One-person mock drafts are fine, but nothing beats a real mock draft involving real people.
And not paid expert analysts, either. "Regular" people whom you might find in your own drafts come August.
Ten Bleacher Report Featured Columnists (FCs) recently got together to do a real 10-team mock fantasy football draft. The goal was to give you, the reader, some insight on what a real draft might look like.
After all, everyone has a different strategy and different values assigned to each player, and you've been reading about a lot of different strategies and values right here on Bleacher Report.
Sometimes there's so much advice, it makes your head spin.
The beauty of this mock draft is that it allows you to see how everyone's strategy worked out.
The 10 Participating B/R FCs and Their Draft Order
1. Alexander Onushco
2. Ryan Lester
3. Tim Keeney
4. Ralph Longo
5. Gary Davenport
6. James Reagan
7. Rob Tong (that's me)
8. Daniel Stack
9. Matt Madsen
10. Marco Patitucci
These FCs may also write their own analysis of this draft, so be on the lookout for their perspectives.
Mock league settings
This is a one-point PPR league with all touchdowns worth six points. All other point scoring is generally the same as Yahoo's.
Starting positions are:
6 bench players
All starters must be drafted by the end of the draft.
Let's jump into the first round and see how things shook out. For each round, I'll give you the results, then my thought process, followed by my opinion of what the good and bad values were.
1. Alex: Arian Foster, RB
2. Ryan: LeSean McCoy, RB
3. Tim: Ray Rice, RB
4. Ralph: Chris Johnson, RB
5. Gary: Calvin Johnson, WR
6. James: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
7. Rob: Ryan Mathews, RB
8. Dan: Aaron Rodgers, QB
9. Matt: Rob Gronkowski, TE
10. Marco: Tom Brady, QB
Despite the debate over whether a quarterback should be taken early in the first round, the first four picks taken in this draft were running backs.
By the time my turn came, I was debating whether or not to take a QB (either Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady).
In my mind, Mathews was the last first-round back worth taking. I have questions around Matt Forte, Trent Richardson, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles that keep them from being worthy of a first-round pick.
Furthermore, all the top four quarterbacks (Rodgers, Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton) are still on the board. And since I'm in the bottom half of the draft, I thought it might be possible to take Mathews in the first and still come away with a top quarterback when we snake back into the top-half of the second round.
And recall that last year, teams that won a fantasy title didn't necessarily have a top-three QB. If you identified a major quarterback sleeper like Matthew Stafford, and thus used your early picks on proven players like Arian Foster, you could still have a stacked team.
I do have a couple quarterback sleepers in mind just in case I don't end up with any of the top four QBs, so taking Mathews seemed to give me the most flexibility.
Of course, Mathews is talented, young and no longer has touchdown-vulture Mike Tolbert around, so Mathews has a ton of upside to improve upon his 13.3 FPPG average from last year.
Rodgers, Gronkowski and Brady are all excellent (and safe) picks at the tail end of the first round.
I think Chris Johnson is way overvalued. I think Calvin Johnson does not provide value equivalent to his draft position, and the same is true of Maurice Jones-Drew.
1. Marco: Marshawn Lynch, RB
2. Matt: Drew Brees, QB
3. Dan: Matt Forte, RB
4. Rob: Jimmy Graham, TE
5. James: Larry Fitzgerald, WR
6. Gary: Andre Johnson, WR
7. Ralph: Greg Jennings, WR
8. Tim: Cam Newton, QB
9. Ryan: Adrian Peterson, RB
10. Alex: Trent Richardson, RB
With Rodgers, Brady and Brees now all gone, my choice came down to Jimmy Graham or Cam Newton. And I know that whoever I don't take now will not be around for my third-round pick.
So I have to get this choice right.
I ruled out wide receivers from the outset because the receiving group is deep with not a lot of differentiation—the difference between the fourth-ranked fantasy wideout last year and the 22nd-ranked fantasy receiver is just 2.9 FPPG.
So I knew I could wait on the wide receiver position until at least the third round.
But how to choose between Graham and Newton?
The difference between Newton and the 10th-best fantasy quarterback (i.e., the worst QB1) from last year is 6.4 FPPG. The difference between Graham and the 10th-best fantasy tight end (i.e., the worst TE1) from last year is 5.1 FPPG. So looking simply just at this stat, it appears the better value is Newton.
However, quarterback values have been increasing, whereas tight end values have been fairly stagnant.
In 2010, the average QB1 FPPG average was 20.7; in 2011, it was 24.4.
In 2010, the average TE1 FPPG average was 7.4; in 2011, it was 8.5.
This means that in an increasingly pass-first NFL, quarterbacks are a rising group, outproducing tight ends.
So when you find a stud tight end, you should take him because you can probably find a few rising quarterbacks who can still capably fill your roster spot if you miss out on a guy like Newton.
Drew Brees is a good pick. Cam Newton towards the end of the second round is an excellent value, and I like Trent Richardson as an RB2; though, I think you can get equivalent production with a lower-round pick.
I'm not sold on Marshawn Lynch. I still think it's too early to take a wide receiver. And taking Adrian Peterson in the second round as he still recovers from both an ACL and MCL tear is a bit too risky for my tastes.
1. Alex: A.J. Green, WR
2. Ryan: Wes Welker, WR
3. Tim: DeMarco Murray, RB
4. Ralph: Darren McFadden, RB
5. Gary: Jamaal Charles, RB
6. James: Matthew Stafford, QB
7. Rob: Brandon Marshall, WR
8. Dan: Roddy White, WR
9. Matt: Darren Sproles, RB
10. Marco: Hakeem Nicks, WR
A lot of players I was targeting were taken now, including Stafford—the last quarterback worth taking in the first six rounds. So it's time to move on.
With McFadden, Charles, Richardson and Murray gone, I wasn't enamored with the running backs available.
That left receiver. There were several to choose from, but only a handful that were both worth a third-round pick and true No. 1 receivers for their NFL teams: Brandon Marshall, Hakeem Nicks, Roddy White and Kenny Britt.
Britt's ADP is amazingly in the seventh round, so I figured I could wait until about the sixth round (or even the fifth round if I was desperate).
That left Marshall, Nicks and White.
I see Julio Jones surpassing White in production this year.
So that leaves Marshall and Nicks.
It's a tough call. But Nicks surprisingly only averaged 9.8 FPPG last year, while Marshall averaged 10.1 FPPG, despite a significantly lesser quarterback.
Now reunited with a much more talented quarterback in Jay Cutler, I see Marshall's upside as higher than Nicks.
McFadden and Charles have the potential to outperform their round. Stafford in the mid-third is a good value. I was hoping Stafford would fall to me, though not a big loss.
As I mentioned, I strongly feel Julio Jones will be the stronger fantasy performer over Roddy White this year, so I'm not a fan of the White pick.
Alex (picking #1):
RB Arian Foster
RB Trent Richardson
WR A.J. Green
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Adrian Peterson
WR Wes Welker
QB Cam Newton
RB Ray Rice
RB DeMarco Murray
RB Chris Johnson
RB Darren McFadden
WR Greg Jennings
RB Jamaal Charles
WR Calvin Johnson
WR Andre Johnson
QB Matthew Stafford
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
WR Larry Fitzgerald
RB Ryan Mathews
WR Brandon Marshall
TE Jimmy Graham
QB Aaron Rodgers
RB Matt Forte
WR Roddy White
QB Drew Brees
RB Darren Sproles
TE Rob Gronkowski
QB Tom Brady
RB Marshawn Lynch
WR Hakeem Nicks
Of course, it's much too premature to judge teams after just three picks, but this gives you the chance to see how different strategies at different drafting positions look so far.
The next three rounds will give further insight into how these teams shape up. That will be the subject of a future article.
Follow me on Twitter: @robtong21