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Yahoo! Friends and Family League: Post-draft Q&A

Brandon Funston
Yahoo Sports

This marks the seventh year of the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, and last week this formidable fantasy football collective got together in a Yahoo! virtual draft room to select fantasy football pawn pieces for the 2010 campaign.

Attrition was at a minimum in terms of league membership as returning Fantasy Football Live host Rick Schwartz replaced Yahoo! Shutdown Corner blogger Chris Chase – like Warren G, we have to relegate … err … regulate … whatever, Chase had to pay the price for his 1-12 F&F debut in '09. Otherwise, the '09 contingent remains intact heading into 2010. This overall mix includes fantasy pundits from Yahoo! Sports, FantasyGuru.com, RotoWire.com, RotoExperts.com, and ProFootballWeekly.com.

Last season the league adopted a PPR format (0.75 points per reception), a flex position and a slimmed-down bench (just four spots). Former Yahoo! Average Joe Michael Gehlken worked the new system for his first F&F league championship – we can call him "Average" no more.

This time around, we've tweaked QB scoring a bit (4.5 points for a TD pass, -1.5 for an INT) and we've added a second FLEX spot while reducing the WR starting requirements from three to two. This new setup allows an owner to start up to four running backs or receivers, should they see fit, and one owner boldly took four running backs with his first four picks, as you'll read more about below.

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 their draft and also to give their choice for SOD (steal of the draft) and ROD (reach of the draft). And, not to be left out, I had colleague Scott Pianowski fire a couple questions my way.

Alright, with that, I give you the experts, in their own words …

MEET THE FAMILY

Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Brandon Funston (Previous F&F finishes: 10th in '09; 2nd in '08; 2nd in '07; 11th in '06; 2nd in '05; 6th in '04)
Q: You were the last team to dip into the wide receiver market, eschewing the position until you selected Jeremy Maclin(notes) with the 70th pick. Was this something you envisioned entering the draft (being on the end and all), or just the way the pieces fell? Talk about your intriguing but somewhat-unproven group of wideouts, and/or the league-wide depth at receiver this year.

A: I thought I lost my chance at a slam-dunk No. 1 WR when I opted to go with two running backs (DeAngelo Williams(notes) and Rashard Mendenhall(notes)) at the Round 1-2 turn. By the time my next back-to-back picks rolled around, I was going to have to reach in terms of taking any of the remaining receivers in comparison to where I had them on my draft board. So I instead opted for what I thought was a great value on both QB Tony Romo(notes) and TE Antonio Gates(notes), knowing that I'd be double-dipping on WRs the next time around – and also knowing that I would be praying the whole time for a couple of guys I really like to slip through. My heart was broken when Hines Ward(notes) and Wes Welker(notes) went within four picks before I was up in Round 5. That said, I'm a big fan of Jeremy Maclin, and he was one of the guys I hoped would be there. He's probably better suited for Philly's offense than DeSean Jackson(notes) is, and I'd expect Maclin to take another step forward in Year 2 while perhaps D-Jax comes down to earth just a little bit. I hemmed-and-hawed on Malcom Floyd(notes) with the next pick, but ultimately figured that he'll be the clear No. 1 WR in a good offense with a superstar quarterback. Still, he's a roll of the dice, just like the remainder of my receiving corps – Jacoby Jones(notes) and Mohamed Massaquio. But, in the case of Maclin, Floyd and Jones, they live on some nice property, and I'm expecting to hit the jackpot with at least one of them.

Q: You're rock solid with your starting backs (Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams), but there's an odd couple behind them on the depth chart (LaDainian Tomlinson(notes), Dexter McCluster(notes)). Talk about the greybeard and the kid, and why you decided to take a flyer on them.

A: I've been beating down on LT pretty hard, but at pick No. 98, I had to look at the realities of the situation. He's in a tremendous rushing offense, one that ran more than 600 times last season. LT should get a steady handful of carries and targets in addition to some goal-line opportunities. And, man, if Shonn Greene(notes) were to get injured, he could pay a big profit. The McCluster pick is simply about paying a cheap price (pick No. 154) for one of the buzziest players of the preseason. He's a curiosity that will get a couple weeks on my roster to prove his worth.

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

A: SOD: I think Hines Ward, at pick No. 68 and in this format, was a steal of a deal. He caught 90-plus balls last season and the Steelers lost Santonio Holmes(notes) in the offseason. Ben Roethlisberger(notes) is likely to only miss four games. And even without Big Ben, Ward is the kind of tough, sure-handed veteran that Byron Leftwich(notes) or Dennis Dixon(notes) is likely going to lean on.

ROD: Hindsight being 20/20, you can give this one to Behrens for taking Sidney Rice(notes) at pick No. 37 given that we knew he was dealing with a hip injury, even if we didn't know the true extent of that injury. But that's going tough on Andy, as I would have taken the exact same gamble. So, I'll go with Justin Forsett(notes) at pick No. 41 by Rick Schwartz. While I do think Forsett has that kind of upside, it's only if Seattle hands him a featured role, something they've shown no indication of doing, thus far.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Andy Behrens (Previous F&F finishes: 4th in '09; 4th in '08; 4th in '07)
Q: You took LeSean McCoy(notes) at No. 20 overall, ahead of Jamaal Charles(notes), Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells(notes), Cedric Benson(notes) and Jahvid Best(notes). You've really hiked him up your RB rankings of late. Why the sudden extra spoonful of love for McCoy? Have you no fear of Mike Bell(notes) vulturing goal line attempts and salting away leads with fourth quarter carries like in New Orleans?

A: In McCoy's case, my rankings eventually caught up with my affection for the player, that's all. I've always liked him, but my rank was closer to the herd's when we first went through this process. At no point have I rated him behind Wells or Best, however, and Greene is currently the only player from your list who I've ranked above McCoy for standard leagues.

But this is not a standard league. We're getting 0.75 points per reception here, and that changes the fantasy projection for McCoy. He caught 40 passes for 308 yards last year, in a season where he wasn't even the featured back each week. If healthy, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he finished with 60-70 receptions this year for 400-500 yards – just give him Brian Westbrook's(notes) small receiving workload from '09 and he's there. In the F&F setup, goal line vultures are less of a nuisance. It's possible that McCoy will lose a few short-yardage scores to Bell, sure, but I think his workload as a receiver can net me 80-100 fantasy points over the course of the season. That's why he moved past Greene in my league-specific ranks.

As much as I like Shonn – and you'll note that I'm higher on him than anyone when ranking for standard formats – we can't ignore the fact that he didn't have a reception for the Jets in the regular season last year, and he caught only eight passes in his final season at Iowa. I'm not sure he'll ever play on passing downs, not with LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight(notes) around.

Q: I admitted in the draft chat that I had forgotten to hike Legedu Naanee(notes) up my rankings and I thought he was a nice pull for you in Round 12. With Vincent Jackson(notes) out of the picture in San Diego, how good do you think Naanee can be?

A: Naanee is going to be a starting receiver in an excellent offense, so yeah, he's definitely a player who deserves a pre-rank bump. It's going to be a while before we see Vincent Jackson in any NFL uniform again, and he may have already played his last game as a member of the Chargers. Naanee has the full skill set: Terrific hands, great size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), legit speed (4.41), and leaping ability (40-inch vertical). He's entering his fourth year with San Diego, and he's shown flashes in the past. In Round 12 of a 14-team draft, he's a no-risk/high-upside pick.

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

A: SOD: I'm going to Team Gehlken for the steal(s) of the draft. Michael grabbed Donald Brown(notes) and Julian Edelman(notes) in Rounds 7 and 8. Either of those players could be sensational in this format (or any format, really). Assuming the Colts still believe in Brown's talent, they have to get him more involved in the offense. If anything at all happens to Addai – or even if nothing happens, but he continues rushing for less than 4.0 YPC – then Brown will have an opportunity to be a star. Edelman, of course, would be the prime beneficiary in New England if Wes Welker suffers any sort of setback in his return from the torn ACL and MCL. As everyone knows, the comeback Welker is attempting involves an insane (almost reckless) time-line. It's a great story, sure, but it also seems risky and perhaps unnecessary.

ROD: In football leagues, it's almost silly to call any player a "reach." It's not uncommon for un-drafted players to lead teams to fantasy championships, as Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison(notes) did last year. For me, the only appropriate use of the word "reach" is to describe low-upside players who have well-established roles. If you're drafting guys like that, then you're probably reaching unnecessarily. With that in mind …

I'm going back to Gehlken for the biggest reach. He took Marcedes Lewis(notes) in Round 9, and for some reason he hasn't dropped him yet. I can't explain that one. Lewis was selected ahead of Greg Olsen(notes), Dustin Keller(notes), and approximately 80 receivers who offer more fantasy potential. He plays in a low-yield offense, he catches 30-40 balls per year, and he's scored exactly two touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. There's no question that Lewis is a useful player in real-life – great size, excellent blocker – but he doesn't figure to be a fantasy asset. And even if you do intend to draft him – maybe you're involved in a super-hardcore AFC South-only league – then you can wait until the final round.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Brad Evans (Previous F&F finishes: 8th in '09; 11th in '08; 14th in '07; 8th in '06)
Q: I'm calling you Team ACL given your picks of Wes Welker (Round 5) and Owen Daniels(notes) (Round 7). I take it you are a firm believer in the advances of medical science. What do Welker and Daniels have to do to satisfy your investment?

A: Team ACL seriously needs to join forces with Team Jesus. Welker and Daniels need to be divinely touched. Because of where they were drafted, both selections are medium-risk, high-reward picks. Prior to ligament displacement they were true champions of their positions, especially in PPR formats. If the seemingly bionic Welker can achieve roughly 75 percent, the Noise will stay in the black. With two catches in his first exhibition game, another 100 reception season is becoming more and more likely. Daniels' situation isn't nearly as optimistic. Even if given a clean bill of health by Dr. Death (James Andrews), duplicating last year's pre-injury numbers is a stretch. But if he can amass numbers close to 2008, however with more TDs (70-862-2), we'll streak the streets of Houston.

Q: Any regrets not going with Michael Turner(notes) at No. 10 over Aaron Rodgers(notes) after seeing Matt Schaub(notes), Tony Romo and Tom Brady(notes) all go in the 40s? Do you prefer Rodgers and Jonathan Stewart(notes) as a combo over The Burner and Romo as a combo, because you could have had the latter?

A: Regret is a feeling experienced every morning when looking in the mirror. I'm used to it. There's a temporary urge to turn back the clock, but Team ACL/Jesus has made peace with its picks. If I knew Romo would've lasted that late, we likely would've backed off on A-Rod. Unfortunately, the foresight goggles were fogged. Still, Rodgers should again sit on the QB throne this year. And the now healthy Stewart could be an absolute beast with or without DeAngelo Williams by his side the entire season. The combo will be key to my success this season.

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

A: SOD: Shonn Greene (Round 2, Pick 9). By year's end the difference between Michael Turner and Greene could be negligible, meaning the Jets bruiser was a friggin' steal in Round 2. Granted his value is discounted somewhat in a PPR format – he failed to record a catch last year – the potential for 1,300 yards and 12-15 scores definitely exists. Nice job, Piano Man.

ROD: Johnny Knox(notes) (Round 5, Pick 5). The hype machine has people believing Fort Knox houses lucrative fantasy gold. As receivers coach Darryl Drake noted last week, the Bears boast three starters – it's truly a 1A, 1B, 1C situation. With viable PPR producers Chad Ochocinco(notes), Hines Ward and Welker still on the board, tendons were outstretched.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football Live host – Rick Schwartz (Previous F&F finishes: First year in the F&F)
Q: When you took Justin Forsett at pick No. 41, you were convinced I was set to take him – I actually wasn't. But I think it's fair to say that you really like Forsett and wouldn't have taken him there just to thwart me. Let's say that Seattle wakes up and smells the Starbucks and finally gives Forsett a featured role. In that case, what kind of production do you envision for him?

A: There are certain guys that I believe deserve a bigger role. And I figure, if it's obvious to me, it will happen once the organization trusts the player. We are a PPR league. Forsett may not be Barry Sanders, but if you watch him, there are times when he reminds of a wrong-way car weaving in and out of traffic in a Gone in 60 Seconds-style car chase. Can he pick up a blitz? We'll see. But it's time to give him a shot. Last year he had two explosive games. He had 41 catches while barely playing, which makes me believe he could go over 60 this year. In the six games where they gave him at least nine carries, he averaged 7.2, 5.9, 2.9, 6.1, 5.0, and 7.4 ypc. That's really strong. As for why I drafted Forsett, no, it wasn't the Funston Factor, though it is fun to torment the Commish. Remember, it was the 41st pick. Drafting from the 13th position, my hands were tied and the biggest impact player left on the board in the first round was clearly Drew Brees(notes). I went against my fantasy religion by drafting QB, but pulled the trigger. Then I got Miles Austin(notes) with the 16th pick. So when it came to the 41st and 44th picks, I had no choice but to roll with two RBs in whom I see a lot of breakaway talent: Justin Forsett and Felix Jones(notes). And just an FYI, our friends at Razzball had Forsett listed 46th. So not far off … I envision Forsett getting the bulk of the carries as things progress. I'd hazard a guess that he finally touches the ball an average of 20 times for about 90 total YPG, with 12 to 14 TDs this year.

Q: Post draft rumors are that Vincent Jackson is negotiating with Seattle. You didn't know that when you took him at pick No. 100 overall, but now that Seattle, perhaps others, is a possible destination, how good do you think he can be with the Seahawks, assuming a deal comes to fruition?

A: I have loved VJax since his second year in 2006. I remember we ended that season on Fantasy Football Live by predicting players that would eventually break out to become stars. My call was V-Jax. I didn't know he might have to break out of jail eventually if he gets another DUI, but he has been great on the field. No matter what, it's a big step down from Philip Rivers(notes) to Matty H in Seattle, and that makes a difference. TJ Housh on the other side would help VJax, but ultimately not as much as it helped VJax to have Antonio Gates, LT, and Rivers on the field with him. I'd prefer he kisses and makes up with the Bolts. Frankly, I just want him on the field. Any field. And guys like VJax and Ben Roethlisberger are always worth the 100th pick.

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

A: SOD: I'm sure some guys are saying Arian Foster(notes), but I can't tout anyone named Arian. Guys like Vernon Davis(notes) and JerMichael Finley(notes) at 55 and 56 are steals, but TE is so deep. So I'm going to roll with the Frenchman, Pierre Garcon(notes) (okay, he was born in Florida). Very nice pick by Salfino deep in Round 5. Had he lasted two more picks, he was mine. The kid averaged over 16 YPC and will be targeted a lot more this year. And he's got that actor guy throwing to him. Plus, I bet on Garcon to score the first TD of the Super Bowl so I owe him some props and maybe a case of Stella.

ROD: Maybe my pick of Forsett. Steal of the Draft? Maybe my pick of Forsett. But for other guys, Reach is tough … I'd have to say Cedric Benson. I just don't believe that lightning strikes twice. You know how it is at the craps table. You walk away a winner, go to sleep, feel the urge the next morning, and give it all back plus your daughter's tuition. I just think betting on Benson to come through more than once is like betting Megan Fox will not only say "Oh, excuse me" when she bumps into you at the supermarket, but betting that she asks for your number.


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Scott Pianowski (Previous F&F finishes: 3rd in '09; 7th in '08; 5th in '07; 8th in '05)
Q: You started the preseason giving much less love to Shonn Greene in the rankings than the rest of the Yahoo! experts. But your most recent rankings have him in line with the rest and you landed him as your first RB in this draft. The camp reports about LaDainian Tomlinson are favorable, so what's changed in your thinking regarding Greene?

A: In a 14-team league where everyone knows their stuff, I shift into a slightly different strategy: the hell with safety, gotta swing for the fences a little more often and go for upside. Greene fits this strategy nicely: he's working behind an excellent line and he's tied to a team that wants to win with defense and a ground attack; this could be Michael Turner 2009.

There's another factor at play – after taking Andre Johnson(notes) with the sixth overall pick (a selection where there was no legitimate Plan B), I felt forced into a running back with my second pick. Had I already owned a back into the second round, I wouldn't have taken Greene.

Q: In another league, you gained some notoriety for trading Brett Favre(notes) for Donnie Avery(notes) after early reports were that Favre was telling people he was done. Here, you selected him once again, and this time you didn't even bother with a backup. Any concern, given Favre's age/health, that you are uninsured at QB? And, even if Favre remains healthy, how concerned are you about the health of his primary weapons, Sidney Rice (hip) and Percy Harvin(notes) (migraines)?

A: Ah, yes, Favre-for-Avery. That deal is going to follow me around like a bad yearbook photo. Hey, I trust my instincts in this game, maybe too much at times. Sometimes you hit on a Jose Bautista, and sometimes you miss on a Favre retirement angle. I certainly deserve the Haterade I'm getting for taking any Favre news at face value, so go ahead, readers, pile on in the comments. The flag deserves to be thrown. (And just to cover myself, I drafted Avery in this league as well. Hey, the Rams gotta throw to someone.)

I really wasn't worried too much about the health of Sidney Rice – Favre's money man – and I'm paying for that optimism today as we find out Rice is out for half the season. Geesh. Brett Favre, can't live with him, can't live without him. I'm not going to dramatically move him down my QB board, but he's sliding down a slot or two for sure. Percy Harvin's headache issue becomes a gigantic key now.

As for owning just one QB, that's a nod to our format and the short benches. I don't want to waste a spot on a second quarterback, and Favre's willingness to play through any injury is well-documented (in my mind, his streak is more impressive than Cal Ripken's).

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

A: SOD: If everyone is so excited about Chad Henne(notes), why is no one interested in his No. 2 receiver, Davone Bess(notes)? The Dolphins don't have a lot behind Brandon Marshall(notes) – there's no major tight end and Ronnie Brown(notes) is no longer a heavily-targeted back. Bess will prove to be a sneaky value in deeper PPR groups such as this one; Ghelken did well to snag him in the final round. (Other potential steals: Wes Welker, Dexter McCluster, Vince Young(notes)).

ROD: I'm a Justin Forsett fan, but tabbing him in the third round is too ambitious for my blood. There's a lot of competition in-house and a new coaching staff to deal with, and we don't really know if he can handle being a heavy-use back. (Other possible reaches: Johnny Knox – love him, but not in the fifth; Jermaine Gresham(notes) – rookie tight ends are a poor bet; Dallas Clark(notes) – the third round looks like a round early).


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy's "Better-Than-Average Joe" – Michael Gehlken (Previous F&F finishes: 1st in '09; 8th in '08; 13th in '07)
Q: Marcedes Lewis, huh? I know the tight end position emptied out quicker than usual given the nuances of this particular league, but you took Lewis, he of the seven career TDs in four seasons, ahead of Greg Olsen and Dustin Keller, two players commonly selected ahead of Lewis. What's your rationale for going with Lewis?

A: That's right. Marcedes Lewis. Top 5 tight end this season. Write it down. Adjust your rankings accordingly.

No … I can't back that up. I was hoping you'd want to talk about my earlier picks of Ray Rice(notes), Roddy White(notes) and Jahvid Best because we both know this wasn't one of my better moments. Don't get me wrong; I've always liked Lewis. He's had an outstanding camp, and I expect him to have a career year. But I still shouldn't have taken him with Olsen and Keller on the board. I think I subconsciously dialed back to all that cheap beer-drinking, eight-clap cheering, UCLA tailgating from years past. Never again.

Q: You took Julian Edelman ahead of Lee Evans(notes), Eddie Royal(notes) and Kenny Britt(notes), among others. Is this an indication that you aren't buying into the feel-good story of Wes Welker's comeback, or do you think Edelman is worth the No. 110 overall pick even if Welker returns to start 2010?

A: More than anything, I'm just a guy who respects a good knee surgery. Welker went under the knife in February, which isn't that long ago for such a major procedure. I have a hard time seeing him back in full form this season. There's a giant pot of PPR chips on the table when discussing Welker and his role in the Patriots offense, so I don't mind calling Welker's bluff at pick 110. I don't see how Edelman could coexist with a healthy Welker in fantasy, so I'll be the first to admit the risk here. I think the reward outweighs it, though, in this format.

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

A: SOD: This player was taken well ahead of his ADP, but Devin Thomas(notes) could end up being a great bargain at pick 114 to Chris Liss. Thomas, a third-year receiver, has a great setup and exactly the type of upside owners should be targeting in the latter rounds.

ROD: This opinion probably won't be popular, but I have nothing but negative expectations for Brett Favre (pick 79) this season. Another year of Adrian Peterson's annual yards per carry decline means more passing downs for Favre. That means more blitzes. That means more punishment and poor decisions. I wouldn't be surprised if the 40-year-old looks his age and throws as many picks as touchdowns this season, which plays against our league's scoring settings. Favre went before Kevin Kolb(notes) and Joe Flacco(notes).


Yahoo! Sports Fantasy – Matt Romig (Previous F&F finishes: 13th in '09; 10th in '08; 1st in '07; 10th in '06; 9th in '05; 4th in '04)
Q: You took some rookies with upside in Mike Williams and Golden Tate(notes) as backups at the WR position. What are you hoping to get from these two, and was the Tate pick just to spite me?

A: An inordinate number of mid- to late-round picks were prefaced with a comment along the lines of "this one will tick Funston off" in the chat. Have you really burned that many fantasy bridges over the years? I've always thought you were a likeable guy. Curious. The picks you mentioned were all about upside, and as you've grown to learn over the years I'm on the short list of industry guys most likely to reach a few rounds early for rookies. The early reviews on Mike Williams in Tampa have been glowing (almost too much so), and he appears to have a clear path to heavy targets. The Bucs could use another red zone target outside of Kellen Winslow(notes) and Williams has the size profile of a guy who can score on a short field. I could see him hauling in 7-8 touchdowns (Mike Sims-Walker(notes), a guy of similar size, had seven in his breakout campaign). Golden Tate will likely do his damage via the big play, and like Williams he steps into a situation where there's a void to fill. His training camp hasn't been as positive, but there's undeniable skill there. By the way: I made these picks taking Brad at his word that this is a new era for rookie receivers in the NFL. If he's wrong, I'm screwed.

Q: You nabbed Thomas Jones(notes) in Round 6. He's been an agitator to Jamaal Charles owners. How much of the workload do you envision TJ stealing from Charles and what kind of production do you expect out of him with his new team?

A: In last year's F&F draft I grabbed Jones in Round 5, relatively late for a guy coming off a 1,300-yard, 12 TD season. The fear back then, of course, was that the Jets would get Leon Washington(notes) more involved in the offense and New York also drafted Shonn Greene to further complicate matters. Jones' 1,400-yard, 14-TD season helped soften the blow from some other epic failures in my draft (Brandon Jacobs(notes), Darren McFadden(notes), Anthony Gonzalez(notes) – yikes). So here we are again. Jones (Round 6) is slipping because of the presence of a more dynamic player (Jamaal Charles, Round 2). The Chiefs signed him for a reason – maybe because they don't feel Charles can handle a full workload and maybe because they view Jones as a better option in short-yardage and goal-line situations. In either case, he's in a position to once again offer a profit relative to draft position.

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

A: SOD: For steals I always tend to gravitate toward guys that were drafted just as I was teeing them up in my draft queue, so I'll say that Andy got great value on Ricky Williams(notes) in Round 7.

ROD: Did I mention that that McFadden pick was in the middle of the third round last year? Am I really qualified to comment on worst reach? The pick of Justin Forsett (Round 3, 41st overall) raised a few eyebrows in the draft room. Even if this was a spite-Funston pick (preliminary investigation indicates it probably was), Schwartz could have waited a few rounds and still gotten under your skin. Forsett's ADP in PPR formats over at Mock Draft Central is 87.


MEET THE FRIENDS

FantasyGuru.com – John Hansen (Previous F&F finishes: 6th in '09; 5th in '08; 9th in '07; 4th in '06; 10th in '05; 1st in '04)
Q: I actually heard you discussing the Philly wide receivers on your Sirius XM radio show the other day, and you were agreeing with the notion that Jeremy Maclin may prove to be the better fit for this year's Eagles offense than DeSean Jackson. That said, you took Jackson at pick 29, representing that you expect Jackson to return this season just as strong as he left off a year ago. Can you share your expectations for the Philly passing game as it pertains to Jackson and Maclin?

A: Maclin definitely is a better fit and I think the switch to QB Kevin Kolb will help him, but Jackson is so damn special and we're already seeing signs of Kolb finding him while on the run in the preseason, so I think Jackson will be more than fine, plus his run-after-the-catch potential increases with Kolb.

Q: Sticking with receivers, you are loaded up on guys that had a lot of buzz heading into last season – Terrell Owens(notes), Eddie Royal, Lance Moore(notes) – but for various reasons, failed to produce. Quickly tell us what you think a realistic best-case scenario is for this trio.

A: Owens and Royal are in possession passing games, where the pass is more of an extension of the run. In Royal's case, he is more comfortable in the offense and will fill the Wes Welker role many expected him to last year. Moore has been terrific in camp this summer and is totally healthy so he should be very active in the slot.


RotoWire.com – Chris Liss (Previous F&F finishes: 11th in '09; 1st in '08; 3rd in '07; 6th in '06; 1st in '05)
Q: Ok, sure, All-Day Adrian is all that, but Brandon Jacobs, you have to admit, has some question marks coming into 2010. And those two represent the entirety of your RB corps. Sure, you only need to start two RBs in this league, but you can't tell me you aren't the least bit concerned about your running back situation, especially since Jacobs is no slam dunk. In fact, I almost feel like I'm being baited into a sermon here. The pulpit is yours, please explain.

A: It's true that giving a sermon is my first instinct anytime someone challenges the unassailable wisdom of my decisions, but you're critique is so without merit that I won't dignify it …

Ok, if you must know, I wanted more RBs, but I just didn't see value at the position every time my turn came around, so I let it go. It's cowardice to worry about bench players and pass on the guys you want. I'll deal with RB shortages if and when they arise. Plus, I kind of like Jacobs this year to bounce back – he looks good in camp and is over the injuries that slowed him last year.

Q: You invested in the Oakland passing game by taking Chaz Schilens(notes) and Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) in the later rounds. How improved do you feel the Raiders offense will be and what kind of upside are you imagining for your two Raiders?

A: Both players have size and speed, Schilens more size, Heyward-Bey more speed, and I could see one of them being worthwhile in a 14-team, 0.75 PPR format. Jason Campbell(notes) actually can throw the deep ball, and there's always a bit of upside with young, physically-gifted receivers no matter how dismal the recent history of the team has been, e.g., 2007 Cleveland Browns. And those were two of my last picks, so I could easily cut them if they don't pan out.

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

A: SOD: The steal of the draft is Tom Brady – Round 4, Pick 6 to Andy Behrens. I think the Pats are going to sling it a ton this year, and both he and Randy Moss(notes) are completely healthy. I have Brady ahead of Manning, who went in Round 2. I feel Behrens is unworthy of this kind of gift.

ROD: I've said this before, I don't really believe in calling out reaches because I think people should reach for players they want, but Shiancoe in Round 5 seemed early, especially when I got Brent Celek(notes) in Round 7. In fact, I'm pretty sure Rick could have got him late in Round 7 had he waited.


RotoWire.com – Jeff Erickson (Previous F&F finishes: 9th in '09; 3rd in '08; 11th in '07; 11th in '05)
Q: Jamaal Charles is your top running back, and it sounds as if he's saddled in a 50/50 timeshare with Thomas Jones. Matt Forte(notes) is your No. 2 running back, and he's got Chester Taylor(notes) breathing down his neck. Do you feel comfortable with their situations and what are your expectations for your starting RB duo?

A: In the case of Charles, I believe in the talent and what he was able to accomplish once he got the job. I hate the mind games that Todd Haley is playing with him. But how can you ignore what he did over the final four games of the season? What I think will happen is that I'll be annoyed with the situation for maybe the first three-to-four games, but even then, Charles will do enough in those games when he does get the opportunity to be productive. Then talent will win out and he'll get more than a 50-50 timeshare. Plus, this being a PPR league, we know that he'll get a ton of catches at minimum.

Forte has looked good so far in the preseason and I'm a believer that a Mike Martz offense will help all parties involved. Again, I know that Taylor can catch passes, but so can Forte, so the sting of being in a timeshare will be lessened. Besides, in the fifth round or later it's hard to find a back that both gets the lion's share of the carries and has an upside to do something with it.

That said, I acknowledge that both backs are a little risky. That's also why I spent my sixth and seventh round picks on running backs (Jerome Harrison and Steve Slaton(notes)) as well. If I made a tactical mistake, it was in not grabbing even one more before I took my first QB – I was the last to take one, but nobody else took a QB from the time I took Palmer in the ninth round to my 10th round pick.

Q: Anquan Boldin(notes) has had trouble staying healthy in his career, and he switched teams this offseason, landing in Baltimore. You took him at No. 35, which tells me you love his new situation. What do you see as Boldin's ceiling in Baltimore this season?

A: I don't necessarily love Boldin's situation in Baltimore, but I also don't think that they'll be the run-centric, defense-first team that they've been in the past. In fact, I think that their secondary might be exploitable a little bit. That means that they'll be forced to throw the ball a little more than they have in the past, and I believe in Joe Flacco enough to think that he can handle that burden. Boldin will be the guy that benefits the most from that. I kind of viewed this as a slot pick – our next receiver on the board.

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

A: SOD: I hate calling someone a reach or a steal, because it's invariably wrong, and because this seemed like a really tough draft – nothing really slipped past. That said, I think that Hansen did well in getting Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) at 5.1

ROD: I thought that Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) might have been taken a smidge early at 5.13


RotoWire.com – Dalton Del Don (Previous F&F finishes: 12th in '09)
Q: Alright, man, you went all early aughts on us by drafting four consecutive RBs off the top. I know the starting roster allows you to play all four, but any concern about how your receiving corps turned out – Johnny Knox and Santana Moss(notes) as starters, only Kenny Britt and Roy Williams as backups? Also, your colleague Chris Liss and I told you in the draft chat before you picked at No. 52 overall that we fully expected you to take well-known man-crush Dwayne Bowe(notes), but you decided to go with Michael Bush(notes) instead, telling us afterwards that you went Bush because you couldn't handle being so predictable. Do you have any regrets about that decision?

A: With this new format, I definitely went in targeting running backs early. However, I fully admit Chris Wells in the second and Michael Bush in the fourth were risky picks. Not only am I worried about my wide receiver depth, I'm also concerned about my starters, as Johnny Knox is extremely unproven (and admittedly, as much as I like his upside, it was a gamble grabbing him in Round 5), and Santana Moss is someone I typically avoid. While I do like Bush's upside and was happy to secure Darren McFadden much later as well, I do have some regrets passing over my guy Dwayne Bowe.

Q: You picked Moss and Chris Cooley(notes) in back-to-back rounds (8-9). Is this to say you like Washington's passing potential with Donovan McNabb(notes) and Mike Shanahan in tow? What are your expectations there?

A: I expect Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan to upgrade the Washington passing attack, but I'd be surprised if either of these two ended up on many of my other teams this year. Consider them "agnostic" picks rather than targets (Moss was the 31st WR off the board, Cooley was the 13th tight end taken). I like the fact there are few other viable options at receiver in Washington, but Moss is "the human hamstring pull," and I'm not overly confident relying on him as a starter, especially with such weak depth at the position.

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

A: SOD: I thought Arian Foster was the "steal of the draft." Sure, maybe someone so unproven in Round 4 doesn't scream value, but if Foster truly becomes the lead back in Houston's offense, which is looking increasingly likely, he's got top-10 upside – the type of pick that can win a league for you. (And if Wes Welker is anywhere close to 100 percent, he also was quite the steal in this PPR format toward the end of Round 5).

ROD: Justin Forsett going in Round 3 was the "reach of the draft." I actually like Forsett, but it's pretty clear Seattle doesn't view him as a workhorse, so we are looking at a back in a committee on a bad offense. Leon Washington looms.


RotoExperts.com – Scott Engel (Previous F&F finishes: 2nd in '09; 9th in '08)
Q: You were the last person to address the starting TE spot, taking rookie Jermaine Gresham at pick No. 165. That's representing a lot of faith in a rookie and a team that hasn't utilized the TE position much this decade. What do you expect out of Gresham and any concerns about your TE spot in general?

A: The Bengals intend to change the way they feature the TE in their offense, that is why they drafted Gresham. The past approaches no longer matter. I think I waited too long to grab a TE, obviously, but Gresham still has a lot of upside. I can always make a deal, the position is deeper than ever before. He may not make an immediate impact, but I always keep a watch on who else is stacked with two really good players at the position and monitor the free agent list.

Q: You took two QBs that are generally considered borderline top 10-12 types in Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan(notes). This could create for maddening lineup decisions on a weekly basis trying to guess which arm to ride. What are your thoughts about your two QBs, and any concern about what could often be a coin-flip lineup decision?

A: I do not consider it "maddening," but rather a luxury. I can play matchups with either one, and if one plays below expectations, the other passer should be insurance for stability. If both play well, I can deal from a position of strength.

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

A: SOD: Derrick Mason(notes) was a steal in Round 8. He still will be a solid starter, especially with the Ravens passing game becoming more diverse – he will face less defensive attention.

ROD: Malcom Floyd was a reach in the sixth. Opportunity does not always lead to improved production. Floyd is a No. 3 WR in the NFL who will be overmatched against better DBs.


Pro Football Weekly – Michael Blunda (Previous F&F finishes: 7th in '09)
Q: Do you realize that you don't have a currently healthy back on your roster? For that matter, Larry Fitzgerald(notes) and Percy Harvin aren't exactly the pictures of health at the moment, either. Are you the least bit concerned about the injury state of your squad, and maybe you can specifically talk about you expectations for Knowshon Moreno(notes), in light of Denver's signings of LenDale White(notes) and Justin Fargas(notes), and Fitzgerald, given the change to Matt Leinart(notes) at QB in Arizona?

A: Well, that's not totally true. Steven Jackson played in the second preseason game and looked good, so I'm worried about him. I also am not overly concerned about the injuries to my other backs, as none of them is expected to be sidelined long. To me, all the minor injuries did was drop them in the draft and make them better values. Guys are hurt in the preseason every year yet come out and show no ill effects when the games count.

As far as Knowshon Moreno goes, I expect him to have a very solid sophomore campaign. His final 2009 numbers were impressive, and by all accounts he had a tremendous offseason. Especially in a PPR format – he's going to see a bunch of passes out of the backfield – I like him to break out. And I'm not the least bit worried about washouts LenDale White or Justin Fargas stealing his thunder.

With Larry Fitzgerald, I know I'm taking a gamble given the fact that he'll be playing with Matt Leinart and not Kurt Warner(notes), but I think the guy is simply too talented not to produce. He's had at least 96 receptions in four of the past five seasons, and he's got 35 TDs over the last three years. With Leinart targeting him a ton, I see Fitz remaining a top fantasy wideout.

Q: Nate Burleson(notes) is an intriguing pick in Round 10, moving to Detroit to play opposite MegaTron. What are your realistic expectations for Burleson?

A: I was very happy to see Nate Burleson fall to me in Round 10, as I think he will be a terrific addition to the Lions' receiving corps. The team has been lacking a legitimate threat opposite Calvin Johnson(notes), and Burleson should fill that role nicely. He would have been a 1,000-yard receiver last season had he stayed healthy, and his offensive situation should be better in Detroit. Remember, this is a guy who caught nine TDs in '07. With MegaTron drawing all the defensive attention, Burleson should get lots of one-on-one matchups and exploit them on a regular basis.

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

A: SOD: I think Santonio Holmes going in Round 10 could turn out to be a major steal. Yes, he's suspended for the first four games, but he should quickly assert himself as the Jets' No. 1 WR upon his return. All Holmes did last season was catch 79 passes for 1,248 yards and five scores playing with a bunch of other weapons in Pittsburgh. He should be hitting his stride by the time the fantasy playoffs role around and be an impact player down the stretch.

ROD: I see Justin Forsett being the draft's biggest reach as the 13th pick in Round 3. While I like him to have a decent year, he's still stuck in a three-way timeshare in Seattle and is playing for a coach who has a history of dividing carries among multiple guys. To me, there were quite a few more dependable options on the board at that point to justify gambling on Forsett.


Wall Street Journal/Yahoo! Sports – Michael Salfino (Previous F&F finishes: 5th in '09)
Q: With Braylon Edwards(notes) and Santonio Holmes, you're fairly invested in the Jets' passing game, which was an oxymoron last season. I take it you see the Jets opening things up a bit more this season? What kind of contribution are you counting on from your NY wideouts?

A: I do think the Jets will pass closer to the league average of 55 percent of all plays than the 40 percent they registered in '09, without question. Mark Sanchez(notes) was more effective in his first three road playoff games than most QBs in NFL history in a number of attempts similar to many big-name QBs, too. But I was not doubling down here on the Jets passing game. I was simply taking who I felt was the best available player. Holmes especially is sliding too far in most places – behind rookie WRs. There's little chance you're going to play any rookie wideout the first four weeks anyway – he's going to need two good games in a row or one huge one, which is not going to happen. So why not just take Holmes, who we all know is very good?

Q: I asked Dalton this question, since he drafted Santana Moss and Chris Cooley, so I'll ask the same of you since you felt comfortable enough to take Donovan McNabb as your only QB. Just how good do you expect the Washington passing game to be? And are you completely comfortable without a backup for McNabb?

A: You can't take two QBs in this format. Hardly anyone does. The roster spots are too valuable, especially in August. The waiver wire is deep at QB even during the season, relative to most 14-team leagues anyway. But I am more bullish on McNabb than most. Jay Cutler(notes) is the apple of most everyone's eye now and I like his setup, too. But McNabb is certifiably better with a coach who is extremely QB friendly and consistently able to make chicken salad out of what looks to be chicken**** receivers. Mike Shanahan also knows how to protect his QB better than Andy Reid (and Mike Martz). So 3,800 total yards and 25 or so TDs are the reasonable projection. And we know McNabb isn't going to incur big INT penalties either.

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

A: SOD: Montario Hardesty(notes) to Blunda in the ninth round for the same reason as Forsett being the reach (see below). If the Browns liked smallish Jerome Harrison as a starter, they wouldn't have drafted Hardesty in the second round. No team takes guys that early at skill positions unless they project them to be Year 1 starters. The August knee trouble only delays the inevitable.

ROD: Justin Forsett. I wrote in the Wall Street Journal about Forsett relative to Julius Jones(notes). I know how much better he was last year. But there's a bias against small backs. We can argue the merits, but why spit into this wind with over-aggressive drafting? Forsett is a nice third RB in this format but I can't see how he gets 20-plus touches or any goal-line looks. Remember how Pete Carroll used Reggie Bush(notes) at USC when Bush looked like the best RB on the planet.

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