Fantasy: Live-mock simulation at No. 12 slot
Here's a dry run of draft expectations when holding the No. 12 slot in 12-team leagues (standard scoring), working exclusively off a mock draft from Tuesday morning.
One significant caveat:I intentionally drafted elite wideouts in Rounds 1 and 2 (picks 12/13) ... just to get a better handle on the depth at running backs in subsequent rounds — or lack thereof.
This is yet another perk of executing at least one mock per week. Preparation and experimentation breed confidence.
Round 1, Pick 12 overall: Motive — Best overall player
1st option: WR A.J. Green, Bengals
2nd option: WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Rationale: With Calvin Johnson off the board, Green (97 catches, 1,350 yards, 11 TDs last year) possesses the second-greatest combination of track-record excellence ... and tangible upside amongst the super-elite wideouts.
Plus, at this slot, I'll probably end up with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Tailbacks and wideouts are the priorities.
Round 2, Pick 13 overall: Motive — Best overall player
1st option: WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
2nd option: WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
Rationale: Marshall would get the nod in a Points Per Reception draft, but Bryant gets the higher thumbs-up in standard-scoring leagues, thanks to the 10 TDs from Weeks 10-16 last year.
Round 3, Pick 36 overall: Motive — Best running back
1st option: RB David Wilson, Giants
2nd option: RB Reggie Bush, Lions
3rd option: RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
Rationale: Just like the Giants, I'm willing to move heaven and earth to ensure a starting spot for Wilson (six TDs last year in limited action). It's a high-risk venture, but Wilson has the requisite qualities of a franchise fantasy back.
FYI: Randall Cobb, Darren McFadden, Andre Johnson and Percy Harvin were the four picks immediately before No. 36.
Round 4, Pick 37 overall: Motive — Best overall player
1st option: WR Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
2nd option: WR Victor Cruz, Giants
3rd option: WR Marques Colston, Saints
Rationale: Either Cruz, Colston or Jackson (72 catches, 1,384 yards, eight TDs last year) would have been sublime choices at No. 37 — the permanent flex option. But V-Jax takes honors for three reasons:
a. He racked up double-digit targets eight times last season — compared to three for 2010 and '11 combined.
b. Jackson has a doable slate susceptible pass defenses — Saints (twice), Falcons (twice), Lions, Bills, Eagles and Patriots.
c. Since 2008, V-Jax has only had one scoring drought longer than four games (2009); and prior to that production dip, he tallied five TDs in four outings.
Round 5, Pick 60 overall: Motive — Best running back or receiver
1st option: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
2nd option: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts
3rd option: WR James Jones, Packers
Rationale: I understand the new-toy fascination with Gio Bernard, but Green-Ellis is still top dog with the Bengals. For Weeks 11-15 last year — crunch time in fantasy circles — BenJarvus notched per-outing averages of 117 total yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
Round 6, Pick 61 overall: Motive — Best overall player
1st option: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts
2nd option: WR James Jones, Packers
3rd option: WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Rationale: Bradshaw averaged 1,245 total yards and 8.3 touchdowns with the Giants from 2010-12 ... and neither Indy's Vick Ballard, Donald Brown nor Delone Carter can match Bradshaw's capacity for 1,300 total yards in 2013.
Round 7, Pick 84 overall: Motive — Best running back
1st option: RB Mikel Leshoure, Lions
2nd option: RB Johnathan Franklin, Packers
3rd option: RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
Round 8, Pick 85 overall: Motive — Best receiver on the board
1st option: WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts
2nd option: WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
3rd option: WR Miles Austin, Cowboys
Rationale: Of his last 10 games in 2012, the rookie Hilton crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown seven times. And that happened before Hilton became Andrew Luck's favorite target.
Round 9, Pick 108 overall: Motive — Best player (no fear of grabbing RB5)
1st option: RB Fred Jackson, Bills
2nd option: RB Bernard Pierce, Ravens
3rd option: WR Denarius Moore, Raiders
Round 10, Pick 109 overall: Motive — Best overall player
1st option: D/ST Chicago Bears
2nd option: RB Bernard Pierce, Ravens
3rd option: WR Josh Gordon, Browns
Rationale: Ordinarily, I'd wait until Round 13 or 14 to dive into the grab bag of dime-a-dozen defenses. But there's too much depth at quarterback and tight end to reach for someone at this point.
Might as well side with a Bears unit that amassed 20-plus fumble recoveries, 20-plus interceptions, 40-plus sacks and nine D/ST touchdowns last year.
Round 11, Pick 132 overall: Motive — Best quarterback available
1st option: QB Andy Dalton, Bengals
2nd option: QB Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
3rd option: QB Jay Cutler, Bears
Rationale: For what it's worth, I currently have Dalton (3,669 yards passing, 31 TDs last season) ranked 39th overall — a mere 93 slots ahead of this value pick.
Round 12, Pick 133 overall: Motive — Best tight end available
1st option: TE Jermichael Finley, Packers
2nd option: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
3rd option: TE Dustin Keller, Dolphins
Rationale: Any of the above names would have been fine at No. 133, but Finley gets the slight nod based on his proverbial upside within the Packers' prodigious passing offense.
Someone has to account for the vacant receptions/targets previously earmarked for Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.
Round 13, Pick 156 overall: Motive — Best backup tight end
1st option: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
2nd option: TE Dustin Keller, Dolphins
3rd option: TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
Rationale: Pettigrew (59 catches, 567 yards, three TDs last year) has some warts in the fantasy realm. However, of the tight ends still available, Pettigrew is the only one to notch 100-plus targets in each of the last three seasons (2010-12).
Plus, at age 28, he's playing for a new contract ... which should never be underestimated.
Round 14, Pick 157 overall: Motive — Best backup QB (non-bye conflict)
1st option: QB Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
2nd option: QB Jay Cutler, Bears
3rd option: QB Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Rationale: From my vantage point, Freeman's Buccaneers are the only NFL team likely to have 16 ideal-weather games in 2013 — a product of three home games, three dome roadies (Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis) and one southern outdoor outing (Charlotte) in the final seven weeks.
Round 15, Pick 180 overall: Motive — Best kicker available
1st option: PK Alex Henery, Eagles
2nd option: PK Phil Dawson, 49ers
3rd option: PK Shaun Suisham, Steelers
Round 16, Pick 181 overall: Motive — Best receiver with upsides
1st option: WR Aaron Dobson, Patriots
2nd option: WR Greg Little, Browns
3rd option: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings