Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: The 8 Steps of Grieving with the Loss of Matt Harvey on Your Dynasty Team

The night is darkness just before the dawn. Sweet dreams, Dark Knight. (GETTY)

One of the breakout stars of the 2013 season has been extinguished. The force that was Matt Harvey is likely no more until the Spring of 2015 at the earliest. The 24-year-old star pitcher for the New York Metropolitans was diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL in his throwing elbow. This injury almost always leads to Tommy John surgery.

It's devastating news for anyone that is a fan of baseball, or for the purposes of this article a Harvey fantasy owner. More specifically an owner of his in a dynasty league. One tweet is all it took from dreams of owning the next Justin Verlander to utter devestation. Baseball does this to many a young pitchers, sadly, there's always the threat of an injury like this looming. Every instance of a budding superstar losing a year or two of his career is always cruel. Particularly situations like this where seemingly all of the key elements were in place. Harvey was a collegiate pitcher, had been brought along carefully, not over worked in his professional career, and even on an innings count this year set to take him to 205 innings pitched providing 2014 as his first limit free season as a Met. This injury is quite Strasburgian.

Really what baseball as a whole can take away from this is for all the monitoring, science, preparation, and expert opinions from people who know better than anyone else; there is no right answer when it comes to avoiding elbow damage in pitchers. Sure, there are things that obviously hurt it, but if you had to create an ideal scenario it for a pitcher that would succeed that throws high velocity pitches, it's Harvey. Ultimately, even under the most cautious eye and expensive care, we are all looking at an individuals make-up. His ligaments and his genetics that make Justin Verlanders and that make a lot of other pitchers.

I own Matt Harvey in a dynasty league, and I was looking forward to what the future had in store for us.

As news broke Monday afternoon, I was distraught, so I figured I'd walk you through the 8 Steps of Grieving I went through after hearing the news.

1. VERIFICATION

I initially heard rumblings of this on Twitter. Well, Twitter can be a lying whore some times, so I kept digging. Using Twitter I looked for more legit Tweeters. I sent some traffic to ESPN, Yahoo!, CBSSports, and MLB.com. Sure enough the Harvey news slowly started populating. This was a brutal blow.

2. WEB MD

Okay, so Harvey is injured, but everywhere people are saying it's a partial UCL tear. There's been no decision on surgery yet. Time to see what this means. Well, it's ultimately not good. This is typically a precursor to Tommy John, but there has been one outlier to at least being productive and staving off surgery, and that was Adam Wainwright. While Wainwright is the best case scenario, barring anything unprescedented from Harvey, it's worth noting that after his partial-tear in 2004, Wainwright wasn't a full-time starting pitcher until 2007, and after back to back 6+ WAR seasons, he blew out his elbow in 2011.

3. SLIGHT HOPE

So, why can't Harvey be the exception? Why can't he avoid surgery, rehab all off-season and come back the same next year? This ... is hard to talk yourself into. Harvey had the highest average velocity on his fastball in all of baseball. He threw his slider a lot. Despite all of the things that made Harvey such an unlikely candidate, or I guess a more hopefuly to avoid candidate, for major surgery he also had some hallmarks of a guy destined for it. There's still hope, until he says he's having the surgery, but that will be determined some point before the end of September.

4. THIS YEAR'S FANTASY TEAM

Something that kind of lessens the blow is that Harvey was going to be shut down. Probably not for another month, but it was coming. So if you have him on your fantasy team, you were probably envisioning a playoff run without him and planning accordingly. To have him just wiped out like this is a little sooner than expected, and obviously leaves more bad taste in your mouth as you try to swallow the news.

5. NEXT YEAR'S FANTASY TEAM

Here's the real kick in the balls part of this whole thing from a fantasy perspective. If you had him in a dynasty league, here's a guy that you were happy to own for the next 8-10 years. Sure, his velocity would have gone down over time, but he has a legit 4 pitch arsenal that he can throw in all four quadrants of the strike zone to righties or lefties. What he was doing so far this year and last year wasn't a fluke. He wasn't getting lucky. This was all backed up by the eye test and statistics. He led all pitchers in WAR and has a smaller FIP than his already miniscule 2.27 ERA. This injury, no matter how you dice it, isgoing to count for a year of Harvey's career being taken away. If he somehow avoids TJS, then you have to bring him back next year and just hope for the best. Maybe try to trade him in a year or two if he looks back to his old self. But if things play out like they likely will, then he'll be out all of 2014, and keeping him in a league where you only have so many keepers just isn't an option.

6. DEPRESSION

That's the sad part of everything. A lot of hopes, dreams, and expectations are gone. If he was just sore and the Mets shut him down prematurely, then yes, that would not be great for 2013, but losing him for all of 2014 is unfair.

7. ACCEPTANCE

Injuries like this will happen to pitchers and continue to happen. I enjoyed every start I got out of Harvey this year (except against the Marlins). He gave more good than any injury could take away, and as a fan of his, I personally would like him to just get the surgery and come back strong in 2015.

8. REALIZING THIS SUCKS FOR EVERYONE

Ultimately, Harvey has greater responsibilities than my dynasty team. He has responsibilities to himself, his friends and family, the Mets, New York City, and many, many more. Everyone lost some excitement in their lives by not getting to see Harvey pitch for the rest of this season and potentially 2014. He's a rock star, and although this is a set back, it's by no means a career altering injury. If there's one thing that has come out of these Tommy John surgeries is that people are able to recover from it better than ever. Look at Wainwright or Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann. The science of coming back from TJS is as good as the procedure itself. I wish Harvey the best.

Where's my Laphroaig?

Friday, August 23, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football 2013 Pre-Season Ranks - WR

A.J. Green is part of the next tri-cycle of Fantasy WR set to take over the league. (GETTY)
The wide receiver position in fantasy is one that encapsulates stability, randomness, and unpredictability. Year to year there will be players you know are going to be good, players that will fluctuate between that 5-15 range in any random order, and wide outs that just burst onto the scene just because. If I had the time and resources, here is where I'd show you a cluster graph of players over the past 3 years who were drafted in the top 10 of their position and illustrate my brilliant point about the ebb and flow of the fantasy wide receiver position. That would have been something.

Since I don't have those resources - here is something much more inelegant - the average draft position for the past 3 years. If you'll notice over the course of these years there are the kings of the hill (The Johnsons), the steady churners (Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald) and the out of nowheres (DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz).


2010
# PLAYER
1 Johnson, Andre HOU WR
2 Moss, Randy TEN WR
3 Wayne, Reggie IND WR
4 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
5 Johnson, Calvin DET WR
6 Austin, Miles DAL WR
7 White, Roddy ATL WR
8 Marshall, Brandon MIA WR
9 Jennings, Greg GBP WR
10 Jackson, DeSean PHI WR
2011
# PLAYER
1 Johnson, Andre HOU WR
2 Johnson, Calvin DET WR
3 White, Roddy ATL WR
4 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
5 Jennings, Greg GBP WR
6 Nicks, Hakeem NYG WR
7 Jackson, Vincent SDC WR
8 Wallace, Mike PIT WR
9 Jackson, DeSean PHI WR
10 Austin, Miles DAL WR
2012
# PLAYER
1 Johnson, Calvin DET WR
2 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
3 Jones, Julio ATL WR
4 Johnson, Andre HOU WR
5 Welker, Wes NEP WR
6 Green, A.J. CIN WR
7 White, Roddy ATL WR
8 Jennings, Greg GBP WR
9 Cruz, Victor NYG WR
10 Marshall, Brandon CHI WR
The cream of the crop is usually a safe bet for about 3-year cycles or tri-cylces (applause, please you shouldn't). Andre went through it before slipping, so did Reggie Wayne, and Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz of course, could be the best WR in football, but we really won't know until someone can throw him the football.

Within those tri-cycles the receivers are at the height of their powers. There are always outliers that can reign o'top the WR ranks for much longer. Calvin Johnson is one such uberlord. Some previous receivers like Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison had such clout as well. One such receiver encroaching on that level, the Matt Damon to Johnson's Affleck is A.J. Green. The extremely talented Bengals wide receiver came out in the same class as Julio Jones - and was drafted higher than him - and it appears rightfully so. Not that Jones is any kind of slouch, but he is on a more dynamic team with more options so he'll get to see the ball less. Being the focal point of the Bengals offense has allowed Green to flourish not only as a crazy athletic receiver that can go get the ball anywhere on the field, but also a great route runner that enables Andy Dalton to serve as a functioning QB.

Green excelled in year 2. He gained in all the right areas. More catches, more yards receiving, and more touchdowns. As year 3 approaches, he has the chance to be that 1B option to Calvin. The two main things holding Green back is that he's not a high volume pass catcher. He had 97 last year good for 7th place, but he'll need to get into that top 4. This relies on play calling a bit, but more so on Dalton. Dalton had the 15th most pass attempts last year, and that's not going to get it done. The offense has to run more through the QB position, and less on grinding the game to a halt via BJGE. Development for Dalton this season is key for the Bengals.

Coincidentally, the second area of improvement also lies on the pads of Dalton. The deep ball. Dalton does not have elite arm strength, and when you have a downfield force like Green, that hinders his abilities a bit. Consider Green's longest catch of his career was a 73 yard TD that was thrown to him by the Bengals' number 2 receiver. You'd like to see more attempts downfield, at least one or two a game, but that's not in Dalton's wheelhouse.

TIER INJURIES SUCK: SLEEPER EDITION
Andrew Hawkins, CIN

Hawkins jumped onto my radar last year, and I think he can be a big part to the Cincy offense, but a preseason injury has side-tracked Hawkins for the time being.

TIER SLEEPERS
Kenbrell Thompkins, NE
Leonard Hankerson, WAS
Brian Hartline, MIA
Deandre Hopkins, HOU
Vincent Brown, SD

After describing all the changes that can happen outside of the tri-cycle group of receivers, it would seem odd if I didn't throw in some sleeper picks before the main ranks.

Thompkins and Hankerson have star makers throwing them the football. Both Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III can create a star out of average players just on their skill set alone. With all the turmoil in New England, Thompkins has that opportunity, as does Hankerson with Washington's questionable receiving core.

Hard to say Hartline (who had 1,000 yards receiving last year) is much of a sleeper, but experts seem to be jazzed up about Ryan Tannehill. If the offensive line can create opportunites for the Miami run game, that should open things up for Tannehill who has Mike Wallace to air it out to. Hartline is an ideal possession receiver that could find his home zig zagging across the middle of the field.

Let's go through the WR ranks based on the emotions we will feel owning these players in 2013-2014.

TIER HUH?
45. Michael Floyd, ARZ
44. Emmanuel Sanders, PIT
43. Denarius Moore, OAK
42. Malcom Floyd, SD
41. Sidney Rice, SEA
40. Lance Moore, NO

Outside of Sidney Rice, none of these receivers have made their inprint on fantasy. Some may never. But they all of reasons to make you curious and go huh? Denarius Moore is my personal favorite out of this group. He did bring down 7 TD's last year, but was wildly inconsistent. His elite speed wasn't utilized by then QB Carson Palmer, so I openly wonder where he could fit in and how he can be relied upon week after week. The obvious answer is tha the probably can't, but he's got some zoom zoom.

TIER WHOA!
39. Anquan Boldin, SF
38. Kenny Britt, TEN
37. Chris Givens, STL
36. Miles Austin, DAL
35. Steve Johnson, BUF
34. Josh Gordon, CLE
33. Golden Tate, SEA

These guys will make their fair share of SportsCenter clips. They all have big game and big play ability. There are some notable names on here that we shouldn't get carried away with though. Boldin, Britt, Johnson and Austin are all bigger names, but they are also in a position to get easily out positioned by some of the up and comers on this list. Josh Gordon and Golden Tate I'm very high on. Pun not intended, Josh.

TIER COME ON!?
32. Greg Jennings, MIN
31. Tavon Austin, STL
30. Mike Williams, TB
29. James Jones, GB
28. T.Y. Hilton, IND
27. Cecil Shorts, JAX

Get ready for the roller coaster ride. Want to revel in glory one week only to loathe a player the next? Here are your inconsistency all-stars. Some, like Jennings and Williams, have their QB to worry about, while others like Austin and Jones are too young/unproven and too reliant on solely TD catches ... respectively. If Green Bay truly, really, definitely means to run the ball more, than Jones' TDs could be in trouble. Let's face it, he's not hauling in 14 TDs again.

The last two here, Hilton and Shorts could be game breakers. I mentioned earlier that Hankerson and Thompkins have star makers at QB, and well, the first time I head that phrase, it was when an analyst was describing Andrew Luck. The beneficiary of his pixie dust? T.Y. Hilton.

Shorts has a couple more short falls than Hilton, but he's not fighting Reggie Wayne for touches.

TIER MOTHER F'ER!
26. Jordy Nelson, GB
25. Mike Wallace, MIA
24. DeSean Jackson, PHI
23. Pierre Garcon, WAS
22. Hakeem Nicks, NYG
21. Eric Decker, DEN
20. Torrey Smith, BAL

Here are all guys you will undoubtedly hate to own. They all seem to be frustrating on some level. Whether it's injuries, production, inconsistency, or just a general personal dislike. Note: I should have just called this TIER DESEAN JACKSON as he encompassess all of the above.

TIER I'M PLEASANTLY SURPRISED ...
19. Antonio Brown, PIT
18. Steve Smith, CAR 
17. Wes Welker, DEN
16. Danny Amendola, NE
15. Reggie Wayne, IND
14. Marques Colston, NO

No one is going to be too thrilled to grab these players. They are decidedly unsexy, have some fleas that could derail their season, but you know what - when the dust settles, we'll all be fine and dandy with what they gave us.

TIER WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?
13. Roddy White, ATL
12. Dwayne Bowe, KC
11. Andre Johnson, HOU

These three stars are shockingly low. Especially White and Johnson. Bowe has the most pressure on him as people are expecting a White or Johnson type year out of them.

Following my theory, Johnson is just working his way down the WR ladder after years of dominance. Injuries and now a struggling quarterback are sure to leave some of Johnson's remaining talent untapped.

White is perpetually underrated. He comes through big more often than not, and I'm a fan. But I have to ask, when is he passing the baton over to Julio Jones? I think this might be the year Jones is truly the #1 wideout in Atlanta. Keep in mind that White received more targets, was more consistent, and drew the top defensive coverage. Jones might have matched him production wise, but on the field, White was still top billing.

TIER OUT OF NOWHERE
10. Victor Cruz, NYG
9. Randall Cobb, GB
8. Vincent Jackson, TB

Vincent Jackson probably has the most stable track record of the three, but after a shaky last year in San Diego and a messy contract situation, he melded nicely with the passing attack in Tampa Bay. V-Jax's issues are the opposite of A.J. Green's in that QB Josh Freeman can throw it deep all day long - and in Jackson's case last year, to great success - but getting those short possession routes and receptions to Jackson is tough. His 69 catches last year were a career high, so he's not earned a nod towards the elite level yet.

It's not surprising that Cruz took a step back from his 2011 breakout season. So much of that was tied to miraculous plays and horrible Eagles defense, but that's not meant to take away from Cruz at all. He showed last year was no fluke, but a little extra coverage from a health Hakeem Nicks goes a long way.

Randall Cobb was a big favorite of mine before last year started. He has all the explosiveness you know Aaron Rodgers could utilize, but playing time would be tough. Behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones there wasn't much of an opportunity for him initially. This led to him returning punts and playing some at RB to get his hands on the ball. Fortunately for Cobb, Jennings and Nelson battled injuries all year and Jermichael Finley continued to be Jermichael Finley. As a result Cobb turned into a quasi-#1 receiver in Green Bay. It'll be interesting to see how he handles more focus from opposing team's defenses, and Rodgers is good enough he'll just throw the ball to whoever is open. So he doesn't have to lean on Cobb like other QBs do true #1s, so that might put some variance in his targets week to week. Overall though, Green Bay knows what they have and they will put him to work.

TIER CHURNERS
7. Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ
6. Demaryius Thomas, DEN
5. Julio Jones, ATL
4. Dez Bryant, DAL

This year's wide receiver class is strong. All of these wide outs have the possiblity of finishing in the Top 2. Let's just talk about Dez for a few. The guy post-Week 10 was a monster. He had 47 catches, 792 yards, and 9 TDs. That's all Week 10 and after! It's hard to imagine him keeping those numbers for an entire season, but it's not hard to imagine what he is capable of. There is no spoon.

Larry Fitzgerald, crazy talented, bad QB, is this a better QB, back on track, disappointment, is he even good anymore, etc.

Thomas seems to be the safest pick out of all the Denver wide receivers simply because he's the most dynamic out of the bunch. Welker seems geared up to get his catches, and Decker might be viewed widely to get the small piece of chicken, those two are a lot closer than most rankings state. Thomas though is the match-up nightmare with the ability to make plays in all quadrants of the football field.

TIER TRI-CYCLE
3. Brandon Marshall, CHI
2. A.J. Green, CIN
1. Calvin Johnson, DET

There's been enough said about #2 and #1 already, so let's give some love to Brandon Marshall. Sure, he's a head case, but not as much as #4 over there. He was reunited with Jay Cutler and returned to his 100 catch self. In fact he got the most targets of any NFL WR not birthed by Arica Johnson. His overall environment is tough to beat: pass happy QB, offensive minded coach, great receiver. At age 29 people might be more enamored with Dez Bryant or Julio Jones, but NFL receivers that can stay healthy age quite well. This is going to be another big year for Marshall.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football 2013 Pre-Season Ranks - RB

Any RB list starts with Adrian Peterson. (minnesota.publicradio.org)
Running backs had a renaissance last year. For the past couple of seasons they had begun to lose their clout as a premier position in fantasy. Lots of teams were becoming more and more pass heavy. This led to quaterbacks putting up monsterous numbers that needed fantasy owners' attention.

With increased passing, all of a sudden the elite crop of wide receivers separated themselves greatly from any lower end #1 or #2 option. Of course, the wide reciever production had wild variances of success and that may have led to more of a need to nab a Calvin Johnson type in the first round.

Also, the New England Patriots happen to be tweaking their own style of offense by deploying athletic yard munching machines at tight end. The previously run/blocking oriented two TE formation was suddenly a weapon. Players like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez, and a rejuvinated Tony Gonzalez weren't only perfomring as elite TEs, they were elite WR with TE eligibility!

The one hollowed RB territory of the first round of fantasy drafts had been invaded. QBs, WRs, and TEs all were staking a claim to high draft slots, meanwhile the role of the running back was being minimalized.

It started slowly with the full back position being weeded out. Once a staple of any offense, these larger lead blocker/short yardage guys were viewed as lacking utilization on the field. As such, the running backs were lined  up more in single back formations or with a less skilled blocker (usually the back up TE) in front of them. They took more punishment and/or were required to miss more on-coming defensive linemen and linebackers, who oh by the way now weigh upwards of 250 lbs and run sub-4.50 40's and freakish athleticism. So the injuries and RBs effected by no lead blocker dropped like flies.

Gone were the 300+carriers that dominated most of the history of football. Only a few of those types of runners still carried that amount of times. In 2011 there were only 2! Yes, RBs were falling on draft boards both in fantasy and reality. Once a runningback had a serious injury or hit the age of 30, red flags were raised - soon to be followed by white flags of surrender. The NFL had almost set the league up to no longer care for the run game in favor of the "more exciting" passing game.

Just when it looked like only the elite of the elite at the running back position were worth your first round pick, last year happened. New blood was infused into the league to go along with some pretty good guys that still remained. Five players crossed 300 carries, and more seem primed to do so this year. The NFL had a running renaissance, and these underappreciated stars finally regaind their fantasy relevance.

For as much as the NFL has evolved recently, it can't outrun the ground game. Quarterbacks have more spring in their step, the read-option is causing headaches around the league, and to combat those pesky defensive linemen that move like running backs people started getting offensive linemen that ... moved like running backs.

As we look forward to 2013, we're really dusting off our fantasy strategy guides from the mid-00's and going RB crazy. As we tier our backs for this season, what better way to commemorate them than by listing them according to the hey day of "fictional" RBs - the RBs from Tecmo Super Bowl.

TIER IVY JOE HUNTER
35. Vick Ballard, IND
34. Shane Vereen, NE
33. Chris Ivory, NYJ
32. Ronnie Hillman, DEN
31. Eddie Lacy, GB
30. Rashard Mendenhall, ARZ

Last I checked Ronnie Hillman was the starter in Denver, but rankers across the board are giving Montee Ball starter value. Just a reminder that things are always in flux in Denver due to Mr. Manning. If you want Ball, Hillman is a must hedge.

Vereen and Ballard are two guys that will be used, but are firmly back-ups less an injury happen.

Eddie Lacy is pretty buzzy this preseason. First for potentially being a fantasy star, then for being fat, then back to potential star again. Listen, this is the Green Bay Packers, and aside from a worrisome amount of mounting injuries, they pass the ball. The goal is to lessen the pressure on Aaron Rodgers by blocking for him and having some semblance of a run game, but this does not mean whether Lacy or Jonathan Franklin show up in jerseys on Sundays they're going to make a big difference. Although "fat camp" reports didn't hold this guy back.

Also, I wanted to note that as we move forward, I'm only ranking the top 35 fantasy running backs, so there's not much time to delve into the suckiness Tiers of the Tony Paiges and Keith Woodsides of the TSB world. These are all above average running backs, but I had to get an Ivy Joe Hunter shout out.

TIER OTTIS ANDERSON
29. DeAngelo Williams, CAR
28. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN
27. Andre Brown, NYG
26. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND
25. Reggie Bush, DET
24. Ryan Mathews, SD

All of these guys have broken some fantasy owner's heart at some point or another. I'm sure people can write sonnets about how much Ryan Mathews has hurt them in his brief career. The hype surrouding this oft-injured back is all but squashed, but with a primary gig - he earns his #24 ranking.

Bush and BJGE are both guys who you hope the offensive system they're in brings the best out of them. Bush had his big opportunity last year in Miami to be a primary back, and he wasn't able to carry the load. In Detroit, he'll be utilized to his strenghts: getting 15-20 carries a game and being a dangerous receiver option out of the backfield. This all seems to equal sporadic fantasy production in 2013.

Two of the more interesting backs are DeAngelo Williams and Andre Brown. Williams is still living off the recognition of his 1,500 20 total TD season from 2008. Anyone that hasn't witnessed D-Will lately is that he's nowhere near that type of player anymore. He's been a part of the oddest RB platoon since Ottis Anderson and Dave Meggett. He and Jonathan Stewart signed mega RB deals only to be mutually terrible.

This year the Panthers look to opt for a more straightforward run game as opposed to using the read option. While this all sounds grand, you can also expect Cam Newton to be throwing the ball a lot and running for 700 or so yards himself as well as poaching numerous goal line TD's. And if it's not the Panthers giant QB diving into the paint, Mike Tolbert is lumbering around as well. All-in-all Williams probably had the talent to be a top 15 back, but the situation just doesn't dictate it.

Brown is the other must hedge RB. Word in Giants camp is that splits with him and David Wilson will be pretty even unless one guy takes the torch and runs with it. Both had equal production when they were healthy last year, which wasn't often - so these factors certainly increase Brown's value, while knocking Wilson's down a peg or two.

TIER HERSCHEL WALKER
23. Le'Veon Bell, PIT
22. Montee Ball, DEN
21. Lamar Miller, MIA

With Big Name value and lots of questions regarding their production, these young runners have a lot to prove in 2013. Ball, as I mentioned, still needs to solidify his position. Miller appears to be on his way to out pacing Daniel Thomas in South Beach, and Bell has the most security out of everyone.

The safest pick is surely Bell. He has the job, and without any real competition should hold onto it. The Steelers have a good track record implementing young, bruising backs into their system, but an seemingly always banged up line and an offense that might struggle this season don't give Bell the ceiling of Ball or Miller.

TIER NEIL ANDERSON
20. DeMarco Murray, DAL
19. Darren Sproles, NO
18. Darren McFadden, OAK
17. Frank Gore, SF

Was Brad Muster really ahead of Neil Anderson on the Bears depth chart? Who played with the Bears and didn't immediately make Anderson the #1 back and then sub out all of Brad Muster's plays? Ok, maybe give Muster a draw play in the top right box.

Anyway, here are guys I'd deem as highly questionable. They could explode in a given week, or fall on their faces, but by and large you're looking at 10-15 fantasy points per week on average, or in Darren Sproles case, extremely on point. We know the risks with DMM or DMC so spin that roulette wheel if you like.

Gore is just a guy I'm down on for this year. He's solid, has an extensive injury history, and is now looking like a second or third fiddle behind Colin Kaepernick.

TIER JOHNNY JOHNSON
16. David Wilson, NYG
15. Chris Johnson, TEN
14. Steven Jackson, ATL

Wilson I touched on earlier. If he can win the gig - he could vault up to the next tier. Then again, he could drop to the bottom of Andre Brown beats him out. This is a safe bet for him, although I'd probably rather have someone else earlier in the draft as my RB2.

Chris Johnson is just frustrating to own. If he's not breaking gigantic runs then he's not doing much good for you. He only mustered one 20 point game last year mainly the result of a lack of finding the end zone.

There is a ton of Steven Jackson love coming out of Atlanta, and I don't get it. The guy is 30, and most backs - let alone big backs - rarely regain a step once they cross that age. Granted, Jackson was on some horrible teams in St. Louis, but moving to a pass happy squad like the Falcons doesn't mean he'll resurrect his career. He's an upgrade over Michael Turner who scraped together double digit TDs for the 5th consecutive year, so maybe if Jackson can get those scores plus rejuvinate his pass catching game ... ok, I see why there is some hype. That's good enough to get him to the 14th spot, but not more.

TIER MIKE ROZIER
13. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
12. Stevan Ridley, NE
11. Matt Forte, CHI

Tier Mike Rozier goes to three backs that are underrated heading into the season. Mike Rozier is one of, but not THE most underrated RB in Tecmo Super Bowl. He is on an awful Falcons team, but he can bust off some nice runs in their run and gun offense.

MJD is two years removed from being, well Doug Martin. He held out last year, didn't get money, reported to camp out of shape, and had his only valuable game Week 3 then by Week 7 he was injured and a total bust. There's reason to doubt MJD, and while he's produced in an offense where he's the one and only threat, he is still a couple years removed from his last great year. He can certainly rebound health wise at 28, but it's hard to gauge how productive he'll be.

Ridley is now the primary back in New England. The problem with that is there really is never a primary back in New England. Usually there's a group of backs that fit a particular style the Pats are looking to deploy. Last year Ridley could have a big week just as well as Shane Vereen or Danny Woodhead. Woodhead would have been the biggest threat to Ridley for his pass catching and short yardage conversions (i.e. touchdowns), but he's off in Whale's Vagina. That leaves Vereen and LaGarrett Blount for crunch time. Now, it goes without saying that who knows what Bill Belichick will do, but with injuries and jail time for Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez respectively, his options are limited. Cue the Tim Tebow music. Good Gawd!

Along with Jay Cutler, Matt Forte should be excited about their new head coach in Chicago. Marc Trestman brings a more refined offensive game to Chicago. While it'll be interesting to see how Cutler adapts (in a contract year no less), Trestman's style certainly plays to a lot of Forte's strengths. Lots of running and catching and hopefully TD's. Out of any RB outside of the Top 10, Forte has the chance to break into the top 5 this season, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. 

TIER THURMAN THOMAS
10. Trent Richardson, CLE
9. Alfred Morris, WAS
8. C.J. Spiller, BUF
7. Ray Rice, BAL

Like all fantasy drafts when you get to this part it's about preference. Whether you prefer the proven track record of Rice, the explosiveness of Spiller, the power of T-Rich, or the car of Alfred Morris you can look for and pick what you like. These guys are listed as my preference, with Rice knocked down a bit from many other rankings. Ultimately though, you can mix them all together and give me one and I'd be fine with it (note to self: pray you don't get a pick after the Top 6).

I'm dropping Rice from his usual Top 4 perch as a result of his Ravens team being in pretty bad shape. Similar to MJD, Rice has proven himself against the "he's the only guy that can beat us offense," and while you would think winning the Super Bowl and your newly minted $120M quarterback would provide some relief, it probably won't. The departure of Anquan Boldin and season ending injury to Dennis Pitta put the Baltimore pass offense on its heels. The plus is more focus on the run, but also better handling of Rice.

Rice was almost criminally underused early in the season, but while many were scratching their heads, maybe it was a sign of things to come. He was fresh for the playoffs, and Rice doesn't need 25 carries a game since he adds value through his pass catching. You wonder how many times Bernard Pierce might take some goal line runs, or what if Joe Flacco is able to take more command of the Ravens' no huddle offense. Just some things to consider.

TIER BARRY SANDERS
6. LeSean McCoy, PHI
5. Jamaal Charles, KC

Two exmplosive backs, two completely new systems, two giant question marks. Will Andy Reid and Chip Kelly provide Shady and Charles need to succeed? Nothing should suggest otherwise as these two offensive minded coaches have certainly made use of their running game over the years.

Reid is known more for his pass happy style, but a back like Charles is a useful weapon in Big Red's playbook. Just look at what Brian Westbrook was able to do. In his prime you're looking at double digit TDs easy. Now two years removed from that disasterous Week 1 ACL tear, Charles amassed 1,700 total yards last year, and the beauty of his production is that he bites off big enough chunks per carry that he can keep himself rested, healthy, and an active part of the west coast pass game. Charles only had 6 TDs (5 rushing, 1 receiving) last year, but that was on a team that is much worse than this version of the Chiefs. Everything else lines up for those TD numbers to go up, up, up.

McCoy carries an even bigger question mark over him. No one knows how Chip Kelly will modify his offense to the NFL and to the personnel he has on the Eagles. We do know they're going to run a lot of plays and they're going to run them fast. It'd be hard pressed to imagine Kelly giving the full burden of the offense to Michael Vick or Nick Foles or whoever starts at QB, well, because he's never done that at Oregon. McCoy and breakout back Bryce Brown (who narrowly missed this list) will get ample touches. The big difference maker will be what happens around the red zone. McCoy is the Eagles most dangerous threat, but will Kelly defer to him or does he have too many tricks in his bag to just ho-hum run it up the middle all the time. Best case is he can knock on the door of 20 total TDs again.

TIER CHRISTIAN OKOYE
4. Doug Martin, TB
3. Arian Foster, HOU
2. Marshawn Lynch, SEA


The Muscle Hampster, as Martin hates to be called, is finally an original nickname given to someone in sports. Not D-Mart or DM, but the muscle hampster. He was the flag bearer for the new wave of running backs to hit the NFL last year, and while he was a popular sleeper, Martin was able to live up to anyone's expectations. With 1,926 total yards he certainly lived up to his billing as Ray Rice 2.0. So with such an out of this world season, there's going to be some calls for regression. First though, let's look at what is in Martin's favor. He has a sneaky explosive offense (depending on what Josh Freeman does this year) with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams on the outside, and he's getting back Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks - two All-Pro quality guards that were injured all of last season to go along with newly acquired left tackle Gabe Carimi. This year's Bucs o-line will be much better than last year by default. Also, Martin has no challengers to his position for playing time or goal line snaps.

Some negatives might be that Martin did have his share of games that were flat out stinkers, and 83 of his total fantasy points came in back to back games in weeks 8 and 9, but I certainly wouldn't hold that against him. I see Martin more comfortable this year, and picking up where he left off.

Plenty of people are already tossing dirt on Arian Foster, but it's getting a little crazy. Keep in mind that Foster was battling through some injuries, but still carried the ball more than anyone in football. And what butters Foster's bread, are his TDs. While some backs previously listed had some questions about if they'll get enough opportunities to run the ball in, in Texas, there is only one primary option when it comes to the goal line and that's Foster. He's still only 26, and even though the Texans offense doesn't appear to be as explosive as it once once, they still boast one of the best offensive lines in football that run their zone blocking scheme to perfection, and Foster runs it just as well.

I'm going with Lynch at #2 because dude lives up to his awesome nickname, Beast Mode. Seemingly powered by Skittles, the guy has really found a home in Seattle. They know how to utlize him and they're not afraid to give him the ball. But what about Seattle's two games against the vaunted 49ers defense, you ask? Well Lynch carried the ball 45 times against those Niners last year to the tune of 214 yards/4.8 yards per carry and 1 TD. Toss in 3 dozen receiving yards and another TD, and there's no reason to run from Lynch.

Holdmydiiiick!

Now a moment for Christian Okoye. Perhaps no one has as much fame from Tecmo Super Bowl than the next guy listed, but make no mistake about it, Okoye was the original beast mode. The "Nigerian Nightmare" is largely underrated in Tecmo. He was a killer. Without the breakaway speed of Bo, when Okoye got moving he blew threw defenses. Escpecially when his PHYSICAL CONDITION: EXCELLENT oh boy, watch out.

TIER BO JACKSON
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN


One of the most miraculous NFL seasons ever. That's what Peterson did last year. Each week he busted out something ridiculous the first year back from an ACL tear. He is a man. He almost broke the single season rushing record, and he has plans to take down Emmitt, but in reality, us mortals can't expect another 2,000 yard season from Peterson. Maybe just 1,700 rushing yards and 18 TD? I think that'll do for #1 overall.

This about sums up All Day.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Looking for a Fight @ UFC 163: Aldo v. Korean Zombie

Aldo is coming into his own as a fighter and a champion. (bleacherreport.com)
Like your MMA without all the professional wrestling mixed in? Well, the UFC has an event for you on Saturday. UFC 163: Aldo v. Korean Zombie live on pay-per-view from Brazil.

While I'd like to say that this main event has already gotten its fair share of coverage, that Jose Aldo's coming of age story has been covered, that the throne of best Brazilian fighter has been temporarily if not permanently vacated, and that there are other really compelling fights on the card to discuss I really can't. This card is about Aldo. Anderson Silva was knocked out, Junior Dos Santos may not beat Cain Velasquez, and there are reports floating around that might concern Vitor Belfort, the Brazilian MMA throne is much more accessible than this one.

On top of all of this there is a strong opinion that Georges St-Pierre will lose to Johny Hendricks later this year. What this all means for Aldo is that by January 1, 2014, not only could he be the King of Brazilian fighting, but he could also be the only fighter worthy of discussing as pound for pound champ other than Jon Jones. While this fight with Chan Sung Jung isn't as tasty as Anthony Pettis, it means a lot for Aldo.

Since being absorbed by the UFC, Aldo has defended his belt successfully 4 times without ever truly being in danger. He gassed at the end of the Mark Hominick fight, but Hominick would have had to finish Aldo for him to win. We have yet to see a signature finish from Aldo. He did KO Chad Mendes with a knee at UFC: Rio, but that wasn't a highlight reel finish - more just right knee right time.

Again in front of his home crowd of Brazil, Aldo appears as confident as ever. Discussion of overconfidence (especially after Anderson) are going around, but as I mentioned in my Aftermath article, this should have only served to put all champions on high alert.

Korean Zombie is deserving of this shot, considering the circumstances. He puts on exciting fights, and he is an extremely technical fighter on the ground and on his feet when he wants to be. It's unfair to treat Jung as an after thought or some monumental underdog. Korean Zombie has fought and has fought well winning all his fights in the UFC (all by finishes). As a half-Asian man, I honestly feel like it's a bit of prejudice. Not racist or malicious in its intent, but to treat Jung like he's much more of an underdog than say Ricardo Lamas makes no sense to me. You see a guy like Lamas who is from Chicago and has the tough guy look to him versus Jung who is Korean (obviously) you're going to feel a certain way. Hey, even I think it sometimes. Will Aldo's kicks just go right through Jung and break his leg?  Will Jung just get knocked out?

It's not that simple. Should Jung get knocked out, it won't have to do with him being Asian any less than Cub Swanson being whatever Cub Swanson is. Just purely looking at the fight though there are ways Zombie could win, and I view him as more of a threat to Aldo than Hominick was.

What should concern people about Jung is that he is a pressure fighter. He'll be moving forward, he tends to get wild at times, and has exploited the fighters he's taken to the mat. This will be virtually impossible due to Aldo's UFC best takedown defense, and his yet to be utilized Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt.

BREAKDOWN

I'm giving the Korean Zombie a shot to take this into the championship rounds as long as he sticks to his gameplan, doesn't get crazy, and can adequately defend Aldo's combinations. While Jung charges in with his combos, he's also extremely effective at standing in the pocket and countering. When Aldo comes in with his cross, jab, right leg kick - yes, KZ will have to defend that - but it's possible he will also stand in there and counter with Aldo as well. Above all else, Aldo will win this fight because there is just no way KZ can out point Aldo until the later rounds, where fatigue may weaken Aldo. KZ will likely be behind from the get go, leaving his only recourse to take chances or accept defeat. Either way he'll put up a great fight, but the result will be Aldo's hand raised.

2nd Round TKO (punches)

All hail the king.

FAABulous: Drafting with Nate Ravitz


I was able to do a mock draft with Nate Ravitz, the fantasy community's weasel.

On Monday, ESPN Fantasy debuted a soon to be recurring event, #MockDraftMonday. Basically, ESPN flooded mock draft rooms with ESPN fantasy experts and gave you a one on 8, 10, 12 person draft room experience mocking with them. This is obviously a cool idea.

There wasn't much information on how these rooms would be set up. If there was some kind of list you had to sign up on, if the experts would be randomly assigned rooms or what. How it worked out for me, and how I was able to draft with Nate Ravitz (officially the second coolest Nate at ESPN) was pure luck. After refreshing the mock draft lobby multiple times as well as searching any new draft rooms to see if an expert was in there, suddenly a big banner came up with NATE RAVITZ MOCK DRAFT, or something to that affect.

I clicked in immediately and landed the 5th pick.

I thought it would be a fun to post the results of the draft as well as share some revelations in the mock draft I had with the Say Nay Kid. I must note that between this being my first mock of the year, the distraction of trying to chat with Nate, and obviously working; I had my brain focused on a lot of different areas. I'm not proud of this mock, but at the same time, due to injuries I don't draft any teams until the last couple weeks of the pre-season. So don't judge me. Onward!

 Round: 1
(1) Team Ravitz - Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Team Ranellucci - Arian Foster RB
(3) Team Rogers - Doug Martin RB
(4) Team Weasel - Marshawn Lynch RB
** (5) Team Grundlock - C.J. Spiller RB
(6) Team Maly - Ray Rice RB
(7) Team Healy - Jamaal Charles RB
(8) Team Swoboda - LeSean McCoy RB
(9) Team Mathur - Trent Richardson RB
(10) Team Colosimo - Alfred Morris RB

Nate led off. Easy pick. With the 5th pick I went with C.J. Spiller. Personally, I was hoping for Doug Martin to get to me, but that didn't happen at all. Personally, I think that Peterson, Foster, Martin, and Lynch are all extremely solid choices. The rest of the RBs selected all have fleas, but they could all be superstars as well. Call me a homer, but I'm looking for a big year from LeSean McCoy. I thought about taking him 5th.

Round: 2
(11) Team Colosimo - Calvin Johnson WR
(12) Team Mathur - Steven Jackson RB
(13) Team Swoboda - Dez Bryant WR
(14) Team Healy - A.J. Green WR
(15) Team Maly - Matt Forte RB
** (16) Team Grundlock - Aaron Rodgers QB
(17) Team Weasel - Chris Johnson RB
(18) Team Rogers - Stevan Ridley RB
(19) Team Ranellucci - Frank Gore RB
(20) Team Ravitz - Jimmy Graham TE

Steven Jackson. I don't get it. Nate wasn't buying either. Note my sane, maybe even steal, of Aaron Rodgers at 16. I was debating between him and Ridley. Chris Johnson is the leader in the clubhouse for most loathesome player to have on your fantasy team. Ravitz takes Graham which might be a stretch with Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones still available, then he sures up RB with a hopeful comeback year from MJD.

Round: 3
(21) Team Ravitz - Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(22) Team Ranellucci - Brandon Marshall WR
(23) Team Rogers - Randall Cobb WR
(24) Team Weasel - Roddy White WR
** (25) Team Grundlock - David Wilson RB
(26) Team Maly - Drew Brees QB
(27) Team Healy - Peyton Manning QB
(28) Team Swoboda - Demaryius Thomas WR
(29) Team Mathur - Julio Jones WR
(30) Team Colosimo - Darren McFadden RB

This is where I start to question my draft strategy. It's hard to complaining about having Aaron Rodgers on my team, but QB is crazy deep this year. When I could have had Ridley in the 2nd, then drafted Drew Brees here? My stomach isn't feeling too good. Randall Cobb was taken too early, but I think he's going to be a now rich man's Percy Harvin

Round: 4
(31) Team Colosimo - Cam Newton QB
(32) Team Mathur - Larry Fitzgerald WR
(33) Team Swoboda - Le'Veon Bell RB
(34) Team Healy - Darren Sproles RB
(35) Team Maly - Victor Cruz WR
** (36) Team Grundlock - Vincent Jackson WR
(37) Team Weasel - Rob Gronkowski TE
(38) Team Rogers - Andre Johnson WR
(39) Team Ranellucci - Montee Ball RB
(40) Team Ravitz - Wes Welker WR

Nate closed off the 4th round nicely with Wes Welker. His catches and yards will be there. Wonder how the TDs will be distributed for him. I have no problem with Vincent Jackson here. He's shown big play ability in Tampa, and depending on what Dez Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald are capable of (bad and good respectively) Jackson could be a Top 5 WR. A lot of that goodness however, is washed away when I see Tom Brady still on the board.

Now, I'm really questioning Rodgers in the 2nd. Hindsight is 20/20, so let's see what my team looks like now compared to what it would look like if I waited on QB.

Position Is Could Have Been
QB Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady
RB C.J. Spiller C.J. Spiller
RB David Wilson Stevan Ridley
WR Vincent Jackson Julio Jones
WR
TE
W/R

The fulcrum on which this pendulum swings is clearly the divide or gap between Rodgers and Brady vs. Wilson and Ridley with a dash of Jackson v. Jones. Now, I know all drafts fluctuate. Maybe Brady wouldn't have been there in the 5th, but while Rodgers is more a guarantee to outperform Brady, can we say the same about Wilson? He's a big risk factor both on talent and health. Andre Brown is right there in New York, so even job security isn't a sure thing. Both were about the same kind of player last year. I'm digging my could have been team a bit more. So, I posed this question to Nate in the chat room. Did I mess up?

His answer was no. While he admits some hesitancy Wilson, he's not so sure Ridley will outperform by that much. Meanwhile having Rodgers is as sure a thing you can have to 20 points a week. With uncertainty around Brady might cause some growing pains, he's still a Top 5 QB. Now, I didn't get into Jackson v. Jones, but overall he was a bigger fan of owning Rodgers and letting Wilson v. Ridley play out.

Round: 5
(41) Team Ravitz - Tom Brady QB
(42) Team Ranellucci - Percy Harvin WR
(43) Team Rogers - Lamar Miller RB
(44) Team Weasel - Jordy Nelson WR
** (45) Team Grundlock - Marques Colston WR
(46) Team Maly - Reggie Wayne WR
(47) Team Healy - Mike Wallace WR
(48) Team Swoboda - Reggie Bush RB
(49) Team Mathur - Chris Ivory RB
(50) Team Colosimo - DeMarco Murray RB

Round: 6
(51) Team Colosimo - Dwayne Bowe WR
(52) Team Mathur - Danny Amendola WR
(53) Team Swoboda - Matt Ryan QB
(54) Team Healy - Eddie Lacy RB
(55) Team Maly - Hakeem Nicks WR
** (56) Team Grundlock - Eric Decker WR
(57) Team Weasel - Robert Griffin III QB
(58) Team Rogers - Vernon Davis TE
(59) Team Ranellucci - Antonio Brown WR
(60) Team Ravitz - Jason Witten TE

Decker as my flex option isn't the best call ever, and as much as Nate made me feel fine about my Rodgers pick, we are now entering the 7th round and Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, and Russell Wilson are still available. I've decided it's best to wait on QB. While Rodgers is the safe bet and likely to outperform these other QBs, it's just too much to stomach passing on the other skill positions in the meantime. As I mentioned, I like safety and stability in my QBs so maybe I would have played it safe and went Brady, but all of these guys are exciting fantasy plays as well.

Round: 7
(61) Team Ravitz - Steve Smith WR
(62) Team Ranellucci - Pierre Garcon WR
(63) Team Rogers - Andrew Luck QB
(64) Team Weasel - Greg Jennings WR
** (65) Team Grundlock - Tony Gonzalez TE
(66) Team Maly - Colin Kaepernick QB
(67) Team Healy - Ahmad Bradshaw RB
(68) Team Swoboda - Cecil Shorts WR
(69) Team Mathur - Russell Wilson QB
(70) Team Colosimo - Tavon Austin WR

Taking Tony Gonzalez while cursing at myself.

Round: 8
(71) Team Colosimo - Shane Vereen RB
(72) Team Mathur - Andre Brown RB
(73) Team Swoboda - Rashard Mendenhall RB
(74) Team Healy - James Jones WR
(75) Team Maly - Ryan Mathews RB
** (76) Team Grundlock - Danario Alexander WR
(77) Team Weasel - BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
(78) Team Rogers - Matthew Stafford QB
(79) Team Ranellucci - Giovani Bernard RB
(80) Team Ravitz - DeAngelo Williams RB

Like me some DX this year. Also, if you do happen to draft David Wilson, be sure to hand-cuff him with Andre Brown. 

Round: 9
(81) Team Ravitz - T.Y. Hilton WR
(82) Team Ranellucci - Tony Romo QB
(83) Team Rogers - DeSean Jackson WR
(84) Team Weasel - Johnathan Franklin RB
** (85) Team Grundlock - Isaiah Pead RB
(86) Team Maly - Torrey Smith WR
(87) Team Healy - Steve Johnson WR
(88) Team Swoboda - Sidney Rice WR
(89) Team Mathur - Mark Ingram RB
(90) Team Colosimo - Greg Olsen TE

Round: 10
(91) Team Colosimo - Mike Williams WR
(92) Team Mathur - Anquan Boldin WR
(93) Team Swoboda - Bernard Pierce RB
(94) Team Healy - Emmanuel Sanders WR
(95) Team Maly - Kyle Rudolph TE
** (96) Team Grundlock - Ronnie Hillman RB
(97) Team Weasel - Miles Austin WR
(98) Team Rogers - Josh Gordon WR
(99) Team Ranellucci - Chris Givens WR
(100) Team Ravitz - Lance Moore WR

Started loading up on the RBs with the hope one or two might hit. I had to Google Isaiah Pead before I drafted him (he plays for St. Louis), and Ronnie Hillman is still the starter in Denver despite the Monte Ball love.

Round: 11
(101) Team Ravitz - Vick Ballard RB
(102) Team Ranellucci - Owen Daniels TE
(103) Team Rogers - Kenny Britt WR
(104) Team Weasel - Blair Walsh K
** (105) Team Grundlock - Mikel Leshoure RB
(106) Team Maly - Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(107) Team Healy - 49ers D/ST D/ST
(108) Team Swoboda - Bryce Brown RB
(109) Team Mathur - Ryan Williams RB
(110) Team Colosimo - Fred Jackson RB

Round: 12
(111) Team Colosimo - DeAndre Hopkins WR
(112) Team Mathur - Denarius Moore WR
(113) Team Swoboda - Texans D/ST D/ST
(114) Team Healy - Alshon Jeffery WR
(115) Team Maly - Eli Manning QB
** (116) Team Grundlock - Daryl Richardson RB
(117) Team Weasel - Ben Roethlisberger QB
(118) Team Rogers - Ben Tate RB
(119) Team Ranellucci - Jacquizz Rodgers RB
(120) Team Ravitz - Toby Gerhart RB

Round: 13
(121) Team Ravitz - LaMichael James RB
(122) Team Ranellucci - Michael Bush RB
(123) Team Rogers - Shonn Greene RB
(124) Team Weasel - Antonio Gates TE
** (125) Team Grundlock - Brandon Myers TE
(126) Team Maly - Joe Flacco QB
(127) Team Healy - Danny Woodhead RB
(128) Team Swoboda - Kendall Wright WR
(129) Team Mathur - Jared Cook TE
(130) Team Colosimo - Joseph Randle RB

Is Brandon Myers on the Giants Martellus Bennett 2.0 or Brandon Myers 2.0? Either way, he's going to be good in the Big Apple.

Round: 14
(131) Team Colosimo - Zac Stacy RB
(132) Team Mathur - Rueben Randle WR
(133) Team Swoboda - Jermichael Finley TE
(134) Team Healy - Dustin Keller TE
(135) Team Maly - Jonathan Stewart RB
** (136) Team Grundlock - Michael Vick QB
(137) Team Weasel - Bears D/ST D/ST
(138) Team Rogers - Broncos D/ST D/ST
(139) Team Ranellucci - Michael Floyd WR
(140) Team Ravitz - Bengals D/ST D/ST

Vick. Because when you have Rodgers at QB, you'll only need one other start from your QB position.

Round: 15
(141) Team Ravitz - Justin Blackmon WR
(142) Team Ranellucci - Patriots D/ST D/ST
(143) Team Rogers - Brian Hartline WR
(144) Team Weasel - Brandon Lloyd WR
** (145) Team Grundlock - Stephen Gostkowski K
(146) Team Maly - Andre Roberts WR
(147) Team Healy - Mike Gillislee RB
(148) Team Swoboda - Sebastian Janikowski K
(149) Team Mathur - Steelers D/ST D/ST
(150) Team Colosimo - Packers D/ST D/ST

Round: 16
(151) Team Colosimo - Randy Bullock K
(152) Team Mathur - Matt Bryant K
(153) Team Swoboda - Vincent Brown WR
(154) Team Healy - Justin Tucker K
(155) Team Maly - Matt Prater K
** (156) Team Grundlock - Rams D/ST D/ST
(157) Team Weasel - Sam Bradford QB
(158) Team Rogers - Phil Dawson K
(159) Team Ranellucci - Josh Brown K
(160) Team Ravitz - David Akers K

So there's the full draft. Overall, Nate was very gracious and answered all questions that were fired at him. He even added commentary to his own picks which was fun. Outside of my discussion with him on the value of Rodgers, there really weren't many questions. I'm not sure if people were gun-shy or what, but the draft moved along pretty smoothly. 

Ultimately, I wanted to see how he drafted. How he filled out his bench (it was pretty balanced, as opposed to my RB heavy strategy). The little things to better improve my planning moving forward. It was a great time, and although it appears ESPN might have opted to send out log-in info to join an expert for next #MockDraftMonday, it's worth giving it a go. Pre-season football is a week away.