Keep in mind that at the END of most FFL drafts is where kickers and team defenses generally go.
I'll jump right to it, then!
1. Steve Smith, WR, BAL
2. Eric Ebron, TE, DET
3. Carlos Hyde, RB, SF
4. Terrance West, RB, CLE
5. Andre Williams, RB, NYG
6. Ladarius Green, TE, SD
7. Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL*
8. Cincinatti Bengals, TM DEF
9. Riley Cooper, WR, PHI
10. Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
11. Kansas City Chiefs, TM DEF
12. Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ
* With Steven Jackson's being largely injured and/or ineffective in Atlanta last season, the backfield production is up in the air. Jackson's a year older and has a lot of wear on the tread, so Freeman could be a PPR machine depending on how he develops. Remember, though - the RB position is generally considered the _easiest_ position for rookies to adapt to on offense. Usually the biggest stumbling block is pass protection, but the late rounds is where GMs take their deeper sleepers and more chances with the roster.
FV: RB3/Flex starter to RB4/bench
Safest Pick: Steve Smith - No, I'm STILL not being a "homer" here, but he's one of few bona-fide starters on this list. Smitty still has something left in the tank and while he has a relatively low ceiling with Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta around, he should still make some nice plays.
Best Value Pick: Terrance West - Carlos Hyde was almost the choice for this, but every year Frank Gore is expected to break down, and every year he continues to be productive. I just don't think San Fran will be much better than 9-7 or 10-6 this year at best, considering the personnel issues they're dealing with all over the place. Terrance West is Ben Tate's backup in Cleveland, Tate has had issues with staying healthy on the field, and West has looked quite good in the preseason. It's even possible West could supplant Tate as the team's starter at some point, and I was considering him with my own pick later in the round.
FV: RB3/Flex starter with upside
Biggest Reach: Stephen Gostkowski - He's the best FFL kicker, but it's still too early to be taking a kicker, period.
Biggest Surprise Pick: Stephen Gostkowski - same reason
Biggest Potential Upside: Carlos Hyde - With the injuries in the Niners' backfield, if Gore does go down, Hyde should vault to the #1 RB. Once again, however, the Niners should slide this season, but even if they do AND Gore stays healthy, someone's going to have to spell him and Hyde is the guy.
FV: RB4/bench with low-end RB2 potential
1. Jerricho Cotchery, WR, CAR
2. St. Louis Rams, TM DEF
3. Arizona Cardinals, TM DEF
4. Danny Woodhead, RB, SD
5. Robert Griffin, QB, WAS
6. Cleveland Browns, TM DEF*
7. New England Patriots, TM DEF
8. Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
9. Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI
10. Mike Evans, WR, TB
11. Stevie Johnson, WR, SF
12. Graham Gano, K, CAR
* I was starting to think about team DEF here with most of the good ones gone and decided on the Browns. Yes, their offense is in disarray right now, but they play in a division without an offensive juggernaut (the Bengals and Ravens are decent, not great). Top pick CB Justin Gilbert has struggled in his last 2 preseason games, but he was taken #8 overall for a reason. Assuming he returns to form of his first 2 preseason games, he'll only help an already stout Cleveland Browns defense. I also see the Browns getting some fantasy scoring with sacks and again, playing in a division that's relatively weak offensively doesn't hurt. I plan on possibly using matchups on my DEF spot week-to-week, so I still have options open.
Safest Pick: Jerricho Cotchery - Cotchery now looks to be the "other" WR for the likely run-happy Carolina Panthers, but with rookie Kelvin Benjamin's rapid rise and Cam Newton being a dual threat, Cotchery shouldn't get a lot of attention from the defense. He had a nice season last year with the Jets considering he had a rookie QB in Geno Smith throwing him the ball, so he'll still see some decent fantasy numbers considering his draft position.
FV: WR4/bench with a touch of upside
Best Value Pick: Fred Jackson - Pretty amazing he lasted this long especially considering C.J. Spiller's erratic boom-or-bust play. Jackson's the steadier player, still has something left in the tank, and looks to be the short-yardage guy on a questionable offense.
FV: RB3/borderline RB4
Biggest Reach: Graham Gano - by now you should know I don't like drafting kickers.
Biggest Surprise Pick: Jordan Matthews - The Vanderbilt rookie comes in with SEC records on his resume' but goes to a team with a lot of weapons already. They need to replace DeSean Jackson, and Jordan Matthews is one of the more polished rookies. I like the pick, but his fantasy points in any given game will be difficult to forecast for about the first third of the season. Still, I like the pick because he's going to be a bench guy anyway and won't be needed unless an injury or two happens or bye weeks begin.
FV: WR4/bench with some upside.
Biggest Potential Upside:
1. Travis Kelce, TE, KC
2. Chicago Bears, TM DEF
3. Benny Cunningham, RB, STL
4. Carson Palmer, QB, ARI
5. Robert Woods, WR, BUF
6. Jarrett Boykin, WR, GB
7. Charles Clay, TE, MIA*
8. Markus Wheaton, WR, PIT
9. Danny Amendola, WR, NE
10. Coby Fleener, TE, IND
11. LeGarrette Blount, RB, PIT
12. Harry Douglas, WR, ATL
* I took Charles Clay as my productive backup TE to Jimmy Graham.
Safest Pick: Charles Clay - Becoming the starting TE in Miami last year, Clay showed his ability to make difficult catches as well as being able to find the end zone 6 times. In the 13th round, if forced into action, he can be counted on to at least put SOME FP on the board.
FV: low-end TE1
Best Value Pick: Benny Cunningham - Cunningham is behind starter Zac Stacy and 3rd round pick Tre Mason from Auburn, but has had a great preseason and already is competing with Mason for playing time. Mason better keep on top of his game or he could see Cunningham take over the #2 spot.
FV: RB4 with up to RB3 potential
Biggest Reach: Danny Amendola - In rd 13, there are no longer many "reaches" but Amendola is so injury prone it's hard to imagine him being a factor for much of the season. He has only played all 16 games once in his five-year career. At best, he's a 50-600-3 guy....and that's when he's healthy.
Biggest Surprise Pick: none
Biggest Potential Upside: LeGarrette Blount - despite the legal issue, a marijuana charge ironically given the man's last name, with Stevan Ridley's fumbling problems and the fact that Shane Vereen is more of a receiver out of the backfield than a runner, Blount COULD possibly wind up as a TD vulture and/or 4th-quarter game closer. He has no speed but has cut down on his fumbling ratio since his days in Tampa Bay. He also scored 7 rushing TDs last year and if he steals carries from Ridley, he could actually be a viable Flex position player or spot starter. Travis Kelce is KC's TE2 but really flashed potential in the preseason and is a close second here.
FV: RB4/bench with upside depending on the Patriots backfield situation and who is in Billichick's doghouse at any given time.
1. Tampa Bay, TM DEF
2. Phil Dawson, K, SF
3. Steven Hauschka, K, SEA
4. Mason Crosby K GB
5. Justin Tucker, K, BAL
6. Kenny Stills, WR, NO*
7. New Orleans, TM DEF
8. Buffalo Bills, TM DEF
9. Denver Broncos, TM DEF
10. Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
11. Dan Bailey, K, DAL
12. Khiry Robinson RB NO
* Stills showed himself to be a fine rookie last season with ~650 rec yards and 5 TDs.
FV: WR4 with upside
Safest Pick: New Orleans TM DEF - Rob Ryan turned a beleaguered defensive unit around into a top-five one last year.
Best Value Pick: Denver Broncos TM DEF - The Broncos were highly active especially on the defensive side of the ball over the offseason and added some much-needed pass-rushing help. They'll be quite improved and more disruptive and with that comes sacks, pressure, and turnovers.
Biggest Reach: Justin Tucker - I don't like drafting kickers - what if a regular draftee gets injured in the last preseason game? It has happened before! That said, Tucker probably has the lowest scoring potential of any in the group, but hey...all teams need a kicker for the season opener and drafting one in the next-to-last round is only a round too early.
Biggest Surprise Pick: Buffalo Bills TM DEF - They play New England twice and besides, their defense is one of the most up-and-down units I've seen in recent years. Too hard to tell which games they'll be great and which ones they'll bite the big one for me.
Biggest Potential Upside: Kenny Stills - Again, with a nice rookie season and heading into his second year where many WRs take a leap upward in production, if another WR gets injured or under-produces, Stills has the knowledge of Sean Payton's intricate offense and the speed to burn the defense. He has an outside chance of reaching 1,000 yards in such a prolific attack.
FV: WR3/Flex starter
1. Kenny Britt WR STL
2. Ryan Tannehill QB MIA
3. Delanie Walker TE TEN
4. Adam Vinatieri K IND
5. Alex Henery K PHI
6. Blair Walsh K MIN
7. Aaron Dobson WR NE*
8. Cecil Shorts WR JAC
9. Dexter McCluster RB TEN
10. Green Bay Packers TM GB
11. Mike Williams WR BUF
12. Nick Novak K SD
* With Dobson being my final draft pick, I'm still without a kicker, whom I'll pick up on waivers
an hour before the season opener.
Safest Pick: Delanie Walker - another 60-600-6 TE among many, at least he went in the final round instead of 6 or 8 rounds earlier, where similar TEs were drafted that project similar FP scoring over 16 games.
FV: low-end TE1
Best Value Pick: Cecil Shorts - Shorts is an underrated WR now on a team with a ton of young talent at the position after this year's draft. What have I been saying this entire series? Rookie WRs rarely make huge splashes - without Justin Blackmon, Shorts could wind up being the Jaguars' leading WR when all is said and done.
FV: WR3/Flex starter
Biggest Reach: kickers
Biggest Surprise Pick: none
Biggest Potential Upside: Cecil Shorts, Mike Williams, Aaron Dobson - Guys selected in the last round are generally afterthoughts and/or bench players. The three I listed actually have SOME fantasy upside, but have a lot of complications to their fantasy production due to their situations.
FV:WR4/bench with some upside.
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