Survivor I - Round 18 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - The addition of rookie tight end Heath Miller will significantly improve the position because it gives the Steelers a quality pass-catcher over the middle. With the departure of Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh has no set number 2 receiver, and with Miller’s excellent pass catching abilities, they may have their replacement.
Negatives - The Steelers have not utilized the TE position in past years, connecting an average of just 19 catches the past 2 seasons. Pittsburgh is a run-first offense, and when they need a short pass, RB Duce Staley is also a capable receiver. Throw in that Miller is a rookie, and the odds are not in his favor for a highly-productive season, as least not this year.
Draft Strategy - I skipped my 2nd TE in the 16th round because there were 4 I liked and figured at least 1 of them would make it to me. No such luck. Wiggins, Pollard, Kinney and Stevens all went and I was left without much in the way of choice. I debated between Miller and Steve Heiden, but finally settled on the rookie.
Positives - Did you know that Boo Williams had 79 targets last season (9th best among Tight Ends), including 18 red zone targets (4th best among Tight Ends)? He’s fairly young (26 years old) and is considered one of the more athletic Tight Ends in the game.
Negatives - The Saints have two other Tight Ends on the team in Shad Meier and Ernie Conwell that will likely take away production from Williams. Although he may still get his red zone targets once again, he probably will not see a lot of yards.
Draft Strategy - The Tight Ends still available were becoming weaker and weaker and I needed a backup to Randy McMichael. Boo Williams has the talent and skill to be a big contributor on offense, but the Saints primarily utilize him as a big red zone target. In the event that the Saints have a change of plans offensively, Williams could be a big factor in the offense. I’m not banking on that, but the potential is there, hence the pick.
- Tons of pass rushers on this squad.
- Acquired Chike Okeafor to go with Pro-bowler Bertrand Berry.
- Cardinals never really have been a defensive juggernaut.
- Young corners.
Draft Strategy - I think the Cards D is going to surprise some people this year. Playing the Niners twice isn't going to hurt them.
Positives - Jack Del Rio has built his team around defense. Mike Peterson and Darryl Smith should anchor this crew who early last season showed they could keep their team in tight, low scoring games. They should improve this season with more experience and little turnover.
Negatives - No D/ST touchdowns last season. No game breaking star on defense. Conservative offense leads to conservative games with fewer opportunities to create turnovers.
Draft Strategy - I needed a 2nd defense, they have potential. Defenses were starting to come off the board and this seemed to be where the best value was.
Positives - Matt Jones is a better pure athlete than Michael Vick. There, I said it. Check out the combine numbers if you don’t believe me. Faster 40-time than Vick posted. He’s got the agility, and he’s got the smarts. Jones will be an impact player in the NFL. If the Jaguars use him at TE or a 3rd WR, he will create matchup problems for linebackers, nickel backs and safeties that will not be able to stay with him down field. Combine this with Jacksonville’s new vertical passing attack, and you’ve got a recipe for potential.
Negatives - Did I mention that Jones played QB in college? He’s going to have to make the transition to WR or TE to play in the majors, two positions he had no experience with prior to the Senior Bowl. His holdout from training camp will slow that transition, although he has now signed and should start to learn the offense.
Draft Strategy - Jones could put up a goose egg all year, or he could be this year’s version of Antonio Gates or Anquan Boldin. In the 18th Round of a draft, it’s time to take chances on someone that could make it big, while everyone else is scraping up backup defenses.
Positives - Coach Smith now has one season under his belt, and should be able to better implement his style. The pieces are in place, anchored by Urlacher, and this could be a great defensive season.
Negatives - A lack of depth could prove their undoing should injuries strike. The offense needs to excel to take the pressure off.
Draft Strategy - This completes my DTBC. A #11 and a #15. I’ll take that.
Positives - Jacobs is a big rookie who could get a chance to take over short yardage and even goal line duties for the Giants and according to recent reports, he has been impressive showing good moves for a big guy as well as good power. If he does get some goal line looks, he could be good for a few big games this year.
Negatives - Jacobs shouldn’t get significant touches unless Barber goes down with an injury. He’s a rookie and a big guy who may not fit the every down back mold in the NFL.
Draft Strategy - A handcuff of sorts to Barber. Reports say he could vulture some TDs this year, so I thought I’d grab him just in case. Handcuffs = good.
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: One man’s loss is another mans gain. Third round draft choice Brett Conway missed three field goals in a 1997 preseason game and several days later pulled a thigh muscle. Undrafted Ryan Longwell stepped in, won the job, and the rest is history. Over his career, he’s scored an average of 120.4 points per year. Among veteran kickers, that puts him in the company of Vanderjagt and Elam. Longwell has been above 80% on field goals every year but one, including 88.5% and 85.7% the last two years. The Packers have also been scoring lots of touchdowns, keeping him busy on extra points in recent years (48, 51, 44, & 45). Longwell is heading into the final year of his contract year in 2005.
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: He is not immune from a bad year. In 2001 he had a year long slump, hitting only 64.5% on field goals.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - This guy has a Super Bowl ring and is really an underappreciated QB. He has no competition for the starting job and the Browns might surprise offensively this year (because expectations are so low). A healthy Lee Suggs should take some of the pressure off the pass rush so if Dilfer has time to throw he might be able to put up some decent numbers. He also has a capable group (if not excellent) of WRs in Northcutt, Davis, Bryant, and the rookie Edwards. Hopefully Dilfer will have a chance to cover for Palmer or Plummer on weeks where they have poor performances.
Negatives - It’s still the Browns so it’s hard to get real excited about Dilfer’s prospects here. The loss of Kellen Winslow, Jr. will obviously hurt his production. Dilfer has always had a poor TD to INT ratio.
Draft Strategy - My final “platooning” move at the QB position as I take the only starting QB left on the board, but still projected to have better stats this season than Kurt Warner and Gus Frerotte who had already been taken. This was pretty much insurance against Palmer or Plummer going down early in the season as both have late BYE weeks.
Positives - The additions of LB Kendrell Bell, CB Patrick Surtain, and S Sammy Knight will add some big play to the Chiefs. Of course having Dante Hall returning kicks adds a lot of potential for points contribution from the special teams. The Chiefs finished 2004 in the top 10 in sacks.
Negatives - Kansas City scored only one defensive TD last year. Of course the NFL leader posted five, a mere difference of 24 fantasy points.
Draft Strategy - Waited as long as I could on a defense and still was able to draft one that has great potential to score in this format. With scoring revolving almost solely around turnovers, sacks, and TDs, securing a defense early was a wasted pick in my opinion. I actually prefer defenses that will be playing in shootouts in this format as it tends to lead to more interceptions and sacks.
Positives - When Steve McNair went down for the season Billy Volek was pressed into action and performed remarkably well – at least stat-wise (and what more is there in fantasy?). Volek passed for nearly 2500 yards and tossed 18 TDs. Volek showed a command of the Titan offense and connected with Drew Bennett as if they’d been playing together for years. With the beating McNair tends to take each year, there is a great chance Volek will see action.
Negatives - Volek put up huge numbers last year but Tennessee had no choice but to throw on almost every play in those games. Should he see action this year its much more likely the Titans would be more conservative. The Titans will be running a new offense this year under Norm Chow which will probably change their approach on offense as well.
Draft Strategy - With McNair as my second starter I felt I had to get Volek to insure I have a solid #2 QB (notice how I smartly collected backups to my starters – except for the most important one?) throughout the season. I can’t afford to lose McNair & be forced to rely on Eli Manning as my #2 QB. Should Volek be forced into action I will feel comfortable with a player who has proven he can put up big numbers.
Positives - Dallas was a top defense 2 years ago during Bill Parcells first season as Cowboy’s coach. They slid back to an average defense last season (#16 overall). Parcells has taken drastic steps to overhaul their defensive weaknesses during the off season. The Cowboys signed highly regarded free agents Jason Ferguson (DL) and Anthony Henry (DB) providing instant upgrades at their respective positions. Parcells also drafted Marcus Spears (DL) and Demarcus Ware (DE/OLB) adding great size, strength, and speed to the defensive front 7. It’s also been speculated that the additions of these players were intended to allow Dallas to utilize a 3-4 defensive scheme. These personnel additions, along with Parcells’ track record with defenses, should allow Dallas to once again be a top 10 overall defensive team this season.
Negatives - It’s impossible to predict how much the rookies will contribute this season. There may also be a learning curve should Parcells decide to use the 3-4 defense exclusively which may last well into the season. There also needs to be a significant improvement in the Dallas offense which will keep the defense off the field and help in winning the field position battle. That’s a lot of improvement expected from a team that finished with only 6 wins last season.
Draft Strategy - With the last pick in the 18th round, I selected Dallas believing they should be a solid defense with upside, potentially finishing in the top ten should the new personnel additions come up to speed quickly. The only skill positions left for me to fill are an 8th WR and a backup TE. There are no great values available at either of those positions so I chose to go with the best available defense. Pittsburgh and Dallas should provide my team with above average defensive scoring all season.