Adam Levitan

Mock Draft

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Industry Draft Analysis

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's final exam time. With the third week of the preseason nearly in the books, evaluations of talent, role and scheme should be finalized. Now, we draft.

The following is an analysis of a 12-team, non-PPR (point per reception) industry draft. It began on August 22 and is still in progress. The goal here is to see how late-breaking news and trends have affected player values as we near the end of the preseason.

1.01 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN - Rotowire
1.02 Arian Foster, RB, HOU - Fleaflicker
1.03 Ray Rice, RB, BAL - Bruno Boys
1.04 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHL - Fantasy Knuckleheads
1.05 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC - Draft Sharks
1.06 Chris Johnson, RB, TEN - Rotoworld
1.07 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET - Fantasy Football Xtreme
1.08 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT - KFFL
1.09 Michael Vick, QB, PHL - The Huddle
1.10 Darren McFadden, RB, OAK - Fantasy Sharks
1.11 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC - Yahoo
1.12 Frank Gore, RB, SF - Fantasy Pros 911

NOTES: The Chris Johnson holdout has owners in a panic. A surefire top-3 pick a couple weeks ago, I wasn't going to let him slip past No. 6. Even if the holdout costs him a game or two and he's sluggish in another, I want him for the end of the year. I'm confident I'll be in the mix at winning time. ... The Ray Rice pick is not as crazy at it seems. He is a three-down back that is getting goal-line work in the preseason and has Vonta Leach as his fullback. ... LeSean McCoy this high in a non-PPR is strange. Rule No. 1: Know your scoring system. ... Maurice Jones-Drew has not played in a preseason game yet, but has not had a setback. He's still a major risk, but someone seems likely to take the bait in the first round now. ... This round was held before Arian Foster's hamstring aggravation. He is now a major risk, but the upside is still too great for me to pass.

Editor's Note: Now you can bring Rotoworld with you to your draft on your iPhone or iPad. The 2011 Draft Guide app is up and running with rankings, player outlooks, depth charts, projections and more!

2.01 Michael Turner, RB, ATL - Fantasy Pros 911
2.02 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARZ - Yahoo
2.03 Andre Johnson, WR, HOU - Fantasy Sharks
2.04 Vincent Jackson, WR, SD - The Huddle
2.05 Roddy White, WR, ATL - KFFL
2.06 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB - Fantasy Football Xtreme
2.07 Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG - Rotoworld
2.08 Miles Austin, WR, DAL - Draft Sharks
2.09 Greg Jennings, WR, GB - Fantasy Knuckleheads
2.10 Matt Forte, RB, CHI - Bruno Boys
2.11 Drew Brees, QB, NO - Fleaflicker
2.12 Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC - Rotowire

NOTES: With all the questions at running back in the secondary tier, it's not surprising that the second round is turning into a wide receiver run. Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald are gaining major preseason buzz and are very strong picks -- not reaches -- here. ... We are always preaching not to draft off last year's stats. Taking Greg Jennings and Dwayne Bowe this early is a case of owners doing just that. Jermichael Finley is back and hogging targets in Green Bay while Matt Cassel has looked mediocre in limited preseason action. ... Note that Matt Ryan attempted 42 passes in the first half of the third exhibition game. Good news for Roddy White. Meanwhile, Michael Turner is averaging 3.0 yards-per-carry in the preseason. Giant red flags everywhere for artist formerly known as "The Burner."

3.01 Mike Williams, WR, TB
3.02 Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
3.03 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
3.04 Tom Brady, QB, NE
3.05 Tony Romo, QB, DAL
3.06 Steven Jackson, RB, STL
3.07 Peyton Hillis, RB, CLE
3.08 Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ
3.09 Jahvid Best, RB, DET
3.10 Philip Rivers, QB, SD
3.11 Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
3.12 Wes Welker, WR, NE

NOTES: In a non-PPR format, it is hard to justify Mike Williams over Mike Wallace. Or Dwayne Bowe over Mike Wallace, for that matter. ... We see Reggie Wayne drop here, at least partially due to Peyton Manning's injury. It's good value, but with Wayne losing a step and becoming more of a possession receiver, I'm still avoiding him in non-PPR. ... In a standard 12-team league, waiting on a quarterback after the first two come off the board is fine. There is much more of a premium on receivers and backs in the third and fourth rounds. ... Brandon Jackson's turf toe could potentially be big news for Peyton Hillis. He has proven himself as a very good receiver out of the backfield and will now be playing on all third downs. ... We see here how much buzz Dez Bryant is getting. The hype has reached astronomical levels -- and it's warranted.

4.01 DeSean Jackson, WR, PHL
4.02 Felix Jones, RB, DAL
4.03 Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
4.04 LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB
4.05 Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL
4.06 Mark Ingram, RB, NO
4.07 Antonio Gates, TE, SD
4.08 Brandon Marshall, WR, MIA
4.09 Joseph Addai, RB, IND
4.10 Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ
4.11 Reggie Bush, RB, MIA
4.12 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG

NOTES: Felix Jones has been perhaps the most impressive player in the entire league over the last month. Now locked into a three-down role, the fourth round looks like a steal. ... Ryan Mathews' up-and-down camp hasn't scared off everyone. But it's hard to see his talent shining through barring a Mike Tolbert injury. ... The LeGarrette Blount luster has worn off quickly. He had a second-round ADP just a few weeks ago. ... Antonio Gates has proven that he is over his plantar fasciitis by participating in all but one practice over the last two weeks. His ADP should be rising. ... Mark Ingram is another riser thanks to an impressive rookie camp. It's looking like he will split work with Pierre Thomas, but is a lock for the majority of red-zone carries. ... We can see here how hot Reggie Bush has become, even in non-PPR formats. This is really high for a guy that has never proven he can handle a major workload or run between the tackles. ... Ahmad Bradshaw is rightfully sinking as Brandon Jacobs continues to impress.

5.01 Brandon Lloyd, WR, DEN
5.02 Knowshon Moreno, RB, DEN
5.03 Peyton Manning, QB, IND
5.04 Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
5.05 DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
5.06 Mario Manningham, WR, NYG
5.07 Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
5.08 Steve Johnson, WR, BUF
5.09 Dallas Clark, TE, IND
5.10 Marques Colston, WR, NO
5.11 Ryan Grant, RB, GB
5.12 Beanie Wells, RB, ARZ

NOTES: The fallout from the Peyton Manning injury strikes. It's possible that even when Peyton gets back, he will have some weakness in his arm to work out. There is still risk, even in Round 5. ... As mentioned earlier, Jermichael Finley looked nothing short of excellent in the third preseason game. He is ready to go. ... Those following the Ryan Grant saga closely probably would have let him sink much further. We found out last week that he has accepted a paycut and has looked sluggish at camp. ... Marques Colston is back practicing but those knee woes remain a red flag to observers. ... I am a little surprised Beanie Wells did not go higher considering this is non-PPR and the draft was after Ryan Williams' season-ending injury.

Editor's Note: For constantly updating rankings, projections, exclusive columns, ADP reports, sleepers, busts and much more, check out the 2011 Draft Guide!

6.01 Jason Witten, TE, DAL
6.02 Chad Ochocinco, WR, NE
6.03 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
6.04 Lance Moore, WR, NO
6.05 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
6.06 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
6.07 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
6.08 Vernon Davis, TE, SF
6.09 Owen Daniels, TE, HOU
6.10 Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHL
6.11 Cedric Benson, RB, CIN
6.12 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO

NOTES: Kenny Britt is not going to be suspended. Tremendous value here for the mega-talent. ... The cat is out of the bag on Lance Moore, apparently. Was stunned to see him go this high, but I get it. ... Matthew Stafford's preseason numbers: 24-of-31. 356 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions. I want him on all my teams. ... Jeremy Maclin is a major risk/reward pick given his mysterious condition. This isn't like recovering from an ankle sprain, where we know a timetable. ... I know Cedric Benson is a bell cow and it's late, but I could never bring myself to draft him. There's just no chance of a bounceback in that offense.

7.01 Matt Schaub, QB, HOU
7.02 Julio Jones, WR, ATL
7.03 Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
7.04 Austin Collie, WR, IND
7.05 Tim Hightower, RB, WAS
7.06 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE
7.07 Santana Moss, WR, WAS
7.08 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
7.09 Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG
7.10 Sidney Rice, WR, SEA
7.11 Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
7.12 Pierre Garcon, WR, IND

NOTES: Aside from Mark Ingram, Julio Jones is clearly the fastest-rising rookie. Showing unique athletic skills throughout the preseason, Jones figures to take a whole bunch of targets away from Roddy White. ... As mentioned earlier, Daniel Thomas' disastrous rookie training camp must be noted. This even feels high for a guy his own team does not appear to trust. ... Tim Hightower has won the starting job and is looking at a three-down role. He's a steal this late in a Mike Shanahan rushing attack. ... Matt Ryan has major upside as the Falcons are showing a commitment to spreading the field more this year. As metioned earlier, he attempted 42 passes in the first half on Saturday night. ... Brandon Jacobs looks like his old self in the preseason. It's possible that he got so overrated he became underrated.

8.01 Eli Manning, QB, NYG
8.02 Mike Tolbert, RB, SD
8.03 Josh Freeman, QB, TB
8.04 Mike Sims-Walker, WR, STL
8.05 Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
8.06 Sam Bradford, QB, STL
8.07 Mike Thomas, WR, JAC
8.08 Robert Meachem, WR, NO
8.09 Danny Amendola, WR, STL
8.10 Steve Smith, WR, CAR

NOTES: Mike Sims-Walker's usage in the preseason is getting interesting. He lined up in most two-wide sets with the starters in the third exhibition game and is more talented than starter Brandon Gibson. ... Mike Tolbert is looking at most goal-line and third-down work based on preseason action. But he goes four rounds after Ryan Mathews. ... The Jags did nothing to upgrade their receiving corps this month. Mike Thomas is still a value here as their No. 1 wideout. ... We see how much people like us hyping Robert Meachem has affected his ADP. Even though I love him as a flier, he would need a Marques Colston injury to be worth a pick this high. ... Danny Amendola has not been playing very much outside of three-wide sets. Since this isn't a PPR league, it's a reach.

Editor's Note: This is a "slow" draft is still ongoing. Once it's wrapped, an analysis of the final eight rounds will appear in the Draft Guide.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan

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