Mock Draft World Championship: Grades & Analysis
You must use the numbers to your advantage, but you also have to trust your instincts as well. There is no foolproof way to draft, if there was every draft would be exactly the same. There is enough information to educate yourself so you can have the absolute best opportunity to win.
Here's the draft board from Rounds 1 to 10:
Click here to enlarge
Round 1: RB LeSean McCoy
As you can see picks 1.01-1.03 are RBs Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte. This leaves McCoy for me to draft with pick 1.04. If you have a top four pick in your draft, you almost have to draft a RB. There is a shortage of elite RB1s in today's NFL. Consistency is hard to come by at RB, and those four guys have been consistent for years. Last season, after the No. 5 RB there was a huge 22-point drop-off. After the fourth pick, there are not any true elite level RBs worth drafting until late first, early second round. The only non-RB good enough to deserve a top-four pick is Calvin Johnson. The only other player who isn't a RB or WR worth drafting in the first round is Jimmy Graham. A tight end is rarely recommended in the first round. Nevertheless Graham is such a special talent that he is worth a mid-to-late first-round pick.
Round 2: WR Antonio Brown
In the second round I went with one of the last two WRs, I consider elite, still in play. I took Brown over Pierre Garcon. That is my personal preference; you cannot go wrong with either. Brown was the eighth WR drafted and Jordy Nelson, whom I do not love, went seventh. Last season WR11 to WR12 was the biggest drop off (12 pts) from one slot to another, so I did not want to wait too much longer. If a second-tier RB like Le'Veon Bell or Arian Foster falls to you, there's nothing wrong with taking a second RB. WR is very deep and RBs are hard to come by. Don't stretch for a QB or elite TE just quite yet.
Round 3: RB Andre Ellington
In round three I took the best RB available, which happened to be Ellington. I got lucky because there was no other RB I felt was worthy of drafting in that slot. Had Ellington been gone, I would have been very tempted to draft QB Aaron Rodgers. Usually waiting on a QB is your best bet, unless you can get one of the big three (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Rodgers). No other QB even deserves a look in the third. If all draft worthy RBs and QBs are off the board grab an elite WR2, Vincent Jackson was the best available at the time. I would still avoid TEs like Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas until the fourth round. If somebody wants to draft them before that, let them.
Round 4: WR Michael Floyd
As my pick arrived, I decided I needed my WR2. If J. Thomas had fallen to this slot, I would have opted for him, once he was off the board I knew I was waiting on a TE. I decided to draft 2014 FFToolbox Breakout Player Floyd. It was a toss-up between Floyd and Cordarrelle Patterson, I decided to choose Floyd. I considered a few RBs in this spot as well; however, I decided to wait and hope they lasted until round five.
Round 5: RB Bishop Sankey
In the fifth round, I knew I was going with my RB3/Flex. I decided to take Titans rookie Sankey over Chris Johnson. I like Sankey's upside, and have doubts about CJ2K's role and what he has left in the tank. This is still too early for me to go QB or TE. I personally don't love Jordan Cameron all that much more than many of the remaining TEs. I also don't believe Matthew Stafford was worthy of this pick. I prefer to wait on my QB.
Round 6: RB Pierre Thomas
With pick 6.09, I went with the "you can never have too many RBs" theory. I took PPR star Thomas. He caught 77 passes last season, and now Darren Sproles is in Philadelphia. I felt he was the best player available at that time. I knew which WR, QB and TE I was targeting, and I knew I could continue to wait.
Round 7: WR DeAndre Hopkins
Round seven I was targeting Hopkins. I wanted him all along, and it came time to take him. I also considered Golden Tate, Matt Ryan and Jordan Reed as backup plans. Luckily I got my guy and was happy I did. From picks 7.07 to 7.09, there was a run on TEs, which did make me a tiny bit nervous. Still, I am satisfied with my pick.
Round 8: QB Matt Ryan
When you do not have a QB in round eight, it is time for a QB. With Ryan and Cam Newton sitting there, I decided to go with Ryan because he has better weapons and is the safer pick. I felt it was time to get my QB1. You can get away with pushing it back for a while, still you do not want to wait too long. I did not want to get too cute and end up with Tony Romo as my starter. You want to have a QB you trust and can depend on for consistency. Ryan is that guy for me. Coming off a down year, he came with great value.
Rounds 9 & 10: WRs Marvin Jones & Kelvin Benjamin
I desperately needed WR depth here. Since bench players can receive points in Draft-n-Go leagues, I went with upside players who were potential steals in this slot. I drafted Bengals WR Jones and Panthers rookie Benjamin. Both have the potential to be breakout stars in 2014. A few RBs I was high on were on the board (Terrance West and Khiry Robinson), still I really needed WR help at this point.
Here's the draft board from Rounds 11 to 20:
Click here to enlarge
Round 11: TE Charles Clay
I was playing with fire waiting until Round 11 to take my first TE, nonetheless I got the guy I wanted all along. Dolphins TE Clay. This is a case of knowing a player I love will be on the board late. Why reach for a player if I think Clay is better. It is a bit risky, still I believe Clay has top five potential at his position. He ended 2013 as the No. 7 TE. I may be higher on him than most experts are, and that is what makes it my team. You have to take chances and go with your gut sometimes. Experts are here to help educate you and give you all the information you need to draft. If that information leads you to think Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph are not that good, even though they are ranked higher, then don't draft them and wait for your guy.
Round 12: QB Jay Cutler
With Cutler sitting there at pick 12.09, I had to take him. I need a backup QB, and he is a great backup. Our FFToolbox staff has him ranked as the fifth overall QB. The major reason Cutler is ranked No. 5 on our rankings is because he has two top 10 WRs (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery). Being able to draft Cutler as my QB2 in the sixth round is a huge victory for my roster. It is hard to find such great value in any fantasy draft.
Round 13: TE Dwayne Allen
Round 13 came up, and I did not have a clear plan. I saw Allen on the board, and I grabbed him. He has a chance to have a comeback player of the year type season. He is another player I am very high on, so I went with my gut and scooped him up. He has a real shot to be one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets. Heath Miller, Jace Amaro and Garrett Graham, were the only other TEs remaining I felt were draft worthy. I did not want to get stuck with a backup TE that I believe didn't deserve to be on the roster.
Rounds 14 to 16
WR Andrew Hawkins, RBs James Starks & Bryce Brown
I went with the best skill position player available in these rounds. Talent is beginning to become scarce at this point, so it is all about preference. You can win a championship in the later rounds; anyone can draft C. Johnson and P. Manning, but the late rounds are what separates the men from the boys. You have to go with your gut and choose wisely. I went with Hawkins, Starks and Brown. I wanted Andre Williams, and he went one spot before I drafted at pick 16.08. The difference between Brown and Williams is not the end of the world though. Through these rounds, I was keeping a very close eye on defense.
Round 17: DST New England Patriots
I like the defense they've built in New England. The additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to go along with a very good front seven could be a dominant force. The Pats have Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones rushing the passer and Vince Wilfork clogging up holes at the nose. A healthy Jerod Mayo at ILB is a huge difference maker for the Patriots. He is the best tackler on the team as long as he can stay healthy.
Round 18 & 19
RB James White & WR Marlon Brown
In these final rounds, I wanted one more RB and WR. You can never have enough skill position players. I drafted White and Brown. These two were just, in my opinion, the best players available. I seriously considered Lions RB Theo Riddick as well. In the end, I decided against drafting him due to the fact we have no idea what his role will be. I decided to keep RB and WR even when it came to quantity. While lower level WRs tend to score more points. The No. 40 WR outscored the No. 40 RB by 11 points. While this would lead you to believe I should take more WRs, you have to take into account RBs have a much higher likelihood of receiving an opportunity to carry a major work-load. RBs are more susceptible to injury, and there are fewer RBs on an NFL roster and thus, on the field.
Round 20: K Alex Henery
In round 20, with my last pick, I, of course, needed a kicker. With most of the top kickers gone at this point, I decided to draft Eagles kicker Alex Henery. I do not like kickers and have been calling for them just to be added to special teams for years. Unfortunately, I have not won that battle yet. So I just took a kicker on a team I think will score many points. It is as simple as that, not everything needs to be more complicated than it really is.
Matt Ryan (8.09) & Jay Cutler (12.09)
While I did not get an elite QB like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or even Matthew Stafford, I did get a solid QB1 and a fantastic QB2. Both picks were great value, and Ryan was taken with the 93rd overall pick and he has an ADP of 73.51. Cutler has an ADP of 100.38 and was drafted at pick 141. While I do not have that elite QB, there are two more than serviceable QB1 talents on my roster. Brees was far ahead of the pack and Manning was ahead of him. After that the average difference between each spot from No. 3 (Cam Newton) to No. 26 (Chad Henne) is only 4.73 points per slot. From No.3 to No. 15 (Alex Smith) was only 3.66. Waiting and drafting the ninth (Ryan) and 14th ranked (Cutler) QBs, based on ADP, works out by the numbers if they play to their ADP. If I were to draft Andrew Luck in the fifth round instead of Ryan, the difference would only be 28 total points over the course of the season. That is only four points a game. If you cannot get one of the "Big 3," do not reach for another QB.
LeSean McCoy (1.04), Andre Ellington (3.04), Bishop Sankey (5.04), Pierre Thomas (6.09), James Starks (15.04), Bryce Brown (16.09), James White (18.09)
I went RB early and often, then again late and often. Not only did I get the best fantasy running back in the league in the first round, I added three very talented backs behind him. Ellington, Sankey and Thomas are all very talented RB2s. I had to sacrifice at other positions, and I knew that before I made the decision to draft so many RBs early. After the sixth round, I took a nine round break before taking another RB. With Starks, Brown and White, I got three backs that with an injury or strong showing have a great chance to get a ton of touches. There are so many injuries at the RB position that you have to load up. The turnover at RB is incredible. Out of the top 30 RBs at the end of 2013, 12 of them were not the top RB drafted on their own NFL team. When you think you have enough RBs, draft one more.
Antonio Brown (2.09), Michael Floyd (4.09), DeAndre Hopkins (7.04), Marvin Jones (9.04), Kelvin Benjamin (10.09), Andrew Hawkins (14.09), Marlon Brown (19.04)
While I drafted my elite WR in the second round, after Brown I pretty much went with high upside guys. Floyd is coming off a very solid season in which he recorded 65 receptions, 1,041 yards and five TDs. A very solid WR2. Hopkins is a personal favorite of mine this season. His drop rate (1.89) ranks him as having the second best hands in the league behind only Larry Fitzgerald. Hopkins dropped only one of his 53 catchable targets. With Andre Johnson having issues of his own, Hopkins is my pick to be this year's breakout player. Marvin Jones is expected to be more targeted in the passing game this season. He is coming off a 51-catch, 10- TD campaign. Benjamin is a big talented rookie who could be Cam Newton's top target, and Hawkins could end up the top target in Cleveland (by default). With Josh Gordon most likely suspended for the season, his 159 targets have to go somewhere. Marlon Brown had a nice rookie season, so I took a flier on him. I wanted Jerricho Cotchery, but he was drafted in the previous round. This group has a lot of potential. The thing that scares me is the fact that potential often isn't reached.
Charles Clay (11.04) & Dwayne Allen (13.04)
I love my TEs; however, I understand not everybody else will. Clay and Allen were my targets from the beginning, and I managed to get both of them very late. It should not be a surprise to anyone if they both end up in the top 10 this season. This is a position where I did not get projected elite TEs. Nevertheless I got the players I wanted, and I am very happy with the results. TE is another position where there are six elite TEs, then everybody else. The difference between No .1 (Jimmy Graham) and No. 7 (Charles Clay) is 98 points. The difference between No. 7 and No. 25 is 54 points. The difference between each spot from No. 7 to No. 25 is only 3.05 points per spot. With the exception of Jimmy Graham, no TE would have been a top 13 WR or top 15 RB. You need one backup, after that it is just not worth it to keep another TE on your roster.
Defense / Special Teams & Kickers
New England Patriots (17.04) & Alex Henery (20.09)
I love the Pats defense. With a handful of huge additions, headlined by Revis, Browner and young players entering their prime, this defense may just explode onto the fantasy scene. I waited on a DST I really liked. Last season the No. 2 DST (Panthers) and No. 3 DST (Chiefs) had extremely low ADPs. The Panthers ADP ranked them as the 24th and the Chiefs 27th. On the other hand teams that ranked high based on ADP, the Bears (third), Texans (fourth) and Broncos (fifth), all ended the season as major busts. The Broncos at No. 14 are the only of the three teams to finish inside the top 25. So much goes into defense and special teams that it is extremely difficult to predict how a team will perform throughout the entire season. Also, the biggest gap in points from one spot to another was only 12 points (No. 8 Bills and No. 9 Patriots). As a matter of fact the difference in points from DST No. 9 to DST No. 20 (Lions) was only 20 points. This is why I felt no need to reach for a high-ranking defense.
I drafted a kicker last like I almost always do. I took the kicker on the team I believed would score the most points. It is very difficult to predict FGs, so I just based this off of PAT opportunities. The difference in points from one spot to another is only 2.85 points. There's no need to draft a kicker any higher and unacceptable to draft a backup. Are they really even football players?
Overall Grade: B