In the third Rant Sports Fantasy Football Mock Draft, I was lucky enough to get the third overall selection. It is always great to have such an early pick, but it is a hard road coming back and having to wait until the end of the second round to make your next pick.
The league was setup differently than most, as it was a 10-man league that started 3 wide receivers and no flex position, so I orchestrated my draft as if it was a standard 10-man league with a flex spot to better help the fantasy community structure their own draft strategy. Here are my draft picks round by round, along with a brief synopsis of each pick:
1st Round: RB LeSean McCoy, PHI
2nd Round: RB Darren McFadden, OAK
3rd Round: RB Michael Turner, ATL
4th Round: WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG
5th Round: WR Percy Harvin, MIN
6th Round: WR DeSean Jackson, PHI
7th Round: QB Tony Romo, DAL
8th Round: TE Jermichael Finley, GB
9th Round: RB Roy Helu, WSH
10th Round: RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR
11th Round: WR Santonio Holmes, NYJ
12th Round: QB Andy Dalton, CIN
13th Round: K Mason Crosby, GB
14th Round: Buffalo Bills‘ Defense
15th Round: WR Terrell Owens, SEA
QB: Tony Romo (DAL), Andy Dalton (CIN)
RB: LeSean McCoy (PHI), Darren McFadden (OAK), Michael Turner (ATL), DeAngelo Williams (CAR), Roy Helu (WSH)
WR: Hakeem Nicks (NYG), Percy Harvin (MIN), DeSean Jackson (PHI), Santonio Holmes (NYJ)
TE: Jermicahel Finley (GB)
K: Mason Crosby (GB)
DEF: Buffalo Bills
1st Round: RB LeSean McCoy, PHI – It is not often that a running back who scored 20 total touchdowns, 17 rushing and 3 receiving, falls all the way to the third pick, so grabbing McCoy was a no-brainer.
2nd Round: RB Darren McFadden, OAK – McFadden is the ultimate high-risk-high-reward fantasy player. McFadden rushed for a punishing 614 yards and added 154 more through the air before being placed on the IR in week seven with a painful Plantar Fasciitis injury in his foot. McFadden has missed a lot of time throughout his NFL career, but he is a beast when he is healthy. He is a decent number one fantasy back, but his amazing potential makes him an excellent second running back.
3rd Round: RB Michael Turner, ATL – Turner remains to be one of the most underrated backs in all of fantasy. All he does is score touchdowns, with 50 in his last 59 games, making a great second starting running back. The fact that I was able to grab him as my third back, is just gravy.
4th Round: WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG – Nicks is quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite red-zone target, something that became more clear during their Super Bowl run last year. He hauled in an outstanding 444 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in the team’s four playoff contests and Nicks should get ever more balls thrown his way with former Giants’ receiver, Mario Manningham, now with the San Francisco 49ers.
5th Round: WR Percy Harvin, MIN – Simply put, Harvin is all the Vikings have in their passing game, so in order for the team to move the chains regularly, they have to go to their 24-year old receiver. Harvin stepped up during the second half of the year, as he averaged a dominating 101.6 receiving yards and 22 rushing yards in his final five games of 2012, so he certainly embraced his new role. However, Harvin will always be questionable on Sunday with his recurring migraine disorder; so when he is healthy, he is among the most dangerous players in the NFL.
6th Round: WR DeSean Jackson, PHI – In 2009 Jackson was one of the best fantasy receivers in the game, but last year he became just another fantasy receiving option. Jackson looks much more relaxed this season, as all the “Dream Team” talk is finally behind them. Jackson can go back to beating defenders down the field and scoring 60-yard touchdowns. The Eagles are also extremely dedicated to getting him the ball, as the team has specific running plays tailored around him and will even allow him to return the occasional punt. He will no doubt be better in 2012, so finding him as a third receiver is a great value pick in the sixth round.
7th Round: QB Tony Romo, DAL – Considering that Aaron Rodgers was drafted first overall, I love the fact that I was able to grab Romo in the seventh round. Romo can easily eclipse 4,000 yards again, and 25-30 touchdowns has become the norm for him.
8th Round: TE Jermicahel Finley, GB – Any skilled-player in the Green Bay Packers offense is a great fantasy weapon, and Finley is no exception. He runs routes like a receiver and amazing at shedding blocks to get open. Finley can easily produce “Aaron Hernandez-numbers”, but he will come three rounds later.
9th Round: RB Roy Helu, WSH – It is never a bad thing to load up on running backs, so Helu was more of an insurance pick. He is most exciting between-the-tackle-runner on the Redskins’ depth chart and is deceptively elusive in the open-field. Helu can easily be a starting fantasy option down the road, so he is a great talent to lock up, before he locks down the number one spot in the Nation’s capital.
10th Round: RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR – The Panthers have the most crowded backfield in the entire NFL, with Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert all splitting carries. However, Williams is still the start and the only truly explosive back on the field. Williams has the breakaway speed that Stewart and Tolbert do not have, making D-Will the better fantasy option.
11th Round: WR Santonio Holmes, NYJ – Holmes is having a very strong camp with the Jets and is looking to rebound from his mediocre 2011 performance. He looks fast in camp and is finally healthy. I totally expect another 1,100+ yards season with another 6-8 touchdowns from Holmes in what will surely be a bounce back 2012 campaign.
12th Round: QB Andy Dalton, CIN – Dalton showed amazing poise inside the pocket in his rookie year, as he threw 3,398 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is on the brink of being the next great pocket-passer and the 24-year old has already built a strong rapport with star receiver, A. J. Green. Dalton will only get better as he matures and I honestly would only need him for one week, barring another unfortunate Tony Romo injury. Dalton can be a very serviceable backup fantasy quarterback and would have been drafted even higher in keeper leagues.
13th Round: K Mason Crosby, GB – Crosby is by far the best kicker in the game, due to the high-powered offense he is featured in, so grabbing him in the 13th round was a no-brainer. He will get me at least 2-3 more points over the competition per week.
14th Round: Buffalo Bills Defense – The Bills spent close to $200 million dollars upgrading their defense this off-season; so it is safe to say that they will be much better in 2012.
15th Round: WR Terrell Owens, SEA – Owens signed with the Seattle Seahawks before anyone even knew he was working out with them. He is still in amazing physical shape, but the workout showed that he clearly is not as fast as he used to be. Also Seattle is the city where wide receivers go to die, so it will become increasingly apparent if owns has fantasy value after the first couple of weeks. However, Owens can still serve has a decent possession receiver, much like Keyshawn Johnson was in the later years of his career. It just remains to be seen if Owens can accept this new role, so “get you popcorn ready”, because it is going to be an interesting season in Seattle.
Conclusion: I cannot see many people drafting such a balanced team. I have three top-15 running backs in a 10-man league and Pro Bowl quarterback, Tony Romo, to lead my offense. I may no have the best core of wideouts, but I made sure to stock up on the position. This just proved that you could wait on a quarterback and load up on the other skilled positions in your 2012 fantasy football draft. Good luck!