Fantasy mock drafts can seem like a tedious exercise and at times an exhaustive time killer. Fact of the matter is, it’s a must for diehard fantasy geeks, as it lays the blueprint for ADPs (Average Draft Position) and lets you know what the rest of the fantasy drafting world is thinking. Enter the fantastic (and no I’m not getting paid to say it) Draft Wizard© from FantasyPros.com. The tool pits you against a computer that aggregates data from multiple mock draft sites, and gives you a reasonable facsimile of what the current pulse is in the fantasy football world. Did I mention it takes about 15-20 minutes to complete an entire mock? Yeah, therein lies the beauty, my fantasy dorks. In today’s exercise, I drafted from the 7 spot in a 12 team PPR (point per reception) mock, which is generally a shitty spot to be stuck drafting. My strategy was pretty basic in this one. Target players I’ve been high on for months (namely Randall Cobb, Darren Sproles, Frank Gore, Tony Romo, and Martellus Bennett), preferably come away with two stud PPR backs in the first two rounds, and wait on a QB and TE. That allows me to go best player available at the wide receiver or running back position in the middle rounds.
I think the results were promising.
1.7 Ray Rice- A bit surprised he fell this far, but I’ll take the value of a featured back with a 50+ catch average in a PPR format. Bernard Pierce is certainly a good handcuff for Rice, but given Rice’s durability, it’s not a big concern. If you can grab Pierce late? Fine, but I’d prefer to take an upside back with a bigger window to start.
2.6 Darren Sproles- Again, a prolific PPR running back, Sproles, his 75 catches and 7 TDs last year puts him in that “Early Reggie Bush” type production in Sean Payton‘s offense. As my RB2, I’m thrilled. Thus far, I’m hitting on both targets without having to adjust. In other words, the draft is coming to me and that’s always a good thing.
3.7 Randall Cobb- He was my binky last year, to me he’s the younger, more durable version of Percy Harvin, but in an even more prolific passing offense. With Greg Jennings leaving via free agency to Minnesota, to me the de facto weapon in Green Bay is the explosive Cobb. Mike McCarthy will give him every opportunity to score this year.
4.6 Dwayne Bowe- The arrival of Andy Reid in Kansas City should be a godsend to Bowe dynasty owners, but in redraft, I like his chances with an upgrade at the QB position with Alex Smith. The last time Reid had a big prototype at WR like Bowe, it was Terrell Owens. Last time I check, he fared pretty well in that offense. Very happy to land Bowe as a WR2.
5.7 Steve Smith- It’s always good to grab a veteran #1 WR in the 5th round, and with the Panthers focusing on the other side of the football in the draft, Smith (who shows no sign of slowing down, a la Tony Gonzalez) is going to put up solid numbers, and is a great value at this point.
6.6 Frank Gore- If I’ve learned anything playing fantasy football all of these years, you can never have too many RBs, especially lead backs who catch the football. After locking up my RB and WR starters (remember my strategy?), I went with the best player available, and Gore fit that profile. Injuries to RBs occur every year, and even if you’re lucky enough to dodge the injury bug on your fantasy roster, there is no better bargaining chip for trades than a healthy running back…NONE.
7.7 Josh Gordon- Still mining for talent at this point. While Gordon will miss two games for violating the NFL’s banned substance policy, he’s an immense talent, and someone I can afford to sit for two games. This is my WR4, and I can’t ask for better value.
8.6 Tony Romo- The other aspect of my drafting strategy was to wait on a QB. To put a finer point on it, there are likely only 24 QBs drafted in a 12 team, and with 32 teams in the NFL, the odds are in your favor to grab value after the 7th round and beyond. There is not a more disrespected QB in fantasy football than Tony Romo. Despite finishing as a top 5 scoring QB last year, he’s still available in the middle of the 8th round. I would have taken RG3 or Luck here, but Romo is a proven commodity who’s surrounded by better pass catching talent in Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Possibly the steal of the draft when it’s all said and done.
9.7 Denarius Moore- Matt Flynn or Tyler Wilson have to throw it to someone, right? I’ve always loved Moore’s talent, but it’s hard to love this Raider offense. As a 5th WR? It’s a moon shot that could pay off. This is the part of the draft where you can have some fun, because tight end value is had in the 11th-14th round, and the same goes for your QB2.
10.6 Giovanni Bernard- I’ll happily let others take more highly touted rookie backs like Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball much higher in the draft, while the door of opportunity is open much wider for a running back like Bernard. A shifty RB who does everything pretty well, he’s much more explosive than the plodding Benjarvus Green-Ellis. While he’s probably a better dynasty pickup, I believe the Bengals will give him a shot to win the starting job, and eventually he will be their starter, as he’s the more dynamic talent.
11.7 Martellus Bennett- Jimmy Graham in round 1, or wait for a guy with the potential to be the #2 target in an offense (Marc Trestman‘s to be exact) that is tight end friendly. Also worth noting that Trestman likes to spread the ball around, which isn’t great great for Brandon Marshall‘s fantasy value, and could be a windfall for the self proclaimed “Black Unicorn.”
12.6 Ryan Tannehill- The QB of the future in Miami has some new and fantasy friendly toys, namely Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller. Factor in Brian Hartline and some cap room that could even bring in some additional weapons,and things are looking up in Miami. Tannehill is a nice QB2 in redraft, and a potential stud in 1-2 years in dynasty. Certainly a “Romo-esque” spot starter in a pinch.
13.7 Coby Fleener- The arrival of Pep Hamilton reunites Fleener and Luck with the coordinator from their prolific Stanford offense. Bruce Arians‘ big offense was never tight end friendly, so Fleener is the type of upside-roll the dice type pick that you snare in round 13. I’m banking on both Fleener and Bennett to give me the type of matchup production value that I didn’t have to waste higher picks on players in the first 5 rounds.
14.6 Darius Heyward-Bey- The buzz out of OTAs is that Bey looks good. A former 1st round pick of the Raiders, Bey is a boom or bust type selection…the kind you make and hope pays off.
Every draft can change on a dime, all it takes is one butthole to draft Tebow in round two to screw the draft curve for everyone else. Stick to targeting the impact players on your board and maximize value at every turn. In the coming weeks I’ll review similar drafts from various draft positions. In the meantime, get your mock on, dorks. Cheers.