I recently finished my first ever AAF fantasy draft. There were 11 rounds, it got a little testy at the end, and memories came flowing back as I did my research on my potential draftees. Players like Trent Richardson, Bishop Sankey, Shoelace Robinson, and Zac Stacy ruled the board and should rule the first round in every draft.
Though it seems like we’re drafting in 2014 again, we’re not; this draft takes place in 2019, and for the Alliance of American Football instead of the NFL. Players that missed their shot in the NFL are gathering again for a new spring league and a new shot at a football career.
The league I’m in is a six-team league with nine starters and two bench spots. This is a full PPR leagu,e and we did this draft before the 52-man rosters were even announced. We have no depth charts and no guarantee any player will even be on a team, which just furthered the excitement and organic-ness of this type of draft.
We will break down the first three rounds and talk to the fantasy owners that have accepted the ticket to this crazy game about what they think of the whole process.
1.01 – Team Nick (me) – Trent Richardson – RB – Birmingham Iron
1.02 – Team Mike W – Bishop Sankey – RB – San Diego Fleet
1.03 – Team Gator – Denard “Shoelace” Robinson – RB – Atlanta Legends
1.04 – Team Jon – Zac Stacy – RB – Memphis Express
1.05 – Team Mike P – Kenneth Farrow – RB – San Antonio Commanders
1.06 – Team Busch – Akeem Hunt – RB – Orlando Apollos
It was running backs all day in the first round, and I started things off with Trent Richardson. We all remember his 2012 rookie campaign, where he put up 950 yards to go along with 11 touchdowns. But he’s been out of the league since 2014 and is now looking to show he still belongs by tearing up the AAF, which is exactly the reason I drafted him first.
I asked Team Jon if there was anyone particular he was excited about this season. He responded, “My first rounder. Of course, it’s near impossible to gauge the value of these players, but Zac Stacy was one of the few players in the draft pool who had legitimate NFL production. While it was only one year, we go back to Stacy’s rookie year in 2013 with the Rams, as he ran for nearly 1,000 yards while proving his ability as a pass catcher. Now five years later, can he be a top back in the AAF? I think so.”
I asked Team Busch who he was most excited for in the first three rounds. He responded, “For my first three rounds, I’m definitely excited for Akeem Hunt.” He goes on to talk about his second rounder as well, but we will finish this quote in the second round section. The question with most all of these first rounders is how they’ll be coming back from years outside of the league, to face players that may have just it. Will players like Richardson, Sankey, and Robinson still have that elusiveness, or will they each be a shell of what they used to be? We will have to wait and see for that answer, but let’s jump to the second round.
2.01 – Team Busch – Matt Asiata – RB – Salt Lake Stallions
2.02 – Team Mike P – Trey Williams – RB – San Antonio Commanders
2.03 – Team Jon – Branden Oliver – RB – Salt Lake Stallions
2.04 – Team Gator – Daryl Richardson – RB – San Antonio Commanders
2.05 – Team Mike W – Aaron Murray – QB – Atlanta Legends
2.06 – Team Nick (me) – John Crockett – RB – Arizona Hotshots
After completing the second round, we still knew all of the names being drafted, John Crocket and Trey Williams being the least-known of the six. This round was highlighted by Matt Asiata, who totaled 19 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Vikings, along with Branden Oliver, who had a strong rookie campaign in 2014 with four total touchdowns, but who never saw the end zone again in his final three seasons with the Chargers. Aaron Murray is one of the best-known quarterbacks in the AAF and is the first one taken off the board. In this league, quarterbacks will be rewarded with one point every 25 passing yards and six points per passing touchdown.
I asked Team Mike W about his second round pick. He commented, “I’m pumped for Murray to be playing in Atlanta because I expect this league to be an air show. They’ll need ratings their first year. He was my top target.”
This could play out perfectly for Team Wiz who, at this point, has Murray and Sankey. If this league becomes an air-it-out kind of league, Murray could be first-round worthy, so getting him with the second-to-last pick in the second round could prove to be a steal.
I left you with a teaser about Team Busch and his favorite players in the first three rounds. He followed his Akeem Hunt statement with, “As a Vikings fan, I’m pretty pumped for Matt Asiata, although I hope Branden Oliver doesn’t steal too many touches from him. Hopefully, Asiata gets all the goal line carries, at least.”
In this new league, it’s fun to think of the possibilities. Will there be more goal line carries? Will there be a more pronounced goal line back since these aren’t the most elite backs? Will they have more strict roles on their teams? If so, how will that impact your fantasy rosters on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the spring? These are the questions that make an AAF fantasy league so much fun for the true football fan.
With one more round of names that most football fans will know, I’ll quickly go over the third round so we can get an idea of who is remaining in round three.
3.01 – Team Nick (me) – Mekale McKray – WR – San Antonio Commanders
3.02 – Team Mike W – Chris Givens – WR – Memphis Express
3.03 – Team Gator – Stephen Hill – WR – Atlanta Legends
3.04 – Team Jon – Charles Johnson – WR – Orlando Apollos
3.05 – Team Mike P – Dustin Vaughan – QB – San Antonio Commanders
3.06 – Team Busch – Josh Huff – WR – Arizona Hotshots
The third round was fun, as the players we knew well became scarce. These were the remaining guys that were something long ago. Two San Antonio Commanders went off the board in the third round. That made the total number of Commanders drafted in the first three rounds five. They will be looked at to be one of the highest-powered offenses.
I asked the league-mates about their thoughts on the draft process, the website, the AAF, and how excited they are. Here are a few responses I got:
Team Gator said about his draft, “This was fun. It’s the first year, so we don’t know what the offenses will look like. Any pick could be equally as exciting or a let down as the next, which I think is probably the most fun part. No one knows how this will play out.”
Team Mike P expressed about his excitement for a new league, “I’m excited just for more football and for a new line of stars to separate themselves from the pack.”
Team Mike W vocalized about the chances of him watching, “Whether I watch or not will depend on what the product looks like. I’ve been to arena league games and they always seemed like a joke to me. I’m hopeful this level of football will meet expectations.”
Team Jon had a lot to say about the draft process, followed by his viewership, “It’s cool and somewhat nostalgic to see some of these former NFL players and college stars who either didn’t quite pan out or overstayed their welcome. Now we get another chance to project them, albeit at a different level. With nothing to base our selections on, it’s essentially throwing darts, which makes the process mysteriously exciting. In regards to if I’m going to watch it, I was already planning to tune in to the AAF. But now, with some horses in the race, I’ll be sure to make it more of a priority.”
Finally, Team Busch sang the same tune as everyone else about the process and viewing, “This process has been a lot of fun and I hope to continue it into the future. It’s giving me something to look forward to as I sit inside while it’s -50 degrees windchill outside. I may have tuned in once or twice before the draft. This, without a doubt, will make me follow every game.”
So as we gather a few thoughts on the AAF fantasy league, from truly devoted fantasy players, the question you need to ask yourself is whether this sounds fun. If you’ve been wanting more fantasy football, you now have your chance. Don’t be nervous about the players being drafted in the first three rounds and your fragmented knowledge about them. Everyone is in the same boat, but once you get the ball rolling, it’s a lot of fun. I, for one, am excited to be covering the AAF fantasy football world.
*Mandatory Phot Credit: www.AZCentral.com