Fasten your seatbelts, folks. Disney’s Magic Mountain has nothing on the darkened chaos swiriling around inside my cranium.
One of the benefits of working for Fantasy Pros 911 is the opportunuity to participate in the FP911 Staff League. To add to the fun, we invited some lucky readers to join in, and in conjunction with NFL.com and a special Google+ Hangout, we got the party started this past Tuesday August 21. In the random draft order process, I obtained the 6th overall selection in the 12 team serpentine style draft and instantly a few names popped into my head. This of course depended on how I wanted to tackle things early. Do I go Quarterback?? Running Back?? Receiver?? When it all comes down to it, you can prepare, study, and work out multiple scenarios pre-draft, but until the draft unfolds, you can never can be 100% sure of your plan of action. Just make sure you make an informed, wise selection, mixing in some fantasy knowledge with a modicum of common-sense. It’s that last part that eludes many of us, myself included. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
So let’s take a look at my squad for the 2012 Fantasy Pros 911 Staff League:
1st Round / 6th Overall, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson
Quite honestly, I was shocked that Oakland RB Darren McFadden was gone, as he was drafted 4th overall. His stock is surging, and rightfully so. After some brief consideration, I decided that Johnson was a no brainer as I wanted to secure a top tier running back. Less the distractions of 2011, I think he returns to form this season in a big way. As far as other positions, I never considered selecting a quarterback or wide receiver here at all.
2nd Round / 19th Overall, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
Actually was teetering between Peterson and Rams RB Steven Jackson in this spot. While Peterson’s MCL and ACL make me nervous, he’s a superior talent and I think the risk will pay dividends in the long run. If not, I will be quite the unhappy camper. No guts, no glory, right?
3rd Round / 30th Overall, Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings
It was time to pull the trigger on a wide receiver and I felt the #1 guy in one of the most prolific passing offenses in the National Football League would fit the bill nicely. I passed on the likes of Giants WR Hakeem Nicks and Bears WR Brandon Marshall with no regrets.
4th Round / 43rd Overall, Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick
Despite Nick Foles Fever running rampant, Michael Vick is the main man in Philadelphia. While I agree injuries have raised a few eyebrows and tempered the enthusiasm of many fantasy owners, don’t include me in that trepidation. I happily picked Vick in this spot, passing over some solid options at WR including Percy Harvin, Marques Colton and Antonio Brown. I took a stab at a guy who if he can remain healthy, can be tops in fantasy production at his position in 2012.
5th Round / 54th Overall, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Mike Wallace
You’ll recall when I selected Michael Vick in the last round, I bypassed a nice group of wide receivers. However with the selection of Steelers WR Mike Wallace in this position, any prior questions I had quickly dissipated. While I like Antonio Brown, he doesn’t come close to the speed and natural talent of Wallace. I am thrilled with this selection and feel he’ll be ready to go come week one.
6th Round / 67th Overall, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis
I had no intentions of selecting a tight end at this point in the draft. My thought process was after the elite few, it really evens out. However when I saw Vernon Davis sitting there, I couldn’t say no. Even though San Francisco upgraded their receivers tremendously, Davis is still their most consistent option, not too mention QB Alex Smith’s favorite. I would have been satisfied with a few other TE’s that would have been available later in the draft, but with Davis there, I had to strike.
7th Round / 78th Overall, Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams
Looking to fortify my bench, Williams seemed like a solid selection here. Granted he is sharing carries with fellow RB Jonathan Stewart and will lose some opportunities to Cam Newton’s magical happy-feet, but Williams is still a lock for seven to eight touchdowns and represents outstanding value in the round. **UPDATE** With Stewart suffering an ankle injury the other night and his status largely in question, Williams’ stock just went through the roof. Not too shabby for a 7th round selection. Yes I admit it, I am sporting an incredibly annoying grin.
8th Round / 91st Overall, San Diego Chargers WR Robert Meachem
Admittedly I took a flier in this spot when selecting Meacham. Call me silly, but I have hopes that he will flourish in his new situation in San Diego. He showed sporadic big-time talent in a large crowd of solid receivers in New Orleans, and with the injury to WR Vincent Brown, I think Meacham rises to the occasion. My only issue was the fact I missed out on Vikings RB Toby Gerhart, taken a few picks later.
9th Round / 102nd Overall, Detroit Lions RB Michel Leshoure
With my running back corps pretty much set, I was thrilled to obtain Leshoure in this spot. I was looking for talent regardless of position and I feel I got that here. I have the depth to wait out his three-week suspension, and can only hope he grabs the bull by the horns when he returns. With all the injuries to the Lions backfield, I have a good suspicion he’ll work his way right in and prove to be quite a steal.
10th Round / 115th Overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Williams
So maybe Williams disappointed in his sophomore season after a record setting rookie campaign, but here I saw value with a capital V. With fellow WR Vincent Jackson likely drawing the lion’s share of attention downfield, I think Williams steps up and puts up numbers resembling his 2010 season. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this pick again.
11th Round / 126th Overall, Philadelphia Eagles Defense/Special Teams
I wanted to procure a defense with the ability to get to the quarterback and one that possessed some home run hitters in the middle and the secondary. Factor in Desean Jackson’s dynamic return ability and I feel I got a top fantasy producing unit.
12 Round / 139th Overall, San Francisco 49ers K David Akers
It was time, and I got one of the game’s best in Akers. He’ll get a plethora of opportunities to split the uprights this season with an offense that will move the ball, but could struggle to find the end zone with any consistency.
13th Round / 150th Overall, (then) Seattle Seahawks WR Terrell Owens
An obvious trip-up – Unlucky 13 I guess. At this point in the draft it is not that devastating, but I am eating a little popcorn-flavored crow after backing Owens as much as I did. For those not aware, the Seahawks decided to part ways with the controversial receiver. My confidence in Owens is spiraling downward at a crazed pace. Maybe Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones comes to his (and my) rescue, or I have my first drop / add sacrificial lamb.
14th Round / 163rd Overall, St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford
A little late to select my backup quarterback, especially with all the questions surrounding my starting QB Michael Vick. While I like Bradford and consider him a value pick in the second to last round, should he falter or succumb to injuries like last season, my delay in addressing the situation could have disastrous effects. Basically should Vick fall again to injury, I could find myself in BIG trouble.
15th Round / 174th Overall, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman
Simply put, I love this pick for a few different reasons. Sure he is a long shot to make an impact as a rookie, but in the 15th round I felt Hillman was well worth the risk. He is more than likely the backup to the oft-injured RB Willis McGahee and is learning the ropes from QB Peyton Manning. Couple that in with his solid skill-set, and if the chips fall in the right direction, Hillman could become a household name sooner as opposed to later.
Well there you have it! As you can see, the element of RISK is clear and evident and you go up and down my squad. Throw in a few Parker Brothers red and green plastic horses and cannons, and you’d have the Game of Global Domination. Global Domination? Actually, I’d be happy with a few decisive wins over Paul Greco.
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