Published – 8/15/23
My weekly “Storyboard” articles are a deep dive into the thought process I use when building a best ball tournament roster. My approach is different than many, as I am not concerned about my overall player exposures and I view each draft as its own entity where I try to tell a “story” of how the NFL season could play out that would be “outside the normal line of thinking/expectation”, but also “doesn’t take a huge leap of faith.” These exercises are a dive into the decision-making process and should help show how each decision made throughout a draft influences the outlook for that roster going forward. Below is a summary of a draft I did on August 13th for the $20 Drafters Million contest on www.Drafters.com:
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1.07 — Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC — Decided to pass on Kelce in this draft and take a shot at Ekeler. Ekeler’s floor and ceiling are elite, and this is likely to be the best LAC offense we’ve seen yet. When I take Ekeler, I like to press that bet by loading up on Chargers across the board. Will look for Keenan and/or Mike in the 3rd/4th and Herbert in the 5th.
2.06 — Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ — Top WR on the board and the Jets make for a nice opportunity for a second team stack with some cheaper pieces later, opposite the expensive Chargers team stack.
3.07 — Keenan Allen, WR, LAC — It worked out nicely, with Allen falling slightly below ADP to me here. He complements Ekeler well, and if this Chargers offense hits in the way I think it might then there will be plenty to go around here.
4.06 — Christian Watson, WR, GB — Mike Williams went 2 picks before me, so I had to pivot. That’s actually fine with me, however, as 3 guys from 1 team in the first 4 rounds is a lot of draft capital that’s hard to pay off. Watson fits nicely on this team for multiple reasons. He is my WR3 and, perhaps most importantly, the Packers are another relatively cheap team to stack up which once again fits well next to my growing Chargers stack.
5.07 — Justin Herbert, QB, LAC — If Ekeler and Keenan are paying off their draft positions, Herbert’s in for a monster year. By taking a QB at this point, and one that is so closely tied to 2 of my top 3 picks, I am locking myself in to a 2-QB build. Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love are the obvious candidates to fill the QB2 spot, but I won’t reach on either of them to make it happen. I’ll take them if there’s a value to be had, otherwise I will wait and take a cheap one in the 16th-18th.
6.06 — Miles Sanders, RB, CAR — Sanders is a bit of a mystery for me this year, but last week our fearless leader JM made some good points about both Sanders as a player and his head coach Frank Reich’s RB philosophy. I’m not sure what kind of massive spike weeks to expect from Sanders in CAR, but he should consistently provide usable weeks for me and, combined with Ekeler, provides a great base at the position. Also, Bryce Young has been falling in drafts so he’d be a nice option as QB2 to lock in almost all of the scoring from a potentially underrated team in Carolina.
7.07 — Dallas Goedert, TE, PHI & 8.06 — Isaiah Pacheco, RB, KC — These picks are extremely correlated for this roster, although it probably isn’t very clear why/how…let me explain. First of all, if you read my last Storyboard, you know why I am very high on Travis Kelce in this format, as if he puts up the “TE1” season, it is extremely valuable in cumulative scoring. By passing on Kelce in the first round of this draft, I’m basically saying I don’t think he has that type of season that separates at the position. Usually, when I pass on Kelce, I will try to get either Andrews in the 3rd or Hock in the 5th as I think they are the most likely “non-Kelce” TE’s to end up as TE1. Putting together the Chargers stack kept me from taking either of them, so how do I attack the position? Well, Goedert plays on arguably the league’s top offense and having him fall to me in the 7th as the TE7 when, after the big 3, he might have the best chance of being TE1 of any other TE is a nice consolation. Pacheco fits the story, because if Kelce isn’t the TE1, I don’t believe it’s because the Chiefs offense completely falls apart. Their RB1 taking a bigger chunk of the pie and having scoring variance go his way would fit perfectly in this “story”.
9.07 & 10.06 — Romeo Doubs, WR, GB, and Jakobi Meyers, WR, LVR — Roster Construction 101….I neeeded some WR’s and Doubs continues the GB team stack while Meyers is kind of an often overlooked player who could excel playing in Las Vegas with Adams and Jacobs drawing the attention of opposing defenses.
11.07 & 12.06 — Tank Bigsby, RB, JAX and Michael Gallup, WR, DAL — Sorry to the Etienne truthers, but Tank is coming. His preseason usage confirmed he’s got a role starting out and he will certainly have a few spike/usable weeks this year. RB4 on this squad works perfectly for his situation. Gallup is a talented WR in a good offense. Keep loading up on guys who will be in position to put up several 18+ point weeks.
13.07 & 14.06 — DJ Chark and Jonathan Mingo, WRs, CAR — Already having Miles Sanders on the roster, and knowing Bryce Young is a QB target for me later, I was able to snag both of these guys as my WR7 and WR8.
15.07 — Jerome Ford, RB, CLE — Ford is one of my favorite backup RBs to target in the teen rounds, and some preseason maintenance (which I view as a good sign) has him with a red Q next to his name and dropping on draft boards. I’ll gladly take the value.
16.06 — Tyler Conklin, TE, NYJ — Conklin fits nicely on this roster as a little NYJ stack with Garrett Wilson. Those two are reportedly the two favorite targets for Aaron Rodgers so far in camp, so there’s a good chance that on the weeks where Wilson may struggle a bit I’ll get a boost from Conklin.
17.07 — Bryce Young, QB, CAR — I love it when a plan comes together.
18.06 — Josh Palmer, WR, LAC — Palmer is the direct backup to Keenan Allen, while also having flexibility to play other positions and has shown the ability to post spike weeks when he gets opportunities. He’s a perfect fit with this roster.
19.07 & 20.06 — Mike Gesicki, TE, NE and Latavius Murray, RB, BUF — Hunter Henry and Damien Harris are two players I’ve been high on most of draft season. That said, everything has a price, and we have to pay attention to what teams are telling us. Gesicki’s price has fallen quite a bit in the last month and now going in the 19th round as my TE3 after the Pats told us they view him as a starter by healthy scratching him in the first preseason game, his high weekly upside is a gift here. Murray continues to gain momentum in pursuit of the RB2 job in BUF and in the final round of a draft getting a guy with a role in a premium offense is also a blessing.