On July 13th I made a much too early mock draft, where I covered how I would draft each pick for the first seven rounds. It worked out okay until the end, where it became more about positional needs than talent. Now I’m scratching the teams and just evaluating fantasy talent so you have what you need for your draft that should be coming up soon. Average Draft Position (ADP) will be based on Fantasy Pros, as they have the most accurate rankings. I will be using a half point per reception chart since that is the best way to play fantasy and a mix between PPR and Standard Leagues.
- RB Le’Veon Bell – ADP 2
Bell is the most versatile weapon in football and has been since joining the Steelers in 2013. Bell is extremely talented and has a guaranteed workload like no other with Mike Tomlin at the helm “He led the league in carries (321) by a large margin while missing a game in 2017. “He had 85 receptions which was 10th in the NFL for any position, 1st of all RBs.” (1.0 Mock) Le’Veon was third in rushing yards (1,291) and touchdowns (9) last season while missing a game. The only thing that could get in Bell’s way is his injury and suspension history. Overall, Bell is a slam dunk at pick one.
2. RB Todd Gurley – ADP 1
“Opportunity and talent are the two most important factors for a successful season in Fantasy Football. Todd Gurley has both. Gurley had 279 carries (4th in NFL) in 15 games. He also has the 8th highest yards per carry (4.7) in the league. Gurley is on a great offense run by the 2017 Coach of the Year in Sean McVay. He is the safest pick in the draft with little injury concern, guaranteed workload, and undeniable talent. The only negative for Gurley is that the Rams have the hardest strength of schedule in the league.” (1.0 Mock) Nothing to change here but I will throw in that he came in second in rushing yards in 2017 with 1,305 and lead all running backs with 13 touchdowns
3. RB David Johnson – ADP 4
In my original mock I had Johnson slipping all the way down to the sixth pick in the draft. Here was my take in July: “The Cardinals have a brand new head coach in Steve Wilkes; an Offensive Coordinator in Mike McCoy; Quarterback in Sam Bradford/Josh Rosen; and David Johnson is coming off a season long thumb injury that limited him to 11 rushes in 2017. Johnson is on a bad team with a situation that I have to see before I can fully get behind.” (1.0 Mock) Through two preseason games I like what I have seen out of the Quarterback play and rookie standout Christian Kirk. The offense appears to be better than expected, which gives me all the confidence in the world for DJ. Talent-wise, David Johnson is up there with Bell and Gurley. His team is the only thing holding him back.
4. WR Antonio Brown – ADP 5
“Antonio Brown is the best Wide Receiver in football, and it isn’t even close. Brown has stood the test of time as the most consistent WR in fantasy for years. Last season Brown led the league with 1,533 yards. He also had 9 TDs to pair with that. You cannot take Brown too high. I have no problem with someone drafting Antonio with the first pick in the draft. He is by far the safest WR to draft and just about the safest pick of any player – period.” (Mock 1.0)
5. RB Alvin Kamara – ADP 6
“With Mark Ingram suspended for four games for abusing PEDs, Kamara will get almost all of the workload early on. This will give him a chance to phase Ingram out of the offense this season, something he will probably do regardless. Kamara is a true three-down back with 120 carries and 81 receptions last season. He had to break into the offense early but proved he could run the ball and should expect around 250 carries in 2018 to go along with 100+ targets in the air. Kamara is one of the most talented and versatile RBs in the world and has the same scheme and coach as last season. Great pick here at five.” (Mock 1.0)
6. RB Ezekiel Elliot – ADP 3
Ezekiel Elliot is one of the most talented running backs in the league. To add to that he had 242 carries in 10 games (24.2 carries a game). 20 carries a game is a dream as a fantasy owner, especially when given to a truck like Zeke. Last season he led the NFL in rushing yards per game with 98.3. The only reason I have Zeke falling this far is because Dak Prescott hasn’t looked sharp, and they have no real weapons to take the pressure off Elliot. Opposing teams will stack the box all game and make Dak prove he can sling it, and I’m not so sure he can.
7. RB Saquon Barkley – ADP 7
“The Running Back barrage continues as we take the next rookie sensation at pick seven, right where his ADP projects. At this point in the draft, you have to take a shot on a guy that might be the best overall athlete in the NFL as far as a speed/power combo goes. Barkley has the instincts and vision to succeed at the next level. He also should have the keys to the castle handed to him with little competition for carries in the Giants typically underwhelming backfield.” (Mock 1.0) Saquon is a little hobbled but it should not impact his status for week one. Also watch his first snap in his NFL debut:
8. WR DeAndre Hopkins – ADP 8
“After a massive Running Back run it’s time to take value play here with DeAndre Hopkins. Last season, Hopkins had 1,378 receiving yards, 4th most in the league. Hopkins also led the league in Touchdowns with 13. His workload is ensured as he led the league in targets last season with 174. More importantly, Deshaun Watson will be returning from an ACL injury who really impressed last season. Watson flashed in 2017 and could support a WR1.” (Mock 1.0) While I believe Melvin Gordon is going to have a great 2018 season, Hopkins has the potential to be the top Wide Receiver this season, and proved that he can still be elite in the worst-case scenario.
9. WR Odell Beckham Jr. – ADP 11
“Odell Beckham Jr. is typically chosen around pick five or six most years but has fallen after missing most of last season due to injury. Pair that with the acquisition of Saquon Barkley in the NFL Draft, and we have a slight drop in Odell’s Average Draft Position. Beckham Jr. is a great value at pick nine as he is flat out one of the best athletes in the league. In his last healthy season Odell had 1,367 yards and 10 TDs. Grab Beckham Jr. with your first pick here and plug him in every week.” (Mock 1.0)
10. RB Melvin Gordon – ADP 10
Gordon has fallen a bit, purely because there are some elite Wide Receivers in the late first/early second. While Gordon is a great back, I’d rather the second or third best Receiver over the seventh best running back. That said, Gordon had 284 carries which was third in the league last season. He also had 83 targets, 7th most of in the RB class. Gordon managed 1,581 all-purpose yards and 12 TDs.
11. RB Kareem Hunt – ADP 9
“Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing yards last season with 1,327. He was fourth in yards per carry (4.9) and had 53 receptions for 455 yards (8.6 yards per carry). The only reason he isn’t higher on this list is due to his inconsistency last year. He has a ceiling as high as any on a weekly basis but can go dark for weeks at a time. Hunt is a great late first-rounder but not the most reliable choice.” (Mock 1.0)
12. WR Julio Jones – ADP 13
“For the first time in years Jones has fallen out of the first round in most drafts, averaging at pick 13. Julio’s drop was due to his lack of touchdowns (3). That said, Jones still had 1,444 yards, only trailing Antonio Brown. Yardage is more consistent year-to-year than touchdowns, and the Falcons are going into year two of their new scheme. The first year in a new scheme always causes abnormalities, which makes me feel like Jones will be a steal in the second round.” (Mock 1.0)
13. WR Keenan Allen – ADP 17
“People fear Allen because of his injury history. One thing we have never seen – Keenan Allen performing badly on a football field. As long as he stays healthy, he is a top receiver in any PPR format. Last year he caught 102 receptions (4th) for 1,393 yards (3rd).” (Mock 1.0) I could see Allen being one of the best value picks in the draft this year. Allen is an elite Wide Receiver going in the mid-second round in a lot of drafts. With Hunter Henry out, Allen is the only red-zone target on the team besides Mike Williams who has logged 11 receptions in the NFL. Expect Allen (a proven PPR weapon) to get fed the ball all season.
14. RB Leonard Fournette – ADP 12
Fournette ran for 1,040 yards in only 13 games as well as 36 receptions for 302 yards which is a nice way to boost his floor in PPR formats. The LSU standout is positioned on a great offense that will provide plenty of red-zone carries. Fournette trucked his way into the end-zone nine times last season and should get into double digit touchdowns this season. He will also have plenty of late game, run the clock out carries to rack up some yardage while the defense is gassed.
15. WR Michael Thomas – ADP 15
“Michael Thomas has a Hall of Fame QB in Drew Brees, and the stats to make him a very safe pick in round two. Can I interest you in 1,245 yards (6th) in 104 receptions (3rd) and a (69.8%) catch rate (10th of WRs)? I think so.” (Mock 1.0)
16. RB Dalvin Cook – ADP 14
Dalvin Cook was a highly-touted prospect out of Florida State and did not disappoint when he arrived in Minnesota. Cook ran for 354 yards (88.5 yards per game) and two touchdowns before suffering a torn ACL, ending his season. Now Cook is back healthy and ready to tear it up as the undisputed starting running back for the Vikings.
17. RB LeSean McCoy – ADP 25
“Plug McCoy in every week knowing he will approach 300 carries and still has the ability to break tackles and be elusive. He had 287 carries (2nd) in 2017 for 1,138 yards (4th). He also had 59 receptions for 448 yards. He is the only weapon in Buffalo and will get a similar workload this upcoming season.” (Mock 1.0)
18. RB Christian McCaffery – ADP 16
Christian McCaffery is one of the most versatile athletes in the NFL. He was worked in slowly as a runner with 435 yards in 117 carries and two touchdowns. With Jonathan Stewart gone, and CJ Anderson not showing much in camp, expect roughly 200 carries for McCaffery. That is not the reason he is going in the second round, his value is in his PPR production. McCaffery had 80 receptions for 651 yards as a rookie. The Panthers’ offense is no longer built around Cam’s ability to run. The 2018 Carolina offense is built around McCaffery’s versatility – much like how the Steelers use Bell. It is apparent in the preseason and the reason McCaffery is a second round pick with unlimited potential.
18. WR Davante Adams – ADP 18
Adams is Aaron Rodgers’ number one receiver. He had 885 yards and 10 TDs last season. Expect him to have double-digit TDs in 2018 as well as at least 1,000 yards. Rodgers’ number one target is an automatic WR1, and Adams is an extremely talented athlete.
20. WR A.J. Green – ADP 19
“A.J. Green has played five seasons in the NFL and has four 1,000 yard seasons. His only exception? 2016 – where he played 10 games and missed the 1,000 yard mark by 36 yards. He is a consistent safe pick who racked up 1,078 yards last year with 8 TDs.” (Mock 1.0)
21. RB Devonta Freeman – ADP 20
Freeman is extremely talented and would be a borderline first round pick if it wasn’t for his timeshare with Tevin Coleman. That said, Freeman still managed 196 carries last season for 865 yards and 7 touchdowns. If Coleman were to get injured, Freeman would be a top-ten running back without question.
22. TE Rob Gronkowski – ADP 21
“Gronk gives a team the biggest positional advantage over his opponent. His problem obviously is injury-related. If Gronk could remain healthy, he would be valued as a high first round pick. Gronkowski is the biggest boom or bust player in the league.” (Mock 1.0) Last season Gronkowski had 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns. His receiving yards ranked 10th in the NFL, first among Tight Ends.
23. WR Adam Thielen – ADP 31
Thielen is one of the most underrated players in football. Last season Thielen had 91 receptions (8th) for 1,276 yards (5th) and 4 touchdowns. He is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL and will now be aided by Kirk Cousins
24. TE Travis Kelce – ADP 27
Kelce is the safest Tight End in football, considering Gronk’s injury history. Kelce caught 83 passes (11th) for 1,038 yards (13th) and 8 touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes will take over at Quarterback which could give the offense a boost. Regardless of who is under center, Kelce will be an elite Tight End giving teams a positional advantage over the rest of the league.
25. WR Larry Fitzgerald – ADP 34
At the age of 33, Fitzgerald had the second most receptions (109) in the NFL. He racked up 1,156 yards (8th) and 6 touchdowns. At age 34, I expect more of the same. The Cardinals will be led by Sam Bradford to open the year, and possibly Josh Rosen to close it out. Bradford loves to throw the ball short to a slot guy/tight end. Fitzgerald is still a dominant receiver when placed in the slot, which bodes well for him. Rosen a rookie, will likely not want to air it out early and will depend on the Hall of Fame receiver he grew up watching. Fitzgerald is valued for his receptions, so he should not go nearly as high if you’re still playing in a standard league for some reason.
26. WR Tyreek Hill – ADP 28
Patrick Mahomes is the perfect Quarterback to throw to one of the most dynamic deep threats in Tyreek Hill. Mahomes will use his absolute cannon to target a speedster who racked up 1,183 yards (7th) and 7 touchdowns. Hill will take advantage of this match made in heaven.
27. WR T.Y. Hilton – ADP 2
T.Y. was considered an elite fantasy option before Andrew Luck missed an entire season with a shoulder injury. Hilton has dropped below his typical ADP because fantasy owners are not sure how Luck will bounce back in 2018. The good news is that even without Luck, Hilton was able to reel in 57 receptions for 966 yards (18th) and 4 touchdowns. Now that the offense is healthy, we can almost assure that Hilton will get over the 1,000 yard marker giving him a solid floor. As for a ceiling? He had 1,448 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2016 (His last season with Luck).
28. WR Mike Evans – ADP 22
I do not want anything to do with Evans at his current value. He will be without Jameis Winston for three games due to suspension. Also this team is projected to be awful which doesn’t bode well for red-zone targets. That said, Evans is one of the premier talents at his position and he will get plenty of targets in the Buccaneers offense. They are going to be down a lot, which means plenty of passing for Evans to take advantage of.
29. RB Jordan Howard – ADP 24
Howard is one of my favorite players in fantasy this season. He is extremely undervalued for someone with 1,122 yards (6h) and 9 touchdowns. He had 276 carries last season which ranked 5th in the league. He has the numbers that a lot of the first- round running backs have, and you can get him with your third pick. Howard is in much better hands with Matt Nagy at the helm for the Bears this season.
30. WR Doug Baldwin – ADP 33
Baldwin is Russell Wilson’s favorite target, making Doug a valuable asset. Baldwin narrowly missed out on his third 1,000-yard season in a row, landing on 991 (16th). He did reign in 8 touchdowns, which gives him some boom potential on a week-to-week basis.
31-50 Just Rankings:
31. WR Jarvis Landry – ADP 38
32. RB Jerick McKinnon – ADP 26
33. RB Kenyan Drake – ADP 37
34. RB Joe Mixon – ADP 23
35. RB Alex Collins – ADP 40
36. WR Stefon Diggs – ADP 30
37. TE Zach Ertz – ADP 36
38. WR Josh Gordon – ADP 49
39. WR Amari Cooper – ADP 35
40. WR Demaryius Thomas – ADP 41
41. RB Derrick Henry – ADP 39
42. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – ADP 42
43. WR Allen Robinson – ADP 44
44. WR Golden Tate – ADP 45
45. RB Lamar Miller – ADP 50
46. RB Jay Ajayi – ADP 46
47. RB Royce Freeman – ADP 47
48. QB Aaron Rodgers – ADP 32
49. WR Brandin Cooks – ADP 43
50. QB Deshaun Watson – ADP 48
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