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Axe Elf

Axe Elf's 2016 Dream Team, February Edition

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Well, I also said it was a Draft Master lineup, so I wouldn't be "rolling out" anyone, but I suspect that if I was, either Jeremy Langford or Danny Woodhead would be my RB2.

And you're also correct about the auction format trumping any "round" considerations, but by the time the hype trains roll out of the station this summer, I wouldn't be surprised to see DeMarco Murray and Keenan Allen as legitimate 1st-round-corner picks in 12 team leagues (late first and early second), and Sammy Watkins and Jeremy Langford probly won't last until the end of the third, either.

Currently, from the mock drafts at Fantasy Football Calculator, they have ADPs of 2.12 (Allen) and 3.08 (Watkins). Langford is at 4.01 and Murray is at 4.08, but once those teams' RB situations clarify and the general public catches on to what Axe Elf is telling you now, you can expect them to jump up a couple of rounds.

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Good stuff Axe.

I agree with most of it but want nothing to do with Demarco.

Woodhead - all depends on what they do on the OL. I'm also keeping in mind they are going to give MG3 every opportunity to succeed and be a 3 down back.

Stafford - want to see what happens at OT and WR.

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I got a chance to put my Dream Team research to work in a real Draft Master draft tonight--my first non-mock of the season (Happy Mother's Day, Mom!). This axually beats my record for the earliest draft by a good month, as I usually don't even think about drafting until at least mid-June. But hey, just because some people are drafting super-early doesn't mean they shouldn't have to compete against Axe Elf like everyone else, right?

This is a 10-team league with pretty basic PPR scoring, but with 1 pt per 20 pass yards, 4 pts per pass TD, and only -1 per INT. Best-ball lineups (set automatically after the games are played) are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, Flex, Flex, Team K, Team D/ST, and there are 24-player rosters. The entry fee is $19.95, with $100 for 1st place and $50 for 2nd.

Since it wasn't an auction draft (which I would have preferred), I wasn't able to get EVERYONE I wanted (I got sniped on Cousins, Tannehill, Witten and Ebron in particular), but I'm pretty happy with the way the team turned out, as I DID get a lot of the guys I have been coveting for 2016. If it HAS to be a snake draft, having the #1 overall pick doesn't hurt anything...

1.01 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT

2.10 Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

3.01 Keenan Allen, WR, SD

BOOM! I never even considered a RB at the 2-3 turn when Watkins and Allen fell to me. Based on last year's paces, that's 350 receptions, 4680 receiving yards, and 27 TDs--or 980 fantasy points right there. (It will take about 2500 points to win the league.) And they all have different bye weeks!

4.10 Carlos Hyde, RB, SF

5.01 Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI

I could not have hoped for a better pair of RBs to fall to me at the 4-5 turn than these two. Hyde is likely to be the only game in town with a coach that loves to run the ball--if he can just stay healthy. Langford averaged almost 82 yards per game in November and December--on pace for 1310 for the season--while sharing the backfield with Matt Forte. Each of them has top 10 potential, and I get them after opening the draft with three elite WRs? Fuhgeddaboudit.

6.10 DeVante Parker, WR, MIA

7.01 Michael Floyd, WR, AZ

Since it's a PPR league, I'm going to want to flex WRs rather than RBs whenever possible, so I added another pair of WRs with big-game potential at the 6-7 turn. Parker shares a Week 8 bye with Antonio Brown, but that still leaves me with three guys I expect to finish in the top 20, so I'm not too concerned about it.

8.10 Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG

9.01 Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE

I went back to the RBs at this turn, and it was definitely none too soon--these were about the last two credible starting RBs left on the board, other than maybe Frank Gore. The next five RBs taken were Duke Johnson, Charles Sims, Frank Gore, Derrick Henry and Karlos Williams. Still, they are a couple of guys I like to be late values and potential contributors to a Draft Master team. Hue Jackson has been talking up Crowell as his bellcow back, and we know how he likes to operate his offense around a solid rushing game. Jennings averaged over 100 combined yards per game in the final four contests last season. I'm hoping he will pick up where he left off, with another solid WR added in the draft to loosen up opposing defenses.

10.10 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET

11.01 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, TB

With 10 teams each likely to take 3 QBs in this format with an extended roster, they were starting to fall off the board pretty quickly at this point. In a more traditional draft, I might have been able to wait another turn on Stafford, but he was the third QB left on the player list at this point, and I didn't want to take the chance. Zach Ertz had already gone in the 8th round, and with ASJ as the third TE left on the player list as well, I figured it was time to secure him also.

12.10 Breshad Perriman, WR, BAL

13.01 Dwayne Allen, TE, IND

Here is where I was hoping to take another TE like Witten or Ebron, but when both of them, along with TEs Thomas and Graham, came off the board in the 12th, I was left scrambling a little, and settled on Allen, who, while he isn't on my Dream Team list, could be set up to have a nice season with Coby Fleener out of the picture--if he can just stay healthy. I was also thinking about taking Kirk Cousins at this turn, but with one of my other WR targets, Perriman, as the #5 WR left on the player list, I couldn't resist his big-play potential. Besides, there were still quite a few decent QBs left. The only problem is that Week 8 now becomes an official issue, with 3 of 6 WRs (Brown, Parker and Perriman) and 2 of 4 RBs (Hyde and Jennings) all sharing that bye.

14.10 Joe Flacco, QB, BAL

15.01 Alex Smith, QB, KC

Passing on a QB at the last turn cost me, as the QBs drafted between 13.02 and 14.09 included Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston and Tyrod Taylor. With no other particular areas of need at this point, I wrapped up my only two Dream Team QBs still available. I almost went with Andy Dalton over Alex Smith (and there's still some lingering buyer's remorse around that), but the Bengals lost a lot of receiving targets in free agency, not to mention the change at Offensive Coordinator, so I lean toward the known consistency of Smith here. Besides, the Chiefs have made some moves that indicate that they may be more willing to stretch the field and take some shots downfield this season.

16.10 Paul Perkins, RB, NYG

17.01 Jared Cook, TE, GB

Perkins is probly the greatest threat to Jennings' touches this season, and the best handcuff to have if Jennings were to get hurt. I don't see any scenario in which Shane Vereen or Andre Williams would take over the lion's share of the carries, so this is a little insurance, with no other viable RBs available by this point--even though it doesn't really help with the bye week problem. Cook, eh, I'm not particularly high on him, but he was about the only TE left with the potential to post a big game or two--and with rosters this deep, I really wanted 3 TEs.

18.10 Stevie Johnson, WR, SD

19.01 Jacksonville Jaguars, Team D/ST, JAX

I tacked on Johnson to round out the WR corps as a little insurance for Keenan Allen--and to have another WR that isn't on bye in Week 8. Bringing 3 first-round talents to the Jacksonville defense (including last year's #1 pick returning from a season on IR) and a favorable schedule has me excited about the Jags this season--and this was the 7th D/ST off the board.

20.10 Devontae Booker, RB, DEN

21.01 Minnesota Vikings, Team D/ST, MIN

Two more defenses came off the board before I selected the Vikings, who had improved on defense throughout 2015, and were the #3 D/ST over the last 3 weeks of the year. They also have a top-10 schedule for fantasy defenses in 2016. The RB pick is nothing more than a dart--a guy who could emerge with an injury to CJ Anderson, playing for a coach with a history of making stud RBs out of thin air (and at least he doesn't have a Week 8 bye).

22.10 Detroit Lions, Team K, DET

23.01 Houston Texans, Team K, HOU

24.10 Ka'Deem Carey, RB, CHI

At my final turn, I wrapped up two Kickers that play for dome teams which should both have good offenses in 2016. For Mr. Irrelevant, I ended the draft by selecting a little insurance for Jeremy Langford as well. Yeah, I know Jordan Howard could be the next in line, but I have to think that if Langford gets hurt, ALL of the carries wouldn't fall on Howard alone as a rookie. It would suck for my team, for sure, but maybe not quite as much if I could recoup a little production from Carey.

So, by position:

QB: Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith

RB: Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Langford, Rashad Jennings, Isaiah Crowell, Paul Perkins, Devontae Booker, Ka'Deem Carey

WR: Antonio Brown, Sammy Watkins, Keenan Allen, DeVante Parker, Michael Floyd, Breshad Perriman, Stevie Johnson

TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Dwayne Allen, Jared Cook

Team K: Detroit Lions, Houston Texans

Team D/ST: Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings

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Nice draft, Axe. Some of your favorites worked out perfectly.

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After a few weeks of seemingly being in the right place at the wrong time to get a Draft Master auction league to fill, I finally jumped in with both feet on Saturday night in a six-hour, two draft auction marathon. These were my first two opportunities this season to put my Dream Team preferences to work in the auction format. I ended up fairly pleased with the first effort, but not as much with the second. From the process of both, though, I think I've learned a few things that will help me hone the Dream Team to early offseason perfection.

Like the previous snake draft I posted, these two auctions were both 10-team leagues with a $20 entry fee, offering $100 to first place and $50 to second. Scoring is full PPR, with a little benefit to QBs (1 pt per 20 pass yards, 4 pt pass TDs, and -1 for INTs). The rosters and starting lineups are a little smaller, however, with 20 players per team (instead of 24), and 9 starters (1 Flex instead of 2) including QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, Flex, TE, Team K, Team D/ST in a best-ball lineup set after the games are played.

When I started the first draft, I was thinking about how so many of my Dream Team targets are still kind of "under the radar" for the general public, and how I would probably have a lot of auction cash left over if I stuck only to my Dream Team targets. Therefore, I decided to land one "big fish" early, who isn't necessarily on my A-list, just to keep me from leaving $40-$50 on the table (with a $200 auction budget).

In the snake draft I did earlier, the blessing of the #1 overall pick allowed me to land Antonio Brown to anchor my team, but his auction price of $60 was prohibitive. I decided instead to use the "big fish" money on a RB, since that was the position of greatest concern for my snake-drafted team--so I jumped right in and purchased defending NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson for $51 within the first few nominations. Without knowing how my other players would price out, it was kind of a leap of faith there in the first few nominations of the draft.

To make a long story short (I'll save the long story for the second draft), it really worked out rather well. There were only a couple of things that kind of forced me to depart from my script a bit. First of all, the TE prices were a little higher than I anticipated, especially for a couple of my primary targets. As expected, the top TEs were priced out of my market (Gronk $41, Reed $27, Olsen $17, Eifert $13, Kelce $12, Walker $9), but I didn't expect guys like Zach Ertz to go for $9. Maybe I should have, when Coby Fleener went for $10, but I didn't really have the bankroll or the desire to bid into the double digits for a secondary target like Ertz. So then when Austin Seferian-Jenkins came up a few nominations later, I definitely didn't have the bankroll to chase him up to his eventual price of $13. Sheesh, I coulda had Eifert for that. Even Eric Ebron cost me $6, so I was pretty pleased to land Witten for $2, and I reluctantly rounded out my 3rd TE slot with Kyle Rudolph for $1 (Dwayne Allen went for $4).

The second thing that did not go as planned was that I had hoped to have Golden Tate as one of my top 2 or 3 WRs, and I wasn't really targeting Doug Baldwin for this league's PPR scoring, but when the clock was ticking down and Baldwin was sitting there at $8, I wasn't going to let him go for that--and my subsequent $9 bid was successful. If I'd had that $9 back, plus the $8 I eventually left on the table, I might have had a shot at landing Tate--but he went for $15, so there's no real guarantee that my $16 bid would have been successful if the other owner was willing to go $17. So I basically ended up with Baldwin instead of Tate. Oh well.

Parenthetically, my leftover $8 probly wouldn't have helped me land Austin Seferian-Jenkins, either, as I would have wanted him instead of Rudolph, who only cost $1--not enough to get me the $14 I would have needed to bid on ASJ.

I also ended up paying $3 for Cousins as a QB2 instead of the expected $1 for Tannehill, but I count that as an affordable upgrade.

Here, then is my final roster:

QB: Matthew Stafford ($6), Kirk Cousins ($3)

Two of the top 4 QBs over the second half of 2015, behind only Newton and Wilson. Cha-ching.

RB: Adrian Peterson ($51), Carlos Hyde ($19), Jeremy Langford ($16), Danny Woodhead ($11), Rashad Jennings ($3)

I didn't have the roster space to back up Jennings with Perkins in this league, but between Peterson, Hyde, Langford and Woodhead, I probably have three top tennish PPR RBs in most weeks. I could have gone with Isaiah Crowell for $6 instead of Jennings for $3 (and cut my leftover funds down to $5), but I didn't know it at the time that Crowell was on the block (at about the halfway point in the draft). Hyde and Jennings share a Week 8 bye.

WR: Keenan Allen ($27), Michael Floyd ($12), DeVante Parker ($12), Doug Baldwin ($9), Dorial Green-Beckham ($6), Tavon Austin ($1)

As I've outlined before, I kind of expect Allen to be among the top 5 WRs this year if he stays healthy, so it's a huge value to land him for about half of what the other 4 cost (Brown $60, OBJ $58, Julio $52, Hopkins $45; avg $53.75). Hopefully either Floyd or Baldwin can hold down the WR2 slot most weeks, with Parker, DGB and Austin taking turns at kicking in a respectable Flex score. Austin and Parker share a Week 8 bye (along with the 2 RBs).

TE: Eric Ebron ($6), Jason Witten ($2), Kyle Rudolph ($1)

Previously discussed. I kind of expect Witten to carry the crew with another top 10 year for him, but Ebron and Rudolph should kick in a few weeks when they score TDs. At least all three will be available in Week 8 for a potential Flex contribution, with only 3 active RBs and 4 active WRs that week.

Team K: Minnesota Vikings ($2), Detroit Lions ($1)

Team D/ST: Minnesota Vikings ($2), Houston Texans ($2)

Leftover: $8

There seemed to be a lot of owners nominating Ks and Ds early and often. I don't know if they thought they were being tricky (you know, either they get the one they want, or they force someone else to pay TWO DOLLARS for a kicker), or if they just didn't know how to use nomination strategies to their advantage, but it ended up causing me to pay $2 for most of my top choices at these positions--and I still had $8 left over. So much for the debilitating tactic of making me pay $2 for a kicker.

A couple of other surprising prices in this first draft--Allen Robinson for $30 (thought he would be more), Jamaal Charles for $26 (thought he would be a LOT more), Larry Fitzgerald for $10 (thought he would be a lot more too), Allen Hurns for $8 (shouldn't he be more?) Jonathan Stewart for $7 and Justin Forsett for $3 (these are still the lead backs for their teams, aren't they?).

One bathroom break and beverage freshening later, I was starting my second auction draft of the season. I went in with the plan to save a little more money this time, to be sure I could land Golden Tate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. To do that, I was thinking maybe I wouldn't go for an elite RB like Peterson this time, but rather shoot for a second ace WR in the $30-$40 range, like Allen Robinson ($30 in the first draft), AJ Green (also $30), Jordy Nelson ($35) or Dez Bryant ($39).

And then with the third nomination of the draft, Adrian Peterson is about to be sold for $40, and I couldn't resist. I took him home for $41, happy to have the extra $10, plus the $8 left over from the first draft, giving me a slush fund of $18 to use to go after Tate and ASJ if everything else remained the same. The problem was that almost nothing else remained this same, and the impulse buy of Peterson was only the first change of direction in a draft that pretty much had me chasing my tail from the start to the finish, resulting in one of my worst drafts in recent memory.

For example, Jeremy Langford went on the block about fifteen picks in, and I couldn't really remember how much I had paid for him in the first draft, but it took $27 to land him in this one. When I looked back and saw I had only paid $16 in the first draft, I was pretty pissed; there went $11 of my $18 slush fund already! But then Carlos Hyde joined my team for only $11 this time, instead of the $19 he cost before, putting $8 back into the kitty--and putting me back in business!

But then Keenan Allen cost $34 this time instead of $27, and there went $7 of the $8 I saved on Hyde. And so it went. I saved $4 on DeVante Parker and spent $5 more on Michael Floyd. I saved $4 on Dorial Green-Beckham but spent $2 more on Jason Witten. I ended up kicking myself for not bidding on a couple of elite TEs who went for $11 (Eifert and Olsen), which was less than I was expecting to spend on ASJ, but I was still holding money for Danny Woodhead--but I couldn't chase him up to his eventual price of $20 anyway and ended up settling for Isaiah Crowell at $2. So it was just a lot of frustration, saving money for one guy or another who I couldn't end up affording anyway, when I could have spent the money more wisely somewhere else previously if I had known how futile it was to save the money.

It all came to a head in the final stages of the draft. I still didn't have a QB, but almost all of my QB targets remained on the board (Cousins had gone earlier, but for twice what I paid in the first auction, so I let him go). Golden Tate and ASJ were still on the board too, but I had a pretty comfortable max bid of $39 remaining, so I felt pretty good. The only problem was that there was another team with a max bid of around $45, and then some goofball who had made it three quarters of the way through the draft without spending even half of his money (he still had a max bid of something like $110)--and most players left were going for less than $10.

This in stark contrast to another newbie who had spent $64 on Antonio Brown, $50 on Brown's teammate, Le'Veon Bell, $37 on Ezekiel Elliot and $28 on Jordy Nelson, leaving him with a max bid of $6 some 20 picks into the draft--but nonetheless filled his spare time by crowing about how he was kicking all of our asses with his four "proven" players. I pointed out that two of them were "proven" to be coming back from catastrophic injuries and one of them was a rookie, but he didn't care.

But I digress. The point here is a couple of my biggest remaining targets were Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate, and wouldn't you know it--Team Moneybags was a Lions' fan. When Tate came up, I bid on him well into the $20s, but the other two teams with money weren't having it, and Moneybags finally won Tate for $32. Remember, Jordy Nelson had gone for $28. Allen Robinson had gone for $27. Demaryius Thomas went at $21. A whole SLEW of quality WRs had gone in the $10 range (Kelvin Benjamin $11, Larry Fitzgerald $9, Julian Edelman $9). Even Dez Bryant had only mustered $35, yet here was Golden Tate selling for $32.

So despite my best efforts, I still missed on Tate. But hey, at least I still had plenty of money. I was fully prepared to overpay like a boss for Austin Seferian-Jenkins when he was nominated, but rather anticlimactically won him for just the minimum answering bid of $2. Really? Only $2? NOW it appeared that maybe I was going to leave like $25-$30 on the table, especially when I sniped the Ryan Tannehill nomination for $2 as well. So when one of my last Dream Team WR targets was put on the block about five picks later, I stubbornly bid him up with the other team who had a $45 max bid until I finally won Donte Moncrief for $24. Hmph. Coulda had Allen Robinson, Jordy Nelson, or heck--any two of Benjamin, Edelman and Fitzgerald for comparable cheddar, but here I was having to throw away excess bankroll on Donte freaking Moncrief (who had sold for $8 in the first auction)!

I even passed on Tavon Austin, who I was expecting to be a $1 player, when he was bid up to $5. And then, with my max bid cut down to $14, Matthew Stafford hit the block, and that was when I finally realized that Team Moneybags was a Lions' fan. When they saw I was bidding on him too, they pretty quickly just threw down a $14 bid and closed me out. So after spending most of the draft holding onto money that I didn't really need, I ended up needing money that I didn't have after blowing it on Moncrief--and for the final indignity, still left $11 of my auction budget on the table.

Well, maybe that wasn't the final indignity. I was in my 6th hour of drafting, and I was really frustrated at this point, so with the QB pool running low I snagged Joe Flacco for $1 without thinking too much about it--and THEN realized he has the same bye week as Tannehill. DOH!

And so my second roster turned out to be:

QB: Ryan Tannehill ($2), Joe Flacco ($1)

Neither of these guys would be my first choice for a QB to begin with, and with the zero at the QB position in Week 8, I'm already starting out in a 20 point hole relative to the other teams. Wonderful.

RB: Adrian Peterson ($41), Jeremy Langford ($27), Carlos Hyde ($11), Isaiah Crowell ($2), Rashad Jennings ($1)

I don't even like my RBs as well as the first team, missing the #3 PPR RB from last season in Danny Woodhead. Hyde and Jennings share the Week 8 bye again.

WR: Keenan Allen ($34), Donte Moncrief ($24), Michael Floyd ($17), DeVante Parker ($8), Dorial Green-Beckham ($2), Breshad Perriman ($1)

I basically traded Baldwin for Moncrief and Austin for Perriman; neither of which may be upgrades. Even with Austin gone, there's still a Week 8 bye conflict between Parker and Perriman.

TE: Eric Ebron ($4), Jason Witten ($4), Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($2)

I may be substantially better at TE with ASJ instead of Kyle Rudolph, but that's the only bright spot for this team. There are still 3 TEs available in Week 8, too.

Team K: Minnesota Vikings ($2), Detroit Lions ($1)

Team D/ST: Oakland Raiders ($3), Jacksonville Jaguars ($2)

Leftover: $11

Same kickers, different defenses. Yeah, I know, $3 on the Raiders--but they were about the only credible defense left at the time I paid for them, and I was clearly going to be leaving money on the table at that point anyway.

Jamaal Charles went for $27 in the second auction, after his $26 price tag in the first. I may have to consider targeting him instead of Peterson as my big-fish RB1, if it's going to save me another $15-$20 off of Peterson's price. I could use that money to upgrade Michael Floyd's $15 average price to get another big-fish WR1 like Allen Robinson in the upper $20s or lower $30s--and then target Larry Fitzgerald, who went in the $10 range in both drafts, instead of Floyd. I was also surprised to see Allen Hurns go under $10 in both drafts ($8 and $5), but I wouldn't want to get him AND Allen Robinson. (Hmm... Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns... I could go for the all-Allen team!)

Jonathan Stewart ($7, $13) and Justin Forsett ($3, $2) bear watching as potential RB steals, based on their prices in these two auctions--especially if I keep having to pay more than $20 for Jeremy Langford. I might have to experiment with subbing one of them in for Langford if I do decide to spend more at WR, for something like a Charles, Hyde, Woodhead, Stewart and Jennings group at RB. I could even see a stable of Peterson, Hyde, Woodhead, Forsett and Crowell--but I can't have Forsett with Hyde and Jennings because of that darned Week 8 bye!

Zach Ertz went for $10 in the second auction after I was surprised to see him at $9 in the first auction, so I guess I'm just going to have to get used to the idea that he's being considered in the top half-dozen or so TEs. It appears that ASJ, on the other hand, is going to be more dependent on whether he has fans or not in that particular draft. Witten is going to continue to be a great value as a perennial top 10 TE in the $2-$4 range.

So I guess what I take away from my first two auction drafts of 2016 (besides one solid contender from the first draft) is a rough sketch of my auction budget and preferred roster targets to begin the summer:

QB (2): $10 (Stafford, Cousins/Tannehill)-NO MORE Tannehill/Flacco!

RB (5): $85 (Peterson/Charles, Hyde, Woodhead, Langford/Stewart/Forsett, Crowell/Jennings)-but no Hyde/Forsett/Jennings!

WR (6): $85 (Allen, Robinson/Tate, Floyd/Fitz, Parker, Moncrief/DGB, Austin)

TE (3): $15 (ASJ, Witten, Ertz/Ebron)

K/D (2 each): $5 (Lions K, Vikings K&D, Houston K&D, Jacksonville D)

I'm typically going to opt for 3 TEs and 2 QBs at this roster size (20)--instead of 2 TEs and 3 QBs--because TEs are more inconsistent than QBs, so 3 of them give me more chances at a solid TE score each week. Also, if I have 2 solid TE scores in a given week, one of them could even count as a Flex score, if my RBs and WRs suck that week. I can never count more than one QB score per week.

Happy drafting!

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I got your invite for the Mother's Day Draft but I had plans that night. Sorry I missed it. Please send me another invite when you get a chance. I'm drafting at a ridiculous pace this year so I'd like to get in a few with you soon before I hit my DM limit.

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I got your invite for the Mother's Day Draft but I had plans that night. Sorry I missed it. Please send me another invite when you get a chance. I'm drafting at a ridiculous pace this year so I'd like to get in a few with you soon before I hit my DM limit.


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I got your invite for the Mother's Day Draft but I had plans that night. Sorry I missed it. Please send me another invite when you get a chance. I'm drafting at a ridiculous pace this year so I'd like to get in a few with you soon before I hit my DM limit.

I missed one of yours as well, send me an invite to the next one.

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I got together with mrblonde1984, bhawks489 and Iron-cock Sunday night and did another 10-team, $20 Draft Master auction league; same best-ball lineups as above (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, Flex, Team K, Team D) with 20-player rosters. I called the league "Billy Jack Attack," since by writing these articles, I had essentially told them which side of the face I was going to whop them on, and which foot I was going to use, so I figured they would be doing everything they could do to keep me from getting the players I have targeted. The league motto, therefore, is "There's not a damn thing you can do about it."

It turns out that it wasn't really the Roto players I had to watch out for--I was outbid for most of the targets I lost (like Jeremy Langford, Golden Tate, Rashad Jennings and Isaiah Crowell) by other random players. Since three of those four are RBs, you might correctly surmise that I got shorted a little at that position, and scrambled a bit at the end of the draft to get even contingently viable options at the end of my bench. Heck, if I'd known Jennings would go for $9 and Crowell would go for $8, I'd have paid $3 for Justin Forsett or at least a couple of bucks to handcuff Jamaal Charles with Charcandrick West--I just din’t know they were going to be the best options at the times that I passed on them. Sigh, hindsight...

Still, I ended up with a couple of top-10 players at every skill position, so I can't be too sad--I'm just going to be more reliant on the health of my starting RBs than I would like to be. I love pretty much everything else about my team:

QB: Matthew Stafford 10 ($6), Ryan Tannehill 8 ($2)

RB: Jamaal Charles 5 ($36), Carlos Hyde 8 ($19), Danny Woodhead 11 ($13), Darren McFadden 7 ($2), Devontae Booker 11 ($1)

WR: Allen Robinson 5 ($33), Keenan Allen 11 ($32), Michael Floyd 9 ($13), DeVante Parker 8 ($12), Donte Moncrief 10 ($9), Dorial Green-Beckham 13 ($2)

TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6 ($7), Jason Witten 7 ($6), Eric Ebron 10 ($2)

Team K: Minnesota Vikings 6 ($1), Detroit Lions 10 ($1)

Team D/ST: Houston Texans 9 ($2), Jacksonville Jaguars 5 ($1)

Remaining: $0

Here are the other Roto squads, in descending order of competence:


QB: Drew Brees 5 ($5), Andy Dalton 9 ($2)

RB: Le'Veon Bell 8 ($51), LeSean McCoy 10 ($27), Doug Martin 6 ($23), Melvin Gordon 11 ($7), Charles Sims 6 ($6), Karlos Williams 10 ($5), DeAngelo Williams 8 ($1)

WR: Brandin Cooks 5 ($24), DeSean Jackson 9 ($8), Larry Fitzgerald 9 ($7), Tavon Austin 8 ($4), Josh Gordon 13 ($3), Steve Smith, Sr. 8 ($2)

TE: Tyler Eifert ($12), Julius Thomas ($7)

Team K: Denver Broncos ($1)

Team D/ST: New York Jets ($2), Buffalo Bills ($1)

Remaining: $2

$120 spent on 7 RBs--that's just too many dollars, and too many roster spots to boot. I get that the principle of handcuffing was important to him, but I'd rather roster five strong independent RBs than hold onto three who won't ever crack the starting lineup without an injury. The two extra roster spots cost him a second kicker--so he starts in a 50 point hole at that position--and a third TE, which can also contribute valuable points on the reg--hopefully at least Eifert will be a good scorer in most weeks. The extra $35 cost him another prominent WR or two--although he does have some quality values here in Steve Smith, Tavon Austin, and most notably Larry Fitzgerald. Josh Gordon? Another wasted roster spot, and I do mean "wasted." Weeks 8 and 9 will get a little thin at WR, especially with Bell/Williams also out in Week 8. Probably looking at a top half finish, but cashing? We’ll see. With one more K and one more quality WR, I’d have said yes.


QB: Tom Brady 9 ($7), Marcus Mariota 13 ($2), Kirk Cousins 9 ($2)

RB: Thomas Rawls 5 ($37), Lamar Miller 9 ($36), Jonathan Stewart 7 ($13), Jordan Howard 9 ($3), Kenneth Dixon 8 ($1)

WR: Demaryius Thomas 11 ($28), Sammy Watkins 10 ($23), Jeremy Maclin 5 ($11), Jordan Matthews 4 ($10), Kevin White 9 ($3)

TE: Zach Miller 9 ($4), Gary Barnidge 13 ($3)

Team K: Pittsburgh Steelers 8 ($2), Arizona Cardinals 9 ($1)

Team D/ST: Denver Broncos 11 ($4), Carolina Panthers 7 ($2), Arizona Cardinals 9 ($2)

Remaining: $6

While it's good to have 2 Ks and Ds, I don’t really think a THIRD D is going to add many points to this team's final total. Also, because TEs are more inconsistent than QBs--and because you can score 2 TEs in any given week using the flex position (but only 1 QB)--I would rather see 3 TEs and 2 QBs, not the other way around. Despite those two strategical errors, bhawks489 has some decent starters, but may struggle with putting quality depth on the field when necessary. Could be a contender with a little luck.


QB: Tyrod Taylor 10 ($1), Alex Smith 5 ($1), Robert Griffin III 13 ($1)

RB: Ezekiel Elliott 7 ($35), Chris Ivory 5 ($5), Justin Forsett 8 ($2), LeGarrette Blount 9 ($1), Derrick Henry 13 ($1), C.J. Prosise 5 ($1)

WR: Antonio Brown 8 ($62), Alshon Jeffery 9 ($27), Jarvis Landry 8 ($19), Mike Wallace 8 ($1), Will Fuller 9 ($1), Michael Thomas 5 ($1)

TE: Rob Gronkowski 9 ($37), Benjamin Watson 8 ($1), Charles Clay 10 ($1)

Team K: Carolina Panthers 7 ($1)

Team D/ST: New England Patriots 9 ($1)

Remaining: $0

Week 8 is a problem with Antonio Brown, Jarvis Landry, Mike Wallace and Justin Forsett all on bye. This team is a good example of why trying to fill a starting lineup with studs and then putting a bunch of $1 scrubs on the bench is a better strategy in a managed league than in a Draft Master. Mrblonde1984 obviously spent too much money on four or five players, leaving himself with garbage for depth. He also committed the cardinal sins of drafting only one K and D/ST, starting the season in an 80 point hole (50 for the K and 30 for the D), relative to the other teams that have two at each position. So those two pretty egregious errors will probly have mrblonde1984 clawing to stay out of the league cellar all season long.

And the rest of the “competition”:


QB: Matt Ryan 11 ($2), Philip Rivers 11 ($1), Joe Flacco 8 ($1)

RB: Matt Forte 11 ($36), Jeremy Langford 9 ($26), Mark Ingram 5 ($24), DeMarco Murray 13 ($11), Joique Bell 10 ($1), James Starks 4 ($1)

WR: Dez Bryant 7 ($44), Randall Cobb 4 ($22), Emmanuel Sanders 11 ($11), Allen Hurns 5 ($7), Marcus Wheaton 8 ($4), Mohamed Sanu 11 ($2)

TE: Coby Fleener 5 ($3), Kyle Rudolph 6 ($1), Jared Cook 4 ($1)

Team K: Indianapolis Colts 10 ($1)

Team D/ST: Los Angeles Rams 8 ($1)

Remaining: $0

I would actually like this team quite a bit, if they didn’t fall into the 80 point hole of 1 K and 1 D. I guess we’ll see how badly that axually handicaps an otherwise pretty competent team. They got exceptional value at the QB and TE positions, spending a grand total of $9 on 6 players that are going to compete with the teams that spent $20-$25 to fill those slots. However, it was probly the realization that he had two QBs with a Week 11 bye that caused him to tack on Joe Flacco at the end instead of a second K or D. Unfortunately, rolling with no QB in Week 11 would only cost the team about 20 points, while rolling without a backup D will cost the team 30 points, and the absence of a second K will cost the team 50 points. He is sporting four strong starting RBs, and could be in a good position 4-deep at WR if Cobb and Sanders bounce back (I’m a little skeptical of that, especially with Sanders, but we shall see). This team will probly duke it out with Iron-cock to be my biggest competitor in the league.

Escape From LA

QB: Blake Bortles 5 ($6), Russell Wilson 5 ($6), Eli Manning 8 ($2)

RB: Giovani Bernard 9 ($10), Jeremy Hill 9 ($10), Isaiah Crowell 13 ($8), Frank Gore 10 ($7), Theo Riddick 10 ($5), Bilal Powell 11 ($1)

WR: Jordy Nelson 4 ($37), T.Y. Hilton 10 ($26), Amari Cooper 10 ($23), Kelvin Benjamin 7 ($18), Doug Baldwin 5 ($8)

TE: Greg Olsen 7 ($12), Delanie Walker 13 ($11), Travis Kelce 5 ($7)

Team K: Dallas Cowboys 7 ($1), Green Bay Packers 4 ($1)

Team D/ST: Cincinnati Bengals 9 ($1)

Remaining: $0

I bet this is another team that was planning on drafting a second D, but then they realized that they had drafted two QBs with a week 5 bye. Same argument goes, though; the QB zero would only cost about 20 points, the lack of a second D will cost about 30. This team’s receivers are pretty strong, and the three TEs are awesome--but that will be eight players vying for four roster slots every week. I would have liked to see some of the WR/TE bench money rolled into at least one RB1-type player; all of these backs seem like the RB2-RB3 type. Exacerbating that problem are the two different bye week conflicts among this team’s top-scoring RBs, including having the top 2 RBs from the same team, which further limits the pair’s efficacy on a weekly basis. Still, this team’s strengths play to a PPR league, so I would expect this team to be in the mix for the cash in December.


QB: Ben Roethlisberger 8 ($9), Andrew Luck 10 ($6), Carson Palmer 9 ($3)

RB: Eddie Lacy 4 ($28), Latavius Murray 10 ($15), Dion Lewis 9 ($13), Ameer Abdullah 10 ($11), Jay Ajayi 8 ($8), Matt Jones 9 ($7)

WR: A.J. Green 9 ($41), Golden Tate 10 ($21), Eric Decker 11 ($11), Corey Coleman 13 ($7), Laquon Treadwell 6 ($4), Willie Snead 5 ($3), Stefon Diggs 6 ($1)

TE: Ladarius Green 8 ($5), Jimmy Graham 5 ($5)

Team K: Baltimore Ravens 8 ($1)

Team D/ST: Minnesota Vikings 6 ($1)

Remaining: $0

The QBs, RBs and WRs are pretty solid for this team, with minimal bye week conflicts. Unfortunately, the error of drafting only 1 K and 1 D, along with really needing a third TE to complement these two questionable ones (especially when the team didn’t really need to add that third QB), will probly be enough to keep this team out of the cash at the end of the year.


QB: Cam Newton 7 ($12), Derek Carr 10 ($2)

RB: Devonta Freeman 11 ($43), T.J. Yeldon 5 ($8), Kenyan Drake 8 ($4), Charcandrick West 5 ($2), Javorius Allen 8 ($2), Shane Vereen 8 ($1)

WR: DeAndre Hopkins 9 ($44), Mike Evans 6 ($25), Julian Edelman 9 ($14), John Brown 9 ($6), Tyler Lockett 5 ($5), Sterling Shepard 8 ($1)

TE: Jordan Reed 9 ($17), Zach Ertz 4 ($8)

Team K: Cincinnati Bengals 9 ($1), Jacksonville Jaguars 5 ($1)

Team D/ST: Seattle Seahawks 5 ($3), Philadelphia Eagles 4 ($1)

Remaining: $0

There are some moderate bye week concerns, with three RBs on vacation in Week 8 and three WRs absent in Week 9--however, this is ameliorated somewhat by having 6 players at each position. That cost the team a third TE, which could come into play if Jordan Reed falls victim to his customary concussions at some point. I guess the guy is big on Kenyan Drake--I don’t really get the $4 there--but it’s a minor point, I suppose. RB is definitely the team’s weakness, after Freeman, but I don’t HATE the other positions. I do have some concerns with Hopkins regaining elite form with a different QB, a credible WR2, and an improved run game--and Mike Evans is better in standard scoring than PPR (since we don’t get points for drops). MAYBE top half finish--barely?

Ignore the Noise

QB: Tony Romo 7 ($2), Jay Cutler 9 ($2), Jameis Winston 6 ($2)

RB: Todd Gurley 8 ($50), David Johnson 9 ($50), Duke Johnson 13 ($9), Rashad Jennings 8 ($9), Andre Ellington 9 ($3)

WR: Julio Jones 11 ($51), Marvin Jones 10 ($8), Travis Benjamin 11 ($3), Devin Funchess 7 ($1), Terrance Williams 7 ($1), Vincent Jackson 6 ($1)

TE: Dwayne Allen 10 ($3), Jordan Cameron 8 ($1)

Team K: Kansas City Chiefs 5 ($1), New York Giants 8 ($1)

Team D/ST: Kansas City Chiefs 5 ($1), Green Bay Packers 4 ($1)

Remaining: $0

Here’s another team that went with the Studs & Duds strategy, but where mrblonde1984 opted to spend most of his leftover money shoring up his WRs a little, this team spent most of its leftover money shoring up their RBs a little--which really seems odd, given the two solid studs they drafted. I would have used $12 to $15 of that RB bench on a credible WR2-WR3. This team also has the extra-QB/missing-TE problem, but at least they drafted two Ks and two Ds. This will be a team that will struggle to get into the top half of the league.

Purple Rain

QB: Aaron Rodgers 4 ($15), Brock Osweiler 9 ($1)

RB: Adrian Peterson 6 ($45), C.J. Anderson 11 ($26), Ryan Mathews 4 ($12), Arian Foster 0 ($6), Ronnie Hillman 11 ($2), Darren Sproles 4 ($2), Tevin Coleman 11 ($1), CJ Spiller 5 ($1), Jerick McKinnon 6 ($1)

WR: Odell Beckham, Jr. 8 ($51), Brandon Marshall 11 ($21), Michael Crabtree 10 ($4), Torrey Smith 8 ($1)

TE: Antonio Gates 11 ($3), Martellus Bennett 9 ($3)

Team K: New England Patriots 9 ($2), Seattle Seahawks 5 ($1)

Team D/ST: Miami Dolphins 8 ($1)

Remaining: $0

Purple Rain is the Prince of RBs, that’s for sure. NINE??? C’mon man. And about 6 of them are completely useless at present--making my earlier point about the problem with handcuffing all your starters in a Draft Master league. This team also made Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid QB in the league at $15, but left him little to throw to at the all-important (in PPR) WR and TE positions. If you’re going to go with one K, the most consistent K in the league (New England) would be the one to do it with--but no, he backed up Gostkowski with Hauschka, while leaving the questionable Dolphins to go it alone on D. What a mess--bottom half finish for sure.

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I wanted a couple backup Defenses in case one or two got injured.

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Sorry if I missed it but what are your thoughts on Demarco Murray this season being on the Titans? In a 12 team league what round would you target him in?

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Hes currently at 4.01 Standard and 3.12 PPR in 12 Teamers according to FFC.

I would ideally want to take a shot on him in the 4th.

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Sorry if I missed it but what are your thoughts on Demarco Murray this season being on the Titans? In a 12 team league what round would you target him in?

Depends on your opinion of Henry.

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I wanted a couple backup Defenses in case one or two got injured.

LOL...another Bhawks gem.

I hope your lady appreciates the "rapier wit"


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Sorry if I missed it but what are your thoughts on Demarco Murray this season being on the Titans? In a 12 team league what round would you target him in?

Yeah, it was in my May edition, but since I just linked to it, I guess a lot of people didn't read it. Here, I'll just post the entire May edition; DeMarco Murray update included.

With most of the important trades, free agent signings, and rookie additions now in place for the upcoming season, it's time for a post-draft update to Axe Elf's Dream Team.

As in the February edition, I'm singling out these players based on expected production, of course, but also based on expected value. So while I call this my "Dream Team," I couldn’t really expect to have Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, Jr. as my WRs, because that could never happen in real life (well, maybe in an auction league, but then I'd be left with garbage at every other position). In between those established studs that will command a premium at the draft, and those "up-and-comers" like David Johnson and Jameis Winston (and now Ezekiel Elliot--whose sexy hype will likely prompt them to be overdrafted by owners who aren't as shrewd as they think they are), there are my players--the ones that could be somewhat overlooked or "fall through the draft cracks" but still offer tremendous upside. I've also included a few players who, although they will likely be drafted in the 2nd to 5th rounds, still appear poised to deliver better-than-expected returns on such an early investment.

Although many of these endorsements are universal, regardless of league format or scoring, keep in mind that I make most of my money in Draft Master leagues using PPR scoring, and so my choices are geared toward those settings. That means that having four or five guys who can put up huge numbers in five or six weeks each, even if they disappear for the other ten, is just as good as having two studs who put up big numbers just about every week--and the platoon is often less expensive than the studs. Draft Master leagues typically have a roster size somewhere in the 20-24 range, with 9-10 starters (1-2 "flex" players) determined on a "best-ball" basis each week. My "Dream Team" is therefore of indefinite size, but with positional recommendations and a couple of extra players to target in case you miss out on one of the others. Be aware of those format biases as you're reading this, but to the extent that it helps you win championships in your own various league formats--you're welcome in advance. That's what Axe Elf is all about after all; helping you bring home the hardware (so long as you have the good sense to stay out of the leagues he's in, of course).

QBs (2-3)

Matthew Stafford - RISING

The Lions fired former Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi on October 26, 2015, the week before their 8th game, and installed Jim Bob Cooter as the "interim" OC. Week 9 was their bye. Over the second half of the season following the bye, Matthew Stafford averaged 21.6 fantasy points per game, which was 4th-best in the NFL over that span, behind Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. In fact, 21.6 points per game over the course of the entire season would have made Stafford the #2 QB overall, behind only Newton. As it was, Stafford finished as the #9 fantasy QB in 2015. The "interim" label has since been removed from Jim Bob Cooter, and he is now the official Offensive Coordinator for the Lions’ 2016 season. If you are concerned about the quality of opponents Stafford faced late in 2015, he posted averages of 253.3 yards, 2.3 TDs and 0.3 INTs against the three top-10 pass defenses that he faced, and 283.8 yards, 2.4 TDs and 0.2 INTs against the five bottom-10 pass defenses that he faced in that span--so the quality of opponent didn't seem to matter much. However, it's worth noting that the Lions' 2016 schedule is the easiest there is for QBs, and includes games against the Saints (#31 against the pass) and Giants (#32 against the pass) in fantasy-important weeks 13 and 15, respectively, as well as games against the Jaguars (#29), Eagles (#28), Redskins (#25), Colts (#24) and Rams (#23) during the regular season. That can't hurt--and speaking of being hurt, Stafford never is; he hasn't missed a game since 2010. To help keep Stafford upright in the pocket, the Lions used 3 of their first 5 draft picks on offensive lineman, specifically #16 overall on Ohio State Tackle Taylor Decker, Michigan Center Graham Glasgow in the 3rd, and Washington State Guard Joe Dahl in the 5th. Some may see the retirement of Calvin Johnson as a blow to Stafford’s fantasy value, but in that second-half stretch where Stafford was the 3rd-best fantasy QB in the NFL, Megatron posted only 3 games with more than 15 fantasy points. Throw out the two 30+ point outings and Johnson averaged 3.7 catches, 54.2 yards, and .3 TDs per game (11.1 fantasy points per game)--numbers that can easily be assumed by the incoming combination of Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley. The maturation of Eric Ebron, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick should also help keep Stafford among the top 2016 QBs--and probably at a draft price somewhere ridiculously outside of the top 10. He is currently the 23rd QB off the board with an ADP of 12.06.

Ryan Tannehill - RISING

As much as Ryan Tannehill was criticized in 2015, he was still the #17 overall fantasy QB, averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. With 2 more points per game, he would have been a top 10 fantasy QB. I think he will get the benefit of those 2 points per game from Adam Gase coming to town as the new head coach, and with a full season of DeVante Parker on the field. In the 8 games where Parker participated, Tannehill went over 300 yards five times (ok, one was 297, close enough), and over 350 yards three times. He went over 300 yards only two other times in the other 8 games (and they were 300 and 307), so Tannehill clearly benefits from Parker's involvement. The fantasy potential for the Miami passing game also improved in the 2016 draft, both by what the Dolphins DID do and by what they DIDN'T do. What they DID was to steal instant blue-chip pass protection from the plummet of Tackle Laremy Tunsil, draft solid WR prospects Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant to supplement Parker and Landry, and land TE Thomas Duarte, who is probably a better receiver than Jordan Cameron. What the Dolphins DIDN’T do in the draft was to bolster their completely anemic running game after the departure of Lamar Miller. Drafting a 3rd-down type back like Kenyan Drake isn’t going to add enough punch in combination with Jay Ajayi to keep Miami out of frequent passing situations, so expect Tannehill to take to the air early and often throughout the season. The Dolphins' aerial attack also has the advantage of 9 “plus” matchups versus defenses that were poor against the pass in 2015, including PIT (#30), SF (#27), STL (#23), CLE (#22), CIN (#20), and two games each against BUF (#19) and NE (#17). Unfortunately, Miami gets no particular breaks in fantasy playoff Weeks 13-16 with a stretch of top half (but at least not top quarter) pass defenses. Still, Tannehill should make a fine QB2 in Draft Master leagues, with the opportunity to throw up big numbers in six or seven games and a low risk of injury--he hasn't missed a game in his four-year career. He may be shunned a bit in the draft, however, because of the disappointment he was to people who drafted him with great expectations in 2015. Tannehill is currently the 27th QB off the board with an ADP of 13.12--taking him there is almost Grand Theft Quarterback.

Kirk Cousins - ADDED

After Cousins finished the second half of 2015 as the 3rd-best fantasy QB behind only Cam Newton and Russell Wilson, I was tempted to include him among my Dream-Teamers in February. I was just a little concerned that 8 games wasn’t enough of a track record to justify his inclusion. But then when the Redskins selected Josh Doctson with the 22nd overall pick in the draft, the balance tipped in his favor, and I'm adding him to the list in May. With Josh Reed, DeSean Jackson, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts as targets (not to mention Chris Thompson out of the backfield), Cousins has all the weapons to put on a very fantasy-friendly air show in 2016--and then he likes to Cam in a few TDs at the goalline as well (5 rushing TDs in 2015). Washington sports the 7th-best schedule for QBs in 2016--though they do face some difficult matchups late in the season during the fantasy playoffs, such as Arizona in Week 13, Carolina in Week 15 and Chicago in Week 16--so you would do well to have another option lined up late in the season, but I believe Cousins can at least help put you in position for a playoff run. He may not represent the draft value that Stafford and Tannehill bring (he’s currently the 15th QB off the board with an ADP of 10.03), but if he slides much further than that, he definitely warrants consideration in what is essentially another “prove-it” year for this emerging fantasy stud.

Tyrod Taylor - ADDED

As the Bills have made no moves in free agency or the draft to immediately address their QB situation (fourth round pick Cardale Jones is a project, not an immediate starter), it appears that they are content to go into 2016 behind the generalship of Tyrod Taylor. As a fantasy football owner, this should make you very happy. Uneasiness about the Buffalo QB situation has pushed Taylor down the draft board to an ADP of 11.01 as the 18th QB selected. However, Taylor was tied with Carson Palmer last season in fantasy points per game at 19.3, good enough for #7 overall. Some of Taylor’s value came from his scrambling ability, but the Bills did appear to upgrade their ability to threaten downfield with the drafting of former track star WR Kolby Listenbee out of TCU, since speedster Marquise Goodwin hasn’t developed into that role the way they hoped that he would. Don’t be discouraged if Taylor gets off to a slow start, though, with top-10 pass defenses like Baltimore, Arizona, the Jets and Seattle on the schedule before their bye. After their bye, things get a lot juicier, as Buffalo enjoys a run of six straight weeks, including the usual fantasy playoff weeks, against teams that ranked 20th or worse at defending the pass in 2015 (making Taylor a natural complement to Cousins or Tannehill in a fantasy QBBC).

Alex Smith - HOLDING

Alex Smith doesn't have as high of a ceiling as the other QBs on my Dream Team, but he does offer a pretty good return on a minimal draft day investment, and also a pretty low injury risk (he missed one game in each of his first two seasons with Kansas City, and none in 2015). He has finished as the #13, #19 and #15 overall fantasy QB for KC in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively, so he's a perfectly credible QB2, and he'll be available as a late-round/$1 pickup (with a current ADP of 13.12 as the 28th overall QB). He doesn't usually post gaudy fantasy numbers, but his level of consistency from one game to the next offers a 15-point safety net in those weeks when your stud QB posts a clunker. His team lost their Offensive Coordinator (Doug Pederson) to Philadelphia, but the internal promotions of Brad Childress and Matt Nagy to co-Offensive Coordinators means that the Chiefs' gameplan isn't going to change significantly in 2016. Although they will likely remain a run-first team, the staff has recently shown some signs of wanting to stretch the field a little more in the passing game. After drafting Chris Conley and his impressive 4.35 dash time in 2015, the Chiefs signed Rod Streater and his 4.37 time in free agency, and then selected track star Tyreek Hill and his amazing 4.25 time in the 2016 draft. Another mid-round pick, Demarcus Robinson, could also end up paying dividends with a schedule that is moderately favorable against the pass, with opponents like NO (#31), PIT (#30), JAX (#29), IND (#24), ATL (#18) and TB (#16), as well as two divisional games with OAK (#26).

Joe Flacco - ADDED

I don’t know if I’m as high on Flacco as I am on some of the other late-round values listed here, but there are an awful lot of plus signs in his column for the 26th QB currently being drafted at an ADP of 13.10. First of all, the Ravens used the #6 overall pick in the draft on pass protection specialist Ronnie Stanley, a Tackle out of Notre Dame rated almost as highly in that capacity as Laremy Tunsil. Baltimore was already third-best last season in allowing the fewest sacks--so pass protection, check. Secondly, the group of receivers that Flacco has at his disposal is going to be appreciably better than the rag-tag corps that Baltimore fielded in the second half of 2015. Steve Smith, Sr., is back for one more year. Last year’s #1 pick, Breshad Perriman, will hopefully be healthy enough to take the field for the first time this season, and the Ravens drafted another big play receiver in the 4th round of this year's draft by the name of Chris Moore, who had a career average of 22 yards per reception at Cincinnati. If that wasn’t enough, they also added speedster Mike Wallace in free agency. Kamar Aiken returns as an adequate possession receiver, and Baltimore also landed a top-10 TE from last season, Benjamin Watson, formerly of the Saints, to go with young Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams (and Dennis Pitta is even going to give it another try this season). Finally, the Ravens had one of the best pass-catching RBs at the end of 2015 in then-rookie Javorius Allen--and they drafted RB Kenneth Dixon out of Louisiana Tech, who is widely considered to be the best pass-catching running back of the 2016 draft class. I’ve run out of fingers to count on, but the bottom line is that Flacco won’t be able to swing a cat (or throw a ball) without hitting a talented receiver--so weapons, check. Finally, the Ravens have a great lineup of opponents this season, with a stunning 14 weeks of “plus” matchups for the passing game (12 of them ranked worse than 20th against the pass), including a clean sweep of the critical late-season and playoff Weeks 12 to 17--so schedule, check. Even if Flacco doesn’t break into the top 10, he offers an incredible amount of value at his current draft position as a QB2.

RBs (5-7)

DeMarco Murray - DROPPED

David Cobb - DROPPED

I was all excited about Murray after the 2015 season when the former Chiefs’ Offensive Coordinator came to town as the Eagles' new head coach, with a scheme likely to dovetail nicely with Murray’s desire to be a bellcow back in a run-first offense. But then Murray was traded to Tennessee. I was a little less optimistic about Murray then, but still willing to give him a chance--after all, I also had David Cobb on my initial list of Dream Teamers for his scheduling and game-planning opportunities with the Titans. Then the NFL schedule came out, saddling Tennessee with a Week 13 bye, which rained on the Murray parade again--you don’t want your RB1 sitting on the bench in a week that could be critical to making or missing the fantasy playoffs. I perked up a little bit when Tennessee drafted Michigan State Tackle Jack Conklin with the 8th overall pick in the 2016 draft (not to mention huge Guard Sebastian Tretola in the 6th round), but then the Titans went and picked Heisman Trophy winning RB Derrick Henry in the 2nd round--and all bets are summarily off. Despite the coach-talk that Murray is still the lead RB (what else can a coach say?), there’s just too much potential for a RBBC or the outright emergence of Henry to put my eggs in the Murray basket any longer. I can’t even default back to Ryan Mathews, even though the Eagles have 11 “plus” matchups for RBs in 2016--since Philly turned around and drafted West Virginia RB Wendell Smallwood in the 5th round. Mathews hasn’t shown himself to be durable enough to reliably finish a season as a team’s workhorse RB anyway--and if defenses don’t respect the new QB (Carson Wentz), Eagle runners could face a stacked box more often than not. I’m therefore closing the book on both Tennessee and Philadelphia when it comes to fantasy RBs this season.

Jeremy Langford - HOLDING

Langford is the heir apparent to Matt Forte in Chicago, but the Bears decided to push him a little by drafting Indiana RB Jordan Howard in the 5th round. Competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my money is still on Langford being the lead RB this season. Langford did enough in basically just November and December last year--half a season--to finish as the #30 PPR RB, in the company of T.J. Yeldon (#28) and Eddie Lacy (#32). In those two months, Langford averaged a combined 81.9 yards per game, which would translate to 1310 combined yards over 16 games. That would have been the 5th-most combined yards among RBs in 2015--and he was sharing the backfield with Forte for all but three of those weeks! It would have been nice for their run game if the Bears had drafted the free-falling Laremy Tunsil with the #9 pick in the draft, but they kind of made up for passing on Tunsil by drafting highly-respected Guard Cody Whitehair in Round 2--who should be entirely capable of opening holes for Langford in his own right. The Bears also have a very favorable schedule for a RB, with a whopping thirteen out of sixteen "plus" matchups: GB (#21), DET (#19) and MIN (#17) twice each, then PHI (#32), SF (#29), WAS (#26), IND (#25), NYG (#24), DAL (#22) and TEN (#18). They play bottom-half run defenses every week from 11 to 17, including run defenses in the bottom quarter of the league in Weeks 13 and 16. Merry Christmas to Langford owners in 2016!

Carlos Hyde - ADDED

After Frank Gore finally stepped down as the 49ers bellcow RB in 2015, Hyde came out guns blazing, posting 182 combined yards and 2 TDs in the 2015 season opener. And then the ‘Niners--and Hyde’s foot--pretty much fell apart from there. So we know what he CAN do, and Chip Kelly, as a coach who loves to run the ball, should give him every opportunity to succeed. There’s no real threat for San Francisco to turn into the kind of Kelly RBBC that throttled the fantasy seasons of Philadelphia RBs last season, as they have no other backs that are in Hyde’s talent tier (and hopefully Kelly learned a lesson from his senseless platooning just for the sake of platooning). The staff has emphasized their commitment to the run by spending three draft picks in the first five rounds on key offensive lineman, including the #28 overall pick on hometown Stanford stud Joshua Garnett at Guard, Tackle Fahn Cooper (Laremy Tunsil's capable backup at Ole Miss), and Georgia’s John Theus (a four-year SEC starter). Hyde has one of the more difficult schedules for RBs in 2016, but the team hasn’t made any appreciable effort to improve what was one of the worst passing offenses in the league last season--so just on opportunities alone, Hyde should hold his own--hopefully with a few big games sprinkled in here and there. He’s barely being drafted as a top 20 RB (currently 19th), with an ADP of 4.04--but the top 10 potential is tangible, if he can just stay healthy under the demands of a bellcow workload.

Rashad Jennings - ADDED

I’m sure you’re surprised to see this name on my list, but hear me out. People remember what a mishmash of mediocrity that the Giants’ backfield was last season, crushing fantasy hopes that had been pinned on Jennings, on Shane Vereen, and to some dynasty league dreamers, Andre Williams. Even a scrub like Orleans Darkwa cracked the waiver wires in the middle of the season. But people DON’T remember that Rashad Jennings finished the season as a top 20 fantasy RB last year in standard scoring, largely on the strength of his final four games--in which he averaged (AVERAGED!) over 130 combined yards per contest and scored half of his season’s TD total. In short--it appeared that Ben McAdoo finally got the running game figured out, and Jennings was “The Guy.” Now McAdoo is the head coach, and although he drafted UCLA RB Paul Perkins in the 5th round, that’s not a very strong statement that he wants to make a major change at the position that produced so well at the end of 2015. Understand that this is very strange for me, because I have ALWAYS been a naysayer when the winds of Jennings hype have fanned his draft day flames in the past--so I have to wonder myself if I know what I’m talking about here. But then I remember that I’m Axe Elf, and I am comforted in that reassurance. With the drafting of Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard in the 2nd round, the Giants will have not one but two credible receivers stretching the field and softening many already-weak rushing defenses. The Giants are scheduled for the 3rd-easiest slate of games for the fantasy RB position, and their course through the fantasy playoffs includes matchups against bottom-half run defenses in Weeks 14 through 17--including the league-worst Philadelphia Eagles in Championship Week 16. As the 41st RB coming off of draft boards right now, drafting Rashad Jennings at 9.08 could end up being the steal of the draft.

Danny Woodhead - HOLDING

The last time Ken Whisenhunt was the Offensive Coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, Danny Woodhead was in his first year with the team and finished as the #13 PPR RB. Woodhead spent 2014 on IR, but came back in 2015 to be the #3 PPR RB. Whisenhunt's return to the team shouldn't be a bad thing for Woodhead's production, and though he may not be in the top 5 again, I'll bet that his draft price will be much less than it should be for what promises to be another top 10 season. He’s currently the 23rd overall RB, even in PPR drafts, with an ADP of 5.11. San Diego doesn't have a lot of good matchups against poor run defenses (only five), but then, most of Woodhead's production doesn't come from pure rushing attempts anyway. If anything, facing a solid run defense might HELP his production--if Melvin Gordon has trouble getting on track, cue the pass-catching 3rd-down back. Woodhead isn't exactly a "receiver" per se either, but the number of good matchups that San Diego has against poor pass defenses jumps up to nine.

Latavius Murray - ADDED

Latavius Murray somewhat quietly finished as the #11 RB in both PPR and standard scoring formats in 2015. I say “quietly” because Murray never really flashed the kind of game-breaking ability that he showed in his first appearance in 2014, when he amassed 112 yards and scored 2 TDs on 4 carries. Murray only went over 100 combined yards three times in 2015--but then again, he only had one real “dud” outing (27 yards, 0 TDs) on his way to 1,298 combined yards and 6 TDs for the season. He posted at least 8.7 fantasy points in each of the other 15 games. Murray is therefore the “Alex Smith of RBs”--good for safety net depth on a Draft Master team in case your studs choke. Oakland hasn’t done anything in the offseason to indicate that Murray won’t be the feature back again in 2016 (the Texas Tech RB drafted in the 5th is more of a punt returner/depth/3rd down type), and they added a behemoth Guard to the offensive line in the 7th round of the draft--Vadal Alexander--who at 6’5” and 326 lbs has spent the last four years grading the road for Leonard Fournette at LSU. With the development of the Raiders’ passing game behind Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, there’s some reason to believe that opposing defenses could loosen up for Murray in 2016. Oakland doesn’t start with a particularly plum schedule for RBs, but they do get two bottom-quarter run defenses in fantasy Title Weeks 15 and 16. Murray is currently not getting the respect he deserves on the cusp of top-10 status, as he’s currently coming off the board as the 18th overall RB with an ADP of 4.02.

Doug Martin - ADDED

Martin isn’t going to be egregiously overlooked, but he holds some value as a top-5 RB in 2015 who is currently the 10th RB off the draft boards. The Buccaneers also hold the 2nd-best schedule for fantasy RBs in 2016, including matchups against bottom-quarter run defenses in fantasy playoff Weeks 13, 14 and 16 (with a bottom-half run defense in Week 15 as well). One more thing to consider is that 2016 is a contract year for Martin--which is often a motivating factor for fantasy production.

CJ Anderson - FADING

2016 is a contract year for Anderson as well, and there’s no longer any real talk of Ronnie Hillman being in the way, as Anderson was the back that the Broncos trusted when they needed to close out games late in the 2015 season. In the 9 contests that Anderson played fully healthy after the Broncos' bye (including 3 postseason games), he went over 15 fantasy points 6 times, with a monster tally of 31.3 in the Week 12 win over the Patriots. His postseason box score alone was a combined 273 yards and 2 TDs on 63 touches in 3 games. The Broncos won't have an easy schedule next season (only five good matchups for RBs), but it's a fluke when Gary Kubiak doesn't have a top 10 RB (see the parade of no-name backs that Kubiak has turned into stars--Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns, Steve Slaton, Arian Foster and Justin Forsett). I don't think he can go two years in a row without one--it's like a law of the NFL or something--and the team has paid some attention to improving the offensive line in free agency and the draft. I’m a little worried that the absence of a credible passing game may collapse defenses to focus on the run, however, as the Broncos have not found any real immediate solution to the retirement of Peyton Manning. The drafting of Utah RB Devontae Booker is another fly in the ointment; if he can recover fully from his torn meniscus as a senior, and stay healthy for a full season in the NFL (Anderson hasn’t been very good at that, either), Booker could end up being the next unexpected Kubiak stud RB instead of Anderson. I’m still keeping my eye on CJ, as the 16th RB off the board with an ADP of 4.04, but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s going to be as good of a 2016 value as he appeared to present at the end of the 2015 season.

Isaiah Crowell/Duke Johnson - FADING

This is another situation that is losing some luster for me. Initially, it seemed like a good combination of circumstances for the running game, with a coach who has traditionally focused on a solid ground attack being put in charge of a top-5 offensive line and a couple of RBs who each fill a different role, much like Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard did for Hue Jackson in Cincinnati last season (en route to top 20 finishes for both of his RBs). But instead, the Browns’ offseason moves seem more directed toward assembling a spread-type offense--call it “Baylor North,” if you will--by bringing together Baylor alumni Robert Griffin III, Josh Gordon, 1st round draft pick Corey Coleman, and even Spencer Drango, a Baylor Guard drafted in the 5th round. When the Browns drafted three more WRs in the first 5 rounds--each of which is probably better than anyone on the current Browns roster (Gordon aside)--it raised concerns that maybe Jackson is going to try to go in a different direction with his offense this season, and be LESS focused on the run game. Cleveland’s schedule doesn’t set up particularly well for the run game either, and their late (Week 13) bye could cause some problems for fantasy teams that rely on the Browns’ RBs. At least you can get them for little more than a song; Johnson and Crowell are currently the #36 and #46 RBs in ADP, available at 8.02 and 11.05, respectively--so I’m keeping them on my list for now, at least in terms of cheap depth--but just barely. (If Josh Gordon DOES get reinstated, though, I might have to consider adding RG3 to my QB list!)

WRs (6-8)

Keenan Allen - HOLDING

Like Doug Martin, this will be one of the guys on my list who will be the least "under the radar" of all the targets discussed here. I'm had hoped that his injury absence for the second half of 2015 would cause him to be overlooked by some of the more casual drafters who only refer to year-end standings with a "what have you done for me lately" mentality, but no such luck; he’s currently the #9 overall WR with an ADP of 2.05 in PPR drafts--and worth every penny of it. At least he’s not widely considered to be in that upper tier of first-round blue chip WRs like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins--even though he could very well post top-5 numbers in 2016. Through 8 games before he got hurt in 2015, he was on pace for 134 receptions, just two short of Brown and Jones, and his pace for 1450 receiving yards would have tied him for 5th with Odell Beckham, Jr. Allen had his best overall season as a rookie in 2013, with 1046 yards and 8 TDs--and returning Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was his OC that year too. They say an NFL receiver blossoms in his third season; well, last year was Allen's third season, but since he was on IR for half of it, his fourth season is kind of like his third season. Antonio Gates is getting old, Malcom Floyd retired, Travis Benjamin is more of a stretch the field big play one trick pony, and Stevie Johnson draws a little attention but isn't really a threat to put up WR1 numbers. Philip Rivers has proven that he can still throw, and since the Chargers have done virtually nothing to help their run game in 2016, I can see Keenan Allen having a monster year. Their schedule features nine "plus" passing game matchups--NO (#31), JAX (#29), OAK (#26), IND (#24), MIA (#21), ATL (#18) and TB (#16)--including Cleveland (#22) and a second game with Oakland in the two most important weeks of the fantasy season--Weeks 15 and 16.

Sammy Watkins - HOLDING

Sammy Watkins is staring his magical third season in the face as 2016 approaches, with stability in the coaching staff, game plan, and even at QB, now that Tyrod Taylor appears to be locked in--all carrying over from 2015 into the new season. This is a good thing, as Watkins scored over 19 fantasy points in 6 of the 9 games after their Week 8 bye (and over 24 points in 4 of those games). As only the #20 overall WR for 2015, though, I would have hoped to get him at a bit of a discount from the top-10 potential suggested by his late-season performance. Unfortunately, that kind of value may not materialize, as Watkins is currently being drafted at an ADP of 3.02 as the #13 overall WR. Still, his opponents are stacking up nicely, with 11 total “plus” matchups (Pittsburgh, #30, Jacksonville, #29, San Francisco, #27, Oakland, #26, St. Louis, #23, Cleveland, #22, Miami twice, #21, Cincinnati, #20, and New England twice, #17). As I mentioned in touting Tyrod Taylor above, the Bills have a run of 6 consecutive weeks from their Week 10 bye through fantasy Championship Week 16 in which they face teams ranked 20th or worse against the pass, so a Taylor/Watkins stack could pay huge late-season dividends.

Golden Tate - HOLDING

I'm kind of liking a Lions stack for 2016 as well with Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate. Like Stafford, Tate will have those same seven games against bottom-10 pass defenses, and like Stafford, Tate flourished after the transition to Jim Bob Cooter as the Offensive Coordinator. Tate averaged 10.6 PPR fantasy points per game before the Week 9 bye, and 15.8 points per game in the eight weeks after the bye under Cooter. Over a 16 game season, that average would have been good enough for the #15 WR in 2015. Tate should also benefit from the same improvements to the offensive line--more time for Stafford to throw means more time for Tate to get open--and hopefully an uptick in rushing efficiency as the young RBs develop will help keep defenses from doubling down on pass coverage. There was a lot of talk that it would hurt Tate if Calvin Johnson retired, leaving Tate to draw opponents’ top pass coverage, but if October of 2014 is any indication, Tate had 24 receptions for 350 yards and 2 TDs in the three weeks that Megatron was sidelined. Tate has actually seen a boost in his draft stock since Johnson's retirement; he is now the #24 WR with an ADP of 5.04.

Michael Floyd - HOLDING

Floyd is in the same draft tier as Tate; currently the #26 WR with an ADP of 5.09. It is somewhat surprising to me that he was only the #38 WR in 2015. Some of that was due to his slow start (he scored less than 3 PPR points in four of his first five games)--largely because of the broken fingers he suffered early in the preseason--but he also disappeared in three more games later in the season, giving him seven weeks (almost half the season) in which he scored a grand total (yes, combined seven week total) of 12.5 points. Still, Floyd was good for 15+ points in seven other games (ok, one was 14.9, but I'll let it slide), and he posted 20+ points in three of those. So for that halfish of a season when Floyd was legitimately involved in a game, he performed like a top 15 WR, and in a Draft Master league, you love to see those big games since you can tolerate the dud games more easily. As Fitzgerald gets older--and if Floyd can keep from breaking his fingers again--I would expect to see Floyd more heavily involved more frequently as Carson Palmer takes one more run at a Super Bowl. The schedule is also a plus, featuring 11 favorable matchups for the Cardinals' passing game, with SF (#27) and STL (#23) twice each, plus NO (#31), WAS (#25), MIA (#21), BUF (#19), ATL (#18), NE (#17) and TB (#16). Unfortunately, Floyd will face the #2 pass defense of the Seattle Seahawks in fantasy Championship Week 16 (but at least he can get you there).

Tavon Austin - RISING

Tavon Austin finished 2015 as the #24 WR in standard scoring, tied with Amari Cooper at 140.7 fantasy points. You didn’t know that, did you. Austin had 1.7 fantasy points less than T.Y. Hilton, 1.8 less than John Brown, and 5.0 less than Jordan Matthews--all of which are being drafted at least 3 rounds sooner than Austin at an ADP of 10.9 (as the 47th WR off the board). Austin had 3.9 more fantasy points than Mike Evans, 10.8 more than Randall Cobb, 20+ more than Michael Floyd, Martavis Bryant, or Golden Tate and almost 30 more standard-scoring points than Julian Edelman--all of which are being drafted before the end of Round 5 (except for the suspended Bryant, of course). Yes, unbelievably, 2015's #24 WR--who just landed the most NFL-ready QB prospect in the 2016 NFL draft--is currently being fantasy drafted in WR4-WR5 territory. I am actually high as a freaking KITE on Austin at this point, because I think he’s going to be a credible WR2 in 12 team and larger leagues, and an exceptional WR3 in all but the smallest of leagues. Up until now, his penchant for big games, rather than consistent production, has made him a difficult start in most leagues where you have to set a weekly lineup--but he’s tailor made for the Draft Master format. Austin posted 21 or more PPR points in 4 games, and he had 5 additional games in which he scored 10-16 fantasy points, which works out to about half a season of serviceable contributions. His 2015 totals of 900 yards from scrimmage and 10 total TDs (including one punt return) are certainly respectable, and although his five games under 6 fantasy points didn't add much to his aggregate, they are not as much of a concern in a "best ball" format. While the Rams do play home-and-away divisional games against two of the best pass defenses in the league--Seattle and Arizona--one of their games with Arizona has fallen harmlessly onto Week 17 (although one of the games with Seattle has annoyingly landed in the much more important Week 15). Outside of those teams, though, the Rams only play one other team in the top 12 of 2015 pass defenses--and that’s #11 Carolina, who just lost their blue-chip shut-down corner in free agency, so they may not be as formidable versus the pass in 2016. The “plus” matchup in the NFC West, the #27 pass defense of the San Francisco 49ers, is the Rams’ home opponent in fantasy Championship Week 16, and they also get the #18 Atlanta Falcons at home in fantasy playoff Week 14. #21 Miami, #30 New Orleans and #17 New England lead up to the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 11, 12 and 13, and the Rams go into their Week 9 bye playing the #32 pass defense of the New York Giants in Week 8. The Rams added some depth to their WR corps in the draft, but Austin would still appear to be the main weapon in the passing attack--and a dangerous gadget play threat--again in 2016. Goff should be able to get the ball into Austin's hands, while Gurley forces opponents to respect the run and leave WRs in single coverage. There is almost nothing not to like here.

DeVante Parker - RISING

I’m kind of afraid that DeVante Parker is going to be a popular prospect next season, and he may well be overdrafted more times than he presents a draft day bargain. Still, if there are 20-25 WRs off the board and Parker is still there, he’s should be given serious consideration. Currently he clocks in as the #33 WR with an ADP of 7.01. The first factor in his favor is that he stacks with Ryan Tannehill, one of my 2016 QB targets, and should share in the benefit that Adam Gase brings to the Miami offense in general and the passing game in particular. He will also share in the benefit of the same 9 “plus” matchups that Tannehill has against woeful pass defenses--and the same lack of any credible rushing attack to move the ball on the ground. First round draft pick Laremy Tunsil’s ability to protect Tannehill will give Parker more time to work downfield--and then there’s the fact that Parker somewhat quietly averaged 14.1 PPR fantasy points per game over the last six weeks of the 2015 season (and that’s even after you include the Week 14 clunker of only 3.6 PPR points).

Donte Moncrief - HOLDING

In the seven weeks that Andrew Luck was the Colts' QB, Donte Moncrief had 13 or more fantasy points five times. He averaged 13.9 PPR fantasy points over those seven games, which, prorated over a full season, would make him the #20 WR, just edging out the current #20, Sammy Watkins (and placing him ahead of T.Y. Hilton, #22). His current draft position is almost twice that--he’s now the #38 WR drafted, with an ADP of 8.10. That’s because without Luck, Moncrief scored over 10 points only three times in his remaining nine games. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a full year of Luck (the Colts did add a lot of beef to their offensive line in the draft, including 1st round pick Ryan Kelly, a Center from Alabama), which should translate into more big games out of Moncrief, who, by the way, is also a third year WR in 2016.

Dorial Green-Beckham - HOLDING

After Mike Mularkey was named the interim head coach, Dorial Green-Beckham averaged 11.7 points per game over the last five weeks of 2015, even counting his big fat goose egg in Week 16. I would assume that the team is going to try to bring him along with Mariota as the future of the team’s aerial assault, and his 6’5” 237 lb frame makes him a natural red zone target. Enhancements to the offensive line and running game should help free up the receivers, but the Titans’ offense has been inconsistent enough that I wouldn’t want to count on Green-Beckham as a weekly starter, even at WR3 (and the Titans Week 13 bye comes into play with him as well). Still, I’m perfectly willing to add him as depth to a Draft Master team for the big games with which he is likely to pepper the season. Interestingly, the drafting public is expecting more from Dorial Green-Beckham than they are from Tavon Austin; Austin is being drafted 6 WRs and a round and a half later than DGB at 9.03 (#41 overall WR).

Breshad Perriman - FADING

I was counting on Breshad Perriman to be one of my most deadly secret weapons next season--and he’s still being largely overlooked in drafts as the #49 WR with an ADP of 11.07--but circumstances that once favored him are beginning to turn against him. First of all, what was a bit of a void in the passing target department at the end of 2015 has become more of a glut for the Ravens in 2016 after the signings of Mike Wallace and Benjamin Watson, the return of Steve Smith Sr., and the drafting of big-play WR Chris Moore out of Cincinnati in the 4th round of this year’s draft. If Perriman can get--and stay--healthy, he has the measurables to be a fantasy stud, but it appears that the Ravens are making plans to be just fine without him in case he doesn't make the most of his chances early on. In his favor, Perriman’s scouting report from the 2015 draft contains a striking comparison to Josh Gordon. He has had an issue with drops, like Gordon, but his quickness off the line is supposedly astounding, and his straight-line speed has been clocked at 4.24 and 4.27, depending on who you believe. As a raw receiver who has yet to play a down in the NFL, his routes reportedly lack sharpness and commitment, especially when he is not the focus of the play, but he can basically just outrun everyone on the field. So he has that going for him, as well as one of the best schedules for a passing offense in the NFL, as mentioned above with reference to Joe Flacco--14 plus matchups and 12 of them ranked worse than 20th against the pass. If he can stay healthy--and the Ravens can find room for him in the starting rotation--expect Perriman to have a generous helping of monster games, even if he sputters a few weeks as well--but that’s just perfect for a Draft Master roster. He’s going to have to do something to make himself stand out from the receiving crowd in Baltimore at this point, however.

TEs (2-3)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - RISING

I believe we just saw the tip of the iceberg for this guy in the first game of 2015. Remember that one--5 receptions for 110 yards and 2 TDs? Yeah. That’s what Dirk Koetter TEs do. Koetter coached the most prolific TE in school history as the head coach at Arizona State. Koetter sent Marcedes Lewis to the Pro Bowl as the Offensive Coordinator for Jacksonville. Koetter coached Tony Gonzalez to three of his most productive seasons as the Falcons Offensive Coordinator, and he was the OC in TB when ASJ had that monster game to open the 2015 season. Now he’s their head coach. Although Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t healthy much after that first game, he still averaged 13.6 PPR fantasy points per game in the games he actually WAS healthy. Even when ASJ was out, Tampa Bay TEs were collectively responsible for 65 receptions, 814 yards, and 8 TDs. As Jameis Winston develops, so should Koetter’s implementation of his game plan, which leans heavily on TE screens to set up vertical downfield passes--and also targets the TE frequently in the red zone. If he can stay healthy (and therein lies the big IF), Austin Seferian-Jenkins will finish close to, if not among, the top 5 TEs in 2016, with a few monster games like Week 1 of 2015. I really can’t understand why people aren’t all over this guy--he’s even entering that magical third year--but he seems to have more skeptics than believers, with an ADP of 12.05 as the 14th TE drafted. So much the better for Axe Elf acolytes, I guess. Oh, and by the way--Tampa Bay’s 2016 opponents collectively gave up the 2nd-most points to TEs in 2015 (and the Bucs face the Saints' #31 pass defense almost back-to-back in fantasy playoff Weeks 14 and 16).

Jason Witten - ADDED

Jason Witten is kind of a forgotten man this offseason. He was the #9 PPR TE in 2014 and the #10 PPR TE in 2015, even though the rest of the Dallas passing game was garbage last year, with Romo missing 12 games. Yet so far in 2016 Witten is the 23rd TE off the board in 12-team PPR leagues with a lowly ADP of 14.10. I’m all over that for a TE2/3 in a Draft Master league, and there is virtually no competition for Witten in Dallas. Gavin Escobar has never caught more than 9 balls in a season, and is likely to begin the year on the PUP list rehabbing a torn Achilles. James Hanna is the next-best TE on the roster, and he’s more of a blocker than a weapon. The Cowboys drafted Rico Gathers out of Baylor in the 6th round, but he was a basketball player who will be a developmental project at TE and not an immediate starter. Dallas also has the 2nd-easiest schedule for QBs, so with a healthy Romo, Witten should easily put up another top 10 TE season.

Zach Ertz - FADING

For all his preseason hype last year, Zach Ertz left a bad taste in his owners’ mouths for most of 2015, so I’m hoping that none of them were really paying attention any more by the time the last four weeks of the season rolled around. In case you were one of those who hadn’t noticed, Ertz rather unobtrusively AVERAGED 8.75 catches, 112.5 yards, and 21.5 PPR fantasy points per game in the last quarter of the season--yes, those are his four-game averages, not a misprint. To put that in perspective, that’s in excess of four fantasy points per game more than the top TEs of 2015 (Reed with 17.4 ppg and Gronkowski with 17.0 ppg)--and everyone says you should draft Gronkowski in the first round! Doug Pederson’s system shouldn’t do anything to stifle Ertz either, coming as it does from a team and a coach that has traditionally featured a TE in the offense--most recently Travis Kelce. I’m kind of hoping that Sam Bradford remains the starter for this year, even with the drafting of Carson Wentz as their QB of the future, since Bradford’s frequent targeting of Ertz was a big part of his late-season success. Even if the QB changes, though, the system should still favor Ertz as the featured TE. The Eagles only have a relatively average 8 “plus” matchups versus the pass, and TEs tend to score pretty inconsistently anyway--so I would rather have 3 TEs on a Draft Master team than 3 QBs--but I think Ertz has bright shining top 5 potential to solidly anchor a TE platoon in 2016. I'm only listing him as "fading" here because of the QB uncertainty--who it will be, and if Wentz can be effective right away if he starts--otherwise Ertz would probably be my top TE.

Eric Ebron - HOLDING

I’m building on my Lions stack of Stafford and Tate to include Eric Ebron, who in his third season appears poised to approximate the factor in the passing game that they drafted him to be. Now, don’t get me wrong here; I don’t think Ebron will be strong oe consistent enough to be a TE1 in a standard league, and he would drive you crazy trying to figure out when to start him even if he was TE2 depth on your bench. That said, his 5 TDs in 2015 (in five different games) tied him for 9th among TEs in that category (with the likes of Gates and Kelce), and when he scored a TD, he was usually good for 15 or more PPR fantasy points in those weeks. I don’t see the kind of late-season surge for Ebron under Jim Bob Cooter that I saw with Stafford and Tate, but it does seem like Stafford started to trust Ebron in 2015, as guys like Fauria and Pettigrew and Wright have removed themselves from contention for TE targets. That means he might look to Ebron to help absorb some of the 150 or so targets created by the Calvin Johnson vacuum. Yes, Ebron will probably still disappear far too often in 2016 to be a reliable fantasy starter--but I bet he can be a regular contributor to a Draft Master team as TE depth.

Ks (2)

Yes, two kickers. There’s an ongoing debate amongst Draft Master enthusiasts as to whether it’s better to have two Kickers and two Defenses, or to just have one of each and use the other two roster slots on a couple of lottery tickets at the skill positions. Well, two years ago, I did the math. I loaded every NFL kicker’s weekly production into an Excel spreadsheet, paired every kicker with every other kicker, and looked at how many points you gain by having a second kicker as opposed to only one. The Reader’s Digest version is that you start out in a hole that’s about 50 points deep if you have only one kicker, compared to the teams that have two. Given that I forfeited $250 in 2015 Draft Master leagues due to five separate instances of just missing the next tier of payouts by 22 points or less, you don’t want to start out in a 50 point hole! There are a couple of reasons for the 50 point deficit. First of all, since kickers average about 7-8 points a week, you’re automatically losing that many points during the week that your single kicker is on a bye. Secondly, kickers are wildly inconsistent. Even the best kickers will throw up a few 1-2 point games, and even the worst will have a dozen or more points a couple of times a year. When you are missing out on an extra 7-9 points that a second kicker could score over your primary kicker in 5-6 weeks in the course of a season, that’s another 40ish points that a second kicker would add to your total. So if you think that some RB7 or WR8 is going to contribute more than 50 points to your team--above and beyond the points scored by the other skill players--then be my guest; but MOST of the time, that end-of-the-bench player isn’t going to be included in your best-ball lineup very often, if at all.

Blair Walsh - RISING

Chandler Catanzaro - HOLDING

I like the sites that use team Kickers. Then you don’t have to worry about injuries or firings. About all you can ask from a Kicker is to have a decent offense behind them, to play in a dome and have very few outdoor cold weather games. With the Vikings moving into their new dome in 2016, these are a couple of team Kickers that I will likely be targeting frequently--although I’m not one to pay more than the minimum for any Ks. Walsh should be especially easy to obtain (assuming he keeps his job), because everyone is going to remember that “wide left” chip shot that put his team out of the playoffs. That anomaly aside, Walsh is generally a pretty good kicker with a big leg--he actually finished 2015 as the #3 overall fantasy Kicker--and he should be even better in their new dome, after achieving that #3 finish outside in the Minnesota weather. 2016 should also see some improvement in the Vikings’ ability to move the ball into scoring position as well, with the addition of Laquon Treadwell both as a credible receiving threat and as a feisty downfield blocker for Adrian Peterson. I like Catanzaro because of the Cardinals’ offense in general--they give him plenty of chances to score. But hey, they're Kickers; there will be a dozen that will average within a point of each other every week--just be sure to get two in a Draft Master!

Ds (2)

As with Kickers, the same principle holds for drafting two Defenses instead of just one in Draft Master leagues, although the differential is about 20% smaller. A single Defense only costs you around 35-40 points (on the average) over having two of them. I’m still going for two.

Minnesota Vikings - HOLDING

The Vikings were the #7 overall fantasy Defense in 2015, but they were the #3 fantasy Defense over the last three weeks of the season against some pretty good offenses (Green Bay, New York Giants and Chicago Bears). I like the direction they are headed, but I could change my mind as the summer goes along.

Houston Texans - HOLDING

Similarly, the Texans were the #11 overall fantasy Defense for the year, but they ended the season as the #1 fantasy Defense over the last 3 weeks (against admittedly less impressive opponents in the Colts, Titans and Jaguars). Actually, the middle tier of Defenses was grouped so tightly that if Houston had only earned ten more fantasy points over the course of the season, they would have been the #6 overall Defense. If they can just get Jadeveon Clowney to stay healthy, he and Watt and Cushing and Wilfork should add up to a pretty smothering squad in 2016.

Jacksonville Jaguars - ADDED

There is little to draw on from 2015 that would indicate that the Jaguars will be an elite defense in 2016--but their highly defen-centric draft provides some reason for optimism. In addition to the return of the #3 overall pick in the 2015 draft, DE Dante Fowler (who tore his ACL on the first day of last year's mini-camp), former Legion of Boom architect and current Jacksonville Head Coach Gus Bradley added two first-round talents to the defense in the 2016 draft, CB Jalen Ramsey and OLB Myles Jack. He added depth with another OLB, two more DEs, and a DT by the end of the draft, giving the Jaguars as much chance to excel as any defense in the NFL. Oh, and Jacksonville also faces the 4th-easiest schedule for fantasy defenses this season.

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I would like to give you a hard time about your terrible recommendations....but honestly it's very good Axe.

You're coming my way on CJ/Murray.

Agree completely on Jennings in DM...he could be an absolute nightmare to predict in managed

Ertz will be ok, I don't think top TE was ever a very realistic thought. He's just not that talented.

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Every troll at rotoworld trolling themselves in one thread.

Who will win?

Who will die?

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Every troll at rotoworld trolling themselves in one thread.

Who will win?

Who will die?

Care to elaborate? You Look Like The Troll But Not a good one at that

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Every troll at rotoworld trolling themselves in one thread.

Who will win?

Who will die?

Thanks for joining the club, in the dmb3684est way possible.

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Every troll at rotoworld trolling themselves in one thread.

Who will win?

Who will die?

Another dmb post...


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