Fantasy Fox: Mock-draft simulation when holding No. 12 slot
The Fantasy Fox explores the draft expectations/ramifications for fantasy owners when holding the No. 12 slot in a football mock draft -- a standard-scoring exercise that will yield a dominant receiver in Round 1 ... and a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Round 8.
Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas (left -- two-year averages: 1,430 yards, double-digit TDs), Pats QB Tom Brady (middle) and Steelers tailback Le'Veon Bell (right -- 1,259 total yards, 8 TDs) are all top-10 fantasy assets at their respective positions.
Jim O'Connor/Robert Mayer/Jason Bridge / USA TODAY Sports
By Jay Clemons
Here's a dry run of draft expectations when holding the No. 12 slot in 12-team leagues (standard scoring). As our guide, we'll specifically work off an ESPN mock draft from July 25 (16 rounds).
Every mock draft represents an opportunity for experimentation. This one involves waiting until Round 7 -- at the very least -- before landing a top-shelf quarterback.
BREAKDOWN: The wonderfully consistent Thomas has notched at least 92 catches, 141 targets, 1,430 yards and double-digit touchdowns over the last two seasons, cementing his WR ranking behind Calvin Johnson.
It also helps that Thomas (11 double-digit target outings last year, including the playoffs) scored a touchdown in each of his last five games (postseason included).
Which brings us to this: The 11 and 12 draft slots are the ideal windows to splurge for Thomas AND A.J. Green with the first two picks -- assuming you've the mock-drafting legwork.
For executing this bold move ratchets up the pressure on two fronts:
1) Finding four quality tailbacks from Rounds 3-9; and if this isn't accomplished, you won't have the luxury of handcuffing your RB5 to the RB1.
2) Your initial battle plan of taking a quarterback and then a tight end or top-ranked defense in the first 10 rounds has likely gone kaput ... since every important "tweener" decision should be a tailback leap of faith.
Round 2, Pick 13 overall: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: RB Le'Veon Bell, Steelers 2nd option: WR A.J. Green, Bengals 3rd option: QB Drew Brees, Saints BREAKDOWN: At this point in the preseason, Bell is the one tailback I'd prefer over the WR-WR super-tandem of Thomas and Green.
Of his 13 games last year, Bell racked up 88 total yards and/or one TD 11 times, while averaging a reasonable 22.2 touches per outing. For good measure, Bell (45 catches for 408 yards) was one of only 15 backs to collect 65 or more targets for the year.
Round 3, Pick 36 overall: Motive -- Best tailback or receiver
1st option: RB C.J. Spiller, Bills 2nd option: WR Randall Cobb, Packers 3rd option: WR Wes Welker, Broncos BREAKDOWN: Spiller, who has averaged 1,410 total yards over the last two seasons, only averaged 243 touches during that span; and heading into his fifth NFL season, this is the year Spiller hits that elite-level threshold of 275 touches.
On the flip side, it's hard to nail down a concrete Average Draft Position (ADP) figure for Spiller at this time. Some prominent Web sites have pegged C.J. as a top-five tailback for 2014, while others have him as barely a top-60 overall pick for the August drafts.
For now, let's take the middle ground on a potential superstar who finally has an explosive receiving corps in Buffalo (Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham).
Round 4, Pick 37 overall: Motive -- Best tailback or receiver
During the spring, I had Jennings (1,025 total yards, six TDs) ranked as the No. 20 tailback ... but he has the potential to leap another 3-4 slots by mid-August. After all, the new Giants rusher averaged 112 total yards and one TD against the Cowboys, Redskins and Eagles last year.
Round 5, Pick 60 overall: Motive -- Best overall player, too early for a QB
1st option: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings 2nd option: RB Joique Bell, Lions 3rd option: WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers BREAKDOWN: Patterson's reasonably high selection comes on the presumption of double-digit touchdowns in Year 2, through a combination of receiving, rushing and kick-returning scores.
As a rookie, Patterson (45 catches, 469 yards, four TDs) rolled for nine TDs ... without really possessing a full grasp of the Vikings offense.
Round 6, Pick 61 overall: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: RB Stevan Ridley, Patriots 2nd option: RB Joique Bell, Lions 3rd option: RB Bishop Sankey, Titans BREAKDOWN: Ridley (19 total TDs over the last two seasons) tallied all seven of his 2013 scores from Weeks 6-11.
That's great fantasy production for a back who may have finally seen the light on the importance of ball preservation.
Round 7, Pick 84 overall: Motive -- Best receiver with upside
BREAKDOWN: Wright (94 catches, 1,079 yards, two TDs) shall be an easy Round 5 pick for PPR leagues.
On the flip side, Wright (93 targets in his final 10 outings) still must sing for his proverbial supper in standard-scoring leagues.
Round 8, Pick 85 overall: Motive -- Best quarterback or tailback
1st option: QB Tom Brady, Patriots 2nd option: RB Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins 3rd option: RB Toby Gerhart, Jaguars BREAKDOWN:The last time Brady could be had in Round 8, free and clear?
Try the 2007 preseason, when the Patriots QB was coming off a good, but hardly elite-level '06 campaign of 3,529 yards passing and 24 touchdowns.
In '07, Brady (with the help of WR Randy Moss) would pass for 4,806 yards and 50 TDs -- an NFL record at the time.
One more thing: Of tight end Rob Gronkowski's last 20 complete games -- including the playoffs, but excluding the Browns tilt from December (left early with season-ending knee injury) -- the modern-day Brady boasts per-outing averages of 295.8 yards passing.
And during that span, Brady has a scintillating 42/11 TD-INT ratio.
Round 9, Pick 108 overall: Motive -- Best wide receiver
BREAKDOWN: Don't fall asleep on Bowe's rock-solid production at the end of last year:
From Week 9 to the wild-card round, the Chiefs wideout tallied four games of double-digit targets and four touchdowns -- including an eight-catch, 150-yard, one-TD demolition of the Colts during the playoffs.
Round 10, Pick 109 overall: Motive -- Best overall asset
BREAKDOWN: Citing standard-scoring leagues, the Chiefs defense racked up double-digit points eight times last year. By contrast, the Rams -- the No. 2-ranked fantasy defense in most leagues -- only accomplished that feat four times.
Two more reasons to go bold here: Kansas City was a top-7 unit in sacks ... and a group that notched seven defensive TDs last season.
Round 11, Pick 132 overall: Motive -- Best tight end