Adam Levitan

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Midseason Mock

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


With the midseason point of fantasy seasons now in the rearview mirror, it’s time to stop living in the past. We don’t get any points for what our players did in Weeks 1 through 8, and we certainly don‘t care what they did in 2010; all that matters now is what they will do going forward.

With that sentiment in mind, the Rotoworld Staff gathered Tuesday for a Midseason Mock Draft. The idea was simple: If you were drafting today, just for Weeks 9-16, who would you take? This is also the concept behind the top-200 list (updated by Chris Wesseling in the Season Pass every Wednesday at Noon ET).

The rules for this draft were as follows: 10 teams, half-PPR, eight starting spots (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, FLEX, TE). Again, stats from Week 1-8 do not count -- we’re only looking ahead here.

The results:

ROUND ONE
1.01: Arian Foster, RB, Texans (Adam Levitan)
1.02: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings (Chris Wesseling)
1.03: LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles (Patrick Daugherty)
1.04: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers (Aaron Bruski)
1.05: Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders (Matt Stroup)
1.06: Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions (Evan Silva)
1.07: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)
1.08: Fred Jackson, RB, Bills (Josh Palgon)
1.09: Matt Forte, RB, Bears (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)
1.10: Michael Vick, QB, Eagles (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)

NOTES: The elite of the elite has remained pretty constant with what we thought coming in. Of these 10 guys, nine were consensus top-16 picks before the season started. … The only pick here that might raise some eyebrows is Michael Vick since he’s currently the No. 6 overall quarterback. But with all of his weapons healthy, the bye week gone and the offensive line rapidly improving, the sky is the limit. He hasn’t even run for a touchdown yet. … Fred Jackson is not a “sell high” candidate. His MVP-caliber campaign is for real.

ROUND TWO
2.01: Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)
2.02: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)
2.03: Frank Gore, RB, 49ers (Josh Palgon)
2.04: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars (Rotoworld top-200 default pick)
2.05: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (Evan Silva)
2.06: Drew Brees, QB, Saints (Matt Stroup)
2.07: Wes Welker, WR, Patriots (Aaron Bruski)
2.08: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (Patrick Daugherty)
2.09: Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers (Chris Wesseling)
2.10: Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants (Adam Levitan)

NOTES: Here we have the season’s fantasy MVP, Cam Newton. He’s the No. 1 overall quarterback and it’s certainly not a fluke. If he outscores Aaron Rodgers or Michel Vick the rest of the way, it wouldn’t be a surprise. … Minor health concerns surrounding Ryan Mathews and Hakeem Nicks likely caused them to slip. Both are really special talents. … The biggest surprise of the round is Ben Roethlisberger. Here is Patrick Daugherty on his pick: ‘Why Roethlisberger over Stafford? How about three legitimate deep threats and nearly across the board better numbers (save for raw touchdowns)? Only a particularly brutal early winter in Pittsburgh  will slow down Big Ben.’ … Wes Welker and Tom Brady have gone a little cold the last two weeks, but their Week 13-16 schedule looks like this: Colts, Redskins, Broncos, Dolphins.

ROUND THREE
3.01: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
3.02: Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
3.03: Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
3.04: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
3.05: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
3.06: Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
3.07: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
3.08: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
3.09: Roddy White, WR, Falcons
3.10: Michael Turner, RB, Falcons

NOTES: Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals can’t be happy with their new franchise quarterback, Kevin Kolb. Still, there’s plenty of room for a big second half thanks to plus-weather conditions, two matchups with the Rams and the likelihood of big deficits in other matchups. … Jimmy Graham is the first tight end off the board and rightfully so. He’s unguardable. … Matthew Stafford was available in Round 7 or 8 of most preseason drafts. We knew that was a steal. … If we knew Cam Newton was going to be this good, Steve Smith would have gone in this range before the season. Smith still has remarkable “go get it” ability. … Roddy White never really looked healthy in the first half of the year and Matt Ryan has plenty of room to take a leap forward. There’s room to grow here as the Falcons come out of their bye.

ROUND FOUR
4.01: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles
4.02: DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
4.03: Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
4.04: Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
4.05: Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
4.06: Marques Colston, WR, Saints
4.07: Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
4.08: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
4.09: Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
4.10: Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns

NOTES: Yes, Jeremy Maclin is a better pick than DeSean Jackson. In D-Jax’s last 16 games, he’s been held to 50 or fewer yards eight times. We can’t have that in the fantasy playoffs. … Andre Johnson would have gone in Round 1 or 2 if his hamstring was healthy. It’s not -- and he’ll be susceptible to aggravation upon his return. … Beanie Wells is going to play through some knee pain all year. It’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of pick. … Peyton Hillis has an up arrow again thanks to Montario Hardesty’s calf injury. If Hillis could sustain health, he’d get 25-plus touches a game. … The Cowboys’ refusal to highlight Miles Austin and Dez Bryant in the passing game is mind-boggling. If they want to win, that will change. … Chris Johnson was the No. 1 overall pick in a lot of leagues. What’s happened to him is pretty inexplicable, but it’s happened: Javon Ringer is a better back than him right now.  It’s a gamble to even take CJ2K this high. … Marques Colston’s knee issues were a major concern coming into the year. Not so much anymore. He’s leading the Saints’ receiving corps in snaps on a weekly basis.

ROUND FIVE
5.01: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots
5.02: Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
5.03: Brandon Lloyd, WR, Rams
5.04: Darren Sproles, RB, Saints
5.05: A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
5.06: Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
5.07: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
5.08: Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills
5.09: Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
5.10: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

NOTES: Aaron Hernandez is the second tight end off the board. He’s essentially a wideout and No. 2 passing game option that happens to be playing tight end. … Philip Rivers’ woes have taken a lot of the luster off Vincent Jackson. But much like Matt Ryan, Rivers can’t play any worse. … In this half-PPR or full-PPR formats, Darren Sproles is a beast. He’s showing no signs of wearing down despite 12.0 touches per game. … We have no idea if Jahvid Best (concussion) will return after the bye. The reason he drops to here is the fear this could be a serious, long-term situation. … Two Patriots tight ends in one round? Yep. … Brandon Lloyd and Josh McDaniels really figure to get going once Sam Bradford returns to health.  

ROUND SIX
6.01: Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
6.02: Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins
6.03: Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
6.04: Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
6.05: Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
6.06: Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
6.07: Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
6.08: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs
6.09: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
6.10: Eli Manning, QB, Giants

NOTES: With all the weapons on the Packers, opposing defenses often choose to focus on Jermichael Finley. That’s how good he is. At some point, Aaron Rodgers figures to start force-feeding Finley. … The most interesting name here is Victor Cruz. Now locked into the slot role, Cruz has a major up arrow as he strings together consistency. … LeGarrette Blount is healthy and expected to be a three-down back going forward. If he performs in that role, he’ll be a steal here. But it’s obvious not too many think he will. … Percy Harvin’s snap count has been a joke in the first half. With the bye week here, perhaps his ribs will heal and the Vikes will use him more down the stretch. … Eli Manning is smoking hot, while Philip Rivers simply looks injured out there.

ROUND SEVEN
7.01: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
7.02: Owen Daniels, TE, Texans
7.03: Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
7.04: Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
7.05: Mario Manningham, WR, Giants
7.06: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
7.07: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
7.08: DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
7.09: Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
7.10: Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts

NOTES: Chris Cooley went ahead of Fred Davis in a lot of preseason drafts, but that was a mistake from Week 1. Davis is a beast and the ’Skins only playmaker left. … There’s still room to believe in a Mario Manningham breakout. He’s been robbed of touchdowns on multiple occasions so far and, as mentioned earlier, there aren’t many quarterbacks hotter than Eli Manning right now. … Yes, Pierre Garcon is a much preferred play over the declining Reggie Wayne. … Dallas’ backfield situation is unclear. What we know is that DeMarco Murray has performed when given the opportunity and Felix Jones hasn’t. … Jonathan Stewart is a better pass-catcher, goal-line back and pure runner than DeAngelo Williams. The Panthers know it. … Santonio Holmes has been vastly underused by the Jets for more than a year now. There’s little reason to think they’ll stop wasting his talent.

ROUND EIGHT
8.01: Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
8.02: Mike Williams, WR, Bucs
8.03: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
8.04: Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks
8.05: Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
8.06: Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
8.07: Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
8.08: Greg Salas, WR, Rams
8.09: Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
8.10: Jackie Battle, RB, Chiefs

NOTES: The most interesting pick here is Antonio Brown. Even if Hines Ward is healthy, the Steelers know they have to reduce the veteran’s snaps. Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are simply better players. … Jackie Battle isn’t very good, but he’s the primary back on a team with an elite run-blocking offensive line. Not bad for the last pick. … Mike Williams has predictably sunk like a stone after his fluky rookie year. … There’s not much hope that Shonn Greene will all of a sudden become a difference-making talent. In fact, there’s none. … In case you were wondering -- yes, Patrick Daugherty is from St. Louis. Here’s his take on the Greg Salas pick: “Salas is in the slot, a position that anyone who owned Danny Amendola in 2010 can tell you is all important in St. Louis. Should rack up catches down the stretch.”

Remember, this is not the Rotoworld official rankings going forward. This draft contains human biases, preferences, selecting for need etc. If you want a full top-200 list for the rest of the season, check it out in the Season Pass. Chris Wesseling will be updating it to reflect the latest news by noon every Wednesday.


OK, let’s get to Tuesday’s news:

INJURY QUICK SLANTS
Ryan Mathews (groin) is in serious doubt for Week 9 while Mike Tolbert (hamstring) is expected back. … Kevin Kolb admitted that his latest case of turf toe is serious. … Felix Jones (ankle) is listed as day to day. … Julio Jones (hamstring) looks like a full go for Week 9. … Earl Bennett (chest) has been cleared to play. He should get his slot job back quickly. … LeGarrette Blount (knee) is ready to go and expects to get a majority of third-down reps. … Emmanuel Sanders popped up with a knee ailment Tuesday. No word yet on the severity. Meanwhile, Hines Ward (ankle) is expected back in practice Wednesday. … Tashard Choice (hamstring) is not expected to make his Redskins debut until Week 10. … Willis McGahee (hand) claims he plans on playing Sunday.

DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
The Raiders signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but he’s not worth an add as a rotational receiver. … Lance Moore was fourth among Saints receivers in Week 8 snaps with 38. … The Browns finally gave up on WR Brian Robiskie. … The Bucs said Tuesday that they want Arrelious Benn more involved in the offense going forward. … The Patriots confirmed that Kevin Faulk played the majority of running back snaps in Week 8 simply because they were trailing. … Antonio Gates played 75-of-81 snaps Monday night. He’s locked in as a must-start. … Cedric Benson came off his suspension and rejoined the Bengals Monday.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth 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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