After 3 laborious days, the TUFFKL draft was completed yesterday.  I must say that I’m pretty pleased with my our team.  My Life Associate and I went in with a plan and executed it for the most part.  We let the draft come to us for the most part and some pretty good players fell into our laps.

The draft technically began after the last preseason games on Thursday night/early Friday morning.  We didn’t really get going until about 7 or 8 AM on Friday.  Most people were working.  I was emailing my Life Associate the draft’s progress and thoughts on our next picks, while guzzling coffee.  At some point I got so draft-caffeine jittery that I typed an entire draft-related email to my Life Associate in the IM chat window that I was talking to Her Sweetness in.  These things happen.

To review, the league has this many teams, you’re allowed to keep 1 or 2 players, we kept 1 (DeAngelo Williams), and were drafting 3rd overall and 2nd in the supplemental round, 14th overall.  The last minute surprise to this whole thing was the team drafting 2nd, the Devils, decided to keep no one, allowing him to jump ahead of us in the supplemental round.  Another team, the Toads, wasn’t keeping anyone either, but he was selecting after us in the supplemental round.  After we each got our first supplemental pick, they each got one more and then the draft resumed in serpentine fashion.

Our debate all along for our first selection was between Ryan Mathews and Randy Moss.  Figuring the Devils were starting from scratch we thought he would select a stud running back or Tom Brady with the 2nd pick, after Adrian Peterson went first.

Welcome aboard, now get to work.

In our minds, Mathews was the best back available even though he’s unproven and the Chargers have some offensive holdouts that could impact their productivity.  In this league, it’s imperative to have one stud running back.  We can only keep DeAngelo through this season, and wanted to lock up a stud back for the next few years.  Mathews is that.  So when Steven Jackson got taken 2nd, we took Mathews without blinking.  It’s a nice pairing with Williams and we figured there was enough stud receiver depth in the draft that we’d get DeSean Jackson at the very least to add as our first receiver.  Randy Moss in a contract year is tempting, but his hamstrings are older and we’ve both been burned by the Randy Moss that goes half speed when he’s having a bad day.

Now, DeSean Jackson would have been fine, and I had been talking myself into the fact that Greg Jennings may be available, but his stock has been soaring lately.  We assumed that the good receiver talent would get snapped up quickly.  Moss, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and Larry Fitzgerald were all available.  I spent the night before the draft doing some simple math and realizing that there were 10 picks between our first and second selections so we would need four running backs and Brady to get taken and we would lock up Jennings, or someone out of that group.  Low and behold, Ryan Grant, Shonn Greene, Cedric Benson, Pierre Thomas, Arian Foster, and Brady all got selected.  Moss, Calvin Johnson, White, and Fitzgerald also got selected leaving us Jennings and Brandon Marshall to choose from.  Holy hell!  How’d that happen?  We chose Marshall given the lack of other receiving weapons in Miami compared to Green Bay.  Keeping Mathews and Marshall for the next few years doesn’t sound so bad, if Marshall can start actually catching the ball.  Colston and Anquan Boldin went with the last two supplemental picks, leaving the team drafting 12th, last year’s winner to select Jackson to go with Fitzgerald.  He adds those two to Chris Johnson and Tony Romo for a damn good first four picks in the draft.  I’ll hit you bullet-style so this doesn’t take as long as the actual draft:

  • We planned on taking two receivers with our next two picks, Dallas Clark was the first one (tight ends count as wide receivers in this league).  With our next pick, there was a lot of sameness with the available receivers and still some good backs left.  We were either taking Johnny Knox, Jermichael Finley, or a good back.  We went with Joseph Addai and locked up some big touchdown producers in a highly productive offense.  Then we hoped that Knox or Finley would make it back to us 18 picks later.  Wouldn’t you know it?  They both made it back to us.  We took Knox and then waited for the short 4 pick turn around and Finley was there so we snagged him.  Now we have Addai as our back up running back and Finley or Knox as our 4th receiver, we start 3 with no flex.
  • We decided before the draft that we would wait a while to select a quarterback.  7 were kept and Brady went early, leaving Joe Flacco as the only QB worth taking in the first few rounds.  Had he been available when we selected Knox, we probably would have taken Flacco, but he got picked right after we took Addai.  That meant more waiting.  We were looking to take two QB’s back to back at some point, maybe Cutler and Palmer, something like that.
  • Needless to say Palmer, Cutler, McNabb, and Eli Manning all went before we picked again.  One team took the same approach and selected McNabb and Cutler which kind of hurt us.  That left us with Matthew Stafford and Kevin Kolb.  Favre was on the board, but we’re in the club that doesn’t feel good about that situation this year.
  • After that the Steelers defense was on the board when our turn came around again.  We hadn’t planned on taking a defense that early, but the run had started and they were available so why not?  I’ve never had the Steelers defense on a fantasy team of mine so I’m pretty happy about it.
  • We took Vincent Jackson after that.  This was before the 6:00 deadline on Saturday for him to report or add another 3 games to his suspension.  We took a shot anyway, it was late in the draft, he’s our 5th receiver.  We’ll see, it may end up being our worst pick, but it was worth the risk at that point.
  • We picked Tim Hightower after that to fill out our running back stable.

    The other Hightower.

    Adding another kinda sorta starting running back that gets touchdowns in the 12th round makes me happier than it should make a civilized person.

  • We filled out our roster with Jacoby Jones, Matt Prater, the Panthers defense, and Mike Nugent.
  • The only time that we were bummed out was when we started talking about taking Dexter McCluster too late.  Looking back, we probably should have taken a shot on him instead of Vincent Jackson.
  • One team kept Reggie Wayne and Miles Austin.  With his first pick he added Calvin Johnson.  Holy hell.
  • The Toads, who kept no one, but could have kept Benson, Jennings, and/or Colston selected Benson and Jennings with his first two picks.  Had he kept them, he could have added Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald, or Marshall to that pairing.  But hindsight is 20/20 they say.
  • Sidney Rice got taken with the last pick in the 4th round.  I don’t know if the owner knew his injury status or not.  But this is the team with Phillip Rivers, Frank Gore, and Peterson, so he could get pretty deadly around week 9.
  • Overall, I’m pretty happy with the draft.  There are prizes for scoring the most points overall each week.  Last year Space Mountain didn’t win any.  I feel like this team should at least improve on that.  Ultimately it comes down to injuries and the schedule.  I dread the type of season where your team scores the second-most points in the league that week, but you’re always playing the team that scores the most.  That’s the worst.

I’ll be back Thursday with my Super Awesome Football Spectacular.  Be there!


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