Chicago's Matt Forte, a top-7 tailback in fantasy circles, has averaged 111 total yards and 0.46 TDs in his last 28 games (covering two seasons).
On Wednesday, I participated in my first live mock draft of the summer (12 teams/standard-scoring rules), drawing the schizophrenic No. 12 slot.
For most standard-scoring leagues, I adhere to the time-tested principle of four running backs, two receivers and either a high-end quarterback or top-notch tight end in the first seven rounds.
But at 12, it's more prudent to skip the needless games of pre-draft chicken and just take the best player at every turn.
Here's my squad and first alternate with each pick. To see the first 48 selections, click here:
Round 1, Pick 12 overall: RB Matt Forte, Bears
Backup Plan: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
Round 2, Pick 13 overall: QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
Backup Plan: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
Round 3, Pick 36 overall: RB Roy Helu, Redskins
Backup Plan: RB Michael Turner, Falcons
Round 4, Pick 37 overall: WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
Backup Plan: WR Steve Smith, Panthers
Round 5, Pick 60 overall: WR Steve Johnson, Bills
Backup Plan: TE Jermichael Finley, Packers
Round 6, Pick 61 overall: RB Shonn Greene, Jets
Backup Plan: RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Round 7, Pick 84 overall: RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
Backup Plan: RB Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Round 8, Pick 85 overall: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
Backup Plan: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Round 9, Pick 108 overall: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Backup Plan: WR Nate Washington, Titans
Round 10, Pick 109 overall: WR Nate Washington, Titans
2nd option: RB Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
Round 11, Pick 132 overall: TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Backup Plan: TE Brent Celek, Eagles
Round 12, Pick 133 overall: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
Backup Plan: RB Ryan Williams, Cardinals
Round 13, Pick 156 overall: RB Ryan Williams, Cardinals
Backup Plan: RB Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Round 14, Pick 157 overall: QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Backup Plan: QB Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
Round 15, Pick 180 overall: D/ST Kansas City Chiefs
Backup Plan: D/ST Dallas Cowboys
Round 16, Pick 181 overall: PK Mike Nugent, Bengals
Backup Plan: PK Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
- Chris Johnson almost fell into my lap at No. 12; but after his selection, I abandoned my plan of Johnson at 12 and Darren McFadden at 13...for the seemingly safer concept of Matt Forte (my No. 5 tailback) and Matthew Stafford (my No. 3 quarterback). It's weird to have that much commotion at the top of a draft, but the 12/13 slots are often tricky to navigate.
- I have Michael Turner ranked among the top 15 rushers; but No. 36 overall was deep enough to warrant grabbing Roy Helu, which then allowed me to secure the Redskins handcuff with Evan Royster in Round 12. As a rookie, Royster averaged an impressive 6.12 yards per touch in just six games last year.
- There were 33 running backs taken in the first 84 picks—including Ben Tate (72nd overall), James Starks (75th) and Stevan Ridley (82nd). As a result, my hand was forced to splurge a little early on C.J. Spiller. In Mock Draft Central's Average Draft Position rankings, Spiller and Jahvid Best have consistently been listed in the late 80s. (Not today, though.)
- My five receivers—Jordy Nelson, Steve Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Laurent Robinson, Nate Washington—have the minimum capacity for 75 catches and/or eight touchdowns. In deeper mocks, I would have selected a sixth wideout (like Jon Baldwin, Michael Floyd, Austin Collie, Donald Jones or Leonard Hankerson) or a backup tight end (Coby Fleener, Jacob Tamme).
- In Mock Draft Central's ADP rankings, Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman has consistently had a Round 13 grade; and yet, he was gone by Round 10 (113th overall). This is precisely why it's smart to execute one mock per week before the August drafts: The more you practice, the fewer contingency plans you'll need to fill the backup roles. In the case of Matt Cassel, he has averaged only 1.36 TD passes per game in three seasons with the Chiefs.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.