The 2015 fantasy football season is just around the corner, so it’s high time we started busting out some fantasy football mock drafts. Don’t just follow our advice blindly, though. Get your hands on the awesome Draft Wizard yourself and mock your draft league precisely how it is set up to go down. There truly is nothing else that can prepare you better than practice, and with the Mock Draft Simulator and Analyzer, you’ll know your fantasy football league’s draft from top to bottom before it even starts.
Of course, even the best fantasy owners out there like to get a second opinion or seven, which is why we rigorously conduct our own personal fantasy mock drafts all summer. Last year we put out numerous draft results that got the 1st place vote from the Draft Analyzer, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that drafted team always makes the playoffs, it can be a good indication of a strong, balanced squad.
If you haven’t hung around BreakingFootball.com or seen my writing before, know this: I value my running backs early, I wait on quarterbacks and the biggest thing I preach is balance and depth. You don’t need the first overall pick to win your draft or your league. Let’s see where that logic gets us in our first fantasy football mock draft for the 2015 season:
Note: For this first mock I will be picking 6th in a 12-team, standard league. The ADP being used is a combined expert ADP and the roster consists of 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1 TE, 1FLEX, 1K, 1 DEF and 6 Bench spots.
Round 1 – Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle should have given Beast Mode the rock to win their second straight Super Bowl, but they’ll be smarter about it next time around. Lynch is still a menace, just got paid and gets you 1,100+ yards and 10+ touchdowns with regularity. Any running back can plummet at anytime, but he’s probably the last guy I’d worry about doing so. I don’t have to get a running back early in every single draft, but if someone like Lynch is there at six, I will.
Round 2 – Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Full disclosure: I could have nabbed a second stud rusher in C.J. Anderson here. The problem is, the backfield situation in Denver feels somewhat fluid with talent in Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman also being around. Oh, and this is Calvin freaking Johnson. I’m not sure what you think of Megatron, but this is still a dude that was fantasy’s 14th best receiver despite missing some time and being banged up a good portion of the year. He’s still a real threat for the #1 WR throne and is an elite WR1 even if you disagree. I doubt I’ll ever see Megatron in round two of even another mock again, but the heck if I was passing on him.
Round 3 – Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pick should tell you something about me and how you might want to draft – adapting is wise and rewarding. There is a glutton of solid running backs I could have picked at this spot, but they kind of all were bleeding together. Some could be sharing the rock and others have inexperience or other question marks. Evans was a beast as a rookie and now he has a competent quarterback in place (kind of). I’d rather solidify my starting wide receivers here than reach on a running back I don’t love.
Round 4 – Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
So much for waiting on a quarterback. Quarterback is insanely deep and normally I’m going to stress that you wait (especially with Tom Brady free falling) but I felt Manning in round four was worth a stab. I don’t think he’s as good as he has been, but the weapons are still there for him to be an elite QB1. This is about as early as I’d like to take him and it felt right at the time.
Round 5 – T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Funny that I’m pairing Yeldon with Lynch, as they run similarly and Jags head coach Gus Bradley specifically drafted Yeldon to be his poor man’s version of Lynch. Jax has a shaky o-line, but they got better in the second half of the season and Yeldon has the power and shake to do damage even when the blocking isn’t there. He’s a fine RB2 candidate, but just to be safe I’ll add plenty of depth at running back behind him.
Round 6 – Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Hill carries more value and will go way earlier in drafts, but Gio is one injury away from being a potential stud again. Cincy is a running team, too, so Bernard is going to touch the ball plenty on a weekly basis. He’ll slide in as a fine Flex play if need be and is a decent fill-in guy even as Hill’s backup. Considering he still found a way to finish as fantasy’s 18th best RB a year ago, I don’t mind having him on my bench.
Round 7 – Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
This is precisely where I’d love to snatch Cooper, who will start right away and give the Raiders the explosive, potent #1 wideout they’ve sorely lacked. I believe in Derek Carr a good amount, too, so I think Cooper enjoys a very nice rookie year. He’ll do for my WR3 or Flex play, too.
Round 8 – Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How the mighty have fallen. The Muscle Hamster was a machine as a rook three years ago but injuries and poor o-line play have bogged him down quite a bit. There is a lot of chatter about Charles Sims, but Martin is still a talented runner in a contract year. He’s a solid depth add with upside in round eight.
Round 9 – Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
I’m big on grabbing my backup quarterback before the late rounds, so I have a great option when needed. It also burns owners who are waiting on their starter still. This is especially helpful given that I drafted a guy like Manning who has a few question marks.
Round 10 – Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns
The Browns love to run and this kid is super explosive. He does have some competition with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West in town, but he’s the better talent and could end up winning the job. If he does, I could have a huge sleeper on my hands and he’s my fifth running back.
Round 11 – Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills
I’m not entirely sure what I’m getting here with Harvin. He’s on his third team in two years and is in a run-heavy offense with no quarterback. That being said, he’s a flat-out weapon and his explosiveness is worth taking a crack at this late in a draft.
Round 12 – Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Reed has had concussion issues and couldn’t play full seasons in either of his two NFL seasons, but the talent and upside is definitely there. Reed is a risk worth taking here, especially since I’ll end up streaming tight ends otherwise, anyways. If he’s a bust I’ll just stream all year, which is a perfectly fine strategy.
Round 13 – Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins
No, this isn’t my endorsement for the Washington offense, but Garcon is two years removed from an elite season and still has the role and speed to be a dangerous fantasy weapon. I already have a big stable of running backs and would prefer him over wasting a pick on another rookie receiver that might not ever play.
Round 14 – Carolina Panthers DEF/ST
In 12-team leagues I’ll wait until the second to last pick to take my defense. This is why, because there are always solid defenses left over. Carolina had some rough patches early in 2014 but they figured things out and are an elite unit again. They’ll do nicely as my team defense.
Round 15 – Connor Barth, K, Denver Broncos
Kickers are for the final round and you can take a big risk on them since there are always more kickers on the waiver wire. It’s totally a streamable position, as evidence by the lack of real separation in the rankings year to year. Last year we had two guys top 150 points at the kicker position, and the next 11 kickers were separated by no more than 19 fantasy points. Barth isn’t the best kicker out there but he’s reliable enough and operates in a good system, so he’ll do. Keep in mind that the new extra point rules certainly shake things up a bit. We could have more PAT misses and more teams scrapping it and just going for two.
QB: Peyton Manning
RB: Marshawn Lynch, T.J. Yeldon
WR: Calvin Johnson, Mike Evans
TE: Jordan Reed
Flex: Giovani Bernard
K: Connor Barth
Bench: Philip Rivers, Doug Martin, Duke Johnson, Amari Cooper, Percy Harvin, Pierre Garcon
I think this team passes the eye test. I have an elite passer, an elite running back and an elite receiver. I have the depth at running back and wide receiver I seek and I also have a quality backup at quarterback. My kickers and defense options appear to be rock solid and I have a high upside tight end combined with the streaming strategy (if necessary). It looks good on paper and the Draft Analyzer concurs, giving me the #1 overall spot in this mock. For the first mock draft of the year, I’ll certainly take it.
Got problems with the results? Let me hear it in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @BreakingKevin.