Some people believe that late July is far too early to begin your draft. I say it’s never too early! Mock drafts from spring to training camps and then the real fun begins. So today I’ll be recapping the first two rounds of a draft I recently participated in. I’ll try to give a short comment on every single pick and go a bit more in depth on the ones I feel strongly about.
For all intents and purposes this is a 14-team league. The scoring is .5 PPR and the rosters look like this: QB/2RB/3WR/TE/FLEX(WR/TE/RB)/K/DEF. I am drafting in the 3rd position so picks 1.03 and 2.12 belong to me.
1.01– Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs - Okay so not my favorite pick at the top here but it’s obviously not terrible. He’s arguably the safest RB on the board as he’s shown time and time again that he doesn’t need an O-line to be a stud. I’m anxious to see how Kelce and Maclin help this offense, but I don’t think their presence nullifies Charles’ upside.
1.02– Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks - So this is the year we see Lynch fall apart, right? People have been saying it for a while now and he’s proven people wrong. Age is just a number that doesn’t matter to ‘Beast Mode’. Let’s not kid ourselves, though. His workload in recent years has been pretty sickening so some wear and tear is expected. I don’t like him at 2nd overall in a ½ PPR, but there are certainly worse picks out there. I don’t think his TD numbers stay as high with the addition of Graham and the loss of Unger.
1.03– Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings - Alright, let me begin by mentioning that you should ALWAYS be aware of your leagues roster and scoring settings. I’ll admit that I was not. I was in a crunch for time and joined the league quite quickly and didn’t return until my pick had come up. I was aware of the ½ PPR but the 3WR starting positions threw me for a loop. In all honesty I likely would have drafted Antonio Brown here had I been more responsible. However, I don’t believe for a minute that AD isn’t a steal here.
In standard leagues and many PPR leagues that don’t include 3WRs I have Peterson as my #1 overall pick. In hindsight this wasn’t a bad pick as the rest of the draftees went RB heavy leaving a few good receivers on the turn. AD is a perfect fit for the current Vikings squad as they need someone to relieve some pressure for Teddy. He seems beyond determined to show everyone that he’s still a prime NFL RB and he looks absolutely beastly in time for training camp. I have no concerns about his integration into Norv’s offense. He was, in fact, there last season when the playbook and such issues were addressed. Fresh legs, motivation and involvement in every aspect of the offense sets him up for another 2K+ season.
With your first overall pick you always need to judge a player on 3 aspects – Reliability, upside and value. Peterson’s reliability shouldn’t be in question. We know the kind of work he’ll be seeing, a full season off should do well for his durability and we know he’s matchup proof. If his 2K season didn’t show enough upside to merit a first rounder, I don’t know what will. As far as value goes, three RBs already off the board means there’s less for later on. Good idea to snag one now. So I’m satisfied with this pick. Let’s move on so I can stop salivating.
1.04– Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers - I didn’t really expect Lacy to go here but, again, the scarcity in RBs is developing quickly so it’s not a bad idea. Still, the value in Antonio Brown is still there. I like Lacy this year and believe he’s a relatively safe first round pick, but the concussions do worry me. He should get plenty of opportunities to score the ball this season and enough carries to maintain a high floor, but one hit to the head and he could be done. Don’t be afraid to ship him after a string of good games.
1.05– Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers - If we’re going to continue to ignore receivers I’ll go ahead and mention this. Despite the suspension, I will always take Bell over Lynch and Lacy no questions asked. This guy went absolutely crazy near the end of last season and won a ton of people their championships. The offense shouldn’t regress and the AFCN is as bad as ever defensively. He could (and should) finish first among RBs in receptions and that bodes well for PPR formats. Don’t be afraid to take him, especially if you’re playing any best ball leagues.
1.06– Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - Here it is, the best value anyone could get in this entire draft. I guess seeing another Steeler go off of the board triggered something in his brain. Not a whole lot to say here that you shouldn’t already know. Brown is the unanimous #1 WR in all formats but should run away with it in PPR. I’m not hesitating to take him first overall when I get a chance to do so. I just botched that chance here.
1.07– Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears - There is some concern here about the approach that Fox will take with this team. He’s been known to take advantage of multiple backs before, but that’s not my primary issue with this pick. It’s the fact that the Bears looked like a total train wreck near the end of last season, they lost Brandon Marshall and OC Marc Trestman. Forte could very well see half of the receptions he did last season and play 15-20% fewer snaps. I still think he’s a RB1, but I’d rather wait until the end of the first for this one. His schedule is poised to be pretty rough as well.
1.08– Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans - If he can stay healthy I believe Foster can finish as a top 3 RB. That’s unlikely though given his history and the way they like to abuse him. However, the potential is certainly there. Aside from Hopkins it’s unknown as of right now who else will step in offensively for Houston. Foster should be leaned on as they decide who their QB is going to be. To boot, the AFCS is absolutely awful as usual aside from the Colts. Arian will have no trouble in all but a couple of games this season breaking 100 yards. Even if he misses time this year I think he’ll lead the league in YPC among all backs with 150+ or so touches.
1.09– Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants - He has the potential to finish next to, or ahead of, Antonio Brown this season. However this is a ton of uncertainty and rightfully so. The Giants are getting Cruz back and added Shane Vereen to their backfield. With these extra weapons available, OBJ may not see the same amount of targets. That isn’t to say he’s not a top WR because he is, but tread carefully. There is quite a bit of risk here but the rewards are lofty.
1.10– Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys - One of my favorite WRs to draft early. His presence in the redzone guarantees a high floor which is something you always look for in your first few picks. I often draft safely and search for consistency, Dez provides them both. With Murray moving on to Philly the offense will need him and others to step up. If he can maintain or improve upon last season’s stats that makes this a fantastic value late in the first round.
1.11– C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos - This is an interesting pick this year and a ton of differing opinions exist. How much longer can Peyton play at this level? How will the loss of Thomas affect the team’s efficiency? Have the Broncos given up on Montee Ball? All of these questions introduce uncertainty and skepticism with are never good traits when picking in the first round. Anderson could honestly finish a top 3 RB, or he could finish outside of the top 20. He has all of the tools to do the former but we’ve seen crazier things happen. If you have the guts go ahead and pick him as it may very well pay off, but this is far too rich for me.
1.12– Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots - I guess the Brady suspension hasn’t scared many people away from this guy and rightfully so. He’s quite obviously NE’s primary weapon and should continue to dominate every game. TE is always scarce but that’s especially true this year. There are still a ton of good receivers on the board so I wouldn’t have taken him here, but I’m not going to say that it’s necessarily a bad decision.
1.13– Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons - I have Julio as my #3 overall WR on the season. I think the Shanahan offense will do wonders for him. Roddy still has enough juice to attract coverage and the Falcons, hopefully, have done enough to fix their O-line and RB issues. Julio only missed 1 game last season so I’m not going to entertain the thought of injury here until given reason to do so.
1.14– Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos - You know what you’re getting here. Even with the potential decline with Peyton and all of the questions surrounding the Broncos offense, they still have a ton of weapons in a relatively weak division. He’s going to earn his targets and score plenty of TDs. I’m not as high as most on DT this season but he absolutely belongs in the late first/early second.
2.01 – DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles - Expect to see regression here. I understand that a lot of people think Murray is the perfect fit for Kelly’s offense, and I agree to an extent, but there are a ton of mouths to feed. Being honest here I don’t believe DeMarco can handle being a 3 down back in an offense of this pace. The inclusion of Sproles and addition of Ryan Mathews are obvious causes for concern. It should be a 60-20-20 split or something of the like and that’s worrisome. He certainly has the potential to finish as a RB1, and should in my opinion, but don’t expect anything near what he achieved last season with the Cowboys.
2.02 – Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals - Similar to C.J. Anderson, Hill is an interesting player to analyze. Gio Bernard is going to get his fair share of touches on the season. As he’s healthy now it remains to be seen how they’ll use him. Hill is surely the better power back and will get the touches at the goal line and in short yardage situations, but Gio is a bit more flexible and explosive. Draft with caution, I’d take him in the mid-late 2nd.
2.03 – LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills - I’m not a big fan of McCoy this season and will likely be passing on him unless something crazy happens like him falling to me in the 3rd. I don’t see the Bills as being a very good offensive team which obviously means fewer scoring opportunities for McCoy. Fred Jackson has always been a part of the offense and, despite his age, I think that trend will continue. The addition of OC Greg Roman doesn’t look great for the Bills’ running game either as he typically favors a power back or throws to his backs very little. Not good news for this guy in PPR leagues.
2.04 – Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions - The madness associated with owning this guy last season has lead me to develop a likely unfair bias against him. I absolutely hated trying to decipher the injury analysis and worrying every week if I should play him or not. Trade offers were few and far between and his upside came at the wrong times. All of that being said, this guy is talented and that should be obvious. This, I believe, is a good spot for him.
2.05 – Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts - There it is folks, the first QB off of the board! Far, far too early in my opinion but we’re seeing it nonetheless. I just believe you waste so much value here taking a QB over a RB, WR or even TE. Guys like A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson and Justin Forsett are still on the board. He gets the best QB for the season but I don’t think it’s the correct choice here.
2.06 – Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers - Same sentiment as above, I’m guessing this guy got a bit scared and took the next best QB. I won’t be looking at any QBs in PPR leagues until the late 3rd/early 4th.
2.07 – A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - Looks like he’s in good health again and that bodes well for the Cincy offense. Aside from Marvin Jones, Green is the only legitimate receiving threat on this squad not named Giovani Bernard. I don’t have a ton of faith in Tyler Eifert being a reliable target. I think a few people are sleeping on Green as he flew under the radar last year. Still, he had a fantastic 15 YPC in the games he did play last season and that’s reason enough to take him in the first two rounds.
2.08 – Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers - Like Green he’s been flying under the radar. He doesn’t shine like Bryant or OBJ might, but he gets the job done. I think he’s one of the best values at WR as you can typically grab him in the late 2nd and he’s almost guaranteed, barring injury, to finish a top 8 WR.
2.09 – Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears - Not a terrible pick here. Obviously the loss of Brandon Marshall will help him earn more targets although I expect the Bears to lean on the running game a bit more. Martellus Bennet will still demand some attention but I think Alshon finishes a top 10 WR. I don’t see him hitting 10 TDs again but he can definitely grab 80-85 receptions and improve on his 1,100 yards receiving.
2.10 – Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers - I expect his TD numbers to regress slightly but that doesn’t mean a ton when he’s expected to get similar receptions and yards. He and Jordy make for a deadly duo and I wouldn’t be totally against drafting both of them if given the opportunity.
2.11 – T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts - Not a huge fan in PPR, I believe he should be drafted a bit later than this. He’s far better in standard leagues as he tends to rip off big plays that come in spurts. The addition of both Andre Johnson and Frank Gore mean less action for Hilton as a whole. Again, hard to make a terrible choice this early on but I believe taking Evans, Forsett or Gore here would have been better. I even have Hopkins ranked ahead of Hilton in ½ PPR.
2.12 – Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This was quite a difficult decision for me. I spent an hour or two contemplating the possibility of Evans, Forsett and Gore on my team. Ultimately I felt like I had a good chance to grab one of those backs on the turn and I needed to secure a WR1 before they were all gone. I really like Mike Evans this year as many people forget what he did with very little to work with. Don’t get me wrong, Tampa Bay is still horrible, but they made some improvements. Evans managed to score 12 times and net 1000+ yards on only 68 receptions. All of those numbers should improve this season all things considered, making him a sure fire WR1.
2.13 – Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens - Well that’s disappointing. I was hoping he’d make his way back to me but that’s what I get for taking a risk. Forsett is a dark horse in PPR this year. Trestman is going to work wonders for him and that offense, I believe. Be aware that his starting role is anything but solidified, but I don’t see anyone removing him from the picture entirely. He’s right there with McCoy, Hill and Gore on the cusp on RB1/RB2.
2.14 – Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts - So my risk didn’t pay off and both of my targeted backs are gone. That’s a bit rough but we’ll survive. I think the new scenery will do wonders for Gore. He’s a durable power back that can also slide out and catch balls if need be. A lot of people are sleeping on him but, being part of such a potent offense, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to score and rack up fantasy points. I’m not expecting anything stellar but I think he’s one of the safest choices at his ADP next to Alfred Morris.
Well, there you have it folks. The first two rounds have concluded and everyone’s teams are beginning to take shape. Not every draft is perfect but you can always learn something. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow draftees why they made a certain decision, it may open your eyes to new information.
I’ll be back soon for the recap of rounds 3-4, the beginning of the stretch in which your season is made. Hopefully we have some additional news from training camp by that time and can make some more appropriate analysis. Thanks for reading!