Mocking It Up: The Late Position Draft

I’ve talked and talked until I’m blue in the face about being prepared before the draft, and one of the best ways to be prepared is one way most owners won’t even think about. I’m talking about mock drafts, and it’s important to do as many as you can, and on the same site where you’re actually going to be playing in your fantasy league. Why? Because each site has its own stats, average draft positions (ADP), and scoring systems. It pays to know just how the draft can go, and to draft from each position if you can.

To that end I do no less than 20 mock drafts before any of my real drafts even begin, and they’re always helpful. I’ve drafted from early in the first round, late in the first round, and every spot in-between, and I’ve come up with completely different teams time and again, but I’ve been satisfied with the vast majority of them. Now, before I get into this particular mock draft, I want to remind you that I play several leagues on sportsline.com, and several leagues on ESPN.com. This mock draft was from ESPN.com, and it showed me a lot about the way ESPN league owners are drafting.

My draft position was 10th in a 12-player league, and I didn’t know it until I logged into the draft room. One thing about mock drafts is that you’re not going to know your position ahead of time, while with real drafts you should know at least an hour beforehand so you can shift your expectations and possible player acquisitions. But I know what I should do when drafting late and there is a shortage of top running backs.

WHEN DRAFTING LATE:

  1. Unless one of the consensus top 5 RBs (Charles, Peterson, Lynch, Lacy, Bell) drops into my lap, I’m going to pick someone at the top of one of the other categories.
  2. This means I’ll be able to grab a second-tier runner OR someone at the top of another category in the second round.

ROUND ONE:

Team 1: Marshawn Lynch – RB (SEA)
Team 2: Le’Veon Bell – RB (PIT)
Team 3: Antonio Brown – WR (PIT)
Team 4: Jamaal Charles – RB (KC)
Team 5: Eddie Lacy – RB (GB)
Team 6: Adrian Peterson – RB (MIN)
Team 7: DeMarco Murray – RB (PHI)
Team 8: C.J. Anderson – RB (DEN)
Team 9: Matt Forte – RB (CHI)
ME: Demaryius Thomas – WR (DEN)
Team 11: Jeremy Hill – RB (CIN)
Team 12: Dez Bryant – WR (DAL)

ROUND ONE ANALYSIS:

The second I saw Peterson off the board with the 6th pick, I knew I was going with Plan B. I just didn’t know which position I should go with. If Antonio Brown was still available I would have locked him up, but he also went early, so I went with a comparable player in Thomas. I could have also gone Dez Bryant in that spot and felt comfortable with my choice. As you can see, Bryant went off the board two picks later.

ROUND TWO:

Team 12: Odell Beckham, Jr. – WR (NYG)
Team 11: Jordy Nelson – WR (GB)
ME: Rob Gronkowski – TE (NE)
Team 9: LeSean McCoy – RB (BUF)
Team 8: Julio Jones – WR (ATL)
Team 7: Calvin Johnson – WR (DET)
Team 6: A.J. Green – WR (CIN)
Team 5: Mark Ingram – RB (NO)
Team 4: Andrew Luck – QB (IND)
Team 3: Aaron Rodgers – QB (GB)
Team 2: Alshon Jeffery – WR (CHI)
Team 1: Randall Cobb – WR (GB)

ROUND TWO ANALYSIS:

Sure, I could have gone with a second-tier RB here, but I could also get a second-tier RB in the third round and be no worse off for the wait. I could have also gone second WR and gotten my choice of Green, Johnson, or Jones, but I knew Gronk wouldn’t be available by the time I came up in the third round, and he’s the biggest difference-maker at any position so it was really a no-brainer. I knew my running game would still be okay, and I had one of the top 3 WRs in the league and the top TE in the league through two rounds.

ROUND THREE:

Team 1: T.Y. Hilton – WR
Team 2: Mike Evans – WR
Team 3: Lamar Miller – RB
Team 4: Alfred Morris – RB
Team 5: DeAndre Hopkins – WR
Team 6: Emmanuel Sanders – WR
Team 7: Melvin Gordon – RB
Team 8: Kelvin Benjamin – WR
Team 9: Jimmy Graham – TE
ME: Justin Forsett – RB
Team 11: Carlos Hyde – RB
Team 12: Brandin Cooks – WR

ROUND THREE ANALYSIS:

After grabbing non-RBs the first two rounds I knew it was imperative that I get a RB with my third round pick, if only to have someone consistent in my #1-RB spot, because it became obvious that my #2-RB spot would be a revolving door based on matchups at this point. The rest of those drafting had gone heavy and often on runners, but I knew they wouldn’t be able to match me at the TE position, and that I was solid at my #1-WR spot. So I went with the best runner left on the board, which was Forsett.

ROUND FOUR:

Team 12: Frank Gore – RB
Team 11: Peyton Manning – QB
ME: Jordan Matthews – WR
Team 9: Russell Wilson – QB
Team 8: Jonathan Stewart – RB
Team 7: Greg Olsen – TE
Team 6: Julian Edelman – WR
Team 5: Todd Gurley – RB
Team 4: Andre Johnson – WR
Team 3: Ryan Mathews – RB
Team 2: Drew Brees – QB
Team 1: Sammy Watkins – WR

ROUND FOUR ANALYSIS:

I really wanted to get Peyton Manning in this spot, and as I kept watching the picks before me he kept dropping, and dropping, and I began to hope. But then, at the very last second the team ahead of me grabbed Manning and I had to make another quick Plan B decision. I would grab a QB late and instead either go with whatever was available at RB here or get a second-tier WR. I went with the #1 receiver in a dynamic offense, so Matthews slotted in well with Thomas in my WR corps.

Of course after the fourth round it’s really all about plugging in pieces here and there, and my biggest positions to fill were my #2-RB spot, and a good all-around player to fit in at the FLEX position. As usual I would wait on a QB until the later rounds, my defense and kicker would come last, and I would fill in my bench with possible breakout candidates at RB & WR. Here was my final team after the mock draft was completed:

QB: RYAN TANNEHILL [ROUND 11]
RB1: JUSTIN FORSETT [ROUND 3]
RB2: LEGARRETTE BLOUNT [ROUND 6]
FLEX: GIOVANI BERNARD [ROUND 5]
TE: ROB GRONKOWSKI [ROUND 2]
WR1: DEMARYIUS THOMAS [ROUND 1]
WR2: JORDAN MATTHEWS [ROUND 4]
DEF/ST: DETROIT LIONS
K: MASON CROSBY

BENCH:

COLIN KAEPERNICK
DANIEL HERRON
DAVANTE ADAMS
DONTE MONCRIEF
ALFRED BLUE – as the number 1 ball-carrier in Houston for at least the first six weeks, Blue could easily slot into the #2-RB slot if he can prove worthy
MONTEE BALL
DARREN MCFADDEN

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