Friday, August 29, 2014

SuperContest Weekend: A seminar with the Vegas sharps

By Mitch Goldich is a freelance sports writer based out of Philadelphia.  Check out his website and follow him on twitter at @mitchgoldich.

Football season is upon us.  For most fans this means prepping for fantasy drafts, but another large subset has other matters on the mind: point spreads, over/unders, futures bets and win totals.
Fortunately, for those looking to improve their traditional gambling ability, some of the sharpest sharps in Vegas gather in one room every August for the SuperContest Weekend.
Last weekend the Superbook, the sportsbook at the Westgate (formerly Las Vegas Hilton, formerly LVH), rounded up 10 panelists, three moderators and one host for an all-star lineup at their third annual handicapping seminar to kick off the football season.
So who do the sharps like, and what do they look for?  These were the questions we all wanted to know.
But first, a note on the nature of gambling.
Panelist Brian Edwards began his breakdown of the Big Ten by listing coaches he felt were on the hot seat, a situation he casually dubbed a “handicap-able event.”
For some reason the mostly harmless comment made think back to another panel discussion I’d attended in May, where NBA player-turned-coach-turned-broadcaster Doug Collins spoke about his career.  The subject turned to this very topic, and Collins said he won’t speculate on coach firings.  He understands that assistants lose jobs, families move, kids switch schools, etc.  
Most people probably side with Edwards.  Just about any fan or reporter would happily discuss the impact a coach’s job security might have on the team.
But the way it rolled out as Edwards’ very first point was a stark reminder of where we were.  Welcome to Las Vegas: Everything is a handicap-able event and the mission is to find an edge in all of them.
Conversations later touched on which NFL teams might be affected by a league-wide increase in defensive holding penalties, and how Kent State might play in Week 1 after a player died.  Those topics seemed covered with the same emotional detachment.  
That objective eye is necessary for the SuperContest, the biggest NFL pool in the world.  John Tournour (better known as the radio host J.T. The Brick) called the former winners the “ultimate fraternity in sports handicapping,” a verbiage parallel to the way many describe the NFL Hall of Fame.
The rules are simple.  Entry costs $1,500, the Superbook puts out lines for every NFL game, bettors choose five games per week and whoever has the most winners against the spread over the course of the season wins.
In 2013, a record 1,034 contestants entered, the top 30 cashed and the overall winner pocketed $557,850.
SuperContest Weekend is a chance to drum up publicity, and offers something to do for the out-of-towners who have to sign up in person and designate their proxies who will place the actual bets throughout the season in Vegas.
The handicapping seminar was on Friday night, followed Saturday by a golf outing and a reception with prizes.
Both the weekend and the pool are growing, as gambling discussion seems to be gaining more footholds in the mainstream media.
Panelists included Todd Fuhrman, a former oddsmaker at Caesars who now writers for FOX Sports, and Marc Lawrence, who announced he’ll have a new weekly gambling column for USA Today.
The weekend attracted several types of people— the pro gamblers (host Brian Blessing mentioned that many people in the audience could have been on the panel themselves), amateur bettors looking to improve their skills, and outright dreamers merely hoping to win a free SuperContest entry in one of the raffles.
For Friday’s seminar, many in the audience took copious notes either on paper or in their heads.  Others chatted by the bar in the back, clutching raffle tickets and waiting for the three hours to pass.
SuperContest Weekend is not designed to be an intro to sports gambling course.  Three separate panels spent about an hour each at the microphones, covering college football, then the NFL’s conferences one at a time.
The panelists skipped any sort of primer and dove right into their thoughts on the upcoming season.  They spent more time giving tips on teams, and less time teaching audience members to think for themselves.
Any philosophical thoughts on general gambling concepts had to be gleaned from moments between the rundown of teams.  But there were a few good ones:
Lawrence talked about how people typically analyze strength of schedule by aggregating every team’s winning percentage from the previous season.  Instead, he compiles averages with each team’s projected win total.  Vegas doesn’t consider the Falcons a 4-12 team or the Panthers a 12-4 team moving forward, yet nearly every SOS graphic on TV or the web still treats them that way.
Dave Cokin looks for teams that totally quit at the end of the season (like Wyoming) as potential rebounds.
Fuhrman said you don’t make money by betting on good teams, you make it by betting on bad ones.
Thoughts like those three are likely more valuable than the general chorus of Bet on the Saints!  Bet against Dallas! though a little harder to pick out.
But some of the info must be taken with a grain of salt.  One panelist said his projections saw a two point swing on Cleveland based on whether Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel starts— which, sorry, sounds a little ridiculous.  
Quarterback changes move betting lines all the time, and I have no doubts that analysts have systems to keep up.  But how can anyone claim to know the difference between Manziel and Hoyer with such confidence?  None of us know how good Manziel will be, or how he compares to Hoyer.  That’s what the Browns spent all preseason figuring out, and what scouts have spent 18 months debating.
Yet my impression was that many of the amateurs took away nuggets as gospel truth, ready to race with them to the betting counters.
The reality is, it’s very unlikely for a total greenhorn to win the SuperContest.  Winning may take some lucky breaks along the way, but it’s still a skill game.  Recent winners, even if not pro gamblers, share stories about their love for statistics and studying of the market.
If a total novice could win the contest with just one night of advice from the sharps, they probably wouldn’t sit up on the podium and give you their tips.
In fact, two-time SuperContest Champ Steve Fezzik gave some of the sagest advice, telling amateurs to stick with their strengths, or maybe zoom in one conference and go with what you know.
“If you have a normal job, don’t handicap 32 teams,” Fezzik advised, although that strategy makes the SuperContest kind of tricky.
“It helps to have no life,” he added.  
This is what made the focus on the raffle so amusing.  For many folks it was the highlight of the weekend— a ticket to join a contest you probably won’t win anyway.
But there’s no harm in dreaming big.  And if you lose the SuperContest, it’s better to throw away a free entry than $1,500 of your own stack.
Throughout the weekend, all the organizers joked about how everyone would leave the moment Friday night’s drawing was over, and repeat the motions after the last of four drawings on Saturday.
Those jokes were prescient, as fans began stampeding out of the room two digits into the six digit winner.
Some gamblers stayed, to catch up with friends, keep talking football or tell war stories about horse races of yesteryear, but most people got out of there in a hurry.
It’s hard to blame them though.  This is Vegas: As soon as you realize you’re holding a losing ticket, it’s time to go look for a winner.

Fantasy Football Preseason Risers and Fallers

In addition to talent, opportunity is a huge part of fantasy football.  Through 3 weeks of the preseason, we have a much better idea about which players will see increased opportunities.  These players, depending on the size of your league could be shrewd free agent pick-ups or trade potential targets.  Emmanuel Sanders gets an honorable mention here, because his stock would rise if Wes Welker were to miss a significant portion of time.  As it stands, people are overreacting to Welker’s latest concussion and drafting Sanders as if he’s the clear #2 in the Broncos offense.  For the time being, I’ll pass on Sanders until the 6th round, so I know I’m not getting him in many leagues.

Stock up:
  1. Shane Vereen, RB New England Patriots: Stevan Ridley is losing grip on more than just the football recently.  His fumblitis has caused ESPN Boston to question whether he’ll even make the 53 man squad.  This paves the way for more touches for Vereen.  If he can stay healthy, he should catch a ton of passes, possibly leading all RBs in receptions.  A tight leash on Ridley should mean more carries for Vereen and even a few goal line touches.  
Preseason ADP: 6th round
Where he should go now: 4th round

  1. Doug Martin: RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The fantasy fallout of the recent trade of Logan Mankins for Tim Wright comes indirectly.  Sure, Wright is squarely on the TE2 radar, but he was there already after a pretty monstrous rookie year.  But the Bucs acquisition of a Pro Bowl LG and the recent injury to direct backup Charles Sims make Martin rare 3-down RB with monster upside.  He’s now in the top 10 RBs, so you’re confidently drafting him as your RB1.  The case can be made he’s best the position has to offer behind the big 5.
Pre-season ADP: late 2nd
Where he should go now: late 1st

  1. Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee Titans: Few players have generated more buzz than Just Hunter.  With 164 yards and 2 TDs in pre-season action, Tennessee coaches and players alike know he needs to be on the field in more than just 3 wide sets. He’s reportedly been a big part of the red zone package, with writers calling the fade to Hunter in the end zone unstoppable.   Kendall Wright will move the chains more between the 20s, but has never been a TD threat.  With Bishop Sankey struggling to adjust to pass protection in the pros and no other options in the passing game, Hunter should be able to eclipse 8-10 TDs with ease.  
Pre-season ADP: 11th Round
Where he should go now: 7th Round

  1. Jonathan Grimes, RB Houston Texans: Grimes started the pre-season buried on the depth chart.  Things changed quickly when Houston released both Andre Brown and Dennis Johnson following the first preseason game.  With Arian Foster a known injury risk, Grimes will likely make at least a few spots starts for the club, and that makes for a valuable addition.
Preseason ADP: undrafted
Where he should go now: 12th round

  1. Heath Miller, TE Pittsburgh Steelers: Miller has been a reliable back end TE1 for years now, but following his knee injury in 2012 Miller couldn’t quite muster the same numbers.  Always one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets, Miler’s preseason has shown us that he is both healthy and ready to contribute in the red zone.  Rather than taking a flier on an unestablished 2nd year tight end who may rise to 1st on their team’s depth chart (read Ladarius Green, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce), use your pick on Miller, and you won’t have to scour the waiver wire all season.
Preseason ADP: undrafted
Where he should go now: 11th round

Stock Down

  1. Bishop Sankey, RB Tennessee Titans: No rookie RB had as good an opportunity to take the job and run with it as did Bishop Sankey.  While he’s been moderately productive this pre-season (112 yards and TD), it’s been exclusively with the 2s and 3s.  At some point this season, Sankey should pass plodder Shonn Greene, but don’t expect much production in the first month.  By that point, Frank Gore or Steven could be hurt and fellow rookie ball carrier Carlos Hyde or Devonta Freeman would be more valuable commodities given their superior talents displayed thus far.  
Pre-season ADP: 5th round
Where he should go now: 7th or later

  1. Le’Veon Bell, RB Pittsburgh Steelers: Let’s be clear.  Bell will likely NOT be suspended this season due to his recent arrest for a DUI and possession of marijuana.  His stock is falling more due to a potential timeshare with partner in crime LeGarrette Blount.   In typical fashion, Bell projects as the early down back, with Blount handling goal-line duties.  To justify his ADP, Bell needs to stay in for 3rd down and handle the red zone work, only likely if Blount gets hurt.  They’ll likely end up pretty even on carries and points, so I like Blount as the better value.
Pre-season ADP: 2nd round
Where he should go now: 4th round  

  1. Trent Richardson, RB Indianapolis Colts: Since his arrival in Indy, and even in the weeks leading up to the trade, Trent Richardson has done nothing to justify his worth as an NFL starting running back.  He looks tentative to hit the hole and can’t break tackles running east to west.  Averaging a paltry 2.55 YPC through 3 pre-season games, Richardson looks lost.  And if he’s not careful, he’ll lose his starting gig to Ahmad Bradshaw.  The Colts would be wise look to a more aggressive, pass oriented offense this season, and have hinted than doing so may help open up the running game.  Either way, Richardson won’t be getting the volume or productivity needed to be fantasy relevant on the season, so I’m avoiding him at all costs.
Pre-season ADP: 5th Round
Where he should go now: 9th round or later

  1. Josh Gordon
In case you haven’t heard, Josh Gordon’s appeal was finally heard and denied yesterday, so he won’t play this year.  A player with an insane amount of talent bordering on 1st round value, Gordon had been rising to the 10th/11th round in hopes he would be able to play at least some portion of the season.  The long wait is over, so if you’re still drafting, leave him in the FA pool.  Use that pick on one of the previously mentioned risers.

If you liked the column and want to read more or ask for fantasy advice, follow me on twitter @srjhogan

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fantasy Football Draft Day Strategies

By Scott Hogan
Follow me on twitter: @srjhogan

Five Solid Strategies to Consider on Draft Day

1) Make your first two picks count.

It may sound simple, but how many teams out there won their league with 1st

Richardson, CJ Spiller or Doug Martin? Today’s game is becoming much more pass heavy, and 

wide receivers are actually starting to outscore their running back counter parts, especially in 

PPR leagues. The top scorers will still likely be running backs, so if you’re picking in the top 

5, you shouldn’t shy away from LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson 

or Matt Forte, but after that I wouldn’t use another pick in the top 12 on a RB: much higher 

bust and injury potential. Draft safe in the first two rounds and take some chances in the later 

rounds when players are more replaceable.

2) Wait on a quarterback.

I said it’s a pass heavy league, so shouldn’t quarterbacks also stand to benefit? The answer is 

a resounding yes, but after the 1st

in numbers 4 through 14. Could Matt Stafford repeat his 2011 41 TD performance? Sure, but 

realize those Lions only score 9 total TDs on the ground that season, so expecting 2013 Peyton 

Manning numbers is totally unreasonable. Give me Keenan Allen, Roddy White or Andre 

Johnson in the 4th

Kelvin Benjamin. Just make sure to grab one before your league mates start taking backups, 

which should be around round 10. No one wants to start a platoon of Alex Smith and Eli 


3) Wait on a tight

Unless you get Jimmy Graham, the ceiling for your TE isn’t all that high. The difference between 

#2 and #12 last year was about 60 points, or less than 4 per week. Add to that, the position is 

much deeper this year with the expected emergence of young TEs Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and 

Ladarius Green and the return of injured players like Heath Miller and Jordan Reed. Those guys 

are all going round 10 or later, so you can fill your roster up with 8 RBs and WRs before you 

need to use a pick on a TE.

4) Know your scoring system

If you’re in a PPR league, give a huge bump to players like Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, 

and wide receivers as a whole, but you already know my opinion on that. 2 QB league? You’re 

probably ignoring rule 2 and taking a QB with at least one of your top 2 picks, since the QB1s so 

vastly outscore the next tier. Try to find an expert mock in a scoring system like your own to get 

an idea of how the scoring system might change who you draft.

5) Be willing to change your strategy during the draft

Just because you want to wait on a QB, if Drew Brees falls to your pick in the 4th

up that value. Same thing with any other stud, even if you’ve got that position filled. You can 

always trade them to a league mate who missed out later on. A lot of NFL GMs go by the ‘Best 

Available’ strategy in the NFL Draft, so why shouldn’t you? Come prepared with both your 

rankings and an ADP cheat sheet. That way you’ll know when you need to reach for a player 

you want.

Already drafted? Be on the lookout for a column on potential free agent pick-ups or trade 

targets based on this preseason.

 tier (Rodgers, Brees, Manning), I don’t see much difference 

 and Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick in the 9th

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Become a Millionaire: SportsTradex Hosts Their Millionaire Maker Pick'Em Contest

If you’re growing tired of the typical salary-driven daily fantasy sports game, we’ve got an alternative for you. Our friends at SportsTradex are hosting their August Millionaire Maker pick’em contest tomorrow where you, the average Joe with an unhealthy amount of baseball knowledge, have a chance to win one million dollars.
Perhaps you’re new to the pick’em contest at SportsTradex, and if you are, you’re missing out. Each pick’em matchup consists of three players on each side, and your goal is to choose the side that you think will score the most fantasy points. Tomorrow’s contest will have 20 different matchups to choose from, and if you get all 20 correct, you’re an instant millionaire. Even if you miss one, you’re still walking away with up to $50,000.
But the great part about the contest is that, no matter what happens, $20,000 is being paid out. It's guaranteed. It’s not as though this is only a high-risk game, folks.  READ MORE HERE

Who Is the Leading Candidate for American League MVP?

Who Is the Leading Candidate for American League MVP?

Whether you like the one-game wild card playoff or not, you have to admit one thing. It sure is doing its job.
After the Angels routed the Athletics on 9-4 on Sunday night, Los Angeles reclaimed a one-game lead over Oakland in the American League West. Before the advent of the one-game playoff, this three-game set in Oakland wouldn't have had the same importance as it did this weekend, as the wild card winner and division champ would both be in the same position when all was said and done, in a five-game NLDS.
Leading the charge for these two powerhouses are each teams' respective best players, Oakland's Josh Donaldson and L.A.'s Mike Trout, both of whom are not only battling it out for AL West supremacy but are also engaged in a fierce battle for the American League MVP race. They are joined by Kansas City's Alex Gordon, all three of whom are having fantastic seasons for playoff contenders.
Here is how their numbers break down this year.  READ MORE HERE

Is Jordan Matthews the Next Marques Colston?

With the NFL being such a pass heavy league, there are more tosses to go around to multiple receivers than ever before. Fullbacks are being phased out, tight ends are more known for their receiving skills rather than blocking, and running backs can lead their team in receptions.
The slot receiver is no longer one reserved for the small and quick playmakers like Wes Welker and Percy Harvin. They now come in all shapes in sizes for matchup purposes. Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly loves taking advantage of these types of matchups, as his offense has several different options on each play depending on how the defense reacts.
Kelly's Eagles drafted Jordan Matthews in the second round of the draft this year, andChip has gone on record saying he likes Matthews in the slot in three-receiver sets, while Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper play on the outside. Matthews wasn't brought in to play the DeSean Jackson role on the outside. And that's not necessarily a bad thing because Matthews can use his size to his advantage when lining up with a close proximity to the quarterback.  READ MORE HERE

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Daily Fantasy Advice August 23rd

If this is your first time coming to this page, I would like to welcome you! What we do here is give some free Daily Fantasy Advice for players you should target on that given night. We sprinkle in different positions and some descriptions as to who and why I am choosing this person. On top of that, we have a subscription service that is $20/mo that gives full details on a full lineup that we use on FanDuel. We give our exact lineup and reasons why we are picking these players. If you would like to try it out for a day, or a week, feel free to click the subscribe button for $1/day, $5/week, or the $20/mo option under the ads. There’s so many option today with great matchups and history against each other, it could take you hours to do the research. Luckily for you, I’ve done the research and will be highlighting key players to take a look at today.
I’ll keep bringing these suggested play articles, there’ll be a small subscription fee for full articles with actual suggested lineups for each day. To subscribe, hit the “subscribe” button under the ads on the right side. Once subscribed, shoot me an email at telling me you have subscribed. Once it’s confirmed, the day’s article will be emailed to you!
Follow me on Twitter: @FantasyAdvice22
Suggested Plays 8/23/14:
P- Zack Greinke $9,700- He has the most favorable matchup against the free-swinging Mets. I should also mention he was day to day due to elbow discomfort so taking him today comes with caution. Nevertheless, Greinke is sporting a 2.75 ERA with 12 wins and 170 Ks. He should fair well against the Mets and I'm predicting 7 innings, 8 KS, 3 ERS, and a W.
P- Ervin Santana- $8,900- Santana gets to face the same team that was no-hit into the 8th inning last night against Mike Minor who has been a bust all year. Santana is coming off 3 straight wins and I don't see why he doesn't get 20 FP tonight.
Other P I Like: Jordan Zimmerman- $8,500, Jacob deGrom- $8,200
C- Brian McCann $2,900- He hasn't exactly been who the Yankees envisioned he would be when they signed him in the offseason, but in DFS we take advantage of that and his price is too low not to consider him. He's facing Scott ( I can't retire lefties) Carroll and I can see at least one BOMBpop coming for McCann today.
C- Jarrod Saltalamacchia $2,900- He's the same price as McCann but has a better matchup due to the fact that he is playing in Coors. He's facing Jordan Lyles who struggles against lefties and tonight I'm predicting a Marcell Ozuna type game from Salty.

1B- Mark Teixeira $2,800- His price is too low not to use him like McCann. I'm going to be stacking Yankees in the Early Squeeze GPP.
1B- Freddie Freeman $4,000- FF has had 10 straight positive FP games in a row and gets to face Leake who struggles against lefties. Predicting a BOMBpop tonight for Freddie.

2B- Jedd Gyorko $3,100- His name is hard to pronounce but his numbers since coming back from the DL aren't hard to see. He draws a juicy matchup against Nuno today. I'm predicting Gyorko having a chance at the cycle today.

Other 2B I like: Neil Walker- $3,400
3B- Evan Longoria $3,200- I almost pulled the trigger on Longo last night and of course when I did that and decided against rostering him, he goes off for 11.75 FP. He is facing a horrible lefty in Buehrle and I'm predicting another BOMBpop today.
SS I like: Jose Reyes- $4,000, Zach Walters- $2,400, Ian Desmond- $3,700

OFs to Target:
Leonys Martin- $2,500
Yasiel Puig- $3,000
Andrew McCutchen- $4,000
Christian Yelich- 3,700
Be sure to subscribe to get full lineups. Tonight will be featuring different lineups with different pitchers!
Don’t forget to sign up and play today: FANDUEL
Remember to hit the subscribe button and get the full articles to fast-track your way into the money! Good luck tonight and bring home the bacon.

Friday, August 22, 2014


The term "expert" gets thrown out a lot when it comes to fantasy sports. I personally prefer the term analyst or author when people ask me what I do. Having played in many "expert" leagues over the years, I've found my private home based leagues to be equally, if not more challenging. However, the expert FLEX LEAGUE draft I had this week was full of some of the best minds in fantasy football and I believe examining this draft can be quite an effective tool in formulating your strategy.

First off, here are the competitors:
Jake Ciely of RotoExperts is the commissioner/organizer
Jody Smith Gridiron Experts
Drew Loftis New York Post
Will Carroll Bleacher Report
Jamey Eisenberg CBS Sports
John Halpin Fox Sports
Scott Pianowski Yahoo
Rich Hribar XN Sports
Dave Goons
Chris Burke
Andy Behrens Yahoo
John & Liz from the X's & Y's Podcast
Nick Mensio Rotoworld
And of course....ME, Joe Pisapia Fantasy Black Book
(a pretty great grouping!)

Here's the recap of the first 3 rounds of this 14 team/14 RD draft. I will also highlight some surprises, trends and observations that may be helpful regarding certain players and their status.

FLEX League is 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/1FLEX/1Def-ST. (1/2PPR) Looking at the scoring, the 2012 top player was Drew Brees. In 2013, obviously Manning with Brees right on his heels. My thinking at the bottom slot of the snake draft was try to come away with an elite QB (Breese, Manning or Rodgers) and then hopefully a legit RB 1. There are only four top RB's all of which would be long gone before it came to me, but I was surprised that even in a league of experts that mid-low level RB1's who are destined to score 220pts would be valued above a guy like Brees who scored 300+ consecutive years in this scoring system. You take the "potential", give me the points!
Now granted you only play one QB, but the RPV (Relative Position Value/the stat I created and core of the Fantasy Football Black Book) of low end RB1's is already in the negative pool. Not mention the fact so many guys like Montee Ball and Le'Veon Bell still have proven very little in this league. Brees RPV is +14% in this scoring and the RB's available (with the exception of Lynch and Bernard) were -6% to -12%. I would much rather take the ELITE player, and make of the difference in bulk. It's about staying in the "positive RPV" as often as you can. When you consider the pounding running backs take anyway, it seems even more logical. Giovanni Bernard was my target RB at 14th.  A guy on the rise, with little competition for carries or goal line touches and a strong pass catcher. Lynch was my second choice. If both were available I could also create an RPV advantage by owning two RB1's, but I figured this was a pipe dream and the Brees/RB combo would be where I'd end up.
Here's how round one went down:


1.011.Jody Smith: Gridiron Experts @JodySmith_NFLCharles, Jamaal KCC RB
1.022.Drew Loftis: New York Post @NYPost_LoftisMcCoy, LeSean PHI RB
1.033.Will Carroll: B/R @injuryexpertPeterson, Adrian MIN RB
1.044.Jake Ciely: @allinkidForte, Matt CHI RB
1.055.Jamey Eisenberg: CBS Sports @JameyEisenbergJohnson, Calvin DET WR
1.066.John Halpin: FOX Sports @jhalpin37Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR
1.077.Scott Pianowski: Yahoo @scott_pianowski Lacy, Eddie GBP RB
1.088.Rich Hribar: XNSports @LordReebsBryant, Dez DAL WR
1.099.David Gonos: @davidgonosBell, Le'Veon PIT RB
1.1010.Chris Burke: @ChrisBurke_SIGraham, Jimmy NOS TE
1.1111.Andy Behrens: Yahoo! @andybehrensGreen, A.J. CIN WR
1.1212.John and Liz: Xs & Ys Podcast @TheFFGirl @JohnF_EvansBernard, Giovani CIN RB
1.1313.Nick Mensio: Rotoworld @NickMensioJones, Julio ATL WR
1.1414.Joe Pisapia: Fantasy Black Book @JoePisapia17Brees, Drew NOS QB

JUST MISSED BERNARD! Clearly what happens when you are drafting in an "expert" league filled with writers for top website and media outlets. There are no sleepers! You will likely be a bit more fortunate in your league. The first round went without any real surprise. Bell is the one guy for me that I am not sold on especially with Blount in Pittsburgh. This was also before his new found legal trouble. Character, may not be a fantasy statistic, but I can guarantee you it can have a massive impact on a player's value.
In a 14 team league playing 3 WR it was not surprising to top wide outs fly off the board. Had it been full PPR I would have been tempted to also dip my toes in the water. To me it was a no brainer to select Brees. Manning is likely due for a market correction, he's another year older (as is Welker) and is also now minus Eric Decker. I think that is a bigger loss than people think, despite having plenty of other options. Rodgers was equally worthy, but coming off the injury I went for the consistency of Brees. To get the #1-2 point getter two years running at the 14th overall pick was an easy choice and I could care less if it turned heads. Now, it was time to comb the RB/WR ranks.


2.0115.Joe Pisapia: Fantasy Black Book @JoePisapia17Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB
2.0216.Nick Mensio: Rotoworld @NickMensioJeffery, Alshon CHI WR
2.0317.John and Liz: Xs & Ys Podcast @TheFFGirl @JohnF_EvansMurray, DeMarco DAL RB
2.0418.Andy Behrens: Yahoo! @andybehrensBall, Montee DEN RB
2.0519.Chris Burke: @ChrisBurke_SIMarshall, Brandon CHI WR
2.0620.David Gonos: @davidgonosBrown, Antonio PIT WR
2.0721.Rich Hribar: XNSports @LordReebsNelson, Jordy GBP WR
2.0822.Scott Pianowski: Yahoo @scott_pianowski Allen, Keenan SDC WR
2.0923.John Halpin: FOX Sports @jhalpin37Martin, Doug TBB RB
2.1024.Jamey Eisenberg: CBS Sports @JameyEisenbergStacy, Zac STL RB
2.1125.Jake Ciely: @allinkidCobb, Randall GBP WR
2.1226.Will Carroll: B/R @injuryexpertManning, Peyton DEN QB
2.1327.Drew Loftis: New York Post @NYPost_LoftisRodgers, Aaron GBP QB
2.1428.Jody Smith: Gridiron Experts @JodySmith_NFLGarcon, Pierre WAS WR

By process of elimination, I chose Lynch. He has been written off before by many fantasy writers only to repeatedly blow us away. Zach Stacy is a nice young back, but I am not sure he is a difference maker. Yes, he had some nice games, but also some real clunkers in 2013. I personally value consistency. That mantra also eliminated Doug Martin from my consideration. Montee Ball has potential, but he has yet to deliver on that promise. Perhaps he will in 2014, but I for one think track record and experience count. So, after being down to Demarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch, Murray's fragility gave out to the consistency of Lynch who also posted a career high in receiving yards last season. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Antonio Brown and Keenan Allen were all tempting, but the RB pool was about to fall off a cliff. It was an easy decision. Will and Drew got great value in their QB's this round who should easily outscore every other player in this round. I was surprised Jeffrey went over Marshall. Martin to me was the riskiest pick after a disastrous 2013, especially with Stacy and the two elite QB's still on the board. If he was his second RB I would felt better about the selection. Allen and Cobb have the best chance to take a step to the next level.


3.0129.Jody Smith: Gridiron Experts @JodySmith_NFLFoster, Arian HOU RB
3.0230.Drew Loftis: New York Post @NYPost_LoftisEllington, Andre ARI RB
3.0331.Will Carroll: B/R @injuryexpertWelker, Wes DEN WR
3.0432.Jake Ciely: @allinkidJennings, Rashad NYG RB
3.0533.Jamey Eisenberg: CBS Sports @JameyEisenbergMorris, Alfred WAS RB
3.0634.John Halpin: FOX Sports @jhalpin37Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE
3.0735.Scott Pianowski: Yahoo @scott_pianowski Jackson, Vincent TBB WR
3.0836.Rich Hribar: XNSports @LordReebsThomas, Julius DEN TE
3.0937.David Gonos: @davidgonosVereen, Shane NEP RB
3.1038.Chris Burke: @ChrisBurke_SICruz, Victor NYG WR
3.1139.Andy Behrens: Yahoo! @andybehrensSpiller, C.J. BUF RB
3.1240.John and Liz: Xs & Ys Podcast @TheFFGirl @JohnF_EvansWhite, Roddy ATL WR
3.1341.Nick Mensio: Rotoworld @NickMensioFloyd, Michael ARI WR
3.1442.Joe Pisapia: Fantasy Black Book @JoePisapia17Hilton, T.Y. IND WR

And now personal preference and risk taking begin. Foster clearly has question marks but as a RB2 you can't blame Jody one bit for taking the chance. Welker does have track record, but also showed decline and wear last year. I would be concerned with him as  #1 WR at this point in his career. Gronkowski clearly a boom/bust player based on his ability to stay on the field, but a great calculated risk in this league depth by John. Incidentally after Thomas went in this round, I took Jordan Cameron with my wrap around pick as the only remaining TE I felt would be well above positive in RPV. The bottom of the TE position is dreadful. Shane Vereen is a sneaky good pick in PPR leagues and Dave was right on that. Jake was willing to go all in on Jennings and with good reasoning. The performance of that whole Giants offense in the new West Coast system will be interesting to see. Michael Floyd to me was the steal of this round for Nick. Everything is set for him to be an elite receiver after his growth in 2013.

So, when it came down to me I needed a WR1 and the choices were dwindling. Floyd or White would have been my preference, but both went right before me. Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are still useful, but I think both are on a bit of a decline. Edelman is a nice PPR choice, but to me still not a number one. This left me with Hilton and Reggie Wayne. As much as I adore Wayne, T.Y. became Andrew Luck's "go to" guy last year while Wayne was out and you can see the chemistry between the two. Quarterbacks that grow with receivers early on in their careers tend to have special relationships in fantasy and although there is some risk, I think Hilton had the most upside at that point in the draft.


Overall players with some miles on them were slightly undervalued in my opinion. Sure football is a young man's game, but that doesn't mean that experience should be ignored. Maurice Jones-Drew and Steve Smith for instance both fell quite late and considering they are healthy I had no problems scooping them up late in the game. I was also able to nab Ray Rice in the 5th round. Now, I know he will miss 2 games with the suspension and one week for a bye, but she looks to be in great shape and in an era where running back by committee reigns, he has potential to be a bell cow number one at a RB3 value.
Speaking of suspensions, Will took Josh Gordon in the 11th round. Another calculated risk. His reasoning was quite sound, "When I am out of players I like on the board, that's when I take Gordon." A very logical way to look at it without any clarity on the number of games he will miss at this stage.

Dovanta Freeman went 7.6, to John,  Brandin Cooks 6.1 to yours truly and Terrance West 7.10 to Chris were some of my favorite "young upside" picks, so be ready to reach for them in rounds 6-8 in most 12 team drafts.
Ryan Mathews sliding to the 5th round was the biggest ADP slide I saw so it seems folks are still not buying into his 2013 rebound. I for one still see him as a very legit RB2.

You can follow the twitter account @FLEX_Leagues and see the entire draft here: and see Jake Cecily's recap here:

For more on RPV read the Free Preview Chapter on the Kindle store of THE FANTASY FOOTBALL BLACK BOOK 2014