It’s crazy to think about doing mock drafts right now. Still, it is important to understand fluctuations in the market and how people are drafting and use it to your advantage. While I do not advocate for joining leagues this early in the year, I know it is going to be done. Hopefully, this will help give some guidance to you in your process to creating winning lineups in your season long football leagues.
QUARTERBACK: There were two quarterbacks I considered here: Tom Brady and Carson Palmer. I know Brady is suspended for four games, and we did this dance last year. It causes a top tier QB to fall far lower than he needs to go. I chose Brady over Palmer mostly for the consistency. This team will be contending again, and in order to do so, they will do it by scoring. He should challenge for top 5 in passing touchdowns and yards. As a backup, and to play the first four weeks, I chose Ryan Tannehill, who I believe should be able to finally spread his wings in Adam Gase’s offense, behind a much better offensive line that includes Laremy Tunsil.
RUNNING BACKS: If you have read any of my articles, you’d know that I don’t like taking running backs early, and this draft was no different. I didn’t take a running back until the sixth round when I took Ryan Mathews. Mathews is going much later than I think he should, considering he is likely to be the main focus of the running game this year. I know we’ve heard that before about Eagles backs, but, in the middle of May, this appears to be the case. I know a lot of people are off Melvin Gordon after both a down rookie year and microfracture surgery, and that’s fine. I expect his draft stock to fall more and more headed into the summer months. I’ll gladly run him out behind what looks to be a better offensive line. The talent is there, and I’m banking on the production being there as well. Hue Jackson seems to really like Duke Johnson, and I think he’ll be used more than Crowell out of the backfield. Paul Perkins is in a bad situation in New York, but I think he has the talent to end up with meaningful production by the middle of the season. The bottom line: most of my backs will come off the waiver wire, so even though this unit looks weak, it will be fine as I dink and dunk through the wire during the season.
WIDE RECIEVERS: I always focus the majority of my first 8 picks on wide receivers. They tend to be the most consistent, and in season long leagues, that is what you are looking for. I started my team with three receivers I felt had a good chance at both a high number of receptions and touchdowns [in order]: Odell Beckham Jr., Alshon Jeffery and Mike Evans. There are certainly ups and downs to all three, but I am very satisfied with those picks. I imagine as the season moves closer, it will not be possible to get all three in a twelve team league. I then grabbed up Donte Moncrief, who I believe will have the year we thought he was going to have last year. A healthy Andrew Luck should help him in that area. The steal of the draft could end up being Steve Smith, if he is able to return to his form from last year. I will gladly take the risk at this point in the draft. Finally, I took Corey Coleman, who looks to be the Browns top receiver, and plays some really bad pass defenses right away.
TIGHT END: My strategy with tight end was going to be grab one of the better ones early, or wait and grab someone who I think could be a good value. In this case, in round four, I took Jordan Reed. He projects to be a top 3-5 tight end based on previous year’s production WHEN HEALTHY. That is the kicker right there. He has an injury history, but I don’t really draft based on that. I was very happy with this pick. Since I drafted him this high, I will not carry another tight end on my roster. If he was more of a speculative pick, I probably would have grabbed two.
DEFENSE: I always wait until the end to draft both defenses and kickers, as I stream both. I took the Jaguars here because they have done a lot to improve on defense in the offseason. They will likely go somewhat under the radar because of the past 20 seasons of poor defenses, but I think they could have turned a corner.
KICKER: I think the Packers should be a high scoring offense in 2016, so it makes a lot of sense to grab Crosby. He was available with the final pick, so here he is. Often times, I will not draft a kicker, and take another positional player, waiting until the first week to drop one of them and pick up a kicker.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Antonio Brown went fourth. I don’t care what format you are in, Brown should be the #1 pick. Ezekiel Elliot is on average fifth, but was selected 8th here. Honestly, why are we taking rookies in the top ten? If you are taking Elliot in the top ten, please invite me to your league. I was really hoping Aaron Rodgers was going to slide in drafts, but he was the second QB taken in this draft, at the end of the second round. I thought maybe last season would have cause him to slide another round but no dice. Overall, there wasn’t a lot that I disagreed with, other than folks drafting defenses early. This is fairly typically. Also, at 3PM on a Tuesday, it is tough to find a mock draft with no automated spots.