Monday, June 4, 2012

Confessions of a Mockaholic


Yesterday I participated in not one, but two partially simultaneous mock drafts. In the mock draft hosted by the friendly guys at GridironExperts.com (G.E) I selected first overall, and in the dreaded sixth spot in the other for RotoWire’s (RW) “Mock Draft Monday.” The results of which were eerily similar.

Round 1:
G.E Draft: (1.01) Arian Foster
RW Draft: (1.06) Maurice Jones-Drew
Can’t complain with getting either player, especially MJD with the sixth overall pick. It was the first time I have seen him go outside of the top-4. Guys in the RW draft room had concerns with the mileage on MJD’s tires plus the inferior offense in Jacksonville. Can’t say I can refute either claim, but the value at 1.06 was too much to pass up.

Round 2:
G.E. Draft: (2.12): Darren Sproles
RW Draft: (2.07): Rob Gronkowski
Two names that you never have seen in these spots going into last season. Given that both drafts were PPR formatted, that elevated the value of both guys for me, especially Sproles. Sproles, after Brees, was the MVP of the Saints last season, and that should not change going forward. I have mentioned before that I thought Rob Gronkowski was the MVP of fantasy football last season . Gronkowski was far and away the best tight end last season and even though he is unlikely to repeat his output from last season, he still would have been the fourth best tight end scorer last year if you took away ALL of his TDs last year. Still pretty darn good.

Round 3:
G.E. Draft: (3.01): Brandon Marshall
RW Draft (3.06): Jamaal Charles
So after three rounds in both drafts, I have drafted two PPR gold mines at RB and one solid receiving option that should load up on both receptions and yards and possibly touchdowns. Brandon Marshall’s upside, in particular, is limitless now that he once again has a legitimate quarterback throwing him the ball. Jamaal Charles is a little bit more of a risk coming back from major knee surgery, but will not be asked to carry too much of the load with Peyton Hillis backing him up. Charles has proven that he can be a dynamite player in a two-back system given his past success with Thomas Jones two seasons ago.

Round 4:
G.E. Draft (4.12): Antonio Brown
RW Draft (4.07): Fred Jackson
The trend continues that I continue to target skill players as opposed to a possible QB. In one-quarterback leagues, it is not imperative to draft an elite quarterback. The second tier quarterbacks offer just as good of a value a few rounds later while the skill position players do not. This is evident in the fact that my choices at WR in the fourth round of the GridironExperts draft were DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Percy Harvin so I ultimately had to take Antonio Brown as my WR2, which is decent but not tremendous value. However, nabbing Fred Jackson as my flex/RB3 in the RW draft was a steal. He was on a torrid pace in Buffalo prior to getting injured and could easily skyrocket up draft boards with a good offseason.

Round 5:
G.E. Draft (5.01): Doug Martin
RW Draft (5.06): Antonio Brown
This round proved further to me that it is much more imperative to get as many skill position players early in drafts as opposed to quarterbacks given that Antonio Brown was my WR1 in the RW draft because I waited until the fifth round to take a WR (Gronkowski is my WR1 in reality but he is TE eligible for bonus value). I learned, however, that in 3 WR leagues it is not a good idea to skip on WR in the first four rounds because the talent pool gets thin quickly. In the G.E. draft, I got good value on Doug Martin as my RB3/flex player. Yes, I know he may not be the starting back at the beginning of the season, but by the fantasy playoffs, he will be the every down back in Tampa Bay. His ability to catch and block as well as run will serve him well in the NFL. I have him ranked higher than Trent Richardson this season because of Tampa Bay’s easier schedule compared to Cleveland’s, especially the in-division defenses. Yes, there is a comments section below and I will defend this point there.

Round 6:
G.E. Draft: (6.12): Jay Cutler
RW Draft: (6.07): Philip Rivers
See what I mean by eerily similar? Round six was quarterback time and Cutler and Rivers have unique opportunities to prove their critics wrong this year. A typical strategy for me heading into any draft is to draft at least one receiver from the same team as my QB to get the 10-pt TD special whenever, in this case, when Cutler throws a TD pass to Brandon Marshall in the G.E. league. When you look at that duo playing against you in a head-to-head week, it has to make you at least a little nervous. If there is a QB/WR or TE combination you like going into a given year, do not be afraid to target both.

Round 7:
G.E. Draft (7.01): Robert Meachem
RW Draft: (7.06): Pierre Garcon
I hated myself for drafting Garcon, but the more I look back on the Garcon pick I start to like it more and more. I can see Garcon having a similar kinship to Robert Griffin III that former Baylor teammate Kendall Wright did. Both have good speed and so-so route running ability, but both can adjust their routes well if the quarterback is in trouble/running. With Meachem, this is a boom or bust pick because I am banking on him being Rivers’ #1 target in San Diego. Meachem was a big-play receiver in New Orleans and should continue that ability in San Diego.

Round 8:
G.E. Draft (8.12): Denarius Moore
RW Draft: (8.07): Robert Meachem
An AFC West special. In the RW draft, I got my QB/WR combo with Rivers/Meachem (told you, eerily similar drafts). Denarius Moore emerged as a potential threat in Oakland with Carson Palmer. The Palmer/Moore combination could be the most underrated QB/WR combination in fantasy football next season. Oakland has talent (as a Chargers fan that makes me cringe to type that), but has always somehow shot itself in the foot with bad trades/drafts. Now under new management, it looks like Oakland may make a resurgence in what is an improving division overall with Denver getting Peyton Manning, Kansas City getting its injured players back. The only team that did not get noticeably better was the Chargers who still have not fired Norv Turner and have opted to get different results with the same process/pieces. I think there’s a word for that: insanity.

Round 9:
G.E. Draft (9.01): Josh Freeman
RW Draft (9.06): Robert Griffin III
Round six was QB1 time and round 9 was QB2 time. Overall, I don’t think I could complain with the QB tandems of Cutler/Freeman and Rivers/RG3. Both tandems have question marks, but also have the ability to knock it out of the park.

Round 10:
G.E. Draft (10.12): Jacob Tamme
RO Draft (10.07): Randy Moss
Talk about upside. Tamme could emerge as the TE who showed some promise when playing with Peyton Manning. Wait, he’s playing with him again? BONUS. Randy Moss does not have one of the world’s best QB throwing to him like Tamme does, but still possesses tremendous value in the tenth round. Quick, name a cornerback who could cover Moss one-on-one all game? Yeah, I couldn’t either.

The Best from the Rest:
G.E. Draft (11.01): Rashard Mendenhall
RW Draft (12.07): Rashard Mendenhall
First round talent in the 11th or 12th round? Yes, please. Even if he effectively misses half the season (early reports sound good for Mendenhall), grabbing him late in drafts and stashing him away until the bye weeks is a solid strategy. The other guy I targeted in both drafts but missed on in the double-digit rounds was Michael Floyd. Floyd will easily outperform Justin Blackmon this season and yet is being drafted later. It boggles my mind.

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