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Vick, Rodgers taken with top picks in NFL Experts draft

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NFL.com held it’s annual experts league draft on Aug. 16, and some of the results were a shock. From Michael Vick coming off the board first to Dez Bryant going in Round 2, there were more than a few stunners. The standard scoring league consists of Dave Dameshek, Elliot Harrison, Michael Fabiano, Adam Rank and Andrew Siciliano of NFL Fantasy LIVE, NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt, NFL.com senior editor Craig Ellenport, actor/writer Nick Bakay, NFL Network’s Jamie Dukes, NFL.com Fantasy Preview Guide contributors Jim Buckley, Jim Gigliotti and Matt Marini. Each team must start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one tight end, one kicker and one defense.

 
Round 1
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
1.
Brandt Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
2.
2.
Marini Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
3.
3.
Fabiano Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
4.
4.
Dukes Arian Foster, RB, Texans
5.
5.
Siciliano Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
6.
6.
Buckley Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
7.
7.
Dameshek Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
8.
8.
Bakay Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
9.
9.
Harrison LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
10.
10.
Gigliotti Matt Forte, RB, Bears
11.
11.
Ellenport Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
12.
12.
Rank Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

Fabiano's take: I was shocked to see Vick and Rodgers come off the board with the first two picks, so Peterson was an absolute no brainer. He’s the most reliable running back in fantasy football, and to me, he’s an absolute steal with the third overall selection. I'd never take a quarterback in Round 1, but it's hard to argue with the rest of the selections in the round. Dameshek could have landed a nice bargain with Rice, who should see a ton of touches in the Ravens backfield. McCoy could also turn into a nice value. There are backs I would have taken ahead of Jackson, but it's hard to kill the pick since he is a true featured back for the Rams. Andre Johnson was the lone wideout selected here.


 
Round 2
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
13.
Rank Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
2.
14.
Ellenport Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
3.
15.
Gigliotti Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
4.
16.
Harrison Roddy White, WR, Falcons
5.
17.
Bakay Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
6.
18.
Dameshek Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
7.
19.
Buckley Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
8.
20.
Siciliano Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
9.
21.
Dukes Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
10.
22.
Fabiano Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
11.
23.
Marini Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
12.
24.
Brandt DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

Fabiano's take: I almost always take a top-notch wideout in Round 2, and Nicks was the best one on the board. I think he’ll put up huge numbers in 2011 -- assuming he can avoid the trainer’s room. White and Johnson were also nice choices. Jones-Drew is seen as a risk-reward pick, but I think Rank got great value for him at the top of the round. I also like the selection of McFadden and Turner -- both have first-round value but cost Ellenport and Dameshek a second rounder. I do have to disagree with the selections of Mathews and Bryant, though. Unless these two players break out in a huge way, it's hard to see them being worth such a high selection -- especially Mathews.


 
Round 3
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
25.
Brandt Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
2.
26.
Marini Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
3.
27.
Fabiano Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
4.
28.
Dukes Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
5.
29.
Siciliano Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
6.
30.
Buckley Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
7.
31.
Dameshek Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns
8.
32.
Bakay Drew Brees, QB, Saints
9.
33.
Harrison Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
10.
34.
Gigliotti Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
11.
35.
Ellenport Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
12.
36.
Rank Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys

Fabiano's take: I mistakenly thought Fitzgerald was drafted ahead of me, so I grabbed Jennings thinking he was the best receiver on the board —- that’s what happens when you draft while you’re working! Hopefully that doesn’t burn me too much, but Jennings should be solid regardless. Brandt stole Gore at the start of the round -- I can see him being take in Round 1 in a lot of drafts. Three star quarterbacks came off the board here as well, as Rivers, Brees and Manning were all selected. That's not how I draft, but it's hard to argue with the value when you consider their past success. Fitzgerald, who I whiffed on so badly earlier, turned into a very solid bargain for Ellenport.


 
Round 4
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
37.
Rank LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
2.
38.
Ellenport Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
3.
39.
Gigliotti Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
4.
40.
Harrison Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
5.
41.
Bakay Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
6.
42.
Dameshek Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
7.
43.
Buckley Ryan Grant, RB, Packers
8.
44.
Siciliano Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
9.
45.
Dukes Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys
10.
46.
Fabiano Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
11.
47.
Marini Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
12.
48.
Brandt Wes Welker, WR, Patriots

Fabiano's take: I think Moreno could have his best season as a pro under coach John Fox, who loves to run the football early and often. While he does come with some risk due to durability issues, I feel pretty good about landing Moreno as a No. 2 fantasy runner here — especially because of his big upside. As much as I love Stafford, I think Ellenport could have drafted him two to three rounds later. Overall, though, most of the selections in this round made a lot of sense. Greene has breakout potential, and Jones is a nice sleeper in the offense of coach Jason Garrett. The first rookie of the draft was taken in the round, as Ingram went to Marini with the No. 47 overall choice.


 
Round 5
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
49.
Brandt Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
2.
50.
Marini Benjarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots
3.
51.
Fabiano Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
4.
52.
Dukes Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals
5.
53.
Siciliano DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
6.
54.
Buckley Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
7.
55.
Dameshek Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
8.
56.
Bakay Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins
9.
57.
Harrison Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
10.
58.
Gigliotti Matt Schaub, QB, Texans
11.
59.
Ellenport Dallas Clark, TE, Colts
12.
60.
Rank Kenny Britt, WR, Titans

Fabiano's take: If you have read my draft strategies column, you know that I always wait on quarterbacks. And many times, I end up with Roethlisberger. The Steelers signal-caller should post great totals in an offense that can throw the football, despite the run-based history. Gates was the first tight end to be drafted, but he was the first of four taken in the round. Inevitably, a run at that position is almost imminent once the first tight end is taken. I don't love the selection of Green-Ellis, who'll be in a crowded Patriots backfield, when runners like Williams and Benson were still on the board. Depending on what happens with NFL discipline, Britt could be a nice bargain for Rank.


 
Round 6
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
61.
Rank Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
2.
62.
Ellenport Steve Johnson, WR, Bills
3.
63.
Gigliotti Austin Collie, WR, Colts
4.
64.
Harrison Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
5.
65.
Bakay Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
6.
66.
Dameshek Marques Colston, WR, Saints
7.
67.
Buckley Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
8.
68.
Siciliano Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
9.
69.
Dukes Steelers defense
10.
70.
Fabiano Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
11.
71.
Marini Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots
12.
72.
Brandt Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks

Fabiano's take: I was really hoping that Vernon Davis fell to me at this spot, but he went at No. 65 overall so I altered my strategy and grabbed Addai. Yes, there is some cause for concern about his lack of durability. But the fact that he’ll be my flex starter makes him well worth the risk in this spot. Harvin is a definite breakout candidate and a nice value for Rank, who is loaded at wideout. This round was loaded with receivers overall, as a total of seven were drafted. Wells could turn into a nice bargain for Harrison, who was in dire need of a back. I think this round is too soon to take a defense, but Dukes took the Steelers with the No. 69 pick. The Packers are the top-ranked unit on NFL.com.


 
Round 7
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
73.
Brandt Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers
2.
74.
Marini Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
3.
75.
Fabiano Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles
4.
76.
Dukes Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
5.
77.
Siciliano Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
6.
78.
Buckley Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
7.
79.
Dameshek Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
8.
80.
Bakay Mike Thomas, WR, Jaguars
9.
81.
Harrison Mario Manningham, WR, Giants
10.
82.
Gigliotti Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
11.
83.
Ellenport Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks
12.
84.
Rank Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

Fabiano's take: There’s a point in all drafts when you have to take a gamble. That’s what I did with Maclin, who could be a steal as the third wideout on my team if his health issues are resolved. Lloyd, the highest-scoring receiver in fantasy land last season, fell all the way to the No. 74 overall pick. That says a lot about what people think about his value. Jones was the first rookie wideout to be drafted, but I think there were several better options for Siciliano at the position. Thomas and Manningham are two of those options. Bradford, a potential sleeper, will serve as Gigliotti's backup. It also telling that Rice went so late -- he's a bust candidate now as a member of the Seahawks.


 
Round 8
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
85.
Rank Eli Manning, QB, Giants
2.
86.
Ellenport Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants
3.
87.
Gigliotti Owen Daniels, TE, Texans
4.
88.
Harrison Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Rams
5.
89.
Bakay Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins
6.
90.
Dameshek Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts
7.
91.
Buckley Packers defense
8.
92.
Siciliano Jets defense
9.
93.
Dukes Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets
10.
94.
Fabiano Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins
11.
95.
Marini Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
12.
96.
Brandt Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins

Fabiano's take: Once again, I was looking to add a tight end. And once again, the tight end I wanted to pick (Daniels) was drafted just a few spots ahead of me. Instead, I drafted Bush to be my No. 4 runner. I’m not expecting much for the brittle back, but he’s a decent option off the bench in a worst-case scenario -- even in a standard league. Hightower could be a decent value for Bakay if he retains the top spot on the Redskins depth chart, but overall the runners taken in this round all come with question marks. Dukes took a chance on Burress, who will serve as his No. 3 wideout. Two more defenses were also selected, as the Packers and Jets went to Buckley and Siciliano.


 
Round 9
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
97.
Brandt Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals
2.
98.
Marini Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
3.
99.
Fabiano Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
4.
100.
Dukes Kellen Winslow, TE, Buccaneers
5.
101.
Siciliano Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars
6.
102.
Buckley Deion Branch, WR, Patriots
7.
103.
Dameshek A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
8.
104.
Bakay James Starks, RB, Packers
9.
105.
Harrison Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions
10.
106.
Gigliotti Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
11.
107.
Ellenport Michael Bush, RB, Raiders
12.
108.
Rank Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders

Fabiano's take: I needed some insurance at the wideout spot in case Maclin isn’t ready to roll in Week 1, so I took Smith as my fourth option. I don’t see how he can’t improve on his awful 2010 totals, but I’m certainly not expecting the veteran out of Utah to return to his once elite level, either. He was worth a roll of the dice here. Graham, who I would have taken, went one spot ahead of me and is a solid sleeper -- he was one of four tight ends taken in the round. Dameshek took the second rookie wideout in Green, while Rank landed a deep sleeper in Ford. Harrison took Pettigrew, which was a questionable move when you consider he already had Witten on his roster.


 
Round 10
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
109.
Rank Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
2.
110.
Ellenport Lee Evans, WR, Ravens
3.
111.
Gigliotti Jared Cook, TE, Titans
4.
112.
Harrison C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
5.
113.
Bakay Lance Moore, WR, Saints
6.
114.
Dameshek Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs
7.
115.
Buckley Thomas Jones, RB, Chiefs
8.
116.
Siciliano James Jones, WR, Packers
9.
117.
Dukes Roy Williams, WR, Bears
10.
118.
Fabiano Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
11.
119.
Marini Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
12.
120.
Brandt Eagles defense

Fabiano's take: Remember when I said there’s a point in all fantasy drafts where you need to take a gamble? Well, that’s what drove this pick. Crabtree’s injured foot continues to be an issue for the Niners and owners, but his upside is big and I'll take him as a No. 5 wideout. Cook is a nice deep sleeper, but I think Gigliotti could have landed him two or three rounds later. Spiller, also a deep sleeper, could turn into a bargain for Harrison. I also like the value with Flacco and Moore. I do have to express some shock when I saw Newton come off the board, though. He has upside because of his skills as a runner, but there were far better options still available at the quarterback spot.


 
Round 11
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
121.
Brandt Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
2.
122.
Marini Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers
3.
123.
Fabiano Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
4.
124.
Dukes Steve Smith, WR, Giants
5.
125.
Siciliano Ronnie Brown, RB, Eagles
6.
126.
Buckley Donald Driver, WR, Packers
7.
127.
Dameshek Johnny Knox, WR, Bears
8.
128.
Bakay Patriots defense
9.
129.
Harrison Braylon Edwards, WR, 49ers
10.
130.
Gigliotti Danny Amendola, WR, Rams
11.
131.
Ellenport Bears defense
12.
132.
Rank Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars

Fabiano's take: I was going to take Cutler to back up Roethlisberger, but he went two spots ahead of me. Instead, I added McGahee as a pure handcuff for Moreno. No more, no less. In fact, I might end up dropping him for a hot free agent as long as Moreno is able to remain free of injuries. A lot of veterans wideouts came off the board in this round, as Floyd, Smith, Driver, Knox and Edwards were selected. Amendola could be a bargain, though he's far more attractive in PPR formats. Rank wisely handcuffed Jones-Drew with Jennings, which is a move all owners who land MJD should follow. Two more defensive units, the Patriots and Bears, were also drafted in the round.


 
Round 12
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
133.
Rank Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers
2.
134.
Ellenport LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Jets
3.
135.
Gigliotti Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals
4.
136.
Harrison DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
5.
137.
Bakay Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
6.
138.
Dameshek Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons
7.
139.
Buckley Cadillac Williams, RB, Rams
8.
140.
Siciliano Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
9.
141.
Dukes Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins
10.
142.
Fabiano Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
11.
143.
Marini Lions defense
12.
144.
Brandt Danario Alexander, WR, Rams

Fabiano's take: I sat on the tight end position because all the more attractive options were gone. I also thought to take Cooley and "handcuff" him with Fred Davis late. But as was the case with several tight ends in this draft, Cooley was taken just ahead of me. Gronkowski was the top option left on the board, so I grabbed him. Rank and Bakay went with a pair of sleepers in Sanders and Fitzpatrick, while Brandt took a chance on Alexander with the final selection. This round also included a lot of secondary running backs, with Tomlinson, Murray, Snelling and Williams all coming off the board. The Lions defense, which is typically not fantasy relevant from a starting perspective, was also selected.


 
Round 13
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
145.
Brandt Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
2.
146.
Marini Robert Meachem, WR, Saints
3.
147.
Fabiano Donovan McNabb, QB, Vikings
4.
148.
Dukes Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks
5.
149.
Siciliano Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs
6.
150.
Buckley Matt Bryant, K, Falcons
7.
151.
Dameshek Ricky Williams, RB, Ravens
8.
152.
Bakay Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
9.
153.
Harrison Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos
10.
154.
Gigliotti Cowboys defense
11.
155.
Ellenport Mason Crosby, K, Packers
12.
156.
Rank Arrelious Benn, WR, Buccaneers

Fabiano's take: I’m set at quarterback with Roethlisberger, but I needed to grab a backup for bye week or injury. I missed out on Cutler earlier, and McNabb was the best signal-caller on the board. I don't expect him to be the Eagles version, but he can still be a nice matchup-based starter. The top of the round was loaded with wideouts, as four went in the first five selections. Dameshek took Williams as a handcuff for Rice, which makes sense at this point in the draft. Bryant was the first kicker selected, surprisingly or not, with Crosby going a few spots later. As I've always said, taking a kicker before the final round of your fantasy football draft is simply wasting a pick.


 
Round 14
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
157.
Rank Zach Miller, TE, Seahawks
2.
158.
Ellenport Colt McCoy, QB, Browns
3.
159.
Gigliotti Earl Bennett, WR, Bears
4.
160.
Harrison Ravens defense
5.
161.
Bakay Louis Murphy, WR, Raiders
6.
162.
Dameshek Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
7.
163.
Buckley Donald Brown, RB, Colts
8.
164.
Siciliano Javon Ringer, RB, Titans
9.
165.
Dukes Giants defense
10.
166.
Fabiano Dustin Keller, TE, Jets
11.
167.
Marini Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings
12.
168.
Brandt Roy Helu, RB, Redskins

Fabiano's take: I was hoping Zach Miller would fall to me so I could use him as a No. 2 tight end. But again I was cursed at the position and had to settle for a secondary option in Keller. He will serve as my No. 2 option behind Gronkowski. Ellenport took McCoy as his second quarterback, so he needs to hope Stafford stays healthy. If he doesn't, he'll be in big trouble at the position. Siciliano intelligently grabbed Ringer as insurance for CJ2K, who remains a holdout and appears to be locked into his stance of getting a new contract before reporting to camp. Helu, a nice sleeper selection, could turn into a great bargain for Brandt if the cards fall right in the Redskins backfield.


 
Round 15
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
169.
Brandt Darren Sproles, RB, Saints
2.
170.
Marini Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals
3.
171.
Fabiano Chargers defense
4.
172.
Dukes Randy Moss, WR, free agent
5.
173.
Siciliano Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams
6.
174.
Buckley Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots
7.
175.
Dameshek Saints defense
8.
176.
Bakay Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
9.
177.
Harrison Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks
10.
178.
Gigliotti Garrett Hartley, K, Saints
11.
179.
Ellenport Donald Jones, WR, Bills
12.
180.
Rank Falcons defense

Fabiano's take: Simply put, the Chargers were the best defensive unit left on the board. Unless this team goes off and puts up enormous fantasy totals on a regular basis, however, I’ll likely play the matchups at defense from one week to the next. Overall, the Bolts were one of three defenses picked in the round. Unless Dukes knows something the rest of us don't, the selection of Moss was very curious. If there was an unsigned wideout to take a chance on at this point in the draft, it would be Terrell Owens. Kendricks is a name to watch in a Rams offense that will throw the ball a ton, and Jones has some deep sleeper appeal as the projected starter opposite Steve Johnson in Buffalo.


 
Round 16
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
181.
Rank Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
2.
182.
Ellenport Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots
3.
183.
Gigliotti Marion Barber, RB, Bears
4.
184.
Harrison Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts
5.
185.
Bakay Josh Brown, K, Rams
6.
186.
Dameshek Todd Heap, TE, Cardinals
7.
187.
Buckley Derrick Mason, WR, Jets
8.
188.
Siciliano Neil Rackers, K, Texans
9.
189.
Dukes Dan Carpenter, K, Dolphins
10.
190.
Fabiano Nate Kaeding, K, Chargers
11.
191.
Marini Jason Hanson, K, Lions
12.
192.
Brandt Alex Henery, K, Eagles

Fabiano's take: Welcome to what is normally the most boring and therefore simplest round in fantasy football, because it's inevitably loaded with kickers. Kaeding was the best option on the board at this point, so I grabbed him. He was one of eight players taken at his position in the round. If you take a kicker before the last round, as I mentioned earlier, you’re wasting a pick in my opinion. Stock up on offensive skill positions first. Henery, who has some deep sleeper appeal (if a kicker can have such a thing), was our Mr. Irrelevant. Aside from the booters, two tight ends (Hernandez, Heap) and a few scattered veterans came off the board. Mason, now with the Jets, was the last offensive player taken.


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