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NFL Fantasy Football held another mock spectacular this week, a 14-team PPR draft that included both in-house analysts and friends from other sites on the world wide web. As expected, 26 of the first 28 picks were either running backs or wideouts (Rob Gronkowski Jerseys Jerseys, Travis Kelce Jerseys Jerseys were the "outsiders"), and all but four of the first 49 picks were from the two most important positions in fantasy land. The first quarterback, Aaron Rodgers Jerseys Jerseys, wasn’t selected until Round 4. That brings me to another trend that you’re going to see in most standard-scoring fantasy drafts … quarterback values continue to sink due to high supply and low demand.
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While quarterbacks score the most points in the world of fantasy football, the position is so deep that even some well-known signal-callers were picked late or not at all. In fact, sleeper Carson Wentz Jerseys, Carson Palmer Jerseys Jerseys, Eli Manning Jerseys Jerseys and Blake Bortles Jerseys Jerseys were all left to the waiver wire! If this trend continues, we could see more and more leagues require two starting signal-callers in their weekly lineups.
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Anyway, here’s a look at the team I drafted, and what I was thinking along the way per selection. The draft was 15 rounds and based on the NFL’s standard scoring system (plus PPR), and none of the teams were required to draft a kicker or a defense (so I didn’t). That doesn’t change the mock results much, as neither of those positions is worth more than a late-round (13-15) selection. To me, it makes a mock draft even more valuable in that there are more skill position players picked. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for with these mocks … where certain players (not a kicker or a defense) were chosen.
jermaine kearse used football jersey Round 1, Pick 9 – Mike Evans Jerseys, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jerseys: Yes, that’s right … I took a wide receiver (not a running back) in the first round. Evans, the No. 1 wideout based on fantasy points last season, should continue to produce at a high level even with the threat of a declined target share with DeSean Jackson Jerseys and O.J. Howard now in the pass attack. Another 1,000-yard campaign should happen.
Round 2, Pick 20 – Todd Gurley Jerseys, RB, Los Angeles Rams Jerseys: Admittedly, I hesitated before making this selection. Gurley was a bust last season, and his backfield targets could decrease with Lance Dunbar Jerseys on the roster. There wasn’t another running back or a wide receiver I had ranked higher at this point though, so I pulled the trigger. Hopefully coach Sean McVay can kick start Gurley’s production.
Round 3, Pick 37 – Demaryius Thomas Jerseys Jerseys, WR, Denver Broncos Jerseys: Thomas is coming off his worst fantasy season since 2011, but he still finished 19th in points among wideouts. The return of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy should be a real positive for the veteran, however, so I’m projecting him to be at least somewhat better than he was compared to a season ago. I consider Thomas a solid No. 2 wideout.
Round 4, Pick 48 – Martavis Bryant Jerseys, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys: Wide receivers were flying off the board in the first three-plus rounds, leaving some depth at the running back position. As a result, I took a third wideout before a second runner in Bryant. Call him a breakout candidate or a sleeper, whatever you like, but the upside with this kid in what will be an explosive Steelers offense is huge.
Round 5, Pick 65 – Bilal Powell Jerseys, RB, New York Jets Jerseys: The decision to pass on a running back in the previous round turned up all roses, as Powell fell to me with the 65th overall choice. While I realize he will share work with Matt Forte Jerseys, Powell is the better fantasy option at this point and he’s even more valuable in PPR formats. There’s a good chance he’ll catch 60-plus passes in the Jets offense.
Round 6, Pick 76 – Ameer Abdullah Jerseys Jerseys, RB, Detroit Lions Jerseys: When you look in the fantasy football dictionary under "risk-reward running backs," there’s a picture of Abdullah. He has the skill set to be a solid asset for owners, but injuries have kept him down at the NFL level. The Lions didn’t add an impact runner in the offseason, so Abdullah will once again have a chance to thrive as a featured back.
Round 7, Pick 93 – Delanie Walker Jerseys, TE, Tennessee Titans Jerseys: The Titans did add Corey Davis Jerseys and Eric Decker Jerseys to what should be an improved pass attack, but Walker will no doubt still see his share of chances. Over the last three seasons, the veteran ranks second in targets and third in receptions among all tight ends. He’s also fourth in receiving yards and sixth in touchdown catches at the position.
Round 8, Pick 104 Darren Sproles Jerseys, RB, Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys: You could argue that Sproles is the most valuable fantasy running back in PPR leagues, but he tends to fall in drafts. That was the case here, as I landed him as a fourth back. Even in his earlier 30s, the elusive veteran has hauled in 40 or more passes in three straight seasons including a combined 107 in the last two NFL campaigns.
Round 9, Pick 121 – Cam Newton Jerseys Jerseys, QB, Carolina Panthers Jerseys: How far has Newton fallenWell, some people were drafting him in the first round last season. Superman has lost some of the air under his cape now, but I don’t mind taking a chance on him with the 121st overall selection. Furthermore, there wasn’t a whole lot left among other offensive skill positions … that also made me side with Newton.
Round 10, Pick 132 – Jordan Matthews Jerseys, WR, Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys: Matthews has gone from a potential sleeper to a late-round flier in about a year’s time. That’s due in large part to the fact that the Eagles added both Alshon Jeffery Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys and Torrey Smith Jerseys to their pass attack in the offseason. Regardless of his decreased statistical ceiling, Matthews is still worth a flier at this point in drafts.
Round 11, Pick 149 – Sterling Shepard Jerseys, WR, New York Giants Jerseys: With four running backs and four wideouts on the roster, it was time to take the best player available at one of those positions. I decided on Shepard, even though his target share as a rookie is destined to decrease with the additions of Brandon Marshall Jerseys Jerseys and Evan Engram Jerseys. As I look back, I should have taken Robert Kelley at this spot.
Round 12, Pick 160 – Dak Prescott Jerseys, QB, Dallas Cowboys Jerseys: It’s become ridiculous how far solid quarterbacks fall in fantasy football drafts these days. I mean, Prescott was sixth in fantasy points among quarterbacks and eighth overall last season … and the dude is sitting there in the 12th round of a 14-team league. It might be time to consider more two-quarterback and super-flex leagues!
Round 13, Pick 177 – Charles Sims Jerseys, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jerseys: When you’re in the late rounds of a deep league, your last few choices are the equivalent of fishing without any bait. You probably won’t get anything good, and if you do it’s simple to throw it back into the (player) pond. To his credit, Sims has a combined 75 receptions over the last two seasons as a committee back in Tampa Bay.
Round 14, Pick 188 – Jason Witten Jerseys Jerseys, TE, Dallas Cowboys Jerseys: Walker is the clear-cut No. 1 tight end on this particular fantasy roster, so Witten will fall into a replacement-level role. While the veteran’s best fantasy seasons are in the rearview mirror, he still ranked eighth in targets (95) and sixth in receptions (69) at his position in 2016. Witten is worth a late-round flier in most formats.
Round 15, Pick 205 – Denver Broncos Jerseys defense/special teams: The Broncos defense almost always ranked among the top defensive units in fantasy football, so I decided to grab the "Orange Crush" instead of another offensive skill position player or kicker. In most cases, however, I wouldn’t draft cheap jersey either a kicker or a defense unless it’s required in your league’s settings (which it shouldn’t be!)