Most Frequently Cut Players in 2015

Updated: June 4th 2016

Knowing how to manage your available cap space is integral to championship caliber Reality Sports Online teams.  As Sir Isaac Newton, an early proponent of salary cap management, once said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”   The cap penalty for cutting an under-contract player is not “equal” to the amount that is owed, but it is significant and owners must be cognizant of the penalty when constructing their team.  Sometimes cutting dead weight may be worth the penalty while other situations may call for holding on longer.  As RSO owners get ready for their free agent auctions, I thought it would be wise to take a look at some of the mistakes that were made last year.  In next week’s piece, we’ll apply those lessons to 2016.

QUARTERBACKS:

  1. Robert Griffin (average contract value: $983,000)
  2. Colin Kaepernick ($2,034,000)
  3. Joe Flacco ($2,188,000)
  4. Jay Cutler ($1,891,000)
  5. Sam Bradford ($5,574,000)
  6. Peyton Manning (15,375,000)

I originally planned to list just the five most frequently cut players but I figured adding in Peyton Manning was prudent based on his massive contract value.  RGIII, Kaepernick and Manning being on this list should surprise nobody but they are cautionary tails.  In the case of RGIII and Kaepernick, that lesson would be not overpaying for a relatively small sample size; as for Manning you need to be wary of overpaying for an aging star.  I’m not sure there is a big takeaway on Flacco and Cutler.  They are serviceable backups or borderline starters in bigger leagues, it makes sense to me that they would be signed to reasonably priced contracts and would be signed/cut throughout the year.  The glaring mistake in this list is obviously Bradford.  Unfortunately it seems that too many RSO owners were drinking the Chip Kelly Kool-Aid.

RUNNING BACKS:

  1. Ryan Williams ($597,000)
  2. Fred Jackson ($1,270,000)
  3. Lorenzo Taliaferro ($1,340,000)
  4. Montee Ball ($1,670,000)
  5. Denard Robinson ($1,346,000)

Well that list was surprising.  Clearly a whole lot of owners thought that Ryan Williams was going to be a factor in Dallas; thankfully, most owners used an un-guaranteed $500,000 minimum contract on Williams.  The trend with the other backs was equally as hopeful: Jackson looked like he could be a valuable change of pace to the bruising Marshawn Lynch; Taliaferro, Ball and Robinson were three young backs in the running for their team’s starting role.  I think the lesson here, as it is in the NFL, is that running backs are so interchangeable that the guy who you target in May and June is unlikely to be the bell-cow in November.  Luckily, these guys were all on cheap, and likely short, contracts that would limit the penalty to cutting bait.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

  1. Charles Johnson ($5,310,000)
  2. Brian Quick ($2,484,000)
  3. Roddy White ($3,690,000)
  4. Cody Latimer ($2,150,000)
  5. Nick Toon ($945,945)

I was expecting WR to give us the most interesting set of frequently cut players and I think this is borne out in the above list.  Let’s start with Roddy White, the elder statesman of this list.  Roddy has been second fiddle to Julio Jones for a few years now but managed to maintain some PPR value until 2015 when his targets plummeted.  The other four WRs, much like our young RBs above, had some buzz going into the preseason about emerging as a starter but they did not pan out for various reasons, namely injury or the rising stock of a teammate (i.e. Stefon Diggs and Willie Snead).  Given the higher salaries here compared to QB and RB, I was surprised that owners didn’t hold onto see if free agency would change the outlook for the younger WRs.

TIGHT ENDS:

  1. David Johnson ($583,000)
  2. Dwayne Allen ($2,715,000)
  3. Owen Daniels ($2,289,000)
  4. Josh Hill ($2,106,000)
  5. Alex Smith ($546,000)

No, the Arizona RB and Kansas City QB were not mislabeled in my statistics, David Johnson and Alex Smith were both sleeper tight end prospects heading into 2015 training camps.  Johnson was behind an old Heath Miller and Smith was in the running with Josh Hill for the Saints TE job after Jimmy Graham was shipped to Seattle.  Neither Johnson or Smith are with those teams anymore so I’m not sure why I’m wasting my breath here but, alas.  Hill was disappointing in 2015 but that should not have been surprising given his unsustainable touchdown rate of 2014.  Allen missed four games and was not involved in the games in which he did play.  Daniels ended up with a respectable season (46 receptions, 517 yards, 3 TDs) with a few big games but it was so hit-or-miss that you likely missed.  Let’s face it, most of today’s TEs are inconsistent and near enough to the replacement level that if you don’t have somebody like Gronk, Travis Kelce or Greg Olsen you shouldn’t bother paying more than the minimum.


Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper

Rookie Monsters: The Reality Sports Online/numberFire Writer’s League Rookie Draft Results

Updated: July 18th 2014

Now that you’ve seen 4th of July fireworks and training camp begins in a few short weeks, if you haven’t started thinking about the 2014 Reality Sports Online fantasy football season, you should probably get on board that train.  With that in mind, the Reality Sports Online/numberFire Writer’s League Rookie Draft was held on Sunday July 13, 2014 with 10 owners picking three rounds of rookies on 3-year deals.

The participants bios, picks, and draft strategies are outlined below, along with player contract values to assist those users who have not had their rookie draft yet.  Also do all these hard working writers a solid and follow us on Twitter. We have writers for NFL teams, guys who bleed football and share the same interests as you.

We can’t wait for our Free Agency Auction to be held on Sunday, August 3rd, which should be posted sometime later that week.

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

Bio:  Wins are not a quarterback statistic. Advocate for PPR leagues and Bilal Powell. Fan of the Buccaneers, bound by location to also root for the other central Florida sports franchises. Lover of soccer, tacos and old school video games. B.S. in Sport Management from Liberty University, working toward a Master of Arts in Communication from Southern New Hampshire. E-mail with any questions, comments, concerns, or Chipotle gift cards.

Picks:

1.01 Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $17.4M)

2.10 Teddy Bridgewater, QB Minnesota Vikings (3 years, $3.52M)

3.01 Allen Robinson, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $2.57M)

Strategy:  Holding the first pick in the draft definitely provided a difficult decision, but Mike Evans was the best combination of present opportunity and future potential. Knowing that I have to pay Evans right away, given the rules, I didn’t want to pick a player who might have a higher long-term upside, as I want good value over the duration of his contract. Getting Teddy Bridgewater and Allen Robinson at the 2/3 turn was more than I could have hoped for, as I believe Teddy will be an NFL-ready talent very quickly, and Robinson could quickly carve out a role as a touchdown producer at a very low salary. I left myself in need of running backs, but that fits my general style, as handing out three year deals to players at the most volatile position in football doesn’t make much sense to me at all.

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

Bio:   Dan is an NFL contributor at numberFire and also contributes to cover32 San Diego, because he thought the Chargers would be interesting last season, and his own blog, Between The Twenties. He enjoys all parts of football, getting equal enjoyment from perfect Peyton Manning passes and errant Brandon Weeden passes, though maybe too much enjoyment from Weeden. At just 24 years old he’s already one of those sports writers who loves Bruce Springsteen, but that’s more of a rite of passage from growing up on the Jersey Shore.

Picks:

1.02 Sammy Watkins, WR Buffalo Bills (3 years, $16.34M)

2.09 Martavis Bryant, WR Pittsburgh Steelers (3 years, $3.57M)

3.02 Kadeem Carey, RB Chicago Bears (3 years, $2.55M)

Strategy:  Sitting at the second pick, I had an easy choice taking either Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, depending on who went first. I was expecting to pick Evans assuming Watkins would go first, but was thrilled with the result. I’m higher on Martavis Bryant than most and believe he’s a great value in the second round with the possibility of being a starter on the outside in Pittsburgh as early as this year. I would have picked him at the top of the second if I had a pick there, but he was my target at the end of round two before the draft started. As the third round came, Ka’Deem Carey was easily the best running back available and might have been as soon as Carlos Hyde was taken. He’s going to be Chicago’s RB2 this season with longer-term upside and I favor his value to a guy like Jeremy Hill, who went in the first round.

Team:  La Morsa Roja (Tyler Buecher, numberFire) @gingersauce4u

Bio:  Tyler is a graduate from Drexel University who grew up in Central Pennsylvania and is an avid fan of all Philadelphia sports teams. While he enjoys nothing more than rooting for the Eagles, his favorite part of the NFL is the offseason. Free agency and the draft are two of his biggest interests, as well as fantasy football. In his free time, Tyler enjoys going to sports games, beerfests, country concerts, and long walks on the beach.

Picks:

1.03 Brandin Cooks, WR New Orleans Saints (3 years, $15.92M)

2.08 Marqise Lee, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $3.61M)

3.03 Jarvis Landry, WR Miami Dolphins (3 years, $2.53M)

Strategy:  Prior to the draft I had created my own version of a “big board” of rookies that I had my eye on and where I was willing to draft them. Drafting from the third overall spot, I would’ve been surprised if the big two receivers in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans were still available. With pick 1.03 I selected Brandin Cooks, NO WR. Cooks enters a great situation playing with Drew Brees and Sean Payton. After the departures of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, there is a void that needs to be filled in New Orleans’ offense and Cooks could pay immediate dividends. It’s not difficult to imagine the speedster from Oregon State to rack up the catches in Payton’s brilliant offense and I could see him as a low WR3/high WR4 this year in terms of fantasy relevance. Jordan Matthews, PHI WR was also on my eye at this spot but I like the upside of Cooks more in both the short and long term as the heir apparent to Marques Colston who turned 31 this summer. With my second selection in the draft at 2.08, I chose Marqise Lee, JAX WR. Lee had a disappointing final season at USC, but he has the pedigree and talent to be worthy of a high selection. I had hoped to land Devonta Freeman, ATL RB here, but he was taken three spots beforehand. Lee will be a great stash for the future as he and quarterback Blake Bortles grow and develop together in the NFL. At turn 3.03, I had just missed taking running back Ka’Deem Carey, CHI RB and ended up taking Jarvis Landry, MIA WR. I really like the upside of Carey in Marc Trestman’s offense but had to settle for Landry. Landry possesses great hands but a lot of other aspects of his game are in need of some fine-tuning. Landry will be another stash, but it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor capitalizes on his knowledge from his time with Chip Kelly to run Miami’s offense this year. I didn’t plan on selecting three receivers heading into the draft, but when the board presents you with two former Biletnikoff Award winners, it’s hard not to be happy with the results.

Team:  The Johnny Cleveland Show (Ari Ross, numberFire) @aross50

Bio:  Ari Ross is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism and economics. He grew up in Cleveland, specifically Shaker Heights, Ohio, and is a fan of all Cleveland sports, the Browns, Cavs and Indians. He vows that at least one Cleveland sports team has to win a championship before he dies. Ari is rarely seen without his Cleveland Indians hat on. Aside from sports, Ari’s interest include movies, some of his favorites include Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Draft Day of course, reading and hanging out with friends. He hopes to work one day in either broadcast or print sports journalism.

Picks:

1.04 Cody Latimer, WR Denver Broncos (3 years, $15.28M)

2.07 Tre Mason, RB St. Louis Rams (3 years, $3.65M)

3.04 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $2.5M)

Strategy:  In the rookie draft I first tried to target guys who could step right in and produce on their team. These guys, like DaVante Adams or Cody Latimer are guys who can step right in and produce because of the situation their in. I was able to draft Latimer, but missed out on Adams by a pick. Secondly I tried to draft guys who could be good in the future as well, as this is a dynasty league, such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Jenkins, with his small contract will be great value 1-2 years down the road. One thing that surprised me is how many QBs were taken. I wasn’t planning on taking a QB as I’d rather have a veteran, but others took them, looking towards the distant future.

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

Bio:  Brandon is an NFL and NBA writer at numberFire. He is a former staff member of Penn State’s Daily Collegian and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown with a Bachelor’s in English Literature. Brandon is currently pursuing a Master’s in Journalism at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When not writing or reading about fantasy sports, Brandon is either with his girlfriend, Sierra, reading fantasy novels, or watching science fiction, and he is eternally looking for somewhere to play pick-up basketball.

Picks:

1.05 Bishop Sankey, RB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $14.43M)

2.06 Davante Adams, WR Green Bay Packers (3 years, $3.69M)

3.04 Andre Williams, RB New York Giants (3 years, $2.48M)

Strategy:  With pick 1.05, I wanted to balance immediate impact and long-term potential, which is why I opted for Bishop Sankey, who should be able to produce this year. I was torn between Sankey and Jordan Matthews, though. I feel like I’m going to regret it already. My later picks were made with the assumption that they’d be relevant in future years. Davante Adams should be able to stretch the field in the Packers offense, and Andre Williams has shown the ability to be a workhorse in college, attributes I like from my receivers and backs. I never considered quarterbacks or tight ends since I don’t value them very highly.

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

Bio:  Matt is an NFL writer at numberFire and a writer/contributor at Reality Sports Online. He is a former sports columnist and basketball beat writer of Miami University’s High Street Journal (during the Wally World years) and a graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor’s in Accounting and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in Finance & International Business. Matt works in finance and analytics and is passionate about sports-especially his hometown Cleveland teams (welcome back, LeBron!) and writing.  When not writing, talking or obsessing about fantasy football, Matt enjoys traveling, hanging with his wife Renee and 4 year old son Jory (another child on the way), coaching or playing pick-up basketball, and getting sucked into the Shawshank Redemption on TNT for the millionth time.

Picks:

1.06 Carlos Hyde, RB San Francisco 49ers (3 years, $12.73M)

2.05 Devonta Freeman, RB Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $3.74M)

3.06 C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Houston Texans (3 years, $2.46M)

Strategy:  With Bishop Sankey still on the board after 1.04, I was anxiously hoping that he’d make it to 1.06, but he went the pick before me at 1.05.  Overall, I’m higher on my pick at 1.06 Carlos Hyde long-term, based on what he did at Ohio State this past year and given Frank Gore’s impending free agency after the 2014 season.  But I was really was hoping for an immediate starter at the running back position, especially on the cheap as rookie wide receivers usually don’t produce their first year.  I was looking at the best talent available at 2.05, while hoping as a Browns fan that Terrance West would still be available and grabbed Devonta Freeman.  Freeman represents a great handcuff and potential third down back for Atlanta in 2014 behind Steven Jackson, who is over both the 30 year old and 2,000 carry threshold that typically signals the end is near for a running back.  So, at worst, Freeman should be the 2015 starter and seemed to be coveted by several folks in the second round. Lastly, even though Jace Amaro was still on the board, I decided to believe in the upside of Houston tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz who has explicit goals and the size to become the next Rob Gronkowski.  What better player to be the next Gronk than one who plays for Coach Bill O’ Brien, who turned Gronk into the superstar that he is. Serious upside there, and even with other regarded tight ends on the Texans, the team took C.J. in the third round for a reason and so did I.

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

Bio: Sam joined the Reality Sports Online team in April as a writer/contributor and is currently a sport & entertainment marketing professional based in New York City. Formerly, he conducted statistical analysis, primarily around college prospects, for the Philadelphia Eagles. It was in Philadelphia, the birthplace of Reality Sports Online, where he first worked with RSO co-founders Matt Papson & Stephen Wendell. Sam originally hails from Boston so he’s luckily seen his fair share of championships, but he’s looking to add to his own mantle with an RSO trophy! A 2010 undergraduate of Union College, Sam recently received his master’s degree in sport business from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Keep a look out for more rookie & free agency content from Sam as football season nears!

Picks:

1.07 Jeremy Hill, RB Cincinnati Bengals (3 years, $11.25M)

2.04 Donte Moncrief, WR Indianapolis Colts (3 years, $3.78M)

3.07 Tom Savage, QB Houston Texans (3 years, $2.44M)

Strategy: When I drew the seventh pick in our inaugural rookie draft, two names immediately came to mind: WR Brandin Cooks & WR Cody Latimer. Convinced the opening run on running backs would hit before pick 1.05, I was comfortable landing either one of the aforementioned receivers in the first round. But four picks in, I was shocked to see the top 3 RBs in the class atop the list of best available. Though I wasn’t as shocked when my favorite of the three, Jeremy Hill, slipped to me – RB Bishop Sankey (1.05) was a hot name coming in, and I knew RB Carlos Hyde (1.06) was a favorite of Matty Goodwin’s. I felt confident coming out of the first round with a running back, knowing how deep the draft was at receiver. The next six picks didn’t phase me much, so it took me about four seconds to submit my Donte Moncrief pick at 2.04. I took Andrew Luck’s new WR toy over Aaron Rodgers’s new WR toy (Davante Adams)… Hope I don’t regret that one. The third round is where my plan went slightly awry. WR Allen Robinson, WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, RB Andre Williams – some of my favorites in this class, all off the board before I got back on the clock at pick 3.07. Consequently, I decided to take my only pure ‘futures’ pick – QB Tom Savage will eventually get his shot in Houston… and they have talent in Houston.

Team:  King Back (Kenny Cook, numberFire) @K_Cook6

Bio:  I have been a life-long fan of the NFL and NBA. I love to write, discuss, debate and listen to all things sports–especially fantasy football. I happen to be a huge LeBron fan, which is in vogue again in Ohio, where I’m from. I am a proud veteran, who served two tours in Iraq, as a member of the Air Force from 2005-2009. I loved the time that I spent in the Air Force, but I knew that I had to get out and pursue my dreams of becoming a sports writer. I graduated college in 2012, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Studies from Ohio University.

Outside of sports, I am a regular guy who is happily married to my beautiful wife, Erica. We are the proud parents of an 18-month-old princess named Kendalynn Paige! I love The Walking Dead and I am pumped for Season 5’s debut in October!

Picks:

1.08 Kelvin Benjamin, WR Carolina Panthers (3 years, $9.98M)

2.03 Terrance West, RB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $3.82M)

3.08 Jerick McKinnon, RB Minnesota Vikings (3 years, $2.42M)

Strategy:  After second thought, I’m not as upset about taking Kelvin Benjamin ahead of Jordan Matthews because in a dynasty, I do feel that he has more upside than Matthews. Getting WRs and RBs, especially this given the dearth of high-upside QBs/TEs was my strategy.

In the end, I came away with Benjamin, Terrance West–who I feel can and will start for the Browns next year overtaking Tate-and Jerick McKinnon–who is a straight up dynasty stash for post-Peterson life in Minnesota. I was happy with my take; although, I wish I could’ve picked up Carlos Hyde because he is destined to take over as Gore’s replacement in a run-heavy offense out west.
No regrets because I can make up for it in the auction!!! #Can’tWait

Team:  B-Ron’s Ballas (Brian Luzier, numberFire) @TheFFBoss

Bio:  A Fantasy Footballer for more than half my life, I’ve seen my share of titles and tears. I pull for the Ravens and Yellow Jackets, always. I live outside Washington, DC and lived in Atlanta previously, graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. I scout rookies in my spare time, and am in more Dynasty Leagues than Redraft Leagues.

Picks:

1.09 Jordan Matthews, WR Philadelphia Eagles (3 years, $9.76M)

2.02 Eric Ebron, TE Detroit Lions (3 years, $3.86M)

3.09 Jace Amaro, TE New York Jets (3 years, $2.4M)

Strategy:  Unable to participate in the draft, but pre-ranked players and was happy with what he walked away with.  Jordan Matthews is a wide receiver that is in the perfect system for his skills who was highly coveted among the group and Luzier nabbed two of the top tight ends in the rookie class.

Team:  Loco Roco (Ryan O’Connor, numberFire) @IrishChaos

Bio:  No bio yet, which Ryan is using to keep himself as a mysterious enigma heading into the RSO Free Agency Auction.  Could turn out to be the best strategy of all. You’ll be hearing more from Ryan for sure!

Picks:

1.10 Odell Beckham Jr., WR New York Giants (3 years, $9.34M)

2.01 Johnny Manziel, QB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $3.91M)

3.10 Devin Street, WR Dallas Cowboys (3 years, $2.38M)

Strategy:  Love Odell Beckham and see him really emerging as a focal point of NYG offense in next year or two.  Wanted Jordan Matthews and thought i could get him at 2.01.  Shocked to see he went 1.09 as i thought i would be reaching at 2.01.  Johnny Manziel is a no-brainer stash pick.  Running QBs accumulate cheap points and can often mask mediocre production passing.    Devin Street was a homer pick as I went to pick and am excited to see him play this year.

More Analysis by Matt Goodwin

Rookie Monsters: The Reality Sports Online/numberFire Writer's League Rookie Draft Results

Updated: July 18th 2014

Now that you’ve seen 4th of July fireworks and training camp begins in a few short weeks, if you haven’t started thinking about the 2014 Reality Sports Online fantasy football season, you should probably get on board that train.  With that in mind, the Reality Sports Online/numberFire Writer’s League Rookie Draft was held on Sunday July 13, 2014 with 10 owners picking three rounds of rookies on 3-year deals.

The participants bios, picks, and draft strategies are outlined below, along with player contract values to assist those users who have not had their rookie draft yet.  Also do all these hard working writers a solid and follow us on Twitter. We have writers for NFL teams, guys who bleed football and share the same interests as you.

We can’t wait for our Free Agency Auction to be held on Sunday, August 3rd, which should be posted sometime later that week.

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

Bio:  Wins are not a quarterback statistic. Advocate for PPR leagues and Bilal Powell. Fan of the Buccaneers, bound by location to also root for the other central Florida sports franchises. Lover of soccer, tacos and old school video games. B.S. in Sport Management from Liberty University, working toward a Master of Arts in Communication from Southern New Hampshire. E-mail with any questions, comments, concerns, or Chipotle gift cards.

Picks:

1.01 Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $17.4M)

2.10 Teddy Bridgewater, QB Minnesota Vikings (3 years, $3.52M)

3.01 Allen Robinson, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $2.57M)

Strategy:  Holding the first pick in the draft definitely provided a difficult decision, but Mike Evans was the best combination of present opportunity and future potential. Knowing that I have to pay Evans right away, given the rules, I didn’t want to pick a player who might have a higher long-term upside, as I want good value over the duration of his contract. Getting Teddy Bridgewater and Allen Robinson at the 2/3 turn was more than I could have hoped for, as I believe Teddy will be an NFL-ready talent very quickly, and Robinson could quickly carve out a role as a touchdown producer at a very low salary. I left myself in need of running backs, but that fits my general style, as handing out three year deals to players at the most volatile position in football doesn’t make much sense to me at all.

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

Bio:   Dan is an NFL contributor at numberFire and also contributes to cover32 San Diego, because he thought the Chargers would be interesting last season, and his own blog, Between The Twenties. He enjoys all parts of football, getting equal enjoyment from perfect Peyton Manning passes and errant Brandon Weeden passes, though maybe too much enjoyment from Weeden. At just 24 years old he’s already one of those sports writers who loves Bruce Springsteen, but that’s more of a rite of passage from growing up on the Jersey Shore.

Picks:

1.02 Sammy Watkins, WR Buffalo Bills (3 years, $16.34M)

2.09 Martavis Bryant, WR Pittsburgh Steelers (3 years, $3.57M)

3.02 Kadeem Carey, RB Chicago Bears (3 years, $2.55M)

Strategy:  Sitting at the second pick, I had an easy choice taking either Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, depending on who went first. I was expecting to pick Evans assuming Watkins would go first, but was thrilled with the result. I’m higher on Martavis Bryant than most and believe he’s a great value in the second round with the possibility of being a starter on the outside in Pittsburgh as early as this year. I would have picked him at the top of the second if I had a pick there, but he was my target at the end of round two before the draft started. As the third round came, Ka’Deem Carey was easily the best running back available and might have been as soon as Carlos Hyde was taken. He’s going to be Chicago’s RB2 this season with longer-term upside and I favor his value to a guy like Jeremy Hill, who went in the first round.

Team:  La Morsa Roja (Tyler Buecher, numberFire) @gingersauce4u

Bio:  Tyler is a graduate from Drexel University who grew up in Central Pennsylvania and is an avid fan of all Philadelphia sports teams. While he enjoys nothing more than rooting for the Eagles, his favorite part of the NFL is the offseason. Free agency and the draft are two of his biggest interests, as well as fantasy football. In his free time, Tyler enjoys going to sports games, beerfests, country concerts, and long walks on the beach.

Picks:

1.03 Brandin Cooks, WR New Orleans Saints (3 years, $15.92M)

2.08 Marqise Lee, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $3.61M)

3.03 Jarvis Landry, WR Miami Dolphins (3 years, $2.53M)

Strategy:  Prior to the draft I had created my own version of a “big board” of rookies that I had my eye on and where I was willing to draft them. Drafting from the third overall spot, I would’ve been surprised if the big two receivers in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans were still available. With pick 1.03 I selected Brandin Cooks, NO WR. Cooks enters a great situation playing with Drew Brees and Sean Payton. After the departures of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, there is a void that needs to be filled in New Orleans’ offense and Cooks could pay immediate dividends. It’s not difficult to imagine the speedster from Oregon State to rack up the catches in Payton’s brilliant offense and I could see him as a low WR3/high WR4 this year in terms of fantasy relevance. Jordan Matthews, PHI WR was also on my eye at this spot but I like the upside of Cooks more in both the short and long term as the heir apparent to Marques Colston who turned 31 this summer. With my second selection in the draft at 2.08, I chose Marqise Lee, JAX WR. Lee had a disappointing final season at USC, but he has the pedigree and talent to be worthy of a high selection. I had hoped to land Devonta Freeman, ATL RB here, but he was taken three spots beforehand. Lee will be a great stash for the future as he and quarterback Blake Bortles grow and develop together in the NFL. At turn 3.03, I had just missed taking running back Ka’Deem Carey, CHI RB and ended up taking Jarvis Landry, MIA WR. I really like the upside of Carey in Marc Trestman’s offense but had to settle for Landry. Landry possesses great hands but a lot of other aspects of his game are in need of some fine-tuning. Landry will be another stash, but it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor capitalizes on his knowledge from his time with Chip Kelly to run Miami’s offense this year. I didn’t plan on selecting three receivers heading into the draft, but when the board presents you with two former Biletnikoff Award winners, it’s hard not to be happy with the results.

Team:  The Johnny Cleveland Show (Ari Ross, numberFire) @aross50

Bio:  Ari Ross is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism and economics. He grew up in Cleveland, specifically Shaker Heights, Ohio, and is a fan of all Cleveland sports, the Browns, Cavs and Indians. He vows that at least one Cleveland sports team has to win a championship before he dies. Ari is rarely seen without his Cleveland Indians hat on. Aside from sports, Ari’s interest include movies, some of his favorites include Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Draft Day of course, reading and hanging out with friends. He hopes to work one day in either broadcast or print sports journalism.

Picks:

1.04 Cody Latimer, WR Denver Broncos (3 years, $15.28M)

2.07 Tre Mason, RB St. Louis Rams (3 years, $3.65M)

3.04 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $2.5M)

Strategy:  In the rookie draft I first tried to target guys who could step right in and produce on their team. These guys, like DaVante Adams or Cody Latimer are guys who can step right in and produce because of the situation their in. I was able to draft Latimer, but missed out on Adams by a pick. Secondly I tried to draft guys who could be good in the future as well, as this is a dynasty league, such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Jenkins, with his small contract will be great value 1-2 years down the road. One thing that surprised me is how many QBs were taken. I wasn’t planning on taking a QB as I’d rather have a veteran, but others took them, looking towards the distant future.

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

Bio:  Brandon is an NFL and NBA writer at numberFire. He is a former staff member of Penn State’s Daily Collegian and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown with a Bachelor’s in English Literature. Brandon is currently pursuing a Master’s in Journalism at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When not writing or reading about fantasy sports, Brandon is either with his girlfriend, Sierra, reading fantasy novels, or watching science fiction, and he is eternally looking for somewhere to play pick-up basketball.

Picks:

1.05 Bishop Sankey, RB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $14.43M)

2.06 Davante Adams, WR Green Bay Packers (3 years, $3.69M)

3.04 Andre Williams, RB New York Giants (3 years, $2.48M)

Strategy:  With pick 1.05, I wanted to balance immediate impact and long-term potential, which is why I opted for Bishop Sankey, who should be able to produce this year. I was torn between Sankey and Jordan Matthews, though. I feel like I’m going to regret it already. My later picks were made with the assumption that they’d be relevant in future years. Davante Adams should be able to stretch the field in the Packers offense, and Andre Williams has shown the ability to be a workhorse in college, attributes I like from my receivers and backs. I never considered quarterbacks or tight ends since I don’t value them very highly.

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

Bio:  Matt is an NFL writer at numberFire and a writer/contributor at Reality Sports Online. He is a former sports columnist and basketball beat writer of Miami University’s High Street Journal (during the Wally World years) and a graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor’s in Accounting and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in Finance & International Business. Matt works in finance and analytics and is passionate about sports-especially his hometown Cleveland teams (welcome back, LeBron!) and writing.  When not writing, talking or obsessing about fantasy football, Matt enjoys traveling, hanging with his wife Renee and 4 year old son Jory (another child on the way), coaching or playing pick-up basketball, and getting sucked into the Shawshank Redemption on TNT for the millionth time.

Picks:

1.06 Carlos Hyde, RB San Francisco 49ers (3 years, $12.73M)

2.05 Devonta Freeman, RB Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $3.74M)

3.06 C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Houston Texans (3 years, $2.46M)

Strategy:  With Bishop Sankey still on the board after 1.04, I was anxiously hoping that he’d make it to 1.06, but he went the pick before me at 1.05.  Overall, I’m higher on my pick at 1.06 Carlos Hyde long-term, based on what he did at Ohio State this past year and given Frank Gore’s impending free agency after the 2014 season.  But I was really was hoping for an immediate starter at the running back position, especially on the cheap as rookie wide receivers usually don’t produce their first year.  I was looking at the best talent available at 2.05, while hoping as a Browns fan that Terrance West would still be available and grabbed Devonta Freeman.  Freeman represents a great handcuff and potential third down back for Atlanta in 2014 behind Steven Jackson, who is over both the 30 year old and 2,000 carry threshold that typically signals the end is near for a running back.  So, at worst, Freeman should be the 2015 starter and seemed to be coveted by several folks in the second round. Lastly, even though Jace Amaro was still on the board, I decided to believe in the upside of Houston tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz who has explicit goals and the size to become the next Rob Gronkowski.  What better player to be the next Gronk than one who plays for Coach Bill O’ Brien, who turned Gronk into the superstar that he is. Serious upside there, and even with other regarded tight ends on the Texans, the team took C.J. in the third round for a reason and so did I.

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

Bio: Sam joined the Reality Sports Online team in April as a writer/contributor and is currently a sport & entertainment marketing professional based in New York City. Formerly, he conducted statistical analysis, primarily around college prospects, for the Philadelphia Eagles. It was in Philadelphia, the birthplace of Reality Sports Online, where he first worked with RSO co-founders Matt Papson & Stephen Wendell. Sam originally hails from Boston so he’s luckily seen his fair share of championships, but he’s looking to add to his own mantle with an RSO trophy! A 2010 undergraduate of Union College, Sam recently received his master’s degree in sport business from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Keep a look out for more rookie & free agency content from Sam as football season nears!

Picks:

1.07 Jeremy Hill, RB Cincinnati Bengals (3 years, $11.25M)

2.04 Donte Moncrief, WR Indianapolis Colts (3 years, $3.78M)

3.07 Tom Savage, QB Houston Texans (3 years, $2.44M)

Strategy: When I drew the seventh pick in our inaugural rookie draft, two names immediately came to mind: WR Brandin Cooks & WR Cody Latimer. Convinced the opening run on running backs would hit before pick 1.05, I was comfortable landing either one of the aforementioned receivers in the first round. But four picks in, I was shocked to see the top 3 RBs in the class atop the list of best available. Though I wasn’t as shocked when my favorite of the three, Jeremy Hill, slipped to me – RB Bishop Sankey (1.05) was a hot name coming in, and I knew RB Carlos Hyde (1.06) was a favorite of Matty Goodwin’s. I felt confident coming out of the first round with a running back, knowing how deep the draft was at receiver. The next six picks didn’t phase me much, so it took me about four seconds to submit my Donte Moncrief pick at 2.04. I took Andrew Luck’s new WR toy over Aaron Rodgers’s new WR toy (Davante Adams)… Hope I don’t regret that one. The third round is where my plan went slightly awry. WR Allen Robinson, WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, RB Andre Williams – some of my favorites in this class, all off the board before I got back on the clock at pick 3.07. Consequently, I decided to take my only pure ‘futures’ pick – QB Tom Savage will eventually get his shot in Houston… and they have talent in Houston.

Team:  King Back (Kenny Cook, numberFire) @K_Cook6

Bio:  I have been a life-long fan of the NFL and NBA. I love to write, discuss, debate and listen to all things sports–especially fantasy football. I happen to be a huge LeBron fan, which is in vogue again in Ohio, where I’m from. I am a proud veteran, who served two tours in Iraq, as a member of the Air Force from 2005-2009. I loved the time that I spent in the Air Force, but I knew that I had to get out and pursue my dreams of becoming a sports writer. I graduated college in 2012, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Studies from Ohio University.

Outside of sports, I am a regular guy who is happily married to my beautiful wife, Erica. We are the proud parents of an 18-month-old princess named Kendalynn Paige! I love The Walking Dead and I am pumped for Season 5’s debut in October!

Picks:

1.08 Kelvin Benjamin, WR Carolina Panthers (3 years, $9.98M)

2.03 Terrance West, RB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $3.82M)

3.08 Jerick McKinnon, RB Minnesota Vikings (3 years, $2.42M)

Strategy:  After second thought, I’m not as upset about taking Kelvin Benjamin ahead of Jordan Matthews because in a dynasty, I do feel that he has more upside than Matthews. Getting WRs and RBs, especially this given the dearth of high-upside QBs/TEs was my strategy.

In the end, I came away with Benjamin, Terrance West–who I feel can and will start for the Browns next year overtaking Tate-and Jerick McKinnon–who is a straight up dynasty stash for post-Peterson life in Minnesota. I was happy with my take; although, I wish I could’ve picked up Carlos Hyde because he is destined to take over as Gore’s replacement in a run-heavy offense out west.
No regrets because I can make up for it in the auction!!! #Can’tWait

Team:  B-Ron’s Ballas (Brian Luzier, numberFire) @TheFFBoss

Bio:  A Fantasy Footballer for more than half my life, I’ve seen my share of titles and tears. I pull for the Ravens and Yellow Jackets, always. I live outside Washington, DC and lived in Atlanta previously, graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. I scout rookies in my spare time, and am in more Dynasty Leagues than Redraft Leagues.

Picks:

1.09 Jordan Matthews, WR Philadelphia Eagles (3 years, $9.76M)

2.02 Eric Ebron, TE Detroit Lions (3 years, $3.86M)

3.09 Jace Amaro, TE New York Jets (3 years, $2.4M)

Strategy:  Unable to participate in the draft, but pre-ranked players and was happy with what he walked away with.  Jordan Matthews is a wide receiver that is in the perfect system for his skills who was highly coveted among the group and Luzier nabbed two of the top tight ends in the rookie class.

Team:  Loco Roco (Ryan O’Connor, numberFire) @IrishChaos

Bio:  No bio yet, which Ryan is using to keep himself as a mysterious enigma heading into the RSO Free Agency Auction.  Could turn out to be the best strategy of all. You’ll be hearing more from Ryan for sure!

Picks:

1.10 Odell Beckham Jr., WR New York Giants (3 years, $9.34M)

2.01 Johnny Manziel, QB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $3.91M)

3.10 Devin Street, WR Dallas Cowboys (3 years, $2.38M)

Strategy:  Love Odell Beckham and see him really emerging as a focal point of NYG offense in next year or two.  Wanted Jordan Matthews and thought i could get him at 2.01.  Shocked to see he went 1.09 as i thought i would be reaching at 2.01.  Johnny Manziel is a no-brainer stash pick.  Running QBs accumulate cheap points and can often mask mediocre production passing.    Devin Street was a homer pick as I went to pick and am excited to see him play this year.

More Analysis by Matt Goodwin