By: Jake Leicht of Blitzalytics
Over the past several weeks, I have completed three different mock drafts. Two of the drafts were 2QB standard scoring leagues, while the other was just a normal standard scoring league. Today, I will be breaking down my first .5 PPR scoring mock draft. I drafted from the number 5 overall position. This was the oddest mock draft that I have ever completed, and I had a ton of fun breaking it down for you today. We are finally starting to move down the draft order, so I was able to draft some players that I had not yet broken down on my previous mock drafts. As usual, this mock was completed using FantasyPros’ Mock Draft Wizard, and the roster settings are as follows: QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1Flex (RB/WR/TE), D/ST (team defense), and K. I drafted 6 bench players as well. Make sure to check out last week’s mocks, and stay tuned later in the week for more!
1) Todd Gurley RB — LAR 2) Le’veon Bell RB — PIT 3) Ezekiel Elliott RB — DAL 4) David Johnson RB — ARI 5) Antonio Brown WR — PIT 6) Deandre Hopkins WR — HOU 7) Leonard Fournette RB — JAC 8) Alvin Kamara RB — NO 9) Saquon Barkley RB — NYG 10) Odell Beckham WR — NYG 11) Kareem Hunt RB — KC 12) Julio Jones WR — ATL
Analysis: Drafting the best wide receiver in a .5 PPR league at pick 5 was a great start to my draft. Antonio Brown is by far and away the best wide receiver in the fantasy world. Big Ben targets him on nearly every pass play, and sometimes he forces the ball to Brown no matter what the coverage dictates he should do. In this format we are starting 3 WRs. I probably would have drafted Brown in this format at pick 3.
Brown’s career has been awesome to this point. Brown was the 195th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Obviously not much was expected of him coming out of college, but he has turned out to be one of the best wide receivers over the past decade. Over his 8 year career in Pittsburgh, he has accumulated 733 catches for 9,910 yards and 59 touchdowns. He is also very durable. In each of the last 5 seasons, Brown has played in at least 14 games. Last year, Brown had over 1,500 yards and caught 9 touchdowns. It’s easy to project him to have at least 1,300 yards and 8 touchdowns if he is healthy, and that is on the conservative side. Brown has the highest ceiling of anyone in a PPR league, and I am happy to start my team with him here.
13) Melvin Gordon RB — LAC 14) Dalvin Cook RB — MIN 15) Michael Thomas WR — NO 16) Devonta Freeman RB — ATL 17) Lesean Mccoy RB — BUF 18) Mike Evans WR — TB 19) A.J. Green WR — CIN 20) Keenan Allen WR — LAC 21) Davante Adams WR — GB 22) Christian Mccaffrey RB — CAR 23) Tyreek Hill WR — KC 24) Stefon Diggs WR — MIN
Analysis: I couldn’t be more excited to start my draft with two premier wide receivers. Keenan Allen is one of the most talented receivers in the league. Last season, he was amazing. Allen caught 102 passes for 1,393 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those are some serious numbers for a WR2 in a .5 PPR league. The one problem with Allen is that he is very injury-prone. Before last season, Allen had only played in 9 games over the previous 2 seasons. If he can stay healthy, he will most certainly turn out to be a top 15 player in a .5 PPR scoring format.
I did not plan on starting my draft with 2 WRs, but I normally let the draft come to me. Early in the draft, I simply pick the player that I believe has the highest ceiling. I normally do not draft injury-prone players this early, but Allen was way too productive last season to pass up at pick 20.
Round 3 25) Jerick Mckinnon RB — SF 26) Rob Gronkowski TE — NE 27) Doug Baldwin WR — SEA 28) Jordan Howard RB — CHI 29) T.Y. Hilton WR — IND 30) Travis Kelce TE — KC 31) Jay Ajayi RB — PHI 32) Adam Thielen WR — MIN 33) Amari Cooper WR — OAK 34) Derrick Henry RB — TEN 35) Brandin Cooks WR — LAR 36) Aaron Rodgers QB — GB
Analysis: T.Y. Hilton was my third straight wide receiver picked. I do not love going with 3 wide receivers with my top 3 picks, but there were no running backs that I thought were worthy of a 3rd round pick in a .5 PPR format.
Hilton was not very good last year. He did not click well with the Colts’ backup quarterbacks, and he ultimately failed to live up to his fantasy hype in 2017. Now that starting quarterback Andrew Luck is supposedly back on the practice field, Hilton could be a fantasy steal in 2018. Hilton’s stats with Luck as his starting quarterback are WR1-type numbers. In 2016, Hilton caught 91 passes for 1,448 yards and 6 touchdowns. He led the league in yards that season. With Luck, the sky’s the limit with Hilton. Getting a possible WR1 in the 3rd round feels like a victory for this mock draft team.
Round 4 37) Zach Ertz TE — PHI 38) Josh Gordon WR — CLE 39) Joe Mixon RB — CIN 40) Alshon Jeffery WR — PHI 41) Larry Fitzgerald WR — ARI 42) Allen Robinson WR — CHI 43) Deshaun Watson QB — HOU 44) Demaryius Thomas WR — DEN 45) Juju Smith-Schuster WR — PIT 46) Jimmy Graham TE — GB 47) Mark Ingram RB — NO 48) Carson Wentz QB — PHI
Analysis: Well, I guess I started out with 4 straight wideouts in this mock draft. I do not hate it considering there is a huge drop-off at the position after the 4th round. Also, I can play 4 receivers at one time due to the fact we start 3 WRs and a flex position in this format.
Demaryius Thomas is not the sexiest wide receiver option in fantasy football, but he has been one of the most consistent options for fantasy owners since 2012. Before the past 2 seasons, Thomas had not caught less than 92 balls or had less than 1,304 yards since 2012. Those stats are eye-popping. The past 2 years, Thomas has been dealing with pathetic quarterback play, but still managed to catch 173 passes for 2,032 yards and 10 touchdowns over those 2 years. Now, Thomas will be catching passes from Case Keenum. While Keenum is not one of the best quarterbacks in the league, he is certainly an upgrade over the likes of Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, and Trevor Siemian. I look for Thomas to rebound somewhat in 2018, and he is certainly good enough to be my WR4 in a .5 PPR scoring format.
Round 5 49) Jarvis Landry WR — CLE 50) Golden Tate WR — DET 51) Marvin Jones WR — DET 52) Evan Engram TE — NYG 53) Derrius Guice RB — WAS 54) Alex Collins RB — BAL 55) Greg Olsen TE — CAR 56) Kenyan Drake RB — MIA 57) Michael Crabtree WR — BAL 58) Pierre Garcon WR — SF 59) Julian Edelman WR — NE 60) Robert Woods WR — LAR
Analysis: I have drafted Derrius Guice in nearly every mock draft that I have completed this year. His stock is rising as we speak, as many Washington Redskins’ reporters are predicting that he will be a 3 down running back for the team this year. Guice has amazing skills out of the backfield, and I expect him to be going within the top 4 rounds in fantasy drafts very soon. He is my RB1 in this draft, and I feel comfortable with that.
Here is my previous write-up of Guice after drafting him in a similar league.
“I went with Derrius Guice in the fifth round for a couple of reasons. The first is that I think he has an opportunity to be a top ten running back this year. He is the best back on the Redskins’ roster, and I am confident that Jay Gruden will build his offense around him immediately. I also needed a second starting running back, and I did not feel like Alex Collins or Jay Ajayi had very much upside. Guice can do it all. Again, I thought about drafting Big Ben and solidifying my number 2 starting quarterback, but there were too many intriguing quarterback options left. To me, this pick comes down to potential, and I love taking risks with my number 2 running backs.”
Round 6 61) Rashaad Penny RB — SEA 62) Russell Wilson QB — SEA 63) Tom Brady QB — NE 64) Devin Funchess WR — CAR 65) Cam Newton QB — CAR 66) Sammy Watkins WR — KC 67) Jordy Nelson WR — OAK 68) Dion Lewis RB — TEN 69) Chris Hogan WR — NE 70) Will Fuller WR — HOU 71) Dez Bryant WR — FA 72) Delanie Walker TE — TEN
Analysis: Coming into round 6, I was hoping that either Dion Lewis or Rashaad Penny would be there to fill my RB2 spot. I was all too happy to select Dion Lewis at number 68 overall. Last season, Lewis almost put up RB1 numbers in New England. He had 896 yards rushing on only 180 carries (a 5 yard per carry average), and he hauled in 32 catches for 214 yards. Lewis also had 9 total touchdowns.
The Patriots are normally one of the toughest teams to get RB points from, so the move to Tennessee should help Lewis out a lot. I look for Lewis to be solid in PPR formats, as Derrick Henry will probably not be on the field on passing situations. If something were to happen to Henry, Dion Lewis could be a draft day steal. He can do it all if the Titans use him correctly, and Lewis is a great fit on my team in the 6th round.
Round 7 73) Lamar Miller RB — HOU 74) Kirk Cousins QB — MIN 75) Corey Davis WR — TEN 76) Kyle Rudolph TE — MIN 77) Duke Johnson RB — CLE 78) Chris Thompson RB — WAS 79) Robby Anderson WR — NYJ 80) Emmanuel Sanders WR — DEN 81) Drew Brees QB — NO 82) Devante Parker WR — MIA 83) Cooper Kupp WR — LAR 84) Nelson Agholor WR — PHI
Analysis: This is one of my favorite picks in the draft. Duke Johnson is a PPR gold mine for fantasy owners. Even though this is only a .5 PPR league, he still has immense value on my team as my RB3. If this were one of my real teams, I would not be shocked if Duke found his way into my starting lineup on most weeks.
Last season, the Browns were a dumpster fire. They literally couldn’t find a way to win one game. Even though he had to play with miserable quarterback play, Duke still caught 74 passes for 693 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yes, those were only his receiving numbers. He also rushed 82 times for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns. I expect Duke’s rushing attempts to go down now that the backfield includes Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb, but the Browns will feature him in the slot in their pass game. He will be utilized out of the backfield on 3rd down as well. Oh, and now Duke will be playing with the best quarterback that he has ever had in Tyrod Taylor. Sign me up for him as my RB3.
Round 8 85) Jamison Crowder WR — WAS 86) Marquise Goodwin WR — SF 87) Royce Freeman RB — DEN 88) Ronald Jones RB — TB 89) Randall Cobb WR — GB 90) Matthew Stafford QB — DET 91) Jack Doyle TE — IND 92) Sony Michel RB — NE 93) Jimmy Garoppolo QB — SF 94) Jared Goff QB — LAR 95) Marlon Mack RB — IND 96) Calvin Ridley WR — ATL
Analysis: After starting my draft with 4 wide receivers, I went with 4 running backs consecutively as well. I understand that this is not a conventional way to draft, but I believe this year is different than most. I think that there will be better value at the running back position than the wide receiver position in the middle rounds. Would I love to get a big name running back early? Sure, but now I have 2 of the best PPR scoring wideouts from last year and a slew of solid PPR running backs. To put this theory into perspective, I grabbed a starting running back in round 8, and the best receiver taken was Jamison Crowder (who I actually like).
Again, I like Sony Michel this season. Yes, he plays for the New England Patriots, but they did draft him in the first round of the draft this year. I would be shocked if Michel didn’t find his way into the starting lineup by week 1. Last year at Georgia, he ran for 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns while SPLITTING carries with Nick Chubb. Of course he will not put up those kind of numbers in the NFL, but at this point in the draft I will bet on his talent.
Round 9 97) D.J. Moore WR — CAR 98) Sterling Shepard WR — NYG 99) Marshawn Lynch RB — OAK 100) Tevin Coleman RB — ATL 101) Jordan Reed TE — WAS 102) C.J. Anderson RB — CAR 103) Carlos Hyde RB — CLE 104) Rex Burkhead RB — NE 105) Kelvin Benjamin WR — BUF 106) Rishard Matthews WR — TEN 107) Martavis Bryant WR — OAK 108) Jacksonville Jaguars DST
Analysis: I have drafted Jordan Reed in several mock drafts this season. It makes me nervous every single time. I would prefer to draft a solid, reliable guy like Kyle Rudolph, but when I miss on him I always seem to end up with Reed. Here is what I recently wrote about drafting him.
“Number 1, he is uber talented. Even with his injuries, Reed has still had solid numbers in his career to this point. In 2015, he had 11 touchdown catches to go along with 952 yards receiving. That was only two short years ago. He runs great routes, and he is a three down tight end in this league. Now he is getting an upgrade at the quarterback position, at least when it comes to tight end fantasy production, with Alex Smith. Smith loves throwing the ball to tight ends over the middle of the field. Reed is not Travis Kelce, but Smith will still fall in love with him as a safety net over the middle of the field in 2018 if Reed is healthy. I knew once I took him, I was going to have to draft a TE2 in this draft, which I normally do not like to do.”
Round 10 109) Aaron Jones RB — GB 136) Marqise Lee WR— JAC 111) Josh Doctson WR — WAS 112) Trey Burton TE — CHI 113) Kenny Stills WR — MIA 114) Jamaal Williams RB — GB 115) Chris Carson RB — SEA 116) Tarik Cohen RB — CHI 117) Los Angeles Rams DST 118) Allen Hurns WR — DAL 119) D’onta Foreman RB — HOU 120) Kerryon Johnson RB — DET
Analysis: My final running back in the draft is none other than last year’s rookie running back surprise, Tarik Cohen. I think Cohen is one of the most intriguing later round options for a multitude of reasons. Number one, he can do it all out of the back field. During his rookie season with the Bears, Cohen had 87 rushes for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also chipped in a whopping 53 catches for 353 yards and a touchdown. Those are some nice stats for a rookie that was drafted in the 4th round. Number two, I am not sold that new head coach Matt Nagy will be using Jordan Howard like John Fox did. Nagy relies on a lot of RPOs (run/pass options), whereas Howard is more of a downhill handoff type of back. Cohen should see a bump in usage, and with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, I am happy to pick him as my RB5.
Round 11 121) Michael Gallup WR — DAL 122) Corey Coleman WR — CLE 123) Isaiah Crowell RB — NYJ 124) Cameron Meredith WR — NO 125) George Kittle TE — SF 126) Desean Jackson WR — TB 127) Philadelphia Eagles DST 128) Ted Ginn WR — NO 129) Nick Chubb RB — CLE 130) O.J. Howard TE — TB 131) Tyler Eifert TE — CIN 132) Frank Gore RB — MIA
Analysis: This is by no means a sexy pick. Because I drafted one of the most injury-prone tight ends in NFL history as my TE1, I had to draft a viable TE2. George Kittle was solid in his first NFL season with the San Francisco 49ers. He started in only 7 games, but he was able to catch 43 footballs for 515 yards and 2 touchdowns. Most of his stats came from playing with his former quarterback at Iowa, C.J. Beathard, but now he will be playing with the almighty Jimmy Garoppolo. I think Kittle could be a breakout candidate this season if things click with Jimmy G in training camp. For as good as Garoppolo has looked in his brief tenure with the 49ers, he doesn’t have great weapons to play with right now. Kittle could see some serious usage in the red zone this season.
133) Samaje Perine RB — WAS 134) Ty Montgomery RB — GB 135) Theo Riddick RB — DET 136) David Njoku TE — CLE 137) Tyler Lockett WR — SEA 138) Keelan Cole WR — JAC 139) Bilal Powell RB — NYJ 140) Andrew Luck QB — IND 141) Legarrette Blount RB — DET 142) Matt Ryan QB — ATL 143) Giovani Bernard RB — CIN 144) Cameron Brate TE — TB
Analysis: Andrew Luck is a potential top 5 fantasy quarterback when healthy. I am betting he plays at least 12 games this year, so I believe he will have a positive return on investment for me in round 12. There are still some solid quarterbacks in the draft, but none with the immense upside that Luck has. I drafted him a couple of weeks ago in a 2QB standard scoring league. Here is what I had to say:
“Again, I am a major risk taker in fantasy football. I want to win championships, and to do that you have to think outside the box. Andrew Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the league for fantasy purposes when he is healthy. The question is, is he healthy? I honestly do not know the answer to that question, but he is finally throwing footballs at the Colts’ training facility again. That is a step in the right direction.”
Round 13 145) Paul Richardson WR — WAS 146) Jameis Winston QB — TB 147) Minnesota Vikings DST — MIN 148) Kenny Golladay WR — DET 149) Ben Roethlisberger QB — PIT 150) Mohamed Sanu WR — ATL 151) Marcus Mariota QB — TEN 152) Charles Clay TE — BUF 153) Philip Rivers QB — LAC 154) Eric Ebron TE — IND 155) Devontae Booker RB — DEN 156) Cole Beasley WR — DAL
Analysis: It seems like I am drafting positions in bunches this draft. First my wide receivers, then my running backs, and now my quarterbacks. I almost decided to draft Ben Roethlisberger in the 12th round over Andrew Luck. Ultimately, I felt like Luck had way more upside, so I went with him. Big Ben is a fine QB2 option in this league. Sure, he never seems to stay healthy, but he is amazing when he plays at home. It helps that he has some of the best weapons in the league to play with in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown as well as up-and-coming star JuJu Smith-Schuster. Big Ben is a safe top 15 QB bet, and he would probably be in my lineup most weeks when he plays at home. Not the greatest pickup, but safe.
157) Latavius Murray RB — MIN 158) Doug Martin RB — OAK 159) James White RB — NE 160) Corey Clement RB — PHI 161) Javorius Allen RB — BAL 162) Demarco Murray RB — FA 163) Wayne Gallman RB — NYG 164) Mike Williams WR — LAC 165) Matt Breida RB — SF 166) Nyheim Hines RB — IND 167) Dede Westbrook WR — JAC 168) Peyton Barber RB — TB
Analysis: This pick is all upside. I haven’t drafted a wide receiver since round 4(!) and now I am just rounding out the receiving corps with former top 10 draft pick Mike Williams. He was an absolute star at Clemson, but his first season in the NFL was filled with injuries. I think that he could make a major jump during his 2nd year in the Chargers’ offense on the other side of Keenan Allen. Phillip Rivers is a quarterback that is willing to take some chances, and Williams could be a major red zone target for him now that Antonio Gates is gone and Hunter Henry is hurt. Williams is my WR5, so taking a shot on a young guy makes a ton of sense with my last position player pick in the draft.
Round 15 169) Los Angeles Chargers DST 170) Denver Broncos DST 171) Geronimo Allison WR — GB 172) Patrick Mahomes QB — KC 173) Houston Texans DST 174) Seattle Seahawks DST 175) Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE — JAC 176) Baltimore Ravens DST 177) New England Patriots DST — NE 178) Kansas City Chiefs DST — KC 179) New Orleans Saints DST — NO 180) Danny Amendola WR — MIA
Analysis: The Texans are an interesting defense to select in the second to last round. They have a great pass rush in J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. The Texans also play in a division in which the offenses are not awesome, which bolsters their value. If everyone on their defense can stay healthy, this should be a top 10 defensive unit in fantasy football this year.
Round 16 181) Stephen Gostkowski K — NE 182) Greg Zuerlein K — LAR 183) Justin Tucker K — BAL 184) Matt Bryant K — ATL 185) Wil Lutz K — NO 186) Matt Prater K — DET 187) Dan Bailey K — DAL 188) Jake Elliott K — PHI 189) Harrison Butker K — KC 190) Robbie Gould K — SF 191) Mason Crosby K — GB 192) Chris Boswell
Analysis: Elliott was the best kicker available. Obtaining a good kicker on a great offense is about the best possible outcome in a fantasy draft.
QB: Andrew Luck, IND RB: Derrius Guice, WAS RB: Dion Lewis, TEN WR: Antonio Brown, PIT WR: Keenan Allen, LAC WR: T.Y. Hilton, IND FLEX: Demaryius Thomas, DEN TE: Jordan Reed, WAS D/ST: Houston Texans K: Jake Elliott, PHI
RB: Duke Johnson, CLE QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT TE: George Kittle, SF RB: Sony Michel, NE RB: Tarik Cohen, CHI WR: Mike Williams, LAC
This was by far my favorite mock draft that I have completed for Blitzalytics this year. It was just so out of the ordinary in terms of how I went about forming my roster. For the record, I have never drafted four straight wide receivers to start a draft. Drafting Antonio Brown with the 5th overall pick in a .5 PPR league felt like stealing. He is the safest player in the draft, and with the 3 starting wide receiver format, he was a no brainer at pick 5. Keenan Allen in round 2 was also awesome, especially if Allen can stay healthy for a full season like her did in 2017. He should be a PPR monster again. Coming out of rounds 3 and 4 with T.Y. Hilton and Demaryius Thomas, two receivers with the most fantasy potential on their respective teams, set my team up with the best wide receiving corps imaginable. Like I said earlier, I think the wide receiver position is full of talent early, but there isn’t a lot of depth there later on in drafts. Drafting Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger later on solidified my passing attack.
Having no running backs on my roster after round 4 was a scary feeling, but I was able to add high upside players with some serious PPR potential in rounds 5–8. Derrius Guice, Dion Lewis, Duke Johnson, and Tarik Cohen are four intriguing running back options in a PPR format. At least one of those guys will end up getting more carries than what they are projected right now. My bet is on Guice. In round 8, I grabbed Sony Michel because I believe that Belichick will use him early and often after spending a first round pick on him in April. I am not crazy about my TE position, as I came away with Jordan Reed and George Kittle. I seem to be drafting Reed a ton because of his talent, but he is always hurt. Kittle could find a groove with Jimmy G this season.
Overall, I loved this draft. It was fun and interesting. I am not sure if I will ever draft four wide receivers in a row to start a draft again, but I was happy with the way this draft turned out for my team.