Happy Friday readers and welcome to the 19th iteration of “Words of Ingram.” This week, we’ll be playing another game of “Would you Rather?” with a focus on my personal decision points from the IFFL draft last Saturday. You may right now be asking yourself, “What in the world is this guy going on about this week?” Allow me to explain…
The IFFL is my family league, which is in its 7th year. The IFFL is a 10-man, PPR format league composed of friends and family. Now, I know a lot of you elitists think that 10-man leagues are jokes. Save your sass, save your judgment and take it easy! I’ve played in plenty of large leagues and enjoyed them all equally. However, nothing (and I mean nothing) can compare to the fun leagues you create with friends and family. We have 10 very skilled players and every year it’s competitive. I love my league. I also love the league as I’m the only member whose name is engraved on the trophy twice. Let’s be perfectly clear, anytime an engraved, rotating trophy is involved, people get hardcore.
There were some “key learnings” from my draft and I want to share those with my readers. Don’t fret, we’ll launch into “Would you Rather?” in a few paragraphs, I just need to get the rest out of my mind and onto the internet.
Key Learning #1: Create a League Constitution – I had heard this discussed before, and read plenty of articles encouraging the creation of a constitution; but I had never really felt the need for one in the IFFL. I just assumed everyone knew what was going on at all times and was aware of the rules/scoring, etc. However, I found that assumption to be partially wrong. Having a constitution in place will allow the commissioner to maintain order within the league. Arriving late, payment due dates, scoring structure, league rules, playoff structure, payouts, and tie breaker scenarios…the list goes on and on. Maybe it just goes “on” and not “on and on”, but you all certainly understand what I’m getting at. It is vital that guidelines are created and maintained in order for a league to run in the most optimal possible way.
Key Learning #2: Make notes as you draft – This may seem incredibly obvious, and most of you may do it already, however I made some mistakes. Also, this will be the section where I make a bunch of excuses for making said mistakes. For our draft, we typically have 9 people show up, and another is done online. The draft is completed using off-line software, which means reciting picks to the 10th via Facebook. Beside that laptop is another laptop plugged into the TV so everyone in the room can see the draft board. Since one member elected to not show up this year (it’s a somewhat viable excuse, but only slightly), I had to also deal with him on the phone. Finally, I had the top 300 sheet of paper which I was crossing off selections as they were drafted for my own benefit. To paint the picture: I was sitting on the floor with a cell phone on speaker, a laptop where I was entering selections, another laptop where I was using FB messenger to relay picks, a cell phone in which I was relaying picks to a player and a check sheet for my own team. As a result of this, I completely missed drafting a mandatory handcuff player. Now, excuses aside, here is what I’m getting at.
When you’re drafting, always make notes/highlight/circle or whatever you need to do to bring attention to players and strategies you’re thinking of. I know it may seem second nature or excessive, but some commissioners have a lot to do on draft day. Even if you aren’t a commish, drafts can be stressful when the clock is ticking. When you’re on the clock you should be thinking about the big picture and immediately following your pick you should be planning ahead. Look at who you’re drafting, determine if you need a handcuff and if so, highlight that handcuff. Write a note to yourself to draft that player in two rounds. Notes will make a huge difference in how your team is put together and whether you made the best possible decisions.
I could go on and on, but I imagine most of you are ready to talk players. For those who didn’t read last week (shame on you), “Would you Rather?” is quite simple. I will list two players who are being drafted at similar areas and do a quick debate on who would be the better option. Not bad right? Let’s get into it with some real world examples of decisions I had to make during the IFFL draft!
Round 2: Dez Bryant vs. Julio Jones (WR1)
Right off the bat, I understand you can’t really go wrong in selection here; however these are decisions that every fantasy owner must make. Drafting a sleeper late isn’t as stressful as the early picks (at least not in my opinion). Most experts say the most important drafts in your league are the first 4. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make that up. With the 19th selection, I was happy to have the options listed above. Now, prior to stupid “Hard Knocks” I wouldn’t have found this to be a difficult decision. In fact, one of my draft strategies (which my wife initially thought of and I ended up loving) was to go WR/WR. I had hoped to land Megatron/Dez or D.Thomas/Marshall. However, “Hard Knocks” has forced me to fall in love with Julio Jones and to become a big believer in his production for the 2014 season. I said to myself, “Self! If you can get Julio Jones, you’re going to do it.” Because my love for Jones was growing, the affection that existed for Dez Bryant began to diminish. I get that he’s an elite player and I already have some loyalty to him as he helped me secure a championship. However, Tony Romo has a bad back and the Cowboys well…you just can’t trust them sometimes. I know they’re going to throw, but if Romo goes down with an injury, that leaves the ball Brandon Weeden’s court. Also, the Falcons revamped their offensive line and Matt Ryan is a better QB than Tony Romo. It was all about projections and personal opinion right?
With the 2nd pick in the 2014 draft, Would I rather Julio Jones or Dez Bryant?
I would rather Dez Bryant than Julio Jones. “Traitor!” was the statement that echoed in my mind immediately after I drafted Bryant. However we all know the golden rule of fantasy football: “No take backs-ies!” I suppose I should explain why I chose Dez over Julio, especially with HBO pushing Jones on me. Despite the rebuilt offensive line, I still have personal concerns with Matt Ryan. I get that Julio was on pace to be the #3 receiver in fantasy last season, but he was injured so a massive projection like that is sketchy forecasting at best! This isn’t the first time that Julio Jones has been injured, nor flirted with injury, nor be discussed as an injury risk. The Falcons lost Sam Baker and as a bandaid, are shifting rookie Jake Matthews to Baker’s position. A rookie covering Ryan’s blindside who typically lines up on the right side is troubling. That hurt Julio’s value. On the Bryant side, regardless of who is throwing him the ball; he’s going to catch it and make plays. Bryant is spoken of in “Michael Irvin” talent level, and I think he’s going to continue to play at such a level. Romo, despite the injury concern, is a pretty damn tough dude. The Cowboys defense is laughable, so they’ll need to pass like crazy. Even if Romo goes down, I think Weeden is serviceable enough to put the ball in the hands of their top playmaker.
I don’t have regrets on this pick, however it’s one I’ll be watching closely.
Round 5: CJ Spiller vs. Rashad Jennings (RB2)
To give some background, here was my team thus far: Peterson, Bryant, Brees, Andre Johnson. I knew that I had to go running back, as I really believe you need to have an elite #1 (if drafting early enough) and a solid 2nd option. I had the #2 pick, so by the time the 5th round (42nd draft) came around; I knew it was time to find my #2. I had some options at the position, Spiller, Richardson, Mathews, Jennings, Bell. I quickly eliminated Richardson (ability concerns), Mathews (3 headed monster + health) and Bell (5th round is a little early for me. Bell is an RB3, not RB2).
That left me with Spiller or Jennings.
I wrote a few times, and even spoke, on the MLFS radio show, about my concerns for CJ Spiller. In fact, I stated that he was a player I didn’t trust and really hoped I wouldn’t have to draft. Spiller has a world of upside, but no one is really quite certain what version of Spiller will show up in 2014. He’s part of a tandem running team, with the unflappable Fred Jackson, and we have no idea on usage. Last year, we were promised “carries until he vomits”, but the result was fairly lack luster. It’s not that Spiller was a bust in 2013, it’s just that he did not come close to living up to their expectations. Also, 2 TD’s on the year is not very good. CJ Spiller was a huge worry.
Rashad Jennings has been a player I’ve been incredibly high on since July. He was a top 11 RB last season, from the weeks he was named a starter to the end of the season, and finds himself as the primary back on a NYG team that wants to focus on the run. Jennings is not an injury concern and does not have the wear and tear on his body to cause a pause. Simply put, he is a guy with a huge upside, and also a guy I had been advocating for weeks. Easy choice right?
With the 42nd pick in the 2014 draft, Would I rather CJ Spiller or Rashad Jennings?
I would rather CJ Spiller. At this point, the record would screech to a halt, the snifter of brandy would fall to the floor, and the sounds of shattering glass would echo through the hall. Yes, I get it. I’m a huge hypocrite. In truth, I got caught up in the moment and lost my focus. I looked at Spiller as a player who has top 5 potential if he happens to catch fire. I’m buying into the scheme in Buffalo and really banking on a huge rebound year. I tried to justify it by saying he’s my RB2, and if I get a good RB3 I can play match-ups. Spiller is a fine option and one that most people would take. Having said all of that, I regret the decision completely. I think that Rashad Jennings would have been the safer, and possibly smarter choice. This will be one that could haunt me throughout the 2014 season. What do you think readers? Did I choose right or wrong? Also, I mentioned above that I made mistakes. I failed to handcuff Fred Jackson to CJ Spiller for any number of possible reasons. Regardless, MAJOR rookie mistake.
Round 8: Mike Wallace vs. Sammy Watkins (WR4)
These are, in my humble opinion, some of the most enjoyable rounds during drafts. You get your starters out-of-the-way, and now you begin crafting your team with the players you hope/think will pop. Surprisingly, this was a lot harder of a decision to make than I expected. I have been very open on my disdain for Mike Wallace, especially after he burnt me in 2013. In fact, Wallace was on my list of players that I was not to draft under any circumstance. For shits and giggles, here is said list: (CJ Spiller, Andre Johnson, Mike Wallace, Trent Richardson, Nick Foles, Carolina Panthers RB or WR, NE RB’s, Bowe, Boldin, Cooper, Ertz, Ebron, SD RB’s, and kicker before last round).
Yes, I recognize I drafted the first 3 players on that list. I am very aware of that. I am Jack’s sense of self-awareness.
When my name was called and I was on the clock, I immediately locked on to these two players.
Sammy Watkins: First WR off the rookie board, immense talent, huge upside, expected to be all-star.
Mike Wallace: One year wonder, personal vendetta based on 2013, potential, potential, potential!
So, with the 70th pick of the 2014 draft, would I rather Mike Wallace or Sammy Watkins?
I would rather Mike Wallace. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, hear me out! Sammy Watkins is much more talented than Mike Wallace, you’ll never hear me argue against that. What I will argue against, is Ryan Tannehill vs. EJ Manuel. I think Tannehill is an underrated quarterback, and the Dolphins are going to be a vastly improved team. The Bill Lazor offense will be a much faster-paced, up tempo scheme than one they’ve seen before. Wallace should act as the “Desean Jackson” (read: deep threat) player, and should have a really solid year. I, for better or for worse, believe in Wallace and Tannehill. Watkins, on the other hand, has a really bad quarterback. I have 0 faith in EJ Manuel and expect Watkins to suffer as a result. If Manuel is injured, then the success of Watkins lies in the hands of Jordan Palmer. My final point, this is a 4th WR position, which means they’ll see sporadic play. I’d rather hedge my bets on the guy who will be a featured point with a known QB and an OC who wants to throw the ball deep; then have to play a guy with a bad QB and is unproven.
Thus concludes our second installment of “Would you Rather?” I could continue discussing a few other difficult selections (Michael Floyd > Eric Decker), but ultimately I’m satisfied with the team I have. Thank you for reading and please, let me know if you think I made the right or wrong decision. Next week, we’ll begin our week to week hot play/bad play column, as well as the typical rambling introduction you’ve come to know and love. Cheers everyone, and best of luck in your drafts!
|DOVER MAFIA (0-0)|
|SLOT||PLAYER, TEAM POS||ACQ|
|QB||Drew Brees, NO QB||Draft|
|RB||Adrian Peterson, Min RB||Draft|
|RB||Chris Johnson, NYJ RB||Draft|
|WR||Dez Bryant, Dal WR||Draft|
|WR||Andre Johnson, Hou WR||Draft|
|TE||Greg Olsen, Car TE P||Draft|
|FLEX||Kendall Wright, Ten WR||Draft|
|D/ST||Patriots D/ST D/ST||Draft|
|K||Blair Walsh, Min K||Draft|
|Bench||C.J. Spiller, Buf RB||Draft|
|Bench||Mike Wallace, Mia WR||Draft|
|Bench||Michael Floyd, Ari WR||Draft|
|Bench||Chris Ivory, NYJ RB||Draft|
|Bench||Terrance Williams, Dal WR||Draft|
|Bench||Tre Mason, StL RB||Free Agency|
|Bench||Greg Jennings, Min WR||Free Agency|
Oh, for those wondering, here is my complete roster in the IFFL.