Fantasy Football Mock Draft (12-Team, .5 PPR)
Welcome to my mid-April Mock draft! The NFL season is still many months away, but I enjoy doing mock drafts all through the offseason. One of the main reasons I make a point of mocking so early is that I like seeing how ADP changes as the offseason charges on. If I see the fantasy community coming around on a guy I thought I could get in the 10th round and then his ADP starts rising, I’ll join a few best ball leagues and get my player at a valuable discount while I still can.
Of course, it’s also fun just to keep fantasy football on your mind year round. Whatever your reason is for mocking, I’ve done a mock draft using the Draft Wizard and I’m going to break it down for you.
Settings: 12 team league, half PPR, 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 FLX, 1 DST, 1 K, 5 BN
I was randomized to pick fifth.
1.05 – Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
The first four picks went: Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey. I had an immediate tough decision; Melvin Gordon or Alvin Kamara? Ultimately it’s a win-win situation. Kamara and Gordon ranked 1st and 2nd in 2018 in fantasy points per snap at 0.53 and 0.52 respectively. They are both in line for a heavy workload in 2019, they are both extremely dangerous in the passing game (both had over four catches per game in 2019), and they both play in high-scoring offenses (Chargers and Saints were 6th and 3rd in points scored last year). I split hairs and went with Kamara for two reasons, 1) Kamara had 81 catches in each of his first two seasons. Both of those marks beat out Gordon’s career-high of 58. Kamara should figure to be an even bigger part of the offense with the departure of Mark Ingram, and 2) Melvin Gordon is slightly more injury prone. He wasn’t able to finish that last few games of the season in both his first and second year in the league, and last year he missed multiple games with an injured knee. In total, he’s missed nine career games. That isn’t much, but again, I’m splitting hairs between these two players and Kamara’s availability has been more reliable thus far.
2.08 – David Johnson (RB – ARZ)
It may have been more logical to take a wide receiver with at least one of my first two picks as I have three starting spots to fill, but there was no way I was letting David Johnson slip by me at the end of the second. Despite underachieving in many people’s eyes last season, Johnson’s production as a receiver (50 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns) helped him reach an RB 9 (PPR) finish, and the Cardinals can only go up from a production standpoint. They finished last in both offensive points and offensive yards.
There was a complete lack of creativity in the run game under Steve Wilks and Mike McCoy, but that should correct itself in 2019 under Kliff Kingsbury. Johnson ran the ball up the middle 50 more times than anyone else in the NFL in 2018. Hopefully, Kingsbury will find a way to get him outside and in space. We saw Johnson’s ceiling in 2016 when he went for 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns. Last year we saw his floor on the worst offense in the league, and he still scraped out a top-10 fantasy finish at his position.
3.05 – A.J. Green (WR – CIN)
A.J. Green falling to me in the third round would be a dream come true. If healthy, I believe A.J. Green is still a top-five receiver in the NFL. He’s broken 1,000 yards (or been on pace to break 1,000 yards) every year of his career, but he’s been derailed by injuries in three of the last five seasons. In that span, however, Green is 8th in fantasy points per game, 9th in total targets, and 4th in yards per target. Since he entered the league in 2011, only Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, and Jordy Nelson have more receiving touchdowns than Green. If you’re able to land Green in the third after picking two workhorse running backs, that’s an A+ start. I looked at Patrick Mahomes’ name for half a second, but I couldn’t justify taking a quarterback in the third round with how deep the class is.
4.08 – Allen Robinson (WR – CHI)
I wanted another receiver here and my top choices were; Allen Robinson, Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, Alshon Jeffery, and Jarvis Landry. To me, the final decision was between Robinson and Jeffery, and I went with Robinson based on his chemistry with Mitch Trubisky that really began to click at the end of last season and into the postseason. After an up and down start to the season that was riddled with injuries, Robinson saw nine, eight, seven, and eight targets in his last four games of the regular season, and then blew up with 10 catches on 13 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown in his lone postseason game. He and Trubisky began to develop a pattern of consistency which I believe will carry into next season. I do like Jeffery, but with Zach Ertz setting tight end receiving records, Nelson Agholor working the slot, and the addition of deep-ball specialist DeSean Jackson, I’m seeing a lot less room for him to work.
5.05 – DJ Moore (WR – CAR)
I thought long and hard about stealing Devonta Freeman here, but DJ Moore is one of my favorite breakout candidates for 2019. After starting his rookie season without much noise — 23 catches on 31 targets for 317 yards through his first nine career games — he found a rhythm in the second half of the season and had 32 catches on 51 targets for 471 yards in his final seven games of the season. Moore can be a menace doing work over the middle and is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Christian McCaffrey’s usage is going to have to come back down to earth. He played on 91.3% of the Panther’s offensive snaps. The last running back to have a usage rate that high was Matt Forte in 2014. Add in the departure of Devin Funchess and the 80 targets he takes with him and Moore is a highly-skilled player with a ton of opportunity.
6.08 – Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
7.05 – Kenyan Drake (RB – MIA)
With these two picks, I was really looking to sure up my stable of running backs. Tarik Cohen and Kenyan Drake should both see increases to their workloads due to the departures of Jordan Howard from Chicago and Frank Gore and Adam Gase from Miami. They are both featured heavily in the passing game (91 and 73 targets last year respectively) and should be safe middle-round picks for a half PPR league.
I strongly considered taking Baker Mayfield here, who I was extremely high on even before the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr., but the draft Wizard said I’d have a 53% chance of getting him in the next round and I missed out. His price has been severely driven up since the OBJ acquisition, so I decided to continue sitting on both the quarterback and tight end positions as there were options left that I’d be fine with.
8.08 – Christian Kirk (WR – ARZ)
9.05 – LeSean McCoy (RB – BUF)
For the eighth pick, I debated several second-year receivers; Christian Kirk, Anthony Miller, Keke Coutee, and Michael Gallup. While I actually like all of these receivers, I think Kirk has the clearest path to targets with only (soon to be) 36-year-old Larry Fitzgerald ahead of him on the depth chart and no tight ends in sight. I already mentioned that the Cardinals offense has nowhere to go but up, and I think another year of development and additional protection for Josh Rosen (or drafting Kyler Murray) will jump-start the offense.
The Bills offense was horrendous last year, but taking LeSean McCoy in the 9th round did not feel like a risk. His only competition for work as of now is (soon to be) 36-year-old Frank Gore. Josh Allen played better than many thought he would as a rookie, and acquiring John Brown in free agency to help stretch the field should also benefit the run game.
10.08 – Carson Wentz (QB – PHI)
The tenth round seemed as good a time as any to grab a quarterback. There were still a few around that I liked, but I wanted to make sure to get my guy. The “top available” were Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, but this was a pretty easy pick for me. Despite the receiving threats of Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Todd Gurley, Jared Goff is wildly inconsistent. Through his first 11 games last seasons, Goff threw for 26 touchdowns and only six interceptions. However, in his final eight games (including the postseason) he threw for only seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, only Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson have a higher touchdown percentage rate than Carson Wentz over the last two seasons. With the addition of DeSean Jackson, Wentz has an incredible arsenal of weapons for 2019, he just needs to stay on the field.
11.05 – John Brown (WR – BUF)
12.08 – Trey Burton (TE – CHI)
13.05 – Philip Rivers (QB – LAC)
14.08 – Cleveland Defense
15.05 – Ka’imi Fairbairn (K – HOU)
With my last three (real) picks I needed a tight end, I wanted a high potential player, and thought it’d be smart to take a second quarterback with Wentz’s injury history. John Brown has been a burner his whole career but has never fully broken out. Buffalo wasn’t the ideal landing spot for him, but with his legs and Josh Allen‘s cannon of an arm, there’s certainly potential there.
The top nine tight ends went in the first seven rounds, and while part of me wanted to make sure and get Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, or George Kittle, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend a second-round pick there, so waited it out. Trey Burton finished as the TE8 last season, and I got him five rounds later than David Njoku and Evan Engram. I don’t think there will be that large of a value gap in their production totals at the end of the season.
Since Philip Rivers became the Chargers’ starting quarterback in 2006, he’s only finished worse than QB15 twice, and not since 2012. Instead of letting the top quarterback streamer go to someone else off the waiver wire, I got him to back up my injury-prone starter.
Here’s a look at the draft round by round:
- 1.05 – Alvin Kamara
- 2.08 – David Johnson
- 3.05 – A.J. Green
- 4.08 – Allen Robinson
- 5.05 – DJ Moore
- 6.08 – Tarik Cohen
- 7.05 – Kenyan Drake
- 8.08 – Christian Kirk
- 9.05 – LeSean McCoy
- 10.08 – Carson Wentz
- 11.05 – John Brown (WR – BUF)
- 12.08 – Trey Burton (TE – CHI)
- 13.05 – Philip Rivers (QB – LAC)
- 14.08 – Cleveland Defense
- 15.05 – Ka’imi Fairbairn (K – HOU)
And here’s a link to my draft on FantasyPros — for what it’s worth, they gave me an A (96).