This is Part One of my mid-season draft review (Part Two should be before sundown tomorrow). Draft results in their entirety can be found here.
For the draft grades and best & worst picks “then,” I mostly entered the selections from the the draft reviews at the times (from Hamlet and Omni – Mundi’s draft reviews were awesome, but he didn’t assign arbitrary grades or best & worst lists). Those reviews start on this page. I’ve included our ranks according to points scored partly as a curiousity, but mostly because I’ve scored the most points and want to make that clear to everybody.
I’m sure to have made plenty of mistakes and omissions, especially regarding injuries, so please point these out as you see them, and I encourage violent disagreements with my opinions, of course. Enjoy.
Fourth and Nineteen: 7-1, 1st Place, 717.51 points (5th)
Then – Tomlinson (1), P. Rivers (16)
Now – Tomlinson and Rivers. This team’s reward for avoiding the Peyton Manning trap is 1st place in the standings. Rivers should get a shot somewhere next year, making him a good 14th Round keeper. Delhomme (8) was also steal – he’s put up more points than Manning, and waiting until the 8th round to grab a QB made this a better team overall.
Then – Lee Suggs (6)
Now – Suggs was bad, but Cedric Benson (3) has been a disaster – 108 total yards, no TDs.
Keeper Potential – Delhomme (8), Stokley (12), and Rivers (16) all look like good values.
Injury problems? – Kyle Boller (15) has missed basically the whole seaosn, but who cares? Otherwise they’ve been clean.
Now: B. This would be higher, but there weren’t any particularly good picks aside from the three I mentioned above.
Also, as the 2nd place team, I wish to note for the record that Fourth and Nineteen has been pretty lucky so far, avoiding injuries and winning some close matchups. They’re 1st in the standings, but 5th in points scored.
Pentium None: 0-8, 14th, 467.65 (14th)
Then – Peyton Manning (he who can single-handedly propel a team to first place) with the 2nd overall pick.
Now – Hmm. Chris Chambers (5) was a pretty good value.
Then – D. Foster (2).
Now – I’m tempted to say Manning (he who can single-handedly kill your fantasy team if you used the 2nd overall pick to take an average fantasy QB), but that wouldn’t be fair to the other nominees. Foster is still the worst pick, but J. Horn (3), M. Faulk (4), E. Johnson (6), and J. Pathon (9) have all been very disappointing or worse.
Keeper Potential – N. Burleson (11) and Roethlisberger (12) will make good keepers for the second straight year. Nothing besides those two, however.
Injury problems? – E. Johnson (6) has missed the whole year, but he was injured at the time of the draft. Burleson has missed a few games.
Now: D-. Sorry, man, this just wasn’t your year.
Cedric Benson Busts: 5-3, 4th, 740.57 (3rd)
Then – S. Alexander (1). The safe pick.
Now – Alexander has paid off nicely, but the best pick was Thomas Jones in the 4th. Let that be a lesson to you kids: just because a starting RB has a highly touted youngser behind him doesn’t mean he’s not the starter.
Then – Carolina’s D (6), a keeper. No need to take a defense this high, especially one that doesn’t end in “altimore.”
Now – J.J. Arrington (3) was a total bust. No longer with the team. Carolina has indeed been a bad value (there are a few teams on the waiver wire that have out-performed them, which should not have been wholly unexpected).
Keeper Potential – Mi. Clayton (11) again, maybe Leftwich (7). D. Rhodes in the 16th was a steal; never know when the backup RB on the league’s best offense might come in handy (especially since Edge probably won’t be back next year).
Injury problems? – Housh (5) missed a few games. Nothing serious.
Baltimore Wierdos: 2-6, 13th, 674.67 (10th)
Then – S. Davis (9)
Now – Still Davis, of course. The 11th-best fantasy RB so far was picked up with the 116th overall pick . . . which wouldn’t be such an indictment of the rest of us if he hadn’t been pencilled in as the starter on a run-heavy offense from Day 1. Nice job.
Plaxico Burress (6) was also a steal, which he turned into LaMont Jordan via a trade with the Fanboys.
Then – T. Bell. This would have turned into a decent pick by now if the Wierdos hadn’t dropped him a month into the season – why draft a backup RB on the spec in the 2nd Round if you’re going to give up on him so quickly?
Now – Culpepper (1). No one could have forseen such a disastrous all-around season fro Pep, but still. This was even a questionable pick at the time, as you had to expect Culpepper to drop off somewhat from a career year after losing the best WR in the league. Culpepper '04 would be worthy of the #4 overall pick, but Culpepper '05 was very unlikely to have such a good year
I was going to say that R. Droughns was a reach in the 4th, but I see now that he’s got 641 yards from scrimmage, making him the 25th best fantasy back in the league. Not too shabby.
Keeper Potential – S. Davis (9) could be a good keeper if he can hold it together for one more year (doubtful). A. Gates (10, keeper), the best TE in football, will be kept with the 8th pick.
Injury problems? – Culpepper is done for the year, forcing the team to get rid of L. Jordan in a trade for K. Collins. Stephen Davis should spontaneously combust within the next week or two.
Now: B-/C+. This mark gets a big boost from the Burress and Davis picks, and Bell’s being better than expected also gets factored in.
Varlos’ Zzzzzzz: 6-2, 2nd, 774.85 (1st)
Then – J. Witten (6). I had plenty of solid picks, but this was the only out-and-out steal at the time.
Now – Edge (1). There were a lot of very similar backs I could have gotten with the 5th overall pick (Holmes, McAllister, Dillon, Barber, J. Lewis), but I picked the right one. James, the 3rd RB drafted, is currently 3rd in fantasy points (behind the 1st and 2nd RBs drafted). Way to go me.
Then – Keyshaun (8). He’s worked out; currently 17th among WRs.
Now – Lee Evans (7). Seemed like such a steal (and possible keeper fodder) at the time, but he’s been awful. Partly his fault, partly the fault of the Losman/Holcombe tragedy behind center.
Keeper Potential – McGahee (5) will be kept again, but won’t be such a steal next time around. A few other maybes – Bryant Johnson (16), B. Jacobs (13), etc. – but probably just McGahee.
Injury problems? – A lot, actually, especially at WR. My 3rd Round pick, Javon Walker, was lost for the year in Week 1. Fortunately, I also drafted R. Ferguson in the 12th; unfortunately, he’s also gone now. Torry Holt (2) has missed a couple of games. Bobby Engram (10) will have missed about a month before he finally gets back. Brian Griese (11) is gone for the year. Derrick Blaylock (9) is also done.
Now: A. Top scoring team in the league even with all those injuries and a starting QB – Hasselbeck (4) – who’s just doing ok. Normally I wouldn’t toot my own horn, but this was the best fantasy draft I’ve ever had.
BoomGoesTheDynamite: 6-2, 3rd, 764.37 (2nd)
Then – P. Holmes (1).
Now – B. Westbrook (2). He’s neck and neck with Holmes so far, giving Boom a great RB combo.
Then – K. Collins (4). Didn’t have to get a backup QB this early with Palmer (10) as a keeper, but he did manage to turn Collins+Larry Johnson into LaMont Jordan just couple of days ago, via a trade with the Culpepperless Wierdos.
Now – A. Johnson (3). The complete implosion of the whole Houston offense means that Johnson – who has, what, 80 receiving yards this year? – isn’t even with the team anymore.
Keeper Potential – Johnson (9) and Palmer (10) will make great keepers again next year. D. Bennett (6) might also be kept again. L.J. Smith (8) is a possibility. Probably the best keeper crop in the league.
Injury problems? – Bennett has missed a lot of time, but not too much otherwise.
Now: B+. Would be an A if we were factoring in keeper picks. As it is, there weren’t any exceptional steals, just a lot of solid picks.
**Crabby Hermits: 4-4, 8th, 639.03 (12th) **
Then – W. Parker (11).
Now – Parker, easily. The starting rusher on the rushingest team in the league. It’s our own fault for assuming he’d be sent to the bench once the other guys got healthy.
Then – C. Brown (2). A decent but injury-prone back on a bad offense with a RB of roughly equal quality (Henry) likely to steal a lot of carries. This should have been Westbrook.
Now – D. Clark (7). I thought he’d be pretty good, too, but Manning just doesn’t throw to him (183 yards, 1 TD). Brown has worked out about as well as we could’ve expected, but that’s still not saying much.
Keeper Potential – A. Lelie (6) again, but only if he has a big second half. Randle El (10) shoul be a good value in the 8th next year. Willie Parker (11) has a good chance to be the starter in Pittsburg again next year, and should be kept regardless. Alex Smith (16)? Only if the commish can’t find three other keepers.
Injury problems? – Lots. Dillon (1) has been banged up recently. Bulger (3) has missed a few games. D. Jackson (4) is still recovering from knee surgery. I. Bruce (5) has missed been out for several games. Alex Smith is injured, but that doesn’t really matter since he’s put up negative-6.33 points this year.
Now: B+/B. This would be a much better team if not for injuries. In the meantime, they’ve done a good job of getting by.