You know Owen Daniels, the former Texans and Ravens tight end who has had fantasy relevance on and off throughout his career, but playing in Houston and Baltimore (do they ever really use the tight end?) meant he was never going to be a breakout candidate. Well, that’s all changed now since he switched addresses in the offseason. Now he has Peyton Manning throwing him the ball in a wide open offense that should cater to his skills. Does that mean I’m going to pick him as a top-10 tight end this season? Uh, no. But what it means is that he should at least be top-15, and he could have serious upside if things go right for that Broncos offense.
The league is called “Clash of the Tight Ends,” and sticking with the hero metaphor I named my team “Owen Daniels is My Hero,” not because I think he’ll set the league on fire this season, but because I was trying to be funny. It’s my favorite league because most other owners do things like that when choosing team names. Corny, but accurate. It would have been devastating, though, if I hadn’t gotten Owen Daniels during the draft.
The key to the draft, though, wasn’t getting our team namesakes. It was setting a plan ahead of time, adjusting to what others did around us, and hopefully coming out of it with a team we’re proud to call our own. And when all was said and done, I think I accomplished that. Just so you know, I drafted 9th in a 10-team PPR league. Here’s how my Owen Daniels draft went:
1. Team 1 – Adrian Peterson
2. Saved By Le’Bell – Le’Veon Bell
3. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Marshawn Lynch
4. In Ditka We Trust – Eddie Lacy
5. Aaron Murder MyFriendez – Jamaal Charles
6. Team 6 – Antonio Brown
7. Team 7 – C.J. Anderson
8. Chronic Masterdeflater – DeMarco Murray
9. Owen Daniels is My Hero – Matt Forte
10. Team 10 – Andrew Luck
My draft prep sheet had me picking a running back in round 1, unless I picked dead last, and I almost ended up in that position. I wanted a running back first because I planned on loading up on receivers the next few rounds, so I needed a top-tier running back to lead my team. I got exactly what I wanted in Forte, who also catches the ball out of the backfield quite a bit.
11. Team 10 – Calvin Johnson
12. Owen Daniels is My Hero – Demaryius Thomas
13. Chronic Masterdeflater – Dez Bryant
14. Team 7 – Rob Gronkowski
15. Team 6 – LeSean McCoy
16. Aaron Murder MyFriendez – Julio Jones
17. In Ditka We Trust – A.J. Green
18. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Aaron Rodgers
19. Saved By Le’Bell – Odell Beckham, Jr.
20. Team 1 – Randall Cobb
Round 2 was all about getting the best receiver I could, so it was a resounding success as I was able to pick up Thomas, who I think will be the number 1 scoring receiver in fantasy. It was imperative because there would be a long time between that pick and my third round pick, so getting a receiver like Thomas who gets a lot of catches is necessary in a PPR league especially.
21.Team 1 – Peyton Manning
22. Saved By Le’Bell – T.Y. Hilton
23. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Emmanuel Sanders
24. In Ditka We Trust – Mike Evans
25. Aaron Murder MyFriendez – Jeremy Hill
26. Team 6 – Amari Cooper
27. Team 7 – Alshon Jeffery
28. Chronic Masterdeflater – Tom Brady
29. Owen Daniels is My Hero – DeAndre Hopkins
30. Team 10 – Jimmy Graham
I never pick a quarterback in the first few rounds because I think there’s usually comparable value lower down, or I think the difference in value can be bridged by the quality of other positions I get in those early rounds. Looking back at my draft prep sheet I knew this round was for another number 1 wide receiver. Since Alshon Jeffery was taken two picks before me, the obvious pick was DeAndre Hopkins.
31. Team 10 – Mark Ingram
32. Owen Daniels is My Hero – Jordan Matthews
33. Chronic Masterdeflater – Julian Edelman
34. Team 7 – Brandin Cooks
35. Team 6 – Ben Roethlisberger
36. Aaron Murder MyFriendez – Justin Forsett
37. In Ditka We Trust – Russell Wilson
38. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Alfred Morris
39. Saved By Le’Bell – Lamar Miller
40. Team 1 – Keenan Allen
It was all about value in Round 4 as I knew I would be picking again very soon after getting DeAndre Hopkins, so the plan was to grab a third number 1 wide receiver in a row. The number 1 receiver in the dynamic Eagles offense is Matthews, so I scooped him up without a second thought. It meant I would be digging deep in the following round for a number 2 running back, but having 3 outstanding receivers I would never have to switch out took precedence. After all, it is a PPR league.
41.Team 1 – Carlos Hyde
42. Saved By Le’Bell – Travis Kelce
43. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Seahawks D/ST
44. In Ditka We Trust – Melvin Gordon
45. Aaron Murder MyFriendez – Davante Adams
46. Team 6 – Frank Gore
47. Team 7 – Joique Bell
48. Chronic Masterdeflater – Jonathan Stewart
49. Owen Daniels is My Hero – Latavius Murray
50. Team 10 – Vincent Jackson
After 3 straight number one wide receivers it was time to add a second running back. I really wanted Frank Gore with this pick, but just as with Alshon Jeffery earlier he was scooped up a few short picks before my own, so I went with a guy I saw as a sleeper coming into the draft. Murray has a real chance to make an impact in a Raiders offense that should be better than last year with the addition of Amari Cooper and with the continued maturation of Derek Carr. I like Murray to keep defenses honest, and to get a ton of yardage.
The rest of the draft went about as well as I could have scripted it as I went for value at every spot. One interesting thing about this league is that there are specific limits on how many players from each category we can have (2 QBs, 4 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs) so having 3 of my 4 wide receivers be first options on their real teams, and having 2 of my 4 running backs be first options on their teams, was a real bonus. Here is how my team shaped up in the end:
QB1 – Colin Kaepernick
RB1 – Matt Forte
RB2 – Latavius Murray
WR1 – Demaryius Thomas
WR2 – DeAndre Hopkins
TE – Jordan Cameron
FLEX – Jordan Matthews
D/ST – Chiefs
K – Brandon McManus
HC – Broncos Coach
QB2 – Joe Flacco
RB3 – Ryan Mathews
RB4 – Ronnie Hillman
RB5* – Arian Foster – I picked him up in round 7, and he may be available by week 3. It would be the ultimate steal as long as he doesn’t get hurt again. When he’s available to play I will have to drop either Hillman or Mathews.
WR4 – Nelson Agholor
TE2* – Owen Daniels – So my team name makes sense now. He is my hero.
D/ST2 – Lions
K2 – Greg Zeurlein
HC2 – Bengals Coach