Axe Elf's 46th Draft

Dipped a toe back into the Yahoo best ball drafting pool tonight (where the salmon have been running) to see how things have changed following this weekend’s preseason action. It was just a $5 league, so it was a good time to draw the 10th pick out of ten–and therefore, also a good time to go WR/WR/WR/RB/WR to open things up…

1.10 Tyreek Hill
2.01 Davante Adams
3.10 CeeDee Lamb
4.01 Chris Carson
5.10 Brandon Aiyuk
6.01 Mike Davis

I was mainly curious to see where James Robinson would be drafted, and I was kind of surprised that he was still on the board in the 6th round–but I just couldn’t take Robinson with Davis still on the board. I guess if you’re a Robinson truther, you’d probly be pretty ecstatic to get Robinson in the 6th after loading up on WRs, but I’m seriously skeptical of the Jags ability to run the ball this year. I think Davis will land somewhere around RB15 by the end of this season, and it’s hard to see Robinson ascending any higher than that, from what we’ve seen of Urban Meyer’s new offense thus far.

Robinson went at 7.2. I can live with that; seems fair.

7.10 Damien Harris
8.01 Tyler Higbee
9.10 James Conner
10.01 Matthew Stafford
11.10 Kirk Cousins
12.01 Marvin Jones, Jr.
13.10 Evan Engram
14.01 Jameis Winston (Was targeting Daniel Jones here, but he was sniped at 13.09, so I improvised.)
15.10 Anthony Firkser
16.01 Mark Ingram II
17.10 Amon-Ra St. Brown

Definitely my best WR corps so far–and it din’t even put me too far behind at RB, with something like RB10, RB15 and RB20 falling to me in Rounds 4, 6 and 7.

After those receivers, there’s a lot of “ifs” there. The QB’s have some upside (especially Winston if he returns to form from 2 years ago), but the RB’s have very limited upside (unless Arthur Smith pulls a rabbit out of his hat with Mike Davis). I assume this is a PPR league, since investing this much in WR’s in half-PPR is kind of suicidal? Good luck.

All of Yahoo’s leagues are half-PPR. I usually don’t do the WR heavy start, but drawing the 10th slot in a $5 contest, I thought I’d change things up a little for this one.

Arthur Smith, being Derrick Henry’s former Offensive Coordinator, should get RB15 production out of Mike Davis. Damien Harris was already a top 20 RB; the trading of Sony Michel should propel him a couple of notches higher.

Conner, being reunited with his RB coach from 2018 Pittsburgh (you know, the year he posted 1470 yards and 13 TDs?), is already the goalline back for a powerhouse offense, and as soon as the Cardinals figure out that Chase Edmonds isn’t built to be a lead back (remember Andre Ellington?), Conner should take over the majority of the snaps.

Ingram, yeah, probly not much upside there, but any time you can get a starting NFL RB in the closing rounds of a draft, it’s a coup.

Have you heard the saying, “You can’t get blood from a stone?” Davis is no Henry.

Harris still has Stephenson breathing down his neck.

Conner? Really? I guess you loved Todd Gurley last year too? Two words for you: Washed up.

Ingram is done too. Draft young, not old. Take a chance on a rookie before an old washed-up RB.

That’s why I don’t think Davis will be the RB1, like Henry will be. But Smith won’t neglect the run game, and when Davis has been given a workhorse role, he’s performed at a solid RB2 level. That’s my expectation for him this year.

Rookies don’t breathe down anyone’s neck in a Belichick offense. Stephenson will vulture a few TDs, just as Michel would have, but Harris is “The Man.”

A lot of people loved Gurley’s 9 TDs last year–he was the RB11 in PPR through the first 10 weeks–and if I get Gurley’s 850 yards and 9 TDs out of my 9th round pick this year, I’ll be ecstatic.

Pretty much, but he’s a starting RB you can get in the last round of the draft. He won’t carry you to a championship, but I don’t mind having him around as bye week/injury depth.

That’s why I’m drafting Najee in the 2nd, Conner in the 9th, and Ingram in the 16th.

Davis also tailed off towards the end of last year. Do you really want your RB’s performance dropping in the playoffs?

Harris hasn’t shown he can be a bellcow, and Bellichick doesn’t normally deploy bellcows (he does, just not often).

I love the caveat there: “through the first 10 weeks”. God help you if you needed him in the playoffs. Gurley died at the end of last year. His week 16 game was his best of the last 6 games: 4 carries, 16 yards, 3 catches, 34 yards, no td’s. The only way that looks good is if you’re in a 32 team league that starts 5 RB’s.

No, Ingram won’t. Why are you wasting a roster spot on a guy with such a low floor? I’d sooner take a backup with potential and hope for an injury, then a washed-up RB like Ingram. This is the beginning of the season. If you end up in a bad situation later in the season, pick him up off waivers. He’ll be there. I promise.

The problem with this is, Najee isn’t just a rookie. he’s a drafted bellcow thrust into a starting role. Not to mention he’s a top-notch RB overall, but I digress.

There is no comparison between Najee and Conner and Ingram. Try picking a lower rookie RB, like Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Rhamondre Stevenson, or Larry Rountree? Would you rather take a chance on one of those guys at the beginning of the season, or grab one of the walking dead RB’s? You sound like Adam Gase pumping Frank Gore last year.

No. Do you?

Maybe he hasn’t shown you, but he’s shown Belichick, and Belichick can’t stop raving about it, and that’s all that matters.

Yeah, I think you’re kind of missing the point though. I didn’t draft Gurley; I drafted the RB who will take his role in the offense, you know, the role of scoring 9 TDs in the first 10 weeks.

Well, I would have liked to pick Derrick Henry there, but it was the 16th round, and he was already off the board.

It’s a best ball league. There are no waivers. I promise.

I would rather grab one of the walking dead RBs. At least they’re walking. You may be able to take a chance on someone emerging in a normal league, because you can throw them away after a month if they’re not working out, but if you draft a guy who never plays all year in a best ball league, you’re just stuck with a zero at that spot for the season. I’d rather have a guy there who can give me a floor similar to what Carlos Hyde provided a couple of years ago as the Texans’ walking dead RB–1000 yards, 6-8 TDs. So when Carson is injured and Davis poops the sheets and Harris is on bye, I’ll still get some points from my RB position, instead of watching Larry Rountree trying to help my team from the practice squad.

And you believe Belichick? I bet you believe politicians, too!

Good luck with that. Check his pulse after week 1.

I love some good sarcasm! Let me know if you see any, ok?

Good point. This bad decision is one you have to live with.

Are you trying to win the league, or just survive it? Sounds like surviving is your game, and maybe that is the strategy? I’ll leave that one to you. Good luck.

Various beat writers have noted that it is out of character for Belichick to single out one particular player for praise. He is usually very vague and team-centered. It may be nothing. Axe Elf sees it as a clue, one piece of a 100-piece puzzle, and believes that Harris will be a borderline low-end RB2 approaching 1000 yards and 10 TDs. In larger or non-PPR leagues, he should be a very solid RB2.

This is not your father’s Patriots any more. They are no longer a passing team–no matter who starts at QB. They are a ball control and win with defense kind of a team now, and Harris is going to lead the pounding.

Damien may have been sandwiched between the more ballyhooed Najee Harris and the great Derrick Henry in college, but you don’t get to be a three-time 1000 yard gainer for the University of Alabama by accident.