Roto Football: Slow Draft Results and Analysis
The first annual Fantrax Roto Football league is officially underway. The last pick in the slow draft has been made and the rosters are complete. There were plenty of surprises along the way, and only time will tell how things will shake out. Which experts made the biggest reach for talent to fulfill a roto category? Which experts were able to acquire the best value during the slow draft?
I am going to share the full results of the Roto Football slow draft below. We will examine who built the best team, and who (maybe) has some work to do. The only thing for certain is that this is uncharted territory and we will only know for certain once the season is over. In case you haven’t been following along, make sure to read the first two parts in the Roto Football series. They set the stage for the season to come and introduce you to our league rules and participants.
- Part One: Roto Football, It’s A Thing (7/10) (Rules/Format/Scoring)
- Part Two: The Anatomy of a Roto Football Draft 7/18 (Pre-draft)
- Part Three: Roto Football: Slow Draft Results & Analysis (7/24) : Currently Reading
- Part Four: (Coming Soon….)
Fantrax Roto Football League: Slow Draft Results
Here I will reveal the final picks in the Fantrax Roto Football draft. After each section I will highlight a few of the picks I found to be either great value or a good strategy. On the other hand, I will also pull out a few picks that made me scratch my head, or I thought may raise an eyebrow or two. The important thing to remember is this is a brand new format and we will not know for sure who was right and wrong until the end of the season. Let’s get started with….
My Favorite Picks:
Antonio Brown – Pick: 1.07 – Team: Jen Smith
Over the previous four seasons, Antonio Brown has posted at least 10 fantasy points in 70 percent of his games. Now in this format, fantasy points do not matter at all. However, he is the most consistent elite talent in football and you can take his production to the bank. Which, by the way, is exactly what you need in roto. Brown may not be the number one overall fantasy player at year’s end, but he may be the best bet to definitely finish in the top-5. Safe, smart pick. I love it.
Aaron Rodgers – Pick: 2.14 – Team: Pierre Camus
Completion percentage is a category folks. Aaron Rodgers is the most accurate quarterback in the history of football. Turnovers are also a category in this league folks. Aaron Rodgers has tossed an interception on 1.6 percent of the passes in his career. That is also the best in NFL history. See what I am getting at here? In Roto Football you need consistency, and Aaron Rodgers is exactly what you look for in that area. Pierre assured that he will likely finish in the top-5 in every passing category, along with gaining a huge edge in turnovers. Great pick.
Stefon Diggs – Pick: 3.12 – Team: Paddi Cooper
Everyone is all over Adam Thielen this season, which is fine. Theilen is good. However, people tend to forget that it was Stefon Diggs who had the higher fantasy point per game in 2017. Diggs may have been the very best receiver in football for a short stretch. He also had the highest catch rate on contested catches last season while being graded as the best wide receiver on “tight-window catches” by NFL.com. Paddi Cooper may have stolen Diggs nine picks after his teammate was drafted.
T.Y Hilton – Pick: 4.02 – Team: Chris Allen
Well, this is certainly an interesting pick. This is of course because Hilton’s 2018 value is closely tied to the health and success of Andrew Luck. Luckily (haha, get it), there have been nothing but positive reports on the Colts’ quarterback thus far in the offseason. Hilton will enter the season as the Colts’ clear-cut number one receiving option. He will also have the benefit of having Donte Moncrief and Kamar Aiken, who were 3rd and 4th in targets last season, off of the team. The Colts will lean hard on Hilton, and so will Andrew Luck. Of course, if Luck hits a setback, Hilton’s value will fall into a deep dark hole.
I’m Not So Sure About These:
Keenan Allen – Pick: 1.13 – Team: Steve Torini
Some would call this a reach, so I had to mention it. Taking Keenan Allen with Michael Thomas and Julio Jones on the board would not be the call many fantasy owners would make. I am actually fine with the pick and honestly like it. Allen held a 26.46% Target Market Share (percent of his team’s total pass attempts in which he was the target), which was good enough for fourth in the NFL last season. This number should keep fairly steady in 2018 with the Chargers’ loss of Hunter Henry. Keenan Allen is perfectly capable of challenging Antonio Brown for the WR1 spot if he can stay healthy. Unfortunately, that may be a big if.
Alex Collins – Pick: 2.09 – Team: Jen Smith
It’s not that I don’t like Alex Collins. I do. I really do. He is a sure bet to be the workhorse running back in the Ravens offense. Collins is coming off a breakout season, but he does have Kenneth Dixon to deal with. The smart money is on Collins running away with this job, but it far from a guarantee. The bottom line here is that while I do like Alex Collins alot, I was overall uncomfortable with how high mid-tier starting running backs were being taken in this draft. Regardless if “carries” are a category or not. For the record, I do love Collins as a sleeper.
Isaiah Crowell – Pick: 3.15 – Team: TheFFGhost
Last year, a Jets running back had 15 or more carries in a game five times. The Jets also haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2015. Add that to the fact that Crowell may split time with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire and you have a very bleak outlook for the season. That being said, this is a crazy format and starting running backs come at a premium.
Dion Lewis – Pick: 4.04 – Team: Paddi Cooper
Lewis will share the Tennessee backfield with starter Derrick Henry. 2017 was the first time Lewis played all 16 games in his entire career, playing a total of 14 games from 2013-16. He will be the third-down change of pace back for the Titans, with a chance for more if Henry falters. This is another pick where I don’t mind the player, just seemed a bit early to take a player with a supporting role. I know this take is sure to strike a nerve with some, as Dion Lewis appears to have a cult following in the industry.
Favorite Draft Picks:
Tarik Cohen – Pick: 5.09 – Team: Ghoji Blackburn
Matt Nagy is now the head coach in Chicago and Tarik Cohen stands to gain the most from the coaching change (aside from Mitchell Trubisky). In his rookie campaign, Cohen tallied 723 yards from scrimmage on 140 touches or 5.17 yards per touch. That is elite folks. Le’Veon Bell averaged 4.79 yards per touch for example. Tyreek Hill became a monster under Nagy in Kansas City, and Cohen should be in for a boost as well. Jordan Howard is the early-down back, but I fully expect Cohen to be a huge part of the Chicago offense.
C. J. Anderson – Pick: 6.08 – Team: Doug Anderson
The Panthers like to run the football, just look at how many times they allowed Jonathan Stewart to carry the ball. Christian McCaffirey is certainly the back to own in Carolina, but in a league that counts “carries” as a stat? In 2017, Stewart led the Panthers in carries with 198 and ran for 680 rushing yards with six touchdowns. Anderson will inherit that workload and is far more talented than Jonathan Stewart. He makes for a nice value in the sixth round.
Andrew Luck – Pick: 7.13 – Team: Steve Torini
Who knows with this one? All systems go with Andrew Luck so far this offseason. News coming out of Indianapolis has Luck being on track to start the season with no restrictions. This could change the quarterback landscape, not to mention the NFL, a great deal if Luck is “back.” There is still a decent chance Luck may be rusty, or may need time to adjust after being away for so long. However, one has to assume that if he is completely healed and ready to roll, he should be an amazing value where he has gone in fantasy drafts. Luck posted 20-plus Fantasy points in 76.3 percent of his games in the three years before his injury. The pick is a risk, but a risk worth taking.
Nelson Agholar – Pick: 8.13 – Team: Mark Abell
In all reality, I don’t have a lot of facts to back up why I like this pick. But, I do. Carson Wentz is due for a certain touchdown regression, while Nelson Agholar ranked 50th in targets per game in 2017. Let’s call it a hunch that a breakout is coming. Agholor set career highs in targets (95), catches (62), yards (768) and touchdowns (eight) last season, and I expect another step forward in 2018. If I were to worry about regression or bust potential in Philadelphia, it would be Alshon Jeffrey and his injury history.
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I’m Not So Sure About These:
Jamaal Williams – Pick: 5.05 – Team: Kyle Richardson
The Packers have a three-headed monster as their running back in 2018. Why is this in my “not so sure” section? I think, personally, that Jamaal Williams is a distant third in terms of talent. The format certainly lends itself to grabbing as many running backs as you can, but this comes down to me not believing in Jamaal Williams. Especially if he goes this far head of Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery.
Evan Engram – Pick: 6.03 – Team: Steve Torini
Evan Engram is coming off of one of the best rookie performances by a tight end ever in 2017. He comes into this season with a major hype train behind him as well. Not so fast, I say. In 2017, the Giants played the entire season without Odell Beckham Jr. He is back. In 2017, the Giants had no running attack. They sure do now with Saquon Barkley. Engram’s targets and opportunity are going to take a huge hit this year. I see Engram seeing below 90 targets in 2018. He will need to improve drastically on his 55% catch rate if he is to live up to the hype. I do not see it happening. Huge bust potential. Sorry Steve, just my opinion.
Jordan Reed – Pick: 7.08 – Team: Doug Anderson
This could be a great pick, to be honest. If healthy, Jordan Reed can be the #2 overall tight end with Alex Smith at quarterback. However, I assess his chances of staying healthy at around 10%. Reed has never completed a 16-game season and is coming off a year in which he missed 10 games. Not to mention that he had toe surgery in the Spring. If you draft Jordan Reed, you have to draft Vernon Davis. Who wants to do that? I would rather skip Reed altogether and just draft Davis.
Chris Carson – Pick: 8.12 – Team: Chris Meaney
This is a matter of opinion. Either you believe in Rashaad Penny or you don’t. I do and therefore do not see much value in drafting Chris Carson. Carson was arguably the best running back on the Seahawks last season, but he was not exactly competing against anyone that could fight back. Penny is three-down back and C.J. Prosise is far better suited to be the “pass-catching” third-down back for Seattle. I just don’t know where this leaves Carson.
Favorite Draft Picks:
Corey Clement – Pick: 9.04 – Team: Chris Meaney
There is certainly a bit of a logjam in the Philadelphia backfield. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles will all battle for carries and targets all season. So why the love for Clement? He averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry and 12.3 yards-per-reception. He should get more carries with LeGarrette Blount gone while taking over the change of pace role from Darren Sproles. Blount ran the ball 173 times last year and those carries have to go somewhere, and not necessarily to the overrated Jay Ajayi.
Doug Martin – Pick: 10.06 – Team: Nate Hamilton
I am not sure why more people don’t see Doug Martin as one of the more undervalued players for 2018. It is true that Martin has been very inefficient for the majority of the last three seasons, but he also showed flashes of brilliance all while playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football in Tampa Bay. Martin is taking his show on the road this season to play for the Raiders, who boast one of the very best offensive lines in football. Martin should be like a kid in a candy store.
The only competition in the backfield is 32-year-old Marshawn Lynch. At that age, a significant dropoff (possibly a cliff) could be reasonably expected for Lynch who has made a career of running through hard contact. The reports from offensive coordinator Greg Olsen on Martin have been very positive and it shouldn’t be a surprise if he jumps back onto the fantasy radar in a big way. Martin, who boasts multiple 1,400 rushing yard campaigns in his career, is a steal this late in the draft.
Quincy Enunwa – Pick: 11.15 – Team: TheFFGhost
If Robby Anderson gets suspended, you are looking at the WR1 for the New York Jets in Quincy Enunwa. A team that will be behind in almost every game and therefore be throwing all the time. Enunwa appears to be healed from the neck injury that sidelined him for so long last season. He will join a crowded wide receiver corps with the addition of Terrelle Pryor in the offseason. However, the talent is certainly there for Enunwa, and Jets quarterback Josh McCown has publically stated his preference to work with Enunawa. The draft price for this guy was a great value.
Case Keenum – Pick: 12.12 – Team: Chris Meaney
I’m not sure why everyone is aboard the Kirk Cousins train and everyone is so down on Case Keenum. Sure Cousins is great in play action, and that is what the Vikings love to run. I get it. Cousins is is a good fit for the Vikings. However, does Kirk Cousins really have that long of a track record? Case Keenum had a solid season in 2017, in which he completed 67.6% of his passes (great for this format) in the Vikings offense. He may lose Diggs and Theilen, but he comes to Denver and is greeted by Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Not a bad swap if you ask me.
I’m Not So Sure About These:
Chris Ivory – Pick: 9.01 – Team: Matt Williams
This pick is entirely tied to the LeSean McCoy situation. Either he gets suspended, and I drafted a starting running back in round nine. Or, McCoy is cleared and I literally wasted a draft pick. Chris Ivory is nothing special, but he would be a solid value if given the workload in Buffalo.
Cameron Brate – Pick: 10.05 – Team: John LaPresto
Brate is simply too touchdown dependent. He has scored 14 touchdowns over the last two season while only scoring over seven fantasy points 12 times. That is not going to hold up over time. Toss in the competition with O.J. Howard and you have an iffy situation that may not be worthy of the draft pick.
Ryan Tannehill – Pick: 12.14 – Team: Pierre Camus
I don’t have much to say here. I could show you a chart, or I could throw in some facts. However, I am just going to leave you with this fun fact: Ryan Tannehill is terrible.
These draft picks are so toward the end of the player pool that it is kind of unfair to play favorites or pick apart a selection. Still, here are a few of my favorite and not-so-favorite picks from the final rounds of the Roto Football draft:
Favorite Draft Picks:
Ted Ginn Jr. – Pick: 13.01 – Team: Matt Williams
Ted Ginn Jr. caught 75.7 percent of his passes last year. That is pretty good. He will yet again be a big piece in a Saints offense that is likely to get back to its gunslinging roots after a detour to ground and pound last season. Expect Drew Brees and Sean Payton to take to the skies, where Ginn caught 10 passes for 342 yards on deep passes. The value for Ginn this late in the draft was beautiful.
Blake Bortles – Pick: 14.02 – Team: Chris Allen
Blake Bortles is shockingly undervalued in almost every format. All he has done is be a QB1 caliber fantasy player three consecutive seasons. Over the final five weeks of the 2017 season, VBortles was the number two overall fantasy quarterback. Let that sink in. Love Bortles as a late value-play this season.
Geronimo Allison – Pick: 15.01 – Team: Matt Williams
Jordy Nelson is out of town and that leaves Geronimo Allison as the leading candidate to absorb the number three receiver spot in Green Bay. The quarterback in Green Bay is still Aaron Rodgers. Round 15? Yes please.
Ryan Grant – Pick: 16.10 – Team: Joe Pisapia
This pick will be largely dependent on how Andrew Luck holds up. Assuming he does, this could be the value pick of the draft folks. Grant had actually signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens, but due to a failed physical, he ended up in Indianapolis. This is interesting because he was due to make $29 million over four years in Baltimore while having to settle for 1-year $5 million with the Colts. You can say that he has all the motivation in the world to make this season a success. I for one was counting on taking Grant with my final pick, as were almost every team after Joe. I guess we should have grabbed him earlier?
I’m Not So Sure About These:
Andy Dalton – Pick: 13.15 – Team: The FFGhost
Brandon Marshall – Pick: 14.08 – Team: Doug Anderson
De’Angelo Henderson – Pick: 15.11 – Team: John LaPresto
Virgil Green – Pick: 16.07 – Team: Ghoji Blackburn
We had a solid Roto Football draft that was full of surprises, twists, turns, and panic. Overall, it was a fun experience to see how the different strategies shaped and reshaped the draft as it went on. If we had to do it again, I think we would have all made different decisions.
It’s a new format, and growing pains come with the territory. If nothing else, it will make for some entertaining transactions and trades all season long in the Fantrax Roto Football League. Who do you think came away with the best draft? Send me your thoughts on Twitter @MattWi77iams
Ready to amp up your Fantasy Football prep even more? Check out Full 60 Fantasy Football, where Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, and The Welsh bring the goods every week.