Survivor I - Round 19 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - Jeff Wilkins has been the top kicker in the NFL 2 of the past 4 seasons. He is capable of kicking 50+ yard field goals making 4 out of 5 last year. He benefits from the Rams high scoring offense and hasnít missed an extra point since 1998. Wilkins should receive more opportunities this season resulting from the expected improvement of the Rams offense including Steven Jackson taking over as the starting RB, and the continued growth of the young receivers on the roster. Wilkins has every chance to return to prominence this season as one of the elite kickers in the NFL.
Negatives - Wilkins can be one of the most inconsistent kickers in the league. While he finished as the top kicker 2 of the past 4 seasons, the other 2 years he finished 22nd and 24th (last season). The Mike Martz offensive philosophy can often lead to reduced field goal opportunities as Martz would rather attempt a 30 yard touchdown pass with a big lead in the 4th quarter than to run the clock down via the running game and settle for the field goal.
Draft Strategy - In the 19th round, as the 8th kicker drafted, I felt that Wilkins was the best choice. He is capable of big games and is part of one of the top offenses in the NFL. The Rams also play in a dome taking away any negative weather effects on the kicking game. I would prefer not to take a kicker at all, but Iíd rather take one with upside here than select from the scraps at the end of the draft.
Positives - Ferguson has all the tools to be a starting receiver. Heís been in the GB system for 4 years. The Packers are expected to be throwing quite a bit this year giving Ferguson opportunities to see the field in 3 WR sets.
Negatives - Javon Walker & Donald Driver are one of the best WR combos in football meaning Ferguson will be a 3rd WR at best. Ferguson has had injury problems and was still recovering from post-concussion syndrome in the offseason.
Draft Strategy - At draft time Javon Walkerís holdout was not looking positive, and although I fully expected it to be resolved, I figured Iíd take a gamble with Ferguson as my 6th WR. If Walkerís holdout was to last or in case of injury to Walker or Driver, Ferguson would jump into a tremendous opportunity. As it is I would expect Ferguson to have a couple nice games during the year to jump into my top 3 for the week.
Positives - Brown converted 92% of his field goals in 2004 and was perfect in his PATs. I see no improvement in the Seahawks defense from last year and their division will lend itself to some high scoring games.
Negatives - The rainy weather in Seattle doesnít bode well for the kicking gameÖof course for some reason it never rains when the Seahawks play.
Draft Strategy - Iím running out of picks. Actually I was targeting Brown primarily because I had drafted Hasselbeck earlier. If a drive stalls for Hasselbeck, Iíll still pick up some consolation points.
Positives - I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but RBs get 1 pt. per reception. Fisher actually caught almost as many passes as Ahman Green last season (A. Green: 40 ; Fisher: 38) and actually had more receiving yards. Fisher was actually 15th in receptions among all RBs. He even threw for a TD. As a backup #2, Najeh Davenport out ran #3 Fisher 359 yards to Fisherís 224 yards, but Fisher far surpassed Davenport in receiving yards 277 to 33 and also had 2 receiving TDs. So Fisher could be considered the #2 RB for Green Bay.
Negatives - Fisher is still considered the #3 RB currently behind Green and Davenport and as such (in theory) could see less playing time than both. But thatís the only negative I can see this late in the draft.
Draft Strategy - I feel like this was one of two late round gems I found. Fisher was the best projected RB left on the board. In fact, he was the projected #50 RB. Thatís a pretty high rating this late in a Survivor League draft. To add a little perspective to this, the #49 projected RB was Mike Anderson with Denver who I took in the 12th round. Najeh Davenport, his cohort at Green Bay, was the #52 projected RB and he went in the 12th round as well. I would say that Fisher fits one and a half of the three criteria I mentioned earlier. He definitely plays behind a starting RB who is injury prone (although A. Green has held up pretty well the last few years). Fisher is no Larry Johnson, but he is good. I am not that confident in Green Bayís offensive line which is why I believe Greenís projections are lower this year. But if Green gets hurt, I think it would be Fisher, and not Davenport, that would get the most playing time since Fisher is much more versatile. This may have been my second best value pick!
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: Betts has acquitted himself well as the Redskinsí backup tailback for the last three seasons. In limited action, Betts has averaged a solid 4.0 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per reception. Most impressively, he ran for 118 yards in the 2004 season finale starting in place of Clinton Portis. Betts is a compact runner with good size (5í10Ē, 222 pounds) who has a propensity to hit the hole at full speed. As a former sprinter, heís got a second gear in the open field.
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: Betts isnít particularly instinctive, and heís not going to make defenders miss too often. He also has limited experience in short yardage and goal line situations, so itís unclear whether he could excel in that role.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - Mark Clayton caught 149 balls for 2,300+ yards and 23 TDs in his last two years at the University of Oklahoma. He has good acceleration and good after the catch moves, as well as a good set of hands. He broke multiple Oklahoma receiving records and should make a good transition into the NFL. He should compete to be the number two receiver in Baltimore this year.
Negatives - At 5í11Ē, Clayton is not a big receiver and is not the fastest guy out there, though he has good acceleration. He might have a tough time adjusting to the physical nature of the NFL. Clayton also missed a few days of camp before signing his rookie contract.
Draft Strategy - This is a late upside pick. If Clayton can win the second receiver job, he could be in for a few big games this year. I wanted to add one more receiver to my lineup, and I like what Clayton brings. Besides, now I have both Claytons on my roster.
Positives - Heís big and fast at 6í1Ē, 215lb, just like youíd want a WR to be. Given Glennís injury history, playing time should be more of a ďwhenĒ, not ďifĒ. Heís had limited opportunities of late, but his sophomore season in 2002 showed heís capable of putting up a 1000yd season. Bledsoe returning to Parcellsí fold should bring a better passing game to the mix as well.
Negatives - He had his opportunities last year after coming to Dallas, but didnít make much of them. Johnson and Glenn are healthy, which doesnít bode well for his playing time.
Draft Strategy - With these last few picks, I want to load up on RBs and WRs. Iím not seeing many RBs that I like, so Iím taking the best available WRs.
Positives - The Chiefs are among the highest scoring offenses in the NFL the last three years, and Tynes will get his points kicking for them. Last year he was 17 of 23 on Field Goals, including 12 of 13 from under 40 yards. He added another 58 PATs. Tynes has a strong leg and secured his job with good range on kickoffs.
Negatives - While very accurate from under 40 yards, Tynes was only 5 of 10 from over 40 yards. His leg strength seemed to wane as the year went on, and Tynes will need to address those issues to keep his job in the future. Because the Chiefs score so many TDs, their FG attempts are limited.
Draft Strategy - Itís getting late in the draft, and Iím still in need of my backup kicker and backup defense. Looking at the kickers available, one stands out. Tynes will have tons of scoring opportunities, as KC finds themselves in the Red Zone often.
Positives - Top Kicking prospect of 2004. 80% FG conversion rate with a long of 53 yards. Young offense in the AFC West should lead to lots of scoring opportunities. 54/55 extra point attempts last season.
Negatives - Missed the filed goal that would have had the Chargers advance in the playoffs. The Chargers schedule is ridiculously difficult this season, with games on the road in NE, PHI, and IND. It will be tough for SD to repeat last seasonís performance.
Draft Strategy - Heís a kicker, but I was targeting an AFC west kicker due to high scoring games. Elam, Janikowski, and Tynes were selected, so Iím happy to get Kaeding here.
Positives - Strong group of linebackers led by Al Wilson, DJ Williams and Ion Gold, who returns to the Broncos this year.
Negatives - Secondary ranked 27th in INTs last year.
Draft Strategy - The Broncos round out my three D's. Hopefully Champ Bailey and co. can turn it around a bit.
Positives - If Stephen Davis can come back from micro-fracture surgery on his knee, he could potentially still be a big contributor to the Panthers running game this season. DeShaun Foster is an injury risk and rookie draft pick Eric Shelton may not be ready to contribute just yet. If this is the case, Davis could find himself as the primary back running behind a much-improved offensive line.
Negatives - There are several - take your pick. Even though heís one season removed from being a quality fantasy back, there is still the issue of recovering from micro-fracture surgery, competing with both DeShaun Foster and rookie Eric Shelton and donít forget father time.
Draft Strategy - I mentioned before that my later picks are either defenses, backups, safety valves or risk picks with value. The Stephen Davis pick is a risk pick with value. If by some chance Davis returns healthy and capable, I could come out smelling like a rose, but a lot has to happen in order to even have that chance.
Positives - One hundred nine and counting is Grahamís current tally for consecutive extra-point attempts made (81 of those as a Bengal). In addition, he has missed just 7 of 56 field-goal tries the last 2 years. Since joining the Bengals, Graham improved his field goal percentage to over 87% and ranked as the 5th best PK last season. He seems to have found his home in Cincinnati.
Negatives - Grahamís kickoffs need some work, as he had just 2 touchbacks last season. However, since there are no fantasy points attached to that stat, I wouldnít lose sleep over it.
Draft Strategy - I put off the kicker position long enough and my 228 and 229 picks were set aside for them. I was very pleased to see Graham here as I have him ranked in my top 10. Considering the 1st kicker went in round 12, it couldnít work out much better than this.