In our ongoing series “Who do YOU Take?” We’ll jump into a 12 team PPR mock draft and examine what the 10th round of the draft looks like. Narrowing it down to a few players, we’ll let you know why we feel the way we do about the players being drafted and help you narrow down your search for the best draft possible. As before, we selected a random draft spot and received the 6th overall pick.
Our 9 Player Roster so far:
- Saquon Barkley
- Davante Adams
- Jordan Howard
- Demaryius Thomas
- Alex Collins
- Jamison Crowder
- Drew Brees
- Trey Burton
- Jamaal Williams
While I may have taken a leap of faith with Barkley at 6 overall, I like this teams overall depth at both WR and RB. Having a consistent QB and a high upside, good value TE leaves me with the type of roster I like in a 12 team league. But the 10th round presents an interesting issue as I can justify grabbing a 4th receiver here, but I can just as easily argue that grabbing the best value here is even more important than drafting for need. Below are six available players I would target in a similar draft situation
- Isaiah Crowell
- C.J. Anderson
- Rishard Matthews
- DeSean Jackson
- Anthony Miller
- George Kittle
I feel pretty confident in my running backs so I’d probably only entertain Crowell and Anderson for a moment, but I do like both players’ value in the 10th round. In the end, my decision comes down to filling out my depth at WR or adding a second tight end to pair with Trey Burton (who could very well be a massive bust given his lack of a track record in the NFL).
This is a simple decision as well, as I’m not willing to pass on a wideout in favor of a second tight end. Given that there are other TE’s like Eifert, Cook, and Watson who I can likely target several rounds from now, I’ll pair down my decision to the three wide outs I have named above
The Case for Matthews
With the signing of Matt Lafluer as the Titan’s offensive coordinator, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about this offense. It’s highly unlikely that Mike Vrabel assumes control of the offense given his expertise on the other side of the football, so we expect this offense to look a lot like the high flying Rams offense last year. While Corey Davis rightfully demands a lot of the buzz, Matthews has a real chance to chew up a ton of targets out of the slot. With a two headed backfield featuring Dion Lewis, I can see Matthews terrorizing the middle of the field to the tune of 90+ targets.
The Case for Jackson
It’s easy to discount Jackon’s 2017 season as a sign that the aging vet has slowed down, but that explanation doesn’t account for the eyeball test. There were countless plays that saw Jackson find plenty of separation yet fail to haul in an over thrown pass. When Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Winston last year, his production soared – leading me to believe that Jackson is still the elite down-the-field threat he’s been his whole career. There are some cons to drafting a receiver in this offense, especially given that Winston will already be missing time due to a suspension, but his ceiling is as high as his usage. I expect a bounce back year for the Buccaneers burner.
The Case for Anthony Miller
Miller continues to get overshadowed by the rest of his rookie class, and I’m not sure that should be the case. Of the wide outs selected early, Miller has the easiest path to a high number of targets. When the Bears moved up to select him at 51st overall, it signaled their belief that he could be an impact player right away. Sure, the most recent “unofficial” depth chart listed Taylor Gabriel as the starting slot man, the off season hype machine has been turned up to 11 as Miller continues to impress in camp. As the most talented receiver not named Allen Robinson on the roster, it’s only a matter of time before he sees meaningful snaps, and as a sleeper candidate, I like him to far out produce his draft position.
It’s not an easy one, but I’ve removed Jackson from consideration thanks to his lack of targets. Being a big play receiver doesn’t help me in a PPR format as much as the two potential slot men do. While the allure is there for Anthony Miller, drafting a rookie WR over a guy who’s already established in his offense seems a bit foolish to me. The floor for Matthews is criminally underrated this late in drafts, and while I’d be okay with Miller if he wasn’t here, drafting Matthews ended up being a fairly simple decisison.
Our second installment in the Either Or series take a look at the 7th round of the draft. If that number sounds arbitrary, it’s because it is. As usual, we’ll be using a 12 team PPR league, and our random draft position is 11th.
6 Player Roster (So Far)
- Leonard Fournette
- Alex Collins
- Derrius Guice
- Julio Jones
- Corey Davis
- Pierre Garcon
At this point in the draft, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with my team, although there’s a bit of a gap from my top back and receiver and the guys below them. In
a 12 team league I suggest waiting on a QB as the player pool is significantly shallower at running back and wide receiver, so in the 7th round, you’re decision should be which position to bolster before moving on to the QB and TE positions.
Top Players Available
As always, adjust your rankings to suit your preferences. The players below are targets that I’d be interested in that should be going in this range of the draft.
- Dion Leis
- Marlon Mack
- Rex Burkhead
- Cooper Kupp
- Robby Anderson
- Jamison Crowder
- Davante Parker
What you’ll notice is that all of these players have significant question marks but expect to factor in heavily to their respective offenses no matter their position on the depth chart. A quick glance at our roster and my personal belief is that we’re far stronger at the wide receiver position with proven commodities in Julio Jones and Pierre Garcon, and a young top 5 draft pick that should take over the top receiver duties in Tennessee.
I love Fournette, as he’ll have the kind of volume that should make him an easy top five running back, but Collins and Guice both have committee questions that can’t be answered until the season starts.
While I like both players, Collins has to fend off Kenneth Dixon (who Baltimore refused to cut bait with despite his off field issues AND Collins success) and Guice is a rookie who’s talent is undeniable but has a floor that could see him sitting on my bench before long.
For this scenario it comes down to the running back position, and I’ve narrowed it down to two: C.J. Anderson and Marlon Mack. It’s important to note that I like Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead, but their roles are more difficult to define so I’ll ignore them at this point in the draft.
The Case for Anderson
Replacing Jonathan Stewart as the primary “early” down back, Anderson expects to play a solid number of snaps this year despite 2nd year pro Christian McCaffrey’s presence on the roster. As a team, the Panthers ran the ball nearly 500 times, and 198 of them went to the 30 year old Jonathan Stewart over his 15 games (only 10 starts). Expecting a similar share for Anderson sits him firmly in the 200-220 touch mark (12-15 per game). Now, it’s important to note as well that Anderson has never rushed for less than 4 yards per carry, and should improve on the numbers Stewart posted last year. My (conservative) prediction is 900 yards and 6 TDs on the ground.
The Case for Mack
Unlike Lewis and Burkhead, Marlon Mack sits atop his team depth chart as the number one back, and only has to beat out rookies Nyheim Hines (a gadget back) and Jordan Wilkins (a 5th round pick who grades out as a special teamer). While you may feel Mack was underwhelming last year in his limited touches, but it was revealed he played through a torn labrum for much of the season and is expected to be 100% for the start of training camp. Equally important to note is that Mack was effective in the passing game, hauling in 63% of his targets for 21 receptions and 220 yards. Even with a healthy Luck, the Colts have a history of giving their starting back between 250-275 rushes, something that can’t be overlooked here. Providing another conservative projection, I can see 1,200 combined yards and 7-9 TDs for Mack.
Summary – Marlon Mack
While I’m tempted to take Anderson based on his track record of performing well in similar committees, Mack’s inside track at 15-20 touches a game is too good too pass up. While other backs in this area are firmly entrenched in committees, Mack should be an NFL starting back right out of the gates.
Do you disagree? Share in the comments below!
CJ Anderson | CAR – ADP 92 – RB43|
Never finishing a season at less than 4 yards per carry, Anderson’s career best 1,000 yard season last year seems to be a distant memory for drafters as he’s being disrespected to the tune of a RB4 ranking. He won’t see many passing down plays, but Carolina signed him to compliment McCaffrey on the ground and in the red zone. With RB2 potential even if McCaffrey is healthy, this is a player I’ll have my eyes on.
Bilal Powell | NYJ – ADP 160 – RB51 |
The addition of Isaiah Crowell in New York has many in the fantasy community souring on Powell’s upside. Not the Dr. With Crowell proving to be no more than a between the tackles plodder, Powell will likely return to the complimentary role that landed him on fantasy radars to begin with. A return to 60 or so receptions and a time share in the backfield that should see him hit 100-125 rushes, he may not be a weekly start, but he’ll be a valuable flex piece with plenty of upside should Crowell prove ineffective on first and second down.
Kalen Ballage | MIA – ADP Undrafted – RB61|
You may ask yourself why I’m so high on a player who’s at best third on his teams depth chart. The short answer is that I think he’s the best back they’ve got. He’s got the surprising speed for his size, turning in a 4.46 at 6’2″ 230lbs, and he’s far and away the best pass catcher on the team, giving him the best opportunity to steal plays if he can work his way into the third down role exclusively. While he’s beginning to creep onto the communities radar (Matthew Berry lists him with sleeper potential), the potential to grab a bell cow back late in drafts is too good to pass up.
Honorable Mention: Kenneth Dixon was supposed to be the guy in Baltimore, but a series of injuries and off the field issues opened the door for Alex Collins to succeed in his stead. Still, the Raven’s unwillingness to move on from Dixon signals to me that they still believe in the back, a great low risk play in round 13 of your draft.
Ryan Tannehill quietly put together a borderline top 10 QB season, and Lamar Miller proved he could run the football with some consistency and catch it on occasion in the passing game. The receivers on this team are young and talented, with high volume option in Jarvis Landry and burners in Kenny Stills and Rishard Matthews. Adding Jordan Cameron only makes it harder for defenses to match up when they want to spread you out. Worth Drafting: Ryan Tannehill will likely be valued lower than he should be, as a later QB1 he’s worth it. Lamar Miller may have some competition later in the year from the uber talented Jay Ajayi, expect him to be a workhorse if healthy. Landry should be a good bet for 70+ catches, and Stills could be a weapon for Tannehill over the top. Jordan Cameron, if healthy, will step in and replace Charles Clay’s production very well.
11. San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers manages every year to put together a top 10 QB season, and expect this year to be no different. Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd should still see the bulk of the passes, new addition Stevie Johnson has a lot to prove and could be a nice late round WR addition. Despite Ledarius Green’s presence, Antonio Gates went out and killed it last year, and I’ll never again doubt the big mans ability or drive. Worth Drafting: Philip Rivers as always falls just shy of the NFL elite, but is a solid QB if you miss out on the top teir guys. Keenan Allen has the tools to be a WR1 and Michael Floyd will still stretch the field a bit (16.5 YPC last year). Stevie Johnson is a risk/reward player as his pedigree may trick owners into jumping early. Antonio Gates should be himself again this year, and I would caution against Ladarius Green fans against expecting any real fantasy value unless Gates gets hurt. Melvin Gordon could be this years highest scoring rookie… don’t be afraid to draft.
10. Chicago Bears
I know what you’re thinking, “the Bears in the top 10?” They may not be a top 10 NFL team, but we’re talking in terms of fantasy contributions. Jay Cutler may be inconsistent, as is evidenced by his second half slide, but he still has plenty of tools and a big arm. Alshon Jeffery will have an uptick in attempts as Cutler has shown a propensity to seak out his top target despite double teams. Matt Forte is a top 10 RB and top 3 in PPR formats, and Martellus Bennet moves into the top 3 conversation at TE thanks to Jimmy Grahams change of scenery. Worth Drafting: I was high on Jay Cutler last year, and this hasn’t changed. If you look at his first 5 or 6 weeks last year, he had some pretty good numbers that would have been even better if he didn’t turn the ball over. Kevin White is an unknown quantity but he should replace Marshall in the long run with the same kind of build. Jeffry should be a top 10WR and Bennett is a top 3 TE.
9. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan did the best he could with the rash of injuries that clipped the Falcons wings last year, but a healthy squad will make a world of difference. Ryan is a top 10 QB even without his top two targets healthy. Tevin Coleman could push Devonta Freeman but both are talented and whoever makes it out of camp as the #1 should see above average RB numbers. Roddy White is still an every week start even with the top 3 WR in Julio Jones across from him. They have question marks at TE as Toilolo Levine led their active TE’s with 62 points last year (in 1pt PPR). Worth Drafting: Matt Ryan had a few brutal weeks and still managed a top 10 finish, he’ll have a better grasp on this offense and health not withstanding should be a top 10 QB this year as well. Julio Jones has the talent to finish #1, and he’ll likely go in the first 15 picks. Roddy White gets over looked more every year but he’s still a top 20 WR. The real question is Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman? I think it’ll be a battle in camp, and both guys should have some fantasy relevance come week 1.
8. New York Giants
The world was against the Giants after a brutal season prior, but Eli Manning still finished top 10 at QB, and Odell Beckham emerged as a top WR threat. With the return of Victor Cruz this offense could have two scary weapons for Eli to use. Rashad Jennings may be a little older than the other top RB’s, but he still averaged 10-11 points per week (depending on your scoring system). Larry Donnell put together an admirable season and the Giants like to use TE’s in the passing game. Worth Drafting: Eli is a safe bet to out perform his numbers last year if he has a healthy WR corps. Beckham will likely be drafted incredibly early, but with Cruz back, he’ll be hard pressed to repeat his second half numbers. Rueben Randle is the real steal here, as his value takes a huge hit with two studs in front of him, but in a passing offense, he should out perform his ADP. Rashad Jennings was fine when he played, but grab Andre Williams late as a handcuff if you need to use Jennings as a RB 1 or 2.
7. Detroit Lions
I hate to say that Matthew Stafford is overrated, because I think he’s an entertaining gun slinger in the Brett Favre mold, but his terrible efficiency actually lowers his ceiling despite as often as he throws the football. That being said, he has two elite WR’s in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Either one can carry the torch if the other isn’t performing. At TE, they have two question marks: is Brandon Pettigrew capable of being used in the passing game and can Eric Ebron be healthy enough to contribute. I think Ebron is the TE the Lions would rather emerge. Joique Bell got a lot of touches last year, but averaged under 4 YPC. His value lies in the passing game, but the Lions served notice in drafting what they think is a 3 down back in Ameer Abdullah. A great talent, he should push Bell for touches early and often. Worth Drafting: Matt Stafford at the right price has enough volume to contribute but he’ll drive you crazy. Calvin Johnson slipping down the ranks only helps the owner who gets him, he’s still the best in the game in my opinion. Golden Tate is a solid second option, and a good one two punch in Bell and Abdullah in the backfield make this a formidable offense. Ebron is the TE to look at with a much higher ceiling.
6. Seattle Seahawks
The beautiful thing about this offense is that it’s predictable and consistent. Russell Wilson will beat you through the air or on the ground, and his ability to run at the right time means he’ll get you a ton of points that other QB’s won’t. Marshawn Lynch is a workhorse unlike any in the league. He’ll touch the ball with greater consistency and efficiency than anyone else. The homeruns aren’t always there, but 4-5YPC and double digit touchdowns make him my #1 back. Doug Baldwin has proven to be a solid #1 for a team that doesn’t throw it that much, his value will reflect that. Beyond him, Jimmy Graham should give Wilson a redzone threat, but no one else is more than a flier. Worth Drafting: This team features three top 5 position options. Russell Wilson ran for 850 yards last year… he’s in my top 3 for QBs. Marshawn Lynch may not have as many 30+ point weeks as a Le’Veon Bell, but his unparralleled consistency (12 weeks above RB average) make him my #1, and Jimmy Graham will likely be the #1 option inside the 20 plus just a tick behind Baldwin elsewhere. Draft all three confidently. Doug Baldwin is a safe WR if he’s available after the top options are off the board.
5. Dallas Cowboys
My value of the Dallas Cowboys is contingent on the offensive line. Darren McFadden’s ability hasn’t been his big question, it’s been his health. If he can stay on the field he’ll benifit greatly from the O-Line that helped DeMarco Murray lead the league in rushing last year. Dez Bryant and Tony Romo have a special connection, allowing both to creep towards the top 5 in their catagories. Cole Beasley should be a good value pick in PPR leagues, and Jason Witten is ageless and productive. Worth Drafting: At their relative ADP’s I’d say nearly all of the offensive weapons are worth a look. Bryant, Romo and McFadden all three will be drafted in the first 4 or 5 rounds. Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley all have a good chance to produce weekly for this team as well.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Who knew Le’Veon Bell would bounce back from a tough rookie year to lead the league in fantasy scoring? We knew he’d be good, but it gave the offense the freedom to throw different looks at the defense. They were rewarded with a career year by Roethlisburger and the emergency of Antonio Brown as a top WR office. Marcus Wheaton will put up solid WR fantasy stats as well, and Heath Miller, although no longer Elite, still has some gas in the tank. Worth Drafting: Ben Roethlisberger may not finish with the totals he had last year, but he’s a good bet to finish at or near a top 5 QB. Le’Veon Bell is going to miss a few games to start the year, but it’s clear he’s the focal point of that offense and he’s young enough to eat up 300+ touches and is a beast in PPR. Antonio Brown is the Marshawn Lynch of the receiving game. Quietly posting 300 or so points in PPR leagues and nearly 15-20 points every week. Bell and Brown are likely first or 2nd round picks. Don’t sleep on Miller either as there is really only 5 or 6 elite TE’s on the board, and after you’re looking at either consistency (miller) or home run weeks.
3. Denver Broncos
This wouldn’t change if Peyton Manning was 50 years old, and that’s because they finally found their RB to compliment their lethal passing game. Peyton is a general, and will use his elite weapons liberaly, and will make mediocre talents look even better. Julius Thomas is gone but anyone that can run routes will look solid in this offense. CJ Anderson as a 3 down back compliments Manning in ways Montee Ball never could, averaging 180+ points in PPR formats over the final 7 weeks (on par with Le’Veon Bell). Worth Drafting: Manning may be falling behind his contemporaries a bit but should still finish in the top 5. Demaryius Thomas looks to be a top 2 WR with Emmanuel Sanders not far behind. CJ Anderson is a bit of an unknown quantity but even if he’s only a quarter of the back he was over the last 7 weeks, he’ll be a top 10 back. Not sure about Virgil Green, but I think we said the same thing about Julius Thomas a few years ago, and Manning turned him into a top option.
2. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy… do I need to say more? A high powered offense with consistency and familiarity unlike any squad in the league, they could break records if the schedule shakes out for them. They play through the air, and on the ground, but they give everyone their due which is rare for a team with as many options. Worth Drafting: Aaron Rodgers may have been supplanted by Andrew Luck, but he hasn’t fallen far. All four of the players above will be gone in the first 3 or so rounds, which is scary for opposing defenses. Andrew Quarless is the other player to target, but they’ve never been a heavy TE use team.
1. Indianapolis Colts
AFC Championship withstanding, this is the most outstanding offense in football. A team that is often in shootouts, Indy has a quarterback to compete with them all. Adding Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, and Phillip Dorsett through the draft makes this offense even better than last year. Luck could (and I’d argue should) crest 5k yards and 50 TD’s, contributing to TY Hilton’s continued emergence as a 2nd round WR. Frank Gore has proven he can play forever, and in this Indy offense should contribute on the ground and in the air, and Andre Johnson may have lost a step but as a route runner, the dangerously accurate Luck should have no problem finding him in the soft spots of the defense. Worth Drafting: Andrew Luck will finish the year as the highest scoring player in football, draft him in the first round if you want him, he’s that good. TY Hilton and Andre Johnson should both have 70-80 Receptions with 1100 plus yards, although I expect Johnson to be the bigger red zone threat and higher ADP. Frank Gore may not be a top 5 or even top 10 RB, but expect some huge weeks from the old dog as he will be highighted in the passing game. Even Dwayne Allen, for all his deficiencies, should finish inside the top 10 of the TE ranks.
If you have a problem with any of these rankings, I say good, because debating and conversation is the best way to explain why we feel the way we feel. Tell me where I’m wrong, and who is your Fantasy Elite?