Value and Style

Updated: August 7th 2016

I invited one of the best people I have ever met to a formal dance in high school.   I did this based on potential, and comfort.  If this was a fantasy pick we are talking a low-cost proposition in terms of social capital.  No boom or bust, I was her friend, and she knew we would remain so for a long time.   What she could not have known, nor could I, was how much better a high school dance was when enjoyed among friends, rather than spent in a desperate reach for whatever it is that socially awkward high school boys think they are reaching.   The dance of course is a monetary proposition.  Tux, dinner, limo.   My friends lacked money, but not ingenuity.   We decided to roll in our own unique style to spend money on something besides our wheels.   While many of our classmates took to the phones to order all manner of limos: stretch limos, Hummer limos, etc.  We took to the local grocer to get cardboard boxes and paint.   Hours later we had “pimped my ride” and my parents’ rusted Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon  took on the character, or at least caricature, of a limousine with a duct tape and cardboard body work semi-intact.  Our dates emerged in their formal dresses to their “players” in our ill-fitting, garish tuxedos and rolling Station Wagonosine.  Before the dance started we were hardly the most sought out dates, but when we tossed the keys to that beast to the Valet, we had truly arrived.  Limousine style at station wagon prices.

In the first article in the series we looked at the last tier of the top 100 players being selected in dynasty snake drafts through June.   With this sense of the best 100 players from the larger dynasty community, these articles will continue to offer you specific insight into how the players are valued in the RSO community so you can target great contracts in your offseason housekeeping.   The bottom of the 100 offered value to be found the WR position, but potential breakouts at TE provided the best trade targets.  This group of ten is headlined by a young QB being drafted 8th overall at the position, but the primary lesson to be learned is in a game of king of the Hill.  Just as we came to understand that holding out for late value in tight ends may be the way to go after the premier players come off the board, this tier reinforces and highlights a noteworthy aspect of RSO:  don’t overpay for running backs.

Jeremy Hill is almost universally owned across RSO leagues.   This ownership does not come cheap.  To secure the services of the young Bengal owners dropped contracts averaging 2.8 years and 52.29 million dollars.  He lead the league in rushing touchdowns in both 2014 and 2015 with 11 each year. By all means he is a qualified NFL success. Yet, his is a cautionary tale for GMs falling in love with the breakout of first year backs like David Johnson and Thomas Rawls.  Most owners view the return on their massive investment as dubious, because the Bengals have invested heavily in Gio Bernard in the offseason, and in RSO leagues Gio checked in last year at a purchase price of 8.19 million over an average contract length of 1.7 years.   This comparison allows you to evaluate what you are likely to pay at auction for the other backs in this tier: Duke Johnson, Ajayi, and Abdullah.

The young Duke offers the best comparison, slated to play the Gio role in Hue Jackson’s Cleveland odyssey is far less widely owned than either Bengal.   He is valued only fractionally differently by the broader dynasty community, and RSO GMs have him contracted for a nearly identical span (2.4 years) however, the young Brown Duke bears a price tag south of 5 million dollars, likely reflecting the low rookie draft capital and depressed contracts he commanded coming out of college.   Most owners are not selling at that price.  However, Duke and his truly sorry running mate, Isaiah Crowell are available at auction in a high percentage of RSO leagues.   Here is where you can make an informed investment.  Last year in the same time frame Joseph Randle slotted  at the 81st player taken in June ADP.  Randle’s cost in RSO: an average of 14.3 Million dollars over 1.8 years.    That contract is about 7.9 million per year.   If Duke, Ajayi, and Abdullah have lower price tags than that, the obvious play is to move on them while they still face relative ambiguity in their backfields.   However, the surprising find in this analysis is that Isaiah Crowell may actually be the cardboard-bedazzled RB to own.   He will be virtually free, and after seeing his possible range of comparables from Hill to Gio to Duke to Abullah, compare those names to the non-RBs in this tier.  Wouldn’t you rather spend that precious cap money on something besides the dubious wheels of Cincinatti, Cleveland, and Detroit?

(all Data courtesy of My Fantasy League. Trade calculator values are derived from current average draft position and historical trade market via the Rotoviz Dynasty ADP App):

81 Hill, Jeremy CIN RB 26 81.1
82 Johnson, Duke CLE RB 27 81.6
83 Crabtree, Michael OAK WR 43 82.4
84 Bernard, Giovani CIN RB 28 83.7
85 Ertz, Zach PHI TE 6 84.7
86 Boyd, Tyler CIN WR 44 84.8
87 Ajayi, Jay MIA RB 29 85.6
88 Abdullah, Ameer DET RB 30 86.2
89 Funchess, Devin CAR WR 45 91.1
90 Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB 8 89.7

Bio: Luke @FantasyDocOC is husband, father, doctoral student, and teacher slowly building a reality dynasty league comprised entirely of daughters. Following in the footsteps of Saint Francis, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” CUA. Hoya Saxa.

More Analysis by Luke O'Connell

Saying Goodbye To Being In Control

Updated: October 2nd 2015

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (33) poses for a portrait during the NFLPA Rookie Premiere on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Ric Tapia/AP Images for NFL Players Inc.)

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (33) poses for a portrait during the NFLPA Rookie Premiere on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Ric Tapia/AP Images for NFL Players Inc.)

I’ll start by saying that this article is particularly long. For those only interested in the football aspect of the article, you will want to scroll down to the #6 heading. For those of you who appreciate my writing style and want to see how a personal experience of mine has changed my fantasy football outlook, please read on.

This past weekend was one of the most difficult I’ve encountered on a personal level. And no, I’m not talking about fantasy football or my RSO leagues. Amidst a fairly hectic couple of weeks at work which took many turns while we landed on our most recent financial forecast, I got the news mid-last week that my Aunt Paula, who was battling Stage 4 cancer, was in home hospice.

To me, there was only one possibility for how I was going to spend my weekend — traveling to Southern California to support my parents and see my aunt and say my goodbyes, followed by traveling back home to my wife and young kids on one of my once-sacred fantasy football Sundays. I’d imagine that each of you has an Aunt Paula or an uncle like her; she played the role of the “cool aunt”– the one without kids of her own — to my younger brother and me. And she knocked it out of the park every time. She was the one who took us to countless baseball games (and two hour autograph sessions at team busses afterwards), the circus and many other events, all while she was in her 20’s and could have been living her own life. She was the one who provided innumerable life lessons to me and even explained to a younger version of me why a young woman was squatting outside of Cleveland Stadium before a Browns game (she only had to explain once, but this type of activity was commonplace for Browns games).

She is the reason I love numbers and statistics. She was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and later became a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the healthcare industry. When partners of her CPA firm took her to Cleveland Indians games, somehow I was the one who got to tag along and then win sports trivia contests as a youngster against these shocked partners of her firm. While I followed in her footsteps and became a CPA too, I decided that I was more interested in finance and strategy. However, my love of sports statistics that she instilled in me has only grown stronger, and through Reality Sports Online I get to be at the pinnacle of these statistics and use them to help others and try to win my leagues.

I’m not gonna lie, seeing a once vibrant woman full of life be non-responsive and in significant pain was the toughest experience I’ve been through and I can only imagine what was going through her mind and body. And while I wish I had happier news to report, Aunt Paula succumbed to cancer early Monday morning. She will be missed dearly by our family and her friends and co-workers.

The past weekend taught me so many lessons that I can draw from going forward and some can even be applied to Reality Sports Online leagues and fantasy football in general as well. Family members and friends who are only reading this for the non-football strategy aspects, you can stop reading now.

1) My proudest fantasy football moment of the weekend was….

One of my Reality Sports Online Twitter followers and fellow Seattle-area resident (whom I haven’t met yet but look forward to catching some games with), was asking me advice about trades and starting lineup decisions on Saturday. I apologized to him for not being as responsive as I usually am and tried to offer advice, although I really was in no place to do it. He apologized for what I was going through and when I had some time to respond on Sunday I found a stat on Steve Smith’s recent success against the Bengals for him that changed my course and advice on who he should start at wideout (he’s loaded there) and Smith powered him to victory while John Brown sat on his bench.  To his opponent, “Ice up, son!”

I really enjoying helping others with their lineups and strategy and hope that my articles this offseason have helped others build a roadmap to winning their leagues.

2) Sometimes I’m no more of an expert than anyone else….

While I went 12-4 in my weekly picks last week, I was 6-10 the week prior. Further, heading into Monday night’s games, I was dead last (50/50) in the FantasyDraft RSO Expert contest.  I ended up finishing higher than this based on Randall Cobb’s big performance, some of the players I chose who exhibited a high floor actually had no floor (Tyler Eifert had zero points) in this weird Week 3 of fantasy football.

So know that for every pick I get right, there are other picks I get very wrong.

3) I’m still chasing my first RSO Championship, but this week was definitely a highlight….

After three weeks in two RSO leagues, I’m the highest scoring team in both leagues. I’m 3-0 in my writers league and 2-1 in my main league. In my main league, I scored 337 points, which approached approached a league record. See my lineup below:

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 2.50.29 PM

I’m doing all this without Arian Foster, who was my big free agency get. I paid more than I would’ve liked for him (2 years, $51.5 million), but the cliff fall of remaining running backs in our league auction thereafter was very steep. Since we only are required to start one in this league (myself and my co-commish thought long and hard about our league scoring system and roster composition based on the NFL being a “passing” league), it was important to get a running back with “go-off” potential.

Little did I know in this very weird Week 3 of fantasy football that Devonta Freeman would have one of the best debuts as a starter in fantasy football history, certainly worthy of the “go off” categorization. I did think that he’d be solid in PPR, but in the little football I did get to watch while shuttling between airports and airplanes, Freeman showed the ability to get his pads low and deliver punishment while consistently reaching the second level of the Dallas Cowboys defense. Color me impressed. While Freeman is definitely at his highest “sell-high” point, those who own Tevin Coleman should fear that the running back who went in the first round of many RSO rookie drafts will now be a platooner at best if Freeman stays healthy. In terms of Freeman’s rest of season outlook, he’s definitely in the Top 24 running back discussion.

4) Most importantly, I learned that being in control is “overrated”…

I wouldn’t call myself a control freak, but with my unique ability to recollect statistics, facts, etc. that I acquired from Aunt Paula, I have a hard time not being in control. This is probably the reason that I rarely have drunk myself into oblivion, because I’m not a fan of not being able to remember things.

For these same reasons, until this past weekend I felt that my fantasy teams, NCAA Tournament brackets, etc. performed better if I was watching. Basically that my watching could somehow “control” the outcome. Of course it is more fun to be able to watch your fantasy players perform, but sometimes that simply isn’t possible.

Before marriage and children, there would be no way that I would even deign to consider flying on a football Sunday. My Thanksgiving travel has consistently featured either Saturday or Monday returns (cheaper that way, too). With my aunt’s health taking a significant turn for the worse, I had no choice but to fly and say my goodbyes quickly and fly back home on a football Sunday. Of course with the Sunday Ticket Max and Wi-Fi, I figured I’d be no worse for wear on Sunday while traveling.

That’s where I was wrong. The Wi-Fi was weak in the first airport I was passing through and I couldn’t stream any games or the Red Zone Channel. I basically was able to watch the Falcons/Cowboys game until I boarded, which is why I was able to tell early on that Freeman was looking good before he blew up. Another surprising performer for me this week, Lance Dunbar (about time after two years of touting him in Scott Linehan’s offense) was someone else I was able to watch a bit as well and I think he has cemented himself as part of the offense, although the whole “game-script” logic applies to him. Start him in PPR leagues, but be careful otherwise.

Luckily, I was able to check my scores and see my teams were performing well while I wasn’t watching. That was a feeling I had never really experienced before for prolonged periods of time. So when I boarded my first flight from Ontario to Oakland (Southwest’s regional spoke system for sure), I quickly was delighted to learn Wi-Fi was available, but then quickly disappointed that the Wi-Fi (which I paid $8 for) didn’t let me stream the Sunday Ticket. I then decided to pay another $4 for Red Zone so I had other options besides Eagles/Jets and figured my second flight (a two hour flight from Oakland to Seattle) would have Wi-Fi and I had already paid for the whole day on the first flight.

From 30,000 feet I saw that Steve Smith was going off for me in my writers league (someone inexplicably dropped Mr. Ice Up, Son during the week) and that A.J. Green was wrecking the Ravens as he typically does (which was to my benefit in one league and to my detriment in another as I was facing him).

When I landed in Oakland, it was the end of the early games and I peeked at the TV from a Chili’s (I have a deeply irrational love for Chili’s and wish they had them closer to me in Seattle, which is very anti-chain restaurant) as my Browns were failing in a last-ditch effort against the Raiders. It was still nice to be clued in on the games that had fantasy impact.

As I was boarding the second flight, the Seahawks were pulling off the fake-punt return play the Rams pulled on them last season, except Richard Sherman doesn’t have Robert Brooks’ “breakaway speed” and got caught from behind. The Seahawks sputtered early against the Bears, which is becoming a theme (more on that in a bit) as I headed down the jetway to board my plane.

Then, something that would have previously sent my world in a spiral happened. I entered the doorway of the plane and didn’t see a Wi-Fi symbol. I asked the flight attendant if there was Wi-Fi on the flight. Her response was “No, this is a classic airplane,” and then in her Southwest-Airlines-flight-attendant-trying-to-be-funny mode quipped, “You’ll have to make friends with your neighbor.” I thought to myself, “I don’t want to make friends with my neighbor. My aunt is effing dying, I’m tired as you-know-what and ALL I want to do is watch the Seahawks game.” And by the way, I was flying from one of the most tech savvy areas (Bay Area) to another highly techie area (Seattle). Of all the routes not to have Wi-Fi, this was it?

Somehow I killed two hours listening to music (those who know me best know what was on the playlist) on my noise-cancelling headphones (there wouldn’t be any making friends with my neighbor on this flight, missy!) and there was a quiet calm for me as our plane landed. Quick aside — I don’t travel much, but highly advocate buying a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Simply put,they are amazing and for the times you do travel are so nice to have and can change your mood instantly.

What this weekend taught me is that I didn’t have to be in control of everything. I wasn’t going to get my aunt back to health, I was there to say goodbye and be helpful and supportive to my family. I wasn’t going to have control of my ability to watch my fantasy players, I just had to trust they’d perform well. As my weekends going forward will certainly fill up with family activities like apple picking, soccer games, and playdates, it certainly is nice to know that I can pick my spots and not obsess over every play, because I don’t truly control the outcome.

5) I also can’t control what other teams in my league do on the trade market….

Both my teams have a legitimate chance if my players stay relatively healthy to win my leagues. However, I can’t control if a non-contending team shops their best players to my main competition for development players and draft picks. This has already happened in my league, but I’m in the position that I’m playing well without Foster and if it ain’t broke, there is no reason to fix it right now. People in other leagues hopefully realize that too. As commish, a trade would have to be an overt demonstration of collusion for me or my co-commish to consider vetoing it.

Additionally, a word of advice. My main league takes advantage of RSO’s playoff bracket flexibility. Our top four records make the playoffs and are the top four seeds. The final two playoff spots are determined by total points scored. This basically gives everyone a shot at being in the playoff picture for an extended period of time in the season. It sometimes works to our detriment in that teams are hesitant to trade in season until the deadline because they think they are still alive for a playoff spot. I’d highly recommend an approach like this for the fun of your league and to keep teams incentivized to continue to play until the final snap.

6) It’s Time To Sell, Sell, Sell These Guys….

While I like the Broncos faith in C.J. Anderson’s ability to bounce back, the injuries, a porous offensive line, and lack of performance have me channeling my inner-Duke brothers from Trading Places. “Turn those machines back on and sell, sell, sell,” says Randolph Duke. You’ll need something in return for Anderson, so you may need to package some draft capital if Anderson’s salary and years are high. If you can’t get something of value without giving up the farm, you’ll just have to hold Anderson and hope he turns it around, but the signs point against that.

The Seattle Seahawks have a problem on offense. For starters, their line stinks. For that reason, and while the timing isn’t ideal, I wouldn’t be too excited about Marshawn Lynch’s rest of season prospects. I’ve watched enough Seahawks games in Russell Wilson’s tenure with them being the local market team. The problem the Seahawks have is not a lack of offensive weapons-it’s Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell’s play-calling.

Basically the Seahawks wait the entire first half of games to feel out the opponent’s defense. This means Wilson stays in the pocket, they throw bubble screens (having flashbacks of the Percy Harvin era) and wait for Lynch or the defense to make a play. Then after half they start hitting their stride. The problem is that doesn’t offer you as a fantasy owner a ton of upside. Wilson is my starting quarterback in my main league and fits my league (high completion percentage, good runner, doesn’t turn the ball over in a league that interceptions and fumbles are worth negative 5 points), but I can unequivocally say that on a one-year deal I’d rather have Carson Palmer at this point).

In terms of a sell-high guy, Keenan Allen fits the bill. He has tons of targets and has performed in two of three games. However, Antonio Gates returns soon, and quarterback Philip Rivers is notorious for starting quickly and then coming back down to earth. And Stevie Johnson isn’t going away anytime soon.

I’m leery on a bunch of highly-rated running backs from the offseason, but I think guys like Jeremy Hill turn it around. He’s in too good of an offense and is likely on a nice rookie deal for you. Be patient with him. The same can’t be said for Justin Forsett. He’s a classic example of someone with a small sample size and one good season causing offseason hysteria. If the Ravens continue to lose games, look for the team to give more run to their young running backs.

7) These Guys Are For Real….

I love Marcus Mariota’s poise in the pocket and his subtle fakes and shifts to get out of danger. He has some Aaron Rodgers like qualities. I’d be targeting him in the trade market on his rookie deal as your quarterback of the future and I like the Mariota-Kendall Wright connection for years to come. Get Wright now as someone who will outperform his contract based on his sure hands (he had zero drops in 2014) and Tennessee’s defense allowing lots of points meaning the team will be throwing often.

In terms of a right-now guy, Tyrod Taylor is the real deal. His ability to run and use his weapons makes him dangerous. He’s really the only piece of the Buffalo offense I have faith in right now. Plus anytime he blows up, you can say, “When the east is in the house, Ty, Ty-Rod (Danger)”. Bonus points to anyone who knows what I’m talking about here. At this point, you’d have to consider starting Taylor over quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill, Drew Brees, and Wilson.

Not that you are doubting him, but Julian Edelman is really good at football. He’s super-consistent, gets tons of targets and plays in one of the best offenses in football. If you can get him on your team in a trade, make it happen and don’t trade him if you have him.

I love how Arizona is using Larry Fitzgerald as a slot receiver. His physical tools enable him to win balls against smaller slot corners and his 2015 fantasy value is more than intact. His 2016 is fully guaranteed in real life, so feel free to pursue him via trade if you like him as a medium term play. His numbers will have to come down, but based on his pace, 12 touchdowns this year is within reason if Palmer stays healthy and he’s being heavily targeted.

Well, that caps a very bittersweet week for me. I sincerely appreciate whatever eyeballs got all the way to the bottom of this and for Matt and Stephen giving me freedom in what I write. Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter @mattgoody2.

More Analysis by Matt Goodwin

What’s a Rookie Draft Pick Worth?

Updated: July 10th 2015

melvin-gordon-wisconsin-nebraska-tri

I love mid 90’s hip-hop. Admittedly, this does date me a little bit. From groups like A Tribe Called QuestDe La Soul, and The Roots to artists like Nas and Ice Cube, I sometimes long for hip-hop to return to the witty lyrics that drew me to it. In that timeframe, many rappers seemed to have at least one lyric in their repertoire about “Making a dollar out of fifteen cents”.

After much thought and seeing several rookie draft trades for Reality Sports Online leagues being tweeted on Twitter and a few in my own leagues, I’m after the holy grail of figuring out what a rookie draft pick is worth, trying to turn my fifteen cents into a dollar. I think the answer really is “it depends”. However, let’s dig deeper as the value of rookie draft picks really depends on your team situation and some other pivotal factors.

1. Your Team Situation Means Everything to How You Value Rookie Draft Picks

For those owners who are sitting at the top of their rookie drafts (top three picks) either due to trades or a season that didn’t go as planned last year, these high draft picks are invaluable. Basically it is your way of choosing your groceries in a setting where nobody else gets a crack at these guys. On the contrary, in the Free Agent Auction, the only thing precluding a team from bidding on certain players is cap space.

If you are sitting atop this perch heading into your 2015 Rookie Draft, guys like Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon, and Todd Gurley should be atop your lists. If you are luke-warm on players like this, certainly don’t act that way. You want to hit a home run at the top of your rookie draft and get a star on a 3 or 4 year deal on the cheap that is the foundation for your future success. Aren’t convinced that you can trust Cooper on the Raiders or that Gurley will contribute this season? Move the pick then, but don’t undersell (more on this later).

If you are sitting towards the back of the rookie draft because your team is potentially a Top 3 team in a 12 team league, unless there is a player you are super high on that you believe will make an impact this year (most important factor as championship windows don’t last long in leagues like this) and going forward, consider moving your pick to a team you don’t expect to contend. This may yield a player that will help you this season in your quest to let your championship flag fly forever. Think of a scenario like this one: what if someone offered you Keenan Allen with two years remaining at $8.0m a year for Rookie Pick 1.10. I’d take Allen in a heartbeat in this scenario as a contender, especially in a PPR league.

Another idea if you are a top 3 team in expected league standings (not top 3 draft pick owner) is to package your 2015 1st rounder and your 2016 1st rounder (assuming you are confident you’ll finish high) to a team in rebuilding mode for one of their stud players. Yes, you may be sacrificing the future a bit, but if you are getting another star on a fairly-priced market deal, it is worth taking the bird in the hand for two draft picks that are essentially worse than 50-50 probability of those back of the first round rookies panning out. Think about it-if you can have someone like Antonio Brown with two years left at $18 million a year approximately and what you had to give up was 1.09 this year, 1.12 next year (let’s assume you win the championship) and Brandon Marshall, you shouldn’t blink twice on this.

Essentially the draft pick this year, according to our own Bo Wulf’s RSO Rookie Draft Rankings, is someone like DeVante Parker. While Parker has potential, he is not a sure-fire superstar like Brown is. For more visibility into the Average Draft Position of the Reality Sports Online Rookie Draft from 2014 and currently through 2015, please see the tables following the next paragraph.

Of course, don’t send this package for someone who isn’t worth it, or who constrains your ability to spend cap space in the auction. Say this same deal is available for Julio Jones, who just happens to cost $25 million a year. Then you’ll have to think more about it, realizing though that you are clearing some cap space by virtue of trading your first rounders as well.

AvgPick FirstName LastName Pos ProTeam
2.28 Sammy Watkins WR BUF
3.16 Mike Evans WR TB
4.66 Bishop Sankey RB TEN
5.67 Brandin Cooks WR NO
6.44 Johnny Manziel QB CLE
7.04 Eric Ebron TE DET
8.45 Carlos Hyde RB SF
9.42 Odell Beckham Jr. WR NYG
10.58 Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR
12.57 Teddy Bridgewater QB MIN
12.70 Marqise Lee WR JAC
13.73 Jordan Matthews WR PHI

And now for the 2015 Rookie Average Draft Position through July 7, 2015:

AvgPick FirstName LastName Pos ProTeam
1.31 Todd Gurley RB STL
2.33 Amari Cooper WR OAK
3.37 Kevin White WR CHI
3.89 Melvin Gordon RB SD
6.17 DeVante Parker WR MIA
6.99 Nelson Agholor WR PHI
8.33 Breshad Perriman WR BAL
8.58 Tevin Coleman RB ATL
8.63 T.J. Yeldon RB JAC
10.50 Dorial Green-Beckham WR TEN
10.64 Ameer Abdullah RB DET
12.86 Jameis Winston QB TB

What you should notice from both years is that the top four picks from each year essentially comprise a tier. I’d agree with how the 2015 tier has been slated thus far as those four players were the highest WRs and RBs taken, which are the most valuable positions in a league like this for rookies.

Beyond that first tier, the remainder of the round is filled with running backs who have training camp battles to win significant playing time, wide receivers who figure to be at best the second option on their teams this season, and guys like Green-Beckham and Jameis Winston who have character concerns.

So, if you are picking past pick four (which may have worked well in 2014 as you can see), you may want to either trade up, trade down, or pay attention to some other strategies noted in this article.

2. Packaging A High Rookie Draft Pick is the Perfect Way to Dump a High Salary on Someone Else

In the third year of Doug Martin on a huge deal and having buyer’s remorse? Probability is that your team may also own a top three pick too based on the lack of cap flexibility you may have by owning Martin and frankly how disappointing the player you once viewed as your lynchpin has been. If this is you, move your high rookie pick and Doug Martin to another rebuilding team or interested party. Try to get something in return for it, but know that you can also make this deal now in Reality Sports Online leagues for nothing in return. Yes, the beauty of a league like this is that cap space is an asset, and a huge one at that.

So in other words, congrats, you just saved yourself $30 million to spend in your upcoming auction. Yes, you lost out on a rookie draft pick that might turn into a stud and dumping Martin for essentially no player in return is admitting a mistake you made a few years ago (don’t worry you’ll get over it quickly). However, a star free-agent is already proven so you are paying for certainty here.

3. How Many Years Are Your Rookie Deals?

I’m in two separate Reality Sports Online leagues and one has 4 year rookie deals and the other has 3 year rookie deals (my writer’s league). In the writer’s league last season, I picked Carlos Hyde in our Year 1 Rookie Draft at 1.06 of a 10 team league. While I was pretty sure Hyde would be the guy in San Francisco last season, I moved him at the trade deadline last year for C.J. Anderson and what turned into 1.01 of the 2015 Rookie Draft. The point is, I had already lost a season of Hyde not being productive and with only two seasons to go of Hyde, I decided that my mentality is way different in my league where rookie deals are 3 years instead of 4. This is all part of building your rookie draft strategy based on your league dynamics.

In the 3 year rookie drafts, I encourage you to trade up if there is a player you like and get the guy you think is going to contribute from the get go. In 4 year rookie drafts, you can be a little more patient. So while I love a guy like Gurley as perhaps the next Marshawn Lynch, I want the clean bill of health before the season if I’m picking him in the top three because my team is in contention now and I can’t afford to wait until the midseason to contribute if the Rams bring him along slowly from his ACL injury.

This also means that is you are in the middle of the first round in a 10 or 12 team league, trading down may yield a player that is the same as the guess you would be making with that pick. Basically, not everyone is going to be this year’s Jeremy Hill.

4. Pick 2.01 is the Best Pick in the Rookie Draft and it Isn’t Close

Unless you are in a massively sized league, the first pick of the second round is the best value in the rookie draft and it isn’t close. Since the Reality Sports Online rookie draft is based on the NFL wage scale, you are getting millions of dollars of discount from the end of the first round to the beginning of the second in a traditional 10 to 12 team league. In a 10 team league the 2015 salary in a 4 year rookie deal league for pick 2.01 is $1.3 million compared to 1.10’s value of $3.2 million and that differential basically extends for another three years.

So the thought is once the known rookie starters are gone, you are taking a chance on your pick anyways. Essentially you are then treating these rookies as commodities, and a guy like Duke Johnson isn’t materially different to you than Ameer Abdullah. The difference is Johnson can totally flame out at $1.3 million a year and you’d live with it much easier than if Abdullah busted at $3.2 million. Basically, buy low at 2.01. Those who did that with a player like Allen Robinson in the 2014 Rookie Draft may have the last laugh this season.

5. Know Who Is Available in Your Free Agent Auction for the Next Two Years

If seven of the top ten scoring running backs are heading into free agency this year in your league, suffice to say you may be more excited about the prospect of Arian Foster wearing your team colors than T.J. Yeldon. Plan your strategy with that in mind, especially if you have the luxury of having significant cap space to chase these free agents. Then, if you hold onto your rookie draft pick, perhaps take a wide receiver (generally to me the ones with the highest success rate that you want on long-term deals) in the first round and grab your running back in free agency.

6. Other Things of Note With Rookie Draft Trades

While I’d like to think that the owners in your league (and mine) will stick around forever, the reality is that owners turn over in leagues. If you are in leagues where owners are trading future year rookie draft picks (like 2016) now, make them put some “skin in the game” for doing so to ensure the future continuity of your league. Figure out what that means to your league whether it be website fees, league dues, etc. The last thing you want is an owner who in their head is already gone from your league the following season causing their replacement owner to inherit a mess by trading future rookie draft picks.

Conversely, if there is an owner in your league obsessed with stockpiling rookie draft picks, they clearly are carrying out some type of strategy of what to do with those. At one point when our offseason began in my 12 team, four year rookie draft pick league, one owner had accumulated five of the twelve first round rookie draft picks (2015 Rookie Draft Picks 1.03 through 1.07). That owner has been very active in our league offseason, already having made three trades,including the following:

1) Traded Odell Beckham Jr. (last season’s 1.10) in exchange for 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.01 and Brandin Cooks (2014 season’s 1.02)

2) Traded Doug Martin (2 years remaining, $69.2 million), 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.03, and 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.07 in exchange for Giovani Bernard (2 years remaining, $29.7 million)

3) With same team he traded Martin to, traded 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.04 and Martavis Bryant (1 year remaining, $1.5 million) in exchange for 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.07, Demaryius Thomas (2 years remaining,$48.3 million ), Justin Hunter (3 years remaining, $15.6 million) and Kendall Wright (3 years remaining, $21.5 million)

From these examples above, you can see that this owner (and the owner he made two trades with) did a little bit of draft pick accumulation and salary dumps all in two deals. Clearly the team that traded Thomas and obtained 2015 Rookie Draft Picks 1.03 and 1.04 and took on Martin’s huge salary is in rebuild mode. He may cut Martin and recoup 50% of his salary for 2015 and 2016, but there is no rush to do that until right before the rookie draft if he doesn’t try to move Martin in another trade.

The one owner who has made these trades did get rid of Beckham Jr. who is on a hugely cheap contract, but netting Cooks and Rookie Draft pick 1.01 in the deal gives him the ability to choose who he wants atop the draft. He salary dumped Martin for a more productive player and got a top receiving option in Thomas while not taking on huge commitments in Hunter and Wright. And by the way, that owner still has four 2015 first rounders, 1.01, 1.05, 1.06, and 1.07 (which puts me a little on edge as I have 1.08). This certainly means this owner has lots of flexibility heading into both the rookie draft and the auction to get impact players.

What do you think of these deals? I’d be curious to know.

7. Some Rookie Deals Other Reality Sports Online Owners Have Made This Offseason

As part of my research, I asked other Reality Sports Online owners to chime in on Twitter to see what deals they have made in the offseason involving rookie draft picks. A few of you chimed in with deals such as these (a big thanks to all those who responded):

Tim Breemersch took advantage of the fact that there was a huge Raiders fan in his league and after picking Amari Cooper at 1.02 in his rookie draft, was offered Kevin White (drafted at 1.04) plus a 2016 1st rounder for Cooper and a 2016 2nd rounder. That’s a good way to appropriate value as both receivers are projected to be among the best at their position as rookies.

Others like Chris Cangialosi made his draft pick trade at last year’s deadline, sending Mark Ingram on a one-year deal to a contender for the rights to a 2015 first rounder which turned into Rookie Draft pick 1.10.

8. Do Things On Your Terms

Echoing De La Soul’s: Buhloone Mindstate, which had the theme of “We might blow up, but we won’t go pop,”, come up with a strategy for your rookie draft and stick with it based on whether you think your team is in rebuild mode, top three mode, or somewhere in between. Don’t get so obsessed with these rookie picks that it clouds your ability to nab an established player that will help your team more or an opportunity to dump 100% of a cap-killer to afford you the ability to take many different paths in the auction.

Stay thirsty my friends and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @mattgoody2

 

More Analysis by Matt Goodwin

What's a Rookie Draft Pick Worth?

Updated: July 10th 2015

melvin-gordon-wisconsin-nebraska-tri

I love mid 90’s hip-hop. Admittedly, this does date me a little bit. From groups like A Tribe Called QuestDe La Soul, and The Roots to artists like Nas and Ice Cube, I sometimes long for hip-hop to return to the witty lyrics that drew me to it. In that timeframe, many rappers seemed to have at least one lyric in their repertoire about “Making a dollar out of fifteen cents”.

After much thought and seeing several rookie draft trades for Reality Sports Online leagues being tweeted on Twitter and a few in my own leagues, I’m after the holy grail of figuring out what a rookie draft pick is worth, trying to turn my fifteen cents into a dollar. I think the answer really is “it depends”. However, let’s dig deeper as the value of rookie draft picks really depends on your team situation and some other pivotal factors.

1. Your Team Situation Means Everything to How You Value Rookie Draft Picks

For those owners who are sitting at the top of their rookie drafts (top three picks) either due to trades or a season that didn’t go as planned last year, these high draft picks are invaluable. Basically it is your way of choosing your groceries in a setting where nobody else gets a crack at these guys. On the contrary, in the Free Agent Auction, the only thing precluding a team from bidding on certain players is cap space.

If you are sitting atop this perch heading into your 2015 Rookie Draft, guys like Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon, and Todd Gurley should be atop your lists. If you are luke-warm on players like this, certainly don’t act that way. You want to hit a home run at the top of your rookie draft and get a star on a 3 or 4 year deal on the cheap that is the foundation for your future success. Aren’t convinced that you can trust Cooper on the Raiders or that Gurley will contribute this season? Move the pick then, but don’t undersell (more on this later).

If you are sitting towards the back of the rookie draft because your team is potentially a Top 3 team in a 12 team league, unless there is a player you are super high on that you believe will make an impact this year (most important factor as championship windows don’t last long in leagues like this) and going forward, consider moving your pick to a team you don’t expect to contend. This may yield a player that will help you this season in your quest to let your championship flag fly forever. Think of a scenario like this one: what if someone offered you Keenan Allen with two years remaining at $8.0m a year for Rookie Pick 1.10. I’d take Allen in a heartbeat in this scenario as a contender, especially in a PPR league.

Another idea if you are a top 3 team in expected league standings (not top 3 draft pick owner) is to package your 2015 1st rounder and your 2016 1st rounder (assuming you are confident you’ll finish high) to a team in rebuilding mode for one of their stud players. Yes, you may be sacrificing the future a bit, but if you are getting another star on a fairly-priced market deal, it is worth taking the bird in the hand for two draft picks that are essentially worse than 50-50 probability of those back of the first round rookies panning out. Think about it-if you can have someone like Antonio Brown with two years left at $18 million a year approximately and what you had to give up was 1.09 this year, 1.12 next year (let’s assume you win the championship) and Brandon Marshall, you shouldn’t blink twice on this.

Essentially the draft pick this year, according to our own Bo Wulf’s RSO Rookie Draft Rankings, is someone like DeVante Parker. While Parker has potential, he is not a sure-fire superstar like Brown is. For more visibility into the Average Draft Position of the Reality Sports Online Rookie Draft from 2014 and currently through 2015, please see the tables following the next paragraph.

Of course, don’t send this package for someone who isn’t worth it, or who constrains your ability to spend cap space in the auction. Say this same deal is available for Julio Jones, who just happens to cost $25 million a year. Then you’ll have to think more about it, realizing though that you are clearing some cap space by virtue of trading your first rounders as well.

AvgPick FirstName LastName Pos ProTeam
2.28 Sammy Watkins WR BUF
3.16 Mike Evans WR TB
4.66 Bishop Sankey RB TEN
5.67 Brandin Cooks WR NO
6.44 Johnny Manziel QB CLE
7.04 Eric Ebron TE DET
8.45 Carlos Hyde RB SF
9.42 Odell Beckham Jr. WR NYG
10.58 Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR
12.57 Teddy Bridgewater QB MIN
12.70 Marqise Lee WR JAC
13.73 Jordan Matthews WR PHI

And now for the 2015 Rookie Average Draft Position through July 7, 2015:

AvgPick FirstName LastName Pos ProTeam
1.31 Todd Gurley RB STL
2.33 Amari Cooper WR OAK
3.37 Kevin White WR CHI
3.89 Melvin Gordon RB SD
6.17 DeVante Parker WR MIA
6.99 Nelson Agholor WR PHI
8.33 Breshad Perriman WR BAL
8.58 Tevin Coleman RB ATL
8.63 T.J. Yeldon RB JAC
10.50 Dorial Green-Beckham WR TEN
10.64 Ameer Abdullah RB DET
12.86 Jameis Winston QB TB

What you should notice from both years is that the top four picks from each year essentially comprise a tier. I’d agree with how the 2015 tier has been slated thus far as those four players were the highest WRs and RBs taken, which are the most valuable positions in a league like this for rookies.

Beyond that first tier, the remainder of the round is filled with running backs who have training camp battles to win significant playing time, wide receivers who figure to be at best the second option on their teams this season, and guys like Green-Beckham and Jameis Winston who have character concerns.

So, if you are picking past pick four (which may have worked well in 2014 as you can see), you may want to either trade up, trade down, or pay attention to some other strategies noted in this article.

2. Packaging A High Rookie Draft Pick is the Perfect Way to Dump a High Salary on Someone Else

In the third year of Doug Martin on a huge deal and having buyer’s remorse? Probability is that your team may also own a top three pick too based on the lack of cap flexibility you may have by owning Martin and frankly how disappointing the player you once viewed as your lynchpin has been. If this is you, move your high rookie pick and Doug Martin to another rebuilding team or interested party. Try to get something in return for it, but know that you can also make this deal now in Reality Sports Online leagues for nothing in return. Yes, the beauty of a league like this is that cap space is an asset, and a huge one at that.

So in other words, congrats, you just saved yourself $30 million to spend in your upcoming auction. Yes, you lost out on a rookie draft pick that might turn into a stud and dumping Martin for essentially no player in return is admitting a mistake you made a few years ago (don’t worry you’ll get over it quickly). However, a star free-agent is already proven so you are paying for certainty here.

3. How Many Years Are Your Rookie Deals?

I’m in two separate Reality Sports Online leagues and one has 4 year rookie deals and the other has 3 year rookie deals (my writer’s league). In the writer’s league last season, I picked Carlos Hyde in our Year 1 Rookie Draft at 1.06 of a 10 team league. While I was pretty sure Hyde would be the guy in San Francisco last season, I moved him at the trade deadline last year for C.J. Anderson and what turned into 1.01 of the 2015 Rookie Draft. The point is, I had already lost a season of Hyde not being productive and with only two seasons to go of Hyde, I decided that my mentality is way different in my league where rookie deals are 3 years instead of 4. This is all part of building your rookie draft strategy based on your league dynamics.

In the 3 year rookie drafts, I encourage you to trade up if there is a player you like and get the guy you think is going to contribute from the get go. In 4 year rookie drafts, you can be a little more patient. So while I love a guy like Gurley as perhaps the next Marshawn Lynch, I want the clean bill of health before the season if I’m picking him in the top three because my team is in contention now and I can’t afford to wait until the midseason to contribute if the Rams bring him along slowly from his ACL injury.

This also means that is you are in the middle of the first round in a 10 or 12 team league, trading down may yield a player that is the same as the guess you would be making with that pick. Basically, not everyone is going to be this year’s Jeremy Hill.

4. Pick 2.01 is the Best Pick in the Rookie Draft and it Isn’t Close

Unless you are in a massively sized league, the first pick of the second round is the best value in the rookie draft and it isn’t close. Since the Reality Sports Online rookie draft is based on the NFL wage scale, you are getting millions of dollars of discount from the end of the first round to the beginning of the second in a traditional 10 to 12 team league. In a 10 team league the 2015 salary in a 4 year rookie deal league for pick 2.01 is $1.3 million compared to 1.10’s value of $3.2 million and that differential basically extends for another three years.

So the thought is once the known rookie starters are gone, you are taking a chance on your pick anyways. Essentially you are then treating these rookies as commodities, and a guy like Duke Johnson isn’t materially different to you than Ameer Abdullah. The difference is Johnson can totally flame out at $1.3 million a year and you’d live with it much easier than if Abdullah busted at $3.2 million. Basically, buy low at 2.01. Those who did that with a player like Allen Robinson in the 2014 Rookie Draft may have the last laugh this season.

5. Know Who Is Available in Your Free Agent Auction for the Next Two Years

If seven of the top ten scoring running backs are heading into free agency this year in your league, suffice to say you may be more excited about the prospect of Arian Foster wearing your team colors than T.J. Yeldon. Plan your strategy with that in mind, especially if you have the luxury of having significant cap space to chase these free agents. Then, if you hold onto your rookie draft pick, perhaps take a wide receiver (generally to me the ones with the highest success rate that you want on long-term deals) in the first round and grab your running back in free agency.

6. Other Things of Note With Rookie Draft Trades

While I’d like to think that the owners in your league (and mine) will stick around forever, the reality is that owners turn over in leagues. If you are in leagues where owners are trading future year rookie draft picks (like 2016) now, make them put some “skin in the game” for doing so to ensure the future continuity of your league. Figure out what that means to your league whether it be website fees, league dues, etc. The last thing you want is an owner who in their head is already gone from your league the following season causing their replacement owner to inherit a mess by trading future rookie draft picks.

Conversely, if there is an owner in your league obsessed with stockpiling rookie draft picks, they clearly are carrying out some type of strategy of what to do with those. At one point when our offseason began in my 12 team, four year rookie draft pick league, one owner had accumulated five of the twelve first round rookie draft picks (2015 Rookie Draft Picks 1.03 through 1.07). That owner has been very active in our league offseason, already having made three trades,including the following:

1) Traded Odell Beckham Jr. (last season’s 1.10) in exchange for 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.01 and Brandin Cooks (2014 season’s 1.02)

2) Traded Doug Martin (2 years remaining, $69.2 million), 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.03, and 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.07 in exchange for Giovani Bernard (2 years remaining, $29.7 million)

3) With same team he traded Martin to, traded 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.04 and Martavis Bryant (1 year remaining, $1.5 million) in exchange for 2015 Rookie Draft pick 1.07, Demaryius Thomas (2 years remaining,$48.3 million ), Justin Hunter (3 years remaining, $15.6 million) and Kendall Wright (3 years remaining, $21.5 million)

From these examples above, you can see that this owner (and the owner he made two trades with) did a little bit of draft pick accumulation and salary dumps all in two deals. Clearly the team that traded Thomas and obtained 2015 Rookie Draft Picks 1.03 and 1.04 and took on Martin’s huge salary is in rebuild mode. He may cut Martin and recoup 50% of his salary for 2015 and 2016, but there is no rush to do that until right before the rookie draft if he doesn’t try to move Martin in another trade.

The one owner who has made these trades did get rid of Beckham Jr. who is on a hugely cheap contract, but netting Cooks and Rookie Draft pick 1.01 in the deal gives him the ability to choose who he wants atop the draft. He salary dumped Martin for a more productive player and got a top receiving option in Thomas while not taking on huge commitments in Hunter and Wright. And by the way, that owner still has four 2015 first rounders, 1.01, 1.05, 1.06, and 1.07 (which puts me a little on edge as I have 1.08). This certainly means this owner has lots of flexibility heading into both the rookie draft and the auction to get impact players.

What do you think of these deals? I’d be curious to know.

7. Some Rookie Deals Other Reality Sports Online Owners Have Made This Offseason

As part of my research, I asked other Reality Sports Online owners to chime in on Twitter to see what deals they have made in the offseason involving rookie draft picks. A few of you chimed in with deals such as these (a big thanks to all those who responded):

Tim Breemersch took advantage of the fact that there was a huge Raiders fan in his league and after picking Amari Cooper at 1.02 in his rookie draft, was offered Kevin White (drafted at 1.04) plus a 2016 1st rounder for Cooper and a 2016 2nd rounder. That’s a good way to appropriate value as both receivers are projected to be among the best at their position as rookies.

Others like Chris Cangialosi made his draft pick trade at last year’s deadline, sending Mark Ingram on a one-year deal to a contender for the rights to a 2015 first rounder which turned into Rookie Draft pick 1.10.

8. Do Things On Your Terms

Echoing De La Soul’s: Buhloone Mindstate, which had the theme of “We might blow up, but we won’t go pop,”, come up with a strategy for your rookie draft and stick with it based on whether you think your team is in rebuild mode, top three mode, or somewhere in between. Don’t get so obsessed with these rookie picks that it clouds your ability to nab an established player that will help your team more or an opportunity to dump 100% of a cap-killer to afford you the ability to take many different paths in the auction.

Stay thirsty my friends and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @mattgoody2

 

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

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