Although training camp hasn’t begun quiet yet, it is never too early to start coming out with fantasy football Mock Drafts. So I figured, why not do my first Mock Draft? In this article I will discuss the top-10 players that should be off the board first, and why. I will also discuss players who are just outside the top-10 and why they shouldn’t be drafted higher.
First off, I am always for drafting the value of the player if the drop-off at the position is steep compared to the guy on the board. (For example if it were between Michael Turner or Gronkowski, I would take Gronk since he is that much better than any other TE, whereas Turner is good but you can get him or an equal RB later). The drop-off approach is vital when drafting in fantasy league, no matter what the sport.
As far as football goes, your main point getters (in standard scoring leagues) are your QBs and RBs (in the top-10 last season there were 8 QBs and 2 RBs). With that in mind, what will set your team apart from all the others is getting that playmaker at one of the other positions. For example, if you’re drafting in the first round, and Matt Ryan (7th overall QB last year with 265 points) and Calvin Johnson (#1 overall WR with 254 points) are on the board, the obvious choice is Megatron. The reason that choice is so obvious is because Johnson finished over 40 points better than the 2nd place WR (Jordy Nelson) and over 50 points better than the 3rd(Victor Cruz), whereas there are four QBs (Vick, Fitzpatrick, Rivers, and Sanchez) who finished last season within 50 points of Ryan.
Therefore, you take Johnson and get one of the QBs next, because the drop-off is more significant for the WRs. However, if there are higher-level guys still on the board, like Brady, Rodgers or McCoy, you would surely take them first. Nevertheless, let’s get into the top-10 in order.
1. Arian Foster– I am still somewhat traditional when it comes to drafting so I always like to select a RB first. Also, sticking with my drop-off mentality, there are only so few RBs worth taking early, therefore if you can get one you are set. As far as last season, Foster was the 4th overall RB, only 50 points behind leader Ray Rice. That is pretty impressive considering he missed three and a half games and had to share the load with Ben Tate. If he can stay healthy in the offseason, he is a shoe-in for the #1 pick.
2. LeSean McCoy– A major dual-threat with a breakout season last year, scoring 20 total touchdowns and piling up over 1,600 yards from scrimmage. He is a part of a high-powered offense where he plays a major role. Expect another huge season.
3. Ray Rice– After a somewhat pedestrian season in 2010, Rice came roaring back in 2011. He piled up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns. My only concern with him is that he IS the ENTIRE offense, and defenses will key-in on him. However, he is still that good, and should put up nice numbers.
4. Aaron Rodgers– I mean numbers speak for themselves. Two straight years he has lead standard-scoring fantasy leagues in points, and he did so last year despite sitting out week 17. He can throw, he can run, and he should be on your team. He is a fantasy stud.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew- He has done it all for Jacksonville, and finally he has received some help. After the Jags went out and got Blackmon and Robinson, Gabbert will finally have some people to throw to. What does that mean for MJD? It means an enormous amount of pressure will be taken off of him, but don’t confuse with him seeing the ball less. He can run and catch, and with defenses worrying about the two new receivers, MJD could put up huge numbers once more.
6. Tom Brady– 2nd most passing yards in a season with 5,235 last year, and that was done pretty much without a deep-threat. So the Patriots went out and got a deep-threat in Brandon Lloyd, and bulked up that putrid defense, thus making life a little easier for Tommy Terrific. Side note, not since 2001, when he took over at the beginning of the season, has Brady thrown for less than 24 TDs or 3,500 yards (of course not counting 2008 when he missed the season with an ACL tear). Expect nothing less than amazing from Brady this year.
7. Calvin Johnson- Like I said before, he was the #1 WR by over 40 points. His team’s running game will be better with Best getting healthy and Smith back there to help. Also, Stafford is healthy and throwing him the ball still.
All that adds up to another spectacular season for Johnson.
8. Mathew Stafford– I don’t know it is about him, I just love him, especially as a fantasy player. I have written in past articles, when he was healthy before he displayed glimpses of brilliance, and what did he do last year in his first year he was able to play more than 10 games? Oh just threw for the 4th most yards in a single season (5,030) and for 41 touchdowns. If he can remain healthy he can do some special things.
9. Marshawn Lynch– Call me crazy, but I think he has turned the corner in his career. Despite missing a game last year, he still managed career highs in both yards (1,204) and rushing touchdowns (12). With Matt Flynn likely behind center, the passing game should improve from their 22nd overall pass offense from a year ago. I expect another breakout year from Lynch, so do not sleep on him.
10. Andre Johnson- Aside from Calvin, he is the only other sure-thing at the WR position. In fact, he and Calvin are the only two worth going after so early. His numbers speak for themselves, and if he stays healthy this year he will continue his fantastic career.
Players who just missed the cut
- Drew Brees– No contract yet, lots of changes on and off the field just seem to be too much. Yet, he is arguably the best or one of the best QBs in the league and if anyone can overcome this, it’s him.
- Matt Forte-Talk about doing it all. Forte accounted for most of the Bear’s offense last season. With Cutler healthy and the arrival of Marshal, it seems Forte will get some help. However, he now has Michael Bush back there with him and it could cause him to lose some carries.
- Cam Newton– He displayed a season for the ages last year, and was a fantasy sleeper-gold mine. Yet, do not expect him to get another 14 rushing touchdowns again this year. I am also a bit superstitious and somewhat fear the sophomore slump. Yet, he is that good of an athlete (and QB) that he will continue to put up great numbers.
- Chris Johnson– He use to be a sure-thing #1 overall pick, put after the terrible start he got off to last year, many owners think he is done for. While I don’t think he is washed up, I do not foresee another 2,000 yards season. Yet, he is still CJ2K and he will surely have a better season than last year.
- Darren McFadden and Rob Gronkowski– Starting with McFadden, through 6 weeks last season, he was the #1 RB. However, injury kept him sidelined for the rest of the year, and that has seemed to be a trend with him. I am iffy on his ability to stay healthy, but if he can (with Bush now gone) his numbers will be great. Then there is Gronk. He is a defenses worse nightmare, with his size, strength and agility making him almost impossible to cover. He shattered TE records last year and already has 27 receiving TDs in his first two seasons. Two reasons I am not putting him in the top-10, 1. He is a TE and it’s tough to fathom putting him that high and 2. He still has to share time with Hernandez, and now Lloyd is there. Yet, do not expect a any drop-off as Gronk will be the first TE off the board.
Hope this helps, Mock Draft 2 will be coming out soon.