The more I look at Pro Football Prospectus and Rotowire Football Magazine, the more I think I'm on to something. Both have Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the top two point-getters, with Randy Moss not far behind. I've done a little bit of mocking out a draft where the definitely contrarian and possibly insane strategy of picking a QB in the first round AND the second round, might just work. Obviously there's some issues with this plan.
First, it might not work. There are several scenarios where this doesn't play out properly. It assumes that Manning will be healthy and that both will meet or exceed very high projections. QB is a notoriously injury-prone position.
Second, the 12/24 issue is real. Since standard leagues use 2 RB and only 1 QB, the dropoff between to the 24th RB is much steeper than the 12th QB. In fact, it's reasonably good strategy to pick the 12th and 13th QB, emphasizing the need for a good backup over a great starter. Odd, but true. Looking at this year's numbers in PFP08, the dropoff at QB is 108 points, while the dropoff to the 24th RB (actually 25th - I took out Cedric Benson) is 152 points. Of course, the #12 QB is Jake Delhomme and I think with the risk premium, we may be really overplaying the slope.
Mostly though I'm worried about the psychology of the draft. I'm curious if drafting Brady in the middle of the first round will create a jolt of panic and cause someone to push Manning up. I don't think that would be a terrible thing; I'd adjust and pick a RB in the 2d. There's also a strong chance that you'd get the "amateur effect" here with someone picking Brady or Manning based on star power, being a fan of the team, or just dumb luck, like the autopick grabbing him early. (Just checked - ESPN has Brady at #6 in their pre-ranks, Manning at #14, so this could be a real issue.)
I've set up a team at ESPN's "free and it ..." site because it's free and abandoning a team there is all too common with a draft scheduled for today to see how it plays out. I'll keep you updated ...
Updates will be in sequence ...
12.39: Ok, we have a 10 team H2H league with standard points and no PPR. I'm drafting first, so I'll definitely get Brady but with 18 picks between me and the 2d, getting Manning is going to be a much longer shot. I think this strategy has a lot, lot, lot more chance of 'success' picking in the middle of the round.
12.42: I reset my draft list. With Brady and Manning 1 and 2, it's going to be interesting to see how the rest of my Top 10 plays out. It's VERY non-standard and I thought of publishing it here, but I'm going to hold off. If you've read PFP08, you'd recognize it and it's a "home run" list. I'm not going to get Tomlinson with the 21st pick so I'm hoping that one of the rookie studs will fall or that one of the KUBIAK favorites slides a little.
12.53: I've decided that even if the QBQB strategy -- and my team name is the "Brady Mannings", so I'm not subtle -- gets busted up, I'm going to try a pure-points strategy, drafting the highest projected points guy from PFP08. It's a bit less standard than you'd think given the heavy orthodoxy of the RB-RB-WR-QB-WR draft.
1.15: Draft starts ... and here's why ESPN gets banged for its fantasy leagues. In a league advertised as a live draft that had 3 of 10 when I signed up, I am the ONLY one in the draft room. Only one. So I make my first pick? And the draft room crashes. Just locks up and I can't tell if it made the pick. Doesn't look like it.
1.17: I relaunch and missed three picks, but could have told you who the next two were -- Peterson and Tomlinson. I'm a bit surprised by the 4th pick of Westbrook, but it's a good pick.
1.18: Manning goes with the fifth pick, killing the strategy. The next run of picks are all on auto and go chalk. Having Manning and Brady so high is going to make this a moot strategy if anyone's using autopick. Anyone checked to see if Yahoo or CBS are rating Manning as high?
1.22: 1(8) is where it completely goes off the rails, picking Randy Moss. That's who I was hoping to get with 2(20). Owens goes 1(9). When four of the ten teams are named Pimps, Smokers, Daboys, and Pimps, you know there's issues.
1.26: Chad Johnson is gone. I'll end up taking Darren McFadden (ranked 19) and Reggie Wayne (ranked 20) with my 20 and 21 picks. This strategy might work, but it won't work in an ESPN league. Then again, I'm not sure if any strategy works against the "Yager Bombers."
2.08: At least it's fast. Ended up with a very hit-or-miss team. Too much young.
QB: Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Vince Young
RB: Darren McFadden, Earnest Graham, Chris Johnson, Jerious Norwood
WR: Reggie Wayne, Santonio Holmes, Anthony Gonzalez, James Hardy, Vincent Jackson
TE: Dallas Clark, Greg Olsen
K: Adam Vinatieri
Why three QBs? There was a run in the middle rounds and Young was a play to block someone. It caused some draft frustration without really costing me anything. RB is pretty weak and an indictment of the strategy, but there's some upside here. Really debating going with Ryan Torain or Steve Slaton with my last pick, but ended up going with Vincent Jackson. Yes, I like tall WRs.