This was my third season participating in the Scott Fish Bowl. My previous two seasons were all over the place.
In 2014, I waited to draft my quarterbacks so I could try and gain an edge at the receiver and tight end position. For the most part, it paid off.
This was my final roster in 2014:
I went 9-3 that season, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
In 2015, it seemed like more and more people were loading up on receivers early. So there were a lot of running backs who fell to the later rounds. My strategy there was to load up on backs because the format started awarding points for rushing attempts that year.
That strategy did not work out so well…
Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch, and Alfred Morris bombed. Danny Woodhead was my only reliable running back.
My quarterback situation also wasn’t the greatest, and Allen Robinson was the only good pick I made at receiver outside of Kamar Aiken.
I somehow managed to win four games, but a four-win season is obviously not good enough to make it into the playoffs.
In 2016, I applied a similar strategy to 2014 and focused on adding receivers. And because running backs are being drafted later this year, I was confident I could wait until the later rounds to find starting running backs.
Here’s how it played out.
2016 Scott Fish Bowl Draft: Quarterback Review
There is a lot of emphasis placed on drafting quarterbacks in the Scott Fish Bowl because you can start two. But when I looked at the winning teams of the past two seasons, I noticed elite quarterbacks weren’t in the starting lineups for Week 16.
2014 Scott Fish Bowl Winner Ryan McKee:
Week 16 Starters: Tony Romo & Mark Sanchez
2015 Scott Fish Bowl Winner Derek Meyers:
Week 16 Starters: Kirk Cousins & Blaine Gabbert
I’ve never placed a ton of emphasis on drafting quarterbacks early in this format, and the winners of the past two seasons didn’t have elite quarterbacks starting in the championships. You could obviously still have a chance of winning by starting a duo like Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer, but the last two seasons showed the winners didn’t have to do it with top-notch quarterbacks.
For the 2016 Fantasy season, these are my quarterbacks:
Jay Cutler has never thrown for more than 28 touchdown passes in his career, so I’m not expecting him to finish as a top-five quarterback in 2016.
But I do think he can be more consistent in 2016 than he was last year. Last season, the offense was out of sync because of injuries to Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Eddie Royal, and Matt Forte. Just to show you how bad things were, Marques Wilson, a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, posted a 6-85-1 stat line in Week 5 with Jeffery, White, and Royal not in the lineup.Embed from Getty Images
Cutler just didn’t have enough healthy receivers to throw the ball to last season. There are still questions about Jeffery’s health, but he should at least have a healthy White and Royal to start the year.
When he threw 28 touchdowns in 2014, he was a top-15 quarterback. He scored 255.58 Fantasy points in standard scoring leaders, which gave him 98.42 fewer points than Aaron Rodgers (highest-scoring quarterback in 2014). But if we break that down by game, that was only a 6.16 point difference per week.
Also keep in mind that Cutler only played in 15 games that season.
For this season, I’m hoping that Cutler can finish in the top 15 once again and keep things competitive against my opponents’ quarterbacks. Since I focused on drafting wide receivers and running backs early while other teams focused on drafting quarterbacks, I’m hoping my receivers and running backs can give me an edge and make up for that point difference.
The same thing goes for Sam Bradford. I’m hoping that he can at least just stay competitive and do better under a new system. I don’t need great results from him. I just need him to finish in the top 15 to keep things competitive if I start him.Embed from Getty Images
I also drafted Carson Wentz incase Bradford loses his job.
I wish I would have added another quarterback a little earlier incase any injuries happened to Cutler or Bradford, but I drafted Case Keenum in Round 18 for depth. There have been conflicting reports on who will be the starter in Week 1, but the preseason should give us a better idea of Keenum or rookie Jared Goff gets the start.
Scott Fish Bowl Quarterback Selection
Round 8: Jay Cutler
Round 11: Sam Bradford
Round 16: Carson Wentz
Round 18: Case Keenum
2016 Scott Fish Bowl: Wide Receiver Review
As you can tell from my 2015 team, my depth was terrible at wide receiver. But I wanted to be careful that I didn’t overcompensate for poor depth last year by drafting too many receivers early and not having a balanced team.
This is my wide receiver roster for the 2016 Fantasy Football season:
In Rounds 1-3, I locked up my receivers. With the eighth pick in Round 1, I drafted A.J. Green. I was debating between Rob Gronkowski and Dez Bryant here, but I felt Green was safer. Grinch’s production may go down in the beginning of the season without Tom Brady, and I am worried about Tony Romo making it through a 16-game season.
Green seemed like the safer choice, and he should see a ton of targets this season. Marvin Jones is now playing for the Detroit Lions, Mohamed Sanu is playing for the Atlanta Falcons, and tight end Tyler Eifert may be out for the first few games of the year.
Green finished in the top 10 for wide receivers for red-zone targets in 2015, and he could see even more work with the limited options Andy Dalton has this year.
Bryant was still on the board when it was my turn to pick in Round 2, but I ended up passing on him again for Keenan Allen.
Seemingly, Allen was in for a big season in 2015 until he lacerated his kidney. He posted a 67-725-4 stat line in just eight games. His 90.6 yards per game (YPC) average means that in a 16-game season, he could have recorded 1,449 receiving yards.
The issue heading into 2016 Fantasy Football drafts, though, is Allen still had issues with consistency last year. In Week 2, he only caught two passes. In Week 5, he caught six passes, but he only had 57 receiving yards and didn’t score a touchdown.
And outside of the inconsistency, I’m also worried that Philip Rivers will throw the ball less if Melvin Gordon is more efficient running the ball.
But his upside is why I drafted him in Round 2. Allen caught seven of his eight red-zone targets last season, and he turned three of those catches into touchdowns.
|Player||Red-Zone Targets||Red-Zone Touchdowns|
I drafted Golden Tate in Round 3. I think some players are overlooking that Tate has seen a ton of receptions over the past two years, so he isn’t going to increase his value by more touches just because Calvin Johnson is retired.
Tate finished in the top 10 for receptions last year, and he had just six fewer receptions than Odell Beckham. So what Tate needs to improve on is his 9.0 YPC average. Beckham finished with a 14.3 YPC average in 2014 and 15.1 YPC average in 2015, so if Tate can get his YPC average between 14-15, he could finish with 1,260-1,350 if he catches another 90 passes in 2016.
For my WR3, though, I was more than happy to draft a player who has posted an average of 94.5 catches in the past two seasons. I just hope he can do more with the ball once he catches it.
I was very surprised Michael Floyd fell all the way to Round 6, but I was more than happy to draft him.
He started out last season with a hand injury, but take a look at what happened when he started to catch the ball more:
Even though Larry Fitzgerald is still in the lineup, the Arizona Cardinals have one of the best offenses in the NFL and can make multiple receivers Fantasy relevant. Fitzgerald posted a 109-1,215-9 stat line, and John Brown posted a 65-1,003-7 stat line in 2015.
With Floyd healthy to start this season, he should be able to drastically improve his consistency throughout the entire year.
I was hoping to pair Steve Smith Sr. with Kamar Aiken, but Aiken was selected right after I picked Smith. But because I already had four strong receivers on the team, I could take a risk on Smith in the later rounds.Embed from Getty Images
One reason that I especially like Smith is that Falcco targets him heavily in the red zone. In 2014, Smith led the Ravens with 21 red-zone targets. He also tied for the most targets last season (12), even though he only played in seven games.
Because this draft was in early July, I was able to draft Sammie Coates much later than you will able to now. Last season, I didn’t buy into the hype that Markus Wheaton was in for a big year.
If you look at Wheaton and Antonio Brown, they aren’t that different in terms of size and speed:
Antonio Brown: 5-foot-10, 186 pounds, 4.47 40-yard dash
Markus Wheaton: 5-foot-11, 182 pounds, 4.45 40-yard dash
However, Coates compliments Brown. He’s built just like Martavis Bryant and was even compared to Bryant in his NFL Draft profile.
Martavis Bryant: 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, 4.42 40-yard dash
Sammie Coates: 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, 4.43 40-yard dash time
Coates is a better candidate than Wheaton to take Bryant’s 50 receptions, 765 receiving yards, and six touchdowns receptions he’s leaving behind.
In the last three rounds of the draft, I drafted Victor Cruz, Brice Butler, and Stephen Hill. I’m looking at Butler and Hill to be relevant if injuries were to occur, but it’s a long shot that they see playing time in 2016. Hill might not even have a roster spot by Week 1.
Cruz is also a long shot, but I think he fell too far. I loved adding him as a 20th-round pick just incase he is relevant in 2016.
Scott Fish Bowl Wide Receiver Selection
Round 1: A.J. Green
Round 2: Keenan Allen
Round 3: Golden Tate
Round 6: Michael Floyd
Round 12: Steve Smith
Round 14: Sammie Coates
Round 20: Victor Cruz
Round 21: Brice Butler
Round 22: Stephen Hill
2016 Scott Fish Bowl: Running Back Review
One thing I kept in mind in this draft was that I only had to start two running backs. And because more and more people are waiting on their running backs, I was able to get some nice deals in the later rounds.
Last season, we kept hearing that C.J. Anderson was going to be a workhorse back. That didn’t happen, and Anderson was actually on the field less than Ronnie Hillman.
Hillman is still in the picture, but it seems like Gary Kubiak is more inclined to rely on Anderson this season with Peyton Manning retiring. Just like with Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, Kubiak needs Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch just to be a game manager for the running attack to be effective.
If they can do that, this is what Anderson did when he carried the ball at least 14 times last season:
And a good sign that Anderson is more prepared for this season is that he showed up to camp at 217 pounds. He said that was the lightest he’s ever been at the start of camp.
Exclusive highlights from today at #BroncosCamp
— Broncos TV (@BroncosTV) July 30, 2016
I followed up drafting Anderson with DeMarco Murray. The best-case scenario for Murray is that last season was just a rest period. He only carried the ball 193 times, and it was probably a good thing he didn’t see any more touches because he could have completely broken down.
He had 393 carries in 2014.
Last season, the Tennessee Titans couldn’t find a consistent answer at the running back position. With Murray’s pass-catching skills, they have everything they need in one back. Derrick Henry could steal some touches near the red zone, but Murray has the benefit of experience and being a stronger pass catcher.
There’s always the chance Murray will be a bust again. But I like the fact this season that:
- Murray isn’t entering the season with as many touches as he did last year.
- He has less competition for touches.
- It’s clear he’s going to start the season as a lead back.
- I didn’t have to draft him in Round 2 or Round 3.
If he’s a bust, it hurts my team much less than if I picked him early.
My next pick was Isaiah Crowell. You can learn more about why I’m a fan of Crowell here.
For my next back, I took a risk on C.J. Prosise. I’m not sure if Pete Carroll is going to stick to throwing the ball more, and I like Prosise because there’s no guarantee Thomas Rawls will be ready to start in Week 1.
Prosise is a strong athlete, being recruited in high school as a wide receiver but playing Safety at Notre Dame. Then he converted to a running back. I’m taking a lot of risk on Prosise, though, since I don’t have a deep running back roster.
But in a league as big as the Fish Bowl, you have to take risks to make it to the championships.
I was surprised that Le’Veon Bell wasn’t backed up with DeAngelo Williams, but I was more than glad to draft him in Round 13. This draft was before Bell’s four-game suspension, so now I have a nice bonus to start the season.
There’s always the chance that Bell is ineffective coming off his MCL and PCL tears, and Bell’s second suspension in two years is also concerning. Williams end up being worth starting outside of Weeks 1-4.
But even if Bell has a great year when he returns, I can at least start Williams with confidence for 25% of my season.
I’m not a huge fan of Carlos Hyde, so I added Shaun Draughn in Round 17. Draughn has a better skill set as a pass-catching back, and he also showed that he could handle the workload in the rushing attack last year as well.
|Week||Carries||Rushing Yards||Receptions||Receiving Yards||TDs|
If Hyde gets injured, Draughn will see his workload increase. But even if he doesn’t, he can still offer value even with Hyde in the lineup.
I did have to sacrifice depth at this position because I drafted wide receivers so early, though, so I could be in trouble if Anderson or Murray get hurt.
Scott Fish Bowl Running Back Selection
Round 4: C.J. Anderson
Round 5: DeMarco Murray
Round 9: Isaiah Crowell
Round 13: DeAngelo Williams
Round 17: Shaun Draughn
2016 Scott Fish Bowl: Tight End Review
I wasn’t sure how far Coby Fleener would fall, so I drafted him near the end of Round 7.
Fleener’s pass-protection skills were not up to par for the Indianapolis Colts, which is why Fleener split time with Dwayne Allen. But the New Orleans Saints aren’t known for wanting their tight ends to be elite blockers.
These are the stats from the past three seasons for Jimmy Graham and Ben Watson:
He’s worth the risk in Round 7 because he should have a safe floor.
I didn’t do a good job backing Fleener up. I added Cameron Brate in Round 15 and took a wild chance on Virgil Green near the end of the draft.
There has been drama in Tampa Bay regarding the tight end position, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. Seferian-Jenkins was kicked out of a practice in June, and head coach Dirk Koetter said Brate is currently the starting tight end.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) August 6, 2016
Brate had a few relevant performances last season, and he was the sixth-highest scoring tight end from Weeks 11-12. Brate and Seferian-Jenkins combined for 18 red-zone targets last season, which was the second most on the team.
They also combined for five red-zone touchdowns, which was the most on the team.
He could become a consistent player to start each week, but I hope I don’t have to rely on him too heavily.
For Week 1, this is what my starting lineup looks like as of now:
QB: Sam Bradford
QB: Jay Cutler
RB: C.J. Anderson
RB: Isaiah Crowell
RB: DeMarco Murray
RB: DeAngelo Williams
WR: Keenan Allen
WR: Michael Floyd
WR: A.J. Green
WR: Golden Tate
TE: Coby Fleener
I may switch out Bradford and add another receiver, or I may switch out Crowell and add another receiver to the lineup.
Throughout the season, I plan on providing a quick update on the team each week. Thanks for checking out the article. Let me know how I did with my team on Twitter.