Here I am, back again with another draft review for our readers
to mock. That's why we call it a mock draft, no?
Seriously though, this is the second in a monthly series of mock
drafts involving various fantasy football websites. The drafts
are 12-team, performance scoring with 1 point-per-reception, using
starting lineups of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex RB/WR/TE, 1
K and 1 DEF.
In June I drafted from the fourth
spot and started with Ryan Mathews. For this draft I had the eighth
pick overall, so quite a different scenario drafting from past
the midpoint of the first round as opposed to being near the top
of the order.
I really didn't have a set plan going into this draft, other
than waiting to see what choices fell to me in the first then
picking the best available player, and then running through my
tiered Draft Buddy cheatsheet
from that point forward to build my team.
As it turned out, I unexpectedly landed Aaron Rodgers with the
first pick. Excellent. That made my first-round choice easier
than I thought it would be.
Upon reflection of my overall team, though, I'm not sure how
enamored I am with it. It seems a little too much on the risky
side, as I took shots on more players than usual for upside.
I usually think of the core of my fantasy teams as my top three
or four players within the RB, WR and TE positions. What I need
to keep reminding myself is that, oh yeah, I got the best QB in
the league, and he makes up for a lot where my normal core is
a little weaker than usual.
Overall I couldn't be too much happier with the way Rounds 4
through 9 worked out, but the crucial second- and third-round
picks of Jamaal Charles and Dez Bryant will go a long way in determining
the success of this team.
There will certainly be doubters about each of those guys. Hey,
I have some doubts myself, which is why we mock these things out
in the first place. Practice makes perfect. So go ahead, mock
away . . .
- Images courtesy of the Draft
1.08 – QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
The great thing about fantasy football in 2012 is that you can
start with any of the four skill positions to build your team
around. I'm not in love with taking a QB this early (old habits),
so it isn't something I planned on doing going into the draft.
But I do respect the advantage of having Rodgers, so I'll be flexible
and tag him to start off this team. I feel fortunate to add him
here because in most drafts he won't last until the eighth pick.
– RB Jamaal Charles, KC
Here I really debated between Andre
Johnson and Jamaal Charles. Marshawn
Lynch was also a consideration prior to his DUI charge. With
the depth at WR this season, I decided to grab the best RB on
the board. That is debatable of course, as is most everything
in fantasy football, but even in the likely scenario that Charles
gets less touches than the other RBs drafted in this range, he
has shown the elite skills to create more production with the
touches he does get. I'm not very concerned with his return from
injury, given how early it happened last season.
– WR Dez Bryant, DAL
With a QB-RB pairing through the first two rounds, and this being
a PPR scoring league, I'm now getting a little nervous waiting
for a WR. I log off the website with pre-draft picks of Brandon Marshall, Hakeem Nicks and Dez Bryant, in that order. Then news
breaks about Dez's domestic issues with his Mom involving the
police, Marshall and Nicks get snatched up, and here I am left
His value is down now and he will likely be taken a little later
in drafts; but really, I'm not sure the hit will be that significant.
This guy has continued to be drafted higher than his production
through two seasons because of one reason—potential. He's
still got that potential. He's inherently risky, and we know this,
but one of these seasons he may just pay off huge for the risk
A suspension is possible, but given his mother's own apparent
troubles, I wouldn't expect one long enough to be the deciding
factor in whether this pick was a mistake or not. He'll still
play plenty of football. It's what he does in those games that
will either wow us or underwhelm us once again.
– WR Marques Colston, NO
I'm not excited about the RB choices here, while the top available
WRs are getting a little thin. With Bryant in tow as my WR1, and
recent news knocking his value down, it feels right to go back
to the WR well with a more conservative and reliable option. Marques
Colston represents that at this stage of this career: a consistent
80 catches, 1,000-plus yards and 8-9 touchdowns. Even with the
turmoil hitting the Saints this offseason, Colston still has one
of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to him, so I feel
good about this pick.
– TE Aaron Hernandez, NE
Had Jahvid Best made it here, I would have considered pairing
him up with Jamaal Charles at RB, but the next best TEs are turning
into good value at this point. Ideally I would wait another round,
but I don't think either Aaron Hernandez or Antonio Gates are
making it back to me if I pass on them here. I like their catch
and touchdown potential enough to pay a small premium over the
next group at TE—Vernon Davis, Jason Witten and perhaps
Jermichael Finley. I'll go with Hernandez, even in his shared
role with Rob Gronkowski and with the addition of Brandon Lloyd
to the Patriots. Remember, Hernandez was the youngest player in
the league his rookie season, and talent-wise he is off the charts,
so using the cream-rises-to-the-top philosophy, his 79-910-7 line
last year may not be his high-water mark.
– RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR
Drafting Jonathan Stewart seems to be a recurring theme for me
in mock drafts this season. Through four seasons and less-than-expected
results, people are shying away from Stewart because he has a
tough time earning enough opportunity to be a reliable starting
fantasy option. Opportunity can change quickly. Talent can't be
To that end—much like the Dez Bryant and Aaron Hernandez
picks—I'll draft Stewart at this price for his talent and
take my chances that a better opportunity presents itself to him
and he literally runs with it. This may end up being a good example
of a risky, high-upside team overall, but if you're going to draft
QB, WR and TE early, go for the gusto and take your shots on a
handful of talented, high-upside players in the mid to late rounds.
If one or more of them pans out, you could really have a dominant
– WR Reggie Wayne, IND
Sure, Reggie Wayne is 33, which marks a downward trajectory to
his career from here on out, but I love his value at this stage
of the draft and I'm happy to add him as my WR3. I essentially
got another Marques Colston three rounds later. Wayne put up 75-960-4
last season with a complete disaster at quarterback when Peyton
Manning couldn't guide the ship. Rookie Andrew Luck is an immediate
upgrade, and while I'm sure the Colts will continue to struggle
to a degree, Luck with Bruce Arians at offensive coordinator will
air it out and lean heavily on the established veteran receiver.
– RB David Wilson, NYG
I wouldn't have minded James Starks falling to me at this pick,
but he went three slots earlier. Peyton Hillis is another player
I've drafted heavily this year, whether I've got Jamaal Charles
or not. On the safe side, Hillis should have been the pick, since
I feel he'll be productive in his own right, as well as being
insurance for Charles.
Instead, since this is a mock draft, I decided to roll the dice
and see how much further Hillis might fall. The answer: hardly
at all, as he went right after this pick. Ben Tate was also a
consideration as an important handcuff who produces as a backup.
This goes to show that waiting on RB can still be a good strategy
because nabbing one or two RBs in this range can net some big
results once the season gets going.
Now, finally, on to my actual pick of David Wilson. Wilson is
a rookie but steps into a nice, immediate opportunity in sharing
the load with Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants utilize two running backs
effectively, and in watching Bradshaw's career with the club since
his rookie season, I've never felt they truly trusted him to a
great degree. They were sick of Brandon Jacobs' act, so it was
no surprise he wasn't re-signed. They invested a first-round pick
in Wilson, so clearly he's got some "it" factor the
team likes. He's a very risky fantasy starting selection but a
great RB3 to RB4 who could pay off handsomely sooner than many
fantasy owners think.
– WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK
I've been drafting DHB as a WR3 in a few mock drafts, so I'm
happy to add him as a WR4 here. Denarius Moore is getting a lot
of props as a potential breakout candidate, and while I think
he is perhaps the more likely to do that, I'd say the competition
is a lot closer than most people think. That makes grabbing DHB
two rounds later a value pick to me. Once Carson Palmer was on
board for the second half of last season, there was a clear uptick
in DHB's targets and output, and he was more consistent. I'm expecting
that to carry over into this season.
– WR Brian Quick, STL
Pure upside pick here, I have visions (note the word "visions"—not
the same as "expectations") of a possible Anquan Boldin-esque
rookie season from Quick. He's going to start out of the gate
and I still think Sam Bradford is a good quarterback. Bradford
could easily lean on this guy for target practice. For a WR5,
why not take the chance? Other good picks at this spot would have
included Randall Cobb, another risky WR in a much better offense
but further down the depth chart, a quality backup TE in Brent
Celek, or a talented depth RB in Pierre Thomas.
– RB Daniel Thomas, MIA
At the previous pick, I had Pierre Thomas pretty high on my cheat
sheet relative to other available RBs, but I really thought he
was completely off the radar for most other fantasy owners. In
fact, I'd myself say he is pretty far off the radar, but he did
get snapped up. With a do-over, I take Thomas (Pierre) first and
see if Quick falls to the 11th round. Instead I'll have to settle
for Daniel Thomas, who backs up Reggie Bush and will compete with
Lamar Miller for playing time.
Thomas (Daniel) seems to me to be a little unfairly evaluated
from last season. He played hurt and, as has been common among
too many rookie running backs to list in recent years, he just
wasn't ready to make an impact in his first year. My guess is
that he learned a lot from that experience, which will give him
a leg up in holding off Miller. Even though we aren't expecting
much of anything from the Dolphins offense, Reggie Bush's backup
is a position battle to pay attention to, as there are good odds
that that player's value will skyrocket quickly.
– WR Vincent Brown, SD
I'm not a fan of Robert Meachem in the least, and I could give
or take Malcom Floyd. Floyd has played in 16 games once in his
eight-year career, and never started in more than 10 in a single
season. In extremely limited playing time, I liked what I saw
from Vincent Brown. He's on the smallish side for a wide receiver,
but he has the opportunity in his second year to catch passes
from a very good quarterback.
– QB Joe Flacco, BAL
He's certainly not the most exciting of backup QBs to grab, but
when you invest in a first-round QB, you can afford to wait and
wait at the position. In fact, you'd be silly not to; otherwise
you're counteracting the benefit of taking a QB so early. To Flacco's
credit, he doesn't miss time, and he's got that cannon arm and
pretty darn good skill players to work with, too. Furthermore,
his defense might be on the downslide, possibly resulting in more
pass attempts in 2012.
– DEF Philadelphia Eagles
The high expectations and subsequent crash and burn of the 2011
Dream Team hopefully humbled the Eagles enough to get them back
to playing solid football in 2012. I suspect it will for this
– RB Rashad Jennings, JAC
I'm not really investing in Jennings because of a possible Maurice
Jones-Drew holdout. I honestly don't think MJD will holdout and
miss the real season. Jennings is a talented running back in his
own right, so this late in the draft I'll take a chance on his
returning to form from the injury that sidelined him last year.
If he can, he's a valuable backup and handcuff, regardless of
MJD's contract situation.
– TE Lance Kendricks, STL
You could certainly do better for a backup TE, but this late
in the draft, when most teams already have two, you could certainly
do worse than the upside of Kendricks in his second year. Kendricks
looked great in preseason a year ago and then foundered badly
once the season started. I don't think he'll be just an annual
preseason performer. I think he just needs more time to adjust
to the NFL and get on the same page with Sam Bradford.
– K Mason Crosby, GB
One talented kicker from a high-powered offense. Check.
– DEF Buffalo Bills
Follow up prior defensive selection with a team that could surprise
after some bold offseason acquisitions . . . and a bit of homerism,
to boot. Check.