Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2012: Full 5th Round with Pick-by-Pick Analysis
We've moved past the 2012 NFL draft, and free agency is winding down. However, a new sort of action is just gearing up as another fantasy football season gets rolling when leagues across the land get together to conduct this year's draft.
Doing your homework before your league's draft can be the difference between first place and last, so this will continue a series of articles that will take an in-depth, pick-by-pick look at an entire fantasy draft, from the first running back taken to the very last kicker off the board.
For this mock draft, we'll assume a standard 12-team league with 16 roster spots in which you start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one team defense. This league has no flex position but does award one point per reception and six points for all touchdowns, be they passing, rushing or receiving. The draft is serpentine, meaning that the draft order is reversed in even-numbered rounds.
Other scoring is "standard," meaning 10 rushing/receiving yards per point, 25 passing yards per point, three points for all field goals (with a two-point bonus for field goals of over 50 yards) and defensive scoring that awards points for turnovers, sacks and yardage and points allowed. Lost fumbles and interceptions thrown are a two-point deduction.
Now that the rules have been laid out, Team One is on the clock!
Team One (5.01): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
As I said while discussing Team One's fourth-round pick, the squad faced a bit of a quandary here, as waiting on a quarterback or tight end could come back to bite them by the time they pick next at the end of the sixth round.
For the third time in six seasons since taking the reins in Dallas, Tony Romo threw for over 4,000 yards in 2011, and the 10th-year pro represents one of the last remaining fantasy options under center capable of top five production.
First Pick: Ray Rice, RB, BAL
Second Pick: A.J. Green, WR, CIN
Third Pick: Steven Jackson, RB, STL
Fourth Pick: Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
Team Two (5.02): Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
After a monstrous 2009 season, Michael Vick's fantasy numbers came crashing back to earth last season, and his drop in touchdowns and increase in turnovers caused the 31-year-old to fall from the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks for the year.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles possess an array of offensive weapons, and Vick's ability to make plays with his legs adds to his fantasy value. Durability is a constant worry with Vick, who has played 16 games only once in his career, so it's important for teams that roll the dice on Vick's considerable upside to hedge their bets by selecting a solid fantasy backup.
First Pick: Arian Foster, RB, HOU
Second Pick: Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG
Third Pick: DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
Fourth Pick: Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
2011 was an absolute nightmare for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, much of which was self-inflicted. Constant grousing about his contact situation cast a pall over Jackson's entire season, and the fifth-year pro turned in his worst numbers since his rookie year.
A starting wide receiver trio of Victor Cruz, Kenny Britt and Jackson carries with it some risk, especially where the latter two options are concerned. However, the group also possesses considerable upside, and if Britt and Jackson bounce back big, Team Three will be sitting pretty.
First Pick: LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
Second Pick: Trent Richardson, RB, CLE
Third Pick: Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
Fourth Pick: Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson enjoyed a second consecutive solid season in 2011, topping 1,000 receiving yards, scoring seven touchdowns and finishing the year among the top 20 fantasy options at his position.
There's little reason to think that Johnson can't post similar statistics in 2012, and although quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's limitations cap Johnson's fantasy upside somewhat, the large number of targets he'll certainly see also limits his fantasy risk.
First Pick: Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
Second Pick: Greg Jennings, WR, GB
Third Pick: Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
Fourth Pick: Michael Turner, RB, ATL
Team Five (5.05): Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you wait until the fifth round to select a second running back, there are usually two options available. Accept the fact that RB2 may be a bit of a weak spot for your team and select a more dependable option with limited upside, or roll the dice and hope that you strike gold with an upside play.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded back into the first round of April's draft to select Boise State star Doug Martin, and while LeGarrette Blount may steal some goal-line carries, Martin has a solid shot at top-25 numbers given new Bucs' head coach Greg Schiano's penchant for running the ball.
First Pick: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAX
Second Pick: Drew Brees, QB, NO
Third Pick: Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
Fourth Pick: Miles Austin, WR, DAL
Team Six (5.06): Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a productive yet contentious seven seasons in San Diego, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and the Chargers parted ways this spring, with the 29 year-old Jackson signing a lucrative deal to become the top receiver for the Buccaneers.
Jackson has topped 1,000 receiving yards and finished among the top 20 wideouts three times in the past four seasons. However, much of Jackson's fantasy fortunes in 2012 will probably depend on whether or not Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman can rebound from a disastrous 2011 season.
First Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
Second Pick: Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
Third Pick: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG
Fourth Pick: Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
Team Seven (5.07): Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush put together the best season of his NFL career in his first season with the Dolphins, topping 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career and finishing among the top 12 fantasy running backs.
The selection of running back Lamar Miller of Miami (the college, silly) and presence of second-year pro Daniel Thomas make it unlikely that Bush will match his 2011 production. However, Bush's ability as a receiver and the boost that gives him in PPR leagues should make him at least a serviceable fantasy RB2 option.
First Pick: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, AZ
Second Pick: Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
Third Pick: Cam Newton, QB
Fourth Pick: Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
Somewhat lost in the misery of the Minnesota Vikings' horrible 2011 season was the fine year turned in by wide receiver Percy Harvin, who caught nearly 90 passes, turned in over 1,300 total yards.and scored eight touchdowns.
Harvin had over 50 carries on the ground last year and could see additional work in the backfield this season depending on the health of running back Adrian Peterson. Given the lack of offensive weaponry in Minnesota, Harvin is sure to see plenty of opportunities for fantasy production in 2012.
First Pick: Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
Second Pick: Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
Third Pick: Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
Fourth Pick: Darren Sproles, RB, NO
Team Nine (5.09): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown apparently decided that he didn't have the patience to wait until his third year to break out, as the 5'10" former Central Michigan standout topped 1,100 receiving yards in his sophomore campaign.
The departure of Hines Ward will only mean more targets for Brown, and if he can improve on his touchdown numbers (only two in 2011), then it's highly possible that Brown could also improve on his WR24 finish from a year ago.
First Pick: Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
Second Pick: Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
Third Pick: Frank Gore, RB, SF
Fourth Pick: Steve Smith, WR, CAR
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the statistical explosions of tight ends Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski in 2011 was the fact that Jason Witten quietly had another good year for the Dallas Cowboys. The 10th-year pro reeled in over 75 catches for nearly 1,000 yards, finishing as fantasy football's fifth-ranked tight end.
Witten has posted five straight top-five fantasy finishes at his position, and while the 30-year-old may be hard-pressed to match the gaudy numbers of some of the other tight ends, the sort of consistency that Witten provides is a nice thing to have on your fantasy squad.
First Pick: Matt Forte, RB, CHI
Second Pick: Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
Third Pick: Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
Fourth Pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
Arizona Cardinals running back Chris "Beanie" Wells had by far his most productive season in his third year in the National Football League, topping 1,000 rushing yards for the first time and finishing among the top 25 fantasy running backs.
Wells battled nagging injuries much of last year, and if Ryan Williams is healthy heading into 2012, then he may eat into Beanie's touches. However, when healthy, the 23-year-old Wells is a powerful runner with a great blend of speed and power who is more than capable of being a weekly fantasy starter.
First Pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
Second Pick: Tom Brady, QB, NE
Third Pick: Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
Fourth Pick: Julio Jones, WR, ATL
For the first time in his three-year career, New York Jets running back Shonn Greene broke the 1,000 rushing yards mark in 2011. For the season, the 5'11", 226-pound former Iowa standout tallied 1,054 yards on 253 carries with six touchdowns, good for a 20th-place finish among fantasy running backs.
I'll freely admit that I'm no huge fan of Greene from a fantasy perspective, as his plodding style and lack of involvement in the passing game hampers his upside considerably. However, Greene will see the majority of touches in Gang Green's backfield this year, and of the running back options left on the board Greene is likely the surest bet.
First Pick: Wes Welker, WR, NE
Second Pick: Roddy White, WR, ATL
Third Pick: Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
Fourth Pick: Marques Colston, WR, NO
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