Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2 for 1 Special- Iron Dirigible Draft Recap 2015 Part 1

What's this? Two substantive posts in one day? Is it Christmas? No, dear reader, since if it was Christmas, it would A) be way colder outside and B) I would be busy doing Christmas things instead of blogging. You know me well enough to know I would never hustle during the holiday season. Astute readers (far more astute than I am, since I had to look it up) may recall that I did a draft recap way back in 2012 to celebrate having six people come to the draft. Well guess what? All seven people who do not ritually ignore the draft showed up this year! Also, I had the number 1 pick! WE'RE DOING A RECAP TO CELEBRATE! Some of you may recall my last recap was over 5,000 words and that trying to do that is a surefire recipe to not getting everything I wanted with the blog done, therefore leading to me shunning it for another two years. To you I say, chugga chugga Chugga Chugga CHOO CHOO! I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE HYPE TRAIN PULLING INTO THE STATION!

For those of you who can't recall in perfect clarity a post I made three years ago, here's a brief recap:

  • There will 9 recaps- one after each of the first four rounds, then one for every two rounds for rounds 5-12, then one major recap for rounds 13-16. The reason for this division is two-fold: first, it gives me a reasonable chance of finishing the recap today; second, as drafts progress, it becomes harder to become critical of any pick. I'm convinced it's impossible to regret a 10th round pick. Maybe you miss someone who turns out to be the next Odell Beckham Jr, but it's not like you knew exactly what was going to happen. And if you did know exactly what was going to happen, then I'm onto your Gray's Sports Almanac scheme, fellow Back to the Future enthusiast.
  • For each recap, I'll go with a pick I love, a pick I hate, and the pick I made (where I justify my decisions as if I am being brought before the fantasy football tribunal to be court martialed for my many heinous crimes such as believing in now-unemployed Montee Ball's talent).
  • The draft took place on August 29th so there are some picks that may look particularly foolish in hindsight. Had Doug known that David Cobb's leg was cursed by an evil wizard and would never heal until the Ghosts of Bergard Peak found peace, I'm sure he wouldn't have drafted him in the 12th round. But hey, transdimensional hexes from malevolent spirits have always been a part of the game and always will be.
 Without further ado, here is the 2015 Iron Dirigible Draft recap.
1st Round
1Le'Veon Bell, Pit RB  Hunterian Velociraptors
2Eddie Lacy, GB RB19th Hole
3Adrian Peterson, Min RBVandy PimpMasters
4Jamaal Charles, KC RBMore Dr Pepper
5Marshawn Lynch, Sea RBBelmont Godfearers
6Antonio Brown, Pit WRTeam Tune
7Aaron Rodgers, GB QBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
8C.J. Anderson, Den RBTeam McLovin

Pick I Love: Eddie Lacy at #2. Lacy was already a top-flight running back option, equally adept at running as he was catching the ball on an offense that scores a lot of points. Then Jordy Nelson's ACL is claimed by the Fantasy Reaper and suddenly there are a lot more touchdowns to go around. Lacy also has a sterling track record of staying healthy & not abusing children so he's suspended for a year because of the wholly justified public outcry.

Pick I Hate: C.J. Anderson at #8. Part of this is an inherent distrust of everyone named C.J. that CJ2K has instilled in the heart of every Tennessean. But a bigger part of it is he has exactly 8 games of being a big time running back to his credit and he only got the job because of a fluke injury to Ronnie Hillman. More precisely, I don't think either Hillman or Anderson are phenomenal talents. I think they're playing with a Quarterback who is a season removed from shattering single season passing records and that anyone remotely competent (read: not Montee Ball) could produce points there. If this pick could be "Denver Broncos Main Running Back", I'd be perfectly fine with it. But it can't so I'm not.

Pick I Made: As recently as the Sunday prior to the draft, I made the argument that Eddie Lacy should be the new #1 overall option. Though Le'Veon Bell outgained Lacy by a significant margin last season (2,215 yards rushing & receiving for Bell versus 1,566 yards for Lacy), the fact that Bell would miss two games to suspension as well as the gains Lacy was poised to receive from the vacuum left by Jordy Nelson's injury won me over. But when push comes to shove, it's about having fun with your fantasy team. And dressed in my Polomalu Jersey & Steelers Cap, I couldn't help but take the best Steelers running back since Jerome "The Bus" Bettis roamed the earth. Plus, if I want to be a nerd about it, the quality of replacement player I can get for Bell in an 8 team league is significantly higher than I could get in a 10 team league, which mitigates the damage done by Bell's suspension.

2nd Round
9Matt Forte, Chi RBTeam McLovin
10DeMarco Murray, Phi RBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
11LeSean McCoy, Buf RBTeam Tune
12Demaryius Thomas, Den WRBelmont Godfearers
13Rob Gronkowski, NE TEMore Dr Pepper
14Andrew Luck, Ind QBVandy PimpMasters
15Peyton Manning, Den QB19th Hole
16Dez Bryant, Dal WR  Hunterian Velociraptors

Pick I Love: Andrew Luck at #14. In smaller leagues like Iron Dirigible, there is more value in getting the frontrunners at a given position than in larger leagues. While Luck doesn't quite have Rodgers' track record of never finishing worse than 2nd when he's healthy/not picked by Bean, I think it's important to recall that Aaron Rodgers wasn't the starter until his 4th season. That means, developmentally, Luck is actually ahead of where Rodgers was at this point in his career. All that is to say that Luck is poised to enter his own stretch of dominating the fantasy scoreboards, especially since the Colts' dramatically upped their Murtaugh Factor ("I'm getting to old for this s***") by adding both Frank Gore & Andre Johnson. Any time you can pay market value for the QB version of Riggs from Lethal Weapon, you do it.

Pick I Hate: LeSean "Shady" McCoy at #11. The short answer is I hate McCoy because he broke my heart in 2012. You were the Chosen One, Shady! You were supposed to speed by the #20 RB in fantasy points, not become him! But before Shady can retort that from his point of view fantasy sports are evil and that he hates sand, let me provide a legitimate reason for disliking him this year. Primarily, it's because he's had a hamstring injury he's been just one week of rest away from getting over for much of the past month. Subsequently, he's missed all the pre-season and ice-breaking activities with his new teammates in Buffalo. And let me tell you this: there has never been a 1,000 yard running back who did not know the Myers-Briggs type for all of his offensive linemen.

Pick I Made: I was all prepared for Doug & Brian to take WR's leaving me Riggs, I mean, Luck at the end of the second, giving me the best RB & best QB. However, as was established in 2012, Doug has mystical powers that let him see who I want to pick so he can steal him. So, being dealt that setback, I reluctantly took the player I had ranked higher anyways- Dez Bryant. Bryant is just entering his physical prime, as shocking as that is to believe, and has scored 12 TDs or more in each of the past three seasons. As Ned Stark once said "Nothing in life is certain but winter" (dude had a one track mind), but who else is Tony Romo going to throw it to? The eminently forgettable Terence Williams? The flash in the pan, Cole Beasley? The Impossibly Ancient Jason Witten? The Actual Zombie, Darren McFadden? So I like Bryant's chances of being the focal point of the offense again.

3rd Round

17Mark Ingram, NO RB  Hunterian Velociraptors
18Jeremy Hill, Cin RB19th Hole
19Calvin Johnson, Det WRVandy PimpMasters
20Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WRMore Dr Pepper
21Randall Cobb, GB WRBelmont Godfearers
22Alfred Morris, Wsh RBTeam Tune
23Justin Forsett, Bal RBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
24Julio Jones, Atl WRTeam McLovin

Pick I Love: Julio Jones at #24. Quite simply, the Falcons can't run the ball, their tight end is literally a name drawn out of a hat, and their defense is more of an abstract concept than an actual physical presence. Subsequently, Julio Jones-if-he-stays-healthy could be a force of nature this season and you don't get many forces of nature at the end of the 3rd Round.

Pick I Hate: Um... I don't really hate any of these picks. There are some I disagree with, but not outright hate. Can I skip ahead to the next round? No? Well, if I had to choose, I'd say Calvin Johnson at #19. I understand the appeal of wanting the guy with the all-time single season receiving yards record on my team. But since his record-breaking 2012 season, Megatron has not only not played a full 16 game season, he's seen receptions fall from 122 in '12 to 84 in '13 to 71 in '14 and yards receiving fall from 1,964 to 1,492 to 1,077. Considering there was ascending touchdown monster Odell Beckham Jr and sole survivor of Green Bay's receiving corps Randall Cobb still on the board, I think Doug took the lesser of three options. And not just because I'm still mad he took Andrew Luck from me.

Pick I Made: This is probably my most controversial pick of the draft since Ingram's current ADP (Average Draft Position) has him at 24 overall while Jeremy Hill is a relative bargain at 18 in ADP, to say nothing of the host of receiving options available at this point. Here's the cost of listening to my heart and drafting Le'Veon "A Prayer" Bell: I can't use my top pick the first two weeks of the season. When I made this pick, I knew I wouldn't be seeing another pick until #32. In a vacuum, I'd rather have Odell Beckham Jr. or Randall Cobb, but I also knew that I'd like my options at Wide Receiver at 32/33 a lot better than the selection of Running Backs. And if I'm going to take a Running Back, I'll take the one who has more than 8 games of experience at the position. Much like with C.J. Anderson, it would not surprise me at all to see Giovanni Bernard get the starting job back in Hill suffers any kind of fluke injury. Also, you know what teams who want to run the ball more do? They trade their All-Pro Tight End for All-Pro Linemen and that is exactly what the Saints did.

4th Round

25T.Y. Hilton, Ind WRTeam McLovin
26A.J. Green, Cin WRWest Katzen Maus Munchers
27Russell Wilson, Sea QBTeam Tune
28Alshon Jeffery, Chi WRBelmont Godfearers
29Mike Evans, TB WRMore Dr Pepper
30Carlos Hyde, SF RBVandy PimpMasters
31Emmanuel Sanders, Den WR19th Hole
32Brandin Cooks, NO WR  Hunterian Velociraptors

Pick I Love: A. J. Green at #26. Though I vanquished The Bean & A. J. Green and dragged his body around the city walls behind my chariot, I still respect his accomplishments. While injuries derailed his production last year, he is not currently injured which is more than I can say for Hilton, Jeffrey, or Sanders. When he's healthy, Green is very much in the conversation with Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas for "Best Fantasy Wide Receiver". Granted, that conversation usually ends with "but Green has notorious ginger and choke artist Andy Dalton throwing him the ball" but still, the conversation happened.

Pick I Hate: Alshon Jeffrey at #28. Originally, I was going to rail about Mike Evans and how his unsustainable touchdown rate is all that separates him from the middle of the pack. But then I considered two important factors. First, that was an autopick and criticizing a pick made by the computer is like yelling at a cat to behave: they simply don't care about your opinion. Second, Mike Evans has been seen out of a walking boot for the past few weeks, which is more than we can say for Alshon Jeffrey. Assuming he can run, Jeffrey should be the top target for Jay Cutler but I don't know. After all, Eddie Royal caught 91 passes from Jay Cutler in 2008, and that is a bond that cannot be broken.

Pick I Made: The glib thing to say is I wanted Brandin Cooks so I could sing "Too Many Cooks" every time he scores. I could embed a video and wrap this post up early. But that's the easy way out and only hobbits and house cats take the easy way out. In short, when New Orleans bid adieu to Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, and Pierre Thomas, they shipped out 3 of their 5 most targeted receivers from 2014, freeing up 214 targets. Another of the Saints' top 5 targets from last year was Marques Colston, who has been caught by Father Time and has seen targets, receptions, and yardage go down significantly over the past 3 years. That leaves Brandin Cooks as the only man with any experience left standing. Even though I think New Orleans will run more, I don't think all of those targets lost to trades, free agency, and Father Time will evaporate into thin air & Brandin Cooks is poised for a windfall.

5th & 6th Round

33Lamar Miller, Mia RB  Hunterian Velociraptors
34DeAndre Hopkins, Hou WR19th Hole
35Jordan Matthews, Phi WRVandy PimpMasters
36Julian Edelman, NE WRMore Dr Pepper
37Jimmy Graham, Sea TEBelmont Godfearers
38Melvin Gordon, SD RBTeam Tune
39DeSean Jackson, Wsh WRWest Katzen Maus Munchers
40Drew Brees, NO QBTeam McLovin
41Todd Gurley*, StL RBTeam McLovin
42Frank Gore, Ind RBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
43Keenan Allen, SD WRTeam Tune
44Jonathan Stewart, Car RBBelmont Godfearers
45Joique Bell, Det RBMore Dr Pepper
46Amari Cooper, Oak WRVandy PimpMasters
47Joseph Randle, Dal RB19th Hole
48Davante Adams, GB WR  Hunterian Velociraptors

Picks I Love: Frank Gore at #42. I like this because A) he's half of what I'm dubbing the Murtaugh Duo in Indianapolis, B) he gets to play the Titans and Jaguars 4 times this year, C) The Colts offense has made Joseph Addai and Ahmad Bradshaw fantasy relevant running backs, and most importantly D) The Bean really wanted to draft him and was forced to take Mr. Glass himself (Jonathan Stewart). That said, I also really liked Jonathan Stewart at #44 because, despite his injury history, he's the last guy in the draft who is A) undeniably the lead running back, B) has a proven track record in the league, and C) plays on a team with no wide receivers.

Picks I Hate: Melvin Gordon at #38 and Joseph Randle at #47. Quite simply, has there ever been an athlete named Melvin that was any good? I didn't think so. But seriously, Chargers RB's since LaDainian Tomlinson have always found a way to underachieve. I have no doubt Melvin will continue in this grand tradition. As for Randle, the Cowboys recently announced they haven't named a started and traded Seattle a draft pick for RB Christine Michael. Teams don't trade to bring in extra running backs if they're confident in their current talent. Additionally, the love for Randle is entirely predicated on the idea that the Dallas Cowboys offensive line could turn anyone into an All-Pro runner. Maybe that's true, but will it still be the case if anyone on the line gets hurt (which is the norm for NFL teams).

Picks I Made: Remember when I said I wouldn't like the RB selection at pick 33? I lied. Any time you have a top 10 RB (and Lamar Miller finished 10th among RBs in fantasy points last year) who hasn't had his situation negatively impacted in any way during the off season and you can get him in the 5th round, you take it. Plain and simple. As for Wide Receiver, the general idea that "wide receiver is deeper than running back" holds true as newly commissioned Packers #2 WR Davante Adams was available at 48. A reach? Slightly, but worth it for a legitimate piece of the Aaron Rodgers pass attack.

And with that, I'm going to call it an afternoon right here. As you might imagine from someone with my verbose and loquacious tendencies (or if you've ever read any of my other blog posts ever), once I start writing something, it tends to get out of hand length-wise. And if I can't finish something properly, I tend not to finish it at all. It's one of my perfectionist tendencies. It's the same reason why, in the video game L. A. Noire, I staked a corner for 2 hours waiting for a milk truck to appear so I could get the last achievement in the game (to drive in every car). It's also why I padded out this ending paragraph so I could get just ever so slightly over 3,000 words. So keeping in mind that I promised to have a second update today, I will break from habit and end the recap having finished 5 of the planned 9 segments. Tune in tomorrow when I finish the last four!

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