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Editor's note: Our latest non-PPR pick-by-pick series was done in June and is a three-man draft with Heath Cummings, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard, with each one selecting four teams in this 12-team mock. 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 when viewing each team.
If you find yourself with the No. 8 pick, or any pick in the back half of the draft, you may want to start warming up to the idea of starting with two wide receivers. Even in a non-PPR draft.
This draft was a great example of why. With the No. 8 and 17 pick overall, I landed Odell Beckham and Michael Thomas. Both have the upside to finish No. 1 at their position, and if they play 16 games it's hard to see how they finish outside of the top 10.
Of course, what makes a lot of people uncomfortable with this strategy is the hole it leaves at running back. With the eighth pick I feel pretty confident you'll get at least one top 20 running back in the third round and then you're going to spend several mid-round picks on running back depth. Thankfully, there are plenty of running backs with top-20 upside falling outside of the top 50 in ADP.
Here's my team from No. 8 overall:
- 1.8 Odell Beckham, WR, NYG
- 2.5 Michael Thomas, WR, NO
- 3.8 Alex Collins, RB, BAL
- 4.5 JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT
- 5.8 Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
- 6.5 Marshawn Lynch, RB, OAK
- 7.8 Devontae Booker, RB, DEN
- 8.5 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
- 9.8 Allen Hurns, WR, DAL
- 10.5 Javorius Allen, RB, BAL
- 11.8 Jordy Nelson, WR, OAK
- 12.5 Eric Ebron, TE, IND
- 13.8 Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
- 14.5 Falcons DST
With my first three picks in hand, my fourth-round pick was the most difficult in this draft. I like JuJu Smith-Schuster as a low-end No. 2 receiver, and chose him to be my flex in this format.
A combination of Beckham, Thomas and Smith-Schuster will be the best receiver trio in most drafts (not this one, see my team from the 11th pick) and I feel more confident in them meeting expectations than I would a stable of running backs from the same range of this draft. But this obviously meant I needed to make a serious effort at accumulating running back depth.
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With my next three picks I did just that, adding Lamar Miller, Marshawn Lynch and Devontae Booker in Rounds 5-7. I understand no one is getting excited about any of these three, but Miller in particular is looking more and more like a steal at his cost. More on that below. As for Booker, it's true that Royce Freeman has more upside, but Booker has the edge coming into camp, and Freeman was taken 28 picks earlier. Three rounds later I added Javorius Allen, a player who may actually have flex appeal and is also a possible handcuff if Alex Collins doesn't hold up.
I fully expect my quarterback and tight end will outperform their ADP this year by a good bit. Ebron in particular goes to an offense that heavily targets its tight ends, and I have little doubt he'll be more productive than his teammate Jack Doyle. Expect Ebron to play the Coby Fleener role to Jack Doyle's Dwayne Allen.
Favorite pick: Lamar Miller
Not only do I understand reservations about Miller, I was leading the D'Onta Foreman charge a month ago. But it doesn't sound like Foreman will be ready for the start of camp, and it's questionable whether he'll be ready for Week 1. That sets Miller up to be a top-20 running back for the fourth year in a row.
Miller was much better when Deshaun Watson was under center in 2017, as was this entire offense. I can understand passing on Miller where he was being drafted last year, but if he's available in the fifth round, concerns about his efficiency are being baked into the cost.
Pick I might regret: Marshawn Lynch
It's not so much that I'm all that worried about my sixth-round pick busting. It's what I passed up. As confident as I am in Eric Ebron being the best tight end in Indianapolis, I'd feel much better if I had Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen as my tight end. Had I selected one of them, I'd have a top five tight end and a running back depth chart that doesn't look all that different than it does now. If Lynch is surpassed by Doug Martin at camp, or just finally looks his age, I'm not going to be pleased I passed on a top tight end in the name of running back depth.
Player who could make or break my team: Odell Beckham
When Beckham is on the field, you could easily argue he's the best receiver in Fantasy. His 16-game pace over his career is an absurd 107-1,506-13. The problem is he's now played 16 games once in his four-year career. He's also, according to SportsNet New York.
If he plays the full season and stays healthy, he's a value even with the eighth pick of the draft. If he holds out and gets hurt in Week 1, it's an absolute disaster for a team built around a great receiving corps.