Breaking down my first experts mock draft

I was recently asked to join a fantasy football experts mock draft (my first of 2011) and you’ll find the results below. (Apologizes for the font size, but there’s really no way around it. Bigger font = wider table, and that’s just not going to fit. So get your magnifying glass out.)

Pro Football FocusLester's LegendsFanatic Fantasy FootballFantasy Footall XtremeFootballguysFantasy ShrinkAll Purpose RotoFFSDraftsharksFantasy Football TraderGO Ahead ScoreJunkyard Jake
1Foster, APeterson, AJohnson, CCharles, JRice, RMcCoy, LJohnson, AMendenhall, RJohnson, CJones-Drew, MWhite, RGore, F
2Jennings, GTurner, MJackson, DRodgers, AFitzgerald, LWallace, MJackson, VWayne, RForte, MMcFadden, DNicks, HJackson, S
3Vick, MBowe, DMathews, RAustin, MBrees, DHillis, PWilliams, MManning, PWelker, WRivers, PBradshaw, AMaclin, J
4Clark, DMarshall, BGreene, SLloyd, BFinley, JGates, ABryant, DBlount, LCollie, AColston, MBest, JMoreno, K
5Jones, FBrady, TRomo, TIngram, MWilliams, DJohnson, SFreeman, JWitten, JAddai, JDavis, VStewart, JRyan, M
6Holmes, SHarvin, PCutler, JSpiller, CRice, SBenson, CGraham, JThomas, DSchaub, MBritt, KRoethlisberger, BCrabtree, M
7Grant, RLynch, MBoldin, AGarcon, PJackson, FGreen, AStarks, JNelson, JDaniels, OWells, CManningham, MKnox, J
8Smith, SOchocinco, CPettigrew, BWilliams, RMoss, SStafford, MManning, EAmendola, DJacobs, BThomas, MGronkowski, RJones, J
9Tolbert, MMiller, ZBess, DLewis, MFord, JGreen-Ellis, BHelu, RLeshoure, MFlacco, JWilliams, MBradford, SCooley, C
10Smith, SCassel, MWard, HBrown, RCarter, DFitzpatrick, RThomas, PAlexander, DMeachem, RBranch, DTorain, RKeller, D
11Bush, MTomlinson, LMoeaki, TMoss, REdwards, BLittle, GWinslow, KSanchez, MWoodhead, DKolb, KMoore, LPalmer, C
12Celek, BSteelers, PTate, BOrton, KGonzalez, TOwens, TVereen, SGoodson, MCook, JJennings, RHernandez, AScott, B
13Tebow, TGresham, JPackers, GBush, RMurray, DHardesty, MGreen, ASanders, EClayton, MJets, NHankerson, LSimpson, J
14Ringer, JSnelling, JJones, TIvory, CHunter, KHeap, TGiants, NRodgers, JChoice, TGerhart, TPowell, BEagles, P
15Ravens, BShipley, JSims-Walker, MCardinals, APatriots, NBears, CBrown, DFalcons, ASaints, NFloyd, MJanikowski, SMcCoy, C
16Henery, AAkers, DBironas, RBarth, CHartley, GBrown, JCrosby, MRackers, NBryant, MKaeding, NLions, DGostkowski, S

This is a PPR league that starts one QB, two RBs, two WRs, one TE, a flex, one K and one DT.

EARLY ROUNDS

I would consider LeSean McCoy as early as #2 or #3, so I was really happy to get him at #6. I think the #5 pick is the sweet spot this year as you’re guaranteed one of my top 5 RBs: Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles. At #6 or #7, you are at the mercy of the owners ahead of you. Ray Rice isn’t a bad consolation prize, but after he’s gone, I’d start thinking about going with Andre Johnson instead of Maurice Jones-Drew or some other RB. But back to McCoy — he has this year’s #3 adjusted points per game (using 2010′s per game output adjusted for 2011′s strength of schedule).

In the 2nd round, I took my favorite underrated stud Mike Wallace, but if I had to do it over again, I’d probably nab Larry Fitzgerald instead. I’m drafting based on current status and the Cardinals’ QB situation is dreadful. But he’ll likely fare much better even if Arizona upgrades to a mediocre talent like Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton. We probably should assume that the Cardinals will do something at QB. Still, getting Wallace in the middle to late 2nd round is a nice value given his per target output, Ben Roethlisberger playing a full season and the odds that his looks will increase as Hines Ward continues his decline.

In the 3rd, I was fortunate to have Peyton Hillis fall to 3.06, which prompted me to write this piece about him. I think he’s a terrific value in the 3rd and a pretty nice value in the late 2nd. In the fourth, I considered considered a few WRs (Steve Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Brandon Marshall), but couldn’t pass on a WR talent at TE in the form of Antonio Gates. I typically take Gates in the late 3rd round in PPR formats, so getting him in the middle of the 4th seems like a steal.

MIDDLE ROUNDS

I was fortunate to have Stevie Johnson fall to me at 5.06. I have him ranked as the #18 WR, so he’s a solid WR2. In taking Johnson, I passed on Ben Roethlisberger and Josh Freeman. The hope was that Big Ben would be there at 6.07, but he was gone. I went with Benson and if I had a do over I would perhaps go with Santonio Holmes or Percy Harvin instead. At this point, I was targeting Eli Manning in the 8th. You’ll notice that everyone picking between 7.07 and 8.06 already had a QB, so I was gambling that no one would take Eli as a backup in the first half of the 8th. All Purpose Roto ended up taking him at 8.06 (doh!), so I instead went with Matthew Stafford who will finish in the top 10 if he can stay healthy. (Big ‘if,’ I know.) I landed A.J. Green in the 7th, which is a gamble, but if he gets WR1 targets, he should have a good chance to finish in the top 35.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a lot better last year than people give him credit for, but the Patriots’ draft picks are a little worrisome, so that’s why the Law Firm was available in the 9th. I feel great about him as a RB4. I’d even be comfortable with him at RB3 if I were strong at WR and TE.

I decided to take Ryan Fitzpatrick in the 10th to shore up the QB position. I think he’s an excellent QB2 and would be a solid addition to any QBBC. Plus, he has the 9th-highest adjusted PPG due to a much improved schedule.

LATER ROUNDS

At this point, I felt great about my RB (McCoy, Hillis, Benson, BGE) and TE (Gates) positions, but a little thin at WR with Wallace, S. Johnson and Green. So I took back-to-back WRs in Greg Little (likely the Browns’ WR1) and Terrell Owens, who will no doubt find a landing spot and get WR1/WR2 targets. I thought about Tony Gonzalez in the 12th considering he was 2010′s TE6, but felt it was more important to get some additional upside at WR.

At that point, it was a matter of grabbing a handcuff/insurance for Hillis (Hardesty), a backup for Gates (Heap, who is fringe starter worthy in PPR leagues when healthy), a defense and a kicker.

Here’s a look at the entire roster:

QB – Stafford, Fitzpatrick
RB – McCoy, Hillis, Benson, BGE, Hardesty
WR – Wallace, S. Johnson, A.J. Green, Little, Owens
TE – Gates, Heap
K – Brown
DT – Bears

I am a little shaky at QB, but that’s not a bad position to be shaky. There are always QBs that emerge during the year and if Stafford can’t stay healthy, I can always go QBBC. I’m strong at RB and TE and solid at WR with two bona fide WR1s (for their teams) and three more potential WR1s. Considering that this was an experts draft, I’d say the team turned out quite well.

20 Responses to “Breaking down my first experts mock draft”

  • brent:

    i like your team from the #6 position and go ahead score’s team from the 11th position both teams imo are very deep in talent…my kinda teams

  • John Paulsen:

    Go Ahead Score was controlled by Jim Day, a.k.a. @Fantasytaz. If you’re not following him on Twitter, you should be.

  • Tom:

    I like your idea of drafting Big Ben and Eli late. I couldn’t be happy with injury prone Stafford and Fitzpatrick (another Derek Anderson possibly?). Shame you didn’t get your guys.

    I do like LeSean McCoy. He made a believer of me last season.

    Gates is a great TE but he left a sour taste in my mouth spending the playoffs on the DL.

    Wallace is a great young WR, but I still like Fitzgerald.

    I like CHI late.

    • John Paulsen:

      Like I said in the piece, QB is probably the easiest position to shore up if things don’t break well for the guys you drafted. If Stafford goes down, I’d pick up 1-2 other QBs and form a committee. I don’t think Fitzpatrick is the next D. Anderson, but I guess we’ll see.

  • I appreciate you joining us in this mock draft. Always a good exercise to see where players are going. You got me twice during this draft. Picking at 8 I knew the top 6 RB’s and top WR would all be gone so I had no preconceived notions in round 1, but in round 5, I wanted Steve Johnson and had to settle for Witten as my back up plan when you got him two picks before me, and then in round 11, Greg Little was my target for my 5th WR, but when you took him I went for a quality backup to Peyton Manning.

    I can’t wait to see how things change once this lockout is over and we have some training camp and coach speak to sort thru.

  • Dean:

    Stafford has top 5 upside and I see a little Matt Schaub type climb from him this year. I would definitely roll with Stafford as my #1 because it is so easy to find a serviceable QB during the season and at atleast Stafford can explode in any given week. Maybe I’m in the minority but I love him this year.

    I probably go with Holmes, Rice, Harvin etc. over Benson but I thought you had a fantastic draft and I love the site. Looking forward to using your site this year.

  • matt:

    I liked your first four rounds and your last 5 or so rounds. I’m not sold on Benson and the Law Firm as solid picks but that’s just me. Who is that that Draft Sharks drafted in the first round? It’s not Chris Johnson who the Fanatics took earlier. Maybe I’m an idiot but I can’t figure it out. Thanks and keep up the excellent analysis

    • John Paulsen:

      That would be Calvin Johnson.

      I am not sold on the Benson pick and mentioned that I probably would go with a WR there if I had a do-over. I do think that BGE in the 9th is a solid pick. That’s a very low price for a guy who was a lot better than people think last season.

    • John Paulsen:

      You don’t like Stevie in the 5th?

      • matt:

        oversight to say i didn’t like Stevie. I do agree that last years numbers are realistic as a step above floor for him so it’s a great value pick. And while you are right that on paper BGE is a solid pick i don’t like just him and Benson as your rb depth. Perhaps Ryan Grant instead of Benson or waiting and taking a flyer later on Ricky Williams or Carter (Ind) would make me feel better. Then again, not my team. Matt

        P.S. How could I forget Megatron??!!

  • Anthony:

    Thanks for sharing your post-draft assessments, John!

    I agree with Fitzgerald over Wallace. But I would also take DeSean Jackson over Wallace since they’re similar boom-or-bust players and D-Jax is on a more prolific offense. A matter of taste.

    Gates in round 4 was a steal. Here’s a guy who’s the #1 target on the 2nd best passing offense from last season. If he were a WR he’d be gone by mid-round 2. Nice job.

    Stafford or Fitzpatrick is fine but I don’t like drafting both here. I’d use the bench slot to stash another upside RB/WR and either work the wire if Stafford goes bust or make a trade. In general, in a 1 QB league with a smaller bench, I am not going to bother with a backup QB. It’s a wasted opportunity to grab the next Brandon Lloyd, Peyton Hillis, etc. off the waiver.

    All in all, great job! I’m rooting for you.

    • brent:

      i would not take desean jackson over mike wallace in either ppr or standard scoring,desean is the poster child for boom or bust wr and he has to contend with maclin,celek,mccoy for rec,ppr leagues i would take maclin ahead of djax …i got djax as a middle of the 3rd rd talent in ppr

      wallace has improved his rec and yds yr over yr and last yr his stats were obscured a bit with big ben out on suspension and his role will only grow larger with hines getting older

      i do agree on fitz over wallace

  • Steve:

    Did you feel like you needed to get backup for Gates because of last year’s injury, or do you always get 2 TEs? Would it make a difference if the draft were only 15 rounds (i.e. if you had one less bench space)?

    • John Paulsen:

      You bring up a good point. I could have passed on a backup TE and used that 14th-rounder on an upside RB or WR like J. Ringer or M. Floyd, but I think Heap is a borderline starter TE when healthy. What happens if Gates goes down in W1? The only TE I’d really feel comfortable NOT backing up would probably be Witten. Everyone else seems to have some health issues here and there.

  • dean:

    In hindsight would Marshall have been a bad pick in the third? Did you consider him? He’s been off my radar but after looking at his game logs late last year he could be on track for 100+ catches this year. He went for 27 catches in his last 3 games.

    • John Paulsen:

      I am going to consider Marshall more in the 3rd/4th going forward. He caught a bunch of passes last year and is due to bounce back in TD catches, which would really help his overall production. He’s a knucklehead and is recovering from a stab wound, but otherwise he’s a pretty good value in PPR leagues in the 3rd/4th.

      • brent:

        I’VE GOT MARSHALL ALSO AROUND THE 3/4 ELBOW RIGHT NEXT TO MARCUS COLSTON WHO IS COMING OFF OF ANOTHER KNEE SURGERY …TWO GOOD VALUES IMO,I ALSO LIKE DANNY AMENDOLA AT THE END OF THE 4/5 ELBOW IN PPR …I KNOW,I GOT HIM A LITTLE HIGH BUT THE KID IS GONNA GET OVER 90 REC THIS YR WITH THEIR NEW OCORD

  • dean:

    John,

    Thanks for the quick response and I agree with your assessment of Marshall. I’ve been way down on Hillis for this year but I’m starting to become a believer again. I think he still gets 75% of the touches even if Hardesty is healthy. We’ve seen it too many times with guys like D. Brown, Stewart etc.

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