The 2017 NFL season kicks off on Thursday September 7th so we are under two months away from the start of the season. Hopefully your league commissioner is smart and schedules the draft about a week before the season starts. However, waiting that long for your draft can be frustrating but thanks to FantasyPros.com you can mock draft in all kinds of styles and formats till your little heart explodes. Their Mock Draft Simulator is the best mock draft tool on the internet; you can choose different league styles, scoring and roster size.
For this fantasy mock, I decided to role out a league format that I play every year; a 12 team, re-draft PPR league with a roster size of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE), 1 D/ST, 1 Kicker and 7 bench players. Thanks to the draft position randomizer I ended up in the #2 draft spot.
Round 1 (Pick 2)- Le’Veon Bell RB Pittsburgh Steelers
Landing a top two pick ensured me of getting one of the two elite running backs. With David Johnson going first, selecting Bell at two was a no brainer. Despite playing in only 12 games last season, Bell finished as the RB3 in PPR scoring. His 75 catches was second best mong running backs only behind Johnson’s 80. Bell’s history of injuries and suspension does scare me a little; missing 17 career games in four season. However, Bell is clearly the number two overall player in both PPR and standard leagues.
Round 2 (Pick 23)- Amari Cooper WR Oakland Raiders
Lady luck was there for me! Thanks to a run on running backs early, it pushed Cooper down just enough for me to grab him at pick 23. I am a big fan of Cooper going into year three; where receivers tend to take a major step forward in their development. The past two season, Michael Crabtree has led the Raiders in catches but I expect that to change this season. Crabtree turns 30 years old during the season and the Raiders believe it’s time to start treating Cooper as the true wide receiver one verse co-one. I expect Cooper to finish with around 95 catches this season.
Round 3 (Pick 26)- Demaryius Thomas WR Denver Broncos
Thomas hasn’t missed a game and finished with at least 90 catches in each of the last five seasons; that’s consistency for your fantasy team. I rather have Thomas in PPR verse standard leagues. Thomas did put up double digit touchdowns from 2012-2014 and still has the upside to get ten plus touchdowns this season if the quarterback play is solid. After the Broncos spent big money in free agency on Ronald Leary and a first round pick on Garett Bolles the offensive line should be improved this season. If the they can protect whoever is playing quarterback, Thomas could have a very strong season.
Round 4 (Pick 47)- Larry Fitzgerald WR Arizona Cardinals
My draft strategy was to grab a stud running back then load up on receivers with solid floors while still providing upside. Fitzgerald may be old but last season, at age 33, he put up a league high 107 catches while catching 71.3% of his targets; finishing as WR10 despite being drafted as the WR30 last season in PPR leagues. Currently Fitzgerald’s ADP is WR27 and given his performance last season that is too low, grabbing him in the fourth round is a steal.
Round 5 (Pick 50)- Martavis Bryant WR Pittsburgh Steelers
In any PPR league, you would ideally like to have your FLEX spot filled with a wide receiver. Bryant isn’t a reception magnet, his career high is 50 catches. Also coming off a year long suspension, Bryant is on thin ice with the league. However, Bryant is in a contract year knows this season could be his last if he doesn’t get his act together and produce. Given my three high floor receivers already on the roster, I was willing to take a gamble on Bryant in hopes that he has hits his ceiling. By week four I could end up dropping Bryant or could be looking at a top 15 wide receiver; he really is boom or bust.
Round 6 ( Pick 71)- Kyle Rudolph TE Minnesota Vikings
Last season Rudolph had his best year as a pro finishing with 83 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns, all career highs. Quietly Rudolph ended the season as TE2 in PPR leagues, finishing third in catches among tight ends. When Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator mid-season, Rudolph’s production took off. Rudolph finished the year strong with 51 of his 83 catches coming over the last eight games of the season. With Shurmer returning and his desire to use the tight end as the focal point of the passing game, expect another big season from Rudolph.
Round 7 (Pick 74)- Danny Woodhead RB Baltimore Ravens
Woodhead is one of the best pass catching running backs in the league. After suffering a torn ACL in week two last season, the Chargers decided between Melvin Gordon’s emergence and Woodhead’s age to let him leave as a free agent. Woodhead joins the Ravens running back by committee backfield that is a mess. In 2015 Woodhead played all 16 games and lead the league among running backs with 80 catches, 755 yards and six receiving touchdowns; all career highs. Given Kenneth Dixon’s four game suspension, Woodhead should come out of the gate hot and continue to be very productive all year long. I’m confident Woodhead’s role as the third down and catching back will last all season long and he can put up a similar stat line as he did in 2015.
Round 8 (Pick 95)- Theo Riddick RB Detroit Loins
Much like Woodhead, 2016 was an injury filled season for Riddick; who missed six games last season but was banged up for several others. When healthy, Riddick is one of the best pass catching backs in the league. Coming off a 2015 season where Riddick was tied for the league lead in catches with 80, he averaged 5.3 catches for 37 yards and half a touchdown per game in 2016. While a healthy Ameer Abdullah will cut into Riddick’s catches, he is still an elite pass catching back and a steal at pick 95.
Round 9 (Pick 98)- Eddie Lacy RB Seattle Seahawks
After loading up on receivers I then focused on drafting several running backs to rotate in weekly as my RB2. Lacy has some pass catching ability, with a career high 42 catches in 2014 with the Packer. Currently C.J. Prosise is slated to be the Seahawks third down back, limiting Lacy’s upside in the passing game. However, Lacy’s ADP in 12 team PPR leagues is 7.03 (seventh round, pick three) and therefore to grab him at 9.02 is a steal. Assuming Lacy can stay healthy, something he has struggled with the last two seasons, he has the upside to be a high end RB2 even in PPR leagues.
Round 10 (Pick 119)- Kirk Cousins QB Washington Redskins
Quick recap here; through nine picks I have drafted four running backs, four wide receivers, one tight end and now in round ten my only quarterback. Cousins is one of my favorite value pick quarterbacks this season. Currently being drafted as QB10 and on average picked in the middle of the eighth round. To grab him at the end of round ten is great value, with 11 other quarterbacks selected before him in this mock draft. I was the last team to select a quarterback and am very happy with my strategy. Cousins was the QB5 last season with almost 5,000 yards and 29 total touchdowns, and I expect a similar performance again this season.
Round 11 (Pick 122)- Tyrell Williams WR L.A. Chargers
At this point in the draft I have filled all the starting spots and the top two spots on my bench. Now it’s time to fill out the rest of the bench with upside players and solid production players; Williams fits both categories. Last season after Kennan Allen went down in week one, Williams stepped up as the team’s top wide receiver; setting career highs with 69 catches for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns. I cooled off to Williams’ value when the Chargers spent their first round draft pick on Mike Williams. However, with Mike expected to miss a majority of offseason programs, Tyrell now has a firm gasp on the wide receiver two role. If Allen misses time again this season, Tyrell becomes a low end WR2. Even if Allen doesn’t miss any time, Tyrell is still a low end WR3 or high FLEX option. Solid upside and safe floor; best of both worlds.
Round 12 (Pick 143)- Jacquizz Rodgers RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starer Doug Martin is suspended the first three games of the 2017 season and Rodgers is currently slated to start. The Buccaneers first three opponents all ranked in the bottom 12 in rushing yards given up per game last season; that is great news for Rodgers. I am high on Martin in standards leagues and expect him to have a good year once he is back from his suspension. But even when Martin returns, Rodgers still has some value in PPR leagues. However, those first three games are key to Rodgers’ value.
Round 13 (Pick 146)- Joe Williams RB San Francisco 49ers
Now it’s time to draft high upside players. I am a big Williams fan and expect big things from him this season. During the draft head coach Kyle Shanahan pushed for Williams to be put back on the team’s draft board after John Lynch had removed him for off the field concerns. Not only did Shanahan get his wish, but the team traded up in the fourth round to select him. Many believe Shanahan views Williams as his new version of Tevin Coleman, and last season Coleman had a career year. At pick 146 overall I’m willing to let Williams sit on the bench and see what happens by mid-season.
Round 14 (Pick 167)- Minnesota Vikings D/ST
I’m not a fan of waiting till the second to last round to draft a defense and I’m not a fan of taking one before your bench is half filled out. After a strong season where the Vikings finished the season ranked as the top D/ST, I’ll happily take them in round 14 verse 16.
Round 15 (Pick 170)- Tavon Austin WR L.A. Rams
Time for more fliers. New head coach Sean McVay’s offense turned Jamison Crowder into a solid PPR receiver last season for the Redskins, where Crowder finished as WR26. Austin is in a make or break year and if anyone can turn Austin into anything more then a gadget player, it’s McVay. Austin is worth a look this late.
Round 16 (Pick 191)- James Connor RB Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m not a big fan of drafting handcuffs, but sometimes you just have to. I liked Connor during the NFL draft process and the Steelers have shown that anyone who replaces Bell can have decent success. With Bell’s injury and suspension history, Connor is worth the selection in the 16th round.
Round 17 (Pick 194)- Stephen Gostkowski K New England Patriots
Honestly, outside of Justin Tucker and Gostkowski, kickers are a dime a dozen and weekly pick up and drop based on match ups. Tucker went pick 193 or Gostkowski was an easy choice at 194.
Summing up my draft, I selected seven running backs, six wide receivers, one tight end, quarterback, D/ST and kicker. I was very happy with my team, I believe it has a good blend of elite talents, solid floor players and high upside fliers. Happy hunting fantasy friends!