32 Teams: A Fantasy Empire, Part 3
My 28-round, 32-team league has finally finished the first nine rounds. Round 10 is when teams start thinking about their depth and figuring out which positions they want to specialize in. At this point, I had 5 IDP players and 4 offensive players. I was very pleased to see the balance I was able to achieve in a league this big.
Finally, after nine rounds, that 10th round pick I acquired with Travis Kelce, TE KC, would come in clutch. It happened to be the 10.01, giving me first choice on any player still available. With David Johnson, RB HOU, off the board, and coming off an injury-riddled season, I smashed the draft button on Duke Johnson, RB HOU. Duke is the backup running back and a PPR machine. At this point, he was my first running back on my team and was someone I was comfortable starting each week. In a league this big, any running back who has the potential to get numerous weekly targets would be good enough for me.
My next pick, 11.22, I took Clelin Ferrell, DL LV. The #4 overall pick just a year ago had a very average fantasy rookie season. In a dynasty league, it is not a good idea to give up on a player that quickly, especially if he was #4 in the real NFL draft. I believe Ferrell will make an impact for a long time and with a deep bench, I will be able to stash him. He may be able to get me future draft picks or just dominate for my team In the middle of the 11th round, I was happy to take a young asset with great potential.
After trading back a couple more times, I acquired 3 13th round and 3 14th round picks. These are the rounds where finding IDP depth is much easier than offensive. The key players I acquired here were Marshon Lattimore, DB NO, and Darius Slay, CB, PHI. Both excellent players at their respective positions. I knew I had the starting team and depth to make a serious run in this league. Although, they didn’t have lots of big fantasy games last year, never discount name value. Both Lattimore and Slay are big names in the NFL and considered some of the best on defense. One or two good games this season may be enough to warrant a first-round rookie pick in 2021 or a great player in return. Someone in this league is bound to be ruined by injury. A big-name player may be an asset worth acquiring.
I was able to fill in the rest of my starting offense in rounds 13 and 14. I picked Allen Lazard, WR GB, at 13.22 and Chris Conley, WR JAX, at 14.5. This draft took place well before the real NFL draft and I had no idea what the Packers were planning at WR. Lazard showed promise but I still felt iffy taking Lazard. Today, I am so glad I picked him. The Packers didn’t address WR at all in the draft and I can feel confident with Lazard being my WR2.
I am very comfortable with how my team has shaped up. My 15th and 16th round picks were Jakobi Meyers, WR NE, and Adrian Peterson, RB WAS. Meyers being young on a Bill Belichick team was a gamble I was willing to take with the 470th overall pick. Peterson, coming off a 1,000-yard season didn’t scare me away with his age. These were my last picks until the 20th round.
With twelve rounds left I feel like I have the weapons and depth to make a run in 2020. The draft, however, was far from over. The latest rounds may actually be the most critical rounds in the entire draft. A strong bench is so important, especially when bye weeks and injuries start occurring. In the finale of this four-part series, I review the rest of my bench and the importance of depth.