Mocking It Up: The First Pick Draft

practiceI know I sound like a broken record, but I only keep saying it because it remains true. Practice, while it doesn’t make perfect, can make you better at adjusting your expectations and in making your decisions. It’s true in life, and it’s also true in fantasy drafting. The more you practice your draft the easier it will be for you when you get to the real thing. That’s why I do no less than 20 mock drafts a year before I complete any actual drafts for my leagues.

Doing 20 mock drafts a year ensures me of drafting from pretty much every conceivable position, which is also very helpful because it gives me a heads up for when I only have an hour between knowing my draft position and having to make a selection. I just completed my first mock draft of the season, and I wanted to share the results with you. I did all of my research, but I was still surprised when I entered the mock draft room to see I was in pole position.

When drafting from the first position there are positives and negatives. The biggest positive is that you get to choose the player at the very top of your list, while the biggest negative is that you then have to wait 23 more picks until you can go again (in a 12-team league). So I was happy, but I tempered it somewhat based on not knowing what the wait would bring. The top player on my list this year is Antonio Brown, so it was a no-brainer.

ROUND ONE

ME: Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)
Team 2: Julio Jones, WR (ATL)
Team 3: Ezekiel Elliott, RB (DAL)
Team 4: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR (NYG)
Team 5: Adrian Peterson, RB (MIN)
Team 6: Todd Gurley, RB (LA)
Team 7: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (HOU)
Team 8: David Johnson, RB (ARI)
Team 9: A.J. Green, WR (CIN)
Team 10: Devonta Freeman, RB (ATL)
Team 11: Dez Bryant, WR (DAL)
Team 12: Rob Gronkowski, TE (NE)

ROUND ONE ANALYSIS:

It was easy in Round One, but after my pick was made it was all about seeing how everyone else approached the mock draft, to see the falling value of the RB as I predicted. We’ll see how the rest of the mock draft went, but at least to this point it validated my opinion.

ROUND TWO

Team 12: Le’Veon Bell, RB (PIT)
Team 11: Allen Robinson, WR (JAC)
Team 10: Lamar Miller, RB (HOU)
Team 9: Brandon Marshall, WR (NYJ)
Team 8: Doug Martin, RB (TB)
Team 7: Jordy Nelson, WR (GB)
Team 6: Mark Ingram, RB (NO)
Team 5: Thomas Rawls, RB (SEA)
Team 4: Sammy Watkins, WR (BUF)
Team 3: Jamaal Charles, RB (KC)
Team 2: Eddie Lacy, RB (GB)
ME: Demaryius Thomas, WR (DEN)

ROUND ONE ANALYSIS:

I have to admit I’m not worried about Thomas with his playoff disappointment, or even with new QB Mark Sanchez. He’s still a top-tier WR in my opinion, and having someone other than Manning throwing him the ball will make things easier for him this year (I never thought I’d say that phrase). This is the spot where having the 1st overall pick made things easier for me too. I saw that WRs were going quickly, but that QBs hadn’t left the board yet. I decided to hit on one with my next pick, the one I expect to lead all QBs in fantasy points this year.

ROUND THREE

ME: Cam Newton, QB (CAR)
Team 2: Mike Evans, WR (TB)
Team 3: LeSean McCoy, RB (BUF)
Team 4: Alshon Jeffery, WR (CHI)
Team 5: Brandin Cooks, WR (NO)
Team 6: Jordan Reed, TE (WAS)
Team 7: Jonathan Stewart, RB (CAR)
Team 8: Amari Cooper, WR (OAK)
Team 9: C.J. Anderson, RB (DEN)
Team 10: Kelvin Benjamin, WR (CAR)
Team 11: Keenan Allen, WR (SD)
Team 12: Matt Forte, RB (NYJ)

ROUND THREE ANALYSIS:

This one was simple, really. Go QB early or go QB late. I went late last year because too many QBs went in the first 2 rounds. Since none went here the first 2 rounds I decided to go for it with the dual-threat ability of Mr. Newton. There would be plenty of RBs available in the next round, and I was set on my 2 WRs already. Another long wait between my third round choice and whatever would fall to me in the fourth round, but I knew I was going back-to-back RBs.

ROUND FOUR

Team 12: Julian Edelman, WR (NE)
Team 11: Carlos Hyde, RB (SF)
Team 10: Doug Baldwin, WR (SEA)
Team 9: Greg Olsen, TE (CAR)
Team 8: T.Y. Hilton, WR (IND)
Team 7: Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB)
Team 6: Dion Lewis, RB (NE)
Team 5: Jarvis Landry, WR (MIA)
Team 4: Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)
Team 3: Jeremy Maclin, WR (KC)
Team 2: Randall Cobb, WR (GB)
ME: Jeremy Hill, RB (CIN)

ROUND FOUR ANALYSIS:

Yes, I was burned by Hill last year, but that was with him at first round value, and all the expectations that came along with it. His skills have not diminished, though, and he did score the most TDs of a running back, so I’m banking on similar numbers that way. Besides, I knew I could pick up Gio Bernard later in the draft as a handcuff if things went sideways.

Those first four picks went almost exactly according to my plan, except instead of two running backs in the third and fourth rounds I went with a QB and RB. But I also hadn’t expected Cam Newton to fall to the third round, so it was unexpected riches. The rest of my draft was about selecting a TE (late), getting someone to fill in the flex position, and loading up on RBs. You never know when one is going to break out, or get his opportunity because of injury to someone higher up the food chain. Here are the rest of my picks, in order:

ROUND FIVE: Latavius Murray, RB (OAK)
ROUND SIX: Jordan Matthews, WR (PHI)
ROUND SEVEN: Giovani Bernard, RB (CIN)
ROUND EIGHT: Tevin Coleman, RB (ATL)
ROUND NINE: Gary Barnidge, TE (CLE)
ROUND TEN: Charcandrick West, RB (KC)
ROUND ELEVEN: Darren Sproles, RB (PHI)
ROUND TWELVE: Jerick McKinnon, RB (MIN)
ROUND THIRTEEN: D/ST Jets
ROUND FOURTEEN: Chris Johnson, RB (ARI)
ROUND FIFTEEN: Ted Ginn, Jr., WR (CAR)
ROUND SIXTEEN: Brandon McManus, K (DEN)

Here is my final lineup as selected from the 1st pick in the mock draft:

QB: CAM NEWTON
RB1: JEREMY HILL
RB2: LATAVIUS MURRAY
WR1: ANTONIO BROWN
WR2: DEMARYIUS THOMAS
TE: GARY BARNIDGE
FLEX (WR/RB): JORDAN MATTHEWS
D/ST: NY JETS
K: BRANDON MCMANUS

BENCH:
GIOVANI BERNARD
DARREN SPROLES
TEVIN COLEMAN
CHARCANDRICK WEST
JERICK MCKINNON
CHRIS JOHNSON
TED GINN, JR.

As always, I suggest getting as many backup RBs as possible. You never know when a starter could lose his job, or could get hurt. I was a little surprised that so many fell into my lap, but I was glad to be able to pick up Bernard, Coleman, and West in particular. All in all, this mock draft was a success from the 1st position. Coming soon: picking late.

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