie draft like I did with Devonta Freeman around $1.5m a year for four years, any contract extension offer is going to seem astronomical. Don’t let it be. Of course, Freeman’s rookie contract is well under market value and his extension offer may be more than what you perceive market value to be. Likely, it will fall somewhere in between.

So you’ll likely need to “check down” against what someone like Freeman’s franchise tag # would be in 2018 (of course that’s the summer vs. an in season extension). This is exactly what I’m going to do in Week 5 when the initial offers come out.

Here is an inside look at a spreadsheet I use in my main league to look into future use of franchise tags and extensions. If you don’t have a template like this, you don’t have to be an Excel whiz to set one up. Note that my calculation for Freeman’s tag is based on the Top 5 positional average for running backs. I’ll try to explain more about Allen Robinson later as I’ve already been approached by one owner who is trying to figure out what to do with him this season (NOTE: I have not seen any offers for Robinson and just put these salaries in as a placeholder that may not be realistic).

  1. Players with Small Sample Size (Rookies and Breakouts)

For current rookies or players without much history on their side that have performed well thus far this season, the algorithm has a very small sample size and the offers are likely to be outside of your comfort zone. If you think that someone like Tarik Cohen has league star written all over him, feel free to accept the offer coming his way. I personally would lean on a larger sample size and take my chances in an auction, but one thing you have that the others in your league don’t is current control over that player.

  1. Age Matters

From what I gather, age of player is a definite component of the algorithm that determines extension values and contract lengths being offered. If you’ve seen players like Brandon Marshall fail to separate from DB’s lately, you’ll know that you don’t want to give too many years or dollars to someone on the backside of their career.

At the same time, consider some pivotal ages for your wide receivers and running backs. I typically would view 33 year-old receivers as one year guys with few exceptions (this is when a player like Andre Johnson experienced his decline). In terms of running backs, I’m not giving any running back over the age of 27 more than two years. If you’ve noticed the running back leaders this season in fantasy points, you’ll see that rookie running backs and guys like Todd Gurley and Freeman sit atop the board and they are all 25 and under.

I know there are exceptions to every rule/player, but remember you are in essence via the extension bidding against yourself here and not the market.

  1. I’m All About Value

With likely high prices across the board for extension players, to hit a home run on one, you’re likely to be taking on significant risk or finding value in the marketplace. With that, I think creativity is important and that would include taking a look at players who were already injured this season and are out for the season. Guys like Cam Meredith and the aforementioned Robinson. Let’s dig deeper on Robinson since I’m facing this very decision.

The good: he doesn’t turn 25 until next August, has a monster season under his belt that was two years ago (80-1,400-14), already had surgery a day after his ACL injury with no other structural damage and is a potential real-life NFL free agent this offseason.  He also has no other NFL injury history. His 2017 stats were 1 catch for 17 yards before his unfortunate injury.

The negatives other than the fact that he was injured include his quarterback Blake Bortles not being able to optimize his talents, his 2016 stats being a down year (73-883-6), his Jacksonville Jaguars head coach being uber-focused on the running game, and this injury.

However, from an extension standpoint, there may be an opportunity to arbitrage here as most of Robinson’s negatives can be viewed as positives from an extension standpoint.

Taking into account that Robinson hasn’t produced at an elite level in two years would seem to mean that you could be getting him at an extension number that shows there’s future uncertainty in his outcomes. Yet, Robinson figures to be back playing for the start of the 2018 season and potentially on a new team (or with a new QB other than Bortles). He could be on a “one year prove it deal” with Jacksonville or elsewhere and based on his size, speed and skills, should be able to get back to being a top 20 wide receiver.

So taking into account the likely lack of fluctuation in his weekly offers due to his 2017 being over, his subpar 2016, and some future uncertainty, you may be able to get Robinson for way less than if he was coming off of an all-pro season. Additionally, since you can extend players who occupy your injured reserve space, you can get the benefit of not having to occupy a valuable 2017 roster spot with Robinson.

Not sure what the offers will be for Robinson, but I think anything over $20m a year starts to get me out of my comfort zone based on the fact that much of his uncertainty won’t clear up until the offseason and you have to decide by Week 13 what you are doing with him.

Other than injured players, you may want to look a mid-tier tight ends for potential extension value as well as the position is typically viewed as having less skill.

OK, folks, hopefully this methodology guide on how to approach extension decisions will be helpful to you this season and down the line. Remember, you don’t have to use the extension, so make the decision that best works for your team’s current and future success.


Matt Goodwin is in his fourth season as senior writer for Reality Sports Online and is in year five of his main league. He also contributed for numberFire for several years. He is an avid sports fan from Cleveland, Ohio who would count a Cleveland Indians World Series victory a close second behind getting married to his wife Renee and the births of his children, Jory (7 year old son) and Lainie (3 year old daughter). Matt loves mid 90’s hip-hop, playing pick-up hoops, traveling, Ohio State football and Arizona basketball, watching Glengarry Glen Ross for the millionth time and being outside the few months it doesn’t rain in Seattle where he lives. He can be found on Twitter @mattgoody2 and hopes you continue to read his In the Zone articles and take his side when he’s debating player value with @RobertFCowper.

2017 Top 25s: WRs and TEs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

If you missed part 1, I explored quarterbacks and running backs.

In part 2 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll finish by examining the wide receiver and tight end positions:

 

Top 25 WRs for 2017

While several of the top WRs didn’t pan out in 2016, I wouldn’t shy away from a WR-heavy strategy in 2017. The top 7 in my rankings have shown year-over-year consistency, which should ease the minds of those recently burned by Hopkins and Robinson. In 12 team leagues, I’d want to leave the auction with at least 3 WRs from this list. since the depth from 13 to 25 is much stronger at WR than it is at RB.

 

Top 25 TEs for 2017

In 2017, I plan to target Gronkowski, Kelce, and Reed with AAV (average annual values) over $10 million per season. If I strike out on the three of them, I’m likely to wait and select 1-2 TEs from the 9-18 range of my rankings and hope that one can turn into someone I’m comfortable starting on weekly basis.

My Recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

2017 Top 25s: QBs and RBs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

In part 1 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll explore the quarterback and running back positions:

 

Top 25 QBs for 2017

Aaron Rodgers is in a tier of his own, making him an elite asset in Superflex and 2QB leagues. Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo are two of the most intriguing names on this list. Over the next few months, we should find out where they’ll play in 2017. If either lands in Denver or Houston, expect their values to rise even higher up this list.

Top 25 RBs for 2017

Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson form the elite trio of RBs that should command the highest AAV (average annual value) of any players in free agency auctions. Rookies Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette could be RB1s in the right situation. Coming off major injuries, veteran RBs Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson just missed the top 25. If they appear healthy as the season approaches and have promised roles, both could be underrated RB2s that will be undervalued in many free agency auctions.

My recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

Squeeze Every Penny

Updated: June 5th 2016

Let me start this article by raising a glass to the creator at Twitter who added the poll option to tweeting. Since this feature has been added, the ability to quickly skim through @dynastytrades feed to vote and see the results of fantasy football trades, has been an incredible resource. If you are not already following them you should be. However, be careful when reading these polls that they don’t offer exactly approximate value of players in the context of YOUR league. As I have said in previous articles owners have tendencies towards certain players and team philosophies that can alter the value of these players. Even entire leagues can have a style that can alter how one participates in their auctions. One league can be very bullish in their contract signings while another can be coyer when spending large cap figures on single players. Regardless of your league setup however, there is a way that you can quantify how much each player should receive. I will breakdown how to understand and use this formula for not only your auction drafts but also to compare the values of players that are already currently owned.

Please note there are two factors that prevent the formula from being applied universally across all leagues. The first is that the point values are inputted at the discretion of the user and different lists could yield different results. Some users simply like to apply the point totals for last season, others like to use predicted point totals that are released from various fantasy sites. Whichever YOU chose,  just be sure that you feel comfortable with the values as these are the drivers for all the contracts. The second variable is the league settings, including roster sizes and number of starters at each position. It should be pretty easy to understand that the more players that are started and the larger the roster size the more money that needs to be spread throughout each roster. This will reduce the max dollars that the elite players should receive when compared to smaller rosters.

Preparing Your Chart

Once you find a database for every player’s fantasy point total that you are comfortable with, organize them into each individual position so that you can create a baseline and margin scores. Again make sure that the database values that you are using were calculated based on your league’s scoring settings. There is a big difference between half, full and non PPR scoring as well as TE premium and 6 points/passing TDs that will drastically change the values for certain players. From here you can place each player and their fantasy point value in a chart that goes in descending points order along with 6 extra columns labeled as below. This example is for the QBs in my 10 team 0.5 PPR home league which starts 1QB, 3RB, 4WR, 1TE, 2FLEX, 1K, 1DST and has a roster size of 26.

Auction Chart 1

A tip here would be to use Microsoft Excel so that you can input all the formulas and save some time. Either way, now that you have the information entered you can create the VORP score (Value Over Replacement Player) for each player. For each of the BASE values they will be equal to the number of starting players in your league times the appropriate multiplier (1.75, 1.5, 1, 0.5). In my example that would be values of 18, 15, 10 and 5. These values are what you are going to be comparing each player against to calculate their margin score. For example, in the Base x1 to determine Aaron Rodgers’ margin you would compare his points versus that of the 10th ranked QB (Andy Dalton) and subtract his points from Rodgers (304.58-269.3=35.28). You would follow the same process to fill out the rest of the chart where comparisons would be made against the 18th, 15th, 10th and 5th ranked players. This is also why you may have noticed that I did not include every QB available. Every player that ranks lower than your Base x1.75 value, in this case the 19th ranked QB and lower, should only receive the minimum bid at auction. Now you will have a chart now that looks like this. I also included the margin value which is the sum of these base values.

Auction Chart 2

Applying the Math

Once you have done this for every position you can then calculate the contract values. This requires a formula that will be the same for all positions and will yield a multiplier to calculate contract values.

Contract Multiplier = (∑QB Margins+∑RB Margins+∑WR Margins+∑TE Margins)/[(Salary Cap -Roster Size*Minimum Bid)*Number of Owners]

This may seem like a daunting formula but it is simple when broken down. First, multiply the number of rostered players you must have in your league by the minimum auction bid of $500,000. Subtract that number from the salary cap value of $155,270,000 for this year. This difference becomes the “fun money” that you have to spend after accounting for filling out the roster with minimum bid players. Multiply this by the number of teams in the league and you have the entire league’s “fun money”. This number will likely be in the billions of dollars!

The numerator part of the formula takes all of the margins for each position and adds them together. Notice that I did not include a sum for kickers or defenses as I believe in only spending the minimum. Let other owners in your league spend the extra money so that you have more to use on positions that matter. Finally, divide this sum of all position margins from the billions of dollars available in total league “fun money”. This value will be very small, likely a number with four to six 0s after the decimal. For my example this number comes out to 0.00001456 or 1.456e-5.

You now have your multiplier to compare players’ values against one another. Divide an individual player’s margin by the contract multiplier and a dollar value will appear as your contract value. Don’t forget to add back $500,000 to account for the minimum bid value that comes with each player with a value equal to 0. Doing this for every position will yield a completed chart as below.

Auction Chart 3

For those of you that participate in IDP leagues the same formula can apply. You simply would need to do the same margin charts for all defensive positions and apply their sum margins to the numerator.

Hopefully you have stayed with me throughout this impromptu math session. The key to staying focused in your auction is to be prepared. Every owner is entitled to conducting the auction in their own manner, however, too often I have seen owners come in knowing that they want a collection of players and are willing to pay whatever to acquire them. Having a sheet prepared of all the approximate values for each player helps see the whole field instead of getting locked in with blinders. I know math and computers are not everyone’s strong suit so if you have any questions about the chart or want help setting up yours you can find me on twitter @naandrews19.

Peer Pressure: Doing What is Right

Updated: March 20th 2016

No less a mind than Albert Einstein dropped this line on his Nazi-fighting personal physician and friend, Janos Plesch, in 1947: “When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”   The fantasy GM in me likes to think Einstein was genius-level taunting his buddy after winning their inaugural fantasy season.   Big Al’s victory was sealed by the effort of one Elmer Angsman, a third round pick out of Notre Dame dropping two 70-yard TD runs in the ’47 NFL championship game as the Chicago Cardinals dusted the Philadelphia Eagles.  Einstein selected Elmer for his team, “Straight Outta Quantam,” to mockery from his friends in the analytics community that saw Angsman as too one-dimensional to succeed at the pro-level.  Albert later pointed to the lone scouting report that convinced him to draft Angsman, a rival defensive back saying of Elmer, “He was…A straight ahead north and south runner who would just as soon leave cleat marks on your balls as run around you.” Victory.

The preceding story is, of course, fantasy in its fullest sense.  The quotes and people are real, but stripped of any context to produce new meaning.   The very best friends, fantasy GMs, and experts realize that fantasy means more than absorbing common knowledge.  They are stripping reality to its parts and building teams and leagues largely dependent on two pillars; the NFL players and fantasy players.  This column will attempt to remind the fantasy community that the fantasy players you know bear as much impact on fantasy success as the NFL players you may never meet.  When it comes to our own community, we have to borrow once more from the genius of Albert Einstein, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”  Reality Sports Online auction drafts will help the best fantasy GMs determine both what is popular and right in the new, young, and hungry RSO community.

How does one determine what is popular in the fantasy football community?  Multiple levels come into play, but at the most macro level it seems possible to determine where the community at large is getting its information.  Initial analysis of web traffic indicates that sites like Yahoo, NFL.com, and CBS drive and support casual fantasy football play at massive rates.  Future posts should examine how more specialized and sophisticated players set up preseason draft boards, but in every instance the great GM should try to determine how and where our frenemies in the league are getting their information.   Does your crew support a few drifters that roll in on draft day with “cheatsheets,” smelling of beer, fresh ink, and hot paper emblazoned with the logos of well-known sports outlets? If so, nod along to the popular risers like Lamar Miller while noting your favorite names buried deep on that list.   Using data from Fantasy Draft Calculator from 2013-15 we can establish a baseline of how the community at large drafted over a series of mocks preceding each season.    The link between the preseason site rankings of Yahoo (currently the clubhouse leader in sports web traffic) and ADP of drafted players according to fantasy calculator matches at a statistically significant rate over that three year sample.  This could be true for several reasons.  My theory is that massive sites that offer free information like Yahoo rankings drive the average player in a causal way.   Most people don’t have hours to research, agonize over, and tinker with fantasy draft boards.  It doesn’t make them dumb, lazy, or stupid.  In fact these casual players serve as humbling reminders to every GM who has “the bug” that the fickle whims of fortune all too often determine the victor.  If this theory is right, however, it is incumbent on you as a GM to understand that such fantasy players default to typical internet usage habits, hang with the crowd, and defer to the most readily available, popular, rankings.

Several counter-arguments can be made to my thesis that popular websites drive drafting patterns. I will focus on two notable objections.  First, an easy argument might suggest that experts constructing Yahoo’s rankings actually model off ADP collected in preseason mocks so the rankings are reactive rather than predictive of GM draft patterns.    For example, Yahoo’s preseason rankings predicted the ADP of the top 10 picks in a standard scoring at a 90% rate.  2013 was particularly telling, when Yahoo either drove or matched community consensus as it coalesced around early running backs.  Only a detailed chronology could sort the truth of whether the rankings or the ADP came first. This correlation between rankings and ADP reveals the second strong argument against the original thesis; experts and average fantasy players draw from the common data set of NFL players to produce results that correlate, but are not caused by, popular rankings.  Of the second point, I am particularly wary, as gifted minds provide hilarious examples to remind us that Nicholas Cage’s acting and drowning deaths are probably not causally connected.

Here is where value of my hypothesis can be tested in a specific way with the Reality Sports Online platform.  The average player is deprived of the multiplicity of cheatsheets and rankings that blurred the causal relationship in the aforementioned objections.  RSO auction drafts provide a unique test because there is only one free, popular, and visible tool to determine rankings in the RSO offseason.  If my intuition is correct, most players will depend on the site’s recommended contract values as they prepare for league play.  Those values meet the criteria we established above: free, readily available, and popular.  The recommended contract values take on outsized importance because of their presence in the mock draft rooms and the auction draft rooms itself. As both the most prominent, and sole, source of rankings during the actual draft, the values land with the authority of an Adam Schefter tweet during free agency. Staring down the clock and the eye-of-Sauron-like power of the recommendations is where your mettle as a fantasy GM gets tested by RSO and your league, because the popular choice of adherence to the crowd will be pitted against the mockery of any wild pick driven by your own research, but…a note of caution.  What is popular and what is right is not mutually exclusive.   Knowing something is popular in the fantasy community informs your subjective decisions about your own team in a meaningful way because you understand the context of your league.   Determining what your friends and league mates are doing is important, but rarely order to fit in.

At some point growing up I became acutely aware that my father was often the smartest guy in the room. More NASA than NFL in his game by a wide margin.  The man emphasized tangible, concrete truths in life: housing, hard work, and grades.    This paternal wisdom often came at great cost to his sons. Popularity was more of a prayer than an aspiration in my youth. Homemade clothing, haircuts resembling a family montage of “before they were stars,” and the infamously mockable eyewear known as Rec Specs, are written into my family history as indelibly as burning half my auction budget on Adrian Peterson. Popularity never drove my father’s reasoning in these confounding decisions, and he never wavered in the cliché “nerds rule the world.”  This fantasy offseason affords you a chance to pivot away from the peer pressure of the fantasy community to the wisdom of its nerdiest, brightest minds. Find your baseline with the solid, thoughtful, and regularly updated, ADP work at places like Dynasty League Football and mock drafts on RSO.  Once you have a sense of what the “cool crowd” is doing it is time to break from the pack.

The final move should be a search for, and commitment to, some of the Einsteins of the fantasy business.  Brilliant ideas will gain popularity eventually, as the best GMs come to understand practical applications. It is best to be ahead of the game with hipster-like savvy.   Most of us do not have the time, nor expertise to construct algorithms, watch tape, or synthesize data in brilliant new ways  By determining experts with a track record of success, and contrasting them with the loudest, most popular voices in your immediate fantasy circle, you properly contextualize where NFL players will likely be drafted in your own drafts, and at what cost.  Cut the noise and find a Virgil for your Dante draft-day purgatory. Your best fantasy days will come when you see clearly the reality of the NFL players in front of you and your friends and fantasy GMs around you.  With a bit of work you will find the right fantasy thing may be popular, but its popularity is neither necessary nor sufficient to make it right.   We are all following in someone’s fantasy footsteps, here’s hoping you choose the right ones to leave some cleat marks in your league.

numberFire Writers League Results

Updated: August 28th 2015

RSO writer Matt Goodwin hopes that Todd Gurley's dynasty sign pays off for his team vs. fellow writers.

RSO writer Matt Goodwin hopes that Todd Gurley’s dynasty sign pays off for his team vs. fellow writers.

Everyone had so much fun last year that the writers from Reality Sports Online and numberFire returned for year two of their writers league. Along the way, there with a few other new owners (two writers) and a Law Professor from Baylor– the write-in candidate who responded to our tweets and got the final spot. The 10 of us embarked on both a rookie draft and auction recently for their second year in the league. The three-round, three-year contract rookie draft and auction were held on consecutive Sundays.

The participants rookie picks, auction key wins, and strategies are outlined below, along with player contract values to assist those users who have not had their rookie draft yet or auctions. Also do all these hard working writers a solid and follow us on Twitter. We have writers for all kinds of fantasy sports websites who really believe or were interested in kicking the tires on the unique Reality Sports Online format.

Without further ado, the owners and their rosters….

Team: Cleveland’s Award Tour (Matt Goodwin, Reality Sports Online & numberFire) @mattgoody2

Picks:

1.01 Todd Gurley, RB St. Louis Rams (3 years, $19.2M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Going for it all last year, I traded my 2014 first round pick Carlos Hyde to SamHerbie for C.J. Anderson and what turned into pick 1.01. I also traded my other two picks at the deadline as part of a deal to get Marshawn Lynch. A week before the rookie draft, I moved my 1.08 pick to Great Odin’s Raven with Jimmy Graham for Rob Gronkowski who costs about $5.0m a year less than Graham for another 3 years. For me this deal was all about flexibility for the huge free agent pool in 2015 in addition to getting the game’s best tight end on a 4 year, $56 million deal. This trade also enabled me to use the franchise tag on Anderson for $28.1 million knowing that the free agent pool would be shallow in the second year of our league (yes, I actually do follow some of the advice I give in my articles).

With that in mind and given that my top three running backs (Matt Forte, Anderson, and Lynch) will all be free agents following the 2015 season, Todd Gurley was the perfect pick for me for a succession plan at running back. I truly believe he is a faster and younger Lynch and that he will be dominant when the team hands over the reins to him. It was hard to pass up on Amari Cooper’s potential immediate impact, but I generally am not confident in the Raiders offense and figured I could replace Cooper’s production in free agency.

Auction Strategy: I had $27 million of cap space going into the auction, the least of any team. While I believe my starting lineup was fairly stacked, I did have to paint around the edges in the auction and stretch dollars as best I could, noting that I’m not necessarily counting on Gurley to contribute to my team much this season. Overall, having Tom Brady on a 1 year, $3.1 million remaining contract from 2014 meant that I had to find a replacement while Brady likely sits due to Deflategate. So getting a productive quarterback on a multi-year deal was a priority, but ranked second to getting my second starting wide receiver. However, when fellow Miami University alum Ben Roethlisberger had his name called in the auction, I moved quickly and signed him to a 2 year, $8.0 million deal. As I noted in a previous article, I’m very high on Big Ben this year with the weapons he has (with or without Pouncey).

Eric Decker was my top wide receiver target and I used my four year deal to grab the New York Jet wideout for 4 years, $14.0 million. I think Decker will be super productive and love that he ranks highly in the valued yards per route run stat from Pro Football Focus’s premium stats. I also value his production down the stretch last season, capped by a 10 catch, 221 yard, 74 yard TD finale vs. the Dolphins. Otherwise, I grabbed a bunch of cheap wide receivers who may be able to start/flex for me, including Kendall Wright (2 years, $5.0 million), and minimum contract vets like Marques ColstonMichael CrabtreeAntonio Gates.

I also could not resist my Seahawks DST for 1 year, $2.0 million as I like not having to think about a defense when the rest of my lineup is strong.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Roethlisberger, Lynch, Forte, Demaryius Thomas, Decker, Gronkowski, Seahawks DST, Adam Vinatieri, Anderson, Devonta Freeman

Team: Great Odin’s Raven (Dan Pizzuta, numberFire) @DanPizzuta

Picks:

1.02 Amari Cooper, WR Buffalo Bills (3 years, $18.1M)

1.08 T.J. Yeldon, RB Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $11.0M)

2.02 David Johnson, RB Arizona Cardinals (3 years, $4.3M)

3.02 Devin Smith, WR New York Jets (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Knowing Matt was going to take Gurley, I felt like I had three options at 1.02. I entered the draft thin at running back, but decided to go with Amari Cooper. Cooper is pretty clearly the No. 1 option in Oakland and should catch at least 80 passes this season with much higher upside. I didn’t think I’d come as close to Cooper’s production with a wide receiver at 1.08 than I could to come close to someone like Melvin Gordon. Ameer Abdullah was one of the players I briefly considered at 1.02, so my eyes lit up when he was there at 1.07, but he didn’t make it past there. Instead I got T.J. Yeldon at 1.08, who should be a steady contributor and the lead back in Jacksonville by at least next season. I like David Johnson’s skillset at 2.02, and he was a hedge on Andre Ellington, the only running back I had on my roster entering the draft, so now I’m hopefully set however the Arizona backfield plays out. Graham is probably going to talk about how much Phillip Dorsett fell, and I agree with him. I would have taken him over Devin Funchess and Jaelen Strong in the second, but I think Devin Smith is a better version of Dorsett. This is a view I had before the NFL Draft and still hold even though Dorsett is paired with a superior quarterback.

Auction Strategy: I entered the auction with Andre Ellington and T.J. Yeldon as my starting running backs, so that needed to change. With the third most cap space entering the auction, but only a few roster spots, I wasn’t afraid to pay a premium for the top guys, especially considering how few there were. I wanted to come away with at least two of the top three backs. I was outbid after a long back and forth for Lamar Miller, so that made me go harder for Justin Forsett and Chris Ivory. I paid a high price for Forsett on a one-year deal, but it’s still less than had I gotten him on a franchise tag for this year. He’s 30 years old with a short track record of success, so I didn’t want to commit years to him. Ivory, on the other hand, should be the clear No. 1 in New York and is 28, making me feel better about a two-year deal at $19 million.

I also added Shane Vereen for $5 million, should I’ll have some options at running back. From the past two rookie drafts I’m pretty young and deep at wide receiver (Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Cooper, Josh Gordon in a year), so I was able wait and grab John Brown for three-years and $28 million. It’s a high price, but with his age and my lack of big long term commitments, it was a risk I felt I could take.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Cam Newton, Forsett, Ivory, Vincent Jackson, Brown, Graham, Texans DST, Dan Bailey, Vereen, Watkins

Team: Loss aversion (Rory Ryan, Baylor University Law Professor) @RoryRyan

Picks:

1.03 Nelson Agholor, WR Philadelphia Eagles (3 years, $17.6M)

2.03 Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $4.2M)

3.03 Matt Jones, RB Washington Redskins (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: I play in a lot of dynasty leagues. And the most important thing for me was realizing this isn’t a dynasty league. These guys get guaranteed money (though modest), and the rookie contract only provides a three-year discount from market for a producing player. Combine that with the unfortunately shallow rosters (considering the deep starting lineups) and the unfortunate state of the team I inherited, it didn’t seem wise to use my first two picks on project players. Instead, I targeted players likely to produce and contribute at a level above their salaries. Nelson Agholor would have been my top pick in this format regardless, as I think he has a high ceiling and fairly low three-year floor in that offense and competing with that depth chart. The same is true of Jameis Winston, as I’m going to carry a backup QB behind Drew Brees in his final contract year. Winston is priced perfectly for that role, and I like his upside as a great backup or potential platooner thereafter. I took my flier in the third round with the near-minimum salary.

Auction Strategy: There was only so much I could do in the auction. When I acquired the team, my best RBs were Gio Bernard and Tre Mason. In a ten-team league.  And Julian Edelman was my WR1. The free-agent pool contained no true stars.  So while, generally, longer-term contracts may be best utilized to discount the per-year impact of the highest salaries, I took  a different approach and looked for long-term contracts that might end up being market-value homeruns and set me up for next year and beyond, where I’ll have cap room and access to stars. The rest of the draft was simply looking for values and arbitrage while compiling a respectable starting lineup. I was able to keep $37 million in cap room, sign solid multi-year contracts, and get on the brink of a respectable starting lineup.  I was thrilled with the Golden Tate price 3yr-14million. I wanted Markus Wheaton for 4 years at near-minimum because I think he is wildly undervalued and a much better football player than Martavis Bryant. My only regret was losing connectivity during the Doug Martin bidding because he was my other 3-year target. Had to settle for Torrey Smith at 3yr-6.5 million.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Brees, Frank Gore, Jonathan StewartT.Y. Hilton, Tate, Martellus Bennett, Jets DSTMatt Prater, Edelman, Agholor

Team: University of Phoenix Online (Brandon Gdula, numberFire) @gdula13

Picks:

1.04 Melvin Gordon, RB San Diego Chargers (3 years, $16.9M)

2.04 Devin Funchess, WR Carolina Panthers (3 years, $4.2M)

3.04 Chris Conley, WR Kansas City Chiefs (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Let’s just say I wasn’t picking from 1.04 because I traded to get there. My team has a ton of holes, and I wanted the best players I could get. I assumed the first three to go would be Gurley, Cooper, and Melvin Gordon, so I was debating between Agholor and Abdullah. Getting Gordon here was easy, even though I’m not totally sold on him and think Danny Woodhead will be a nuisance for him this year.

In round two, it was between Funchess and Strong for me. I have Strong in another dynasty, and diversifying was my goal here. I like both, so I figured why not? In round three, I was absolutely torn between Chris Conley and Dorsett, but given that rookie deals are only three years, I thought that Conley might have the best chance to be a go-to guy in an offense in that span as opposed to Dorsett, who could be a weekly headache despite being in one of the best offenses in the NFL for years to come. Conley has the physical traits to be a huge threat, and I’m hearing good things about him in camp prior to his injury. I’m all in on Conley, which seems a bit of an unpopular position.

Auction Strategy: Going into the draft, I didn’t have too many bench spots open, so I just wanted to wait on things. I didn’t place an actual bid until after my first two nominations. I also wanted to make sure I got a quarterback on a minimum deal so that I could stream quarterbacks, defenses, and kickers without the penalty of cutting a guaranteed deal.

I was aiming hard for Jeremy Maclin, Danny Woodhead, and another running back or receiver I thought was a value. I felt like I was getting bid up on Maclin, so I dropped it on Sam Herbie even though I really expect big things from Maclin. I also got into a bidding war with Leo Howell over Woodhead and wasn’t going to stop until I got him. Charles Johnson at a modest deal is okay with me. I got Colin Kaepernick, whom I’ve been targeting, for the 1-year, $500k minimum, so that was also a win for my strategy.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Kaepernick, Alfred Morris, Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, Johnson, Travis Kelce, Rams DSTMatt Bryant, Woodhead, Ryan Mathews

Team: Discount Double Check (Daniel Lindsey, TBD) @BitterPackerFan

Picks:

1.05 Kevin White, WR Chicago Bears (3 years, $15.9M)

2.05 Jaelen Strong, WR Houston Texans (3 years, $4.1M)

2.08 Jay Ajayi, RB Miami Dolphins (3 years, $4.0M)

3.05 Maxx Williams, TE Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $2.7M)

3.08 Mike Davis, RB San Francisco 49ers (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: My draft strategy ended up being like a series of unfortunate events. I had a plan, but the dominoes started to fall the day my star running back Arian Foster hurt his groin. Before Foster got hurt, my plan was to just go BPA in the rookie draft – I figured I would be able to take Agholor and that’s who my initial target was. Once Foster went down, I was hoping for Gordon at 5, but I wasn’t expecting it either – especially when Kevin White got sidelined. But I was hoping a team that is contending for this year would still take him as a flier. That ended up being me as I missed out on both Agholor and Gordon. However, I was still hoping to land either David Johnson or David Cobb. Johnson went a couple picks before me and I thought about Cobb at 2.05, but thought he would still be there at 2.08. Missed out on him too and settled for Jay Ajayi over Buck Allen, someone I thought would last until the third round. Alas, he didn’t either and now I hope to strike gold in the FA Auction draft.

Auction Strategy: One of the biggest regrets I have from the auction draft is not putting Knowshon Moreno on IR to open up one more roster spot. Given that I took over a team from last year and my five draft picks this season, I had a much bigger bench than most teams. After bidding on a bunch of running backs (I only got two of who I wanted) and nabbing Peyton Manning kind of by accident (I was seeing how much I could push his price) I realized I had a shorter bench to fill than just about everyone else.

My strategy was to land Mark Ingram and Forsett to make up for no RB to start the season and my flubs in the rookie draft. Ingram was my top get – didn’t matter how much I had to pay for him. Forsett was getting bid up and I wasn’t wanting to play ball (but I should have). My next targets were Rashad Jennings, Doug Martin and Latavius Murray. I was hoping to land two of them, but ended up with Murray (and Joseph Randle, again by accident).
I then found myself in an odd bidding war for Russell Wilson. With most people set with a quarterback and I only had Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel and then Manning with a 1 year contract, I threw out some contracts for Wilson because I still had a 4 year contract left. And then as the bidding started to ramp up, I realized I could use this to my advantage – having Manning and Wilson for one year may seem odd at first (and totally not me) but I can definitely pick my matchups with elite quarterbacks. Then I’d still have Wilson for three more years. I paid a hefty price in the end (and wasn’t pleased with the obvious price gouging, but now I can attempt to compete this year and really start building my wide receivers corps after Odell Beckham Jr. over the next couple years. I’d love to trade Manning, but don’t see that happening after looking at the waiver wire. But who knows – maybe it pays off.
Likely 10 man starting lineup: Manning or Wilson, Ingram, L. Murray, Emmanuel Sanders, Beckham Jr., M. Williams, Bills DSTStephen Gostkowski, Randle, Michael Floyd

Team: Funky Monks (Graham Barfield, Rotoworld, numberFire, & RotoAcademy) @GrahamBarfield

Picks:

1.06 Breshad Perriman, WR Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $14.1M)

2.06 Duke Johnson, RB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $4.1M)

3.06 Phillip Dorsett, WR Indianapolis Colts (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: At 1.06, I got my first dynasty share of Breshad Perriman this offseason. I’ve been trying to buy him everywhere and have had to settle for other options in most drafts (like Agholor and Abdullah). I’m a sucker for his ceiling and available opportunity — plus it definitely doesn’t hurt he’s my WR5 on this squad. At 2.06 I landed Duke Johnson (another guy I have wanted to own in dynasty, but hadn’t landed yet). I loved him coming out of Miami — but just wasn’t thrilled with his landing spot in a muddy backfield. I still think he’s quite possibly the most versatile RB on the Browns with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West not exactly light the world on fire in their rookie seasons. Finally, I was shocked Phillip Dorsett fell to me at 3.06. I legitimately did a little dance in my desk chair when he fell in my lap. He’s been going late-1st/early-2nd all summer, and since TY Hilton re-signed, his dynasty stock has taken a hit. I’ll take a slice of the Colts high-powered offense at a discount where ever I can.

Auction Strategy: My strategy in this auction was to secure one running back and attack a mid-priced option to fill in my No. 2 RB slot. Some of the backs I was expecting to go for cheaper prices went for more than I expected, so I pivoted to spending on veteran depth like Reggie Bush on a mininum deal and buying Tyler Eifert.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller, Bush, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Jason Witten, Dolphins DSTMason Crosby, Jordan MatthewsKeenan Allen

Team: Sam Hauss (Sam Hauss, numberFire) @Real_Hauss

Picks:

1.07 Ameer Abdullah, RB Detroit Lions (3 years, $12.4M)

2.07 David Cobb, RB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $4.0M)

3.07 Marcus Mariota, QB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Going into the rookie draft I felt much more comfortable at the wide receiver position than I did at running back with Jordy Nelson, Brandon Marshall and Kelvin Benjamin (of course the draft happened before he both Nelson and Benjamin tore their ACLs) locked in as starters even if I was unable to upgrade in the auction. I wanted to target a running back and, honestly, was very surprised to see Abdullah fall as far as he did. He is an explosive back who is a plus in the passing game, is expected to have a major role this season and could be the Lions primary back of the future. I was also thrilled to grab David Cobb since I don’t really trust Bishop Sankey to keep the job in Tennessee and Cobb is an incredibly talented runner who could steal this job sooner rather than later. Once I got my two running backs I was just looking for the most upside left on the board in the third which is why I took Marcus Mariota. If he pans out, I may not have to worry about the quarterback position for years to come, even though I don’t think he’ll be all that valuable this season.

Auction Strategy: With Benjamin and Nelson lost for the year before the season started, I knew I had to go into the draft with the goal of grabbing at least two viable starting wide receivers. However, I felt the remaining wide receiver pool had significantly less value than the pool of running backs who were available to draft. With that in mind, I figured I could snatch up as much running back depth as I could with an eye on making a few mid-season deals to round out my receiving corps. I was able to get two of my favorite running back targets in Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount. If all pans out the way I hope, Martin and/or Abdullah — who I took in the rookie draft — will hit big early and I’ll be able to trade one as Blount gets eased back into the Patriots’ offense following his suspension.

 With all that said, there were two mid-tier starting wide receivers that I wanted to target — Andre Johnson and Anquan Boldin — and I made sure that I paid what I had to in order to grab them both given my lack of depth at the position. I also added Steve Johnson and Brian Quick to add depth at the position. I didn’t plan on spending much if anything on the quarterback or tight end positions given the fact that I already had guys who I felt were viable starters at each position already on my roster, however, I am extremely high on Ryan Tannehill and was able to get him for excellent value to lock him up for several years to come.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Tannehill, Eddie Lacy, Johnson, Boldin, Julius Thomas, Cardinals DSTJustin Tucker, Abdullah, Brandon Marshall

Team: Leo Howell (Leo Howell, RotoGrinders) @LeoHowell8

Picks:

1.09 Tevin Coleman, RB Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $10.8M)

3.09 Sammie Coates, WR Pittsburgh Steelers (3 years, $2.6M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: After a successful draft last year that left me with Mike Evans, Teddy Bridgewater and Allen Robinson as a foundation for the future, I wanted to add a couple of complementary pieces this year. Picking near the end of the first round, I went with Tevin Coleman of the Falcons. I have two older running backs under long-term contracts (DeMarco Murray and Jamaal Charles), but wanted to take a shot on a younger player in a decent situation. Coleman doesn’t have a high bar to clear to become the main ballcarrier in the ATL. I didn’t have a second-round pick, but got a guy I may have taken in the second with my third round selection in Sammie Coates. He’s not as tall as I normally like for a young receiver to be, but he has special athletic ability and time to learn and grow with the Steelers, and I’m hopeful he can become a contributor sooner rather than later.

Auction Strategy: I entered the auction with a pretty stable foundation, with Charles, Murray, Evans, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins already on board. I didn’t need a ton of help at skill positions, and had the quarterbacks I wanted in Matthew Stafford and Bridgewater. But I didn’t have a great tight end, which led to my big acquisition of Greg Olsen. He’s not a long-term asset, but there are few tight ends who will see the volume and consistent production Olsen will this season. I also picked up Knile Davis to “handcuff” to Charles, but also because he’s a terrific athlete who will do well if he gets touches. It just so happens I have the guy he’d take touches from, so it works out to be a positive for me either way. (But please stay healthy, Jamaal.) I took a flier on Percy Harvin, hoping he’d carve out a role and make some big plays with the Bills, and I scooped up Jeff Janis, as I believe he’ll play a role in filling Jordy Nelson’s shoes in Green Bay.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Stafford, D. Murray, Charles, Evans, Brown, Olsen, Patriots DST, Blair Walsh, Hopkins, Allen Robinson

Team: gingersauce4u (Tyler Buecher, numberFire) @gingersauce4u

Picks:

1.10 DeVante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins (3 years, $9.76M)

2.10 Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $10.3M)

3.10 Justin Hardy, WR Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $2.6M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Drafting from the 10-spot, I was pleasantly surprised to see DeVante Parker fall to the end of the first round. Seeing him go as high as #3 overall, the 6′ 3″ Louisville product brings size and some unbelievable college productivity to the table. Javorius Allen has been a post-draft favorite of mine as I loved the fit with him in Baltimore. A productive receiving back at USC, Allen should jive well with Marc Trestman’s offense while spelling the soon to be 30-year old Justin Forsett. If Forsett were to miss any time, I think Allen could jump in immediately and provide fantasy value. At 3.10 and the last pick of the draft, I decided to take the NCAA’s all-time receptions leader in Justin Hardy. The former walk-on only has to beat journeymen Leonard Hankerson and return specialist Devin Hester to see significant playing time as the slot receiver, and Hardy should be able to do that with ease. I’m not expecting immediate results with Hardy, but he’s a stash I’m happy to hold onto and monitor closely as the season progresses. Thankfully my roster doesn’t require any of these players to have significant contributions in their rookie years, but I’m happy with the building blocks I acquired in our league’s second rookie draft.

Auction Strategy: Heading into the auction with an already well-stacked roster at RB (Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy) and WR (Julio Jones, Randall Cobb, and Brandin Cooks), my intentions were to just find some good depth at running back and get a quality starting tight end. I was aggressive in our startup draft last year, and my cap space certainly reflected that as I had the second-lowest amount to start the draft. I was able to land C.J. Spiller (1-year, $8.5 mil) and a cheap Joique Bell (1-year, $1 mil), but the first two weeks may be rough for my team if some of these injured running backs are slow to return. I was continuously in bidding wars trying to land Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, and Tyler Eifert, but was out-muscled due to my cap space. I ended up getting Delanie Walker (1-year, $1.5 mil) and Dwayne Allen (1-year, $1 mil) as two later bargains, but I fell short of my goal trying to land one of my higher ranked tight ends.

The only other big play of the night I made was acquiring DeSean Jackson (2-years, $10 mil) as a fourth wide receiver. Already owning a stable core, DJax could be the one to help give my team some big weeks from the flex position. Heading into the season I’m a lot less confident (thanks Chip for exiling Shady to Buffalo) than last year where I was able to score the most points en route to a championship, but I believe this is still a playoff-worthy team.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Tony Romo, Bell, McCoy, Jones, Cobb, Walker, Colts DST, Connor Barth, Cooks, Jackson

Team: SamHerbie (Sammy Light, Reality Sports Online) @SamHerbie

Picks:

2.01 Dorial Green-Beckham., WR Tennessee Titans (3 years, $4.3M)

2.09 Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Carolina Panthers (3 years, $3.9M)

3.01 Tyler Lockett, WR Seattle Seahawks (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Having already traded this year’s first round pick for Carlos Hyde, I planned to go receiver at the top of the second round. Abdullah is the only RB I would have considered there had he been available. Comfortable with Dorial Green-Beckham, as he has a lot of upside and came at a cheap price tag as the first pick in round two. The Cameron Artis-Payne pick came down to the names above his on the Panthers RB depth chart. Even if Stewart does stay healthy (…unlikely), this squad is going to have a tough time winning ballgames this year. Its young talent should get some good burn and, more importantly, experience for ’16 and ’17. My last pick came at the top of the 3rd where I strongly considered taking Mariota. Head won over heart in this case, though – Tyler Lockett should get a lot of targets in Seattle’s slot, especially with Graham often demanding two defenders. Lockett is dynamic and has in him a lot of what Randall Cobb brings to the field.

Auction Strategy: My roster is rather top heavy with nearly $71MM tied up in three players (Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson). Luckily my RB core is intact with AP, Hyde and Jeremy Hill, which felt like enough cushion to avoid the gold rush on running backs that came during the first half of the auction. Once I landed Rashad Jennings at $4.5MM, which may go down as a huge bargain, my entire focus shifted to wide receiver. Coming into the auction I definitely had my eye on Maclin and had prepared to pay a premium. But I felt much more comfortable paying $15MM for one year of Maclin after investing just $7.5MM for two years of Jarvis Landry, who is about to break out. My lone regret comes in the form of Brandon LaFell ($1.5MM), as it would’ve been nice to have another minimum contract on the books… Damn New England roots. In all, I executed my auction gameplan far better in 2015 than I did in our league’s inaugural session.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Rodgers, Peterson, Hill, Calvin Johnson, Maclin, Charles Clay, Broncos DST, Cody Parker, Hyde, Landry