I ran through a series of titles for this piece: “The Time Phil Lost His Sanity Live on YouTube”; “Thomas Jones: A Guy Who Was Actually Drafted”; “The Most Olandis Gary References in 2013 Anywhere on the Internet”. If there was one consensus about this draft, it was that nobody seemed to enjoy their teams, with the exception of maybe Ladd. But I think, while this draft turned into a disaster for some, there’s a ton here we can take away, starting with the idea behind this very website to begin with: The Late Round Quarterback.
Because this draft was the LRQB writers and fans, it stood to reason that about 100% of the people involved in this draft would use the LRQB strategy. This seemed to bear itself out – besides an autopick of Aaron Rodgers at 16, the first passer to go did not go off the board until spot 50 (Drew Brees). Three quarterbacks went in that round – Cam Newton at 58 and Peyton Manning at 61 being the other two. I was the guy who took Manning at 61, which was admittedly out of character for me. Who were he next five players to go? That’d be Daryl Richardson, Jordy Nelson, Jason Witten, Matt Stafford, and Tom Brady.
I abide and swear by the LRQB strategy, but I think the most important thing an owner needs to be is flexible. That is not to say any other owner is inflexible, but I think a lot of times we get caught up in the love-hate dynamic. The idea that players are “dead to you” or that you will wait on a position “no matter what” is something even JJ, Lord of the LRQB, has spoken on – at some point all owners need to recognize that a quarterback is worth taking more than anyone else on the board. The idea of “opportunity cost” works both ways – and for me personally, taking Peyton Manning was worth more to me than taking any of the remaining running backs, wide receivers or tight ends.
As an owner, my best advice to you is to try and remain as flexible as possible, and while your team may look different than you imagined (as mine did), it does not necessarily mean it’s worse. Grab value wherever you can – no strategy is absolutely fool proof, and no strategy is ironclad when the draft cuts against it. For me, this draft was not conducive to the strategy I wanted to employ, but at my draft spot, I was forced to do things I normally would not in most typical drafts.
Realistically, a perfect storm of LRQBers is going to be pretty rare. But we can pretty clearly see what happens when 16 LRQBers are in the same draft: an absolutely brutal run of running backs. There were 19 running backs that went in the first 23 picks. By the time about half the teams were looking to take their second running back, the pickings were extremely thin. And pickings only got thinner at the end of round three as Ahmad Bradshaw, Eddie Lacy, and Montee Ball went off the board at 43, 47, and 48.
I sort of like that spot for Ball, particularly in a 16-teamer. I think 48th overall is about right for him, but I have seen the hype has gotten a little bit nuts. I have seen Ball go in the third round of a 12-team league (in the 30s-ish). In a 16-team league, I think most teams are going to be hard-pressed to get a quality RB2, and you can do worse (as I did) than Montee Ball.
Meanwhile, the run of early backs caused for there to be pretty nice receiver values in rounds three and four. Round 3 saw Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, and Danny Amendola leave the board. I think that all of these guys can be really valuable, particularly as a WR2 in a 16-team league. Many of these guys might be WR2’s in a 12-team league, and teams that were lucky enough to snag one of these guys as a WR2 in this 16-team league should be pretty comfortable this year with their two WR positions.
Of course, this came at a glut at RB2 – the teams who snagged a WR2 in round three wound up with Bilal Powell, Daryl Richardson, and Benjarvus Green-Ellis as their RB2, respectively. That’s going to be extremely troublesome to manage week-to-week. For the record, I am the guy who has BenJarvus Green-Ellis as my RB2. With Cruz and Colston filling my WR spots though, I feel extremely confident at that position and while pickings might be extremely sparse on the wire I am hoping to be able to maneuver my way through the muck and find a diamond. Either way, I don’t hate The Law Firm as much as most people do. He’s not great by any stretch, but I think he should have a decent amount of opportunity, and that’s sort of what I was looking for in a starter.
Overall, the draft was extremely tough – and though there are some positions I feel totally comfortable with, at running back I am going to have to hope that I landed a startable player in Green-Ellis, Fred Jackson, or Jacquizz Rodgers. But I think the lessons a draft like this can teach are invaluable. Take a look at the link above and comment on which teams you like most.