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Experts league draft roundup

You can see the draft results here. To start your own league on Facebook, go here.

After the draft I had a chance to ask some questions of the "experts".

View The Defenestrators.

Q: You decided to take two TEs (Dustin Keller and Antonio Gates)? What was your thinking here?

Chris Liss: It was the 13th round, so I just took the best player available. We can also use TE at the flex during bye weeks, so maybe if I'm desperate, and Keller has a good matchup, I'll do that. Or maybe I'll drop him.

Q: You took Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler on back to back picks? How much of this was done with trading in mind? What was your thinking?

CL: I was going to take Schaub and Ahmad Bradshaw, who I like a lot. But I have Bradshaw in three other leagues, so if he does well, I'll be happy anyway. Maybe some trades will come out of it, but just as likely one of those guys will get hurt or be terrible, and I'll be glad I had two. Actually, it won't matter because at least 3-5 waiver wire QBs will probably finish in the top 10.

Q: Including your team, what players were the steal of the draft and reach of the draft?

CL: I hope people call my picks the reach of the draft. Last year someone called Michael Turner who I drafted with the last pick of the second round the reach of the draft, so it's a huge blessing to be tabbed for that, given how clueless everyone in expert leagues is. Hopefully, that's not the case here because I think Berry reached for Roddy White at 18. I like White just fine, but where's the upside? It's a run-heavy team that just added an elite red-zone target in Tony Gonzalez. Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Kevin Smith and Pierre Thomas, who were still on the board, were better choices in my opinion. Berry doesn't deserve the benefit of my calling out his reach, but I had to pick someone.

As for the steal, I like Rashard Mendenhall in round nine by Erickson. Mendenhall's essentially in the same situation as Donald Brown who went three rounds earlier.


Q: Fred Jackson has been a source of disagreement in many drafts that I have been in. You drafted him in the eighth round. Where do you think he's drafted with no Marshawn Lynch suspension? Where would he be drafted if Marshawn were out for the season?

John Hansen: With no Lynch suspension I'd guess he'd be about a 12th round pick. I wasn't thrilled with taking him in the eighth, but that's not bad for a guy I can start to open the season. Plus, I think he's better than Lynch, who I don't think has been the same back he was his rookie year the past 12-14 months.

Q: You took Jason Witten as the second TE off the board. How do you rate the big four TEs? and how much difference is there between the four?

JH: That isn't my usual deal, drafting a TE early, but this league is a little light with starters with only 2 RBs and 2 WRs plus a flex (as opposed to three WRs and a flex), so I decided to get the best player available. Plus I think Witten will be a huge part of their offense, more so than last year. Other than Witten and Gates, I'd rather hold off on the position. Dallas Clark is very solid, but he doesn't excite me based on his draft stock, and I'm not a big Tony G fan in 2009.

Q: Including your team, what players do you consider to be the steal of the draft and the reach of the draft?

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JH: Even though it's not a PPR league, getting Reggie Bush with the ninth pick of the fifth round was a good value based on his upside. Ray Rice in the fourth round will go down as a reach. This isn't a PPR league, and Rice hasn't yet shown he can run inside out of a power formation. He will likely go down as the most overhyped player of 2009.

View Secret Treasure Loaf.

Q: Given that you and I have always had a contentious relationship (tongue in cheek), you have to say one nice and one mean thing about my draft...

Andy Behrens: First of all, fantastic team name [Tigers That Like Cinnamon]. But that was technically a pre-draft decision, I suppose. The Tigers also have a fantastic backfield, perhaps the league's best. I'm no huge fan of Julius Jones, but I'd take him as my fourth running back in this format. You need me to say a mean thing? Really? Well, ideally Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't be a Week 1 starter in a 12-team league. Lots of negative plays there, and his early season schedule seems treacherous. I expect that you'll swing a deal with Liss for Schaub or Cutler, though.

Q: There has been recent concern about both Pierre Thomas' health and role this year? Yet you took him in the 2nd round. Are you concerned about either? Please explain.

AB: I'm concerned about everyone's health and role, all the time. The NFL really isn't like any other league. But during Thomas' outstanding six-game binge at the end of last season (677 total yards, 9 TDs), he averaged only 15.5 carries per game. That's it. I haven't heard anything during the preseason that made me think he wouldn't get 15 or 16 carries each week in '09. The MCL is obviously a concern -- that's probably why he slipped to pick No. 24 -- but it sounds like he's on track to play the opener against Detroit.

Q: Including your team, what players do you consider to be the steal of the draft and the reach of the draft?

AB:Cedric Benson should not get drafted within the first 100 picks. He's a thoroughly unimpressive back -- can't avoid tacklers, can't catch, career 3.7 yards per carry -- and Cincinnati has the league's worst run-blocking line. I'd rather have Bernard Scott late than Cedric Benson in Round 7. Eddie Royal was a terrific value for Hansen in Round 6. I considered him with the first pick of Round 5, but decided that I was already over-invested in Royal this year. He's a serious candidate for 100 catches, though.

View Count Chocula's Henchmen.

Q:Joseph Addai has been slipping in many draft but you took him in the fourth round. Do you consider this value? Or was this a sign that you have higher expectations than most for him this season? Given that you also ended up taking Brown, who do you anticipate starting more times this season? Do you think you will ever start both?

Jay Clemons: Truth be told, I had Darren McFadden ranked considerably higher than Addai on my draft board. But I thought I could wait an extra round to land D-Mac (given the Raiders' awful start in the preseason); plus, I wanted to guarantee a shot at getting the Addai/Brown handcuff with the Colts. And let's remember, Addai is just two years removed from a 1,436-yard, 15-TD season. He's well worth the risk in Round 4.

Q: What position are you concerned most about on your team?

JC: I was one draft pick away from corralling Falcons QB Matt Ryan in Round 8 and had to settle for Texans WR Kevin Walter. So, it's not like I'm absolutely thrilled with Matt Hasselbeck and Eli Manning as my co-quarterbacks (taken in back-to-back rounds). But at least I adhered to a time-tested golden rule: "When waiting for QBs ... at least buy in bulk!"

Q: Including your team, what players do you consider to be the steal of the draft and the reach of the draft?

JC: This was a hard draft, given the uniform distribution of talent on all 12 teams. I hate those drafts sometimes! I walk away with a pit in my stomach, thinking that I'm going to finish dead-last and miss the playoffs (which, in hindsight, rarely happens). So, it's hard to characterize any reaches in the draft. I will say that Knowshon Moreno going at No. 31 overall without the benefit of one full preseason quarter seemed a little weird. As for the potential gems in the late rounds ... I'll cite two 49ers -- Josh Morgan and Glen Coffee -- who were taken by the ESPN guys, Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry, respectively. I wanted Morgan and/or Coffee as my benchwarmers.

View The Unflappable Livers.

Q: Last January, you and I made a bet that DeAngelo Williiams would end this season as a top-five back. You were concerned with his time share/production and bet that he would finish outside the top five RB's. Almost ironically, you ended up taking him just before me in this draft with the seventh pick. Have your feelings on him changed at all given Jonathan Stewart's health or was he simply value at the number seven spot?

Matthew Berry: Really, I don't remember that bet at all. But certainly sounds like something I said. He was on my "Hate" list in my annual preseason column. But two things have happened. First, Stewart has yet to get healthy. And Williams has been a beast in the preseason. People forget the Panthers scored 30 rushing touchdowns last year. He's now No. 4 on my overall list so at seven he was too good a value to pass up.

Q: You groaned on the chat board after taking Thomas Jones in the fourth round. What did that grown signify and do you regret that decision? Looking back if you had to do it over again, would you have changed that pick and if so with whom?

MB: The groan signified that I really wanted a wide receiver in that slot because I couldn't pass up Tom Brady in round three. But there were not any WR there that I loved and I feel the fantasy death of Jones is greatly overrated. I love the upside of Rice and McFadden, but Jones was a top six fantasy running back last year. He has a coach that will run first and have a ball control offense to help his rookie qb. They still have a great offensive line and fullback. And with handcuffing Jones with Shonn Green late in the draft, I got a strong No. 2 RB in a 12-team league.

Looking back, I probably would have made the same pick... but wished WR weren't flying off the board so quick. Running back (and especially quarterback) was where the value was in this draft.

Q: Including your team what players were the reach of the draft and steal of the draft?

MB: REACHES -- Gore at 10 overall -- The emergence of Coffee and the fact that Gore has never had double-digit scores in his career and coming off a year when he had a career low yards per carry, a career high in fumbles ... I know the 49ers have said they are going to run 60 percent of the time, but just thought that was early for Gore with guys like Chris Johnson, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Brandon Jacobs and Clinton Portis still on the board.

Ronnie Brown in round three -- take out the five-touchdown game and he had just over 800 yards and five scores in 15 games. Those are terrible numbers, especially for an early third round pick.

Beanie Wells in the fifth -- I love Beanie, actually, but in the seventh round. This struck me as too early for an injury prone running back who is currently in a time share on a pass first-team. Again, I love Wells and have him as a sleeper this year. Just should have grabbed him two rounds later.

Jermichael Finley in the 10th. I like him as a sleeper and am high on the entire Packer offense, but with guys like Keller, Zach Miller and Visanthe Shiancoe still available, this

STEALS -- Brady in the third. It's only four points per touchdown pass, but late in the third round it was too much value to pass up for a guy who could easily throw 40.

Kurt Warner in the seventh. Yes, there are injury concerns, but he played all 16 last year -- or 15 more than Brady. To get his potential upside -- I have him at No. 3 overall among QB -- in the 7th is amazing value.

Ahmad Bradshaw in the eighth: The Giants are going to run and run some more, And with Derrick Ward and his 1,400 total yards out the door plus the fact that Brandon Jacobs has missed significant time each of the last two years, there's a lot of potential for Bradshaw and he'll be productive even if Jacobs stays healthy.

View Vice Crew.

Q: Given that this was your first time experiencing the experts, which guy did you like the most? Which guy did you dislike the most?

Cory Williams: Since we all spent an equal amount of time talking about the picks and ribbing each other, my only thoughts as far as likes and dislikes would be based on which strategy hurt mine and which sense of humor worked well with mine. In other words, I liked everybody about the same and didn't dislike anybody. I most enjoyed the sense of humor of Nate and Matthew since you could tell they work together and know each other well enough to bicker about their different opinions (their disagreement as to the quality of Seattle's Julius Jones comes to mind). Instead of saying that I disliked anybody, I'll just point out the person who had the most luck at drafting the players that I had my eye on. Jay beat me to the punch three times, nabbing Wells, Brown, and Walter (rounds 5, 6, and 8 respectively).

Q: If you had to change one draft decision looking back, what would it be?

CW: I think that I may have gone a bit early at the TE position (fifth round, Gonzalez). I feel that there is enough depth at the position between the fifth TE and the 10th TE to take one much later in the draft without losing too much value. I stand by the decision though since I do think there is a sizable drop-off beyond the top 4 and I was a little flustered since two of the three picks preceding mine where the players that I was targeting (Anthony Gonzalez and Wells). If Gonzalez was my big mistake though, I can live with it.

Q: Including your own team, what players do you consider to be the reach of the draft and the steal of the draft?

CW: I think drafting Ladainian Tomlinson with the 2nd overall pick of the draft instead of Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Forte or Steve Slaton is a reach that could come back to haunt William. After all, Sproles did get franchised for a reason. I may have reached for Wes Welker in the third but 10 of the top 15 WRs were already off the board before I had that pick (my biggest surprise of the draft). I know I reached for Percy Harvin in the ninth, but I went to UF so that was my homer pick. Braylon Edwards was a bad pick in the 3rd. The biggest reaches though were Felix Jones and Bush in the fifth. They are two RBs that don't get enough red-zone touches and have been injured for half of their time in the NFL. I believe that they would likely have been available two rounds later. Bush was drafted as an RB2 when he is a questionable pick even as a Flex. In a non-PPR league, that is just not a good pick.

I really like Ryan's Anthony Gonzalez pick in the fifth. Brandon Marshall could be a steal for Nate in the sixth, but that's up to Marshall.


Q: Since you arrived late to the draft you were autopicked into MJD as the third pick? Were you happy with that pick?

Ryan Houston: I was very happy to get MJD. Fortunately for me, LT went No. 2 so this autopick wasn't a disaster. If MJD was off the board at No. 2 -- I would have jumped all over Forte.

Q: Your WR's look to be an area of weakness. Do you agree?

RH: Yeah. Unfortunately I got autopicked and was looking to take Terrell Owens but instead got stuck with McFadden. My WRs all have a lot of potential, but they also consist of a lot of sleepers that might never wake up. I'm pretty deep at RB, so I could make a trade.

Q: Including your team what players do you consider to be the reach of the draft and steal of the draft?

RH: I think Schaub in the 7th round was a steal. I really like Stewart. Good value pick. I think the injury is pushing down his value -- which bodes well for fantasy owners to stash him away on their bench. James Davis, I too love his upside -- but Round 9? Seems like a steep price to pay but I could be totally wrong about this guy. Tim Hightower in the 11th round is good value.

View Ickey Shuffle.

Q: At the end of the draft you echoed my sentiment that this team looked very different than all of your other teams. What players stick out as guys you didn't think you'd ever have and what do you consider the root of those differences?

Jeff Erickson: I haven't been taking a QB early in any of my drafts this year, but I thought Peyton Manning was a good value where I got him in the fourth round, and I was nonplussed with my RB/WR options otherwise. But taking Manning had a ripple effect on subsequent picks. It's not necessarily good or bad, though given the chance to do it over, I would have taken Rice and found my QB later (which typically has been Schaub or Ryan in most drafts). I found myself chasing after running backs the rest of the draft. That led to questionable decisions, like drafting Lewis -- ever. I feel great shame with that pick.

Q: After Scott and Coffee were taking immediately before your pick in the 11th round you made a comment. Were you hoping to get one of those two guys or did you think those were reaches? If you had your pick between the two, which would you take?

JE: Those were the exact top two players in my queue with two picks to go, and Jerious Norwood also was there before going two picks before that. Alluding to above, where I was chasing RBs the whole draft, this was an unhappy development. I ended up with Correll Buckhalter, which could have been worse (see my Round 12 pick), but I have a couple of Moreno shares this year and don't want to root against him.

Q: Including your team, what players do you consider to be the steal of the draft and reach of the draft?

JE: Steal of the draft: James Davis -- he'll surpass Lewis at some point. I should have just taken him in the seventh instead of Lewis, opting not to fixate on who was starting now. Liss got good value at 9.12. I liked Funston's seventh round pick of Greg Olsen and ninth round pick of Chris Henry, too.

Reach of the draft: LenDale White, 5.10 -- This is twice I've responded with White to this question in a draft. I guess I'm the non-believer here in White's special diet.

View Fantasy Focus 06010.

Q: Many of your RB's are committee guys with high upside? Of the Sproles, Parker, Bradshaw group which one do you have the highest hope for and why?

Nate Ravitz:Willie Parker. I don't see the Steelers as a committee team. Their track record is to go primarily with one guy. And candidly, Rashard Mendenhall isn't good enough to take meaningful playing time away from Parker if the latter is healthy. That said, Parker certainly has risk, which is why I juked from my usual sentiment and did spend the "handcuff" pick on Mendenhall. I just feel that spending a late-fifth and a late-ninth round pick to secure the backfield of a consistently dominant rushing team is outstanding value. It only backfires if Parker goes down and Mendenhall is in a true timeshare with Mewelde Moore.

Q: Brandon Marshall was a high upside pick in Round 6. Obviously the talent is there for him to be a top five wide receiver. How do you see his situation shaking out in Denver? Do you see a trade likely?

NR: I really have no idea. But barring another boneheaded off-the-field problem (a distinct possibility), he will play for someone this year, and he'll be good (at least top 20 if not much better) no matter where he plays. At pick No. 62 I thought it was way too much value to pass up.

Q: Including your team, what players do you think were the steal of the draft and reach of the draft?

NR: In no particular order, I think the steals of the draft were Brady at pick 31, and I love Liss' strategy of getting Schaub and Cutler at picks 84 and 85. Cutler is being underrated tremendously, and if Chris plays his cards right, he could have a top 5 QB every single week. For reaches, Kevin Smith at pick 19 is extremely ambitious, and I don't see the upside in Anthony Gonzalez at the top of Round 5.


Q: The second pick has been a hotly contested choice with everyone from Turner to Forte to MJD being touted. You decided to go with LT here. What was your thinking?

William Del Pilar: We decided to go for broke here. Quite simply, we feel if LT remains 100 percent healthy he's the best fantasy player in the league bar none. That's the dilemma: He has been injury plagued the last two seasons, and there are legitimate concerns for owners to ignore him until the middle or late first round.

Let's be honest, Forte has to show he isn't a one-year wonder, and we're not sure he's an elite back more so than a back who was in a great situation and took advantage of it. He was pretty much the only thing going for an average NFL offense that was good enough to support Forte but no other skill position on a consistent basis. Jones-Drew has never shown he can carry the load. In a non-PPR league, both he and Forte come crashing back to Earth, as do Slaton and Chris Johnson.

Turner, well, those that question why he wasn't taken have a legitimate beef. If there's anyone you can argue to be the No. 2 overall pick in a non-PPR format, it's Turner. He was another logical choice, but we believe the Falcons will have greater balance than the Chargers who will gear the offense through LT. We expect the Falcons to focus on Turner but to also make sure wide receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez see their share more so than the Chargers forcing it to wideout Vincent Jackson, though Gates will still get his. In the end, we love LT's talent and ceiling more than Turner's when both are healthy. Don't forget, LT also has a major chip on his shoulder after almost being run out of town and having everyone saying he is washed up.

Q: After you took Tony Romo, another QB was not taken for 24 picks... looking back are you happy with your decision to take Romo? Why or why not?

WDP: Sure, hindsight is 20/20 but we don't think Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo would have come back to us. We also believe Romo was the best of what was left of top-tier quarterbacks. He had eight multi-TD games in 13 games played last year. In 2007 he had 12 multi-TD games out of 16. He's solid, consistent and the other two we could have and did consider:

• Donovan McNabb: Seven multi-TD games, but we like Romo better and McNabb now has Michael Vick in town.

• Kurt Warner: Ten multi-TD games, but he's extremely injury prone and despite Romo missing three games last year, we feel he is less of an injury risk than Warner.

We also believe the loss of Owens is addition by subtraction. You will see a group effort by the receivers similar to how the Eagles tend to distribute the ball. Plus, Witten will probably become the team's default No. 1 receiver statistically, and we have seen the amazing rapport the two have built.

Q: Including your team, what player do you consider to be the steal of the draft? Which do you consider to be the reach?

WDP: We have mad love for Robert Meachem, who we specifically targeted and took in this league. He's passed Devery Henderson on the depth chart or rather will. Lance Moore is not the model of health and when it comes to talent, Meachem is the most talented receiver on the Saints' roster. He has been the most impressive receiver for the team this preseason, has finally shown signs of maturity as he's taken responsibility for his lackluster two seasons. The coaches say he is now instinctive (reacting) with the offense versus constantly thinking about what he needs to do. While many believe there are too many weapons in one of the league's most high-powered offenses, look at it this way: Bush, Marques Colston and Moore, and Jeremy Shockey are all injury prone. Those factors, along with this being his third year in the offense and with a little luck, and we could be looking at one of the league's sleepers finally waking up!

For the record, receiver Sidney Rice, running backs Carnell Williams and Michael Bush, and Keller, Shiancoe and Shockey are all who could wind up as steals.

I believe Atlanta Falcons Roddy White was a reach in round two when you have Reggie Wayne still available. Some would also argue Jennings is also a better overall pick.

View Tigers That Like Cinnamon.

Q: Your pick of Knowshon Moreno seemed to be a stretch? Was this a high upside pick or was there something else going on here?

Jeff Ma: I was definitely high on Knowshon earlier in the preseason but obviously with his injury he has become much more of a question mark. That being said I was considering a QB at this spot (either Manning or Aaron Rodgers) after Brady had been picked right before me. I had no idea WR would fly off the board as quickly as they did and in the end user malfunction (I would never blame our stellar app) caused autodraft to kick in and take Knowshon. What made this mistake especially difficult to come back from was the rash or WR1s that went after Knowshon leaving me with some pretty poor choices for my WR1. I decided on Ochocinco (not happily) hoping that something miraculously happens and he turns in a stellar 2009 campaign. All that being said in fantasy you win when a guy like Knowshon that you drafted in the third round becomes a 1,200 yard, 12 TD guy and I think Moreno has that kind of talent.

Q: Your pick of Julius Jones spurned a huge debate over the Seahawks RB with Matthew Berry loving your pick and Funston, Ravitz and the random fan all hating on JJ. What is your position on this? Do you expect big things out of JJ or was this simply a value pick?

JM: Well, it's not so much the skill of JJ it's the situation. He is clearly going to get a lot of carries and with Knowshon sitting as a potential stud later in the season, I wanted to get someone I knew would get carries early in the season. JJ fit that bill. Even with the presence of Edge, it will take him a few weeks before he knows this system and by all reports his running style does not fit into the Seahawks schemes. I think JJ could be serviceable this season and as my fourth RB, I thought he was a relatively safe pick with a little upside.

Q: Including your team, who do you consider to be the steal of the draft and reach of the draft?

JM:Jermichael Finley in the 10th round was a reach. I know this is an expert's league and the buzzy guys go early but this seemed way to early with guys like Keller, Miller and Shiancoe still on the board. As far as steals, there was certainly value in QBs as there often is in expert's drafts. Where Berry got Brady was a steal (I was hoping he'd slide to me there). In general you don't get many steals in "experts" drafts but I do think one of the only things I did well was to grab Dallas Clark in the middle of the fifth round when the other big three were gone already. Clark gets a lot of looks from Manning and is truly a difference maker as a TE.

Q: You were lamenting the picking of quarterbacks all draft at one point even proposing a mid draft three way trade ... are you happy with your QB situation? if not, would you have done anything differently?

Brandon Funston: I actually had every intention to hold on QBs early because of the quality depth there. But after I made my Round 7 pick, I started eyeing Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler, thinking how fortuitous it would be to land them on the Round 8 comeback. Chris Liss ended that idea by taking both of them at the Round 7-8 turn, a move he admitted was intended to spite the QB holdouts like myself. But I did end up with Matt Ryan in Round 8, and I don't think that I'm in much worse shape. He's a big-time talent, and he's surrounded by big-time talent. Atlanta has to open up the offense just slightly, and he'll pay off handsomely.

Q: You reached a bit on a very buzzy player, Chris Henry ... was the reach because of all the "experts" in this draft? what kind of production do you expect out of Henry this year?

BF: The Henry pick was earlier than I'd have liked. But Yahoo! NFL writer Michael Silver had only a week or so earlier told me a story of how he'd talked to Carson Palmer recently, and Palmer raved about Henry, calling him his most talented receiver. And Henry, of course, has had a fantastic preseason. As I said, the pick was earlier than I wished, but I don't hate the pick. At the time I picked Henry, I was in the process of negotiating a three-way deal with Jay Clemons and Ryan Bonini that would have landed me Maurice Jones-Drew. But it was contingent upon Clemons drafting Carson Palmer (I'd send Matt Ryan, who I had just drafted to Clemons, and he'd send me Palmer). But William Del Pillar had chat room rabbit ears and he decided to be a rat bastard by picking Palmer ahead of Clemons, which killed the deal. Del Pilar's lame maneuver sent me on tilt a bit and I made a rash decision to take Henry. Oh well, I still think it can work out fine.

Q: Including your team which players do you think were the steal of the draft and the reach of the draft?

SOD: I know there are injury concerns, but landing John Hansen landing Kurt Warner at pick 82 was a steal. He had 4,500 passing yards and 30 TD passes last year. And I have no faith in Willie Parker staying healthy this season. Therefore, I have to like Ickey Shuffle's Rashard Mendenhall pick at No. 104 overall.

ROD: I thought Clinton Portis going at No. 14 overall was a reach. Lots of mileage there, and it showed at the end of last season. Washington is planning on curbing his touches in '09. And, I know we've seen flashes of brilliance from him in the past (plenty of ineptness, too), but there is no way I'd take Braylon Edwards at No. 36 given his set-up in Cleveland.