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Editor's note: Our latest pick-by-pick series was done prior to the third preseason games, when season-ending knee injuries to Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith occurred. The goal of this series is to show you positions to draft in these spots as much as the players selected, so take that into account if those injured guys are listed here.
This is our second installment of the pick-by-pick series for non-PPR drafts. For this edition I drew the No. 3 pick, which is a very interesting place to be. Presuming David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell are the first two picks (they should be), you get your choice of wide receivers. I'm certain my selection of Julio Jones will raise more than a few eyebrows.
While the consensus is Antonio Brown, I actually prefer Jones in all formats. Last year he had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns in just 14 games. The year before he led the NFL with 1,871 receiving yards. When he's healthy, Jones is the best receiver in the NFL, but he's never had Brown's touchdown production.
Other than the fact that touchdowns are one of the least predictive statistics, I have real concerns about Brown outperforming Jones in that area again. For one, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant are both healthy and available for Week 1. At the very least that gives Brown more competition in the red zone. Also, while Brown doesn't have the same injury concerns as Jones, his quarterback has enough for both of them. If Ben Roethlisberger misses time, you can expect a serious dip in Brown's performance.
If you've got the third pick and want to make the safe pick that no one will question, take Brown. But I expect more from Jones in 2017.
Here is my team at No. 3 overall:
- 1.3 Julio Jones, WR, ATL
- 2.10 Todd Gurley, RB, LAR
- 3.3 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
- 4.10 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
- 5.3 Ty Montgomery, RB, GB
- 6.10 Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN
- 7.3 Paul Perkins, RB, NYG
- 8.10 Jamaal Williams, RB, GB
- 9.3 Mike Wallace, WR, BAL
- 10.10 Adam Thielen, WR, MIN
- 11.3 Kenny Britt, WR, CLE
- 12.10 Dion Lewis, RB, NE
- 13.3 C.J. Prosise, RB, SEA
- 14.10 Bills DST
Favorite pick: Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace is not sexy. I get it. He also didn't score very many touchdowns last year. Fine. Let's talk about what he has done. He has finished among the top 30 wide receivers every year of his career but one. He has caught a touchdown pass once every 16 targets over his career, including last year. Wallace has a clear path to 120 targets and has touchdown regression coming.
Also, if you're thinking this price is too steep, his ADP is at the back end of the 11th round in drafts that don't include me.
Pick you might regret: Paul Perkins
I still believe in the talent of Paul Perkins, but that my rankings. Of course, I've only dropped him to the spot where others had him ranked before the preseason, so I'm still going to draft him quite often.that I've dropped him in
I still expect Perkins to see somewhere around 220 touches and he should be a solid No. 3 running back, but there were several backs taken after him (Mike Gillislee, Danny Woodhead, Thomas Rawls) that could make this pick look foolish if Perkins shares the load with both Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa.
Player who could make or break your team: Ty Montgomery
Ty Montgomery was one of my favorite values earlier this summer because of the perception that Jamaal Williams was just going to stroll into camp and take his job. You see, Montgomery was actually very good last year. Pro Football Focus graded him as the most elusive running back in football in the second half of the season and he graded well as a pass blocker as well. But Montgomery's soft tissue injury in camp has spooked me a little bit, and that's why I reached for Jamaal Williams at the end of Round 8.
My biggest fear with this pairing is that if Montgomery does miss time during the season, Williams will share the load with Aaron Jones and neither will be playable. But if Montgomery stays healthy and lives up to his potential, I just drafted a top-10 running back in the fifth round.