Fantasy owners need to adjust on the fly in drafts

Fantasy football has become one of the most popular and exciting forms of entertainment in the world.

Of course, there are also times when it can frustrate the heck out of you.

That’s what happened to me earlier this week in the NFL.com Experts League mock draft. You know the story — you have your player all queued up ready to draft, only to have the guy ahead of you take him.

Roy E. Williams will be a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy wide receiver next season. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

Roy E. Williams will be a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy wide receiver next season. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)


For me, that guy was RotoExperts.com’s (and fellow former CBS SportsLine.com writer) Scott Engel.

On three different occasions, Scott picked the player I had queued. Yes, I might have yelled out a profanity or two!

Once the draft was complete, I wanted to take a look at how I adjusted to Scott’s moves and what my roster might have looked like had he not taken the three players (Anquan Boldin, Roy E. Williams, Kyle Orton) I wanted right in front of me.

If I was able to draft that trio, here’s how my team would have looked:

Round 1: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
Round 2: Randy Moss, WR, New England
Round 3: Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona
Round 4: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver
Round 5: Roy E. Williams, WR, Dallas
Round 6: Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh
Round 7: Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona or Tony Romo, QB, Dallas
Round 8: Chris Cooley, TE, Washington or Owen Daniels, TE, Houston
Round 9: Steve Breaston, WR, Arizona
Round 10: Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona
Round 11: Kyle Orton, QB, Denver
Round 12: Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver
Round 13: Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Carolina
Round 14: Ravens defense
Round 15: Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh
Round 16: David Akers, K, Philadelphia

Because I needed to make last-minute adjustments, my thought process had to change in several rounds.

That altered the look of the actual final roster:

Round 1: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
Round 2: Randy Moss, WR, New England
Round 3: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City — With Boldin off the board, I took the next best wideout in Bowe. This wasn’t a difficult decision since I was targeting a receiver, but I would have preferred Boldin as my No. 2 wideout.
Round 4: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver
Round 5: Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis — Williams was a steal, but I was forced to switch directions and take the best available running back, Addai. He’s one of several risk-reward backs in the league heading into 2009.
Round 6: Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona
Round 7: Chris Cooley, TE, Washington
Round 8: Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay — Driver is a serious step down from Williams in terms of overall value, but he was the best wideout on the board. I’ll have to hope that he can have another 1,000-yard season.
Round 9: Steve Breaston, WR, Arizona
Round 10: Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona
Round 11: Deion Branch, WR, Seattle — I’m not a huge fan of Branch because of his long list of past injuries, but he was worth a late-round look. If he can avoid further ailments, the veteran could post 900 yards.
Round 12: Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver
Round 13: Chad Pennington, QB, Miami — Barring a long-term Warner injury, Pennington won’t start for me outside of a bye week. Believe it or not, Pennington was a top-10 QB on NFL.com last season.
Round 14: Ravens defense
Round 15: Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh
Round 16: David Akers, K, Philadelphia

In comparing the two rosters, my quarterbacks would have been either Warner or Romo and Orton rather than Warner and Pennington. I would have lost a little value at running back, as Addai is a better option than Parker.

However, there wouldn’t have been a better trio of starting wideouts on any team in the league than Moss, Boldin and Williams. Moss, Bowe and Driver are solid, but not as impressive.

I might have landed Cooley regardless, but at worst I would have taken Daniels as my starting tight end. The rest of the rosters closely mirrored one another, as I landed Akers as my top kicker and the Ravens defense.

My backups wouldn’t have changed much, either.

While I think the final team will be competitive, I think the squad I would have finished with had Scott not forced me to alter my draft strategies was a little more formidable. This just goes to show that you can come to your draft thoroughly prepared and still have to make quick last-minute decisions.

It’s those decisions and alterations that will undoubtedly determine if you’ll field a run-of-the-mill squad or a championship-caliber team.

Have a burning question for Michael Fabiano on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section below or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com!

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