First Rant Sports Writers 2012 Fantasy Football Mock Draft
The first Rant Sports writers 2012 Fantasy Football mock draft is in the books. The official results of the mock draft can be viewed by clicking here.
Thanks to all the writers who participated and please read and comment on each one’s analysis of their draft, in order of first pick:
Round 1 (1) – QB Aaron Rodgers - The NFL is now a passing league and to me you have to adjust to that as a fantasy player. Anytime you can get the best player in the NFL you do it and that’s why I took Rodgers here. You can go QB and find running backs all the time in fantasy.
Round 2 (20) – WR Andre Johnson - Stunned to have him here. Wanted Greg Jennings to handcuff him with Rodgers. I always like to draft QB and then a receiver of his. Anytime you can get a top three player at his position with your second pick you gotta take him
Round 3 (21) – RB Steven Jackson - Jackson is a workhorse running back and I needed a back and he was the best one available. Jackson will be good for over 1,000 yds this year and as long as Sam Bradford stays healthy and plays better Jackson may surprise people.
Round 4 (40) – RB Marshawn Lynch - Lynch is a little bit of an enigma. He’s kind of a boom or bust player. As long as “Skittles” isn’t suspended he’s going to be the key to the Seahawk offense.
Round 5 (41) – WR Jordy Nelson - Like I said I like to handcuff quarterback and receiver combos and Rodgers to Jordy was pretty prolific last year. Green Bay as one of the best aerial attacks in the NFL and they have so many weapons you never know who they want to throw to.
Round 6 (60) – WR Eric Decker - Peyton Manning wanted him as a Colt when he came out of the draft. Now with the Broncos Peyton has his chance to throw to Decker. QB Tim Tebow was more of a DeMarius Thomas fan. Now with Peyton throwing look for Decker to be more than a second option.
Round 7 (61) – TE Aaron Hernandez - Hernandez is the swiss-army knife of the Patriots offense. He plays all over and gets his touches. It will be interesting if teams key more on Rob Gronkowski which could give Hernandez more of a chance.
Round 8 (80) – RB DeAngelo Williams - It’s no secret that Carolina is loaded at the running back position with Williams, Johnathan Stewart and now Mike Tolbert. Williams got a big contract and I expect him to live up to it more than he did last year.
Round 9 (81) – WR Robert Meachem - Meachem may end up being the number one target for Philip Rivers at some point this year. With Vincent Jackson gone and Antonio Gates seemingly falling off, Meachem has a huge opportunity to be the guy for San Diego.
Round 10 (100) – QB Jay Cutler - Cutler is reunited with Brandon Marshall and I expect Cutler to put up huge numbers. He’s not a bad backup to have for when Rodgers is on a bye.
Round 11 (101) – Eagles Defense – As bad as they were for most of the season, they really started to come together late and put up a ton of sacks. That’s what I want in a fantasy defense; A lot of sacks.
Round 12 (120) – WR Michael Crabtree - Maybe the acquisition of Randy Moss will help Crabtree finally live up to his high first round pick billing. Decided to take a flyer on him here.
Round 13 (121) – RB David Wilson - Ahmad Bradshaw has issues staying healthy. Wilson may start a couple of games this year for the Giants.
Round 14 (122) – K David Akers - Akers to me is the best kicker not named Sebastian Janikowski. The 49ers have red-zone issues until proven otherwise so thacould mean a lot of field goal opportunies.
Round 15 (141) – TE Brent Celek - Celek starts and I like to at least have two tight ends on my team. Celek might be more productive this year with Vi
Round 16 (160) – RB Rashard Mendenhall - Yes he’s coming off a torn acl. If he’s back at any point this year he will start. I like to gamble on my last picks anyway. Strongly considered Tim Tebow but I decided to go with the running back instead.
Round 1 (2) – RB LeSean McCoy – To me, McCoy was the top overall pick, so I was thrilled to get him at No. 2.
Round 2 (19) – TE Jimmy Graham – This goes against everything I stand for, but considering Graham’s numbers would have been fifth-best among WRs last year, the departure of Robert Meachem and the re-signing of Drew Brees, he’s a solid pick in Round 2.
Round 3 (22) – WR Wes Welker – At this point in the draft, I feel like I got the top overall player at RB, TE and WR. Welker led the league in receptions last year and considering Rob Gronkowski’s injuries and off-field “events” this off-season, I bet he’s the top overall scorer at his position this season.
Round 4 (39) – RB Darren Sproles – He was a top 10 RB in 2011 and the Saints will lean on him even more in 2012 with all the turmoil plaguing New Orleans this off-season. As my RB2, he’s an absolute steal here.
Round 5 (42) – QB Tony Romo – Speaking of theft, this pick was armed robbery. Half a step behind the Elite Five QBs last season was Romo, who is a poor man’s Elite Five passer at this point in the draft.
Round 6 (59) – WR Vincent Jackson – If he’s anywhere close to his prime days in San Diego, Jackson will make an excellent WR2 here. If Josh Freeman returns to his 2010 form, Jackson gives me a second WR1 and a stellar starting lineup.
Round 7 (62) – RB Doug Martin – I’m typically against taking rookie RBs, but I couldn’t pass on Martin here, considering he’s supposedly the starting rusher in Tampa Bay and the stellar first year by another rookie RB there recently.
Round 8 (79) – RB Jonathan Stewart – He’s not the fantasy stud he once was, but he’s a viable RB4 at this point. He was actually a top 25 rusher last season while sharing the backfield with DeAngelo Williams and I think the addition of Mike Tolbert actually helps his value since Tolbert will be plowing open holes at FB.
Round 9 (82) – WR Reggie Wayne – The veteran stud has praised new QB Andrew Luck tremendously this off-season and word from Indy is the Colts are going to throw the ball a ton. Considering Wayne is by far the top target there, he’s a solid pick this late in the draft.
Round 10 (99) – RB Donald Brown – Although the Colts are going to throw a lot, Brown will be on the field for almost every offensive snap. He’ll get lots of carries in the red zone and catch plenty of passes out of the backfield. Considering he’s a featured rusher with tremendous upside, I couldn’t pass on him this late.
Round 11 (102) – WR Randy Moss – This also goes against what I stand for, but with Jim Harbaugh predicting a huge season for Moss, I figured he was worth a roll of the dice this late. If he ends up being a solid WR2, then this is a steal.
Round 12 (119) – WR Santonio Holmes – No, I don’t think he’ll be a fantasy stud in 2012 considering the Jets’ QB situation, but he’s the team’s No. 1 WR, so he’s not bad for depth here.
Round 13 (122) – QB Andrew Luck – Unlike most fantasy owners, I like Luck is easily the best rookie passer available this season. If sets the woods on fire in his first year – and I think he will – then I have a stellar backup QB here.
Round 14 (139) – TE Coby Fleener – He played with Luck at Stanford and he’ll be his buddy’s security blanket in 2012. That means Fleener could easily catch 60 passes this year, so he’s a phenomenal backup TE in Round 14.
Round 15 (142) – Lions D/ST – This unit finished 8th in overall fantasy scoring among defenses last season and should have a healthy defensive line in 2012, which means the Lions will be even better.
Round 16 (159) – K Neil Rackers – He’s obviously not your first choice at kicker, but I never take a kicker before the final round. The Redskins basically have a new offense, so Rackers might see a ton of opportunities on three-and-outs across the 50.
Round 1 (3) – RB Arian Foster - At the third pick Foster fell to me so I had to take him. I planned on taking Aaron Rodgers but after he was taken No. 1 overall Foster seemed like the best pick. He led all running backs in scoring average last season despite opening the year with a bad hamstring so he’s one of the top fantasy players.
Round 2 (18) – WR Greg Jennings - Since Rodgers was the top pick for obvious reasons, it made sense to draft one of his favorite targets. I took him in front of Andre Johnson and Roddy White because of his potential in the Green Bay offense which is pass heavy.
Round 3 (23) – RB DeMarco Murray - This pick was a bit of a risk due to Murray’s injury concerns but he has big upside as the Cowboys’ leading back. He will share some of the offensive plays with Felix Jones but Murray will find the end zone more and earn more of the fantasy points.
Round 4 (38) – WR Victor Cruz- Cruz burst onto the scene last year and will be expected to do a lot more salsa dancing in the end zone this season. Even with Hakeem Nicks in the picture Cruz will see a lot more Eli Manning passes come his way this fall.
Round 5 (43) – QB Eli Manning- Manning ranked fourth in the league in passing yards last season and threw two or more TD passes in three-fourths of his games last season including the playoffs. He also cut his INT rate in half from 2010 so he’s fixed that flaw in his game. Mario Manningham is gone but he still has Nicks and Cruz to throw too and add TE Martellus Bennett to the mix and he has good weapons to target in the Giants offense.
Round 6 (58) – WR Dwayne Bowe- Bowe is a solid WR option in the later rounds so I took him here. His numbers regressed a little last season but he still finished seventh in the league in pass targets so his ceiling is still high. I expect a decent bounce back season from Bowe as Matt Cassel returns from an injury.
Round 7 (63) – RB Isaac Redman- Redman is set to get a ton of carries in the wake of Rashard Mendenhall’s torn ACL near the end of the 2011 season. With Mendenhall not expected back until mid-way through the season Redman will shine in Pittsburgh’s return to a run-heavy offense.
Round 8 (78)- Ravens D/ST- Baltimore’s defense is aging but it’s still one of the top units in the league. They took a huge blow when Terrell Suggs went down with a torn achilles but they still pose as a formidable foe and will force their fair share of turnovers and defensive TD’s.
Round 9 (83) – RB Mark Ingram- I was surprised that Ingram was still here in the ninth round so I took him to bolster my RB depth. He’s a great short yardage back and saw more red-zone carries than Pierre Thomas so it won’t be a surprise if he reaches double-digit TD’s this season.
Round 10 (98) – WR Lance Moore – I needed a bit more depth at WR so I took Moore here in the 10th round. Drew Brees trusts Moore as much as any other player on the field so he still has the possibility to rack up decent numbers. There’s risk taking Moore due to the other weapons in the Saints’ offense but he’s a good red-zone option for Brees and a solid third or fourth receiver for fantasy teams.
Round 11 (103) – QB Matt Ryan - I took Matty Ice as my back-up quarterback and it was a great value pick for me. Ryan has plenty of weapons at his disposal with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez to throw the ball to. He has enhanced his fantasy stock each season and could be primed for a breakout year.
Round 12 (118) – TE Fred Davis- Davis broke out last season and his fantasy stock jumped even higher with the addition of Robert Griffin III at quarterback. The Redskins upgraded at wide receiver as well but with Davis’ size and speed it will make him one of the top red-zone targets for the rookie QB to rely on.
Round 13 (123) – K Mason Crosby – Crosby was a top fantasy kicker last season as a product of the Packers’ record setting offense. Expect more of the same for the former Colorado product as he will put up more of the same in 2012.
Round 14 (138) – WR Mario Manningham- He’s a decent option as a fourth receiver but probably not higher than that. Switching teams does not necessarily mean more opportunity for Manningham but he can still be a worthwhile producer in the 49ers’ offense.
Round 15 (143) – WR Mike Williams- I bolstered my WR depth by drafting Williams here although it will be hit or miss for him this season. He’s not in a pass-heavy offense but in the improved offense the big plays that he made in 2010 are once again a possibility in 2012.
Round 16 (158) – RB Kevin Smith- Smith was effective last season when he got on the field last year but had a tough time seeing an action in the crowded backfield. Between Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure he won’t see too much time this upcoming season but could be worth a look if either of those two go down with injuries.
Round 1 (4) – RB Ray Rice – I was left with Ray, which was a great pick for me. The NFL has few true workhorse backs anymore but I got one. He shares with no one!
Round 2 (17) – RB Darren McFadden – At pick 17 I was surprised to see an elite talent like McFadden left. Another guy who has no one to share the ball with. I know he’s an injury risk but so is every RB in the league. My 2 starting RB’s are set.
Round 3 (24) – WR Mike Wallace – In the new Todd Haley offense, he will be a monster. Also don’t like the Steelers RBs so this pick made sense.
Round 4 (37) – WR Julio Jones – I love Julio Jones! Love him. Perhaps others rated higher but I see Jones taking over as Matt Ryan’s top target.
Round 5 (44) – WR Miles Austin - There were a number of decent RB options but I’d rather take a really good WR over decent RB any day. I think Austin will stay healthy & have a big year.
Round 6 (57) – QB Michael Vick – I needed a QB and I like Vick to have a pretty good year. Injury risk, sure but the offense is downright explosive.
Round 7 (64) – TE Antonio Gates - He fills out my starting lineup of skill position guys. I like the Chargers’ TE to have a nice bounce back year, he’s lost weight to prepare himself to return to elite status.
Round 8 (77) – WR Antonio Brown - Brown was one of the top fantasy options down the stretch last year and as I said before, Haley loves to throw the ball and I get a stub if Wallace gets hurt for any reason.
Round 9 (84) – RB Stevan Ridley - Could be a reach but getting a flex starter who is an actual starter for a potent offense seems good to me. Better version of BGE has been for the Pats.
Round 10 (97) – QB Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben. Ok, perhaps I’m a bit too much of a Steelers passing game believer but if you believe, you gotta go for it. Fact is, Big Ben is a fantasy starter who is a back-up for me. Vick has an injury history but if that happens, I love the tough Roethlisberger to step in with no let down.
Round 11 (104) – RB Toby Gerhart – He’s the starter in Minny right now. No one knows how AP will return when the real hits start coming. Getting a starting RB in Round 11 is good.
Round 12 (117) – RB Felix Jones – Here’s a gut pick. He’s got plenty of skills to excel in the Cowboys’ offense if Murray goes down.
Round 13 (124) – RB Pierre Thomas – This dude is under valued every year and I have no problem taking the most productive back for NO last year. Also most complete.
Round 14 (137) – RB Mike Goodson – Last position player I took was Mike Goodson. Gotta back-up your studs, especially injury prone one’s like Darren McFadden. I absolutely love Goodson’s potential if anything were to happen if D-Mac went down, part of reason I had no problem taking McFadden.
Round 15 (144) Giants DST – The Giants’ defense gives up plenty of point but they get sacks and turnovers, those are more imnportant point producers.
Round 16 (157) – K Matt Bryant – He’s a kicker and I had to take one, so I did. Like to take domed kickers.
Round 1 (5) – QB Tom Brady – Really easy to take Tom Terrific #5 overall. Elite player (we know this)
Round 2 (16) – RB Adrian Peterson – Risk (return from injury, plus recent issue with the law) vs Reward (both of those issues look like they can be taken care of. If so, All Day is cash money)
Round 3 (25) – RB Fred Jackson – Only a season ending injury could slow Jackson’s 2011. Weeks 1 through 11 he was an absolute beast.
Round 4 (36) – RB Reggie Bush – I had him targeted as the guy I wanted for the Flex position (extra WR or RB). New west-coast offense in Miami will have Reggie getting carries, and a lot of passes to him too.
Round 5 (45) – WR Marques Colston – I was looking for a reliable WR. Colston is good for 1,110 yards, and 8 TD’s annually. With Brees, those numbers could be even better in 2012.
Round 6 (56) – WR DeSean Jackson – If the Eagles are going to improve from a miserable 2011 then Jackson will likely be huge in the process. I anticipate he will be back to the home-run threat he has been in the past.
Round 7 (65) – WR Denarius Moore – If this was a Keeper league I would have drafted Moore earlier. This guy has tools. This guy has skills. This guy is going to explode in 2012.
Round 8 (76) – TE Tony Gonzalez – 36, yes, but TG is dictionary definition of dependable. Plays every game, and is legit red-zone target/option.
Round 9 (85) – Bears D/ST – To be honest the defenses I wanted were gone, took a chance on a Bears defense that has honestly not been great for a while now. I will need this veteran group to rally and have a dominating season.
Round 10 (96) – K Stephen Gostkowski – Super tempted to take Sebastian Janikowski as my K, but went with Gostkowski as he is along for the ride with high-scoring Patriots.
Round 11 (105) – QB Robert Griffin III – Same as with Moore pick in that if this was Keeper league RGIII is way higher on my list than 11th Round. High-upside insurance for Tom Brady.
Round 12 (116) – WR Justin Blackmon – JB will start on my bench, but he has potential. He is going to produce in the NFL at some point, if that starts as soon as 2012 then I will benefit greatly.
Round 13 (125) – Seahawks D/ST – This was an attempt at a depth pick with what defenses were left. This defense could get starts for me (over Chicago’s D) vs the Rams, and perhaps Cardinals.
Round 14 (136) – WR Davone Bess – To get a starting WR this late could be the sort of thing that adds depth to my team. In the west-coast offense Bess should get his share of catches.
Round 15 (145) – RB Joseph Addai – Could end up starting for the Pats. He will get a lot of snaps playing in that high powered offense. Depth pick.
Round 16 (156) – TE Marcedes Lewis – This Titan TE had issues in 2011, but I believe he is way more like his 2010 self. Gonzalez is steady, but if Lewis gets back to his potential he is one of my favorite TE’s the the NFL.
Round 1 (6) – QB Matthew Stafford – The Lions’ quarterback finally stayed on the field for a full season in 2011, throwing for over 5,000 yards and hooking up with his talented group of receivers 41 different times. The Lions offense should continue to roll this season, making Stafford a steal in the second round.
Round 2 (15) – RB Maurice Jones Drew – MJD has been a fantasy stud for several years, last year scoring 11 total touchdowns, while rushing for a league best 1,606 yards. Rumors of a possible holdout make him a slight risk as the 6 th pick in the draft, but his potential for points makes him a must have.
Round 3 (26) – RB Willis McGahee – After signing with the Denver Broncos last season, Mcgahee surprised everyone by rushing for nearly 1200 yards. The drafting of Ronnie Hillman, and the exodus of Tim Tebow may cut back on his numbers, but seeing a RB in a Shanahan system go two picks ahead (Roy Helu) makes him feel like a deal.
Round 4 (35) – WR Roddy White – Roddy caught 100 passes for nearly 1,300 yards last season, scoring 8 times as the Falcons offense struggled to find an identity. Expect him to have a huge 2012 with a more experienced Julio Jones opening up the field for him.
Round 5 (46) – WR Steve Smith – Many analysts are projecting a loss of production from the Carolina Panthers incredible wideout, but Smith scored more than 15 points in 10 out of 16 games last season. With those kind of results, and Cam Newton entering his second year as an NFL quarterback, selecting him in the 4 th is a no brainer.
Round 6 (55) – TE Vernon Davis – Davis was disappointing at the beginning of 2011, but came on strong as the season progressed. The addition of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss may cut back on his looks, but Davis will still be Alex Smith’s favorite target.
Round 7 (66) – WR Pierre Garcon – After catching passes from Peyton Manning for three years, Garcon used last year to show that he could make plays regardless of who was throwing to him, racking up nearly 1000 yards and 6 touchdowns from an assortment of different QBs. This season he will be paired up with a rookie, as he and Robert Griffin III look to bring the Washington Redskins back to the top of the NFC East.
Round 8 (75) – Jets D/ST – Last season, the Jets missed the playoffs after going to the AFC Championship the last two seasons on a row, and the defense took a lot of the heat. This year the team is committed to the game plan the made them contenders in the first place: ground and pound, on offense and defense.
Round 9 (86) – K Matt Prater – Prater made several clutch miracle kicks last season during the Denver Broncos improbable run, making him a rising star in the NFL. With Peyton Manning orchestrating the offense, look for Prater to get many more chance to score than he did last year.
Round 10 (95) – QB Josh Freemen – After a fast start in the NFL, Freemen fell behind last season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never got it going. This offseason has meant big changes in Tampa, including the addition of 6’5 Vincent Jackson, which points to Freeman being worthy of a back up spot in the 12th round.
Round 11 (106) – RB Jahvid Best – Before a concussion sidelined him for 10 games last season, he was a major part of the Lions attack. If he can remain healthy, Best can be counted on for double-digit points weekly, with a breakout against the right opponent.
Round 12 (115) – RB Michael Bush - Bush found himself as the lead back last season for the Raiders after Darren McFadden went out with a foot injury. This season he will be sharing the field with Matt Forte, but the Bears did not pay him so much money to sit on the sideline, especially in short yardage situations.
Round 13 (126) – WR Titus Young – Titus Young represented for the rookies last season, earning Stafford’s trust, and establishing himself as a nice counter piece to Calvin Johnson. In a system that favors the pass, and DB’s focused on Megatron, Stafford to Young could become a lucrative combination.
Round 14 (135) – WR Brandon Lloyd - Two years removed from being the league leader in receiving yards, Lloyd now finds himself the third option for one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, Tom Brady. This should be a huge step forward for Lloyd who caught for nearly 1,000 yards on just 70 passes from four different quarterbacks last season, and the Patriots, who fell just one game short of winning it all.
Round 15 (146) – TE Joel Dreessen - Dreesen had a fantastic season last year, scoring 6 touchdowns as the Texans’ second option at tight end. Expect Dreesen to become a late round superstar as he becomes one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets, especially in the red zone.
Round 16 (155) – WR Laurent Robinson - With Miles Austin on the sidelines several times last year, Robinson made the most of his opportunity, celebrating in the end zone a staggering 11 times. Rumors out of Jacksonville have Robinson emerging as the number 1 option for second-year QB Blaine Gabbert, making him a viable option off the bench as the season progresses and an absolute steal in the final round!
Round 1 (7) – WR Calvin Johnson – Megatron wasn’t the first choice I had in mind for my first-round pick but that doesn’t mean I am disappointed. I doubt Megatron can reach his production from last year, but he is still going to get his red-zone touchdowns. Too big, too strong. Nearly impossible to defend. You can only attempt to contain this freak.
Round 2 (14) – RB Michael Turner – I went with Turner over AP and Darren McFadden primarily because I think Atlanta will be in the red-zone more. I like running backs that get those red-zone carries. Who doesn’t? I am a proud owner of “The Burner.”
Round 3 (27) – QB Cam Newton – Cam is a monster threat in the red-zone because of his ability to run the rock. The man looks like he can take a beating so bring on the rushing TDs. Cam owners will be excited every week. I am aboard the Cam fantasy train.
Round 4 (34) – RB Jamaal Charles – Jamaal had high expectations last season but was injured for the year early. Now that Kansas City is fully healthy, I see this team being hungry to succeed. With little RBs like Charles, home-run plays are scattered throughout the season. Consistency? Not so much. Gamble time.
Round 5 (47) – WR Demaryius Thomas – Thomas is big, fast, and strong. Oh yeah, he also has Peyton Manning throwing him the rock. Did you see this kid’s last play? A mean a stiff-arm, and an 80-yard sprint later, he shipped the Steelers out of the playoffs. Time for this kid’s coming-out season.
Round 6 (54) – TE Jason Witten – Witten is coming off a subpar season and the Cowboys are expected to do big things this year. What’s new right? Say what you want about Romo, but he will be airing out touchdowns this year and Jason is his favorite target.
Round 7 (67) – WR Percy Harvin – I have gambled on Percy multiple times over the past few years. This kid’s speed is second to few in this league and Christian Ponder should be smart enough to figure ways to get Harvin the ball. With that said, the ex-Gator perfectly fits under the category of “high risk, high reward.”
Round 8 (74) – RB C.J. Spiller - If there was someone in the league who can go stride-for-stride with Percy, it’s Spiller. Extremely similar to what Percy brings to the Fantasy Football game, Spiller is the kind of player that I use as trade-bait. Let me explain. When our boy C.J. has a big game, he then instantly becomes juicy trade ammo for the week. Like Percy, though, Spiller is a gamble.
Round 9 (87) – WR Malcom Floyd – With Vincent Jackson being traded to Tampa Bay, Floyd will be getting the majority of targets in San Diego. Rivers is coming off his worst season, so I expect him to have a rebound year. Drafting a team’s number one WR at pick 87 isn’t bad.
Round 10 (94) – WR Anquan Boldin – Boldin is a veteran WR on a team that has Super Bowl expectations. Even though the Ravens pound the rock often, Anquan does get his red-zone targets.
Round 11 (107) – TE Owen Daniels - I am a fan of starting a quality TE in the FLEX spot on favorable weekly match-ups. Schaub is back, and Houston has an explosive offense. Daniels can also serve as quality trade bait if he strings a few solid weeks together.
Round 12 (114) – RB Peyton Hillis – If Charles goes down with another injury, I decided to hand-cuff him with this pick. Hillis may also get the bulk of red-zone touches for the Chiefs.
Round 13 (127) – K Sebastian Janikowski - A friend of mine, who happens to be a solid Fantasy Football player, once said “Of course I drafted Sebastian. Why would I not draft the guy who kicks 60-yard bombs?” Makes sense.
Round 14 (134) – RB Knowshon Moreno – Another running back coming off an injury is skeptical, but I do sense the potential of big upside. If Moreno shines, or McGahee gets hurt, Knowshon is back in business on a solid team in a terrible division.
Round 15 (147) – Cowboys D/ST – The Cowboys aren’t necessarily a good defense, but they can be started against the two matchups against Washington. I expect to be checking the free agent wire for better defensive matchups every week with this pick. Pittsburgh’s D was the pre-draft plan, but they were sniped from me earlier in draft.
Round 16 (154) – QB Alex Smith – I almost drafted Tebow here for the overall well-being of my Fantasy Football locker room but I decided to leave him on the free agent wire for someone to grab up once he overtakes Mark Sanchez’s job. I won’t hesitate to drop Alex Smith like a bad habit for a valuable wire acquisition though.
Round 1 (8) – RB Chris Johnson - I chose Johnson with the 8th pick in the first round. Since several RBs and only two QBs had been taken off the board I decided to go with Johnson since I could most likely still grab either Brees or Stafford in the 2nd round. I think Johnson is going to have a big year. He has his money now, he’s at camp on time, and the reports say he is working real hard. That’s all good signs.
Round 2 (13) – QB Drew Brees – I selected Brees with the 3rd pick in the 2nd round. At this point in the 2nd round you have to take a top notch QB if there is one left and I’m pretty sure Brees fits that bill. The Saints’ D will be down a little which means Brees may be in several shoot outs.
Round 3 (28) – RB Trent Richardson – In the 3rd round 8th pick I selected Richardson. In a league that is not PPR, RBs are much more needed than WRs and I think Johnson and Richardson give me two backs that will get a load of carries, goal line work, and a chance to gain big yardage in the passing game as well. The scary thing is Richardson will play the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals twice each!
Round 4 (33) – WR Brandon Marshall – With pick 3 in the 4th round, I took Marshall hoping he returns to top notch WR status with Cutler throwing to him again. He should do a lot better than what he did with Matt Moore. The two seasons that Cutler and Marshall were together Marshall averaged 103 receptions, 1,300 yards, and 7 touchdowns.
Round 6 (53) – RB Roy Helu – In round 6 I took Helu. This guy will be PPR king and he’s a good pick here for this standard-scoring draft. I think for an RB 3 he has great potential for a 1,000-yard season and maybe 500 more yards through the air.
Round 7 (68) – TE Jermichael Finley – Aaron Rodgers throws to him and he is a WR in a tight end’s body. Potential is there for top 5 TE every year.
Round 8 (73) – Texans D/ST – I then completed my starting lineup other than a kicker in the 8th round with the Texans’ defense. I wanted the Niners, but they went a couple picks before me. The Texans will run a lot and keep the ball out of opposing teams’ hands. Always a great thing for defenses.
Round 10 (93) – WR Kenny Britt – Round 10 could be a huge steal, but it’s a huge risk. Britt has many off-the-field issues and just recently had surgery on his left knee to go along with two surgeries on his right knee. In his last two seasons he has played in 15 games with these stats over that span: 60 receptions, 1,075 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He is heading into his 4th season.
Round 11 (108) – WR Michael Floyd – If the Cardinals can get above average QB play then Floyd could have an above average rookie fantasy season. Fitzgerald should get the extra coverage which may allow Floyd many red zone opportunities. Fifty receptions, 1,000 yards, and 8 touchdowns could be a possibility.
Round 12 (113) – TE Jared Cook – Every year you hear that he is a freak of a talent, but every year he doesn’t receive the targets that he should. If this is the year he finally does, then he could pass Finley as my starter.
Round 13 (128) – WR Leonard Hankerson – He’ll will lead the Redskins’ WRs, but depending on Griffin III those stats could be really high or average.
Round 14 (133) – WR Sidney Rice – New QB means a chance to regain his Vikings form. That’s what I am hoping for here.
Round 15 (148) – K Garret Hartley – Great offense and great leg equals many opportunities.
Round 16 (153) – QB Jake Locker – There may have been better choices as a backup QB here, but to me Locker had the biggest upside. I mean, I have Brees so there is no doubt who I will start each week, so I wanted to go with the guy that has the highest potential to score big in Brees’ bye week or the person that could break out and have the best trade value. I chose Locker over Bradford.
Round 1 (9) – WR Larry Fitzgerald - Arguably the second-best WR in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald was almost a no brainer at this spot in the fantasy football draft. Great hands and he’s recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in three of the last five seasons.
Round 2 (12) – TE Rob Gronkowski – Risky considering a WR was selected in the first round, but how could anyone pass on a great pass-catching TE like Rob Gronkowski? He set a record for TEs by catching 17 touchdown passes along with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards–so a great second-round pick.
Round 3 (29) – RB Frank Gore – Gore is coming off another strong season in 2011 in which he finished with 1,211 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He may lose some carries to Brandon Jacobs and Kendall Hunter, but Gore is still a solid (up in the third round.
Round 4 (32) – WR A.J. Green – Nobody expected A.J. Green to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2011. Now that he’s got a year of experience under his belt, expectations will be higher for Green to top the 1,057 receiving yards and seven touchdowns he recorded last year.
Round 5 (49) – RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis – BenJarvus Green-Ellis has never been the type of RB to post big rushing yards, but he’s been a touchdown machine over the past two seasons (24 touchdowns). A solid No. 2 or No. 3 RB to (up in the fifth round.
Round 6 (52) – WR Jeremy Maclin - The great thing about Jeremy Maclin is he always has the potential to put up the type of numbers No. 1 WRs put up. Michael Vick will always rely heavily on Maclin and DeSean Jackson in the passing game.
Round 7 (69) – QB Philip Rivers – Even if he did throw 20 interceptions in 2011, it’s hard to deny having Philip Rivers as your fantasy football QB. Not only did he throw for 4,624 yards last year, but he’s thrown for at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the last four seasons.
Round 8 (72) – 49ers D/ST – One of the top defenses from the 2011 season, the San Francisco 49ers should be right up there once again in 2012. This squad is loaded with talent that can rack up plenty of points in the sack department.
Round 9 (89) – WR Torrey Smith – After an impressive rookie season in which he caught 50 passes for 841 yards and seven touchdowns, expectations will be even higher for Torrey Smith in 2012. Smith is one of the fastest WRs in the NFL and was an obvious choice this late in the draft for a WR.
Round 10 (92) – RB LeGarrette Blount – After only recording 781 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 2011, LeGarrette Blount was a bust from a fantasy perspective last season and could miss some carries in 2012 thanks to the addition of Doug Martin. Still, this seems to be one of those picks that you hope for a low risk, high reward.
Round 11 (109) – QB Andy Dalton – One of the biggest rookie surprises in 2011, Andy Dalton has the chance to put up big numbers during his second season with the Bengals and has one of the top rising WRs in A.J. Green to throw to. Cincinnati has a young group of WRs–so Dalton makes a great backup to have on your roster.
Round 12 (112) – TE Brandon Pettigrew – The great thing about Brandon Pettigrew is his numbers seem to get better and better each season. After catching 83 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, Pettigrew should be in for another big year in 2012.
Round 13 (129) – WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – Despite his offseason issues, Darrius Heyward-Bey has the potential to be a solid No. 1 wideout in 2012. He caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns last season–so this could be a solid pickup this late in the draft (hopefully).
Round 14 (132) – QB Joe Flacco – Joe Flacco believes he’s one of the best QBs in the league and the numbers may not be as consistent as owners would like them to be–but he’s a solid backup. He’s managed to throw at least 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.
Round 15 (149) – K Alex Henery – Obviously, no kickers should be selected until the final two rounds of the draft and Alex Henery could be one of the best in 2012–especially now that he no longer has those rookie jitters that he displayed at the beginning of last season.
Round 16 (152) – Bills D/ST – The Bills defense could be a sleeper (for fantasy owners in 2012 after the additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. No risk with this (considering this defense will mostly be only used a few times this season considering the 49ers were selected earlier in the draft.
Round 1 (10) RB Matt Forte, CHI – Now that the Forte holdout is over, his value is no longer is jeopardy. He has compiled over 1,300 yards from scrimmage in each of his first four NFL seasons and the former Tulane star will rack up points in a yardage heavy league such as this.
Round 2 (11) RB Ryan Mathews, SD – It’s never a bad thing to build your running back stable early, and that is exactly what I did. I grabbed Mathews to stick with Forte, in what has to be the most dangerous one-two punch in the league. Mathews has the starting position all to himself in San Diego and is a proven workhorse.
Round 3 (30) RB Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – Bradshaw was a great find at the tail end of the third round. He is the unquestioned starter for the Super Bowl winning New York Giants and was one of the only backs left on the board that can get 20-plus touches a game. He scored 9 touchdowns in 12 games last season, so his potential to be a top-ten back was too hard to pass by.
Round 4 (31) WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG – Nicks exploded during the New York Giants’ title run last year, as my fourth round pick shockingly hauled in 444 yards and 4 touchdowns in the team’s four playoff games. Nicks is a red-zone monster with 18 touchdowns in his last 28 games and will be Eli Manning’s favorite target inside the twenties again. I expect him to at least catch 10 touchdowns if he can stay healthy.
Round 5 (50) QB Peyton Manning, DEN – Many people were down on Manning this year, but I could not be higher on this four-time MVP. Manning has averaged 4,217 passing yards and 30.7 touchdowns per year in the 13 seasons before 2011, so a return to reality is not so far fetched. If he can show he is healthy, then Manning can easily rank among the top five in all quarterback categories by year’s end.
Round 6 (51) RB Chris “Beanie” Wells, ARI – Wells had an amazing showing in 2011 with an unnoticed 11 total touchdowns, 10 rushing and 1 receiving. His 228 rushing yards against the St. Louis Rams in week 12 may have inflated his 1,047 rushing yards, but any back that can run for over 200 yards in a single game is a somebody. I’ll take him as my fourth running back.
Round 7 (70) WR Steve Johnson, BUF – Johnson was the last viable starting receiver on the board, likely for me I am a Buffalo Bills fan, so it was a no brainer. Johnson may get penalized for his touchdowns celebrations, but he has to score in order to be penalized for celebrating it. Johnson has 17 touchdowns in his last two years alone and has become a great fantasy number two.
Round 8 (71) RB Shonn Greene, NYJ – Greene will now be the primary ball carrier in New Jersey and has one of the best offensive lines in football in front of him. Hecan easily eclipse 1,000 yards and bench backs like Greene can make or break a fantasy contender down the stretch.
Round 9 (90) RB James Starks, GB – The kid from Niagara Falls, NY is the current starting running back for the Green Bay Packers and has no immediate competition for the job. He has shown that he can be a powerful inside-runner and has deceptive speed in the open field. Starks has had some durability issues in the past, but he warrants a late round pick just because of the high-powered offense he is featured it.
Round 10 (91) Steelers DEF – The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has mastered the bend but don’t break philosophy preached by coaches over the last twenty years. They get to the quarterback, force turnovers, and no how to hit people. Now if only I can get fantasy points for unnecessary roughness calls or suspensions.
Round 11 (110) RB Daniel Thomas, MIA –Thomas is much better at running between the tackles then current starter Reggie Bush. Thomas shockingly weighs 33 more pounds then the former “Non-Heisman” Trophy winner and is more likely to get 20 touches out of the backfield running the ball.
Round 12 (111) QB Matt Schaub, HOU – Schaub happens to have one of the most secure offenses around with running back Arian Foster taking the ball and wide receiver Andre Johnson catching it. Schaub had two consecutive seasons with at least 4,300 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, before missing a majority of last season with a Lisfranc fracture. He is now healthy and I expect his usual numbers of around 4,200 yards and 20 plus touchdowns.
Round 13 (130) Packers DEF – The Green Bay Packers’ defense led the entire league with 41 interceptions last season, but the team went from 47 tackles in 2010, to a disappointing 29 in 2011. The drafting of outside linebacker Nick Perry will give the unit more room to move and allow Clay Matthews to crush opposing quarterbacks. The interceptions will always be there, but hopefully the addition of Perry on the outside will allow the team to get to the quarterback more often.
Round 14 (140) TE Jacob Tamme, DEN – Tamme formed an amazing rapport with Peyton Manning when the two played for Indianapolis in 2010. Tamme stepped in for the injured Dallas Clark and became a fantasy monster in the process. Tamme caught an NFL LEADING 67 receptions over the last ten games of the 2010 regular season; and not many tight ends in the history of the game can say that they have done that.
Round 15 (150) K Dan Bailey, DAL – Everyone needs a kicker, so I grabbed Bailey.
Round 16 (151) WR Jaboy Ford, OAK – Ford is a nice find at the end of the draft. He had a couple big games with newly acquired quarterback Carson Palmer, including the week 9 victory over the Denver Broncos in which the duo combined for 5 grabs, 105 yards, and a touchdown.
Let our writers know how you think they fared in the first mock draft of 2012 and be sure to catch the sequels before the start of the season @RantSports on Twitter!