Fantasy Football 2012: Breakdown of 12-Team Experts' Mock Draft
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On Wednesday night, I participated in MyFantasyLeague.com's annual experts' mock draft (12 teams/Points Per Reception), hosted by fantasy honcho Geoffrey Stein. I drew the No. 10 slot.
For all PPR leagues, I adhere to the time-tested 4-2-1 philosophy of four wide receivers, two pass-friendly running backs and one quarterback or tight end in the first seven rounds, a strategy that maximizes catches, receiving targets and touchdowns in the first 82 picks.
Here's my squad and first alternate with each pick. To see the first 48 selections, click here:
Round 1, Pick 10 overall: TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Back-up Plan: RB Matt Forte, Bears
Round 2, Pick 15 overall: WR Andre Johnson, Texans
Back-up Plan: WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Round 3, Pick 34 overall: WR Victor Cruz, Giants
Back-up Plan: WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
Round 4, Pick 39 overall: WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
Back-up Plan: WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
Round 5, Pick 58 overall: RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Back-up Plan: RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Round 6, Pick 63 overall: RB Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Back-up Plan: RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Round 7, Pick 82 overall: RB Jahvid Best, Lions
Back-up Plan: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
Round 8, Pick 87 overall: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
Back-up Plan: QB Matt Schaub, Texans
Round 9, Pick 106 overall: QB Matt Schaub, Texans
Back-up Plan: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Round 10, Pick 111 overall: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Second option: WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Round 11, Pick 130 overall: RB Mikel Leshoure, Lions
Back-up Plan: WR Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
Round 12, Pick 135 overall: QB Carson Palmer, Raiders
Back-up Plan: QB Andrew Luck, Colts
Round 13, Pick 154 overall: RB Felix Jones, Cowboys
Back-up Plan: TE Ed Dickson, Ravens
Round 14, Pick 159 overall: TE Ed Dickson, Ravens
Back-up Plan: TE Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers
Round 15, Pick 178 overall: D/ST Seattle Seahawks
Back-up Plan: D/ST Dallas Cowboys
Round 16, Pick 183 overall: PK Mason Crosby, Packers
Back-up Plan: PK Alex Henery, Eagles
- This might have been the perfect draft for May 2. I can only recall two circumstances where the player I targeted was swiped within five slots of my next pick—Philip Rivers in Round 9 and Colts tight end Coby Fleener in Round 13.
- I would not consider Gronkowski (90 catches, 1,327 yards; 124 targets) in Round 1 of a standard-scoring draft, but the 10th slot is perfect value for easily the NFL's best tight end; and that's assuming he won't replicate last year's 18 total touchdowns.
- I'm thrilled that fantasy owners everywhere are treating Andre Johnson like a war-torn running back on the wrong side of the 30. Yes, he couldn't shake the hamstring-injury bug last year, but in the five games where he was completely healthy (Weeks 1-3, two playoff games), Johnson caught 44 balls for 517 yards and three TDs (with 56 targets). That's a per-outing average of nine catches for 103.4 yards and 0.6 TDs. Tell me you wouldn't kill for that production in Round 2 or 3 (depending on scoring rules).
- My five receivers—Andre Johnson, Wallace, Cruz, Reggie Wayne, Laurent Robinson—are all candidates for 85 catches and/or nine touchdowns. The Round 8 pick of Wayne reinforces that you can never have enough target-driven wideouts in PPR leagues.
- There's no rhyme or reason for Fred Jackson (2011 leader in yards from scrimmage before getting injured) almost falling to Round 6. He averaged 137.6 total yards (44.2 receiving) and five targets per game. Of equal importance, his broken foot has healed. Obviously, C.J. Spiller could see a bump in touches, compared to last year, but Jackson is still the engine that drives the Buffalo offense.
- In PPR leagues, there's no pressing need to draft a top-five quarterback (Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Cam Newton) in the first two rounds—although I wouldn't say boo about it, either. My goal for this draft was simple: If possible, secure the QB-WR handcuff with my No. 1 or 2 receiver, and that was accomplished with Schaub (2,479 yards passing, 15 TDs in nine-plus games last year) and Andre Johnson.
- Carson Palmer acquitted himself nicely last year with the Raiders (2,753 yards passing, 13 TDs in nine starts) despite little practice time or intimate knowledge of his receivers. The main source of our optimism lies with burgeoning talents like Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Palmer's annual knack for eclipsing the 60-percent passing mark.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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