Mocking It Up: The Mid-Position Draft

kansas-city-chiefs-tight-end-travis-kelceA lot of fantasy owners are upset when they find out they’re not #1 in the draft, but I never want to be first. My primary aim is to get the best team I possibly can, so only getting 1 of the top 23 players available is not optimal. Getting the 24th and 25th best players doesn’t quite make up for it, but if I play my cards right I could make it work. What I aim for instead, though, is somewhere in the middle of the pack, because that way I guarantee myself 2 players in the top 23, and every extra advantage can help.

Of course that’s all based on whether or not the players play to their ADP (average draft position) and score the way they’re supposed to score, because if they don’t then it’s all the window anyway. Take, for example, last year’s draft. All those people who spent a high pick on Adrian Peterson ended up virtually losing that pick when he only played one game. I don’t have a crystal ball, and neither do you, so spending time speculating who may or may not bomb/ get hurt/ lose the starting job/ etc. won’t do any good. Instead, do your research, and hopefully the chips will fall in the right place.

I did a mock draft yesterday to see what a team would look like if I had the pick I wanted in this draft, somewhere in the middle of the pack. This mock draft, just like the last one, was done on ESPN.com, and it was also a 12-team draft. My draft position was 5th, and I had a plan in place from the start.

WHEN DRAFTING MID-ROUND:

  1. Go with one of the top running backs in the 1st round because you can’t go wrong. In most mock drafts I’ve done at least one of the consensus top 5 RBs is available with picks 5-7. Grab one of those top 5 RBs, and if more than one is still there, get the one you feel most comfortable with.
  2. This means I should grab someone at the top of another position in the 2nd round. Forcing the issue just to go RB-RB in rounds 1 and 2 will leave me with a second-tier runner in the 2nd round, and I can get an adequate one of those in round 3. Grabbing someone at the top of another position in round 2 means having both a #1 RB and a #1 WR/ TE at the end of 2 rounds.

ROUND ONE:

Team 1: Marshawn Lynch – RB (SEA)
Team 2: DeMarco Murray – RB (PHI)
Team 3: Le’Veon Bell – RB (PIT)
Team 4: Adrian Peterson – RB (MIN)
ME: Jamaal Charles – RB (KC)
Team 6: Antonio Brown – WR (PIT)
Team 7: Eddie Lacy – RB (GB)
Team 8: Dez Bryant – WR (DAL)
Team 9: Jeremy Hill – RB (CIN)
Team 10: C.J. Anderson – RB (DEN)
Team 11: Demaryius Thomas – WR (DEN)
Team 12: Matt Forte – RB (CHI)

ROUND ONE ANALYSIS:

Luckily for me I got the exact running back I wanted, and I have Team 2 to thank since they reached for Murray in the second spot. But I understand why they did it. If they really wanted Murray there was no way he would have been available when they came up again in the 2nd round. But I got to start my team with exactly the person I wanted, which is rare. Then I set my eyes on who I thought would be available in both the WR and the TE pool to target in the 2nd round.

ROUND TWO:

Team 12: LeSean McCoy – RB (BUF)
Team 11: Odell Beckham, Jr. – WR (NYG)
Team 10: Rob Gronkowski – TE (NE)
Team 9: Julio Jones – WR (ATL)
Team 8: Jordy Nelson – WR (GB)
Team 7: A.J. Green – WR (CIN)
Team 6: Aaron Rodgers – QB (GB)
ME: Calvin Johnson – WR (DET)
Team 4: Randall Cobb – WR (GB)
Team 3: Alshon Jeffery – WR (CHI)
Team 2: T.Y. Hilton – WR (IND)
Team 1: Andrew Luck – QB (IND)

ROUND TWO ANALYSIS:

I almost threw my plan out the window as I saw so many top WRs heading out the door between my 1st round selection and when I was going to come up in the 2nd round. In fact, in my mind I had decided that if Aaron Rodgers was available I would pull the trigger, so it was funny when he lasted until the pick right before mine. It helped me see that picking him would have been a mistake, though, because I wouldn’t have been able to pick a top-tier WR had I missed out on one in round 2. It also meant I was definitely waiting on a QB and a TE (Gronk was already gone by this point) until at least a few rounds later, so round 3 could have been a second-tier RB or a WR.

ROUND THREE:

Team 1: Mark Ingram – RB
Team 2: Melvin Gordon – RB
Team 3: Mike Evans – WR
Team 4: Alfred Morris – RB
ME: Emmanuel Sanders – WR
Team 6: Lamar Miller – RB
Team 7: Justin Forsett – RB
Team 8: Kelvin Benjamin – WR
Team 9: DeAndre Hopkins – WR
Team 10: Frank Gore – RB
Team 11: Carlos Hyde – RB
Team 12: Peyton Manning – QB

ROUND THREE ANALYSIS:

The same types of RBs would be available in the 4th round the way this draft was going, so why waste a pick here on someone like a Gore, or a Miller, when I could get a second-tier WR with upside like Sanders? Having Calvin Johnson and Emmanuel Sanders as my two wide receivers meant I could wait on a third one, and it left me open to get a couple of those similar-type RBs with my next two picks.

ROUND FOUR:

Team 12: Todd Gurley – RB
Team 11: Jonathan Stewart – RB
Team 10: Brandin Cooks – WR
Team 9: Jimmy Graham – TE
Team 8: Russell Wilson – QB
Team 7: Jordan Matthews – WR
Team 6: Keenan Allen – WR
ME: Latavius Murray – RB
Team 4: Julian Edelman – WR
Team 3: Drew Brees – QB
Team 2: Sammy Watkins – WR
Team 1: Golden Tate – WR

ROUND FOUR ANALYSIS:

This was exactly what I hoped would happen when I let the other second-tier RBs slide in the last round. I had Murray as one of my sleepers for this season, so he slots in quite well as my RB2, and he has the potential to get solid points per week as the focal point of a Raiders offense that shouldn’t be so anemic this year. And if he does indeed break out, like I expect, he could well be the reason I make the fantasy playoffs.

Next, though, I knew I needed a TE. Luckily not many of them had gone off the board early, just the top two in Gronk and Graham. I grabbed another sleeper in round 5 to solidify my team at TE. I used the later rounds to fill in my reserves, to insure Charles, to get a quality QB (or 2) and to roster a few more of my sleepers before ending with a defense and a kicker. Always pick them last. Here was my final team after the mock draft was completed:

QB: ELI MANNING (ROUND 10)
RB1: JAMAAL CHARLES (ROUND 1)
RB2: LATAVIUS MURRAY (ROUND 4)
FLEX: RYAN MATHEWS (ROUND 6)
TE: TRAVIS KELCE (ROUND 5)
WR1: CALVIN JOHNSON (ROUND 2)
WR2: EMMANUEL SANDERS (ROUND 3)
DEF/ST: DETROIT LIONS
K: PHIL DAWSON

BENCH:

PHILIP RIVERS
ARIAN FOSTER
ALFRED BLUE
KNILE DAVIS
KHIRY ROBINSON
JONAS GRAY
MARVIN JONES

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