Rotoworld Live Draft Grades and Analysis

Hayden Winks
Rotoworld

The Rotoworld Live Draft - featuring Draft Guide subscribers and NBC Sports and Yahoo! experts - went down on YouTube yesterday. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to watch it in order to keep an unbiased mind with these draft grades, but you should check it out if you haven't already. It's two hours' worth of analysis, and it will give you a leg up for your upcoming fantasy drafts. 

I'm grading based on league settings (PPR with one flex spot), but I'm particularly looking for running back and receiver depth with bonus points for those who walk away with a top-six tight end. To me, those are the keys for 2019 and that's why Team 8, who happened to end up being my buddy John Daigle, is my draft champion. 

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Team 1 - Patrick Daugherty (Rotoworld)

1. (1) Christian McCaffrey (Car - RB)
2. (24) Aaron Jones (GB - RB)
3. (25) Adam Thielen (Min - WR)
4. (48) Mark Ingram II (Bal - RB)
5. (49) Robby Anderson (NYJ - WR)
6. (72) Will Fuller V (Hou - WR)
7. (73) Vance McDonald (Pit - TE)
8. (96) Kyler Murray (Ari - QB)
9. (97) Geronimo Allison (GB - WR)
10. (120) Kalen Ballage (Mia - RB)
11. (121) Michael Gallup (Dal - WR)
12. (144) Andy Isabella (Ari - WR)
13. (145) Terry McLaurin (Was - WR)
14. (168) Trey Burton (Chi - TE)
15. (169) Philadelphia (Phi - DEF)
16. (192) Jalen Richard (Oak - RB)

 

Grade: B+. Getting one of the elite running backs is a big advantage over the rest of the league, and I’m totally fine with CMC at 1.01, especially in PPR leagues. Adding Aaron Jones and Mark Ingram to CMC solidified Team 1’s running back group. Robby Anderson went one round too early, but I do like him and the rest of his receivers (Thielen, Anderson, Fuller, Allison, Gallup, Isabella) when they are drafted near their ADPs. Kyler Murray is a quarterback who I really like at ADP given the speed of the Cardinals Offense and his potentially special talent. Pairing Murray with Andy Isabella was a nice way to get cheap upside. Lastly, I like how Team 1 opted to not draft a kicker. With weeks left before we set lineups, I’d rather have an extra running back or receiver than kicker or defense while the rest of the preseason plays out.

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Team 2 - Eric Santiago

1. (2) Saquon Barkley (NYG - RB)
2. (23) T.Y. Hilton (Ind - WR)
3. (26) Keenan Allen (LAC - WR)
4. (47) Cooper Kupp (LAR - WR)
5. (50) Sony Michel (NE - RB)
6. (71) Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB)
7. (74) Jarvis Landry (Cle - WR)
8. (95) Ronald Jones II (TB - RB)
9. (98) David Njoku (Cle - TE)
10. (119) N'Keal Harry (NE - WR)
11. (122) Peyton Barber (TB - RB)
12. (143) LeSean McCoy (Buf - RB)
13. (146) Jacksonville (Jax - DEF)
14. (167) Parris Campbell (Ind - WR)
15. (170) Jameis Winston (TB - QB)
16. (191) Wil Lutz (NO - K)

Grade: B. The first five picks (Barkley, Hilton, Allen, Kupp, Michel) were really ideal. Team 2 has a very strong RB and WR foundation, the key to winning fantasy leagues. The rest of the draft was more questionable, beginning with Aaron Rodgers in Round 6. There are too many startable quarterbacks to draft a pretty replaceable quarterback over FLEX options. This team would look a lot stronger if we swapped Rodgers for Will Fuller, especially since Jameis Winston fell to Round 15. Lastly, Team 2 locked up the Buccaneers backfield, but Preseason Week 1 snaps and usage tell me that Peyton Barber (Round 11), not Ronald Jones (Round 8), is the better fantasy asset. Regardless, I like the affordable Bucs stack with Bruce Arians calling the shots.

 

Team 3 - Matt Martin

1. (3) Alvin Kamara (NO - RB)
2. (22) Todd Gurley II (LAR - RB)
3. (27) Amari Cooper (Dal - WR)
4. (46) D.J. Moore (Car - WR)
5. (51) Josh Jacobs (Oak - RB)
6. (70) O.J. Howard (TB - TE)
7. (75) Sammy Watkins (KC - WR)
8. (94) Golden Tate (NYG - WR)
9. (99) Baker Mayfield (Cle - QB)
10. (118) Mark Andrews (Bal - TE)
11. (123) Carlos Hyde (KC - RB)
12. (142) Adam Humphries (Ten - WR)
13. (147) Baltimore (Bal - DEF)
14. (166) Harrison Butker (KC - K)
15. (171) Malcolm Brown (LAR - RB)
16. (190) Mecole Hardman (KC - WR)

Grade: B+. Todd Gurley’s knee really concerns me, but at some point, the reward outweighs the risk. To me, that’s around the Round 2/3 turn. If Gurley is 80% of his old self, then Team 3 is stacked at running back (Kamara, Gurley, Jacobs). Team 3’s receiving depth is worrisome -- I don’t want a suspended Giants receiver or Mariota’s slot receiver -- but drafting O.J. Howard in Round 6 makes up for that. The Tier 2 tight ends (Howard, Engram, Henry) are the ones I’m prioritizing in fantasy drafts. I also liked how Team 3 only drafted one quarterback, which is the optimal strategy in standard re-draft leagues with a waiver wire. 

 

Team 4 - Ryan Lavender

1. (4) David Johnson (Ari - RB)
2. (21) Antonio Brown (Oak - WR)
3. (28) Zach Ertz (Phi - TE)
4. (45) Kenny Golladay (Det - WR)
5. (52) Tyler Boyd (Cin - WR)
6. (69) Tarik Cohen (Chi - RB)
7. (76) Dante Pettis (SF - WR)
8. (93) Rashaad Penny (Sea - RB)
9. (100) Keke Coutee (Hou - WR)
10. (117) Jordan Howard (Phi - RB)
11. (124) Jared Goff (LAR - QB)
12. (141) James Washington (Pit - WR)
13. (148) Justice Hill (Bal - RB)
14. (165) Minnesota (Min - DEF)
15. (172) Cole Beasley (Buf - WR)
16. (189) Rex Burkhead (NE - RB)

Grade: B. Are you ready for the David Johnson resurgence this year? I know Team 4 is. His health and the projected pace of the offense with Kyler and Kliff are setting up Johnson for a top-five running back finish in 2019. DJ is the no-brainer 4th overall pick until Ezekiel Elliott returns. The Antonio Brown drama seems to be over, so I’m back on board with AB early in Round 3. Using the 28th overall pick on Zach Ertz might be a tad rich, but I’d rather pay a little premium to lock up a top-six tight end, although Ertz is my least favorite of them at ADP. Team 4’s mid-round picks (Pettis, Penny, Howard) were strong, and I like how he or she invested the least amount of draft capital into quarterback. This is a strong team, especially if Justice Hill, one of my favorite sleepers, breaks out.

 

Team 5 - Andy Behrens (Yahoo!)

1. (5) DeAndre Hopkins (Hou - WR)
2. (20) Dalvin Cook (Min - RB)
3. (29) Devonta Freeman (Atl - RB)
4. (44) David Montgomery (Chi - RB)
5. (53) Calvin Ridley (Atl - WR)
6. (68) Curtis Samuel (Car - WR)
7. (77) A.J. Green (Cin - WR)
8. (92) Royce Freeman (Den - RB)
9. (101) Eric Ebron (Ind - TE)
10. (116) Drew Brees (NO - QB)
11. (125) Jamison Crowder (NYJ - WR)
12. (140) Deebo Samuel (SF - WR)
13. (149) Adrian Peterson (Was - RB)
14. (164) Cleveland (Cle - DEF)
15. (173) Mike Davis (Chi - RB)
16. (188) Dak Prescott (Dal - QB)

Grade: B+. Team 5 was on a heater to start the draft. DeAndre Hopkins’ upside and floor are only matched by Davante Adams at the position. Dalvin Cook, who has a three-down role on a good Vikings Offense, at 20th overall was one of my favorite picks in the entire draft, and I really like Devonta Freeman in the third round behind Atlanta’s revamped offensive line. I’m concerned with David Montgomery’s workload with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis on the roster, but Team 5 managed to put together a decent receiver group (Hopkins, Ridley, Samuel, Green) despite spending 3-of-4 picks on running backs. I had to ding Team 5 points for only having Eric Ebron at tight end, but otherwise, this was a well-executed draft.

 

Team 6 - Scott Davie

1. (6) Davante Adams (GB - WR)
2. (19) Mike Evans (TB - WR)
3. (30) Kerryon Johnson (Det - RB)
4. (43) Brandin Cooks (LAR - WR)
5. (54) James White (NE - RB)
6. (67) Hunter Henry (LAC - TE)
7. (78) Dede Westbrook (Jax - WR)
8. (91) Sterling Shepard (NYG - WR)
9. (102) Lamar Jackson (Bal - QB)
10. (115) Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB - WR)
11. (126) Nyheim Hines (Ind - RB)
12. (139) Chris Thompson (Was - RB)
13. (150) Tre'Quan Smith (NO - WR)
14. (163) Jerick McKinnon (SF - RB)
15. (174) Seattle (Sea - DEF)
16. (187) C.J. Anderson (Det - RB)

Grade: B-. This was a tough team to grade. Team 6 absolutely crushed the first six picks but walked away with very little upside in the second half of the draft. This receiving corps (Adams, Evans, Cooks) might be the best in the league. Kerryon Johnson and James White at running back for a team that used a modified Zero RB approach was rock solid. Hunter Henry was good value in the middle of Round 6. But Nyheim Hines, Chris Thompson, Tre’Quan Smith, Jerick McKinnon, and C.J. Anderson won’t have enough volume to be fantasy starters. 

 

Team 7 - Kyle Smith

1. (7) Le'Veon Bell (NYJ - RB)
2. (18) Tyreek Hill (KC - WR)
3. (31) Stefon Diggs (Min - WR)
4. (42) Chris Carson (Sea - RB)
5. (55) Phillip Lindsay (Den - RB)
6. (66) Jared Cook (NO - TE)
7. (79) Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR)
8. (90) Cam Newton (Car - QB)
9. (103) Matt Breida (SF - RB)
10. (114) Russell Wilson (Sea - QB)
11. (127) DK Metcalf (Sea - WR)
12. (138) Justin Jackson (LAC - RB)
13. (151) Los Angeles (LAR - DEF)
14. (162) Zay Jones (Buf - WR)
15. (175) Ka'imi Fairbairn (Hou - K)
16. (186) Ben Roethlisberger (Pit - QB)

Grade: C. Picking from the 7th spot is my least favorite this year, but Team 7 made the most of it. With Ezekiel Elliott holding out, I agree with the decision to pick Le’Veon Bell over Zeke, and he or she followed it up with ending Tyreek Hill’s slide with the 18th overall pick. That’s as good as it gets given the situation. The biggest problem with Team 7 was roster construction (3QB, 5RB, 5WR, 1TE, 1K, 1DEF). There’s no need to roll with three quarterbacks in a 12-team league with waivers, and there’s really no need to draft a kicker or defense if you’re drafting weeks before Week 1. Fill out the roster with backs and receivers.

 

Team 8 - John Daigle (Rotoworld)

1. (8) Ezekiel Elliott (Dal - RB)
2. (17) George Kittle (SF - TE)
3. (32) Leonard Fournette (Jax - RB)
4. (41) Tyler Lockett (Sea - WR)
5. (56) Allen Robinson II (Chi - WR)
6. (65) Tevin Coleman (SF - RB)
7. (80) Andrew Luck (Ind - QB)
8. (89) DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR)
9. (104) Duke Johnson Jr. (Hou - RB)
10. (113) Donte Moncrief (Pit - WR)
11. (128) Marquise Goodwin (SF - WR)
12. (137) Tony Pollard (Dal - RB)
13. (152) Rashard Higgins (Cle - WR)
14. (161) Albert Wilson (Mia - WR)
15. (176) Chase Edmonds (Ari - RB)
16. (185) Ty Montgomery (NYJ - RB)

Grade: A-. If Andrew Luck wasn’t drafted in Round 7, Team 8 would have received an “A”. Drafting Ezekiel Elliott in the first round is risky, but No. 8 overall is where the reward outweighs the risk. If Zeke plays 16 games, Team 8 is in a really good spot. I liked the aggressiveness with George Kittle pick, too, because I’m making sure I get one of the top-six tight ends. Leonard Fournette (more pass-catching is coming), Tyler Lockett, Allen Robinson, and Tevin Coleman offer plenty of upside as well. Team 8 topped off a solid draft by taking shots with clear-cut handcuffs (Chase Edmonds, Ty Montgomery).

 

Team 9 - Yunior Delgado

1. (9) Julio Jones (Atl - WR)
2. (16) Joe Mixon (Cin - RB)
3. (33) Melvin Gordon III (LAC - RB)
4. (40) Derrick Henry (Ten - RB)
5. (57) Evan Engram (NYG - TE)
6. (64) Deshaun Watson (Hou - QB)
7. (81) Corey Davis (Ten - WR)
8. (88) Austin Ekeler (LAC - RB)
9. (105) Devin Funchess (Ind - WR)
10. (112) Anthony Miller (Chi - WR)
11. (129) Chicago (Chi - DEF)
12. (136) Delanie Walker (Ten - TE)
13. (153) Kenny Stills (Mia - WR)
14. (160) Greg Zuerlein (LAR - K)
15. (177) Ted Ginn Jr. (NO - WR)
16. (184) DeVante Parker (Mia - WR)

Grade: B+. Teams picking near the end of Round 1 are almost certainly walking away with a top-5 fantasy receiver (or Travis Kelce), but the real decision is in the second round. Joe Mixon has plenty of talent and has a near three-down workload, making him a decent low-end RB1. Melvin Gordon is someone I’m buying. We don’t actually know if he’s coming back before Week 1, but he’d at least be a top-13 overall pick if he were ready to go. It’s hard to find that upside outside of the first two rounds. Team 9 also drafted a top-six tight end in Evan Engram, but I didn’t think the Deshaun Watson (Round 6) or Austin Ekeler (Round 8) picks were worth it. Many analysts advise owners to draft Ekeler if they draft Gordon, but that makes no sense. You either think Gordon’s playing (don’t draft Ekeler) or you don’t (possibly draft Ekeler). If you end up with both, you’re essentially admitting that one of the two picks won’t be worth it.

 

Team 10 - Michael Epstein

1. (10) Michael Thomas (NO - WR)
2. (15) Odell Beckham Jr. (Cle - WR)
3. (34) Damien Williams (KC - RB)
4. (39) Julian Edelman (NE - WR)
5. (58) Miles Sanders (Phi - RB)
6. (63) Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR - RB)
7. (82) Matt Ryan (Atl - QB)
8. (87) Derrius Guice (Was - RB)
9. (106) John Brown (Buf - WR)
10. (111) Emmanuel Sanders (Den - WR)
11. (130) Damien Harris (NE - RB)
12. (135) Jordan Reed (Was - TE)
13. (154) Chris Herndon (NYJ - TE)
14. (159) Josh Gordon (NE - WR)
15. (178) Preston Williams (Mia - WR)
16. (183) Justin Tucker (Bal - K)

Grade: B. I don’t mind starting the draft with two receivers if I pick near the end of Round 1, especially when Odell Beckham is one of them. OBJ has the most upside of any receiver now that he has a legit quarterback throwing him passes, which is why I’d take Beckham as high as the 9th overall pick. Damien Williams was an absolute steal. He fell 10 spots further than he usually goes all because he missed a few days of practice and the first preseason game. The Chiefs coaching staff still believes he’s the No. 1, so he should be drafted like it. Team 10 was overly aggressive in the middle rounds, particularly with Miles Sanders (Round 5) -- Sanders played 6-of-15 first-team snaps in Preseason Week 1 -- Derrius Guice (Round 8), and John Brown (Round 9). Team 10 did recover with upside picks in the double-digit rounds (Damien Harris, Chris Herndon, Josh Gordon).

 

Team 11 - Eugene and Alma

1. (11) Travis Kelce (KC - TE)
2. (14) JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit - WR)
3. (35) Patrick Mahomes (KC - QB)
4. (38) Marlon Mack (Ind - RB)
5. (59) Kenyan Drake (Mia - RB)
6. (62) Alshon Jeffery (Phi - WR)
7. (83) Marvin Jones Jr. (Det - WR)
8. (86) Lamar Miller (Hou - RB)
9. (107) Courtland Sutton (Den - WR)
10. (110) Jaylen Samuels (Pit - RB)
11. (131) Tyrell Williams (Oak - WR)
12. (134) Jamaal Williams (GB - RB)
13. (155) Dion Lewis (Ten - RB)
14. (158) Mohamed Sanu (Atl - WR)
15. (179) Buffalo (Buf - DEF)
16. (182) Ito Smith (Atl - RB)

Grade: B. It is risky to take a tight end and a new No. 1 receiver with the first two picks, but I think it was the right call (outside of letting OBJ fall to 15th overall) given Travis Kelce’s and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s expected volume. But I can’t get on board with Patrick Mahomes in Round 3, even with Kelce already on the roster. Quarterback is just too deep to skip on legit RB2s and WR2s. The soonest I’d consider Mahomes would be near the Round 4/5 turn. Despite going Zero RB, Team 11 did walk away with enough running backs (Marlon Mack, Kenyan Drake, Lamar Miller) to at least compete for fantasy playoffs. 

 

Team 12 - Scott Pianowski (Yahoo!)

1. (12) Nick Chubb (Cle - RB)
2. (13) James Conner (Pit - RB)
3. (36) Chris Godwin (TB - WR)
4. (37) Robert Woods (LAR - WR)
5. (60) Christian Kirk (Ari - WR)
6. (61) Mike Williams (LAC - WR)
7. (84) Latavius Murray (NO - RB)
8. (85) Austin Hooper (Atl - TE)
9. (108) Carson Wentz (Phi - QB)
10. (109) Devin Singletary (Buf - RB)
11. (132) DaeSean Hamilton (Den - WR)
12. (133) Philip Rivers (LAC - QB)
13. (156) Brian Hill (Atl - RB)
14. (157) Los Angeles (LAC - DEF)
15. (180) Alexander Mattison (Min - RB)
16. (181) Darwin Thompson (KC - RB)

Grade: B. This team drafted all of the trendy players, but they paid a little bit of a premium to get them. That definitely includes Nick Chubb, who typically goes in the middle of the second round. I think most agree that OBJ and JuJu should be drafted before Chubb. Chris Godwin is another one that may have been drafted a few picks too early, but Godwin, who played in the slot in Preseason Week 1, is going to have a big year. Mike Williams, on the other hand, was someone who fell into Team 12’s lap. Don’t let your league-mates draft Williams in Round 6. I really enjoyed the upside plays with Alexander Mattison and Darwin Thompson at the end of the draft, but I thought Devin Singletary and DaeSean Hamilton were reaches given their depth chart issues. 

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