Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2.0

Before you venture further, make note of the date – July 17.

The NFL may be a year-round entity, but in the fantasy football world, July 17 is embryonic. Don’t believe me? Ryan Mathews is still healthy. THAT early.

Subsequently, if some of these picks look slightly amiss, no need to blow up the comment section on the collective idiocy of the draftees. Trust me, we’re fully aware of our ineptness as human beings, but grabbing Eddie Lacy in the sixth round is not the stimulus for this condition. Let’s allow training camp and position battles to run their course before condemning these choices.

Round 1
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) Adrian Peterson Min RB
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Arian Foster Hou RB
3 Harris (Football Diehards) Doug Martin TB RB
4 McFadden (MSN) Ray Rice Bal RB
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Jamaal Charles KC RB
6 Donnelly (Twitter) Marshawn Lynch Sea RB
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Alfred Morris Was RB
8 Jones (FOX Sports) C.J. Spiller Buf RB
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) Trent Richardson Cle RB
10 Bales (DC Times) LeSean McCoy Phi RB
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Aaron Rodgers GB QB
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Maurice Jones-Drew Jac RB

Round 1

Eleven of the 12 picks, including the first 10, went the running back route, so yeah, I’d say that position went at a premium. I know backfield committees have consigned a priority on securing heavy-workload rushers early and often, though this urgency was over-the-top (one could say even more over-the-top than Over the Top), evidenced in Aaron Rodgers slipping to the 11th slot and Calvin Johnson going in the second round. In most standard formats, these two playmakers should be off the board by No. 10.

Personally, not especially bullish on C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson or LeSean McCoy, yet I wouldn’t classify these selections as blatant missteps, either. Aside from Rodgers’ precipitous fall, fairly straightforward round.

Round 2
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Jimmy Graham NO TE
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Calvin Johnson Det WR
3 Bales (DC Times) Steven Jackson Atl RB
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Drew Brees NO QB
5 Jones (FOX Sports) Stevan Ridley NE RB
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) Brandon Marshall Chi WR
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Chris Johnson Ten RB
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Matt Forte Chi RB
9 McFadden (MSN) A.J. Green Cin WR
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Dez Bryant Dal WR
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Demaryius Thomas Den WR
12 Puig (RotoWire) Larry Fitzgerald Ari WR
Round 3
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) DeMarco Murray Dal RB
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Julio Jones Atl WR
3 Harris (Football Diehards} Andre Johnson Hou WR
4 McFadden (MSN) Frank Gore SF RB
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Peyton Manning Den QB
6 Donnelly (Twitter) Darren McFadden Oak RB
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Vincent Jackson TB WR
8 Jones (FOX Sports) Tom Brady NE QB
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) Reggie Bush Det RB
10 Bales (DC Times) Roddy White Atl WR
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Darren Sproles NO RB
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Victor Cruz NYG WR

Rounds 2-3

Normally, receiver is the easiest position to find viable assets in later rounds. That didn’t stop our panel from taking six wideouts in Round 2, highlighted by Megatron (No. 14) and Brandon Marshall (No. 18). You can talk me into A.J. Green and Dez Bryant at this juncture, but Demaryius Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald were reaches.

The latter’s stock also illustrates how much faith owners have in Carson Palmer rejuvenating Fitzgerald. I know the perennial Pro Bowler suffered at the hands of Arizona’s quarterback trio from hell (John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley) last season and Palmer averaged over 270 yards per game in his Oakland stint. However, it’s 2013, not 2005, as poor Palmer is a shell of his former self. While a reduced version of Palmer is still an upgrade over his predecessors (although one could make the case that even Jonathon Moxon would have been an upgrade), the variance of improvement is not vast enough to justify this standing for Fitzgerald.

Round 3 saw the names of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady called. Along with Rodgers and Drew Brees (who went in the second), that brings our fantasy field general total to a whopping…four. In our first Mock Draft in May, Ryan Fowler remarked that managers could wait in regard to quarterbacks. Perhaps it won’t be this severe in the majority of drafts, but clearly this sentiment is holding true.

Round 4
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Cam Newton Car QB
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Lamar Miller Mia RB
3 Bales (DC Times) David Wilson NYG RB
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Reggie Wayne Ind WR
5 Jones (FOX Sports) Percy Harvin Sea WR
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) Montee Ball Den RB
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Hakeem Nicks NYG WR
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Wes Welker Den WR
9 McFadden (MSN) Randall Cobb GB WR
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Le’Veon Bell Pit RB
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Chris Ivory NYJ RB
12 Puig (RotoWire) Vernon Davis SF TE
Round 5
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) Ahmad Bradshaw Ind RB
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Matt Ryan Atl QB
3 Harris (Football Diehards} Rashard Mendenhall Ari RB
4 McFadden (MSN) Marques Colston NO WR
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Jason Witten Dal TE
6 Donnelly (Twitter) Matthew Stafford Det QB
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Ryan Mathews SD RB
8 Jones (FOX Sports) Jordy Nelson GB WR
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) Mike Wallace Mia WR
10 Bales (DC Times) Rob Gronkowski NE TE
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Dwayne Bowe KC WR
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Eric Decker Den WR

Rounds 4-5

Chris Ivory went in the fourth round…and I’d call it a good pick. That’s where we are with running backs in 2013.

The ever-astute John Halpin snagged fantastic value with Cam Newton in the fourth. The Carolina QB is erratic, sure, and the lack of competence in the Panthers’ receiving corps is unsettling. Nevertheless, Newton’s ingenuity in the air and on the ground gives him the capability to finish as the No. 1 overall fantasy performer. Not bad for the 37th pick.

If you’re not familiar with the name “Le’Veon Bell” you better get acquainted. The Michigan State product led college football in yards after contact and enters camp atop the Steelers depth chart. Usually I’m suspicious selecting rookies in the early rounds, and Pittsburgh’s offense is more air driven than years past. All the same, Bell should get the heavy allotment of touches in the Steel City, and could be the Doug Martin of this year’s draft.

Finally, keep an eye on Jason Witten. New England’s ambiguity at tight end opens a gap between Jimmy Graham and the rest of the position, as other recognizable names all have varying asterisks: Tony Gonzalez’s age; Vernon Davis’ struggles when Colin Kaepernick took over the San Francisco reins; Kyle Rudolph dealing with Christian Ponder. All, that is, except Witten, who remains the primary target in the pass-happy Dallas offense. Witten is coming off a career-high 110 receptions, and the rapport between he and Tony Romo is arguably the best connection in the game. Circle Witten as a possible fourth-round haul.

Round 6
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Steve Smith Car WR
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Eddie Lacy GB RB
3 Bales (DC Times) Torrey Smith Bal WR
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Tony Gonzalez Atl TE
5 Jones (FOX Sports) BenJarvus Green-Ellis Cin RB
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) James Jones GB WR
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Miles Austin Dal WR
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Danny Amendola NE WR
9 McFadden (MSN) Robert Griffin III Was QB
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Danario Alexander SD WR
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Giovani Bernard Cin RB
12 Puig (RotoWire) Josh Gordon Cle WR
Round 7
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) Russell Wilson Sea QB
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Stevie Johnson Buf WR
3 Harris (Football Diehards} Mark Ingram NO RB
4 McFadden (MSN) Daryl Richardson StL RB
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Vick Ballard Ind RB
6 Donnelly (Twitter) DeSean Jackson Phi WR
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Dennis Pitta Bal TE
8 Jones (FOX Sports) Colin Kaepernick SF QB
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) Greg Jennings Min WR
10 Bales (DC Times) Cecil Shorts Jac WR
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Kyle Rudolph Min TE
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Andre Brown NYG RB
Round 8
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Isaiah Pead StL RB
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Antonio Brown Pit WR
3 Bales (DC Times) Andrew Luck Ind QB
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Fred Jackson Buf RB
5 Jones (FOX Sports) Mike Williams TB WR
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) Jay Cutler Chi QB
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Antonio Gates SD TE
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Pierre Garcon Was WR
9 McFadden (MSN) Jeremy Maclin Phi WR
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Tony Romo Dal QB
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Shane Vereen NE RB
12 Puig (RotoWire) Tavon Austin StL WR

Rounds 6-8

I’m of the mindset that Robert Griffin III will be ready to roll Week 1. Keeping that outlook, love the RG3 pick in Round 6. His terrain excursions may be limited, but he should continue to light up fantasy box scores this fall. Moreover, with the abundance of serviceable arms, pairing the Washington quarterback with the likes of a Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning or Josh Freeman gives owners a sound insurance policy.

Lot of inflated merchandise in this stage: Giovani Bernard, Josh Gordon, Antonio Gates, Shane Vereen. Good possibility that, had these respected owners not made their elections, all these players would have been available in Rounds 9 and 10. Bernard is especially a reach, as he’ll likely be the second option in Cincinnati this season. Granted, BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ lackluster performance in 2012 (3.9 yards per carry, wasn’t a factor in the passing attack) has designated Bernard with growing attention from the fantasy community. However, coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, the Bengals offense is hardly a fledgling unit, meaning the Law Firm will get the bulk of time while Bernard becomes assimilated into the professional ranks. Put Bernard on the backburner until the final rounds.

Round 9
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) DeAngelo Williams Car RB
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Martellus Bennett Chi TE
3 Harris (Football Diehards} Lance Moore NO WR
4 McFadden (MSN) Eli Manning NYG QB
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) T.Y. Hilton Ind WR
6 Donnelly (Twitter) Seattle Sea D/ST
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Denver Den D/ST
8 Jones (FOX Sports) San Francisco SF D/ST
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) DeAndre Hopkins Hou WR
10 Bales (DC Times) Bryce Brown Phi RB
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Anquan Boldin SF WR
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Jonathan Stewart Car RB
Round 10
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Kenny Britt Ten WR
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Jermaine Gresham Cin TE
3 Bales (DC Times) Denarius Moore Oak WR
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Shonn Greene Ten RB
5 Jones (FOX Sports) Jared Cook StL TE
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) Bernard Pierce Bal RB
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Jacquizz Rodgers Atl RB
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Brandon Myers NYG TE
9 McFadden (MSN) Greg Olsen Car TE
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Jermichael Finley GB TE
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Mikel Leshoure Det RB
12 Puig (RotoWire) Ben Tate Hou RB
Round 11
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Puig (RotoWire) Justin Blackmon Jac WR
2 Saraf (FOX Sports) Sidney Rice Sea WR
3 Harris (Football Diehards} Darrius Heyward-Bey Ind WR
4 McFadden (MSN) Danny Woodhead SD RB
5 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Alshon Jeffery Chi WR
6 Donnelly (Twitter) Pierre Thomas NO RB
7 Meyer (FOX Sports) Brian Hartline Mia WR
8 Jones (FOX Sports) Ronnie Hillman Den RB
9 Fowler (FOX Sports) Rashad Jennings Oak RB
10 Bales (DC Times) Chris Givens StL WR
11 Beall (FOX Sports) Kendall Hunter SF RB
12 Halpin (FOX Sports) Emmanuel Sanders Pit WR
Round 12
Pick Owner Player Team Pos
1 Halpin (FOX Sports) Knowshon Moreno Den RB
2 Beall (FOX Sports) Ryan Williams Ari RB
3 Bales (DC Times) Michael Floyd Ari WR
4 Fowler (FOX Sports) Vincent Brown SD WR
5 Jones (FOX Sports) Mohamed Sanu Cin WR
6 Meyer (FOX Sports) Brandon Lloyd NE WR
7 Donnelly (Twitter) Andy Dalton Cin QB
8 Westrich (WhatIfSports) Ben Roethlisberger Pit QB
9 McFadden (MSN) Michael Bush Chi RB
10 Harris (Football Diehards} Carson Palmer Ari QB
11 Saraf (FOX Sports) Atlanta Atl D/ST
12 Puig (RotoWire) Ryan Broyles Det WR

Rounds 9-12

The pragmatic strategy concerning defenses is waiting until the penultimate round to make your vote. Hence, seeing three defenses off the board in Round 9 was a bigger miscast than Jamie Foxx as President in White House Down. (Right? Require more regality from my POTUS than the same cat who was chopping fools down in Django Unchained. I guess what I’m saying is…we need more President Whitmore in our lives.)

Brandon Lloyd was a risky pick, as, even with the turbulence in Foxborough, it’s unlikely the 32-year-old returns as a Patriot. Anquan Boldin, currently the No. 1 wideout in San Francisco, was a good snatch in the ninth, as was Ryan Broyles in Round 12. Also fond of Ben Tate in the tenth. Arian Foster had a league-leading 351 attempts last year and over 950 rushes the past three campaigns. At some point, the man is going to wear down. And with one of the best fronts in football paving the way, Tate is the best backup/handcuff attainable.

The rest

Let’s see, the usual spread of kickers, defenses, backup running backs, Michael Vick…wait, what? Is the conviction in Vick and Chip Kelly that low? At this phase of the draft, you’re not necessarily looking for final pieces of your team, but interchangeable gambles. With the little risk that’s involved with this pick, seizing Vick this late is a bargain, my friend.

But enough of my rambles. Here’s our panel weighing in on their selections…

Ryan Fowler Assessment

After drafting Peyton Manning with the eighth-overall pick during our first mock draft, I embraced the truth and realized RB/RB was the right way to go in future {mock} drafts.

Yaaa, about that.

My draft strategy didn’t change much considering the fact I had the ninth pick overall this time, but my fellow owners definitely switched up their approach. After selecting Trent Richardson in the first round, Drew Brees, a former top-six pick, was sitting there on the bounce back in the second round. I toyed with the notion of drafting Steven Jackson and DeMarco Murray before taking Brees. He’s going to throw for 5,000 yards and somewhere between 37-45 touchdowns. Bottom line: he will impact my team in a positive way more often than S-Jax and DeMarco would week-to-week.

As for the rest of my starters, I’m content with Reggie Bush, Reggie Wayne, Mike Wallace, Tony Gonzalez, Greg Jennings in the FLEX. My bench is full of fantasy clichés such as “upside, opportunity and Mike Vick in the 13th Round as a backup quarterback.” But I’m most interested in following Fred Jackson during training camp and on into the preseason to learn if he’s been completely forgotten in Buffalo or if he and Spiller can continue to share that roll.

John Halpin Assessment

I picked 12th, and wasn’t able to grab my preferred running backs (McCoy, Charles, Spiller, Richardson, Rice) beyond the usual top three. I had to get one back, and the best available was Maurice Jones-Drew, who should be fine. I nabbed Jimmy Graham with pick No. 13, giving myself an clear weekly edge at tight end. I’ll take Graham every time if he’s available from that spot forward, unless a big RB slips.

I veered from my usual wait-on-a-quarterback strategy by picking Cam Newton (my second-ranked QB) with the first pick of Round 4, and the experiment was a failure. My running backs after MJD are Andre Brown, Isaiah Pead and Jonathan Stewart, all of whom come with plenty of risk. Also, I noticed that QBs Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Tony Romo were all available when my turn came for Rounds 5 and 6. I’d have been better off grabbing David Wilson, Montee Ball, Lamar Miller, LeVeon Bell or Chris Ivory with my fourth pick, and waiting for one of the strong low-end QB1s to fall into my lap later.

My receiving corps of Victor Cruz, Eric Decker, Steve Smith, Kenny Britt and Emmanuel Sanders appears strong, and I think Newton will have a terrific season. However, I confirmed something I’ve thought for a few months: If you don’t have two solid running backs locked up in the first four rounds – or maybe even the first three – you’re taking a big risk.

Adam Meyer Assessment

1st pick – Alfred Morris, WASH: In the 1.0 mock draft, I had the luxury of drafting Doug Martin with the 9th overall pick. Wasn’t so luck in the second mock draft. I knew going into the draft I wanted to take an RB with my first pick. When the time came, I quickly narrowed my choices to: C.J. Spiller, LeSean McCoy, and Alfred Morris. If I went by the running back rankings, Spiller would be the move. However, I can’t shake the fact that Buffalo still doesn’t know who will start at QB and Fred Jackson is always looming in the shadows. The closer we get to the start of the NFL season, the more we hear about Robert Griffin III leading Washington onto the field. If that’s the case, AlMo’s stock rises even higher. Hence, the Alfred Morris selection.

4th round pick – Montee Ball, DEN: There were numerous WR options at this point, but I already added Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson. We’ve already determined that the RB talent pool is shallow, so I went with the best running back available. I’ve followed Montee Ball’s career ever since he earned some playing time behind John Clay at Wisconsin. Ball is legit. I can’t wait to see what he does at the professional level, with a Hall of Fame quarterback. Ball has the potential to be a solid RB2 even though he’s in a passing offense. In case things fall through, I also drafted Ryan Mathews.

8th round pick – Jay Cutler, CHI: This is probably the longest I’ve waited to draft a quarterback in a league. It’s no secret that the NFL is currently going through a pass-happy trend. Though I believe Drew Brees with have yet another record-breaking season, I knew Jay Cutler would fall in this draft. On the fantasy football section, you can find the gallery I posted regarding the "double dipping" option of drafting a QB and WR on the same team to earn big points when they connect. After I picked up Brandon Marshall with my second round selection, I knew Cutler would be the guy to lead my team. I probably could have waited until the 9th or 10th round, but I didn’t want to take the chance. Josh Freeman was my second-to-last draft pick, to tandem with V-Jax.

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