Can you believe that the NFL Draft is on Thursday? All of us fantasy lifers have been so caught up with the fantasy basketball playoffs and the jumpstart of fantasy baseball that it feels like it snuck up a bit. Now that fantasy basketball is winding down, we can start shifting gears to football.
Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) of Pro Football Focus has been mocking like a mad man and I took part in a couple of them, so we’re going to look at one of them today. Of course, it’s not like these mocks will be the end-all-be-all source for gauging value, but it’s still nice to file into your memory bank which players are going to be the reach-a-round guys. We’ll probably be a little more fast and furious once the depth charts become more concrete and you can bet the rest of the Fake Teams crew and I will have you guys ready for your best season yet.
This was an IDP PPR draft that started even before the Peyton Manning signing. Yes. It. Was. A. S l o w. D r a f t. Let’s check it out after the jump:
Follow @MikeSGallagher Follow me on Twitter during the NFL Draft. I'll be breaking down the picks an their fantasy impact.
The * indicates my pick.
|Rd 1 pick||Player|
Round Recap: Owners will be splitting hairs with their first pick. LeSean McCoy and his 17 touchdowns from last year certainly make sense at the top spot and Arian Foster being such a stud down the stretch speaks volumes. Foster is my guy at one at this moment. Moving on, Ray Rice seems like the no-brainer at three. Matt Forte went four and that certainly won’t be happening again after Michael Bush will join him in the backfield. Not to mention the addition of Brandon Marshall will give Jay Cutler a wonderful red-zone target. My pick at five was Calvin Johnson. Too easy. In a PPR it really helps to have that elite WR and with the elite backs off the board, I’d much rather have a sure thing over a QB or a back with risks.
Well, the end of the first round is going to be a dicey situation, so much so that I’m starting a new paragraph! I might be in the minority on this one, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have Ryan Mathews as my fourth back on my board. The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert and it’s going to be his team. He had 50 receptions last year for 455 yards in only 14 games in a time-share. His upside is as high as anyone’s and there’s not much downside besides the injury risk (assuming SD doesn’t add another back). The other interesting decision for owners is what to do about the elite quarterbacks and tight ends. I’d never thought I’d see the day where not one, but two tight ends go off the board in the first round. It’s certainly justified though. Gronk led the league in receiving touchdowns last year with his 17 and Jimmy Graham was third in receptions with 99 behind Wes Welker and Roddy White. Despite their eye-popping numbers, I just can’t justify grabbing those guys in the first round if you’re in a 12-team league with owners that all know what they’re doing. If you’re drafting in a league that regularly has a handful of owners that aren’t paying attention to sleepers at RB and WR, then it does make more sense. It’s just that I’ve found that the well runs pretty dry around the sixth round and in competitive leagues it can get pretty tough to fight a battle in the running back department in the second half of your draft and during the season. Conversely, if you’re in a league where you always wind up with all the sleepers you want (can I get an invite?), then getting an elite option at tight end does make some sense. For example, if you picked up Michael Bush as a free agent, then you can gamble on Gronk.
Lastly, there’s the quarterback position. Fantasy’s highest-scoring spot on the roster is one of the most interesting it’s ever been. Aaron Rodgers could conceivably go first by some owners (and it’s not a terrible idea) while as many as four quarterbacks could be selected in the first round. We’ll delve more into this situation in a month or so, but right now I have the quarterbacks as Rodgers, Cam, Brady and Brees.
Best Value: Aaron Rodgers
Worst Value: Larry Fitzgerald
|Rd 2 pick||Player|
Round Recap: Chris Johnson is going to be a little cheaper this year. He burned owners by the thousands that opted to take him first overall and he’ll have some draft repellent on him. Second round though? Johnson seems like a better bet than someone like Maurice Jones-Drew, the league’s leading rusher. Run DMC seemed like a steal a bit as well with Michael Bush out of town. The Razorback suffered the dreaded Lisfranc injury and it doesn’t project to be a problem for him. Notable players like Dwight Freeney have suffered Lisfranc injuries and they haven’t been recurring. Although, McFadden does have a laundry list of injuries and it’s not like owners can clearly handcuff him since the depth chart is a little bit messy. Mike Goodson looks like the guy to grab at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taiwan Jones come on strong in the preseason.
Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles both tore their ACLs last year. The main difference is that Charles had a four-month head start on his rehab. Charles is also only 25 and he had that ridiculous 6.1 RPG in 2010. The only concern is Peyton Hills behind him. Yes, the same Hillis that had the disastrous 2011 season. It’s Charles over AD all day for me.
There’s some debate that Hakeem Nicks vs. Victor Cruz. While Cruz proved to be a stud down the stretch last year, the cream rose to the top as Nicks tore it up in the playoffs. Nicks is likely going to be my WR3 this year behind Johnson & Johnson.
Best Value: Chris Johnson
Worst Value: Victor Cruz
|Rd 3 pick||Player|
Round Recap: The Tom Brady pick at the top of the third round certainly won’t happen ever again. This was before the Patriots reeled in Brandon Lloyd and lost BenJarvus Green-Ellis (losing Law Firm not a big deal). Brady also gets his boy back with Josh McDaniels and there’s a very good chance he leads the league in passing scores. It’s worth noting that two of their dream matchups aren’t quite as pretty with Mario Williams now in the fold, but Brady is my number three QB, as mentioned above.
DeMarco Murray was an interesting pick here. He made his ceiling clear as day with the 253-yard eruption against the Rams in October. The third round seems to be a little too high especially with someone like Frank Gore still on the board. I also thought Sproles went a little too soon.
As expected, the WR run went down in the third. The Falcons were the first two, followed by my selection of Mike Wallace, then Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Kenny Britt and Dez Bryant. All those picks seems like they make sense that their spots. As for my Wallace pick, even with the emergence of Antonio Brown, 60 Minutes should still be a lock for great production. I highly doubt the Steelers don't bring him back with the first-round tender placed on him and also no Mendenhall should make them even more pass-happy.
Best Value: Tom Brady
Worst Value: DeMarco Murray
|Rd 4 pick||Player|
Round Recap: Trent Richardson kicked things off and it kind of makes sense. There’s a very good chance he’ll be an RB2 or at worst a great flex. He does have RB1-type upside with the Browns, too. I took Percy Harvin and this was before he announced that he needed shoulder surgery. Despite the Man Purse’s slow start, he finished sixth in receptions with 87 for 967 yards. He’s going to be extremely busy if AD doesn’t heal up on time. The primary issue with Percy will always be his health.
Vincent Jackson goes from the cat-bird seat of San Diego to Tampa Bay. Josh Freeman had an ugly 6.52 YPA, which ranks 26th, and he’s not great at throwing the deep ball. Pass.
Jason Pierre-Paul is a beast. He’s my favorite defensive player and if you’ve followed me on Twitter you’ll often catch me gushing over the USF product. But seriously? Fourth round? Worst pick of the draft so far. Subsequently, Jared Allen went just behind him and that’s the second worst pick in the draft.
Best Value: Trent Richardson
Worst Value: Jason Pierre-Paul
Thanks for reading! Part II will be out in a couple days!