Consisting of nine members of the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Staff, along with guest columnist Ryan Hallam from Fighting Chance Fantasy, the Bruno Boys Mock Draft was a 14-round affair based on a standard scoring league (pass TDs: 4 points; all other TDs: 6 points).
Outside of having to field a starting lineup occupied by one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one defenseman, owners were free to compile their rosters any way in which they pleased. All commentary after each pick is provided by the Bruno Boys staff member who made the pick. The draft was conducted over e-mail and took place from July 13, 2009 to Aug. 3, 2009.
ROUND 11 RESULTS
11.01: Dominic Brown - Rashard Mendenhall (Pit)
Potential stud alert. A major shoulder injury stole his rookie season, but the Steelers didn’t draft him in the first round last year to flex his muscles. If he can challenge Parker and Moore for goal line carries and win his team and coach’s respect, he’s worth this pick. If he can showcase what made him one of the top prospects coming into last season, I should be put in jail for stealing him at this pick.
11.02: Greg Warnock - Laveranues Coles (Cin)
In honesty, I thought about picking Coles two rounds ago. Glad I waited! I expect the Bengals offense to be much improved with a healthy Carson Palmer and Coles is a solid possession receiver who will take on T.J. Housmandzadeh’s role. While his numbers likely won’t be in the same stratosphere as Housh, he will still put up comparable numbers to the ones he dished out in his Jets’ days.
11.03: Ryan Hallam - Eli Manning (NYG)
I like to have a solid backup QB given the injuries in the NFL. Manning is good enough to start on fantasy teams, so if something happens to Cutler, I should be fine. Eli is good for 23-25 TDs even without Plaxico.
11.04: Jimbo Jones - Domenik Hixon (NYG)
Everybody is really down on the New York Giants passing game this year, and while the WR corps aren’t intimidating, NY can’t run the ball every single play. Don’t forget that Eli Manning is still a very capable QB. Domenik Hixon has the opportunity to produce some good numbers this season and may emerge as Manning’s top target. That’s worth a spot on the bench this late in the draft.
11.05: Cory Steger - John Carlson (Sea)
Needing a tight end, I feel I snagged a pretty decent one here. Carlson was the Seahawks most efficient receiver last year and with the Seahawks offense looking to improve Carlson should see more red zone targets in 2009.
11.06: Kyle Smith - Shonn Greene (NYJ)
Raise your hand if you think Thomas Jones will repeat his numbers from last year. I have secret technology that lets me see everyone who is currently reading this, and I see nobody with their hands up. Smart. Because not only will Greene take over Jones’s goal-line carries, he’ll have his starting job by Week 10.
11.07: Chris Ziza - Chris Henry (Cin)
Always has had the talent, but he could never get his head on straight. It looks as if he has finally made that breakthrough. Don’t be surprised that if Henry stays out of trouble and keeps on working hard that he rivals Chad Ochocinco as Carson Palmer’s top target.
11.08: Marc Caviglia - Matt Cassel (KC)
I don’t expect Cassel to repeat his 2008 performance, but with the Chiefs having to play catch-up most weeks, he should be throwing the football often. He will be used as my back-up behind Kurt Warner.
11.09: Larry Joseph - Darren Sproles (SD)
Sproles came on strong at the end of last season and in the playoffs replacing an injured LaDainian Tomlinson. He is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per reception last season with six total TDs. He should get 10-12 touches per game this season and make a nice 1-2 punch with LT.
11.10: Michael Whooley - Trent Edwards (Buf)
Ideally, Edwards will see just one week of play for my squad this season, that being Peyton Manning’s bye week, but even if he’s in my lineup more, I won’t sweat too much as Edwards has a nice set of weapons to use in Lee Evans and the newly acquired Terrell Owens.
ROUND 12 RESULTS
12.01: Michael Whooley - New York Giants D/ST
Yes, defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo is gone, but Osi Umenyiora is back. I’ll take that exchange any day. If you miss out on the Steelers or Ravens, all you really want is consistency from your defense. With eight games of double digit fantasy points in 2008, the Giants proved they have just that.
12.02: Larry Joseph - Tennessee Titans D/ST
The Titans defense had some key losses in the offseason, most notably DE Albert Haynesworth and defensive coordinator Jim Swartz, but there is still enough talent on this defense to once again be a top-five fantasy D/ST. As a unit in 2008 they had 44 sacks, 23 fumble recoveries, and 20 interceptions; even if these numbers slip a little, they will still be a solid starting fantasy unit.
12.03: Marc Caviglia - Philadelphia Eagles D/ST
I’m not one to follow trends, but there is plenty of WR depth available and with only three rounds left, I had to snag Philadelphia’s D/ST. The Eagles recorded 48 sacks, had 15 interceptions and allowed just 18 points per game last season. Plus, they will be playing with extra motivation as longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson lost his battle with cancer.
12.04: Chris Ziza - San Diego Chargers D/ST
The Chargers struggled some what in 2008 due in large part to the loss of the heart and soul of the defensive squad, LB Shawne Merriman to injury. Merriman is set to be back for 2009, which means the Chargers’ defense should once again be a top squad. Being in the AFC West also helps as the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders aren’t exactly offensive dynamos.
12.05: Kyle Smith - New York Jets D/ST
Looks like everyone else stole my idea to take a defense in this round. Copycats! This selection may be outwardly surprising, but there’s plenty to back it up. While they struggled against the pass last season, they finished seventh against the run, and only five times had more than their 30 takeaways. They also added linebacker Bart Scott to the mix and their head coach, Rex Ryan, was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator last year.
12.06: Cory Steger - Patrick Crayton (Dal)
With T.O. off to Buffalo, Crayton appears to have a firm grasp on the No. 2 slot for Dallas, which is a good spot to be in as defenses will be focusing on stopping tight end, Jason Witten, and wide out, Roy Williams, leaving Crayton with plenty of single coverage to work against. The fact that he’ll be returning punts as well is just an added bonus.
12.07: Jimbo Jones - Minnesota Vikings D/ST
The Minnesota Vikings’ defense ranked eighth last year in standard scoring leagues. I believe as long as you get yourself a top-10 defense, you’re in good shape. Don’t feel like you need to take one of the top-ranked defenses when you could fill out your depth and get a defense that’s almost as good a little later.
12.08: Ryan Hallam - Laurence Maroney (NE)
He had talent at one point in his career, but the rest has been marred by inconsistency and injury. I know the team brought in Fred Taylor to go with Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk, but Maroney couldn’t have turned into a total stiff could he?
12.09: Greg Warnock - Derrick Mason (Bal)
Granted Mason gets chosen here because he was supposed to be retiring. However, getting a receiver who is No. 1 on his team in the bottom of the 12th round is a steal! He is QB Joe Flacco’s favorite target and the Ravens have next to nothing besides Mason to catch the ball. He is a great fit in a PPR league, but even in a standard league he should be a solid WR3/WR4.
This pick also eliminates me having a backup QB and TE. I have Tom Brady and Antonio Gates. As long as they stay healthy, I only need to find a replacement in free agency for one week to cover their byes.
12.10: Dominic Brown - Anthony Fasano (Mia)
Two words: Bill Parcells. He loves using tight ends in his offense (see Jason Witten) and Pennington loves throwing to them. Fasano scored seven times in '08, and even if the fins don’t reach the same level of success as last year, I expect Fasano to be a big part of their offense in 2009.
ROUND 13 RESULTS
13.01: Dominic Brown - New England Patriots D/ST
Three things I know. Don’t swim right after a big meal. Don’t feed a Mogwai after midnight. And, never bet against Belichick and his Pats. Mayo looks like the real deal and even if the line is aging, they will exceed expectations thanks to great coaching and elite leadership.
13.02: Greg Warnock - Stephen Gostkowski (NE)
I know we have always told you to wait until the last round to draft your kicker but keep in mind my thinking. There are 10 owners in the league and 9 of them have a defense. That means the defense I’d pick here will likely be there at my next pick. In the same sense, I will not be able to grab a top kicker at that same pick next round.
Gostkowski is in one of the best offenses in the NFL and totaled the most points a year ago. Expect him to be like the Adam Vinatieri of years past, always being at the top of the kicker ranks.
13.03: Ryan Hallam - Sidney Rice (Min)
Instead of grabbing a backup tight end, I’ll go with a guy who is a popular pick to have a breakout year. With Adrian Peterson getting all the attention running the ball, if the Vikings have any kind of passing game at all, it will likely be with Rice leading the way.
13.04: Jimbo Jones - Ben Roethlisberger (Pit)
He doesn’t put up tremendous numbers, as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ strength is defense, but Ben Roethlisberger still puts up respectable numbers. The emergence of Santonio Holmes in the postseason and having the consistent Hines Ward and Heath Miller to throw to is good enough for me to take him in the 13th round as my backup QB.
13.05: Cory Steger - David Akers (Phi)
With my bench rounded out I decided to jump a round early on a kicker so I could be sure to get a good one, and Akers is just that. Always one of the top kickers in the league, he is playing behind a great offense so the points will come in bunches.
13.06: Kyle Smith - Joey Galloway (NE)
Moss and Welker are the No. 1 and 2 options, respectively, but Galloway is just a season removed from a season where he collected 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. Vets seem to find new life yearly in New England, and Galloway could do that in 2009.
13.07: Chris Ziza - Percy Harvin (Min)
At this point in the draft I need a kicker and a wide receiver. I will go with the speedster rookie who should see ample options down the field as the opposing defenses focus on Peterson.
13.08: Marc Caviglia - Deion Branch (Sea)
Branch is always a risk due to the fact that he spends more time on the stretcher than he does on the field but the value is there in Rd. 13. He will be used as my WR5, and if the Seattle offense can click like it did in 2007, Branch could be a great matchup and bye week play for my fantasy squad.
13.09: Larry Joseph - Earl Bennett (Chi)
Bennett did not contribute much as a rookie in 2008, but the addition of Jay Cutler at QB should really help him. Bennett and Cutler were teammates at Vanderbilt, so they are already familiar with each other. This makes Bennett a sleeper and considering this is a 14-round draft, now is the time for a sleeper.
13.10: Michael Whooley - LeRon McClain (Bal)
The backfield situation in Baltimore may give fantasy owners headaches all season long, but passing up on McClain, who led the Raven’s trio with 157 fantasy points in 2008, this late in the draft would be a mistake.
ROUND 14 RESULTS
14.01: Michael Whooley - Jason Elam (Atl)
The old guy still has leg. With an ever improving offense, Elam should see more opportunities in 2009, opportunities he should capitalize on. Playing his home games in a dome is just an added bonus.
14.02: Larry Joseph - Ryan Longwell (Min)
As far as a kicker I take the highest rated kicker on my board in the final round and Longwell is the highest rated kicker left on my board. In 2008, he hit 29 of 34 field goals attempts, including 6 for 6 from 50 yards or more. He also added 40 extra points. This is a good value pick in the final round of the draft.
14.03: Marc Caviglia - Nate Kaeding (SD)
I want a kicker who is in an offense that puts points on the board and the Chargers do just that. Plus, it helps that they play in an AFC West Division that features three of the worst defenses in all of football. Look for Kaeding to punch in around 40-45 PATS to go along with 25 or so FGs.
14.04: Chris Ziza - Mason Crosby (GB)
As usual, I waited until the last round to score a kicker and I am very happy to grab this consistent leg. A solid kicker on a high-powered offense? You really can’t go wrong with this guy.
14.05: Kyle Smith - Josh Brown (StL)
Brown’s 31 field goals were fifth in the NFL last season, but he was outside of the top-15 in points due to the Rams’ miserable offense that saw Brown kick only 19 extra points. St. Louis lacked an offensive identity a year ago amid the turmoil that saw head coach Scott Linehan get (mercifully) canned four weeks into the season. That shouldn’t be the case in '09 as the team ramps up a West Coast offense featuring Steven Jackson.
14.06: Cory Steger - Leon Washington (NYJ)
You can never have enough running backs and adding Washington in the 14th round is worth the gamble. He will have plenty of competition with Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene in the backfield, but Washington reported to training camp and is ready to build on a career year of 2008. He will be used off my bench and could prove to be a good bye week option if the backup is right.
14.07: Jimbo Jones - Rob Bironas (Ten)
This isn’t a bad guy to have as your kicker when taking him in the last round of the draft as hee finished sixth among kickers last year, only 15 points behind Gostkowski.
14.08: Ryan Hallam - Joe Nedney (SF)
Kickers are all very similar to me. I’m a Niners fan and Nedney is pretty reliable. With the new offense in San Francisco probably leading to many FG attempts. Nedney should be a solid kicker in 2009.
14.09: Greg Warnock - Washington Redskins D/ST
My strategy from last round worked, as I would have taken this defense. Instead I get the same defense and got in my opinion the best kicker in fantasy football. When it comes to your draft, pay attention to little things like this. The Redskins defense should be in the top 10 this season, and quite possibly could slide into the top five. Their offseason moves improved a defense that ranked in the top 10 last year. I like the potential here.
14.10: Dominic Brown - Garrett Hartley (NO)
Kicking for New Orleans’ high powered offense should give Hartley lots of opportunities to become one of 2009’s most productive kickers. Not only does he have excellent accuracy, he’ll be kicking inside a dome for half the season.
TO VIEW THE RECAPS FOR ROUNDS 1 TO 10, PLEASE VISIT BRUNO BOYS FANTASY FOOTBALL.