Standard Scoring Mock Draft (Fantasy Football)
With the start of the NFL season mere days away and the final week of fantasy drafts upon us, it’s time to tackle a penultimate mock draft. The useful part of preseason football has passed, illuminating a number of formerly cloudy fantasy dilemmas. And a slew of big injuries and suspensions over the past month have tossed ADPs around like a rag doll. These final mocks are key to gauging the lay of the new fantasy landscape as you enter the 2017 season.
For this exercise, we will be drafting from the sixth spot in a 12-team league, with standard rosters and standard scoring (non-PPR), 14 rounds to the finish. Special thanks to the FantasyPros Draft Simulator in the Draft Wizard client – it’s an incredible tool that enables massive customization in preparing your mocks.
1.06 Julio Jones (WR – ATL) (ADP 4, WR2)
Interestingly, Melvin Gordon and A.J. Green were selected as the No. 3 and No. 5 pick in this mock, leaving us with the unexpected blessing of Julio Jones at sixth overall. This isn’t unprecedented, as LeSean McCoy and Odell Beckham Jr. are also in consideration as top five picks. We could’ve taken McCoy, but the question marks in Buffalo raise concern. Instead, we were thrilled to get one of the most dominant players in the NFL and a surefire elite WR when healthy.
2.07 Leonard Fournette (RB – JAX) (ADP 21, RB11)
This was a tough spot. Several top 12 receivers were waving their arms in a “Pick Me!” gesture, but going WR-WR in a non-PPR league was giving us some hesitation. We also could’ve taken Ezekiel Elliott here, but decided to avoid the later round stress that entails. Fournette is a near-lock for 300-plus touches and Jacksonville is deadset on featuring the run. The volume provides a high floor and the talent and generational physical ability offer a massive ceiling.
3.06 Amari Cooper (WR – OAK) (ADP 23, WR9)
Another pleasant surprise, Cooper fell to 30th overall and right into our WR2 slot. The only other temptation here was Carlos Hyde after his decent performance in the third week of preseason, but the opportunity to roster a pair of top 10 receivers was too good to pass (no pun intended). Cooper is entering his third year in the league, famed for its proclivity to produce breakout superstars. The youngster is already ranked near the elite, so if he does improve yet again in 2017 – especially in the touchdown department – our team will feature the best starting wideouts in the (theoretical) league.
4.07 Kareem Hunt (RB – KC) (ADP 68, RB27)
ADP has not had time to correct on Hunt following the torn PCL for Spencer Ware, but he is commonly going in the fourth to fifth round range, so it seemed fair to take him here. Ware will likely need season-ending surgery and Andy Reid has already declared Hunt as the lead back in his place. Reid has demonstrated a near-impeccable record of stoking fantasy production out of his RB1, while Hunt has shown enough potential in the preseason to instill further confidence. Our double-rookie RB strategy is a bit edgy, but Fournette and Hunt are the pair with the most guaranteed workload and opportunity is king in fantasy football. Plus, we can name our team “The Hunt Fournette October.” Classic.
5.06 Kelvin Benjamin (WR – CAR) (ADP 54, WR24)
It was at this point that our team took the leap from solid start to championship-contender. Benjamin has been one of the most impressive producers of the preseason, with eight catches on eight targets for 107 yards and two touchdowns. His ADP is still depressed by early reports of weight issues, but Benjamin is clearly healthy, in shape, and poised to match or surpass his rookie-year finish as the No. 17 WR in fantasy. He is a killer WR3 and more valuable here than a middle-tier QB or TE.
6.07 Jimmy Graham (TE – SEA) (ADP 52, TE5)
When we took Benjamin last round, we were secretly praying that Jimmy Graham would fall to us in Round 6 – and he did. Graham is the least expensive of the Tier 2 tight ends (Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed), but realistically has as much upside as Kelce or Olsen in non-PPR leagues and less risk than Reed by a mile. The Seahawks will likely throw more in 2017 and should begin to realize what they have in Graham, especially in the red zone. For the formerly elite TE, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns is not that crazy.
7.06 Frank Gore (RB – IND) (ADP 77, RB30)
With a pair of rookies sitting atop our RB depth chart, it made perfect sense to balance the scales with Old Reliable himself, Frank Gore. At 34 years old, Gore has proven himself to be immortal and has not finished outside the top 20 fantasy RBs since … ever. Literally, Gore came into the league in 2005 and his lowest finish was 20th in 2011, the only season he missed more than two games. The vet offers hardly any upside, but will be a tried and true FLEX/fill-in start whenever we need him.
8.07 Terrance West (RB – BAL) (ADP 99, RB37)
This was probably the toughest choice we faced in the entire draft. Torn between RB depth and a FLEX-worthy WR like Eric Decker, Pierre Garcon, or John Brown, we chose to shore up the shallower position. West has looked mostly pedestrian in the preseason, minus a couple electric plays, but he has also faced unusually stacked boxes with Ryan Mallett at quarterback. When Joe Flacco returns, it should improve West’s ability to produce decent fantasy numbers on the back of a heavy workload.
9.06 Ted Ginn Jr. (WR – NO) (ADP 148, WR51)
This may look like a bit of a reach at first glance, but take a gander at the brief review of Ted Ginn from last week’s Tale of the Tape. As noted there, Ginn is listed ahead of Willie Snead on the depth chart and has outperformed the 2016 breakout in the preseason as well. The Saints are wont to spread the ball around, so even if Ginn is eventually the third option, he has plenty of fantasy potential.
10.07 Zay Jones (WR – BUF) (ADP 152, WR53)
Rookie receiver Zay Jones has also made a recent Tale of the Tape and carries legitimate upside as possibly the best, if not only viable WR on his team. With the trade of Sammy Watkins, the retirement of Anquan Boldin, and the health concerns of Jordan Matthews, Jones may be the de facto WR1 on the Bills. While Buffalo is one of the least prolific places to possess that role, it could return massive value on a tenth round ADP. Jones probably has the highest floor of any rookie wideout and is well worth a flier pick.
11.06 Kevin White (WR – CHI) (ADP 178, WR62)
White’s is another ADP that has not yet corrected since the weekend, following a season-ending injury to Cameron Meredith. That said, he will likely climb up to or beyond the 12th round, so we picked him up in the 11th. Quite simply, White may have more upside than anyone this late in drafts, as a probable lead receiver with extraordinary draft pedigree (seventh overall in 2015), playing for a team that will be forced to pass. While Kendall Wright may also pick up some of Meredith’s slack, White is a lock for 100-plus targets. If he stays healthy and becomes even a portion of what he was drafted to be, he will be a sleeper score.
12.07 Dak Prescott (QB – DAL) (ADP 92, QB13)
Talk about waiting on a quarterback. With every other team in the draft locking up the position by Round 8, we were plenty happy to grab Dak at the end of the draft. He is part of a hodge-podge tier that currently includes Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, and Derek Carr – and could easily shake out in any order. Big Ben, Carr, and Philip Rivers were all available here, but Dak has the rushing floor and will likely build on his 2016 passing numbers in Dallas’ current situation.
13.06 Justin Tucker (K – BAL) (ADP 110, K2)
By taking our kicker before our defense, we locked up the hands-down best in the business (regardless of what ADP and Stephen Gostkowski have to say about it). Not mad about it.
14.07 Steelers D/ST (ADP 175, DST10)
By taking our kicker before our defense, we were also forced off the elite groups and into streaming mode. Not a problem – the Steelers schedule opens with the Browns, Vikings, Bears, Ravens, and Jaguars. Yes, please.
Thanks for reading and check out the full draft results using the link below!