Over the weekend, a group of ten fully functioning fantasy football brains joined together for the first Rant Sports Fantasy Football Mock Draft, and I am proud to say I was part of this group. I had a few players in mind before the start of the draft that I told myself I would do my best to own. But you know the drill, drafts rarely go according to our plans In the past, I have been a fan of drafting a second-tier QB and stockpiling RB’s early, but in this draft, I decided to take a different angle. I had the seventh overall pick in a snake-style draft format. With that said , here is how my draft panned out.
Round 1 – WR Calvin Johnson – Tom Brady was the player I thought I had a fair chance to get at pick seven overall, but unfortunately Tommy was drafted fifth overall. Brady was high on my radar due to the weakness of the New England Patriots 2012 schedule. Brady is going to have a monster year. I considered drafting Chris Johnson here but I needed a sure thing, and that sure thing was Megatron. Calvin Johnson might not produce the same obnoxiously good numbers as last season but teams can only hope to contain this freak. Matthew Stafford and C.J will connect for double digit touchdowns again this season. Take that to the bank.
Round 2 – RB Michael Turner – I passed on Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden here primarily because I think the Atlanta Falcons will be in the red-zone more. Michael Turner is a high volume RB and I am pleased to have him leading my RB stable. Matt Forte was high on my want-list here but he was drafted at the end of the first round.
Round 3 – QB Cam Newton – I was lucky enough to scoop Cam Newton off the free-agent wire last year, and I decided he could pilot this squad as well. Newton is so dynamic in the red-zone with his ability to pound the rock. He looks durable, so bring on the rushing touchdowns to go with his air attack. Cammy had 21 TD’s through the air and 14 on the ground last season. Filthy Fantasy Football numbers.
Round 4 – RB Jamaal Charles – Charles had high expectations last season but suffered a season-ending injury in week two. With the smaller, speedy RB’s like Charles, you know home-run plays will be scattered throughout your fantasy season. Can Charles stay healthy? And will Peyton Hillis take away some red-zone carries? There is big upside to Charles, but also some unanswered questions.
Round 5 – WR Demaryius Thomas – Thomas is big, fast, and strong. Oh yea, he also has Peyton Manning throwing him the rock. Did you see this kid’s last play? A mean stiff-arm, and 80-yard sprint later, he shipped the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs. Time for this kid’s coming-out season.
Round 6 – TE Jason Witten – Witten and Tony Romo have been extremely beneficial for me over the years in Fantasy Football and expectations for the Dallas Cowboys are high, again. Whats new right? Romo has an array of weapons which should leave his favorite target, Witten, open for quality red-zone targets. Not to mention, Witten had a sub-par season in 2011. He should be primed for a bounce-back year.
Round 7 and 8 – WR Percy Harvin, RB C.J Spiller – Both of these players have the ability to blow by every defender and hit home-runs. The best feeling in Fantasy Football is watching a RB or WR peel one off for 50+ yards and the score. The downfall to these style of players is inconsistency. Spiller fights for carries with Fred Jackson, and Percy often has trouble getting his hands on the rock. Regardless, I enjoy the gamble with these players and also use them as solid trade ammo after they have big weeks. Draft at your own risk.
Round 9 and 10 – WR Malcom Floyd and WR Anquan Boldin – Instead of taking a Defense/Special Teams in one of these rounds, I decided to just add depth to my WR core. With the departure of Vincent Jackson in San Diego, Floyd will get a good amount of targets from Rivers. I expect Rivers to have a rebound season after his poor 2011 campaign which will bode well for Floyd. Floyd ended last season with three straight weeks of finding the endzone as well.
The Baltimore Ravens have Super Bowl expectations and even though they pound the rock often, I expect them to be in the red-zone just as often. Boldin is a veteran wide-out who makes his living on being clutch in the red-zone.
Round 11 – TE Owen Daniels – I am a fan of starting a quality TE in the FLEX spot on favorable weekly match-ups. Matt Schaub is back, and the Houston Texans have an explosive offense. Daniels can also serve as quality trade-bait if he strings a few solid weeks together.
Round 12 – RB Peyton Hillis – If Jamaal Charles goes down with another injury, I decided to hand-cuff Hillis with this pick. Hillis may also get the bulk of goal-line touches for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Round 13 – 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 – RB Knowshon Moreno – Drafting another RB who is coming off injury is something I am not proud of, but Knowshon has a chance for some upside this season. If Moreno shines, or Willis McGahee gets hurt, Knowshon is back in business on a solid team in a poor division.
Round 15 – Cowboys D/ST – The Cowboys aren’t necessarily a good defense. but they can be started against the two games verse the Washington Redskins. I expect to be checking the free-agent wire for better defensive match-ups every week with this pick. Pittsburgh D/ST was the pre-draft plan, but they were sniped from me earlier in the draft.
Round 16 – QB Alex Smith – I decided to draft a back-up QB here to “fill my roster,” but I wouldn’t hesitate to drop Alex Smith like a bad habit for a quality player off the free agent wire. If Cam goes down, the plan would be to pick up the best match-up based available QB on the free agent wire.
QB – Cam Newton, Alex Smith
RB- Michael Turner, Jamaal Charles, C.J Spiller, Peyton Hillis, Knowshon Moreno
WR – Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Percy Harvin, Malcom Floyd, Anquan Boldin
TE – Jason Witten, Owen Daniels
D/ST – Dallas Cowboys
K – Sebastian Janikowski
There is a lot of upside to this squad, but also a risk of inconsistency. If Michael Turner can produce a solid year, and Cam Newton stays healthy, this will be a formidable fantasy team. However, there is much that can be done to succeed in your fantasy league post-draft. Stay tuned for a piece including post-draft fantasy tips!
Paul Bentley is a contributor to Rant Sports
Follow Bentley on Twitter at @KKingBentley
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