It's already August 15? And I haven't even prepared my annual 'draft map' yet??
My thoughts reverberating through my head last week as I realize that football season really snuck up on me this year.
You see, every year as I prep for my League Of Champions' fantasy football draft, I create what I call a 'draft map.' Essentially, it's probably what all the other hardcore fantasy players do. You write down your exact pick in each round, and then write down all your favorite players who should be available that round. After writing down those names you target which player would be your #1 selection for that round, followed by your back-up selections in case your first target gets taken.
After conjugating my final draft map, below is the way my perfect fantasy draft would play out in a 12-team league with the 7th overall pick — snake draft style.
Round 1 – Tom Brady, QB (Patriots)
Don't forget he broke Dan Marino's passing record last season too. Now the future hall-of-famer has a deep threat in Brandon Lloyd matched with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. I wouldn't be shocked to not only see Tom Brady as the #1 ranked QB come season's end, but also to see him with another MVP trophy and Super Bowl ring.
Round 2 – Matt Forte, RB (Bears)
The dude was off to a career year before getting hurt last season, averaging more than 14 points per game. He's also a reliable pass catcher and he played in 62 games in a row before his injury in 2011.
Round 3 – Jimmy Graham, TE (Saints)
Is he ranked too high this year? Currently being taken in the 2nd round, Graham has the potential to carry a team to fantasy glory once again. The only big question is whether or not Drew Brees can put up the same kind of numbers in a post bounty-gate offense. He fell to me in the 4th round somehow in my L.O.C. draft.
Round 4 – Jamaal Charles, RB (Chiefs)
Running back is shallow this year folks. Jump on another for-sure starter early. He had surgery on his knee last year, but all signs are pointing to a healthy Charles in 2012, with an even healthier work load. He's going around round 3 in drafts this year, but has fallen to round 4 in my league.
Round 5 – Brandon Lloyd, WR (Patriots)
The dude put up monster numbers the last time he had McDaniels as his offensive coordinator along with a quarterback that could throw it down the field. Now he has Brady? Pa-leese. He's going to be a top 3 receiver this year. Getting him this late is a steal.
Round 6 – BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB (Bengals)
Not a sexy pick, but the guy they now call 'lawfirm' will get a lot of touches in Cincinnati. He also rarely fumbles. At this point I now have two solid RBs for my starters, and a third for my flex spot.
Round 7 – DeSean Jackson, WR (Eagles)
He should be going in the 4th or 5th round, but in my draft he fell clear down to the 7th. Not sure why. It could be because he wasn't going 100% last season and had a very sub-par year. Well, Jackson now stated that after getting a new contract he'll be giving it his all in 2012. Considering he could easily put up a 1,000/10 season, Jackson would be a bargain this late.
Round 8 – Robert Meachem, WR (Chargers)
Philip Rivers has to have a go-to wide receiver, and considering Meachem is a better deep threat than Malcolm Floyd, expect this kid to finally become the star the Saints saw him as when they drafted him a few years ago.
Round 9 – Reggie Wayne, WR (Colts)
The dude isn't retired yet. And last I heard, Andrew Luck was no push-over. Wayne will easily out-produce his draft status this season.
Round 10 – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (Raiders)
Another guy that's going to blow up this year. Carson Palmer was solid down the stretch last season and Heyward-Bey was one of his favorite targets. If you can't hop on Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore is also a good pick here if he falls to such a low round.
Round 11 – Donald Brown, RB (Colts)
Another guy that is tremendously under-valued. You mean I can get a starting RB this late in the draft? The answer is yes, you probably can. He will be the starter, and Chuck Pagano will probably want to run the ball more with Luck's inexperience at quarterback at the NFL level.
Round 12 – Nate Washington, WR (Titans)
He had over 1,000 yards receiving last year and Kenny Britt will likely be suspended, hurt, in jail, or all of the above. At this point, you can't find a better back-up.
Round 13 – Coby Fleener, TE (Colts)
Man, I must love the Colts this year! What can I say? They are under-rated. Fleener had a great connection with Luck in college. Expect the teammates to continue to connect in the NFL. Great back-up TE option.
Always take a defense and kicker dead last. If you don't, then you deserve to lose your fantasy league. OK, maybe take a defense a couple rounds earlier, but only if you love to pass up 1,000 yard receivers. In short, make sure the juice is worth the squeeze. But no matter what, take your kicker in the last round!