Hello ladies and germs! Now that the pre-season games have begun, I decided to go to NFL.com and do a 12-team PPR mock draft, picking 6th overall - right in the middle. Just something a bit different from talking about the pre-season games that most people are writing about. Variety being the spice of fantasy football and all that!
The link to the team rosters and draft picks only lasts 20 minutes, so I'll post screenshots of the draft results for my team. Just remember I didn't really put any research into this; it is simply designed to be a snapshot of the types of players you can expect to see drafted as the rounds go along to give you a broad idea of how people were seeing things just before the first pre-season games began:
Round One: Matt Forte, RB, Chi: Yeah pretty much have to get your bell-cow RB here if you're going to GET one. Some still remain in round two, but this tried-and-true philosophy has been around for a long time because it works. Since it's a "half-PPR" league, I took that into account and grabbed Matt Forte of Chicago. With no Brandon Marshall, I think Forte could see more touches than last year, unlike what NFL.com's "predicted fantasy points" indicates. I was actually drooling over Adrian Peterson, but he got picked #5. Some fool took WR Antonio Brown 3rd overall and his backfield was non-existent as a result, since he didn't draft again until #21. Probably will be very productive, sure, but the drop-off is much harsher from an RB1 to an RB2.
Round Two: C.J. Anderson, RB, Den was still hangin' around, and since the faux league I was drafting for had two RB spots, as most standard leagues do, I took him. Denver is looking for more balance on offense which means Anderson should be a very nice pick in the middle of the second round where I got him.
Round Three: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Car: I thought I'd be a bit of a "Homer" in this draft, so I took Kelvin Benjamin in round three...or right about where he was listed overall on NFL.com. Here, he's not a reach nor a steal, but in a 12-team league, he shouldn't crack into the second round. Again, I was actually eyeing someone else - divisional foe WR Mike Evans - but he was taken right before I picked. With Funchess on the other side, Kelvin should have a bit more room to catch the ball in this, his sophomore season.
Round Four: DeSean Jackson, WR, Wash: A wideout was on tap here. Last year, if memory serves, he led the NFL in yards/catch among those who qualified. The question is the REDSKINS (ha! I'm NOT PC!) QB situation, but whoever it is and however they play, I still see Jackson making some big, big plays and makes for a good solid WR2 in FFL...especially in a league like the C3 FFL where guys get bonus points for long TDs as well as cracking certain milestones during a game, like going for 100 or 150+. Since a long TD reception adds a little value and goes a long way to adding up for "total yardage" bonus points, it's always a good idea to have at least one good game-breaker on your roster. DeSean certainly can do that.
Round Five: Greg Olsen, TE, Car: My "Homerism" hit me again with this choice. The thinking here is that I already got my two RBs and my two starting WRs, so I went with a very productive, if not flashy, second-tier guy. Only Gronk and possibly Graham are in the top tier of TEs, and being patient for round five should pay dividends as Olsen should be a steady producer every week unlike many at the TE position.
Round Six: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pit: I was getting a "feel" for the draft here, and a run on QBs had just begun. I figured I'd get the always-underrated Big Ben. The Steelers are going to be doing a lot of throwing the ball, so taking Big Ben here, while not a steal/value pick, was a good one considering most of the QBs chosen by others likely won't have Ben's numbers by season's end. For instance, I steered away from Drew Brees, who went in round three in this draft, due to their restructuring their offense for more balance. I don't see Drew putting up yet ANOTHER 5K-passing yardage season in 2015. Just 4,500 or so. ;)
Round Seven: Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ: Easy pick here. Since Jets QB Geno Smith got punched out in the locker room and will miss six to ten weeks with a broken jaw, Chris Ivory's FFL stock just shot up as far as Geno's fell when he hit the ground. It's a good sleeper pick for other reasons as well, since it appears Ivory's going to be the top back in NY in a platoon-style system and as we all know, you can pretty much never have too many RBs late in the season. With a very solid backfield (thanks to my top two picks), Ivory should produce during their bye weeks and put up SOMETHING every week.
Round Eight: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Ari: Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Fitz's fantasy value has often been over-drafted through his career and now that he's got some age on him, people are backing off. They forget that Carson Palmer will be back healthy this year (for how long, we'll not know) and so long as no teammates break HIS jaw, all of Arizona's WRs should see their production increase.
Round Nine: Michael Floyd, WR, Ari: - Since this draft was a last-minute deal, I wasn't too concerned with bye weeks or having multiple players from the same team, so I drafted the speedster as well. He and/or Larry should BOTH be more productive with Palmer's presence under center, so in this case I had a nice option and took it. Both are starters on an underrated offense and RB Andre Ellington's durability has long been a question, and that should all benefit the pair of receivers I took. I usually try not to take more than two guys from the same team, and having both of Arizona's starters, it should be evident which one looks to be more productive in 2015 after the first few games.
Round Ten: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atl: Yes, I took a dreaded division rival, but rumor has it that Freeman's going to be the starter in Atlanta. While it's a pass-happy scheme, anytime you can pick up a (probable) starter at RB in the tenth round, it's a worthy pick.
Round Eleven: Carolina Panthers defense - again, I've often said to wait until the next to last pick to grab your defense, or pick two of 'em and play match-up ball. Since I only took one defense in this draft and the others had started a "run" on defenses, I was shocked to see the Panthers D still on the board. Veteran CB Peanut Tillman seems to have the defense in a bit more of a mindset to gather turnovers, and those are always fantasy gold.
Round Twelve: Isiah Crowell, RB, Cle - Hardly a "sexy" pick, but here we've got yet another likely "starter" in Crowell, but Terrance West and a rookie or two should also see plenty of touches in this RBBC (Running Back By Committee) situation. Nice to have all these bodies at RB at this point in the draft....looking at the second half of the season as injuries pile up.
Round Thirteen: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Car: A very solid pick here, I believe, as Jonathan Stewart's durability is always a question. Otherwise, he should still see plenty of time as a back-up as he has been working on his pass-blocking skills for at least six years. That's another story, but it means he should at least see the field as a rookie, and if J-Stew goes down, I've just hit the fantasy jackpot.
Round Fourteen: Marcus Mariota, QB, Ten: Let's face it: We ALL draft our 2nd QB with the hopes he starts a single game for our fantasy teams. That said, most people go with a solid starter who puts up something each week with a shot for a great week if you do your homework on his opponent during your starter's bye week. Since this was just a "let's see who's going where" draft, without any research by yours truly, just sock that tidbit away when you do your pre-draft planning - see who your back-up QB is playing against during your starter's bye week. Have a schedule handy, or at least keep NFL.com's page open in another window so you can do some last-second looking. Otherwise, I'm thinking in general terms here: Big Ben's got a later bye week and that should give Mariota time to get familiar with his offense. Besides, I think Tennessee will be behind in most games and forced to chuck it, and Mariota has a chance to put up big numbers - even in losing causes. The RUMOR MILL has it that he and Kendall Wright are getting some "chemistry" together, so you may think about picking up the ex-Bear (Baylor) as a WR3.
Round Fifteen: Josh Brown, K, NYG: I actually drafted a kicker. Oftentimes, I'll pick a position player during the draft and just pick up a kicker from the waiver wire the day before the season starts just as insurance against a Geno Smith-style freak injury. I think I've actually waited for the waiver wire as often as not, and the one year it would have made a difference, the position guy I drafted last WAS the guy who got hurt late! Luck, schmuck!
Okay, wrapping things up with a few more nuggets to pass along to would-be fantasy GMs:
- If you don't draft an RB in the first round, you better get one in round two. This works out for the C3 FFL, with but a single starting RB. Even so, I wouldn't use the third overall pick on anyone other than a bell-cow RB, no exceptions. There should be a TON more WRs flirting with thousand-yard seasons than RBs. Therefore, your second-best WR in general should likely out-produce your second-best RB unless you just get lucky. It's ALL about the team's weekly FP output, not about one single guy.
- Even if you get the best fantasy defense around, you're going to have to make room for a second one - at least for one week - when they have their bye. You can do like I did and go ahead and get a top-notch FFL DEF team, or wait until just before drafting your kicker, pickup two, and play the match-ups like I mentioned. However, if you plan on playing match-ups, you'll do well to research them first and try to mark down "good PAIRS" of defenses...those would be not necessarily very good ones, but two decent ones that don't both face high-octane offenses in the same week, or at the very least, ones that pair up nicely during your FFL's playoff weeks. The last thing you want in week 14 or so is to have one defense playing at Green Bay while the other plays at New England.
- "Homer" all you want - for the bench. It's fine to take, say, four slots for your favorite team so long as you're not "reaching" in order to do so. If you do as I did, make sure at LEAST 2 of your 4 are actually supposed to be bench-players so a down week in general for your team won't sink you in your fantasy league. As far as offense goes, I've got the Kelvinator and Mr. Steady Greg Olsen while Cameron Artis-Payne is going to be sitting on the end of my bench unless and until J-Stew goes down, or simply for a spot-starter under heavy bye-week blues due to not paying attention to those all-important bye weeks when you draft. Ideally, you shouldn't take more than two spots from the same team - including the defense but not the kicker - or else face a few lean weeks when the team's offense is sputtering.
- Tied to the previous point is to WATCH THOSE BYE WEEKS! I can't stress how important this is. Do your BEST to make sure you don't have two guys you've drafted to be season-long starters with the same bye weeks.
- If you draft too many guys of a single position, make them running backs. RB is the most physically-demanding job in any FFL, and attrition usually starts around week three or four as they get dinged-up or, heaven forbid, knocked out for the season. If you get that "bell-cow" RB, it might not be a bad idea to "handcuff" him with his backup near the end of the draft. He'll often be around late, since nobody wants to otherwise take the second-best RB from Minnesota or KC, for instance, other than a lottery ticket. The FFL GM drafting the top-end RB would be the most interested in that unknown quantity because not only is it the "lottery ticket" thing, but if he DOES hit the Powerball, it'll be because YOU just lost a major contributor and will already have the replacement guy without having to go through waivers and hope you're #1 on the list for picking him up because you can bet on the fact that he'll be tops off the wire that week. Matt Asiata, anyone?
As always, feel free to comment or even ask questions about FFL strategies, drafts, and overall approach in the comment section below.
Above all, have fun and #KeepPounding!
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