ROUND 1, PICK 7: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville
With top 5 locks Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles kept, I was a little concerned an elite back wouldn't be there for me at number 7. Jones-Drew is definitely elite when healthy, but that is a concern following extremely limited action in the preseason due to off-season knee surgery and the two games he missed at the end of last season. Perennial handcuff favorite Rashad Jennings is out for the year, so MJD is all the Jags-and my fantasy team--have. Other options I could have considered included Michael Turner (I had him last year and did not care for the experience), Roddy White (who I may have taken if I wasn't already keeping Calvin Johnson in the second round), and Michael Vick (I never take QBs in the first round, and I feel like Vick is due for a disappointing season).
ROUND 2, PICK 18: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit
As mentioned above, Johnson is my lone keeper (in our league, you can keep up to 4 players, giving up the pick in the next highest round from where they were drafted in exchange; I actually traded for Johnson, giving up Matt Forte after his week 1 explosion last season). I figured MJD or Turner would be there at 7 for me, so Johnson was worth my second rounder (I actually have him as my number 2 wide receiver behind Roddy White). The next three receivers to come off the board were DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne, and Miles Austin, so I feel like my gamble paid off (although, in hindsight, Lagarrette Blount or even DeAngelo Williams--who were drafted at 20 and 22 respectively--would look pretty good in my backfield.) This was also the first of two rounds that were a complete pain in the ass due to ESPN.com's stupid keeper system, where teams had to draft for each other and agree to trade picks later. Before the second round was over, I was already through my second rum and coke, which may have been a factor in the shittiness of the rest of my draft.
ROUND 3, PICK 31: Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego
Leading up to the draft, I planned on forgoing tight ends completely until late in the draft, happy to take my chances on a platoon of Aaron Hernandez and Dustin Keller (or a comparable combination). As the third round unfolded, however, I found myself staring at a draft board littered with players I had no desire to have on my team. The three picks immediately following Gates were Brandon Lloyd (sans Josh McDaniel's offense), Wes Welker (solid, but not a 3rd rounder), and Peyton Manning (who is worrisome for obvious reasons), so I decided to scrap my tight end strategy and hope that Gates is healthy enough to give me the elite production needed to justify his selection here. This is when I began to hate how my draft was unfolding.
ROUND 4, PICK 42: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver
And this is when I wanted to quit fantasy football forever. I've hated Moreno since he was at Georgia, and I don't even think he's the best running back on the Broncos (which I'll get to later, although Tim Tebow might be a better running back option than Moreno at this point). This being our first year as a keeper league, I've learned that talent dries up very quickly, which I wasn't prepared for. Hence, one of my least favorite players in the NFL ends up on my team. Looking back now, I probably should have gone with Jonathan Stewart, Mario Manningham, or Percy Harvin. I panicked, and it may cost me my season.
ROUND 5, PICK 55: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas
For the third straight year, I snagged Romo in the 5th round, which would have excited me more if it wasn't the third straight year I did it. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were the two quarterbacks to go off the board before Romo, so I like the value there. I was three drinks deep at this point and swearing at my dog.
ROUND 6, PICK 66: Santana Moss, WR, Washington
Ugh. If Moreno may have possibly sunk my season, the Moss pick burned all of the life boats. There were 3 guys I really liked sitting on the board--Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and, especially, Mike Tolbert--but I thought they would still be there in later rounds. Of course, they flew off the board within the next 10 picks. The dog left the room at this point, sick of my feeble attempts at kicking him (he's small and quick and hard to get a line on).
ROUND 7, PICK 79: Steve Smith, WR, Carolina
Maybe I should finally replace my 2006 fantasy draft guide. Jesus. Tim Hightower, Lee Evans, and James Starks all would have been much better plays, unless all 49 percent of the passes Cam Newton completes this year are 30-yard bombs to Smith.
ROUND 8, PICK 90: Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis
You know what? Even though Addai is yet another no-upside, borderline washed-up vet, I like this pick. Addai is always good for some TDs in the rare games he's healthy, and with Peyton Manning possibly out (or at least limited), the Colts may actually commit to the run. If Addai can last past week 4 with an increased workload is another matter entirely. Shit. I'd rather have Pierre Thomas, who went three picks later.
ROUND 9, PICK 103: Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville
Yeah, Canaan, he wouldn't have been available on the waiver wire! Great pick! Only Devonne Bess produces as much as Thomas while possessing even less upside. At this point in the evening, I was wondering how my fiancee was going to react to the fact that I drank an entire bottle of rum over the course of a 3-hour Internet fantasy football draft. I concluded it would not be a pleasant reaction, so my empty Ron Rico rum bottle joined his brothers in the space between my desk and my wall (or Shame Valley, as I call it). Robert Meachum, Reggie Bush, Michael Bush, Danny Amendola, Jacoby Ford, or even Quincy Morgan (it definitely would have raised some eyebrows) would have been a more exciting pick than Thomas.
ROUND 10, PICK 114: Willis McGahee, RB, Denver
I finally took got the only Denver running back worth owning, but it was probably too early. Ben Tate should have been the pick, as it should have been clear to me that this roster wasn't going to do anything this year and I needed to start stockpiling potential keepers for 2012.
ROUND 11, PICK 127: Jerome Simpson, WR, Cincinnati
I don't like Andy Dalton at all, but Simpson had a couple nice games at the very end of last season (6 catches, 124 yards vs. San Diego; 12 catches, 123 yards at Baltimore) and is currently number one on the Bengals wide receiver depth chart. His upside for this year is probably 700 yards and 6 TDs, but if he can show enough to maintain his starting job next season when Dalton is better or, God-willing, a new starting QB is brought it (Andrew Luck?), Simpson could be a nice keeper. Finally, I grab a keeper, but it was about three rounds too late.
ROUND 12, PICK 138: Roy Helu, RB, Washington
I'm not going to pretend that I have ever seen Helu play, but from what I've read, his running-style is built for Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme (although I also read in ESPN The Magazine's NFL preview that Browns rookie DE Jabaal Sheard is a defensive tackle, so I can't always believe what I read). Helu currently is at #2 on the depth chart behind Tim Hightower, who shouldn't be that hard to beat out. Shanahan's favorite son Ryan Torain is still lurking on the roster, too, but he should be on IR by week 5, so Helu could be a steal, and yet another keeper candidate. I was feeling much better about my draft after these past two picks, but that probably had more to do with the rum than Simpson or Helu.
ROUND 13, PICK 151: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh
While everyone has fallen in love with Antonio Brown following his big preseason, I am much higher on Sanders. Brown is more of a burner, but the Steelers need a replacement for Hines Ward, not Mike Wallace, which suits Sanders game much better. I am a little worried that he appears to have Zydrunas Ilgauskas's feet, as evidenced by his two off-season foot surgeries.
ROUND 14, PICK 162: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas
Murray was extremely productive at Oklahoma, highlighted by his senior year when he rushed for 1214 yards and 12 TDs, and caught 71 passes for 594 yards and 5 TDs. Unfortunately, Murray has major durability concerns and is currently 3rd on the running back depth chart in Dallas. After Felix Jones's inevitable injury, however, Murray should find himself splitting carries with Tashard Choice, and hopefully winning a starting job next year. These are the delusional thoughts of a man resigned to cheering for his keepers' stock next season. If bottle number 2 were in my house, it would have been opened by this point in the evening.
ROUND 15, PICK 175: New England Defense
ROUND 16, PICK 186: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta
I put as much thought into my fantasy defense and kicker as I do into the consequences of my drinking: none. If the rules would have allowed me, I would have just skipped wasting roster spots on them and collected some more young talent that will most likely never turn into anything. The Browns better go 8-8 as everyone seems to think they will (crazy-talk; nothing less than 13 wins will be acceptable!), or else Sundays are going to be extremely depressing for me this year.