By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
July 14, 2017.
Mock Draft Settings:
12 teams, 1-point PPR Scoring, 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, WR/RB/TE, D/ST, K. Six-player Bench.
Using this mock draft simulator
, I set up a draft from the eight spot.
MY PICKS, ROUNDS 1-3:
Picking after the sixth spot can get a little hairy, and I don't mean "And The Hendersons," I'm talking about missing on the three elite running backs and wide receivers. For me, LeSean McCoy comes as close to the big three as anyone, and he's always going to be my go-to in the latter half of the first round.
For my second pick, I deliberated between Dez Bryant and Michael Thomas. I like both quite a bit and could see going either way and probably will at other times, but Bryant is the lone red-zone target for Dak Prescott, and as long as Bryant's healthy, he should grab double-digit touchdowns this year.
I've tried many different strategies for drafting tight ends so far in mocks and MFL10s, but catching Travis Kelce this early is out of my norm. The thing is, I'm not a big fan of Tyreek Hill and worry that he will be an inconsistent target down the field, which puts Chris Conley and Kelce as the top guys for Alex Smith to target past 10 yards, and we know Kelce is the more reliable of those two. Kelce's upside, even in a conservative offense, is huge this season, and unlike Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed, you won't worry about injuries as much.
BEST PICKS, ROUNDS 1-3:
The first round went very much by the book, but the second round had some value toward the back end with Michael Thomas, Jordy Nelson and Jay Ajayi. My favorite pick there is Ajayi, as the Dolphins showed without a doubt that running the ball was their go-to in the second half of last season. Limiting Ryan Tannehill and working to control the clock helped the team, which hasn't really changed all that much. Ajayi is going to get plenty of work and should see a few more targets. His health is the only risk, but getting a player who should reach 300 touches on the season late in the second round is nice.
The wide receivers in the third round are all solid and show me that my tight end pick there is going to make it tougher for me to put together a good corps of receivers. Sammy Watkins is my home-run swing this season, and I've been grabbing him whenever he falls. Late in the third round here is fine with me, and yes, his injury history is concerning, but I've seen enough from him to take my chances.
WORST PICKS, ROUNDS 1-3:
The beginning of Round 2 was not pretty. Marshawn Lynch and Leonard Fournette should not be going early in the second round. Of the two, I prefer Lynch because the Raiders' offense should set him up for touchdowns, but I need a back here who is going to catch more passes, especially in a PPR league. Fournette is just on a bad team and will have trouble accumulating any easy touchdowns. I like his ability, but you have to wonder how many red-zone opportunities they'll have.
Brandin Cooks scares me this season. He's a very good player, and if we could ink him in for 150 targets, I'd grab him in the third round every time, but we can't. If all the Patriots' receivers, tight ends and running backs stay healthy, Cooks, even if he's up near the top of the team in targets, won't get close to the opportunities we'd like for a top draft pick.
MY PICKS, ROUNDS 4-6:
I'm a bit higher than others on Golden Tate this season. Anquan Boldin is out of the picture, and Tate has been consistent, never seeing fewer than 128 targets in a season while with Detroit. I probably could have waited on Tate, so I'm not 100 percent happy with getting him this early, but maybe I'll learn from this and target him a bit later moving forward.
Mark Ingram looks like the odd man out with Alvin Kamara and Adrian Peterson coming to town, but in reality, he is still the starter and should see a similar workload to last season when he finished as the eighth-best fantasy back on just 209 carries and 46 receptions. Peterson should take over Tim Hightower's role as a short-yardage, between-the-tackles back, while Ingram, who has shown his versatility as a receiver, will still see targets as well as early down work.
Eric Decker is a touchdown machine, and Marcus Mariota is at his best in the red zone. I see these two making sweet, sweet touchdown love each week.
BEST PICKS, ROUNDS 4-6:
I'm pretty high on Joe Mixon, as I think his upside this season is top 10, but of course, the job isn't going to just be handed to him. But that's where we can get a bit of a deal on him if we believe he's going to break out. Late in the fourth round is a good enough deal for me.
Since I often go with wide receivers early, I have to find running backs who I think can outdistance their ADPs, and Ty Montgomery is one of those players. His biggest obstacle right now is his pass blocking, which is what he's been focusing on this offseason. In that offense, he has tremendous upside.
I almost went with Donte Moncrief over Eric Decker, and at this moment I'd probably trade that pick if I could. I think Decker is safer, but Moncrief has the higher upside, and that's usually where I aim my pick arrow.
WORST PICKS, ROUNDS 4-6:
I want to believe in Jimmy Graham, but I don't think the Seahawks are on board with me. Last season, he didn't top 100 targets despite the Seahawks throwing more than they have at any time with Russell Wilson at the helm. This year, Seattle wants to run the ball more and should with Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. Graham has the ability still, but just isn't going to get enough work.
DeVante Parker is another player who I worry about getting enough targets to live up to his ceiling. I like his touchdown upside this season, but I also see the Dolphins slowing down the game, like Dallas perhaps, but unlike Dallas, the Dolphins have two top receivers who will see targets spread out.
MY PICKS, ROUNDS 7-9:
The Seahawks paid Eddie Lacy as if he'd be their starter and gave him some easy benchmarks and cash to keep his weight under control. All signs point to him winning the lead job, and when he's healthy, he is a beast.
Danny Woodhead is a PPR cheat code, and even when Kenneth Dixon returns, he should still be a major part of the receiving game.
Yes, this was too early for Marvin Jones, but one thing I've noticed is that wide receivers are hard to come by as far as depth goes. I wanted to draft Paul Perkins there, but I knew the few wide receivers I wanted would likely get gobbled up just because there aren't enough of them. And I do like Jones. He started off hot last season and then completely disappeared. He has the ability, and I expect more consistency this season.
BEST PICKS, ROUNDS 7-9:
Cam Meredith is someone who should see a ton of targets this season and has shown that he can put good numbers up when he's getting those targets. The Bears will want to run the ball with Jordan Howard, but their defense will likely push them to pass more in the second half of games, like last season. Meredith's ADP is all over the place, and you can probably get him later than the seventh round, so it might not be the BEST pick, but he's got a lot of potential this season for fantasy.
WORST PICKS, ROUNDS 7-9:
Corey Davis is going to have trouble getting enough targets to live up to his current ADP. The Titans will continue to run the ball with two workhorse-type backs, and they acquired Eric Decker to go along with Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker. I like Davis' talent and expect him to be a good fantasy player, but this season just isn't set up for him.
MY PICKS, ROUNDS 10-12:
Adam Thielen isn't going to blow anybody's socks off, but he's shown that he's worthy of his starting job and can put up big games. I like the Vikings' schedule this season for their passing game, and Thielen makes for a nice late-round player who you can count on instead of just hoping he can hit his upside.
I feel great about Philip Rivers' chances to put up big numbers this season. He's been extremely durable, but many key players around him haven't been. I'm hoping this is the year the Chargers can fend off the injury bug and give him a supporting cast who can help push him up in the fantasy rankings.
Ted Ginn's ability suits the New Orleans Saints, and I expect some big games out of him in the dome. Of course, those big games will likely be followed by multiple down games, but his upside in this offense is good, and in round 12, I'll take it.
BEST PICKS, ROUNDS 10-12:
James White is my favorite receiving back to target this season, and I probably should have grabbed him instead of Thielen. He has the receiving running back position locked up in New England, and that is a prime spot for fantasy.
Austin Hooper is another player I've been targeting late in drafts when I miss out on a top tight end. He'll be the starter for the Falcons this season, which should give him plenty of red-zone targets.
WORST PICKS, ROUNDS 10-12:
Matt Forte this late is okay, but I see Bilal Powell beating him out for the lead back position. I'm all about getting some old-man value, but Forte looked like he was running out of gas last season. I could be wrong, but I'm grabbing Powell in a lot of leagues this year.
MY PICKS, ROUNDS 13-16:
Zay Jones should be able to win a starting job in Buffalo, and with Sammy Watkins' injury history, Jones could easily be vaulted into the No. 1 receiver spot. I'll take my chances with him this late.
I've been grabbing James Conner when I get a chance this season because of DeAngelo Williams. Williams was a great running back in his prime, but these last two years in Pittsburgh, he was just good, but just good was plenty in the Steelers' offense as he piled up touchdowns and fantasy points when Le'Veon Bell was out. I don't expect Bell to get hurt, but it happens, and Conner has the biggest gap between his ADP and upside of any player in the league.
BEST PICKS, ROUNDS 13-16:
You can't go wrong with Jamaal Charles as a flier in any league. Even if his chances of getting back to his old self are five percent, you need him on your team if you can get him that cheap.
WORST PICKS, ROUNDS 13-16:
This late in drafts you really can't go wrong unless you auto-draft three kickers in a row.
Overall, I don't love my team. I like the players on my team, but I made some mistakes in the draft, and this could be a stronger squad, but thankfully that is why we do these mock drafts in the first place. If you believe that you "won" every mock draft you participated in, then you probably didn't learn much. With so many wide receiver positions, I overcompensated and drafted too many while skipping higher-upside running backs. Needing to start only two running backs makes this team completely viable, but it also means I really need those backs to hit and stay healthy.
I also learned that I probably want the No. 5 spot to draft from, but I'm still working on figuring that one out. I'll mock draft probably around 50 more times, and by then, I might not have the best strategy to win all my leagues, but I'll have the best strategy to get the players and value I want.
Just a heads up that we have 2017 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts with Walter every Wednesday afternoon or evening. Check out the forum or follow Walter on Twitter to find out when the next mock draft will be. Also, check out our Fantasy Football Rankings
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