Recapping 2021 FSGA fantasy football experts draft

Recapping 2021 FSGA fantasy football experts draft

Fantasy football draft strategy tips and advice

Recapping 2021 FSGA fantasy football experts draft

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The Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA) organizes several industry expert leagues, but the most prestigious one of all was held Monday, July 5. It featured 14 of the industry’s most prominent companies represented in the “Champions League” via an online draft hosted by RTSports.com.

We normally congregate in person, but the pandemic-induced online format from last year was carried over into 2021. SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio thoroughly covered the event once again, and subscribers can catch up on any missed commentary in the station’s online archives.

I’ve had the pleasure of competing in the premier grouping for approximately a decade now, making the postseason five of the past six years, including one appearance in the finals. Among the reasons for my consistency is understanding the necessity to go take calculated risks on draft day. Being afraid to take a chance or reach for a player — especially in this 14-team variant — is a fast-track to being demoted from the league. Yeah, demoted. The bottom three teams get relegated to the next league down the chain.

Thus, there is a need to take aggressive actions at a level unprecedented in arguably any other professional draft. In short, I much rather take a chance reaching for some players I covet than playing it too safe. Of course, there’s a nuanced blend of risk to work into a roster design, but it all comes down to taking intelligent gambles.

Last year, I was roundly criticized for all but one of my first five picks (Derrick Henry, Devin Singletary, Raheem Mostert, D.K. Metcalf, and Diontae Johnson respectively). Singletary was an dumb choice, for sure, but I also didn’t expect Stefon Diggs to completely dominate the target share. Henry and Metcalf worked out just fine, and Mostert flashed promise in between injuries. Johnson was a sound contributor based on his volume.

Long story short, the team finished 8-5 and in fourth place. Not great, not terrible, either. But without a title, it’s merely an anecdote to share about not getting caught up in the opinions of other people.

The league is a performance-based, PPR scoring format, and drafting a live league this early in the summer makes for a fun tightrope walk in some regards. There are several situations that have yet to unfold (Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Zach Ertz, etc.), forcing gamers to take an educated guess on appropriate value.

My team drafted out of the ninth spot, which, I must say, felt like being trapped in a barren wasteland at times. Nevertheless, the team should be competitive, and with a few breaks, it could once again surpass the expectations of its critics.

Rnd
Name
Pos
Team
Bye
7
Tom Brady
QB
TB
9
13
Ben Roethlisberger
QB
PIT
7
1
Nick Chubb
RB
CLE
13
2
D’Andre Swift
RB
DET
9
6
Trey Sermon
RB
SF
6
8
J.D. McKissic
RB
WAS
9
20
Chuba Hubbard
RB
CAR
13
3
Amari Cooper
WR
DAL
7
4
Cooper Kupp
WR
LAR
11
5
D.J. Chark
WR
JAC
7
9
Henry Ruggs III
WR
LV
8
12
Amon-Ra St. Brown
WR
DET
9
11
Jared Cook
TE
LAC
7
14
Anthony Firkser
TE
TEN
13
16
Daniel Carlson
PK
LV
8
15
Miami Dolphins
DEF
MIA
14

I’ll address the controversial picks rather than going line-item for 16 rounds worth of selections.

  • Depending upon one’s perspective, I may not have learned my lesson with the Singletary failure. Taking D’Andre Swift over DeAndre Hopkins drew flak, and that’s quite all right. Yes, Hopkins was the safer and “smarter” pick in the eyes of most people. In fact, he was the only other player I seriously considered in this spot. The primary reasoning for going with Swift: 1) I wasn’t keen on what would be left for my RB2 in a PPR since Nick Chubb is barely involved in the receiving game, 2) Swift may catch a ton of passes in this WR-starved offense, and 3) Receiver is so deep that I wasn’t too concerned about building a capable corps. RB Jamaal Williams will be a factor, but I’m confident in this Anthony Lynn-led system finding more than enough utilizations to go around.
  • Amari Cooper … not really controversial, per se, but he isn’t exactly an ideal WR1 consideration. I strongly pondered Julio Jones here, and Mike Evans almost was the choice. Tampa has as many, if not more, weapons as Dallas, and for as good as CeeDee Lamb will be, I’m banking on Cooper remaining Dak Prescott’s favorite target for one more year.
  • The choice that drew the most criticism from my roster easily was that of San Fran rookie running back Trey Sermon in Round 6. First of all, in a 14-teamer, we’re basically a full round later at this point when compared to a draft with only 12 squads. More importantly, the 49ers will run a metric boatload of times in 2021, and Sermon is one Mostert injury away from being a workhorse. The offense will share the carries, but Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee) is already slated to miss time, possibly into the regular season, and Mostert has yet to show he can hold up for more than a few spurts of meaningful touches. Sermon is built for this zone-blocking plan, running behind one of the best lines. As radio host John Hansen said on Sirius, this one is a swing for the fences after taking a mixed bag of risk with my first two RBs.
  • So many quarterbacks rarely go as early as they did in this draft. I gave much consideration to spending a fourth-round choice on Kyler Murray — my top-rated QB — until he went a few picks before my selection. Once that happened, I knew it would be a waiting game for the right moment. In Round 7, admittedly still earlier than I wanted, Tom Brady was the choice. Dallas Goedert went one slot ahead of me, which caused the pivot to TB12. Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow were my other two targets. I wagered on Brady’s age not catching up with him, mostly due to his immensely talented cast of receiving outlets as being the separating factor in a healthy season. Aside from Father Time getting his way, there is far less to go wrong with Brady than the other duo.
  • Henry Ruggs was a risk-reward decision. The pool of wideouts with potential to consistently enter my line was dwindling, and Ruggs is poised to shake off last year’s disastrous season. Should he struggle once again, we’re talking about a WR4 in Round 9.
  • Chuba Hubbard wasn’t exactly a rock star in college last year while following up his explosive 2019 showing, so there was some chatter about whether he was a worthy Round 10 selection. Even thought I had already invested in a rookie RB in the sixth, Hubbard didn’t scare me off, largely thanks to the opportunity he could see if injury once again derails Christian McCaffrey’s season.
  • Although uncontroversial, I want to address the selections of Detroit receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tennessee tight end Anthony Firkser. After drafting Jared Cook as my TE1, grabbing a second tight end was a borderline necessity. Cook should rebound in LA by having already a strong grasp on the system, but he’s also getting up there in years. Firkser is one of my favorite sleeper targets, provided the Titans don’t trade for Ertz. As for St. Brown, the Lions currently have TE T.J. Hockenson and Swift as the only two players really in contention to challenge for the team lead in receptions. St. Brown could surprise, and he showed as a true freshman at USC that he was quite capable of learning on the fly.

Fantasy championships tend to be won in the middle and later rounds. They can be lost in the early portion of drafts, of course, but I hedged enough bets in this one to be comfortable with my chances to make it to the postseason for the third straight year.

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