Offseason Extra: 12-team standard mock draft
What did the 2013 NFL season teach us? Our latest 12-team, standard mock draft highlights the changing Fantasy landscape.
We realize it's a little early for a Fantasy Football mock draft. It's January, after all, and the playoffs are still going on. The "real" mock drafts will happen later this summer after the NFL Draft and free agency are finalized.
But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun.
We did this mock draft to see what we just learned from the 2013 season. Some of us, like Nathan Zegura, realize the value of Jimmy Graham and drafted him at No. 3 overall after Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. Others, like Larry Hartstein, still believe in C.J. Spiller and wanted him in the first round at No. 11. Hartstein expects Spiller to rebound in 2014.
"I love a guy with Jamaal Charles-type talent coming off a down year," Hartstein said. "Remember people had durability concerns about Charles, too, a couple of years back. Spiller averaged 4.6-yard per carry on a bum ankle when he should have been sitting out. It was only last year he went over 1,700 yards from scrimmage with eight touchdowns while averaging 6.0-yards per carry. With Fred Jackson turning 33 before next season I see Spiller having a huge bounce-back year."
I hope Hartstein is right because we would all love Spiller to play at a high level, and he could easily re-emerge as a first-round pick, especially if Jackson is cut by the Bills this offseason. But that is something we'll have to find out later this summer.
Overall, this was an interesting exercise to see where certain players could be drafted based on what just happened this past season. Adrian Peterson fell to No. 7 because he could be hitting that point where he starts to break down. Eddie Lacy, Le'Veon Bell and Josh Gordon have elevated themselves to potential first-round picks while Doug Martin, Arian Foster and Ray Rice were drafted outside of the Top 20.
A lot will happen between now and August, and this draft will look dramatically different. For example, where will free agents like Maurice Jones-Drew and Ben Tate (and possibly Chris Johnson) end up? Could young running backs like Andre Ellington, Marcus Lattimore and Latavius Murray be ready for starting roles? Is Cordarrelle Patterson poised for stardom and can Stevan Ridley have a rebound year?
I went with a conventional approach with my team and drafted Bell and DeMarco Murray with my first two picks to secure two potential Top 10 running backs. Jordy Nelson is easily a Top 10 receiver next season, and I wanted my No. 2 tight end in Julius Thomas (I like him better than Rob Gronkowski coming off a torn ACL) in Round 4.
In Round 5, I gambled on Montee Ball because if Knowshon Moreno leaves as a free agent then he's the starter in Denver and should be a breakout candidate. I wouldn't normally take a quarterback here – Scott White got great value with Andrew Luck in Round 10 – but I love Colin Kaepernick with a healthy Michael Crabtree.
After those six picks, it was time to gamble and take Lattimore. He might not be healthy enough to play after sitting out his rookie season with a bad knee injury suffered in college, but he could also be the starter in San Francisco if the 49ers get rid of Frank Gore. For a draft like this, why not?
Since I didn't have a No. 2 receiver, it was time to load up with Reggie Wayne, Terrance Williams, Rueben Randle and Anquan Boldin as my next four picks. Wayne is a high-upside gamble coming off a torn ACL. Williams and Randle should move into starting roles next season with Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks, respectively, gone as free agents. Boldin will decline at some point, but he was good value in Round 11. I also grabbed a sleeper in Round 13 with Jarrett Boykin, who should be the No. 3 receiver for the Packers next season with James Jones likely gone as a free agent.
As always, we ask you to share your thoughts on this draft. Take advantage of our Fantasy Football Twitter feed and post your comments there, or share your thoughts on our Fantasy Football Facebook page.
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. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
2. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
3. Nathan Zegura, Senior Fantasy Writer
4. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
5. Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator
6. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
7. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
8. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
9. Michael Hurcomb,Fantasy News Editor
10. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
11. Larry Hartstein, Fantasy Writer
12. Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
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