Adam Levitan

Mock Draft

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Expert Draft Recap

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On Monday afternoon, I had the honor of participating in the official 14-man Yahoo Friends and Family Draft. It’s a long-standing league featuring tons of sharp industry people. Although there’s no money involved, it will be played out competitively.

The roster format and scoring system is a little quirky. We start QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, Flex, Flex, K, D. There are only four bench spots. The different scoring features are 0.75 points for a reception, 4.5 points for a passing touchdown, one point for a TD pass of 40+ yards and two points for a rush/reception of 40+ yards. Let's get to it.

Editor’s Note: Rotoworld’s partner Fanduel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest in Week 1. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Here’s the link.

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings -- Jeff Erickson of Rotowire
2. Arian Foster, RB, Texans -- John Hansen of FantasyGuru
3. Doug Martin, RB, Bucs -- Chris Liss of Rotowire
4. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills – Pat Daugherty of Rotoworld
5. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens – Scott Pianowski of Yahoo
6. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles – Dalton Del Don of Yahoo
7. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions – Michael Salfino of Yahoo
8. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs – Andy Behrens of Yahoo
9. Trent Richardson, RB, Browns – Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus and Rotoworld
10. Matt Forte, RB, Bears – Brad Evans of Yahoo
11. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins – Adam Levitan of Rotoworld
12. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks – Brandon Funston of Yahoo
13. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals – Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune
14. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons – Jeff Ratcliffe of ProFootballFocus and Rotoworld

NOTES: No matter what format you play in, eight of the first nine picks are likely going to be running backs. And in any kind of PPR, we’ll see a lot of the above – 12 of 14 RBs in the first round. Compared to recent years, there are fewer questions surrounding the top third of the league’s backs. We’re also splitting hairs at who to take at No. 2. It’s a strange first round. … Note that this draft was going on as information regarding Jamaal Charles’ injury was breaking. … Anyone who read the “vomit” quote from Bills OC Nathaniel Hackett knows that considering C.J. Spiller as early as No. 2 isn’t crazy. … It’s really, really hard to separate A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall. If you’re at the back of the first round and only want one of them, you don’t have to be the one to start the run.

MY PICK: Let’s start off with a whine. In a league that awards 0.75 points or more for a reception, the top-10 is where you want to be. The top-9 running backs all excel as receivers and Calvin Johnson is in a tier by himself. I love the four-man, second tier of wideouts, but there’s not much separation between them. I also thought it was imperative to come away with one running back out of my first two picks given the 14-team format. So, with the 11th pick, the choice for me was Alfred Morris or Marshawn Lynch. We’re splitting hairs between them, but I went with Alf thanks to the Shanahan scheme. 

15. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers – Jeff Ratcliffe of ProFootballFocus and Rotoworld
16. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys – Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune
17. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots – Brandon Funston of Yahoo
18. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints – Adam Levitan of Rotoworld
19. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals – Brad Evans of Yahoo
20. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars – Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus and Rotoworld
21. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears – Andy Behrens of Yahoo
22. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos – Michael Salfino of Yahoo
23. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans – Dalton Del Don of Yahoo
24. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions – Scott Pianowski of Yahoo
25. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons – Pat Daugherty of Rotoworld
26. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins – Chris Liss of Rotowire
27. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants – John Hansen of FantasyGuru
28. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders – Jeff Erickson of Rotowire

NOTES: In the Round 1 notes, I said there’s no need to start the Tier 2 WR run unless you want two of them. Well, Gehlken wanted two of them and he’s started off with two no-doubt dominators. Those thinking about employing this WR-WR strategy should pay close attention to what running backs he ends up choosing from later on. … Don’t get confused and think you’re smart because you’ve pegged Larry Fitzgerald as a bounce-back sleeper. So have a ton of other people and he’s going to go in the second round of a lot of leagues. … Maurice Jones-Drew has looked very healthy through camp. His ADP is rising accordingly. … Reggie Bush is a PPR specialist in the game’s most pass-heavy scheme. I suspect he would have gone a round or two later in non-PPR scoring. … Note the buzzworthy rise of second-year RB Lamar Miller. No one is buying the Dolphins’ claims that they’re holding an open competition for carries. Miller is locked and loaded.

MY PICK: Evan Silva has talked a lot about why Jimmy Graham is so valuable this year. It’s about position scarcity, value-based drafting and Graham’s truly unique ability. I would have taken Graham over Frank Gore and Stevan Ridley. I would have taken Dez Bryant over Graham. Regardless, I’m fine with owning no wideouts through two rounds. It’s deeper than the running back/tight end and the only one I can get help on via the waiver-wire once the season starts. The other spots are more depleted in a 14-team league.

29. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
30. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
31. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
32. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets
33. Darren Sproles, RB, Saints
34. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
35. David Wilson, RB, Giants
36. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals
37. Vincent Jackson, WR, Bucs
38. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
39. Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots
40. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
41. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
42. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

NOTES: Through three rounds, here’s the position breakdown of the picks: 27 running backs, 14 wide receivers, one tight end, zero quarterbacks. … The pick that raised eyebrows here was Giovani Bernard, made by Andy Behrens. We know that Bernard is far more talented than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, we just don’t know when the coaches will move on from a guy that’s reliable. If it happens early on, Bernard will be well worth the pick. Either way, his stock is rising fast. … Darren Sproles is another strict PPR specialist that I was surprised didn’t go even earlier. … With those 27 RBs going in the first three rounds, there was a ton of value with wideouts here. I could easily make a case for each of Roddy White, Randall Cobb, Vincent Jackson, Danny Amendola and Andre Johnson as top-10 options at the position. … So Mr. Gehlken, who started off WR-WR, ends up with Shane Vereen as his No. 1 RB. It’s a very sneaky play to get a more talented Danny Woodhead that will also line up as a joker all over the formation.   

MY PICK: I play fantasy football to get first place in my league – not to try to sneak into the playoffs and get lucky. I want to just overwhelm my opponents with guys that can go off at any time. So even though Danny Amendola comes with plenty of risk as an injury-prone player in his first year with the Patriots, I truly believe he has a realistic shot at 100 catches and top-eight status if he stays healthy. I’m more than willing to roll the dice for that kind of upside.

43. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
44. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
45. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
46. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos
47. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
48. Marques Colston, WR, Saints
49. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
50. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
51. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
52. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
53. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins
54. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens
55. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins
56. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

NOTES: The quarterback bubble finally breaks. I know it seems crazy that Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees don’t go until the fourth round, but think about position scarcity in this format. I could see 14 of them throwing for 4,000+ yards this year and we can only start one. Quarterbacks get hurt the least out of any position – we need more quality depth at other spots. QBs are devalued further in PPR because they don’t catch passes. It just doesn’t make sense to burn an early pick on one, even though Rodgers, Brees etc. are sure things. … We continue on with examining what happens if you start WR-WR from the back of the first round. Gehlken added potential TD monster Eddie Lacy to Shane Vereen, and also could have had Montee Ball or Ahmad Bradshaw. I think he’s proven it’s a strategy that can at least be considered. … Rob Gronkowski is an interesting case right now. If he returns at 100 percent around Week 8, he’ll still give owners plenty of value at this point in drafts. If he avoids active/PUP, owners have a monster steal. I like the risk/reward value here. … Given the positive training camp reports around the health both Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon, I was surprised Garcon was the 20th wideout off the board. He’s the X in Shanahan and Son!

MY PICK: I started RB-TE-WR and felt like I really needed to get another running back here. After Lacy and Ball, there’s a sizable dropoff to the Ahmad Bradshaws and Daryl Richardsons of the world. So even though I do think Ball will be in a committee with Ronnie Hillman, I think the committee will tilt to the rookie. He’s more suited to be a between-the-tackles, bellcow kind of runner. Hillman is clearly more suited to an outside, change-of-pace role.

57. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
58. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
59. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
60. Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams
61. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos
62. Eric Decker, WR, Broncos
63. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
64. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
65. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
66. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Cardinals
67. James Jones, WR, Packers
68. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
69. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
70. Mike Williams, WR, Bucs

NOTES: Daryl Richardson is gaining steam as the starter and is therefore the first Rams RB off the board. Isaiah Pead won’t go until Round 9 and Zac Stacy lasted until Round 12. … Clear-cut starting running backs almost always go in the first 2-3 rounds of a fantasy draft. The fact that Rashard Mendenhall was available in Round 5 speaks to the lack of faith in both his ability and the Cardinals’ offensive line. ... Jonathan Stewart's pain is DeAngelo Williams' gain. He's a riser through camp and goes five rounds before the Daily Show.

MY PICK: I already had my tight end and I knew I wasn’t going to take a quarterback until late. That meant I could simply take the best wideout or running back available. Perhaps I’m playing a little too scared, but Jordy Nelson is already on the shelf for the entire preseason. It’s not the same as the Danny Amendola situation, because Amendola is 100 percent healthy. Although I think James Jones' touchdowns will regress sharply this year, he’ll see more targets with Greg Jennings gone and Nelson possibly hobbled. Guys playing every down with Aaron Rodgers don’t fall on their faces.

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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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