I've been doing some way too early mock drafts. Decided to write up this article:
Cliffs: Really wanna avoid anyone on the Broncos this year. I like Julius Thomas if there's value late as a backup to Greg Olsen. Really think Thomas does well since young QBs like feeding their TE usually. Wanna avoid DeMarco and every Eagles RB, as well as avoiding Patriots and Panthers RBs. Think Duke Johnson can be a big sleeper if he's there last few rounds.
Ideal team for me would be a combo of:
Mike Evans/Kelvin Benjamin/Jordy/Edelman/TY
Golden Tate/Cooper/Landry/Hopkins/Cruz/Andre Johnson
Gordon/Hill/Charles (if I could get 3 of these 6 backs I'll be ecstatic)
Think CJ Spiller could be a steal. Avoiding Forsett, Rashad Jennings, Hyde, Ellington, Gore.
Wanna grab Jets defense if possible toward the end of the draft.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
It’s way too early to have a fantasy football mock draft that’s concrete, but it’s better to get one’s feet wet early on, troubleshoot, and figure out the best primer for success.
This will be based on a PPR league and what one should look for when drafting a potential championship winner. The first thing one should want when drafting a wide receiver is a big time target monster—someone who will consistently see the ball at least eight times a week and is capable of making plays. Ideally, every winning team has a Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, type of player who can be counted on to contribute at least seven points each week. One’s second wide receiver should be a big redzone target.
So ideally, for one’s two wide receivers, one’s best bet is drafting a combination of: Megatron, Bryant, Brown, Jones, Nelson, Green, ODB, Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Alshon Jeffrey, Randall Cobb, TY Hilton and Julian Edelman.
If you’re the type of person that prefers to run three wide outs—using your flex or that’s just the way your league is situated—the next crop of guys you want to target are your low risk, blue collar receivers with either explosive potential or a guaranteed workload—like Golden Tate, Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, Andre Johnson, Desean Jackson and Vincent Jackson. Sammy Watkins is an intriguing player to consider, but the combination of no quarterback and Rex Ryan leave a lot to be desired.
There are a couple of people who haven’t been mention that you’re wondering why they’re left out: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Why haven’t they been mentioned? This is the year you err caution and stay away from Peyton Manning.
Although Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he finished the second half of last season in a terrible fashion. He was injured, ineffective and it looked like his age finally caught up to him. In order to be safe, stay away from him and his team. Let someone else waste a high draft pick expecting vintage Manning, and if it works out, great, good for them, but if it doesn’t, you’re not affected and you still have a chance to win your league.
That means avoid running backs from the Denver Broncos. C.J. Anderson has a frothy ADP this year that you should stay away from. Was last season an aberration? Maybe, maybe not, but fact of the matter is, there’s safer bets out there.
For a running back I look for a combo of two things: a workhorse and a PPR machine. Ideal candidates who fit this mold are Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte. Their age is a little worrisome, but if you miss out on Eddie Lacy, those are decent consolation prizes. RB’s to avoid are those who may get vultured or play for Chip Kelly. Last season Kelly cost me a championship. In the semi-finals, I trailed by two points with LeSean McCoy. The Eagles had four goal-line chances and Shady was vultured every time, ruining my season and what would’ve been a guaranteed championship.
Although he had a tremendous year last season, avoid DeMarco Murray. The combination of workload, losing the Dallas Cowboys offensive line and Chip Kelly’s nonsense is the trifecta of a wasted draft pick. Target LeVeon Bell, Jeremy Hill, Melvin Gordon, Lacy, Jamal Charles, Forte, Lynch, and if you’re a risk taker who believes in a Rex Ryan offense for some weird reason, McCoy.
RB’s to avoid are not limited to but include: Alfred Morris, every Broncos and Eagles RB, Arian Foster, Justin Forsett, Rashad Jennings, any New England Patriots RB, any Carolina Panthers RB, Andre Ellington, Carlos Hyde and Frank Gore. Each of those players either has injury risks, questionable workloads or are just ADP traps.
The biggest trap people fall into on draft day is the early selection of a QB. Taking a QB before you have secured two RB’s, two WR’s and a TE is the best way to underperform and find yourself scrambling to fill your needs. Yes the NFL is a quarterback league, but when it comes to fantasy purposes, you can get a very good QB in the mid to late rounds—your Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannenhill types who are good enough to get you 18 plus points per week without putting you in the position to have glaring holes elsewhere.
Every team wants Rob Gronkowski at TE but unless you’re willing to grab him in the first three rounds, you’re not getting him, so a solid alternative is Greg Olsen. Cam Newton will feed Olsen plenty this year, like he always does, and he’s the best second tier TE available when it comes to ADP value. One TE who has become undervalued and potentially a steal because of the team he signed with is Julius Thomas. If you can get him in the scrap heap, you do it without hesitating. Yes Thomas is now playing with Blake Bortles, but young QB’s who struggle love feeding their TE. I watched Mark Sanchez do it for years with Dustin Keller. Thomas isn’t losing value by leaving Denver, he’s gaining it with the decreased ADP.
Avoid Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed and Zach Ertz. Graham is obviously worth picking, but there are usage questions in play. The others, they get hurt too often or aren’t featured enough to be worthwhile.
Kicker and Defense should be the least of your concerns. Don’t take them until you’ve built up your bench with best players available for trade purposes. After you have a few guys who are sleepers and trade chips, you can go after a kicker and defense. I personally, want a kicker who nails 50 yards like Greg Zuerlein and I’m very big on the New York Jets defense this year under Todd Bowles. There’s good ADP with the Jets and they can score a touchdown per game.
There’s a few sleepers worth eying: Ameer Abdullah, Nelson Agholor, Jaylen Strong, Duke Johnson and Davante Adams. Stay away from every other Cleveland Browns RB, Duke is taking their job.
Knowing all of this, you’re in a position to have a great season and be the last man standing. Avoid the value traps, flashy names past their prime and make the best selections possible per your metrics. There’s no need to reach for a quarterback ever, and there’s even less of a reason to trust Peyton Manning blindly this season after the way he finished last year.