By now you might have heard about the League of Leagues. It's the brain child of Grantland's Jonah Keri and NFL Media's Dave Dameshek where it's one big, all-encompassing fantasy league to include football, baseball and basketball. The league involves many fantasy sports luminaries (and James Koh) in a 14-team league of insanity. I will have a report on this thing in this space later on after I've figured out what the hell went on during the draft. But the bottom line here is it's one huge fantasy league with three of the major sports (sorry, hockey).
But Bryant's name became heavily mentioned because my fantasy buddy Brad Evans and his partner Brandon Funston drafted Bryant in the eighth round. That's the eighth round of a draft that included all three sports. Where Mike Trout was the first overall selection. Where just two NFL players were among the top 14 players picked. So it was a little jarring to see Bryant jump off the board so early.
After some jokes were shared, I started to grow concerned about what Evans and Funston know that I don't. What are they seeing that I'm not seeing? Evans put it best when he said that this league heavily favors touchdowns and it is a two-year dynasty league. And Bryant was a touchdown factory during his rookie season. At least in the month of October.
I have really started to like the pick as we move further from the draft. To put it in a proper perspective, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Kelvin Benjamin and DeAndre Hopkins were the four receivers picked just in front of him. (Receivers were placed at a premium in this draft as Roto Experts' Patrick Mayo took Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown with picks 14-15.) Brandon Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jordan Matthews were drafted after Martavis. Ben Roethlisberger also was another football name in the mix to come just after his young receiver.
So I really like this move from a football perspective. I'd actually have taken Bryant ahead of Nuke Hopkins, and I would value him over the three guys immediately after him. So this was a pretty solid pick for me.
I like the potential Bryant has. He's got a nose for the end zone as many like to say. Even though his main touchdown production was mostly in the month of October (as previously noted), he played really well in the playoff game against the Ravens. And that to me is the key. The Steelers played the game without Le'Veon Bell. And, oh look, there's a chance the team will play the first two games of the season without Bell this year.
Not that you would over-draft a guy based on the first two weeks of the season, but Bryant does have some increased value. Plus, he showed that he could be a great No. 2 guy as he was to Watkins at Clemson. Brown is going to get the majority of the attention. Plus receivers just become better players in their second year.
So I'm good with Bryant. And in leagues I play in without Evans and Funston, I'm going to probably take a chance on him (and be ridiculed for it as well).
Baseball sleeper of the week
Jesse Hahn, P, Oakland A's
I had one basic strategy in the later rounds of the "League of Leagues", which was to draft Angels (even though dudes took Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker) or guys from the American League West. Mostly because I watch so many of those games it makes it easier for me. So later on in the draft I took a chance on Hahn. I had picked him up in my keeper (more like dynasty) league last year and he was pretty good. He posted some solid numbers pitching in PETCO Park and I felt comfortable keeping him and letting Cliff Lee go back into the draft pool (how weird is that?). I was kind of bummed when Hahn was traded this offseason, but the good news is he was traded to Oakland. A team with another great pitcher's park, so that's great. The only downside is I will have to root for an A's pitcher and he's probably going to go 12-0 against the Angels this year. Other than that, he should be fine.