It is Week 4 of the preseason and those fantasy leagues that have not drafted yet will be printing out their cheat sheets, picking out their favorite draft jerseys (I always wear a soccer jersey to mine as a kind of inside joke) and waiting to go on the clock.
For those of you who've been reading this weekly piece, you know that I do not profess myself as an expert. I am just a avid fantasy football player who has been enjoying this wonderful phenomenon for nearly two decades.
I play every year in two leagues, one of those is called Dereliction and it is a 14-team point--per-reception CBSSports.com league with no required tight end (we run 3 WR/TE) and no flex. I began competing in this league in 2004 and have been a Super Bowl finalist twice and made the playoffs in all but one year. But alas, the championship still eludes me as I once again embark this year on the opportunity to have my name engraved on the Dereliction League trophy.
My second league is one that I've participated in since the early 2000s. It is called FootBrawl and is a 12-team standard Yahoo.com league with a tight end and a flex. I've won this league twice, but it's been going on five years now and the commissioner always keeps us on our toes by tweaking the league settings. This year passing is 40 yards per point with rushing and receiving 20 yards per point. All touchdowns are six points, including passing. Some leagues like to only count 4 points per passing TD, but in both of mine, passing, rushing and receiving are counted the same.
So basically, this league is what is referred to as a "touchdown league." The majority of points by your team will come through scoring plays rather than yardage. The tough thing about this league is predicting TDs for players. For example, Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones is going in the top 10 picks for many drafts because he enjoyed a monster season last year with 104 catches for 1,593 yards - but I left out the final part - and six touchdowns.
Those numbers sound amazing, but in our Yahoo league's scoring format, Jones gave owners 115 points total for the season.
If you look at someone like Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans' totals from 2014, there's a sizable difference in receptions (68) and yards (1,051). But in touchdowns, Evans finished with 12, meaning he provided his owners with 124 points.
Defenses are also huge in this league. For instance, Minnesota's D probably was not one fantasy owners were racing out to pick up last year, but in our Yahoo format, the Vikings gave that owner 139 points - more than Jones or Evans.
It makes drafting for this Yahoo league decidedly different and I wanted to contrast last week's piece on my Dereliction draft and this week with a standard league. I hope to give some last minute drafters that little bit of extra information to prepare.
So, on Sunday night we held our FootBrawl draft. I drew the No. 7 draft position and immediately started thinking about stacking two No. 1 receivers, taking advantage of my league mates going RB and QB early. My wife is also in this league (she nearly won the thing last year in her first-ever fantasy season), but was not thrilled to draw the No. 12 draft slot.
The first pick of our draft was Jamaal Charles, followed by Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch and Le'Veon Bell. Notice the difference in this draft compared to a PPR - it's all running backs because they have the best chance each week to get in the end zone.
Now remember I am picking seventh and there is nothing more frustrating than the person drafting in front of you constantly choosing the player you were going to take. That's not a slight on the owner who picked sixth in our league, he was graded as an A+ for his draft by Yahoo, but if I could've been one spot higher, most of his players would've been on my team.
But I digress and when it was my turn to pick, I didn't hesitate and stayed with my strategy. I grabbed Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant with my first pick. Bryant may not have as many receptions as others, but remember, this is all about the touchdowns, and he led the league with 16 last season.
By the time my wife drafted at 12, both "first-two round" quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, were off the board, along with someone grabbing Ben Roethlisberger. That is a big-time reach in my opinion and it enabled her to draft grab arguably the two best receivers in fantasy by drafting back-to-back Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown.
Amazingly, the fourth quarterback went off the board in the second round before my pick and could not wait to push the draft button on Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, another TD machine when healthy.
I rounded out my draft in Rounds 3-8 with RB Frank Gore, QB Tony Romo (a bit of a reach in fourth round, but QBs were going fast), TE Travis Kelce, RB T.J. Yeldon, WR Sammy Watkins and RB LeGarrette Blount.
Remember, this league is all about who can put the ball in the end zone and I structured my picks along those lines.
By the way, my wife's picks in Rounds 3-8 were RB Latavius Murray, QB Peyton Manning, RB Todd Gurley, TE Greg Olsen, WR Charles Johnson and RB Isiah Crowell. There is a reason she played for the title last year. A solid group of touchdown-seeking backs and receivers, and Manning could be a nice grab in Round 4 in our league.
When everything was finished my Yahoo team looked like this:
Quarterbacks: Tony Romo, Carson Palmer
Running Backs: Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, LeGarrette Blount, Joique Bell, Danny Woodhead
Receivers: Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, Sammy Watkins, Roddy White, Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton
Tight End: Travis Kelce
Now, compare that with my PPR 14-team league draft two weeks ago for Dereliction:
Quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles
Running Backs: Justin Forsett, Todd Gurley, Giovani Bernard, Charles Sims, C.J. Spiller
Receivers: Antonio Brown, Jordan Matthews, Eric Decker, Devin Funchess, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman
In my PPR league, I went with quarterbacks who could provide me with rushing yards as well as passing yards along with TDs. In my standard league, yardage is so miniscule that it's all about TDs.
In my PPR league, my receives are all either heavy reception guys I feel like Brown, Matthews and Decker or upside wild cards like Funchess, Parker and Perriman. In my standard league I went with TD monsters like Bryant and Johnson and solid performers like White, Wright and Watkins.
The biggest difference is at running back. I can honestly say that besides Gurley, I don't see any of my PPR league backs being productive in the standard league. Conversely, Blount, Gore and Yeldon are more power rushers than receivers.
It is two schools of thought, but I hope that both teams have me playing a long time and deliver me some much-desired hardware.