16 May Dynasty Football Rookie Mock SuperFlex Draft
By: Michael Roban – @FFContrarian
Yes I know what you are thinking, another mock draft! But wait, this one is the very first Fantasy Contrarian mock draft and it will naturally provide you with some alternative viewpoints and insights to help you crush your upcoming rookie drafts. And it wouldn’t be as much fun if I was making all the picks. So we invited a few industry experts to play along. Here is the format – six of us made two picks per round. After each pick we will explain why we made the pick, who else was considered there and you know, what could go wrong? The combination of this information is what will form the basis of your contrarian approach to each pick. In a vacuum of course all of these players will have their merits. The winning approach though is to understand the risks each of them carry and how much risk is appropriate at each pick. Obviously striking out with the 1.01 hurts a heckuva lot more than striking out with your 3.03. Everyone’s appetite for risk is different of course and you might want more upside in your earlier picks.
Here is the rogue’s gallery of industry minds participating in order of selection (which was picked randomly)
- Michael Roban @FFContrarian with theSportsCrew.com
- John Evans – @JohnF_Evans – Dynasty Guru and co-host of the X’s and Y’s Podcast, the His and Hers Guide to Fantasy Football
- The Ghost – @TheFFGhost with DLF, creator of the Orange Report and Orange Juice
- Dave Cherney – @Road Warrior_D – FakePigskin & theSportsCrew.com
- Ron McCleese – @MaddogFF – FakePigskin & theSportsCrew.com
- John Laub – The Gridiron Scholar – @GridironSchol91 with FootballDiehards.com
You can listen to all these great minds break down their picks on this Thursdays edition of the Dynasty Football 101 show..click here.
Pick 1.01: Saquon Barkley.
Why did I make this pick?: First of all, I am the Fantasy Contrarian so naturally I draw the first pick. Yes, I am going with the chalk here. Look, being a contrarian doesn’t mean you are a contrarian for the sake of being different. Barring a trade, there is really no analysis that leads you to any other real conclusion. No reason to overthink it. Make no mistake this is a slam dunk selection.
Who else did I consider here?: Nobody seriously. This is a SuperFlex rookie mock draft so I suppose you could (briefly) toy with the idea of a QB and try to construct a sensible argument. But the bust rate for NFL drafted QBs is about 75% in the first 15 picks and about 50% when you factor in all first round drafted NFL QBs. Barkley is not only the sensible play but also the safest play. If you are in need of a QB and are loaded at RB you certainly can consider moving down. I wouldn’t argue with you too much. But if you keep the pick it is Barkley and I do not think even the most hardcore of contrarian thinker would try to sell you otherwise.
What could possibly go wrong?: I suppose he could be Blair Thomas. While his landing spot is ideal from a utilization standpoint, the Giants are far from a finished product on offense. In PPR leagues Barkley should be gold but remember the Giants still have Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Stewart is a goal line vulture and that Gallman gets more receiving down work than you would ideally like to see. On a positive note, with OBJ, Engram and Sheperd lining up at WR he will not be facing too many 8 in the box scenarios. Which is good because the O Line isn’t exactly top notch at this point.
Pick 1.02 Derrius Guice
Why did you make this pick?: “I’m not over-thinking it with Guice – he’s been Robin to Barkley’s Batman all along, and I still think he’s got a slight edge over Michel, Chubb and Penny, though I have them all in one tier below Barkley. Chris Thompson stepping in on passing downs this year doesn’t mean Guice can’t develop into a three-down back, as he’s shown untapped potential as a pass-catcher. He’s a phenomenal runner who joins what should be a solid offense with a much better line than we saw in an injury-plagued 2017.” – John Evans
Who else did you consider here? “I wouldn’t fault anyone for talking Michel, Chubb or Penny over Guice, and it wouldn’t shock me if any or all of them prove more productive. For me, Michel is the most tempting alternative.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “The character concerns that caused Guice to tumble in the draft might be a harbinger of trouble, and he’s joining one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the NFL. It’s possible this becomes a bad fit that brings out the worst in everyone involved, putting Guice on the outs with his team.” – John Evans
Contrarian Hot Take: Guice’s fall in the NFL Draft has made him almost a contrarian play here. His lack of projection in the passing game makes me nervous at 1.02 though.
Pick 1.03 Nick Chubb
Why did you make this pick?: “Chubb in an amazing running back and his landing in Cleveland looks to be a great spot. Obviously he will need to fight for time early on with Carlos Hyde, but long-term I believe Cleveland has its premier back of the future.” – Ghost
Who else did you consider here?: “Royce Freeman, I love his landing spot in Denver as well. John Laub picked him up three picks later.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: “Carlos Hyde could hold onto his spot longer than I expect him to, or the Browns could realize their receiver s are good, really, really good.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: Chubb has fallen in many drafts due the perception that the landing spot wasn’t great. Many consider him the most complete back in the draft after Barkley (and some even including Barkley). Again, this almost seems a contrarian play taking Chubb here. Talent rules ultimately.
Pick 1.04 Sony Michel
Why did you make this pick?: “This was a bittersweet pick. The upside is his overall talent and potential. His pass catching chops are enticing. Displays above average pass blocking skills which should keep him on the field a good number of total snaps.” – Dave Cherney
Who else did you consider here?: “Rashaad Penny” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong?: “He’s a New England running back. James White is still on the team and has a similar skill set. As a James White Dynasty owner, I have my reservations about this pick. That said, I believe that even if he doesn’t perform to his rookie year expectations, he’ll carry significant draft collateral should I look to move him down the line.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: In a SuperFlex draft you might see the QBs typically going at 1.02 and Michel could quite conceivably fall to you at 1.07-1.09. This screams value pick!
Pick 1.05 Baker Mayfield
Why did you make this pick?: “I drafted Baker Mayfield because this is a SuperFlex Dynasty rookie mock draft and I wanted to lock down the best rookie quarterback in this year’s draft class. Baker deserves to be the first rookie quarterback selected no matter what the format due to his leadership skills, resume, intangibles and prime landing spot. He’ll benefit from a great supporting cast that includes Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and David Njoku. Not to mention the Browns’ have an established running game with Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, and their shiny new toy Nick Chubb. This should help take pressure off the young gunslinger early in his career once he takes over under center. Oh did I mention that he’s also very mobile and will also help score fantasy points with his legs when he tucks and runs.” – Ron
Who else did you consider here?: “I also considered selecting Lamar Jackson here due to his unique dual-threat capability and experience with running pro-style offense in college at Louisville. I’d compare this situation or dilemma to 2012 when Andrew Luck was selected first overall by the Colts followed by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III by the Washington Redskins. The upside RG3 possessed was on full display early in his career as he appeared to be the more valuable fantasy asset but injuries wrecked his career. Luck turned out to be as advertised and proved to be the safer pick in real life and fantasy (Assuming he comes back). In the same vein Lamar Jackson could fall victim to the same storyline as RG3 due to his tendency to run a lot which could lead to injuries down the road.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “Playing Devil’s advocate here Baker Mayfield could spend his first couple years in Cleveland standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard. That is if Tyrod Taylor plays at a high level with his new team and they start winning some games. Regardless Mayfield will be ready to lead the Browns’ offense when the time comes.” – Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: Mayfield is consistently the first QB off the board. I’m drafting Rosen and Lamar Jackson as my first QBs off the board though. Only time will tell who stands at the top of this loaded rookie quarterback class.
Pick 1.06 Royce Freeman
Why did you make this pick?: “The only competition in the Denver backfield is Devontae Booker, and I believe that Freeman is a much better ball carrier.” – John Laub
Who else were you considering here?: “I considered Ronald Jones and Rashaad Penny but took my third-ranked rookie. I could not pass on Freeman.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “The Broncos coaching staff likes Booker, and he opens the season as the starter. The veteran performs well and limits Freeman’s touches.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: It’s aggressive taking Freeman ahead of Penny and RoJo. But if you like the talent no reason to be a slave to ADP. As a Broncos’ fan I’m sure John didn’t draft with his heart here but trusted his scouting report on Freeman while staying true to his personal rookie rankings.
Pick 1.07 Lamar Jackson
Why I made this pick: I’ve watched the tape and done my homework on Lamar Jackson. I’ve read all the varying analysis and come to this conclusion. Lamar Jackson has far and away the highest FANTASY upside or ceiling of any of the QBs in this draft class. I would have taken him at 1.05 before Baker Mayfield so I was thrilled to see him drop here. I like to win at fantasy football therefore I’ll take the quarterback who has more upside than anyone else in the draft.
Who else was I considering?: Josh Rosen to me is technically the best QB in the draft and I would have had no problem taking him here had Jackson gone off the board. Rosen probably will have the longest and best career of all the QBs in this draft if his teammates don’t go Niedermayer on him.
What could go wrong?: Pretty much everything. Outside of Josh Allen he also probably has the lowest floor. The Ravens haven’t exactly been a factory for offensive production in the Harbaugh era and there are no guarantees he develops into a consistent NFL QB. Lack of proven weapons in the passing game could lead to his demise or him becoming the latest highly touted former Heisman Trophy winner to bust at the next level. His downside is RG3 – like but the upside is stratospheric. I’m more than okay accepting that risk at 1.07 given the potential of a massive reward.
Pick 1.08 Rashaad Penny
Why did you make this pick? “Penny has the receiving ability to become a do-it-all back and he’s a greater threat than Guice to go the distance on any given play than Guice. “ – John Evans
Who else were you considering here? “Rosen and Darnold. I wouldn’t take RoJo over them but with Penny’s opportunity and draft pedigree, I consider him a safer bet than the QBs, who have their risk factors to consider.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “Penny is going from a great offensive line to one of the worst, so if he can’t create his own yards – something he didn’t do much of at San Diego State – he could struggle. It may also take him a while to pick up the nuances of the offense and improve his pass protection.” – John Evans
Contrarian Hot Take: This is right about where Penny’s ADP is. The fact that the Seahawks took him in the first round and other teams were trying to trade for him lets you know he is worth the risk of Seattle’s horrible offensive line and potentially bad game scripts.
Pick 1.09 Sam Darnold
Why Did you make This Pick?: “In a 2QB set-up this seems like a very good value. Darnold will take over in a starting role in little to no time.” – Ghost
Who else were you considering?: “Josh Rosen, mainly for the same reasons I ended up drafting Darnold.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: “The Jets could continue to be the Jets and find ways to screw up. They could also fail to add much support around him that would allow him to succeed.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: Again, Rosen gets no respect! I like Darnold but I am convinced the Jets will ruin him. Also see my QB article related to the “2nd QB taken” in QB heavy drafts. Not a great success rate! Things might get Jets-y…
Pick 1.10 Josh Rosen
Why did you make this pick?: “Rosen is my top rated QB in this draft, although he has his well-documented personality flaws. Being a SuperFlex league allowed this to be a no-brainer pick.” – Dave Cherney
Who else did you consider?: “D.J. Moore” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong?: “Sam Bradford staying healthy. Should that unlikely event happen, Rosen will still learn behind the scenes and likely be the starter next year. The Cardinals WR corps are a bit underwhelming yet should look significantly different in 2019.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: Rosen at the 1.10 in a SuperFlex is an absolute steal and we will look back at this draft and wonder how he slid that far.
Pick 1.11 Ronald Jones III
Why did you make this pick?: “I was blown away that Ronald Jones was still available at 1.11. Jones fell for a couple of reasons, first off this was SF mock and four rookie quarterbacks went before him. I’m fine with that due to format but feel strongly that Jones deserved to go ahead of Rashaad Penny and Royce Freeman who have their own warts. Secondly he was a no show at the NFL Combine after tweaking his hamstring while running the 40-yard dash. This situation reminds me a bit of Dalvin Cook last year after bombing his drills at the combine. Dynasty experts starting dropping him in their personal rankings (recency bias) and put too much stock in his underwhelming combine results. Jones joins a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is searching for a lead back to pass the torch to after the departure of Doug Martin. He has no one standing in his way for a monster workload as the lead back for the Bucs. He’s also more than capable of catching the football and staying in the game for the all important 3rd down passing situations. This is a prime example of talent + opportunity = success.” – Ron.
Who else did you consider here?: “I contemplated drafting D.J. Moore and popping the wide receiver seal here but felt strongly that this is the year of the quarterbacks and running backs. No knock on Moore I just envision Ronald Jones making a Kareem Hunt type of impact as the unquestioned lead back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “If Ronald Jones busts it could be due to a few factors. Some have labeled him as a “scat” back or COP back. I don’t agree with this assessment but if the Bucs sign a vet like say DeMarco Murray, Jamaal Charles, or Adrian Peterson they could severely cut into his workload. In addition Jones has been knocked for his lack of involvement in the passing game in college. He did manage 32 receptions during his career at USC and improved in that area each year. This was also the same knock that Leonard Fournette had coming into the NFL last year and he dispelled the theory that he couldn’t be trusted in the passing game by catching 36 balls as a rookie. Lastly some question his ability to stay healthy given a heavy workload. I’m more concerned about the latter but we can’t predict injuries. If you pass on Ronald Jones you could be missing out on the opportunity to own the next Jamaal Charles whom he’s been compared too given his skill set.”– Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: If you like the talent, he is an absolute steal here. Will be fun to see how these backs all pan out.
Pick 1.12 DJ Moore
Why did you make this pick?: “I am a huge fan of D.J. Moore and believe that he is the perfect compliment in the Carolina aerial attack with Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen.” – John Laub
Who else did you consider here?: “Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson looked very tempting here but I chose the home run ability of Moore.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “The rookie is not ready for primetime, and Cam Newton prefers his veteran targets over the freshman.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: Typically you will be able to make a choice between Moore and Kerryon here. I am erring on the side of the RB but Moore should be the safest pick if you are going to take a WR early.
Pick 2.01 Kerryon Johnson
Why did I make this pick? – Kerryon was an easy pick for me to make here. His ADP is right around here and he is usually the last of the top backs off the board. While the Lions haven’t had a top 10 rusher since…um…Barry Sanders (I’ll fact check that) to me that is a fallacious argument. Drafting a badass Center with their first round pick signifies the Lions want to run the ball and Johnson has coveted 3-down back skills. He may not be Zeke Elliot or Le’Veon Bell but he has a chance to be. If the stars align for him he might be the steal of this class at this price point.
Who else did I consider? With only 1 WR off the board I seriously considered taking Ridley or Kirk here knowing I wouldn’t get another bite at that apple. If this was a real draft and I had 1.01 and 2.01, I could easily have talked myself into one of those WRs if I had a pressing need for a WR with Barkley already in tow. But if we are going BPA here (which I like to do in any event) Johnson is the pick.
What could possibly go wrong?: Matt Patricia being a Belichick disciple might translate to him preferring to employ a RBBC. He loves Lagarette Blount and Theo Riddick is an elite pass catching back. That could relegate Johnson, at least in his rookie year, to being the “in between the 20’s guy” with Blount getting the goal line carries and Theo checking in on passing downs. Plus I still harbor delusions that Zach Zenner will emerge as a fantasy RB2. I kid. True story – I used to have Zach Zenner on every dynasty roster. I finally divested myself completely. Last season I ruminated and obsessed for days after I cut him for Aaron Jones. True story.
Pick 2.02 Calvin Ridley
Why did you make this pick?: “He remains the top receiver on my board, and I don’t really understand the negativity about his landing spot. Which of the WRs in this draft could or should step right into a true target-monster role? Being No. 2 (which I think Ridley will be, soon) opposite a stud in a good-to-great passing game is a plum role for a receiver with the talent to take advantage of reduced defensive attention. Ridley is that guy and even as second banana to Julio Jones he could easily score more fantasy points than say, Michael Gallup, even if Gallup gets more targets, as expected.” – John Evans
Who else were you considering here? “Christian Kirk is one guy who has really moved up my board post-draft, but I still tab Ridley first.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “If Atlanta’s offense continues to regress and targets are too evenly distributed amongst Julio’s supporting cast, I could see Ridley’s share being somewhat anemic.” – John Evans.
Contrarian Hot Take: I bristled in my WR article about taking Ridley in the first round but given his excellent landing spot this seems like good value.
Pick 2.03 Christian Kirk
Why did you make this pick?: “After John Brown and Jaron Brown left in free agency, the Cardinals will look to get Kirk on the field immediately. His skills should enable him to become the de facto number two wide receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald.” – Ghost
Who else were you considering?: “Courtland Sutton is a dominate receiver but he also has two absolute studs ahead of him to begin his career. He ended up coming off the board with the next pick to Dave Cherney.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: “Honestly, not a lot, this is a pretty safe pick. The Cardinals may continue to persuade Fitzgerald to stick around a couple of more years, but that is not going to last forever.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: In my WR article this is about where I argued Kirk should go. He grades out like a fantasy WR2 and his landing spot is ideal. I am taking him before Ridley in many drafts and sleeping like a baby after the fact.
Pick 2.04 Courtland Sutton
Why did you make this pick?: “It was close, but I’ve had Sutton ranked over Miller all along and landing spot did not change my mind. I’m in love with his quickness, strength and size. I’ve always believed he was a first round talent and fit the profile of a future WR1.” – Dave Cherney
Who else were you considering here?: “Anthony Miller” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong?: “The path to starting takes a hit as both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are signed through 2019. He will have to stand out early and often to get significant playing time as a rookie.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: There is some risk reward to Sutton – many consider him a project but the opportunity and upside is undeniable. If he busts, I could still live with myself taking him here. If he hits you will have a tremendous value pick and potential WR1 in fantasy at some point.
Pick 2.05 James Washington
Why did you make this pick?: “This was easily my hardest decision or pick in this mock draft. I will explain why later but allow me to defend my pick first. James Washington is built like a running back but is arguably the best deep threat wideout in this year’s rookie draft class (Think rich man’s DeSean Jackson). While he may have benefited from being paired with Mason Rudolph he still deserves credit for being the star playmaker on a loaded Oklahoma State team. His collegiate production speaks for itself and it’s not like he played against cupcake defenses in the BIG 12. I’ll confess that I’m a comp guy to a fault and Washington’s closest comparable on Playerprofiler.com in none other than DeAndre Hopkins. Having Antonio Brown mentor him early on in his career will also aid in his development.” – Ron
Who else did you consider here?: “As I mentioned earlier this was a very hard selection for me since I really do like Anthony Miller and am a huge Chicago Bears fan. I decided to draft the receiver with a higher ceiling in an established offense with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Miller also benefited from playing vs. a lower level of competition in comparison to Washington who did not. I also fell in love with Washington this year after watching him “on the hoof” at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile. I also came away very impressed with how well he interviewed and carried himself. He was the first to bring up his weaknesses and vowed to work hard to improve on expanding his route tree at the next level.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “There are some risks with Washington due to his limited route tree and label as a one-trick pony. This isn’t a huge concern of mine since he’ll benefit from learning from one the best receivers in the league playing alongside Antonio Brown. He’s also joining a very crowded group of pass-catchers in Pittsburgh with Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Le’Veon Bell. Keep in mind that the selection of Washington led to the trade of Martavis Bryant. This should help ease your mind knowing that he can play the MB role minus the attitude and off-field distractions. One thing to keep in mind is that he could play a limited role early on similar to Courtland Sutton so drafting him in Dynasty could require some patience.” – Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: Washington would have a higher ADP if he had been drafted by the Cowboys or even Atlanta. The perception is that his landing spot was less than ideal because of JuJu and Brown. Just keep in mind Juju emerged last year with the same concerns so you can expect Washington should carve out a role immediately.
Pick 2.06 Anthony Miller
Why did you make this pick?: “One of my favorite players in the draft, Anthony Miller lands in an ideal spot with coach Matt Nagy, QB Matt Trubisky and WR Allen Robinson” – John Laub
Who else did you consider here?: “ I took a long look at both WR Michael Gallup and RB Nyheim Hines.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “Anthony Miller is not fully recovered from his injury and ends up sitting out most of his rookie year like Mike Williams and Corey Davis did last year. Another possible scenario is that Mitch Trubisky fails to live up to the high expectations the Bears’ organization and fans have for him.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: I personally love Miller but the analytics give me a little bit of caution taking him ahead of Gallup. If you love analytics then Gallup might have more upside but you just have to love Miller’s game and his landing spot was incredible. He seems a perfect fit for the Bears. I am personally breaking the tie with Gallup on the analytics side but this is nitpicking.
Pick 2.07 Michael Gallup
Why did I make this pick?: Catching the tail end of the WR run here and Gallup is a favorite of mine. If you go back to my WR article you will recall that he was one of the players I highlighted who has a great shot at being a Top 24 PPR WR in his first 3 years. He doesn’t grade out better than the WRs picked ahead of him (other than Miller) but pretty darn close. Given his fantastic landing spot competing with the likes of Terrance Williams and Allen Hurns he has a great chance of early success.
Who else did you consider here?: Mike Gesicki is tempting here. He is the only TE that landed in a great spot. Adam Gase loves using his TEs and with Landry gone you get the sense that Gesicki could have an Engram-esque rookie year. Quite frankly I am not sure why so many in the dynasty community are down on Gesicki. Again, this is one of those spots where if you are in a TE premium league or just starved for a TE I wouldn’t blame you for breaking the tie in favor of the athletic freak from Penn State.
What could possibly go wrong?: None of these WRs are sure things. Gallup was a target and yardage monster at Colorado State. Will his game translate to the NFL? Can he beat press coverage? How will he handle being in a division with some of the most physical corners in the league? I can just as easily see him develop slowly and sit behind Williams for his first year. He could also get outplayed by Cedric Wilson in practice or even Noah Brown and end up a journeyman WR type.
Pick 2.08 Nyheim Hines
Why did you make this pick? “The bullet-fast Hines is a true breakaway threat and plays with a bigger back’s toughness. He has serious upside in an Andrew Luck offense that is in dire need of playmakers to complement T.Y. Hilton.” – John Evans
Who else were you considering here? “Dante Pettis and Mike Gesicki.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “At sub-200 pounds his touch total is capped. Hines is not a natural pass-catcher, he has had fumbling issues, he’s reckless with his body, and his vision needs work. Oh yeah, one other thing – Andrew Luck might not play.” – John Evans
Contrarian Hot Take: For me this is a bit too boom/bust at this point in the draft but if he can run between the tackles and get his fumbling under control the opportunity is there to steal the starting job. He is going to be fun to watch too.
Pick 2.09 Equanimeous St. Brown
Why did you make this pick?: “Look, I know a lot of people are down on Eqanimeous St. Brown after he fell so far in the draft, call me a believe though. St. Brown will view this as a challenge and will be better for it.” – Ghost
Who else were you considering?: “Tre’Quan Smith, I thought I could pick him up on the next pick but that was not to be. He was drafted two picks after me by Ron McCleese.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: “Lots, for as safe as my Kirk pick was, St. Brown could stay buried on the depth chart.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: Hard to go wrong betting on Packer WRs but ESB grades out as a project. Again, a very boom bust pick here. You might be able to get him in the third round but remember his pre-draft ADP was around 2.02.
Pick 2.10 Dallas Goedert
Why did you make this pick?: “Goedert was my top ranked TE coming into the draft. Fluid pass catcher with ideal size to be a red-zone target. I don’t trust TE’s in a Dolphins offense even though Gesicki is equally gifted.” – Dave Cherney
Who else were you considering here?: “Mike Gesicki” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong?: “The 2017 version of Zack Ertz remains. I’m of the belief that both Goedert and Ertz can be high-end producers in the Eagles’ offense, ala Gronk and Hernandez. Prior to last season, Ertz didn’t have more than four touchdown receptions so there should be opportunity.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: Was there a worse landing spot in the draft? If he really is that good you would think the Eagles would start using some 2 TE sets right? Hopefully?
Pick 2.11 – TreQuan Smith
Why did you make this pick?: “I absolutely love the landing spot for Tre’Quan Smith in New Orleans. Playing opposite Michael Thomas means he’ll benefit from the attention MT warrants by opposing defenses. The Saints still love to throw the ball with Drew Brees running the show and Smith is a perfect addition to a depleted group of wide receivers in the Big Easy. Ted Ginn Jr. is no spring chicken and Brandon Coleman is JAG material. Cameron Meredith was signed but can they really depend on him coming back after tearing his ACL? Digging deeper I was blessed with more data on Smith courtesy of PFF this year at the Senior Bowl. Out of all the Senior wideouts that attended the event Smith had the best wide receiver rating (143.0) out of the group. This number equates to the NFL passer rating for a player when targeted. His average depth of target was 15.22 yards which also cements him as a perfect fit in the Saints vertical passing game. Lastly he has a nose for the end zone as a possession receiver hauling in 13 touchdowns last year with UCF. I expect the Saints have big plans for utilizing him in a similar role.” – Ron
Who else did you consider here?: “I thought about selecting my other Senior Bowl crush D.J. Chark here but just trust Brees and the Saints’ high-powered offense over Blake Bortles and a run-heavy Jags offense. Not to mention Chark will have to contend with Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole for snaps from day one.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “If Tre’Quan Smith busts I will have to reevaluate my scouting process and eat some humble pie in the process. Some may say they’re worried that Smith played mostly out of the slot (23.7%) in 2017 and he has yet to prove that he can play outside. I don’t totally agree with this statement but he will need to work on his expanding his route-tree and catching more consistently with his hands to be successful at the next level. If he fails to improve in these areas he will be a limited player at the next level. I’m willing to bet that he does improve in these areas under the guidance of the Saints’ coaching staff and teammates.” – Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: At this point in the draft, taking a flier on a talented WR drafted by Sean Payton seems like a pretty good risk to me. Oh yeah, his analytics scream future fantasy WR2.
Pick 2.12 – Dante Pettis
Why did you make this pick?: “The former Washington star was not high on my pre-draft WR prospect list; however, coach Kyle Shanahan spent a second-round pick on Pettis. I must be open minded and draft value here.” – John Laub
Who else did you consider here?: “I considered tight ends Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “ Pettis cannot separate from press coverage and the 49ers spread the football around in the passing game.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: There are some talent evaluators who rated Pettis the best WR in the draft. And his earlier than expected draft status seems to confirm the NFL agrees. And he landed in a WR friendly offense with a burning need for WR talent. If you can draft Pettis here you would be wise to.
Pick 3.01 – Josh Allen
Why did I make this pick?: – Okay finally I get to be a contrarian! Josh Allen. The guy nobody wants. The guy that Ryan McDowell “gives teams that time out during the auction”. There is no love for Josh Allen. And he was drafted by the Bills. This is where players go to die. Or at least their fantasy value does. So I will happily snatch up (in a SuperFlex mind you) at 3.01 a QB drafted 1.07 in the NFL draft for a team starved for a franchise QB. Have you seen AJ McCarron play QB? No because you are too busy ogling his wife (oh wait, that is Musberger). The truth is that Allen was the BEST QB during the entire draft process. He blew up the combine. He blew up the Senior Bowl. And my contrarian self tells me he is going to make a lot of people feel stupid for passing on him.
Who else did I consider here?: Well Gesicki is still on the board and he was a fleeting consideration but given the value at 3.01 in a SuperFlex I didn’t dwell too long on it. The idea that Mason Rudolph went two picks after tells you everything you need to know (although it isn’t impossible that Rudolph ends up the better NFL and fantasy QB).
What could possibly go wrong?: Now that is funny. Look as much as I love the value here (and in a SuperFlex if Allen falls this far you would be wise to draft him) there is obviously a ton of bust risk. Accuracy (or lack thereof) has been the downfall of many a QB prospects (Mark Sanchez comes to mind). Being a successful QB in the NFL has a lot more to do with ability to process information quickly and delivering the ball accurately. A big arm is a nice asset to have but if you can’t hit a cows ass with a banjo what good is it really? When Jets fans were giddy with the Sanchise I pointed out to some of them that he wasn’t very good. They gave me that puzzled look like “why do you always have to be a hater?” I am not a hater, I process data. And Sanchez had the lowest 3rd down completion percentage of any QB in the league. I am not sure how you win football games consistently when you can’t move the chains on third down. If Allen cannot do that successfully and consistently he is not going to be a starter in the league for very long. But at 3.01 the risk is well worth the potential reward.
Pick 3.02 – Mike Gesicki
Why did you make this pick? “The combination of receiving ability and immediate role make him the TE1 in this class.” – John Evans
Who else were you considering here? “Keke Coutee and Kalen Ballage.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “Tight ends take time to develop, Gesicki is no blocker and Miami is probably one of the five or six offenses most likely to earn “dumpster fire” status this season.” – John Evans.
Contrarian Hot Take: The TEs didn’t get great landing spots outside of Gesicki. He would be my first off the board based on that alone. But he has his skeptics. Still the opportunity is undeniable and this is the 3rd round.
Pick 3.03 Mark Andrews
Why did you make this pick?: “He was my number one tight end coming into the draft. I still view him as an excellent option and I think he will see the field plenty with Baltimore.” – Ghost
Who else were you considering?: “Kalen Ballage, I already hit running back at the top of the draft but the value there was excellent. John Evans sniped him one pick before my last opportunity to grab him.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: – “Andrews could be used as strictly a back up option to Hayden Hurst.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: Many had Andrews as the top pass catching TE in the draft. He is now in a crowded situation with Hayden Hurst. But this makes him an ideal contrarian pick. I am targeting Andrews in the third round in all my drafts especially TE premium.
Pick 3.04 DJ Chark
Why did you make this pick?: “Chark really impressed me at the Senior Bowl. Nice size at 6’3”, 200 pounds along with track speed (4.34 40 yard dash). This allows him to consistently create ample separation out of his breaks. I’m banking on terrible quarterback play at LSU being the reason he wasn’t drafted higher.” – Dave Cherney
Who else were you considering here: “J’Mon Moore” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong? “Jacksonville has a logjam at the WR position with Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole in the mix, so earning significant playing time early in the season will be tough.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: I love Chark’s talent. I am just hoping he doesn’t turn into one of those underperforming guys I have a man-crush on but can’t seem to quit. I hope for the good of all NFL fans this guy is the real deal. Sunday’s will be more fun with Chark catching bombs and busting big plays in the return game a la Tyreek Hill. But we all know, Bortles. He is who we think he is so keep your expectations reasonable.
Pick 3.05 Mason Rudolph
Why did you make this pick?: “Mason Rudolph continues to be overlooked and underrated as evidence of him still being available for my selection at 3.05. Personally I’d take him over Josh Allen due to the landing spot and the arsenal of weapons in the passing game in Pittsburgh. There wasn’t a more accurate deep ball passer in college football in 2017 than Mason Rudolph. Yes he had James Washington and Marcell Ateman but let’s give him some credit here. He put on a clinic at the NFL Combine acing the deep ball quarterback throwing drills to various different wide receivers. Similar to a punter Rudolph has the uncanny ability to loft the ball up and give his receiver the hang time necessary to catch up with the pass and come down with it in stride. This trait should come in handy working with the likes of Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith Schuster and his favorite target at Oklahoma State, James Washington.” – Ron
Who else did you consider here?: “I considered selecting Keke Coutee or Kallen Ballage at this spot but reminded myself this was a SF Dynasty rookie mock draft. In my real-life SF Dynasty rookie drafts I can live with missing out on a Coutee or Ballage if they hit but not missing out on the quarterback who should take over the reins from Big Ben sooner than later. It was a pretty easy decision for me, take the rookie quarterback that landed in an ideal situation who should put up big numbers when the time comes and his number is called.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “Mason Rudolph comes with some risk given the theory that James Washington and Marcell Ateman made him look better than advertised. Even if there is some truth to this he’ll have even better targets in Pittsburgh to make him look even better! He must improve on his short-intermediate accuracy and do a better job at reading his progressions. This could become a real problem for him if he doesn’t work hard to improve in these areas. If so he’s just another journeyman backup who could be quickly replaced by another young gunslinger in next year’s NFL Draft.” – Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: I am not a huge fan of Rudolph’s personally. But in a SuperFlex it is hard to argue with taking him at this point. You might see him go in the late 2nd to an owner who missed out on the early run.
Pick 3.06 J’Mon Moore
Why did you make this pick?: “Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Rodgers. I will always grab a piece of the Green Bay Packers passing game, and Moore is my top prospect among the Packers three rookie wideouts.” – John Laub
Who else did you consider here?: “Texan rookie Keke Coutee and hoped he would drop to pick 3.12. Unfortunately he went off the board next.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “Moore loses the training camp battle to either Equanimeous St. Brown or Marquez Valdes-Scantling and is relegated to the scout team.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: I am with John Laub – I would rather have Moore here than ESB in the 2nd round.
Pick 3.07 Keke Coutee
Why did I make this pick?: Honestly I wasn’t a big fan of Coutee before the draft. His analytics do not scream high volume PPR stud. But his landing spot combined with his freakish athletics are terrific. First of all, he gets a terrific young QB in Watson who has a history of spreading the ball around. He gets to play with Nuk who draws all the top coverage. The only other WR of note is Will Fuller and Coutee has better hands. In fact, Coutee makes tough catches in traffic and has speed to burn. The Texans have been trying to find a slot receiver for years and Braxton Miller has been slow to develop. Coutee could be a star in this offense. And at 3.07 the possibility of this is all you are drafting….just think about his potential.
Who else did I consider here?: – Ballage was really tempting as well. He is definitely an enigmatic player but with obvious physical gifts. I want to make sure he is on at least one of my teams. He definitely has that “What if” factor to him and this is where I would want to make that gamble. But Coutee was the player to me that had a bit less risk and even more upside.
What could possibly go wrong?: He could just be another fast athletic receiver whose game doesn’t translate well enough to the NFL to be impactful on a fantasy basis. He could end up being used more as a gadget player without enough volume to be a productive dynasty asset. I can just as easily see him being a guy that festers on my roster that I try to use as a throw in player for trades because he has no real value on his own. I hate owning players like that. Guys you don’t want to start and have no actual trade value. True roster cloggers.
Pick 3.08 Kalen Ballage
Why did you make this pick? “I’m not sold on Kenyan Drake and Ballage has intriguing “poor man’s David Johnson” potential.” – John Evans
Who else were you considering here? “Antonio Callaway.” – John Evans
What could possibly go wrong? “As a prospect, Ballage has more red flags than a bullfighting ring. Among them: he has shown little as a runner, he never seized the job at Arizona State, and his pass-pro needs a lot of work.” – John Evans
Contrarian Hot Take: Ballage could easily deliver 1st round numbers if he hits. At this point in the draft the upside alone is worth the pick here.
Pick 3.09 Antonio Callaway
Why did you make this pick?: “Tons up upside is Callaway’s calling card. Antonio Callaway fell in the draft due to his off the field nonsense. Since then he has been drafted by the Browns and had Antonio Brown, the top receiver in the NFL, take him under his wing, Josh Gordon is reportedly looking out for him off the field, and rumors are that Cleveland may be looking into trading Corey Coleman. The future is, indeed, bright.” – Ghost
Who else were you considering?: “Jaleel Scott, my guilty pleasure this offseason. He went undrafted in this exercise but you should be on the lookout for him.” – Ghost
What could possibly go wrong?: “Callaway could return to his old habits of finding ways to get into trouble. I really hope that doesn’t happen because there is little else to stop him otherwise.” – Ghost
Contrarian Hot Take: I personally am fading Callaway but I have a sneaking suspicion my words might come back to haunt me. But he grades out more as a player that might not help your fantasy lineups that much – unless you can predict the weeks he goes off. His talent is undeniable but he doesn’t project as a target monster and the off-field stuff pushes him to round 4 – which he will not ever last until. Buyer beware. More of a best ball guy I think.
Pick 3.10 Jaylen Samuels
Why did you make this pick?: “I wanted to go a bit contrarian and take my swiss army knife. A jack of all trades, Samuels will check in as a running back but has played tight end, receiver and fullback. Hoping new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner gets creative with this multi-dimensional player.” – Dave Cherney
Who else were you considering here?: “John Kelly, RB, Los Angeles Rams” – Dave Cherney
What could possibly go wrong?: “The opposite… being a master of none. Having such a diverse skillset while not dominating one could be viewed as a detriment if he doesn’t come out of the gate strong. If so we could witness the Steelers draft a RB high next year signaling how they feel about Samuels long term.” – Dave Cherney
Contrarian Hot Take: I love his tape and have a feeling the Steelers will find a way to utilize him. Sneaky good pick here.
Pick 3.11 Kyle Lauletta:
Why did you made this pick?: “I’m not keeping count but I believe this was my third and final quarterback selected in this SF Dynasty rookie mock draft. Maybe I put a bigger emphasis on drafting quarterbacks in this the year of the rookie quarterbacks which could be true in my case. I couldn’t pass up the chance to select one of the small school standouts from my trip to the Senior Bowl this year. Kyle Lauletta blew me away with his hard work ethic at practice and followed it up with the biggest performance of the week in Mobile by walking away with the MVP trophy. Let’s not forget that a few years ago Dak Prescott took home the same award in Mobile and we all know how that ended. Maybe just maybe I’m a fan of the underdog and Kyle Lauletta is the poster boy for this year’s crop of rookies if that was a category. Hailing from a small school in Richmond and not benefiting from playing in a Power Five conference kept Kyle Lauletta flying under the radar. It’s safe to say the secret is out on him now and the Giants decided to address other pressing needs early preferring to wait until the fourth round to select Lauletta. The aging Eli Manning is a shell of his former self and behind him is Davis Webb and a whole lot of nothing. This is prime landing spot for one this year’s biggest rookie sleepers.” – Ron
Who else did you consider here?: “Had I decided not to go the quarterback route with my last pick I would have either selected Jaleel Scott or Cedrick Wilson. They were both two standouts from my week on the ground in Mobile this year at the Senior Bowl. And I know a pretty darn smart Dynasty analyst named Ghost who also admires Scott. I really like the mid-third and fourth round rookie wide receivers available this year and think they make excellent lottery tickets. With all the talk about quarterbacks and running backs it’s easy to overlook a very deep and talented group of rookie wide receivers. They may be very raw and have warts but they also have untapped potential if they can develop. I know I’m in the minority here but that’s fine by me.” – Ron
What could possibly go wrong?: “Well this one is easy if Kyle Lauletta fails to succeed at the next level it will be mostly due to the Giants coaching staff or lack therefore of great coaching to help him develop. It could also be due to the possibility that Lauletta fails to prove that he can accurately throw the deep ball consistently which could put him in the Ryan Tannehill archetype at the position. No one wants to be in that category but I see a small-school diamond in the rough who will work his ass off to be the successor to Eli Manning. Think of the work ethic of Peyton Manning because I see those traits in Lauletta.” – Ron
Contrarian Hot Take: Lauletta is my favorite late round QB flier in a SuperFlex. If you have the roster space (or even better a taxi squad spot) he is worth trading up for and stashing at this point in the draft.
Pick 3.12 Jordan Wilkins
Why did you make this pick?: “There is no clear-cut goal line power back on the Indianapolis Colts depth chart and I liked Jordan’s film at Ole Miss.” – John Laub
Who else did you consider here?: “I ranked Colts WR Deon Cain #9 pre-draft and looked forward to drafting him in all my Dynasty and keeper leagues drafts this summer.” – John Laub
What could possibly go wrong?: “Marlon Mack becomes a fantasy star, and Nyheim Hines excels as a third-down game breaker leaving Wilkins without a meaningful role. If this happens he’s a practice squad or scout team player at best.” – John Laub
Contrarian Hot Take: I’ll admit, I knew nothing about this player before the NFL draft. But sometimes you just have to look at a depth chart to recognize opportunity and value. The talent evaluations have been pretty solid from that community as well. Count me in.