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Man vs. Machine: Taking on the Draft Dashboard from Pick 4

In this series, RotoViz writers will be using the Draft Dashboard, the flagship tool of the FFDRAFTPREP Package, to practice approaching 2018 fantasy drafts. Twelve authors will be participating and each will be mock-drafting from a different starting position, using the tool. The aim of this series is to outline the strategies employed by our writers, the information they are using to inform their decisions, and to obtain an understanding of how draft slot plays a role in the development of their strategy. At the end of each mock, the author will compare their team to those drafted by the computer and self-assess whether or not they “won” the draft.

Let’s get to it.

LEAGUE SETTINGS

For consistency, the writers in this series will draft in 12-team PPR leagues, and the ADP source will be set to “Average PPR.” Starting lineups comprise 10 players: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 flex (any RB/WR/TE), 1 kicker and 1 defense, with a six-player bench. The computer teams are set to “Mixed,” which means some will emphasize balanced rosters, while others may heavily weight RBs or WRs.

For my draft, I’ll be picking fourth.

PRE-DRAFT PHILOSOPHY

I love WRs. Perhaps not enough to fully commit to a Zero-RB approach, but my most successful fantasy teams in any format have had one thing in common: I built them around a strong WR corps.1 If you share this philosophy, then, ideally, this season I believe you’re going to want to pick in the 4-9 range, because the first round is expected to be heavy on RBs. I also don’t mind waiting on a quarterback and tight end, particularly this year, when I don’t believe there’s an overwhelming need to take a top-ranked guy at either position.

DRAFT NOTES:

  • I took Antonio Brown at the 1.04. I’m sure I could have fielded a perfectly fine team with Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson at this spot, but my preference is to pile up WRs.
  • If this were a real draft, I would have been salivating. I was able to take Mike Evans, Stefon Diggs, and Brandin Cooks in consecutive rounds to solidify my starting WRs. Yes, I realize folks may scoff at starting off a draft with four straight WRs, but I already warned you of my intentions. THIS IS MY MOCK, GO GET YOUR OWN.
  • In the fifth I went with Lamar Miller, then followed up with Duke Johnson, leaving me with one Tier 1 WR, two WRs from Tier 2, a WR and RB from Tier 3 and one RB from Tier 4.
  • In the first six rounds, only one other team besides mine had four WRs, and two teams had four or more RBs. The rest were fairly balanced.

montymock6rounds

MOST CHALLENGING PICK

In the seventh round, there was still a Tier 2 QB (Cam Newton) and two Tier 2 TEs (Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker). However, I wanted to shore up my RBs, and the highest-tiered options remaining were Tarik Cohen, Nick Chubb, and Chris Thompson. Normally, I fade rookies, especially RBs, because they rarely live up to the hype. But since I already had Johnson, I decided to pair Chubb with him and hope at least one of them pays off.

EASIEST PICK(S)

This is why it’s so important to track the draft: By the eighth round, I realized every other team had a starting QB. That took pressure off me to take one since it would go against logic for anyone to start taking backup QBs this early.2 Walker, the last Tier 2 TE, was still there, so I grabbed him. I finally grabbed QB Andrew Luck in the 11th because he had by far the most upside.

FINAL TEAM

I have done almost no mock drafts so far this offseason, but I was happy with the way this one turned out. There were very few picks I wish I had done differently, and even though I wasn’t in love with Walker at TE, I was pleased to land guys with upside in Trey Burton and George Kittle. My RBs are obviously a weak spot, but I have gone WR-heavy in drafts for so long that I know there will be opportunities on the waiver wire during the season — such as Chris Thompson, Jerick McKinnon or Latavius Murray last season — to pick up the slack.

Monty Mock final team

FAVORITE COMPUTER TEAM

There was one other team to start off the draft with at least three straight WRs: the Browns, which picked from the seventh spot. Naturally, this was my favorite among the computer teams. Its fourth pick was Aaron Rodgers, so, out of curiosity, I checked the Dashboard to see who else was available at that pick, and I definitely would have gone with Allen Robinson or Brandin Cooks instead.

team 7 monty mock

THE DECISION

The computer team above has its merits, but I like my squad the most for upside and depth at WR and TE. I’ll have to do mocks from other draft spots, but, for what I wanted to accomplish, I felt the fourth pick gave me a lot of latitude. As mentioned before, I could have taken Elliott or Johnson with my first pick and strengthened my RBs while still having a solid group of WRs, so there was definitely room to adapt according to philosophy.3

DRAFT BOARD AND TEAM ROSTERS

montymockdraftboard

 

montymockteamrosterslarge

  1. Editor’s Note: And when Monty is talking about his most successful teams, he’s speaking from experience as one of the top high stakes players in the world.  (back)
  2. Although, when drafting against humans, there’s always that guy who thinks he’s super smart for doing just that.  (back)
  3. I still like my way better.  (back)

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