In mid August some of fantasy football's best analysts descended on Canton, Ohio for the inaugural King's Classic. Hmnn.. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail. Nevertheless, 24 members competed in 2 snake drafts and 2 auctions. Here's a look at one of the 12 team snake drafts- the Brown Division.
Values- RB Saquon Barkley- he looks like the next David Johnson. He’s 230 lbs and runs like a gazelle. Pure electricity. RB Leonard Fournette- he’s more valuable in this format than people think. A workhorse back on a team that runs all day with a solid defense – yes please. Adding all-pro lineman Andrew Norwell & the fact that Fournette lost weight. He’s sitting on a huge year.
Reaches- RB Dalvin Cook- The Vikes o-line is decimated. Coming off a major knee injury is a concern. Latavius Murray could vulture goal line TD’s. Despite Cook’s talent it’s too early for me.
Values- WR Odell Beckham- arguably the most talented WR in the league goes in the 2nd rd? He only needs 3 fingers to catch TDs. Even if it’s the 1st pick in the 2nd rd it’s still a steal. RB Joe Mixon might be the next LeVeon Bell. That was the comp from scouts in college. Cincy’s improved o-line & Mixon’s weight loss- he’s sitting on a breakout year. WR AJ Green- one of the most talented WR in the league- solid pick.
Reaches- WR Keenan Allen is not as valuable in .5 ppr. He's slow and doesn't have size. Mike Williams is healthy and should steal TDs. Allen has an injury history adding to his risk. WR Davante Adams taken before Julio… what? I know Julio didn’t catch many TD’s last year, but he’s is still bigger and faster than Adams. In addition, Jimmy Graham should vulture TD’s- I don’t see it.
Values- WR T.Y. Hilton is #1 target for Andrew Luck and they’ll be throwing it all day with their lousy defense- he’s a steal. WR Amari Cooper- the #1 target on Gruden’s offense looks like a rebound candidate- worth the risk.
Reaches- TE's Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. 3rd rd is too early for a TE unless his name is Gronk. Kelce has a rookie QB plus competition for targets from WR Sammy Watkins. Ertz’s QB Carson Wentz is coming off major knee injury. Ertz had a career year last yr- doubt he replicates it. Pass.
Values- WR Josh Gordon- if he stays clean Flash has the upside of the #1 WR in fantasy. Playing with the best QB he’s ever had in the NFL Tyrod or Baker. Talent is off the charts, but needs to stay clean. Do you feel lucky? Well do ya punk? WR Chris Hogan- has arguably the GOAT throwing him the rock. If he stays healthy is in for a big year.
Reaches- RB Dion Lewis- way too early for Lewis in half point ppr. Derrick Henry will get the goal line looks. WR Doug Baldwin’s knee isn’t right. Why chance it? RB Lamar Miller has no o-line in Houston and wears down with too heavy of a workload.
Values- WR Corey Davis is finally developing chemistry with Mariota. The Titans offense should pass more this year with new head coach Mike Vrabel. Davis needs to stay healthy. RB Marshawn Lynch- in possibly his swan song, is playing for his hometown Raiders. There’s no quit in his game and seems like a Gruden lunch pail type of guy. RB Jamaal Williams- Aaron Jones is suspended the first two games which is fantasy gold for two weeks. If Jones gets hurt like last year Williams suddenly becomes very interesting on an incredibly potent offense for the long term.
Reaches- WR Alshon Jeffery- he has a history of soft tissue injuries and he’s recovering from shoulder surgery. Wentz is recovering from major knee surgery. Avoid. RB Mark Ingram- suspended the first 4 games- Kamara is more talented. Ingram is also TD dependent. Too many obstacles for me- avoid.
Values- WR Marquise Goodwin- the #1 WR on 49'ers offense. Jimmy G is a budding star and Goodwin can run like the wind with Olympic caliber speed. This year’s Tyreek Hill imo. RB Sony Michel- sleeper alert! An electric back who is recovering from an injury, but NE didn’t burn a 1st rd pick on him to have him just sit on the bench. Should be a factor in October. RB Rashaad Penny- a home run threat who can also catch the rock. Like Michel, Penny’s a 1st round pick and should be a factor once he’s healthy.
Reaches- WR Robert Woods- not as valuable in .5 ppr. Improved defense means less passing opportunities for the Rams and less fantasy points.
Values- QB Andrew Luck is my overall #1 ranked Qb- he’s tied with Aaron Rodgers technically. The Colts will be slinging it all over the field. Improved o-line and playing half the games in the perfect weather confines of the RCA dome is a no brainer. TE Evan Engram- a tight end only by title he’s really a WR who can fly. Should get a lot of single coverage which means a lot of big plays are there for the taking if he can cure the drops he’s had in training camp. RB Tevin Coleman- he’s a Devonta Freeman concussion away from a bell cow role on a potent offense. Worth a shot for fantasy greatness.
Reaches- QB Cam Newton- Carolina’s o-line is Swiss cheese. Cam's either going to get killed and end up on IR or be in for a long year. Only standout rookie WR DJ Moore can save his numbers from total trash. QB Carson Wentz- is coming off a gruesome knee injury. No way he's ready mentally or physically. It might take 2 years for him to feel right. Avoid. RB Chris Thompson already admitted his knee isn't 100% and the season hasn’t even started. No chance he replicates last year’s numbers on one good leg- none.
Values- WR Will Fuller- when DeShaun Watson was at the helm Fuller went nuts. If both he and Watson can stay healthy Fuller is sitting on a big year. But can he stay healthy? That’s been his Achilles heel.
Reaches- WR Devin Funchess- he’s like the 3rd or 4th option on a team that runs the ball. A bad o-line doesn’t help. No thanks. WR Cooper Kupp- isn't big or fast. The .5 ppr format hurts him. The Rams shouldn't need to pass as much once Aaron Donald signs. Avoid.
Values- WR DJ Moore- I’m not a fan of Carolina’s offense, but Moore is a budding star. He’s electric and makes people miss gaining valuable yards after the catch. Steve Smith has been reincarnated in Charlotte and his name is DJ Moore. TE George Kittle- if his shoulder is okay he’s sitting on a big year. Jimmy G is a budding star at QB and in a Kyle Shanahan offense SF seems ready to take another step forward. How Behrens, an Iowa grad, didn’t grab Kittle is criminal. He should lose his alumni status for such disloyalty. RB Aaron Jones- he’s suspended the first 2 games, but he has the best burst of any Packers RB. Can he stay healthy? Worth the risk.
Reaches- WR Kelvin Benjamin- on a terrible Bills offense with no line and will need to hope Josh Allen can win the starting job and not be awful. Too much risk. Buffalo isn’t exactly the best passing environment in December when the fantasy playoffs decide your team’s fate. Pass.
Values- The stars in the Colts backfield could be lining up just right for RB Jordan Wilkins. Mack isn't an inside runner and if he gets hurt or falters Wilkins is the most likely RB to pick up additional carries. Should see the goal line looks regardless. Rookies Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith upgrade the Colts o-line into a strength. TE Jack Doyle- give me all the Colts I can get my hands on. With Luck back he’s a prime red zone target. RB Peyton Barber- Ronald Jones is having a brutal camp. He had a history of injuries in college and is struggling in pass protection. Time to make a trip to the Barber and cut your losses on Jones.
Values- WR Kenny Golladay has size and speed. Despite the Lions expectation to run it more he looks like a breakout candidate and red zone threat. WR Calvin Ridley-went to a perfect situation in Atlanta believe it or not. Julio will receive double coverage- which frees up Calvin for 1 on 1. WR Dez Bryant-is still without a team as of this writing on August 18th 2018, but should be very motivated when /if he signs. In the 11th rd he's certainly worth a shot.
Reaches- WR Paul Richardson- He’s paired with Alex Smith who’s known as Checkdown Charlie. Seems like Richardson landed in a bad spot to utilize his speed. Losing rookie sensation RB Derrius Guice doesn't help the Redksins offense- avoid. RB Gio Bernard- it’s Joe Mixon’s time. Mixon is more than just a 2 down back- he can be a bell cow because of his size and excellent receiving skills. Neither of those help Gio’s 2018 prospects. Pass.
Values- Jaguars Defense. Hey if you have to start a defense you might as well grab one of the best ones before they’re gone instead of a player with no upside. Gain an advantage at as many starting lineup spots as possible. Most owners underestimate this strategy. Well done.
Reaches- TE Tyler Eifert- He’s always injured. I’m not a believer he’ll ever be healthy. Let someone else deal with that frustration. WR Cam Meredith- coming off a devastating knee injury. I don’t think he holds up either and the Saints improved defense should provide less incentive to pass in the 4th quarter. RB Bilal Powell- he’s never been used as a workhorse back. The Jets offense is still a work in progress. No thanks.
Values- Vikings Defense- throw out the NFC Championship game this defense is legit. They add Sheldon Richardson in free agency and CB Mike Hughes in the draft which only makes it more menacing. The Rams Defense, despite losing LB Alec Ogletree, they added CB Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib plus DT Nadamakong Suh to go with Aaron Donald. They should wreak havoc on offenses. When Cardinals QB Sam Bradford tried to get health insurance Blue Cross turned him down saying he was uninsurable- Suh would destroy him.
Reaches- RB Theo Riddick- Kerryon Johnson looks like a solid player and the Lions signed LeGarrette Blount to use in short yardage and goal line. Head coach Matt Patricia wants to run it more. Riddick’s outlook looks bleak with no upside- pass.
Values- QB Jimmy Garoppolo- looks like the next great QB. He’s had a full year to digest the playbook and develop more chemistry with his WR’s. He destroyed the Jags tough defense at home last year. I’m a believer. He's the 2nd coolest cat to graduate from Rolling Meadows High School. He's richer, but I'm better looking. WR Ryan Grant- getting the #2 WR on a Colts team that wants to play hurry up and pass all day under new head coach Frank Reich- well done. RB LeGarrette Blount- he’s reunited with coach Matt Patricia who wants to run the ball more. The Lions added one of the best linemen in the draft in Frank Ragnow who scouts say is a mauler. Blount is a sneaky pick who could be in for a good year as long as Stafford doesn’t steal any of his goal line TD’s. QB Pat Mahomes- has shades of rookie Brett Favre in him. Will make a boneheaded throw for an interception and follow it up with a 75 yard laser to Tyreek Hill. The Chief's defense is awful – Mahomes will be forced to pass. Plenty of garbage points are there for the taking. He's also very athletic, able to get rushing yards, and has the weapons around him to succeed.
Values- WR Geronimo Allison- He’s entrenched as the #3 WR and if anything happens to Davante Adams might vault into the Packer's #1 WR. Adams had a concussion last year. In addition, he has one of the best in the business throwing him the rock. Worth a shot. WR Courtland Sutton has no speed, but plenty of size. He’s been making plays all training camp. Red zone target with upside if Thomas or Sanders go down.
Values- RB James Conner- How Pat, the LeVeon Bell owner, didn’t scoop him up as an insurance policy is mind boggling to me. Bell has an injury history and while Conner is no Bell – the Steelers offense is potent. This is a swing for the fences and it could be a game changer- ala DeAngelo Williams was a few years ago if Bell is… ahem…terminated. I’ll be back.
Reaches- QB Mitchell Trubisky- Reports from Bears training camp are “The Biscuit” has been shaky. He’s throwing a lot of interceptions. Despite the added weapons and new head coach- he seems overhyped. I’ll take a pass despite the cool nickname.
Missing in Action- Where’s TE OJ Howard? Anyone… anyone… Bueller? The top tight end in one of the most heralded tight end draft’s in a decade (2017) wasn’t picked? It takes time for TE’s and WR’s to learn the playbook. Howard is better than TE Cameron Brate and in his second year should take a leap forward. WR Chester Rogers is fighting Ryan Grant for the Colts WR 2 spot. He has something neither T.Y. Hilton nor Ryan Grant have- size to be a factor in the red zone. The issue with him has been staying healthy. In a pass happy offense like Indy- Rogers seems worthy of a late round dart throw. Also the analysts must have run out of data because where is T-Mobile? Even with the shadow of Baker Mayfield looming- QB Tyrod Taylor has Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Antonio Callaway, Duke Johnson, and possibly Josh Gordon. He also gets valuable rushing yards which other QB’s do not. And he’s a Cleveland Brown. This is the Brown Division draft in Canton, Ohio…. for the love of Brian Sipe- gaa!!!
Prediction- Scott wins! Saquon Barkley is a star who can get points with both runs and receptions. He gobbles up yards like a player in a John Madden video game on the beginner’s level. AJ Green is solid. Tyreek Hill finally has a gunslinger willing to take chances and maximize his talents with bombs. Marquise Goodwin seems like the 2018 version of Tyreek Hill with Jimmy G throwing him the rock. LeVeon Bell will get hurt and Steelers RB backup James Conner will burst on the scene, and in the process, will change the balance of power in the league- giving Scott too much firepower to overcome.