Last night I participated in an expert mock draft with eleven representatives from other well-respected fantasy websites. This was a 12-team, 20-round, non-ppr mock hosted by myfantasyleague.com You can checkout the complete results here.
Thanks to a lack of free agency and the majority of NFL business tied up in court instead of focused on the field, there’s a considerable amount of roster uncertainty that’s plaguing the league. As a result, I new this exercise was going to challenging … and challenging it was.
As you can see by the team I drafted (below), it’s filled with questions marks, reaches, head-scratchers and lacks quality depth – especially at the QB and RB positions. However, instead of dissecting each pick I made (we’ll do so in mocks later this Summer) I’d rather give some general observations about this mock as whole, which is probably more beneficial this early in the fantasy season.
Early QB Run
I found it interesting that a total of six QBs were taken midway through the 3rd Round. It wasn’t the specific players that had me intrigued as I expected Aaron Rodgers (1.12), Michael Vick (2.03), Drew Brees (2.04), Philip Rivers (2.07), Peyton Manning (3.02) and Tom Brady (3.07) to be the first QBs taken off the board, but considering this league has a non-QB-friendly scoring system (4 pts passing TDs, 1 pt/20 passing yds, -2 INTs, -2 Fumbles) it seemed that owners migrated to this position early primarily due to the current lack of depth at the running back and wide receiver positions and were more inclined to take a perceived safer pick (Brady or Rivers) than gamble on a RB2 like Ryan Mathews, Shonn Greene, or LeGarrette Blount. This is likely due to a combination of the lack of solidified team depth charts at the running back and wide receiver positions and the RBBC trend employed by a majority of teams in the league. Keep in mind, required starters in this league are 2 RBs, 3 WRs, and 1 Flex. I took part in this trend by selecting Peyton Manning early in the third round (3.02).
With the NFL Draft completed just last weekend it’s no surprise that rookies were highly valued. I know Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (who btw, wasn’t even drafted in this 20-round mock) are potential free agents, but the drafting of RB Daniel Thomas at 4.01 by STATS Inc, seemed a little ambitious for my taste along with Fantasy Guru’s selection of RB Mark Ingram at 5.08. Kudos to Guru though for minimizing his risk by landing Pierre Thomas later in the draft (9.08). I don’t mind these two rookie backs, in fact both are in very good situations to contribute in 2011, but right now, I’ll gladly let another owner assume the risk of Thomas or Ingram as a RB2. Perhaps my tone will change come August. Other notable rookie selections included…
- RB Ryan Williams, ARI (8.09) – Beanie Wells was taken right after him at 8.10.
- RB Mikel LeShoure, DET (9.02) – My pick at RB4 who I think will share time with Jahvid Best.
- RB Roy Helu, WAS (9.05) – Knowing Shanahan, Helu is sure to have value at some point in 2011.
- WR Julio Jones, ATL (10.02) – You know the drill with rookie wideouts but justifiable as a WR5.
- WR Jonathan Baldwin, KC (11.05) – Has little competition for the starting job opposite Bowe.
- RB Demarco Murray, DAL (14.05) – A crowded backfield that needs to shake itself with roster moves.
- WR Torrey Smith, BAL (14.06) – For what it’s worth, Ozzie says Smith will have a chance to start.
- WR Leonard Hankerson, WAS (14.08) – Drafting wideouts hasn’t been the Redskins strong-suit lately.
- WR Greg Little, CLE (14.09) – A rookie-run here in the 14th round.
Santana Moss (7.12) continues to be undervalued. I’ll remind you, Moss finished last season as the 12th-best fantasy WR with 93 catches, 1115 yards, and 6 TDs. He was the 26th-best fantasy wideout in 2009. He was the 33rd wide receiver taken in this draft behind the likes of Austin Collie (IND), Mike Thomas (JAX), A.J. Green (R-CIN), and Michael Crabtree. Where’s a Rodney Dangerfield sound byte when you need it?
Out with the Old
I mentioned earlier that Ricky Williams wasn’t even selected in this mock. Here are some other veteran fantasy performers that are quickly becoming afterthoughts…
- RB LaDainian Tomlinson (12.04) – He wants to be a third-down back, he’ll get drafted like one.
- RB Ronnie Brown (12.05) – Could be back in Miami, but unlikely.
- RB Marion Barber (16.12) – Odd man out in the Dallas backfield; likely to be released
- WR Chad Ochocinco (10.12) – Wants out of Cinci, but where does he land?
- WR Hines Ward (11.09) – Danario Alexander was taken before Hines.
- WR Lee Evans (13.06) – 57th ranked WR last year with only 37 catches.
- WR Randy Moss (12.09) – Ohh, how the mighty have fallen.
- WR Mike Sims-Walker (17.08) – Had an ADP of 5.08 last preseason.
Hey, I know it’s early, and this mock will look totally different later on this Summer as rosters and depth charts become more concrete and we get a better feel of the fantasy landscape. But even mocks in May are informative if you keep your eye on the big picture and look for general tends in drafting behavior. Don’t forget, they’re also fun. Who knows, come August I may not be afforded the luxury of gambling on WR Plaxico Burress in the 19th round… but I can now.