Written by: George Haraktsis, @Blitzalytics
With the preseason finally here, it’s about time for fantasy players, new and old, to start participating in mock drafts. When it comes to any draft, whether it is rookie, redraft, dynasty, etc., preparation is absolutely key. You need to take the time to do as many mock drafts as you can and see how the board might play out. That’s why I decided to make your life a bit easier by doing some of the work for you and offering my opinions on this year’s fantasy draft!
Today we’ll be taking a look at a simple 12-team, .5 PPR scoring league where I’m picking from #11 and have mocked with the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator. It’s a fun and quick way to get your mocks in and not have to worry about the time-constrained mock draft lobbies other sites offer. 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. Keep an eye out for more mocks in the days to come!
QB: Philip Rivers, LAC
RB: Melvin Gordon, LAC
RB: Derrick Henry, TEN
WR: Keenan Allen, LAC
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
WR: Amari Cooper, OAK
FLEX: Corey Davis, TEN
TE: Jordan Reed, WAS
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers
K: Justin Tucker, BAL
BN: Dion Lewis, TEN
BN: Lamar Miller, HOUSE
BN: D.J. Moore, CLE
BN: Jack Doyle, IND
BN: Paul Richardson, WAS
BN: Bilal Powell, NYJ
Final Analysis: While this isn’t the best draft I’ve ever had, I cannot be mad about the results. My WRs seem to be set with a strong starting three of Allen, Fitzgerald, and Cooper, and have great depth beyond that as well. My QB is set with Rivers and my butt is covered with Doyle if Reed is ever injured. Gordon is a more than solid RB1 but my issues might be at the RB2 position.Henry, Lewis, and Miller are all toss-ups but hopefully at least one will pan out. Overall this is a B team that could become an A team with great in-season management and some players panning out!
1) Todd Gurley, RB — LAR 2) Le’veon Bell, RB — PIT 3) Ezekiel Elliott, RB — DAL 4) Antonio Brown, WR — PIT 5) David Johnson, RB — ARI 6) Deandre Hopkins, WR — HOU 7) Saquon Barkley, RB — NYG 8) Odell Beckham, WR — NYG 9) Alvin Kamara, RB — NO 10) Kareem Hunt, RB — KC 11) Melvin Gordon, RB — LAC 12) Julio Jones, WR — ATL
Analysis: With the news that the Chargers plan on using Melvin Gordonmore in the passing game, this could not be a better pick at 11. Gordon has averaged 1,051 rushing yards, nine TDs, 49.5 receptions, and 448 yards receiving over the last two years. He has been one of the premiere RB1s in fantasy football over the last two years, and is poised to build on his already impressive resume. With no one in line to steal carries away from Gordon, and with his projected uptick in the passing game ahead, his ceiling is as high as it’s ever been. Landing an outright RB1 at pick 11 who has potential to finish as a top-5 RB is a great way to start off any draft in any format.
13) Michael Thomas, WR — NO 14) Keenan Allen, WR — LAC 15) A.J. Green, WR — CIN 16) Leonard Fournette, RB — JAC 17) Davante Adams, WR — GB 18) Dalvin Cook, RB — MIN 19) Christian Mccaffrey, RB — CAR 20) Devonta Freeman, RB — ATL 21) Mike Evans, WR — TB 22) Lesean Mccoy, RB — BUF 23) Jerick Mckinnon, RB — SF 24) Doug Baldwin, WR — SEA
Analysis: Going for back-to-back Chargers was not my plan, but Keenan Allen is just too good to pass up at this point in the draft. Allen finished as PPR’s WR3 last season and should pick up right where he left off. Allen put up career highs in catches (102) and yards (1393) in 2017 and was one of the most consistent wide receivers throughout the NFL season. He had double-digit fantasy performances in all but three games (9.4, 7.1, 9.4); and had three 30+ fantasy point games, and seven 100+ receiving yard games. Keenan is one of the league’s best and most consistent receivers when on the field, and a steal in the second round. With his injury-riddled history now a thing of the past, he should be in line for at least another top-five performance in 2018 and has the potential to finish as PPR’s WR1.
25) Rob Gronkowski, TE — NE 26) Adam Thielen, WR — MIN 27) Tyreek Hill, WR — KC 28) Jordan Howard, RB — CHI 29) Aaron Rodgers, QB — GB 30) Joe Mixon, RB — CIN 31) T.Y. Hilton, WR — IND 32) Josh Gordon, WR — CLE 33) Stefon Diggs, WR — MIN 34) Brandin Cooks, WR — LAR 35) Larry Fitzgerald, WR — ARI 36) Travis Kelce, TE — KC
Analysis: Picking Fitzgerald is never sexy, but always a welcomed addition. He’s earned three top-12 fantasy finishes at the position in the last three years, with one of those being a top-5 finish coming in 2017. He has had one of the most secure volumes in the league, either leading or tying for the lead on his team in targets since 2009, and has been targeted at least 100 times in each of his 14 seasons. He’s averaged 148 targets since 2009 and 152 during the last three years. He’s also involved heavily in the Cardinals’ scoring plans, averaging over 19.5 targets and 6 touchdowns in the Red Zone over the last three seasons. With all this volume coming his way, Fitzgerald has a chance to be a WR1 again, with a floor of WR2 at worst!
37) Alshon Jeffery, WR — PHI 38) Amari Cooper, WR — OAK 39) Mark Ingram, RB — NO 40) Zach Ertz, TE — PHI 41) Evan Engram, TE — NYG 42) Allen Robinson, WR — CHI 43) Demaryius Thomas, WR — DEN 44) Juju Smith-Schuster, WR — PIT 45) Derrius Guice, RB — WAS 46) Jimmy Graham, TE — GB 47) Marvin Jones, WR — DET 48) Kenyan Drake, RB — MIA
Analysis: With two very solid options at WR on my team already, it was time to take a swing at an upside guy here at WR, and Amari Cooper made the most sense. He has struggled to establish himself as a sure-fire WR1 since entering the league as a top-10 pick. After back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, Cooper only managed seven touchdowns and 680 yards on 48 catches in 2017. He was tied for third among wide receivers with ten drops, and posted a dismal 53 percent catch rate on his 90 targets ( per PFF.com). He is still only 24 years old and now has Jon Gruden as his coach, so he is definitely a major candidate for a bounce-back year. If he and Carr can get on the same page, he has a great chance at finishing as a WR1.
49) Golden Tate, WR — DET 50) Kyle Rudolph, TE — MIN 51) Jarvis Landry, WR — CLE 52) Russell Wilson, QB — SEA 53) Michael Crabtree, WR — BAL 54) Greg Olsen, TE — CAR 55) Chris Hogan, WR — NE 56) Jay Ajayi, RB — PHI 57) Sammy Watkins, WR — KC 58) Alex Collins, RB — BAL 59) Derrick Henry, RB — TEN 60) Rashaad Penny, RB — SEA
Analysis: I needed to address the running back position eventually and lucked into landing Derrick Henry in the 5th round here. Henry has finally been given the keys to the Titans backfield and should be a solid, but not spectacular, RB2. He offers little in the passing game, especially with Dion Lewis now in the backfield, but should get enough carries and touchdowns to suffice as a solid starter. Not a great pick but not terrible.
61) Tom Brady, QB — NE 62) Corey Davis, WR — TEN 63) Carson Wentz, QB — PHI 64) Deshaun Watson, QB — HOU 65) Cam Newton, QB — CAR 66) Delanie Walker, TE — TEN 67) Robby Anderson, WR — NYJ 68) Devin Funchess, WR — CAR 69) Emmanuel Sanders, WR — DEN 70) Julian Edelman, WR — NE 71) Kerryon Johnson, RB — DET 72) Randall Cobb, WR — GB
Analysis: We all know rookie WRs usually have trouble producing in fantasy football, so it’s no surprise that Corey Davis of the Tennessee Titans had a down year in 2017. Davis started his career hot, but a hamstring injury led to five missed games, which doomed the rookie to a lackluster year. There was hope though, as Davis averaged 7.5 targets per game in 2017. If we backtrack to the end of the regular season, Davis had at least seven targets in three of his last four games. Incorporating the entire season, including playoffs, Davis averaged 6.2 targets per game. If extrapolated across an entire 16-game season, that would be close to 100 targets for the rookie out of Western Michigan. This year, he is primed to be the number-one option in new OC Matt Lafleur’s offense, and could really surprise some folks. He clearly has some risk, but as my WR4 it’s a risk I’m willing to take, as I’m sure either he or Cooper will emerge from the pack with their performances.
73) Royce Freeman, RB — DEN 74) Kirk Cousins, QB — MIN 75) Robert Woods, WR — LAR 76) Marquise Goodwin, WR — SF 77) Will Fuller, WR — HOU 78) Pierre Garcon, WR — SF 79) Jamison Crowder, WR — WAS 80) Rex Burkhead, RB — NE 81) Jordy Nelson, WR — OAK 82) Cooper Kupp, WR — LAR 83) Lamar Miller, RB — HOU 84) Ronald Jones, RB — TB
Analysis: When you get to the seventh round of any draft, it is usually hard to find a starting running back still on the board. So it was a blessing to find Lamar Miller here. He has been a bust since signing his free agent contract with the Texans a few years back, but did have a moderate career resurrection last year with Deshaun Watson under center. With Watson at the helm, Lamar Miller averaged a healthy 13.16 fantasy ppg (1/2 PPR), a very solid output for a RB2. With a healthy Watson, I expect Miller to continue this type of success. If either Henry or my next pick Dion Lewis falter, Miller and his volume will be able to fill in easily for them. If neither of them falter, then he will be a premium FLEX option at worst.
85) Nelson Agholor, WR — PHI 86) Dion Lewis, RB — TEN 87) Devante Parker, WR — MIA 88) Sony Michel, RB — NE 89) Trey Burton, TE — CHI 90) Andrew Luck, QB — IND 91) Drew Brees, QB — NO 92) Sterling Shepard, WR — NYG 93) Kelvin Benjamin, WR — BUF 94) Jimmy Garoppolo, QB — SF 95) Allen Hurns, WR — DAL 96) Matthew Stafford, QB — DET
Analysis: The Titans didn’t give Lewis a four-year deal worth $20 million to sit on the bench. The Titans have plans for the former New England running back. Yes, he’ll have to battle Derrick Henry for touches in the offense, but I don’t think that that should be a problem. Think of these two as the Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman-like duo of Tennessee. Also, if either one gets hurt, I have it locked down in the backfield and have a chance at a number-one back either way. Current OC Matt LaFleur was a coach in Atlanta when Freeman and Coleman tore up the league in 2015–2016, so he has some experience in dealing with a situation like this. Overall, Dion Lewis will see about 15 touches a game and should be a great FLEX option in all PPR leagues.
97) Dez Bryant, WR — FA 98) Minnesota Vikings, DST — MIN 99) Carlos Hyde, RB — CLE 100) Marqise Lee, WR — JAC 101) Marshawn Lynch, RB — OAK 102) Isaiah Crowell, RB — NYJ 103) Tevin Coleman, RB — ATL 104) Tarik Cohen, RB — CHI 105) Jacksonville Jaguars, DST — JAC 106) Marlon Mack, RB — IND 107) Jordan Reed, TE — WAS 108) Philadelphia Eagles, DST — PHI
Analysis: This is definitely my riskiest pick of the entire draft, but I needed a TE and Reed was just ripe for the taking in this round. If he stays healthy, he has the potential to finish as a top-3 TE like he has before. He now has Alex Smith on his offense, who loves to throw to the TE and is seemingly over his turf toe issue that has plagued him over the better part of two seasons. On the flip side, Smith could hurt his toe again and miss a ton of games like he has the last two years. This is a risk that I’m willing to take.
109) Aaron Jones, RB — GB 110) D.J. Moore, WR — CAR 111) C.J. Anderson, RB — CAR 112) Calvin Ridley, WR — ATL 113) Duke Johnson, RB — CLE 114) Jamaal Williams, RB — GB 115) Chris Thompson, RB — WAS 116) Martavis Bryant, WR — OAK 117) Kenny Stills, WR — MIA 118) Rishard Matthews, WR — TEN 119) Kenny Golladay, WR — DET 120) Giovani Bernard, RB — CIN
Analysis: Some might think Funchess is the number one WR in the offense after last year’s performance, but his uptick in production can be attributed to Greg Olsen missing a lot of time. The Panthers did not add D.J. Moore to play as the №2 WR. He has been balling out at camp and will certainly get a ton of looks his way once the season starts. Great upside depth pick here.
121) Josh Doctson, WR — WAS 122) Tyler Lockett, WR — SEA 123) Ty Montgomery, RB — GB 124) George Kittle, TE — SF 125) Cameron Merh, WR — NO 126) Mike Williams, WR — LAC 127) Anthony Miller, WR — CHI 128) Danny Amendola, WR — MIA 129) Mohamed Sanu, WR — ATL 130) D’onta Foreman, RB — HOU 131) Philip Rivers, QB — LAC 132) Nick Chubb, RB — CLE
Analysis: I promise I did not go into this draft wanting to draft Chargers players exclusively but that’s exactly how it turned out! Philip Rivers is one of the most slept-on quarterbacks year after year in fantasy. He may not be a top-10 QB every week, but he could very well finish as one once the season’s over. In short, he is a great find in the 11th.
133) Frank Gore, RB — MIA 134) Jack Doyle, TE — IND 135) Dede Westbrook, WR — JAC 136) Chris Carson, RB — SEA 137) Los Angeles Rams, DST — LAR 138) Ben Roethlisberger, QB — PIT 139) Nyheim Hines, RB — IND 140) Tyler Eifert, TE — CIN 141) James White, RB — NE 142) Jared Goff, QB — LAR 143) Devontae Booker, RB — DEN 144) Patrick Mahomes, QB — KC
Analysis: I never draft a backup TE. Ever. However, this draft is a little different. Having picked Reed, I wanted insurance on the possibility of an injury. Doyle provides just that. He proved last year that he doesn’t need Luck to succeed, finishing as the TE7. So if Luck is injured, Doyle is still a safe pick. On the flip side, if Luck is healthy, Doyle has huge upside.
145) Corey Clement, RB — PHI 146) Tyrell Williams, WR — LAC 147) Desean Jackson, WR — TB 148) Chris Ivory, RB — BUF 149) Denver Broncos, DST — DEN 150) Los Angeles Chargers, DST — LAC 151) David Njoku, TE — CLE 152) Legarrette Blount, RB — DET 153) Geronimo Allison, WR — GB 154) Eric Ebron, TE — IND 155) Bilal Powell, RB — NYJ 156) Cole Beasley, WR — DAL
Analysis: With Elijah McGuire hurt, third-down opportunities will shift over to Bilal Powell. He provides a safe FLEX option in my lineup that I can play on bye weeks if necessary.
157) Samaje Perine, RB — WAS 158) Paul Richardson, WR — WAS 159) Vance Mcdonald, TE — PIT 160) Doug Martin, RB — OAK 161) John Ross, WR — CIN 162) Matt Breida, RB — SF 163) Matt Ryan, QB — ATL 164) Latavius Murray, RB — MIN 165) Theo Riddick, RB — DET 166) Peyton Barber, RB — TB 167) Spencer Ware, RB — KC 168) Mike Wallace, WR — PHI
Analysis: Why not take a shot on a guy who the Redskins signed to a very lucrative deal this offseason? Paul Richardson is clearly in the Redskins’ plans and could become a huge threat if the often-injured Josh Doctson goes down.
169) Houston Texans, DST — HOU 170) Marcus Mariota, QB — TEN 171) Baltimore Ravens, DST — BAL 172) New England Patriots, DST — NE 173) Kenneth Dixon, RB — BAL 174) Ricky Seals-Jones, TE — ARI 175) New Orleans Saints, DST — NO 176) Austin Ekeler, RB — LAC 177) Derek Carr, QB — OAK 178) Chicago Bears, DST — CHI 179) Pittsburgh Steelers, DST — PIT 180) Tyrod Taylor, QB — CLE
Analysis: Pittsburgh’s defense should suffice here. If not, I can easily stream a defense off waivers with no problem. I wouldn’t worry too much about defenses.
181) Stephen Gostkowski, K — NE 182) Justin Tucker, K — BAL 183) Greg Zuerlein, K — LAR 184) Wil Lutz, K — NO 185) Matt Bryant, K — ATL 186) Matt Prater, K — DET 187) Kai Forbath, K — MIN 188) Jake Elliott, K — PHI 189) Chris Boswell, K — PIT 190) Harrison Butker, K — KC 191) Dan Bailey, K — DAL 192) Mason Crosby, K — GB
Analysis: The same mantra for defenses goes for kickers. Grab one that is great for an offense, or just draft the GOAT Justin Tucker. If they don’t pan out, then just pick one up.