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Sat May 25th 2019

Grading Another 2019 Rookie Draft

My most competitive league

I had several rookie drafts over the last few weeks. I thought I would report on each of the drafts in the coming weeks, just to give an overview of what I was thinking during the drafts and how I was trying to improve my team. Overall, I try to stick to my rookie draft board, but each draft is different because my team has different needs and the tendencies and skills of owners dictate a lot too.

This is my report on my "Diehard" league.  It's a new league that I started last year with some of the best and most active owners in other leagues that I am a part of.  It has quickly become my favorite league because the owners are great guys, they're active all year, they make a lot of trades, and we have a lot of chatter throughout the season and offseason on Group Me.  A month ago I analyzed my start-up draft in this league.  You can see that analysis here.  2018 rookies were part of the start-up draft last year so this was our first rookie draft.  You'll notice how many trades went down during the year and during the draft.  It was a blast.

For context, here are the details of the "Diehard" league.  It's a 12-team league with .5 PPR scoring, small bonuses for yardage thresholds, rosters 27 players per team with 3 IR spots (during the season). We start 10 players - QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, Flex, TE, K, DST. 

Last year I was the highest scoring team and had the best record at the end of the season but I lost in the semi-finals to Jokerbills (shout out to Nick), the team that won the Super Bowl the next week.  I have a solid team and will be very competitive next year.  I went into the rookie draft without any particular needs except a little help at TE.

Here is was my roster at skilled positions before the draft.

  • QB: Jameis Winston, Phillip Rivers
  • RB: Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy, Latavius Murray, Carlos Hyde, CJ Anderson, Spencer Ware,  Mike Boone
  • WR: Keenan Allen, TY Hilton, Adam Thielen, Robert Woods, Tyler Boyd, Marquise Lee, Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett
  • TE: Jared Cook, Jack Doyle

Before The Draft

I made several trades during the offseason that radically changed this draft for me.  This draft does not look good at all on paper until you factor the trades into the analysis. 

My first big move this offseason was trading Antonio Brown.  All of his bizarre behavior during the offseason made me ready to move on from him.  I put him on the trading block and found a deal.  I traded Antonio Brown and my 2019 1.10 and 2.10 for Adam Thielen and the 1.2 and 2.2.  I made this trade before Antonio signed with Oakland, but after it was clear that he would not be back with Pittsburg.  I felt like Antonio would never be as good as he was in Pittsburg with Roethlisberger - that no matter where he landed his value was going to go down.  Thielen finished one spot behind Brown last season in this league with only 9 points separating them.  Admittedly, Thielen had what could be the best year of his career last year.  I am worried about Minnesota committing to run the ball more next year.  Still, I feel like their value was nearly the same going forward and Thielen is 3 years younger.  What sealed the deal for me was the picks.  Moving up to pick #2 and #14 was way better than having picks #10 and #22.  So I made the deal, and it paid off in another major way.

After the NFL draft, rookie draft boards started to get settled and the top 3 picks became way more attractive.  Shortly after the draft, an owner (Mobsters) contacted me about wanting to move up to the 1.2 pick because he really wanted David Montgomery.  We ended up striking this deal.  I received TY Hilton and his 2020 1st round pick for this year's 1.2 (David Montgomery) and my 2020 second round pick. I liked this deal for me because I already have 2 young RBs in Chubb and Kerryon.  More importantly, I love the 2020 draft class and wanted to have 2 first round picks, and I love TY Hilton. Plus, I already had two 2020 2nd round picks, so I still have a 2nd round pick in 2020 in addition to my two 1st round picks. All of that to say, heading into the draft, here is what my offseason trades netted me.

  • I gave up: Antonio Brown, 2019 picks 1.10 and 2.10, and a 2020 2nd round pick
  • I added: Adam Thielen, TY Hilton, 2019 pick 2.2, and a 202o 1st round pick

So when I look at my rookie draft class below, I also need to say that it includes Thielen, Hilton, and a 2020 1st round pick with the loss of Antonio Brown.

That said, I went into the draft feeling like I had already won and did not have any glaring weaknesses on my team.  I am loaded on WRs in this league, though my top WRs are nearing 30 years old.  I am really young at RB and have some handcuffs and depth in case someone gets hurt.  I hoped to trade LeSean McCoy in this draft, if possible because I could not see him in my starting line up this year or in years to come.  I needed to take at least one TE, but I knew I was not willing to draft Hockenson or Fant early so would have to wait on TE.

Finally, I knew this was a super smart draft.  I knew with these awesome owners there were going to be a lot of trades and a lot of sniping players I could get later in my other leagues.  If I liked a guy, I had to be willing to take him earlier than I would in other leagues.

"Diehard" 2019 Rookie Draft

Round #1

1. Razor Stubble (via Invincible) - Josh Jacobs

2. Mobsters (via Leg Day, Box Wine) - David Montgomery

3. Dopper (via DPO) - N'Keal Harry

4. Dopper (via Razor Stubble, DPO) - Miles Sanders

5. DPO (via Saracen's Squad, Dopper) - Mecole Hardman

6. DPO (via Dopper) - Marquise Brown

7. Mobsters - DK Metcalf

8. Bandits - Parris Campbell

9. DPO (via Big Dan Teague via Furious George) - Kyler Murray

10. Saracen's Squad (via Box Wine, Leg Day) - TJ Hockenson

11. Box Wine (via Big Dan Teague, DPO) - Deebo Samuel

  • Originally I had pick 2.2.  I saw Deebo Samuel and AJ Bown falling and wanted to trade up to be sure to get one of them.   I feared Jokerbills with back to back picks, taking them both.  I traded up to 1.11 and gave DPO LeSean McCoy and 2.2 (which he traded to Invincible).  Like I said, I wanted to move McCoy if I could.  It may seem like a lot to give up, but I had a huge tier break in my rankings after Deebo and AJ, so I made the move.  I actually broke with my ranking and picked Deebo ahead of AJ.  I had AJ ranked #4 and Deebo #6.  Sometimes when you're on the board, you break with your rankings.  I can't explain why, but at that moment I did.  I was happy to get him so that I have a younger WR on my team.  He and Tyler Boyd can be the guys on my team who have room to grow. 

12. Jokerbills - Hakeem Butler

Round #2

1. Jokerbills (via Invincible, Leg day) - Darrell Henderson

2. Invincible (via Leg Day, Box Wine, DPO) - AJ Brown

3. DPO - Diontae Johnson

4. Big Dan Teague (via Razor Stubble) - JJ Arcega Whiteside

5. Saracen's Squad - Damien Harris

6. Saracen's Squad (via Dopper) - Andy Isabella

7. Mobsters - Miles Boykin

8. Bandits - Justice Hill

9. Furious George - Noah Fant

10. Saracen's Squad (via Box Wine, Leg Day) - Alexander Mattison

11. Saracen's Squad (via Big Dan Teague, DPO) - Darwin Thompson

12. Jokerbills - Bryce Love

Round #3

1. Invincible - Irv Smith Jr.

2. Leg Day - Devin Singletary

3. DPO - Benny Snell

4. Razor Stubble - Jace Sternberger

5. DPO (via Saracen's Squad) - Terry McLaurin

6. Dopper - Dwayne Haskins

7. Mobsters - Ryquell Armstead

8. Bandits - Kelvin Harmon

9. Furious George - Riley Ridley

10. Box Wine - Bruce Anderson

  • This time I stayed true to my rankings.  I had Bruce Anderson #31 and Rodney Anderson #37.  This was definitely one of those "grab my guy" moments. I the draft I wrote about last week, I drafted Bruce Anderson at pick #45.  Here I took him at pick #34.  In this league with the owners, I did not want to risk missing on his upside.  The RB #1 position in Tampa Bay is up for grabs and they did not draft anyone but elected to sign Bruce as a UDFA.  He's awesome in special teams, so I am certain he will make the team.  I am hopeful with Arians that he could become David Johnson light as he had in Arizona.

11. Big Dan Teague - Rodney Anderson

12. Jokerbills - Jalen Hurd

Round #4

1. Invincible - Qadree Ollison

2. Leg Day - Mike Weber

3. Big Dan Teague (via DPO) - Trayveon Williams

4. Razor Stubble - Preston Williams

5. Saracen's Squad - Dexter Williams

6. Dopper - Elijah Holyfield

7. Mobsters - Tony Pollard

8. Bandits - James Williams

9. Furious George - Drew Lock

10. Box Wine - Dawson Knox

  • I did want to come away with one TE in this draft.  This seemed like the time to take him.  Buffalo showed that they have a need at the TE position all offseason by letting Charles Clay go and signing a number of free agents.  Knox was way underutilized at Ole Miss.  He can do much more than his tape showed.  Now, several weeks after this rookie draft, it looks like an even luckier pick for me.  Tyler Kroft broke his foot this week and they let another one their TEs go, so Knox chance of early playing time has shot up significantly.  This is great news for me because I hope to get a read on him earlier and can decide more quickly whether to move on from him or not.

11. Big Dan Teague - Miles Gaskin

12. Jokerbills - Emmanuel Hall

Round #5

1. Invincible - Daniel Jones

2. Leg Day - Ben Watson

3. DPO - Hunter Renfrow

4. Razor Stubble - Stanley Morgan

5. Saracen's Squad - Will Grier

6. Dopper - Diontae Spencer

7. Mobsters - Jordan Scarlett

8. Saracen’s Squad (via Bandits) - Damarea Crockett

9. Furious George - Darius Slayton

10. Box Wine - Gary Jennings

  • Jennings really fell in this draft.  I had him as my #36 ranked rookie but got him here at pick #58.  I love the value.  With Baldwin retiring and DK Metcalf coming in as a rookie too, Jennings will have every opportunity to win a starting position.  I also like drafting Seattle players because Pete Carroll does not care at all about who was drafted where.  He will always start the best player.  Jennings will have every chance to become a starter year one, and he's paired with a great QB in Russell Wilson.  I loved getting him here so late in the draft.

11. Big Dan Teague - Josh Oliver

12. Jokerbills - Drew Sample

Overall Assessment

I added Dillon Mitchell and Foster Moreau in free agency after the draft.  I wanted one more shot at a TE prospect in Moreau and heard a number of great things about Mitchell on a few podcasts that I listen to even though I had not had him in my rankings at the time.  I wanted to take a chance on Mitchell, especially if he can develop under Thielen in Minnesota and on my team.

Other than Deebo Samuel, I did not get guys I get really excited about.  But when I add Adam Thielen, TY Hilton, and a 2020 1st round pick into this draft, I am thrilled.  I will be one of the most competitive teams in this league next year.  Plus, I feel this team is set up for the future too.  It's well balanced.  I love this league and look forward to a great season ahead.  

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