It’s NFL football season and once again fantasy football drafts are occurring all across the US. One of the leagues I’m in had their draft a couple of weeks ago on August 16 using Yahoo!’s fantasy football engine. I unfortunately was out of the country and had to rely on Yahoo! to auto-draft my team. I’ve had a chance to critique Yahoo!’s draft for me and compare to how I believe I would have drafted given the options available in my draft slot based on the actual results of the draft.
Before the evaluation, first the basic parameters of our league.
- 12 teams
- 15 rounds
- 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF and 6 Bench players
- Performance standard scoring league
- No Points per reception (PPR)
- QB TDs worth 6 points vs the standard 4 points in most league
- Return yardage and TD points for team defense and individual’s if you have the kick or punt returner starting for you at a position (i.e. Reggie Bush as a punt returner)
- Snake draft pattern
I had the 7th pick in the draft and given the snake draft rules, that meant I had the 18th overall pick of the draft in the 2nd round. Yahoo! does allow for adjustments to their pre-rankings of players, primarily for those who will have to rely on an auto-draft. Before I left on my trip, I spent only 10-15 minutes adjusting the Top 20 player rankings primarily to select the player I thought would be available at the 7th pick.
Below you’ll see the results of my auto-draft by round:
In the above link, you’ll see a word document with the actual draft results round by round, slot by slot for the 15 rounds of the draft. Now, what I’ve done is taken a look at the draft results attached in the document and decided who I think I personally would have drafted in each slot had I been drafting live instead of Yahoo!. My assumption here is that for each draft slot, even if I had chosen a different player than who Yahoo! had selected, by the time my next round’s draft slot came, the same players who were actually drafted before that slot continued to have been drafted. In other words, the players that Yahoo! was choosing from in each round was the same players I had to choose from as I re-did my draft slots based on the actual results. Below you’ll see the revised draft results using my own selections instead of the computers and comments on why I would have chosen that way.
|RD||PICK #||APURVA PICK||POSITION||ORIGINAL PICK #||YAHOO! PICK||POSITION|
|1||7||LaDainian Tomlinson||RB||7||LaDainian Tomlinson||RB|
|2||18||Randy Moss||WR||19||Marion Barber||RB|
|3||31||Anquan Boldin||WR||31||Anquan Boldin||WR|
|4||42||Kurt Warner||QB||43||Tony Romo||QB|
|5||55||Willie Parker||RB||57||Antonio Bryant||WR|
|6||66||Anthony Gonzalez||WR||75||Lee Evans||WR|
|7||79||Cedric Benson||RB||86||Chris Cooley||TE|
|10||114||Percy Harvin||WR||117||Kevin Walter||WR|
|11||127||John Carlson||TE||127||John Carlson||TE|
|12||138||Leon Washington||RB||Undrafted||Shonn Greene||RB|
|13||151||Robbie Gould||K||163||Mark Clayton||WR|
|14||162||Kevin Curtis||WR||164||Tampa Bay||D|
|15||175||Brent Celek||TE||Undrafted||Shaun Hill||QB|
- I pushed Tomlinson up in my pre-set rankings so that he’d get selected instead of DeAngelo Williams, who I have concerns about due to his history prior to last season and the presence of Jonathon Stewart in Carolina’s backfield. I think Tomlinson is primed for a strong bounce back season. Both my pick and Yahoo!’s pick are the same for # 1.
- At # 2, Yahoo! ended up picking Marion Barber while I would have gone with Randy Moss. However, Yahoo!’s pick of Barber is my fault due to my adjustment to the pre-set rankings. I moved up Barber ahead of Clinton Portis who I was afraid would be available at # 18 and am not that enamored with, however, in doing so, I didn’t pay attention to Moss’ ranking. I should have moved him up in the pre-set rankings; in a live draft, I would have picked him before Barber, giving me a Tier 1 Running Back and a Tier 1 Wide Receiver.
- At # 3, Boldin was drafted by Yahoo! and by me in my critique; I would have been thrilled to see Boldin available at # 31. Teaming him with Moss would be a strong 1-2 WR combination.
- At # 4, Y! picked Romo for me at QB. Given that Barber was picked at # 2, I wouldn’t have picked Romo as it puts too much reliance on Dallas for me. Overall, at that spot, with Kurt Warner available, I’d go with Warner given his season last season. Even with Boldin and a potential for over-reliance on Arizona, I’d take the combo of Warner and Boldin given the prolific Arizona air attack.
- At # 5, I’d go with the 2nd running back and would take the best available at that point with Parker. At this point, I believe I’ve built a much stronger 1-2 combo at WR, a better QB and a slightly worse RB combo than the Y! picks.
- At # 6, I’d push the envelope a bit and take Anthony Gonzalez at # 66, 9 spots higher than where he was taken in the actual draft. Without Marvin Harrison on the Colts , I think Gonzalez is poised for a break-out year. I now believe I’ve got a stronger trio of starting wide receivers in Moss, Boldin, and Gonzalez vs Boldin, Bryant, and Evans along with a better QB option in Warner vs Romo and a slightly less potent RB combo in Tomlinson and Parker vs Tomlinson and Barber.
- For the remaining picks, I start picking up depth with Benson, Roethlisberger, and Harvin. I’m particularly high on Harvin who I’ve read has demonstrated remarkable speed that the Vikings will be very tempted to leverage. One shocking part of the draft for me was that Leon Washington was not drafted in my league’s draft and for some reason Y! selected Shonn Greene, also from the Jets, instead of Leon Washington for me. I’d have selected Washington in the 12th round.
- I think Carlson was a steal for the 11th round and would again be thrilled if he was still available in the 11th as my starting TE.
- My philosophy is to take kickers and defenses a bit later in the draft so I’d take the best available kicker in the 13th round vs the 9th round when Yahoo! selected Gostkowski and my defense selection a round later than Y!
Overall, my philosophy is to take the best available in the early rounds and attempt to get a Tier 1 RB, WR, or QB if available vs going in with a rigid strategy that is myopically focused only on 2 RB in the first two rounds or RB, WR in the first two rounds, etc. Overall, my biggest complaint with Yahoo! would be they select defense and kickers too high. There should be some option to indicate when one wants to draft those positions in the draft. Additionally, sometimes one would like to select the best available player and create more depth at one position instead of selecting depth at every position which Yahoo! doesn’t typically follow in their auto draft.
When looking at both sets of picks, if I look at Yahoo!’s Week 1 projections for the starting line up from Y! auto-draft vs my picks, my picks are 8 points higher than Y!’s picks. However, most of that is solely due to a Warner vs Romo comparison for Week 1—Warner is projected at 21 while Romo is at 14, primarily due to the defenses each faces in Week 1. Of course, all of this is a crap shoot and injuries and other factors clearly will impact each player’s performance during the season. Ready for the season to start and to see what happens.