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Article 16

Re: The Selection of TE Tony Gonzalez in Round One of the FF Today Mock Draft


by Steve Stegeman (June 6, 2001)
Mock Drafter,


This work was originally posted on the FF Today Message Board.


     First, a preface, not an excuse - I want to preface that: 1) In my 13 years of fantasy football experience, I have only twice played in leagues that required the fielding of a tight end; 2) I knew none of the tendencies of my foes as this draft was my debut at the FFToday message boards; 3) I had no and still have very little clue as to what "Value Based Draft," to which everyone was proclaiming I was a strict adherent, is. At this point, try to understand that I am trying to be candid and not arrogant.  Using an analogy from "Good Will Hunting," I just look at "the piano" and know how to play it. For me, it is not a wooden box with white and black keys and foot pedals that needs to be "figured" out, if you follow where I am going here!  

     I also want to add that I thought one of the observations herein critiquing my selections after the fourth round was particularly interesting as I actually thought that the strongest part of my draft, for the most part, came after the fourth round with the exception of my tenth round pick of Travis Prentice, but we will come back to this.

     Now, on to the meat... This is actually going to be a mental "free-fall," so pardon my digressions and circumlocutions.

     There are actually two reasons for my taking Gonzalez, a strategic one and a statistical one, but there is really no symetry between the two, i.e., they are arguments on different levels.

     ...There I was with the tenth pick of the first round. The best running backs available, before, in my opinion, a fall to the next tier, were, in order, Stephen Davis, Curtis Martin, Ahman Green and, maybe, Ricky Williams. Remember, now, the Associated Press report on Levens had not come out yet. If it had, I might have taken Davis. MIGHT have!   Or, I might have taken Gonzalez, like I did, and then Williams. At any rate, there were four backs, and there were four picks between 1.10 and 2.03. I really was hoping to land Martin, to be honest, and I almost did. If Captain Lou went running back then receiver, I would have. Now, I knew I wanted Gonzalez.  Unfortunately, I also knew that the 1.10/2.03 hole was NOT the NATURAL area in which for him to be selected (If there is anything to learn from this rationalization, I suppose that was it.).  I ALSO knew that he was most likely not going to make it around to my 3.10 pick. Thus, I was somewhat a victim of my circumstances. A trade was actually in order, but this was a mock draft, and I was the new guy... Now, not knowing my competition, all I knew was that if one of the two guys behind me valued Gonzalez the way I do, which is a reasonable assumption on which to act, they had two picks before my next one and probably would also be under the assumption that he would not make it back around. So, I rolled the dice and lost to a degree. I ended up getting the third of the four running backs listed above and Gonzalez.  Now, after the fact, it appears, according to Captain Lou, Meglamaniac and the "20-20 Hindsight Crew" that I could have had Davis and (then) Gonzalez. But, it is not unreasonable to think that I could have ended up with Davis and... Green or Williams, a weaker version of what Captain Lou actually ended up with (Davis and Martin), and no Tony G. Anyway, that was my thinking, strategically. All things considered, I think it came out decently!  

     Now, statistically speaking, in my league, the GBRFL, the guy who came in second place in our nine-team set-up, which requires the fielding of 2 QB's, 3 RB's, 3 RC's, 1 PK and 1 DU/ST, no TE's as such, used TE Tony Gonzalez as his #2 receiver all year long, and his #1 was not stellar. It was Tim Brown, and for his #3, he platooned the likes of Terry Glenn and Ike Hilliard. The only other tight ends who logged any time on a GBRFL lineup were a few weeks by Shannon Sharpe and Ken Dilger and one week by Kyle Brady. That was what was in my head, but let's look at what I was thinking, or better yet the end result, in precise numeric terms. In my opinion, Stephen Davis's high-end potential is 1,750 combined yards and 20 total touchdowns; his minimums, factoring in the possibility of a non-season-ending injury and also the possibility of the loss of a few carries given the presence of Donnell Bennett, who Schottenheimer loves, I think are 1,250 and 10. Ahman Green's max is probably about 1,850 combined yards and 15 total TD's while his minimums, barring major injury, are probably 1,100 combined yards and 8 TD's. On to Tony Gonzalez, his max is probably 1,350 and 13, and his minimums are about 1,000 and 8; whereas, the closest guys to him, Shannon Sharpe and Freddie Jones, probably have shared maximums at about 900 and 10 with minimums around 600 and 4. That was my thinking, in a statistical light. In this case, the likelihood of Gonzalez and Green being (significantly) better than, let's say, Davis and Sharpe or Jones is quite good.

     Ultimately, though, I am not of the school that believes that FF teams are made or broken in the first couple rounds. I believe that strong teams are made by making strong selections in the mid to mid-late rounds, i.e. the fifth through 11th/12th rounds, which brings me back to the critical observations noted early. Germane Crowell was an absolute blessing for my team. Heck, on a strand right here at FFToday, there was a running debate regarding who was better, David Boston, Crowell or Darrell Jackson.  To sum it up, it was basically established, in a happenstance way that I would thoroughly agree with, that Boston and Crowell are in a slightly different league than Jackson. In short, 1) Boston, 2) Crowell and a slightly distant 3) Jackson. Crowell was EXACTLY what I needed at that time. I sured up my QB's, the last skill position I selected, with sheer numbers taking three: Johnson, George and Weinke. Not too shabby!   Anderson, my insurance policy at RB, though not flashy, is practically a lock for 800 to 950 yards this season and came to me in the 11th round. In this league, it doesn't matter how the numbers come. Unlike the GBRFL, it is not important that most to all of the yardage gained by a RB come on the ground.  Hatchette, the #1 guy on the Jets, who has looked good in mini-camp, and Wayne, who will probably be the #2 in the hot Indy offense, are pretty good picks in the ninth and 12th rounds, respectively. Then, Tampa in the seventh!   On the negative side: Prentice, I felt like I couldn't pass up in the tenth, but, make no mistakes, I don't really like him. However, I think that was my only BAD pick after the fourth round.  Anyway, as far as this goes, we'll see how this "Crystal Ball League" thing pans out. Who knows??I sure don't, other than to say that I strongly believe that my team will be ONE of the ONES in contention.



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