members of the FFToday Board completed their annual June Mock draft.
This mock will be played out in a real total points league with
no transactions, no free agent pickups, no trades in season... properly
named the "No-Hassle League." Full results of the mock can be found
here. Below is the commissioner's analysis of each team.
1.01- RB Jamaal Charles, KC
2.12- RB Giovani Bernard, Cin
3.01- WR Jordy Nelson, GB
4.12- WR Pierre Garcon, Was
5.01- WR Torrey Smith, Bal
6.12- QB Cam Newton, Car
7.01- TE Jason Witten, Dal
8.12- RB Lamar Miller, Mia
9.01- WR Cecil Shorts, Jax.
10.12- RB Darren McFadden, Oak
11.01- WR Kelvin Benjamin, Car
12.12- TE Jared Cook, Stl
13.01- QB Joe Flacco, Bal
14.12- K Phil Dawson, SF
15.01- D/ST Cincinnati Bengals
16.12- TE Jace Amaro, NYJ
Analysis: There is little doubt
in my mind that this will be one of the strongest teams in the
league this year based on composition alone. RicemanX built a
team that has every single starter (sans Witten) in the prime
of their career. The team is also balanced in terms of strength
from position to position and there is depth at every position-
even tight end. Rice did a really good job of understanding the
ebb and flow of value throughout the draft. In other words, he
seemed to choose the right positions to go after early, which
allowed him to still nab a top-7 QB and top-7 TE from my perspective.
Historically, teams that have picked in the top three have done
well in the No-Hassle format given the talent they can assemble
through the first 27 picks...three of which they own. No exception
here. The only possible derailment that I can see - as is the
case with many teams - would be injury. Darren McFadden is hurt
annually and Jordy Nelson has not been entirely durable in his
career either. But, that's nitpicking a very solid effort.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Proven
players in their primes don't normally fail to meet expectations
unless there is a coaching change or nagging injury to contend
with. Or, in the case of a WR or TE, a quarterback change. None
of those things apply to Riceman’s team, so the keys to
success are just health and depth. Rookies like Benjamin and Amaro
could be a huge boost to the team's scoring based on format, or
they could be non-contributors, which would hurt. I think the
trio of receivers that Riceman has will be middle of the pack
scoring-wise with respect to weekly output, but the RBs will be
top-notch. Fantasy Football has generally moved away from the
RB-RB strategy to open drafts over the past five years, but if
you're still going to go there, might as well get a combo like
Favorite pick: I really liked Bernard,
obviously, as I think he should have been picked much sooner,
but I also liked Cecil Shorts slipping to the ninth round. Often
overlooked since he plays for a bad team, Shorts could be a big
factor for Rice during the upcoming season.
Least Favorite pick: Lamar Miller.
Thought he was picked too soon...but not a huge deal.
Overall outlook: I think I've already
stated it, but I'll say it again. This team has No-Hassle title
contender written all over it. From the balance of the scoring
base to the dynamic potential of the Charles-Bernard combo to
the underrated likely production of Newton and Flacco at QB, there
is much to like about the assemblage here. If the depth holds
up, I see no reason for this team to be anywhere outside of the
top three in the league from the opening week on. But, the bye
weeks could be an issue if the depth proves to be less than what
it could be due to injuries or simply youthfulness of a couple
of players. Still, you only have to worry about depth so much
when you've probably got the best starting seven in the league.
Very well done.
1.02- RB LeSean McCoy, Phi
2.11- RB Alfred Morris, Was
3.02- WR Alshon Jeffery, Chi
4.11- TE Jordan Cameron, Cle
5.02- WR Percy Harvin, Sea
6.11- QB Robert Griffin III, Was
7.02- WR Mike Wallace, Mia
8.11- RB Terrance West, Cle
9.02- WR DeAndre Hopkins, Hou
10.11- WR Danny Amendola, NE
11.02- TE Zach Ertz, Phi
12.11- QB Ryan Tannehill, Mia
13.02- WR Markus Wheaton, Pit
14.11- RB Chris Ivory, NYJ
15.02- K Nick Novak, SD
16.11- D/ST Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: Vikings4Ever has had such a run of success in this league
that I am very hesitant to criticize anything he does or has done.
I would say his teams' excellence over the years speaks for itself.
This year's team, however, simply doesn't contain many if any
of the players I was personally targeting in my draft. McCoy is
obviously all world and gives the team a fantasy superstar to
build around, but many of the other players on the roster concern
me. What will Alfred Morris's role be with a new coach/system?
Same for RG3 and Jordan Cameron. No one can deny the talent that
Alshon Jeffery possesses, but are there enough balls to go around
in Chicago for a second consecutive year to warrant such a high
selection? Anyone who watched the Super Bowl saw what Percy Harvin
can do on a weekly basis, but how will injuries cut into that
potential? If it seems like I'm using a lot of question marks
in this paragraph, I am. I have complete confidence in the man
who picked the team...but less in the team itself. The depth is
a bit suspect as well, but full of upside, which is a plus.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Ultimately, Vikes is banking on the
Redskins being a much more consistently productive team offensively
under Jay Gruden than they were in 2013. If Griffin truly "breaks
out", allowing for Alfred Morris to chew up yards on the
ground, the ripple effect upon this team will be substantial.
Add to that Percy Harvin playing 16 games and a Cleveland QB realizing
how valuable Jordan Cameron can be and you've got the potential
for a huge season. If the Redskins' offense struggles, however,
the opposite ripple could take hold. That is, a team stuck in
neutral with only the big weeks from McCoy to rely on in staying
competitive. The depth at WR looks like a good fit for the No-Hassle
scoring structure to me also, which is good.
Favorite pick: Like I said, none of these players were my targets,
but I am anxious to see what the round 10-11 combo of Danny Amendola
and Zach Ertz brings. I think both could end up being steals when
all is said and done.
Least Favorite pick: Alfred Morris. I thought Giovani Bernard
would have really given this team a better, more explosive element
had he been selected instead of Morris, whose role in 2014 is
Overall outlook: Last year, Vikes got virtually no points from
the TE position and still finished middle of the pack in the No-Hassle
league. His teams always perform better than I expect them to,
no matter what the circumstance. As such, I have a feeling this
team will do just fine...they just don't look as well constructed
as Rice's team. Part of that has to do with the fact that I like
Newton better than Griffin and Bernard better than Morris. But,
if we're going to use players in their prime as a criteria for
possible success, Vikes also possesses a team that consists of
numerous "in prime" players. Expect this team to be
very good if Griffin-Morris-Harvin meet expectations. I think
McCoy is in for a huge year as well.
1.03- RB Adrian Peterson, Min
2.10- QB Drew Brees, NO
3.03- WR Antonio Brown, Pit
4.10- WR Andre Johnson, Hou
5.03- RB Chris Johnson, NYJ
6.10- WR Kendall Wright, Ten
7.03- TE Jordan Reed, Was
8.10- RB Khiry Robinson, NO
9.03- WR Hakeem Nicks, Ind
10.10- QB Eli Manning, NYG
11.03- RB Christine Michael, Sea
12.10- TE Tyler Eifert, Cin
13.03- WR James Jones, Oak
14.10- K Steve Hauschka, Sea
15.03- D/ST Denver Broncos
16.10- RB Lance Dunbar, Dal
Analysis: The proven track records of Adrian Peterson and Drew
Brees make the first two picks of Robb's draft about as sensible
as two picks can be. How do you find fault with that? Answer:
You don't. The selections of Peterson and Brees should have allowed
Robb to take some chances in the draft later on and in some cases,
that is exactly what he did, particularly at running back. How
much Chris Johnson has left in the tank and how much Khiry Robinson
has in the tank in the first place are questions that made their
selections somewhat risky, but certainly understandable given
the freedom that the Peterson/Brees scoring base provides. If
Andre Johnson is going to play this season and play happy, he's
a steal at 4.10. And, Antonio Brown and Kendall Wright could combine
for 200 receptions, making them the perfect complement to a healthy,
somewhat happy Johnson. Beyond those three, though, I think are
red flags when you're talking about Hakeem Nicks and James Jones.
I think both have bust potential written all over them. If I'm
right, bye weeks might be a bit unpleasant but Robb drafted a
top tier team.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Johnson & Johnson. Period. I think
Brees and Peterson are elite, Hall of Fame players who, despite
their ages, can and will still be dynamic more weeks than not.
That leaves Andre and Chris Johnson to be the complements that
Robb is trusting them to be. With both guys at the moment, I question
their heart for the game. Andre just seems to have lost some of
his passion after last year's debacle in Houston and Chris rarely
appears willing to run between the tackles and scored many of
his points last year on screen passes and/or broken plays. Let's
say both end up being top ten at their respective positions. This
team may then win at all. We shall see.
Favorite pick: Brees. In a league where so much effort goes into
waiting on quarterbacks, Brees gets overlooked too long. I'm also
high on Kendall Wright.
Least Favorite pick: Christine Michael. Not because it was a bad
pick. Because it messed with my own team/drafting plan.
Overall outlook: Favorable. If Andre and Chris Johnson bust, I
don't think this team can or will finish in the top three or four
teams at season's end. Peterson and Brees, if healthy all year
long, almost insure that the team won't fall on its face and Robb
has picked so many young players (Reed, Robinson, Michael, Eifert,
Dunbar) that the upside of this team intrigues me as well. The
WRs must stay healthy in addition to the Johnson/Johnson factor,
but overall I just think teams with two All-World fantasy players
usually remain competitive throughout the course of 17 weeks barring
something catastrophic. Kudos to Robb for playing it safe early
and then expanding his horizons with gutsy picks later on.
1.04- RB Matt
2.09- TE Julius
3.04- WR Keenan
4.09- RB Toby
5.04- WR Michael
6.09- RB Knowshon
7.04- WR Terrance
8.09- QB Philip
9.04- RB Maurice
10.09- WR Brian
11.04- WR Aaron
12.09- QB Brian
13.04- WR Robert
14.09- QB Johnny
15.04- D/ST New England Patriots
16.09- K Alex
Analysis: And now we come to one
of last season's co-champions and a guy whose drafting style is
always unique to say the least. I can never figure out exactly
what Dan is doing from pick to pick, but in the end, he's mixed
in lots of youth with a few veterans in forming a team that has
plenty of raw talent, but plenty of uncertainty as well. I thought
Dan was wise to grab six WRs given that the roles of every receiver
he selected are not set in stone at this point. That being said,
Dan is also the only team in the league with only one TE, so Julius
Thomas better hold up or he'll be in deep trouble at a position
that means more than some might think. On a more positive note,
every player Dan picked - even the veterans - has upside. Allen,
Williams, Dobson, and Woods could all be on their ways to great
careers in the NFL and Dan is tapping into that potential with
the formation of this team. Forte is a near lock to be top-5 at
the RB position, so Dan will need either Gerhart or Moreno to
be top 15-20 in order to field a rushing attack that is top tier.
And, by covering his late QB choice of Rivers with two more QBs,
there is security to be found at that position as well.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Avoiding
"sophomore slumps". Keenan Allen, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno,
and Terrance Williams are all examples of players who either broke
out last year because it was their first year in the league or
broke out in terms of finally producing at an elite level. Both
Moreno and Gerhart have moved on to new teams - teams that are
certain to give them carries, but also teams that don't run block
nearly as well as the teams they left. Without a dynamic QB and
with some uncertainty at WR, RB must be the strength of this team.
If both guys fail in their new roles, this team could ultimately
fail right along with them.
Favorite pick: Michael Crabtree.
In the fifth round, why not select a guy who seems to have all
the tools to be a superstar WR from a fantasy perspective. His
upside makes this team dangerous.
Least Favorite pick: I thought the
trio of Thomas, Williams, and Hartline were all reaches at the
spots at which they were picked. All could turn out fine...just
not sure their value was accurately assessed.
Overall outlook: For me, this team
has the look and feel of a "middle of the pack" team if you will.
There is plenty of room for optimism given that the WRs are young
and growing and the RBs all appear to be featured in their respective
backfields. Rivers will be hard pressed to duplicate last season's
numbers, but he's a solid QB to build around given his durability
and consistency. For me, it comes down to whether or not Dan has
a top-3 or 4 rushing attack on his hands. Anything short of that,
and I think the talent of other teams will be too much to overcome.
With that, maybe he creeps closer to "front of the pack".
Ray Lewis' Limo Driver:
1.05- WR Calvin Johnson, Det
2.08- RB DeMarco Murray, Dal
3.05- RB Zac Stacy, Stl
4.08- WR Victor Cruz, NYG
5.05- RB Ray Rice, Bal
6.08- QB Tom Brady, NE
7.05- TE Dennis Pitta, Bal
8.08- WR Golden Tate, Det
9.05- WR Riley Cooper, Phi
10.08- RB Darren Sproles, Phi
11.05- WR Anquan Boldin, SF
12.08- QB Carson Palmer, Ari
13.05- TE Antonio Gates, SD
14.08- K Stephen Gostkowski, NE
15.05- D/ST Carolina Panthers
16.08- RB Donald Brown, SD
Analysis: This team looks nasty
good to me as long as it can remain healthy and as long as it
doesn't prove to be a little long in the tooth. Assuming Ray Rice’s
suspension is not lengthy, the trio of Murray, Stacy, and Rice
should create a consistent if not dynamic scoring base from the
RB position. I also love the Brady, Palmer combo as each tends
to have some huge games along with some games where numbers are
modest. If those trends were to work in a complementary fashion
to one another this season, Ray's potential at the position is
probably greater than some might assess it to be. What are we
to make of Victor Cruz? Is he an elite WR or another guy whose
numbers began fading the moment he signed a big contract? I'm
not sold on Cruz as a reliable WR2 which would place a burden
on either Golden Tate to find success in Detroit or Riley Cooper
to continue to build on what he accomplished last season. As was
noted earlier, guys like Sproles, Palmer, Boldin, and Gates are
old. They need to hold up and produce as none of them have upside
sans possibly Sproles in Chip Kelly's offense.
Key to No-Hassle Success: A couple
of things stand out. One, DeMarco Murray must stay healthy. Murray
has proven to be a real fantasy asset when he's 100%, but he's
been banged up quite a bit over the course of his first few years
in the league. Ray needs a minimum of 14 healthy games out of
Murray to compete with this team. Second, Ray Rice needs to avoid
a suspension and if he doesn't, the "old guys" noted above will
need to turn back time for one more year as depth will become
very important. Brady, Johnson, and Stacy look safe and productive
to me- it really just comes down to the rest of the rushing attack
and Victor Cruz working out.
Favorite pick: I think the Ravens
are eager to utilize the tight end ad nauseam and as such, I loved
the value of Dennis Pitta in the seventh round. I also thought
Zac Stacy was a steal mid-third.
Least Favorite pick: Hard to fault
much here, but as I noted earlier, I am lukewarm on Victor Cruz.
How motivated is he to be elite with his financial needs now met?
Color me skeptical.
Overall outlook: Although I'm not
as high on this team as say RicemanX's group, I do think this
team can win a No-Hassle title if things come together the way
Ray intended when he put this group together. Calvin Johnson is
a tremendous foundation to build upon and I think Murray and Stacy
could average 20+ touches per game as the primary RBs on their
respective teams. Aside from a few players, this team is "old"
compared to some and that could factor into Ray losing some ground
as the season wears on. At the very least, a good start to the
year looks likely as the talent of this team shines through.
1.06- RB Eddie Lacy, GB
2.07- RB Arian Foster, Hou
3.06- WR Randall Cobb, GB
4.07- WR Vincent Jackson, TB
5.06- WR Wes Welker, Den
6.07- QB Nick Foles, Phi
7.06- TE Greg Olsen, Car
8.07- RB Fred Jackson, Buf
9.06- WR Dwayne Bowe, KC
10.07- RB Danny Woodhead, SD
11.06- QB Alex Smith, KC
12.07- TE Delanie Walker, Ten
13.06- WR Kenny Stills, NO
14.07- RB Andre Brown, Hou
15.06- K Dan Bailey, Dal
16.07- D/ST Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Remote's draft for me resembled what is sometimes called
in sports the "tale of two halves". I found myself loving
what he did for the first eight rounds then shaking my head a
bit at picks 9-16. No one can question that the presumed starters
on this team should be very good. Lacy and Foster represent two
potentially elite RBs who will get plenty of carries and goal
line opportunities (assuming Houston can get to the goal line).
And, while Remote may not have a true WR1, it is quite possible
he has three of the best WR2’s in the game with Cobb, Jackson,
and Welker all being picked in succession. Add in the upside of
Foles and the fact that Olsen is the only experienced pass-catcher
on the Panthers roster and I think the starting seven on this
team has few if any equals league-wide. I don't see a lot of production
coming from Woodhead (three-headed RBBC), Alex Smith/Dwayne Bowe
(no downfield passing game) and Kenny Stills (crowded WR corps).
Andre Brown was at least a solid handcuff, but the depth on this
team has me worried. The starters have me pumped, though.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Foles needs to take another step forward.
Many think the league's defensive coordinators will contain his
production better this season. Aside from that, it comes down
to health and depth. I love Remote's first five picks more than
anyone else's first five draft-wide. I think this team was really
well put-together in terms of its projected starters and would
expect a very good scoring chemistry to develop. As noted in the
previous paragraph, I do worry a little about Foster's TD totals.
Yards-wise, he should be great and will combine with Lacy to give
this team elite rushing points.
Favorite pick: Absolutely love the picks in rounds 3, 4, and 5.
If you told me that I wouldn't be picking a WR until round three
and could still nab Cobb, Jackson, and Welker, I'd have suggested
that I must be picking against idiots. Three picks...three steals.
Least Favorite pick: Rounds 8-11 will prove to be a setback for
this team. I don't see any of those picks (Jackson, Bowe, Woodhead,
Smith) really contributing to the overall success of the team.
Overall outlook: I've spoken about
what I don't like about this team enough to the point that you
might think I'm not high on the team as a whole. That's not the
case. The truth for me is that if this team can remain healthy,
I think it's going to be easily top five, likely top three, and
maybe...just maybe...the best in the league. When you look at
Randall Cobb and Wes Welker, you have to also consider who is
throwing them the ball. That is, you have to look at Aaron Rodgers
and Peyton Manning. And to keep up in the NFC South, Olsen and
Vincent Jackson also stand to get lots of targets. From the waist
up, this team has few rivals. Overall, I like its composition
1.07- WR A.J. Green, Cin
2.06- QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
3.07- TE Rob Gronkowski, NE
4.06- WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Min
5.07- RB Trent Richardson, Ind
6.06- RB Shane Vereen, NE
7.07- WR Sammy Watkins, Buf
8.06- RB Joique Bell, Det
9.07- RB Pierre Thomas, NO
10.06- QB Russell Wilson, Sea
11.07- WR Justin Hunter, Ten
12.06- TE Dwayne Allen, Ind
13.07- RB Carlos Hyde, SF
14.06- WR Kenny Britt, Stl
15.07- K Mason Crosby, GB
16.06- D/ST Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: If I remember correctly, someone used the word "uncomfortable"
to describe their feelings about a few of these teams. That would
be my word for JScott's team. First though, I would like to pay
attention to the upside. This team could potentially have the
league's #1 QB, #1 WR, and #1 TE and if that happened, it would
come as a surprise to no one. Rodgers, Green, and Gronkowski give
this team a potentially lethal scoring base. Add in the upside
of young, explosive WRs like Patterson and Watkins and it's easy
to see how this team could excel. Depth at RB and WR is a bit
suspect, but Russell Wilson is a fabulous choice to back up Aaron
Rodgers just as Dwayne Allen perfectly backs up Gronk with Andrew
Luck looking to get him the ball frequently. So, where's the discomfort?
Running back, running back, running back. By selecting four RBs
in rounds 5-9, JScott attempted to address the position adequately,
but Trent Richardson as a RB1 and the combo of Vereen/Thomas/Bell
in supportive roles would scare me to death. I fear it could be
the team's huge Achilles heel. But, there is health and prosperity
elsewhere as noted.
Key to No-Hassle Success: Gronkowski's
health first and foremost. For JScott, that is a familiar theme
given that he had to wait for Gronk to come around last season
as well. Not choosing a RB in the third round will be fatal to
this team's success if Gronk ends up repeating what took place
in 2013. I also think an injury or two needs to thrust Vereen,
Thomas, Bell, or Hyde into stardom to give the team something
unexpected at the RB position. Should Reggie Bush, Frank Gore,
Stevan Ridley, or one of the Saints' RBs get hurt longer term,
JScott's curious foursome could produce an unexpected diamond
in the rough.
Favorite pick: I think the selection of Joique Bell could (and
I'm only saying could) save this team. When/if Reggie Bush breaks
down, Bell has the capacity to produce RB1-type numbers. It was
a timely pick.
Least Favorite pick: Patterson. It will be fascinating to see
if a team that doesn't pick a RB until the second half of round
five can realistically compete for a No-Hassle title. I would
have gone RB for sure in round four.
Overall outlook: I would have zero comfort going into a season
with this team given its deficiencies at RB. But, I admire JScott
for thinking way out of the box and assembling a team that is
unbalanced, but potentially explosive and dynamic in spots. If
the #1 QB, #1 WR, and #1 TE scenario were to play out, it would
mean JScott would only need to hit on one of his five running
backs to be in the mix for a No-Hassle championship. That's certainly
within the realm of reason. Whatever happens, it will be fun tracking
this unorthodox team.
1.08- RB Montee
2.05- WR Brandon
3.08- RB Bishop
4.05- WR Larry
5.08- WR Roddy
6.05- RB Steven
7.08- TE Kyle
8.05- QB Jay
9.08- QB Tony
10.05- WR Reggie
11.08- WR Brandin
12.05- RB C.J.
13.08- RB Jonathan
14.05- TE Mychal
15.08- D/ST St. Louis Rams
16.05- K Blair
Analysis: I call this the "extreme" team coming into
the 2014 No-Hassle season. You have either extreme youth or considerable
age within the roster and very little in between. The top two
projected RBs enter the 2014 season with one year of combined
experience between them. Meanwhile, the projected starting WRs
have about 30 years of experience amongst them. Reggie Wayne and
Steven Jackson are on their last legs. Brandin Cooks hasn't played
a down yet in the NFL. Need I continue? In the end, it is a formula
that makes this team impossible to predict as no one really knows
how productive Ball and Sankey will be and no one is quite sure
whether or not guys like Fitzgerald and White should still be
classified as elite fantasy WRs. I do like the QB duo that White
Wonder has here and if Romo and Cutler score as they typically
do, he'll get some very productive weeks out of them in tandem.
Not sure the TEs will do much, but again, with new coaching staffs
in place, who really knows? What is known is that when Cutler
and Marshall are working well together, this team stands to prosper.
Key to No-Hassle Success: When you
spend two of your first three picks on RBs who have never started
a game in the NFL, you've taken a tremendous leap of faith. And
so it is with the starting duo of Ball and Sankey. No team has
a greater risk for falling flat and finishing dead last than this
team given that neither Ball nor Sankey may be cut out for the
job. And, the emergence of Michael Floyd and Julio Jones may relegate
Fitz and White to second banana statuses on their own teams. In
the end, with depth not deemed as good as some teams, Ball and
Sankey must be good. The WRs will ultimately produce at some level.
The RBs must join in or else.
Favorite pick: Fitzgerald. While I am certain that Roddy White
is now the second banana in Atlanta, I'm not sure Fitz is ready
to concede in Arizona just yet. If he ends up top ten at the WR
spot, it will really benefit this team. I liked the selection
of Cutler and Romo in rounds 8 & 9 a lot, too.
Least Favorite pick: I thought Ball went too early given what
little we know about him. Yes, his situation is ideal, but is
he ideal for his situation? Steven Jackson was also a questionable
pick given what he did in 2013.
Overall outlook: Anything I would try to suggest about this team's
fate would be purely a stab in the dark. With so many variables
to consider, WW's group could finish anywhere from first to last
and it honestly wouldn't shock me all that much. Guys like Cutler,
Marshall, Romo, Fitzgerald, and White do have a history of great
fantasy production, but with the exception of Marshall, all of
their best days may very well be behind them. What that leaves
is two young RBs on an island seeking to lead a team beyond the
expectations of some. It's a foundation...but it's a bit of a
shaky one to begin the 2014 campaign.
1.09- QB Peyton
2.04- RB Le'Veon
3.09- RB Andre Ellington, Ari
4.04- TE Vernon Davis, SF
5.09- RB Frank
6.04- WR Marques Colston, NO
7.09- WR Julian Edelman, NE
8.04- RB Stevan Ridley, NE
9.09- RB LeGarrette Blount, Pit
10.04- QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pit
11.09- TE Heath Miller, Pit
12.04- WR Josh Gordon, Cle
13.09- WR Rueben
14.04- WR Jarrett Boykin, GB
15.09- K Adam Vinatieri, Ind
16.04- D/ST Chicago Bears
Analysis: I spoke about co-champions earlier in the analysis and
ICEMAN represents the other half of that distinction after a stellar
2013 campaign. Essentially, he's built the exact flip side of
JScott with this team as he waited until round six to pick his
first wide receiver. At QB, he has the best. The best there ever
was from a fantasy football perspective. That's good. Then, he
added four likely starters for their respective teams at RB with
both youth and experience blended in. Vernon Davis gives the team
an elite tight end just for kicks. So, consider that: Best QB
(Manning), deep and talented RB corps led by second year hopefuls
Bell and Ellington, and great production likely from the TE position.
All would appear to be well. Until you consider just how inferior
this WR corps is. Marques Colston is no longer a fantasy WR1.
Heck, he may not even be a WR3 at this point. Julian Edelman's
role will diminish if Gronk gets healthy...Josh Gordon was probably
a wasted pick and Randle and Boykin have competition for playing
time all around them. This receiving corps is the league's worst
bar none and places a tremendous burden on the strengths of the
team in order for success to develop. Proceed with caution.
Key to No-Hassle Success: I like what ICE did at RB. Those five
guys are going to produce in good harmony. Manning should have
another incredible year and VD is solid and dependable at the
TE position. It really does come down to getting something out
of Colston, Edelman, Randle, and Boykin. When you take a QB in
the first round, you always run the risk of one position being
deeply deficient and that's what happened here. If ICE could just
rank 8-10 in points for the year at the WR position, he could
compete for another league title. That's all it would take with
such talent elsewhere.
Favorite pick: It takes guts to take a QB in the first round of
this draft, but ICE did the right thing. Manning was the best
pick on the board at that time. Ridley was a great pick-up in
the eighth round as well.
Least Favorite pick: Gore has too many guys nipping at his heels
for carries and Ellington is smallish. I thought ICE should have
grabbed a WR instead of taking one of those guys (or both).
Overall outlook: Manning, barring an injury, is never going to
let you down in fantasy football. Le'Veon Bell looks like the
real deal and I can't help but think that the combination of Ellington,
Gore, and Ridley while not ideal, could yield good results based
upon their scoring patterns from last year. Can a team with such
deficiencies at WR compete in a pass-happy era? Conventional wisdom
says no- at least in terms of winning a title. But, don't ever
underestimate Manning's ability to carry a team. No greater assurance
exists in fantasy football.
1.10- RB Marshawn Lynch, Sea
2.03- WR Dez Bryant, Dal
3.10- QB Matthew Stafford, Det
4.03- RB C.J. Spiller, Buf
5.10- WR T.Y. Hilton, Ind
6.03- RB Rashad Jennings, NYG
7.10- WR Eric Decker, NYJ
8.03- QB Matt Ryan, Atl
9.10- TE Martellus Bennett, Chi
10.03- WR Tavon Austin, Stl
11.10- TE Charles Clay, Mia
12.03- RB Bernard Pierce, Bal
13.10- WR Steve Smith, Bal
14.03- K Matt Prater, Den
15.10- RB David Wilson, NYG
16.03- D/ST San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: The power base of this team is rooted in its "triplet"
formation as Stafford, Lynch, and Bryant form the scoring base.
There is enough depth to secure additional scoring, but ultimately
this team's rise and fall will depend on all three top picks remaining
healthy. Of the three, Lynch has the most red flags as he is nearing
the end of his career as a top-shelf RB. Does the drop-off begin
this year? It could, and if it did, the burden would fall to high-potential
guys like Spiller and Jennings to pick up the slack. As with so
many RBs this upcoming season, neither of those guys is a sure
thing either. In the end, this is a team of value picks that looks
good on paper, but may or may not be cohesive from a No-Hassle
standpoint. There is a lot of potential there with the mix of
veteran and younger players in the fold, but three of the picks
are playing with new teams including Eric Decker, whose value
is very uncertain without Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.
I like this team a lot, but in some ways, they're operating without
Key to No-Hassle Success: I really feel like Stafford and Bryant
are established fantasy threats in their primes and as such expect
nothing less than production from them. Hilton, likewise, is certain
to produce with stability in place at the QB position. And so
it comes back to Lynch and the two guys on new teams in New York.
Either Decker or Jennings one will need to have some success or
else I will have wasted two critical picks on guys that didn't
fit with their new systems. My failure to secure Chrstine Michael
also insures if Lynch busts, this team probably isn't going to
contend. I think the depth on this team is solid, though, and
should be a perfect complement to the scoring base should everything
unfold as hoped.
Favorite pick: I was quite happy to land Dez Bryant in the second
round and also pleased with the acquisition of Tavon Austin late.
The Rams seemed to finally figure out how to use him as last season
Least Favorite pick: Bernard Pierce/David Wilson. Not because
I'm down on those guys...but because Christine Michael needed
to be on this team to provide a fallback for Lynch.
Overall outlook: Obviously, one should like their team coming
out of a draft in most instances, and for the most part I do.
In choosing Stafford, I weakened my #2 RB and WR some and that
will certainly haunt me if Stafford fares no better than the half
dozen or so QBs chosen after him in this year's June Mock. Bryant
and Stafford are capable of big weeks from time to time and I
think I'll be in the top-3 in scoring on the weeks that one or
both go off. The question is: How far does this team fall when
that's not the case with no other "sure thing" RBs or
WRs on the roster? I think this team is a contender, but realistically,
I like a few teams better given how well they executed a plan
out of their respective draft spots.
1.11- TE Jimmy Graham, NO
2.02- WR Julio
3.11- RB Ben Tate, Cle
4.02- RB Reggie
5.11- WR Michael
6.02- WR Mike Evans, TB
7.11- WR Emmanuel Sanders, Den
8.02- QB Colin Kaepernick, SF
9.11- RB DeAngelo Williams, Car
10.02- RB Devonta Freeman, Atl
11.11- WR Jordan Matthews, Phi
12.02- TE Eric Ebron, Det
13.11- QB Sam Bradford, Stl
14.02- WR Odell
Beckham, Jr., NYG
15.11- K Greg Zuerlein, Stl
16.02- D/ST Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: You would think a team that contains a TE selected in
the first round would look pretty odd in other spots, but that
is simply not the case with Matt's Eagles as he waited longer
to grab a QB and in the process ended up with good depth at WR
and a couple of RBs who could pay large dividends if they can
stay healthy (both have a history of not doing so). And, if you're
wondering why rookie skill position players haven't been mentioned
a lot in the overall analysis up until now, it's because so many
of them reside on this team. Evans, Freeman, Ebron, Beckham, Matthews...all
rookies and all a part of Matt's squad. What is there to be made
of all this? I'm not sure exactly. My initial instinct is that
Matt got a little rookie-crazy with his selections and may be
one of the weakest teams in the league at QB as well. But, on
a positive note, Graham is a beast at TE and Julio Jones was headed
for a monster season last year before getting hurt. Can they carry
this team if most of the rookie selections don't pan out? Very
hard to say. It will probably depend mostly on the factors noted
Key to No-Hassle Success: Goodness...where to start? Yes, the
rookies must produce and yes, Kaepernick needs to improve his
yardage totals through the air...but ultimately, this team's success
resides with one question and one question only: Can Ben Tate
and Reggie Bush stay healthy? DeAngelo Williams and DeVonta Freeman
will take this team nowhere if neither Tate nor Bush can stay
on the field. A combined 28 out of 32 games played by both Tate
and Bush gives this team a chance to excel. Anything short of
that and it's up to the rookies and the dynamic duo of Graham
& Jones to find a way. It's a cross-your-fingers sort of proposition.
Favorite pick: Emmanuel Sanders could end up being a sneaky good
pick, particularly if Wes Welker's game begins to decline and
if the rookie Denver drafted is slow to develop. A duplication
of Eric Decker's numbers from last year would make Sanders a super
Least Favorite pick: No one particular pick as I thought Matt
made good, high-upside selections overall. At some point, though,
you've got to realize that your team is nearly half-full of rookies
and maybe lay off one or two of them in making later round selections.
Overall outlook: The future is bright if Tate and Bush stay healthy
and productive. Some of the young guys should pan out and Kapernick,
Jones, and particularly Graham are all capable of big, big weeks
when the matchups are right. In the end, I think this team is
more "middle of the pack" than anything else as its
only true star is a tight end and one that is in the middle of
an interesting contract debate to boot. It will certainly be an
interesting team to follow with so many players being thrust into
new situations to consider. Fun stuff.
1.12- WR Demaryius Thomas, Den
2.01- RB Doug Martin, TB
3.12- QB Andrew Luck, Ind
4.01- RB Ryan Mathews, SD
5.12- WR DeSean Jackson, Was
6.01- WR Jeremy Maclin, Phi
7.12- QB Andy Dalton, Cin
8.01- WR Marvin Jones, Cin
9.12- D/ST Seattle Seahawks
10.01- RB Jeremy Hill, Cin
11.12- RB Roy Helu, Was
12.01- TE Ladarius Green, SD
13.12- WR Greg Jennings, Min
14.01- K Justin Tucker, Bal
15.12- TE Brandon Pettigrew, Det
16.01- TE Coby Fleener, Ind
Analysis: With the first six picks accounting for a QB, 2 RBs,
and 3 WRs, Shovel sought to "balance" out his team knowing
that the final pick in the first round would fail to grant him
a superstar player. That certainly has to be considered a reasonable
strategy. The question becomes: Did he balance his team with the
right guys? Nearly every player enters an NFL season with question
marks of some sort, but Shovel's bunch probably has more than
most. Two starters are coming off season-ending injuries in 2013
and two others are injury prone. Add to that suspect depth at
RB and a threesome of b-listers at TE and there's plenty to be
concerned about heading into this No-Hassle season. On the flip
side, however, Demaryius Thomas and Andrew Luck are two guys clearly
in their prime who could both finish top-3 at their positions,
which would go a long way in insuring overall success. The early
D/ST pick left Shovel with some lesser talent than some in later
rounds, but the pick would be a solid one in any other format.
Key to No-Hassle Success: With Luck and Thomas providing a dependable
foundation, the key to this team is easily Doug Martin. With a
new coaching staff in place and the uncertainly of his recovery
from a knee injury to ponder, Shovel needs the Doug Martin of
2012 to re-emerge and not the Doug Martin of 2013. Maclin is in
a similar situation, although his success is less crucial than
Martin's in terms of framing Shovel's overall shot at league glory.
Finally, what role will DeSean Jackson play on a new team and
with a new coach? And, will Roy Helu have some sort of role on
that same team? I think Shovel was smart getting three TEs after
waiting so long to select his first.
Favorite pick: Demaryius Thomas. Thomas could easily emerge as
fantasy's #1 WR this year. There was no better pick to be made
from the #12 spot.
Least Favorite pick: Doug Martin. It could pan out and make Shovel
look like a genius, but the risk was too great for me given Martin's
struggles last year prior to the injury and then the injury itself.
Risky, risky, risky.
Overall outlook: I don't think this team will fall flat due to
what Thomas and Luck bring to the table, but I'm not in love with
the overall roster certainly as I don't see many explosive scorers
there to supplement the foundational players. Ryan Mathews could
turn out to be a steal if he is utilized in a fashion similar
to last year, but the acquisition of Donald Brown this off-season
by the Chargers has me thinking three-headed RBBC in San Diego.
Then again, if Andy Dalton connects with Marvin Jones for 10+
TDs again, all bets are off. The #12 spot is a hard place to build
a championship contender from and it's hard to fault Shovel's
efforts overall. We'll just have to wait and see...