On Tuesday afternoon, I participated in an ESPN.com mock draft (12 teams/standard scoring), drawing the No. 9 slot.
For standard-scoring leagues, I usually adhere to the time-tested 4/2/1 method of four running backs, two receivers and then a quarterback or tight end for Rounds 1-7, depending on value; but then again, I also reserve the right to proportionally select the backs and wideouts.
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 Drew Brees, Saints
Round 2, Pick 16 overall: QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
Backup Plan: RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Round 3, Pick 33 overall: RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Backup Plan: RB Steven Jackson, Rams
Round 4, Pick 40 overall: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Backup Plan: WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
Round 5, Pick 57 overall: WR Percy Harvin, Vikings
Backup Plan: RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Round 6, Pick 64 overall: WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Backup Plan: WR Steve Johnson, Bills
Round 7, Pick 81 overall: WR Pierre Garcon, Redskins
Backup Plan: RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
Round 8, Pick 88 overall: RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
Backup Plan: WR Malcom Floyd, Chargers
Round 9, Pick 105 overall: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
Backup Plan: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
Round 10, Pick 112 overall: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
2nd option: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Round 11, Pick 129 overall: TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Backup Plan: TE Brent Celek, Eagles
Round 12, Pick 136 overall: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Backup Plan: QB Matt Flynn, Seahawks
Round 13, Pick 153 overall: D/ST Green Bay Packers
Backup Plan: D/ST New York Jets
Round 14, Pick 160 overall: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
Backup Plan: RB Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Round 15, Pick 177 overall: PK Mike Nugent, Bengals
Backup Plan: PK Shaun Suisham, Steelers
Round 16, Pick 184 overall: TE Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
Backup Plan: TE Coby Fleener, Colts
- Chris Johnson (1,465 total yards last season) posted seven games of 100 total yards or more; he also recorded season-highs in targets (79) and receptions (57). Put it all together, and it's enough to make one believe the 26-year-old speedster will rebound in a major way in 2012. He simply has too much talent to be...just above average. Seasonal targets: 1,764 total yards and 11 touchdowns.
- There is nothing to dislike about Matthew Stafford's fantasy profile. He crossed the magical threshold of 5,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns before his 24th birthday. He threw at least one touchdown in all 16 games. He amassed 350-plus passing yards seven times last season—including four straight to finish the year. (Props to Calvin Johnson and his 96 catches, 1,681 yards and 16 TDs last season.) Even in moments of failure, Stafford still reigns supreme on the fantasy end. In his four-interception clunker against Chicago last year, the Lions star threw for 308 yards, one touchdown and helped Bears D/ST owners everywhere with a pair of pick-six interception returns.
- My five wide receivers—Percy Harvin, Dwayne Bowe, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, Laurent Robinson—each have the capacity for 84 catches and/or nine touchdowns this season. In fact, I gladly would have scooped up a sixth wideout (Darrius Heyward-Bey), if I wasn't so resolute in taking a second tight end.
- Fred Jackson was the AFC's leading rusher at the time of his season-ending injury (foot), a setback that helped perpetuate the Bills' late slide in 2011. Backup C.J. Spiller filled the void admirably, leading some to wonder if he was finally ready to assume the No. 1 rushing duties. That sounds great for sports-talk radio, but Buffalo execs are probably more comfortable with a two-back attack, with Jackson (1,376 total yards, six TDs) having the bigger name on the marquee for now. After all, that should always be a courtesy extended to backs averaging 137.6 total yards per game.
- I don't recall lamenting any draftees taken just one or two picks ahead of me, indicating the No. 9 slot is ideal for drafters who emphasize value at every turn—and loathe reaching for talent. Regarding regrets, I waited one round too long to select Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew (83 catches, 777 yards, five TDs) as my starting tight end. But then again, I ended up taking Dustin Keller, who actually ranks ahead of Pettigrew on my non-PPR draft board.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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