The 2016 DFHFL Draft Grades

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The NFL is like a sieve, constantly turning.

Those who are good enough remain safely atop, while the rest slip between the little holes like so much water. Such casualties occur, every year.

Some are lost to retirement (Calvin Johnson, Heath Miller) or suspension (Martavis Bryant). Most simply just didn’t cut it.

Let’s have a moment of silence for Eddie Royal, Mike Wallace, Terrance West, Tre Mason, Jonas Gray, Andre Williams, Marques Colston, Roy Helu, Brian Quick, David Cobb and Cody Lattimer, among others.

These players have two things in common:

1) All were drafted in the 2015 Dogfish Head Fantasy Draft.
2) None were drafted this year

Sometimes, they re-emerge. More often, however, they are never heard from again – except as whispers on the bottoms of NFL transaction sheets.

What does all that mean? The answer: we don’t know shit.

What we do know is that twelve team fantasy leagues separate the men from the boys. It means roughly 30, additional players off the board – waiver wire fruit in standard leagues now starting on Sunday rosters.

The importance of a good draft is paramount (at least until injuries happen and all hell breaks loose). One misstep, at a high draft slot, can derail a season.

Often, the choices come down to the great argument: ceiling versus floor. And, that is the beauty of fantasy football. There is no wrong way to play; every way is wrong. It’s just a matter of being less wrong than the guy next to you.

Good luck to everyone. I tried to grade your teams fairly. Remember I know just as much (and probably less) than you do. When the Sunday drama unfolds, we will really find out who falls through the cracks.

The 2016 Dogfish Head Fantasy Football League Draft Grades

Key:

Overall Grade: The total package

Value: The total amount of value, built into the team’s picks, based on position scarcity and players’ general fantasy ranking, entering the 2016 season

You Like That Moment: (Kirk Cousins likes your pick, AKA the best, or most “F U” pick)

Brandon M.

Overall Grade: A
Value: A+
YLTM: Zack Miller, 13th round

After finishing dead last in 2015, the only direction for Team Brandon was up. Well, they’re off to a good start.

Brandon stocked up on running backs early. It will be an elite corps when Le’Veon Bell and Dion Lewis return to action.

Despite the early run on backs, they were still able to build a solid stable of wide receivers. Demaryius Thomas in the third is about as late as I’ve seen him going. Marvin Jones, Jordan Matthews and Sterling Shepard should also provide great value relative to their draft slot.

Sean C.

Overall Grade: A
Value: A
YLTM: Kamar Aiken, 12th round

Team Sean had a strong showing in its debut. AJ Green and Brandin Cooks are a great 1-2 punch at wide receiver. Those picks were book-ended by running backs Lamar Miller and Latavius Murray, two players who may be primed for breakout seasons.

I love the Delanie Walker pick and getting Kamar “Don’t Call Me Clay” Aiken in the 12th round is a steal.

Commissioner Gabe’s reaction to the DeAngelo Williams pick was one of the draft highlights.

John R.

Overall Grade: A
Value: B+
YLTM: Torrey Smith (9th round)

In case you forgot who won last year, Team John made sure you remembered, arriving at the draft with some choice entrance music.

Once the draft started, it was all business. Three beast wide-outs got the ball rolling; you’d be hard-pressed to find a better threesome than Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and Keenan Allen.

After locking down the quarterback position with Aaron Rodgers, they were still able to snag some good running backs, mixing upside (Carlos Hyde) with reliability (Frank Gore).

With wide receivers to spare, look for them to be active in the trade department. They are a running back away from elite status.

Devon K.

Overall Grade: A-
Value: B+
YLTM: Martellus Bennett, 9th round

The league’s other newcomer also had a good, inaugural showing. If Jamaal Charles and Jordy Nelson are JAMAAL CHARLES and JORDY NELSON again, this ranking shoots up.

I like the Michael Floyd (5th round) and Martellus Bennett (9th) picks. The last rounds were a bit iffy for me, as I thought there were better players available than Marcus Wheaton and Braxton Miller, but the top half of the draft is solid as they come.

Gabe R.

Overall Grade: A-
Value: B
YLTM: Justin Forsett, 8th round

Wide receiver will be strong. DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson are a potent duo up top. John Brown, Eric Decker and Michael Crabtree will be nice flex plays with upside.

They went for value, at running back. Matt Forte and Justin Forsett will look to rebound from ho-hum 2015 campaigns (I love the value of Forsett in the 8th). I don’t like the CJ Spiller pick, but Alfred Morris and Charles Sims have the potential to be solid RB3s.

They have to hope Andrew Luck can stay healthy behind a porous-offensive line.

Dan C./Chris B.

Overall Grade: B+
Value: A
YLTM: Isaiah Crowell, 11th

This team has the potential to be nasty. I am a fan of all the value picks, such as Allen Hurns (7th), Travis Benjamin (10th) and Isaiah Crowell (11th).

Two factors separate this draft from ‘A’ status:

1 – DeMarco Murray needs to hold onto the bulk of carries in Tennessee

2 – Dez Bryant’s fate rests in the hands of a talented, but unproven rookie quarterback

Those two picks would be my main quibbles.

Ben K./Justin W.

Overall Grade: B+
Value: B-
YLTM: Tyler Eifert (8th round)

Any team that gets to pencil in Cam Newton has a shot to win, every week. If there’s a quarterback I’d take in the first two rounds, it would be him.

Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry and Doug Baldwin were great last year. Watkins needs to stay healthy and Baldwin must retain his 2015 form.

Ultimately, the team’s fortunes will rest on whether rookie back Ezekiel Elliott lives up to the hype. After him, the running back corps are mainly wildcards (Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson Jr., Danny Woodhead, Spencer Ware).

Thomas K.

Overall Grade: B
Value: B
YLTM: Rishard Matthews, 11th round

Teams seeking running backs should inquire within. Whichever flavor of running back you are seeking, Team Thomas has it.

It’s an assemblage of star-upside (Todd Gurley), injury rebounds (Thomas Rawls, Arian Foster) and savvy vets (Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles).

In between, they filled out the roster with a solid batch of wide receivers, led by Mike Evans (21st pick) – who I had way higher on my board.

The underrated Gary Barnidge was a nice grab in the 8th round. Quarterback, Marcus Mariota, wasn’t on any of my boards, but the ceiling is high.

Corbin S./Omar A.

Overall Grade: B-
Value: B+
YLTM: Blake Bortles, 8th round

Team Comar was dealt the last pick, but was able to extract some value with Gronk and Doug Martin at 12-13. The next four picks were spent on wide receivers.

I wouldn’t have drafted two from the same team (TY Hilton/Donte Moncrief), but that’s personal preference. Randall Cobb and DeSean Jackson will be solid WR2’s. Bortles in the 8th is nice.

Unfortunately, the picture at running back is not so rosy. Barring injury, it gets ugly after Martin. TJ Yeldon and Chris Johnson will be complimentary players in their respective offenses.

Danny G.

Overall Grade: B-
Value: C+
YLTM: Kirk Cousins, 12th round

Picking out of the one slot can be tough – just ask 2015 regular season champ, Team Danny. “I don’t like my draft,” he said, halfway through the process.

Antonio Brown and Amari Cooper will be studs. Tyler Lockett has the potential to leapfrog his 8th round value. Zack Ertz is a good grab in the 9th.

The running backs (LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Hill, and Melvin Gordon) have high ceilings, but low floors. Bilal Powell was good last year, but it remains to be seen how the carries will be divided in New York.

Watching either Kirk Cousins or Carson Palmer go off on the bench could prove frustrating.

Julian K.

Overall Grade: C+
Value: C+
YLTM: 2nd round write-in Mark Ingram

Odell Beckham Jr. and Mark Ingram (record setting 2nd round write-in) had things rolling, early. Things kind of went downhill from there.

Josh Gordon represents high upside, but will miss time. Julian Edelman is alright in the fourth, but not with all the backs still on the board. And that is what really hurts: the lack of a second, starting running back.

Team Julian will have to work some waiver wire or trade magic if it hopes to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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