Draft Strategy

13 Things to Know About the Scott Fish Bowl

It’s Scott Fish Bowl Season! Our team of analysts recently got together to talk about our drafts. Here’s what stood out to us.

Jeff Matson – Oh Henry!

At 6.06,  I selected Derrick Henry. I like Henry this year, mostly because I believe the Tennessee offense will be greatly improved under new head coach Mike Vrabel. I also picked Henry because he was a value vs. his ADP. But I regret the choice because, as Shawn Siegele says, drafting is a race to fill the flex. I did not need a fourth running back at that time in the draft. I think Delanie Walker or JuJu Smith-Schuster or even Alex Smith might have been better choices for my roster at that stage in the draft.  I ended up drafting Henry and Kyle Rudolph, but I could have gotten Walker and Marvin Jones instead.

Eric Moody – Evans Flow

My strategy was to take a Zero RB approach. Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Doug Baldwin were my first four picks. I was also able to add Demaryius Thomas in the sixth round. My favorite pick was landing Evans at the 3.08. He has accumulated 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of his first four seasons and is an excellent bounceback candidate after underperforming last season despite averaging 9.1 targets per game. I believe he is currently undervalued due to his fantasy finish last season and Jameis Winston’s three game suspension. However, Evans was targeted 31 times over the four games in which backup Ryan Fitzpatrick started. Evans has the potential to finish as a top five WR in 2018. 

The only draft pick I regret is quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the 5.08. My original plan was not to address the QB position until after the seventh round, but the supply of my preferred options began dwindling when six signal callers went in the fourth and early fifth rounds. I am very optimistic about Mahomes’ outlook, but I should have listened to this next guy … 

John Lapinski – Runnin’ On Empty

At one point in the Turk and JD division, we had 16 QBs taken in the span of just 21 picks. The 27th QB was off the board by the end of the seventh round. Meanwhile, in the Ralph Wiggum division, the 27th QB wasn’t taken until the last pick of the 11th. While it might feel scary to get caught at the end of a positional run, it’s best not to panic. Adjust your draft strategy and take the value at the other positions.

Devin McIntyre – Chasing Tail

An underrated benefit of superflex is the variety of roster constructions it allows. There are strong #SFB8 teams with all kinds of different positional allocations, which are unlocked in part by the way superflex creates value for non-QBs at the tail of the QB run.

With 27 starting QBs that don’t have a rookie looming, you can allow every owner to get two QBs (22 off the board), but only three teams to get three QBs (25 off the board), and still ensure you get two starters. Andy Dalton and Ryan Tannehill are the final two QBs drafted with ADPs of 120 and 124. That means you must generally draft one of them in the 10th round to safely lock up a second QB for your SuperFlex spot.

This is just what I did with Dalton at 10.08. Justin Woodruff (@WoodJustRuff) did the same with Blake Bortles at 10.04. Meanwhile, Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) is flying close to the sun from the fourth slot, with zero QBs and 24 QBs off the board.

 

Capture

Where it gets interesting is that you must also take your first QB by the ninth round. The only QBs reliably available in the ninth round are Case Keenum (99), Winston (103), Bortles (112), and Eli Manning (117). By drafting both QBs late, you are locked into getting those players at or above their ADP.

More importantly, the earlier you draft a QB, the lower the opportunity cost in terms of missed values later. If you draft Aaron Rodgers (13) at the turn, you might give up the chance to get Kareem Hunt (11) a spot or two below ADP, but none of the higher ranked players have ever fallen out of the first round.

In the eighth round, if you take a QB, you might miss out on Jay Ajayi (70) or Smith-Schuster (72), who have fallen up to 22 picks below ADP. In you ninth round you might miss Tevin Coleman or Corey Davis, who have both fallen past pick 100 but have also been drafted as early as the fifth round.

This dynamic means that anytime the value seems flat when you are on the clock, you gain a chance at value later in the draft by grabbing your first or even second QB. Wait too long, and great values might be right in front of you while you’re forced to draft Tannehill or risk losing out on two QBs.

Matt Wispe – Flash! Gord-noooo

I won’t say that I regret taking Josh Gordon at 3.11, but I can admit that it was a tilt pick after A.J. Green was selected just before me and my rush to keep the draft moving caused me to reach on a player who would have likely been available at the 5.11. Gordon has an ADP of 79.3, according to the FantasyInsiders ADP tool, and my selection at 35 overall is the earliest in the Scott Fish Bowl. However, it’s not that I regret reaching as much as realizing that I could have selected a QB before the positional run that occurred in the fourth and fifth rounds and still gotten Gordon later.

Capture

Avoiding this run and selecting a higher-end option, such as Kirk Cousins, likely would have allowed me to only select two QBs in the draft and use my seventh-round pick on a RB or WR. Because of the stable of QBs I ended up with, my roster is still in a good position, but I lack some security at the flex position to handle injuries.

Shawn Siegele – Flex-ibility

One of the best parts of #SFB8 and similar formats is the ability to accomplish multiple objectives because of the variety of strategies used by your opponents. A format that is still slightly RB-heavy will often allow you to get extreme WR value (DeAndre Hopkins 1.11), but it also provides a chance to win the race to the flex through locked-in and upside RBs. Lapinski and McIntyre explained how to use the superflex rules to your advantage. Hitting the relative edge of the safe QBs with two guys who run and don’t throw INTs (Dak Prescott 7.11 and Alex Smith 8.02), allowed for a lot of overall roster value. One thing to strongly emphasize in a league like this, the three Flex spots in addition to the superflex give added importance to later picks that otherwise function as longshot value in most leagues.

Brian Malone – Tight End Value

My favorite pocket of value in this format is the TE6-24 range. Delanie Walker scored as much as Adam Thielen (WR11 in PPG) in 2017 using SFB8 scoring. But I drafted Walker between WR22 and WR23. Similarly, Jared Cook scored the same as Kenny Stills (WR35 in PPG), while I drafted Cook between WR57 and WR58. They aren’t league winners, but with three non-QB flex spots, these guys will be valuable contributors. I would have liked to snag Jordan Reed or George Kittle, too, but they were drafted shortly before my 8.09 and 10.09 picks, respectively.

Jeremy Marin – Runnin Down a Team

This is my third year doing the Scott Fish Bowl, and every year scoring rules have varied, which has affected drafting strategies. Not only that, the draft is always different for every division. With many employing an RB heavy approach, I favored a hybrid Zero RB approach, which was viable due to having the first pick. Securing Todd Gurley made me comfortable waiting to draft other RBs, and helped me predict when runs might happen later in the draft. Before approaching the 10/11 turn, I noticed that all the other teams had between three and five RBs rostered, and most had less than four WRs rostered. At this point, selecting WRs was optimal as a run was bound to come. The ability to predict runs can be a huge benefit in any league, but especially so in one this size.

Hasan Rahim – The Great Depression

One of the biggest scoring changes from #SFB7 to #SFB8 has been the addition of a 0.5 points per reception scoring wrinkle. The added bonus for a reception grants WRs a much-needed boost. However, WRs have severely depressed ADPs, which has opened up a mountain of value for gamers willing to embrace a receiver-heavy approach. Given that we have to start a minimum of three WRs and a maximum of six, it’s in #SFB8 drafters’ best interests to try and snag as many top-tier WRs as possible. Recall that volume drives first downs, and by locking in as many high volume receivers as possible, you’re gaining significant leverage over your opponents. As someone drafting from the 1.10, I opted to lock up several alpha WRs.

Capture

Beckham and Julio Jones were among the top-15 on a points-per-game basis in 2016, and were top-20 options in 2017. I added Baldwin for good measure, who finished 2016 among the top-20 in total points. Given the lack of competition, it’s likely that Baldwin returns top-20 value again this season.

One of the primary benefits of drafting elite WRs early was that it allows me to target riskier players as my flex options. Stefon Diggs has struggled to remain healthy over his young career, but he’s flashed a very high ceiling.1 Additionally, I can plug in other boom/bust players as flex options and have the ability to absorb any lackluster performances.

By opting to forego chasing RB in the early rounds, you’re setting your roster up to snag plenty of high-upside players later. In turn, you should be able to supercharge your lineups each week, and hopefully land a playoff spot.

Colm Kelly – Early QB

I thought people would overlook the -4 points per interception in this superflex scoring format. Taking care of the ball will be crucial and while it is something we will only be able to fully gauge once the action begins, I read the SFB information published on RotoViz and thought Hasan Rahim’s Historical Perspective On #SFB8 Scoring was a great resource. With it in mind, I went after QB early. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have a large scoring projection differential over the field for this years scoring settings. At 1.03 I took Rodgers and at 3.03 I doubled down with Brady. Another pick I liked was the ability to stack Rodgers with Jimmy Graham in the fifth round.

Neil Dutton – Middle Round QB Crisis

I was fully expecting the demand for quality quarterbacks to be high, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for just how hungry for the position my league mates (2000s 2 – Janitor Division) were. I waited until the “late” stage of the third round before taking Cam Newton, but by this time three other QBs had already gone off the board. EIGHTEEN more went off the board between my selection of Cam with the first pick in the third and my eighth-round pick. I am not too proud to admit I panicked slightly, and faced with the prospect of trusting Cam and only Cam, I took the plunge on the eminently reassuring Andy Dalton. What could go wrong?

Ideally, I wanted three starting-caliber quarterbacks on my roster, with a dart thrown at a rookie or backup who would be likely to see time during the season. But instead, my third QB (at time of writing, my league is in the early picks of the 15th round) is Josh Rosen. Lamar Jackson was still available at this time, and his rushing ability when he does come in for Joe Flacco (which he will) was appealing. But I strongly believe that Rosen has a chance to be a much earlier starter than Jackson, and as such he becomes a player I can consider weekly rather than just someone I hope can fill in for Newton and Dalton’s bye weeks. It is unlikely that I will get to draft another QB who I want any part of … although Josh Allen keeps winking at me, in a vain attempt to catch my eye.

Giana Pacinelli – What’s With the Tight Ends?

This was my first year participating in the Scott Fish Bowl and it did not disappoint. Though I don’t normally like to reach for quarterbacks, given the flow of the draft in the Andy Dwyer division I went with Aaron Rodgers at 1.07. With six points for passing touchdowns and penalties for turnovers and pick-sixes in #SFB8, Rodgers is the ideal quarterback — having not thrown more than eight interceptions in a season since 2010.

While there was an early quarterback run, the TE-heavy focus of this league is what really surprised me. The position lacks depth, I get it. And I understand that tight ends get an extra 0.5 per first down and per catch so you’ll want one, and preferably two, that will get their fair share of looks. All the same, I need to start three receivers and two backs per week, plus a mixture of the two in the four flex spots.

In the first two rounds in the Andy Dwyer division, only two quarterbacks and three tight ends were drafted. Through ten rounds, 16 tight ends had been snagged. By the end of the draft, several teams will have stored away four tight ends. I am new to this league, but I feel like I’m missing something. You’re still only starting one tight end. Particularly given my 1.07 position, with a long wait in between rounds, I wasn’t willing to forego a receiver or running back with potential over a questionable tight-end – which is what any TE outside of the top 5 have become. Though I probably waited longer than I should have, (I had been hoping for Kittle, who went 9.08), I was able to get Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the tenth round as my first tight end. Overall, it was the most unique and fun draft I’ve been a part of and only makes me more eager for the season to start.

Charles Kleinheksel – Embracing Risk

See if you notice anything about my running backs.

download

Aaron Jones is suspended, Terrance West is filling in for a suspended player, and LeSean McCoy might get suspended. Even if Alvin Kamara has a healthy season, I could get zeroes from the rest of my RBs. On the other hand, winning a 900-person tournament isn’t going to happen by playing it safe. Getting McCoy — a top-12 back on a per-game basis — at 4.06 represents a lot of upside. As you can see, I was also able to get Jones (12.06) at a later-than-expected ADP as well.

download (1)

Yes, Jones will miss the first two games, but (a) that’s where Terrance West comes in and (b) once he returns, I think there’s a chance Jones becomes Green Bay’s lead back. Remember that, early on last year, Jones was the better back. He hit double-digit PPR points in three of four games between Weeks 4 and 7, leading to speculation that he could replace Ty Montgomery as the lead back.

Capture

It wasn’t long after when Jones hurt his knee, and Jamaal Williams became the principal back down the stretch. I’m holding out hope that Jones can reclaim that early season form.

download (2)

Finally, West hasn’t seen much of an ADP spike yet,2 however, it’s not unreasonable to think that he has a major role in one-fourth of the games this year. Getting a four-game starter off waivers would be great; I just spent a 13th-round pick instead. That’s not a bad price for what should be a serviceable player, at least for a few weeks.

Obviously, this could all blow up. McCoy could get suspended, and West and Jones could do nothing. But if Kamara produces as expected and I can cobble together RB2 performance from the rest of my corps,3 I should be in good shape.

  1. Diggs’ 36.3 point outburst in 2017 was one of the top-12 single games last year.  (back)
  2. I took him very early, in hindsight.  (back)
  3. I still have several rounds to go, plus in-season waivers.  (back)
By Charles Kleinheksel | @Spidr2ybanana | Archive