Survivor I - Round 6 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - Excluding a lackluster performance in 2003 (which still had him ranked in the top 36), Jimmy Smith has been a steady producer the last 9 seasons. He ranked top 20 in 2002 and 2004 at age 33 and 35 years respectively. He has averaged over 85 receptions a season the last 9 years, which is key when you get 1 point per catch. Smith is still entrenched as the number one receiving option in Jacksonville.
Negatives - That swooshing sound you hear is the hands of Father Time's clock flying around its face. Smith is getting up there in age, now in his 36th year around the globe. All players, even great ones like Jerry Rice, hit that age wall. Smith has declined over the last few years, but still ranks in the top 36, but his days of being a fantasy WR1 are likely over.
Draft Strategy - I was thrilled to find Jimmy Smith still sitting here. I get him as my WR3, which I have no doubt he will achieve, with the upside of possible WR2 numbers. The only other WR I considered was Mason, but I'll take the guy who already has a rapport with his QB over the receiver still in the QB dating stage.
Positives - Derrick Mason has improved his reception totals each of the last 6 seasons. He has emerged as an elite receiver catching 95 or more passes each of the last 2 years. Mason has missed only 6 games in his 8 years in the league, which proves his durability. Heís consistently improving year after year and now with Baltimore, heíll be the #1 wide receiver option for the Ravens, compared to last year where he had an emerging Drew Bennett stealing his production. Despite the solid receiving competition last year, Mason managed to catch a career-high 96 passes. His only competition this season is tight end Todd Heap.
Negatives - Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller is no Steve McNair, but on the flip side, Boller has never had a wide receiver with the talent of Derrick Mason to throw to. It remains to be seen, how effective Mason will be in the Ravens weak passing attack. Will Mason suffer due to the weak passing game or will the offense flourish due to Masonís presence? This is a big question mark that wonít be answered until the season begins. I tend to think the system helps the player more than the player helps the system, but either way, donít expect Mason to duplicate his 90+ reception performances of years past.
Draft Strategy - With a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR already selected, I couldíve gone tight end here. Todd Heap, Dallas Clark, Randy McMichael and Alge Crumpler were among the available tight ends I coveted. My concern was, if I take a tight end here, what value would I have at wide receiver 20 picks from now? If I could get a better receiver now and still get one of the tight ends I had my sights on, that would be a win-win situation. Plus, the better value of all players available was from the wide receiver position or the quarterback position, but thanks to my 1st round selection of Daunte Culpepper, I didnít have to worry about that. The logical choice for me was to again, go with experience, consistency and talent and that meant Derrick Mason. My top 3 wide receivers are each #1 receivers on their respective teams. All of my wideouts fall into the top 17 among all wide receivers from last season. Although I may have some question marks at running back, my quarterback position and wide receiver positions are loaded with talent, experience and consistency.
- Has been a fantasy stud before.
- Has something to prove to Buffalo.
- Going into a new situation.
- Competing for time with Chris Brown
Draft Strategy - This was a bit of a reach, but I wanted to secure having a guy who could produce at the #2 RB slot. No need to put a lineup in for this league, just going to get the two highest point producers at RB. Looks like RBBC in Tennessee this year, but at least one of them should put up numbers every week and the other guy can still count towards the flex spot on occasion. I was looking at Benson here, but if for some reason he didn't pan out and Brown got hurt, I'd be in trouble.
Positives - Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan have upgraded an already potent Raider offense. Collins finished as the 15th rated QB while playing in only 14 games. Almost 3500 yards and 21 TDs last season could approach 4000 yards and 30 TDs this year with the improvements on offense and a full 16 games. The defense of the Raiders is atrocious and should lead to many shoot-outs.
Negatives - Kerry Collins has more career interceptions than touchdown passes. In 10 seasons, he has only once finished the season as a top 10 QB. He is not a mobile QB that can create much with his feet. Randy Moss brings a lot of baggage with him and may disrupt the team harmony in the locker room.
Draft Strategy - Vick was taken, Green and Collins wouldnít make it back around. I think Kansas City will have the better of the two defenses, so I see Collins having more passing opportunities. I really wanted a QB from the AFC West, and dealt with the week 5 bye once again.
Positives - Duce is the #1 RB on the #1 rushing offense in the NFL. The Steelers will run the ball, and Staley will be the primary back. In the first eight weeks of 2004, Staley had four 100+ yard games and two 90+ yard games. Duce can also catch the ball out of the backfield, and with the departure of Plaxico Burress, should see far more passing targets this year. With Bettis in his last year as a pro, the Steelers should start working Staley into their Goal Line packages.
Negatives - Staley killed a lot of fantasy owners last year due to his multitude of injuries and The Bus vulturing 13 rushing TDs last year, the majority of which were less than two yard runs after Staley got the ball inside the five. While Staley was healthy coming into camp this year, there is no guarantee that either or both of the crippling factors from last year will not arise again this year.
Draft Strategy - At this point I was looking for another WR or my starting TE. Todd Heap was temping, but with the addition of Derrick Mason in Baltimore I felt his numbers could suffer, so I figured Iíd wait a round and hope Heap, Alge Crumpler, or Dallas Clark were still available. Jimmy Smith was taken off the board a few picks before me, which was the last receiver on my short list. Duce is an incredible value in the 6th round of the draft. Even missing six games last year he put up almost 900 combined yards. Carnell Williams (rookie sharing backfield with Pittman and Alstott), Lamont Jordan (unproven as a starter), J.J. Arrington (rookie on a horrible team), Kevan Barlow (disappointment last year on a horrible team), Ronnie Brown (rookie on a horrible team), Thomas Jones (to be replaced by Cedric Benson), Chris Brown (RBBC), and Travis Henry (RBBC), were all drafted before Staley. If Staley stays healthy and gets a few goal line looks, heíll outperform them all.
Positives - Big and strong like you want a TE to be, he has the skill, smarts, and hands of a WR. With the addition of Mason and Clayton to improve the WR corps, defenses won't be able to double-team him.
Negatives - He's coming off an ankle injury with reconstructive surgery, and has missed mini-camps. Mason and Clayton will take looks he normally would have gotten in the past, as he was the bulk of the passing game.
Draft Strategy - I really wanted Heap, and since TEs were starting to quietly be taken, I didn't think he'd last another round. Gonzo and Gates in the 3rd round? Nah, Heap in the 6th is perfect for me. Plus, he's a Sun Devil, man!
Positives - The Iron-Man of the quarterback position, Favre is someone you can rely on to show up each and every week. With 4000+ yards and 30 TDs, Favre had a solid 2004 season. Favre has confidence in himself and his teammates, allowing for huge passing games. With the Packer defense looking to have a down year, Favre could end up throwing the ball more as well as later each game. If Favreís WR corps stays healthy, I wouldnít be surprised to see him throw for 4000+ yards again, with even more TDs.
Negatives - Favre is getting older and the retirement talk has started. Though the Packís WR corps has the talent, they havenít been a consistent unit. At this point in his career, itís hard to predict how long Favre can keep up his usual level of production.
Draft Strategy - Debated WR or QB here, and decided that the value wasnít there at WR. Wanted Collins here, but he went 3 picks previous. Favre was an attractive option to me for his propensity to have big games. While he will undoubtedly show up every game, he tends to disappear some games and have huge games in others. This is a perfect profile for a Survivor league player, as you never have to choose who starts.
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: New offensive coordinator Ron Turner doesn't believe Thomas Jones fits his new scheme. Cedric Benson does. Benson gives the Bears a workhorse back they can feature in their new commitment to the power running game. He is a very strong runner between the tackles and is tough to bring down with first contact. Benson has a vast combination of strength, power, and balance. He has established himself as a durable back and should excel in this offense. He will thrive in controlling games carrying the load late in games and in the inclement weather. Benson should be a monster near the goal line.
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: The Bears offense was the worst in the league last year, and they ranked 25th in rushing. Things won't be easy for Benson, especially right out of the gate. He will have a determined Thomas Jones looking over his shoulder all season, and the Bears will keep Jones involved, especially in passing situations. Benson was durable in college, but he carried an enormous load. With so many miles already, is he an injury risk at the pro level? Benson is not the best blocker, and needs work in the passing game.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - Larry Johnson would be a top ten RB were it not for the fact that he plays behind who many consider THE top RB. He put up ďPriest-likeĒ numbers ( 5 TDs) in his last three starts at the end of the season running behind an excellent KC offensive line. He is THE most valuable back-up and possibly could see some goal line carries. Priest has been dinged up at some point in the season the last three years. If that happens again (and Priest is almost 32), Johnsonís value would sore.
Negatives - Simply put Ė he is a back-up! And you do not typically want to make this type of move this early on in the draft. In a worse case scenario, Johnson and all his talent fester on the sidelines. And I am not a big proponent of rooting for someone to get hurt, and this exactly where I might find myself - reveling in someone elseís misfortune if it comes to past. Itís much more fun to root FOR players than AGAINST them. This will either be the dumbest pick I could make or the savviest. But regardless, it is an early gamble. Its guys like this in these situations that could make you scratch your head at the end of the season wondering why you ever picked him for your #6 overall.
Draft Strategy - Here was my first deviation from apparent value, but with strategy still behind my thinking in this pick. Jake Plummer was the apparent value pick yet his ADP was 7.09. So I took a chance that Plummer would still be there at the turn. I decided to grab another RB (still being pretty deficient at that position). Since Larry Johnsonís ADP was 6.09 and Priestís owner was selecting in two more picks, I decided to steal Priestís ďbackupĒ. This was a gamble, but one that could pay off if Priest goes down. My deficiency at RB would turn into a decided strength if this happened and it would make the owner of Priest very vulnerable. In drafting ďbackup RBsĒ, itís important to look for RBs who are good runners, RBs who play behind injury prone starters, or RBs who have great offensive lines. Larry Johnson fits all three categories. I would follow this same strategy with RBs the remainder of the draft.
Positives - Chambers has all the skills to be an elite NFL WR. All that is missing is a serviceable QB. I holding out hope that Frerotte is the missing link or possibly another year of seasoning for AJ Feeley makes a difference. While Chambersí schedule isnít soft in 2005, it wonít be the brutal one the Dolphins faced in 2004.
Negatives - Chambers is frequently found more regularly on the back of a milk carton then appearing on ESPNís Prime Time. Elite WRs should be a factor more often then Chambers is. Fortunately I wonít have to pick which weeks to start him in this format and can cover his absences with depth at the WR position.
Draft Strategy - I really liked Deion Branch better at this spot, but his bye matched Smithís and I thought he would still be around when I drafted five picks later. My plan was to grab Chambers and slough Branch to the next round; unfortunately Mikey T caused that to blow up in my face.
Positives - Highly touted rookie lived up to his billing with a strong rookie year going over 1000 yards receiving with 8 touchdowns. Fitzgerald has size, runs great routes & has exceptional hands. If QB Kurt Warner can stay upright he is an improvement over last yearís starter Josh McCown. A healthy Anquan Boldin on the other side will likely draw top coverage leaving Fitzgerald to work against the defenseís #2 cornerback. Coach Dennis Green looks upon Fitzgerald like a son and will make sure he is successful.
Negatives - Does Kurt Warner have anything left? Recently he has looked like a shell of the former 4000-yard passer he was. The presence of Anquan Boldin will limit Fitzgeraldís upside. While Boldin will draw coverages he will also draw targets Ė he had 2 less targets than Fitzgerald despite playing in only 10 games.
Draft Strategy - I wanted to fill out my core of starters thus was looking for my WR3. I was waiting for Chris Chambers but once again BassNBrew stole my pick. There werenít many true #1 WRs left on the board so I went with the WR I felt had the most potential to at least finish in the top 20. While I personally think Boldin is the better option of the 2, I see no reason both receivers canít go over 1000 yards this year.
Positives - Trent Green has finished as a top 5 QB each of the previous 2 years. Heís thrown for over 4,000 yards and at least 24 touchdowns each of the last 2 seasons. The KC offense returns intact with the exception of Johnny Morton which some might consider addition through subtraction giving Samie Parker an opportunity to start. Green threw for 12 touchdowns during the teams final 5 games last year, which was more than Peyton Manning. The Chiefs have been one of the NFLís top offenses over the last several seasons and thereís no reason to expect that to change this year.
Negatives - Green will be 35 at the start of the 2005 season. His primary offensive weapons are 32 (Holmes), 32 (Kennison), and 29 (Gonzalez) indicating that the skill level could drop off dramatically if age catches up with one or more of these skill positions. An improved defense could lessen the need to get involved in shootouts and reduce the number of points the Chiefs need to win games.
Draft Strategy - As the 8th QB drafted I thought Green represented value. If Larry Fitzgerald wasnít taken directly before this pick, I likely would have taken the WR and waited to get a QB later. Iím a bit concerned about having both Green and Tony Gonzalez as the risk is increased should the Chiefs offense not perform as expected. I like this pick and expect Green to continue to perform as a top 5 QB this year.