Six running backs, two quarterbacks, three receivers and one tight end went off the board in the second round of this 12-team mock draft. One name that stood out was Falcons second-year receiver Julio Jones—the final pick in this round.
His vault up the board this offseason is a testament to the impact the internet and twitter has had on fantasy values in recent years. Back in the day a player like Jones would’ve been a lock to go after proven No.1 receiver Roddy White in drafts around the world.
Then you would see a guy like Jones go off for a big season and the owner “stuck” with White would be complaining that the No. 2 option in the offense is putting up better production.
While I still believe White should go higher than Jones in PPR leagues, it is Jones that should be viewed (as he is in this mock draft) as the better fantasy option in standard leagues. Jones dwarfs White in terms of big-play production and because White will draw top coverage, we can expect Jones to have a strong sophomore season.
Problem is, Jones doesn’t have much value going as a second-round pick, and if your taking him at this point he better break out with the stats many hope he will put up. For what he’s actually done in this league, he should be going as a fifth- or sixth-round pick and (at that value) if he should fail to deliver on his promising upside, you didn’t take him as your WR1 option.
For all his talent, if Jones continues to trend as a late second- to early third-round pick, I’m probably staying away.
13. Rob Gronkowski (ADP 2.08)
The Patriots star tight end is worth a second-round pick in fantasy drafts. That said, I opted to forgo selecting my No. 2 running back to see if the depth at tailback was deep enough to get a solid option in the third round.
I believe this strategy can work in a 10-team league, but unfortunately I can’t back this move in a 12-team draft. All of the running back options worthy of consideration were gone by the time I picked again.
Instead I choose to go with A.J. Green and Victor Cruz in the coming rounds and then selected Peyton Hillis and Willis McGahee later. In a real draft I would’ve opted for one of the following names that went in this round, with the 13th pick.
14. Matthew Stafford (ADP 2.06)
There are probably four quarterbacks who have a legit chance for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns and Stafford was the last on the board. Stafford may have the strongest arm in the game and with Calvin Johnson hauling in passes, it’s almost too easy for Stafford to put up fantastic numbers.
15. Fred Jackson (ADP 3.03)
Jackson was one of the top five running backs until a leg injury ended his 2011 campaign. Expect the veteran to have respectable numbers, but don’t expect a return to his success from a year ago.
C.J. Spiller has earned the right to more playing time, and coach Chan Gailey won’t be playing favorites in the backfield.
16. Jamaal Charles (ADP 2.06)
Assuming Charles has his “MoJo” back, we should feel good about his odds of delivering a top-10 finish at his position. Problem is, Peyton Hillis is having a great camp and will likely receive around the same amount of touches as Charles.
Let’s keep an eye on Charles' lateral agility and see if he still flashes his trademark explosiveness before committing a second-round pick to him.
17. Matt Forte (ADP 1.11)
A better PPR running back, Forte is likely to lose regular touches around the goal line to Michael Bush. Forte is still a worthy top-10 option at his position, but with more weapons in the offense, expect the football to be spread around more than recent years.
18. Adrian Peterson (ADP 2.07)
We should feel better about Peterson’s odds of playing week one now that the Vikings are expecting him back on the field in the coming weeks. Peterson will likely be in a committee with Toby Gerhart for the first half of the season.
At this price, I’m still staying away from Peterson because I think he will disappoint in the early months of the season.
19. Andre Johnson (ADP 2.12)
Nagging injuries have continued to haunt Johnson early in camp. While I still hold out hope he will have an injury-free 2012, I wouldn’t recommend you take him this high. The receiver position is deep, and you will find quality options in the coming rounds.
Focus on running backs or perhaps pick up Cam Newton if he’s still on the board at this point.
20. Doug Martin (ADP 3.07)
Martin has pulled away from LeGarrette Blount in camp and is likely to be a three-down back Week 1. Expect Blount to give Martin a breather throughout games, but the rookie will be counted on to make an impact right away.
21. Maurice Jones-Drew (ADP 2.01)
If Jones-Drew comes back from his holdout before the final week of August I like his odds of returning quality value at this spot in the draft. Should you opt to select MJD, go with Rashad Jennings as a handcuff in the later rounds.
Second thought, who cares if you don’t land Jones-Drew, get Jennings on your squad anyway. If given the chance Jennings will be a RB2 as a starter.
22. Larry Fitzgerald (ADP 2.04)
Expect Kevin Kolb to struggle but I like Fitzgerald's odds of remaining in the top-10 receivers if John Skelton wins the starting job. Skelton has a good arm and isn’t afraid to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the football under pressure.
This will be a big problem again in Arizona as they failed to do much to help their beleaguered offensive line.
23. Cam Newton (ADP, 2.09)
Great pick at this point in the draft. Newton has proven to have big-time upside and with his running ability, he’s a value pick at the end of the second round.
24. Julio Jones (ADP 3.01)
I like Julio Jones but we shouldn’t consider him a value option at this point. Jones is being drafted to perform like a WR1 on fantasy teams, and while he’s capable of it, I will probably pass on him for a veteran at this point.