Survivor I - Round 11 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - Pittsburgh finished first in the NFL in total defense last year. Their one weakness was at defensive back, but their 1st round draft choice, Bryant McFadden, as well as the continued improvement of young players, should help improve this area. Pittsburgh did not loose any impact player to free agency this year (Kendrell Bell only played in 3 games last year) so thereís no reason to think they canít repeat last years performance and remain a top defense this season.
Negatives - Itís hard to remain a top defense in the NFL. If their weaknesses at DB have not been addressed effectively, they may find themselves mismatched against some of the better passing offenses in the league, many of which are on their schedule this year (New England, San Diego, Cincinnati (twice), Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Minnesota). If the Pittsburgh offense cannot perform at the same high level that it did a year ago, the defense may find itself on the field more in less advantageous field position.
Draft Strategy - I wasnít planning on taking a defense this high, but finding the last of the elite defenses still available at this point provided too much value. I was tempted to take a second QB here, but hoped that one would drop to me with my next pick at the end of the 12th round. At the halfway point, Iím very pleased with my team. I have a top 5 QB, the top TE, a great group of RBs including Tomlinson, and a top defense. Iím not as pleased with my receivers, but knew there would be a penalty for taking Gonzalez. I just hope quantity will make up for quality and that a few of my undervalued selections will outperform their draft positions.
Positives - As the Jaguars #2 RB he would be in line for the most carries should Fred Taylor miss any time.
Negatives - Toefield has had his own injury problems. He is not a great receiver out of the backfield which might open the door for rookie Alvin Pearman to work his way into the lineup. FB Greg Jones is the likely goalline back further reducing Toefieldís value.
Draft Strategy - With RBs thinning I felt I needed to insure my investment/gamble on Fred Taylor. Hopefully this at least insures I have 3 starting running backs come week 1.
Positives - Bryant finished a 2004 season of turmoil with stats of 58-812-4. Not shabby production for a WR that can be had this late in the draft. Two of those games in 2004 resulted in 30+ point outputs in this format, which is the type of production you like to see in a best starter league. Some of the quotes attributed to Bryant this off season indicate that heís finally matured and that weíll finally see the output that heís capable of.
Negatives - The Cleveland offense is a mess and the schedule always finds Baltimore and Pittsburgh appearing twice. Trent Dilfer at the helm certainly will never be mistaken for Peyton Manning.
Draft Strategy - Going into the draft I had targeted Griese at this spot as my first QB. Having taken the luxury of Hasselbeck early, I still felt like depth at WR would be a key to winning this league. We can only start one QB, but can potentially start 4 WRs. Bryant was the last WR left on the board projected by FBG to post 140 points and the bottom was falling fast at this position.
Positives - Putzier put up 36/572/2 last season. Thatís not stellar, but was career highs for Putzier and did put him in the top 12 TEs. The Broncos seemed to really value Putzier by matching the Jetís offer in the off-season in order to retain him. The Broncos passing attack is a good one ranking in the top ten in both passing yards and passing TDs. Putzier has nothing but upside as far as TDs go having ONLY 2 last season. He finished 12th in receptions for TEs and, for what itís worth, the Denver GM has stated that Putzier could get more balls thrown his way this season and, as such, ďis going to catch a lot of ballsĒ this year.
Negatives - Putzier did not receive a lot of red zone targets last season and youíd like to see a lot more TD production. The acquisition of Stephen Alexander (who actually caught more passes than Putzier while playing at Detroit last year) could potentially cut into Putzierís production if it gets into a TEBC situation in Denver.
Draft Strategy - Starting TEs seemed to be flying off the board more quickly in this draft than is typical of other more standard drafts Ė probably because of the 1 pt. per reception. As such, the value pick at this point was Putzier. He was the best TE left on the board and I felt that I had better go ahead and take him now with his touted ďsleeperĒ potential knowing that I needed two more TEs to utilize a TEBC strategy in light of the fact that I did not have one of the TE studs.
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: New OC, Carl Smith, has vowed to "throw the ball downfield" this season. Leftwich reported to the team this season months before the start of workouts so he could work with Smith on the new system. Leftwich first two seasons as a starter have been nearly identical season, finishing just shy of 3000 passing yards, with 15 TDs, ranking 17th and 18th in QB fantasy points, respectively. Should the Jaguars become more dynamic in their offensive attack, and take more shots downfield, expect that Leftwich's number will automatically improve.
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: In the past, the Jaguars employed a power running, "let the defense win the game" philosophy, where Leftwich wasn't asked to go out and win the game. Because of this, Leftwich hasn't put up the numbers needed to start for your fantasy team. Although new OC Smith has been vocal about the vertical game, he has also made a commitment to running the ball, perhaps even more than in prior seasons. Leftwich has all of the skills needed to put up strong numbers, but he has to be allowed to go out and take some chances. The Jaguars should be a winning NFL team long before Leftwich is a winning fantasy QB. With RB Fred Taylor will be out until the middle of the summer overcoming complications from an offseason MCL surgery; the Jaguars need to proved they can maintain their effectiveness without Taylor.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - Carr showed a little bit of what he can do last year. The Texans offensive line has improved and Carr has gotten more and more confidence. Andre Johnson is a star in the making, and the two will feed off each other. Dom Davis and the running game continue to improve and take heat off of Carr. Davis also provides a good dump off option.
Negatives - Carr really hasnít shown that he can be a consistent quarterback. Heís averaged more interceptions than touchdowns so far in his career, and doesnít have many options outside Johnson and Davis to throw to.
Draft Strategy - Needed a QB to go with Favre and I figured if I can grab a QB from the middle tier of QBs, I could skate by with only having two on the roster. Carr will complement Favre well, as his inconsistency doesnít hurt as much in a survivor league. Was thinking either Leftwich or Carr here, and Teumessian Fox made the choice easy.
Positives - A career season last year gave him a #7 fantasy QB standing. He managed to do this with a backfield that was injured more often than they were healthy, his #1 receiver in Smith out for the year, and "MushHands" Muhammed and a rookie Colbert picking up the slack. His backfield is back, Smith is back, and Colbert is ready for his second year, so a decent season awaits Delhomme.
Negatives - A healthy backfield could lessen the need for a passing game, though the return of the injury bug could also hurt it as the defense stacks the passing routes. Delhomme has a good framework to work with, but it could just as easily come crashing down.
Draft Strategy - The backup QB run was on, so it was time to get in while the getting was good. Delhomme is good in a quiet way, and should prove to be a more than sufficient QB2 behind Manning.
Positives - Mike Heimerdinger joins the Jets from Tennessee, taking over at the new offensive coordinator. After transforming the Titanís offense from a grind-it-out run game to an air-it-out vertical passing attack, Herman Edwards hopes he will do the same for the Jets. Penningtonís all-time favorite target, Laveranues Coles rejoins his former QB, and Justin McCareins is reunited with the O.C. he formerly excelled under. Pennington could realistically put up 3,500 yards and 25 TDs. Curtis Martin is also getting long in the tooth, which could result in more passing attempts now that Lamont Jordan is not there to spell him.
Negatives - Pennington has been in the league five years and is yet to play a full season. This year he is coming off offseason rotator cuff surgery, and it is unknown if he will be ready to go when training camp starts. Even if he is ready to go, his history dictates that his chances of starting over 14 games arenít the best. While Martin is approaching the NFLís senior citizen club, he is still the epitome of consistency, and the Jets will rely on him for a good part of their offense.
Draft Strategy - Heimerdingerís teams average 3,800 yards and 24 passing TDs over his 10 years as an O.C. Those kinds of numbers from Pennington in the 11th round would represent great value, and he will serve as a more than capable #2 QB. I donít need Pennington to put up big numbers every week, just to cover Bulgerís bye and maybe contribute one or two other weeks when the Jets are trailing and need to air it out. Had originally targeted the Steelers Defense with this pick, but with them off the board, I got a great QB2 in the middle of the QB2 run.
Positives - Brian Griese is the clear cut starter in Tampa Bay this season after starting last year as the # 3. Brian has the opportunity to return to the top 20 QB he was in Denver from 1999-2002. TB QB Brad Johnson finished at # 9 in 2003, so the possibility under Gruden exists for Griese to put up QB #1 stats. Michael Clayton should improve after his stellar rookie campaign. Pittman should remain the third down back that is involved in the passing game, as well as the addition of TE Alex Smith, who could be the best rookie TE this season. Brian has the tools and players to lead this team into the playoffs.
Negatives - Chris Simms and Luke McCown also want to lead the Bucs, and are both capable QBs. Gruden has not had much success since the Super Bowl win in 02, and may be under pressure to put Brian on a shorter leash. Another WR must step up with Clayton, with Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard not getting any younger. Cadillac Williams will also have to prove a capable RB to take pressure off the passing game.
Draft Strategy - There was a run on QBs in the 11th round, but I was able to get the player I wanted. He would not have made it any further, as two more quarterbacks were selected before I chose again. With 4 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 QBs and a TE at the midway point in the draft, Iím very comfortable with my team and my chances against my opponents.
- #3 pick in the draft has worlds of talent
- Should start right away
- Injury to Kellen Winslow could make him the #1 target
- Rookie receiver with Trent Dilfer throwing to him
- Has other talented receivers on the roster competing for time.
Draft Strategy - Like Mike Williams, Edwards is a tall receiver with talent to burn. I wanted to take guys with upside and Edwards definitely fits that description. Gotta think he and Williams are capable of having several big weeks and at this point, that's all I'm trying to do.
Positives - Tyrone Calico is a big target at 6í4, 220 lbs. In addition to his size, Calico has speed to burn. With Derrick Mason now in Baltimore, that leaves Drew Bennett and Calico as the remaining main options for Steve McNair and new Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He looked very promising last season before falling to a season-ending knee injury. The fact that Tennessee did not decide to pursue free agent receiver Rod Gardner, leads me to believe that Calico is very much included in their 2005 plans.
Negatives - His ceiling this season completely depends on how heís able to recover from his knee injury, which included a torn medial meniscus and structural damage to his ACL. Will he be able to return to pre-injury form or will he have any setbacks. Just the possibility of such is cause for concern. Calico could very easily outperform his ADP, but are you willing to take the gamble?
Draft Strategy - I had my sights on Calico since my last pick, 20 selections ago. Eight receivers were selected in that stretch, but Calico was not one of them. In the draft applet chat section I kept saying to the other owners ďfall to me, fall to me.Ē It was Calico I was referring to and he did in fact, fall to me as the 11th pick in the 11th round. You know what they say Ė at 11:11 make a wish. Calico is my wish. Why the big interest in Tyrone Calico? The Titans offense lost a major contributor in Derrick Mason, but it opens up Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico to fill in as the #1 and #2 wide receivers respectively. My instinct tells me that Bennett will be the heavily covered receiver, which will leave more open plays for Calico. With the new heavily offensive-minded Norm Chow as the Titans offensive coordinator, we could see big things from the Titans offense. Calico is a gamble, due to his recovery from knee surgery, but if my thoughts are correct, he will easily outperform his ADP and perhaps have a season like Peerless Price did in Buffalo.
Positives - "Last year, I think me sharing time with Chad Lewis and me not being the starter kind of showed what I can do," TE L.J. Smith said. "I put up decent numbers and I wasn't the starter and I just felt like if I had the opportunity this year, I think everything will take care of itself." Smith sees a breakout season directly ahead. "This year, with two years under my belt, I'm ready to go." I agree with Smith, this will be his breakout season. Smith has established himself as the top TE on his team, beating out Chad Lewis, who may retire this season.
Negatives - Chad Lewis' return this season is still unsettled, which could cut into Smith's numbers. Although he has improved his catching ability, Smith still occasionally drops what should be easy receptions.
Draft Strategy - My plan entering the draft was to take either Gonzalez or Gates in the 3rd round. When both were taken, I switched strategies to taking a guy with big upside at good value. Smith, who has an ADP of 10.05 looked like just the guy I needed. I drafted him as the 11th TE taken, and I see him finishing at least that well, with the potential to finish even higher.