The 10th Annual RotoBowl: Draft Analysis

The 10th Annual RotoBowl: Draft Analysis

Three of our experts (Larry Gold, Brad Kruse and Dr. Roto) tackle one of the many RotoBowl's drafts with their all-out blitz analysis. They take an inside look at some of the best and worst decisions for every team and practically every single pick.

Editor’s intro: This article is a draft analysis for one of the many leagues which come together to form The 10th Annual RotoBowl Tournament powered by Scout.com. It boasts the largest league prizes in the industry for a mid-stakes entry. The Grand Prize is $50,000 and there’s a Mega-Prize of $500,000 if you win the RotoBowl AND the Mock Draft World Championship. Three of our writers at ScoutFantasy.com (Larry Gold, Brad Kruse and Dr. Roto) have taken a closer look at every team and provided their insights. For more information about RotoBowl, click here.

Our Scout Fantasy Director, Scott Atkins hosted a LIVE pick by pick commentary podcast covering this draft.
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Team 1
By: Larry Gold

This team came out swinging with the unconventional pick of Matt Forte, passing on Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. While I admire the moxie of implementing a 'my guy' strategy, the draft unraveled thereafter.

On the surface, selecting Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris at the Round 2 and 3 wrap is okay given both backs are clear starters. The immediate depth at a thin position is strong. However, neither Lynch or Morris can be counted on for any reception volume, resulting in an ultra-dependence on touchdowns. The real underlying problem is this owner is void of a dominant WR1, and waited until the 48th pick of the draft to get at best a WR2 at best. This creates an insurmountable deficit to rosters that have locked up two or three top-tier receivers through four rounds.

Keeping in mind that you can start up to five receivers in FFWC formats, passing on premier receivers early puts too much pressure on the owner to draft perfectly at receiver the rest of the draft. It also takes away any roster flexibility, as this owner will be compelled to start three running backs weekly; and as a result, will struggle to fill a line-up when his top backs are on bye. Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson or Pierre Garcon would of all been a wiser selection than Morris.

Selection of three quality mid-tier receivers in Round 4 to 6 began to stabilize the core of his team. However the drafter for Team 1 remained uncomfortable at receiver and chased the position again in Round 7 with Reggie Wayne. While Wayne could be a serviceable flex play, compensating for thinness at receiver now created a void at tight-end. With an abundance of quality tight-ends on the board, Team 1 made a mistake by passing, as seven tight-ends came off the board before the draft came back to him 22 picks later.

Tom Brady was a solid pick towards the end of the quarterback run in Round 8, but on a roster thin of exciting, dynamic upside plays, I would of preferred a Matt Ryan selection who should prove to be more explosive. The lack of a serviceable back-up is also concerning. Along the same lines, I would of liked to see some shot taking rather than filling out the roster with uninspiring veteran picks. I like the Tyler Eifert pick as a back-up to Antonio Gates, but using four total picks at tight-end seemed like a waste. The Round 13 and 14 selections of defense and kicker were too early, especially since this roster was in desperate need of depth.

Short of multiple waiver-wire miracles, I would expect Team 1 to struggle.

Team 2
By: Brad Kruse

I like a lot of what Team 1 did. I might have chosen different players here and there, but I don’t see any real mistakes or major reaches. Overall team construction was good. When I look at team construction, I look at QB, TE, D/ST and K and see if the team reached for these positions.

He waited until Round 9 to pick a QB and selected Matt Ryan. Team 2 was the 11th team to select a QB and got nice value there. I think I would have liked it a little more if he waited a little later, however. But, that might be being picky. This drafter didn’t jump in early for a TE but still ended up with a very safe choice of Greg Olsen in Round 7 as the sixth TE off the board. Olsen looks to have a solid floor this year. Tight ends are about 10 deep. Each of those tight ends was drafted by his next pick so he timed the selection well.

Opening with three RBs in the first four rounds is a bit risky in this format, but if you believe Arian Foster and Reggie Bush can turn in RB1 seasons this year those are hard names to pass on. Those running backs along with Jamaal Charles could give this team 150-200 receptions. But, that’s where this team has placed its bet. Also at RB, he grabbed both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart which could prove to be a value if one of these backs earns enough volume. He did lose Knile Davis as a handcuff to Charles, but would have had to take him the in 11th round to stop that. That was probably unavoidable.

Wide receivers are likely going to be difficult for this team to compete on a weekly basis. His running backs will have to carry him. I have no problem with the selections of Randall Cobb or Percy Harvin when they were made. Even selecting Sammy Watkins as WR33 looks like value compared to his WR27 ADP. However, the investment in RB naturally hurt the make-up of his WRs.

The one potential mistake is going QB in Round 9 and missing out on a guy like Kenny Stills or Cecil Shorts. Both of these players could be in for 100 targets this year and might have looked real nice in this lineup. Fortunately, there are always wide receivers that emerge on the waiver wire especially when you draft this early. He’ll have his chance to close this hole in his draft. Again, overall, I like what this team did and coming out of the draft. I’d give him a fair shot at the playoffs.

Team 3
By: Dr. Roto

This team is going to have an uphill struggle to win this league. I cannot complain with the pick of LeSean McCoy at 1.3 as I would have taken him at 1.1. However, the draft quickly went down hill from that point as he took TE Rob Gronkowski in Round 2 followed by Matthew Stafford in Round 3. Perhaps I doubt Gronk’s ability to stay healthy for 16 games, but I thought it was a big reach there when names like Andre Ellington and Jordy Nelson were available.

Even more perplexing was the selection of Stafford at 3.3. Not only was Stafford taken too early, he was the second overall QB taken in the draft! I understand taking a player early if you really want him (especially in a high stakes league), but there is no way that Stafford should be going before Rodgers in any format. Team 3 also fell into the HUGE rookie trap of taking a Kicker and Defense way too early.

Most expert players will tell you that a kicker and defense should be taken in the last two or three rounds of a draft. Seattle’s Defense in Round 7 and Gostkowski in Round 9 are top at their positions, but that is simply ridiculous. While this team landed some players I like including: Emmanuel Sanders, Julian Edelman, and Brandin Cooks, the bottom line is that there was a serious case of over drafting here.

Final Thought: As Clubber Lang said in Rocky III, “Prediction? Pain.”

Team 4
By: Larry Gold

The theme of this team's draft was youth and upside, and he delivered throughout. This roster has the making of a dynamic team that can easily run away with the league title come end of year.

Team 4 couldn't of pulled off a better start than he did. Penciling in Megatron every week is a luxury that all league mates will be jealous of. He then stole Gio Bernard and Andre Ellington, two PPR running-back machines that will likely end up being ADP values as the season draws closer. Cordarrelle Patterson has explosive upside, Kendall Wright is a high volume receiver, and Terrance Williams along with Kenny Stills are second-year receivers that could very well flourish in high-powered offenses.

After building a strong core, Team 4 landed Zach Ertz at the tail-end of the tight-end run. Additionally, the drafter was rewarded for his patience waiting on quarterback, landing a quality option in Tony Romo. The Romo to Williams connection may prove valuable down the stretch as Palermo chases a playoff berth. Team 4 also built impressive depth at each position, mixing a combination of veteran plug and play types with upside selections like Carlos Hyde. Josh Gordon may turn out to be a wasted pick, but given the stable roster assembled, it was a worthwhile gamble.

The 3RB, 5WR, 1TE model though nine rounds really set a solid foundation. Top to bottom, team 4 has no holes and should be a difficult roster for the competition to deal with.

Team 5
By: Brad Kruse

This is another team I like. Team construction was very solid. He chose some names I wouldn’t have in certain places but that is largely personal preference. Team 5 waited until Round 8 for QB. He selected Nick Foles as the ninth QB off the board. This was decent value for Foles; however, I think as he looks back on the draft and sees the QBs that went in Round 11 to 13 he probably lost a little value by selecting a QB in Round 8.

I like Russell Wilson a lot as his second QB, but I wouldn’t have been upset if he were the first QB on this team. Wilson was selected in Round 13. Vernon Davis isn’t a name I’m targeting, but for those that are, picking Davis in Round 7 is about the right place for Davis who is coming off a very solid fantasy year due to the strength of his TD performance. Team 5 decided to wait at running back, but ended up with Le'Veon Bell, Toby Gerhart and Ben Tate as his top three. These selections are likely the key to his success. After those three, he doesn’t have a lot of depth. He selected three running backs later that could step into strong roles if the lead back gets injured; but they likely won’t have strong enough roles to play without the top back going down. He missed out on any of the Cleveland handcuffs for Ben Tate. Wide receiver was this focus of this drafter. Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson and Michael Crabtree form his starting trio. This is where the team plans to differentiate themselves from the competition. His options beyond that have more risk as he spent the next four rounds selecting RBs, a QB and a TE. I suspect he’ll find another contributor or two off waivers to complete for a flex role and to rotate in during bye weeks. Another approach could have been to get that fourth WR instead of going with low end RBs in the fifth or sixth round. If he projects Gerhart and Tate for more points than the receivers he lost before his eighth pick then he did the right thing. If not, he gave up some points at flex to feel better about his running back options. As drafted his looks solid at the starter roles. He’s going to have to work at a flex a bit I give this team a fair shot at the playoffs.

Team 6
By: Dr. Roto

Team 6 started the draft getting Adrian Peterson at 1.6. It is unusual to think that there is first round value to be had, but in this case it seems appropriate, as Peterson should have been one of the first three players taken off the board. Team 6 then followed up by taking four consecutive WRs with big time upside in Jeffrey, Garcon, Floyd, and Hilton. Floyd, in particular, is a darling of World Championship players as the expectation of a true breakout season looms large in 2014. Perhaps my favorites picks for team 6 were TE Dennis Pitta in Round 7 and QB Jay Cutler in Round 8.  A healthy Pitta will be a PPR beast and Cutler was just named the QB Sleeper of the year FFToolbox!

Final Thought: As Bob Marley sang, “Everything’s gonna be alright.”

Team 7
By: Larry Gold

When Team 7 made the standard Dez Bryant pick in Round 1, he never could of imagined Jimmy Graham making it back to him at the 18th pick. With two premier talents to work with, the opportunity to assemble a monster roster was within reach. As it turns out, the cumulative roster lacks the fire-power to compete with the top teams in the league.

Of course drafting a premier tight-end early creates obstacles with your core line-up. Either receiver or running back depth is going to suffer. Nolan took the wise approach, addressing both positions early on, landing four receivers and two running backs through seven rounds. The owner choose veteran receiver options in Roddy White and Marques Colston; both have injury concerns but are high volume receivers in powerful offenses. Shane Vereen could prove to be a steal at running back given the opportunity he has to be a PPR beast.

Luck was a standard pick in the heart of the quarterback run in Round 8. Team 7 then chose to mix and match veteran bye-week fill-ins like Brian Hartline and Jerricho Cotchery with upside plays like Aaron Dobson.

Overall, the roster is solid, but the concern would be there's too much pressure on the studs of the team to dominate. Behind Vereen, RB is thin and the receivers don't have much upside. The Irishmen will be competitive, and are likely a fringe playoff team.

Team 8
By: Brad Kruse

This is a team that looks OK on paper, but its margin of error will be smaller than some others. With respect to team construction, He seemed to go with a balanced approach. He definitely had some nice values in places that helped him. However, I think he invested too early at QB and TE which is what will make him need to hit on some of the names he selected. Drew Brees and Jason Witten are critical for this team. Brees’ high stakes ADP at FFToolbox is 4.04 compared to his standard ADP of 3.07. Team 8 selected Brees at 3.08 so close to his standard ADP, but I would likely not have drafted Brees before Round 5. However, I understand those who select top three QBs in the fourth.

The math says Brees will likely score 100 more points than Romo (selected in the 11th) or possibly Wilson (selected in the 13th) but if you believe in any of those RBs or WRs on the board at that time, they also could be 100 point or better difference makers at positions where consistency is a bigger problem. A high end RB or WR added to this team in the third would make this team stronger. Selecting both a quarterback and tight end in the first six rounds puts you behind at RB and WR. Running backs were the savior of this team. Eddie Lacy falling to him in at 2.05 was a gift. Lacy’s high stakes ADP is 1.09.

Joique Bell at the 5.08 is a real nice value. His high stakes ADP (6.11) doesn’t reflect the value team 8 secured there. Bell is a very safe pick as RB21. With Bush’s durability issues he will turn in some RB1 weeks. Steven Jackson, Fred Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew are older players that he hopes one can give him a good year. One of these players may turn in a solid fantasy season which could consistently fill a flex position and each should have a role in the offense. If not, there is some waiver wire work needed at running back. Wide receiver starters are A.J. Green, Andre Johnson and Dwayne Bowe. If Johnson can come into the season in shape and motivated a WR2 role is a good fit for him. Bowe claims to be in great shape and has been working out with Larry Fitzgerald. He could be an upside pick as his WR3. If, however, he turns back into Dwayne Bowe, it’ll be frustrating for this owner.

In Cecil Shorts, Tavon Austin and Doug Baldwin he has some options to stream at flex hoping one or more of these players turn in consistent results. Not a bad job at WR considering the early QB and TE selections. Despite selecting QB and TE early being antithetic to my approach, this team has a fair shot to compete for a playoff spot. But I don’t think there’s a high margin of error here with this team.

Team 9
By: Dr. Roto

I am a proponent of going with two WRs if you are picking in the latter part of the first round. Here, Team 9 follows that advice taking Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones Roto. In Round 3 though, he jumps a bit soon and takes Aaron Rodgers, which some high stakes players might argue is early, but it is hard to question Rodgers’ production. His next two picks were RBs with Zac Stacy in Round 4 and Bishop Sankey in Round 5.  These are somewhat riskier selections as both RBs are in committees where other backs are expected to share the ball.

Sankey, in particular, is a tough call this year. He was the first RB taken in the draft, but there was nothing he showed at the University of Washington that would make you think that he can be a 20-25 carry running back in the NFL. Team 9 then followed up his two RBs with two TEs. I know that there are two flex positions in the league, but taking Jordan Cameron Roto (the newest member of the Roto family) and Jordan Reed seem to be a bit out of place here. Reed is a solid TE, but I would have liked to see a sold third WR go here instead like Kenny Stills.

One of the biggest mistakes that Fantasy players make is not following through on a draft strategy. If a team takes two WRs in the first two rounds, that team needs to take a third WR sooner rather than later. This makes the position a true strength and separates them from the rest of the pack.

Final Thought: I hear Kenny Loggins’ song “Meet Me Halfway” in the background when reviewing this squad.

Team 10
By: Larry Gold

Team 10 made two outside-the-box picks with his first two selections, grabbing DeMarco Murray and Antonio Brown, both ahead of their ADP; a sound strategy given that the other early preferred selections are less seasoned.

The drafter then alternated running back and wide-receiver through six rounds building a nice foundation at both positions. The selection of Pierre Thomas was perhaps a bit hasty, as he likely would have been available a few rounds later. However, Brown's approach was clearly to target veteran types rather than hyped upside plays, and he remained committed to that.

Team 10 again went against the grain and conventional ADP, selecting RG3 as his top quarterback, ahead of Andrew Luck and Nick Foles, but immediately felt the need to insure against injury by grabbing Big Ben a few rounds later. This may end up back-firing for Brown as taking two quarterbacks thru ten rounds creates serious depth concerns when it comes to filling a weekly 11 man roster. Even prior to bye week issues, Brown will need to start Jordan Matthews, Rod Streater or Eric Ebron week one at flex. While any of those three may prove to be valid options, the line-up is too thin out of the gate.

Team 10 further compounded the depth problem by drafting two defenses. This roster has the feel of a middle-of-the-pack team that will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs roll around.

Team 11
By: Brad Kruse

This team will likely struggle. As with the other teams I’ve evaluated, I first look at where the investments at QB and TE were made. At first glance, QB in the first round and TE in the tenth looks like a risky approach. Peyton Manning at 1.11 makes this team’s draft stand out. Now, if he expects another 5,500 yards and 55 TD’s then Manning’s value might approach this value he invested at this draft. But, at the end of Round 1, I think you’re looking for high end WRs or RBs. Those players also could provide as much value to your team as a career year from Peyton Manning. 300+ point QB’s are available in the 13th round. Manning’s high stakes ADP is 3.02. So, if you have to have Manning, taking him on the turn at the end of Round 1 is where you will have to make that investment. For me, that’s early.

Fortunately, he didn’t compound this mistake by being adding a QB2 early. If you draft a QB early, then make sure you draft your QB2 late, if at all. Team 11 tries to offset this early QB selection with a late TE selection. However, the upside choice of Ladarius Green drafted as TE12 is also high risk. Green had 29 catches last year and looks like he has a high ceiling. But, he hasn’t supplanted Gates yet so his role might not provide enough volume to solidify a TE that can compete for this team.

Unfortunately, he backed him up with Jace Amaro. Amaro looks to be a year or two away from contributing to fantasy lineups. I would have liked to see other TE names in the last half of the draft that could provide more certain contributions given the risk that Green represents. Montee Ball was a solid pick at 2.02 in the draft. If Ball stays healthy and doesn’t have ball security issues, I see no reason for him not to be a top ten running back this year. Team 11 didn’t fall into the trap of chasing the running back position, which I like. But, RB2 is clearly going to require things to go right for him. Trent Richardson, Stevan Ridley or Darren Sproles will need to become that player or he’ll likely need to find an RB2 on the waiver wire. A weakness at RB2 is often where you want your weakness to be, however. If the rest of the positions were covered, I wouldn’t be too worried about this weakness.

Ahmad Bradshaw went in the 16th round. Vick Ballard didn’t get drafted at all. Those could have been inexpensive handcuffs to secure against a Trent Richardson repeat performance from last year. The starting wide receivers are: Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker and Golden Tate. I don’t think he’s going to differentiate himself at WR. And, barring injuries to players above them I don’t see receivers taken later in this draft that provide WR2 upside. With receivers that will be available on the waivers and the players he selected, fielding wide receivers likely won’t be a problem but I don’t see it as a strength of this team.

Richardson, Ridley, Sproles (whichever RB isn’t his RB2) and Jarrett Boykin are the players that will likely compete for flex roles on this team. This team needed some stronger upside picks later to fill the void. Green at TE will be critical for this team. If he can play like a TE1 then the waiver wire focus drops to flex and RB2. The only difference making player on this lineup appears to be Manning. In order to compete for the playoffs, this team will need to a few things to go right for them. I think he’s a long shot to make the playoffs coming out of the draft.

Team 12
By: Dr. Roto

(I am sitting at my desk writing this article when I receive a random text)

Text: “Hey Dr. Roto, it’s Larry Fitzgerald. I just saw that some team took me in the first round of the RotoBowl draft. Are they crazy?”

Me: “I know right! I have you down as a third round pick myself this year.”

Larry: “That sounds about right. I am getting older and Carson Palmer is not as accurate as he has been. Plus we play in like the toughest division in the NFL.”

Me: “Think of it as a compliment, Larry.”

Larry: “Good point, Doc. I’ll check your stuff out at Scout.com”

Ok, so maybe this did not happen exactly like that, but WTF was Team 12 thinking taking Fitzgerald with the 1.12 pick in the draft?  I don’t care how much you like a player, bad value is bad value.

Team 12 then took Julius Thomas (before Jimmy Graham!) in Round 2, and followed that up with WR Keenan Allen in Round 3.  I’m not sure how someone could take Thomas over Graham, but that is why all teams in RotoBowl pay before entering.

I will say that Team 12 did an excellent job picking up three quality RBs in Rounds 4 to 6 with Doug Martin, Ryan Mathews, and Frank Gore. However, they went back to their old ways and took the Carolina Panthers defense in Round 8 which as I mentioned earlier is criminally early in any draft.

Final Thought: “It’s a Rainy Night in Georgia” is playing on the jukebox for Team 12.

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