Way Too Early Standard Fantasy Football Mock Draft
We are in the middle of NBA All-Star weekend, still weeks away from NFL free agency, March Madness and MLB Spring Training. To put it plainly, this is the single most boring sports weekend of the year. Because you are a normal person, I can only assume you are itching for a February fantasy football mock draft. Wait, this is what normal people do in mid-February, right?
Today’s draft will be a 12-team standard league with the most common roster settings: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FX, 1 D/ST and 5 bench. We won’t be using kickers, because we are sane. Rookies aren’t involved this time around either. I’m of course using our free Draft Simulator to complete the draft in a matter of minutes and I’ll be walking you through the thought process with each pick. Before we begin though, I’ve got to click that ‘randomize draft order’ button.
1.9 (9th overall): Joe Mixon (RB – Bengals)
As expected, there were seven running backs and Michael Thomas already off the board. Surprisingly, Derrick Henry went at 1.4 over Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook. I nearly got the #6 player on my board, Aaron Jones, but instead had to settle for a pick that may have made you cringe a little. Yes, Mixon plays for a terrible team, but this offense should be quite good this season with the addition of Joe Burrow and the return of both A.J. Green and John Ross from injury. You’d have to expect the return of Jonah Williams and an off-season focus on improving the offensive line will have a substantial impact too. But really what this comes down to is that Mixon has true 1.1 talent in an up-tempo offense like Zac Taylor wants to run. If Gio Bernard is finally out of the way as many suspect, Mixon could be a true three-down workhorse as he is among the best pass-catchers at the position.
Others considered: Nick Chubb, Davante Adams
2.4 (16th overall): Leonard Fournette (RB – Jaguars)
Shockingly, Nick Chubb nearly made it back to me which would have been a ridiculous start. Besides him, five wide receivers came off the board in six picks which depleted the position pretty quickly. I could go Kittle or perhaps even Lamar Jackson this early, but I won’t be doing anything like that in the second this year until both Fournette and Jacobs are both off the board. They end the tier of reliable workhorses and if you can manage to grab two, you will do well for yourself. Yes, the Jags had a bad offense last year but like Cincy, their offensive line is near certain to improve. Additionally, Fournette had a whopping 76 receptions last season and nearly 1,700 total yards in 15 games.
Others considered: Josh Jacobs, Mike Evans, George Kittle
3.9 (33rd overall): Allen Robinson (WR – Bears)
Unless the consensus opinion changes substantially, I’m expecting to land Odell Beckham in the vast majority of my leagues in the third round this year. He was taken, however, as was my backup plan, Austin Ekeler, the very pick before me. I don’t feel great about the remaining options, but among them, Robinson barely edges out fellow wideout, Brown, and my third running back, a potential RB1 in Drake. Brown finished the season on a high-note but is quite a bit riskier than Robinson. What’s more, is that Robinson is among the most talented wideouts in the league but has been held back through the years by poor quarterback play. If Chicago ends up with Joe Burrow, Dak Prescott or Philip Rivers, we could see Robinson jump from 98 receptions, 1,147 yards and 7 TDs back to that amazing 2015 line he had with 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Others considered: A.J. Brown, Kenyan Drake, Patrick Mahomes
4.4 (40th overall): Patrick Mahomes (QB – Chiefs)
Had A.J Brown lasted two more picks, I’d be doing cartwheels here. I’m actually fairly excited to see Mahomes still on the board, though, and if you know my opinion on when to draft quarterbacks, this should come as quite a surprise to you. Yes, I prefer grabbing someone like Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill or Baker Mayfield late in the draft, but Mahomes is just so great that if he drops into the fourth round, I’m pulling the trigger every time. Diggs posted over 1,000 yards for the second-straight season and has upside for much more as Adam Thielen is aging so I certainly wouldn’t have minded him as my WR2 had Mahomes also been gone.
Others considered: Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marlon Mack
5.9 (57th overall): D.J. Chark (WR – Jaguars)
Wow! I was not expecting to have even one option I was excited about let alone two. This is an extremely tough decision between Ertz and Chark. In fact, I almost had a third great option as Terry McLaurin was selected the pick before me. While I think Ertz is the better fantasy player, what it really comes down to here is that I have another selection in 6 picks and I expect either Darren Waller or Austin Hooper to still be available and I’m not convinced either is a huge downgrade from Ertz. After Chark, meanwhile, the wideout position dries up quickly until a few of my favorite mid-round options who should both be available in the 7th and 8th rounds for me. And yes, it appears I am building a team of Jaguars, but with a second-year stud like Chark coming off a 1,000-yard season, I’m stoked to grab him this late.
Others considered: Zach Ertz, Kareem Hunt
6.4 (64th overall): Kareem Hunt (RB – Free Agent)
As expected, Waller is still on the board but Hunt was too and there is no chance I can -pass on a potential top-end RB1 in the 6th round. Yes, I’ll have to take a hit at tight end with someone like Evan Engram or Hunter Henry, but after Hunt, there is only one other RB3 who excites me and there is no guarantee Raheem Mostert will be there in 16 picks. If Hunt ends up in a situation like the Falcons, I wouldn’t hesitate to take him in the late first round. That is one possibility, but perhaps he ends up back in Cleveland. Even if he does, we are talking about a fringe RB2 from the moment he returned last year. In fact, Hunt we sandwiched in between Josh Jacobs and Phillip Lindsay in terms of fantasy points despite his minimized role.
Others considered: Darren Waller, Phillip Lindsay, Jarvis Landry
7.9 (81st overall): Deebo Samuel (WR – 49ers)
Well, I was correct that Mostert wouldn’t drop. He was actually taken the pick immediately after me. Waller, Engram and even O.J. Howard are off the board now too but so are four more quarterbacks which means Deebo is still on the board. Over his final eight games, he was the WR13 in fantasy, and as Mike Tagliere posted last week, he had more fantasy points than Tyreek Hill despite fewer targets. There is room for even more growth in a full season of the WR1 role for San Francisco next year. Now, fingers crossed that either Williams or Henry falls six more picks to me in Round 8.
Others considered: Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, Ronald Jones II
8.4 (88th overall): Hunter Henry (TE – Chargers)
Two jerks keep sniping me. They now have Mike Williams, Terry McLaurin and Raheem Mostert. Not cool. I wouldn’t mind grabbing my fourth wideout here, whether it be high-upside sophomore, Brown, or reach for one of my favorites, Miller, but with Henry still on the board, there was no chance I was going to take anyone else. His current ECR (expert consensus ranking) is #73 overall and the next best available is #84 so that should tell you just how much of a steal this is. He didn’t quite have the breakout many expected but finishing as the TE8 in just 12 games is quite the accomplishment. In fact, he was a near-lock in terms of fantasy points per game as Waller.
Others considered: Marquise Brown, Anthony Miller, Latavius Murray
9.9 (105th overall): Will Fuller (WR – Texans)
Well, the streak continues as Williams was selected the very pick before me again. Brandin Cooks and Royce Freeman are gone as well which also hurts. The options at this stage in the draft are all rough, as everyone has major question marks and the upside has essentially disappeared too. Besides the high-end backup RBs I’m waiting on, Fuller has by far the most promise remaining and even though he is a headache, there is a chance he takes a step forward and becomes an extremely useful WR4. Or, imagine just how much his stock would take off is DeAndre Hopkins were to suffer an injury.
Others considered: Curtis Samuel, James White
10.4 (112th overall): Alexander Mattison (RB – Vikings)
I wish I was joking but it happened again. Samuel was taken the very pick before me and Tony Pollard is now gone too. It’s a good thing this is just a mock or I’d be quite upset about now. While I’d prefer to hold off another round on taking Mattison, I’m not taking any chances here. If the seemingly fragile Dalvin Cook were to suffer another injury, Mattison could very easily become an RB1 in 2020. Even we only get a few blow-up weeks like Latavius Murray provided fantasy owners in 2019, he’d make for a solid value here.
Others considered: Tarik Cohen, Emmanuel Sanders
11.9 (129th overall): Justice Hill (RB, Ravens)
There are actually a handful of players I’d love to take a shot on at this point and I’ll surely end up missing out on half of them. Justin Jackson would have been my pick without hesitation but again, he was taken just one pick before me. Corey Davis and Sammy Watkins would have been excellent fliers at this stage too. Among the group remaining, Hill is by far my favorite as he has the ability and team scheme to be a breakout running back if anything were to happen to Mark Ingram.
Others considered: Golden Tate, Mecole Hardman, Tyler Higbee
12.4 (136th overall): Mecole Hardman (WR – Chiefs)
Tate came off the board and would have made for a heck of a fifth wide receiver considering his 1,000-yard, 9 TD pace last year, but I’m thrilled to land Hardman here as he has even more potential. Obviously, he could go ham on the league if Tyreek Hill were to suffer an injury or get suspended but even without that, Sammy Watkins may be on the move and Travis Kelce turns 31 years old. We saw Hardman post a historically efficient rookie campaign and so he could absolutely breakout in 2020 with more snaps and targets.
Others considered: Tyler Higbee, Cam Newton, Breshad Perriman
13.9 (153rd overall): Cam Newton (QB – Panthers)
I almost never select a second quarterback or tight end, especially when I grabbed an elite QB like Mahomes earlier on. At this stage in the draft, though, it is laughable that such a high-upside talent is still available. I don’t expect to ever use Newton on my fantasy team, but if he returns to form from just a year ago, then I’ve got one heck of a trade chip out of my 13th round pick. Prior to his shoulder injury, Cam was the QB3 in fantasy football during the 2018 season.
Others considered: Breshad Perriman, Ryquell Armstead, 49ers D/ST
14.4 (160th overall): New England (D/ST – Patriots)
What is there to say? It’s a defense in February, folks. There are so many things that can and will change during free agency and the NFL Draft but one thing remains certain: Bill Belichick. If I’m picking a D/ST, you’d better believe I’m betting on the GOAT no matter which players he ends up with.
Others considered: Buffalo D/ST, Chicago D/ST, Ryquell Armstead
Compared to the other mocks I’ve done this winter, this is among my least favorite. Most of what it comes down to is that I picked 9th, and although I am pleased with the two workhorse running backs I ended up with to start things off, the 3rd and 4th round from this spot are dead-areas of the draft, plus there is just no substitute for missing out on one of the four elite running backs or a bonafide stud wideout like Michael Thomas. There is upside galore on my bench and I’m expecting that one of them will be an absolute home run which would go a long way in improving this roster to compete with the Christian McCaffrey team to be the league favorite.