As numbers count down on a screen in a dark room, you glance up to see three lights illuminating focused eyes, gaping jaws, all creating a shadow-filled environment. Seconds later, a ring. All of us come back from our entranced looks and trains of thought — the draft has begun.
That’s right, the 2018 Fantasy Football draft for my own small but overly-confident league of Keene State students, has finally begun.
I had thought of this time a hundred times before this final moment of truth. Since the morning following the intense 41-33 Super Bowl in February, where the Boy Wonder-esqe backup QB, Nick Foles, surprised millions overcoming the supposed legend Tom Brady’s stacked and experienced team. The Super Bowl actually became a large reference in all the fantasy talks that I have been having for the last couple months. I came into the draft this year constantly thinking of Super Bowl LII (52), and how even the underdogs, or sleeper players, can become amazing in just a season.
So, the draft, that’s why we are here after all right? I am in an 8-man league and every draft I take part in gets a random draft order. I was given last place in the draft. Great this is going to be such a generous first round, I thought to myself sarcastically. So to bring it back, the bell rings and the draft has started. Round 1, Pick 1. Who would you pick? That is always the hot topic with fantasy players. Who goes first overall? What would you do in that position?
Well someone was in that position – and to keep the suspense to a minimal and the stats to a maximum – he chose Le’Veon Bell. This is a good pick, a phenomenal pick in eyes of veteraned players. Le’Veon Bell went for 1,291 yards on 321 attempts, all to bring in nine touchdowns in the 2017 Season, finishing second in the Running Back position. Second in the draft was a little surprising. Ezekiel Elliot, the running back from the Cowboys who stunned fantasy players his rookie year and was no lesser of a beast in his second year campaign. Elliot being drafted second was a blessing to the third pick team, if only that were me. No surprise on the third pick if you even glanced at a football game or fantasy league last year – Todd Gurley II, RB of the LA Rams. Gurley was an absolute unit last season, playing for a league-high 2,093 yards and 19 touchdowns from scrimmage, finishing as fantasy’s top-scoring running back. Reminder that this is a PPR (point per reception) league and the first three picks were all running backs. Pick four was an ambitious one. The man, the GOAT, Tom Brady was selected fourth overall in the draft. I suppose having a ring for every finger on one hand means something to certain impatient or anxious players. The fifth pick in the first round was David Johnson, who was injured through all of the 2017 Season with an ACL tear, but prior to that Johnson was the number one fantasy running back in 2016 where he acquired 2,118 yards for 20 touchdowns on 373 touches. Johnson will look to duplicate his 2016 season coming off of an empty 2017 season. Picks six and seven were the NFL’s number one wide receiver Antonio Brown and the epic Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons.
Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers coming into the 2018 season. Brown finished number one at the WR position last season and had an impressive 1,533 yards on 101 receptions, all for nine touchdowns this season. Finally, all of these stats that were and to be honest still are swirling through my head, have come to the eight bell sound. Round 1, Pick 8, it’s my turn. I have had a name in my head for months. I have been watching this player’s entire final year with Penn State. Saquon Barkley, the rookie running back for the New York Giants. All the work this young talent grinded to complete to be looked at the way I have seen him. Barkley already has signed a four-year, $31.2M deal with the team that drafted him second overall back in April. Barkley is already being projected to have at least 300 to 350 touches this season and is aimed to be the game changer that will rock unsuspecting defenses. My mind was made in a second after considering these quick facts, I hit the draft button and the star to my team had been selected. Quick advice to all you who have yet to draft in a league this season. If you are looking for who to pick in the first round, take this draft as an example that you just need to be confident in a player. I wanted Barkley since day one, but my lack of confidence had me on the internet for hours at a time searching all the aforementioned “proven” players stats and past seasons. I constantly battle with, “Do I trust a rookie this much?” and “What if he isn’t all that?” In the end of the day the draft deities placed Barkley’s name right in front of me and I had to trust it.
Draft with confidence in yourself and your team and no matter what everything will work out. Next week starts the rigorous journey that is the football season, with the Week One opener in the home of the current Super Bowl Champions’ Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the champs take on the visiting Atlanta Falcons. There’s plenty of wildcard players and young guys trying to prove to the world they know how to play and win. Hopefully everyone had a fun and CONFIDENT draft. Next week will be the first of many in-depth analyses on the performances of players across the league.
Noah Bobrowski can be contacted at