First Round/Keeper Analysis

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Summary of Keeper position with regards to trading (for full description of trading draft picks, see here):

Each team may keep 1 player, but they don’t have to. All non-kept players will go back into the pot and those teams not keeping a player will then get to pick from all those who are left.

Several teams have more than one player who could be considered keeper quality, as such there may be some players that are wanted by several teams, come the first round. Likewise, a team with a keeper quality player may see what they consider to be an even better quality player going back in the pot.

In either case, a team can move to bring that player to their roster before the draft, and thus be able to nominate that player as their own keeper.

As these players will have to be released by their current teams regardless, their value cannot be too high. The league has set a maximum limit at trading a round 10 draft pick for a player, pre-draft, who would otherwise be released, though if the proposed deal is linked to other moves (eg swapping picks in a higher round), the players can ask the league permission.

Teams may conduct a trade in private, by a private auction (ie each interested team is asked to submit a first and final offer that is as high as they will go), or an open auction where all parties can hear all bids.

Below is a perception of the keeper status of each of the 12 teams with a roster and the option to keep.

Team: Jerk Store

Potential Keepers/High Round Value: QB Tom Brady, RB DeMarco Murray

Notes: Murray clocked in as the 25th highest scoring RB despite missing 6 games due to injury – averaged over 10 points per game for those he played. If he can stay injury free, he’s got the potential to be a frontline starter in a 16 team league.

Team: Hawkey’s Irregular (TBC)

Potential Keepers/High Round Value: QB RG3, RB Reggie Bush

Notes: Who knows how fit RG3 will be when he comes back? And will defences have figured him out? If he comes back and plays like last year he’s a high choice QB but injuries are a potential downside, and how many QBs are worth a first round pick?

Reggie Bush averaged 10ppg in 2012 making him 14th top scoring RB. First round value? Perhaps not, but won’t be there in the third.

Team: Carl Weathers Tasty Stew

PK/HRV: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Darren Sproles, RB Chris Johnson

Notes: Sproles is a favoured target of Drew Brees, catching and running the ball. In 18 of 28 games for the Saints he’s scored 10+ fantasy points, including 9 of 13 played in 2012 (and in 2 of those low scoring games he didn’t run the ball once as he came back from injury).

Johnson started 2012 slowly, had a great 5 games in the middle of the season and then performance dropped off a bit. He has the potential to break out and score big points (as a 2TD, 195 yd game against Buffalo showed) but is far from guaranteed.

Team: Hendlebaum Hellcats

PK/HRV: QB Matt Ryan, RB Ray Rice, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Julio Jones, WR Larry Fitzgerald

Notes: Ryan had a stellar 2012 and with a great surrounding cast 2013 looks just as promising, but again, should a QB be a first rounder?

Ray Rice is a top 5 back in the league and there’s no reason to see that changing.

LeSean McCoy had a poor 2012 as the Eagles disintegrated from dream team to the stuff of nightmares. A new coach with a new regime is something that NFL fans should be looking forward to, and especially McCoy who should see it give him a new lease of life. Finished 2012 as the 21st highest scoring fantasy back (though he missed 4 games due to injury), but his 2011 season with 20 TDs and over 100 yards per game shows the upside. Won’t repeat 2011 but won’t repeat 2012 either. Potentially very good value.

Jones made a breakthrough to elite in 2012 while Fitzgerald seemingly dropped out of that group. Jones should stay there and Fitz has a chance to get back with a new regime in Arizona that will focus on him getting the ball. WRs are not really first round picks though look for them to go in round 2 or perhaps 3.

Team: Simian’s Saints

PK/HRV: QB Drew Brees, RB Stevan Ridley, RB Frank Gore, WR Marques Colston

Notes: Ridley averaged 12 ppg in 2012 and has the potential to be a big star in 2013, but second guessing Belichick’s offensive plans is not always wise.

Gore has suffered from injuries in the past but has now made it through 2011 and 2012 unscathed and, in 2012, at 12ppg. A good offensive line at the Niners keeps him safe and bodes well for 2013 performance.

Colston is a consistent performer with a star QB slinging him the ball. At 10ppg he’s probably more like a late 2nd or a 3rd rounder but has considerable upside.

Team: Bart Starr’s All Stars

PK/HRV: QB Cam Newton, RB Arian Foster, RB Jamaal Charles

Notes: Newton is a QB quite like no other. His build is huge and enables him to run far and fast, clocking up over 700 yards and a chunk more TDs as well as throwing the ball enough yards. Regardless of the rest of the team, Newton will get you points. That question around first round value of QBs again though. If any are worth it, Newton is worth it.

Foster would be the outstanding back in the league, if it weren’t for the freak recovery of Adrian Petersen.

Charles was a star (over 1700 yards, and 12ppg) in a terrible offense in 2012. The rebuilding job at the Chiefs should see him continue to produce. It may be that the Chiefs are less reliant on him but that could easily balance out with increased TDs (despite all those points he only had 5 in 2012).

Team: Dan Sayles’ Bounty Program

PK/HRV: QB Peyton Manning, WR Dez Bryant, WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Rob Gronkowski

Notes: Manning was 5th in QBs, Bryant 3rd in WRs, Thomas 5th and Gronkowski 2nd in TEs in 2012. Great stats and players any team should be pleased to have, but questions over the QB/WR/TE as adequate 1st round value, along with Gronk’s health problems need to be considered.

Team: Newport Beach Chicken Dancers

PK/HRV: RB Adrian Petersen, RB Trent Richardson, WR Calvin Johnson, WR Brandon Marshall

Notes: Petersen is far and away the best back in the draft, the consensus number one pick and sure to be kept off the market.

Richardson scored 188 despite missing a game and a half at the end of the season and taking minimal touches in another 2 games due to broken ribs. In 12 complete games he scored double figure points in 11 in his rookie season. 2013 is likely to build on this performance so he should be considered 1st round quality.

Johnson and Marshall were the number 1 & 2 WRs in the league in 2012. Johnson has the bigger potential to repeat as the main man in an offence that likes to throw a lot. He’s perhaps the only WR that could be considered first round quality.

Marshall’s performance may signal greater things to come or it may be one great season and he may well regress back to the mean in 2013. He’ll still be the main target for Cutler in Chicago. Perhaps a bit of a reach for first round, but shouldn’t last to the third.

Team: Large Hadron Colliders

PK/HRV: QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Doug Martin, RB Alfred Morris, WR Andre Johnson

Notes: Given the shortage of RBs and the need for QBs, Kaepernick is probably 3rd or 4th round quality, though based on his performance in the last 8 weeks of the season, along with his playoff run, he has the potential to break into the group of elite QBs. Any QB who runs as much as he does runs the risk of injury though.

Martin and Morris were both rookies who made it into the top 5 backs in 2012. Backs are the most consistent scorers in fantasy football, the least likely to suffer significant drops or increases one year to the next, but there will be a little doubt over the chances of repeating, just because there’s only one season of evidence so far. That said, both are first rounders. One will likely be kept.

Johnson is a solid receiver, a great choice as first WR, but as with the vast majority or WRs, not really a first round draft choice.

Team: Flutie Flakes

PK/HRV: RB Matt Forte, WR AJ Green

Notes: Forte was the 12th ranked back in 2012 which should have him rated as first round material, but there are questions about durability. He only missed one game in 2012 but 5 in 2011. Chicago also have Michael Bush joining up this year. However, Forte is a great receiver too so he’ll still get the touches. The question mark is purely over injuries. With 16 teams worth a risk. Won’t last to round 3.

AJ Green was the 4th ranked WR in 2012 and there is no reason to think that won’t continue – he is a player who has everything his position could ask really. The only question is the same one that’s faced every other WR listed here, bar Calvin Johnson, do those number push him into the top 16 players?

Team: West Cumbrian Banana Slugs

PK/HRV: RB CJ Spiller, WR Vincent Jackson

7th ranked in 2012, Spiller is a great option, making plenty of longer runs. He doesn’t quite get the TD count as team competition takes the goal-line runs away from him, but scored over 12ppg in 2012 and likely to do the same again in 2013.

Jackson is a wide receiver not called Calvin Johnson. You know what that means, right?

Team: Salt Lake City Dechlorinators

PK/HRV: RB Mashawn Lynch

Lynch is a 15ppg running back and, with no competition to be kept, will not be on the market.


Likely kept off the market:

Brady, Rodgers, Rice, Petersen, Martin, Lynch, Brees, Foster, Spiller, Peyton Manning

Likely available:

RG3, Reggie Bush, Matt Forte, AJ Green

Almost certainly available


Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton


DeMarco Murray, Darren Sproles, Chris Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Stevan Ridley, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles, Trent Richardson, Alfred Morris


Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson


Rob Gronkowski

Draft Analysis

In the first round the order is as follows (with presumed keepers in brackets):

1 Jay Kelly
2 Mat Ward
3 James Goodson
4 Ian Kulkowski
5 Pete Conaghan (?Matt Forte, AJ Green, or none)
6 David Slater (Marshawn Lynch)
7 Mark Simpson (Tom Brady)
8 Phil Malcolm (CJ Spiller)
9 Ben Archer (Drew Brees)
10 Dan Sayles (Peyton Manning)
11 Neil Hawke (?RG3, Reggie Bush, or none)
12 Geoffrey Manboob (Aaron Rodgers)
13 Dan Smith (Arian Foster)
14 Benjamin Hendy (Ray Rice)
15 Chris Braithwaite (Adrian Petersen)
16 Max Cubberley (Doug Martin)

If we work on the assumption that Pete and Neil will not keep anyone, that leaves 6 people to pick in round 1. The first three choices should probably be Charles, Morris and Richardson. After that I could see Calvin Johnson, and Cam Newton disrupting the RBs, but otherwise the remaining RBs are all at the same kind of level so any of them could get the nod.

My guess would be no one will trade a low pick for anyone in the first round, but if someone loves one of those first three guys, it’s possible. Particularly if one of the later guys (Ian, Pete, Neil) wants to usurp the first three up.

As all of these players will have to be released regardless, league rules say that no one can trade higher than a 10th round pick for them and true value in grabbing one before others is probably at the 12th round level, but that could be tempting to nab someone like Richardson who almost certainly won’t be available come the 4th pick. Surrendering a 12th round pick (or rather, dropping the 12th round pick down to the 14th and final round) would mean taking a later pick of the defences or kickers, something that can probably be accepted given the upside of a RB of that quality.

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