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It's time to draft

By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Like you, I have been studying all summer in preparation for my fantasy football drafts (I am in four leagues) and on Monday the first of them took place.

It's a great day as we have a traditional round of golf and lunch before we get down to business. And I was driving the ball off the tee pretty well, but that's not what this day was about.

Today is about getting the best fantasy team possible so that I can enjoy the 2008-09 NFL season to its fullest extent which means winning a championship.

Our draft order is based on last year's performance and due to injuries my team finished in the middle of the pack. So I owned the fifth draft pick, a position I didn't really care for. That's because I think there are three running backs who are head and shoulders above the rest - Ladainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and Brian Westbrook. Add in an expected Tom Brady pick and I am left in a situation where there are perhaps four or five choices of equal value.

I determined that I would try to trade out of the fifth slot...either down to improve my second-round selection or into the top-three. I made a couple of attempts to slide down, but no one was interested enough to pull the trigger. However, while on the golf course, two players in my foursome expressed an interest to move back. One owner had the first overall pick, but the price was too high. The second opportunity was for the third-overall pick and the price was exchanging second-round picks and giving him my 14th (of 20 selections) for his 18th-round pick (his third, 18th and 178th for my fifth, 16th and 136th).

This seemed to me a fair deal so I pulled the trigger and figured I would get Westbrook, which being from Philadelphia suited me just fine.

But lo and behold, after LT was selected as expected, the second choice was announced as Westbrook. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the hometown superstar, but I didn't wait very long before happily writing down Peterson's name on the card and passing it to the commissioner. After all, in many rankings, "AP" is rated number one.

The draft was full of unexpected twists and turns. Randy Moss was selected fourth as Brady and his lack of preseason activity must have had an effect on the selection process. Despite a monster 2007, Brady fell to fifth overall. More first-round surprises as both Ryan Grant and Tony Romo went early and Peyton Manning, another exhibition season no-show, fell into the second round.

I settled in for the rest of the draft, making sure to get one of the top-four quarterbacks (Drew Brees) along with his primary target Marques Colston. Also on my squad are Calvin Johnson, Anquan Boldin and Torry Holt. Which leaves me the ability to trade with those needing wideout help. I also drafted Zach Miller TE Oakland in the 18th round and I think he could develop into JaMarcus Russell's favorite target, particularly in the red zone.

As discussed in previous articles, I took a few youngsters in hopes of finding a "diamond in the rough." With 20 rounds it would be almost impossible not to, but many owners stick with the known instead of taking a shot at the unknown with a big upside. Therefore, on my roster are: Chris Johnson RB Tennessee, Felix Jones RB Dallas, Pierre Thomas RB New Orleans and Robert Meachem WR New Orleans. And I am hoping the Minnesota Viking's defense will be as advertised.

Now that it's the day after the draft, it's time to evaluate how I did. It's an important process and one which can help you down the road if you are in more than one league, which I suspect many people are.

08/26 09:49:33 ET


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