25 Aug Mocking the Draft: Where Would You Like to Draft? (Part 2 of 2)
Hopefully you took a gander at the first portion of this article (http://thesportscrew.com/mocking-the-draft-where-would-you-like-to-draft-part-1-of-2/) where I did mock drafts from draft slots 1-6. You will notice that these drafts do not include a kicker or a defense, in which I gave reasoning to in the aforementioned first half of this article. Seeing as a lot of commissioner’s are not privy to this type of roster construction that lends its hands to a more skilled fantasy player, I will give you a tip on how to draft those two positions. Wait, wait some more, and wait even more, all the way until your last two picks of the draft until you snag your kicker and defense. Let your league-mates waste their 10th-round draft pick on Seattle’s defense, or an 11th-round draft pick to take Stephen Gostkowski. Obviously it is ideal to take a kicker on a team that has an offense who has no trouble moving the ball up and down the field, which helps create more red-zone or at least field-goal range opportunities.
One of the biggest myths I hear every year is how you should take defenses X, Y, or Z as they have this massive effect on a given fantasy team’s outlook. For instance, last season Denver had the highest scoring defense with 182 total points. If you average that out over 16 weeks it equals 11.4 points-per-week. In week’s 4-17 (with a bye in week 7) they only surpassed that point median three times. THREE TIMES, which means in nine other weeks they were in the single digits, and one week of scoring 11 points. If this does not open your eyes to stream defenses week in and week out, you should then go ahead and draft Denver’s defense in round nine and pass up a high upside WR/RB. Go into your draft looking at defenses that have good match-ups the first few weeks like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tennessee, or Oakland if you do not feel like tinkering with defenses each week. If you, like myself, want to stream weekly dependent on match-ups draft Philadelphia who plays Cleveland in week one, and then pick up whoever plays Cleveland the rest of the season (sorry Dog Pound). With all of this being said thats get back into the meat and potatoes as I break down drafting out of the 7-12 spots in the order.
In the seven-hole I was extremely surprised to see David Johnson still available, so obviously I took that route to begin my draft. With the news of Jordy Nelson finally hitting the practice field I felt comfortable taking him in the second round hoping he can regain the status of being the favorite target of one of the best, if not,
the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers. With some risk built into the Jordy pick I decided to go with a safer more consistent pick in Jarvis Landry in round three. Round four I wanted to go WR again, but none of the players really stuck out to me at that pick, so I decided to bolster my RB2 spot with C.J Anderson. Larry Fitz and Jordan Matthews were available in round five, but I wanted a little bit more upside in my flex spot so Doug Baldwin was my pick hoping to recapture some of that magical run he had the last eight weeks of the season. A player who I consistently ended up rostering in rounds 6-7 was Ryan Mathews who now has the job to himself in Philadelphia. I am aware of the injury concern with him obviously, but he offers the most upside at the RB position that late in the draft in my opinion. Blake Bortles is a QB that I will not end up with on most of my teams because I believe the asking price is too high coming off of a 35 TD season, but I took him here in round seven. The Jaguar’s defense sets up to be much better this year which will limit some of the garbage-time production Jacksonville’s offense benefitted from last season; which is why 35 touchdowns for Bortles seems a little to robust for my taste. You will see that I waited on tight-ends in almost all of my drafts. Dwayne Allen, or who I took in the ninth-round here, Antonio Gates, seem to be the perfect fit in terms of value in waiting that late to fill the TE spot. Other notable picks were: Steve Smith Sr. (11th) coming off horrific injury but was having his best season since 2008 until getting injured, Michael Thomas (12th) probably will have to use a 8-10 pick the closer you get to the regular season as his ADP has risen and continues to do so, Ronnie Hillman (15th) missed on Devantae Booker as CJA’s projected handcuff so took a flier on Hillman keeping that job.
Just to serve the main purpose of this experiment which is to show you the different routeyou can take at a given draft position, I had to start one of these mocks with Gronk. With my early second round pick Jordy and Charles were available, but I decided to go with Freeman. Getting late
to the party (drafting WR/RB) by taking Gronk in the first round, I wanted to hit upon some upside in rounds 2-3. T.Y Hilton played most of last season without Luck, and while I do not think he is fit to be a team’s number one WR in real-life or in fantasy, I decided to take him in the third round as he offers a ton of upside. CJA was available in round four and I will take that value every single time. Larry Fitzgerald gives me some safety at the WR position, and while he may not offer the upside that T.Y does at this point in his career, he does have a higher floor in my opinion. If you believe in your drafting skills and feel that you can build solid depth in the later rounds, than I have no problem with taking a huge chance on Josh Gordon in rounds 6-9. My strategy is to stock WR throughout the draft to give myself solid depth, while creating some trade-chip pieces down the road. Ryan Mathews in round seven again, again, and two more times on Sunday. I will risk being redundant in order to help you win a championship, in saying that he offers the best RB upside at that point in the draft. Do you enjoy finishing in third place? Did not think so, you have to take risks in order to win your league. You do not want to take too many of them obviously, so Josh Gordon and Ryan Mathews is back-to-back picks is about as risky as I will go in the middle rounds, but the dividends in return could be enormous. Notable picks after include: Marvin Jones (8th, report that he isStafford’s favorite target in camp), Carr (11th, Romo was available, but Carr is safer with equal upside), Smallwood (13th, Mathew’s handcuff), Dorsett (14th, like the value regardless, but if Hilton goes down we are all right).
The obsession with Ezekiel Elliott is pretty crazy, but I would have to agree that it is valid. For you and myself I wanted to see what it would look like starting a draft taking him at his ADP in the late first round. He is running behind the best offensive line in the league, one that made Darren McFadden look like the guy we expected him to be when he came out of college several years ago. To further experiment with different routes of roster construction I decided to take another RB in Freeman once again. We know that he stumbled down the stretch last season, but he still did finish as the number one RB in PPR formats. This is too far to wait for WR already in my eyes, but I would not fault somebody who made those two picks. Sammy Watkins offers the amount of upside necessary when you wait until the third round to take a wideout, so he was my third round selection. Continuing the need to fill those WR spots with some upside, the fourth round had me taking Jeremy Maclin coming off of a solid season under the tutelage of Andy Reid once again. Eric “Double” Decker gives me some consistency at the WR position as he is coming off of another double-digit TD season. In the sixth round I took John Brown, who while does not have a high-floor that I wanted in that pick, there were not any other WR that offered the upside that he possesses in the high-powered Arizona offense. What do you know, Ryan Mathews appearing on my squad in the seventh round? It is a rhetorical question at this point as you get my drift. Notable picks after include: Gates (9th), Carr (10th), Travis Bnjamin (11th, Stevie Johnson out for season makes him the number two WR in an offense that projects to throw the ball 600+ times), Michael Thomas (12th), Smallwood (14th, Mathews handcuff, i is not Darren Sproles folks).
To think of how much the first round changes year-in and year-out, it is amazing to see a player (especially at the RB position, who is now over the deadly age of 30) in Adrian Peterson consistently being a top five-ten pick. What is even more amazing is the fact that he has delivered that first-round value pretty much every season besides the one halted by suspension. At pick number ten he was my selection, and while there are flashy more exciting names like Todd Gurley, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, or Lamar Miller, AP arguably has the highest floor (1200 yards, 10+ TD) with a similar ceiling. This is the only other time I started with two RB as I wanted to see what it looked like taking LaVeon Bell in the second round. You will see that I handcuffed him later in the draft, and that you will need to use a late single-digit pick to do so. Nevertheless, it is not the end of the world if somebody snakes him from you late in the draft, you must just build the proper amount of RB depth to supplement the three week absence of Bell. With Jordy back in the pack for Green Bay (see what I did there?), Cobb should look like the player he was two years ago taking advantage of Nelson being double covered. A player I will surely not end up with on any of my real-life teams is Cam Newton, but for the purpose of this article he was my selection in the fourth round. I feel that there is slim-to-none chance that he replicates his 45 TD mark in 2015, and there is just too much value at QB that I like taking in rounds 8-12. Decker was available in round five, who will give consistency like Cobb to fill out my starting WR slots. Thought about taking Josh Gordon in the sixth, but I already am taking on considerable risk with Bell in the second. For that reason, John Brown was my selection in round six followed by again, you guessed it, Ryan Mathews in the seventh. We saw what Deangelo Williams could do in the wake of Bell in the high-powered Pittsburgh offense, so I took him a few rounds earlier than I would had Bell not been on my roster. We know we are going to get at least three games out of him, and Bell has not been a particular clean bill-of-health throughout his early NFL career, so it could be more games if injury occurs. Other notable picks include: Dwayne Allen (10th), Travis Benjamin (12th, ADP is risingto late single digit rounds), Treadwell (14th), Boyd (15th, number two WR in Cincy).
My breakout pick from last season that really paid off in several of my leagues was Allen Robinson. Unfortunately now he has risen all the way to the back-end of the first round in terms of ADP which is a little rich for my blood. In my draft slot number seven piece where I took Bortles in the seventh round I described why the Jacksonville passing attack could take a step back this year. Not that it is impossible, but I would be hard pressed to imagine A-Rob ending up with 14 TD like he did in 2015. Even if he regresses to 10 TD he could end up being a top-20 fantasy player, but I have a hard time taking him at the end of round one. The affinity or “man-crush” if you will that I have for Robinson led to his selection at pick 11 over guys like Dez Bryant or Lamar Miller. The early second round had me taking Keenan Allen who I really like for the 2016 season. He is the favorite target of Phil Rivers on an offense that should throw the ball over 600 times, and he was on pace to tie with the league-leaders in receptions (136) with Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Although Mister Brady will miss the first four weeks of the season, I still like the value of Julian Edelman in the third round who if healthy is pretty much a lock for 100+ receptions. The three WR selections in rounds 1-3 were then followed by all RB in rounds 4-7. Guys who at this point do not need any more explanation from me with C.J Anderson (4th), Demarco Murray (5th), Ryan Mathews (6th), and Jonathon Stewart (7th). Notable selections after were: Marvin Jones (8th), Sterling Shepard (9th, second WR benefitting from single coverage due to OBJ), Dwayne Allen (10th), Phil Rivers (11th), and Charles Clay (14th, usually never take two TE, but Allen has injury concerns).
With pick number 12 featuring the wrap around pick to start round two, I went Dez Bryant and Allen Robinson to really solidify my starting WR slots. In the back end of round three C.J Anderson was still available so he gives me a comfortable start at the RB position. With the wrap around pick I ended up taking Golden Tate and while all the talk coming out of Lion’s camp about Marvin Jones being Stafford’s “favorite target,” I think that is more so coach-speak to make him more confident in acclimating himself to his new offense. With Calvin Johnson now retired, this leaves a ton of targets to go around. Seeing as Tate was already a 90+ reception guy when Megatron was on the field, this leads me to believe there is no way he does not at least finish with that number. In round five my goal was to round out my starting skill positions by filling my last RB spot with Demarco Murray. Devante Parker is not a player that I will be targeting for my actual fantasy rosters, but he does present immense upside with his big and fast frame. Bet you can’t guess who I took in round seven? No, it was not Peyton Manning, none other than Ryan Mathews. Notable picks to finish it out were: Gates (8th, was the second mock done and had not yet realized I could get him a round or two later), Carr (9th, same realization as more mocks were done that he could be had two rounds later), Michael Thomas (10th, he is my Allen Robinson break-out candidate for this season), Boldin (12th, if any injury takes place in the Detroit receiving corps he would have huge opportunity), and Boyd (13th, third favorite rookie WR behind Thomas and Shepard).
That will do it folks, 1-12 starting positions in a PPR, standard roster construction setup. Most seasons I am not a fan of drafting with the first overall pick, but this season is a little different with Antonio Brown being the consensus number one pick offering an incredibly high floor and ceiling. You may then say well then you have to wait a really long time for your next picks, which is a valid point; nevertheless, I feel very comfortable with the combination of players you can get in the late second-early third rounds. I did not love any start more than when I took Brown first overall, and then ended up with Cooks and Hilton in the second and third. My preferred strategy is to start with at least two WR in rounds one and two, and if the draft falls in my favor, I really like starting off with three strong WR. I feel that the value of RB is readily available in rounds 4-8, and can build a solid team with guys like C.J Anderson, Carlos Hyde, Dion Lewis (before injury was perfect candidate), Demarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Jonathon Stewart, Danny Woodhead, Gio Bernard, and even old-timer Frank Gore. The hype train on Fleener has driven him too far up the board for me at about fifth-round ADP, and Ladarius Green is questionable to ever play football again. So with my favorite sleeper TE not available to my disdain, I will most likely wait until the later rounds and target guys like Antonio Gates, Dwayne Allen, or Jared Cook who is now in Green Bay. The quarterback position for me is more widespread in terms of where I will pull the trigger. I do not mind guys like Drew Brees, Big Ben, or Tom Brady (if you get yourself a proper back-up for the first four weeks) in rounds 6-8, but I also do not mind waiting until the double digit rounds where guys like Carr, Rivers, Stafford, Cousins, or Romo are available. If I do not pick in the top three where the “Big Three WR” are taken, I would probably want to draft somewhere in the 9-12 slots. I feel that the value near the end of the first round-early second round is more advantageous than starting off with guys like Gurley, Hopkins, Green who in my opinion all have their blemishes. In conclusion, there are several ways to a championship and the best way to get yourself there is to prepare for any situation, and understand that you do not win your league on draft night. The real magic happens when you begin to work that waiver wire tirelessly all season long. I hope this experiment helped you in some way shape or form, and there is plenty of other great content on The Sports Crew by our talented writers, and don’t forget to check out our Saturday football shows from 1:30-3:00p.m EST.
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