Join SI.com's James Quintong in a discussion of some of the latest news in football, baseball and other sports and how it relates to fantasy teams and leagues.
8/18/2006 03:06:00 PM
Draft day traditions; NFL players join the fray
Thanks to everyone who has commented on the SI fantasy mock draft. I'll admit that the scoring system was a bit strange and that some of the drafters had less fantasy experience than others going in. However, I'm sure many of you will run into similar sets of fantasy owners when your draft rolls around.
What's the protocol for ribbing an owner who takes a kicker like Neil Rackers in the fifth round?
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Which leads me to my topic of discussion for the weekend: We're getting to the point where plenty of leagues are now actually getting to draft for real. So what are your preparations for draft day, and I don't mean scouring the latest rankings, reading a bunch of magazines or watching all the preseason games on NFL Network?
I mean what type of party are you planning for the big day. Some people take over one guy's rec room or head over to the local sports bar for a few hours. Others make it a weekend-long reunion, especially when the owners are scattered throughout the country and converge just once a year for the draft.
Are there specific traditions for picking the draft order or introducing newcomers to the league? Even better, do you do anything in particular to tease an owner who eventually drafts a player already taken? How vocal do you get with either praising good picks or ripping horrible ones? While many of us do online leagues, you often can't beat the atmosphere surrounding your draft.
And as a secondary point of discussion, what do you think of actual NFL players taking part in fantasy leagues? While many claim ignorance, there are others like Shawn Barber and Chris Cooley who have played for years.
So the results of Sports Illustrated's mock draft are up, and like any fantasy draft, there was your share of great value picks, interesting reaches, confusing selections, plus plenty of drafters screaming "Oh, I wanted him" just before it was his or her turn to draft.
Brett Favre a 14th-round pick? Believe it.
However, unlike most other fantasy drafts, we were able to go through 16 rounds and 192 picks in just over an hour -- and that's with about half the drafters chiming in via conference call. Now while many of you make draft day a major all-night or all-weekend event on your sporting calendar, there is something to be said for efficiency. (We'll soon be getting your favorite draft-day traditions.)
But now that the dust has settled, here's a quick glance at what I think of each team (we're still contemplating whether to play out the league). And to clear up one major thing, this draft took place days before Mike Bell was named the No. 1 running back in Denver.
Albert Lin: L.J. was an easy No. 1, but I'm not impressed with his running backs after that. The 1-2 punch of former 'Canes receivers Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss is nice, and he may have a steal with Ernest Wilford in the 13th round. However, drafting four quarterbacks might be a bit much.
Jeffri Chadiha: He's in good shape at running back when DeShaun Foster and Deuce McAllister are his No. 3 and 4, plus taking Greg Jones late just in case. Having the combo of Daunte Culpepper and Steve McNair is a high-risk, high-reward proposition; although again, four quarterbacks is overkill. However, taking Chad Johnson early in the third round is a nice pickup.
Mark Mravic: Taking Tiki Barber over LaDainian Tomlinson at No. 3 is still a head-scratcher, as are rolling the dice on LenDale White in the fourth and Braylon Edwards in the sixth. However, having Byron Leftwich and Chris Simms are not bad as backups to Carson Palmer, whose status is still up in the air. And given where Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were taken, Palmer in the third isn't too bad.
Adam Duerson: Nice top three picks of Tomlinson, Terrell Owens and Anquan Boldin, plus Chris Cooley in the eighth round after a slew of tight ends were taken was nice. Lots of safe veteran picks around -- Joe Horn, Keyshawn Johnson, Rod Smith, David Akers.
David Sabino: Having both Eli Manning and Philip Rivers on the team is a bit amusing, but it's a solid 1-2 punch at quarterback, even if Eli might be drafted slightly high. Getting Kevin Jones in the fourth round is a solid pickup, and while it might be slightly early now, DeAngelo Williams in the sixth could pay off big.
Gene Menez: Taking Peyton Manning as the first quarterback at No. 6 is about right, although having Reggie Bush as his No. 1 back is risky, especially with Corey Dillon and Joseph Addai as No. 2 and 3 backs. Pairing Marvin Harrison with Manning is solid as well.
Albert Chen: He started strongly with three solid running backs (although Brian Westbrook's injury makes his selection in the second round not look as good) and great value with some of his his wideouts (Roy Williams in the fourth, T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the seventh and Donte Stallworth in the 10th). Having Michael Vick as the No. 2 quarterback is also decent drafting.
Bill Syken: While Tom Brady in the first round might be reaching a bit (depending on Deion Branch's holdout), there are some high-risk, high-reward players around (Julius Jones, Javon Walker). Laurence Maroney in the eighth could turn into something big, and having Kellen Winslow as the backup to Alge Crumpler is a smart way to go.
Jamie Kideckel: A 1-2 combo of Rudi Johnson and Domanick Davis looked better before Davis' injury woes, especially with Fred Taylor as the third back. Putting the Rams' passing game together is a nice touch, although it doesn't look as great without Mike Martz in St. Louis. Some good mid-round value at wideout with Plaxico Burress (6), Lee Evans (8) and David Givens (9). However, ending the draft with two tight ends was a bit odd.
Ben Reiter: His first six picks were solid, especially Donovan McNabb in the fifth round, then he rolled the dice finding that third running back for a potential flex slot. If those don't work out, he does have a plethora of aging veteran receivers on the bench (Keenan McCardell, Joe Jurevicius, Amani Toomer).
Peter King: Some solid picks around (opening with Carnell Williams, Matt Hasselbeck in the third, Deion Branch in the fifth if he ends the holdout, L.J. Smith in ninth) surrounded by lots of calculated gambles (Chester Taylor, Cedric Benson, Matt Jones). Vince Young in the 11th round is a bit early, but it could pay off later; although his final pick of Wali Lundy looks good now. And it seemed like good fortune that he could get Brett Favre as his third quarterback in the 14th round.
James Quintong: Lots of solid picks fell in my lap thanks to my position at the end of the draft. I'm a bit thin at running back after my top two, although I'm banking on Dominic Rhodes on having the job longer than others may think. I intentionally waited until the middle rounds to get a quarterback, but I do have decent if unspectacular options there (Drew Brees, Jake Plummer).
Those are my thoughts from the draft. What are your opinions of the draft? Who has the best team, worst team? What do you think are the best picks of the draft?
While Reggie Bush has already impressed in the preseason, his former USC teammate and fellow Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart is just now getting into camp after finally ending his two-week holdout.
Matt Leinart threw 99 TD passes in three years at USC.
Jeff Topping/Getty Images
Now that Leinart is in camp, when will he get his chance to play for the Cardinals, first in the preseason and then in the regular season. The time away from the team can't help his development, even if he did look ready for the pros during his days at USC. On the other hand, third-stringer John Navarre struggled against the Steelers on Saturday, so the door is wide open for Leinart to become Kurt Warner's backup.
Warner can be a nice fantasy pick this year, given the offensive firepower around him, starting with the dynamic receiving tandem of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, plus offseason pickup Edgerrin James. However, Warner is already 35 and injury-prone, so you don't know how long he'll last this season. If and when he breaks down (especially if it's later in the season), Leinart should take over -- the major question is: will it be permanent?
Warner has already gone through something similar, starting the 2004 season as the Giants No. 1 quarterback before giving way after just a couple of games to Eli Manning. The same might happen with Leinart, depending on how the Cardinals progress this season. And Leinart has more targets at his disposal in Arizona than Manning did in his first season with the Gaints.
So the question here is: In non-keeper leagues, where do you draft Leinart? Keeper leagues will make him a top priority, but since you don't know now when he'll start, is he worth a late-round flier as a third quarterback over, say, a fifth running back or wide receiver? And what would you expect from Leinart should he make his way into the starting lineup? Or does he take the Carson Palmer path and sit for a season before becoming the starter?
Jets RB update: So much for Lee Suggs trying to replace Curtis Martin. The oft-injured back failed his physical and was returned to the Browns. The Jets may still be shopping for another back, or else try again with Derrick Blaylock, Cedric Houston and Leon Washington. It's probably safe to avoid Jets in your draft at this point.
Thanks to everyone who posted their comments based off last weekend's preseason action. Sure, the games don't mean anything and most of the top players only got token action, but for some of you, it was enough to help you make some draft decisions.
The brief holdout didn't affect Reggie Bush.
However, the two most fantasy-worthy developments from this weekend concern Reggie Bush and Clinton Portis. Bush started for the Saints in the preseason opener Saturday and quickly stole the show against the Titans, ripping off a 44-yard gain on his second carry and finishing with six carries for 59 yards and two catches for 10 yards. Deuce McAllister sat out the game recovering from a knee injury.
Granted it's only the preseason, but did this performance move Bush up your rankings? I have Bush at No. 15 among running backs, and another good performance could move him closer to the top 10, although it's still too early to tell what role McAllister will have in the offense that might take some numbers away from Bush.
While Bush sparkled in his preseason debut, Clinton Portis crashed out of his with a partially dislocated left shoulder. Portis, who was only supposed to make a cameo in the game, is out indefinitely. It's possible he'll miss the rest of the preseason (which may not be the worst thing for him), and if that's the case, there might be some problems. Right now, the Redskins' primary backup is Ladell Betts, who's had his share of injuries as well.
With Portis' status in doubt, where does he go in your rankings now? He was often considered in that second tier of running backs behind the trio of Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson. Do you drop him very far and does Betts become more valuable now? And, of course, that begs the question: Is the preseason too long? Even if the stars only play briefly, you could run into a situation like Portis'.
Finally, the Jets got themselves more insurance should Curtis Martin retire as they acquired Lee Suggs from the Browns for Derrick Strait on Monday. Suggs has battled injuries during his brief career, but has had his moments. Neither Derrick Blaylock nor Cedric Houston distinguished himself on Friday, so Suggs will get his chance to get regular playing time in New York. Keep an eye on the situation if you're looking for a flyer for your fourth or fifth running back.