Matt Ryan (Bigger Balls)
Drafted: 8th Round (92nd Overall) by Mayra
# of QB's Kept/Drafted Ahead of Matt Ryan: 12
QB Rank: 2
Overall Rank: 2
4,944 Passing Yards, 38 Passing TD's, 7 Int, 117 Rushing Yards, 2 2 Pt Conversions, 2 Fumbles Lost, 388.96 Fantasy Points
In the past, Matt Ryan has always been in that Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford group of QB's where it FEELS LIKE he has all the upside in the world, but ultimately he disappoints and you can't really win with him. This year he FINALLY broke through fantasy wise. Ryan was terrific all season ,throwing a TD pass in each game he played and helped Mayra secure a #3 seed in the playoffs. He finished as not only the 2nd QB but 2nd overall scorer in the league. Teams like Dad and Matt took two QB's each over Matt Ryan. Hands down he was the best QB steal of the draft.
Michael Thomas (No Soup For You)
Drafted: 10th Round (109th Overall) By Leland
# of WR's Kept/Drafted ahead Of Michael Thomas: 48
WR Rank: 7
Overall Rank: 44
92 Receptions, 1,137 Receiving Yards, 9 Receiving TD's, 2 Fumble Lost, 209.70 Fantasy Points
Leland definitely had a disappointing season, considering expectations, but he's good at finding gems late in the draft and that's what he found here in Michael Thomas. He wasn't even the first rookie drafted, Corey Coleman and Sterling Shepard were two rookies drafted before him, also Leland used his first of two back to back late picks on Devin Funchess. Thomas more than exceeded expectations and went over 1,000 yards receiving, scored 9 TD's and finished as the 7th overall receiver this season. Saints receivers are obviously hard to rely on because Drew Brees spreads the ball around, but as a 10th rounder, I think the risk is going to be worth it, and he might be a key piece for Leland as he rebuilds his team to championship form next year.
Michael Crabtree (Hoosier Daddy)
Drafted: 6th Round (71st Overall) By Ryan
# of WR's Kept/Drafted Ahead of Michael Crabtree: 37
WR Rank: 11
Overall Rank: 50
89 Receptions, 1,003 Receiving Yards, 8 Receiving TD's, 1 2 PT Conversion, 194.80 Fantasy Points
Crabtree was drafted as Ryan's #3 receiver behind Sammy Watkins and John Brown. He's lucky he did, because both of those guys busted BIG TIME. Ryan survived the bust and finished with the best regular season record of the season in large part to the success of Michael Crabtree. He wasn't even supposed to be the best receiver on his own team, that was supposed to be Amari Cooper. Cooper wasn't too far off from Crabtree's scoring, but Cooper was also a 2nd round pick. Michael Crabtree finished the season as a WR #1 with over 1,000 yards receiving and 8 TD's. Not bad for a guy drafted after 37 receivers were kept or drafted.
Larry Fitzgerald (SCLSU MudDogs)
Drafted: 5th Round (52nd Overall) By Alex
# of WR's Kept/Drafted Ahead of Larry Fitzgerald: 32
WR Rank: 13
Overall Rank: 54
107 Receptions, 1,023 Receiving Yards, 6 Receiving TD's, 1 Fumble Lost, 190.30 Fantasy Points
Moves like this are why Alex and Ryan made the finals and why Alex ultimately won. Thought the old and washed up, Fitzgerald wasn't even the first OR second receiver taken from the Cardinals. I stupidly took Michael Floyd and Ryan took John Brown before Alex snapped up the "old has been" Fitzgerald. Though he kinda slowed down towards the end of the season, he still had a great season and help push Alex to a playoff berth this season going for over 1,000 yards and catching over 100 balls. He finished 1 spot under a WR1 finish proving that the old man still has a little left in that tank.
Melvin Gordon (Rocket Man)
Drafted: 5th Round (58th Overall) By Eugene
# of RB's Kept/Drafted before Melvin Gordon: 23
RB Rank: 7
Overall Rank: 35
997 Rushing Yards, 10 Rushing TD's, 41 Receptions, 419 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TD's, 2 Fumble Lost, 230.10 Fantasy Points
What a turnaround. Last season, Gordon was beyond awful, not even scoring a TD after being a much hyped rookie. This year, Gordon did a complete 180, becoming a complete back in both rushing and receiving and become a legit RB1. It was hard to believe, and I kept doubting him, but he NEVER fell off. Only a season ending injury that cost him pretty much the last 4 games of the season stopped him. No doubt he probably would've been a top 5 back but even with missing 4 games he still finished as the 7th best running back this season. Along with Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones, Gordon was the main reason why Eugene got his 2nd straight bye. Unfortunately he showed just how valuable he was, because Eugene couldn't even score 60 points with him and Julio Jones out with injuries in the semi finals. I think Eugene has to take a long good look as possibly keeping him, especially in the 5th round.
DeMarco Murray (Shock The Monkey)
Drafted: 4th Round (38th Overall) by Mark
# of RB's Kept/Drafted before DeMarco Murray: 18
RB Rank: 5
Overall Rank: 25
1,287 Rushing Yards, 9 Rushing TD's, 53 Receptions, 377 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving TD's, 1 Fumble Lost, 268.30 Fantasy Points
After a BRUTAL year last year in Philadelphia where everyone basically wrote Murray off and credited his initial success in Dallas to their offensive line, Murray was basically given away to the Titans. Even in Tennessee, it was thought that he would be a placeholder for Derrick Henry, the Heisman Winning rookie that the Titans took in the 2nd round of the draft. Well..not so fast. Murray had a career rebirth with the Titans, performing like the Murray from Dallas. Although Mark had a terrible season, it wasn't because of Murray who finished as a top 5 running back for the year. When you're in the elite class of Zeke, Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson, and LeSean McCoy you know you've done well. Not bad for an after thought 4th round pick.
Jimmy Graham (SCLSU MudDogs)
Drafted: 11th Round (124th Overall) By Alex
# of TE's Kept/Drafted Ahead of Jimmy Graham: 14
TE Rank: 4
Overall Rank: 84
65 Receptions, 923 Receiving Yards, 6 Receiving TD's, 2 Fumble Lost, 156.80 Fantasy Points
Alex has his soft spot for Saints and ex Saints and that's why he took a shot in the 11th round on Jimmy Graham. Graham is a couple years removed from being considering a top elite option like Gronk, and he wasn't even Alex' first Tight End drafted, Alex drafted Delanie Walker a few rounds earlier, but Graham finally put together a nice comeback season, finishing nearly with 1,000 receiving, and finishing as the 4th best Tight End this season. He provided Alex with good depth and Alex even had the luxury of chosing to use two tight ends as Walker was no slouch either finishing as the #5 tight end. This was definitely a gamble that paid off in spades.
LaGarrette Blount (Bay Area Tanners)
Drafted: 8th Round (91st Overall) By Albert; Traded by Albert along with A.J. Green to me for Jordan Matthews and LeSean McCoy
# of RB's Kept/Drafted before LaGarrette Blount: 35
RB Rank: 8
Overall Rank: 36
1,161 Rushing Yards, 18 Rushing TD's, 7 Receptions, 38 Receiving Yards, 1 Fumble Lost, 229.40 Fantasy Points
Because it's the Patriots and no one trusts Bill Belicheck, Blount was really never taken seriously as a legit fantasy RB1, with people assuming that Dion Lewis and James White would eat into Blount's production big time as the season went on, yet at 1,100 rushing yards and 18 TD's later there he is, the 8th best running back of the season. He got stuck on my loser team, but he performed week in and week out. Because you never know with the Pats, Blount will probably get disrespected in drafts yet again next season, but he has proven to be a very reliable back, not only in fantasy, but in real life.
Draft Day Steal Of The Year
Melvin Gordon (Rocket Man)
I chose Gordon for a couple reasons. I really believe he'd be a top 5 back this season had he not missed 4 games at the end of the season and two of those 4 games were playoff games for Eugene that Eugene lost, so it just shows how valuable he was to his team. Eugene might's at the very least finished 3rd had Gordon been healthy and played.