B/R Writers' Fantasy Football Mock Draft: View from the 10 Spot, Rounds 1-4
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Ten B/R Featured Columnists recently assembled to provide a realistic mock draft with 10 different owners—each with their own ranking systems and draft strategies. I was randomly allotted the No. 10 spot.
This spot presents unique challenges, but can be as good as any if worked correctly. On one hand, having back-to-back picks is nice, but waiting 18 picks before your next selection can be agonizing if you incorrectly guessed which positions were about to be run. Getting a grasp on what positions or tiers will be decimated by your next pick is key when working with the end-picks (No. 10 and No. 1 draft positions).
Here’s a complete look at Rounds 1-4 with my thought process and analysis while making each selection.
Round 1: Laying the Foundation
Gronk and Brady went back-to-back
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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
Round 1 began as expected with Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice being the first three players off the board. The first intriguing pick of the draft was made at No. 4 when Chris Johnson was taken. The former No. 1 overall fantasy scorer is slotted No. 7 on the Athlon Sports Fantasy Big Board, a composite board of seven major fantasy sites. In a recent article, I discussed the four best options at the No. 4 position—and yes, Johnson made the cut.
Aaron Rodgers surprisingly lasted until pick No. 8 as RBs went with six out of the first eight picks .
I initially thought Gronkowski might be available at the No. 10 position, but that wasn’t the case. I considered Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees, Marshawn Lynch and Tom Brady for the pick. The scoring settings for this league put a premium on passers by awarding six points per passing TD (some leagues, like ESPN standard, award four) so I decided to go with a passer.
Because of Brees’ contract and coaching situations, I knew Brady was the safer pick. The addition of Brandon Lloyd in New England was also a factor in selecting Brady and I felt confident in making him the foundation of my fantasy squad.
Round 2: A "Lynch" Pin RB
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11. Marco: Marshawn Lynch, RB
12. Matt: Drew Brees, QB
13. Dan: Matt Forte, RB
14. Rob: Jimmy Graham, TE
15. James: Larry Fitzgerald, WR
16. Gary: Andre Johnson, WR
17. Ralph: Greg Jennings, WR
18. Tim: Cam Newton, QB
19. Ryan: Adrian Peterson, RB
20. Alex: Trent Richardson, RB
With the second of my consecutive picks (No. 11 overall) I had to think well ahead as my next pick wouldn’t be until No. 30. I wanted a reliable (steady and healthy) RB in his prime. Unfortunately, a player who fit all those characteristics was not available.
Marshawn Lynch, the 26-year-old Seahawk, is in his prime but has not been the steadiest. However, he is the true featured back for Seattle and was the No. 6 fantasy RB in 2011.
Adrian Peterson was the other RB I considered, but ultimately I went with Lynch because of his late-season production (almost 19 fantasy points per game in Weeks 9-16) and because Peterson is recovering from injury.
Round 3: The Right Receiver
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21. Alex: A.J. Green, WR
22. Ryan: Wes Welker, WR
23. Tim: DeMarco Murray, RB
24. Ralph: Darren McFadden, RB
25. Gary: Jamaal Charles, RB
26. James: Matthew Stafford, QB
27. Rob: Brandon Marshall, WR
28. Dan: Roddy White, WR
29. Matt: Darren Sproles, RB
30. Marco: Hakeem Nicks, WR
At this point in the draft, a lot of running backs had come off the board and I needed a starting RB. But my strategy was to stay ahead of the runs so I grabbed my first WR. Had Hakeem Nicks not been injured in OTAs this year, picking him here would have been a no-brainer, but it was a little more difficult because of the broken metatarsal that will limit his preseason.
I did consider Nicks’ teammate, Victor Cruz, in the spot, but ultimately came to the same conclusion I had made before the injury and decided Nicks has better fantasy potential for 2012.
I broke down Hakeem Nicks versus Victor Cruz in a full article here.
Round 4: Creating a Strength
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31. Marco: Julio Jones, WR
32. Matt: Fred Jackson, RB
33. Dan: Victor Cruz, WR
34. Rob: Jordy Nelson, WR
35. James: Steven Jackson, RB
36. Gary: Frank Gore, RB
37. Ralph: Mike Vick, QB
38. Tim: Dez Bryant, WR
39. Ryan: Tony Romo, QB
40. Alex: Kenny Britt, WR
Again, trying to stay ahead of what I thought would be a run on WRs, I drafted Julio Jones. Jones is one of my picks for a breakout performance in 2012 and I also included him as one of four receivers who could dethrone Calvin Johnson as the top fantasy wideout this year in another article.
There should be a more balanced distribution of targets between Roddy White and Jones this year. White had a league-leading 181 targets to Jones’ 96 in 2011, Jones' rookie year. Jones’ eight TDs were very impressive considering he missed three games and was hampered in others by hamstring issues. With Jones and Nicks anchoring my squad’s WRs, I feel very confident that I can compensate for the lack of an elite RB with strength at WR.
My other option (and the more conventional strategy) at the pick was Steven Jackson or Frank Gore, but Jones was a player I was targeting and I knew he would be gone by my next pick if I didn’t select him at No. 31 overall.
I will break down Rounds 5-8 in the next article. Additional B/R writers will be breaking down the draft from their perspective as well. Rob Tong breaks down the No. 7 spot for Rounds 1-3 here.