2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Undercover Mock takes the plunge on Todd Gurley

Welcome to our third 'Undercover Mock' reveal, where our analysts surreptitiously go into mock drafts to draft with real people. Unlike our expert mock drafts, you won't see quarterbacks falling to crazy rounds here. We're trying to show you how to find real advantages drafting with real people.

Anyone who has played Fantasy Football would say Todd Gurley has been the definition of a stud for most of his career. Not everyone who will draft a Fantasy Football team this summer believes he'll remain a stud.

Count me among those skeptical of Gurley finishing as a top five or even top 10 Fantasy running back. We learned a lot about his arthritic knee during the offseason and saw the Rams retain backup rusher Malcolm Brown while adding another via the draft in Darrell Henderson. If the Rams are focused on keeping Gurley on the 22.5 touch-per-game pace he was on last year, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

But this is Undercover Mock, where I became an unrecognizable face in a mock draft with random people to get an idea of how your real drafts might shake out. It's the perfect playground to lay out blueprints for how to attack a draft if you have to have a specific player. So for this one, I forgot about my rankings and convictions and became Todd Gurley's No. 1 fan.

This mock was done late Sunday, just before kickoff of the Seahawks-Vikings preseason game. It's a 12-team non-PPR league with four-point passing touchdowns. I had pick No. 10, which left me with an interesting predicament: If I took James Conner first, that would mean one fewer rusher available to the drafters at Picks 11 and 12. The odds of them taking Gurley would rise quite a bit. So I decided to leave Conner in the talent pool and lock up a stud tight end instead in Travis Kelce.

Conner indeed pushed the running back talent down the board -- he was taken before I was up in Round 2, and Gurley was available. That was the pick. I think if a drafter truly targeted Gurley in Round 2, he or she shouldn't take a running back in Round 1 unless a slew of receivers went first. That's not likely.

I watched as receivers flew off the board. Nine went between my second- and third-round picks. Frankly, I felt good taking Brandin Cooks in Round 3, but with George Kittle still there for the taking, I wished I hadn't taken Kelce earlier. The drafting of Kittle and Zach Ertz has proven to be pretty volatile from draft to draft, so it's hard to predict where they'll land. I'd sign up for Kittle in late Round 3 all day long if I knew he'd consistently be there. This is the latest he'd gone through three Undercover Mock drafts (2.10 and 3.05).

OK, so probably not the most optimal start, but Chris Carson falling to me in early Round 4 made the sting go away. That's incredible value, even if it puts my receivers at a little disadvantage.

So with Gurley, Carson, Cooks and Kelce in my lineup, my queue entering my late Round 5 pick looked like this:

  1. Tevin Coleman, RB, SF 
  2. Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL 
  3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB 
  4. Josh Gordon, WR, NE
  5. Lamar Miller, RB, HOU 
  6. Miles Sanders, RB, PHI 
  7. Allen Robinson, WR, CHI

Clearly, my receiver need matched up masterfully with the best available players in the draft. I had to pass on Coleman to take Ridley as my No. 2 receiver in Round 5. Then I got lucky in Round 6 and snagged Josh Gordon to be my third receiver. A lot of people are skeptical of what he might do in 2019, but I think there's still 1,000-yard potential there given the look of the Patriots offense. Without Rob Gronkowski for three games last year, both he and Edelman each had nine-plus non-PPR points (12 in PPR). I'm counting on more of that.

Alright, at this point I'm pretty pleased with where my team is headed. Here's the squad:

  • Travis Kelce, TE, KC 
  • Todd Gurley, RB, LAR 
  • Brandin Cooks, WR, LAR 
  • Chris Carson, RB, SEA 
  • Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL 
  • Josh Gordon, WR, NE

I knew I had to make a play for Henderson really soon -- despite the hot-and-cold preseason, he figures to see a little bit of work each week with Gurley and a lot of work if Gurley misses any playing time. Taking him in Round 7 was the responsible thing to do ... but I had a good reason to do otherwise.

Why was Tevin Coleman still on the board?! Was I drafting with angry Falcons fans? Could I really have been drafting with people who didn't recognize his potential? And surely there's more upside in Coleman than Henderson. Plus, I couldn't help but notice that the team at Pick 11 already had three running backs and the team at Pick 12 had two. There was a really good chance I could swipe Coleman in Round 7 and pick up Henderson in early Round 8.

This was a no-brainer. I chose Coleman.

And then I watched in horror as Pick 12 took Henderson.

Alright, fine, it wasn't horror. It was ... mild shock? Point is, I wasn't freaking out because I didn't get the hot Rams rookie to handcuff to Gurley. It would have been nice, but I would rather have Coleman ready to go in case Gurley can't play than Henderson. I followed that pick up with preseason darling Curtis Samuel in Round 8. I wouldn't have drafted him if Henderson had made it back to me, obviously, but he's a delightful consolation prize.

At this point, people bailed on the mock draft (if you've ever mocked, it's happened to you) and a bunch of DSTs and kickers were chosen for them by the software. I'll still post the results and my full team, but I don't think there's a whole lot to learn from it.

Here's the final roster:

I'm still kicking myself for taking Kelce in Round 1 because Kittle was there in Round 3. Had I passed on Kelce, I would have had Odell Beckham and Kittle instead of Kelce and Cooks. Of course, if Kittle had gone ahead of me in Round 3, I wouldn't have felt this way, so I shouldn't feel too bad about things.

I'm happy with the roster and see it as competitive in a non-PPR league, but as is the case with every second-round pick, so much rides on Gurley. If he's struggling like he did in the playoffs and not getting the kind of playing time we've been used to seeing, he's going to hurt the team. If he's his old self, I'm headed for the playoffs. If he's in-between, he'll probably be fine but not worthy of a top-20 pick.

Lessons learned

You've got to go into your draft knowing how you feel about Gurley. Most people are either all in or all out on him. If you looked over this team and thought it was awesome, you're probably in the pro-Gurley camp. If you think this team carries too much risk, you might choose someone other than Gurley in Round 2. This exercise did not convince me to take him in my real drafts.

Drafting Gurley does not mean having to force-draft Henderson, but it does mean having to protect your running back depth in case Gurley misses time. I accomplished this by taking Coleman in Round 7 (which was a minor miracle) and ultimately spending three of my first seven choices on running backs. It would have been four of my first eight had Henderson made it back to me. 

Another position you have to know how you feel about before drafting is tight end. If the thought of spending a first-round pick on Kelce disgusts you, you're probably not going to feel much better about taking Kittle or Ertz in Round 2 (or even Round 3). Just remember: these tight ends come at a premium because they're expected to produce like top-15 receivers and potentially deliver twice as many Fantasy points as sputtering tight ends you'll draft late. I prefer this advantage and am willing to give up a little at receiver or running back by taking one.

Dominate your draft with our free Draft Strategy Guide, which gives you must-have sleepers, rookies, and quarterbacks. Plus see the top players at each position, complete with winning projections. Get your guide now!

Speaking of receivers, you should spend some time getting familiar with their ADP. We're seeing a rapid drop in tier quality from the first batch of eight receivers to the rest. Had I not taken Gurley in Round 2, I would have been motivated to select Beckham or JuJu Smith-Schuster instead just to have one of the elite tier wideouts. For years I've been all about running backs, but this drop-off at receiver is alarming, and I want to get one of the top-shelf guys if I can. 

Other interesting picks (through Round 7)

Full Undercover Mock results

Round 1

1

TEAM 1: Saquon Barkley

2

TEAM 2: Ezekiel Elliott

3

TEAM 3: Alvin Kamara

4

TEAM 4: Christian McCaffrey

5

TEAM 5: DeAndre Hopkins

6

TEAM 6: Davante Adams

7

TEAM 7: David Johnson

8

TEAM 8: Le'Veon Bell

9

TEAM 9: Julio Jones

10

DAVE:  Travis Kelce

11

TEAM 11: Michael Thomas

12

TEAM 12: Patrick Mahomes

Round 2

13

TEAM 12: Tyreek Hill

14

TEAM 11: James Conner

15

DAVE:  Todd Gurley

16

TEAM 9: Odell Beckham

17

TEAM 8: Joe Mixon

18

TEAM 7: Mike Evans

19

TEAM 6: Melvin Gordon

20

TEAM 5: JuJu Smith-Schuster

21

TEAM 4: Nick Chubb

22

TEAM 3: Dalvin Cook

23

TEAM 2: Antonio Brown

24

TEAM 1: T.Y. Hilton

Round 3

13

TEAM 1: Keenan Allen

14

TEAM 2: Adam Thielen

15

TEAM 3: Deshaun Watson

16

TEAM 4: Zach Ertz

17

TEAM 5: Leonard Fournette

18

TEAM 6: Amari Cooper

19

TEAM 7: Kerryon Johnson

20

TEAM 8: Stefon Diggs

21

TEAM 9: Devonta Freeman

22

DAVE:  Brandin Cooks

23

TEAM 11: Damien Williams

24

TEAM 12 George Kittle

Round 4

25

TEAM 12: Julian Edelman

26

TEAM 11: Marlon Mack

27

DAVE:  Chris Carson

28

TEAM 9: Aaron Jones

29

TEAM 8: Robert Woods

30

TEAM 7: Josh Jacobs

31

TEAM 6: Kenny Golladay

32

TEAM 5: Derrick Henry

33

TEAM 4: Phillip Lindsay

34

TEAM 3: Chris Godwin

35

TEAM 2: Mark Ingram

36

TEAM 1 Tyler Lockett

Round 5

37

TEAM 1: Sony Michel

38

TEAM 2: James White

39

TEAM 3: David Montgomery

40

TEAM 4: A.J. Green

41

TEAM 5: Tyler Boyd

42

TEAM 6: Evan Engram

43

TEAM 7: Cooper Kupp

44

TEAM 8: Tarik Cohen

45

TEAM 9: D.J. Moore

46

DAVE:  Calvin Ridley

47

TEAM 11: Mike Williams

48

TEAM 12 Lamar Miller

Round 6

49

TEAM 12: Miles Sanders

50

TEAM 11: O.J. Howard

51

DAVE:  Josh Gordon

52

TEAM 9: Hunter Henry

53

TEAM 8: Jarvis Landry

54

TEAM 7: Andrew Luck

55

TEAM 6: Kenyan Drake

56

TEAM 5: Eric Ebron

57

TEAM 4: Allen Robinson

58

TEAM 3: Sammy Watkins

59

TEAM 2: Aaron Rodgers

60

TEAM 1 Baker Mayfield

Round 7

61

TEAM 1: Jared Cook

62

TEAM 2: Vance McDonald

63

TEAM 3: Alshon Jeffery

64

TEAM 4: Russell Wilson

65

TEAM 5: Matt Ryan

66

TEAM 6: Cam Newton

67

TEAM 7: David Njoku

68

TEAM 8: Marvin Jones

69

TEAM 9: Drew Brees

70

DAVE:  Tevin Coleman

71

TEAM 11: Christian Kirk

72

TEAM 12 Darrell Henderson

Round 8

73

TEAM 12: Chicago Bears

74

TEAM 11: Sterling Shepard

75

DAVE:  Curtis Samuel

76

TEAM 9: Los Angeles Rams

77

TEAM 8: Carson Wentz

78

TEAM 7: Los Angeles Chargers

79

TEAM 6: Baltimore Ravens

80

TEAM 5: Jacksonville Jaguars

81

TEAM 4: Minnesota Vikings

82

TEAM 3: Robby Anderson

83

TEAM 2: Houston Texans

84

TEAM 1 Greg Zuerlein

Round 9

85

TEAM 1: Philadelphia Eagles

86

TEAM 2: Wil Lutz

87

TEAM 3: Austin Hooper

88

TEAM 4: Justin Tucker

89

TEAM 5: Harrison Butker

90

TEAM 6: Adam Vinatieri

91

TEAM 7: Stephen Gostkowski

92

TEAM 8: Austin Ekeler

93

TEAM 9: Robbie Gould

94

DAVE:  Latavius Murray

95

TEAM 11: Derrius Guice

96

TEAM 12 Ka'imi Fairbairn

Round 10

97

TEAM 12: Rashaad Penny

98

TEAM 11: Jared Goff

99

DAVE:  Will Fuller

100

TEAM 9: Dante Pettis

101

TEAM 8: Trey Burton

102

TEAM 7: Corey Davis

103

TEAM 6: Marquez Valdes-Scantling

104

TEAM 5: Royce Freeman

105

TEAM 4: N'Keal Harry

106

TEAM 3: Jordan Howard

107

TEAM 2: Keke Coutee

108

TEAM 1 Peyton Barber

Round 11

109

TEAM 1: Ronald Jones

110

TEAM 2: Geronimo Allison

111

TEAM 3: Cleveland Browns

112

TEAM 4: Courtland Sutton

113

TEAM 5: Larry Fitzgerald

114

TEAM 6: Dede Westbrook

115

TEAM 7: D.K. Metcalf

116

TEAM 8: Philip Rivers

117

TEAM 9: Damien Harris

118

DAVE:  Justin Jackson

119

TEAM 11: Kareem Hunt

120

TEAM 12 LeSean McCoy

Round 12

121

TEAM 12: DeSean Jackson

122

TEAM 11: Emmanuel Sanders

123

DAVE:  Jameis Winston

124

TEAM 9: James Washington

125

TEAM 8: Mark Andrews

126

TEAM 7: Jaylen Samuels

127

TEAM 6: Devin Funchess

128

TEAM 5: Ito Smith

129

TEAM 4: Carlos Hyde

130

TEAM 3: Anthony Miller

131

TEAM 2: Kyler Murray

132

TEAM 1 Ben Roethlisberger

Round 13

133

TEAM 1: Delanie Walker

134

TEAM 2: Kalen Ballage

135

TEAM 3: Mecole Hardman

136

TEAM 4: Dak Prescott

137

TEAM 5: Matt Breida

138

TEAM 6: Lamar Jackson

139

TEAM 7: Golden Tate

140

TEAM 8: Tyrell Williams

141

TEAM 9: Parris Campbell

142

DAVE:  Devin Singletary

143

TEAM 11: Michael Gallup

144

TEAM 12 Nyheim Hines

Round 14

145

TEAM 12: Jordan Reed

146

TEAM 11: Denver Broncos

147

DAVE:  New England Patriots

148

TEAM 9: Kyle Rudolph

149

TEAM 8: Dallas Cowboys

150

TEAM 7: Josh Allen

151

TEAM 6: T.J. Hockenson

152

TEAM 5: Kirk Cousins

153

TEAM 4: Jerick McKinnon

154

TEAM 3: Mitchell Trubisky

155

TEAM 2: Adrian Peterson

156

TEAM 1 John Brown

Round 15

157

TEAM 1: Tre'Quan Smith

158

TEAM 2: Noah Fant

159

TEAM 3: Matt Prater

160

TEAM 4: Dallas Goedert

161

TEAM 5: Chris Herndon

162

TEAM 6: Dion Lewis

163

TEAM 7: Mike Davis

164

TEAM 8: Brett Maher

165

TEAM 9: Tom Brady

166

DAVE:  Jake Elliott

167

TEAM 11: Mason Crosby

168

TEAM 12: DaeSean Hamilton

So what sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get 2019 Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge 2018, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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