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 here. Below is the commissioner's analysis
of each team.
Analysis: Having the top pick in a redraft this
year gives you an advantage with so few running backs representing
"sure things". Barkley is just that and ICE chose to
build his team around him with both youth and veterans. The youth
came in the form Damien Williams, Courtland Sutton, and Christian
Kirk. Meanwhile, two steadier WRs would be hard to find in place
of A.J. Green and Julian Edelman. The tendency of drafters who
possess the No.1 overall pick is to go conservative after that
initial pick so as not to "screw it up". ICE did that
to some extent, but also is hoping for a couple of second-year
WRs to step up their games, albeit on teams whose offenses are
a work in progress. The selection of TE Evan Engram came a bit
early for me and really put the Giants offense squarely in the
role of needing to thrive to make this team great. All in all,
ICE's decision to wait on his QBs allowed for depth at other positions
and the combination of Wentz/Rivers seems sufficient with respect
to giving him average production at the QB position.
Key to No-Hassle Success: This team is likely
to be competitive with so many built-in safeguards. However, if
one or both of the duo of Courtland Sutton and Christian Kirk
take a big step forward, this could be an above average receiving
corps to go along with having the most dangerous RB in fantasy
football and possibly a borderline No.1 in Damien Williams. Speaking
of Williams, his ability to be a feature back is still a big question
mark, so perhaps his "step forward" is even more crucial
than that of Sutton or Kirk. Players like James White and Jamaal
Williams have decent floors, but low ceilings and as such, can't
be counted on for explosive production more than once during the
year. That makes health also an important factor in keeping this
team at its finest.
Favorite Pick: I thought the Edelman pick really
steadied the ship after A.J. Green and Williams were taken a little
early. Also, with Wentz's injury history, getting a stable backup
was imperative and you can't do much better than Philip Rivers
to fulfill that role. Finally, the final pick of Moncrief seemed
solid considering how many catches are now up for grabs in Pittsburgh.
Least Favorite Pick: I don't dislike Green, Williams,
or Engram as players this season, but I did think each was taken
too soon. Further, I don't think Ito Smith will have much value
unless Devonta Freeman gets hurt, but maybe that's kind of the
Overall Outlook: This team is sort of a "mixed
bag" for me, but I love that ICE has given himself to chance
to be better than just "good". Williams isn't a special
player, per se, but he does play in a special offense and that
fact alone may allow him to be the perfect running mate for Barkley
as ICE seeks to be the best rushing team in the league. There
are some injury-prone guys on this roster and that could certainly
derail ICE's championship aspirations. But, if relative health
were to hold up, this almost certainly has to be one of the top
five teams at year's end. I questioned some of the picks along
the way, but looking at the team as a whole at the draft's conclusion
leaves me largely optimistic about the chance for success.
Analysis: Three teams in this draft were formulated in conjunction
with taking a tight end in the second round and of those three
teams, this one came out with the fewest question marks. Yes,
Sammy Watkins represents annual uncertainty, but if Tyreek Hill
were to miss time, Watkins could have a career year. Seattle really
found something last season with the league's most frequent rushing
attack and Chris Carson looked the part with staying power. All
in all, you've got players on this team who are going to get massive
touches. Ezekiel Elliott could lead the league in that category
and few players if any will rival Adam Thielen for targets. And
no discussion of touches is complete without mentioning Zach Ertz
who caught a whopping 116 passes last season. A couple of late
fliers on rookie wide receivers give the team further upside even
as depth at RB may be a bit thin. Finally, having two QBs from
the scoring frenzied NFC South always represents good value.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Elliott and Carson need to stay healthy
as the trio of McCoy, Richard, and Burkhead don't instill much
confidence in Remote being competitive if they're forced into
a prominent role. Also, Watkins and sixth-round pick, Robby Anderson
could really surprise and along with Ertz & Thielen might
make Remote one of league's best teams in terms of receiving production.
In the end, I think this team is destined for greatness if health
holds up. This may be my favorite team in terms of the projected
starters. But, it's also a team whose depth scares me more than
most. As such, there is plenty of risk, but oh such big reward
Favorite Pick: Any one of the first seven picks could be deemed
as a "favorite". Ertz is such a game changer at TE and
was worth the gamble of taking a player at that position so early.
Thielen is as steady as they come with the pick shortly thereafter
and then it was just one solid pick after another concluding with
a great pick at 7.02 in the form of Matt Ryan. Ryan is capable
of being a top-3 QB this year and has little downside to wrestle
Least Favorite Pick: Somebody had to pick LeSean McCoy, but I
would sure like him as my RB4 better than my RB3. And, I'm not
seeing much of a role for Rex Burkhead in New England this season.
Again, depth at RB could be a problem for this team.
Overall Outlook: I love this team in spite of some of the noted
concerns. They should be the highest scoring team on more than
one week's occasion and may also score the highest weekly total
of the season on a week that Watkins draws a favorable matchup
and Elliott has to grind out 30 carries in order for Dallas to
win. Metcalf and Campbell are, but both could thrive on teams
in which the No.2 WR job is ripe for the taking. Like I said before,
if you take a look at this team without knowing that Ertz was
taken in the second round, you wouldn't realize it's a TE-centric
sort squad (more on that coming soon) and that's a compliment
to how this draft unfolded for Remote.
Analysis: If this draft were held last December, we'd already
be handing Robb the trophy. A backfield of Todd Gurley and Christian
McCaffrey would have been unthinkable (in a good way) and Patrick
Mahomes in the third round would be considered a massive steal
given last year's tidal wave of success. But, this is June. McCaffrey
is still stable, but Gurley is anything but and Mahomes may be
without his top weapon for part, if not all of 2019. As such,
this is a team that could boom or bust. The boom is simple: Gurley
achieves at least 80% of his 2019 regular season production and
in doing so, becomes a second-round steal. In addition, Mahomes
proves that he's the true engine of the Kansas City offense and
hardly misses a beat with or without Tyreek Hill. The bust is
simple, too: Gurley is a constant source of fantasy frustration
and the fact that this team has no real star at WR doesn't allow
for a Plan B to emerge. In addition, the late selections of Gordon
and Gronkowski end up being 100% wasted picks.
Key to No-Hassle Success: This will be the easiest answer in this
entire write-up. I'd like to offer up something obscure, but I
won't. Todd Gurley is the key to this team's success. If it turns
out that Robb stole Gurley based on unfounded concerns, you could
have two of the three most productive RBs in the whole league
on one team. Add in the odds-on best QB and a bunch of wide receivers
who at least have to potential to be great in newly minted No.1
roles on their respective teams and you've got something cooking
here. Also, Chris Herndon better stay healthy and be a decent
producer because he's on an island at the tight end position.
Every pick between Rounds 4 and 10 could improve by leaps and
bounds this year. Robb will need at least two to make that leap.
Favorite Pick: I know taking a QB early is not looked upon favorably
in "expert" fantasy circles, but Mahomes is not just
any quarterback. Getting him in the third round seemed a bit ridiculous
to me as I thought long and hard about taking him as early as
2.05. Additionally, Robb did what was necessary after taking no
WRs in the first three rounds - that is, he loaded up on upside
guys moving forward.
Least Favorite Pick: Ronald Jones in the early seventh was not
a pick that I was fond of. I think that will remain Peyton Barber's
job primarily on a team whose RBs don't produce much anyway. Also,
Gordon and Gronk were clever picks, but also carry huge risk if
not for something unexpected.
Overall Outlook: Murky. That's what will be said about any team
with Gurley until September rolls around. You have to love the
potential that this team possesses and as was noted previously,
every WR chosen is still on the proper side of the career arc
in terms of fantasy potential/production. But, potential means
that a flip side exists and with Gurley, that flip side looms
large at this point in time. Can this team win a No-Hassle championship?
That is an absolute yes and in the end, that's all you can ask
for in evaluating how well you did in putting together a team.
But, few teams in the league carry more risk and Gurley is the
Analysis: Nobody personifies the "wait for a quarterback"
strategy while stockpiling talent at RB and WR moreso than Vikings4Ever
and this team is simply loaded in the middle of the lineup as
a result. Being in the top four this season means you're going
to land one of the four "studs" at the RB position as
it’s a bit of a drop in my opinion after Kamara comes off
the board. Beyond that, Vikes focused on players on good offenses
(minus Kenyan Drake) like T.Y. Hilton, Mike Williams, Eric Ebron,
and potentially Tyreek Hill. That is a strategy that normally
reaps rewards. As for Drake, he may not be on a great offense,
but like Peyton Barber later in the draft, he has the potential
for volume based on the lack of talent surrounding him at the
position. And, how about landing a top-7 QB in the ninth round?
Seems to me that waiting for a QB paid off for Vikes as he still
landed a solid one to go along with so many other weapons. Honestly,
it's a struggle to find much about this draft that I don't really
like. This is a title contender.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Vikes isn't banking on Tyreek Hill being
a difference maker, but if he were able to play most if not all
of the season, it obviously puts this team on another level in
terms of talent and explosiveness. It seemed like a worthy gamble
given that Hill was fantasy football's top WR in 2018. Beyond
that, very little could derail this team although a meltdown from
Antonio Brown cannot be entirely ruled out if Derek Carr can't
get the ball to him the way Brown deems appropriate. Finally,
there are only four running backs on this roster, so maintaining
health at that position really is paramount to reaching full potential.
Favorite Pick: There were some great bargains obtained by Vikes
from my vantage point beginning with Hilton in the third round
and continuing on with Wilson in the ninth and then Trey Burton
in the twelfth. Alvin Kamara may have been the best pick as he's
No.2 overall on my board and is in a much better offense than
Saquon Barkley. Pair Kamara with so many value picks and you've
got exactly what I referred to earlier - a loaded team.
Least Favorite Pick: The upside of Mike Williams is intriguing,
but I do think Vikes might have picked him a tad bit early. Also,
it's impossible to say what impact Kyler Murray will have and
his selection as a backup QB was a bit of a gamble given that
there are no transactions in this league.
Overall Outlook: This is easily one of the favorites to contend.
Vikes just seemed to have the right guy falling into his lap every
time it was his pick. There is some mild concern about what exists
beyond Kamara at the RB position, but Vikes has such talent and
depth at WR, he should be able to withstand any problems there.
This is the ultimate No-Hassle team - that is, a solid mixture of
guys whose upside entices and veterans whose stability anchors.
Antonio Brown has been fantasy football's most consistent producer
now for half a dozen years. Will that continue in Oakland? If it
does and Tyreek Hill plays much of the season, this team is clearly
the team to beat.
Analysis: We come to our second team with an early TE selection
as Hawk stayed true to his Iowan roots with the selection of George
Kittle in round 2. The question is: did he recover from that as
well as Remote did three picks prior? The two teams ran parallel
for most of the draft as both went RB-TE-WR-RB to start before
both grabbing a QB in the seventh round. So, how does Elliott/Ertz/Thielen/Carson
compare to Gordon/Kittle/Allen/Michel? Depends on who you ask
I suppose. Personally, I like each of Remote's picks a little
better, but a strong case could be made that this team is just
as good. Brees was a solid choice at QB and he was preceded by
David Montgomery who has more upside than Remote's RB3 (McCoy).
Hawk sort of shifted back and forth down the stretch between youth
and vets and was careful to grab Austin Ekeler late. While I'm
not exactly sold on some of the picks during the second half of
this draft, there's no denying the draft plan was solid from a
Key to No-Hassle Success: Someone on this roster needs to be better
than advertised in order for the team to go all the way. Melvin
Gordon is solid and dependable, but that is based more on his
touchdowns than yards as his YPC is typically not near the levels
of elite fantasy RBs. Additionally, another Charger (Keenan Allen)
is not a sure thing to lead the team in receptions with Mike Williams
on the rise and Hunter Henry on the mend. Hawk is really hitching
his wagon to this Charger duo and if both turn out to be top 5-8
at their respective positions, the overall prospects of the team
soar. The other key is getting help at WR from a collection of
Favorite Pick: Montgomery was really a nice grab in the sixth
round. There is a point in every draft where taking a rookie with
upside far exceeds the low-ceiling veteran and this was that point
in time. Also thought Emmanuel Sanders made sense alongside more
risky WR picks like Curtis Samuel and Anthony Miller. Like Remote,
Hawk also chose (wisely) to take a QB in the seventh before the
pickings got slim.
Least Favorite Pick: Can't fault taking Anthony Miller at some
point in the draft, but was he really worthy of being taken in
the first half of the proceedings? Wasn't fond of that and wasn't
crazy about the McKinnon pick either.
Overall Outlook: If you like the way Remote's team was constructed;
you have to by default like this team's formation as well. It
lacks a bit of the sizzle of that team and I wonder if Kittle
would have still been around at 3.05 allowing for a better WR
pick in Round Two. Like every single drafter in this longstanding
exercise, Hawk knows his stuff and he's done just fine putting
everything together here. But, I don't see this team as being
one of the top contenders unless someone unexpectedly breaks out.
There were several picks of players whose upside is limited by
either a crowded backfield or receiving corps. Watch out for Montgomery,
though. If he becomes a rookie sensation, all bets are off (in
a good way).
Analysis: It was noted throughout Matt's draft, but youth was
really served with so many players being either rookies or in
their second year of playing in the NFL. Young teams are fun to
track, but they are largely unpredictable and as such, any analysis
of this team would have to be taken with a grain of salt. Sure,
the first two picks are proven even if there is still uncertainty
with respect to how far David Johnson can ultimately return to
what he was three years ago. He and Mike Evans are the team's
superstars and then the ship got turned over to the youngsters.
Every single player picked beyond Marlon Mack in the third round
has upside, but their roles on their respective teams are undetermined.
Will Josh Jacobs be the feature back in Oakland? Does D.J. Moore
have what it takes to be a WR2 for fantasy purposes? Westbrook?
A.J. Brown? Deebo Samuel? The list goes on and on. All told, it
appeared that Matt determined that since he's defending champion,
he's playing with house money now. Why not go for broke?
Key to No-Hassle Success: Arizona is going to lean on Johnson
and Evans and Mack will be productive...so this team is actually
safe at its base. The key is getting some of the unknowns to produce
at levels worthy of their draft position, particularly the WRs
since three will count towards the weekly total. It is also entirely
possible that Baker Mayfield explodes this season to the point
of being a top-3 QB given all the weapons he has at his disposal.
That reality would go a long way towards this team being the dangerous
unit they are capable of. This is going to be one wild ride. If
Matt can survive the early weeks in which growing pains are likely,
they could surge down the stretch as young teams often do.
Favorite Pick: The Brown duo of Mayfield and TE David Njoku were
taken in really good spots. Both are moving towards dynamic duo
status and even with Beckham and Jarvis Landry in the fold, Njoku's
talent cannot be denied. I would have liked to have seen more
balance up and down the roster with respect to experience and
youth, but it was fun to watch this group come together.
Least Favorite Pick: For me, Dede Westbrook is no better than
guys drafted much later and I'm not sure he will be a consistent,
reliable producer from week to week. I also think Harris was/is
a better dynasty pick than a redraft in 2019.
Overall Outlook: Do you really want me to fake it and act like
I know what this team is going to do? Only an arrogant fool would
attempt to do that with so many variables in play. I will say
that I thought the first three picks were solid and that base
granted Matt the luxury of going big and bold in the rounds that
followed. As noted, with Johnson and Mack, Matt doesn't need his
young RBs to produce anything significant at the onset of the
season, but he will need his young receiving corps to rise and
shine right away. Is that realistic? Probably not, so again, look
for this team to be a slow starter with better returns coming
as the season moves deeper into fall. Fascinating stuff.
Analysis: Ah, the joys of contrast. Whereas Matt's Eagles was
youth-focused, Wonder plucked out some of the league's elder statesmen
like Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Greg Olsen. Even Lamar
Miller is sort of aged as far as running backs are concerned.
Fortunately for Wonder, all of those players are "role"
players as the meat of this team are still in their prime. Wonder
clearly believes that Le'Veon Bell is going to adjust well to
life without the Steelers and that JuJu Smith-Schuster is going
to adjust well to life without Antonio Brown. Beyond those two
pillars, this team has plenty of potential to go alongside the
aging veterans. One position of concern is at quarterback as the
duo of Prescott and Trubisky may be the weakest tandem in the
league. As has been previously discussed, putting off the selection
of a quarterback grants a team solid depth at the primary positions
and Wonder's squad is no exception.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Bell and Smith-Schuster are going to
be highly motivated to shine, so Wonder can depend on them for
elite scoring. The key to success, resides with less certain entities
like Leonard Fournette and Hunter Henry. Fournette could do anything
from offer first-round value to fall out of favor with coaches
and find himself on the bench. He's the key, I think, to this
team's final status. Henry should be fine, but he could be more
than fine- as in Zach Ertz or George Kittle kind of fine. If Fournette
and Henry enjoy outstanding seasons, so will Wonder. Another guy
to watch is Will Fuller as he's terrific when healthy. Therein
lies the "key". Fuller can't spend the majority of the
season on a trainer's table.
Favorite Pick: I don't know what to think of Fournette this season,
but I think taking him at 3.07 was a risk well worth taking. Matt
Breida was a solid late-round pick. He has proven he can be dynamic
when 100% healthy and an injury to Coleman would make him a potential
stud in a Shanahan offense.
Least Favorite Pick: Prescott and Trubisky were perfectly acceptable
picks, but I do think they're the weakest duo in the No-Hassle
League and format. This team will have to achieve success in spite
of the QBs, not because of them.
Overall Outlook: I like this team in spite of some minor to moderate
concerns. Le'Veon Bell will miss Pittsburgh, but he’s not
going to continue to be an elite fantasy RB, even with Bilal Powell
back to steal some touches on third downs. Peterson and Fitzgerald
are both true wonders in the sense that their age doesn't seem
to hold them back, so I expect at least some production out of
them when the match-ups are right. It helps, too, to have players
like Brandin Cooks and Lamar Miller. They are high-floor, low-ceiling
players who will meet but not exceed expectations. That fits in
well with the upside of Smith-Schuster, Henry, and Fuller. This
will be a competitive team. How competitive? That (of course)
remains to be seen.
Analysis: We'll begin with the obvious - Travis Kelce better be
really good this season. This wasn't a particularly easy place
to draft from and picking a tight end in Round 2 really kept me
scrambling throughout the draft to try to figure out how to best
put together a supporting cast. So, in the end, you've got the
consensus top WR in fantasy football on this team and the consensus
top TE...and then, it's a bunch of hopefuls who fail to capture
anything close to the star power of the initial two selections.
Derrick Henry concluded 2018 on a high note and the hope in a
non-PPR league like this is that he'll pick up right where he
left off. The receiving corps beyond Hopkins is deep, but not
particularly explosive. The RBs beyond Henry and Mark Ingram are
kind of boom or bust from, but that does play well sometimes in
the best ball format. Where this team really looks thin, though,
is at QB as Jared Goff will look to maintain what he got started
last season and Lamar Jackson will try to figure out how to throw
the ball. It all adds up to some mystery and well wishes.
Key to No-Hassle Success: I actually like Goff a lot as a fantasy
QB - much more so than his value on the real field of play. And,
I think Hopkins and Kelce are indeed the very best at what they
do. But, in order for this team to contend, the running backs
must be top five in the league in terms of production. Can Henry
and Ingram really grant that level of stability? I'm not sure.
Again, the fact that this is not a PPR league does help some.
Dion Lewis and Coutee were selected specifically as insurance
in case the injury bug hits and while that's smart policy, it
also limits the upside of the team overall. Dante Pettis and Miles
Sanders both represent exciting prospects. I think one of those
guys has to be a hit this season also for the team to excel. Favorite Pick: I was happy to scoop up Hopkins considering how
big of a drop-off in value I believe there is at RB beyond Le'Veon
Bell. So, that pick was pleasing, but the most pleased I was overall
was to grab Pettis when I did. He really has a chance at top-15
value at WR and could give Cooper Kupp a run for his money as
Hopkins's primary running mate.
Least Favorite Pick: It's a toss-up between Mark Ingram and Tarik
Cohen. Not taking a RB in the first two rounds made me very conscious
of what my running game could look like if I didn't address the
position between rounds 3 and 6. Neither back thrills me, but
both have some upside.
Overall Outlook: I think my team compares most favorably to Hawkeye's
team as like him, I suffered from the early TE selection in trying
to round out my roster. There are plenty of players on the roster
that I'm personally fond of, but I'm sure most everybody feels
that way about their respective picks. Although QB is a little
weak, it's a well-rounded team overall and I think a fairly deep
one as well. I'm just not sure they'll lead the league in scoring
on any one week during the upcoming season and as such, they'll
have to rely on consistency as the primary vehicle towards contention.
Like I said in the beginning, Travis Kelce better be pretty great.
A lot was given up to obtain his services.
Analysis: In analyzing these teams, plenty of parallel analysis
has occurred as one team has been compared to another that was
constructed in a similar fashion. In Ray's case, you have to look
at the team he assembled alongside the team Mike K. assembled
out of the No.12 spot. Both decided that WR-WR was the way to
put a team together when drafting near the bottom of the first
round. Then RB-RB becomes the mission of Rounds 3 & 4 and
with finding a franchise QB becomes the task of Round 5. You also
have to compare both teams to Dan and Shovel as they took the
exact opposite approach going RB-RB to begin. With seven RBs picked
in this draft before a WR was considered, it was indeed WR where
the most value could be found at the end of round 1. Ray has positioned
himself for "monster" receiving weeks often throughout
the season and thus just needs his rushing attack to be respectable
in order to contend. I think this is the best way to attack the
late first, early second round pick combo.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Old faces in new places. Beckham in
Cleveland receiving passes from Baker Mayfield seems like a match
made in heaven, but with Beckham, nothing is ever certain. Ray
passed on a few decent RBs in order to take Beckham and he'll
need to be worthy of that pick. In addition, Ray's RB depth is
built upon two guys trying to keep their careers going on new
teams - that being Tevin Coleman in San Francisco and Jordan Howard
in Philadelphia. Neither is guaranteed a heavy workload and thus
while Ray doesn't need both to secure the lead gig for their new
teams, he probably does need one of them to do so. This team has
real potential, but these three guys on brand new teams need to
transition well to turn that potential into reality.
Favorite Pick: Beckham. And I'm not even an Odell fan, but reaching
for a RB after Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb had already been picked
would have been a mistake. That tier of pick worthy RBs was gone
and Ray did what needed to be done - take the best, most explosive
player still on the board next. I also thought both Devonta Freeman
and Phillip Lindsay gave Ray at least a shot to be middle of the
pack in the rushing department. Both could see high volume throughout
Least Favorite Pick: Howard and Coleman's situations are so cloudy
that I would have preferred only one of that duo - not both. Howard
is probably the guy I like least as his lack of receiving skills
seems like an odd fit in Philly to begin with.
Overall Outlook: Can teams without a stud RB compete for championships
in the year 2019? If your answer is no, you have been asleep at
the wheel for the past decade. Championship teams come in all
shapes and sizes and Ray's powerhouse duo of Adams and Beckham
is more than capable of propelling him to bigger and better things.
A little more under the radar is the duo of Aaron Rodgers and
Tom Brady who give him a nearly ideal tandem in the No-Hassle
format. Rodgers is likely to have some huge scoring weeks and
together with the receiving prowess could make Ray a candidate
to lead the league in weekly scoring more than once as the season
progresses. If the running game can simply come along for the
ride, this could be a dynamic squad to be sure.
Analysis: Taking a whole different approach than Ray was Dan as
he took a more traditional route and chose the top two running
backs available with his first two picks. This was followed with
an onslaught of wide receiver selections in an attempt to create
a more balanced roster. Did the strategy work? While I think the
running backs he began his draft with weren't worthy of being
chosen over the most elite of wide receivers, I did very much
like who he got at wide receiver in the stead. Amari Cooper and
Stefon Diggs are two players who could have been chosen much earlier
and do give this team plenty of upside at the position in spite
of this being a RB-heavy team at its inception. Like most in this
draft, Dan waited to fill the quarterback position, but was wiser
than some in terms of not waiting to add a second signal caller
of similar value. Bottom line: I'm not sure Conner and Chubb are
much better than guys taken in the third and fourth rounds, but
I like what Dan did from that point forward.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Chubb is going to be productive during
the first half of the season, but what will the rushing attack
in Cleveland look like when Kareem Hunt returns? That could be
an issue, particularly if Chubb has been inconsistent up until
that point. However, if Chubb shines and Hunt becomes merely insurance,
Dan could have one of the better backfields in the league to go
with depth at WR and consistency at QB. Rashaad Penny and Nyheim
Hines could also factor into how this team does as injuries to
either Marlon Mack or Chris Carson would turn one or both into
legitimate borderline RB1s. Dan will need some help to achieve
success, but a path is evident just the same.
Favorite Pick: I'll go with the back-to-back picks of Cooper and
Diggs. I'll admit that I wasn't high on Dan's team coming out
of the starting blocks, but I'm not sure anybody did better in
Rounds 3 & 4 with respect to improving his team. Cooper probably
should have been picked in the early third round and Diggs middle-to-late
in that same frame. Just a terrific recovery.
Least Favorite Pick: James Conner to me represents mid-second
round talent. I know his numbers from last year suggest otherwise,
but teams are not going to fear the Pittsburgh aerial attack the
way they have in the past and I don't expect running lanes to
be so plentiful this time around. I also wasn't a big fan of Sterling
Shepard being taken as early as he was.
Overall Outlook: There has been some criticism in this look back
at Dan's draft, but in reality I think there's more I like than
I dislike. It's a very balanced team in spite of the same position
being addressed in the opening two rounds and that's not always
easy to attain. The quality of the depth also impresses me. There
is upside for sure and there's also an outside chance that Jared
Cook puts up ridiculous numbers as Drew Brees's No.2 option in
the New Orleans passing game. Overall, I wouldn't put this team
in my top three, but they're definitely not outside of my top
six. Perhaps the most balanced team in the league coming in.
Analysis: Shovel began his draft the same way Dan did, but veered
off course with the early selection of Andrew Luck in Round 3.
It was a tremendous amount of confidence to bestow upon Luck given
that he's still not a certainty in terms of long term fantasy
value. One can argue that Shovel took both Mixon and Cook too
early also, but both are in the sweet spot of their careers and
therefore safe choices with almost no downside. Beyond that, this
team makes me uncomfortable. There are A LOT of mouths to feed
in Cleveland and as such, I'm not entirely sure where Jarvis Landry
fits in. Further, there remains a cloud of mystery over Derrius
Guice's ability to recover from such a harsh injury and overtake
the never-grow-old Adrian Peterson. Add to that the pick of perennial
bust DeVante Parker and this team simply has too many question
marks for my comfort level. Some of the depth picks made sense,
but also included some risk.
Key to No-Hassle Success: I said it earlier with my team in regards
to Travis Kelce and I'll say it here again, but on a different
trajectory. Andrew Luck better be good. Like, top-2 fantasy production
at the position good. Shovel's WR corps isn't going to frighten
anyone and I think Mixon and Cook will be solid but not spectacular,
so Shovel needs Luck to be truly special - like 40+ touchdown
special. In addition, Robert Woods must emerge as the Rams's clear-cut
No.1 WR for this team to have any chance at a league title. That
could vault Woods into the top ten at his position and combined
with a historic performance from Luck could be enough. If neither
happens, this team could see a crash.
Favorite Pick: I saw this team reeling throughout the draft,
but perked up a bit with the selections of Golden Tate and Kareem
Hunt in Rounds 9 & 10. Tate should get plenty of catches in
New York's dink and dunk offense and Hunt was most certainly worth
the gamble one round later considering Chubb isn't a sure thing
to take that job by the throat.
Least Favorite Pick: Parker probably steals top honor in this
department, but in reality the picks in Rounds 5-7 weren't my
favorites. I understand that some feel Parker has to break out
at some point, but that boat has sailed for me personally. I thought
he was a late-round flier at best.
Overall Outlook: Two things: No, this wasn't one of my favorite
teams. And, every single drafter in this annual competition knows
their stuff. Just because I carry with me a different perspective
than Shovel's doesn't really make his team inferior to anyone
else's. For years now, I have seen teams constructed in this draft
that didn't excite me do very well. Can this team pull that off?
Absolutely. Like I said, Mixon and Cook have almost no downside
- both are in the prime of their careers and will look to leap
into a more elite tier this season. Can Andrew Luck be special?
A lot of people think he can. There are variables a plenty on
this team, but if the cards fall just right, success would no
doubt be the end result.
Analysis: Last but not least, we come to Ray's alter ego who
took the exact same path as the Limo Driver with his first five
picks. Mike did address tight end more quickly than Ray, but then
pulled a "Ray" by not selecting a second player at that
position. So, what does this team have going for them? Dynamic,
explosive players for one. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Aaron
Jones, DeShaun Watson, and O.J. Howard are all very capable of
putting up huge numbers on any given week. They are game-breakers.
Kerryon Johnson doesn't really fit into that mold, but Mike is
apparently banking on him to take a big step forward in 2019 on
a team that traditionally doesn't run the ball that well. Mike
then vacillated late in the draft between veterans (Murray, Hyde)
and youth (Valdes-Scantling, Samuels, Harry). Altogether, this
team appears to be very well constructed in terms of balance and
upside with no real wasted picks from my perspective. Just a solid,
solid job from the far turn.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Obviously, O.J. Howard must stay healthy
or it will be a zero at that position for as long as he's out.
We've seen that wreck chances many times in the past in this league.
Beyond that, though, it's just a matter of guys living up to their
draft positions. There's very little concern that anyone will
struggle outside of Julio Jones who has to fall off eventually
one would think. I don't think Jones is quite to that point, so
you've got seven healthy players in their prime comprising the
full "starter" spectrum in the first seven picks. Look
around this league and find me a better starting seven than Watson,
A. Jones, K. Johnson, J. Jones, M. Thomas, Boyd, and Howard. You'll
be looking indefinitely.
Favorite Pick: It's hard to pin down which pick I liked best.
I thought Aaron Jones was a steal at 3.12. I thought the same
of Watson at 5.12 and in hindsight wish I would have grabbed him
at 5.08. I also thought Tyler Boyd was a solid grab in the seventh
and Garoppolo an outstanding choice late.
Least Favorite Pick: Not sure I have one, although I am not as
sold as Mike apparently on Kerryon Johnson. It's not so much him
- just hard to envision anything fantasy relevant coming out of
a Detroit RB not named Sanders. Also, not taking a second tight
end is a no-no in this league for sure.
Overall Outlook: Assuming the whole one tight end thing doesn't
come back to bite him, it's difficult to suggest anything short
of title contention for such a dynamic looking roster as this.
I just really like how both Mike and Ray handled their late draft
slots. Getting Julio Jones and Michael Thomas is like making fantastic
lemonade out of those lemons and it really set the stage for what
was to come. Sure, some of the late round picks may not amount
to much with Murray, Hyde, and Funchess on new teams and Harry's
role in New England far from clear. But, if the health of the
seven "starters" holds up, it may not matter all that
much. I would trade my team for this one in a heartbeat.