Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2013: Round-by-Round Expert Projections
The second week of the 2013 NFL preseason gets underway Thursday, and with opening night drawing closer, fantasy draft season is kicking into overdrive.
As fantasy football enthusiasts prepare for their upcoming drafts, there are a number of tools at their disposal, one of which is participating in and reviewing mock drafts.
We've already examined a 12-team PPR draft in a piece I wrote last week, so this time, we'll switch things up with a look at a 10-team "standard" fantasy football draft.
With that out of the way, let's take a round-by-round look at how this draft unfolded—the hits and the misses, as well as the reaches and steals. We'll then wrap things up by reviewing how each team fared overall.
A quick note before we proceed. The analysis of each round contains a "best pick" and "worst pick," but "worst" is a relative term. After all, if Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton and Thurman Thomas were mentioned together, most folks would call Thomas the "worst" of that group. That doesn't mean he isn't good, though.
Franchise No. 1, you are on the clock!
1.01: Adrian Peterson - RB, MIN
1.02: Arian Foster - RB, HOU
1.03: Doug Martin - RB, TB
1.04: Jamaal Charles - RB, KC
1.05: Marshawn Lynch - RB, SEA
1.06: Trent Richardson - RB, CLE
1.07: Calvin Johnson - WR, DET
1.08: Alfred Morris - RB, WAS
1.09: C.J. Spiller - RB, BUF
1.10: Ray Rice - RB, BAL
As one might expect in a standard scoring system, running backs dominated the first round, with Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson being the only non-back selected within the first 10 picks.
Best Pick: Ray Rice
Running backs are getting hit hard early in fantasy drafts this year, but there is a fair amount of depth at the front end of the position. That's evidenced by the fact that Rice, who has been a top-six fantasy option in three of the past four seasons, slipped all the way to the back end of Round 1.
Worst Pick: Trent Richardson
However, the fact that Richardson is already battling a shin injury after being limited by rib and knee maladies last year underscores Richardson's durability issues. That makes this one of the riskier picks of the first round.
2.01: LeSean McCoy - RB, PHI
2.02: A.J. Green - WR, CIN
2.03: Brandon Marshall - WR, CHI
2.04: Chris Johnson - RB, TEN
2.05: Dez Bryant - WR, DAL
2.06: Demaryius Thomas - WR, DEN
2.07: Jimmy Graham - TE, NO
2.08: Julio Jones - WR, ATL
2.09: Larry Fitzgerald - WR, ARI
2.10: Steven Jackson - RB, ATL
Wide receivers were the story of Round 2, with the elite fantasy options at the position comprising six of the round's 10 selections.
Best Pick: LeSean McCoy
After a concussion-marred 2012 season, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is primed for a bounceback year in Chip Kelly's new offense, which gained over 300 yards per game on the ground last year at Oregon.
The Eagles aren't going to have that much success running the ball this year, but by pairing McCoy with Ray Rice, Franchise 10 has assembled an impressive duo of running backs from the back of the draft.
Worst Pick: Jimmy Graham
On one hand, there isn't much to not like about Jimmy Graham. He's easily the top fantasy option at the tight end position in 2013, and the fourth-year pro should have another big year in the New Orleans Saints' high-octane offense.
However, in order for Graham to justify a second-round pick, he not only has to finish as fantasy football's top tight end, but he must do so by a large margin. Graham wasn't able to do that last year, and it makes him a much riskier fantasy pick than many people realize.
3.01: Randall Cobb - WR, GB
3.02: Maurice Jones-Drew - RB, JAX
3.03: Andre Johnson - WR, HOU
3.04: Drew Brees - QB, NO
3.05: Stevan Ridley - RB, NE
3.06: Matt Forte - RB, CHI
3.07: DeMarco Murray - RB, DAL
3.08: Victor Cruz - WR, NYG
3.09: Frank Gore - RB, SF
3.10: Roddy White - WR, ATL
So far, this draft has followed a predictable pattern. The elite running backs were followed off the board by their counterparts at wideout, and now, the second-tier ball-carriers were hit by a mini-run as teams acquired their second running back.
Best Pick: Andre Johnson
Despite the fact that Johnson topped 110 catches and racked up nearly 1,600 receiving yards in 2012, the 11th-year veteran has been sliding a bit in fantasy drafts this season.
Yes, the arrival of rookie DeAndre Hopkins could mean a slight drop in targets for Johnson, but the youngster's impact on Johnson's fantasy production in 2013 is being overestimated. A.J. will get his.
Worst Pick: DeMarco Murray
The selection of Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray isn't necessarily a bad pick. If Murray can stay healthy, the third-year pro has top-10 fantasy upside.
However, to this point in his NFL career, Murray hasn't demonstrated an ability to stay on the field, and passing on safer bets like Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers for Murray may well come back to haunt Franchise No. 7.
4.01: Aaron Rodgers - QB, GB
4.02: Rob Gronkowski - TE, NE
4.03: Darren McFadden - RB, OAK
4.04: Vincent Jackson - WR, TB
4.05: Marques Colston - WR, NO
4.06: Cam Newton - QB, CAR
4.07: Le'Veon Bell - RB, PIT
4.08: David Wilson - RB, NYG
4.09: Peyton Manning - QB, DEN
4.10: Dwayne Bowe - WR, KC
The fourth round saw the first run on the quarterback position. Three teams saw fit to grab their signal-caller in this round, which is a pretty risky draft strategy in 2013 given the depth under center.
Best Pick: Le'Veon Bell
Franchise No. 4 was the first team in the league to draft a quarterback, and spending a third-round pick on Drew Brees put the team in a bit of a hole where running backs and wideouts are concerned.
With that said, Franchise No. 4 did a good job of digging out of that hole with the selection of Bell. The former Michigan State star has the best chance of any of the rookie running backs at making a big impact in redraft leagues in 2013. Also, Jamison Hensley of ESPN reports that Bell has been impressive in training camp.
Worst Pick: Rob Gronkowski
Frankly, if Rob Gronkowski is ready for Week 1 and performs at anywhere near the level of his past two seasons, then this could easily be the best pick of the round.
However, Gronkowski's back surgery leaves his status for the beginning of the season very much in doubt, and Ben Volin of The Boston Globe recently reported that he expects Gronkowski to open the 2013 season on the PUP list.
That would cost the fourth-year veteran six games, and his uncertain status makes Gronkowski quite possibly the biggest risk/reward pick in fantasy football in 2013.
5.01: Lamar Miller - RB, MIA
5.02: Hakeem Nicks - WR, NYG
5.03: Danny Amendola - WR, NE
5.04: Reggie Wayne - WR, IND
5.05: Mike Wallace - WR, MIA
5.06: Wes Welker - WR, DEN
5.07: Reggie Bush - RB, DET
5.08: Ryan Mathews - RB, SD
5.09: Torrey Smith - WR, BAL
5.10: Jordy Nelson - WR, GB
In a fantasy football league that starts three wide receivers with no "flex" spot, it was only a matter of time before there was a run on wideouts. That run came in the fifth round, where seven players were selected at that position, including five in a row.
Best Pick: Reggie Bush
Sometimes, a wise fantasy owner, rather than getting caught up in a run, will swim against the current and grab a player at another position who represents solid value.
Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush is such a player in this draft. Bush may be better known as a receiver than a runner, but the eighth-year veteran averaged over 1,000 yards on the ground over his two seasons in Miami.
Bush is a solid fit in a Detroit offense that made a star of Jahvid Best (when he could stay on the field). Bush is an excellent fantasy RB3, and he is great insurance against a DeMarco Murray injury.
Worst Pick: Jordy Nelson
Conversely, it's often easy to get caught up at the end of a run and make an ill-advised pick borne of panic.
That appears to have been the case at the end of the fifth round with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
Yes, Nelson caught 15 touchdown passes and topped 1,200 receiving yards in 2011, but he regressed badly in an injury-marred 2012 season.
Throw in the recent knee surgery that leaves his Week 1 availability very much in doubt, and you have a curious selection, at best, given the other players who were still on the board.
6.01: DeSean Jackson - WR, PHI
6.02: Chris Ivory - RB, NYJ
6.03: Matt Ryan - QB, ATL
6.04: Tom Brady - QB, NE
6.05: Jason Witten - TE, DAL
6.06: Pierre Garcon - WR, WAS
6.07: Antonio Brown - WR, PIT
6.08: Darren Sproles - RB, NO
6.09: Tony Gonzalez - TE, ATL
6.10: Steve Smith - WR, CAR
The first-round picks may get all the glory, but it's the middle rounds of fantasy drafts where leagues are won and lost. The teams that find the best value in the middle drafts are the ones that win championships, and the strategies employed at this point in the draft become much more diverse.
Best Pick: Tom Brady
Given all the uncertainty clouding the New England Patriots passing game, the fantasy stock of quarterback Tom Brady has taken a tumble in recent weeks.
However, in Brady we have a veteran quarterback who is a maestro at directing New England's hurry-up offense, as well as a player who hasn't finished outside the top seven at his position since he tore his ACL in 2008.
In fact, Brady was fantasy football's third-ranked quarterback in each of the past two years, and even if he backslides a bit, the 14th-year veteran would still be a great value in this spot.
Worst Pick: Chris Ivory
It wasn't that long ago that running back Chris Ivory was a trendy sleeper pick in fantasy circles as a talented young player who many predicted would break out in his new role as the lead back for the Jets.
However, the injury problems that have dogged Ivory throughout his career have already surfaced again, with a hamstring pull causing Ivory to miss numerous practices this summer as well as the team's preseason opener.
It also doesn't help Ivory's fantasy prospects for 2013 that the Jets' offensive line looked terrible in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions. Ivory may well still have that big season that so many foresaw, but the fourth-year pro is a much riskier bet than he was a few weeks ago.
7.01: Vernon Davis - TE, SF
7.02: Eddie Lacy - RB, GB
7.03: Matthew Stafford - QB, DET
7.04: Giovani Bernard - RB, CIN
7.05: Rashard Mendenhall - RB, ARI
7.06: Ronnie Hillman - RB, DEN
7.07: Eric Decker - WR, DEN
7.08: Cecil Shorts - WR, JAX
7.09: Greg Jennings - WR, MIN
7.10: DeAngelo Williams - RB, CAR
The well is starting to dry up at the running back position. That, coupled with the selection of Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers with the second pick in the round, set off a run that swallowed up most of the remaining ball-carriers with the potential to be weekly starters.
Best Pick: Cecil Shorts
Running backs may have ruled the round, but it's a wideout who was the best pick.
Cecil Shorts of the Jacksonville Jaguars has emerged as the team's most dependable option in the passing game. Granted, that's not exactly a great thing given the sad state of the quarterbacks for the Jaguars, but Shorts' ability to hurt teams deep (17.8 yards per catch in 2012) adds to his value in standard-scoring formats such as this.
Worst Pick: Rashard Mendenhall
Frankly, there weren't any "bad" picks in this round, but of all the running backs taken in the seventh round, Mendenhall has the most questions swirling around him.
The sixth-year veteran has recently been hampered by tendinitis in his surgically repaired knee. Also, given how well rookie Stepfan Taylor performed in Arizona's first preseason game, if Mendenhall doesn't get back up to speed pretty soon, he may find himself supplanted on the depth chart.
8.01: Josh Gordon - WR, CLE
8.02: Robert Griffin III - QB, WAS
8.03: Greg Olsen - TE, CAR
8.04: Kenny Britt - WR, TEN
8.05: Montee Ball - RB, DEN
8.06: Vick Ballard - RB, IND
8.07: Stevie Johnson - WR, BUF
8.08: Owen Daniels - TE, HOU
8.09: T.Y. Hilton - WR, IND
8.10: Colin Kaepernick - QB, SF
Youth was served in the eighth round. Of the 10 players selected, five were either rookies or second-year pros, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt are hardly long in the tooth either.
Best Pick: T.Y. Hilton
Hilton was one of the top first-year wideouts in the NFL last year, leading all rookies in yards per catch and touchdowns while finishing second in yardage.
If his performance in the Colts' first preseason game (three receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown) was any indication, Hilton intends to build upon his stellar rookie year in 2013. Furthermore, much like Cecil Shorts, Hilton's ability to stretch defenses is a plus in this format.
Worst Pick: Vick Ballard
The selection of Vick Ballard is an object lesson in the danger of drafting players in unsettled backfields. Just a few days ago, it looked like the second-year pro was a good bet to open the season as the lead back in Indy.
Now, as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported, the Colts have activated Ahmad Bradshaw from the physically unable to perform list, which probably leaves Ballard as the second fiddle in the Indy ground game.
The fantasy football gods giveth, and the fantasy football gods taketh away.
9.01: Andre Brown - RB, NYG
9.02: Daryl Richardson - RB, STL
9.03: Tavon Austin - WR, STL
9.04: James Jones - WR, GB
9.05: Kyle Rudolph - TE, MIN
9.06: Andrew Luck - QB, IND
9.07: Shane Vereen - RB, NE
9.08: Mark Ingram - RB, NO
9.09: Anquan Boldin - WR, SF
9.10: Bernard Pierce - RB, BAL
Granted, many of these players are either reserves or mired in committees, but the ninth round was dominated by the running back spot, with half a dozen players at the position being selected.
You can never have too many running backs in fantasy football, folks.
Best Pick: Bernard Pierce
Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce showed as a rookie that's he's a talented player in his own right.
Franchise No. 10 was very wise to select Pierce as insurance against a Ray Rice injury, and Matt Vensel of The Baltimore Sun predicts that both ball-carriers could receive a significant workload for the Ravens in 2013.
Worst Pick: Tavon Austin
Don't get us wrong, Tavon Austin has game-breaking talent, and the rookie wideout could develop into a very dangerous weapon for the St. Louis Rams in time.
However, if the Rams' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns was any indication, then the reports of the fantasy demise of Chris Givens (three catches for 82 yards and a touchdown) have been greatly exaggerated.
10.01: Jared Cook - TE, STL
10.02: Ahmad Bradshaw - RB, IND
10.03: Mike Williams - WR, TB
10.04: Antonio Gates - TE, SD
10.05: Russell Wilson - QB, SEA
10.06: Miles Austin - WR, DAL
10.07: BenJarvus Green-Ellis - RB, CIN
10.08: Tony Romo - QB, DAL
10.09: Lance Moore - WR, NO
10.10: Michael Floyd - WR, ARI
The 10th round was all about upside. Whether it was St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook or Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Williams, this round saw a handful of players selected who could easily make big contributions in fantasy football this year.
The 10th round also showed just how much depth there is at quarterback in fantasy football this season. Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys threw for nearly 5,000 yards last year, and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was a top-three fantasy passer down the stretch in 2012.
Both were drafted as backups.
Best Pick: Michael Floyd
Of all the upside picks in the 10th round, the selection of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd may be the most interesting.
The second-year pro has been one of the stars of training camp in the desert, and according to Jules Tompkins of Arizona Sports, quarterback Carson Palmer said, "We expect Mike to have a big year."
Worst Pick: Lance Moore
Calling the selection of Lance Moore the worst pick of the round says more about the other players chosen in the round than it does about Moore himself.
Moore is a capable pro who is coming off the highest yardage total of his seven-year NFL career, but his value takes a hit in standard scoring systems such as this. His selection before Floyd is curious.
11.01: Pierre Thomas - RB, NO
11.02: Ben Tate - RB, HOU
11.03: Justin Blackmon - WR, JAX
11.04: Chris Givens - WR, STL
11.05: Eli Manning - QB, NYG
11.06: Kendall Wright - WR, TEN
11.07: Alshon Jeffery - WR, CHI
11.08: DeAndre Hopkins - WR, HOU
11.09: Seattle Seahawks DEF/ST
11.10: Jonathan Stewart - RB, CAR
Young wide receivers were the story of the 11th round. Five of the picks in the round were wideouts in either their first or second season in the National Football League.
Best Pick: Ben Tate
If you're going to invest a top-three draft pick in Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, it's absolutely essential to handcuff reserve tailback Ben Tate, who showed with nearly 1,000 yards on the ground in 2011 that he's more than capable of shouldering the load if called upon.
Worst Pick: Seattle Seahawks DEF/ST
By all indications, the Seattle Seahawks should have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season. Their secondary, featuring cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, looks very imposing on paper.
However, football isn't played on paper, and fantasy defenses are notoriously unpredictable. Rather than use a mid-round pick on an elite defense, the wiser course of action would be to use that pick on depth or upside players on offense while playing the matchups with team defenses.
12.01: San Francisco 49ers DEF/ST
12.02: Fred Jackson - RB, BUF
12.03: Isaiah Pead - RB, STL
12.04: Jermichael Finley - TE, GB
12.05: Bryce Brown - RB, PHI
12.06: Vincent Brown - WR, SD
12.07: Danny Woodhead - RB, SD
12.08: Mikel Leshoure - RB, DET
12.09: Denarius Moore - WR, OAK
12.10: Greg Little - WR, CLE
The 12th round was something of a mixed bag. A second team chose their starting defense, others handcuffed running backs, while some still looked to round out their receiving corps.
Best Pick: Greg Little
It appears that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little may finally be ready to live up to his second-round draft status.
In fact, Bleacher Report AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst recently called the third-year pro one of the Browns' biggest breakout threats in 2013.
Worst Pick: Bryce Brown
Brown showed flashes of considerable talent in 2012, but given that Franchise No. 6 doesn't own Eagles starter LeSean McCoy, the Brown pick is somewhat puzzling.
The fact that Brown is currently embroiled in a camp battle with Chris Polk for the backup job behind McCoy only makes it more so.
13.01: Chicago Bears DEF/ST
13.02: Andy Dalton - QB, CIN
13.03: Tyler Eifert - TE, CIN
13.04: New England Patriots DEF/ST
13.05: Martellus Bennett - TE, CHI
13.06: Emmanuel Sanders - WR, PIT
13.07: Shonn Greene - RB, TEN
13.08: Carson Palmer - QB, ARI
13.09: Jay Cutler - QB, CHI
13.10: Golden Tate - WR, SEA
Paths have once again diverged in this draft. Team defenses are beginning to come off the board with some regularity, and three teams selected a backup passer. Others addressed depth or took a late flier.
Best Pick: Golden Tate
Despite the Percy Harvin injury, Tate is still falling much further than he should in the majority of fantasy drafts.
As Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports reported last month, the Seahawks have been moving Tate all over the formation. He's not as talented as Harvin, but Tate is still an absolute steal this late.
Worst Pick: Andy Dalton
This isn't meant to be an indictment of Dalton as a player. The third-year pro is a solid young quarterback who finished inside the top 12 in fantasy points last year. However, Dalton is a low-ceiling fantasy backup, and there were options with more upside still on the board.
14.01: Michael Vick - QB, PHI
14.02: Malcom Floyd - WR, SD
14.03: Jordan Cameron - TE, CLE
14.04: Matt Bryant - K, ATL
14.05: Sidney Rice - WR, SEA
14.06: Cordarrelle Patterson - WR, MIN
14.07: Coby Fleener - TE, IND
14.08: Knowshon Moreno - RB, DEN
14.09: Denver Broncos DEF/ST
14.10: Ben Roethlisberger - QB, PIT
This late in the draft, it's mostly about fleshing out the back end of the roster, but there were a couple picks of note in the 14th round.
Tight ends Jordan Cameron of the Cleveland Browns and Coby Fleener of the Indianapolis Colts are a pair of young and talented players who are expected to take "the next step" in 2013. Both have the potential to become a weekly starter at the position, and both were excellent choices.
Best Pick: Michael Vick
Michael Vick hasn't won the starting job at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles yet, but the 33-year-old was impressive in the Eagles' first preseason game.
Assuming he wins the job, Vick has a lot of upside at the helm of Chip Kelly's offense, and Vick is a relative bargain as a speculative pick this late.
Worst Pick: Matt Bryant
Repeat after me: Do not draft a kicker until the final round of your fantasy draft. Do not draft a kicker until the final round of your fantasy draft. Do not draft a kicker until the final round of your fantasy draft. Do not draft a kicker until the final...
15.01: Travis Kelce - TE, KC
15.02: Brandon Myers - TE, NYG
15.03: Houston Texans DEF/ST
15.04: Stephen Gostkowski - K, NE
15.05: Cincinnati Bengals DEF/ST
15.06: St. Louis Rams DEF/ST
15.07: Joe Flacco - QB, BAL
15.08: Green Bay Packers DEF/ST
15.09: Brandon Pettigrew - TE, DET
15.10: Rob Housler - TE, ARI
We're nearing the finish line, and it shows. The 15th round is a menagerie of team defenses and players who fantasy owners hope will never see the starting lineup except on bye weeks.
Best Pick: Cincinnati Bengals DEF/ST
The Bengals may have the best front four in football and added to an already impressive pass rush with the signing of veteran linebacker James Harrison in free agency. The Bengals are a solid weekly defense that can be had very late in the majority of fantasy drafts.
Worst Pick: Green Bay Packers DEF/ST
Whether the Green Bay defense is a good fantasy option depends on your league's scoring system.
Dom Capers' zone blitz has a tendency to rack up big plays, but in a format like this, where yardage and points allowed are major factors, the Packers' tendency to allow both in bunches can be a problem.
16.01: Blair Walsh - K, MIN
16.02: Matt Prater - K, DEN
16.03: Greg Zuerlein - K, STL
16.04: Tampa Bay Buccaneers DEF/ST
16.05: Phil Dawson - K, SF
16.06: Justin Tucker - K, BAL
16.07: Alex Smith - QB, KC
16.08: Sebastian Janikowski - K, OAK
16.09: David Akers - K, DET
16.10: Garrett Hartley - K, NO
The last round featured eight kickers, beginning with the strong-legged Blair Walsh of the Minnesota Vikings and concluding with Garrett Hartley of the New Orleans Saints playing the role of "Mr. Irrelevant."
Best Pick: Alex Smith
Smith completed over 70 percent of his passes last year and posted a passer rating of over 100 for the San Francisco 49ers. The 28-year-old didn't have much fantasy upside as a game manager in the Bay Area, but that could change in Andy Reid's West Coast offense in Kansas City.
Worst Pick: Sebastian Janikowski
There's no denying that Janikowski has a big leg, but the Oakland offense may well be the worst in the NFL in 2013, so scoring opportunities could be scarce.
Now that the draft is in the books, let's take a look at the teams that were assembled, using the Fantasy Pros projected fantasy points for each team as a benchmark for rating the squads.
You can view the full rosters for each team here.
1. Franchise No. 9: (991 points)
It's interesting that Franchise No. 9 was picked as the "best" team in this league, as a lot of things need to go right for this club to realize its potential.
Whether it's running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Ivory, tight end Rob Gronkowski or quarterback Robert Griffin, there are more than a few players on this team who are either nicked up right now or coming off of major injuries.
If they return to form, this could be a formidable team, but things could also go sideways in a hurry.
2. Franchise No. 2: (974 points)
This team's front line is rock-solid. Franchise No. 2 has a player at each of the four offensive positions (Peyton Manning, Arian Foster, Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez) who could easily finish the year in the top five at their respective position.
However, if Maurice Jones-Drew struggles in his return from a Lisfranc injury, then the RB2 spot could become a real problem rather quickly, as neither Eddie Lacy nor Daryl Richardson exactly screams "weekly starter" in this scoring system.
3. Franchise No. 1 (948 points)
Franchise No. 1 looks to be a pretty well-balanced squad.
In Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson and Lamar Miller, this team has a solid trio of running backs, and the same can be said for Randall Cobb, Dwayne Bowe and Steve Smith at wide receiver.
If quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis perform as well for the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 as many expect, then the team that had the first overall pick should be looking good for the playoffs.
4. Franchise No. 6 (934 points)
Frankly, Franchise No. 6 should take it as a compliment that Fantasy Pros feels they assembled a team that's less than a point per game worse than the club with the first pick. That's no easy feat from the middle of the round.
Franchise No. 6 has a decent stable of backs and receivers, and the duo of Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck offers a great insurance policy against an injury at the quarterback position.
There's no such safety net at tight end, though. Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys is the only one on the roster, and that could portend disaster were he to go down.
5. Franchise No. 4 (922 points)
Franchise No. 4 dodged one lulu of a bullet recently, with Dave Skretta of The Associated Press reporting (h/t Yahoo! Sports) that Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles' foot injury isn't believed to be serious.
Had it been a major injury, this team would have been sunk, as the decision to draft a quarterback early (Drew Brees) already cost the team some depth at other positions.
That's especially evident at wide receiver. Reggie Wayne and James Jones had huge seasons in 2012, but if they can't back those numbers up in 2013, or if Stevie Johnson's hamstring problems linger, then Franchise No. 4 may have big problems.
6. Franchise No. 3 (919 points)
Franchise No. 3 has an impressive duo of wideouts in Julio Jones and Andre Johnson, and the pairing of Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo provides excellent depth under center.
With that said, though, there are some real issues at running back behind Doug Martin.
David Wilson of the New York Giants is an electrifying talent, but with Andre Brown potentially sharing carries with him in New York, Wilson is a risky RB2 in standard scoring formats. The same goes for Darren Sproles, whose value is much higher in leagues that award a point for receptions.
Depth at wide receiver behind Jones and Johnson may also become a concern. Justin Blackmon is suspended for the first four games of the season, Danny Amendola has had trouble staying on the field the past two years, and Chris Givens doesn't appear ready to hand the mantle of top receiver for the St. Louis Rams over to Tavon Austin without a fight.
7. Franchise No. 10 (917 points)
The selection of Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy with their first two picks gives Franchise No. 10 a nice one-two punch at running back, but Fantasy Pros was apparently left unimpressed with the rest of the draft.
We're inclined to disagree.
Aaron Rodgers gives Franchise No. 10 arguably the top fantasy quarterback, and Michael Vick was a solid "lottery ticket" pick late in the draft as his backup.
The team is also well-off at wide receiver, with Golden Tate providing a decent insurance policy against Josh Gordon's suspension and Jordy Nelson's knee injury.
If either Jared Cook or Rob Housler is able to emerge as a solid weekly starter at tight end, this team is a good bet to out-perform this ranking.
8. Franchise No. 7 (898 points)
Franchise No. 7 may have fantasy football's top wide receiver in Calvin Johnson, but other than Megatron, this team has as many questions as answers.
Many pundits expect a significant statistical regression from quarterback Tom Brady in 2013, and the decision to go with a wide receiver in the first round leaves the team somewhat thin at running back, especially if DeMarco Murray can't stay on the field.
The third wide receiver spot and tight end position are also potential areas of concern, and if the re-tooled Tampa Bay secondary doesn't improve considerably this year, Franchise No. 7's defense could be shaky as well.
Franchise No. 7 may have some in-season work to do.
9. Franchise No. 5 (885 points)
Franchise No. 5 is the sole team in the league that only drafted four running backs, and it's a decision they may regret.
Sure, Marshawn Lynch and Stevan Ridley are a solid starting pair, but Rashard Mendenhall is already nursing a sore knee, and Ahmad Bradshaw's looming return to practice could mean a reduced role in the Indianapolis Colts offense for Vick Ballard.
There's no harder hole to plug in-season than one at running back, and if one of the front-liners gets hurt, that's a lesson that Franchise No. 5 is going to learn the hard way.
10. Franchise No. 8 (834 points)
Franchise No. 8 received, by far, the lowest score of the 10 teams in this league, coming in over 50 fantasy points lower than the team ranked ninth.
In Victor Cruz and Brandon Marshall, this team has a rock-solid one-two punch at receiver, with Cecil Shorts making for a fine "third amigo."
The problem is that either Ryan Mathews or Darren McFadden is going to have to stay healthy and serve as a viable second tailback behind Alfred Morris.
If that happens, Franchise No. 8 should do significantly better than last place, but that's one whopper of an "if."