Over the past month or so, I have been partaking an a series of Sunday night podcasts with a handful of other intelligent fantasy analysts. We have been calling it the Fantasy Football Summit. Each Sunday, we talk a different position. Last night, for instance, was all about defenses and IDP options.
Well, we all thought it would be a great idea to participate in a mock draft together, and have been doing so over the past week or two. It’s a slow draft, but has still been very fun to do. I thought it would be a good idea to write a series of articles, recapping each round. Enjoy!
1) Fantasy Council- Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Hey, not everyone has AP number one after all. I think because of how awesome Peterson was last season, fantasy owners often forget how incredibly productive Foster has been. Since 2011, Foster has scored the most rushing touchdowns (25) out of anyone in football. He also has the most volume out of any of the other fantasy running backs. Over the past three seasons, Foster has seen a whopping 1,115 touches, the most of any player in football, and we know how much Houston likes to run the ball. Foster also may very well be the game’s best rusher inside the ten yard line, and he’ll likely get plenty of opportunity to do so in 2013. Last year, Houston ran the ball 50 times when inside the 10, compared to just 24 passes. However, there may continue to be some regression because of this heavy workload. His yards per carry has gone done in each of the last two seasons and historically, rushers coming off of a 350-carry season regress quite a bit the year after. Still, Foster is a surefire top-three fantasy back, and have no problem with him going off the board first.
2) SAFF Commish- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson scoffs at ACL and MCL tears. After tearing both towards the end of the 2011 season, all Peterson did was rush for the second most yards in a season in the history of the game, score 12 touchdowns and ended poverty. Okay, so maybe that last one was a bit of a stretch, but if anyone could do it, my money is on AP. He is the best running back in the game and warrants the hearts of every fantasy owner in America. Of course, you have to expect regression after an almost record-breaking year, but if we are talking 1,600 yards, 10-12 scores, I’m fine with regression. Peterson wins at life and fantasy football.
3) Fantasy Typhoon- Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Martin had an awesome fantasy season in his rookie campaign, serving as one third of the big three of rookie backs. 319 carries from a first year player is saying something, and as good as Martin was last year (1,454 yards, 11 TDs), I think he can be even better in 2013. Why? Let’s see. He gets his two best offensive lineman back from injury in Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph and head coach Greg Schiano stated that he wants to incorporate Martin more into third down plays. Also, backup LeGarrette Blount is gone, so that eliminates any threats to possible touchdown vultures. And imagine if he can be a bit more consistent. I mean, a big chunk of his fantasy production came from that Week 9 historic fantasy day against the Raiders where he rushed for 251 yards and four scores. After that, he was a bit up and down. Bottom line is, outside of Foster and Peterson, Martin may have the most upside out of any fantasy rusher.
4) Dave Cherney- Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: To those who are worrying about Charles’ fantasy value after the hiring of Andy Reid, I offer you two words of advice; Stop it. While Reid is known for preferring to air the ball out, Charles may see a decrease in rushes, but touches is a whole different discussion. With Reid, Charles will do things in the passing game like never before. Remember, this is the same head coach that ran an offense that saw a whopping 78 catches on 90 targets from LeSean McCoy back in 2010. Charles may be the fastest runner in all of football, so a handful of screens to this guy should equal some serious fantasy production. Keep in mind. Although the Chiefs did get an upgrade at quarterback in Alex Smith, this team will still be a conservative, intermediate offense because Smith has never been more than a game manager. Charles will still get his carries, but will also provide some serious value in PPR formats, as he should easily eclipse his career high of 45 catches this year.
5) Regan Yant- C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills: This pick frustrated me for one sole reason. I love Spiller. I wanted him, no, needed him on all of my fantasy teams. Of course, that can’t be, but I do love this pick by Regan. Some might say that fifth overall is a reach for Spiller, but I’m not one of those guys. I mean, you want to talk about upside? Here’s a guy who eclipsed 1,200 rushing yards despite splitting work with Fred Jackson last season. Now, new head coach Doug Marrone came out and stated that he won’t pull Spiller in short yardage situations, an awesome sign for fantasy owners. Spiller truly does have the opportunity to finish as fantasy’s number one rusher this season. Many believe he is a high risk guy. You guessed it, not me. Per Tristan H. Cockroft, Spiller had the fifth-highest consistency rating in 2012 (81.3%). What that means is Spiller was worthy of a start in leagues over 80 percent of the time. Also, dating back to his last 19 overall games, Spiller has eclipsed double-digit fantasy points in 15 of them. Spiller is for real and so is my man crush on him.
6) Jeff Haseley- Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: I thought it was interesting that Jeff selected Megatron at six when there were still very, very strong options at running back on the board. But hey, am I going to knock him for drafting the most dominant wide receiver in football? The answer to that riddle is no. Last season, Calvin finished as the number one fantasy wideout by four points, despite having an off year in the touchdown department. He only scored five touchdowns in 2012, his lowest in a season since scoring the same number back in 2009. However, when you consider he broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yardage record, you forgive him for the lack of scores. Johnson also got a bit unlucky last year, getting tackled at the one yard line a whopping six times. Imagine his fantasy points if he had those six extra scores. Short and simple, Detroit will throw it a lot, Calvin was targeted 205 times last year (at least 136 since 2009) and oh yeah, he’s the best wideout in football. He may be the safest bet at any position in fantasy.
7) Jim Day- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles: I love this pick. Because of McCoy’s lost 2012 campaign, many people have him outside the top-10 overall players. Why? This is a guy who is just a few seasons removed from scoring 20 total touchdowns and eclipsing 1,500 total yards. A guy who should thrive under Chip Kelly’s fast paced, running back-favored offense, McCoy is my number eight fantasy rusher as of right now. At Oregon, running backs have seen at least 250 carries in every season since 2009, so I’m sure Kelly is anxious to use his shiny new toy in McCoy. Don’t forget, this is still one of the most dangerous runners in the open field, possessing the ability to cut better than anyone in football. Expect a very productive season from Shady in 2013.
8) Adam Pfeifer- Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: I was more than happy to take a guy with Rice’s caliber at eight overall. For some reason, people are afraid of Rice this year. Perhaps they just want to take a shot on the higher upside guys? Fair, but when I’m using a first overall pick, I went security, and that’s exactly what Rice will give me. Since 2009, Rice has posted rushing totals of 1,339, 1,220, 1,364 and 1,143. His total touchdowns? 8, 6, 15, 10. What is there not to like? He’s caught at least 60 balls in every season since 2009 and with Jim Caldwell calling the plays, Rice has the opportunity to catch even more. Sure, Bernard Pierce is in the mix and has shown some flashes, but Rice is the proven, elite guy. While I expect Pierce to cut into some of Rice’s work, it won’t nearly be enough for me to worry.
9) Todd McDannell- Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: There is a lot of hype surrounding Richardson this year, and for good reason. He is a multifaceted back, a guy who can run with power, speed and catch balls out of the backfield. The workload for Richardson will make him fantasy relevant alone. He only posted less than 12 carries three times all season, and saw over 20 five times. Of course, it’s that same heavy workload that has gotten him pretty banged up over his rookie year. Still, T-Rich will get all of the opportunity with not many outside options in Cleveland.
10) Micah James- Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: Forte continues to be an elite option at the running back position, but especially in PPR formats. His catch totals throughout his career are 63, 57, 51, 52 and 44. However, for some odd reason, he just doesn’t find the end zone as much as fantasy owners would like. Forte has never scored double-digit rushing touchdowns and scored more than six once. You’d think a big back who is a patient runner like Forte would be good in short yardage, but that has not been the case. Since he’s struggled in that regard, Michael Bush has been the goal line back for this team, and I don’t expect Forte to earn that job back, which hurts his value a bit. Still, he has a starting job, is a very talented back and will be a top tier option in PPR.
11) Matt Lane- Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins: After more than likely being undrafted in fantasy leagues last year, Morris took the league by storm, becoming the waiver wire darling of the year. A sixth round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic, Morris rushed for 1,613 yards (2nd in NFL) and 13 touchdowns (2nd in NFL), resulting in him finishing as the 5th best fantasy back. It was comforting to see Mike Shanahan actually stick with a rusher for once, and there is no way Morris takes a seat in 2013. The only real knock on Morris is his lack of usage in the passing game. He caught just 11 balls last season, making for an awful PPR option. However, he did begin to play on third downs more often towards the end of last season, so perhaps that carries over to this year. With Robert Griffin III coming off of injury, all signs are pointing towards Morris being the bellcow yet again.
12) Pat James- Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: I was pretty surprised to see Lynch fall to 12th overall, but I’m sure Pat doesn’t mind. Over the past two seasons, Lynch has rushed for the second most rush yards and third most touchdowns. Talk about productivity. Head coach Pete Carroll will still be looking to be a run-first offense, despite bringing in versatile wideout Percy Harvin. This offense should be much more explosive, which could result in more rushing touchdowns for Lynch, as if 23 over the past two seasons wasn’t enough. From inside the five, good luck trying to keep this guy out of the end zone. Lynch finished as the number four fantasy back in 2012, and could very well land inside the top-5 again in 2013. Let’s just hope he doesn’t land in hot water for this alleged DUI incident.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.