Survivor I - Round 3 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - After 8 seasons in the league, Gonzalez is simply the best tight end of this era. He owns 5 of the top 11 seasons for receptions by a TE over the last 15 years. He caught 102 passes last year and is the primary receiving threat for the Chiefs high powered offense which shows no signs of slowing down. He’s caught at least 63 passes and 6 touchdowns for the past 6 years with his best receiving and yardage totals coming last year. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Gonzo yet and I look forward to another highly productive and consistent season.
Negatives - Gonzalez is 29 years old and has had issues with a foot over the last couple of years that haven’t impacted his performance and appear to be resolved. With more teams adapting offensive philosophies which focus on getting the ball to the TE, Gonzalez is no longer the only TE who is the primary receiving option on his team reducing his advantage over other TEs in the league.
Draft Strategy - I wanted one of the top 5 receivers to fall to me at this spot. I felt Joe Horn was a reach here and a 3rd RB would not add as much value to my team as an elite TE who should score 100 points more than half the starting TEs in this league. Although Antonio Gates may have another great season, he’s only been an elite TE for one year. I’ll take my chances on a TE who’s been playing at an elite level for 6 years. I wasn’t comfortable taking a TE this high, but thought he represented the best value at this draft position. If trades were allowed, I would have tried to trade down a few spots.
Positives - The #3 ranked fantasy wide receiver last year who has been in the top 10 in 4 of his 5 years with New Orleans. His average season in that span is 87 receptions for 1258 yards and 9 touchdowns. Horn has great chemistry with quarterback Aaron Brooks and has caught 21 TDs the past 2 years. Unlike his WR counterpart, Donte Stallworth, Horn is tough and plays through injuries having only missed 1 game since 1997. A porous Saints defense forces the offense to throw often while playing catch up.
Negatives - QB Aaron Brooks is talented but terribly erratic killing many drives and offensive momentum. There is talk of implementing a new offensive game plan featuring more Deuce McAllister. While it’s a good move for the team, it may reduce the Saints passing attempts. Horn will be 33 this year and while he doesn’t miss games he has had a history of knee problems. There is also the possibility that talented but oft injured Donte Stallworth could finally play a full season thus reducing Brooks’ reliance on Horn.
Draft Strategy - In the first 3 rounds I wanted to secure 2 RBs and a top tier WR. After Horn I see a drop-off to the next tier with Walker’s holdout uncertainty, Wayne being a #2 on his team etc. Having to start 3 WRs I wanted a stud to build around. However, also available at this time was Rudi Johnson who was the #8 ranked RB last year. With a flex starter and Priest’s injury questions Rudi would have been great insurance, especially since RB starters will be thin when the draft comes back to me. I waiver before finally deciding on Horn but as soon as I make the selection my gut gives me the feeling I’ve made a mistake.
Positives - Speed and big play ability. Bell has top five fantasy running back potential. The Denver system has been a haven for stud RBs year after year. Denver’s passing game has plenty of weapons to open up the field for Bell to find space to utilize his speed.
Negatives - Mike Shanahan is his coach. Of course Mike Shanahan could be an issue. Did I mention Mike Shanahan? Griffin, Anderson, Dayne, Clarett, and likely some other RB we haven’t heard of.
Draft Strategy - You’re not going to win a league with this play all, best record format without hitting some homeruns. Bell is the poster boy of fantasy homerun swings this year. I really felt like someone with his potential was a steal in the 3rd round. By selecting Bell as my third RB, I felt comfortable that I was virtually set at RB and even had a solid flex play in my holster. I wasn’t the least bit tempted to select a WR here as I had several top ten WR candidates buried down the FBG ranking list.
Positives - Reggie Wayne’s numbers have consistently improved year over year since his entry into the league in 2001. Peyton Manning threw (49) TDs last year. Wayne caught almost 25% of these. Manning is projected to drop 20% in TD production to (40) – that’s a pretty huge anticipated drop, but understandable. But adjust Wayne’s totals accordingly and he still catches 8-9 TDs. That’s still pretty strong. He really seemed to have a better rapore with Manning last year than in previous years. He is also playing for a new contract.
Negatives - Wayne is still considered the #2 WR on the team. So it is difficult to select a #2 WR with a #3 pick even though the production is there. Wayne can also be a little inconsistent where he seems to disappear during certain games for no reason. Also, BYE week problems right off the bat with the WRs having both Harrison and Wayne.
Draft Strategy - I’m sure that I will get stares like I have four heads with this pick! But follow me here. I stated before that “there’s no doubting the offensive fire power of the Colts and it is simply a matter of who is going to catch the TDs.” And, yes, Marvin will get his share. But so will Wayne. And keep in mind the most important thing, in the Survivor format you do not have to start players. Simply your best three WRs scores are taken. In that scenario, Wayne not only becomes insurance for Harrison (if Harrison gets hurt, then Wayne would become more valuable), but if Wayne happens to catch the TDs on a given Sunday, then I am still getting the majority of Manning’s passing TDs (around 60% to be exact). That means if Manning throws (40) TDs as projected, then I would receive (26) of those TDs which averages to just under two per week. Another way to look at it – the best RB left on the board at this point was Rudi Johnson projected for 237 points. Wayne is projected for 272 points. And in the Survivor scoring system, 6 catches by Reggie would equal 60 yards rushing by Rudi.
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: In 2004 Walker emerged as one of the game’s premiere wide receivers catching 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Walker was the poster boy for the fabled “third year WR rule”. Walker scored a TD from 30 yards or longer in six different games while topping the century mark in five games. In other words he’s a game breaker. He can hurt a defense with his strength and ability to get off the line quickly on slant routes. Or he can devastate a defense with his speed and jumping ability down field where he frequently wins jump balls against smaller defenders. Walker has the size, speed and hands to remain among the elite fantasy receivers for the next several seasons (or at least as long as Favre continues playing).
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: Earlier in his career Walker’s hands were sporadic, and he seemed to be a little lost at times with his route running. Thankfully, those problems are mostly in the rear view mirror. Walker’s biggest negative has little to do with his performance on the field. Walker had a contentious holdout threat that was recently resolved when he reported on time, but QB Brett Favre had some very pointed comments about Walker prior to that. Hopefully, there will be no animosity there but it should be noted nonetheless.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - Rudi is a powerful runner who had decent speed through the hole. He had a great year last year (1450 yds / 12 rtd.), and there’s nothing stopping him from repeating. He faced a tough schedule last year, and this year with an easier schedule on paper and an improving defense, he should have more chances to grind it out. Palmer having his first full year complete under center can only help Rudi. Opposing D’s will always have to respect the downfield threat of Chad Johnson, giving Rudi some decent space to work with.
Negatives - Rudi doesn’t catch very many balls (15), and he is not as explosive as some of the other backs in the league. He may also lose some time to Chris Perry this year.
Draft Strategy - I was surprised that Rudi was here at this point in the third round. This was one of my quickest picks of the draft. With Barber and Lewis, I know have 3 backs that could all end up in the top 10 if things work out right. Was eying either Joe Horn or Reggie Wayne here, but they went right before me at 3.2 and 3.4. Again, RB represents strong value as there is a possibility to start three each week.
Positives - Once again, I've selected a 2004 backup who'll be the featured back in 2005. And like Jackson, Jordan averaged over 5ypc in that role. In moving out of CMart's shadow and into the spotlight, he's a good fit for Coach Turner, a proponent of a balanced attack. With Moss and Porter on the outside, Jordan should be able to find some room to run.
Negatives - He's now a Raider. I *hate* the Raiders, and I hate drafting them. Having been a backup for four years, Jordan hasn't had the opportunity to show he can handle the load. The Raiders' defense was nothing to write home about last year, and being porous again this season would hurt the running game if they have to play catch-up.
Draft Strategy - As the RB ranks were getting thin at this point, I knew I needed to select a strong RB2 before they were all gone. Some may see Jackson and Jordan as unproven quantities, but I see them as diamonds in the rough. I can't wait to see them all polished up!
Positives - Dunn is a solid performer, and is the #1 RB on the #1 Rushing Team in the NFL. He is coming off his best season with the Falcons, posting 1100 yards rushing, 300 yards receiving, and 30 receptions, with nine TDs. Due to the constant threat of Vick in the backfield, defenses can not key on Dunn. He is undervalued in drafts everywhere, with and ADP of 50 (RB 28) this year. T.J. Duckett is usually drafted higher, and usually disappoints. Additionally, Vick has stated that he is going to try to continue his evolution into a pocket passer this year, which should increase Dunn’s role on the ground and out of the backfield.
Negatives - Dunn may be the #1 RB on the #1 Rushing Team, but that team also includes Michael “Mike” Vick. Dunn will lose his share of yards and red zone touches to Vick, and possibly some goal line and short yardage carries to Duckett. A true RBBC situation, without injury to Duckett, Dunn will probably not crack the top 15 RBs.
Draft Strategy - The Gouda was licking his chops as his third round pick approached and Rudi Johnson was still on the board. However, those dreams were shattered when Worm took what should be considered the steal of the draft two picks before me. I needed another RB before all the second-tier choices were gone, and took Dunn as the 21st RB selected. Dunn is consistently undervalued in drafts. Last year he would have finished around the #15 RB in this scoring system, but was still available with 20 RBs off the board. True, he must contend with the RBBC, but if Duckett gets injured, he could creep into the top 10.
Positives - J.J. Arrington was the first running back selected in the 2nd round of this years draft and is in an excellent position to contribute immediately. He will fill in for a retired Emmitt Smith and his main competition comes from career backup Marcel Shipp. He rushed for over 2000 yards last season at Cal and every game was a 100yd performance. With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald keeping opposing defenses honest, there should be a great opportunity for Arrington to put up well over 1000 yards. Arizona’s improved defense should lead to less garbage time for the wide receivers and more touches for JJ.
Negatives - He is a rookie, and he will need to learn the blocking schemes quickly. If he can’t be counted on to protect Kurt Warner, he will not see much 3rd down duty. He is a smaller RB, only 5’10”, and has to learn the pace of the NFL game. The quicker he picks up the playbook and reports to camp, the better chances he has for this season.
Draft Strategy - Considered McNabb at this point, but I’m not sold on him being an upgrade over the QBs available 3 rounds later. Antonio Gates was another I considered here but passed on. I think he’s a great talent, but I don’t see him repeating his performance of last season. With my plan of 3 RBs in the first 4 picks, Arrington had the most upside/least risk of RBs available.
- Came almost out of nowhere to score 13 touchdowns last year.
- Great hands, shields defenders away with his body as good as anyone.
- Won't sneak up on anyone this year.
- Tough to be considered the go to guy when LT's on your team.
Draft Strategy - No RB jumped out at me here. Did I want to reach for one of those rookies here? Too early, in my opinion. Barlow? Nah. Bennett? Been burned before. I feel there is value at the RB position to be had later in the draft and with teams not drafting WRs yet you gotta think some guys can slide down a round or two. In Gates, I have my third guy in three picks who's capable of having a big week at any time. Another gamble here, but I'm in it to win. No prizes for second here.
Positives - Williams, was a first team All-America running back at Auburn last season and was taken by the Buccaneers with the 5th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Two other running backs were selected ahead of Williams (Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson), but Williams is considered to be the outright starter and immediate impact, whereas the others have some competition. Despite playing alongside Ronnie Brown at Auburn, Williams managed to finish the 2004 season at Auburn with 1,718 all-purpose yards. Only James Brooks (1,800 yards in 1979) and Bo Jackson (1,859 in 1985) gained more all-purpose yards in a season for the Tigers.
Negatives - At 5’11, 217 lbs. Williams is not a bruising back, but more of an explosive quick cutter, much like veteran teammate Charlie Garner, but bigger. Williams is improving on his receiving game, but that is not his forte, although he did catch 21 of his 45 collegiate receptions last season. The job looks to be his to lose, but veterans Michael Pittman and Charlie Garner, both experienced receiving backs, will likely get more 3rd down play than Williams. Williams may not be an every down back just yet and that could hurt his production this season.
Draft Strategy - After not taking a running back in either of my first two picks, I absolutely had to take one here. At the time, I had my choice of Michael Bennett, Kevan Barlow, Ronnie Brown, Fred Taylor, Chris Brown, Travis Henry, Duce Staley, Cedric Benson, and DeShaun Foster. Why did I choose Carnell Williams? Every single back, with the possible exception of Michael Bennett, had big question marks relating to playing time and position battles. I had two picks coming to me in the next four and I wanted both Bennett and Williams. Williams is more of a risk than Bennett, but Williams has the potential to be an elite rookie running back, that we all salivate over come week 6. It’s a risk vs. reward, and I was banking on reward. I foresee the Buccaneers making great strides offensively and I expect Carnell Williams to be a major contributor from the get go. That could not be said about any of the remaining backs on the board, with the exception of possibly Michael Bennett, whom I hoped to choose two picks later.
Positives - Andre Johnson enters his third season in the NFL, and this should be his best season yet. He improved in every facet of the game from year one to year two and I see no reason for that not to continue. Not much has changed in Houston, as he is playing with the same head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback that he's had since day one.
Negatives - That same head coach and offensive coordinator that he's had since he began is probably the biggest negative about Johnson. He has big play ability, but the offensive philosophy on the Texans is run, run, run and then run some more. When the ball is thrown, Johnson is the main target. Unfortunately, so far it has only been thrown enough to make Johnson a viable WR2, instead of a WR1 where he is typically drafted.
Draft Strategy - My plan here was to grab Antonio Gates if he fell this far. Unfortunately, Nipsey once again snagged the guy I was eyeing up (he took Randy Moss in round 1) 2 picks before me. With my back-to-back picks, it was going to be Gates and a top WR. Witten was my next TE, but I thought it was too early to grab him. Not getting locked into one strategy is an integral part of a good draft, so I was ready to go with either WR/WR or RB/WR instead. Of my WR options at this spot, I liked Andre Johnson, Darrell Jackson, and Hines Ward. Johnson was my top choice.