Last week, Apex Fantasy Football Money leagues hosted an Expert Writers League. It’s a league for real money that is sponsored by Apex. The league included a star-studded cast with some of the best writers in the industry, including RotoWorld.com’s Evan Silva, ProFootballFocus.com’s Mike Clay, FootballGuys.com’s Sigmund Bloom and 2013 NFFC Champion Shawn Siegele.
It was a difficult draft that I was fortunate enough to participate in. In this article I’m going to run through my selections and explain my thought process. You can see the entire draft board here. Here’s a link to Apex’s PPR Scoring.
1.08 Odell Beckham Jr.
Unless I can get Le’Veon Bell, I typically draft one of the big five wide receivers in the first round of a PPR draft. Julio Jones, who I made a case for taking first overall, was selected fourth overall leaving Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant on the board. With both of those being selected with the two picks in front of me, I took Odell Beckham.
Beckham averaged more points per game (24.75) than any player in Apex leagues in last season. He could average 3.4 fewer fantasy points per game and still justify being selected 8th overall.
2.05 A.J. Green
With Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson being selected with the two picks prior to my selection, my pick came down to A.J. Green and Jordy Nelson.
I have both ranked very similarly. While I prefer Jordy Nelson’s offense and quarterback, Green receives more targets and is three years younger. While Nelson finished higher last season, Green was superior in 2013 finishing as WR4. The age and volume helped me give AJ the nod.
3.08 Jordan Matthews
With C.J Spiller and Melvin Gordon as the most desirable running backs left on the board, my third selection was between Jordan Matthews and DeAndre Hopkins. This was just after news of Arian Foster’s injury broke and I was (and still am) concerned about the ability of the Texans’ offense to score touchdowns with one of the league’s worst quarterbacks and replacement-level talent at running back.
On the other hand, I am not concerned about the Eagles ability to score touchdowns. The Eagles finished third in scoring last season and could finish even higher with the additions of Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. I’ll take the player on the better offense because he’ll have many more opportunities to score touchdowns. It doesn’t hurt that beat writers are gushing about Matthews.
4.05 Julian Edelman
I believe that the wide receiver talent falls off quickly in PPR fantasy drafts this season so I wanted to get my flex wide receiver early. That’s because in PPR leagues that start three WRs and a flex, the flex position wins championships.
With Amari Cooper off the board, Julian Edelman was an easy selection. He is being drafted at his floor and comes with more upside than it appears.
5.08 Joseph Randle
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a big fan of Joseph Randle’s talent but someone will have to run the ball behind Dallas’ monster offensive line. For right now, Jerry Jones says that player is Randle.
Running backs perform better when their team is winning and the Cowboys look poised to be a good team this season. If Randle can stay healthy and rack up 225+ carries, he’s likely to finish as a top 15 running back. I drafted him as RB25.
6.05 Tevin Coleman
Keep in mind that I selected Coleman before his hamstring injury. Handpicked by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, there’s a lot to like about Coleman. He’s a promising athlete, had impressive college production, and doesn’t have face strong competition.
7.08 Devonta Freeman
Like the Coleman pick, I selected Freeman before his hamstring injury. With the expectations of the Atlanta offense, there will be running back production. Shanahan has a history of using one back so this was a safety pick as I will start Coleman or Freeman consistently in with RB2 slot. I’m not planning to start either at my flex; I’ll start a wide receiver consistently there.
8.05 Brian Quick
With 44 wide receivers already off the board and my strategy so wide receiver heavy, I wanted to select my WR5 by the 8th round. After Shawn Siegele selected Davante Adams, I knew Brian Quick was my guy. He’s an efficient, big target that was impressive last season before his season-ending injury. Quick is one of my seven undervalued bargains for your fantasy draft.
9.08 Chris Ivory
Despite finishing last season as RB24, I drafted Ivory as RB39. With Stevan Ridley still inactive and Zac Stacy looking unlikely to make the team, Ivory has little competition for the starting job. He’s available late and is perfect for a Zero RB team. He’s also one of my seven undervalued bargains for your fantasy draft.
In Part II of this article, I will discuss my selections in rounds 10 through 18.