2018 Fantasy Football Offseason: Running backs dominate early mock draft

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Our first mock draft following the NFL Draft definitely produced some interesting results. And it wasn't just because we're finally getting a realistic gauge of where the rookies will be selected in Fantasy drafts this season.

This 12-team standard mock draft also occurred following some recent running back news with Mark Ingram and C.J. Anderson, and we got to see what some Fantasy owners now think of the backfields in New Orleans and Carolina. As you would expect, things have changed for Alvin Kamara, Ingram, Christian McCaffrey and Anderson.  

Start with the Saints, who are now dealing with Ingram's four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Ingram, who was a second-round pick in most leagues before the suspension, fell to Round 5 here, which is a realistic landing spot for him. He still has the chance to produce at a high level even with the four-game absence.

In looking at Ingram's production from 2017 when he finished as the No. 6 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, he had eight games with double digits in Fantasy points in his final 12 outings, which coincided with New Orleans trading Adrian Peterson to Arizona. His stats in those final 12 games were 188 carries for 954 yards and 12 touchdowns and 43 catches for 291 yards, so he can still be dominant once he gets back on the field in Week 5.

Kamara, who was already being selected toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 before the Ingram news, went at No. 9 overall here. I'm actually surprised he didn't go sooner, and I would anticipate him being drafted as high as No. 6 overall in all formats.

Kamara finished his rookie season in 2017 as the No. 4 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, and he had no games with 20-plus touches. His workload will increase now that Ingram is out to start the season, and if Kamara can handle the additional touches without breaking down, he should have the chance to be a top-five Fantasy running back again in his sophomore campaign.

In Carolina, the Panthers made a smart addition by signing Anderson, who was released by Denver earlier this offseason in a cost-cutting move. He will now replace Jonathan Stewart and form what could be a formidable tandem with McCaffrey.

Anderson should have the chance for the majority of touches vacated by Stewart, who had 198 carries for 680 yards and six touchdowns and eight catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2017. Anderson was just the No. 16 Fantasy running back in standard leagues with the Broncos last year -- one spot behind McCaffrey -- and he's averaged 4.4-yards per carry in his career.

If Anderson can maintain that level of production at about 200 carries, then he's looking at more than 800 rushing yards, and Stewart has scored at least seven total touchdowns in each of the past three years for the Panthers. Don't discount Anderson as a flex option this season, and he was drafted in Round 7 here, which is a good spot for him.

Prior to Anderson's signing, McCaffrey was a popular Round 2 selection with the expectation he would take on more work with Stewart gone. He's still going to get more carries than the 117 he had as a rookie in 2017 to go with his 80 catches, but he was never going to be a 250-carry guy.

McCaffrey fell to Round 3 in this draft as the No. 14 running back off the board, and that's the right spot for him. McCaffrey can still be a breakout candidate even with the addition of Anderson.

While McCaffrey and Kamara were two of the best rookies last season, this year's group of incoming running backs comes into the NFL with high expectations. There were eight of them selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft -- Saquon Barkley (Giants), Rashaad Penny (Seahawks), Sony Michel (Patriots), Nick Chubb (Browns), Ronald Jones (Buccaneers), Kerryon Johnson (Lions), Derrius Guice (Redskins) and Royce Freeman (Broncos) -- and all of them have the chance to be Fantasy relevant in a significant way this season.

In this mock draft, Barkley was the first rookie selected at No. 11 overall in the first round, and I can see him being drafted as high as No. 6 overall. He has the chance to be an elite talent right away and is worth the first-round selection.

Round 4 kicked off the run on rookie rushers, as Jones, Penny and Guice went in that round, with Michel and Freeman going in Round 5. Johnson was drafted in Round 6, and Chubb went in Round 7.

I'm excited about all of these running backs and their long-term outlooks, which bodes well for dynasty leagues, but my rank list for this group in seasonal formats is Barkley, Penny, Jones, Freeman, Guice, Johnson, Michel and Chubb. After Barkley, you should consider Penny, Jones, Freeman and Guice as No. 2 running backs. I consider Johnson and Michel as flex options, and Chubb is just a reserve. 

Michel and Chubb make me slightly nervous with their Fantasy value this season because they are going to crowded backfields. Still, especially with Michel, I'm hopeful they can excel in their rookie year.

Some other rookie running backs who were drafted in this mock include Jordan Wilkins (Round 10), Nyheim Hines (Round 12) and Kalen Ballage (Round 13). Of these guys, keep an eye on Wilkins, who could emerge as a significant contributor for the Colts and should be considered a sleeper in all leagues.

The rookie receivers, as expected, weren't highly coveted in this mock draft. There were six selected -- D.J. Moore (Round 8), Anthony Miller (Round 10), Calvin Ridley (Round 11), Michael Gallup (Round 14), Christian Kirk (Round 14) and Courtland Sutton (Round 15) -- and I would expect this to reflect most seasonal drafts with none of them coming off the board until about No. 90 overall. Only Kirk and Sutton, as of now, aren't guaranteed to be taken in most re-draft leagues.

Moore, Miller, Ridley and Gallup all project as No. 3 or 4 Fantasy receivers to open the season, and I have them ranked in this order for 2018: Moore, Gallup, Miller and Ridley. I expect Moore and Gallup to be the best receivers in Carolina and Dallas, respectively, and Miller and Ridley will be strong role players. Gallup, in Round 14 here, was a steal.

I drafted three rookies on my team with Barkley, Freeman and Ballage, and I love my running back corps when you add in Kenyan Drake and Marlon Mack. Drake was exceptional last season after the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles, and Mack should be the best running back for the Colts. That said, I was disappointed I missed out on handcuffing him with Wilkins.

My receiving corps has one stud (Michael Thomas), one player with huge upside (Josh Gordon) and two other receivers with promise (Cooper Kupp and Will Fuller). If Kupp plays as well as he did last season as a rookie, he's a solid No. 3 receiver, and I expect Fuller to have a breakout third-year campaign with a full season of quarterback Deshaun Watson. I was also able to get Kenny Stills in Round 12, and he should be the Dolphins' best receiver now that Jarvis Landry was traded to the Browns.

One thing that could make this team dominant was being able to wait on quarterback and tight end and still get standout Fantasy options with Cam Newton in Round 9 and Kyle Rudolph in Round 10. Newton is a top-five quarterback coming into the season, especially with the additions of Moore and Torrey Smith to his receiving corps. And Rudolph has been a top-six Fantasy tight end in standard leagues in each of the past two years.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE). There will also be six reserve spots for a 15-round draft.

Our draft order is as follows:

  1. Will Brinson, NFL Writer
  2. Robert Arciero, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  3. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
  4. Andrew Baumhor, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  5. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
  6. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
  7. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
  8. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
  9. R.J. White, NFL Editor
  10. Matthew Coca, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  11. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
  12. J. Darin Darst, Production Manager
Round By Round
Round 1
Pos Team Player
1 Will Brinson T. Gurley RB LAR
2 Robert Arciero L. Bell RB PIT
3 Heath Cummings E. Elliott RB DAL
4 Andrew Baumhor D. Johnson RB ARI
5 George Maselli D. Hopkins WR HOU
6 Chris Towers A. Brown WR PIT
7 Adam Aizer M. Gordon RB LAC
8 Dave Richard K. Hunt RB KC
9 R.J. White A. Kamara RB NO
10 Matthew Coca O. Beckham WR NYG
11 Jamey Eisenberg S. Barkley RB NYG
12 J. Darin Darst L. Fournette RB JAC
Round 2
Pos Team Player
13 J. Darin Darst J. Jones WR ATL
14 Jamey Eisenberg M. Thomas WR NO
15 Matthew Coca D. Cook RB MIN
16 R.J. White A. Green WR CIN
17 Dave Richard D. Adams WR GB
18 Adam Aizer R. Gronkowski TE NE
19 Chris Towers K. Allen WR LAC
20 George Maselli J. Howard RB CHI
21 Andrew Baumhor L. McCoy RB BUF
22 Heath Cummings T. Kelce TE KC
23 Robert Arciero T. Hill WR KC
24 Will Brinson M. Evans WR TB
Round 3
Pos Team Player
25 Will Brinson T. Hilton WR IND
26 Robert Arciero D. Baldwin WR SEA
27 Heath Cummings D. Freeman RB ATL
28 Andrew Baumhor S. Diggs WR MIN
29 George Maselli C. McCaffrey RB CAR
30 Chris Towers Z. Ertz TE PHI
31 Adam Aizer D. Henry RB TEN
32 Dave Richard J. Mixon RB CIN
33 R.J. White J. McKinnon RB SF
34 Matthew Coca A. Rodgers QB GB
35 Jamey Eisenberg K. Drake RB MIA
36 J. Darin Darst A. Collins RB BAL
Round 4
Pos Team Player
37 J. Darin Darst D. Thomas WR DEN
38 Jamey Eisenberg J. Gordon WR CLE
39 Matthew Coca R. Jones RB TB
40 R.J. White A. Thielen WR MIN
41 Dave Richard A. Jeffery WR PHI
42 Adam Aizer A. Cooper WR OAK
43 Chris Towers J. Smith-Schuster WR PIT
44 George Maselli R. Penny RB SEA
45 Andrew Baumhor G. Tate WR DET
46 Heath Cummings A. Robinson WR CHI
47 Robert Arciero R. Wilson QB SEA
48 Will Brinson D. Guice RB WAS
Round 5
Pos Team Player
49 Will Brinson L. Fitzgerald WR ARI
50 Robert Arciero S. Michel RB NE
51 Heath Cummings M. Jones WR DET
52 Andrew Baumhor M. Ingram RB NO
53 George Maselli H. Henry TE LAC
54 Chris Towers L. Miller RB HOU
55 Adam Aizer J. Ajayi RB PHI
56 Dave Richard J. Williams RB GB
57 R.J. White J. Edelman WR NE
58 Matthew Coca J. Landry WR CLE
59 Jamey Eisenberg R. Freeman RB DEN
60 J. Darin Darst T. Brady QB NE
Round 6
Pos Team Player
61 J. Darin Darst G. Olsen TE CAR
62 Jamey Eisenberg M. Mack RB IND
63 Matthew Coca D. Bryant WR DAL
64 R.J. White K. Johnson RB DET
65 Dave Richard B. Cooks WR LAR
66 Adam Aizer C. Hogan WR NE
67 Chris Towers D. Lewis RB TEN
68 George Maselli M. Lynch RB OAK
69 Andrew Baumhor J. Graham TE GB
70 Heath Cummings M. Crabtree WR BAL
71 Robert Arciero E. Engram TE NYG
72 Will Brinson S. Watkins WR KC
Round 7
Pos Team Player
73 Will Brinson T. Burton TE CHI
74 Robert Arciero C. Hyde RB CLE
75 Heath Cummings I. Crowell RB NYJ
76 Andrew Baumhor R. Burkhead RB NE
77 George Maselli D. Watson QB HOU
78 Chris Towers C. Anderson RB CAR
79 Adam Aizer C. Davis WR TEN
80 Dave Richard T. Coleman RB ATL
81 R.J. White R. Woods WR LAR
82 Matthew Coca N. Chubb RB CLE
83 Jamey Eisenberg C. Kupp WR LAR
84 J. Darin Darst R. Matthews WR TEN
Round 8
Pos Team Player
85 J. Darin Darst T. Cohen RB CHI
86 Jamey Eisenberg W. Fuller WR HOU
87 Matthew Coca D. Funchess WR CAR
88 R.J. White C. Wentz QB PHI
89 Dave Richard D. Foreman RB HOU
90 Adam Aizer D. Parker WR MIA
91 Chris Towers K. Benjamin WR BUF
92 George Maselli D. Moore WR CAR
93 Andrew Baumhor T. Montgomery RB GB
94 Heath Cummings A. Hurns WR DAL
95 Robert Arciero J. White RB NE
96 Will Brinson D. Brees QB NO
Round 9
Pos Team Player
97 Will Brinson D. Booker RB DEN
98 Robert Arciero D. Walker TE TEN
99 Heath Cummings M. Goodwin WR SF
100 Andrew Baumhor Jaguars DST JAC
101 George Maselli J. Crowder WR WAS
102 Chris Towers D. Murray RB TEN
103 Adam Aizer A. Luck QB IND
104 Dave Richard R. Anderson WR NYJ
105 R.J. White C. Thompson RB WAS
106 Matthew Coca L. Murray RB MIN
107 Jamey Eisenberg C. Newton QB CAR
108 J. Darin Darst J. Nelson WR OAK
Round 10
Pos Team Player
109 J. Darin Darst N. Agholor WR PHI
110 Jamey Eisenberg K. Rudolph TE MIN
111 Matthew Coca D. Njoku TE CLE
112 R.J. White P. Garcon WR SF
113 Dave Richard B. Roethlisberger QB PIT
114 Adam Aizer J. Wilkins RB IND
115 Chris Towers A. Jones RB GB
116 George Maselli S. Shepard WR NYG
117 Andrew Baumhor R. Cobb WR GB
118 Heath Cummings B. Powell RB NYJ
119 Robert Arciero A. Miller WR CHI
120 Will Brinson M. Breida RB SF
Round 11
Pos Team Player
121 Will Brinson K. Cousins QB MIN
122 Robert Arciero C. Ridley WR ATL
123 Heath Cummings D. Johnson RB CLE
124 Andrew Baumhor E. Sanders WR DEN
125 George Maselli J. Garoppolo QB SF
126 Chris Towers G. Bernard RB CIN
127 Adam Aizer C. Meredith WR NO
128 Dave Richard J. Reed TE WAS
129 R.J. White M. Stafford QB DET
130 Matthew Coca P. Richardson WR WAS
131 Jamey Eisenberg C. Carson RB SEA
132 J. Darin Darst L. Blount RB DET
Round 12
Pos Team Player
133 J. Darin Darst G. Kittle TE SF
134 Jamey Eisenberg K. Stills WR MIA
135 Matthew Coca K. Golladay WR DET
136 R.J. White Vikings DST MIN
137 Dave Richard Rams DST LAR
138 Adam Aizer Eagles DST PHI
139 Chris Towers M. Bryant WR OAK
140 George Maselli N. Hines RB IND
141 Andrew Baumhor M. Ryan QB ATL
142 Heath Cummings P. Rivers QB LAC
143 Robert Arciero Texans DST HOU
144 Will Brinson T. Eifert TE CIN
Round 13
Pos Team Player
145 Will Brinson J. Doctson WR WAS
146 Robert Arciero P. Mahomes QB KC
147 Heath Cummings M. Lee WR JAC
148 Andrew Baumhor A. Ekeler RB LAC
149 George Maselli Broncos DST DEN
150 Chris Towers J. Winston QB TB
151 Adam Aizer J. Goff QB LAR
152 Dave Richard C. Clement RB PHI
153 R.J. White P. Barber RB TB
154 Matthew Coca Chargers DST LAC
155 Jamey Eisenberg K. Ballage RB MIA
156 J. Darin Darst D. Carr QB OAK
Round 14
Pos Team Player
157 J. Darin Darst S. Gostkowski K NE
158 Jamey Eisenberg Saints DST NO
159 Matthew Coca J. Tucker K BAL
160 R.J. White J. Doyle TE IND
161 Dave Richard G. Zuerlein K LAR
162 Adam Aizer M. Gallup WR DAL
163 Chris Towers Falcons DST ATL
164 George Maselli C. Kirk WR ARI
165 Andrew Baumhor J. Elliott K PHI
166 Heath Cummings Ravens DST BAL
167 Robert Arciero M. Bryant K ATL
168 Will Brinson Panthers DST CAR
Round 15
Pos Team Player
169 Will Brinson H. Butker K KC
170 Robert Arciero D. Westbrook WR JAC
171 Heath Cummings W. Lutz K NO
172 Andrew Baumhor A. Smith QB WAS
173 George Maselli M. Prater K DET
174 Chris Towers K. Forbath K MIN
175 Adam Aizer C. Boswell K PIT
176 Dave Richard S. Ware RB KC
177 R.J. White R. Gould K SF
178 Matthew Coca C. Sutton WR DEN
179 Jamey Eisenberg M. Crosby K GB
180 J. Darin Darst Seahawks DST SEA
Team by Team
Will Brinson
Rd Pk Player
1 1 T. Gurley RB LAR
2 24 M. Evans WR TB
3 25 T. Hilton WR IND
4 48 D. Guice RB WAS
5 49 L. Fitzgerald WR ARI
6 72 S. Watkins WR KC
7 73 T. Burton TE CHI
8 96 D. Brees QB NO
9 97 D. Booker RB DEN
10 120 M. Breida RB SF
11 121 K. Cousins QB MIN
12 144 T. Eifert TE CIN
13 145 J. Doctson WR WAS
14 168 Panthers DST CAR
15 169 H. Butker K KC
Robert Arciero
Rd Pk Player
1 2 L. Bell RB PIT
2 23 T. Hill WR KC
3 26 D. Baldwin WR SEA
4 47 R. Wilson QB SEA
5 50 S. Michel RB NE
6 71 E. Engram TE NYG
7 74 C. Hyde RB CLE
8 95 J. White RB NE
9 98 D. Walker TE TEN
10 119 A. Miller WR CHI
11 122 C. Ridley WR ATL
12 143 Texans DST HOU
13 146 P. Mahomes QB KC
14 167 M. Bryant K ATL
15 170 D. Westbrook WR JAC
Heath Cummings
Rd Pk Player
1 3 E. Elliott RB DAL
2 22 T. Kelce TE KC
3 27 D. Freeman RB ATL
4 46 A. Robinson WR CHI
5 51 M. Jones WR DET
6 70 M. Crabtree WR BAL
7 75 I. Crowell RB NYJ
8 94 A. Hurns WR DAL
9 99 M. Goodwin WR SF
10 118 B. Powell RB NYJ
11 123 D. Johnson RB CLE
12 142 P. Rivers QB LAC
13 147 M. Lee WR JAC
14 166 Ravens DST BAL
15 171 W. Lutz K NO
Andrew Baumhor
Rd Pk Player
1 4 D. Johnson RB ARI
2 21 L. McCoy RB BUF
3 28 S. Diggs WR MIN
4 45 G. Tate WR DET
5 52 M. Ingram RB NO
6 69 J. Graham TE GB
7 76 R. Burkhead RB NE
8 93 T. Montgomery RB GB
9 100 Jaguars DST JAC
10 117 R. Cobb WR GB
11 124 E. Sanders WR DEN
12 141 M. Ryan QB ATL
13 148 A. Ekeler RB LAC
14 165 J. Elliott K PHI
15 172 A. Smith QB WAS
George Maselli
Rd Pk Player
1 5 D. Hopkins WR HOU
2 20 J. Howard RB CHI
3 29 C. McCaffrey RB CAR
4 44 R. Penny RB SEA
5 53 H. Henry TE LAC
6 68 M. Lynch RB OAK
7 77 D. Watson QB HOU
8 92 D. Moore WR CAR
9 101 J. Crowder WR WAS
10 116 S. Shepard WR NYG
11 125 J. Garoppolo QB SF
12 140 N. Hines RB IND
13 149 Broncos DST DEN
14 164 C. Kirk WR ARI
15 173 M. Prater K DET
Chris Towers
Rd Pk Player
1 6 A. Brown WR PIT
2 19 K. Allen WR LAC
3 30 Z. Ertz TE PHI
4 43 J. Smith-Schuster WR PIT
5 54 L. Miller RB HOU
6 67 D. Lewis RB TEN
7 78 C. Anderson RB CAR
8 91 K. Benjamin WR BUF
9 102 D. Murray RB TEN
10 115 A. Jones RB GB
11 126 G. Bernard RB CIN
12 139 M. Bryant WR OAK
13 150 J. Winston QB TB
14 163 Falcons DST ATL
15 174 K. Forbath K MIN
Adam Aizer
Rd Pk Player
1 7 M. Gordon RB LAC
2 18 R. Gronkowski TE NE
3 31 D. Henry RB TEN
4 42 A. Cooper WR OAK
5 55 J. Ajayi RB PHI
6 66 C. Hogan WR NE
7 79 C. Davis WR TEN
8 90 D. Parker WR MIA
9 103 A. Luck QB IND
10 114 J. Wilkins RB IND
11 127 C. Meredith WR NO
12 138 Eagles DST PHI
13 151 J. Goff QB LAR
14 162 M. Gallup WR DAL
15 175 C. Boswell K PIT
Dave Richard
Rd Pk Player
1 8 K. Hunt RB KC
2 17 D. Adams WR GB
3 32 J. Mixon RB CIN
4 41 A. Jeffery WR PHI
5 56 J. Williams RB GB
6 65 B. Cooks WR LAR
7 80 T. Coleman RB ATL
8 89 D. Foreman RB HOU
9 104 R. Anderson WR NYJ
10 113 B. Roethlisberger QB PIT
11 128 J. Reed TE WAS
12 137 Rams DST LAR
13 152 C. Clement RB PHI
14 161 G. Zuerlein K LAR
15 176 S. Ware RB KC
R.J. White
Rd Pk Player
1 9 A. Kamara RB NO
2 16 A. Green WR CIN
3 33 J. McKinnon RB SF
4 40 A. Thielen WR MIN
5 57 J. Edelman WR NE
6 64 K. Johnson RB DET
7 81 R. Woods WR LAR
8 88 C. Wentz QB PHI
9 105 C. Thompson RB WAS
10 112 P. Garcon WR SF
11 129 M. Stafford QB DET
12 136 Vikings DST MIN
13 153 P. Barber RB TB
14 160 J. Doyle TE IND
15 177 R. Gould K SF
Matthew Coca
Rd Pk Player
1 10 O. Beckham WR NYG
2 15 D. Cook RB MIN
3 34 A. Rodgers QB GB
4 39 R. Jones RB TB
5 58 J. Landry WR CLE
6 63 D. Bryant WR DAL
7 82 N. Chubb RB CLE
8 87 D. Funchess WR CAR
9 106 L. Murray RB MIN
10 111 D. Njoku TE CLE
11 130 P. Richardson WR WAS
12 135 K. Golladay WR DET
13 154 Chargers DST LAC
14 159 J. Tucker K BAL
15 178 C. Sutton WR DEN
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd Pk Player
1 11 S. Barkley RB NYG
2 14 M. Thomas WR NO
3 35 K. Drake RB MIA
4 38 J. Gordon WR CLE
5 59 R. Freeman RB DEN
6 62 M. Mack RB IND
7 83 C. Kupp WR LAR
8 86 W. Fuller WR HOU
9 107 C. Newton QB CAR
10 110 K. Rudolph TE MIN
11 131 C. Carson RB SEA
12 134 K. Stills WR MIA
13 155 K. Ballage RB MIA
14 158 Saints DST NO
15 179 M. Crosby K GB
J. Darin Darst
Rd Pk Player
1 12 L. Fournette RB JAC
2 13 J. Jones WR ATL
3 36 A. Collins RB BAL
4 37 D. Thomas WR DEN
5 60 T. Brady QB NE
6 61 G. Olsen TE CAR
7 84 R. Matthews WR TEN
8 85 T. Cohen RB CHI
9 108 J. Nelson WR OAK
10 109 N. Agholor WR PHI
11 132 L. Blount RB DET
12 133 G. Kittle TE SF
13 156 D. Carr QB OAK
14 157 S. Gostkowski K NE
15 180 Seahawks DST SEA
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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