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Field Goals
Fantasy Football Strategy Ideas from the Guru

The Perfect Draft
November 6, 1998

Suppose you had the chance to start the season over again, with perfect 20/20 foresight about what the first 9 weeks would produce. To accept this offer, you'd also have to agree not to do any trades at all during the first 9 weeks - not even for bye weeks. In other words, you've got $50,000,000 to spend in the draft, and no trades until after week 9, but you know how many points each player will produce during those first nine weeks. Would you take the offer - or would you prefer to keep your own team?

Guess what? There are only two teams that should turn down the offer. It was possible to draft a roster that would be ranked #3 worldwide after 9 weeks, and would be very competitive in value as well. And the two teams that would be ahead of this hypothetical team would only be barely ahead.

Want to see this "perfect draft"? Here is it:

Name                Pos    Draft Price     SWP
Young, Steve        QB       8,450,000    3706
Cunningham, Randall QB       1,340,000    2343
Davis, Terrell      RB      10,800,000    2918
Anderson, Jamal     RB       6,300,000    2123
Hearst, Garrison    RB       5,910,000    1940
Freeman, Antonio    WR       7,500,000    2056
Moulds, Eric        WR       1,350,000    1416
Ismail, Raghib      WR       2,200,000    1299
Cleeland, Cameron   TE       1,330,000     924
Anderson, Gary      K        3,030,000     790
Oakland             Def      1,200,000   -2300
                            49,410,000  17,215

Although this roster would have accumulated 17,215 SWP, the true total would be reduced by 325, to adjust for Oakland's bye week. So the adjusted point total would be 16,890. For comparison, the best actual SW team had accumulated 17,043 through 9 weeks.

Are you surprised by any of the names on this roster? It seems to me like the two quarterbacks are pretty obvious. And Terrell Davis, in spite of his lofty draft price, would have been a bargain. Jamal Anderson, as the second most productive running back, is a pretty easy pick. And although Hearst ranks only fifth at his position in points, his lower price gets him on the optimized roster as well.

At wide receiver, Freeman's significant point advantage over the rest of the field makes him an obvious choice. But the other two wide receivers might surprise you. No Ed McCaffrey. No Jerry Rice. No Randy Moss. Why Moulds and Ismail? Essentially, their draft prices were low enough that their productivity (points per dollar) makes them the most attractive.

Although Shannon Sharpe is the most potent tight end, Cleeland Cameron gets the slot because his price is so much lower, while the point sacrifice is minor. Again, this isn't hard to fathom.

And at defense, Oakland is a slam dunk. Best point total, lowest price. Not much controversy there.

The kicker is somewhat surprising. The conventional wisdom is that kickers don't produce a lot of points, and therefore it's not a good position to overspend for. Yet Anderson was one of the most expensive kickers in the draft. And more money is spent on him than on four of the other players, in spite of the fact that he's the lowest point producer on the roster. I can't explain it. It's just the way it works out. And if the draft roster was limited to $48 million, or even $46 million, Anderson would still be on it. You can find more efficient savings at other positions.

How would this roster be performing valuewise? Using November 4th prices, this team would worth just over $83 million. Although there are many teams worth more than that amount, the only two teams which have outpointed this roster are worth only slightly more.

Unfortunately, the original offer to let you start over was hypothetical. There are no "do-overs" - with or without 20/20 foresight. But it is fun to see what the "art of the possible" might have been.

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not employed by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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