So much for taking two stud WRs with my first two picks. Things didn’t go exactly as planned at the top of my draft, but when that means I can draft Jonathan Stewart near the end of the 2nd round and Rashard Mendenhall as the fourth pick in the 3rd, you won’t hear any complaining from me. Here’s the play by play account of my experience drafting in this extreme high stakes dynasty league.
Day 1: Big part of the overall plan was to acquire 2011 first round picks and lots of them. At my first opportunity, I sent out an offer to the one owner that I knew had been previously shopping around his 2011 1st rounder (via PM on the FFPC message boards). I offered my 1.12 for his 2.10 and his 2011 1st. Trade accepted! Good start given my strategy, although my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that this team has the 1.03 and will be able to roster one of the top 4 RBs, a perfect start to a win-now team. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this team also selects Frank Gore at the 1.12, making a deadly RB-combo and giving this team, after two picks, a 2010 advantage over the rest of the field.
The next step, as the draft begins and as we get closer to the 2.10, would be to offer that 2.10 for a pick in the late 3rd round and that owner’s first. If no one is willing, I’d be perfectly happy to roster Sidney Rice or Dez Bryant at the 2.10 (or better yet, Rashard Mendenhall if he slips).
The draft stalled a bit so I decided to go ahead and offer up trades for my 2.10 under those parameters to a few owners. I get one bite and end up trading my 2.01, 2.10 and my 2011 3rd rounder for the 2.05, 3.08 and their 2011 1st. Not bad, although this time the pick I acquired belonged to very accomplished redraft player, so again my enthusiasm was tempered regarding his pick.
On a roll, I decided to keep going and to offer up my 2.05 for a downgrade into the early 3rd and another 2011 1st. I got another taker, this time my 2.05 and 9.12 for their 3.02, 13.02 and a 2011 1st. Hopefully at 3.02, I’ll still be able to get Sidney Rice and if not, there is a decent chance Dez Bryant will be there as a consolation prize. I’m used to a Sidney Rice-type being being my WR2 or 3 in other startups, so this team will definitely have a different look for me than most of my other teams with Rice as the WR1. Still, I like where my team stands thus far.
I started the day off very early in the morning with a fairly significant trade. Besides myself and my 4 2011 1st round picks, 2 other teams had 2 2011 1st rounders. I ended up “buying out” one of those pick holders with my 5.12 (i.e., acquired their 2 1sts with the 5.12). I had Dwayne Bowe and Demaryius Thomas targeted at the 5.12/6.01 so I was essentially giving up one of the two for two random firsts, a nice value in my mind. That now takes me to 6 first rounders with no end yet in sight. As we get closer to the 8th round, I should be able to trade my 8th rounder plus a little something for another pick. Normally would be cheaper, but we are now down to the teams that really aren’t interested in trading away their pick so I’ll need to sweeten the offer.
The pace went really well today (relatively speaking), stalling only a few times while owners took time to make trades while on the clock (sometimes for hours at a time). Normally, the pace of this draft would be excruciating, and everyone would be complaining. But with $1,250 on the line and a potential $7,000 first prize (plus some), no one, including myself, seems to be having any problem whatsoever with the slow pace. Every pick matters when the stakes are this high, and I actually find myself enjoying the suspense generated by the slowish pace. Everyone has been very good about letting folks know their status and how long they plan to wait for offers, so that has helped a lot.
While the pace of the picks has been slow, trading has been fast and furious. We’re only at 3.04, and there already have been 13 trades! I’ve been involved in 5 of the 13 so the slow pick pace is allowing me to catch my breath a little. I have quite a bit of trading work left to do before this draft is done. One very important lessons I have learned from experience is that it is FAR easier (and less expensive) to acquire 1st round picks during the draft then it is after the draft so I need to keep striking now if I want more future 1sts (and I do).
Day 2 at 10:43 Eastern Time, I finally get to make my first pick at 2.11 (trading up from 3.02 for fairly minor consideration). Jonathan Stewart! I strayed from the plan of taking a WR (Sidney Rice), but couldn’t resist trading up to take the player I have at #10 overall on my board. Stewart is a fairly polarizing figure where most either love the guy or think he is the most overrated player in the game. One thing is fairly certain for me. Barring major injury, no matter what happens regarding the timeshare with Deangelo in 2010 and no matter what the timeshare outlook is in 2011, Stewart will continue to be relevant and have strong market value based on potential. If on the field, his overwhelming talent will result in serious production and its this potential that will always be marketable in dynasty leagues. In that way, he is in my mind a safer dynasty pick (especially at 2.11) than any other back outside of the top 4. That, in addition to the fact that he has been already semi-regularly drafted in the 1st round in many startups in 2010, makes him the ideal choice for my strategy. In the meantime, if Deangelo gets injured, ages poorly or gets shipped out of town, Stew’s value goes through the roof and he joins CJ3 and friends at the very top of dynasty drafts in 2011.
Anyway, we end the day at 3.04. Tomorrow will be HUGE with my 3.08, 3.12 and 4.01 coming up.
The slow pace didn't seem to be a problem....until today. The group as a whole grew restless (at 3 picks in 20 hours, who wouldn't).
Still, the day had its share of exciting moments, particularly as I pondered for hours whether I wanted to burn resources to move up from the 3.08 to the 3.04 (and had plenty of time to so ponder while the 3.04 was on the clock for 18 hours!). At 3.04, the easy choice, imo, would be Rashard Mendenhall. He has been drafted regularly in startups at the back of the 1st round (and rightfully so), and it would be a shame if I missed this opportunity to grab him this late. I now just needed to find a way to take advantage of this opportunity without breaking the bank. As far as value goes, can't do too much better than Stewart and Mendenhall at 1.12 and 2.01. At 2.11 and 3.04, this would be downright crazy value!
The asking price was fairly high, but at the 18th hour (literally), I obliged and traded up using my 3.8 and 4.1 to acquire the 3.4, 4.11 and a 2011 2nd rounder (as a throw in). With some REALLY nice players still on the board, that 4.1 is going to be valuable, so this was not a cheap price to move up 4 spots. After the fact though, I am glad I pulled the trigger on the deal.
My next pick is at 3.12, and I have a big decision to make. Do I go all out in playing for the future by taking Dez Bryant and forget about 2010 (the original plan), or give it a shot in 2010 by taking Vincent Jackson (value falling like a rock due to contract issues) or Jason Witten (probably won't make it to 3.12 but I have to consider the possibility that he does)? [Edited to add: Oh well, Witten and Dez Bryant are now taken and we are at the 3.11 as of midnight. I am now looking to take one of Steven Jackson, Deangelo Williams and Vincent Jackson. Not a huge fan of either of the Jacksons myself, but having fallen this far, the value would be too much to ignore.]
Unfortunately, I was not able to acquire any additional 2011 1st rounders today, but there's always tomorrow. It is safe to say now that I WILL acquire at least one more pick before the draft is over.
Day 4 began with Steven Jackson getting taken in the middle of the night at 3.11. Also first thing in the morning I acquired 1st rounder #7 for my 8.9 and 2011 2nd rounder. Great start so far, 8 1sts should now be very doable.
At 3.12, I struggled mightily with the decision between Vincent Jackson and Deanagelo Williams. Without the holdout news, this would be an easy choice in favor of VJax. As I am predominantly playing for 2011 and beyond, it would seem that VJax would be the right call here. On the other hand, Deangelo should have better trade value in this league due to the win-now mentality naturally present in a $1,250 league (at least until the holdout ends, if it ends), and I was also toying with the idea that I could possibly compete in 2010. There was also the chance that VJax could slip all the way to my next pick at 4.11 due to the holdout risk. On that basis, I hesitantly took Deangelo at 3.12. All the while, Colston was still on the board, and while he would have been a decent value at 3.12, his knee worries me a lot more than VJax’s holdout did (and thats no small feat). For an example of what I mean, check out this great article written by Steve Wyremski on Colston’s knee back in July of 2009. Retired Rookie Article
. I’ll be steering clear of Colston in all of my dynasty leagues (and will be trying to trade him in the one league where I do still own him).
Well, VJax didn't slip to 4.11 after all as Team Legacy (Scott Atkins) traded up to 4.08 to take him. Nice move and frankly, I was expecting Scott would do something like that. So at 4.11, with Felix Jones and Lesean McCoy already taken in the mid-4th, CJ Spiller was a fairly easy call for me here. While Spiller has huge upside, he is more of a play for the future guy, so I was giving up some flexibility with this pick by reducing my chances to compete in 2010.
We ended the day in the mid-5th round.
For my next pick at 6.01, I went with Dwayne Bowe, a player considered a mega-stud by many just one year ago. His value during the 2009 season and in the offseason has taken a huge hit for obvious reasons. Still, I had him on my draft board as a 4th round value (way down from the late 1st / early 2nd that I had him just one year ago), so Bowe was a GREAT value at 6.01. I also seriously considered Demaryius Thomas here. Interestingly, the trade I made to acquire two firsts (for my 5.12) was starting to look like a questionable move in hindsight in that the two teams whose picks I acquired were looking more and more like the frontrunners in the league for 2010. It was at this point that I began to consider trading away those two picks to acquire a player in this range to essentially recoup or cut my losses on that prior trade. While even a 1.11 and 1.12 are nice to have in a typical dynasty league, with the roster limitations in this particular league and with the extreme high stakes, I am anticipating that two back end picks are not going to be worth nearly what they would be in a typical league (whereas the top picks will be worth as much or more in this league versus the typical league).
Fortunately, with the slower pace of this draft, I was able to run projections for each team and essentially mock draft the next 5 rounds in order to come up with what I thought would most closely resemble their starting lineups. In doing this, I confirmed that the two picks I acquired for the 5.12 were indeed the top two to three redraft teams in 2010. It was time to seriously shop the two picks for some value in return.
Soon after making my Bowe pick, I decided that Vincent Jackson would have been the right choice after all at 3.12, not Deangelo, given the direction of my team, and I began discussing a trade for VJax where hopefully I could get some minor bump in a trade involving Deangelo. I figured this trade would interest the VJax owner since VJax presented such a huge risk to any team considering competing in 2010. I also had been discussing a potential trade for another team’s first using my 10.02 and a 2011 2nd rounder. At this point, that team was undecided, and for some reason, I felt that if I could offer that team a late 9th rounder instead of an early 10th, it would be enough to induce that team to make the trade. Accordingly, I acquired Vincent Jackson, 9.11 and 11.05 for Deangelo, 10.02 and 12.01. Basically a straight up deal with a few very small bumps. Turns out, though, the bump helped me make the trade for another 1st for my 9.11 and a 2011 2nd rounder. That makes a ridiculous 8 1st round draft picks!!! Could I somehow get to 9?
We ended the day in the mid-7th round (a relatively fast moving draft day).
Demaryius Thomas was still available at the beginning of the day. I was hoping of course that he would somehow fall to my 7.12 (which was a possibility given that he is a rookie with a very uncertain 2010 and this was a “win-now” heavy league if ever there was one), but I could not count on that happening. My backup plan would be to draft either Dustin Keller or Kenny Britt. Even better, I had a plan of acquiring an upcoming pick with one of those two “worst” 1st rounders I owned and a later 2010 startup pick (my 10th perhaps). I shot offers to each of the owners before my 7.12 with no luck. At 7.10, Demaryius was still available! Its now or never I thought, so I offered my two “worst” firsts for the 7.10 - rejected! Oh well, I tried. Very surprisingly, 7.10 came and went and Demaryius Thomas was still around (the surprising part being that Malcolm Floyd was the player taken at 7.10 and that the owner there essentially rejected an offer of 2 1sts for Floyd). Now at 7.11, I had a very tough call. Do I risk it and hope that Demaryius makes it one pick further or do I again offer my two firsts for the 7.11. I didn’t exactly trust that the owner with the 7.11 would pass on Demaryius or that some other team wouldn’t trade up to 7.11 to steal him away. After some thought, I went for it again and offered my two 1sts for the 7.11, this time with better success (although I did have to also include my 11.12 to get it done). A HUGE price to pay for Demaryius Thomas, but if my projections prove to be correct, two late picks and my 11.12 will fall well short in value to what Thomas will command this time next year (not to mention Thomas’ potential value mid-season in 2010 should he flash what I think to be ridiculous potential). Also, if I am wrong, and one of the picks ends up being a 1.04-1.06 and the other a 1.08-1.12 (one is a LOCK to make the playoffs), I will likely lose on the trade, BUT I will still be happy to have Thomas. Thomas, imo, will at least be equal in value to the 1.04-1.06 next year so in this worst case scenario, I paid only an extra 1.08-1.12 rookie pick and my 11.05 startup pick in 2010 in order to secure Demaryius on my team. Not great, but not terrible either. Another way to look at it is that I acquired two random picks for Demaryius at the 5.12 (which seemed like an ok trade at the time given that the picks were at that time random), and traded away those same two picks (which I now identified as being much worse than random) plus the 11.05 back for Demaryius. The 11.05 was more than a fair price to pay to essentially cut my losses on the prior trade that turned sour. I’m sure this trade will garner heavy criticism (and in fact already HAS on the FFPC message boards), but I am more than happy to take the criticism for the sake of rostering Thomas. I have a lot of trust in my ability to evaluate teams (for purposes of trading for their 1sts) and have experience to justify that trust imo. We’ll have to wait to see how this one turns out - I will be following it very closely.
[Edit to add: I just recently learned that the team with the 7.10 understood my offer to be of only 1 2011 1st rounder, not 2. The offer was by chat room only, so its not that hard to have such a misunderstanding (either I typed it wrong or the other owner read it wrong). This now makes a lot of sense as to the whole turn of events. What I thought was a rejection of 2 1st rounders for Floyd was not that at all. Oh well, it turns out I would have saved myself an 11th rounder had I been more clear about my offer for the 7.10.]
Back to the draft, after the trade to get the 7.11, I was unfortunately not quite prepared to make my two picks in a row (which did not go all that well with the gang that already waited a bit while the other owner and I worked out the trade in the first place). Demaryius Thomas was obviously going to be one of the choices, but I had to decide between Kenny Britt, Donald Brown or (cringe) Kellen Winslow. In the end, I decided to continue on with my original plan of building for 2011 and took Kenny Britt (whom I consider a really good value this late). Winslow in this scoring system would’ve been a fine pick as well, but those knees...very risky to say the least.
We ended the day at 8.01 (Kellen Winslow).
Here’s where I began to feel the pain of my choice to acquire so many 2011 1st rounders (back down to 6). I did not have a pick between 7.12 and 11.05, and then not again until 13.02.
At 11.05, I had a choice of taking Brett Favre (to get back on the win-now path), Braylon Edwards (very nice upside pick this late) and Jared Cook (for the home run). I decided to go with Braylon here. With a little luck early in the year, Braylon might have a good start to 2010 and rehabilitate his trade value. He would also make a nice WR3 should I find a way to compete in 2010. Still, with no QB or TE on the roster and the pickings getting slimmer and slimmer, 2010 doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility at this point.
From here on out, I was just looking for the best values in potential future trades rather than looking for pieces that could help in 2010. As with Braylon, I was able to take advantage of a few other talented players slipping a little further than they should have due to poor 2009 seasons and situations (Lee Evans at 14.01 and Donnie Avery at 14.09 in particular). I was also very happy to land Jared Cook (whom I passed up at 11.05 in favor of Braylon) at 13.02. I think he has a lot of potential to experience a significant increase in value in this format as soon as mid-season in 2010.