DRAFT Best Ball NFL Mock with Rookies
The NFL Draft hasn’t even taken place yet, but over on Draft, you can draft a best ball team with rookies in the player pool. In fact, this may be the best time of the season to take advantage of the disparity between ADP and true value since most don’t know the incoming rookie class. Today, I’ll show you how my draft turned out, tell you the successes and the lessons learned.
For those of you who haven’t participated in a best ball league, they are much different than standard re-draft leagues. In best ball, there are no trades, waiver pickups or even lineup setting. You draft an 18-team roster then leave it alone for the rest of the year. In the case of April drafts, that means it stays frozen for 8 months. Each week, your best possible lineup will represent your team so at this stage of the year, you’ll want a mix of reliable volume at certain positions and high upside at others. Let’s look at the draft.
By Draft Pick
- 1.7 Todd Gurley
- 2.6 Travis Kelce
- 3.7 Aaron Jones
- 4.6 Brandin Cooks
- 5.7 O.J. Howard
- 6.7 D.J. Moore
- 7.6 Matt Ryan
- 8.7 Carlos Hyde
- 9.6 David Montgomery
- 10.7 Philip Rivers
- 11.6 Tom Brady
- 12.7 Curtis Samuel
- 13.6 Matt Breida
- 14.7 Damien Harris
- 15.6 Jamison Crowder
- 16.7 Mohamed Sanu
- 17.6 Equanimeous St Brown
- 18.7 Antonio Callaway
- (3) QBs: Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady
- (6) RBs: Todd Gurley, Aaron Jones, Carlos Hyde, David Montgomery, Matt Breida, Damien Harris
- (7) WRs: Brandin Cooks, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jamison Crowder, Mohamed Sanu, Equanimeous St Brown, Antonio Callaway
- (2) TEs: Travis Kelce, O.J. Howard
Filling in wide receiver last
As I was making notes during the draft, my instinct was to make this a lesson learned because pickings were slim in the 16th-18th round for wide receivers but then I looked at the other positions and immediately felt redeemed. The other positions were a disaster. There was no one remotely interesting. At wide receiver, I at least had guys that would automatically slot into my lineup a handful of times each season. Waiting at wide receiver then getting loads of depth is the name of the game in best ball leagues.
Getting two tight ends early
Have you seen the tight end rankings this year? After #7, it is dreadful. In every single draft I do this year, I will make sure to get one of those 7, and in best ball, I want two of them. If I can accomplish that, I’ll have a huge upper hand on the rest of the league while they are using Mark Andrews and Matt LaCosse as I’m piling up points with Kelce and/or Howard. Sure, it costs a lot of draft capital, but you can play catchup with depth at other positions. You can’t do the same at tight end. By drafting two great ones, I don’t need a third, which then means I can get an extra wide receiver.
“Reaching” for David Montgomery
I took the rookie out of Iowa State in the ninth round, and frankly, it was too risky to wait that long despite his ADP in the 13th round. Montgomery is the best of the top tier of running backs who are virtually guaranteed volume early on. I like Miles Sanders more and Benny Snell Jr. right up there with Montgomery, but neither is a lock for touches like Montgomery, Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs. I expect Montgomery’s ADP to jump into the 5th, or even 3rd round depending on his landing spot.
Grabbing a durable trio of quarterbacks
I was open to the idea of getting two of Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers then calling it a day at QB like I did at tight end. It wasn’t in the cards, however, so I took three durable quarterbacks that will surely provide one 20+ point performance between them most weeks. Ryan was exceptional last season and now has 927 fantasy points over the last three seasons (1st in the NFL). Philip Rivers should be a top 10 QB this year with Hunter Henry returning and Mike Williams taking over in the starting lineup. Then there is Tom Brady, and while he may not be as dangerous as he once was, you know he’ll pile up the touchdowns once again.
Tying myself to inconsistent wide receivers
This one might not make much sense right away, but in best ball leagues, you want inconsistent wide receivers, especially when your approach is waiting at the position and building up depth. Curtis Samuel is the perfect example of why this works. Some weeks you’ll get 2 fantasy points and others you’ll be gifted with 20. If I have 7 receivers doing that instead of 7 who constantly get 14 fantasy points every week (48 more per season), then in best ball, I score 96 more fantasy points per season than the team who drafted the consistent players. Give me boom/bust or give me death.
Taking Matt Ryan in the 7th
Look, I just raved about Ryan up above, so clearly I love his game, but the 7th round is too early when he’s got a 9th round ADP. Frankly, this had more to do with not building up a strong enough queue. I was sniped back to back off my list of players to take, and while you may get 90 seconds in your re-draft league, fast best ball drafts give you 30 seconds. I ran out of time and took the top name on my list instead of grabbing Jerick McKinnon or Mike Davis like I should have.
Not “reaching” for Miles Sanders
Did I mention that Sanders is the top running back in this draft class? Prior to Saquon Barkley hogging all the carries in Penn State (and for good reason, right?), Sanders was the top running back recruit in America. In fact, once Barkley left, Sanders rushed for even more yards than Barkley in the same offense, and on just three more carries. Granted, Sanders isn’t Barkley, nor is he a tremendous pass catcher, but he will be starting in the NFL before long as I shouldn’t have let him drop to the 13th round. He was taken right before me and it is a mistake I’ll remember.
Letting Aaron Rodgers fall to 5.12
This one was the worst! Rodgers played with a broken leg and strained knee all season and he still went for 25 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His career-low 4.2% TD-rate is unsustainably low, and if he had just posted his career-average, we may have been talking about 2018 as his best season yet. 37 TDs, 2 INT and his second-most passing yards ever sounds good, no? Expect Rodgers to return to being Rodgers in 2019 and don’t you dare let him fall to the 60th pick in the draft when he has returned top 12 overall VBD every single season he has been healthy.
Inviting my listeners into the draft
I love my listeners. I really do. You all make it so I can do the greatest hobby in the world for a living. But do know that I HATE drafting against you all. Every single time, it seems, you snipe the top player from my list. It should be no surprise since you know who I want, but inviting you in to do this to me is a mistake I do not wish to repeat. (Don’t worry, I will anyway!)