As with everyone of our Either Or series articles, we’ll be drafting in a 12 team format. If you’re not drafting in 12 teams, this article can still be useful in terms of coaching you on your decision making. Knowing what you’re looking for can be a boon when you’re on the clock in the middle rounds and the guys you hoped would be there have been drafted. Up until now, we’d done mostly middle to late picks, but we’ll review what we’d do from the 1st overall pick, but in the 7th round of your draft.
As always, our picks until this point are as follows:
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Stefon Diggs
- Joe Mixon
- Alex Collins
- Golden Tate
- Pierre Garcon
At this point in the draft, with three running backs and three wide receivers, I have the kind of flexibility to draft either need (QB or TE) or value (WR or RB). A quick review of my roster shows that my team is weakest at the WR position, with Diggs being a high end WR2 and the Tate and Garcon pair both being volume dependent WR2s themselves, further presenting a conundrum for the 2nd pick at the turn.
In this mock, the following ten players are the highest ranked on the Dr’s draft board for the 7th round:
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR – DEN
- Jamison Crowder, WR – WAS
- Kyle Rudolph, TE – MIN
- Robert Woods, WR – LAR
- Randall Cobb, WR – GB
- Cooper Kupp, WR – LAR
- Kirk Cousins, QB – MIN
- Ronald Jones, RB – TB
- Duke Johnson, RB – CLE
- Marquise Goodwin, WR – SF
It’s not hard to see that the value in this round clearly lays with the wide receiver position. With only one TE in Kyle Rudolph, one QB in Kirk Cousins, and one RB in Ronald Jones, there’s very little going on that excites me as I build my roster.
The Case For QB
I’m going to eliminate Kyle Rudolph right out of the gates, as I think I can get some good value in the next few rounds out of guys like Jack Doyle and George Kittle. Instead, I’ll toy with the idea of adding Cousins to establish my QB groups as “above average”. I don’t consider Cousins as an elite option, but pairing him with Diggs is also attractive in my opinion. Some will tell you that it makes your team more inconsistent, although the effects are negligible, but I’ll make the argument that a high end pairing like this makes you more productive week to week.
If I skip Cousins, I’m looking at Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck, and Ben Roethlisberger as my starter; none of whom are particularly exciting at their current draft round. What Cousins provides is steady back end QB1 performances with a chance to surpass that with the weapons he has now. It’s a difficult decision, but one that’s made easier with Diggs on the roster.
The Case For RB
But with the depth so shallow at the running back position, it’d be almost silly to pass up one of the highly touted rookie backs that has seemingly fallen to me in the 7th. While Jones hasn’t impressed all that much in camp so far, he’s a more talented back by far than Peyton Barber, and should assume a lot of the starting role by the end of the regular season. With three capable backs on the roster already, adding a guy who needs some seasoning wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Beyond him are backs that I don’t find myself clamoring to own, with the third-down-triumvirate of Duke Johnson, Tarik Cohen, and Chris Thompson looming as roster albatrosses. Adding ROJO as my fourth back begins to look far more appealing when you consider the alternatives.
The Case for WR
Still, the best value in the round is in the WR position. With so many target hogs available, it seems almost like a no brainer to add one as a depth piece and swing at high upside high risk guys at the other positions later. The argument that having an advantage at one position over your competition is a widely maintained one, and it’s one that we preach here at the Office.
Inside the position, there’s several questions as well. The noise in San Francisco has been that Marquise Goodwin has supplanted Garcon as the top dog in that offense. It’s a bit of a handcuff to select him in hopes that one or the other breaks out as a WR1. Meanwhile, Kupp, Crowder, and Woods all factor in as high volume guys with 90 reception ceilings within reach. None of them should be high yardage guys, and aside from a handful of TDs should largely remain relevant thanks to volume. In a PPR format, a bench guy with 140 targets is a huge value.
It’s a difficult one for sure, but with the depth at the QB and TE positions, and the relative lack of depth at the wide receiver position, I’d go with Cooper Kupp at this point. With the noise in LA being that Kupp and Goff have formed a special kind of chemistry, it seems that his team-lead in target share last year was not a fluke. I’m not keen on owning both SF receivers, and Cobb is an injury risk despite his ceiling with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. The most difficult decision was between Kupp and Crowder, as he also looks like his QB’s favorite target. Both should be high volume guys, but Kupp has proven he can do it while Crowder has only shown flashes.
Skipping ROJO means that I’ll have to be smart in adding my 4th and 5th options at RB, but with Kerryon Johnson trending up and Zeke anchoring the position, I’m in a far better spot with the WR pick than going with a RB.
- Rob Gronkowski, NE
- Travis Kelce, KC
- Zach Ertz, PHI
- Jimmy Graham, GB
- Graham has had several peaks and valleys since his time in New Orleans, but he finds himself in an ideal situation in Green Bay. As the teams best red zone target, double digit TD’s is a reasonable quest.
- Greg Olsen, CAR
- Kyle Rudolph, MIN
- Delanie Walker, TEN
- Jordan Reed, WAS
- Trey Burton, CHI
- A contract with $22 million guaranteed is proof the Bears plan to use Burton heavily in the passing game. Beyond Allen Robinson, Burton could slide in as the #2 target for the young Mitch Trubisky.
- Evan Engram, NYG
- George Kittle, SF
- O.J. Howard, TB
- Howard only managed 26 catches last year, but his athleticism was on display through his 16.6 yards per reception and 6 TDs (that’s a score almost every 4!). He’s a big breakout candidate in his 2nd year.
- Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, JAC
- Charles Clay, BUF
- David Njoku, CLE
- Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI
- Austin Hooper, ATL
- Jack Doyle, IND
- Eric Ebron, IND
- By all accounts, Ebron looks like he’s adapting to the Colts offense well. While his talent never matched his on the field accomplishments, sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes for a player to pop.
- Virgil Green, LAC
- Jared Cook, OAK
- Tyler Eifert, CIN
- Hayden Hurst, BAL
- Ed Dickson, SEA
- No longer playing second fiddle to Olsen in Carolina, Dickson has a great opportunity to produce in Seattle. On a roster that’s top heavy in the passing game, Dickson is sure to be involved heavily in the red zone.
- Cameron Brate, TB
- Rico Gathers, DAL
- Vance McDonald, PIT
- Stephen Anderson, HOU
- Anderson flashed at times, but still needs to prove he can be consistent enough to be worth rostering. The retirement of C.J. Feidorowicz means we’ll know sooner than later for the Houston TE.
- Jesse James, PIT
- Luke Willson, DET
- One of my favorite positional sleepers, Willson has all the athletic intangibles to be a contributing member of the passing game. Despite that, overcoming the organizational depth means fighting for touches with several good passing options.
- Mike Desicki, MIA
- Ben Watson, NO
- Gerald Everett, LAR
- Jake Butt, DEN
- Adam Shaheen, CHI
The frustration is real as fantasy owner when a player you invest heavily in doesn’t return that investment. We see it every year, and subsiquently that players value drops, leaving him falling on draft day. Are you an owner who likes to grab a previously touted player in hopes that he’ll bounce back and pay off in spades in the later rounds? If you are, and I’d gamble most of us are, then keep reading for a list of bounce back candidates.
QB – Robert Griffin III : Injuries that derailed his electric rookie seaon can be pointed to as the cause for the mental issues that have since plauged the outlandishly athletic Griffin in seasons since. It’s gotten so bad that at the conclusion of this last season, Jay Gruden alluded to the fact that he no longer believed in his QB and speculation that he’d be dealt or demoted ran rampant. Fast forward to the post-draft news and we see that RG3 is back again in the drivers seat for the QB job in Washington, and I’m confident that a new Griffin will be taking the field this year. Time to adjust to the game and to his injury history should allow Griffin to return to a semblance of the player we saw his rookie year: a rocket arm, good decision making, and the ability to make something out of nothing. Although he won’t finish as a top 10 QB, I expect him to bounce back as a solid QB2 worth a late round pick if you’re in need.
QB – Sam Bradford : Another highly touted prospect coming out of college, Bradford has shown glimses in his brief career, but a hefty injury history has left him on the scrap heap come draft day as owners have grown weary of the letdown. Shifting from St. Louis to Philadelphia should work wonders for Bradford on the field. He finally has weapons around him and a running game to keep defenses honest. He may be an in vogue pick come draft day, but if he starts the year healthy (and this is always an if with Bradford) I expect a much better year than he’s given in the past.
RB – Doug Martin : A lot of owners watched their ships go down in flames when they invested a top 5 pick in Martin a few years ago. Last year, Tampa Bay was the worst team in the league, securing the #1 overall pick and finally shoring up a QB position that features Mike Glennon as the top guy. I’d argue it’s tough to find running room when your team can’t complete more than 10 passes in a game. Still the top option in Tampa Bay, Martin should find more success after finding himself under 100 fantasy points last year. He could likely be had as a 4th RB, and should far outperform this ranking.
RB – LeSean McCoy : McCoy had 175-180 points in PPR formats last year, but was disappointing in terms of consistency. He touched the ball more than 300 times but struggled to return the top 3 pick spent on him. He’ll likely still be drafted early but has the pedigree and the situation to replicate the 1500-2000 total yard years that we’d become accostumed to out of McCoy.
WR – Larry Fitzgerald : For some, this was just the writing on the wall as Fitzgerald found himself scoring at or under 10 points per week for the first time in his career. The problem was that after Carson Palmer went down, John Skelton and company couldn’t keep the offense clicking, and Fitzgerald suffered. A Healthy Palmer creates more opportunities for Fitzy and inside the 20’s he’s the go to guy, and I expect him to crack to finish inside the top 25 WR’s this year.
WR – Dwayne Bowe : A supremely talented wideout, Bowe has never had a great QB throwing him the football, and that won’t change this coming year. But being a number 1 on an offense that managed to coax good to great seasons out of Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and Andrew Hawkins will help Bowe regain some of that swagger he had before Alex Smith got to KC. He won’t challenge for the top spot, but Bowe is an afterthought in leagues but should provide some scoring punch from the bench, for byes and in case of injuries.
TE – Vernon Davis : A freak of nature, Davis has the skills at the TE position to dominate his competition. This wasn’t the case this year as Kaepernick struggled to find consistency. If offseason reports of improved pocket pressence and throwing motion are true, Kaep could bounce back and this would impact Davis the most. Expect the consistency to continue to frustrate, but he’ll jump back in to the top 15 TE’s.
TE – Kyle Rudolph : He may have all the tools to be the best TE in football, but he’s rarely put it all together. Another year of Teddy Bridgewater and the return of AP makes this Minnesotta offense formidible for the first time in a long time. Without a proven #1 wide receiver, a healthy Rudolph could be asked to do more than he has. I think this is the year we finally see Rudolph ascend to an elite TE.