"Adapt or Die!" Brad Pitt exclaims to his head scout in the hit movie "Money Ball."
This should be your mindset during a fantasy football draft. You will most likely go into a draft with one plan and come out using three different back up plans just to survive. Remember it's all about putting the best possible lineup together week in and week out, not trying to prove that the RB-RB-WR-WR-QB or RB-WR-WR-RB-TE method is the best way to win a league. Theories on drafting are like excuses for bad fantasy football teams, everyone has one.
As Mike Tyson so eloquently said, " Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." That punch in the face is usually an extremely long WR run in the middle of a draft.
Many great owners show up to drafts with spreadsheets and laptops thinking that they planned for every possible scenario to unfold only to realize that a live draft is always a test of how one functions in complete chaos. Cellphones are constantly going off. Kids are running around using your cheat sheets to draw their favorite cartoon characters. The pizza guy is waiting to get paid like in "Home Alone." Your high school buddy keeps drafting players who have already been taken. With all this chaos you have to try to stay in that drafting Zone.
For example, it's round three and you have a late-round pick. The wings and pizza have just arrived and you're starving. Your plan was to take Roddy White or Larry Fitzgerald and can't see how either don't make it to your pick, so you grab some wings and start to make a mess when low and behold the two guys in front of you draft White and Fitzgerald back-to-back.
Oh no! What do you do? Do you draft the next receiver on your list that only has a fourth-round grade? Do you draft Drew Brees even though you wanted to wait until after the fifth round for a QB? Is it too early for Gronkowski? How's his back, anyway?
All of these questions are running through your head as you wipe thermonuclear wing sauce right into your eyes. Temporarily blinded you walk up to the draft board without a clue as to who you're actually going to pick. You look at the names on the stickers hoping one pops out at you. You search for a lifeline on the faces of your friends that want nothing more than to see you pick a kicker, until you finally draft Brees just so you can slink back to your seat.
You clean your eyes. You take a deep breath and talk yourself into your new plan. How can I be upset? I drafted a guy who can go for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. What's not to love? When Tom Brady slips to the the seventh round and your second wide receiver ends up being Greg Jennings you resign yourself to finishing your friends 12 pack just to numb the pain.
We've all been there and during this recent mock draft at www.myfantasyleague.com I found myself right back in the line of fire when my plan had to be scrapped in round four. While I didn't have Buffalo wing sauce in my eyes or beer spilled on my cheat sheets, I did have something happen that I wasn't prepared for. A GM went RB-WR-WR-WR to start the draft right in front of me. I never saw it coming. I should have, but I didn't.
You can never discount the "human element" to a draft. Mistakes can and will happen. People do strange things when under pressure, and there is no greater pressure in late August then when you're on the clock after your target was taken right in front of you. Just remember, you aren't drafting against expert algorithms. You're drafting against car salesmen, accountants, teachers, and even in some cases, stay at home dads.
|3.01||25||@bhucks83||Bush, Reggie DET RB|
|3.02||26||@KVHehateMe||Miller, Lamar MIA RB|
|3.03||27||@aidendrakesdad||Brees, Drew NOS QB|
|3.04||28||@Fantasytaz||Ridley, Stevan NEP RB|
|3.05||29||@coachesser||Murray, DeMarco DAL RB|
|3.06||30||@rpm1010||Johnson, Andre HOU WR|
|3.07||31||@Moondog2410||Cobb, Randall GBP WR|
|3.08||32||@Brayden581Tony||Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB|
|3.09||33||@paultheoret||Harvin, Percy SEA WR|
|3.10||34||@SundaysRule||Cruz, Victor NYG WR|
|3.11||35||@AdamRonis||Gore, Frank SFO RB|
|3.12||36||@RotoRankings||McFadden, Darren OAK RB|
|The third round for me was all about getting the best WR or RB available. Lamar Miller going at 26 had to make me really think about going RB otherwise I would be playing rookie roullette with my next pick. I considered Roddy White and Andre Johnson, but decided on DeMarco Murray because I could be left with no RB options in the 4th at 44 overall. Victor Cruz easily could have gone higher if he signed his extension before the draft.|
|Note Randall Cobb has been consistently going before Percy Harvin in recent drafts and that was the case here as well. @AdamRonis went with three straight RBs to start a PPR draft which is a little unusual, but he couldn't pass up Gore's value there. The top two QBs came off the board which is to be expected and @RotoRankings was forced to pick Darren McFadden after going WR-TE to start the draft.|
|4.01||37||@RotoRankings||Lacy, Eddie GBP RB(R)|
|4.02||38||@AdamRonis||Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE|
|4.03||39||@SundaysRule||Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB(R)|
|4.04||40||@paultheoret||Ball, Montee DEN RB(R)|
|4.05||41||@Brayden581Tony||White, Roddy ATL WR|
|4.06||42||@Moondog2410||Nicks, Hakeem NYG WR|
|4.07||43||@rpm1010||Jackson, Vincent TBB WR|
|4.08||44||@coachesser||Witten, Jason DAL TE|
|4.09||45||@Fantasytaz||Nelson, Jordy GBP WR|
|4.10||46||@aidendrakesdad||Colston, Marques NOS WR|
|4.11||47||@KVHehateMe||Welker, Wes DEN WR|
|4.12||48||@bhucks83||Wayne, Reggie IND WR|
|The fourth round saw the top three rookie RBs go in the first four picks. I personally like Bernard's PPR upside better than all three, but RB pickings were getting low. After Ball went I was going to choose from whoever was left out of White, Nicks and Jackson and planned that at least one of them would get to me. White was a bit of a pipe dream as he has been a PPR monster, but I would have loved Nicks in his "prove it" year. To my surprise @rpm1010 went for his third receiver before getting a second RB and I needed to regroup. I had a group of six receivers that I liked and didn't prefer any over the other so I changed gears and went with Jason Witten who is my #2 PPR TE hoping one of the six would make it back to me in the 5th.|
|5.01||49||@bhucks83||Amendola, Danny NEP WR|
|5.02||50||@KVHehateMe||Bernard, Giovani CIN RB (R)|
|5.03||51||@aidendrakesdad||Ivory, Chris NYJ RB|
|5.04||52||@Fantasytaz||Bradshaw, Ahmad IND RB|
|5.05||53||@coachesser||Bowe, Dwayne KCC WR|
|5.06||54||@rpm1010||Manning, Peyton DEN QB|
|5.07||55||@Moondog2410||Garcon, Pierre WAS WR|
|5.08||56||@Brayden581Tony||Smith, Torrey BAL WR|
|5.09||57||@paultheoret||Wallace, Mike MIA WR|
|5.10||58||@SundaysRule||Brown, Antonio PIT WR|
|5.11||59||@AdamRonis||Smith, Steve CAR WR|
|5.12||60||@RotoRankings||Mathews, Ryan SDC RB|
|Since I went with a TE in round 4 I needed one of my receiver targets to make it back to me. Luckily Dwayne Bowe was there for me and he became the pick with no questions asked. Chris Ivory and Ahmad Bradshaw continued to go earlier in drafts as their stock has steadily gone up over the summer. both are injury prone and not my ideal RB2, but as a RB3 I am okay with either. This may be the last time you see Danny Amendola in the fifth round in a PPR for the rest of the summer. His ADP has risen almost as fast as Vereen's in the last few weeks. Antonio Brown could be a steal in the fifth round of a PPR draft if Big Ben and Todd Haley can get on the same page.|
|6.01||61||@RotoRankings||Decker, Eric DEN WR|
|6.02||62||@AdamRonis||Shorts, Cecil JAC WR|
|6.03||63||@SundaysRule||Davis, Vernon SFO TE|
|6.04||64||@paultheoret||Austin, Tavon STL WR (R)|
|6.05||65||@Brayden581Tony||Johnson, Stevie BUF WR|
|6.06||66||@Moondog2410||Gonzalez, Tony ATL TE|
|6.07||67||@rpm1010||Vereen, Shane NEP RB|
|6.08||68||@coachesser||Newton, Cam CAR QB|
|6.09||69||@Fantasytaz||Mendenhall, Rashard ARI RB|
|6.10||70||@aidendrakesdad||Jones, James GBP WR|
|6.11||71||@KVHehateMe||Britt, Kenny TEN WR|
|6.12||72||@bhucks83||Gordon, Josh CLE WR|
|I was targeting Shane Vereen here as my third RB and Flex option as he should be a big piece of the Patriots passing offense this year. @rpm1010 stole him out from under me again, but I was prepared to take my 4th rated QB if Vereen didn't last. Newton has finished in the top 5 in scoring the past two years and closed the year strong last season so I was filling out a nice starting lineup. Vernon Davis went ahead of Tony Gonzalez again and most likely won't outperform the old tight end again. @Fantasytaz took Rashard Mendenhall who is the last of the clear cut starting RBs left on the board and who I hoped would make it to me in the 7th round. Kenny Britt and Josh Gordon both went at the bottom of the round and are both gambles, just for different reasons.|
|7.01||73||@bhucks83||Jennings, Greg MIN WR|
|7.02||74||@KVHehateMe||Wilson, Russell SEA QB|
|7.03||75||@aidendrakesdad||Green-Ellis, BenJarvus CIN RB|
|7.04||76||@Fantasytaz||Alexander, Danario SDC WR|
|7.05||77||@coachesser||Hilton, T.Y. IND WR|
|7.06||78||@rpm1010||Pead, Isaiah STL RB|
|7.07||79||@Moondog2410||Ingram, Mark NOS RB|
|7.08||80||@Brayden581Tony||Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR (R)|
|7.09||81||@paultheoret||Brown, Andre NYG RB|
|7.10||82||@SundaysRule||Ryan, Matt ATL QB|
|7.11||83||@AdamRonis||Williams, Mike TBB WR|
|7.12||84||@RotoRankings||Austin, Miles DAL WR|
|A big man can admit his mistakes and I am definitely a big man. In the seventh I went with T.Y. Hilton when I could have had Mike Williams in a contract year. Williams has been a big time red-zone target and is definitely a favorite of Josh Freeman. Notice Tom Brady has still not been taken. A bit of an overreaction to the Patriots offseason that a shrewd GM can capitalize on in the next round. Andre Brown goes in the seventh and looks to be solidifying himself as a solid third RB option on most fantasy teams.|
|8.01||85||@RotoRankings||Moore, Lance NOS WR|
|8.02||86||@AdamRonis||Brady, Tom NEP QB|
|8.03||87||@SundaysRule||Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB|
|8.04||88||@paultheoret||Pierce, Bernard BAL RB|
|8.05||89||@Brayden581Tony||Griffin III, Robert WAS QB|
|8.06||90||@Moondog2410||Romo, Tony DAL QB|
|8.07||91||@rpm1010||Pitta, Dennis BAL TE|
|8.08||92||@coachesser||Woodhead, Danny SDC RB|
|8.09||93||@Fantasytaz||Luck, Andrew IND QB|
|8.10||94||@aidendrakesdad||Brown, Bryce PHI RB|
|8.11||95||@KVHehateMe||Brown, Vincent SDC WR|
|8.12||96||@bhucks83||Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE|
I was desperate for a RB here in the eighth. I settled on Danny Woodhead as he could be Darren Sproles light for Phillip Rivers in San Diego this season. Woodhead performed like a top 25 PPR RB the last few seasons and I have no faith in Ryan Mathews abilities anymore. The QB run came fast and furious as Tom Brady finally came off the board to RotoExperts @AdamRonis and ended when @Fantasytaz took Andrew Luck. Dennis Pitta in the eighth makes me rethink my Witten pick in the 4th just a bit. I'm very high on Pitta, but I'll take the sure thing with Witten for now. @RotoRankings went back to back with great value picks in the seventh and eighth in Miles Austin and Lance Moore. @KVHehateme went with everyone's sleeper WR pick when he took Vincent Brown, but it seemed like a reach to me at this point in the draft.
Check back next week as I recap the rest of the draft to let you know where all the sleepers are going, and when to target a defense and kicker. (Note. Very Late)
Feel free to join the fantasy sports conversation on Twitter and follow me @coachesser, or ask me any questions on my Facebook page CoachEsser's Playbook. Also visit my website www.coachesser.com for all my latest rankings and articles.