Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Today's fantasy piece is about the draft that wouldn't quit.
One of my duties as The Sports Network's fantasy editor is representing the company at various events, including fantasy drafts. One of the drafts I like the most is a draft among experts from around the country in which the winner receives a donation to his/her favorite charity. That's a very good thing and I'm hoping the charity I play for - the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation - gets a nice big check this year.
In the past, we've all gathered online and banged out the 15-round draft in less than two hours, but that's not the case this year. A day couldn't be arranged when all the owners were available, so we're doing an email draft this year.
The draft began on Tuesday, Aug. 21 and as I write this on the following Tuesday, we're still going. In fact, we're in the middle of the seventh round. At this pace, we may get it done by the time the Giants-Cowboys game kicks off the season on Sept. 5, but it's not a guarantee.
But the extra time between drafts, days in fact, has given me a chance to plan out a more radical strategy.
By luck of the draw, I drew the "outside post" No. 12 in a 12-team snake draft. The league also includes a wild card position which can include anyone except a second kicker or a second defense. In essence, it made this a two-quarterback league, though some owners won't admit it.
So with a bad draw, I decided to employ a few tricks to help change the balance of power to my side of the draft.
The first round went about as most drafts go with the three superstar quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady) going early along with Arian Foster, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy and Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden all got the call before yours truly stepped to the microphone.
My first two picks were both quarterbacks - Eli Manning of the Giants and Matt Ryan of Atlanta. The reasoning for this was not only to get two quality starters, but to create position scarcity. My theory was that if I could force other owners to draft their first quarterbacks before they normally would, or even draft a second quarterback as I did, I would have a better selection of running backs and receivers when I was ready for my third- and fourth-round picks, and at a "fair market price" instead of "reaching" for that position with my second overall pick.
The plan appeared to work as Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers were all selected in the top 35 picks.
Using fantasyfootballcalculator.com as a reference, Manning should have gone in the fifth round (ADP 60.7). The same for Romo (69.7), while Rivers would normally go in the next round with his 75.5 ADP. And Roethlisberger owns a 101 ADP and shouldn't come off the board until the 10th round.
I believe this helped clear the way for me to get two stud receivers in Victor Cruz, a hookup for me with Eli Manning, and Jordy Nelson of Green Bay. Both receivers are normally gone before selections No. 36 and No. 37.
After I grabbed my pair of receivers, there was a run on wideouts with seven of the next nine players off the board playing the same position as I had just taken. I had just created another run due to perceived position scarcity.
Which meant I had a much better chance of finding a starting running back in the fifth and sixth rounds with picks No. 60 and No. 61, respectively.
As it turns out, the guy I hoped for, Willis McGahee, was picked three spots before me, but I still managed to grab Cincinnati starter BenJarvus Green- Ellis, aka the "Law Firm," and who I believe will be the starter in Green Bay, newly acquired Cedric Benson.
So despite drafting last, my roster already consists of two top quarterbacks, both of whom threw for more than 4,000 yards last season, two receivers who combined for 2,802 yards and 23 TDs, and two starting tailbacks.
The moral of the story is not the length of this never-ending draft, it's that you can still create advantages for your team despite a bad starting position if you are willing to try new things.
I'll let you know how the rest of the draft turns out in future pieces and how the team fares during the season.