This was originally looking to be a short entry since I had no 4th rounder, but that changed rather quickly, starting with all the 3rd round trading activity.
First of all, here is how the 3rd and 4th rounds shook out:
3.1 Vernon Davis
3.2 Steven Jackson
3.3 Rashard Mendenhall
3.4 Antonio Gates
3.5 Brent Celek
3.6 Jon Stewart
3.7 Michael Turner
3.8 Jason Witten
3.9 Jahvid Best
3.10 Chris Wells
3.11 Ryan Grant
3.12 Knowshon Moreno
4.1 Sidney Rice
4.2 Pierre Thomas
4.3 Marques Colston
4.4 Felix Jones
4.5 Steve Smith (NYG)
4.6 Randy Moss
4.7 Dez Bryant
4.8 CJ Spiller
4.9 Peyton Manning
4.10 Hakeem Nicks
4.11 Matt Forte
4.12 Tony Romo
I originally held the 3.4 via the aforementioned trade (which I will call, the “Trade” from now on). When 3.4 rolled around, I had a choice of Antonio Gates, Chris Wells and Jon Stewart as my top 3. Sidney Rice and Jason Witten were a very close #4/5 as well, close enough where I would forego the other 3 if I got just a little something extra to trade down for one of the other two instead. Taking Gates was the logical fantasy football choice here for every other team and would allow my team to keep pace with the CJ3/Clark/Turner and ADP/Wayne/SJax teams, but I just couldn’t do it with Stewart still out there – goes against my nature entirely. Still, I also did not want to take Stewart yet as I thought he would drop some more and wanted to get every drop of value here that I could. So I traded down one spot for very minor bumps in the 7th (2 spots) and 11th rounds (4 spots). Goodbye to Gates. Saved myself the misery of having taken him over Stew but may have missed out on a huge opportunity to build a strong fantasy football redraft squad. I then traded down further from the 3.5 to the 3.8 (plus 7.7 to 7.8) for an 8 spot bump from the 6.4 to the 5.8 (a significant one as I thought 5.8 could land me Bowe or Maclin – turns out it would have landed me Bowe by a few spots but would have missed Maclin by one, still very valuable). Stew surprisingly was taken at 3.6 by a dynasty minded team which was a bummer but at the same time a relief since deep down I wanted to grab someone with a little more 2010 firepower. I was surprised to see Witten still available at 3.8 as he was the best fantasy football redraft choice starting at 3.5. I received a decent offer from the team at 4.1 looking to trade up to the 3.8, but the drop was a few spots to low to guarantee either Wells or Rice, so I had to pass for now. I figured Witten was the obvious choice for that team in order to make a sick ADP/Wayne/SJax/Witten combo, so I took Witten at 3.8 (over Wells whom I mildly preferred) to preserve my ability to further trade down should Sidney Rice or Chris Wells continue to fall.
The draft stalled a bit here as it was getting late in the evening, so I decided to try my hand again at acquiring a 2011 1st that I had been eyeing for a 9th rounder and my 2011 2nd rounder (eyeing mainly because the team was missing a 6th round pick and was putting together a dynasty-type team - albeit a very nice one). The team that owned the rights to that 2011 1st was the same owner that rejected a similar offer for his own 2011 1st at the start of the draft, but this time he accepted. Interestingly, 2 hours later, the same owner was approached by yet another team to acquire another one of his 2011 1sts (he had 3 at one time) for the same deal we had just made and that deal went through as well. Prior to my trade for that 2011 1st, two other teams had already accumulated as many or more 2011 1sts than I did, with one team already owning 3 picks. This was a far different situation than in the $1250 and for that reason was surprising to me.
When we got to 4.1 in the morning, Rice was still available (due to the recent hip news I assume), so I made what was essentially the same offer I had received previously from the 4.1 owner (adding only a 2011 2nd rounder coming to me as an additional sweetener). I hated to help out that particular team to become even more powerful, but the player I preferred (Rice slightly over Witten) was still on the board so it made sense for my team to take whatever bump I could get. This time I received a 6 spot bump from 7.8 to 7.2 and another 14 spot bump from 10.4 to 9.2 plus the aforementioned 2011 2nd rounder. Nice! So cumulatively, by trading down from Antonio Gates to Sidney Rice, I received an 8 spot bump in the 6th (to 5.8), a 7 spot bump in the 7th, a 14 spot bump in the 10th (to 9.2) and a 2011 2nd rounder.
I was about ready at this point to take a long break from the draft since I wasn’t set to pick for another round and a half and didn’t really think I had the firepower or the desire to trade up into the early to mid 4th where I thought the one player I really wanted, Hakeem Nicks, would be taken. Plus, I was exhausted and was getting very little sleep, so a break from fantasy football altogether was needed.
I checked back in at the 4.10 pick where the team on the clock announced right then (having gone a good 2 hours or so on the clock already) that he was making a last call on offers. Nicks was still on the board so I decided to give it a shot. A flurry of back and forth offers and counteroffers ensued over the next 40 minutes and at the end, I came out having traded my 5.8 and 5.9 (and my 14.04) for the 4.10, 8.8, 10.8 and a 2011 1st. Interesting thing about valuing the first rounder in this deal was that the team just took Dez Bryant in the 4th and Jonathan Stewart in the 3rd (to join up with Vernon Davis and AJ, a very nice start for a fantasy football dynasty team), so the owner was clearly looking to build a dynasty team as opposed to a redraft one – a good thing in terms of the value of the 2011 1st. On the other hand, the team also did a nice job of trading away 6th and 7th rounders to accumulate a few extra 4th and 5th rounders so that, after our trade, he would have 7 picks in the first 5 rounds! So, not exactly the ideal team from whom to acquire a 2011 1st, and if he ended up taking Steve Smith, Mike Sims Walker and Cedric Benson with his next 3(!) picks in the 5th round (or other comparable fantasy football producers), the value of the pick would have been destroyed, so this trade was by no means a slam dunk (and at the time, I doubt that any other team in the league would have traded the 5.9 for the 8.8 in a deal like this involving the pick – maybe a no-brainer in a lower stakes league, but in a high stakes league like this, the gap between 5.9 and 8.8 feels so much larger at this stage of the startup draft). However, nothing in his first four picks suggested that he would suddenly revert to redraft mode, so I decided to roll the dice and make the deal (which I will now hereafter refer to as the “Trade II&rdquo
I’ll get into how this one turned out on a following entry, but here are some observations on the 3rd and 4th rounds:
(1) It is amazing how a dynasty fantasy football super stud like Dez Bryant can fall all the way to 4.7 due to the high stakes of a league. No one, including me, was willing to make the sacrifice to roster him for 2010 any earlier, except for the one team that had already taken Jonathan Stewart. I would have without hesitation taken Dez earlier in the $1250 but this was a whole new league and a whole new strategy I was employing.
(2) I LOVE Hakeem Nicks’ value at 4.10 in any startup, even in a high stakes league. I’m not expecting too much from him in 2010, but I think he will produce decent numbers (200ish points in PPR) and could be rated as high as Roddy White this time next year (in fact, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire Nicks and a future 1st for Roddy White in other leagues for that reason and, in another extremely competitive league, paid dearly for him giving up Randy Moss AND a 2011 1st for Nicks and a 2011 2nd).
(3) Colston again falls to the 4th round in a high stakes league. I would figure that with the stakes involved, his fantasy football redraft value (which I assume is around the late 2nd round based on the draftmaster leagues I am in) would rule the day, but it hasn’t. The early 4th is approximately where I would slot him anyway due to the knee concerns for me, but I wonder what it is that has everyone else slotting him there as well.
(4) Ryan Grant went even higher here at 3.11 than in the $1250 (4th round). For a guy that will not likely put up Randy Moss type numbers, that is awfully high to be taking a RB that may not be a starter in the next few years (and possibly as soon as this time next year). If you want to take a risk on someone with only a 1 or 2 year window of elite production, draft Moss instead. If you have to have a RB at this pick with relatively low risk in 2010 as far as fantasy football production goes, Pierre Thomas would have been a much better choice imo for dynasty leagues.