Views from the High-Stakes Fantasy Football Draft

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? I spent mine working the National Fantasy Football Championship run by our company. I got to head to New York City (with other locations in Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago).

We had about 17 leagues in NYC, with sizes ranging from 12-14 teams in each league, so it’s a pretty sizable event. Oh, did I mention the entry fee ranges from $650 to $1,250? Which brings me to my point. If you’re paying that much money to play fantasy football, shouldn’t you have a pretty good idea who’s hurt, who isn’t, depth charts, etc? That’s what I thought.

But no, Rudi Johnson was still being selected fairly high. And when after one draft it was announced that he had been released, I wonder how many owners just cringed. Sure, he’s with Detroit now, but can he be expected to do much there?

Other players were gong to be out for quite some time (Bobby Engram, for one) and yet they were drafted. I know it’s a long season and some of those injured (or suspended) guys could help down the line, but draft them later, not earlier.

Here are some other observations from three days of drafts. Running backs still rule the roost, though Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens did crash the first-round running back party in nearly every draft. And Tony Romo did go fourth overall (yes, fourth) in one particular draft.

Selvin Young, Josh Morgan and other rookies Kevin Smith, DeSean Jackson and Matt Forte were popular picks. With Dustin Keller, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco getting PT early this season, it looks like rookies will again be offensive weapons in the NFL.

LT was the first pick in nearly every draft (or auctioned for the most money in auction drafts). Speaking of auctions, it seems one of the popular strategies was to spend big on the marquee players and fill in the roster after about pick seven. There are a lot of bargains in the latter rounds when money is tight. So spend big early and often in auction leagues. It’s the only time you’ll ever get Tomlinson and Peterson on the same roster.

And my final observation was that many of these guys and gals were also involved in baseball leagues that were down to the final month. How do they keep everything straight and up to date? They’re spending a lot of time online and keeping track of the tickers.

Now that I think about it, doesn’t that sound like fun?

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