Editor's Note: Recenlty
members of the FFToday Board completed their annual June Mock draft.
This mock will be played out in a best ball format, in a league
with no transactions, no free agent pickups, no trades in season...
properly named the "No-Hassle League." View the
round-by-round results. Below is the commissioner's analysis
of each team.
Analysis: After Antonio Brown got
picked first in this draft last year, we returned to the reality
of RBs going first and fast beginning with Bell as the opening pick.
The story of this team is how loaded it is at all positions sans
quarterback, where Wonder has to hope that his uninspiring duo of
Carson Palmer and Tyrod Taylor holds up. Wonder grabbed a proven
group of WRs led by the veteran Doug Baldwin and one of the most
intriguing picks of the draft in Brandin Cooks (more on that in
a moment). This team could suffer at the RB position early aside
from Bell as Doug Martin will be suspended and Joe Mixon isn't guaranteed
the starting job. However, that concern should turn into a strength
as early as October and could make this team formidable, particularly
if guys like Stefon Diggs and Willie Snead progress this upcoming
season. Tight ends will also be a strength with two projected top-ten
guys holding down the position. All in all, this is a team with
upside, but there are risks around every corner with the QBs, Mixon,
and Cooks all representing that reality.
Key to No-Hassle Success: The quarterback
duo of Palmer and Taylor must at least be top 8 for this team to
compete for a league championship. Mixon's development is also a
key piece, although I suspect Martin's return will ease that need
a bit and give the team a nice 1-2-3 punch at the position. Cooks,
as noted above, is probably the biggest key as he could explode
into being a top-5 player or struggle to find his way in an offense
with established weapons. If RB and TE end up being the strength
of this team, as I would suspect, it's just a matter of the other
positions not sucking the team downward. Palmer staying upright
is a big gamble, as he's tiff and immobile at this point in his
career but he could surprise if his health holds.
Favorite pick: I thought Jordan Reed
slid too far in this draft. Given his rapport with Kirk Cousins,
he should never have lasted until the fifth round. I love the way
his selection gives this team another elite weapon to go along with
Bell and potentially, Cooks.
Least Favorite pick: Both Baldwin
and Stefon Diggs seemed to be selected a little early for my taste.
Baldwin has certainly proved his mettle over the past two seasons,
but he's wildly inconsistent from week to week. Diggs bears a near
identical resemblance to WRs that were taken several rounds after
Overall outlook: All three owners
who picked at the top of this draft are going to be instant contenders.
Getting Bell, Johnson, or Elliott makes that happen unless you blow
every pick afterwards and Wonder did not do that. There are gambles
contained within this draft and the cast is pretty soft in spots,
but the upside is also undeniable. Cooks and Mixon represent that
upside in a major way and if both turn out to be as good as many
think they will in their new roles, Wonder has got one heckuva team
on his hands. On the other hand, if he's 10-15 points worse than
other teams most weeks from the QB position, that's a problem. Overall,
this team is no sure thing, but they could be dynamic if things
Analysis: Having to enter a draft four rounds in is tricky as the
first three picks weren't necessarily players that you even liked.
That being said, Mike put together a fairly eclectic group that
includes both upside/risky picks like Martavis Bryant, Paul Perkins,
and Rob Kelley and more conservative, steady picks like Mark Ingram
and Julian Edelman. Like Wonder, he waited on selecting his first
quarterback until nearly eight rounds were in the books, but came
out with a decent pair of signal-callers to go along with firepower
elsewhere. Though it was Rice's call and not Mike's, this is the
Gronkowski team. We all know what that means. Gronk was never going
to make it through two rounds without being picked and any team
with him on it carries that burden as he can make or break a team
like few other players can. There are also massive question marks
at WR - Can Demaryius Thomas bounce back from his worst season as
a pro? What will Martavis Bryant look like and can he avoid suspension?
What will Julian Edelman's role be with Brandin Cooks now onboard?
Good questions all. This team is a mystery, but capable of a great
Key to No-Hassle Success: Gronk's production is the no-brainer.
If he ends up as the No.1 TE, this team should be successful as
David Johnson is going to get his...and then some. The questions
regarding the wide receiver position were noted above, but in addition
to Gronk, the other key to success might be the development of a
trio of young RBs. Paul Perkins and Rob Kelley showed flashes last
season, but represent largely unproven commodities. Marlon Mack
has no track record to speak of, but could find himself thrust into
duty with the only RB in front of him being one of oldest skill
position players in the league. Again, a team led by David Johnson
isn't going to flop- Johnson is too good, but this team has many
questions to answer and it truly does begin and end with Gronk.
Favorite pick: Kind of a cop-out, but am I allowed to say David
Johnson? I think he's far and away the best player in fantasy
football this season and getting him just puts a team into contention
instantly. I also thought Rob Kelley was a good value in the 9th
round given that there are running lanes to be exploited in Washington.
Least Favorite pick: Rounds 3-5 weren't picks that I would have
made personally. I thought Thomas was mostly awful last season
and Mark Ingram has to contend with Adrian Peterson at his position-
something that could prove difficult if Peterson is healthy. Finally,
I thought Bryant was a bit of a reach, but understand the reasoning.
Overall outlook: Both of these first two teams are simply very
difficult to handicap. They're full of guys with potential, some
explosive in nature, but there are just so many unknowns to consider.
If all cylinders fired on this team, it would be quite a unit
with potentially the top RB and TE in football residing on the
roster. Apart from that, Mike just needs one RB and one WR selected
beyond the first five rounds to be a hit. Guys like Perkins, Cameron
Meredith, and Jeremy Maclin could all make key contributions as
they all figure to be top options on their respective teams. So,
it is with some reservation that I declare this team to be a contender.
Mike did a nice job transitioning them into being his team over
the course of the draft.
Analysis: Remote was the last to grab one of the "Big Three"
at the RB position, but then his strategy veered off the path
as he took a QB with his next pick. Any QB taken early has to
be a sure thing or else it weakens other parts of the roster significantly,
but I think Brady fits comfortably into the sure things category.
For me, this team got a little funky after the first two picks,
but part of that comes from my feelings about the next five picks.
Eddie Lacy and Frank Gore are a bit scary as a complementary package
to Elliott and Adams as a lead WR is a questionable move at best.
Still, when remote reminded us of Adams's stats from last season,
the pick made more sense to me. The tight ends are solid as the
overall depth, so I guess one's opinion of the group comes down
to whether or not you think Adams can repeat last season's numbers
and how you feel about Lacy. Going RB-QB in the first two rounds
is always going to insure that you have a slightly weaker WR corps
than the norm and that appears to be the case here. Can remote
get mileage out of Lacy and Gore? That is the question.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Elliott is too talented to slump in
his sophomore season, especially behind a stellar offensive line
and Brady has new weapons, so the building blocks for this team
are in place. Adams to me would/should have been a No.2 WR rather
than a WR1 and it feels like this team has no real first or second
tier guy at that position. As such, Adams is more the key to the
team's success than Lacy as Remote wisely took the time to handcuff
him. Grabbing two Lions receivers was also a smart move as it's
almost a guarantee that one of the two (Ebron, Jones) will get
the targets necessary for good numbers. Adams needs to justify
the faith that Remote has placed in him. If he does, this team
is going to turn out OK.
Favorite pick: I really thought Remote stole Eric Ebron. It seemed
like he went late for a guy with his kind of upside. The Prescott
pick was good, too. He was more of a game manager in year one
of his career, but I could see Dallas turning him loose this year
allowing him to exceed current fantasy expectations.
Least Favorite pick: Adams, Lacy, Moncrief, and Gore. Not that
any of those picks can't be justified- I just have Lacy and Gore
on my "do not draft" list and Adams and Moncrief are
"second fiddle" guys behind Jordy Nelson and T.Y. Hilton.
Both have excellent QBs throwing them the ball, but there are
other mouths to be fed.
Overall outlook: I'll say for a third and last time. Drafting
in positions 1-3 means you're getting a good foundation to build
on. I guess I'm lukewarm about what was added to that foundation.
The fact that we're talking risk/reward for the third straight
team review really underscores the uncertainty that goes along
with the sport this year. After all, no one knows what Lacy is
going to do or whether or not Adams will be the Adams of 2016
or 2015? I think Remote has a shot at contention with this group
for sure, but he'll need some good things to happen with guys
who have some serious downside. In the end, I suspect it balances
out and this team will be middle-of-the-pack.
Analysis: And now we come to our defending champion who simply
blew out the competition last year wire-to-wire for a number of
reasons. The fascinating sequel to that effort includes the selection
of two rookie RBs in the first four rounds and no less than five
Tennessee Titans on the roster. I don't think ICE planned that
out in advance. The confidence placed in both Leonard Fournette
and Christian McCaffrey suggests that ICE believes this to be
a special class of top-tier RBs. DeMarco Murray certainly appeared
to have plenty of gas left in the tank last season, so whether
or not Fournette and McCaffrey develop quickly matters a great
deal to the success of this team. Going RB-heavy and then taking
QB and TE in the 5th and 6th rounds left his WR corps thin behind
Antonio Brown and that could be a position where points do not
easily come in the fall. Some of that concern could be lessened
by Eric Decker landing in a good spot. Only time will tell on
that front. ICE is truly rolling the dice with this draft beyond
the safety of his first two picks. It's a fascinating experiment
to be sure.
Key to No-Hassle Success: No need to get cute here by trying to
find something subtle. It's all about the rookie RBs. ICE doesn't
need both guys to meet his expectations, but he does need one
to do so. In some ways, the Fournette selection is made safer
by the addition of McCaffrey a round later. And, much like Remote
did, you've got multiple players chosen from a team as pass catchers,
which almost insures that one will be successful unless something
happens to Marcus Mariota. This is a team, despite the risk, that
contains plenty of checks and balances. It also contains stability
at QB with Matt Ryan- a fact that is sometimes overlooked in the
shadow of other positions (like RB and WR).
Favorite pick: DeMarco Murray slid too far. He's no longer a sexy
pick, but he probably should be given the resurgence we witnessed
last year. Getting a RB of his quality after nabbing the top WR
off the board in Round 1 makes this team formidable.
Least Favorite pick: I thought Jamison Crowder was taken awfully
early considering Washington has Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Reed
to feed as well. Now, if Reed were to get hurt as he sometimes
does, Crowder would be the primary beneficiary. Still, as a No.2
WR, I think he leaves something to be desired.
Overall outlook: Again, it's going to be very difficult to handicap
a team who is basing so much on the success of multiple guys who
have never taken an NFL snap. But, it does feel like ICE has hedged
his bets well with the selection of multiple raw talents and handcuffs
for those talents. In the end, it's hard not to like what this
team brings to the table assuming there is at least moderate production
from WRs on the team not named Brown. Can you imagine how good
this team will be if both Fournette and McCaffrey finish in the
top ten? Brown, Murray, and Ryan are an excellent triplet set
and anything that piles on top of that could push this team deep
in the direction of a title defense. Good stuff.
Analysis: Remarkably, this team
looks like a blend of the previous two teams analyzed. Like Remote,
Shovel decided that taking a "sure thing" quarterback
was worth it and chose Aaron Rodgers to be the guy. Then, like
ICE, he added a rookie RB early opting for Dalvin Cook in the
4th round. The difference between Shovel and ICE came later on,
though, as Shovel did not address the tight end position until
much later so he could stockpile more players at the more "prominent"
positions. And, aside from Cook, this was a fairly conservative
draft with far more veterans chosen than younger players. What
does all that mean? Well, Shovel's group has less upside as guys
like Fitzgerald and Randall Cobb aren't likely to have break-out
years. But, there's also less risk with this team than any of
the others, even with Cook factored in. Sure, Abdullah carries
some risk coming off a year of injury, but he's backed up by veterans
at the position. Finally, as is his custom, Shovel picked three
Bengals for his team but I suppose that's no big deal considering
ICE took five (six with Decker) from the Titans.
Key to No-Hassle Success: With far
less upside than other teams, the key to success is simply staying
healthy. Rodgers will be a top-3 QB. Lamar Miller will finish
somewhere between No.8 and No.14 at the RB position. And, Larry
Fitzgerald and Randall Cobb will put up unspectacular, but ultimately
predictable numbers in conjunction with the parade of points that
Julio Jones brings to the table. Sure, Cook could enhance all
of this predictability, but he's not vital by any means. I will
say that Shovel's tight ends need to do something. The roles for
Cook and Njoku are up in the air and I don't know that either
will make him happy that he passed on the position for so long.
Favorite pick: If early reviews
are accurate, Ameer Abdullah could be the steal of the draft in
the 7th round. Granted, reports in June only carry so much weight
but Abdullah is in position to succeed in a big way. If both he
and Cook were to exceed expectations, this team could be super.
Least Favorite pick: I think Randall
Cobb's days of being worthy of a pick in the first six rounds
is over. He went too early and I thought there were several QBs
than better than Andy Dalton still available when "Big Red"
was taken. Neither pick was terrible, certainly, but neither inspired
me all that much.
Overall outlook: This will be a
steady team from my perspective, scoring-wise. They won't be a
top scoring team very often from week to week, if at all. However,
their veteran presence will supply them with consistency and prevent
those bottomed-out weeks that can kill a season. Health is the
primary concern as is the ability to get a few big-time performances
out of Cook or Abdullah. The late round picks here concern me
too, as guys like Beasley, Bernard, and Ginn really aren't built
for solid, even explosive production. They don't offer up a very
good Plan B if the main stars were to falter. I like this team,
but I'm not intrigued by them as much as some others.
Analysis: We come to the first drafter
who went WR-WR in the first two rounds. While it left Robb a little
undernourished at the RB position, it's a worthy strategy given
that WR is the only position in which we start three players.
Robb proceeded to include depth that featured No.1 WRs (Enunwa,
Woods) on bad passing teams (Jets, Rams) and young/unproven, but
talented RBs (Williams, Williams). The neglected position was
tight end, but several owners in this draft don't put a high emphasis
on that position and while that is a bit risky, it's not tremendously
so. As a whole, this team is balanced, but is relying on several
guys who faltered last season to return to past form - Todd Gurley,
DeAndre Hopkins, and Kelvin Benjamin. From a best ball format,
you've got to love what Robb did with his quarterback selections.
He chose two third-year QBs who are still on their way up, both
in terms of NFL worth and fantasy production. If that trajectory
continues, he may get production that easily out-distances draft
position. There is a lot to like here for sure.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Carlos
Hyde needs to stay healthy to keep the running game from tanking.
Hyde has generally been productive in his career when his health
doesn't fail him, but he's hurt a lot. Robb’s team can't
afford injuries at that position with little guaranteed beyond
Gurley. Even Gurley is no sure thing after last year and the same
goes for Hopkins and Benjamin. This would have been an incredible
2016 draft with Gurley, Beckham, and Hopkins leading the way,
but two of those three were among the biggest disappointments
of the 2016 season.
Favorite pick: I really liked the
value picks of Gurley and Winston. I'm not convinced Gurley will
be able to duplicate his rookie season anytime soon, but mid-third
round seems like an awful long way for him to fall given the volume
of carries he is likely to receive. I just love the QB duo (Winston,
Mariota) on this team. Both should complement each other well.
Least Favorite pick: I liked nearly
all of Robb's picks. I thought Bilal Powell went a tad early and
I didn't like that he waited so long to address the TE position,
but that's kind of nit-picking. This draft was a nice blend of
proven talent and guys with upside.
Overall outlook: I like what Robb
did in this draft for the most part, but the running game could
be his undoing...or he could be above average at the position.
When you don't address that position this year until the third
round, there's going to be some anxiety present. I think the collection
of players here is good enough for this team to contend, but WR
depth is also an issue from the standpoint of three of the five
guys on the roster playing alongside either awful or rookie QBs.
This team could be in the tank if the problems noted can't be
overcome, but if Gurley, Hyde, and Hopkins play to their potential,
this is also a team worth watching.
Analysis: From a stylistic standpoint,
Matt has always done things his own way. His picks often defy
convention and this year was no different once the no-brainer
selection of Mike Evans was over and done. There are certainly
very few things to feel comfortable about beyond Evans, aside
from Russell Wilson, who was a big-time steal late in Round 7.
Jay Ajayi is more than capable of justifying his draft position,
but his break-out 2016 season was more about a couple of huge
games than consistent production. Alshon Jeffery is on a new team
and it's unclear what his role will be with Carson Wentz having
already developed rapport with other targets. Keenan Allen and
Ty Montgomery are also big unknowns with Allen trying to stay
healthy for a change and Montgomery trying to continue to re-invent
himself as a running back. Matt took a lot of gambles down the
stretch including several rookie picks at RB and QB. The WR depth
likewise, is completely unproven. The potential is there for this
team, but it was a draft of gambles galore.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Goodness.
Where do we start? Evans is going to be fine. He's a man among
boys at WR more weeks than not. It's all about picks two through
five. Matt needs two of those four to be very, very good. Whether
that's Ajayi and Montgomery giving him a stellar rushing attack
or maybe Jeffery and Allen getting back to past form and staying
healthy, this team will rise or fall on those four picks. There
is such an injury history with both Jeffery and Allen that I think
their health is likely the biggest need/concern/key for this group.
Both are tremendous talents. Some of the unproven depth on this
team also needs to shine through at some point during the season.
Favorite pick: Easily Russell Wilson
late in Round 7. For some reason, fantasy owners tend to shy away
from Wilson in drafts - probably because he's prone to slow starts.
I also really liked the late grab of Austin Hooper. He looks like
a player ready to take a major step forward.
Least Favorite pick: I thought TE
Zach Ertz was taken awfully early. I know Ertz finished the year
strong last season, but he might have been on the board two rounds
later. Also, Ty Montgomery is off my radar this year. I don't
think he's a long-term solution for Green Bay at RB, but I could
Overall outlook: There are a number
of things that need to happen in order for this team to contend.
I wouldn't want a team this void of certainty, but Matt has drafted
these kinds of units before and they typically have finished towards
the middle of the league standings - no small feat in a league
with so many experienced drafters. So, the best we can say here
is that the outlook is truly unclear. Nearly all of the players
on this roster come with upside and there's something to be said
for that. But, you also need studs and this team could turn out
to be Mike Evans and a bunch of so-so producers. All in all, kudos
to Matt for doing it his own way.
Analysis: This is a team of fairly
profound strengths and weaknesses with an overall product that
has just as much uncertainty as nearly everyone else in this draft.
The strengths of this team are clearly QB and WR along with a
top-3 tight end. Not unusual for me, I chose a second QB in the
first half of the draft when Ben Roethlisberger fell well past
where I thought his value lay. Together with Brees, there is no
better QB duo coming out of this draft. The WRs on this team are
potentially explosive, but also potentially injured much of the
time. No one disputes the upside/potential of Dez Bryant and Sammy
Watkins as a pair - plenty dispute their ability to stay healthy.
The obvious pure weakness for this team is at RB as once LeSean
McCoy was selected, the position wasn't addressed again until
Round 9. None of the RBs sans McCoy is guaranteed to even be a
periodic producer, but having both Kenneth Dixon and Danny Woodhead
of the Ravens should help with point totals some. The strengths
of this team don't necessarily overshadow its primary weakness,
but they do give it an identity.
Key to No-Hassle Success: This is
pretty easy. LeSean McCoy must stay healthy. You can get away
with having lesser RBs when your No.1 guy is living up to expectations
and playing every single week. Without McCoy, this team is going
to fall far below average in terms of production from the position.
Another key is the health of Bryant and Watkins, but also the
development of DeVante Parker. Emmanuel Sanders was picked to
give the team someone safe to fall back on but Parker has far
greater upside. If Parker can join Bryant and Watkins with respect
to explosive scoring weeks, this team has the ability to lead
the league in scoring multiple times in 2017.
Favorite pick: I was happy to get
both Greg Olsen and Roethlisberger when I did as they are proven
commodities who can anchor this team and give the higher upside
guys a chance to propel the team to lofty heights. I also felt
that Parker and Thielen were good values at the WR position.
Least Favorite pick: There were
two. First, Dez Bryant is getting drafted on potential these days
rather than production and I would have loved for Jordy Nelson
to fall one more spot. Also, I wasn't thrilled with my second
tight end (Zach Miller). I should have drafted Thomas Rawls instead
of Miller late in the game.
Overall outlook: There is potential
for this team to be great. The production at QB, WR, and TE should
be among the league's leaders. But there is no team that can afford
injury like this one as if McCoy were to be lost for a long period
of time, there will be suffering. Health affects all teams in
the No-Hassle format, but some are built to weather injuries better
than others. This is not one of those teams. If you haven't noticed,
a clear-cut favorite for this season hasn't been named yet and
for good reason. This is just another team with potential, but
also flaws that could be easily exposed.
Analysis: Another longtime drafter who foregoes the selection
of a QB until much later in the draft so the heart of his roster
can be stockpiled with talent at other positions. The question
then becomes: How good is the talent that was stockpiled? Is this
a veteran team or a team with younger, less proven upside? The
first question is hard to answer as the team's foundation is a
guy who had a very disappointing rookie season followed up by
a very surprising sophomore surge. Melvin Gordon is that guy and
there is no certainty about who he'll be this year. That is not
the case with second pick Jordy Nelson, who is one of the safest
picks in all of fantasy football.
The trend of risky vs. safe continued with V4E's next two picks
of Isaiah Crowell and Jarvis Landry. Beyond that, the V4E chose
a mix of veterans and young players to round out the roster with
the QB position being left in the hands of Kirk Cousins and Carson
Wentz. Cousins is generally underrated in fantasy circles and
Wentz could take a big leap forward this year making the wait
at QB worth it for Vikes. Sixteen solid, sensible picks here.
Key to No-Hassle Success: While I'm not nearly as high on Brandon
Marshall, I think his receiving corps is generally one of the
most stable units in all the league.. and I think his quarterback
duo will turn out to be as asset. So, it really just comes down
to what sort of running game develops with this team. If Gordon
and Crowell turn out to be top-10 guys at their position, this
should be a top-5 team in the league. An injury to DeMarco Murray
would further propel this team forward as Derrick Henry would
almost certainly be a top-10 rusher with Murray out for any length
of time. Can this backfield get it done? There's little doubt
that the answer to that question is paramount to the team's success.
Favorite pick: I think Jordy Nelson should be a late first-round
pick, so Vikes getting him 16 picks into the draft was one of
the biggest steals of the whole draft. I also loved the Jimmy
Graham and Derrick Henry picks in Rounds 5 and 7.
Least Favorite pick: I mentioned it above, but I think Vikes is
overvaluing Brandon Marshall. With Beckham and Shepard around
and rookie Evan Engram working his way into the mix, I just don't
think Marshall will see anywhere near enough volume to warrant
a sixth round selection. I also didn't see much upside with Vikes'
picks over the last eight rounds.
Overall outlook: I generally find this team to be well-balanced.
With most of the teams in this draft, there are definitely easily
identifiable pitfalls contained throughout the roster but I don't
see that with this team. As such, I think this is the safest pick
in the league to finish top-6, but I would not make this team
a top-3 contender at the outset of the season. But, if the running
game were to take off, all that changes. There could be three
top-ten RBs on this roster and that could mean something greater
than contention - it could mean a No-Hassle title.
Analysis: If you're going to wait until the ninth round to grab
a QB, this is the way to do it. In the end, I think Matthew Stafford
and Eli Manning will form a good partnership at the position.
That should allow the picks from the first eight rounds to form
the nucleus of the team. With Brandin Cooks moving on to New England,
Joe apparently felt comfortable with selecting second-year WR
Michael Thomas as his lead receiver, teaming him with 1B T.Y.
Hilton. Only two teams in the draft went WR-WR with their first
two picks and it will be interesting to see how that plays out
over the course of the season. Joe stayed true to his name by
grabbing two more WRs in Rounds 4 & 5, making this the team
with the deepest WR corps in the league. With those two positions
covered and adequate tight ends coming onboard, it comes down
to RBs where Joe proudly proclaims there is no need to go heavy.
Marshawn Lynch anchors that unit and there is absolutely NO WAY
to know what he's capable of after a year off. Grabbing a couple
of Patriots running backs later in the draft was wise given Joe's
need to shore up a shaky position.
Key to No-Hassle Success: It's hard not to like this team with
a very nice blend of stability and upside going into the finished
product. Getting Manning and Stafford at bargain prices certainly
helped with that perception. The key to contention rests with
Marshawn Lynch as everything else for success is in place. If
Oakland has overestimated Lynch's abilities as of now, the running
game will fall to the trio of Tevin Coleman, James White, and
Mike Gillislee. Not a bad trio, but certainly not top shelf given
that each player is very much a part of a RB timeshare. Other
than the RBs, though, few questions about this team abound.
Favorite pick: Even though he was actually picked FOR Joe instead
of BY him, you can't deny how good the pick of Terrelle Pryor
was. The quarterback picks have already been mentioned as being
terrific, but deserve one more mention. And, Tevin Coleman is
the safest No.2 RB in the business. He has a high floor, making
him the perfect pick for that spot.
Least Favorite pick: I liked every pick, but I did feel this team
needed a fifth RB for the No-Hassle format. If injuries were to
hit that position, it could become quite an obstacle to overcome.
And while I didn't hate the Michael Thomas pick, there are a couple
of wide receivers I would have preferred to grab there.
Overall outlook: This team is one of the safest bets to contend
and the picks of this team and the two yet to come reinforce the
idea that if you don't have one of the top three picks in the
draft, getting one of the last three is the next best thing. This
team has a great deal of upside to go along with being incredibly
deep at the wide receiver position. That can be a combination
but like all teams, remaining healthy is critical. Joe also needs
Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead to take a backseat in the Patriots
backfield and the emergence of either guy would decrease the value
of his New England RBs. Overall, this is one of my favorite teams
looking at it through a No-Hassle lens.
Analysis: Talk about a mixed bag of weapons...Ray was all over
the map drafting this team as he chose both youth and veterans
to fill out his roster. His team is WR-heavy with six guys at
that position to go along with five RBs. What that means is that
once again Ray is the only person in the league who only drafted
one tight end...and a rookie tight end at that. It's an odd strategy,
but one that Ray has employed in previous years. What an incredible
twosome Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles would have been a few
years ago. But, how much do they have left in 2017? If Devonta
Freeman and Spencer Ware live up to expectations, it may not matter
but an injury to either or just a lack of effectiveness could
thrust the "old men" into duty. Ray went largely veteran
at WR early in the draft, but then took the up and coming Sterling
Shepard and rookie John Ross late to diversify the unit. There
didn't seem to be any particular theme to this draft...it seemed
Ray just took the player he liked best when it came his time to
draft. Profound, huh?
Key to No-Hassle Success: With only O.J. Howard holding down the
TE position, Howard must not only stay healthy, but be fairly
effective in his opening act in the NFL. Taking a frequent zero
at a position can pull a team down. To make up for that, I think
Ray needs his six-deep WR group to be one of the top 2-3 units
in the league. A bounce back year from Allen Robinson is imperative
as is the emergence of DeSean Jackson within a brand new offense.
The quarterbacks on this team have shown themselves to be up and
down in their young careers and the RB group seems to have a low
ceiling, so this team needs to be a receiving juggernaut. Thankfully,
the first two picks for Ray are two of the safest picks in the
Favorite pick: Devonta Freeman's production over the past two
seasons probably should thrust him into late first rounds in drafts.
As such, Ray getting him and A.J. Green with his first two picks
was great. I also thought waiting on Blake Bortles worked out
well. In leagues that don't penalize for interceptions, Bortles
scores a lot better than many people realize.
Least Favorite pick: Not grabbing a second tight end doesn't make
sense in this league. And, if you're going to ignore that and
employ the one-TE strategy, make sure it's not an unproven rookie
that you're banking on. As for actual picks, I thought Adrian
Peterson went way too soon, but can understand what would make
you reach a little earlier to grab an all-time great.
Overall outlook: I don't know what to make of this team, but that's
usually the case with Ray. He has a style all his own and in this
case, you've got several veterans past their prime, several young
players coming into their own, a couple of studs that form a foundation
for possible success, and a player (Robinson) who fell nearly
to the fourth round this year after being a late first rounder
in many leagues last year. What that all adds up to is anybody's
guess, but in the end, Ray probably needs his QBs to take a step
forward to contend. Bortles has a new coach helping him out, and
Derek Carr is coming off a season-ending injury so there are plenty
of unknowns. But, hey, it's the June Mock. Unknowns come with
the territory. Interesting team.
Analysis: Despite the fact that JScott is overvaluing Amari Cooper,
I really like this team. If he had grabbed the more proven Jordy
Nelson instead of Cooper, this might be just about my favorite
team. That's because I absolutely loved what he did with picks
3-8 as he snared two top-8 QBs, two top-5 tight ends, and a very
solid No.2 RB in C.J. Anderson and a very solid No.2 WR in Golden
Tate. Granted, having such prowess at QB and TE turned Corey Coleman
and Jordan Matthews into players being counted on to contribute
weekly ... but the trade-off was worth it. As for RB depth, it's
a little suspect, but if Terrance West starts fast he could keep
the job in Baltimore even after Dixon returns. Conversely, if
Spencer Ware is sluggish Kareem Hunt's contributions could become
significant as early as October. And then there's Thomas Rawls,
who is only one year removed from being the next great thing.
Suspect? Yes, but certainly not without upside. If JScott is right
about Cooper, this team could be special. If not, there is still
plenty of potential for a team constructed extremely well from
Key to No-Hassle Success: While I think Cooper taking a big leap
forward is the biggest thing, don't underestimate the need for
Jordan Howard to prove he wasn't a one-year wonder. This team
is absolutely loaded at QB and TE like no other team, so if the
first two picks end up hits, this team will roll. I do wonder
if the lack of firepower at WR will eventually cause this team
to slump a bit, particularly if injuries begin to pile up, but
I also think the risk was worth the concern. JScott did such a
good job putting together talent after those two picks that his
top two picks may be all that stands between him and top-3 status
all season long.
Favorite pick: Take your pick. All the picks from Round 3 to Round
8 were simply fantastic. You can get destroyed from the swing
pick if you do things conventionally and JScott departed from
convention and then some. Luck and Kelce at the turn was simply
a stroke of genius if both can stay healthy. They were far and
away the best players on the board at that point.
Least Favorite pick: It was Cooper, but I could be dead wrong
about him. He certainly has the talent and perhaps he and Carr
will be on the same page more often this season as compared to
the past two. Also, I'm not sure Coleman and Matthews were the
best choices for WR depth, but that feels a little nit-picky to
Overall outlook: By now, it's not a secret that I really like
this team's chances. I just think you take what is given you when
you pick late in a draft and JScott continually took the best
player available until a lot of firepower was assembled. When
you load up at a couple of positions, the obvious pitfall is that
you'll be a bit weak at least one position and that is certainly
the case with this WR group. But, there are no powerhouse teams
when you're drafting with other knowledgeable people, and as such,
you just have to decide where you want to place emphasis. At 3.12,
JScott could have become an ordinary team by taking the road more
traveled...semi-good RBs and WRs were still available. Instead,
this team took a chance on greatness. We'll see how it ultimately