I don’t know if any of you are ready for this. Hell, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. But as many of you already know, in addition to my extensive fantasy baseball coverage, I also do a significant amount of work for fantasy football. And guess what…? Yup. It’s starting already. While my primary focus on this site has always been fantasy baseball, the new and improved RotobuzzGuy.com will also encompass fantasy football.
So what better way than to start football coverage off with the re-emergence of the Mock Draft Army? We found the whole concept to be incredibly useful for fantasy baseball draft prep and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from all of you. So with that, we’ve assembled an army of fantasy football writers and experts and will be running a series of mock drafts throughout the summer and right up until the start of the season. That’s just over three months worth of mock drafts which will help create some of the most accurate and helpful data to use for your prep work. The ADP on Mock Draft Central should be the best available to you this season.
To get things started, we assembled the inaugural group this past Wednesday and put together a nice little 12-team PPR mock draft; starting 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE), 1 K, 1 DEF, 5 Bench. Standard scoring applied, although it was 20 passing yards per point as opposed to the usual 25. Passing TDs were 4 pts, not 6.
You’ll need to sign up for an account on Mock Draft Central to see the full results (if that link doesn’t work, try this one), but don’t worry, it’s free. Besides, you’ll want to do that anyway as I will be returning to the site for my ADP Analysis series that I do every year for both baseball and football and you certainly don’t want to miss that.
So here’s a look at who I drafted and why along with a few thoughts here and there about players I may have missed out on or passed up. I had the 4th pick.
Pick 1.4 (4) — Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA
To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a PPR league or standard scoring; strong running backs are a must. Those who touch the ball the most are likely to rack up the highest point totals and Lynch gets the ball a ton. I thought about Doug Martin here for his pass-catching ability, but Lynch is just a beast who racks up a ton of yardage, doesn’t get passed up at the goal line and tallies a few catches here and there as well.
Pick 2.9 (21) — David Wilson, RB NYG
Like I said, running backs are the key. The position is shallow and you can still find high-quality receivers with good target percentages further down. Covering this position is paramount to your success. Sure, there will be a steady flow of backs on the waiver wire as usual, but if you can lock in a pair of solid, full-time backs, you’re golden. Wilson may not be ideal, given the presence of Andre Brown near the goal line, but since it’s a PPR league and he’s got great hands out of the backfield, his catches and yards should make up for any potential TDs lost. Tempted to go with Darren McFadden but I’ve been burned down that road before.
Pick 3.4 (28) — Michael Crabtree, WR SF
A breakout season in 2012 moves him up most draft boards this year and deservedly so. People may shy away from him since his QB likes to poach touchdowns, but Crabtree will see plenty of targets this season. He saw just over 28-percent of the team’s targets and nearly 20-percent of the red zone looks and posted over 1,000 yards (1,105 to be exact) for the first time in his career. Crabtree finished the season strong with four touchdowns over his last five games and with more than 100 yards in three of them. He looked just as strong in the post-season even with the distraction of a false sexual assault charge.
Pick 4.9 (45) — Vincent Jackson, WR TB
What’s not to love about 1,384 yards with eight touchdowns? He’s the primary guy in Tampa who posted a target percentage just over 26-percent and a red zone target percentage hovering around 28-percent. Mike Williams, the other guy on the field, had percentages right around 22-percent for each. No unexpected changes in this season’s game plan so we can expect more of the same from VJax.
Pick 5.4 (52) — Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
I love having a killer QB/WR tandem to rack up double points and the fact that Kaepernick is a big runner and touchdown poacher means, I’ll be scooping those added points up also. He was the seventh quarterback off the board in this one and, in my opinion, a cut above (fantasy-wise) anyone left. Probably a cut above Russell Wilson and maybe Matt Ryan too, but that’s just me.
Pick 6.9 (69) — Eddie Lacy, RB GB
OK, so I hedged my Wilson pick with another running back here in Lacy. Doctors familiar with his toe surgery in Alabama assure us that there was no toe fusion going on and that he is 100-percent healthy and ready to go. He’ll have to compete during mini-camp with the likes of DuJuan Harris and Jonathan Franklin, but Lacy should come out on top. He’ll make for a nice flex or bye-week replacement.
Pick 7.4 (76) — Emmanuel Sanders, WR PIT
The Steelers say goodbye to Mike Wallace and give his job to Sanders which makes for an outstanding selection in the seventh round, if I may so so. Antonio Brown should get the heavy targets again, but he saw no red zone targets which Wallace most definitely did. Sanders posted a career high in catches and yards last year in a limited role and should be ready to break out this year as a significant deep threat for Ben Roethlisberger.
Pick 8.9 (93) — Dennis Pitta, TE BAL
Started the season hot, cooled down for a few weeks and then really took off in the second half. In fact, he caught five touchdowns between weeks 10 and 15 when it mattered most for fantasy owners and then showed is wasn’t a fluke with a strong post-season as well. If you’re not going to invest in one of the top guys, then an eighth round selection of the third highest scoring tight end in 2012 should suit you just fine.
Pick 9.4 (100) — LaMichael James, RB SF
The former Oregon star is primed to receive the baton from Frank Gore sooner than later. He’ll likely surpass Kendall Hunter on the depth chart, if he hasn’t already and see an increase in carries this year. He’s so explosive out of the backfield that you just expect him to rip off 60 yards at a time and find his way into the endzone. He makes for an awesome bench guy with potential for so much more.
Pick 10.9 (117) — Vincent Brown, WR SD
He had an amazing second half in 2011 but suffered an ankle injury which wiped out nearly all of 2012. Now healthy and with a legitimate receiver starting opposite him, Brown should live up to the promise and expectations we had last year. Of course, that will require Philip Rivers to rebound and efficiently get the ball to his receivers, but he and Danario Alexander looked like they had a good thing working in the second half last year.
Pick 11.4 (124) — Joe Flacco, QB BAL
He threw for just over 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns (10 INTs) last year and…oh yeah….he won the Super Bowl. A solid back-up quarterback for fantasy purposes and faces the always struggling Cleveland Browns during Kapernick’s week 9 bye week.
Pick 12.9 (141) — Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ
Trying to find some value here as Holmes is still considered a number one wide receiver, albeit, on the Jets. Perhaps a change in quarterback will help as it really shouldn’t take much for rookie Geno Smith to overtake Mark Sanchez on the depth chart.
Pick 13.4 (158) — Andre Roberts, WR ARI
In a PPR league, it makes sense to load up on receivers, so Roberts should provide me with some quality depth at the position. He started off real strong early on last year with five touchdowns over his first seven games but faded while the Cardinals struggled to establish their starting quarterback. Now with Carson Palmer at the helm, they should fare a little better.
Pick 14.9 (175) — Greg Zeurlein, K STL
Required to draft a kicker and a defense, I opted to go with Greg the Leg for another year. Now a bit more seasoned, perhaps he’ll show a bit more confidence and accuracy.
Pick 15.4 (182) — New York Jets, DEF
Total homer pick, what can you do? Here’s hoping they don’t suck as badly as they did last year.
So that’s the squad. Not too shabby for a first go-around. There will be plenty more Mock Draft Army appearances over the next few months, so if you’re interested, hit me up either here or via email.
Oh yeah, and for another perspective on this mock draft, check out Daniel Hagemeier’s review over at RotoPost.com.