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 one of the first three picks
pretty much locks you into one of three RBs, each of whom is capable
of being the foundation for your team. Beyond that obvious reality,
Hawkeye sought to surround his star RB with talent at each of
the primary positions, opting initially to select a strong WR
duo and later trying to find McCaffrey a solid running mate. Quarterback
is not an obvious strength of this team, but Tannehill's value
is easy to underestimate at this point given the weapons he'll
have at his disposal come September. Certainly, when he and A.J.
Brown have a big day together, Hawkeye will greatly benefit. There
were some safe, conservative picks and also a few that were bold
including the selection of Michael Carter in the sixth round.
All in all, Hawkeye didn't do anything to screw up the gift of
having the first pick and he simply must hope that his stud RB
is able to stay healthy this season unlike the 2020 campaign.
This team is deep and appears carefully crafted. Picks like Dillon
and Ruggs share the upside that Carter does.
Key to No-Hassle Success: There are likely several, but
an initial thought would be Mark Andrews continuing to get the
same sort of targets and red zone looks that he's accustomed to.
Baltimore revamped its receiving corps in the offseason and should
be better by leaps and bounds as an overall unit. Will that impact
the reliance on Andrews that has existed in recent years? We shall
see. Another key is going to be either Ronald Jones or Michael
Carter being a consistent double-digit scorer. Perhaps that means
Jones doing so early in the season followed by Carter doing so
later on. Everything else looks solid and in this section, we're
not going to harp too much on "staying healthy" as that's
true for every team. That said, a full season out of McCaffrey
likely keeps this team a contender all year long. So, I guess
that's still the ultimate key.
Favorite Pick: I know Julio Jones is going to
impact the target share some, but he's also going to free up Brown
for single coverage from time to time and that makes A.J. a very
dangerous man. The fact that Hawkeye got a WR of Brown's caliber
at the 2-3 turn was fortunate and he took advantage making a great
pick. I also like the selections of Robby Anderson and AJ Dillon.
Anderson may flourish with Darnold once again being the guy throwing
him the ball.
Least Favorite Pick: I thought both tight ends
on this team were picked a tad early as I don't think Andrews'
production this season is going to warrant anything better than
a late 5th/early 6th round pick and I'm not high on Evan Engram
at all. That said, I liked just about every other pick Hawk made.
Overall Outlook: This is a very well-rounded
team. Even though it is built upon a star RB, the team is going
to be able to score in multiple ways and is deep enough that injuries
to anyone not named McCaffrey should be able to be overcome. The
contrast in picks was fun to watch throughout the draft as Hawk
alternated seemingly between veterans with established floors
(Robinson, Jones, Landry) and younger players with upside (Carter,
Dillon, Ruggs). This is a team that is very likely to contend
for a No-Hassle title with McCaffrey leading the way. That said,
the QBs must step up to that next level in terms of weekly point
Analysis: Identical foundation for Worm here in relation to Hawkeye's
team as Dalvin Cook becomes the centerpiece followed by a cast
of talented teammates. Worm obviously valued a solid RB2, however,
and the selection of Gibson was widely praised in the draft commentary
as it should have been. You would be hard pressed to find a better
1-2 punch at the position than Cook and Gibson. At WR, there are
considerable question marks. Who will Michael Thomas be in the
post-Brees world in New Orleans? Can Odell Beckham be trusted?
What role will Deebo Samuel hold with Brandon Aiyuk emerging as
the potential alpha dog in that receiving corps? If all of the
"ifs" turn into positives, there's no limit to what
this team could achieve. But, the receiving corps here contains
much more risk than the group that Hawkeye selected. Quarterback
is in good hands with the fantasy emergent Murray at the helm
while tight end will be hit and miss as both Gronkowski and Tonyan
are projected to be somewhat TD-dependent. Taking a broader view,
this team is less "safe" in spots than Hawk's, but what
a team it will be if guys like Thomas and Beckham can turn back
the clock a couple of years.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Worm really invested in Michael Thomas
by making him his second round choice. While Thomas remains a
top tier real-world NFL wide receiver, I question whether or not
he can be an elite fantasy contributor this season, particularly
in a non-PPR format. Thomas doesn't have to be what he once was,
but he needs to be top-10 for Worm to consider the pick a successful
one. I love the RB depth on this team, so I think Worm is set
there, but the late picks of Roethlisberger, Agholor, and Penny
carried lots of risk. No big deal in Penny's case with Harris
and Murray providing support for Cook/Gibson, but if the other
Murray (Kyler) were to get hurt, it could devastate this team
having to rely on Ben's production alone. Thus, Kyler needs to
stay upright and the WR corps needs an alpha to emerge.
Favorite Pick: The 3-4 turn really gave Worm the edge in terms
of evaluating the team as a whole. Gibson was a great pick, I
think, as has already been noted and then he quietly nabbed Chris
Godwin in a perfect spot to hedge his bets a little at WR. If
neither Thomas nor Beckham lives up to Worm's expectations, at
least he'll be able to count on the steady production of Godwin,
who profiles as an ideal WR2. I also really like the Damien Harris
pick. Again, this is not a PPR league and Harris could put up
numbers that out-distance the spot in which he was picked.
Least Favorite Pick: I thought Michael Thomas and Rob Gronkowski
were both picked too early, but Tonyan went pretty late, so the
Gronk pick alongside him sort of balances out. Again, I see Thomas
as a top 15-20 WR and as Worm admitted, A.J. Brown would have
probably been the better choice in terms of expected production.
We shall see.
Overall Outlook: While I would be more comfortable with Hawkeye's
team than Worm's, Worm arguably has the greater upside with a
much better RB2, a much more dynamic QB, and a couple of players
whose potential makes them worthy team members in spite of recent
ups and downs, health-wise. The receiving corps on this team is
ultimately going to make or break things with QB and RB in such
good hands. Should the team end up being in the top-5 in WR production
and Dalvin Cook stays on the field, it's quite easy to envision
Worm winning the league given how much explosive potential exists
from nearly every corner of the roster. If, however, this team
ends up ranking in the bottom third of the league in WR points
scored, I think they'll come up just short. Still, this was a
good draft, highlighted by two extraordinary picks in the third
and fourth rounds.
Analysis: What a haul in the first four rounds for Remote! First,
he was able to get the last remaining RB in the top tier and then
he added a dynamic young receiver capable of being the top receiver
in all of fantasy football alongside the ideal RB2 and WR2 picks.
Simply put, it would be impossible to script an opening four rounds
as good as this. Then, Remote landed the best RB3 on the planet
by way of perceived floor value and followed it up with a rookie
WR capable of being this year's Justin Jefferson. The fact that
he got two tight ends on the way up in their careers and then
topped it all off with another high-end rookie prospect at WR,
and it's not difficult to arrive at the spot I'm in - which is
that this was my favorite team in the draft. Draft position had
something to do with it, certainly, as the 1-3 spot is the ideal
place to land three marquee players right out of the gate, but
Remote also did a great job in the middle rounds of building upon
his early success. If there's something not to like about this
team, I must admit that I am having a hard time finding it.
Key to No-Hassle Success: With all the pieces in place, bad breaks
health-wise are likely the only thing that's going to slow this
team down. Additionally, if both rookie WRs were to be non-factors
in their first year, Marquise Brown would need to take a step
up at WR to give the team something to go alongside Jefferson
and Woods. I think Chase is going to excel though, meaning anything
Brown does will be icing on the cake. It may be the best team
I've ever seen assembled coming out of a June Mock draft. Even
if the picks don't pan out, there are people in place who can
pick up the slack.
Favorite Pick: Where do I start? Henry was a great pick, but
also an obvious one. Jefferson, Ekeler, and Woods were ideal picks
and fell just right in this draft so that a truly ideal foursome
could emerge. Like most, I really thought Mike Davis was a steal
at 6.10 and Chase a steal also just a round later. I would trade
my TEs in a heartbeat for Thomas and Smith as they were both targets
at that position. The late selection of Drake was also a solid
value pick from my perspective.
Least Favorite Pick: When Russell Wilson was picked, there were
at least 2-3 other QBs still on the board that I liked better
than him. I thought picking a QB at 5.03 was perfectly fine, but
if I were given the choice of a QB at that spot based on who was
still left, I would have chosen a different guy.
Overall Outlook: It goes without saying that I loved this team.
It was like the best of what Hawkeye did in his draft combined
with the best of what Worm did in his. Does that make Remote head
and shoulders above those two previous teams? No, not really.
In a draft/league as good as this one, advantages are fairly subtle
given that everyone comes out of the draft with a serviceable,
potentially dynamic team. That said, I really struggle to find
anything about this team that I don't absolutely love and that's
an unusual statement. While Wilson is not my cup of tea at QB,
he will have his share of big games and with the other aspects
of scoring likely locked in, Remote will likely find himself atop
the weekly standings on the weeks that he does. This team is not
only a contender- they are my preseason favorite to win it all.
Analysis: Recognizing that while Alvin Kamara is an outstanding
RB and worthy first-round pick, he's a notch below the "big
three", Vikes took a detour from his typical team-building
pattern and was the first person to select a QB. The pick gave
him a truly dynamic set of "triplets" to build around
as Mahomes-Kamara-Hopkins gives you alphas at each of the three
main positions. Beyond that solid trio, some of the picks puzzled
me. For example, I thought Robert Woods would have been a better
pick than Tyler Lockett as Lockett's season sort of fell off a
cliff last year after getting off to a hot start. Moreover, as
much as I like James Robinson, I question his usage this season
with both Etienne and Urban Meyer-favorite Carlos Hyde in the
fold. Robinson deserved better, but in the end, that's all I can
say about that pick given the uncertainty that surrounds it. Beyond
the first six rounds, the picks were hit and miss with not a great
deal of upside. And, then there's the DeShaun Watson pick- one
that could define this team for better or worse. This team is
ultimately solid at its core. I'm just not yet sold on the supporting
Key to No-Hassle Success: That second RB spot looks a bit dicey
with Hunt and Robinson competing to provide support to/for Kamara.
And, with only one other RB on the roster, one of the two simply
must come through and give Vikes double-digit production more
weeks than not. Similarly, I see two WR3s when I look at Lockett
and D.J. Chark and what Vikes needs from one of them is WR2 production
to complement Hopkins. In short, after securing a true RB1 and
WR1 in the first two rounds. the selection of Mahomes rendered
the team without ideal candidates for the RB2 and WR2 roles. Is
it worth it to have that kind of uncertainty knowing you've got
the most dangerous, explosive fantasy QB in your pocket? That's
what Vikes is banking on and he cannot be faulted for taking Mahomes
when he did. The question is: Can the likes of Hunt, Robinson,
Lockett, and Chark step up? Time will tell.
Favorite Pick: It took some guts and overcoming no doubt a bit
of discomfort to take Mahomes at 3.04. Vikes is not exactly a
guy who grabs a QB early in drafts. But, I think the call ultimately
made sense and gives him a true superstar at each of the main
positions in the lineup. Further in the draft, I really felt that
he stole T.Y. Hilton when he did. Hilton's upside far exceeds
his draft position and if he ends up being the elusive WR2 this
team needs, watch out. Could be the steal of the draft.
Least Favorite Pick: I just didn't like the Lockett or Robinson
picks, but some of that is just personal preference. Lockett's
good numbers last year were based in part on a couple of monster
games as he disappeared in more games than he showed up, stats-wise.
I also don't trust Meyer to use Robinson properly.
Overall Outlook: Barring a rash of injuries, V4E is one of the
titans of this annual draft and this league. His track record
speaks for itself with multiple championships and a host of teams
who ended up being nearly flawless in their construction and design.
As such, questioning the composition of this group seems a little
foolish to me in some ways even as I must admit that it's not
my favortie V4E team over the years and I do question whether
or not the right supporting cast for its trio of superstars exists.
In the end, if all three stars stay healthy, it is difficult to
see this team, even with its perceived flaws, failing to be a
top contender. Firepower is firepower and ultimately, this team
is founded on a stockpile of it. And, if Robinson and Chark excel
in Jacksonville, this team could be fantastic.
Analysis: I love the fact that Dan continues to be a part of
this draft and league year after year. In a somewhat cookie-cutter
world, he is his own man. I know when the June Mock begins, there's
not a drafter I have a worse chance of predicting what their moves
will be than Dan. Truth be told, this draft was a bit of a mess
for me given that I didn't really understand half the time what
Dan was trying to do. His QB duo is pretty shaky. His RB2 may
not even have the starting job on his own team in Week 1. His
WRs are in uncertain situations and while Keenan Allen is steady,
he is a high-end WR2 in my book, not a guy you should be depending
on for the best scores at that position. All of it adds up to
a team whose first two picks better be really good and if Chubb
and Waller can be in 2021 what they were at the tail end of 2020,
Dan may be just fine. There is certainly plenty of youth infused
into this team, especially at WR, and if each of those youthful
wide-outs (Claypool, Pittman, Sutton) takes a step forward, the
team concept Dan was trying to form may just come together after
all. This is not a team I would be comfortable with, but I'm not
Dan. Like I said before, there are chalkers who make predictable
picks...and then there's Dan.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Where to start...well, a lot of things
have to come together. First, Dan spent a very high pick on Darren
Waller and he needs to produce. Not just solid numbers, but spectacular
ones to make up for the numbers Dan could have gotten from Justin
Jefferson or DeAndre Hopkins. The pick of Waller may turn out
great, but if Waller ends up being merely a top 4-6 TE, Dan will
struggle to find explosive production elsewhere most likely. Claypool,
Etienne, and Sutton are all examples of guys who can turn it on
big-time on some weeks, but may disappear on others. As such,
Waller needs to be great. Elite. Perhaps even average ten points
a week or better. Short of that happening, it's hard to see a
team whose top QB is Carson Wentz and whose RB2 is Melvin Gordon
being a dynamic success on Sundays this season.
Favorite Pick: It wasn't a sexy pick, but I sort of felt like
the selection of Keenan Allen kind of righted the ship for a bit
after Waller was taken previously. I was quite surprised that
Dan took Allen instead of Najee Harris given that he is a Steelers
guy, but I guess waiting until the late fourth to grab your first
WR is something Dan was simply unwilling to do. Whatever the case,
the Allen pick made sense. And, I also have Chubb as my No.5 RB,
so I would have made the same first round pick that Dan did in
Least Favorite Pick: While I didn't necessarily agree with the
Waller pick, there is a chance that it gets justified in a big
way. The pick, thus, that I liked least was the Melvin Gordon
selection in Round 4. It would surprise no one if Denver begins
phasing Gordon out as early as October and that doesn't leave
Dan with much to go on at the RB2 spot. I also thought Claypool
and Pittman were nabbed a bit early.
Overall Outlook: In the twenty years in which we've been doing
this draft, I've seen all sorts of teams be successful. Teams
I liked from Day One...as well as teams I thought were constructed
in an odd fashion. The latter describes my initial take on this
team and I really think looking back on it, I might feel differently
if Dan had waited on a TE and taken a different RB than Gordon
in the fourth round. Many of his picks down the stretch of the
draft have potential and assuming Courtland Sutton can re-gain
the promise he showed in 2019, the receiving corps on this team
could end up really good. But, that still leaves the unlikely
duo of Wentz and Mayfield at QB and Nick Chubb possibly on an
island at the running back position. The best that Dan can hope
for is that Gordon hangs on to that starting gig in Denver.
Analysis: I'm not sure I've seen a team come out of this draft
over the years with this amount of upside. Saquon Barkley could
be the top RB in the league. DK Metcalf has a ridiculously high
ceiling. Najee Harris may touch the ball 300+ times this year.
CeeDee Lamb could be a top-5 WR, particularly if Amari Cooper
experiences any health setbacks. Lamar Jackson may return to the
top of the QB heap if he can improve his overall passing numbers.
Brandon Aiyuk may be a star in the making. Ditto on Kyle Pitts.
In the first seven rounds, Wonder grabbed player after player
who individually could exceed their draft positions substantially.
It was a blitzkrieg of picks aimed at maximizing team potential
and giving him a distinct talent edge in the race for a championship.
Beyond Round 7, picks were more conservative in nature, which
may have been a wise decision considering how hard Wonder swung
for the fences prior to. There will not be a team in this league
in 2021 that is more fun to track on a weekly basis than this
Key to No-Hassle Success: Talent has to prevail in situations
in which roadblocks currently exist. Let me explain. Najee Harris
has first-round draft pick talent- but he's on a team that couldn't
run the football last season to save its life. CeeDee Lamb is
a truly dynamic alpha receiver...but he shares targets with two
other wide-outs who are well above average at the WR position.
Metcalf could be hampered by Seattle insisting on being a running
team. Kyle Pitts may be limited by the usual learning curve that
exists for TEs. On paper and based on individual talents, this
team should dominate. But, will that individual talent be allowed
to shine in situations that are less than ideal at best and cumbersome
at worst? This team can cook, but will it be given the freedom
to do so?
Favorite Pick: There were multiple picks that I loved. Metcalf
is my No.3 WR behind Hill and Ridley, so I thought that was a
steal. Then, I was hoping Najee Harris would fall to me at 3.08.
He was a steal at 3.06. Same for Lamb. The first half of this
draft was a potential masterpiece and I loved each of the first
seven picks for the beautiful picks that they were.
Least Favorite Pick: I guess this title would go to James Conner
as I question his ability to be a real contributor in Arizona,
but truth be told, I even liked that pick some. There aren't many
picks here that I can even question. This was such a good draft
assuming Barkley doesn't disappear for a third consecutive season.
Overall Outlook: The sky is the limit for this team and by that
I mean they could have the league wrapped up by early December.
But, in order for that to happen, Barkley has to perform at a
level we've not seen from him since his initial year in the league.
He is personally on my "do not draft" list even as I
recognize his immense potential. As for Metcalf, Harris, Lamb,
Lamar, Aiyuk, and Pitts- I don't see how that level of talent
gets held down for long and assuming Barkley does come along for
the ride, this team is easily a prime contender. Again, it is
rare to see pick after pick have a real shot at outperforming
their respective draft spots by quite a bit. That's this team
in a nutshell, and I think this group is going to ascend.
Analysis: Depending upon how you feel about Jonathan Taylor being
taken this high in a draft, it's difficult not to like what Ray
assembled in the first six rounds. He got a top-5 QB, two unquestioned
lead backs on their respective teams, a dynamic 1-2 punch at WR,
and a TE that many feel will finish the year top-3 at that position
given the lack of other options Detroit has in the passing game.
As such, the team is extremely balanced and has ideal RB3 and
WR3 prospects to boot in Mostert and Fuller. It's the Taylor pick
that will draw fire from some, but if Ray hadn't taken Taylor,
what other options did he have? In truth, there is a tier drop
that exists after Kamara/Barkley/Chubb for me such that Taylor
was probably the best pick even if he's really not in a better
position to excel than the next 6-8 RBs off the board. Towards
the end of the draft, several of Ray's picks were made for him
due to him having to travel and while those picks made sense from
an ADP standpoint, they lacked sizzle. There's usually a reason
why players drop further than they're projected to and ultimately
it's because their ceilings are rather low. Still, there is a
lot to like about this team and consider it a very likable team
from my vantage point.
Key to No-Hassle Success: I really think Ray did fantastic in
rounds 2 and 3 nabbing the duo of Diggs and McLaurin. They're
going to be among the league's best in terms of a 1-2 punch at
that position. The question marks on the team have to do with
the RBs, all of whom could be very good by the way. It's just
that neither Miles Sanders nor Raheem Mostert has put together
a full season of solid production yet. Both have shown flashes.
In saying that, it is my belief that Ray needs one of them to
become a top-12 RB (or RB1) in order for this team to ascend to
the top level. Quarterback and tight end are also in good hands
and the depth at WR is solid even if it isn't flashy. A scenario
exists where Taylor ends up in a timeshare with Hines and Mack
and is reduced to a RB who should have been valued as a third
rounder instead of a first. Sanders may also lose touches in Philly.
Ray's RBs must step up to the plate and make solid contact.
Favorite Pick: I love Terry McLaurin so much that I would have
taken him at 3.08 even though I had already picked 2 WRs to begin
my draft. That was a great pick and so was the selection of Prescott
who also would have been my pick at 5.08. It is really hard to
find fault with anything Ray did in Rounds 1-6, but of all the
picks made, I thought McLaurin and Prescott really stood out.
I think both are in for big 2021 production.
Least Favorite Pick: Ray didn't actually choose Tua per se, but
I still think he got a pretty questionable backup QB out of the
exchange. I am not sold on Tua at all. I also thought McKissic
and Hooper were taken too early. McKissic has some value for sure
in a PPR league, but in a non-PPR, I thought there were better
RB options still left to pick from.
Overall Outlook: This is a team that I am pretty excited about,
or would be if it were mine, given how extremely balanced it is
from top to bottom with no real weaknesses at any one position.
Ray should excel, thus, at each position provided his RBs take
that step forward that was previously discussed. Because there
is no real weakness in the lineup, health becomes the real concern.
Marvin Jones, Tua, and Tyler Boyd are all serviceable options,
but they are not at all in the same talent tier as guys like Diggs,
Dak, and Will Fuller. In the end, I think this team isn't necessarily
a top-3 favorite to win the title, but they are probably the least
likely team to implode. If I had to pick one team that I was almost
sure would finish top-6 at season's end, this is my group of deplorables.
Nice work by Ray here.
Analysis: Only one team emerged from the first two rounds of
this year's June Mock without a RB in the fold and it was my team.
Had I liked Ezekiel Elliott more than I do, I could have taken
the final RB in a tier prior to a significant drop in value that
catapults down to Joe Mixon/Cam Akers territory. Instead it was
straight VBD in rounds 1 & 2 with the top two WRs on my board
each being available. Throw in the selections of D.J. Moore and
Julio Jones at the 5/6 turn and no team in this draft came out
with more firepower and prestige at the WR position. That said,
when 4 of your first 6 picks are WRs, the rest of your roster
is going to have some deficiencies. The RB duo of Carson and Montgomery
could be solid, but there's little room for error with only four
RBs on the roster, two of which are in equal to less than equal
timeshares. Quarterback is a position of depth, but the quality
of the three selected is less than ideal to be sure. All in all,
this is a very WR-heavy team based on the fact that great options
were left on the table in the early rounds and I was not going
to pass on value just to round out my roster. The strength of
the other positions is and will remain the big question mark.
Key to No-Hassle Success: There is little doubt that this team
will put up points at the WR position and with multiple options
at QB, scoring from that position should be fine as well. The
difficulty for this team will be at RB should either Carson or
Montgomery get hurt or lose touches as the season progresses.
There simply isn't much room for error. Fant or Henry will also
need to be TE1 quality in terms of scoring and with Jonnu Smith
in the fold also in New England, Fant is probably going to have
to fulfill that expectation. The depth at every position sans
RB is good and in actuality, it's good at RB as well, but picking
up a third quarterback meant not picking up a fifth RB and that
may or may not come back to bite. If both Carson and Montgomery
finish no worse than 12th in RB points, we might have a pretty
successful team on our hands here.
Favorite Pick: I like Chris Carson, but he feels like something
of a consolation prize as I really wanted Najee Harris to fall
to me in that spot. The next two rounds, however, allowed me to
grab a RB2 and WR3 that I feel will both be dependable in the
form of Montgomery and D.J. Moore. I am also very happy with my
QB trio even as I missed out on the run of top tier QBs in Round
5. They'll likely all take turns being top point man on the team...and
Least Favorite Pick: Leonard Fournette. I had to grab a third
RB in that spot. Had to. Fournette seemed like the best option,
but in truth, he's not a RB3 I feel especially keen about. The
rest of my picks in this draft felt like picks I would be proud
to write home about. That one didn't. It was just a necessity
pick that lacks a solid ceiling.
Overall Outlook: This team is too unbalanced to be an initial
favorite, but if the Zero RB strategy that I sort of employed
ends up bearing fruit, this could be a dynamic team. There is
more firepower at WR than you can shake a stick at and that will
mean a few weeks in which scores are quite good. If you believe
that rushing prowess is the primary path to a championship, this
team may not exactly be your cup of tea. Teams with more established
runners are going to run laps around my colts on some weeks as
it is very unlikely Montgomery will put up the kind of numbers
he did late last year and that Carson jumps to a RB1. If you're
going to be great at one position in this draft, you'll likely
be mediocre at best everywhere else. That's essentially what we
have here at first glance.
Analysis: This draft was all over the map with George Kittle
being taken so early, but this is a fun team with lots of youth
in key positions including three rookies (Williams, Smith, Waddle)
and three second year players (Herbert, Hurts, Moss) who have
the potential to jump forward this season production-wise (although
in fairness, just a repeat of last season would be fine in Herbert's
case). That is what you would call youth being served. There is
a decent chance also that Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be just as
productive as, say, Cam Akers or J.K. Dobbins, so perhaps waiting
on that second RB won't hinder this team much at all. Robb tried
to hedge his bets at WR by adding a sixth wide-out such that a
couple of guys on new teams (Davis, Williams) are available should
Smith and Waddle take some time adjusting to NFL life. That may
be an effective strategy, but again it places pressure on the
RBs on the roster to remain healthy. As with all young teams,
this team could be a charging horse down the backstretch, so look
for Robb to be more of a factor as the season rolls on. Initially,
he'll need Elliott and Evans to carry and they're certainly capable
Key to No-Hassle Success: Including Cole Kmet, this team has
seven players on it with one year of NFL experience or less. That
means it's a bunch of talented, but green performers and Robb
needs at least four of the seven to produce in ways that go beyond
their experience thus far. In the end, although I think he overvalued
Kittle, he's likely to get top-3 production out of him and Elliott
will rebound some based on having Dak back under center. That
means all the youngsters picked in the middle rounds will be front
and center in the chase for No-Hassle glory. There is likely to
be some inconsistency in the way in which this team scores from
week to week as rookies often flash for a week and struggle the
next as defenses adjust, but at least Robb can say he didn't play
it "safe" with this team. Doing that from the No.9 spot
probably would have ultimately killed his title chances. As is,
the upside makes this journey potentially intriguing.
Favorite Pick: Initially, the pick I liked best was Clyde Edwards-Helaire,
who is really an early to mid-third round talent and plays in
a dynamic offense to say the least. I would have picked CEH over
David Montgomery (I liked them both) if he had fallen one more
spot. I also loved where Robb got rookies Javonte Williams and
DeVonta Smith. They were worth the gamble and their potential
for dynamic contribution is very much alive and well. Much like
White Wonder, this is a roster bursting at the seams with upside.
Least Favorite Pick: Ezekiel Elliott is a "do not draft"
for me alongside Saquon Barkley, but no one can deny he was probably
the best possible choice at 1.09. That leaves Kittle as the pick
that really shocked me most as I think he's more of a third rounder
with so much QB uncertainty right now in San Francisco. The rest
of the picks made sense to me and I recall often thinking Robb
was doing a great job as he sniped picks left and right. I just
think he's overvaluing Kittle and as such, his team could have
been even better.
Overall Outlook: This is ultimately a team that I am fascinated
by. Robb's steady commitment to younger players including several
rookies will make for a team that could peak in a mighty way come
November and December. If Elliott returns to being the player
he was in 2020, there may not be enough superstar performances
on the roster to carry the team beyond middle of the pack. The
depth at QB and RB are terrific, though, to go along with a stockpile
of WR potential, so I don't see this team bottoming out. It's
just a question of whether or not a consistent scoring base can
be established and maintained. Cool draft here. Very out-of-the-box
and gutsy to be sure.
Analysis: Shovel has always reminded me a little bit of Dan.
Not that their strategies for drafting are similar per se...but
in terms of doing his own thing in spite of trends and norms.
And, in a world in which productive RBs can be hard to find, it's
difficult to argue against securing three potentially good ones
in the first four rounds of a draft. The only downside of that
when you combine it with the first round selection of Travis Kelce
is that you end up with Tee Higgins as your WR1. No offense to
Higgins, but that makes this team the weakest WR team in the league
no matter how many you add afterwards. The good news is that all
other positions are positions of strength, even at QB where Shovel
may not have a top-6 option, but where two likely top-10 options
do exist and will thus complement one another very well in a best-ball
format. The problem for this team is that none of the aforementioned
WRs are sure things- not even Higgins who is going to have to
share targets with a couple of other talented wide-outs in Cincinnati.
In a league where three WR starters are required, grabbing your
first at 6.03 is a risky proposition. Then again, so is taking
a tight end in the first round. That said, no risk often means
Key to No-Hassle Success: Shovel went RB-RB-RB in rounds 2-4
which is typically a pretty good strategy, but the question is:
How good are the guys he selected in those spots? All three have
talented counterparts on their respective teams that could limit
their effectiveness from a fantasy production standpoint. For
Dobbins, that's Gus Edwards...for Jacobs, it's Kenyan Drake. And,
in D'Andre Swift's case, Jamaal Williams may steal more than a
few carries. For Shovel to find success, two of the three really
need to establish themselves as the clear go-to back on their
team. Pure timeshares will diminish value such that Travis Kelce
and the QB duo will be forced to carry this team on their shoulders
given the lack of star power at WR. Two hits on those picks are
thus a must. Only one miss is allowed.
Favorite Pick: Though it thinned him out at WR, Kelce really
was the right pick in the first round. No one else can and likely
will do what he does at tight end and the fact that Kansas City
didn't do much upgrading at WR means another year of heavy production
from the veteran. Also loved the Stafford and Samuel picks in
Rounds 7 & 9. Moderate investments that could yield significant
returns if each can get into a rhythm on their new teams.
Least Favorite Pick: I don't really dislike any individual pick.
I just think one of the RBs selected early probably should have
been a WR such that your starting trio at that position isn't
Higgins, Samuel, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. It is difficult to imagine
that trio making much of an impact on the league although in Higgins's
case in particular, I could be wrong.
Overall Outlook: I don't initially envision this team in the
upper echelon of rosters or projected starters as I think the
3 top RBs all have their values capped by various factors. In
Dobbins's case, I think Lamar and Gus will steal goal line carries.
Same for Swift in Detroit and we know that Josh Jacobs will exit
the field every time Las Vegas is in a passing situation. All
that said, there are some wild cards in the equation and if Burrow
to Higgins becomes a big deal, so too could this team. With Kelce
outscoring some of the other starting TEs in the league by over
100 points or more, Shovel will have the edge there for sure.
The question is whether or not he can maintain the advantage that
Kelce gives him at the other positions. It will be fun to see
how it unfolds this fall.
Analysis: The defending champion drew no favors in having to
navigate this draft from the No.11 spot, but he employed a solid
strategy in putting together a team that he hopes will allow him
to win another title. Traditionally, RB-RB is considered a safe
path when picking near the end of the first round and that is
indeed the path that Matt chose in selecting Aaron Jones and Cam
Akers. Beyond that, he saw an opportunity to gain an advantage
over his foes by way of adding the consensus No.2 QB before turning
his attention to wide receiver. Much like Shovel, his decision
to wait on wide receiver weakened that unit, but the guys he found
in the middle rounds all have tremendous upside, particularly
Jeudy and Shenault. And like Robb, Matt was not afraid to make
youth a theme in his draft as NINE of his players have a year
of NFL experience or less. That makes it a team of upside with
a few solid veterans thrown in to anchor the overall effort. You
won't find a single player on this team on the downside of his
career and that bodes well for the team improving as the season
wears on. This is a top-5 team for sure in my book.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Hate to beat a dead horse, but youth
must be served. Guys like Akers, Gaskin, Jeudy, Trautman, Sermon,
and Shenault need to make contributions sooner than later in the
season. If there are sophomore growing pains, Matt may fall too
far behind to catch up come the second half of the season. Additionally,
Amari Cooper needs to maintain the lead role in the Dallas passing
attack or at least be 1A to CeeDee Lamb's 1B as Matt is not counting
on him to just be a complementary piece, but the lead receiver
in the group. Golladay could assume that lead role, which would
take pressure off Cooper, but that is not something Matt can bank
on given that Golladay is no sure thing on a brand new team. This
team has so much upside. It is probably the youngest team I have
ever seen from what is typically a conservative spot on the draft
board. Question is: Is it too young?
Favorite Pick: There are many in the middle rounds, where I felt
Matt really separated himself from his fellow drafters. Specifically,
I loved all the picks in rounds 7-10, a group that included Dallas
Goedert, who I feel is ready to be a top-5 TE. Trey Sermon is
another guy that Matt stole as his ADP in August will likely look
nothing like it does here in June. Finally, Jeudy and Shenault
are truly poised for big steps forward. In nabbing them both,
Matt set himself up for at least one to shine.
Least Favorite Pick: There wasn't a pick that Matt made that
I truly didn't like, but I would not want to make Amari Cooper
my first WR taken as his role could diminish some as the season
goes on as has already been noted. I love the depth on this WR
unit, but they may lack a true WR1 and as such, could run middle
of the pack at best this season in terms of points scored from
Overall Outlook: Matt's draft is really a model for what you
want to do picking from the No.11 spot in a redraft. Go conservative
early and then swing big by way of selecting lots of young players
with obvious upside. I also like the fact that Matt chose Josh
Allen when he did as it cemented the fact that he'll probably
have a superstar at least at that one position and a guy who can
carry you scoring-wise on more than one occasion during the season.
I don't think Aaron Rodgers's presence will impact Aaron Jones
all that much as he'll be a workhorse back with a lower YPC with
Rodgers gone, but with a higher YPC with Rodgers there. As such,
this team has an anchor to go with all the other talent acquired.
There is thus little doubt in my mind that Matt will contend once
again this season.
Analysis: There is an unwritten rule in redrafts that when/if
you're picking from the bottom spot in the first round, don't
forget to take a few chances along the way. I am pretty certain
that ICE took that advice to heart in his draft taking not only
Davante Adams at the first turn, but Aaron Rodgers as well at
the onset of the sixth. Now, that's faith in action. If the Packers
can mend the relationship with Rodgers in time, ICE will have
acquired a lethal pitch and catch combination to guide his team,
but if not, the two picks could spell doom in a league as competitive
as this one. Beyond that obvious storyline, ICE added players
of personal preference including a fairly early selection of Chase
Edmonds as his RB2 and a second top-10 QB to protect against Rodgers
calling it quits. Finally, whereas Matt opted for youth, youth,
and more youth, ICE doesn't have a single player on his team with
less than three years of NFL experience. That includes David Johnson
who will have quite a bit of competition for carries this year
on what will be a truly bad NFL team. Nevertheless, it's all eyes
on Rodgers with regards to the long-term viability of this team.
ICE's shot a title depends on him playing...and playing for the
Key to No-Hassle Success: I'm pretty sure we stated it above.
More than once in fact. But, going beyond the obvious, the running
game must click for this team. That includes Joe Mixon actually
staying on the field for an entire season and Chase Edmonds holding
off James Conner for primary ball carrier duties in Arizona. Pollard
and Perine are merely insurance picks in case of an injury to
Elliott or Mixon and David Johnson will be playing from behind
constantly, so Mixon and Edmonds must do more than just tread
water. They need to surpass the expectations that most experts
have for them. The wide receivers on this team are steady, reliable
options as are the tight ends, so it's really all about Rodgers
and the running game. Someone must step up and be the leader of
this team. Adams is capable, but again, his effectiveness is in
jeopardy for now.
Favorite Pick: Cooper Kupp. There is upside with Kupp getting
an upgrade with respect to the guy throwing him the ball. I thought
he could have been picked earlier and I was going back and forth
at 5.08 between him and D.J. Moore. If Adams is able to perform
with all his usual might, Kupp makes for an ideal WR2 and really
makes WR the strength of this team despite going running back
with the first round pick. I also thought Eric Ebron was a nice
pick late in the draft in case Stafford doesn't target Higbee
as often as Goff did.
Least Favorite Pick: I would have passed on Adams, but that may
work out great in the end. At the 3-4 turn, I thought both Thielen
and Edmonds were taken too early, but I understand taking the
guys you like when picking on the turn as they won't make it back
to you. I think Jefferson is the clear lead receiver in Minnesota
now, making Thielen more of an early fifth round value from my
perspective. That's about where I would first consider Edmonds,
Overall Outlook: This could be a really dynamic team if Rodgers
comes back to Green Bay hungry and at least semi-happy. But, if
he doesn't, this team has struggle written all over it. I'm not
sure Mixon is capable of being a true stud back, although I would
agree that his volume makes him a RB1 on the back-end of that
spectrum. It is never easy picking from this spot, particularly
when the value sort of dries up/changes mid-third round. There
is a chance that ICE gets some surprise positive performances
out of some of his later round picks, but with this being a veteran
team, upside is capped. Lots of risk contained thus in this draft
with uncertain reward.