Sun Jun 28th 2020
My All Flex Start-up Draft (Part 2)
Grading the second half of my newest start-up draft
Last week I wrote about the first ten rounds of my newest All Flex League. If you missed it, be sure to read that article, which describes the unique scoring system, line-ups, and payouts. It's a 14-team, tight-end premium, super-flex league. Owners can start two quarterbacks, and the remaining eight (or nine) positions are all flex positions.
The draft slowed down quite a bit this week, but it has still been fun. There are no kickers or defenses, so 350 positional players were drafted. On top of that, owners can put players they drafted on a taxi squad, so even more players are going to be picked up after the first round of waivers following the draft. It's a very deep dynasty league.
I went for a win-now strategy, so my team is older than most teams, but I like what I have put together. Headed into round eleven, my team looked like this: Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, Raheem Mostert, Kenny Golladay, Adam Thielen, Brandin Cooks, and T.Y. Hilton.
Here is who I drafted this week at the back-end of my draft.
11.10 Jordan Howard
- Jordan Howard is woefully underrated. He's performed like a solid RB-2 every year of his career, and he's only 25 years old. He's averaged more than a thousand yards and eight touchdowns per season. I think his role in Miami is clear. He'll be the first and second-down back and leave the passing game work to Matt Breida. He should also be the goal-line back and score 8-12 touchdowns. He signed a two-year contract with Miami, and they did not draft a running back, as most analysts expected. Instead, they traded for Matt Breida during the draft. As the 10th player on my roster in a 14-team league, I just wanted to draft a player who was going to get a lot of touches and provide a safe floor on my team. I considered picking him where I drafted T.Y. Hilton 18 players before, so it took me less than a minute to draft him.
12.5 Jared Cook
- Cook is at the top of my third tier of tight ends. It's a tight end premium league, and I was sniped twice before when I planned to draft a tier-one and two tight ends. Though Cook is the oldest player on my team at this point and is likely only paired with Drew Brees for this year, I still decided to draft him since I have a win-now strategy. All of the PPR-monster tight ends had already been drafted, so I wanted to select one with touchdown upside. Cook scored nine touchdowns last year in just 14 games. I planned to pick Adam Trautman a few rounds later because he is my highest ranked rookie tight end and could take over for Cook next year or the year after. Surprisingly, Trautman was drafted with the very next pick. Cook is not ideal, but I did not want my first tight end to be a back of tier three tight end.
13.10 Latavius Murray
- I was thrilled to get Murray with this pick. He's insurance for Alvin Kamara, who I traded up to draft in the first round. Murray is arguably the best handcuff in the league. He scored 32 and 35 points in weeks seven and eight last year when Kamara was out with an injury. He's under contract with New Orleans for three more years too. He'll only start for me if Kamara is injured. I drafted him purely as a handcuff, which I was happy to do in round 13.
14.5 Jack Doyle
- People are far off the mark in assessing Doyle's dynasty value. He's my 18th ranked tight end, but in this draft, he was the 26th tight end taken in this draft. Doyle is only 30 years old, which is the prime of tight end's careers. Eric Ebron, the touchdown vulture, was signed by Pittsburg, and the Colts added Phillip Rivers, who loves to target tight ends. Indianapolis is going to be a run-first team, but Doyle should still get a lot of looks on third down and in the red zone. I don't have to start a tight end in this league, which is why I waited so long to draft one, but I could see Cooks and Doyle starting for me when their match-ups are favorable.
15.10 Robby Anderson
- Anderson is another criminally underrated player. He is my 45th ranked wide receiver but was drafted as wide receiver 73 in this draft. His ceiling is definitely higher than his floor, especially after signing with a new team in Carolina, but the ceiling is pretty high with his new coaching staff and quarterback. Carolina's head coach, Matt Rhule, coached Anderson at Temple University, and he is the coach that signed Anderson to a two-year twenty million dollar contract. He plans to use Anderson if he is paying him that much. Joe Brady, the new offensive coordinator, just coordinated the most prolific offense in college football history last year at LSU. It remains to be seen how his scheme will work in the NFL, but I want to buy pieces of this offense to see what he can do. Teddy Bridgewater finally got a starting job back and was handpicked by Brady in free agency after Brady worked with Bridgewater in New Orleans. They have a plan, and I am happy to have a piece of it. I believe Anderson will make a more significant impact on the offense than Curtis Samuel, which is why I have Anderson ranked 13 spots ahead of Samuel in my wide receiver rankings. I must be the only one because Samuel was drafted 22 spots ahead of Anderson in this draft.
16.05 Ryquell Armstead
- I was thrilled to drafted another player from Temple University with my next pick. At this point in the draft, I wanted to get a running back that I have not seen rather than the running backs in the area that I have seen be mediocre. Armstead only had 35 carries and 14 catches his rookie year, but he stands to get more carries this year whether Leonard Fournette is injured. Fournette is a free agent after this season and most likely will not be re-signed by Jacksonville. Chris Thompson was not brought in to compete with Armstead to be Fournette's back up. He was signed to be a passing-down back instead. Armstead was the youngest player I drafted to this point in the draft. I wanted to get at least one unproven young running back with an opportunity to prove something this year or next. Armstead fits that bill.
17.1 Andy Dalton
- I tried my best to wait for Andy Dalton, who is arguably the best back-up quarterback in the league and certainly the most experienced back-up quarterback in the league. I did not plan to draft a third quarterback after drafting Dak Prescott in the first round and Matthew Stafford in the fourth round, but I did want to draft their back-ups if they were injured. Unfortunately, I waited too long, and another team drafted Dalton. I immediately messaged the owner who drafted Dalton, and we started working on a deal for me to get him. Dalton was too crucial for me since I only had two quarterbacks in this super-flex league. I gave him picks 17.10, 18.5, and a 2021 3rd round pick for Andy Dalton and 19.1. It may seem like a lot, but I felt it was necessary for my strategy. I did not have to trade back too far in this draft and don't think a 2021 3rd round pick in a 14 team league is also valuable. I like to think I'd finish on top in this league, but even if I finish in the middle, this 3rd round pick would be around pick #35 in a rookie draft. I was happy to work out this trade with the other owner who drafted Bryce Love and Darnell Mooney with the picks I gave him, while I drafted the following player with the pick he gave me.
19.1 Darren Fells
- There were not any running backs or wide receivers that I was excited about at this pick, so I decided to draft my third tight end. I drafted for touchdown upside since high PPR tight ends dried up a long time ago in this draft. I was debating between Fells and Greg Olsen, who was drafted two picks after I drafted Fells. I decided to go with Fells because he had the most snaps among tight ends in Houston last year (about 75% of the snaps) and scored seven touchdowns (and another one in the playoffs). He's enormous (6' 7" and 270 pounds), making him a supreme red-zone target, especially with DeAndre Hopkins gone. He only had 34 catches last year, but he averaged 10 yards per catch and scored a touchdown on 20% of his passes. I do not believe in Kahale Warring, who was drafted in the next round of this draft. I think Fells has earned the starting role in Houston and can build upon his 17th ranked tight end finish last year. He is 34 years old, so he'll only be on my team for a year or two, but I wanted to draft him in case he builds upon next year. He'll be one of my first players to drop if he does not show promise early in the season, but I'm eager to see what role he will play with the DeAndre Hopkins's targets lost.
19.10 Adrian Peterson
- I already said that I drafted with more of a win-now strategy. That's the reason why I was willing to draft Peterson, who is the oldest player on my team. He was the 30th ranked running back last year and could perform at the same level in the next year or two. I am far lower on Derrius Guice than other analysts and believe Peterson will score more points than Guice this year. Peterson has more snaps than any of the other running backs in Washington last year and had 14 more snaps than Guice last year in the games they played together after Guice returned from injury. Peterson was not great, but he did score ten or more points in 8 of the 15 games he played last year. This offseason, Peterson claimed that he wanted to play until he was forty and try to chase down Emmitt Smith's career rushing record. It's unlikely, but if anyone can do it, it is Adrian Peterson. Washington exercised the second year of his contract this offseason. Peterson also needs the money due to financial troubles, so I firmly believe he intends to play beyond this season. I think he will be in my starting line-ups a couple of times this season if not next season, so at pick #262 in this start-up draft, I was willing to take a chance on him.
20.5 Brian Hill
- Hill performed decently last year when filling in for the injured Devonta Freeman. After doing a little research, it seemed clear to me that he will be the handcuff to Todd Gurley, which is why I drafted him. Last year he received more snaps than Ito Smith and Qadree Allison combined, yet Ito Smith was selected six spots ahead of him in this draft. Hill and Smith are the same age (24 years old), but Hill has the RB-2 frame at 6' 1" and 219 pounds. Ito Smith is built to be the change-of-pace back at 5' 9" and 195 pounds. I don't see why Atlanta would do any different this year than they did last year. Hill is the RB-2 in Atlanta, a team with an explosive offense and an injury-prone RB-1. Hill was an excellent handcuff pick for me at this time in the draft. I like him far more than the other running backs (Benny Snell, Malcolm Brown, Jaylen Samuels, and Darwin Thompson) drafted around this part of the draft.
21.10 Randall Cobb
- Cobb was given a three-year 27-million dollar contract by Houston this offseason. This contract is reason alone to believe he will get an opportunity in Houston. He's making more than Kenny Stills, who he will likely compete with to be the WR-3 in Houston behind Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller. I drafted Cooks in the 8th round of this draft, which made Cobb a bit more desirable in case Cooks does not pan out like I believe he will. Cobb played about 75% of the snaps in Dallas last year, solidifying his slot receiver role. I think he will do the same in Houston. As I said with Cooks and Fells, many targets are missing in Houston with the departure of DeAndre Hopkins. Deshaun Watson is too good not to lift the fantasy value of his two new weapons in Cooks and Cobb.
22.5 Chase Daniel
- Not much needs to be explained here. Since I only had two quarterbacks on my team and many back-up quarterbacks were starting to get drafted, I wanted to lock up the back-up to Matthew Stafford, who I drafted in the fourth round. Last year, Detroit's back-up, Jeff Driskel, averaged 22 points per game and Detroit's third-string quarterback, David Blough, averaged 12 points per game. Denver signed Driskel this offseason, and Daniel was signed to a three-year contract this offseason, making him the back-up ahead of Blough. Daniel is a very experienced back-up. If Stafford gets injured, he can produce 22-point games just like Driskel did last year.
23.10 LaVante Bellamy
- We have a taxi squad in this league, but it is limited only to players you draft. Also, you have to decide before the season starts to promote a player from your taxi squad. Once the season begins, you cannot promote or demote players. Effectively, that means the best taxi squad players are guys you know you will have to wait on for a few years. Because of this rule and the fact that I was drafting with a win-now strategy, I drafted my first rookie here in round 23. Bellamy was incredibly productive in college, averaging 2700 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns his junior and senior season at Western Michigan. He was not drafted, but he signed a UDFA contract in Denver, the team that did the same with Phillip Lindsay two years ago. Lindsay and Royce Freeman have contracts that expire this season, and Melvin Gordon only signed a two-year contract. For these reasons and the fact that I have Melvin Gordon on my team, I wanted to draft Bellamy for my taxi squad. I don't imagine promoting him before the season starts, but I could next year, depending on what Denver decides to do with the Lindsay and Freeman contracts.
24.5 Jared Pinkney
- I had the same thing in mind by drafting Pinkney. After his junior year, many devy experts considered Pinkney as the #1 ranked devy tight end. His poor senior season left him undrafted and off of most dynasty rookie rankings altogether. He signed a UDFA contract in Atlanta, which gives him every opportunity to compete to make the team. Atlanta addressed tight end in free agency after letting Austin Hopper go to after his breakout year. Hooper signed with Cleveland, and Atlanta signed the unproven first-round draft pick Hayden Hurst. Hurst should be the starter right away, but Pinkney should move right past the other no-name tight ends in Atlanta (Khari Lee, Jaeden Graham, and Carson Meier) to become the back-up to Hurst. If it becomes apparent in the preseason that Pinkney has made the team and moved up to the TE-2, I may promote him. If he does not, he's still a guy I'd like to hold on my taxi squad for the years to come. We have a three year limit on taxi quad players.
25.10 Jeffery Wilson
- I drafted Wilson with the final pick of my draft because I did not like the rookies available for my taxi squad and because he's the back up to the back-up of Raheem Mostert, who I drafted. Like most backs in the 49ers system, he has had spurts of greatness. Before Mostert broke out last year, Wilson scored four touchdowns in two games while the oft-injured Tevin Coleman was out. Coleman is injured a lot, and Wilson has done it before, so Wilson seemed like a reasonable pick for me, the Mostert owner, with the 346th pick of this very deep draft.
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