I received an invite into an early
mock draft organized by Jeff Christiansen over at FF
Toolbox, which kicked off May 27th. I was randomly assigned
the 9th pick of 12 which in my opinion is a ho-hum draft position.
Too late to grab the best at RB, and seemingly a bit too early to
get a WR. I’m usually not keen to pull the first player off
the board at a position, unless I have the 1st pick of course, but
I can’t even remember the last time that happened. Circa 2006.
The scoring is standard performance plus 1 point per reception,
giving the WR position more umph, but then the starting lineup
is a modest 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, as opposed to
a 1-2-3 QB/RB/WR setup or additional flex player options, therefore
resulting in a decrease in the value of WR relative to RB.
The draft results (screenshot courtesy of the FF
Today Cheatsheet Compiler / Draft Buddy) are copied below.
I strongly considered Frank Gore at the 1.09, and DeAngelo Williams
to a lesser extent. I think each are better RB options than a
few backs taken earlier, most notably Michael Turner. Given the
scoring system and considering Turner catches very few passes
- a grand total of 6 last year - Turner really has to churn out
the rushing yards on a lot of attempts to get his fantasy numbers
in line with the higher reception backs. He did it last year,
so it isnít impossible, but it is a tougher mountain to climb.
I would also lean to Gore and perhaps Williams over Chris Johnson
and Steven Jackson. However, you can essentially see at 1.09 Iím
sitting looking at some very similarly ranked 2nd tier RB, and
the top tier WR.
I decided to go WR to guarantee myself one of Larry
Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson or Randy Moss. In opting for Fitz
over the other two, it is really a toss up for me between Fitz
and AJ. Fitz plays in an easier division, but AJ is relied on
more by his team to produce as Fitz competes for catches with
Anquan Boldin (as of today anyway) and an overall better supporting
cast. Between their respective quarterbacks, Kurt Warner is considered
to be better than Matt Schaub, but is older and each of them is
somewhat prone to injury. Iíd call it pretty close to a wash in
terms of QB play impacting each of these guys. All in all, I went
with Fitz because if there was a chance either one would fall
to my second round pick, it was going to be AJ.
As for Moss, I can justify passing on him by saying Moss relies
more on TD scoring than receptions, and TD are more likely to
fluctuate. Plus, we donít have a great idea how Tom Bradyís recovery
is coming along. Truthfully though, Iím personally just not a
big Randy Moss fan or Pats fan. If I think Fitz and AJ have essentially
the same point potential, then Iím going to go with them because
I like them better.
The second round pick of Marion Barber is interesting because
I thought there was going to be a good chance I would start this
draft WR-WR just to see how it turns out. Then there was a run
on WR kicked off by FantasyFootballTrader going WR-WR at the turn.
Given the starting lineup requirements of 2 RB, 2 WR, I really
think the smart play is drafting one of each in the back end of
the first round. It gives a lot more flexibility once the third
and fourth rounds come around.
Barber didnít have a great year last year in his first as the
featured guy instead of a significantly contributing committee
guy like the prior 3 seasons, starting only 3 games in that span,
and also in college where he shared the spotlight with Laurence
Maroney. Some of his 2008 workload increased when rookie Felix
Jones went down in Week 6 and didnít play again. Barber plays
a punishing game, but this results in injury that caused Barber
to bow out of some games or miss them entirely. Late in the year,
another rookie, Tashard Choice became the feature back.
There is no doubt Barber is a talented player, who has a great
nose for the end zone and catches the ball well. He had a career
high 52 catches last year. With the departure of Terrell Owens,
and I have to say, Iím not at all sold on his replacement Roy
Williams, more receptions (and TD?) could flow to the RB position.
Hopefully the coaching staff and Barber himself learned a little
from last year to better manage Barberís playing time and maximize
After plugging away through the weekend we come to the middle
of the sixth round....
3.09 RB Ronnie
Brown - I was debating Reggie Bush vs. Ronnie Brown for this
pick before ThunderingBlurb snatched up Bush, making my decision
for me. This is Brownís second year back from a knee injury that
cut short a phenomenal first half of the 2007 season. With Ricky
now 32, Brown should see more workload shifted his way. Brown
is no slouch catching the ball either, recording over 30 receptions
in each of his 4 seasons.
4.04 TE Antonio
Gates - This is a little earlier than I would like to take
Gates, but Iím not enamored with the available WR at this spot
either since T.J. Houshmandzadeh just left the building. In terms
of picking Gates over Tony Gonzalez, I prefer Gates based on youth
and having a better QB. Even though Gonzo was a better option
last year with marginal QBs, I believe Gatesí off year was mostly
due to recovering from that toe injury that I would hope is now
5.09 WR Chad
Ochocinco - I was hoping Aaron Rodgers would fall to this
pick but he went back at the 5.04. While that still left Kurt
Warner and Tony Romo as options at QB, Iím already invested in
the Cards and Cowboys, have more confidence in Rodgers going into
this season and prefer to pass on QB now to get my second WR,
where pickings are getting a little slim. Based on projections
from Mike Krueger, Antonio Bryant is ranked higher than Ochocinco
(never going to get used to typing that name), but I feel Bryant
should slip a little further and Ocho provides good value here
given the talent/situation/potential if he can play nice with
his coaches and teammates. Admittedly, a big ďifĒÖ
6.04 WR Antonio
Bryant - Ah, here he is. Warner just got nabbed and Romo is
still available, but given the risk with Ochocinco, it is a good
idea to go back to the well at WR right away. Plus to get FF
Todayís 12th ranked WR in the 6th round is a good deal. Bryant
is a bit of a headcase himself, having worn out his welcome a
few times in his career. He produced great in the second half
of last season though. Playing the percentages, there is a good
chance at least one of Ocho and Bryant will outperform their draft
position. The other consideration here was upside RB Jonathan
Stewart who ended up going a pick later.
Looking ahead, top priorities are clearly a starting QB, a primary
backup RB and then depth plus a defense and kicker in the final
rounds. Tony Romo did get picked at 6.07 which is fine. Iím not
convinced it will be addition by subtraction for Romo having exchanged
Terrell Owens for Roy Williams. Iím looking at Donovan McNabb
as the last Tier 2 QB on my rankings, so weíll see if he makes
Now how does this happen? FantasySharks selected pick 6.12 at
3:00pm Eastern, 5.5 hours ago, and has not made their pick at
7.01 immediately after. Talk about not paying attention to what
is going on. I guess this is why we mock draft so early. Not only
to see where players fall, but to get our collective heads on
It has been slow go due to some long stretches of down time,
but we are close to finishing off Round 11 of 16. This was called
the ďMayĒ mock draft with plans by FF Toolbox to do
one each month until the start of the season. We might as well
roll off this one and right into the next or the August one is
going to start in November.
7.09 QB Matt
Schaub - I held out hope Donovan McNabb would fall to me,
but with an unexpected twist Fantasy Sharks grabbed him to backup
their starter Drew Brees. While Schaub does rank a notch below
McNabb and others, I will grab him here because I saw a lot of
improvement from him, and the entire Texans team last year which
has me very optimistic about Schaub this season.
8.04 RB Julius Jones - While there are a number of backup/3rd
down/relief RBs that could pan out well if they get enough rushes
and recepts in their limited role, lets play the probabilities
and go with a current starter. Didnít it take brother Thomas
6 seasons before breaking out and becoming a force in the league?
ErÖ or was it 5 seasons for Thomas and I used that same
line last year re: JuliusÖ?
Cedric Benson was a consideration at the 8.04 pick, but looking
back I donít think he was really as impressive last season as
people perceive. It was more like, ďhey, Cedric is actually doing
somethingĒ so he got some props in the fantasy community. Fred
Taylor and Jamal Lewis were also available amongst starting RBs.
Donald Brown is likely the biggest risk-reward of the backup RBs,
and LenDale was still there for the taking too.
9.09 WR Domenick
Hixon - Anyone still believe in the 3rd year WR theory? Didnít
think so, but it may work here. As Hixon has been asked to do
more in his short career, heís done pretty well. We have him as
WR1 on the Giants as of today. If that sticks through training
camp, this could be a bargain. Nice potential breakout candidate.
10.04 RB Chester
Taylor - Talented player, playing behind a stud. Not a flashy
or upside pick, barring injury to said stud, but steady reasonable
backup and bye week filler.
11.09 QB David Garrard - Not entirely sure who is going to catch
the ball with any consistency, but hey, the Jagsí receivers
have never been good and he still churns out decent points, especially
for a late drafted backup. Run, Garrard. Run!
12.04 DEF Chicago
Bears - I'm really not usually one to take a team defense
anywhere close to what would be considered early. I would often
wait until the next to last round after practically every other
player has at least one defense, look at the matchups for the
first few weeks of the season and grab one. I know there will
be options on the waiver wire. I know it is a position I will
churn on my roster. Why get one early? Well, I'm going against
the grain here for really no other reason than I have a good feeling
about the Bears this year, and this is still decent value in Round
12. This is a team that regularly is near the top of the league
in turnovers. They harp on turnovers and scoring by the defense.
With presumed better QB play and improved receivers, I can envision
a better offense benefiting the defense, giving them more sack
and turnover opportunities. Sacks are what hurt the Bears scoring,
but I'll take the big play potential of these guys. Or I'll churn
them if they don't live up to expectations.
13.09 RB Brandon
Jackson - At this point with a pair of backups already at
each of RB and WR, and backup QB, it is time for some boom-bust
picks late in the draft. The popular upside picks are already
pretty thin at this point, but Brandon Jackson fits the bill for
me. Am I a big fan of Ryan Grant? Not really. I think he is okay
but not too spectacular. That isn't to say I think Brandon Jackson
is a specimen of a RB either, but I like what he showed in limited
time last year. Most of all, I believe the Packers offense is
a high powered offense, and should Ryan Grant not cut the mustard
or goes out injured, Jackson will have a great opportunity to
produce. Probable bust but potential boom. Sign me up.
14.04 WR Chris
Henry - This pick makes sense for me on a couple levels. Yes,
there have been some fluff pieces floating around with Carson
Palmer singing the praises of a newly focussed Chris Henry at
OTAs. Do I believe the comments from Palmer are completely genuine
or tell the full story that Henry, who once recorded 15 TD over
a 2-year span in 2005 and 2006, is turning his career back around
and upward? Not really. It could be true, or it could just as
easily be a ploy from Palmer to get Chad Ochocinco motivated for
the upcoming season. Either way, as the Chad Ochocinco owner in
this league, I'm in good shape. This pick provides a little insurance
on Ocho, and is an upside pick in its own right if Henry can get
his act together and perform at a high level on the field.
15.09 WR Mike Walker - Buddy Matt Waldman told me after he read
my David Garrard comments about the porous Jag receivers I needed
to grab Mike Walker. I in fact reminded myself about Walker when
I wrote that as well. Of course Matt told me to take him back
in the 12th round and I said, "its a mock, lets just see
how far he falls." The buck stops here, I grabbed him. Walker
is a forgotten man in fantasy circles, for those who ever knew
who he was in the first place. MyFantasyLeague's ADP info is still
telling me I took him too early. A perfect late round flier pick
given the opportunity, youth and hint of talent.
16.04 K Nick
Folk - I preselected in order Mason Crosby, Kris Brown and
Folk. I ended up with Folk. Pick a reliable kicker from a good
offense, and you're pretty much set.