By: George Haraktsis
As we trudge through the slowest point of the year for sports watchability, the beacon of hope that is football season shines dimly in the distance. A way to combat this depressing time where baseball and soccer are our only outlets for watching sports is to work in a fantasy mock draft here and there. It is never too early for fantasy football, and it is indeed never too early to prepare! So strap on your drafting helmets and sit back as I give you some mock drafting insight.
The Blitz team has decided to do some of the work for you and offer our opinions on this year’s fantasy draft. Each week, we’ll give you full-length mock drafts of different league types for you to follow along. Even better, we are breaking it down pick by pick each week. So if you’re drafting in the first slot this season, pay attention, because this week’s articles are for you! If you’re drafting 12th, give it a read anyway, and maybe you’ll gain some insight as to how the draft will play out.
Today we’ll be taking a look at a simple 12-team, standard scoring league that I have mocked with the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator. It’s an amazing, and quick way to get your mocks in, and they have some funny team names too. The roster format is as follows: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, D/ST, K and 6 Bench players. My selections are bolded below, and my final roster is at the end. Keep an eye out for more mocks in the days to come!
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
RB: Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
RB: Mark Ingram, NO
WR: Mike Evans, TB
WR: Doug Baldwin, SEA
WR: Alshon Jeffery, PHI
FLEX: Lamar Miller, HOU
TE: Trey Burton, CHI
D/ST: LA Chargers
K: Chris Boswell, PIT
BN: Sammy Watkins, KC
BN: Cooper Kupp, LAR
BN: D’Onta Foreman, HOU
BN: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
BN: Michael Gallup, DAL
BN: DeMarco Murray, FA
I freaking loved having the number four pick here. This is one of my favorite spots to draft because it always seems like a top 2–3 guy still falls to you in this spot. Having the consistency that is Elliott allowed me to concentrate on building up my WRs in the earlier rounds, and awarded me the luxury of being able to draft relative uncertains at the RB2 position. If I can withstand Ingram’s suspension in the first four weeks of the season with the combo of Miller and Foreman, his selection will pay huge dividends. Evans, Baldwin, and Jeffery form a formidable trio that contains the mix of upside and consistency that I love on my roster. Especially when considering the amount of opportunity/upside that my WR depth has if one of my top 3 falters.
My QB situation is a blessing. The mixture of upside in Garoppolo and floor of Roethlisberger will alleviate the pressure of having to stream a QB all year. At the TE position, I’m taking a considerable flier on a guy like Burton, but TE is the only position I feel comfortable doing that at without a backup plan. It’s too easy to stream TEs in today’s modern NFL. Overall, I think I really outdid myself on this one and would love if my actual roster looked like this come September!
1) Todd Gurley RB — LAR 2) Le’veon Bell RB — PIT 3) Deandre Hopkins WR — HOU 4) Ezekiel Elliott RB — DAL 5) David Johnson RB — ARI 6) Antonio Brown WR — PIT 7) Alvin Kamara RB — NO 8) Saquon Barkley RB — NYG 9) Kareem Hunt RB — KC 10) Leonard Fournette RB — JAC 11) Melvin Gordon RB — LAC 12) Odell Beckham WR — NYG
I felt fortunate to have Ezekiel Elliott fall to me here at pick #4, especially in a standard league. Yes, he missed 6 games last year due to a suspension, but his stats were still astonishing nonetheless. In 10 games, Zeke finished as the running back nine on the year with 983 yards rushing, 269 yards receiving, and 8 combined touchdowns. Good for 17.7 fantasy points per game, the second highest average of this year’s top 10. The Cowboys showed last year that if they have any plans to win games, they will have to lean on Elliott very heavily. Zeke has the highest floor of any prospect in the first round and easily one of the highest ceilings. Great pick at #4 here.
13) Dalvin Cook RB — MIN 14) Julio Jones WR — ATL 15) Devonta Freeman RB — ATL 16) Michael Thomas WR — NO 17) Keenan Allen WR — LAC 18) A.J. Green WR — CIN 19) Davante Adams WR — GB 20) Lesean Mccoy RB — BUF 21) Mike Evans WR — TB 22) Jerick Mckinnon RB — SF 23) Christian Mccaffrey RB — CAR 24) Jordan Howard RB — CHI
Yes Mike Evans was a fantasy disappointment in 2017, it’s no secret. He finished as the WR20 in standard leagues after being considered a top 5 fantasy WR. Some also might be worried about Winston’s 3-game suspension affecting Evans production in 2017, but I say temper your concerns. Evansstill had over 1,000 yards, over 70 receptions, and was targeted 136 times in 2017. He even had decent games when Jameis was out with injury, and actually proved his rookie year, the year before Jameis was drafted, that he could still put up numbers- 1,051 yards and 12 TDs. Yes, there is still some risk here, but that’s what you expect with bounce-back candidates. Evans will easily get to 1,000 yards and has a chance to get double-digit touchdowns for the third time in his career. At this pick, you want a player with a high floor and high ceiling, and Evans is just that.
25) Tyreek Hill WR — KC 26) Amari Cooper WR — OAK 27) Aaron Rodgers QB — GB 28) Doug Baldwin WR — SEA 29) T.Y. Hilton WR — IND 30) Rob Gronkowski TE — NE 31) Travis Kelce TE — KC 32) Adam Thielen WR — MIN 33) Joe Mixon RB — CIN 34) Josh Gordon WR — CLE 35) Zach Ertz TE — PHI 36) Derrick Henry RB — TEN
This was Baldwin’s third-year with at least 75 catches, 990 yards, and seven touchdowns. He finished as last year’s WR11 in standard league’s and was a steady presence all year. While he does not have a huge ceiling, his floor is as safe as it gets as Russell Wilson’s number one option. The newly signed Brandon Marshall will not cut into his production, due mostly to the loss of other passing options in both Graham and Richardson to free agency. He is a great option to pair with the semi-volatile Mike Evans due to his week by week consistency. While I would have been worried about Baldwin as my number one WR, as a number two I am more than thrilled.
37) Stefon Diggs WR — MIN 38) Kenyan Drake RB — MIA 39) Juju Smith-Schuster WR — PIT 40) Larry Fitzgerald WR — ARI 41) Rashaad Penny RB — SEA 42) Deshaun Watson QB — HOU 43) Allen Robinson WR — CHI 44) Derrius Guice RB — WAS 45) Alshon Jeffery WR — PHI 46) Julian Edelman WR — NE 47) Demaryius Thomas WR — DEN 48) Brandin Cooks WR — LAR
Last year’s WR15 finds a spot as the third WR on my roster. Even with finishing that highly ranked, Jeffrey still had an up and down year in regards to fantasy. He had only three games with 70+ receiving yards in the regular season, and none came after week 9. While he does carry some significant risk, it’s one I’m willing to take with my WR3. The team extended Alshon during the middle of the season, so they apparently have long-term plans for the former Bear. Another year in the offense with Carson Wentz gives me hope, and they should only build upon the chemistry that they had last year. While there’s definitely a lot of risks associated with the Eagle’s pass-catcher, I could do a lot worse for my WR3.
49) Jay Ajayi RB — PHI 50) Alex Collins RB — BAL 51) Royce Freeman RB — DEN 52) Mark Ingram RB — NO 53) Marvin Jones WR — DET 54) Sony Michel RB — NE 55) Golden Tate WR — DET 56) Tom Brady QB — NE 57) Russell Wilson QB — SEA 58) Jimmy Graham TE — GB 59) Jarvis Landry WR — CLE 60) Carson Wentz QB — PHI
Yes Ingram was suspended for the first four games of the year, but I don’t care! He was the RB6 in standard leagues last year and a freaking steal in round 5! Last year proved that he and Kamara could co-exist from a fantasy perspective so he should pick up right where he left off when he returns in week 5. If I did not have the luxury of Zeke as my number one back, I might be very concerned here, but Zeke and my next pick will be able to make up for his lost production until he comes back. Ingram was a steal!
61) Greg Olsen TE — CAR 62) Evan Engram TE — NYG 63) Will Fuller WR — HOU 64) Michael Crabtree WR — BAL 65) Pierre Garcon WR — SF 66) Robert Woods WR — LAR 67) Cam Newton QB — CAR 68) Chris Hogan WR — NE 69) Lamar Miller RB — HOU 70) Dion Lewis RB — TEN 71) Philip Rivers QB — LAC 72) Devin Funchess WR — CAR
Like I said earlier, Miller will fill in for Ingram as my RB2 until week 5. While Miller has not lived up to the hype since signing his free agent contract with the Texans a few years back but did manage a moderate career resurrection last year with Deshaun Watson. With a healthy Watson back under center, and D’Onta Foreman’s availability still up in the air for the first few weeks of the season, I expect Miller to take full control over starting duties until week 4 and continue his success with the young signal-caller.
73) Drew Brees QB — NO 74) Robby Anderson WR — NYJ 75) Marquise Goodwin WR — SF 76) Sammy Watkins WR — KC 77) Andrew Luck QB — IND 78) Ronald Jones RB — TB 79) Dez Bryant WR — FA 80) Emmanuel Sanders WR — DEN 81) Corey Davis WR — TEN 82) Jordy Nelson WR — OAK 83) Matthew Stafford QB — DET 84) Marlon Mack RB — IND
Watkins is the player that owners hate drafting every year. He never lives up to his draft stock and leaves owners wishing they had picked someone different. Even after finding a new home in Kansas City after signing with the Chiefs this past free agency period, not much has changed. But, I didn’t hate the pick. Watkins figures to be a depth/flex option on my roster and could be a prime candidate to breakout after a full offseason learning the playbook with new starter Patrick Mahomes. He is still very young and was a top 5 pick in the NFL draft only a few years back. Yes, he could bust, but as a depth guy, who could fill in for Alshon in bad matchups, I’m willing to take a swing on him at this point.
85) Devante Parker WR — MIA 86) Jamison Crowder WR — WAS 87) Kirk Cousins QB — MIN 88) Tevin Coleman RB — ATL 89) Randall Cobb WR — GB 90) Marshawn Lynch RB — OAK 91) Delanie Walker TE — TEN 92) Kenny Stills WR — MIA 93) Cooper Kupp WR — LAR 94) Mike Gesicki TE — MIA 95) Kelvin Benjamin WR — BUF 96) Carlos Hyde RB — CLE
97) Tarik Cohen RB — CHI 98) Isaiah Crowell RB — NYJ 99) Nick Chubb RB — CLE 100) Trey Burton TE — CHI 101) Rishard Matthews WR — TEN 102) Chris Thompson RB — WAS 103) Jacksonville Jaguars DST — JAC 104) Sterling Shepard WR — NYG 105) Kyle Rudolph TE — MIN 106) Kerryon Johnson RB — DET 107) Duke Johnson RB — CLE 108) Allen Hurns WR — DAL
Cooper Kupp quietly had one of the best rookie seasons of 2017. The slot receiver caught 62 balls for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns as Jared Goff’s favorite option. While I would have been more thrilled about this pick if we were in a PPR league, I still think he holds a lot of value in this year’s drafts. He is a fantastic depth option, and can undoubtedly make spot starts here and there during the year.
Gosh, I love getting Trey Burton in the ninth round. He has a ton of fantasy upside and talent that he flashed in Philly’s offense last year. He just signed a massive deal in free agency and will be going to Chicago to pair up with second-year QB Mitch Trubisky-We know how much young QBs love their tight ends. To be able to draft a guy who could finish as a top-5 guy at his position is hard to pass up. If for some reason Burton doesn’t work out then losing on a ninth-round pick is a risk I’m okay with. I can always stream guys on waivers, it will not end my team.
109) Aaron Jones RB — GB 110) Nelson Agholor WR — PHI 111) Rex Burkhead RB — NE 112) C.J. Anderson RB — CAR 113) Marqise Lee WR — JAC 114) Chris Carson RB — SEA 115) Jamaal Williams RB — GB 116) Desean Jackson WR — TB 117) D’onta Foreman RB — HOU 118) Josh Doctson WR — WAS 119) Spencer Ware RB — KC 120) Martavis Bryant WR — OAK
121) Jordan Reed TE — WAS 122) Donte Moncrief WR — JAC 123) Mike Williams WR — LAC 124) Jimmy Garoppolo QB — SF 125) Bilal Powell RB — NYJ 126) Kenny Golladay WR — DET 127) Frank Gore RB — MIA 128) Mohamed Sanu WR — ATL 129) Los Angeles Rams DST — LAR 130) Minnesota Vikings DST — MIN 131) Devontae Booker RB — DEN 132) Tyler Lockett WR — SEA
Yes I mentioned that we don’t know Foreman’s availability, but that’s precisely what made him drop this late. He flashed a ton of skill before rupturing his Achilles last year on a freak touchdown play, and by selecting him, I now own Houston’s backfield. Someone will emerge out of Miller and Foreman next to Watson, and I’ll be there to claim whoever does.
This pick is just as risky as the Foreman pick because of the limited sample size Jimmy G gave us last year, but another risk I’m willing to take. Over the last six weeks of the season, he was the QB12 and now has a full year to take in Shanahan’s complicated offense. He does carry some risk, but the fact that I paired him up with a proven veteran later in this draft eases all of my concerns. The 49ers gave him one of the most significant deals for QB in league history for a reason, and I can’t wait to see why.
133) Doug Martin RB — OAK 134) Cameron Meredith WR — NO 135) Calvin Ridley WR — ATL 136) D.J. Moore WR — CAR 137) James White RB — NE 138) Cole Beasley WR — DAL 139) Latavius Murray RB — MIN 140) Jack Doyle TE — IND 141) Ben Roethlisberger QB — PIT 142) Tyler Eifert TE — CIN 143) Eric Ebron TE — IND 144) Paul Richardson WR — WAS
145) O.J. Howard TE — TB 146) Charles Clay TE — BUF 147) LeGarrette Blount RB — DET 148) Michael Gallup WR — DAL 149) David Njoku TE — CLE 150) Anthony Miller WR — CHI 151) Samaje Perine RB — WAS 152) George Kittle TE — SF 153) Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE — JAC 154) Jared Goff QB — LAR 155) Ty Montgomery RB — GB 156) Cameron Brate TE — TB
Not much needs to be said about Roethlisberger here, he is a proven veteran leading one of the league’s most explosive offenses. He finished last year as the QB11 and is a perfect option to cover the risk associated with Garoppolo. Safe floor.
This is the area where I really like to take fliers on rookies or younger guys. As a rookie, Gallup walks into a Dallas offense that lost pass catchers Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Ryan Switzer. That production needs to be recreated somehow. The team did sign Allen Hurns to a deal, but the WR1 is still up for grabs in my eyes. He was a very talented player in college, and his skills translate well to the NFL. Gallup is clearly a flier here, but if he and Prescott develop some sort of chemistry, this could be my sleeper pick of the draft.
157) Matt Ryan QB — ATL 158) Patrick Mahomes QB — KC 159) Corey Clement RB — PHI 160) Giovani Bernard RB — CIN 161) Theo Riddick RB — DET 162) Danny Amendola WR — MIA 163) Peyton Barber RB — TB 164) Matt Breida RB — SF 165) Demarco Murray RB — FA 166) Ted Ginn WR — NO 167) Terrance Williams WR — DAL 168) Dede Westbrook WR — JAC
169) Philadelphia Eagles DST — PHI 170) Denver Broncos DST — DEN 171) Houston Texans DST — HOU 172) Los Angeles Chargers DST — LAC 173) Baltimore Ravens DST — BAL 174) Seattle Seahawks DST — SEA 175) Wayne Gallman RB — NYG 176) New England Patriots DST — NE 177) Keelan Cole WR — JAC 178) Brandon Marshall WR — SEA 179) New Orleans Saints DST — NO 180) New York Giants DST — NYG
181) Stephen Gostkowski K — NE 182) Greg Zuerlein K — LAR 183) Justin Tucker K — BAL 184) Wil Lutz K — NO 185) Matt Bryant K — ATL 186) Dan Bailey K — DAL 187) Matt Prater K — DET 188) Jake Elliott K — PHI 189) Chris Boswell K — PIT 190) Kai Forbath K — MIN 191) Mason Crosby K — GB 192) Harrison Butker K — KC
I’d be lying to you if I told you DeMarco Murray was not a shot in the dark here. I mean he’s not even on a team. With that being said, he is one training camp injury away from being the starter on an NFL team. If Murray can secure a starting role coming into this year, this pick will pay dividends.
The Chargers are young, but their defense has shown plenty of promise over the last few years. They drafted Derwin James in this year’s first round and have players like Bosa, Ingram, and Heyward hitting their prime, scary. This unit could seriously make some noise. As for my Kicker? Chris Boswell is a kicker on a good offense that is the Steelers. Do you need much more than that?