On Sunday night, I participated in an experts' mock draft through Mock Draft Central (PPR Rules/12 teams)—drawing the No. 9 slot.
For all PPR leagues, I adhere to the time-tested 4/2/1 method of four targets-driven receivers, two pass-friendly running backs and then a QB or tight end in Rounds 1-7, depending on value. I honestly have no order preference for this system...as long as the 4/2/1 method is executed within the prescribed time window.
Here's my squad and first alternate with each pick. To see the first 48 selections, click here:
Round 1, Pick 9 overall: RB Chris Johnson, Titans
Backup Plan: QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Round 2, Pick 16 overall: RB Matt Forte, Bears
Backup Plan: QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
Round 3, Pick 33 overall: WR Roddy White, Falcons
Backup Plan: WR Victor Cruz, Giants
Round 4, Pick 40 overall: WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
Backup Plan: WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
Round 5, Pick 57 overall: WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Backup Plan: WR Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
Round 6, Pick 64 overall: WR Steve Johnson, Bills
Backup Plan: WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
Round 7, Pick 81 overall: QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
Backup Plan: TE Jermichael Finley, Packers
Round 8, Pick 88 overall: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
Backup Plan: WR Pierre Garcon, Redskins
Round 9, Pick 105 overall: RB Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Backup Plan: QB Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Round 10, Pick 112 overall: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
2nd option: RB Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
Round 11, Pick 129 overall: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
Backup Plan: WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Round 12, Pick 136 overall: QB Matt Schaub, Texans
Backup Plan: QB Mark Sanchez, Jets
Round 13, Pick 153 overall: PK Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
Backup Plan: PK Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
Round 14, Pick 160 overall: D/ST Green Bay Packers
Backup Plan: D/ST Philadelphia Eagles
Round 15, Pick 177 overall: QB Joe Flacco, Ravens
Backup Plan: QB Andy Dalton, Bengals
Round 16, Pick 184 overall: PK Mike Nugent, Bengals
Backup Plan: PK Shaun Suisham, Steelers
- In a standard-scoring draft, I would've taken Aaron Rodgers (4,643 yards passing, 48 total TDs last season) over Chris Johnson every single time. But in a PPR situation, there will be plenty of time to grab an elite quarterback...probably in the middle rounds. And sure enough, that's exactly what happened with Tony Romo in Round 7, an outright steal with the 81st pick.
- My five wide receivers—Roddy White, Jordy Nelson, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Johnson, Laurent Robinson—each have the capacity for 84 catches and nine touchdowns this season. And looking at the other rosters, this is quite possibly the most dynamic WR quintet in the (fake) league.
- Come August, I will only entertain scenarios of drafting Robert Griffin III in the middle rounds, if I can land a quarterback in the class of Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Carson Palmer immediately after that. This represents progress for me: Before Cam Newton entered the NFL scene last season, I had a steadfast rule against drafting all rookie quarterbacks in the first 14 rounds.
- For the first two picks, I barely missed out on grabbing Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, the No. 1 and 2 receivers on my preseason list. So, it was a tad deflating to go RB-RB as a Plan B. But then again, there's really no excuse for Roddy White (100 catches in 2011) to fall to pick 33 in a PPR situation...so everything balanced out in the end.
- It's a common refrain in mock simulations, but landing Brandon Pettigrew (83 catches, 777 yards, five TDs) at 88 is a real coup. When healthy, he's a lock for 75 catches and 110 targets. In most PPR settings, Pettigrew should never slide past the 75th pick.
- I didn't even wear a ski mask to the mock draft...and still walked out with Matt Schaub (9,140 yards passing, 53 TDs from 2009-10) in Round 12. For my money, Schaub is a top-12 quarterback and a reasonable bet for 4,500 yards passing. And yet, pedestrian playmakers like Doug Baldwin, Randall Cobb, Shane Vereen, Mike Goodson and Jacob Tamme flew off the board long before Schaub's Round 15 lifeline.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.