Fantasy Football 2019: Examining Expert Mock Drafts After Preseason Week 1

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Michael Owens)
Michael Owens/Associated Press

Everybody, we made it.

The summer drought of action was washed away over the past week-plus by the welcome rains of the NFL's first preseason week.

Football things are finally happening. The Daniel Jones hype train has left the station. Patrick Mahomes is incredible, even if limited to seven-play samples. Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi is the best story in sports.

In the real world, this is the appetizer to the upcoming football feast. But in the fantasy realm, it's a reminder of how close we are to crunch time. At most, you might have a couple more preparatory weeks before your league starts the official selection process.

It's imperative to absorb as much information as you can before then. Luckily, you're in the right place, as we'll examine three expert mock drafts below.


CBS Sports 14-Team PPR Mock

The CBS Sports crew recently threw together a 14-team mock draft in a points-per-reception league where all touchdowns are six points and one-point bonuses are awarded for every 10 yards rushing or receiving and every 25 yards passing.

Podcast host Adam Aizer landed the first selection, and his picks went as follows:

Round 1 (Pick 1): Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Round 2 (Pick 28): T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Round 3 (Pick 29): Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

Round 4 (Pick 56): James White, RB, New England Patriots

Round 5 (Pick 57): Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Round 6 (Pick 84): Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions

Round 7 (Pick 85): Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts

Round 8 (Pick 112): LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

Round 9 (Pick 113): Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

Round 10 (Pick 140): DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Round 11 (Pick 141): Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

Round 12 (Pick 168): Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers

Round 13 (Pick 169): Mike Davis, RB, Chicago Bears

Round 14 (Pick 196): Danny Amendola, WR, Detroit Lions

Round 15 (Pick 197): Buffalo Bills D/ST

Round 16 (Pick 224): Greg Joseph, K, Cleveland Browns

This group looks good on paper. Not every player is necessarily a favorite, but the ones with question marks (regression facing Eric Ebron, LeSean McCoy perhaps trudging through his decline) seemingly had them baked into their price points. The Singletary and Metcalf picks could be home runs, and don't be shocked if Tevin Coleman paces all San Francisco running backs in touches.

By the way, it's almost impossible to wait too long on a quarterback. Aizer didn't address the position until the 11th round and still landed a 24-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler who passed for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns just last season.


ESPN 10-Team, 2-Quarterback PPR Mock

While the two-quarterback format might not be every league's choice, this is a recent ESPN mock draft and therefore shows its most up-to-date opinions on the players.

If this is your preferred format, the mock has plenty of useful information—most importantly, ignore all the advice about waiting on a passer. That applies to every other format but this.

While other leagues might not see any quarterbacks taken until the fifth round, this had 11 among the top 50 picks:

Round 1 (Pick 3): Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Round 3 (Pick 22): Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Round 4 (Pick 31): Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Round 4 (Pick 35): Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Round 4 (Pick 36): Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Round 4 (Pick 37): Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Round 4 (Pick 40): Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Round 5 (Pick 42): Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Round 5 (Pick 47): Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Round 5 (Pick 48): Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Round 5 (Pick 49): Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Can Patrick Mahomes throw for 5,000 yards and 50 scores again? Maybe not, but the fact you must give serious consideration to the question means he's valuable enough in two-quarterback leagues to justify a first-round pick.

This is lower than Andrew Luck's average draft position—third among quarterbacks, per Fantasy Football Calculator—that perhaps reflects some of his more recent injury concerns. He can't shake a nagging calf strain, and while it's not expected to impact his regular-season availability, this is still a multiple-month ailment for an oft-injured player.

Oh, and no matter your format, if you want Baker Mayfield, be prepared to pay a premium. He's not only the fifth passer in this draft, but he's been the fifth quarterback on average overall.


NFL.com 12-Team PPR Mock

This is the oldest of the three mocks, as the NFL.com crew teamed up with other fantasy experts for this 12-team mock in early July. While some player values have surely shifted since then, the top of most draft boards probably haven't budged much.

With that in mind, here's a glance at the first 12 picks:

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

4. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

5. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

6. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

7. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

9. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

10. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

11. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

12. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

While Ezekiel Elliott's contract holdout has made his selection look like even more of a reach, it would be aggressive in this format without it. He's usually the fourth player off the board in 10-team PPR leagues, as he's not the same caliber of receiving threat as Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey.

Speaking of the Panthers back, anyone should be giddy to get him at No. 4. He totaled 1,965 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and he could be even more involved.

"We want the ball in Christian's hands," Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters in late July. "When he's on the field, there's no reason for him to be a decoy or swing guy."

As for the rest of the round, the one player who looks significantly out of place is Melvin Gordon. He's stuck in a tricky holdout situation, and it's rapidly pushing him down mock draft boards. His average draft position is just 27th, which makes him only the 14th running back taken.