Fantasy Football Mock Draft (12-Team Standard)

by Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Apr 24, 2018

Despite entering his age-30 season, LeSean McCoy’s high volume and durability still makes him an RB2 at the very least

Have you ever used the FantasyPros Draft Simulator? It is very similar to doing a live mock draft except that you are drafting against our computer simulated opponents which uses a selection of expert cheat sheets and average draft position sources. Our simulator allows you to complete hundreds of mock drafts while experimenting with different strategies.

We have built an opponent pick algorithm that mirrors how drafters make decisions by factoring in player rankings, team needs, and position scarcity to determine the most likely selection. It is never too early to begin preparing for the upcoming season, and this article will provide you a line of sight of what your fantasy team could look like by leveraging our Draft Simulator.

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This draft configuration will be a 12-team standard format. Elite running backs with workloads of 300 or more touches should be prioritized in this format given their low supply. This type of workload will provide you a high probability of finding an RB that scores 220 or more fantasy points in standard formats.

Last season Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, and Mark Ingram all reached that point threshold in standard formats. One thing nearly all of these RBs had in common was a high number of touches. Goal line work is also important.

Many wide receivers average similar receiving yards totals on a per game basis. In standard formats touchdown rate becomes even more important when determining which WRs to target in fantasy drafts.

It is a good best practice to understand the touchdown rate of the quarterback that WR is tied to. This will allow you to find solid WRs in the middle rounds of a draft who could provide you WR1 upside any given week.

At tight end, if you do not land Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz, you will be better off waiting for the position and streaming prioritizing touchdown upside.

Round 1: Leonard Fournette (RB – JAC)
Fournette is criminally undervalued heading into 2018. Currently the RB11 according to our consensus ADP (average draft position) he averaged 20.6 rushing attempts, 80 rushing yards, and 0.7 rushing touchdowns per games in 13 games played. The only running back with more rushing attempts per game who finished with more fantasy points than Fournette was Le’Veon Bell.

The 23-year-old RB could outperform his current ADP. Age can help you make knowledgeable predictions as to when an RB will improve or regress. History suggests we could see multiple 230 or more PPR fantasy point seasons from Fournette in upcoming seasons. He is an excellent RB1 to build your team around in standard formats.

Round 2: LeSean McCoy (RB – BUF)
McCoy played in all 16 games and displayed minimal drop off during his age-29 season. He has averaged 16.8 rushing attempts, 76.7 rushing yards, and 0.5 rushing touchdowns per game since arriving in Buffalo back in 2015. McCoy is an RB that will be nearing a decline sooner rather than later.

The Bills continue to provide him a heavy volume of touches. His yards per carry declined from 5.4 to a career-worst 4.0 last season. Former Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison ran McCoy from the shotgun formation on only 17 percent of his carries as pointed out by ESPN fantasy football analyst Mike Clay on Twitter. This represented a five-year low for him.

It would be prudent for New Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to mold his offensive scheme to the players surrounding him. McCoy is at his best threatening opposing defenders in space. He is worth investing in as my RB2 for purposes of this mock draft.

Round 3: Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
The release of Jeremy Hill opens the door for Mixon to become a three-down RB for the Bengals. He has taken advantage of his first full NFL offseason by losing nearly 20 pounds. It was difficult to pass on Rob Gronkowski in the third round, but very few of the back’s available at this stage of the mock draft will be used as workhorses.

The Bengals have Giovani Bernard signed under contract through the next three seasons, but he will primarily be used in a change of pace role. The 21-year old Mixon could see more work as a receiver out of the backfield this season. He averaged 9.6 yards per reception while catching 88 percent of his targets. Mixon is an excellent flex option in this mock.

Round 4: Jay Ajayi (RB – PHI)
The Eagles traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Dolphins for Ajayi before Week 9. It did take him a few weeks to acclimate to the Eagles offensive scheme. Ajayi did see 16 or more touches in four of the Eagles last six games.

He accumulated 321 total yards on 64 touches during that time frame with positive rushing fantasy points over expectation. The Eagles’ front office decision not to resign LeGarrette Blount opens the door for Ajayi to see more touches this season. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, unfortunately, has a history of deploying committees instead of featuring one back. Ajayi still provides my team with quality depth at the RB position.

Round 5: Marvin Jones (WR – DET)
My goal at this stage of the draft was to target players who could provide WR1 upside any given week. Jones can be viewed as solid WR2 who fits that description.

He continues to display excellent rapport with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Jones has averaged 6.8 targets, 3.7 receptions, 65.5 receiving yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game over his last 31 since arriving in Detroit. He has positive receiving fantasy points over expectation over that time frame.

Round 6: Devin Funchess (WR – CAR)
The Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin in the middle of last season for two draft picks. Funchess solidified himself as the team new No. 1 receiver after the trade. He averaged 6.6 targets, 3.8 receptions, 60.4 receiving yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game last season from Week 9 on. Funchess had a breakout season, but also dealt with a shoulder injury during that span of time.

He set career-highs with 63 receptions, 840 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. Panthers general manager Marty Hurney recently said that Funchess has “just scratched the surface” of his ability and I agree. The 23-year-old is just entering his physical prime.

Round 7: Pierre Garcon (WR – SF)
Garcon averaged 8.4 targets, five receptions, and 62.5 receiving yards per game last season. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season before a season-ending neck injury in Week 8. Garcon is on track to be cleared shortly and should be ready for OTAs.

The opportunity to play a full season with QB Jimmy Garoppolo raises his fantasy ceiling considerably as a high-end WR3. He will have even more upside in standard formats if Garcon improves his career touchdown rate of 0.3 per game.

Round 8: Isaiah Crowell (RB – NYJ)
Crowell was signed by the Jets in free agency to handle the early down and short yardage carries after the retirement of Matt Forte. The team is not sold on Bilal Powell as a featured back, but will still see touches as a change of pace and receiving back with a dash of Elijah McGuire.

Crowell has career yards per carry of 4.2 and positive fantasy points over expectation. He has averaged 12.6 rushing attempts and 2.3 receptions per game since 2016. Crowell needs to see a consistent number of touches to be successful in New York.

The Jets ranked 28th in total yards (305.2) and 19th in rushing yards (106.4) per game. This is not an optimal land spot, but few RBs at this stage of the mock draft were projected to as much volume as Crowell in 2018.

Round 9: Devontae Booker (RB – DEN)
Booker’s ADP is sure to fluctuate between now and August based on if they select an RB in the upcoming NFL Draft. This mock draft took before C.J. Anderson was released. Back in February, ESPN Broncos Reporter Jeff Legwold suggested that the team planned to enter the 2018 season with Booker as the No. 1 RB. He has a negative rushing fantasy over expectation up to this point of his career.

Booker could outperform his ADP if given a workload similar to Anderson’s last season. He averaged 15.3 rushing attempts per game finishing the season with 1,007 rushing yards.

Round 10: Marqise Lee (WR – JAC)
The Jaguars not resigning Allen Robinson solidifies Lee as their No. 1 receiver and also reinforces the belief that the offense will continue to revolve around Fournette and the running game. Lee averaged 7.4 targets, 4.3 receptions, and 53 receiving yards per game last season. With a touchdown rate of only 0.3 per game he is someone I selected for additional depth and as a bye week fill in.

Round 11: DeSean Jackson (WR – TB)
The rationale for selecting Jackson in this mock is eerily similar to my reasoning in the PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft article:

Jackson’s averaged seven targets, 3.9 receptions, 67.8 receiving yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game during his NFL career. His 17.5 career average yards per reception suggest a boom or bust nature which is not optimal for PPR formats. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter have publicly said positive things about Jackson this offseason.

Jackson is an excellent bounce-back candidate and will provide upside as my WR5 in this mock.

Round 12: Philip Rivers (QB – LAC)
Rivers is not slowing down at age 36 finishing last season as the fantasy QB8. He has averaged 37.2 pass attempts, 280.7 passing yards, 1.9 touchdowns, and 0.97 interceptions per game since 2014. Rivers continues to be surrounded by a solid supporting cast in 2018 and is a nice value at his ADP for those fantasy players who prefer to select QBs last in drafts.

Round 13: David Njoku (TE – CLE)
Njoku is one of my favorite breakout candidates at the position this season. The rookie finished with 29 receptions, 335 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. Njoku played only 47 percent of the Browns offensive snaps, but was targeted on 12 percent of them. Rookie tight ends Evan Engram and O.J. Howard played 70 or more percent of their team’s offensive snaps last season with positive outcomes.

The arrival of Tyrod Taylor in Cleveland bodes well for Njoku. Since 2015 Bills tight end Charles Clay was Taylor’s most targeted receiver (207) with adjusted yards per attempt of 7.29 yards.

Round 14: Matt Breida (RB – SF)
Breida is an RB you should aggressively target late in fantasy drafts. He was someone I also selected in PPR mock draft article I referenced above with the following rationale:

The 49ers signing of Jerick McKinnon in free agency does not lessen my optimism for Breida this season. Matt Barrows of the Sacremento Bee reported last month that he should remain involved in the 49ers RB rotation and even referenced the Falcons 2016 backfield of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. These RBs combined for 2,482 total offensive yards in 49ers head coach Shanahan’s scheme. I anticipate Breida would fill the role of Coleman to McKinnon’s Freeman in 2018.

Conclusion

The beauty of fantasy football is that there are multiple ways to build a winning team. The interface and features of the Draft Wizard are the same for our Draft Assistant which is a tool that you can use during a live draft. You will be able to optimize your picks with our expert advice during your football draft.

What was your favorite pick? What was your least favorite pick? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out to me on Twitter @EricNMoody. Until next time!


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Eric Moody is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him @EricNMoody.

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