Tomlinson tops experts draft

Fantasy football "training camp" kicked off last week with my first experts league draft of the 2005 campaign. I've participated in this particular draft (Krause Publications Experts League draft) for the past few years, so I'm no longer hung up on the absurdity of drafting football players while the baseball season is only a month old. I think if most fantasy football fanatics were being honest, they'd admit that there is never a bad time for this type of exercise.

Before I offer details on how this exhibition draft turned out, I feel I should apologize in advance for the pig-headedness of the so-called "experts." Like so many past experts drafts, running backs were highly regarded, so much so that 21 of the first 24 picks hailed from the backfield. Even Peyton Manning, who threw an NFL-record 49 touchdowns passes in '04, wasn't selected until eight running backs were taken ahead of him. There are reasons for this phenomenon. Running backs are much more predictable than receivers, and the ability to pick up a decent performance from a waiver-wire quarterback is far greater than what you'll get in waivers at the RB spot. That said, I'll admit that we tend to go a little overboard when it comes to drafting backs. Please don't assault my mailbox with feedback on this subject. I already hear ya.

All right, now that I've addressed the running-back lust, let's look at the results. I've bolded my selections – including the No. 1 overall pick – and, for the first 10 rounds, I have included my choices for the best and worst pick of each round:

Note: Draft was 15 rounds – start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 Flex, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Defensive team per week.
Scoring is 6 points for rushing and receiving TDs, 4 points for passing TDs, six points for defensive and special teams TDs. Interceptions and fumble recoveries are worth two points each, while sacks are worth 1 point. One bonus point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and 20 yards passing.

Krause Publications Experts Draft (May 3, 2005)

1-1

LaDainian Tomlinson

San Diego

Running back

1-2

Priest Holmes

Kansas City

Running back

1-3

Edgerrin James

Indianapolis

Running back

1-4

Shaun Alexander

Seattle

Running back

1-5

Tiki Barber

NY Giants

Running back

1-6

Willis McGahee

Buffalo

Running back

1-7

Deuce McAllister

New Orleans

Running back

1-8

Rudi Johnson

Cincinnati

Running back

1-9

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis

Quarterback

1-10

Ahman Green

Green Bay

Running back

1-11

Clinton Portis

Washington

Running back

1-12

Corey Dillon

New England

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, QB
Manning threw 49 TD passes in, essentially, 15 games. What's changed in Indy? Nothing. A likely 35-40 TD passes and 4,000 yards deserves better than the No. 9 pick.

Deuce McAllister, New Orleans, RB
While still a first-round talent, Deuce hasn't scored more than nine TDs in either of the past two seasons. Manning, Randy Moss or Corey Dillon seem like safer picks without giving up much on the "upside" factor.

2-1

Randy Moss

Oakland

Wide receiver

2-2

Jamal Lewis

Baltimore

Running back

2-3

Kevin Jones

Detroit

Running back

2-4

Julius Jones

Dallas

Running back

2-5

Domanick Davis

Houston

Running back

2-6

Curtis Martin

NY Jets

Running back

2-7

Chris Brown

Tennessee

Running back

2-8

LaMont Jordan

Oakland

Running back

2-9

Daunte Culpepper

Minnesota

Quarterback

2-10

Brian Westbrook

Philadelphia

Running back

2-11

Steven Jackson

St. Louis

Running back

2-12

Tatum Bell, Den

Denver

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Domanick Davis, Houston, RB
There wasn't a better fantasy RB in the second half of '04 than Davis. Overall, he was a top five back. To get him as the 15th back off the board was a steal.

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia, RB
Eagles drafted Ryan Moats, welcome Correll Buckhalter back from injury and have rumored interest in Travis Henry. Not exactly the kind of question marks I want surrounding my second-round pick.

3-1

Marvin Harrison

Indianapolis

Wide receiver

3-2

Terrell Owens

Philadelphia

Wide receiver

3-3

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

Tight end

3-4

Ronnie Brown

Miami

Running back

3-5

Torry Holt

St. Louis

Wide receiver

3-6

Chad Johnson

Cincinnati

Wide receiver

3-7

Carnell Williams

Tampa Bay

Running back

3-8

Cedric Benson

Chicago

Running back

3-9

DeShaun Foster

Carolina

Running back

3-10

Fred Taylor

Jacksonville

Running back

3-11

Antonio Gates

San Diego

Tight end

3-12

Duce Staley

Pittsburgh

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Terrell Owens, Philadelphia, WR
Concern of a holdout dropped Owens from a top 10 pick into the third round. Likely, it's much worry about nothing. Holdouts are often threatened but rarely executed.

Cedric Benson, Chicago, RB
Benson goes to the worst offensive team in '04, and a platoon with Thomas Jones is possible. Even if he pulls away from Jones, it's not hard to envision Jones seeing most of the PT on passing downs.

4-1

Donovan McNabb

Philadelphia

Quarterback

4-2

Javon Walker

Green Bay

Wide receiver

4-3

Hines Ward

Pittsburgh

Wide receiver

4-4

J.J. Arrington

Arizona

Running back

4-5

Andre Johnson

Houston

Wide receiver

4-6

Reggie Wayne

Indianapolis

Wide receiver

4-7

Warrick Dunn

Atlanta

Running back

4-8

Joe Horn

New Orleans

Wide receiver

4-9

Lee Suggs

Cleveland

Running back

4-10

Kevan Barlow

San Francisco

Running back

4-11

Darrell Jackson

Seattle

Wide receiver

4-12

Marshall Faulk

St. Louis

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Joe Horn, New Orleans, WR
Was the 10th wide receiver selected despite being a top five fantasy receiver last season, and a perennial top five finisher the past five seasons.

Marshall Faulk, St. Louis, RB
Now that phenom Steven Jackson is running first chair, I have a feeling that the 32-year old Faulk is going to have a hard time making much of an impact in a situational role.

5-1

Drew Bennett

Tennessee

Wide receiver

5-2

Trent Green

Kansas City

Quarterback

5-3

Brett Favre

Green Bay

Quarterback

5-4

Roy Williams

Detroit

Wide receiver

5-5

Larry Johnson

Kansas City

Running back

5-6

Marc Bulger

St. Louis

Quarterback

5-7

Kerry Collins

Oakland

Quarterback

5-8

Michael Clayton

Tampa Bay

Wide receiver

5-9

Onterrio Smith

Minnesota

Running back

5-10

Michael Vick

Atlanta

Quarterback

5-11

Steve Smith

Carolina

Wide receiver

5-12

Nate Burleson

Minnesota

Wide receiver

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Nate Burleson, Minnesota, WR
With Moss gone, Burleson will be the go-to guy. He scored eight TDs in the final 10 games of '04, and the addition of Williamson will help loosen coverage.

Onterrio Smith, Minnesota, RB
Was landing one of the Vikes' backup RBs really more important than grabbing potential boom WRs like Steve Smith, Nate Burleson, Anquan Boldin or Jerry Porter, to name a few? I don't think so.

6-1

Jerome Bettis

Pittsburgh

Running back

6-2

Matt Hasselbeck

Seattle

Quarterback

6-3

Anquan Boldin

Arizona

Wide receiver

6-4

Derrick Mason

Baltimore

Wide receiver

6-5

Eric Moulds

Buffalo

Wide receiver

6-6

Reuben Droughns

Cleveland

Running back

6-7

Chris Chambers

Miami

Wide receiver

6-8

Jason Witten

Dallas

Tight end

6-9

Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona

Wide receiver

6-10

Jerry Porter

Oakland

Wide receiver

6-11

Donald Driver

Green Bay

Wide receiver

6-12

Michael Bennett

Minnesota

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Jason Witten, Dallas, TE
In just his second season, Witten fell just 20 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards. To get a TE of his ilk three rounds later than Gonzo or Gates was a nice value.

Reuben Droughns, Cleveland, RB
Droughns was brought in as an insurance policy for the oft-injured Lee Suggs. But Droughns is threatening to holdout, which won't endear him to Browns new head coach Romeo Crennel.

7-1

Tom Brady

New England

Quarterback

7-2

Jeremy Shockey

NY Giants

Tight end

7-3

Alge Crumpler

Atlanta

Tight end

7-4

Todd Heap

Baltimore

Tight end

7-5

Muhsin Muhammad

Chicago

Wide receiver

7-6

Isaac Bruce

St. Louis

Wide receiver

7-7

Jimmy Smith

Jacksonville

Wide receiver

7-8

T.J. Duckett

Atlanta

Running back

7-9

Laveranues Coles

NY Jets

Wide receiver

7-10

Travis Henry

Buffalo

Running back

7-11

Aaron Brooks

New Orleans

Quarterback

7-12

Plaxico Burress

NY Giants

Wide receiver

Best pick:

Worst pick:

T.J. Duckett, Atlanta, RB
Duckett is just what owners should be looking for with the 80th pick. He gets goal-line carries and he splits time with a diminutive back (Dunn) who could easily fall to injury.

Plaxico Burress, NY Giants, WR
Sure, Burress is now free of a conservative Pittsburgh offense, but the Giants had the second-fewest TD passes in the league (12) in '04. Burress won't turn them into a juggernaut overnight.

8-1

David Akers

Philadelphia

Kicker

8-2

Thomas Jones

Chicago

Running back

8-3

Baltimore

Ravens

Defense

8-4

Lee Evans

Buffalo

Wide receiver

8-5

Carson Palmer

Cincinnati

Quarterback

8-6

Ashley Lelie

Denver

Wide receiver

8-7

Eric Shelton

Carolina

Running back

8-8

Jake Delhomme

Carolina

Quarterback

8-9

Deion Branch

New England

Wide receiver

8-10

Brandon Stokley

Indianapolis

Wide receiver

8-11

Najeh Davenport

Green Bay

Running back

8-12

Eddie Kennison

Kansas City

Wide receiver

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Lee Evans, Buffalo, WR
He scored seven TDs in the final six weeks of '04 – among the top five fantasy receivers for that span. Having McGahee and Moulds to deflect attention helps.

David Akers, Philadelphia, K
Silliness. Call me old school, but my kicker will come in one of the last two rounds. Denver's Jason Elam scored more points than Akers in '04, and he was drafted six rounds later!

9-1

Dallas Clark

Indianapolis

Tight end

9-2

Rod Smith

Denver

Wide receiver

9-3

Mike Williams

Detroit

Wide receiver

9-4

Michael Pittman

Tampa Bay

Running back

9-5

Frank Gore

San Francisco

Running back

9-6

Braylon Edwards

Cleveland

Wide receiver

9-7

Randy McMichael

Miami

Tight end

9-8

Marcel Shipp

Arizona

Running back

9-9

Santana Moss

Washington

Wide receiver

9-10

Troy Williamson

Minnesota

Wide receiver

9-11

Chester Taylor

Baltimore

Running back

9-12

Correll Buckhalter

Philadelphia

Running back

Best pick:

Worst pick:

Rod Smith, Denver, WR
OK, so he'll be 35 on May 15, but Smith is still getting it done. He's coming off his seventh 1,000 yard season in the past eight years and is ideal here as a third fantasy WR.

Marcel Shipp, Arizona, RB
After promoting Emmitt Smith ahead of Shipp last summer and then drafting J.J. Arrington atop the second round this April, it seems clear Dennis Green views Shipp as a backup.

10-1

Derrick Blaylock

NY Jets

Running back

10-2

Dominic Rhodes

Indianapolis

Running back

10-3

Charles Rogers

Detroit

Wide receiver

10-4

Drew Brees

San Diego

Quarterback

10-5

Donte' Stallworth

New Orleans

Wide receiver

10-6

Jake Plummer

Denver

Quarterback

10-7

Chad Pennington

NY Jets

Quarterback

10-8

Antonio Bryant

Cleveland

Wide receiver

10-9

Stephen Davis

Carolina

Running back

10-10

Justin McCareins

NY Jets

Wide receiver

10-11

Byron Leftwich

Jacksonville

Quarterback

10-12

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Cincinnati

Wide receiver

Best pick:

Worst pick:

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati, WR
He quietly finished just 22 yards shy of 1,000 in '04, and only Muhsin Muhammad, Chad Johnson and Torry Holt had more second-half catches.

Derrick Blaylock, NY Jets, RB
A decent pick if it was Curtis Martin's owner just buying insurance. But this was another owner hoping to get lucky with a backup to a player (Martin) who hasn't missed a start in more than six years.

11-1

Quentin Griffin

Denver

Running back

11-2

Adam Vinatieri

New England

Kicker

11-3

David Carr

Houston

Quarterback

11-4

Brandon Lloyd

San Francisco

Wide receiver

11-5

Eli Manning

NY Giants

Quarterback

11-6

Mewelde Moore

Minnesota

Running back

11-7

Mark Clayton

Baltimore

Wide receiver

11-8

New England

Patriots

Defense

11-9

Ricky Williams

Miami

Running back

11-10

Tyrone Calico

Tennessee

Wide receiver

11-11

Koren Robinson

Seattle

Wide receiver

11-12

Keenan McCardell

San Diego

Wide receiver

12-1

Kurt Warner

Arizona

Quarterback

12-2

Keyshawn Johnson

Dallas

Wide receiver

12-3

Kellen Winslow

Cleveland

Tight end

12-4

Ryan Moats

Philadelphia

Running back

12-5

Steve McNair

Tennessee

Quarterback

12-6

Antwaan Randle El

Pittsburgh

Wide receiver

12-7

Eric Johnson

San Francisco

Tight end

12-8

Mike Vanderjagt

Indianapolis

Kicker

12-9

Brian Griese

Tampa Bay

Quarterback

12-10

Buffalo

Bills

Defense

12-11

Pittsburgh

Steelers

Defense

12-12

Philadelphia

Eagles

Defense

13-1

Joey Harrington

Detroit

Quarterback

13-2

Maurice Morris

Seattle

Running back

13-3

Keary Colbert

Carolina

Wide receiver

13-4

Sebastian Janikowski

Oakland

Kicker

13-5

Matt Jones

Jacksonville

Wide receiver

13-6

Anthony Thomas

Dallas

Running back

13-7

Nick Goings

Carolina

Running back

13-8

L.J. Smith

Philadelphia

Tight end

13-9

New York

Jets

Defense

13-10

Maurice Clarett

Denver

Running back

13-11

Amani Toomer

NY Giants

Wide receiver

13-12

Bubba Franks

Green Bay

Tight end

14-1

Carolina

Panthers

Defense

14-2

Jason Elam

Denver

Kicker

14-3

Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh

Quarterback

14-4

Shayne Graham

Cincinnati

Kicker

14-5

Matt Stover

Baltimore

Kicker

14-6

Ryan Longwell

Green Bay

Kicker

14-7

Josh Brown

Seattle

Kicker

14-8

Atlanta

Falcons

Defense

14-9

Tampa Bay

Buccaneers

Defense

14-10

Brandon Jacobs

NY Giants

Running back

14-11

David Givens

New England

Wide receiver

14-12

Ronald Curry

Oakland

Wide receiver

15-1

Jeff Wilkins

St. Louis

Kicker

15-2

Moe Williams

Minnesota

Running back

15-3

Nate Kaeding

San Diego

Kicker

15-4

Marcus Pollard

Detroit

Tight end

15-5

Ciatrick Fason

Minnesota

Running back

15-6

Washington

Redskins

Defense

15-7

Chicago

Bears

Defense

15-8

J.P. Losman

Buffalo

Quarterback

15-9

Chris Cooley

Washington

Tight end

15-10

Jason Hanson

Detroit

Kicker

15-11

Dallas

Cowboys

Defense

15-12

Peerless Price

Atlanta

Wide receiver

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