Monday, August 29, 2011

What's more savage than a draft?

Each year, drafting seems to get a little bit harder.
There are a variety of possible explanations for this, early onset dementia, my own personal loss of fantasy knowledge, maybe an aggregate boost of all the knowledge of the owners I'm drafting against. Or it might be as simple as the old adage: The more you learn, the less you know.

When I drafted my first team back in the summer of 2000 my fantasy IQ was registering somehwere in the lower ranges of imbecile.
"How hard can this be?" I thought as I imagined how I would spend my winnings? Maybe one of those new Segways, those'll be everywhere in 5 years, I'm sure of it.
What could have been an ugly experience turned into fantasy gold when I lucked into the first overall pick and Marshall Faulk in year when Faulk turned in one of the most dominating fantasy years ever. I ended up finishing in second place that year and was pretty convinced I was a fantasy genius.
Eleven years and countless drafts later, nothing seems as simple as it did on that blistering Florida day. Now I realize that not only do I know very little about how things will shake out, I know even less about how they should shake out. None of us really do. Sure, at the draft I'll call someone an inbred sissy for taking Matt Forte in the first round, but I have no idea how Forte will do. If Forte makes the man happy, who am I to judge?

Having traded away my first round pick to gain keeper rights over Michael Vick in the 15th round I took Anquan Boldin in the 2nd. Then, after a massive run on RBs that removed names like AP, Rice, McCoy, Foster, Jackson, Turner, Blount, Gore, Bradshaw, Best (Deep Breath) Bradshaw, Felix, Gore, CJ, Benson, Moreno and Deangelo (nevermind keepers like Shonn Green, Jamaal Charles, MJD, Mendenhall & McFadden) there was hardly a second string running back to be found. So I went with Mark Ingram. I'm not sold on it, probably my biggest stretch of the draft, but when they all start going you have to rewrite the plan.
And that's the reality of understanding fantasy drafts. Since you can't spend an entire draft picking sleepers, and you can't rely on other people to only pick guys you hate, you have to be able to react and roll with the punches (sometimes literally).

My other league is an online draft and due to a fairly large percentage of doofuses who can't remember times or dates or who insist on being in equatorial New Guinea that weekend we get a lot of autodrafts. And of course if you have the computer picking for 3 guys it helps to dampen a run on a commodity, because the computer doesn't care that 23 running backs are off the table before the middle of the 3rd round, autodraft just says: "You need a quarterback in the 3rd round - enjoy Tony Romo" and just like that, it happens.
On the other hand participating in a live draft - where everyone is in attendence - is a bit like going to the zoo 5 minutes after they just unlocked all the cages. Absolute chaos. Drunk people staring at the draft board for 5 full mintues and then accidentally selecting somebody's keeper. The constant din of disapproval alone would be enough to cause an inexperienced hand to head to a corner and weep uncontrollably. And I'm personally responsible for probably less than 60% of that public derision, so yeah, there's a lot to go around.

I think my team is OK. Like anyone else we'll get devoured if we get a bunch of injuries and we might not make the playoffs if at least one of our questionable picks doesn't turn into something decent ahem Ingram . But pretty much everyone is in the same boat -- except the guy who drafted Forte -- he's toast.
And whether I get any smarter, any dumber or any more polite in the years to come it really is irrelevant - I come for the competition but I stay for the theater. If I thought my wife, kids or parents wouldn't watch it I'd sell the rights to our draft to a reality producer and make a killing. I swear a good draft will make the Housewives of New Jersey look like a Junior League bake sale.
And we may not have much - but we have a killer draft.


Anonymous said...

Anquan Boldin in the 2nd round??? You could have gotten him in round 6 or 7. It's going to be a loooong year for you...

Anonymous said...

2nd seems a little early, but I'm not sure in what league he's going in the 6th round.

Anonymous said...

Wooow...yeah...that was super early. Did 3 live drafts this past weekend and I think the earliest I saw him go was in an auction draft where he went for maybe 7 bux

J said...

Bolden went in round 6 in my draft. I feel good that I got Matt Schaub and Roddy White in rounds 1-2, but I am very weak at RB - I have MJD and a bunch of part-timers, of which Ryan Matthews has the most potential. I'm loaded at WR - White, Dwayne Bowe and Dez Bryant - and I got Kevin Kolb as a backup. And now I read that John Kasay is going to sign with New Orleans, after I drafted Garrett Hartley to be my kicker. This is why I hate to have our draft in preseason week 3.

Our draft would also make for a good show. Not necessarily a reality show, but a great 2-hour special on Comedy Central. One of our owners, who is a preacher at my church, was called "untrustwothy" and "a liar" by one of the other owners, who also attends the same church. The preacher just laughed at him, knowing the insults were lobbed only because preacher man took guys the other guy wanted to draft. I'm sure every league has great banter like this. Great theater.

Anonymous said...

I was at this draft, and in his defense, Anquan Boldin wouldn't have been there in the third round, much less the sixth or seventh. This is a keeper League, and 24 players were off the board before the draft even began. Keepers affect the way everyone else drafts their own team, which makes every mock draft out there mostly useless. It also makes you reach for players you ordinarily would wait on.

Looking at his team, he did OK, I just hope all of his starters get injured before he plays me! Especially Michael Vick!