This weekend some writers at Rant Sports participated in a 10-man fantasy football mock draft. I had the third pick in the draft and knew that I would obviously miss out on the big two (Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster). However, the show must go on.
Here is a breakdown of my picks from the draft.
Round 1: (3) RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks – If we had drafted in a P.P.R. league, I would have jumped all over Ray Rice, but in a standard league where touchdowns bring in six points, Lynch was the pick. He has scored 23 rushing touchdowns over his last two seasons and has become one of the premier red-zone backs in all of football. A 1,000-yard season with at least 10 touchdowns seems like the low-end of Lynch’s potential.
Round 2: (18) RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars – MJD is only one year removed from leading the entire NFL with 1,606 rushing yards. Jones-Drew has been given a clean bill of health and seems primed to have a bounce back season. He will fall in every fantasy draft, but to me he is still a top-10 back.
Round 3: (23) RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans – CJ2K racked up a meager 45 rushing yards through his first three games of the 2012 season. However, he averaged an incredible 92.2 rushing yards per game over his final 12 contests and looked like an elite fantasy starter. To be able to pencil him in as my third starting running back is almost unfair.
Round 4: (38) WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Fitzgerald hauled in a career-low 798 receiving yards and four touchdowns last year, but it was largely due to the fact that Arizona had a revolving door at the quarterback position all year. Arizona used four different quarterbacks and it caused the team to wisely bring in veteran Carson Palmer in the off-season. Fitz was at his best when he had veteran quarterback, Kurt Warner, throwing him the ball and the addition of Palmer should help the frustrated wide receiver eclipse 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Round 5: (43) QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – Ryan is coming off a monster fantasy season in which he threw 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns, but yet he continues to fall in fantasy drafts this summer. Ryan has two Pro Bowl quality wideouts in Roddy White and Julio Jones, not to mention Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez roaming the middle. Ryan has some of the best surrounding weapons in the league and is in store for another season with over 4,000 yards and 30 TDs.
Round 6: (58) RB Montee Ball, Denver Broncos – Ball steps into perhaps the best situation among all rookies running backs. QB Peyton Manning has perfected the art of play-action passing, which will give the rookie giant holes to run through. Ronnie Hillman is the primary threat for pillaging carries, but the Wisconsin standout is the primary back to own in Denver. I expect him to be entrenched as the number one back by the time the fantasy playoffs come rolling around.
Round 7: (63) RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers – I never thought I would go this crazy over rookie running backs, but they seemed too intriguing to pass up. Both Ball and Lacy look like they will be heavily featured in their team’s offense this season, which bodes well for their fantasy value.
Lacy will step into an offense that is clearly pass-oriented with QB Aaron Rodgers at the helm of the ship. However, Lacy will get tons of space to work, because opposing teams will constantly be afraid of getting ripped apart by Rodgers. I fully expect Lacy to have a strong rookie performance and become a serviceable third starter.
Round 8: (78) WR Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills – Johnson may be the most underrated fantasy wideout in all of football. He has recorded at least 75 receptions, 1,000 yards, and six touchdowns in three consecutive seasons, but yet he constantly falls past the sixth round on daft day. He may not draw attention like the receivers in Denver, but Johnson will have another respectable fantasy season. I can think of worse options to grab as a second starter.
Round 9: (83) QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts – Most people tend to wait on drafting backup quarterbacks in one-QB leagues, but I jumped on the chance to add Luck in the ninth round. He is a bonafide fantasy starter and will prove to be more than useful as a backup.
More importantly, with me drafting Luck it means that several other owners in this league will be starting lesser quality quarterbacks like Jay Cutler or Joe Flacco on a weekly basis. He may be a backup on my team, but I bet at least one owner would like to use him as a starter.
Round 10: (93) TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers – Despite all the time that Gates has missed in recent seasons, the perennial Pro Bowler has still grabbed at least seven touchdowns in nine consecutive seasons. I gladly nabbed Gates in the tenth round in the hopes that he plays more like the third rounder he used to be.
Round 12: (118) Chicago Bears Defense – Chicago’s defense racked up 42 sacks, 24 interceptions, and forced 29 fumbles last year. They were the number one ranked defense in all of fantasy and it is a steal to be able to grab them as the fifth defense off the board.
Round 13: (123) WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Hopkins was an everything-type player in Clemson and his dynamic skill set will help him get onto the field in Houston. Hopkins may not score 10 touchdowns in his first season, but I would expect him to at least find the end-zone a couple times.
Round 14: (138) K Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots – Gostowski is an elite fantasy kicker. He is featured in an offense lead by QB Tom Brady and will constantly be piling up points.
Round 15: (143) RB Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos – Recent reports coming out of the Denver Broncos camp have Hillman splitting carries with rookie Montee Ball. Just to be safe, I decided to add Hillman as a handcuff to Ball with my last pick in the draft.
QB: Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Montee Ball, Eddie Lacy, Ronnie Hillman
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Johnson, Jeremy Maclin, DeAndre Hopkins
TE: Antonio Gates
D/ST: Chicago Bears
K: Stephen Gostkowski
I obviously loaded up on running backs, as I have five of the top-30 backs on my roster. In a 10-man league, most teams will have a stud quarterback and most teams will have a couple stud wideouts, but the difference between winning and losing is in the running game. To be able to start Marshawn Lynch, MJD, and Chris Johnson each week will give me a distinct advantage over my competition, as I bet there isn’t a team out there with a comparable set of backs.
Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback and my defense/ kicker positions are also top notch. Ironically, my only real question marks are Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Gates, but I am pretty positive that both players will have rebound performances in 2013.