17 Aug Mocking the Draft: Where Would You Like to Draft? (Part 1 of 2)
When football season rolls around, and we start to get geared up about our fantasy leagues, one of the biggest conundrums when visualizing the route you will take on draft day is which draft slot you will pick from. As ADP (average draft position) start to develop throughout the industry, we start to question: well who will I pick if I get pick X in the first round? If I pick near the end of the draft, which two players makes for a nice combo to start my team? If I get first overall pick, and then have to wait 20-something picks for my second player who will be left?
Well, luckily for all of you reading this, I did an experiment to help answer all of those questions among others as well. Using the very useful site fantasypros.com, they allow you to do mock drafts of any roster construction and at any position you desire. So the experiment went as follows: PPR (point per reception) scoring, roster construction (start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 7-8 bench spots), and then drafting from each starting position 1-12. I decided to leave out defense and kicker because those positions are, or should I say, by the wayside for fantasy leagues. How many times have you lost by four points because your opponent had Tampa Bay’s defense who put up 28 points, or they had Ryan Succop who scored all of the teams 18 points that Sunday? Well I digress, let’s get right into it so you can get a feel for what you may see during draft day, and when you can expect to draft all of these players. We will start with drafting out of the one hole, then on to two, three, and all the way through 12. Enjoy.
Well obviously with the first overall pick I went with Antonio Brown, especially because it is a PPR, but even in a standard scoring league he should be going first overall. Last season he tied for the league lead in receptions with Julio Jones at 136, on 195 targets to go along with 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. All of those stats were compiled with Big Ben only playing 12 games. If Ben can stay on the field for all 16 games this year, which is a big IF considering he has only done so three times in his 12-year career, Brown will break all of the reception and yardage records held in the NFL. If you read my article on the zero RB theory, you will be aware of my affinity for the WR position especially with the RB position being so volatile the past few years. On my wrap around picks in rounds 2-3, I was elated to see Cooks and Hilton on the board, so now I have set an elite foundation of three stud WR. There are a few RB I love to grab in round four to start my RB core and you will see them as we move forward, but for this draft I was able to land Carlos Hyde. Although the 49ers will be pretty awful this year, he is the only guy in town for a team that projects to run a ton of plays under Chip Kelly in San Fransisco. Demarco Murray is a guy that once was the number one RB in fantasy before taking his talents to Philadelphia. He now is playing for a team on the rise in Tennessee, and he should see the bulk of the carries as the only other guy vying for touches is rookie Derrick Henry. My first five picks were all pretty much guaranteed reliable weekly starters which allowed me to take some risks on my next wrap around decision. Two players facing four-game suspensions in Josh Gordon and Tom Brady were my next selections. At one point in time Josh Gordon had the best ten game stretch anybody has ever seen from that position. While it is asinine to think he can come back and replicate the same success after being out of the league for so long, he could be that jolt to your roster and a type of player that can win you a week, and take you to a championship. We all know what Brady can do, and will continue to do once he serves his four-game suspension for DeflateGate, so I supplemented his absence with Derek Carr to start the season who I was able to get in round 11. If you want to go out and get Brady, Carr is my favorite QB to back him up with as he has a wonderful first four game schedule (NO, ATL, TEN, BAL) with the talents to take advantage of and deliver QB1 type numbers for you. My round 8-9 wrap around featured Kevin White and Rashad Jennings. With my first three picks being solid WR that I can ride week-in and week-out, White is a player with extreme upside and although he has not played a snap in the NFL yet, if he turns out to return on his top-ten worthy talent, than we have ourselves a great situation. You can either have yourself another stud wideout to play match-ups every week, or you have a nice trade asset on your hands that you can liquidize into a championship. Jennings fits in as a bye-week fill-in, unless injuries strike Hyde or Murray, but at the end of the season the Giants finally realized he was their best back and gave him the reigns in the final four contests and he returned RB1-2 numbers. Round 11 was Carr as we discussed, with the wrap around pick being another bye-week/injury replacement RB in Karlos Williams. Here we have another player that will miss four games due to suspension, but isstill listed as the number two RB on the depth chart behind McCoy, and coming off a rookie season in which he finished ninth in the league with seven touchdowns at the RB position. My last two picks featured two flier-type WR who offer nothing but upside for the 2016 season. Phillip Dorsett had a disappointing rookie season for the Colts as their first-round draft pick, but profiles to have a much better season acclimating to this offense. We have to remember that Andrew Luck played injured while he was on the field, and missed a good portion of it too. With Andre Johnson gone now, Dorsett will be much more involved as the word is the Colts will be running a ton of three-receiver formations. Phillip is one of my favorite upside picks in the end of the draft, much like the WR I drafted right after him in Tyler Boyd of the Bengals. The rookie WR will step right in as the Bengals number two WR with Sanu and Jones moving on to different teams. Tyler Eifert is coming into the season injured and may miss some time. Even with Eifert on the field he is a red-zone target much more than one to rack up targets and receptions. With A.J Green being the super-star WR of this team, Boyd should see plenty of work and do not see any way veteran Brandon LaFell beats him out of that role seeing as he has so many drops, I am surprised he did not drop the pen when signing his contract with the Bengals.
From here on out I am not going to give you the long dictation over every pick that was made and the whole logic behind it, because it would become redundant and waste a lot of your time.
So drafting out of the two-hole I started my draft with Odell Beckham Jr., and the tie-breaker between he and Julio is OBJ’s touchdown numbers come at far better clip than Julio’s. My second pick 21 selections later I was happy to take Amari Cooper and bolster my WR1 and WR2, which is my ultimate preferred start in any PPR draft. Decided to take Ingram in the third on my wrap around pick, and was delighted to see Dion Lewis waiting for me in the fourth round. Both are excellent RB for PPR because of their ability to catch 50+ balls. This draft and the next one I decided to take a QB early (Luck in the fifth), and it was just to give you an idea of what your team would end up looking like not waiting on QB like I prefer to do. From there it went: R. Mathews, J. Gordon, Parker, Gates, Wheaton, M. Thomas, Smallwood, Dorsett, Ferguson, and Doctson. Notable picks include Gates in the tenth round where I seem to have found the most value in TE with him or Dwayne Allen. Smallwood is a handcuff for the injury prone Mathews. Michael Thomas and Phillip Dorsett are names you’ll see plenty in this article as they are two young WR that are in a nice situation and fall pretty late in each draft.
Starting in draft-slot number three OBJ was there for me so we start off with him again. Jeffery and Hilton then complete my wrap around type picks in the second and third. Love, love, love starting with those stud WR to place them in my WR1-2 and flex positions and sleep like a baby. Forte gave me the comfort at my RB1 in the forth round after starting off with three strong WR. Then the aforementioned Andrew Luck made it on this team pairing with Hilton, while not loving the other guys sitting there in the fifth round at that selection. Ryan Mathews is one that will appear on a lot of these mocks as he now has the job all to himself, and coming out of college had all of the talent in the world but could not stay healthy in San Diego. Last year he had moments where he showcased that talent and looked far better than Demarco Murray so getting him in the sixth and seventh rounds I believe will be an absolute steal if he stays healthy (which yes I am aware is a big IF), but taking risks in the later rounds is how you win championships. J-Stew was taken in the seventh round as I could not pass up a RB that saw 20 touches in each game last season until he got injured near the end, and will have the same roll this season. Notable picks after include Gates in the ninth, Kirk Cousins in the 11th in case a Luck injury occurs, and Michael Thomas again shows up late on my team. This feels to be one of the most complete teams I assembled with depth at every position besides TE.
With the big three WR off the board sitting at the number four draft slot, I took the guy I feel is the safest, while obtaining one of the highest ceilings of any player this season, and that is David Johnson. Receiver was the obvious choice of where I was going next and while Alshon Jeffery was available, Mike Evans ended up being my pick. The availability while still offering a nice floor and solid upside was the tiebreaker over the injury riddled past of Jeffery. With QB concerns in Denver I still believe Demaryius Thomas is a lock for 95+ receptions, and I feel was a little bit safer the Sammy Watkins or the often-injured Edelman who were still available. Hyde was available in the fourth round, and is my second favorite back with a fourth round ADP behind CJ Anderson. Moncrief is a high-upside WR3 that is often available in the fifth round and will compete with Ryan Mathews who I selected in the next round for my flex position. Other notable selections were: Arian Foster (7th), Carr (10th), Zach Miller (13th), and Dorsett (Moncrief handcuff, 14th).
The fifth position kicked off with Deandre Hopkins, who has a more solidified QB situation in Houston and could be in for another monster year. Brandon Marshall was a no-brainer for me in the second round as he was a model of WR1 consistency last season. The third round I decided to take Sammy Watkins who will round out my starting WR slot with incredibly high upside. Another RB I love to see in the fourth round is Dion Lewis who was a PPR monster before getting injured for New England last season. He was a bit of an unknown commodity heading into last season, and the absence of Brady for the first four games I believe will only enhance his value as the Patriots will rely more on their RB. Another PPR monster was available in round five, in Danny Woodhead who finished with 81 receptions in 2015. Rounds 6-8 I feel are sort of dead spots lacking a ton of players I really love, so I often take upside risks with those picks. That is exactly what happened in this draft as I went Big Big, Josh Gordon, and Arian Foster in those respective rounds. Other notable picks include: Martellus Bennett (10th), Blount (Lewis handcuff 11th), and Cousins (13th).
The sixth position was probably one of my least favorite draft positions, and while in real-life I probably would have taken David Johnson, I wanted to differentiate the look and took AJ Green. With Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu moving on to new teams, AJ Green should see a boat-load of targets. One move that I feel is overlooked was offensive coordinator Hugh Jackson leaving take the Head Coaching position in Cleveland, which I believe will have a negative effect on Cincinnati’s offensive production all around. Jamaal Charles was a nice grab in the second round coming off another major knee injury, but has shown in the past that he can bounce back in a huge fashion. While PPR monster Jarvis Landry was available in the next round, I decided to go with more upside in Sammy Watkins. CJ Anderson was there for me in the fourth round and is one of the aforementioned RB I love to take in that spot, which is why I will take almost every time if he’s available. Demarco Murray is in a new offense, behind another great offensive line in Tennessee, hoping he can recapture some of the magic he displayed in Dallas. Other notable picks included: Josh Gordon (6th), Stewart (7th), Dwayne Allen (10th), Carr (11th), Spencer Ware (Charles handcuff 13th), and Hillman (possible handcuff for Anderson 15th).
Stay tuned for part two of Mocking the Draft coming soon!
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