First, I would like to thank the smattering of respondents who chimed in on this poll.
1-5 - As noted earlier, I selected Edgerrin James
with the fifth pick. Hopefully Manning will feel guilty about all the stat padding last year, and he'll let Edge score more than nine TDs this season.
Getting a top flight back in round one was step one of my three part plan. Luckily for me, the players I had targeted in rounds two and three dropped to me exactly like I planned. If this team sucks, I can't blame anyone but myself, because I got the players I wanted.
2-20 - I took Torry Holt
in round two. I have Holt rated as the number one WR this year and he was seventh on my overall draft board. I was lucky to get him. Moss and Owens went in the first round and Harrison came off the board midway through round two. Chad Johnson went the pick immediately after I took Torry.
2-29 - Steven Jackson
was my pick in round three and I think he was a total steal. I had him rated over lots of backs who went ahead of him. In fact, I only had LT, Alexander, Edge, McGahee and Dillon rated higher. Its true that Martz suppresses RB numbers in general, but he drafted Jackson and I can tell he really likes him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jackson going in the bottom of round one next season.
Just like Edge, I like that I grabbed two more players from a potent offense, but scheduling had something to do with my choices, too. Holt and Jackson face San Francisco, Seattle and Arizona six times this season, including a matchup at home against Frisco in all important week 16. They have some other soft spots in the schedule, too, including Tennessee at home. Overall, St Louis has the easiest fantasy schedule in football this year. Why not exploit that?
4-44 - Round four is where things got kind of interesting. First I checked to see if anyone left a really good running back on the board. Some decent talent, but no second rounders slipped through. So, the plan now called for another top WR or one of the top two TEs. I watched Gonzo, Gates, Andre Johnson, Wayne and Walker all drop out of my queue in the next seven picks. At this point, I decided to re- evaluate things. Horn, Roy Williams and Michael Clayton were still on the board and I gambled that one of them would make it back to me in round five. As a result, I made a surprise selection and grabbed the Ravens Defense
5-53 - Happily, Michael Clayton
did make it through the turnaround and I snapped him up in two seconds. Clayton looks like the real deal, but I am a little worried about a sophomore jinx. He had off season knee surgery, one rumor (which I mostly discounted) said he reported to camp a little out of shape. As you know, his QB is not one of my favorites, either. All things considered, I just couldn't pass on him, though. Clayton really impressed me last season. Once defenses started focusing more attention to him I expected his numbers to decline, but he remained productive all year. That's a sign of a special player.
6-68 - Because there are a couple warning flags present with Clayton, I made sure to get a strong number three WR. Ashley Lelie
was by far the best WR left on the board in round six and it was a nice nod to the homer in me, too.
7-77 - Round seven was my only real disappointment. I missed Alge Crumpler by a couple picks. I could have reached for Shockey or Heap at this point, but instead I decided to play it safe and grab my boy Jake Delhomme
instead. It was probably the right decision because a small run on QBs started right after that pick.
8-92 - I missed out on Shockey and Heap in round eight. Wifebeater McMichael (who I wouldn't have picked in round 14) and LJ Smith also came off the board. I was sorry to see LJ go so early. I had designs on him in round nine. Again, I decided to shift gears on the fly and simply take the best available option. I grabbed the Carolina Defense
. I guess it might be a little indulgent, since I already have Baltimore, but the value at this point was extreme (second rated D on my board) and the two teams schedules meshed really well. In week one The Ravens play Indy and Carolina gets New Orleans at home. During Baltimore's bye in week three, Carolina gets the hapless Dolphins. I might try to trade the Panthers after week three.
I'm not sure punting the TE position entirely was the right move, but I just don't see the logic in reaching for players several rounds above where they deserve to be selected.
9-101 - Last good QB on the board was Drew Brees
. Happy to say my only divisional rival is an overachiever who doesn't annoy me personally. Good QB tandem and I didn't pay much to get them.
10-116 and 11-125 - I figured it was time to address the backup RB positions. I was happy to land Reuben Droughns
and Travis Henry
12-140 and 13-149 - I finally got my TEs. I wound up with Daniel Graham
and Ben Troupe
. As soon as Troupe is 100% healthy, I'll probably ditch Graham (who's falling behind Ben Watson anyway), but I need Graham in week one.
14-164 - They mandate that everybody select one kicker. Matt Stover
was the 12th and final one drafted. He's rock solid and its nice to have one kind of old dude on the roster. In retrospect, I should have taken Ryan Longwell before the TEs. He's been a sort of Yah Mule good luck charm over the years, probably handling the kicking chores for at least 75% of the Mule teams over the last decade.
I feel real good about this team. Good balance, good depth, awesome playoff matchups. I need a legitimate TE, but a couple unheralded ones establish themselves every season.