The usual suspects from the summer went off the board in my latest standard league 10-team mock draft at Fantasy Football Calculator, but I noticed an interesting difference from the norm.
Both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady went before LeSean McCoy. Perhaps this is just a fluke but then again, it could say something about where some fantasy owners see the Eagles at this point. While Michael Vick will have his struggles staying healthy, McCoy will be highly productive, and should be off the board before we target quarterbacks.
1. Arian Foster (ADP 1.02)
Some are concerned about the Texans right side of the offensive line, but not me. Head Coach Gary Kubiak has run the zone blocking scheme for many years and has had plenty of time to stock pile talent that fits his scheme.
It’s only preseason action but from what I can see the running game will be just fine, and emerging young receivers Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean will help Matt Schaub move the chains through the air. This will further Foster’s odds for a dominant season.
2. Ray Rice (ADP 1.03)
The Ravens are using more of an up tempo, no-huddle offense this year as they look to create more problems for the defense via the passing game. Rice will continue to be a workhorse and is a fine pick. Still, I would take McCoy over Rice because I think he has a better skill set.
3. Aaron Rodgers (ADP 1.03)
Even if Greg Jennings should suffer another concussion, Aaron Rodgers isn’t likely to skip a beat if Randall Cobb is ready to emerge. That’s not to say that Jennings won’t be missed and the Packers offense might struggle a little more, but this group isn’t hurting for talented weapons.
4. Tom Brady (ADP 1.06)
Just look at the conundrum at running back and it’s easy to see the Patriots will continue to be a pass heavy attack. As I mentioned in the intro to this article, I would take McCoy over a quarterback. Still, if you’re going to take a quarterback other than Rodgers in the first round, Brady is the man.
5. LeSean McCoy (ADP 1.03)
Perhaps the most talented running back in the game today (outside of Adrian Peterson when fully healthy), McCoy is going to have another big season. Maybe we won’t see 20 touchdowns but early thoughts about the Eagles “lessening” his workload should be thrown out the window, especially after Vick’s preseason injuries.
No, Andy Reid and his coaching staff are under fire and if they don’t take this team at least to the playoffs, with a strong record, it’s curtains’ time. Don’t think for a minute Reid is going down without pulling out all the stops and using his elite running back often.
6. Darren McFadden (ADP 1.08)
The Raiders won’t “baby” Darren McFadden and there’s no reason they should. McFadden is a tough player, but he’s suffered some quirky injuries. If he had a chronic knee problem, I could see the need to put him on a pitch count.
That hasn’t been the case so expect McFadden to continue to be used as a feature back and will be a top five back when on the field. I still believe McFadden can get through most of a season, but make sure you pick up Mike Goodson as a hand cuff in the later rounds.
With Michael Bush gone, McFadden will be the goal line back and should score over 10 touchdowns this season.
Between McFadden and Chris Johnson I’m going with the Raiders talented back because I don’t forget Johnson’s lack of effort before his contract was threatened.
7. Calvin Johnson (ADP 1.06)
What if Randy Moss didn’t have an attitude and had a quarterback like Matthew Stafford (or Tom Brady) throughout his career? Megatron is in a tier all by himself at the receiver position not only because of his talent, but also because of his pass friendly situation.
8. Drew Brees (ADP 1.09)
The Saints will likely struggle through the season but make the playoffs and possibly win the NFC South. Look for Brees’s interception total to spike without Sean Peyton around but he’s still a worthy selection at this point.
9. Chris Johnson (ADP 1.07)
I will be curious to see if the Titans continue to use Javon Ringer in third-down situations this week against the Cardinals. Johnson is an average at best pass blocker when he’s actually trying and his dropped passes against the Seahawks may have cost him a regular three down role.
Still, Johnson has his explosion back and seems to be out to prove that last year was just a matter of conditioning. The bottom line is, he’s motivated, and that’s a good thing for his fantasy owners.
10. DeMarco Murray (ADP 2.03)
While I’m concerned about Murray’s interior line, I’m starting to think he may be used in the Cowboys offense like Matt Forte was in Chicago before the team acquired all their weapons this off-season. If Dallas walks into the first week without Miles Austin and Jason Witten, look for Tony Romo to check down to his talented receiving back often.
Murray will be a feature back and is likely to see a large workload to begin the season, via the running game and the passing game.
With Bill Callahan overseeing the offensive line, I have no doubts the line will be solid as we move through the season.