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2015 MAC Fantasy League - The Draft

After last year's successful league run, we brought back the league with a slightly different cast of characters. Alex, Karp, and Fitz return with a group of newbs looking to take the crown of MAC Champion.

Matthew Berry couldn't save some of our drafters this year
Matthew Berry couldn't save some of our drafters this year
Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Last year, we decided to get together and make a MAC-only fantasy league, because why not?  Keith ran the show for the first half of the year, and I rebounded from 0-3 to go 8-4 and finish 2nd to Jesse (or Chains and Whipples Excite Me) and his team of super mutants....err, I mean UMass offensive studs.

This year, Keith and Jesse both wimped out, and Vance couldn't make it because he's too busy being a hipster in Portland, but Alex, Mike Karp, and I all returned to lead a group of newbies in this year's MAC Fantasy League.  Jimmy (or James, whatever), Justin, Russ, Nick "Frenchy" Fries, and Matty H all jumped in and we had some fun at this year's draft.  Let's check the results:

Russ - Double Fisting Pepsis

Round (Pick) Player
1 (1) Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
2 (16) Robbie Rhodes, WR, BGSU
3 (17) Alonzo Russell, WR, Toledo
4 (32) Jack Milas, QB, Ball State
5 (33) Aregeros "Duece" Turner, RB/WR, NIU
6 (48) Toledo Defense
7 (49) Matt Weisler, TE, Buffalo
8 (64) Traiyon Durham, RB, Kent State
9 (65) LeVante Bellamy, WR, WMU
10 (80) Tyrell Goodman, WR, Akron
11 (81) Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo
12 (96) Alex Egan, K, Ball State
13 (97) Rokeem Williams, WR, Miami
14 (112) Brogan Roback, QB, EMU
15 (113) Saylor Lavallii, RB, CMU

Going into my first go around with MAC Fantasy football, I figured that it would be very similar to the way NFL fantasy goes- boy was I wrong. While I had the first pick, my game plan was clear early- attack the skills positions early, can draft a QB later.

Kareem Hunt was clearly my top pick, but when it comes to value picks, three stand out to me- Matt Weisler, who was one of the top players on my draft board, Aregeros Turner, who multiple other teams were interested in, and lastly RB Trayion Durham, who missed all of last season with an injury. I took a big risk taking Rhodes in the second round, but I couldn't pass up his upside at that point in the draft. All in all it was quite an experience, and this team is going to go places. Big places.

Editor's Note:  Russ later traded Kareem Hunt for Joel Bouagnon and a copy of NCAA Football 14 for the XBox 360

Karp - Reece's Huff

Round (Pick) Player
1 (2) Jarvion Franklin, RB, WMU
2 (15) Tommylee Lewis, WR, NIU
3 (18) Jordan Williams, WR, Ball State
4 (31) Reggie Bell, QB, EMU
5 (34) Conor Hundley, RB, Akron
6 (47) NIU Defense
7 (50) Colin Reardon, QB, Kent State
8 (63) James Gilbert, RB, Ball State
9 (66) Earnest Calhoun, WR, Kent State
10 (79) Brian Fackler, TE, Kent State
11 (82) Josiah Yazdani, K, Ohio
12 (95) James Gardner, WR, Miami
13 (98) Donnell Alexander, WR, Akron
14 (111) Devin Reece, WR, Ball State
15 (114) Jordan Huff, RB, NIU

With the 2nd overall pick, my job in the first round was easy. Take either Kareem Hunt or Jarvion Franklin, whoever is left. Most of the quarterbacks worth taking with my 2nd or 3rd pick were gone. Instead of reaching for a quarterback, I took a bit of a risk and loaded up on wide receivers. TommyLee Lewis is back this year and I think will be a major weapon for the Huskies, especially once they get into MAC play. Jordan Williams should have a nice year as long as there's a QB who can get him the ball. My rationale in waiting for a QB was that it would be a few rounds before anyone would take their backup, and that strategy paid off. I was able to get Reggie Bell in the fourth round, and then Colin Reardon in the seventh. Bell will most likely be my week one starter, however Reardon gives me the opportunity to play match ups on a weekly basis. Reardon also gives me a safety net in case Bell struggles.

After I had Reardon, my strategy was to pick players with high upside. My favorite pick of the draft came in the eighth round when I picked James Gilbert. Gilbert is a guy I think can contribute right away and is my pick for Freshman of the Year. On the flip side, I would say that my biggest regret was not drafting a tight end earlier. Finding tight end production in this league is going to be tough and I was planning to select Buffalo TE Matt Weiser before Russ stole him a pick before me in round 10. Getting Reardon was not a bad consolation prize and Kent State's TE Brian Fackler should  give me some sort of production. At the very least, I will have the pleasure of knowing that my 15th round pick will be just as productive than Russ's last pick .

Fitz - Corey Davis Based God

Round (Pick) Player
1 (3) Matt Johnson, QB, BGSU
2 (14) Travis Greene, RB, BGSU
3 (19) Joel Bouagnon, RB, NIU
4 (30) Rodney Mills, TE, UMass
5 (35) Cooper Rush, QB, CMU
6 (46) Kevin Davis, WR, EMU
7 (51) Connor Arila, WR, Kent State
8 (62) Ryan Burbrink, WR, BGSU
9 (67) Miami Defense
10 (78) Christian Hagan, K, NIU
11 (83) Spencer Tears, WR, NIU
12 (94) Teddy Williamson, RB, Ball State
13 (99) Chad Beebe, WR, NIU
14 (110) Jordan Reid, WR, Ohio
15 (115) EMU Defense

Look, we all can't have surefire top guys like Franklin and Hunt, but in a high powered offense like BGSU's, having Matt Johnson is pretty solid.  Getting two solid RBs after him was even bigger.  However, the key to these drafts is to get the best TE, since there aren't many good ones in the MAC.  Rodney Mills projects to be the top guy after Jean Sifrin ran wild on the MAC last year.  All-in-all, those four should help send me back to the Championship game.

Waiting until the 6th round to grab any WR might've been a mistake, but it was a risk I was willing to take given how deep the conference is at the position.  Kevin Davis should be an excellent target for Reggie Bell, and I have enough "unknowns" to believe that I should be able to hit 2-3 of them to make up a solid roster.

Getting Teddy Williamson in the 12th round was highway robbery.  He's projected to start early on, and the job is his to lose.  Once again, these fools just give me gold with Beebe being available in the very next round. Snagging EMU's defense last is my favorite pick, as I think they turn around this year and put up respectable numbers en route to a 4th place MAC West finish.

Oh, and I ended up trading getting Hunt nonetheless for Bouagnon and a video game.  So while Matty J, Kareem Hunt, and Travis Greene tear up defenses, I will smile as I win that Championship that so narrowly eluded me last year.

Alex - Tupande Kileleni

Round (Pick) Player
1 (4) Anthone Taylor, RB, Buffalo
2 (13) Philip Ely, QB, Toledo
3 (20) Corey Jones, WR, Toledo
4 (29) Gehrig Dieter, WR, BGSU
5 (36) Darian Green, RB, Ball State
6 (45) Tyler Tate, K, BGSU
7 (52) CMU Defense
8 (61) Cody Tuttle, TE, EMU
9 (68) Darius Jackson, RB, EMU
10 (77) Gus Ragland, QB, Miami
11 (84) Kendrick Roberts, WR, WMU
12 (93) Dustin Creel, WR, EMU
13 (100) Derek Lee, TE, BGSU
14 (109) Marcus McGill, WR, Buffalo
15 (116) Breck Turner, RB, EMU

At first, I figured I'd go running back two rounds in a row and maybe get a good quarterback in the third round. Unfortunately, five QBs were off the board by the time it snaked back to me in the second round and I had a feeling Ely would've been off the board by then. With Taylor, Green and Jackson as the running backs for their programs, I'm confident with their potentials in 2015 to do well once conference play begins. My receiving corps is good enough for me. I like having Corey Jones with Ely as my quarterback: double points! The rest might be #2-4 guys on their respective teams, but that's where breakout players come from.

Yes, I have two tight ends, but they also play in H-back roles and are both JUCO transfers that should slide in right away for their programs. I could use another defense, but I'm pretty content with my draft class. Fitz said he'd buy me Subway once a week, every week for an entire year if I won this league, so I better have drafted well. Oh c'mon, would I ever lie to you?

Justin - Kadeem Goul-Bourne Supremacy

Round (Pick) Player
1 (5) Corey Davis, WR, WMU
2 (12) Joe Licata, QB, Buffalo
3 (21) Ron Willoughby, WR, Buffalo
4 (28) Nick Holley, RB, Kent State
5 (37) Kent State Defense
6 (44) Shadrach Abrokwah, RB, UMass
7 (53) Ben McCord, TE, CMU
8 (60) Ronnie Moore, WR, BGSU
9 (69) Derrius Vick, QB, Ohio
10 (76) Kenny Golladay, WR, NIU
11 (85) Kadeem Goulbourne, WR, WMU
12 (92) Martez Walker, RB, CMU
13 (101) Kaleb Patterson, K, Miami
14 (108) Jamauri Bogan, RB, WMU
15 (117) Jeremiah Mullinax, TE, WMU

I'm a MAC fantasy newbie. As such, I brought with me no true strategy except the following objectives:

1.Reference a Matt Damon movie

2. Fitz doesn't get Corey Davis.

That's it. Of course, I declared mission accomplished and then got down to some actual work.

All in all I'm proud of my draft. I like having Joe Licata, mostly because round three landed me a big target of his, Ron Willoughby. The best part is about a third of Licata's touchdown passes last year went to Ron Wiloughby, and since double counting is a thing in fantasy football, I'll gladly take those points.

Shadrach Abrokwah is a player I had my eye on after I took Nick Holley and realized I could've waited on Nick Holley. Thankfully, I'm not in charge of a real football team, the UMass running back was still on the board in round six, and I got a player that will probably lead this team in rushing yards.

The latter half of my draft was pretty good considering I spent all of it making sure my roster was legal and taking Jeremiah Mullinax because his name is cool. I didn't take a kicker until round 13, which was long enough that I had to do some research checking into Kaleb Patterson's status as "real person," and then to make sure he wasn't just, "punter." I was relieved to find he did kick a few field goals in 2014 as a very real kicker for the Miami football team.

Nine of them

Which is how many games I'm going to win

Vote for Justin

Nick "Frenchy" - Firing Up My Chips

Round (Pick) Player
1 (6) AJ Ouellette, RB, Ohio
2 (11) Drew Hare, QB, NIU
3 (22) Devon Spalding, RB, CMU
4 (27) Juwan Brescacin, WR, NIU
5 (38) Jesse Kroll, WR, CMU
6 (43) Ohio Defense
7 (54) Anthony Melchiori, K, Kent State
8 (59) Dylan Curry, TE, Ball State
9  (70) Andrew Pratt, WR, Akron
10 (75) Marken Michel, WR, UMass
11 (86) BGSU Defense
12 (91) Kris White, WR, Kent State
13 (102) Jordan Johnson, RB, Buffalo
14 (107) Troy Mangen, TE, Ohio
15 (118) Jalen Williams, WR, UMass

My first five picks were made for me, and I was lucky to have received some nice pieces, including a nice QB-RB duo of Drew Hare and A.J. Oulette. My other running back is unproven, but talented. Devon Spalding is in the running for a big year as a Chippewa, and I hope to ride that train. My receiving core is also solid, with a pair of early-round picks in Juwan Brescacin and Jesse Kroll.

I was able to join in around the the middle part of the draft. I believe I did a nice job of finding a couple of value pieces to add depth to major positions. I feel strongly that my FLEX will be strong, week-in and week-out, with a number of options. I feel comfortable when my main starters are looking at bye weeks, because of the time I put into selecting these later round guys.

Matt - Zippy Squad

Round (Pick) Player
1 (7) Zach Terrell, QB, WMU
2 (10) Tajae Sharpe, WR, UMass
3 (23) Daniel Braverman, WR, WMU
4 (26) Akron Defense
5 (39) Fred Coppet, RB, BGSU
6 (42) Tra'Von Chapman, QB, Akron
7 (55) Terry Swanson, RB, Toledo
8 (58) Alex Zmolik, TE, Toledo
9 (71) Jacob Martinez, WR, Buffalo
10 (74) Robert Stein, K, Akron
11 (87) Chris Gallon, WR, BGSU
12 (90) Buffalo Defense
13 (103) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
14 (106) Michael Means, WR, Akron
15 (119) John Godfrey, TE, Ball State

My strategy for MAC fantasy football was to get a top five quarterback, a top five wide receiver, and a top five defense. With Zach Terrell and Tajae Sharpe on offense, there is a ton of potential for high scoring. Terrell was probably the most efficient quarterback in the MAC last year, and Sharpe was dynamite for UMass and their prolific offense, even though they only won three games. Selecting the Akron defense is a bit of a risk in that the MAC is typically a pass heavy league. The secondary is inexperienced outside of corner DeAndre Scott, which could end up being trouble.

I did pick Bowling Green halfback Fred Coppet before Toledo's Terry Swanson, but I may be starting Swanson in week one. He is playing behind Kareem Hunt, but Hunt has had problems with injuries, and may not play as many snaps this year. Throw in receivers like Daniel Braverman of Western Michigan and Chris Gallon of Bowling Green, and I made out with a decent team. We'll see what happens once the season comes around.

James - The Frumpy Apples

Round (Pick) Player
1 (8) Roger Lewis, WR, BGSU
2 (9) Blake Frohnapfel, QB, UMass
3 (24) KeVonn Mabon, WR, Ball State
4 (25) Daz'Mond Patterson, RB, Ohio
5 (40) Kyle Pohl, QB, Akron
6 (41) Devin Campbell, RB/WR, Buffalo
7 (56) WMU Defense
8 (57) Fred McRae, WR, Miami
9 (72) Sam Martin, TE, Miami
10 (73) Andrew Haldeman, K, WMU
11 (88) Ball State Defense
12 (89) Damion Jones-Moore, RB, Toledo
13 (104) Jahray Haynes, RB, CMU
14 (105) Sebastian Smith, WR, Ohio
15 (120) Michael Caggaliano, K, UMass

So, I was saddled with the last pick of every odd round, and the first pick of the evens, as this was a snake draft. This necessitated trying to find value picks. With two picks in a row, I could pick up two good players in a row in the beginning, and take bets on prospects in the latter ones. I kept kickoff returns in mind, as the rules regarding those numbers have been adjusted; I've always been about flexibility at the skill positions and week-to-week matchups. (Aka I'm Hispanic Bill Belicheck. Whether it's Browns or Pats Hoodie is yet to be seen.) I will get some flack for selecting two kickers and a million flex players, but with Haldemann's freaky bad numbers in the short game, I needed some insurance without having to drop a skill position player. I predict a .500 finish.

So that's the draft.  Who do you think will win?  Who had the best draft?  Who had the worst?  What would've you done differently?