Monday night I had the privilege of participating in the largest existing expert draft for fantasy college football. The league is packed with the industry’s top minds and I was eager to make up for a disappointing showing last year. I had the ironic luck of drawing the 1st pick overall this season after having the last pick in the 2010 draft. First pick overall, Case Keenum no brainer right? Not so fast! As many readers know, my general draft strategy is to bypass drafting quarterbacks early so picking 1st with someone like Keenum out there proved to be quite the dilemma.
My overall strategy going into this draft was to draft a solid foundation early and then go after pure upside in the late rounds. If choosing between a WR who I feel strongly will get 50 catches, 800 yards and 7 TDs with little chance of doing better and a WR who I might waive Week 2 but has the chance to be a Top 20 player…I planned on taking the pure upside guy. Because I had the first pick, I am going to group my back-to-back picks together because technically I picked them together, not in different rounds.
1.1) LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
I might have been the first person in draft history to use their full 2-minutes on the draft clock to make the first pick in the draft but it was an internal struggle between the consensus #1 pick and my fundamental drafting beliefs. In the end, despite the potential backlash, I had to be true to who I am and that meant passing on Keenum.
2.36) Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
3.37) Royce Pollard, WR, Hawaii
I was shocked that Jeffery was still on the board and happy that Pollard was there. These two picks were not tough for me at all as these guys were my #3 and #4 ranked WRs. James White was the best RB on the board but I felt there was still plenty of backs I liked left in the field.
4.72) Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State
5.73) Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Time to shift to upside mode and no two backs have more upside than these two. I would not be shocked if one of these end up as a Top 15 fantasy back this year. Brown’s stock has been dropping of late as the Kansas State coaching staff appears to be trying to control the size of Brown’s head by making him earn the job. Assuming he does, we are looking at a fantasy stud. Miller is more of a speculation on the type of offense the Hurricanes will run which I expect to be heavy on the run as we saw Al Golden do at Temple. With Miller’s talent and what should be a solid offensive line, all he needs is 200 touches to be a Top 15 back.
6.108) Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
7.109) Casey Pachall, QB, TCU
Wow, was I sweating the 10 picks before me as I had Tannehill as my 12th ranked QB and the thought that I might actually get him with the 108th pick made me quite giddy. I came very close to having Taylor Martinez fall to me which would have been huge but in the end I might have reached in taking Pachall. The other QB I really wanted was Tino Senseri but had to assume I might only get one of the two…so I went with the running QB in Pachall.
8.144) Keola Antolin, RB, Arizona
9.145) Tino Senseri, QB, Pitt
Antolin is a talented back who will not have to share the carries too much but plays in an extremely pass happy offense. Looking at last years major RB surprises, this was a common theme for surprise backs from Doug Martin, Alex Green, Zach Line, Ronnie Hillman, Kniles Davis, Stepfan Taylor. I could easily see Antolin having that kind of upside and have him ranked higher than most. Senseri has Todd Graham as his coach coming over from Tulsa and I expect that offense to be much more exciting. Getting Senseri here makes reaching for Pachall not a problem.
10.180) Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee
11.181) Ansel Ponder, WR, Western Michigan
Rogers is a big-time talent in an improving offense who should also see a few carries each game. Will the Tennessee passing game be good enough to take advantage of Rogers’ talent remains to be seen, but remember I want upside and Rogers could be this year’s Ashlon Jeffery. I expect the WMU offense to be much improved this year and with Jordan White getting all the defenses attention, Ponder should have plenty of open space to take advantage. The Broncos passing game might need to get closer to 4000 yards this year to make this pick work…or of course an unfortunate injury to White.
12.216) Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona
13.217) Lucas Reed, TE, New Mexico
Buckner has to be one of my favorite sleepers this year as I have a border-line man crush on the dude. The Wildcats offense is going to light up the scoreboard and while Juron Criner is a great receiver, I think Buckner has more talent. The question is how quickly can Buckner gain the trust of Nick Foles. I had David Paulson ranked higher but in this case wanted a TE I know what I am getting before I speculated on upside in case I whiff with someone like Paulson.
14.252) Charlie Sims, RB, Houston
15.253) David Paulson, TE, Oregon
How quickly people forgot about Sims who missed all of last year for academics. Let me refresh your memories folks…Sims pretty much made Bryce Beall an afterthought in 2009 on his way to 698 yards rushing, 9 TDs plus 70 catches for 701 receiving and a TD. This is after Beall had a Top 10 fantasy season in 2008. Will the coaching staff feel the same in 2011 as they did in 2009 when Sims was the main back? Not sure, but if they do, I got myself a fantasy stud with the #252 pick in the draft. Paulson is my #3 ranked TE who I am expecting huge things from this year despite not doing much last year. With me taking Reed in the 13th round, I have little downside with Paulson here.
16.288) Danny O’Brien, QB, Maryland
17.289) Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
O’Brien would have been taken a 100 picks earlier if it wasn’t for Randy Edsall being named the new head coach at Maryland. I also have my concerns with the offense he will run but O’Brien is a heck of a talent and if Edsall opens up the offense some then he should surprise. If not, then I will waive him for a kicker in Week 3. Eddie Lacy was a back I was targeting at the end of the draft as the Alabama #2 back has had respectable fantasy value the last 4 years and this year shouldn’t be any different. Also Trent Richardson has some durability concerns so Lacy is one injury away from being a Top 15 back.
18.324) Kyle Prater, WR, USC
19.325) Penn State Defense
Prater is an all-world talent playing with a NFL franchise QB in Matt Barkley at USC. Would I bet money that Prater breaks out this year? No, but I doubt it would surprise anyone if he did either. The PSU defense is one of the better defense in the nation with a soft opening schedule beside a visit from Alabama. If O’Brien or Prater don’t show me something early, they might have to get waived for a defense the week PSU plays Bama.
20.357) Ross Evans, K, TCU
Evans is a solid kicker playing for a good defense that might not be as efficient in the red zone with Andy Dalton now in the NFL. Most importantly he doesn’t have a bye week until Week 7 which should give me plenty of time to determine which of my high upside guys turned out to be a bum.
Any questions, feedback, comments and yes even criticism can be directed to drew[at]fantasycollegeblitz[dot]com.
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