When I get the email notification telling me I've received a spot in the draft order anywhere from nine through 12 my mind goes immediately to Patrick Mahomes pick in that range. But I don't ever lock into the strategy because of what happened in this draft.. It's the perfect place to start your draft with two of the top seven wide receivers. Often, receivers (or tight ends) are the best players on the board in Round 3 and 4 as well. Occasionally I may even throw in a
The first five picks in this draft were running backs. The next seven were wide receivers. Then Travis Kelce. Shockingly, James Conner was there at pick 14 and none of my top seven receivers were. It was an easy choice that threw my entire plan askew. That shouldn't bother if you it happens on Draft Day, because it happens all the time. Time to adjust.
Here's my team from No. 11 overall:
- 1.11 Michael Thomas, WR, NO
- 2.2 James Conner, RB, PIT
- 3.11 Amari Cooper, WR, DAL
- 4.2 Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
- 5.11 Kenyan Drake, RB, MIA
- 6.2 Dede Westbrook, WR, JAC
- 7.11 Latavius Murray, RB, NO
- 8.2 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
- 9.11 Dion Lewis, RB, TEN
- 10.2 Cam Newton, QB, CAR
- 11.11 Chris Thompson, RB, WAS
- 12.2 Albert Wilson, WR, MIA
- 13.11 Kenny Stills, WR, MIA
- 14.2 Austin Hooper, TE, ATL
- 15.11 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
The receiver runs didn't end in Round 1. Six receivers were taken in the seven picks before my Amari Cooper pick in Round 3. Eight receivers were taken in a row in the fourth round. That led to an uncommon situation where three of my first five picks were running backs despite the fact that this was a PPR league where we were required to start three receivers.
I was able to overcome that receiver shortage somewhat thanks to the fact Westbrook was there in Round 6, but I didn't get much depth at the position. I view Westbrook as a low-end No. 2 option in PPR with top-15 upside if Marqise Lee never returns to his old self. Early in the season, I expect him to dominate targets. Hopefully Fitzgerald will as well because he's the only other receiver on my roster that I feel confident will play a major role. I just don't feel confident in what this Cardinals offense is going to look like.
As much as my receiver depth concerns me, I am stacked at running back. Drake and Murray will both be startable on a week-to-week basis as No. 2 running backs or flexes. I loved the value on both, but not as much as I love Newton in Round 10.
I know, you won't be able to get Newton in Round 10 in your league. I'm sorry. But this is still useful. Per CBS Fantasy ADP he's the No. 11 quarterback off the board on Draft Day. He's going behind Tom Brady and Drew Brees and a full three rounds behind Matt Ryan. Newton is going to be fine for Week 1 and he's back inside my top five quarterbacks. He is coming off one of his best seasons as a passer and has arguably the most complete set of weapons in the passing game he's ever had. It's his second year in Norv Turner's system and he thrived in Year 1. He's one of a handful of quarterbacks with QB1 upside.
I don't have a problem with Devonta Freeman. But taking him meant I was thin at wide receiver and didn't have a chance at any of the second-tier tight ends. I'm not even sure that's a trade I'll regret, but it's something to consider early in the fourth round. The other thing that makes me reconsider this pick is landing Drake and Murray where I did. If Freeman plays 14 games, I have one of the top running back duos in the league and I won't look back. But the team could have been more balanced with Evan Engram or Tyler Lockett there.
Isn't this the story of Cooper's career? He looks like a superstar, surefire No. 1 receiver at times and at other times completely craters your team. He produced All-Pro numbers with Dallas last year but had four games with fewer than 40 yards. If he finally turns into a true WR1, the combination of him, Thomas, and Conner will be tough to beat. If he's inconsistent again (or this foot injury proves worse than we think), my team could really struggle at wide receiver.