Fantasy Football Midseason Mock Draft: Running backs dominating at the midway point of season

We're at the midway point of the Fantasy regular season, and quite a bit has changed. Back in August, DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams were the no-doubt-about-it top two wide receivers off the board; Joe Mixon and Todd Gurley were borderline first-round picks; JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham and Tyreek Hill were set for arguably their best seasons yet; Antonio Brown was even on a roster!

So we decided to do a quick mini mock draft this week, redrafting the top-100 players with the Fantasy Football Today team and friends to sort it all out. We started this draft during Sunday Night Football, and it continued into Monday. With big news around the Fantasy world in the days since, there are a few important situations to update. 

  • Kerryon Johnson was placed on IR, and would obviously not be drafted now, while backup Ty Johnson would likely have jumped into the top-100. Chris Towers broke down the Fantasy implications.
  • Emmanuel Sanders was traded to San Francisco, meaning Courtland Sutton may gave gone even higher than his fourth-round landing spot, while Sanders may have also moved up. Dave Richard covered that deal
  • Mohamed Sanu was sent to New England, and the implications for Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley are obvious, while Sanu could also thrive in his new digs. Chris gave us a full reaction to that move

While this mock doesn't reflect the value changes in those big moves, it does give us an idea of how to value every other player in the top 100. Dalvin Cook joins the elite tier. Leonard Fournette was a potential steal at No. 9. Brandin Cooks is now a late-sixth rounder! 

This was an eight-round draft assuming the following: PPR scoring, start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST. Our drafters were as follows.

  1. Will Brinson, Senior NFL Writer
  2. Ben Schragger, Podcast Producer
  3. Meron Berkson, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  4. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
  5. Jen Ryan, Sportsline Contributor
  6. Ben Gretch, Fantasy Editor
  7. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
  8. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
  9. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
  10. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
  11. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
  12. Jack Capotorto, CBS Sports HQ Producer

Round 1

1 Christian McCaffrey, RB1 Will Brinson
2 Saquon Barkley, RB2 Ben Schragger
3 Dalvin Cook, RB3 Meron Berkson
4 Ezekiel Elliott, RB4 Adam Aizer
5 Alvin Kamara, RB5 Jen Ryan
6 Le'Veon Bell, RB6 Ben Gretch
7 Nick Chubb, RB7 Dave Richard
8 Michael Thomas, WR1 Heath Cummings
9 Leonard Fournette, RB8 Jamey Eisenberg
10 David Johnson, RB9 Chris Towers
11 DeAndre Hopkins, WR2 George Maselli
12 James Conner, RB10 Jack Capotorto

Ten of the first 12 picks were running backs and Heath Cummings, one of two who went wide receiver, acknowledged the trend, saying "It's amazing how much more certain RB feels than WR now. But there's nothing more certain than Michael Thomas being a No. 1 WR." 

There certainly appears to be a gap in RB value at this point in the season, where we have a pretty good indication of the players who will get large workloads and team situations that are worth targeting, more so than we had in the preseason. But the flip side of that is there are plenty of uncertain RB situations, adding more value to the elite few at the top.

Dave Richard sees a longer-term trend, noting "No surprise at all that the round was dominated by running backs. Consider this a preview of 2020 drafts." If the majority of these names stay healthy enough to play 16 games, it's hard to argue with that assessment, especially as the elite wide receivers as a cohort are down. 

Jamey Eisenberg took Leonard Fournette at No. 9, and feels good about the pick. "Taking Leonard Fournette at No. 9 overall was easy. He's been exceptional so far this season, and the only thing lacking is touchdowns. Those will come, and Fournette will continue to dominate."

Similarly, Chris Towers was comfortable with David Johnson at No. 10, even on the heels of a big Chase Edmonds game. "Coming off Chase Edmonds' big breakout, I'm sure there are some who are wary of Johnson. I think the most likely outcome is Johnson's role doesn't change much. There are plenty of touches to go around, and Johnson's ability to split out wide makes him enormously valuable in this high-volume offense."

I agree both hold strong value, and I considered each where I picked at No. 6, along with Nick Chubb and the elite receivers. But after the top five went as expected, I chose Le'Veon Bell due to a huge snap share and a cake upcoming schedule. There's a debate to be had about that pick, but what's hard to debate is Bell's potential going forward is far superior to what he's done to date.

Round 2

13 Julio Jones, WR3 Jack Capotorto
14 Chris Godwin, WR4 George Maselli
15 Chris Carson, RB11 Chris Towers
16 Cooper Kupp, WR5 Jamey Eisenberg
17 Tyreek Hill, WR6 Heath Cummings
18 Amari Cooper, WR7 Dave Richard
19 Mike Evans, WR8 Ben Gretch
20 Josh Jacobs, RB12 Jen Ryan
21 Aaron Jones, RB13 Adam Aizer
22 Davante Adams, WR9 Meron Berkson
23 Keenan Allen, WR10 Ben Schragger
24 Odell Beckham, WR11 Will Brinson

While Round 1 featured mostly running backs, Round 2 was dominated by the top-end wide receivers, with nine coming off the board to make it 13 running backs and 11 wide receivers in the first 24 picks. 

Jamey went with Cooper Kupp ahead of Tyreek Hill, among others, and certainly Kupp's production to date is difficult to argue with. Jamey acknowledged some concern but feels confident in Kupp, saying "I hope the best of Cooper Kupp isn't behind him, but I still expect him to be a standout Fantasy receiver and the No. 1 target for Jared Goff the rest of the season. The Rams offense should actually start playing better from Week 8 on."

Meron Berkson's pick of a rehabbing Davante Adams in the late second round looks like solid value relative to a healthy Adams, but health is obviously key. He likes the upside of Adams, noting: "Took a risk with Adams, but if he can just get on the field it can be the steal of the draft with how good Rodgers is looking."

Will Brinson closed the round with Odell Beckham, perhaps a surprise given how the Browns have looked. But he sees potential for a turnaround, with one team on the schedule looking particularly enticing: "Browns get the Bengals twice and no one is talking about it."

Of the backs that went, Chris noted Chris Carson was a solid early second round option. "Carson was worth consideration as early as the Le'Veon Bell pick, so I'm thrilled to get him 15th overall. There's no shortage of work available, and Rashaad Penny isn't coming to take any of it. This is Carson's job."

Adam Aizer is a little concerned about the Packers timeshare, but it's hard to argue with Aaron Jones' potential. "We are mostly done with bell-cow running backs, so I'll take Aaron Jones who may not have as many touches as we'd like, but he is the lead back on a great offense and has plenty of touchdown opportunities."

Round 3

25 Marlon Mack, RB14 Will Brinson
26 Todd Gurley, RB15 Ben Schragger
27 Travis Kelce, TE1 Meron Berkson
28 Julian Edelman, WR12 Adam Aizer
29 Stefon Diggs, WR13 Jen Ryan
30 George Kittle, TE2 Ben Gretch
31 Adam Thielen, WR14 Dave Richard
32 Tyler Lockett, WR15 Heath Cummings
33 T.Y. Hilton, WR16 Jamey Eisenberg
34 JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR17 Chris Towers
35 Mark Ingram, RB16 George Maselli
36 Kerryon Johnson, RB17 Jack Capotorto

Chiefs players fell a bit with Patrick Mahomes out for multiple weeks, and Travis Kelce finally went in Round 3 to Meron. I took George Kittle later in the round, largely because I feel there's a pretty big gap between the top end of the position and the waiver wire options. 

After these first two tight ends, six more came off the board in the next two rounds, then just one more across our final three rounds to make nine total in our eight-round draft. Jack Capotorto felt the tight end run was a little extreme, saying "TE going way too early in my opinion based off their production this season."

I'm not sure I disagree too much with Jack's assessment, although across my teams I find myself in much better spots where I have one of the top eight or so options at the position. But it was difficult to bypass wide receivers like Tyler Lockett and T.Y. Hilton where I took Kittle, and Jamey was better off for it: "I was pleasantly surprised to see T.Y. Hilton still available in Round 3. He's been fantastic with Jacoby Brissett, and he should continue to soak up targets and production. He's a No. 1 receiver for the rest of the year."

Chris grabbed JuJu Smith-Schuster in the late third, an interesting landing spot for a guy many were taking in the first round in August. There's an argument it was still too high, but Chris notes JuJu's situation is likely to improve as the season goes along. "Situation has changed, obviously, but JuJu is still getting plenty of work, and you have to imagine things will get better. His two worst games came with a third-stringer and then in a game where they leaned heavily on the wildcat offense. A breakout is coming."

Jack noted he was unsure of Kerryon Johnson's injury status, and that pick would obviously be different in light of recent events with Johnson hitting IR. 

Round 4

37 John Brown, WR18 Jack Capotorto
38 Austin Ekeler, RB18 George Maselli
39 Evan Engram, TE3 Chris Towers
40 Kenny Golladay, WR19 Jamey Eisenberg
41 Darren Waller, TE4 Heath Cummings
42 Derrick Henry, RB19 Dave Richard
43 Tyler Boyd, WR20 Ben Gretch
44 D.J. Chark, WR21 Jen Ryan
45 Courtland Sutton, WR22 Adam Aizer
46 Phillip Lindsay, RB20 Meron Berkson
47 Austin Hooper, TE5 Ben Schragger
48 Robert Woods, WR23 Will Brinson

Just three more running backs came off the board in the fourth, making 10 total across Rounds 2-4 after the 10 in the first round. That both reinforces the value of the backs we know we can trust at the top of the position and indicates there's a gap at the position as we move along. 

The wide receivers in this range are a mix of reliable volume and upside. Adam's pick of Courtland Sutton stands out, especially since it came before the Emmanuel Sanders trade. "Sutton is on pace for 82 catches, nearly 1,300 yards and 7 touchdown catches. I don't expect him to be quite that good, but the breakout is legit." Sutton's value could have only risen after the trade. 

Three more tight ends came off the board in Round 4, and Heath noted: "It's not that hard to make an argument for Darren Waller as the No.1 tight end in PPR rest of season, especially since he's already had his bye." 

Chris is happy to have Evan Engram. "Engram hasn't been quite what I hoped he would be, but he's still on pace for a ton of targets, and you have to hope Daniel Jones improves with experience. Engram still has as much upside as anyone at the position."

There's a clear top tier or two at the position, but where they all fit in relative to each other is up for debate. Ben Schragger liked Austin Hooper later in the round, and his stock certainly gets a boost after the Tuesday Mohamed Sanu trade.

Round 5

49 Hunter Henry, TE6 Will Brinson
50 Devonta Freeman, RB21 Ben Schragger
51 D.J. Moore, WR24 Meron Berkson
52 Zach Ertz, TE7 Adam Aizer
53 Sony Michel, RB22 Jen Ryan
54 Allen Robinson, WR25 Ben Gretch
55 Mark Andrews, TE8 Dave Richard
56 Lamar Jackson, QB1 Heath Cummings
57 Tevin Coleman, RB23 Jamey Eisenberg
58 Melvin Gordon, RB24 Chris Towers
59 Deshaun Watson, QB2 George Maselli
60 Calvin Ridley, WR26 Jack Capotorto

We close out the early tight end picks with Hunter Henry, who Will noted "has looked great since his return." Adam gets a potential steal with Zach Ertz as TE7, and then Dave notes he "took the last best available tight end in Mark Andrews." He also "wonder(s) if tight ends will be this popular next summer." It's an interesting thought with a few breakout options at the position, but several other teams appearing to completely ignore the position. 

Calvin Ridley was drafted before the Sanu trade was announced, and I have to agree with Jack's note that it "now looks like a great pick with Sanu shipped off to NE." 

Heath kicked off the quarterback selections Lamar Jackson, noting he's the current QB1 without much receiving help, and "with Mahomes hurt he's my clear No.1 quarterback rest of season." Deshaun Watson also went in Round 5 to George Maselli, who took Austin Ekeler back in the early part of Round 4, well before Melvin Gordon went here in late Round 5. I loved the pick, and agree Ekeler is the preferred Chargers' back. 

Tevin Coleman seemed to slip a bit, and Jamey thinks his best days are ahead. "Coleman is a quality No. 2 running back in any format. His best production is in front of him after missing time earlier this year with an ankle injury. He could be a star to close the season." 

I took Allen Robinson in this round, continuing my trend of targeting pass-catching options I think are locked into strong roles but maybe have quarterback issues and whose lack of production relative to their roles might not just be "bad luck" as much as bad situations. I think all of Mike Evans, George Kittle, Tyler Boyd and Allen Robinson were good value in this type of draft, but they all might be light on upside.

Round 6

61 Joe Mixon, RB25 Jack Capotorto
62 David Montgomery, RB26 George Maselli
63 Alshon Jeffery, WR27 Chris Towers
64 James White, RB27 Jamey Eisenberg
65 Royce Freeman, RB28 Heath Cummings
66 Russell Wilson, QB3 Dave Richard
67 Michael Gallup, WR28 Ben Gretch
68 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR29 Jen Ryan
69 LeSean McCoy, RB29 Adam Aizer
70 Brandin Cooks, WR30 Meron Berkson
71 Terry McLaurin, WR31 Ben Schragger
72 Curtis Samuel, WR32 Will Brinson

Round 6 is where struggling earlier picks like Joe Mixon and Brandin Cooks stopped their slides, and was also as high as breakouts like Terry McLaurin and Michael Gallup climbed. 

Dave was considering McLaurin, noting: "Close call between Wilson and McLaurin," but that he "appropriately took the All-Pro quarterback over the rookie receiver." I, too, was looking at McLaurin, and I think his Week 7 was a weather-related outlier. I went with Gallup over both McLaurin and Cooks, and it was close. I do really like Gallup's upside in what's become a vertical passing game in Dallas. Ben Schragger smartly grabbed McLaurin later in the round. 

As for Mixon, Jack noted he's "Waiting, wishing for Joe Mixon to turn his season around." It feels like good value relative to preseason expectations, and yet the Bengals have limited Mixon's ability to accumulate high-value touches — and even low-value touches — to such a degree that it would be hard to argue Mixon deserved to go much higher. Jack noted: "Round 6 is a good spot," and he's probably right given there has to still be upside here if things can improve.

Round 7

73 Chase Edmonds, RB30 Will Brinson
74 Marquise Brown, WR33 Ben Schragger
75 Jamaal Williams, RB31 Meron Berkson
76 A.J. Green, WR34 Adam Aizer
77 Greg Olsen, TE9 Jen Ryan
78 Miles Sanders, RB32 Ben Gretch
79 Ronald Jones, RB33 Dave Richard
80 Jordan Howard, RB34 Heath Cummings
81 Devin Singletary, RB35 Jamey Eisenberg
82 Patrick Mahomes, QB4 Chris Towers
83 Emmanuel Sanders, WR35 George Maselli
84 Aaron Rodgers, QB5 Jack Capotorto

A big reason we went deeper into this exercise is it's really interesting to see where some of these names fall. Will wondered, "Was Chase Edmonds a reach here? Or is he a budding star with league-winning potential who is going to split carries the rest of the season worst case with an injury prone running back who is dealing with a bad back?" 

Adam thought it was "time to gamble on a potential top-10 wide receiver. Green could still contribute in seven games for Fantasy managers if he returns after the Week 9 bye, and he could be a league-winner in those seven games."

Emmanuel Sanders landed later in the round, and it's possible he would have went higher after the trade to San Francisco. 

I had an interesting choice at 78th, knowing I wanted to grab another back. I debated Miles Sanders, Ronald Jones and Devin Singletary, and went with Sanders due to a valuable receiving role that Jones just hasn't gotten the chance to build. Dave Richard messaged me he "couldn't believe" I didn't take Jones given I've been all over him since the offseason, and I kind of can't believe it either. 

Dave scooped up Jones right after me, saying "I think this is the first time I've drafted Jones in any league since July of 2018. I had to get some RB depth, and there's a shot he's the Bucs best running back over the rest of the season." 

Meanwhile, Jamey grabbed Singletary, who in hindsight I might actually value a bit over Sanders, and said he "wanted a player with upside in this spot, and Devin Singletary was the perfect running back to select. He's healthy now after missing time with a hamstring injury, and he should take on more work from Frank Gore moving forward. He could be a star to close the season, especially if Gore misses time."

Chris stopped Patrick Mahomes' fall, and if Mahomes only misses three games, there's still plenty of time for him to be a difference-maker, especially in the Fantasy playoffs. 

Round 8

85 Josh Gordon, WR36 Jack Capotorto
86 Golden Tate, WR37 George Maselli
87 Christian Kirk, WR38 Chris Towers
88 D.K. Metcalf, WR39 Jamey Eisenberg
89 Matt Breida, RB36 Heath Cummings
90 Jamison Crowder, WR40 Dave Richard
91 Jarvis Landry, WR41 Ben Gretch
92 Larry Fitzgerald, WR42 Jen Ryan
93 Robby Anderson, WR43 Adam Aizer
94 Kyler Murray, QB6 Meron Berkson
95 Marvin Jones, WR45 Ben Schragger
96 New England Patriots, DST1 Will Brinson

Where the Patriots DST landed was a big question, and Will Brinson took them here at the end of Round 8. Heath had this to say about the pick: "I'd like to mock Will for taking the Patriots in the 8th round but they've been ridiculous. The one thing I'll say is it might not feel great in the first round of the playoffs when they face Patrick Mahomes." 

Will defended the pick with incredulity the Pats DST didn't go earlier, seemingly unaware he picked multiple times in the interim. "I was actually surprised the Patriots defense wasn't already gone. They should have been taken in like the fifth round. Seriously."

It's a fun debate, and I'm of the mind that as we're only looking at future points, the Patriots were still a reach here. 

Two Jets receivers went to Dave and Adam. Adam also cited the favorable schedule, noting he expects Robby Anderson "to be a reliable No. 3." 

Jamey went high-upside with D.K. Metcalf, saying "D.K. Metcalf might have been a reach here, but I'm hopeful he'll start to benefit with Will Dissly (Achilles) out. He's the type of No. 4 receiver you want since if things work out well for him then he's a potential flex play. Otherwise, he's someone you can drop if he fails. It's high reward and little risk with Metcalf."

I really liked the Christian Kirk pick by Chris, and probably would have taken him in Round 7 if I hadn't already taken four wide receivers. Kirk's been close to returning for several weeks and should retain plenty of upside in a Cardinals' offense that is hurting for his return as they have gotten little help from their other wide receiver options. 

Final Thoughts

We went a few more picks before calling the draft, but the next few picks included Dede Westbrook, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, Mohamed Sanu, Damien Williams, Mike Williams, Tarik Cohen and Latavius Murray

As we wrapped up, there were still several solid values available. Let us know who we forgot by tweeting @FFToday about our glaring omissions or worst picks. Or go make some trade offers in your leagues, because if we overlooked them, they might be a strong buy low candidate.

So who should you sit and start in Week 8? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB comes out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Fantasy Football Today Podcast

Our Latest Stories