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.
As futile as the exercise may seem this early, identifying sleeper candidates is one of the most important pieces of research you can embark upon. Below we’ll identify three leading candidates for you to keep an eye on before the preaseaon starts.
Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings | ADP 106 – WR41 | Despite the efforts of the Vikings to bulk up the backfield after AP left for New Orleans, Sam Bradford was still bought and paid for in order to create some kind of passing game. Diggs is the obvious #1 but Thielen posted borderline WR2 numbers last year despite the turmoil on the field. Expect similar, if not better, for the third year receiver. Prediction: 1000 Receiving Yards, 4 TDs
Travis Benjamin – Los Angeles Chargers |ADP 170+ – WR96 | While Benjamin is likely only being drafted in the deepest formats, his WR96 ranking is criminal considering how likely it is that Keenan Allen misses time. Benjamin is progressing ahead of schedule on his own recovery and by all accounts Mike Williams is well behind the rest of the offense and may take time to mature in the NFL. Prediction: 800 Receiving Yards, 3 TDs
Cole Beasley – Dallas Cowboys | ADP 131 – WR57 | I’ve been on the Cole Beasley train as early as 2014, arguing his value and suggesting he was a better option than Terrence Williams. Still, even after his success, Beasely is being drafted as late as the 14th round as a 5th or 6th WR. In PPR formats he’s rises as his 75-80 receptions is in the top 25 of all WRs, but he’s incredibly underrated so late in drafts. Prediction: 80 Receptions, 925 Receiving Yards, 5 TDs
Honorable Mentions: Robert Woods, LAR (ADP 155), Josh Doctson, Was (ADP 140), Kamar Aiken, Ind (ADP 260)