The Lions Den 2016 Draft Report Card
Life is about achievement. What ultimately determines whether we’ve achieved success is if we attain the result that we sought. Sometimes we achieve the result based on a methodical, systematic approach backed by wisdom and experience. Sometimes we just get lucky and achieve the result despite ourselves. Yes, at times we are our own biggest obstacle and if we’d only get out of our own way, we’d be able to firmly plant both feet in the Promised Land.
In fantasy football, the “Promised Land” is winning a Championship, or as we adoringly call it in my league, The CHIP. Some of the General Managers (GM’s) in my league will make the playoffs despite the fact that they are playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded handgun. Heck, one of these subpar drafters may even win The CHIP, not based on genius, but based on pure, unadulterated luck washed down with a glass of kismet Kool-Aid. After reviewing my leagues draft I’m confident that there are only a few GM’s who have the remote possibility of being considered “fantasy football smart”. I’m personally loading the handgun for the rest.
My league is a dynasty league where we must keep a minimum of 12 keepers. We have 17 player slots, so our draft is 5 rounds that are mainly used for drafting rookies. So now you know why I will only grade this years draft based on players selected in Rounds 13–17. With that in mind, below is our draft, followed by a brief synopsis of each round and grades.
Jersey Bosses chose Ezekiel Elliott with the first pick. That was a given, especially since he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan in real life. In a dynasty league, that was the pick to make and he should reap the benefits of being first in the draft for a few years to come. A couple of picks made me scratch my head. Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham and Rashad Jennings. In fact, I’m pretty sure that no one in the NFC East not named Ezekiel Elliott should have been chosen this in this round, especially two wide receivers whose own teams don’t even want them.
Best Pick: Ezekiel Elliott; Worst Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham
Everyone did pretty well in this round. I don’t think Victor Cruz should’ve been chosen before Sterling Shepard and there’s no way on God’s green Earth that he should’ve been chosen before John Brown, yet, that’s what happened. I also don’t agree with drafting Jason Witten at all. Coby Fleener went in the 15th round and even though he’s still learning the Saints offense, he has way more upside than Witten. I could go on. Zach Miller, Eric Ebron, Kyle Rudolph, Benjamin Watson, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Vance McDonald all went undrafted and all would’ve been better options than Jason Witten.
Best Pick: John Brown; Worst Pick: Jason Witten
Teams that didn’t keep a D/ST are now starting to draft them. That begs the question, why would someone ever keep a D/ST or a Kicker for that matter? The logic behind that is that if you keep a D/ST and/or a Kicker, then you can use all of your draft picks for prospective diamonds in the rough aka sleepers. So I’ll give a pass to all of the teams who chose Kickers and D/ST in the last few rounds. They had no choice. The only pick in this round that I take issue with is Jared Goff. Goff is not the starting QB for the Los Angeles Rams. It’s ok if you want to stash him though, since this is a dynasty league. However, this guy has bust written all over him. At this point in time, the game looks to be too fast for him and it’s only pre-season. Only time will tell though.
Best Pick: Coby Fleener; Worst Pick: Jared Goff
Nothing new here. Beer In The Hand chooses his fourth wide receiver in as many rounds. Jersey Bosses chooses another Dallas Cowboys player. Yada Yada Yada, etc… Although Beer In The Hand chose his 4th receiver, this was actually the best pick he made all night. Dion Lewis was unfortunately injured post-draft, so She Knows Football made out like a bandit by drafting LeGarrette Blount in the same round. She probably would’ve done that anyway since she’s a New England Patriots fan, but that’s none of my business, right Kermit? #freeBrady
Best Pick: Michael Thomas; Worst Pick: Anquan Boldin
It’s slim pickings by Round 17 but apparently BEAST Mode has been tuning into ESPN or following Matthew Berry on Twitter, so he chose Sammie Coates. I actually liked the Josh Ferguson pick since someone eventually has to supplant 45 year old Frank Gore. But then I saw Ferguson play in the pre-season and I instantly hated this pick. It’s only pre-season so I’ll try not to get too carried away with the hate. I think Ferguson will start connecting the dots. Jay Ajayi was an absolute steal in this round. It doesn’t matter how good Arian Foster looks in pre-season. Ajayi is the starter and Foster, as talented as he is, is a serious injury risk. Terrance Williams and Darren Sproles even in this round, made me laugh. Thanks for the laughs fellas.
Best Pick: Jay Ajayi; Worst Pick: Josh Brown (a suspended kicker though?)
Jersey Bosses (A): It seemed like he picked 17 Dallas Cowboys players, but in actuality, he drafted Elliott and his handcuff. He already owned Dez and drafted his handcuff, if WR’s have handcuffs. Picking up Big Ben and Corey Coleman were also solid picks.
Beer In The Hand (D-): The only reason you don’t get an F is because of Michael Thomas. Other than that, your draft smells worse than the NJ Turnpike during a heat wave. Your love for your Philadelphia Eagles should NEVER transfer over to fantasy. Keep that trash isolated in real life. Next time you draft, put the beer down.
REP ATL U.O.E.N.O (B+): You drafted 4 running backs and one D/ST. Looking at the rest of your team, that was actually good since you were low on RB’s, but it would’ve been nice to see you draft at least one WR prospect since none of your WR’s besides Jordy Nelson is elite, and he’s a little beat up at the moment. You put together a solid draft though.
Dada P (B): You picked up two solid sleepers and a solid kicker in Steven Hauschka, but drafting Dion Lewis and Jared Goff was pretty lame. If you knew better you’d do better. A little more draft prep and you could get an A grade next season.
RW TW (B-): Picking up Funchess and Shepard were nice moves but drafting a suspended kicker is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen all draft. Drafting Matt Jones in the first round of the draft also drops you a few points. Derrick Henry went right after Matt Jones and Jay Ajayi went 4 rounds later. You were fortunate to get Shepard in the 14th round because you should’ve chosen him in the 13th. I’d be surprised to see you make the playoffs if your decision making process doesn’t change swiftly.
U used to text on my cellphone (B): Clearly a Cardinals homer but that actually served him well. John Brown in the 14th round was brilliant even though you really didn’t know what you were doing. You just selected him because he was a Cardinal, but hey, that works. I like Derrick Henry in the 13th but I have a feeling you’ll be dropping Will Tye. Not bad for a Cardinals fan.
She Knows Football (C-): I will attest to the fact that the lone female GM in our league indeed does know football. However, her draft may indicate that she only knows football from 5 years ago. Jason Witten, LeGarrette Blount and Tavon Austin aren’t really the names you want to draft in a dynasty league. Also, besides Jordan Matthews in the 13th, your pick of Dorial Green-Beckham in the same round totally baffled me. His own team didn’t want him! Philadelphia is where WR’s go to die. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was cut before the regular season. You are blessed to already have kept 12 solid players that will propel you deep into the playoffs. Otherwise, you’d have the first or second pick in the draft next season.
BEAST Mode (C-): Typical Ravens fan shenanigans. You drafted Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. You do know it’s 2016 and neither of them play for the Ravens anymore? Anquan Boldin seems to be a great guy in real life but for fantasy, in 2016? You’ve got to be kidding me man! Drafting Coby Fleener was your saving grace. Sammie Coates may pan out also. Hopefully. For your sake. Drafting Rashad Jennings in the 13th round was another head scratcher. One piece of advice: HANDCUFF, HANDCUFF, HANDCUFF. If you’re reading this now, just go on waivers and get as many Giants RB’s as you can and hope one of them can stand out as a three down back.
King Joey IV (G for Genius): Not really fair for me to judge myself but I will say that I’m the genius of the league. If I win, which I’ve already done 3 times in the 6 years that this league has existed, it will be because of methodology, not because of kismet Kool-Aid.
UNDISPUTED CHAMP (A): Last but not least, our reigning champion (as if the team name didn’t give it away). As much as I’d love to say something negative (he beat me in The CHIP round of 2 leagues last year), his draft strategy is what dynasty is all about. In a dynasty league, the nucleus of your team should already be on your roster. You should be drafting prospects and sleepers. Take a flyer on a Josh Doctson despite his injury. Draft a possible “successor to the throne” like Josh Ferguson. In the first round of your draft, pick a guy who’s shown he can play, like Devante Parker. There’s really nothing to dislike about this draft except for the GM. #yesImHating
I don’t know how this season will play out. A lot of you drafted based on the team you have an affinity for in real life. That doesn’t usually work in fantasy. That’s why I own ZERO Falcons, after trading Julio for Gurley last season. Do I want Julio back? YES! But even though he’s my favorite player in real life, I have to put together my best “fantasy” team. My trade of Julio also landed me Cam Newton last year, so it was definitely worth it, even though I loathe The Panthers. I urge all of you to make smart decisions. Be a General Manager and MANAGE your teams. Treat it like a business. You are the GM, the Scout, the Head Coach, the Water Boy and the Owner. Even though fantasy can change in a heartbeat you can make educated moves and it starts in your draft. Then it continues on waivers and with smart trades. Put your best foot forward people and enjoy the 2016–2017 NFL and Fantasy Football seasons.