Scott Sergent and I give our thoughts on the trends we’ve noticed in Mock Drafts for the 2013 fantasy season. We also go over the various rules and regulations of most fantasy leagues for beginners.
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Mock draft notes:
Tip No. 1 — Grab running backs quickly. Running backs are like a mountain of coke backstage at a rock concert. You better get there and get yours before the band huffs it all up. In a lot of the 12-team mocks I did, there wasn’t a single player taken in the first round that wasn’t a running back. Somebody would occasionally grab Calvin Johnson at the 10th or 11th spot, but other than that you had guys like Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson, Alfred Morris, LeSean McCoy.
Running back strategy: The talent level in the top 10 running back picks are very high, but then it tapers off with a bunch of mediocre guys like Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson. You would be wise to grab a running back first, but resist the temptation to draft back-to-back running backs in the first round. The talent level is not there and you’d be much better off taking a wide receiver or even a quarterback than another running back since there were still be a lot of depth in the next round.
One scenario where you can opt for a WR/QB: If you’re drafting in the 10-12 pick range, and are simply looking for the best value, I can see taking a Calvin Johnson or an Aaron Rodgers here, because the talent at RB starts to dip a little bit around the 11-12 range once Stephen Jackson is the next best running back (cause I consider him a tier 2 guy)
Guys still available in the third round: David Wilson, Darren McFadden, Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray (who may run a lot more this year) Eddie Lacy, Lamar Miller, Ahmad Bradshaw (all starters)
4th round is a sweet spot for quarterbacks: Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford (has some new weapons). You’ll have plenty of opportunities for quality starting quarterbacks in the mid rounds.
Tony Romo is undervalued this year. He developed great chemistry last season with Dez Bryant which led to one of the best stretches in his NFL career. Dez was finally able to put his off the field issues from becoming a distraction enough to have a great season. He still has great talent in Miles Austin and Jason Witten as well and when DeMarco Murray is healthy, he’s got one of the most formidable supporting casts in the NFL.
Robert Griffin III will be the steal of this year’s fantasy draft
He was the steal of the draft last year as a rookie, and now with his ACL rehab process still ongoing, he’s going in the 7 round range in most drafts. The seventh round. A guy who had the most efficient passing seasons for a rookie ever. We know the injury is a cause for concern, but after what you saw from Adrian Peterson last year at the running back position, and all the great talk going on that Griffin III has been healing in a way similar to Peterson, you have to love the idea of getting this year in this round. I think he’ll be the 2012 Peyton Manning easily.
Trap city: While it may be tempting to draft a big name guy (Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham) in the early rounds (2nd, 3rd) I would advise against it. Gronkowski is coming off a knee surgery and Graham, though strong last season, led the league in drops last season and battled injuries of his own. There simply isn’t a tight end worthy of that high of a pick in 2013, no matter how talented they are.
Diamond in the rough: 49ers Vernon Davis is slipping this year, going down to the seventh round. Not sure why, he’s got a great quarterback in Colin Kaepernick who extrapolated Michael Crabtree’s stats last year, and now, with Crabtree gone, Davis might be the best receiver they have on that team. We still don’t know what we’re gonna get from A.J. Jenkins or any of their other receivers.
Here’s another guy: Greg Olsen, coming off a solid season and has become one of Cam Newton’s go-to receiver.
Good late value guys: basically my only definition of a good late round pick is a guy who can either trickle in 5 pts a week or occasionally go off for a big game
DeSean Jackson (75th ranked) A No. 3 receiver (a lot of uncertainty at the qb position, but can still fly in the open field and just needs the ball delivered accurately to be effective)
T.Y. Hilton (85th ranked) A solid No. 3 receiver with an emerging star at quarterback and a No. 1 WR that has father time breathing down his neck.
Jeremy Maclin (98th ranked)
Emmaunual Sanders (105th ranked) bench guy
Phillip Rivers (179th ranked) very quality backup
Braylon Edwards (just resigned to the Jets on a depleted receiving core, worth stashing in case he starts which is a real possibility.)
Josh Gordon (ranked 114th) You’ll need to sit through a 2 game suspension with him but this guy will get you those big money catches
Bad early value guys:
Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham (going in 2nd and 3rd rounds) Gronk hasn’t been healthy for a season’s entirety yet and although the Pats got along fine with Hernandez injured most of last season, being without him really hurts their young receiving core. Graham is a probably the best tight end in the NFL right now, but he led the league in drops last season, struggled to get going early, and only had two plus 100 yard games all last season. Not worthy of a pick that high I don’t care how good he is on paper.
David Wilson — On the Giants, I think he’s gonna be good this year, may come cloe to 1,000 yards, but really don’t like the Andre Brown goal-line factor. The Giants have a history of this (going back to Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs) where they tend to like one guy take the majority of goal line carries and the other guy run between the 20s. Wilson was also inconsistent with his pass blocking during his rookie season and it’s been reported out of training camp that the Giants are going to go with a ‘hot hand’ approach between Wilson and Brown this season. Based on the mock drafts I’ve seen, Wilson is being drafted like a boarderline No. 1 running back when all signs indicate he might not be a heavily featured guy in New York this season.
1. What do you do when someone slams your pick in the chat window?
This is a great question, and there are several ways to handle it depending on the situation.
2. Does having a franchise player (One player on your roster you have going into the season that won’t show up when you do your mock draft) change how you pick in the mock?
Hmmmm….I think it does to some extent because you have to figure all the other teams will have a franchise guy kept too so those top players aren’t going to be available. I think it makes you value the first few rounds less and the mid-to-late rounds more, but since it’s just one guy, it shouldn’t take more than two rounds before every body is drafting like a normal non-keeper draft again.
3. What are some of the more entertaining names you have seen by owners in a Mock Draft?
Not particularly clever names in mock drafts since it’s usually just espn user names, but I did see a team Larson, which reminded me of Mr. Larson from Happy Gilmore, played by the very scary Richard Kiel, who donned the famous “guns don’t kill people, I kill people.” T shirt.
4. Do you pick in the mock draft where you pick in your upcoming draft? CBS lets you choose the spot you can pick from.
I never know when I am going to pick in my draft until five minutes before it, so I always assume the worst and pick last in the majority of my mock drafts. Picking in the top 8 is easy this year, you go get a running back. 8-12 gets trickier.
5. How different are standard rosters picked compared to flex rosters, if any?
It’s a little different, you need to stockpile more running backs and receivers (some leagues also allow tight ends in the flex spot as well) so it makes you less likely to go get a quality backup quarterback or another defense, but other than that, not a big difference. It just affects your depth a little bit.