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Friends and Family Follow-Up

In mid-August, I gathered together our Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football cohorts for the fourth annual Y! Friends and Family League draft. The mix included fantasy pundits from Yahoo! Sports, KFFL, FantasyGuru.com, RotoWire.com, FantasyAuctioneer.com, and PROTRADE.

In typical experts league fashion, RBs were in vogue early on – the first 19 picks hailed from the backfield. Because of the size of the league (14 teams), the RB-early phenomenon was even more intensified as teams clamored for running back depth before it ran dry – to that point, Peyton Manning lasted until pick No. 26. Despite this backfield emphasis, many experts expressed surprise, as you'll see below, that Clinton Portis managed to fall to pick No. 33, the 24th running back off the board.

• Here is a complete list of the Y! Friends and Family League draft results.

After the draft, I asked each participant two specific questions about the draft and also to give their choice for SOD (steal of the draft) and ROD (reach of the draft) – all but one participant responded. And, not to be left out, I had colleague Andy Behrens fire a couple questions my way. Here's a look at what each league member had to say:

Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Brandon Funston
Q: I'm fairly sure you drafted Jacobs at No. 15 overall because you know that Brad Evans sleeps underneath a Brandon Jacobs Fathead. (Or with one). True? What's your projection for Jacobs? Was he the right pick at 15, without regard to trade value?

A: Oh, I absolutely had expectations of dealing the Jacobs pick to Evans. In fact, we had talked about how the first round would play out shortly before the draft. We had a soft verbal agreement that if he landed Addai at No. 6, I was going to go with Jacobs with expectations of a post-draft deal. If I was acting completely on my own, I still would have taken Jacobs. I fail to see how he doesn't score 12 TDs. And if he can stay healthy enough to handle 250 carries, he's a 1,000-yard shoe-in. I was actually surer of that pick than my Ronnie Brown pick (No. 14). But the No. 14 and No. 15 pick is just a terrible place to be in a 14-team league like this one, where much sexier backs like Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush, Laurence Maroney and Travis Henry failed to make it to the turn.

Q: Jerricho Cotchery went ahead of Darrell Jackson, D.J. Hackett, Chris Chambers, Santonio Holmes, and Bernard Berrian. You stayed true to the Big(ger) Board. That's not consistent with Yahoo! ADP, though. Please analyze.

A: This was, in fact, my most agonizing pick. I pulled the trigger on Cotchery under duress as the pick clock was winding down. With Randy Moss already in the fold, I was looking for a little less of a gamble with my No. 2 pick at the WR position. In the end, Cotchery represented the best blend of what I was looking for at the time: tools, experience, consistency, health, etc.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: SOD: I'm very pessimistic about Clinton Portis' health, which is why I didn't touch him at pick No. 14 or 15. But I figured he'd find a home at some point during Round 2. The fact that he fell to the mid-third round is pretty amazing. I have my doubts about Portis, but not to the point that I would have drafted perennial question marks Carnell Williams or Jamal Lewis ahead of him.

ROD: I love Jerious Norwood more than most, but I don't know anyone who loves him as much as Chris Liss. Taking a potential breakout player as high as No. 32 kind of takes the fun out of landing a buzz-cat like that.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Andy Behrens
Q: Carson Palmer at the top of Round 3 – defend your pick? (See Jeff Ma, PROTRADE, below)

A: First of all, you're all a bunch of RB fetishists. Manning nearly fell to me with the 28th overall pick. I already had LaDainian. We would've needed to declare a do-over. It's fine to say that you're supposed to take a RB in Round 2 or Round 3, but who was left? Jones-Drew was gone. Brown was gone. Jacobs was gone. Bush, Henry, McGahee, James, Benson? All gone. After I drafted Palmer, the next pick was Jamal Lewis. Should I have taken him? How 'bout the pick after Lewis, Carnell Williams?

No thanks. Basically, there was a large tier of similar RB2 options, and I felt like one of them would reach me in Round 4. DeAngelo Williams did. I didn't think any of the elite quarterbacks would still be around. I've won leagues with sketchy platoons at QB; it's not like I had to have Palmer specifically. But it was fairly clear that no similar QB would be available 26 picks later. And sure enough, Brees, Bulger, Brady and McNabb were all taken.

Bottom line: in the first three rounds, I'm drafting elite fantasy talent. Not every starting NFL running back is an elite player.

Q: Your No. 2 RB is DeAngelo Williams or DeShaun Foster. How do you expect the Carolina backfield to play out this year, and who are you starting Week 1? And how about Week 7, when LT, DeAngelo and DeShaun all sit?

A: The most likely scenario in Carolina is that one of those guys will be injured, and the other will be a terrific RB2. Does anyone really think both Williams and Foster will be healthy and equally productive all season? That's sort of a failure of imagination. You should get a cabinet post.

Week 1 is a game-time decision. (Try to imagine I said that in Mike Shanahan's voice).

As for the bye weeks, here's my philosophy: draft talent. If you like a player, get him. You should never pass on talent because the bye week doesn't quite fit. I considered Williams the best RB on the board, and by a decent margin. That wasn't really a tough pick. Injuries and transactions will have my roster looking different by Week 7. Or I might lose that week. But ultimately, you're building a team that can be great in Weeks 14-16.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: One of these guys from the final two rounds could end up as the absolute steal of the draft: Greg Olsen, Cecil Sapp, Garrett Wolfe, or Michael Robinson. Peyton Manning late in the second round of a 14-team draft was great. Obviously. That would never happen in a league full of real humans. The lesser Manning went late in Round 9. He could be a steal. Adrian Peterson in Round 3 was terrific. Brian Leonard in Round 9 was nice, too.

Deuce McAllister went in basically the right spot (38 overall), but the team drafting him already had two running backs. In the F&F league we can only start two. There's no flex position. It was a bit of a reach for depth. I don't like drafting depth in Round 3. That team passed on Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin, Javon Walker, Lee Evans, Donald Driver … a bunch of WR1 options. They'll start Galloway, Glenn and Mason. That could be fine, but there's almost no chance it will be great.

>I reached with Patrick Crayton as the last pick in Round 8, (112 overall). But the rest of the WR3 options were fairly ordinary. I eventually picked up one of them, Marty Booker. And I have Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson at the other WR spots.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Brad Evans
Q: You were willing to give up the No. 4 pick (Joseph Addai) and Ladell Betts for Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber III in a post-draft trade (editor's note: Thank you, very much). Are you worried that this Jacobs man-crush is borderline out of control? Explain what you like about this deal.

A: Sure, my irrational feelings for Jacobs will probably lead to a restraining order, but if he matches my auspicious 1,300 total yard, 11-13 touchdown prediction, his total combined with Barber's numerous one-yard plunges will offset Addai's push for 2,000 yards by a wide margin. The X-factor in this deal is Betts. If Portis' knee doesn't shape up soon and the burly Skins backup nets five or more starts, the deal will wind up very lopsided in Funston's favor.

Because I didn't have a reputable second back and with the starting status of Kevin Jones tenuous, it made sense to listen to my libido and pull the trigger on the lusty Jacobs. In statistical terms, the Football Frankenstein is Giselle Bundchen hot. Let's just hope he never receives a handoff from Eli Manning wearing a pink negligé.

Q: OK, you and Chris Liss have started a tradition of wagering a meal at Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas on how you place in the Friends and Family league. Why will he be paying for the Kobe Burger this time around?

A: Liss' cardiologist informed him this week that the overindulgence of Ogden's burgers, supplied by yours truly, has spiked his cholesterol to dangerous levels. Because Chris wants to outlive Brett Favre, he plans to lay down this season and finally let me win a burger bet. In order to prevent Chris from future gastric bypass surgery, I must have a healthy and productive Kevin Jones at some point this season. Otherwise his core of Gore, Norwood, Brandon Jackson, Holt, Reggie Brown and Santonio Holmes will steal Kobe beef from my kid's mouth. Man, I hope the ancient Chinese remedies Jones has employed during his recuperation works a Beijing miracle.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: SOD: Without question it has to be Pianowski's heist of Clinton Portis with the fifth pick in Round 3. Even if he starts ten games, he will likely average close to 100 total yards per game along with 5-8 touchdowns. Sick value.

ROD: Behrens lost a small piece of his manhood when he went Stretch Armstrong for Patrick Crayton with the last pick in Round 8. Crayton has legitimate upside as a potential No. 3, but Terry Glenn has recovered nicely from arthroscopic knee and should be lined up opposite Terrell Owens Week 1. Crayton has been drafted near pick 200 according to ADP values and with more attractive choices Drew Bennett, Mike Furrey and Brandon Marshall still on the board, "Grizzly" Behrens fished for Patrick salmon a couple of rounds too early.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Matt Buser
Q: You opted for a WR, TE and WR in Rounds 3-5. That left you with Julius Jones as your 2nd back, with only Ron Dayne, Marcel Shipp and Kenny Watson in reserve. How concerned are you about your thin backfield?

A: I'm certainly not overly impressed with it. RBs, regardless of tier, went off the board even faster than I anticipated in this draft, and that's despite my anticipation that they would come off the board quickly. That said, my mindset is that having the No. 1 TE and arguably the No. 1 WR will help make up the difference a bit.

Q: Some have soured on Chris Chambers after a lackluster '06. As the resident Looks/Touches guy, you understand his ineffectiveness as much as anyone. Having taken him at No. 78, you're showing him some confidence. Why do you think he'll bounce back?

A: I'm sure Chambers' biggest detractors drafted him as a WR1 last season, anticipating something similar to the 82 catches, 1,118 yards, and 11 TD he logged in 2005. He certainly was a colossal disappointment from any perspective last season, though, converting just 38 percent of 154 looks into 59 catches for 677 yards and 4 TD – I was fortunate enough to not have him on a roster. I drafted him as a WR3 and am not counting on those 2005 numbers – if he can rebound even slightly, coming in at around 800 yards and 6 TD, he's worthy of the pick at 78 overall.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: SOD: Industry drafts such as this make it difficult to nail something like this down. I'll just say this – had I known that I could have drafted Chris Cooley with pick 91 (he went 93 overall, current ADP is 67.0), then I would have passed on Gates in the 3rd.

ROD: Adam Vinatieri in the 10th was the biggest reach. I'm not an advocate of drafting kickers at all, let alone before you take your WR3. When you pull the trigger early because of the assumption that you are getting the "No. 1 kicker", you are either setting yourself up for disappointment or overrating how having the "No. 1 kicker" generally impacts a fantasy team.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy's "Average Joe" – Michael Gehlken
Q: Michael, you are the "Average Joe" representative for the Friends and Family football league. Why don't you let the readers, and fellow league members, know a little about yourself and what you plan to bring to the table.

A: Sure. Originally from San Diego, I'm a third-year Communication major at UC Davis. I'm going to be buried in student loans once I leave this place, so I play fantasy sports to take my mind off. When people ask me what I'm doing for Yahoo!, I tell them I'm working in the "statistical online sporting department," because doing "fantasy sports" sounds pretty geeky.

Since I am in the Yahoo! division of the Friends and Family league, I'm technically "family." But in this family, I'm the new step-mom who nobody is quite sure about yet. I'm looking to turn some heads, prove that I belong here and not be at all intimidated by the fact that, like a young Tiger Woods, I'm competing against men twice my age.

And yes, I did just compare myself to Tiger Woods.

Q: You took rookie WR Dwayne Bowe in Round 9. Given that it often takes rookies time to develop and the fact that Damon Huard will be throwing him the ball, what makes you think Bowe will warrant a top 125 pick?

A: I really like Bowe's upside at No. 123. He comes into a great situation in Kansas City, where he'll have the chance to perform right away – especially in the red zone. The first few wide receivers who come to mind as recently excelling in their rookie year (Marques Colston, Michael Clayton and Anquan Boldin) were all possession receivers. Bowe has the physicality and – most importantly – the opportunity to follow in line.

Try saying that many positive things about the ancient Isaac Bruce, who went two picks earlier than Bowe at No. 121. With that in mind, I actually think I got myself a nice little steal here.

As for the quarterback situation, I don't anticipate it having much of an impact on Bowe's fantasy stock, as he'll be a top target in the passing game either way.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: Talking steals, Scott Pianowski landing Clinton Portis at No. 33 was absurd. Sure, health is always a concern with Portis. But if he avoids the injury bug, Pianowski is looking at first-round quality from his No. 3 running back.

Also in the third round, I love Scott Erickson's selection of Adrian Peterson. By midseason, it will be laughable that Carnell Williams and Jamal Lewis were both drafted before him.

Whoever stays healthy between Peterson and Portis will be the SOD.

On paper, the obvious ROD was when team KFFL drafted Adam Vinatieri in the 10th round. That has auto-pick written all over it, though, so I'm going to pretend that never happened (editor's note: It wasn't an auto-pick).

Instead, I'll say that the draft's biggest reach was when John Hansen used his fifth round pick (No. 64 overall) to select Jon Kitna as his No. 1 quarterback.

There are a lot of reasons to not like Kitna, who will be 35 years old by Week 3, as a fantasy starter. For one, he's got fumbilitis. He fumbled 11 times in 2006, losing nine of them. Under the new Yahoo! scoring settings, fumbles lost (-2) hurt owners twice as much as interceptions (-1).

And if those turnovers ever force him to the bench, I'm sold that there's a quarterback behind him who can step in for good. That quarterback is J.T. O'Sullivan, the NFL Europe's 2007 Co-Offensive Player of the Year who the Lions quietly added to their roster this past offseason. Mike Martz loves this guy, and he should be flagged in all leagues. And just so I'm officially representin', O'Sullivan is a UC Davis graduate.


Yahoo! Sports – Joe Lago
Q: Based on Yahoo! Average Draft Pick data, you selected Jamal Lewis ahead of more sought-after backs like Clinton Portis, Marion Barber III, Deuce McAllister, Carnell Williams and Adrian Peterson. What is it that you like about Lewis this year

A: I started to regret taking Jamal Lewis about two seconds after I hit the "draft" button. It was the "safe" pick because Lewis 1) isn't in a platoon situation 2) has been looking great in camp according to most accounts and 3) has an improved O-line to pave the way. (I know, I know – the QB situation isn't the best even with Brady Quinn.) I should've been thinking upside. I should've taken Peterson or Portis. Or even Barber. Cadillac? No thanks.

Q: Two kickers! Two kickers? What's up with that?

A: Man, I couldn't resist taking Olindo Mare, who should excel in the Superdome with the Saints' offense. But c'mon dude, it was the 14th round. So I missed out on Greg Olsen, Bryant Johnson, Kenny Watson, Garrett Wolfe, Malcom Floyd, Najeh Davenport and Michael Robinson. I can live with that. I think my 15th round pick of Broncos running back Cecil Sapp more than made up for it.

Q: Which player was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: Steal of the Draft: It might be Daunte Culpepper in Round 13. If the Raiders knew he was going to be available, they would've drafted Calvin Johnson instead of JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick because Al Davis wants to win now. Culpepper – not Josh McCown – gives Big Al the best chance at getting W's, and Daunte could put up serious fantasy numbers if Lane Kiffin gets the O-line straightened out. There is veteran talent at the skill positions, you know.

Reach of the Draft: Behrens taking Chicago's defense in the sixth round. The Bears' D is good, but it's not that good.


FantasyGuru.com – John Hansen
Q: You're obviously bullish on the Detroit passing game – Roy Williams (No. 36) and Jon Kitna (No. 64). Was it a conscious decision to snag the QB/WR combo, and what kind of production are you banking on from these guys?

It wasn't my plan to snag the combo. I took Roy Williams as the BPA (Best Player Available), and then I felt it was important to get a QB I could count on. I am a little concerned with -2 for Fumbles Lost in the Yahoo Sports! system, but Kitna should be extremely productive still.

Q: You snagged Rex Grossman as your second QB in the 10th round, and I heard you say that you think he'll be borderline top 10. What has you convinced that Grossman will put it all together in '07?

Some fans and some media may focus on his three fumbles on Monday night, 8/20, but I thought his mechanics looked improved, and they have looked improved all summer. Grossman led his team to the Super Bowl in just his first year starting, which is quite a feat. He may still have issues protecting the ball, but so do Brett Favre and Jon Kitna, two players who have put up big fantasy numbers in the past. The bottom line is Grossman looks improved, has the tools to excel in the passing game, is in a good system, and has a supporting cast that has been clearly upgraded compared to last year.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

I'm actually going to go with Bernard Berrian, 3rd pick in the 7th round, as the SOD. Keep in mind this a 14-team league, and Berrian has the upside to produce as a No. 1 fantasy WR.

Jerious Norwood, the 4th pick of the 3rd round, was the reach of the draft. He was taken above Clinton Portis, which is insane.


Fantasy Sports Writer – Scott Pianowski
Q: You drafted 3 RBs with your first 3 picks, but at least two of them come with question marks – Marshawn Lynch and Clinton Portis. With a potential committee situation hanging over him, what makes you so supremely confident in Lynch that you were willing to take him at No. 24? And, clearly, this league feared Portis' knee, as he fell to No. 33. Do you share those concerns, and do you feel a little exposed without a Ladell Betts handcuff?

A: I'm not the biggest Clinton Portis fan in the world (I actually snagged Ladell Betts in an auction the day before we drafted), but the value hound in me couldn't let him slip past No. 33 overall. I love Washington's offensive line, and obviously this is a team committed to the run. You don't win a 14-team league playing it safe, and with that in mind, I was willing to flip the switch to "upside" even at this early juncture. (I was also hoping to get Betts too, of course, but I failed to realize just how early Evans would jump on that one. Okay, Plan B).

On Marshawn Lynch, it comes down to two things – his draft position from April, and his ordinary competition (Anthony Thomas is a plodder at best). Buffalo might start the year with a time-share, but I fully expect Lynch to take over and be the main guy before September is out. Again, I'm not afraid to swing for upside early given how large our league is – in a smaller group, I'd be more focused on making safer picks in the opening rounds.

Q: Bobby Wade, Earnest Wilford and Bryant Johnson? Just making it easier on yourself when early-season cuts have to be made, or are you banking on any of these wideouts?

A: Yeah, I've got a collection of ordinary wideouts, in part because I misread the rules just prior to the draft and thought we were starting four receivers every week, not three (yes, Virginia, being in over a dozen leagues does come with some downside). That said, don't fade Bobby Wade too quickly – someone has to lead the Vikings in receiving, and I'm not going to bat for Troy Williamson (look Ma, no hands) or Robert Ferguson (proven stiff).

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: SOD: If Adrian Peterson stays healthy in Minnesota, Jeff Erickson got a monumental steal at the No. 37 slot. I'm jealous. Other values of note: Chris Brown (118, hey, he starts), Ahman Green (49), Bernard Berrian (87), Chris Cooley (93).

ROD: Brandon Jabobs at 14th overall looks too ambitious for me, given who was left on the board (Willis McGahee, Edgerrin James, and look out for Cedric Benson). Some other reaches: Jerious Norwood (32), Ladell Betts (love the player, but 62 is pricey), Dwayne Bowe (123), Cincinnati's Chris Henry (132, locks up a spot for two months).


RotoWire.com – Chris Liss
Q: You're getting a reputation as a fantasy cradle robber. This draft illustrated some examples of that -- Jerious Norwood (32), Brandon Jackson (54), for instance. Explain your strategy here and what makes you so confident about Norwood and Jackson in particular.

A: Well, my view is that once you get to the middle rounds, it's all about upside. Which player might conceivably win you the league outright. Usually, that's going to be a younger player, because a younger player's ceiling isn't yet known. Veterans like Thomas Jones or Fred Taylor or Jamal Lewis are known quantities – we know their limitations. But Norwood? The sky's the limit until we find out otherwise. If he gets 275 carries, he might have 1,400 yards. Brandon Jackson's upside is probably more limited, but I got him in the fourth round, and he's a starting running back on a team with an improving defense – that's just good value in a 14-team league.

Q: OK, you and Brad Evans have started a tradition of wagering a meal at Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas on how you place in the Friends and Family league. why will he be paying for the Kobe Burger once again?

A: Evans' team is alright - I like his two stud WR (Owens, Houshmandzadeh), and then multiple upside backs late (Kevin Jones, Chris Brown, Tony Hunt). But considering that I've won three straight bets off of him (assuming my baseball squad holds up, and it should), and am already leading in a fourth (Dan Haren, second half ERA), I'll be willing to bet him up three-quarters of my net worth (yes, it's low-stakes) in any league we're in out of principle. He took a quarterback (McNabb, 4th) too early, and the Ravens D (7th) too early as well, but his team should still be good.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: Steals of the draft: Vince Young (Rd. 6 – Pianowski) and Calvin Johnson (Rd. 5 – Behrens) – wanted to take him, but needed to go with Brandon Jackson in Rd. 4 at RB.

Both Young and Johnson have league-winning upside – just the type of guys you should be going after in those rounds. Bottom line, it's okay to swing for the fences in the middle rounds and miss – not all of these guys will pan out. But assuming you didn't botch your first two picks and one or two of your middle-rounders goes out of the park, you've got a great chance to win your league.


RotoWire.com – Jeff Erickson
Q: You avoided a QB in the top 100 picks of the draft. Ben Roethlisberger (Round 8) is your QB1 and Jason Campbell is your backup. Roethlisberger's value is on the rise because of a new spread offense. But are you at all concerned that you are playing with fire at this position?

A: Even though I'm a serial "wait-on-the-quarterbacks" guy, that wasn't necessarily my intention. In fact, I would have taken Carson Palmer if he would have fallen to me in the third round. After Andy took him at 3.1, I went back to my usual waiting mode. I thought I'd be able to sneak Vince Young in the sixth, but in retrospect, I should have gone with him there instead of my third receiver.

So, that's a long-winded way of saying, yes, I am concerned about the position, less so with Roethlisberger (I think I have him higher than most – he was the last second-tier QB available in my mind), but with Campbell as the backup. You and I both got caught waiting one round too long for our second QB.

Q: You drafted 5 rookies – Adrian Peterson, Chris Henry, Michael Bush, Garrett Wolfe and Craig Davis? You and Liss like 'em young, huh? If the over/under on how many are on your final roster is 2.5, which side are you taking?

A: In the later rounds, I'm more likely to gamble on upside and youth than take the "safe" pick. It already looks like Michael Bush will be an early roster casualty, but I'm pretty happy with Peterson (and seeing Andy Behrens' column, I'm thinking that he's not going to go as late as 3.9 in most leagues going forward) and Davis. Incidentally, I've already gotten one trade offer for Peterson. I'll take the over, if only because I'm going to be excruciatingly patient with Henry.

Q: Which of your picks do you feel you will look back upon with the greatest amount of pride when the season is over?

A: SOD: I won't say Peterson, because the third round really is too early to call anyone a steal, so I'll go with Brad Evans taking Chris Brown a mere three picks before I took the Tennessee version of Chris Henry, at 9.6. Honorable mention to Andy Behrens for taking Alex Smith at 11.1.

ROD: I hate slagging other owners (unless it's Liss, which I have to do on general principle), because it usually comes back to bite you. But I have to go with somebody, so I'll say Lago's pick of Deion Branch at 5.2. I think Branch is the second-best fantasy receiver on his team (behind D.J. Hackett), and about the 35th best receiver. He was taken as the No. 21 receiver in this draft. Even that, though, is pretty small beans – overall this was a pretty efficient draft. I didn't see many reaches, and certainly not that many early reaches. So what if you reach in the fifth or the eighth round in a 14-team draft – at that point, that's what these drafts are for.


KFFL.com – Nicholas Minnix
Q: You were the last team to take a WR (Joey Galloway – No. 66). Your starters appear to be Galloway, Terry Glenn (trying to get back from knee surgery) and Derrick Mason. Clearly you had a strategy to dismiss WR early, but are you happy with how things played out? Any concerns that this could be a sore spot throughout the year?

A: Obviously, we're not extremely thrilled with our receivers. There is very little upside with these veterans, perhaps other than Galloway. He's nearly 36, but with a quarterback that can actually get him the ball, his 2005 numbers are a good possibility. KFFL values players at certain other positions more highly, and at wide receiver more so than these other positions, we believe that there will be more viable options on the waiver wire.

Q: Did the fact that it was a 14-team draft influence your decision to pick RBs with the 1st 3 picks? Or is this a strategy you often employ in smaller leagues, as well? Or was it just a case of taking the Best Available Player on your board?

A: Yes, the 14-team format was largely an influence because it means that depth at running back is even scarcer. Although we only start two running backs, if I lose a running back to an injury, it would likely be nearly impossible to replace his production on the waiver wire. KFFL employs similar strategies in smaller leagues as well, although perhaps not to this extreme. We also felt that the New Orleans Saints' Deuce McAllister was great value at No. 38 overall.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: Getting Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor in the sixth round, with the 82nd overall selection, as Yahoo! Sports' Matt Romig did, seems to be the clearest choice for SOD. He tallied nearly 1,400 total yards and six total touchdowns in 15 games last year. Clearly the split backfield favors him because it keeps him fresh. That could allow him to once again put up borderline No. 2 running back numbers. Considering that other questionable running backs went before and after him, that's outstanding value.

The selection of New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs with the 15th overall pick was the ROD, even by the standards already set because of his hype. Jacobs has never been a full-time runner. The Giants allude to the fact that they think he could be, but even they have yet to express their full confidence in him. Running back Reuben Droughns should be more of a factor there than people realize.


FantasyAuctioneer.com – George Del Prado
Q: What happens if Maurice Jones-Drew or Willis McGahee goes down? Can the backup contingent of Adrian Peterson (Chi), Priest Holmes and Michael Robinson really offer the necessary support. Instead of Darrell Jackson, you could have had Fred Taylor, LaMont Jordan, DeShaun Foster or Kevin Jones. Were they a consideration?

A: In retrospect, I probably should have gone with Jordan, but I probably locked in on the WR spot too much after missing a couple of receivers I wanted in the previous round.

Q: With Drew Brees in the fold, why did you feel the need to go with Jake Delhomme in Round 9?

A: I have high hopes for Delhomme bouncing back this year and felt he offered the most value out of everyone still available at the time. He should serve as good trade bait a few weeks into the season.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: I'm not big into drafting a QB early, but Manning as the 26th pick was great value. Norwood as the 32nd pick seemed like a bit of a reach to me.


PROTRADE – Jeff Ma
Q: You scoffed at Andy Behrens' pick of Carson Palmer at No. 29. But sporting Eli Manning and Byron Leftwich at QB, how entitled do you think you are to criticize? Feeling good about your QB situation?

A: Isn't that the point of fantasy sports? Obviously, having Eli Manning and Byron Leftwich as our QBBC is not ideal. That being said, I still think Andy Behrens may have jumped the gun in taking Carson Palmer with the first pick of the 3rd round. In a 14-team league, running backs become even more of a scarce commodity than usual, and foregoing a second back at the turn ensured that he would have weak running back depth. Like most of the experts in our draft (who let Peyton Manning slide until two spots before Andy's back-to-back picks), I believe the running back depth is a key to winning fantasy leagues. Playing the match-ups with Eli and Leftwich probably won't equal the production of Palmer over the course of the season, but it will only amount to a few points difference per week. Compare that to what Andy might lose by starting a part-time player (DeAngelo Williams) each week at the most important position in fantasy football.

Q: The Oakland Raiders are in PROTRADE's backyard. You took Lamont Jordan and Jerry Porter in the top 101 picks. Is this an indication that you think these two, and the Raiders, are going to bounce back strong in '07?

A: That the Raiders are just across the bay didn't have anything to do with it. I think there is only one Raider fan at PROTRADE, and he's from New York. Ultimately, these picks are more about value than any belief in a silver and black resurgence. LaMont, in my opinion, represented the last starting running back with a reasonable hold on his job. DeShaun Foster and Fred Taylor were both in consideration, but they have some pretty exciting youngsters nipping at their heels. Remember that even on a poor team in 2005, Jordan was able to produce very respectable yardage and TD numbers. I think he's been overlooked a little too much this season.

Porter is another guy people are sleeping on after arguments with an incompetent coaching staff kept him on the pine for nearly all of 2006. In his last two full seasons, Porter averaged 970 yards and 7 TDs. All he would need to produce to be a high end WR3 is 850 and five, and I believe the odds of that are pretty solid.

Q: Who was the SOD (Steal of the Draft) and who was the ROD (Reach of the Draft)?

A: In a draft where none of the picks really jump out as being spectacular value (to the credit of the quality of the drafters), the steal of the draft was Peyton Manning sliding to the 26th pick overall. Obviously in a 14-team league, the need to grab running backs early is strong, but I think the security and consistency that Peyton provides is more valuable than a number of the running backs drafted before him in the second round, not to mention a few of the wide receivers. Unproven runners like Brandon Jacobs, Cedric Benson, and Marshawn Lynch (as well as Willis McGahee, who has proven that he is only marginally effective) all went earlier in the second round, and all carry significant risk of becoming busts. Peyton is as safe and high scoring a commodity as there is in fantasy football, with very little chance of a sub-par season.

While it's tempting to highlight one of the three defenses taken in the seventh round as the reach of the draft, I think Jerious Norwood was the reach of the draft. The upside is certainly there, but there is so much uncertainty in the situation that the risk outweighs the reward with the 32nd pick. Between Atlanta's backfield looking like a straight committee, Norwood's unprovenness taking the pounding of a full season's worth of carries, the absence of Michael Vick, and the presence of Bobby Petrino's more pass-oriented offensive schemes, the second-year Falcon should struggle mightily to justify such an early selection.