Friday, August 2, 2013

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

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.

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