It’s fantasy football mock draft season, and if you’re late for the party, let me be the first to tell you the beer is warm and the naked guy already jumped in the pool. Translation: It’s almost June and you better start prepping for the 2015 fantasy season if you’re serious about winning.
We take care of half the trouble for you, as we’re looking at fantasy football drafts from the inside out. There will be mocks a plenty, but a big thing I want to dive into this summer is situational mocking. Can you go RB/RB early in this year’s draft and still make it out alive with a quality quarterback, tight end and crop of wide receivers? Can you fade running back completely the first three rounds and still have a good stable of backs? Those kinds of ugly situations that newbies and veterans alike can get jammed up in.
Let’s get you out of the jam by never getting in the jam in the first place, as we monitor ADP and use the Draft Wizard to mock and analyze the best possible route to a winning draft. For today’s session, we’ll do a personal no-no and draft the best possible quarterback right away in round one. From there, we’ll see just how badly doing so sets you back or if you can get away with it.
Note: All of these test mock situations will be conducted via the Draft Wizard in 12-team, standard leagues. Rosters include 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 1Flex, 1K and 1DEF. I will pick 6th and use the composite ADP.
You can check out the final results and come away with your own conclusions if you’re signed up for the Draft Wizard, or enjoy my sage insight below. For those who refuse to sign up, I’ll be cool and show you the final roster:
QB: Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick
RB: Carlos Hyde, Andre Ellington, Doug Martin, Duke Johnson and David Cobb
WR: Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson and DeVante Parker
TE: Travis Kelce and Jason Witten
Flex: Jeremy Maclin
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Baltimore Ravens
If you dare to go quarterback first, you better make it count. There really are only two guys I’d give the OK to go round one in, and those guys are Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. I still don’t love the idea of drafting quarterback first with the position being so deep (six passers topped 300+ fantasy points in 2014), but these two are the cream of the crop. I’m also open to new ideas, so if I can get one of these guys and the rest of the roster looks good, maybe I’ll be turned on the idea forever. I doubt it. With Drew Brees and Peyton Manning regressing, losing weapons and seeing their systems scale things back, these two are the top dogs. I’m taking A-Rod because he’s the better player, was last year’s #1 and has been a habitual #1 performer at the position.
The bad part about starting off with a quarterback is the top 10 running backs are now off the board when I pick again. That puts me in the odd position of getting giddy over the explosive Julio Jones or trusting in the somewhat steady/safe but less enticing Jeremy Hill. I’m rolling with upside here and taking Jones. Hell, I drafted quarterback in round one so this thing is probably headed off the rails anyways, right? Truth be told, this is my last shot at an elite wide receiver and I don’t know if I’m totally sold on Hill being vastly different than some of the other running back options I can land shortly after.
After taking A-Rod and Julio to start, I patch up any remaining wounds by going RB/RB with my next two picks, securing two likely RB2 candidates, who also should carry RB1 upside (Carlos Hyde and Andre Ellington). I’d normally wait on tight end, but Travis Kelce is staring me in the face and I can’t resist. This team is clearly shaping up as a high upside squad with some risk to it, so it only made sense.
*By the way, as I’m conducting this mock, I immediately notice a cool little wrinkle added to the Draft Simulator this year – the Cuff note. I’m informed that Reggie Bush and David Johnson are solid handcuff grabs because of the running backs I’ve drafted. I don’t force handcuffs upon myself, but in this case I think Johnson is a good handcuff and the icon giving me a heads up could prove helpful (especially when you attach this beast of a fantasy tool to your live draft).
Tangents aside, I resumed the mock draft by taking Vincent Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Doug Martin and Duke Johnson with my next four picks. With a starting lineup demanding only 2 WR but also awarding a Flex, I can use all three of my wide receivers (who are all at least solid, if not potentially elite) and also grab The Muscle Hamster and Duke Johnson as solid RB depth and Flex material. I end my running back binge with David Cobb, as Bishop Sankey is awful and I always like to draft 2-3 rookies I feel good about. With my backfield complete, I grab Colin Kaepernick as a high upside backup QB and snatch DeVante Parker as a high upside rookie receiver. Parker could end up doing nothing, but he’s immensely talented and he’s my second to last bench player. Jason Witten rounds my draft out, just in case Kelce fails to live up to expectations. I normally don’t draft a backup tight end, but Witten in round 13 is kind of gross. Then, like with any draft, I save defense and kicker for my last two picks.
Unlike my first fantasy football mock draft of the year (which got a # ranking), this one only gets 5th overall from the Draft Analyzer. That’s good enough to project as a playoff team, though.
There are various routes you can take, but in my experience, going quarterback in round one usually leaves you with a roster very similar to this and the feeling is often the same, as well. You love having A-Rod and that one extra stud you find in round two, but if the right guys don’t fall to you, you come away feeling very “meh” about your draft. This actually isn’t a bad team on paper, as I have legit performers at QB, WR and TE and probably am OK at running back (at least with my starters), but it’s not the strategy I personally prefer.