NFL Fantasy Mock Draft Analysis #2

Kranne here with my picks and analysis from the number one spot in our fantasy mock draft. The snake draft aspect definitely has its ups and downs but who can complain when you receive the best player in the field. Without further ado here are my picks from the ESPN inspired fantasy mock draft!

Round 1.1: David Johnson. While I do believe Le’Veon Bell has the highest ceiling out of any fantasy player in 2017, he is not a risk I am willing to take with the #1 overall pick. With no history of off-field discipline issues or major injuries, David Johnson is the safest bet at this spot. Johnson earned fantasy owners double digits in 15 out of 16 games last year, with the lone game coming in week 17 when he left the game early with a knee injury. After leading the league with an average of a little over 23 touches per game last season, both Johnson and head coach Bruce Arians have stated that they want that number to be closer to 30 in 2017. A threat in both the running and passing game with the 7th easiest schedule for RBs, Johnson can easily be expected to hover around 20 fantasy points each and every week.

Round 2.24: Doug Baldwin. After injuring his knee last season, Russell Wilson proved he could stand in the pocket and get balls to his receivers. The best of those receivers is Doug Baldwin, who averaged over 70 yards per game and a little under 6 targets in 2016. While the addition of running back Eddie Lacy may hint towards a bigger focus on the run game, Baldwin should still see a sufficient amount of targets from a healthy Russell Wilson. His targets have increased steadily for the past 4 seasons, and there is no reason for that pattern to end, especially with the easiest strength of schedule for WRs.

Round 3.25: Lamar Miller. After a disappointing 2016 season, Lamar Miller will hope to capitalize on his heavy workload this year. Miller saw no shortage of touches last season, but finished with only 5 touchdowns in his 14 games. Rookie RB D’Onta Foreman looked to be a prime candidate to take some of Miller’s touches, but some trouble with the law will most likely cause some delay in his impact on the field. Miller was also the best RB available at this point in the draft, and with my next pick not coming until 48, I needed to grab a starting RB.

Round 4.48: Stefon Diggs.  If Stefon Diggs can stay healthy for the majority of 2017, he can easily perform well above the average value of this pick. Diggs’ name popped up on the injury report 10 times last season, and he saw limited targets and production when he played through injuries. However, Diggs’ showed his potential when he was healthy last season. In the first 2 games of the season, before his injuries began, Diggs caught 20 balls for 285 yards. With the 2nd easiest schedule for WRs, I believe that Diggs can be a very reliable target for Sam Bradford and the Vikings in 2017.

Round 5.49: Bilal Powell. Crowded backfields normally scare me off, but RBs are thin this year and this was my last chance to get someone who could consistently start for me. While Matt Forte was the starter for the majority of last season, Bilal Powell showed he could take on a heavy workload during Forte’s injury, rushing for an average of just under 80 yards per game in the last 4 weeks of the season. Most believe Powell will be the starter heading into training camp, but he will have to play consistently well to keep Forte off the field. The Jets QB situation is one of the worst in the league, so whoever has the starting RB job will be a valuable fantasy asset.

Round 6.72: Tyler Eifert. When healthy, Tyler Eifert is a dangerous target in the redzone for the Bengals. After averaging a touchdown per game in 2015, Eifert only played 6 full games last season, but still managed to catch 5 touchdowns with an average of about 50 yards per game. No player in the league has a higher touchdown rate over the past 2 seasons, so he’s worth the risk in a TE position that seems to have surprises every year.

Round 7.73: Donte Moncrief. With Andrew Luck finally healthy, Donte Moncrief looks to establish himself as an end zone threat for the Colts. Some shoulder and hamstring injuries set him back last season, but he still managed to catch 7 touchdowns in the 9 games he did participate in. In the pass happy offense that is Andrew Luck and the Colts, I like Moncrief as the number 2 option behind T.Y. Hilton. He’s a consistent end zone target for a healthy Andrew Luck, and has some potential to see some increased targets with new WR coach Sanjay Lal, who has been speaking highly of Moncrief.

Round 8.96: Adrian Peterson. A 32 year old RB that is a new addition to a team known to use running back by committee, with a veteran QB that throws the ball 50 times per game. This sounds like a waste of a pick, but I’m genuinely interested to see how Adrian Peterson is going to impact the Saints offense. It’s hard for me to forget the type of player Peterson used to be. The backbone of that Vikings offense, a lock for the number 1 pick in fantasy every year, and the holder of the record for most rushing yards in a single game. Peterson is a physical specimen, and I don’t truly believe that he’s done being a productive RB in the NFL at 32 years old. Defenses playing Minnesota could game plan for Peterson and would almost always stack the box, which will never be the case in NOLA. Peterson will most likely sit on the bench or in the flex position for the first part of the season until we have a better idea of what kind of role he’ll have in the Saint’s offense.

Round 9.97: Derek Carr. I could have taken Dak Prescott here, but I was surprised Derek Carr was still on the board. While the broken leg is cause for concern, Carr is a QB that is leaned on by his team. The Raiders without Carr are not a playoff team, hence why they seriously struggled when he went down at the end of last season. Marshawn Lynch could come in a steal some touchdowns from Carr, but I don’t believe Lynch will completely prevent Carr from throwing in the redzone. I don’t think the Raiders will run the ball any more than they did last year, which means Carr should be throwing the ball a little under 40 times per game. However, if Carr’s leg is not fully healed by the start of the season, another QB may be a better option.

Round 10.120: Marvin Jones. Trailing only Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, Marvin Jones was one of the league’s hottest receivers at the beginning of last season. In the first 4 games of the season, Jones was averaging 120.5 yards per game. His production was mediocre in the middle part of the season, but faded to only a few targets per game by the end. However, with Anquan Boldin gone, Jones is a number 1 receiver who should see more production than last year.

Round 11.121: Sterling Shepard. The rookie receiver saw pretty consistent targets from Eli Manning throughout last season. He saw about 6.5 passes per game, and averaged a touchdown every other game. Sterling Shepard will most likely be a slot receiver this season with the addition of Brandon Marshall, but there is a lot of upside and potential with him. If any injuries occur in the Giants receiving corps, I expect Shepard to see some more targets.

Round 12.144: Marcus Mariota. For an 8 week stretch last season, Marcus Mariota was the best fantasy QB in the league. Recovering from a broken leg, he will most certainly not have the mobility he had last year, but I still expect him to throw the ball 30 times per game. The addition of Eric Decker gives Mariota another option in the passing game, while he still has the targets he’s used to in Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews. Mariota’s ADP is 75, so I think I got some good value out of this pick. I’d switch him in and out with Carr week to week based on matchups.

Round 13.145: Adam Vinatieri. My next pick wasn’t until 168, and the top kickers had already started flying off the board. The Colts offense is looking good this year with a healthy Andrew Luck, so I expect a lot of FG and extra point opportunities for Vinatieri. He hit 27 out of 31 attempts last year, with 17 of those 27 coming from 40+ yards. He’s pretty much automatic from short range, and will hit 50+ yarders more times than not.

Round 14.168: Jerick McKinnon. At this point in the draft, I was hoping to get a running back that could surprise some people. Jerick McKinnon is the only RB in the Vikings backfield with experience on the team, which could provide him a bit of an advantage over the others. Both Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook hope to win the starting RB position, but at pick #168, I think it’s worth hoping that McKinnon wins the job.

Round 15.169: J.J. Nelson. Following a strong finish to his 2016 season, J.J. Nelson looks to be a number 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. It’s possible that John Brown can take his number 2 spot, but that’s assuming he can come back 100% healthy. At only 25 years old and in his 3rd year, Nelson has a lot to learn and could very well have a breakout season in 2017. With my second last pick in the draft, I don’t mind taking the risk on a guy that could be a reliable flex sometime in the middle of the season.

Round 16.192: Falcons D/ST. I was hoping there wouldn’t be as many D/ST available that ranked ahead of the Falcons, but I knew I was taking the Falcons from the start. Being a diehard Falcons fan, it’s weird to think about even considering using the Falcons defense in fantasy, but I think they’ll get exponentially better throughout the season. One of the youngest and fastest defenses in the NFL, they held the Patriots to 3 points for almost 3 quarters of the super bowl (sigh). With young talent like Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, the addition of Dontari Poe, the reigning NFL sack leader Vic Beasley, and the return of shutdown corner Desmond Trufant, the Falcons defense should create lots of turnovers and scoring opportunities on defense in 2017.