Over the past weekend, nine of my fellow writers and myself did a mock PPR fantasy football draft, and it was a lot of fun getting together and seeing what other people’s strategies were. I didn’t have the first overall pick, but I was fairly content on having pick no. 3 where the draft became my proverbial oyster as I knew Adrian Peterson was going to be gone.
With it being a PPR league instead of traditional rules, running back doesn’t always become the strongest position to draft, but it doesn’t hurt if your running backs can catch the ball and not just pound the rock. That being said, let’s dive into my team and my thoughts:
Round 1: Pick 3 Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller -- Spiller is a downright deadly weapon who can catch the ball out of the backfield and torch most opposing teams’ defenses. Last season, he had 1,244 yards on 207 carries, along with 43 catches as well as eight total touchdowns. This might be higher than where some people have him, but if he gets the ball a lot more than he did last year, his numbers could go through the roof.
Round 2: Pick 18 Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green – Green is a freak of an athlete, and is the no. 1 wide receiver for a high-octane offense who can catch nearly everything. Last season, he had 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns, and his numbers will likely only go up as teams will not be able to double-cover him with the team drafting TE Tyler Eifert in the first round.
Round 3: Pick 23 Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones – Sticking with another wide receiver, getting Jones at this point is nothing but a steal in a PPR league as his better days are ahead of him. He will emerge as the Falcons’ no. 1 wide receiver this year, especially if he does the same with 79 catches and 1,198 yards receiving with 10 touchdowns last year.
Round 4: Pick 38 Denver Bronocos WR Wes Welker -- Yes, Welker isn’t getting any younger, but I will take a guy who has had 672 receptions in the last six years and run with it. Getting balls thrown to him by Peyton Manning this year will make for an easy and seamless transition from Tom Brady.
Round 5: Pick 43 New York Jets RB Chris Ivory -- This is a lot later than I thought I’d get my second running back, but with those three wide receivers falling to me, I couldn’t refuse them. That being said, Chris Ivory of the Jets will finally find out if he can be a star, or was he just part of a better situation when the New Orleans Saints had a running back by committee. I’m hoping he has a breakout year here.
Round 6: Pick 58 Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller -- The man that made Reggie Bush expendable … at least that’s what the Dolphins are hoping for. This local product seems to have all the right stuff to become a star in the NFL. Now that he’s the feature back in South Beach, we will see if he can live up to the expectations.
Round 7: Pick 63 Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard – Sticking with loading up with running backs, why not take the first rookie running back drafted who will make a difference in one way or another on this offense? While he will be splitting some carries with BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Bernard will be the feature back from day one and for years to come.
Round 8: Pick 78 Stevie Johnson Wide Receiver Buffalo Bills – “The Fly Guy”, and while Stevie is on the mend with hamstring issues, it seems when a big game is needed, he is there to provide it. He is the first member of the Bills to have three straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons, can he make it four? Time will tell on this one but it is likely.
Round 9: Pick 83 Houston Texans TE Owen Daniels – Getting an established tight end like Daniels in round nine is downright amazing. Last year, he had 62 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns. With the drafting of DeAndre Hopkins, this might thin out the coverage even more for one of quarterback Matt Schaub‘s favorite targets.
Round 10: Pick 98 San Francisco 49ers D — This defense is extremely young, hungry and driven to be even better than they were last year. They are big on forcing turnovers and if they improve upon last year, there’s no reason why this team shouldn’t go 13-3 or 14-2.
Round 11: Pick 103 New York Giants QB Eli Manning -- In round 11 of 15, I finally take my quarterback and I get one of the most clutch performers in NFL history, not to mention a quarterback who has never thrown for less than 3,200 yards since taking over the reins in 2005. With excellent receivers, Eli will be back in 2013 looking for revenge on the rest of the NFC East and beyond.
Round 12: Pick 118 Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd — While he didn’t have a great 2012 as he only had 45 catches, that wasn’t his fault at all. The Cardinals had a revolving door at quarterback, and their offensive line looked like an open door as every quarterback they had got beat down within an inch of their lives. This year, they upgraded their offensive line and traded for Carson Palmer. As a result, Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald will likely have very nice rebound years in 2013.
Round 13: Pick 123 Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson – This pick is what I like to call the insurance policy if C.J. Spiller goes down to an injury. Fred is no slouch at running back by any stretch of the imagination, and could carry the workload again for the Bills if called upon. Also, he should provide fantasy points regardless of Spiller’s health.
Round 14: Pick 138 Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods — This was just a calculated risk since it is the second to last pick in the draft. Why not take a player that might have the off chance to have an explosive rookie year? Woods runs hard, smooth and crisp routes and should flourish with all the offensive weapons that the Bills gave themselves in recent years.
Round 15: Pick 143 Seattle Seahawks kicker Steve Hauschka -- While this was a tactical error as I wanted Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein, Hauschka should be more than serviceable as the Seahawks have an offense that should have no problems putting up a huge amount of points in very little time. If Hauschka doesn’t pan out right away, I might take a gamble and pick up Dustin Hopkins of the Bills if he looks good after a few weeks in the league.
It will be interesting to see how my real fantasy teams do in 2013, and is one that I wouldn’t complain about having in P.P.R. or traditional rules.