28-Round Draft Review: Quarterbacks and Running Backs

Those who fancy themselves as drafting experts may want to test their abilities with Scout’s Draft-n-Go 28-Round best ball, PPR format.

You can find all the rules here, but below is a breakdown of the starting lineup:

Starters

1 Quarterback

2 Running Backs

3 Wide Receivers

1 Tight End

2 Flex Spots (could consist of wide receiver, running back or tight end)

1 Defense

1 Kicker

Strategies varied from players selecting 10 wide receivers, to four quarterbacks, so it really amazing to watch the dynamics unfold. I considered including the results and reasonings for all of my draft picks in this article, but I didn’t want your eyes to glaze over after you finished reading the running back section.

It is a longer piece than I normally write at over 1,700 words, but I try to highlight only the ket aspects of why I drafted a player and move on.

Quarterback Roster

Quarterback 1- Joe Flacco

I selected Flacco for two reasons: durability and random explosiveness. Luckily for Fantasy Football fans, the good people at FantasyPros.com break down the rankings of a player by the week. Flacco was a top-10 performer among his peers in Week 4, 6, 9, 13, 14 and 17, and that equates to Joe Cool finishing 37% of his starts with a top-10 performance. I wasn’t offered a plate full of exciting quarterbacks when I selected my first signal caller in Round 11, but I found a player who has played a 16-game season every year since 2008. I learned that endurance is what pushes you over the edge in best-ball formats, and while he may not be worth starting in standard formats every week, I’m able to take advantage of Flacco’s best performances in this type of setting.

Quarterback 2- Carson Palmer

The risk in selecting 35-year old Palmer is negated by the first quarterback addition to my roster, Flacco. I would be worried about his age and most recent ACL injury for standard formats, but I get all of his upside in this type of scenario. The weapons are respectable: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown. He also has the benefit of utilizing pass-catching backs Andre Ellington and rookie David Johnson. Palmer was a thirteenth-round selection, and I like him better than Andy Dalton and Teddy Bridgewater, who were also selected in Round 13. I’m hoping Palmer can finish a 10-game season, and I look at anything else as a bonus. He was a top-10 option in three out of the six games he completed in 2014.

Quarterback 3- Nick Foles

I wanted three quarterbacks on my roster regardless of who I drafted, but I dug myself into a hole because Flacco and Palmer share the same bye in Week 9. Round 19 approached and there were only two quarterbacks on my roster, so I was more than happy to pick up Foles so late in the draft. Josh McCown looked great in Chicago’s system, but he floundered during his short stay at Tampa Bay. I’m not sure if Foles will end up in the same situation once outside Philadelphia, but he isn’t being set up to fail in St. Louis.

New offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. has been waiting in the wings as the quarterback coach for the Rams since 2012, and the players seem to be excited for the upcoming season with Foles at the helm. While the offense will not see a complete overhaul, the players have commented how the new OC has his own flair.  At this point Foles is just a wildcard who will cover the Week 9 bye, but I’m not going to complain about landing the fourth-year quarterback so late in this draft.

Running Back Roster

Running Back 1-Eddie Lacy

I had the second pick in this draft, but I ended up with the first running back off the board. It was shocking to see Rob Gronkowski as the first-overall pick but to each his own.

I was debating between Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and Lacy, so you can read my piece on FantasyPros to see why I selected Mr. Lacy.

Running Back 2-Jeremy Hill 

The Bengals now realize that Giovani Bernard is not a lead back, and it will be exciting to watch Hill enter the 2015 Fantasy season with the role he should have had at the start of 2014.

The 2014 season may have also offered a glimpse into an affinity of running the ball more in 2015. Coley Harvey, ESPN staff writer, wrote a terrific piece on some of the key takeaways from last year. He stated, “When factoring in only the rushing plays and pass attempts, the Bengals ran 49.4 percent of the time this past season. They therefore passed 50.6 percent of the time. That’s the closest semblance of balance the organization has had offensively since 2009, when Cincinnati rushed 51.4 percent of the time.”

I have no qualms behind drafting Hill, and barring injury, I think he is as strong an option as any for my second running back spot.

Running Back 3-Alfred Morris

Lacy stepped up his pass-catching abilities in 2014, but Hill and Morris are not going to be backs who finish with a ton of receptions or receiving yards.

Morris’ rushing totals have quickly declined since his rookie season, but he still has finished with a minimum of 1,000 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in his three-year career. The Washington Redskins did not invest in a pass-catching back after shipping Roy Helu to Oakland, which may mean Jay Gruden is content with Morris’ style and skill set. Washington did select running back Matt Jones in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he isn’t known for his pass-catching abilities.

Praised for his protection skills and having better than expected hands, I am looking over my shoulder, however, in terms of Jones potentially taking away a few opportunities from Morris. If the rookie can block, run through defenders and become serviceable for dump offs and screens, why would Morris be able to hold onto his role? Morris obviously has the edge in NFL experience and the playbook, so I still feel comfortable with Morris as a backup to Lacy and Hill. This league only starts the two-highest scoring running backs, so there is not as much pressure for Morris to perform at a top-tier level as there would be in a standard league.

Running Back 4-LeGarrette Blount

This is a player who will cause headaches in regular leagues, but again, he is a gem in best-bell scoring formats.

Adam Levitan showcased how impactful Blount is with the Patriots, as the 28-year old back has scored 16 touchdowns in his las 18 games as a member of New England. Again, there are only two slots for running backs and two flex spots (can consist of running backs, wide receivers or tight ends), but Blount will help give me an edge when Belichick lets him loose.

Running Back 5-Danny Woodhead

People are either hip to Woodhead or completely oblivious, but I didn’t want to take any chances on missing him and selected Woodhead in Round 9.

The attention in San Diego may be on rookie Melvin Gordon, but Gordon served a limited role as a pass-catching back in college. Bob Lung of FFConsitency.com has compiled a great set of data to showcase consistency and quality in Fantasy Football, and there was something that caught my eye about Woodhead’s performance in 2013. In his first season with the Chargers, Woodhead recorded the same amount of quality games as Marshawn Lynch!

I highlighted how I thought people should take a look at Woodhead entering 2014, but his three-game season destroyed a repeat of Fantasy relevancy. Entering 2015, I think he is overlooked once again with the presence of Gordon. I may have been able to draft Woodhead later, but I don’t feel bad selecting a player in Round 9 who could finish with 1,000 or more total yards and six-10 touchdowns.

Running Back 6-Lorenzo Taliaferro

The running back pool was expectedly thin by Round 14, so I was starting to look for handcuffs at that point. The Ravens brought in Marc Trestman to replace former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, and Trestman is known for highlighting Matt Forte‘s dual-threat capabilities.

Some believe rookie Buck Allen is a better fit for Trestman, so Taliaferro won’t be handed the backup job just because he has seniority. If anything were to happen to Justin Forsett, I’d assume Taliaferro would find himself in a committee approach. I already have key running backs I can rely on, so this was a depth pick incase something happened to the starter.

Running Back 7-Toby Gerhart

I bought into the hype that Gerhart was worth drafting early in 2014 just because he was supposed to be a starting running back. I decided not to hold a grudge against him, and he plodded his way onto my lineup in Round 18.

Gerhart will really have to put in some work to ever finish as the highest-scoring back on my roster, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t stumble into the end zone with a few goal-line carries each game. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play from behind or be emerged in a battle almost every game, so I don’t expect Blake Bortles to rack up touchdowns early in the game like Aaron Rodgers and have T.J. Yeldon Gerhart run out the clock.

Running Back 8-Zac Stacy

The backfield for the New York Jets is almost too much to handle in terms of selecting a relevant Fantasy player. Of course, you get to take advantage of that with the best-ball format.

Here was my reasoning behind selecting:

1. Stevan Ridley may start the season on the PUP list. He may not be on the PUP list, but there isn’t any indication he would still be a reliable option in Week 1 for the rushing attack.

2. Stacy is much more serviceable in the passing attack than Chris Ivory. Outside of 18 receptions in 2014 (still not a lot), Ivory only hauled in five passes since 2010. Stacy is at least serviceable as a pass-catching back.

3. Bilal Powell is considered a lock on the roster as the third-down back, but I’m holding out that Stacy may be able to prove he can handle a larger workload and surprise the Jets as an every-down back. Far fetched? Yes, but it doesn’t hurt me to see how this will play out with Stacy as a pick in Round 20.

So there you have it. I wanted to include the rest of my selections, but I wanted to make this a manageable read incase you haven’t snoozed off already. Once I complete my piece on my wide receiver and tight end selections, I include links for it in this article. I will only briefly highlight my choices on defense. I will not talk about my kickers.

 

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  1. 28-Round Draft Review: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends | Your Fantasy Football Coach

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