During last week's show, we discussed the hypothetical "Perfect Draft" for 2015. There were plenty of surprises, and more than a few of the calls we made at the beginning of the season turned out quite well.
Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, but looking back on the 2015 fantasy football season raises a lot of questions and challenges conventional wisdom about long-standing draft rules going forward.
Nevertheless, here is our 2015 fantasy football perfect draft (with commentary along the way).
Round. Name (Team - Pos. Rank, *ADP).
Round 1. Antonio Brown (Pit - WR1, 8.8).
Given the pass-happy nature of the NFL, it's not terribly surprising that a wide receiver would finish as the first-round pick. What is surprising, however, is that the decision to pick Brown wasn't close. Of the eight running backs with ADP's in the first round (Bell, Peterson, Lacy, Charles, Lynch, Forte, Murray, and Anderson), only Adrian Peterson comes close to returning value. Brown's ADP of 8.8 made him the 6th player chosen on average. The only other player who comes close is Gronk. Gronkowski's ADP of 9.1 made him the 7th player selected overall, and the only real competition to Brown.
Round 2. Julio Jones (Atl - WR2, 20.3).
Again, the choice is fairly straight forward. There is an argument to be made for Tom Brady (19.2) and possibly Russell Wilson (27.1), but, given the relative value at the quarterback position late, Julio is the obvious choice.
Round 3. DeAndre Hopkins (Hou - WR6, 34.3).
I** personally would never (never say, "Never," I know) draft three wide receivers in the first three rounds, but there is no one even close to Nuk in round three.
If you had drafted Brown, Jones, and Hopkins 1, 2, and 3 in a PPR (point per reception) league, you would have smoked the competition.
Round 4. Jonathan Stewart (Car - RB16, 51.6).
So the 16th best running back is not ideal as your RB1, but as your RB2, JStew was solid. Stewart was also one of the running backs we*** said to target. The others in the fourth round worthy of consideration: Greg Olsen, Big Ben, Jordan Matthew, and Travis Kelce. The Seahawks were also being drafted in the fourth round for some ridiculous reason. Don't do that!
Round 5. Brandon Marshall (NYJ - WR3, 59.2).
Marshall was one of my better calls of the season given his ADP. I don't think anyone expected him to finish as the third ranked wide receiver, but he did. Todd Gurley and Chris Ivory were also fifth rounders. Ivory started strong but trailed off, and Gurley started the season hurt but came on strong, so a combination of Ivory and Gurley would have been great, but neither individually provides the value of Marshall. If, however, you would have suggested drafting four receivers in your first five picks, I would have thought your were crazy, but just wait...
Round 6. Jarvis Landry (Mia - WR15, 76.2).
...because, now, it's five out of six. Obviously, this is not an ideal pick, but the sixth round was really disappointing (e.g. Romo, Ryan, Mariota). Sammy Watkins was drafted at the end of the sixth, and Jeremy Maclin in the middle. And they all finished back-to-back-to-back, but Landry finished the highest. TJ says Sammy Watkins over Landry for the upside. And some crazy folks picked the Bills DST ahead of Landry and Watkins.
Round 7. Cam Newton (Car - QB1, 89.7).
Yeah, the fantasy football MVP was drafted in the seventh round, and he was questionable as a seventh round pick even then. Decker and Fitzgerald would have been nice picks in the seventh round, and both were picked ahead of Cam, but, no. Also drafted ahead of Cam, Fitzgerald, and Decker...Stephen Gostkowski. A kicker. Again, don't do it.
Round 8. Doug Martin (TB - RB3, 97).
Another of our*** better calls. We advocated drafting Martin as your RB2. We also suggested taking Martin in the fifth or sixth round to be sure, and he would have been a steal there. He was a bit up-and-down, but which running back wasn't? He was definitely one of the best RB values of the season.
Round 9. Tyler Eifert (Cin - TE6, 105.1).
Eifert's breakout season finally happened, but it was hard to go with Eifert here given the tight ends left on the board. Also, Martavis Bryant and John Brown were drafted in round nine, and they are both worthy of consideration. However, Eifert was our choice. He was the 6th ranked tight end, but he would have finished as high as 3rd if he had stayed healthy. Eifer was one of TJ's better calls of the season.
Round 10. Broncos (Den - DST1, 106.3).
Again, I would never advocate drafting a defense in the tenth round, but the Broncos were the best defense, and the tenth round was full of disappointing quarterbacks (Rivers, Tannehill, Bradford, and Foles). Delanie Walker is certainly worth considering, and he is probably a better value, but with Eifert drafted and Reed still on the board, the Broncos are the pick.
Round 11. Devonta Freeman (Atl - RB 1, 112.6).
Tevin Coleman's (round nine, ADP 104.3) handcuff proved to be the No. 1 fantasy football running back in 2015. And you got him in the eleventh round. This is why you draft a lot of running backs. There is always someone who pops (Alf back in the day, Martin, too). So, yes, in the perfect draft, Devonta Freeman is actually on your bench because the RB and Flex slots are filled.
Round 12. Carson Palmer (Ari - QB5, 116).
Our advice, for anyone who would listen, was to wait on quarterback and draft Palmer. I'm a little nostalgic about the Palmer call because it happened on our very first show, and, as it turned out, was our second best call of the season.
Round 13. Jordan Reed (Was - TE2, 124.3).
Ah, Reed - probably my best call of the season. Reed is a stud receiver playing tight end, and, as long as he stays healthy, he's a beast. Reed finished the season as the No. 2 tight end in fantasy. The one drawback to Reed is that next year he will be drafted too high.
Round 14. Michael Crabtree (Oak - WR19, 127.9).
I hate to continue tooting my own horn (no, not really), but I called the Crabtree Comeback, and there is nothing else in round fourteen.
Round 15. David Johnson (Ari - RB7, 132.4).
We drafted him in our FNH-KTLT 98.1 The Ticket league, and we dropped him mid-season out of necessity to our own detriment. Johnson will be drafted higher than 15th next year. Not round fifteen, No. 15.
Round 16. Blair Walsh (Min - K3, 146.2).
He's a kicker, and despite the season-ending, wide-left this week, he was the No. 3 kicker.
There are a few areas of disagreement, but very few. And despite the results of this "Perfect Draft," don't draft five wide receivers in your first six picks. The running back situation is ugly, so drafting a running back in the top half of the first round is still wise, but it's no longer a necessity. The lingering question is whether this year is an anomaly, or whether "Wide Receiver" is the new "Running Back" long term.
Don't forget to check back often during the offseason because we will keep you updated with all the fantasy football news you'll need to dominate your 2016 draft.
- *The average draft position (ADP) used is ESPN's Live Draft Results ADP.
- **When I say, "I," I am speaking for myself.
- *** "We" and "our" mean we were in agreement.