Written by THE FANTASY TYPHOON
OFFICIAL MOCK DRAFT PODCAST IS HERE
This past week, I participated in a #Never2EarlyPPRMock that was run by my good friend, Matt Hicks, over at TOP 2 SPORTS. Full disclosure, I usually scoff and laugh at these early mocks in the past because of 1) during a mock no one ever does what they would REALLY do in a real live draft 2) It’s just too early to be conducting such activity. It’s complete nonsense 3) things will certainly change in August, so what’s the point. Well, I came out of my comfort zone and when the invite came to participate in this mock, I said YES. I am so glad that I joined because I have learned so much about ADP and which players folks covet and despise during this exercise. Quick point, I learned that Demaryius Thomas is being perceived as a serious failure candidate for 2018. I also learned that folks are sky high on Kenyan Drake in 2018. This is serious information for my dynasty leagues because I think differently from the mock on certain players and it gives me an idea of whether to buy/sell and what to ask for. Example, If I owned Kenyan Drake I would sell him immediately because it’s almost certain that they are going to add to the position in free agency and the rookie draft. His situation will not be this bright going forward. This mock taught me to CASH OUT NOW on Kenyan Drake!
Ok this is going to be a lengthy article and I will try my best to keep this as short and simple as possible. Now, we had 12 teams in a redraft format and we only did 10 rounds. We were not allowed to use any 2018 rookies for this draft. It is a full point .PPR and we had to field a full team (in 10 rounds) that consists of QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/TE/FLEX and the rest bench spots. This was a slow draft with a timer conducted on a regular spreadsheet. We could use any player that was a registered active NFL player whether he had a team or not.
Here is a screenshot of the complete draft along with the participants and the companies that they are affiliated with.
The participants full and complete Twitter handles will be found at the end of this article.
BREAKDOWN ROUND 1
|1||Todd Gurley-RB||Le’Veon Bell-RB||Odell Beckham Jr.-WR||Antonio Brown-WR||David Johnson – rb||Ezekiel Elliot – RB||Kareem Hunt – RB||Leonard Fournette – RB||Alvin Kamara -RB||DeAndre Hopkins – WR||Julio Jones-WR||A J Green – WR|
When you observe the first round, it’s clear that the RB is BACK in 2018. If you want to use a master plan of zig while others zag you can add some serious firepower, but you must hit on the RB’s in the latter rounds. It’s risky but it could do wonders in 2018 if you plan it right. If you fall in line with the trend and draft a RB in the first, there are still numerous ways to dominate your leagues. I’m saying that there is no right or wrong way to draft. Do what works best for you. Between the top 6 picks you could make a case for each player to go at the 1.1 and so forth. They are interchangeable like a box of Lego blocks. If you want to choose a place to be a homer the first 6 picks are where you can insert this type of thinking into your draft plan without taking a demerit to your overall outcome at season’s end. Remember that this is early and we all are trying to foreshadow what a player will look like in August and early September. We can’t foresee injury or any off-field issues so please remove that type of thinking from what you see here. However you can certainly use it for YOUR personal approach. Fantasy football is here primarily to have fun , so please make sure that you move these players around to accommodate your scoring and league requirements.
If I had to pull one guy out of the first it could be Kareem Hunt. I understand that Kareem Hunt came out swinging for the fences but cooled off a bit and then heated back up. That’s not my concern. He is a talented back that is hard to tackle. His balance is amongst the best at this position. He can catch and become a runner seamlessly. I like his skillset and what he brings to the Chiefs’ backfield. My concern is his pass protection and the return of Spencer Ware remember him. Also, teams started to run zone instead of man to man and stacked the box against Hunt and dared Alex Smith to beat them. The Pittsburgh Steelers made the template and, as you know, the NFL is a copycat league. Then the Cowboys used it to beat them and so forth. This is where the Chiefs’ mid-season skid came from. The Chiefs were predominately a gimmick team centered around a ton of trick plays. It worked when defenses ran man and had their backs turned to the QB but when they shifted to zone they kept everything in front of them and could see all the trickery. Hunt suffered the most from this. If I am sinking a first round on a guy, I should not have to worry about gimmicks or trickery for him to be successful. Also, I need the confidence of knowing he will be utilized on nearly every down and be effective. Hunt ceded touches to Charcandrick West a little too often coming down the stretch. Hunt needs to perfect his pass protection for me to have first round confidence in him in 2018 especially with a new QB under center.
As you can see, I took A.J. Green with the 12th pick. There is certainly a case to be made for Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, and many others. I chose A.J. Green for this exercise because I saw the disconnect between Dalton and Green this past season. I believe that they are both fierce competitors. If this is true, there is no way that this duo looks like the 2017 version in 2018. I always try and find a player with special talent who under performed the year before and anticipate a bounce back. Green can still run, check. Green can still high point the ball, check. Green can still get deep, check. Green still lines up in all WR positions, check. Green is still the #1 WR and first read for Dalton, check. The offensive game plan is centered around Green, check. As long as the core of his outside circumstances has not changed, I fully expect to see Green back in the top 10 at his position by the end of the season. I am looking for a lot of “Andy Dalton and A.J. Green working out at remote location” blurbs this off season.
TIP – When I draft in redraft I always fill up my roster requirements as soon as I can with the best draft pedigree as possible. Like I said earlier that this draft was for 10 rounds. With QB/RB/RB/RB/WR/WR/TE. If you count that is 7 roster slots that MUST play and win for me. I will immediately fill those roster slots with my first 7 picks in the draft to maximize my return, then I start handcuffing and securing my bench players. The only time I may deviate from my plan is when I may pass on a QB/TE and grab one much later. These are the only 2 positions that I am willing to sacrifice and take a later player. If I were the 1.1, I would take Antonio Brown:
Antonio Brown is the top WR in fantasy football with small room for debate. Julio was a close second but now that Sarkisian is calling the plays we can see that this is now debunked. AB is the top dawg and it’s not close. He is consistent each and every week. He is in an offense that has no problem regularly giving him 12 -14 targets. I understand that there are two ways for Brown to fail and that is by a Big Ben injury or his own. Hey, I’ll take that risk. He is super route efficient with speed, hands, and his understanding of the game is superior to all the other WR’s. AB has the approval to improvise as he sees fit on any given play. No other WR has that freedom (except Odell Beckham one year). The secret is that he and Big Ben play as one person. They look at the defense and they both see the same thing. When a defense lines up and shows a coverage, AB and Big Ben will counter with the beater for that coverage. When you watch them call an audible in most cases JuJu’s and Martavis’s stays the same. It’s mainly AB and the TE’s routes that take a detour. That’s why it’s so hard to slow him down. When a player has the playbook, offensice coordinator, QB, skills and the managements green light to go completely bananas on every series, I want in. Yeah, sign me up for 2 of those please. Business is BOOOOOMIN!
To make this article completely nonconformist let’s play a game. I will go through the entire first round and instead of giving you why I would select them, I will say why I will not.
TODD GURLEY II – This one is easy: regression. I know you see that word thrown around on social media after every massive season on any player that had a baller’s dream come true that year. Like I said, I will not use the term loosely and tell you why. McVay came in and switched the whole offense around. He utilized Gurley to his strengths and gave him as much as he could handle in the passing game. Goff grew up and became comfortable then BOOM Gurley won leagues in 2017. Now, we all know that defenses are watching and plotting the Rams demise as we speak. They are bunkered away in the evil lair concocting the magic potion or defense to bring Gurley and the Rams offense down to earth in 2018. New DC in Arizona, Sherman and the crew back in Seattle, and the 49ers beefing up their defense via free agency and the draft. Remember, the Falcons already provided the league with the blueprint in the first round of the playoffs. Most of the work is already done. I repeat the NFL is a copycat league. I think we see some regression from Gurley but not to the point where he is irrelevant. Just to the point where he is not the 1.1 like most people think.
LE’VEON BELL – Yet another easy one: Contract! OK here lies the rub. The Pittsburgh Steelers organization is known for walking away from a player. They don’t care about any position but the QB and defense. The front office feels that they can replace the RB position. When Bell went down older RB DeAngelo Williams came in and picked up where he left off and the Steelers kept right on schedule. What about the weed incident? I’m not picking on him for it, but the front office remembers these things on signing day. They will want to insulate themselves with some sort of language that protects them going forward. Maybe it’s too steep for Bell. Also, Bell wants to be paid as a WR and RB. He has a good case because he is an exceptional player, but Pittsburgh will not give up that kind of money to a RB. It’s similar to Jimmy Graham wanting to be paid like a WR. He ended up being traded out to Seattle. Bell is good and he can get top dollar in the open market. Bell said during the Pro Bowl that the Steelers have reached out to him but when has Bell said anything accurate on his twitter account? Maybe that’s another red flag to the front office that he can’t keep his business in house. If he is back in Pittsburgh, he would be my first back off the board in 2018. If he ends up elsewhere studies have shown that RB’s with new teams fail far more often than they succeed. It’s a good thing that Bell is not ordinary.
ODELL BECKHAM – It’s hard to play devil’s advocate with this guy. Well, only if Eli stays. If Eli goes, then it’s the new regime and personnel argument. If Eli stays, then I can’t find a fault for demise in Beckham and he becomes my 1.2. Shurmur will ride this guy’s back in 2018 with Eli returning. I fully expect that the offensive line gets revamped and they add a competent RB. These additions only help Odell. Plus, with a year layoff, I can only imagine how badly he is chomping at the bit to get back on that football field and wreak havoc.
DAVID JOHNSON – Once again new regime in place here. Sad thing is that this team is lacking quality talent on the offensive side of the ball that David must get a ton of work. Fitzgerald is the only one with Pro Bowl skills. Carson Palmer just retired and we only wonder who is the QB? What direction is the offense going? What is the team’s identity? Who is the game plan centered around? Who will be showcased? David Johnson, that’s who. The only thing stopping him is a high draft pick at the RB position and I really don’t see that happening because other needs are seriously out of balance. If David is fully recovered from the hand injury, he could very well be my 1.3 or the next back after Bell. Sometimes you can’t pass up on superior talent in a superior situation. It equals superior production (fantasy points).
EZEKIEL ELLIOT – Once again, it’s an easy call: Off field issues. This guy is my number one player in dynasty formats. He is the cornerstone that you begin to build your entire roster around. Kind of like a real GM. He is young and if we hear nothing out of him during the off season he can be the straw that stirs the drink. He is already filling that role for the Cowboys so why not for you? Mr. Elliot IS the Cowboys’ offense. He can take it to the house on any play, pass protect, catch, motion out to WR and gets EVERYTHING in the red zone.The offensive line declined a tad but remains one of the top units in the NFL. The thing I try to explain to the masses is that Zeke still has not reached his apex. There are still some things he can do for the Cowboys that will only elevate his fantasy production even more. Once he becomes a weapon in the passing game, he will be the #1 RB in dynasty, redraft, auction, whatever. He could put up Marshall Faulk or LaDainian Tomlinson numbers on a regular basis. Oh yeah, he’s only 22. So, it’s safe to say that the only thing that can stop Mr. Elliot is himself. I expect Elliot to be the 3rd back off the board in 2018.
LEONARD FOURNETTE – In a nutshell: injuries. His ankle and minor scrapes and bruises could be his downfall. He always seems to have some sort of scratch or boo-boo that keeps him on the injury report and not 100% Beast Mode on game day. One thing we have noticed on film is that he’s not as efficient when lined up in shotgun as opposed to the I formation. Fournette is at his best when he has a fullback running in front of him and flashing the light on where he needs to run. This makes his reads clearer and more defined. When they go shotgun and use sweeps, pitch outs, and stretch he can’t see the running lanes as well as he does with the FB. Also, we saw a little burn out down the stretch but that is understandable due to his workload and game plan. Other than that, this train is coming down the tracks right on schedule. Folks criticize the lack of passes to Fournette out of the backfield. This is true, but I have been doing this a long time and have seen a ton of backs learn how to catch. I have been to Jaguars practice and can relay to you that I have seen him do it like the best of them. Maybe he is waiting on his McVay? Jacksonville lacked an offensive identity and Fournette brought them one. A Traditional Pro Set offense is now their moniker. They want to run the ball right up the A gap and then do it again, and again, and again. It’s no mystery to what they are planning to do. The question is, can you stop it? Fournette is going right where he needs to in this mock. 1.7 – 1.12 is OK with us.
ALVIN KAMARA – The only things that stick out to us are his timeshare and his TD rate. This dude jumped off the screen in 2017. He is now a household name to everyone not just Saints fans. I had no idea that this guy was that rugged, but I don’t think he is perceived as an every down back in New Orleans. If Ingram goes down, he may carry the mail for a game or two, but I can’t foresee him having the backfield all to himself even if Ingram were to leave. Especially with Payton sticking around. He is at his best being utilized as a 1B with help in the backfield. He can run, block, catch punt/kick return, you name it. I really didn’t see any wear and tear on him down the stretch like I did with Fournette and that’s mainly because he had help. Good thing is that he was utilized more than ever in the playoff game against the Vikings. Kamara will probably always share the backfield and is super TD dependent, but who isn’t? I would let Kamara fall to me at the end of the first round. 1.10 – 1.12 if I were to take him. Maybe fall out of the first round altogether as we complete the full mock review.
DEANDRE HOPKINS – Deandre has excellent strong and sure hands. He’s not going to drop too many passes that are in his zip code. The Texans ran a mirror of the Clemson offense when DeShaun Watson took over as QB. He came in looking off the Db and throwing dimes to his receivers but we all know Deandre can throw the ball to himself and keep right on going. He is not QB dependent. It’s been proven. Hopkins is the first read in the Modified West Coast/Clemson system. He can play the X’ Z’ and the W. It’s hard to find a flaw in Hopkins because his situation and talent checks every box. The only knock would be yards after catch. He doesn’t get too many opportunities to run with the ball. He is usually draped by the defender and making a circus catch by using his strength and God given ability. That combination will not stand alone in other wide outs but it just right for Hopkins. We would definitely take Hopkins BEFORE Kamara, Hunt, and Fournette.
JULIO JONES – Julio, Julio where art thou Julio. Another tip I learned is that the consensus is down on Julio for 2018. Look where he was drafted. Was this a mistake or will this change over the following months. What about right before draft time, right? Julio almost fell out of the first round due to the new RB’s. I was sitting there saying, yeah let me get Julio. Oh, Hunt off of the board? Oh yeah let me get Julio, Kamara off the board? I’m up clapping now just hoping he would fall to me and yank, he gets sniped right before my eyes. Truthfully, I think the drafters have a strong case of prisoner of the moment syndrome. Last season is so fresh in their minds that they can’t overlook the shiny new running backs and are blinded right now. If Julio is going at 1.11 in August I will take him there every time. Ok that’s right devil’s advocate. Well there is Steve Sarkisian and the lack of touchdowns for Julio. Can this continue? Does Quinn get in Steve’s ear and scream GET JULIO THE BALL! Now Sarkisian spends his every moment of the off season thinking of ways to do it.
I posted this question on Twitter and here is some responses as well as the reasoning for some of the draft pick from a few draft participants:
Here is what I posted along with some comments being made on twitter from those paying attention:
I was at the turn with
1.12 AJ Green
2.1 Dalvin Cook
Is this surprising?
— THE FANTASY TYPHOON! (@jesusprotectme) January 19, 2018
— PK Ripper (@amaze652) January 18, 2018
— Wheeler (@NFLfntsyWheeler) January 19, 2018
#Never2EarlyPPRMock from the 6 spot David Johnson and Mike Evans in the first 2 rounds feeling good
— TheCommish (@fntsyfbconnect) January 19, 2018
Dorks started out grabbing Zeke with 1.6 #Cowboys
1.1 – Gurley
1.2 – Bell
1.3 – Obj
1.4 – AB
1.5 – David Johnson pic.twitter.com/QURVMnDTDe
— Dynasty Dorks (@DynastyDorks) January 19, 2018
Too many guess have age insulation on AJG to warrent me taking him in the first anymore.
— Charlie Parker (@CoolHandCP3) January 19, 2018
No. I argue this with my friends all the time. The championship team usually has a strong rb1. All of these players have the chance to be the overall rb1 thus should be taken as such … Plus wr proving to have deep talent
— Modern Coach Sports (@MdrnCoachSports) January 19, 2018
Can’t believe Kamara is that low
— Ben Clark (@MrClark14) January 19, 2018
Im suprised AJG and Cook would be the choice with what went ahead of you.
— Charlie Parker (@CoolHandCP3) January 19, 2018
No, that looks about right, though I do worry about DJ with no Palmer or Arians.
— Andrew Manning (@AManning85) January 19, 2018
Oh that as well. Nothing about the situation is appealing other than AJG being a world talent.
Would all be added reasons to age i am not into AJG price anymore.
— Charlie Parker (@CoolHandCP3) January 19, 2018
As promised here is the complete list of twitter handles of all who participated. You can follow them from here,
1.1 Marc Szymanski
1.2 Matt Hicks
1.3 Josh Padgett
1.4 Derek Brown
1.5 The Commish
1.6 Dynasty Dork
1.7 Anthony Zaragoza
1.8 The Checkdown
1.9 PK Ripper
1.10 Eric Adams
1.12 THE FANTASY TYPHOON