By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Updated Aug. 20, 2015
Using FantasyPros' Aggregate Average Draft Position (ADP) I'm going to pick my ideal team from the No. 8 draft slot. Hopefully, this will give you a little insight into how my perfect draft would look from that position and show you some of the guys I'll be targeting through the first nine rounds.
12 teams, Standard Scoring;
QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex RB/WR
The eighth pick leaves me with a host of players to choose from according to ADP. When I take a look-see at my rankings, C.J. Anderson, Rob Gronkowski and Julio Jones are my sixth, seventh, and eighth overall picks, while ADP has them at 13th, 14th, and 18th. It really comes down to Anderson and Gronk for me, and I could see going with either one here.
The chances of Gronk coming back to me at pick No. 17 are nil, while there is a chance, albeit a very slim one, that Anderson could hold until then. If you feel like there is a real chance Anderson could still be there, then go Gronk every single time. For my little exercise here, we know Anderson won't last, but I'm going to pretend like I don't know that and go with Gronkowski.
When Jimmy Graham was with the Saints, there was at least another tight end who could hang with Gronk in fantasy, but now with the Seahawks, Graham's chances of elite production are almost gone. A top defense and running game will slow him down, and even though I am high on Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert and the like, the advantage you get with Gronk in head-to-head matchups each week is astounding. Even coming off an injury and missing a game last season, he scored 178 standard fantasy points while Antonio Gates was second with 148. And you can count on Gronk's production. How many of us were counting on Gates' production? You know what you are getting with Gronk and it eclipses the field.
Round 1 (No 8.) Selection:
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
The choices remain outstanding at the 17th pick with Jeremy Hill, and pretty much all of the top receivers not named Brown, Bryant or Thomas. For me, this selection comes down to Hill or Julio Jones. I just moved Jones up to my No. 1 receiver spot over Antonio Brown, and I'm having no regrets, but I also started with a tight end and missing out on a top running back scares me a bit. So, Jones is my pick here according to my rankings, but do I think going TE-WR is the best plan of attack?
At this point in a draft, you still have plenty of wiggle room. So starting TE-WR is really fine, you just have to keep in mind that you didn't get two safe, high-upside running backs. So that prepares you to fill your bench slots with running backs if need be. So welcome to Team Gresham, Mr. Jones; we're going be big stars.
Round 2 (No 17.) Selection:
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Ooooh, there went a bunch of guys I wanted to pick! Come back! Well, 'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Here, we are in Round 3 looking around in a slight stupor for that shiny ring in the dark that will turn us invisible and then we can leave the draft and go steal stuff, I guess. But what player is shiniest? It might be time for a running back, and there are plenty of guys hanging around. Alfred Morris, Frank Gore, Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde and Latavius Murray are all here setting up shop in the third tier of RB land. And if we check out my rankings again, Mr. Lamar Miller is the pick.
I'm in love with the Dolphins' offense this season. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor did good things with that offense last season as far as pace and getting into the red zone, and in his second year, I see a big step forward for Ryan Tannehill and company. And thankfully, Miller is in that company and doesn't have anyone breathing down his neck for playing time now that Jay Ajayi isn't progressing as many thought.
Round 3 (No 32.) Selection:
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins
At pick No. 41, we are at a slight crossroads and the devil is nowhere to be seen, because if he were, my soul is ripe and ready to be dealt for Andrew Luck, but alas. What we do have is a cornucopia of "meh" or a "meh-nucopia" if you will. Latavius Murray, Andre Johnson, Ben Roethlisberger and Jonathan Stewart are the players I'll be looking at here.
I'm high on Big Ben, but can't justify taking a quarterback this early when my other targets like Tannehill and Eli Manning are still available. I like Johnson quite a bit, but he's going a little too high for me when we just don't know how what the target situation will be for him with T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief and Coby Fleener, plus Frank Gore will all see some targets.
It comes down to Murray and Stewart for me. Neither are locks for big years. We haven't seen a full season out of either while getting starter reps, so both could easily break down at some point, especially Stewart, who has a clear history of being injured more often than healthy. I like Murray slightly more and feel like his upside is higher than Stewart's. So come on Mr. Murray, let's see if you can shock the world and give us two Murrays in a row as the rushing champion.
Round 4 (No 41.) Selection:
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
It looks like after two running back picks I've filled in my starting backs and am in need of two starting wide receivers. There's also a flex spot, so we're still pretty open as to what position would fit best, so I'm going to most likely go with best available.
Of the next group of players to choose from, I like Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, LeGarrette Blount and Ameer Abdullah. I would not be sad with any of these picks, but I like Allen and some of these other guys will have a chance to drop into the sixth round.
Allen's disappointing sophomore season was based mostly on lack of touchdowns. As Antonio Gates jumped from four touchdowns in '13 to 12 in '14 Allen dropped from eight to four. But Gates will be gone the first four games of the season and Allen will not. He isn't going to blow anyone away with his speed, but his route running and hands are tops in the league and touchdowns and yardage should head back to his rookie season totals, especially if he is 100% healthy.
Round 5 (No 56.) Selection:
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, LeGarrette Blount and Ameer Abdullah are all still on the board, and like I said, I would have been fine grabbing any of them in the previous round, so I'm even more fine grabbing one this round. The two upside picks are Bryant and Abdullah. I want both on all of my teams, but their hype will most likely get them picked right out from under you. But in this exercise, the hype isn't as ingrained into ADP yet, and Abdullah will be higher up in PPR ADP than the Standard ADP we're using.
We've already seen glimpses of what Abdullah can do, and even though Joique Bell is still around, there is a chance Bell can't stay on the field and Abdullah becomes the main man. In that scenario, we aren't talking PPR upside, we are talking Top-10 upside. How often can you get that with the 65th pick? But, much of what I just said about Abdullah is also true for Bryant, though he won't need Antonio Brown to be injured to allow him to put up big numbers. We've already seen him do Bryant in limited snaps last season. So what to do? Coin Flip!! Enroll me in AA; I'm drunk on Abdullah!
Round 6 (No 65.) Selection:
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
So to recap, I still need a wide receiver and a quarterback for my starting lineup. The ADP at No. 80 on has a few guys I like, including Chris Ivory, Eli Manning and Allen Robinson being the top three. If I needed a running back here, I'd be on Ivory, but I need a quarterback or receiver more, so I'll narrow it down to those two.
Eli Manning is a target of mine due to Ben McAdoo's fast and quick-hitting offense and the phenomenon known as Odell Beckham Jr. That and the NFC East isn't home to the best pass defenses in the league. But, Allen Robinson is poised for a nice season himself after Cecil Shorts left a big target hole for Robinson to fill. The question is, which position do I feel like I have the best chance of landing players I want? At quarterback, I'd be happy with Ryan Tannehill, and if I missed him, I'd look at grabbing two upside quarterbacks so I could stream, which is a viable option. At wide receiver, there are plenty of players who I like still on the board, but no No. 1 receivers with the skill set of Robinson. So receiver it is.
Round 7 (No 80.) Selection:
Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
Hey! There's Ryan Tannehill right there with an ADP of 91 overall. I think I'll pick him!
Round 8 (No 89.) Selection:
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
Here's the group of Round 9ers who I will be choosing from: Charles Johnson, Shane Vereen, Ryan Matthews, Adam Vinatieri, Devonta Freeman, Anquan Boldin and ... wait ... Adam Vinatieri? Come on people.
The upside play is Johnson. He has measurables to be an elite receiver, and his quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seems to get better every time he steps onto the field. I'm also warming up to Ryan Mathews more of late, but I still think that Demarco Murray will need an injury for Mathews to really put up the numbers we need from him. Freeman could be the lead back in Atlanta, but if I had to put money on it, I'd call it a committee between him and Tevin Coleman for much of the season. Boldin is safe, and I probably need some safe plays on this team, but safe plays don't have enough upside for me when I'm choosing between Boldin and Johnson. Some come on down, Chuck! You're the next contestant on the ADP Draft!
Round 9 (No 104.) Selection:
Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings
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