I know it’s a little late to be posting a mock draft. Believe me. I know you all drafted already — well, hopefully, you drafted already.
I wish I could have gotten this one edited sooner, but the rush of preseason football and real drafts took hold of me and delayed the posting. Next time, I’ll have to conduct the mock draft on a better system, NOT through tons and tons of ‘Reply All’ emails.
Regardless, I did put together a mock draft that, if nothing else, makes for a nice discussion piece here at the beginning of the season to compare to your real draft. The draft took place several weeks ago, and it really influenced my drafting over the weekend because many of the mock drafters were my league mates (with a couple of newbies sprinkled in there).
The explanations are the drafter’s own with a few editorial notes (Ed. Note!) from me.
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You can read all the expert mock drafts you want before drafting, but how do you know how your buddies are going to draft? What about the administrative assistant at your office who won’t do any research besides printing out a ranking 10 minutes before the draft?
To aid in your quest for glory even outside of the hardcore, diehard fantasy league, I put together a 12-man team to draft like a normal, un-addicted fantasy team owners. We made it four rounds in before we had to stop and prepare for our real drafts and real lives.
They’re not much to look at, but here’s how it went down.
For this mock league, all touchdowns are worth six points (passing, receiving or rushing). Players get one point for every 25 yards passing and one point for every 10 yards rushing. No points per reception.
In this mock league, we’ll say you must start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 team defense (DEF) with a total roster of 16 players. (Therefore, you have seven bench spots)
Fantasy Football Fools’
“Average Joe” Mock Draft
1.01 Houston Rockets Will Be 2009 Champions: LaDainian Tomlinson RB SD
It’s LaDainian’s world; we’re just living in it. (Ed. Note: This statement was too golden for me to ever consider taking it out. Golden. It shall live in infamy.)
In non-PPR leagues, the only other consideration for the No. 1 spot is Adrian Peterson. You take AP for the upside. If he goes for 2000 yards and 30 touchdowns, no one will be surprised. For me, questions surrounding his supporting cast and his ability to stay healthy bump him down a notch.
It comes down to how much you prefer taking risks, and while you can’t play it safe the entire draft, the first round is not where I’m taking chances.
With LT, you know what you’re getting: week-to-week excellence, durability (that MCL sprain seven months ago is nothing but a memory) and the ability to sleep easy at night knowing you have the player with the best chance to return top-10 overall production out of your first pick in the draft — if not more.
LT is my first pick because he has an excellent offensive line, a solid QB, receivers keeping opposing defenses honest, the guarantee of 25 touches per game that comes with being the focal point of the offense and a defense that will keep his team in the game (and running the ball).
1.02 Kansas City’s Finest: Adrian Peterson RB MIN
Remove brain. Insert hype. Draft pick = A.P.
(Ed. Note: Okay, okay. Just kidding. He didn’t really say that. After this pick, we lost this mock drafter to some boring, unnecessary travel plans or something, and I took over drafting this team as well as my own team, Favre’s Untruths)
1.03 A Chinese Okie: Brian Westbrook RB PHI
I would rather of had the No. 6 pick so I could have taken Brady, but Westbrook is too tempting to pass up. He can run, he can catch and he can score.
I predict he will go uninjured, play all 16 games, score 30 all-purpose TDs and tally up 2500 yards.
1.04 Captain Stabbins: Joseph Addai RB IND
Many may say this is a little early to pick up Addai, especially after the slump at the end of the 2007 season. This one is an easy pick for me.
Addai is a young running back with a low risk of injury, had 15 TDs in 2007, is part of a high-powered offense and has no hidden talent waiting on the bench to steal the show. Addai should pan out to be a stud in 2008.
1.05 Morgan Freeman: Steven Jackson RB STL
Fantasy Football Today told me to pick him. Plus, he went to Oregon State. (Ed. Note: I have no idea why he likes Oregon State. None.)
1.06 WAGhunters: Randy Moss WR NEP
I feel like there are a lot more quality RBs in this draft than there are quality WRs. The Patriots’ easy schedule raises Moss above Owens in my mind. I also have a lot more faith in Brady than in Tony Romo. After watching the champion of our league for the past two years dominate with good WRs and out-of-nowhere RBs, I’m convinced this strategy is the way to go.
1.07 King of Kings: Tom Brady QB NEP
With this pick, I not only get Tom Brady, the greatest player to ever grace the earth, but also a mastermind coach, the second greatest receiver in the league, enough motivation to last through the 2012 season AND this year’s eventual Super Bowl Champions. Excellent!
1.08 True Frattiness: Peyton Manning QB IND
My fav player (Ed. Note: Adrian Peterson is his favorite player. Silly Sooner.) is gone, and I really don’t like any of remaining running backs (Gore, Portis and the rest). I don’t want Gore because Mike Martz is their offensive coordinator, and for Portis, Washington O-line sucks.
I like Marion Barber, but I think he is going to share with Felix Jones. I also think I can get good receivers in later rounds, so I figure QB is the perfect way to go. Manning is the best QB available.
1.09 Waller Actuators: Reggie Wayne WR IND
Although convention dictates a RB as the first choice in a fantasy draft, the RBs left above Reggie Wayne disappointed me with either weak performance or injury trouble last year.
1.10 The Freshman 100: Marion Barber RB DAL
“Marion the Barbarian” was called the hardest running back in the NFL to bring down by the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. It will be interesting to see him as the primary back since he has split time since college.
The presence of Felix Jones behind him will keep him uncomfortable enough to keep him undomesticated. His better is better than your better. Enough said.
1.11 Favre’s Untruths: Clinton Portis RB WAS
Normally, I would agree with most of you that strong WRs and QBs are the way to win — in our typical 14-man, six-point passing TD league especially. At the same time, it’s hard to find a productive RB that takes the full load outside of the first two or three rounds. If you guys are going to pass them up, I’ll have to take them.
Portis is a fine “Port,” not nearly as aged as some of the other backs that top the rankings. Last year, he put up 11 TDs, and this year, new coach Jim Zorn won’t let him take himself out of games for a breather anymore and should make him a pillar of the new Washington offense.
Even though Clinton Portis screwed me once, I’ll take him. I figure he owes me, and besides, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…damn, you’re good.
1.12 QWERTY 3.0: Terrell Owens WR DAL
(Ed. Note: QWERTY is the winner of one of my leagues for the last two years straight. He’ll tell you…I’m sure.)
With the last pick of the first round, I’ll take the greatest player who has ever played the game, the man who puts the “I” in team, the touchdown king himself for two of the last three years, the magnificent T.O. With stats like his, how can you not pick him?
2.01 QWERTY 3.0: Steve Smith WR CAR
Stats are meaningless. With my second pick, I’ll take Steve Smith down there in Carolina. He might not have had a good year in 2007, but he was saving his skills for this year.
Prediction: 20+ touchdowns. Carolina is pissed about their performance last year; they will be the NFC Champions. (The 49ers will be the second best team in the NFC.)
I can taste that 3rd Championship already…
2.02 Favre’s Untruths: Marshawn Lynch RB BUF
Again, I’m tempted to take a WR here, but the RB talent is still of the stud variety. I’ll stock up while I can. It’s a tough call with Frank Gore and LJ still on the board, but I like Buffalo’s rushing schedule better.
As long as the defense has improved — and by improved, I mean finally gotten healthy — Buffalo should be able to control games by putting it in Lynch’s hands 300+ times this year. Besides, I just have to draft anyone who calls his game “Beast Mode.”
2.03 The Freshman 100: Drew Brees QB NO
The Saints are obviously not confident with his ability to hand the ball off as he had 652 pass attempts last year. This stat gives Brees, a very experienced and smart player, the opportunity to determine his own destiny.
After deep analysis of many different empirical models developed by NASA, I expect another strong hurricane (Ed. Note: Don’t think he predicted Gustav…or did he?) which leaves the Saints, Hornets and Weezy to rep New Orleans.
2.04 Waller Actuators: Frank Gore RB SF
I was kind of worried I wouldn’t get a decent running back after taking a wideout in the first round, but luckily for me, everyone else was thinking the same thing I was and left me with an opportunity to still pick up one of those “worrisome” RBs I had to pass on in Round 1. Let’s hope the 49ers DO have a good season, centered around my pick.
2.05 True Frattiness: Willis McGahee RB BAL
Willis McGahee rushed a lot last year, and it has been said that his carries will only increase this year. I need to get a good running back before they are all taken. McGahee is the guy.
2.06 King of Kings: Braylon Edwards WR CLE
Can the success Derek Anderson had last season carry over? I’m betting on it, especially since he has “The Golden Boy” [Insert Myoplex commercial here] nipping at his heels from the bench.
Whether Braylon is a true “soldier” like his teammate Kellen Winslow is debatable, but he is their go-to receiver. He should have a solid season.
I can hear the dog pound barking now!
2.07 WAGhunters: Tony Romo QB DAL
Personally, I hate everything about the Dallas Cowboys, but Tony Romo has big potential in Big D. Some sites even rank him above Peyton Manning. Hopefully, his poor play in the last three games of 2007 (1 TD and 5 INTs) will not carry over into this season.
He is a tier-one quarterback that I’m not going to have to worry about getting a backup for until his bye week comes up. I like that because it allows more bench spots for sleeper WRs and RBs. He also has one of the hottest WAGs in football right now.
2.08 Morgan Freeman: Carson Palmer QB CIN
Chad Johnson is in camp and making amends with CP, so no worries there. With T.J. ballin’ it up, Cincy has the best WR duo in the league. Palmer will average three TDs per game. Word.
2.09 Captain Stabbins: Marques Colston WR NO
This one was a tough pick because there are still some quality backs out there, and Larry Fitzgerald is out there, too. But Jeremy Shockey is a great addition to the Saints and will force the safeties to the middle to open up some big play potential for the seventh-round pick turned boss hog Marques Colston.
2.10 A Chinese Okie: Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
Easy pick — top-tier wide receiver at the end of the second round. He has a good supporting cast with a fantasy football starter at RB, a fantasy football starter to complement him at WR and a fantasy football back up for QB. (Ed. Note: At the time, the QB was looking like Leinart.) I’m predicting 1200 yards and 10 TDs.
2.11 Kansas City’s Finest: Larry Johnson RB KC
Look at the team name. I have to draft either LJ or Dwayne Bowe to make it legit. Other than that, LJ is a late first type of talent, and I can’t believe he is here at the end of the second round.
While he had a rough start last year and went down hurt, Johnson still has it in him to be a top RB. I’m not scared about any carries that Jamaal Charles might take from him — even if he does spell his name with three As. Booby can spin, but LJ is going to be pounding the rock.
2.12 Houston Rockets Will Be 2009 Champions: Willie Parker RB PIT
How one year makes a difference…
Fast Willie was a top-five pick last year, and a flukey broken leg and low touchdown total (only 2 TDs last year) aren’t enough to convince me he’s fallen this far. The Steelers drafting Fat Rashard Mendenhall, who probably listens to Coldplay, doesn’t scare me away either. You know the yards will be there, and I think the touchdowns will soon follow. I predict 1400 yards and 8TDs for Fast Willie.
3.01 Houston Rockets Will Be 2009 Champions: Andre Johnson WR HOU
While I was seriously contemplating taking another RB here because everybody is passing them up, I couldn’t resist taking a Texan and a probable top-five receiver. (Ed. Note: Homer pick.) He was on par with Moss last year for per-game averages, and while health might be a concern, I think his upside outweighs the risk. I’m expecting a big season from Andre 3000, possibly 1300 yards and 13TDs. (Ed. Note: He likes 13s obviously.)
3.02 Kansas City’s Finest: Maurice Jones-Drew RB JAX
While I believe that I got some extreme RB value in the first two rounds, both have question marks going into 2008.
Adrian Peterson hasn’t carried the full load for a full season yet and could go down with an injury again. Larry Johnson could suffer from the same horrible offensive line woes as last year. Most of the elite WRs have been taken off the board and left behind a fairly strong group of low-end elite RBs.
To fortify my RB core and make sure I have trade bait if I get in a tough spot for WRs later in the draft, I will take a sure thing with Jones-Drew. He may not be the starter, but he certainly scores consistent fantasy points. If this season is the nail in the coffin for Fred Taylor, MJD obviously inflates a huge ceiling. I doubt that’ll happen, but he’ll still be good for consistent scores and a big showing every week or two.
3.03 A Chinese Okie: T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR CIN
Taking Housh gives me a solid pair of top receivers.
3.04 Captain Stabbins: Jamal Lewis RB CLE
1) He was the third leading rusher in the AFC last year. 2) If Derek Anderson can be the QB he was last year, the Browns could have one of the best offenses of the AFC as long as pretty boy Quinn sticks with the Myoplex commercials. 3) Not only is Jamal just huge and ugly, but as he breaks tackles, he shanks defenders in the kidney. If they do tackle him, he eats their children as payback. Who wouldn’t want this guy on their team? 4) He is pretty much the last RB left that won’t be sharing a lot of carries if he stays healthy.
3.05 Morgan Freeman: Chad Johnson WR CIN
He’s a risky gamble, but I’ll take it. He’s got class and character, and that’s what I look for in a player.
3.06 WAGhunters: Ronnie Brown RB MIA
I understand that this is a risky pick since Brown is coming back from injury, but Brown racks up the fantasy points when healthy. Since the Dolphins have no good QBs — they had Quincy Carter come in for a workout — and Bill Parcels, they will be a run-oriented offense. I know Ricky is in Miami as well, but there is no doubt who the feature back is.
3.07 King of Kings: Michael Turner RB ATL
Michael Turner is fresh and ready to prove that he is worth the big contract that Atlanta paid him this offseason. Atlanta will be using a run-based offense to take pressure off No. 3 draft pick Matt Ryan. Atlanta will also be going up against some low-ranked rushing defenses, which should only pump up Turner’s stats even more.
3.08 True Frattiness: Plaxico Burress WR NYG
Just look at Giants’ roster…who is Eli going to throw to? Amani Toomer is getting old, and Shockey is gone. Tyree, who made an amazing catch, is a special teams player. I predict 1200 yards and 14 TDs. Plaxico is the best receiver available.
3.09 Waller Actuators: Earnest Graham RB TB
With RBs pretty picked over and the QBs that warrant pre-RB and/or WR picks gone, Graham seems like a solid pick to get at the end of the third round. There are no stud WRs left really, and he’s a solid RB2 option.
3.10 The Freshman 100: Brandon Jacobs RB NYG
Good in the red zone. Beastly athlete. What’s not to love? Also, Jacobs is up for a new contract. Dolla dolla bills, ya’ll!
3.11 Favre’s Untruths: Roy Williams WR DET
It seems like I missed the elite WR pack in the last couple of rounds, but I’ll see if I can make up for it. Williams is looking for a paycheck, so even though he hasn’t played all 16 games in three out of the last four seasons, I’ll take a chance that he does it this year to impresses Detroit and/or his next team.
Mike Martz is out of town, but Williams has always been consistent in scoring TDs. Maybe a slightly improved running game will help take some pressure off Kitna and give the former Longhorn more opportunities as well. At least we know that Detroit will probably be playing from behind a lot. They will be forced to pass.
3.12 QWERTY 3.0: Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT
I can’t stand the guy; however, he will be a top-five QB this year. The Steelers, despite their reputation as running team, pass a lot and especially in the red zone. Willie Parker has probably forgotten what the end zone looks like. Big Ben just needs to stay away from motorcycles.
4.01 QWERTY 3.0: Antonio Gates TE SD
The MAN. A QWERTY veteran. This guy is like having a top-tier receiver on your team. The quality of TEs drops off pretty quickly after the top three or four, and if I may, Gates is the only consistently good TE around year after year.
By picking him, you can significantly boost your team’s scoring potential while simultaneously hurting your opponents by leaving them with greatly inferior TE choices. It’s a win-win situation.
4.02 Favre’s Untruths: Wes Welker WR NEP
I am in need of a WR, and lucky for me, Wes Welker has fallen into my lap. While he doesn’t always rack up touchdowns, Welker is good for consistent yardage. He’ll have his big games from time to time.
Then, there’s always the theory that the Giant’s Super Bowl defensive strategy will be used against the Patriots all season, shutting down Moss and leaving Wes Welker to run wild underneath. I like that idea.
4.03 The Freshman 100: Hines Ward WR PIT
I don’t care what they say about Santonio Holmes; Hines Ward is undeniable. Ward is off the injury report with Ben avoiding motorcycles and defenses concentrating on Holmes. That’s just what Hines Ward needed. Wooo half-Asian people! (Ed. Note: We got a half-Asian drafter here.)
4.04 Waller Actuators: Derek Anderson QB CLE
This was a tough choice. I needed a QB and a TE, and QBs draw more water on any given day. Taking Favre was tempting though, just to be THAT guy.
4.05 True Frattiness: Jason Witten TE DAL
4.06 King of Kings: Darren McFadden RB OAK
I don’t care if this is a huge stretch. Darren McFadden, a.k.a. Adrian Peterson 2.0, is going to run hog-wild for the Oakland Raiders this year. The offense will be based around McFadden and Fargas as it tries to set up for the former holdout JaMarcus Russell. Darren will also throw a few touchdowns this season just because he can.
If Adrian Peterson is Purple Jesus, I’m officially campaigning for McFadden to be Black Jesus. I think it has a nice ring to it. Don’t forget: you heard it hear first.
4.07 WAGhunters: Kellen Winslow, Jr. TE CLE
Why? Cause he’s a soldier. Just ask him. Last year, he had over 1100 yards and 5 TDs. Those are very solid WR numbers at the TE spot. There are only a small handful of TEs who put up this kind of numbers.
I wouldn’t take Jason Witten here (even if he were available) because A) He is not a soldier and B) I already have Tony Romo in this draft, and I don’t want put all my hopes with the Dallas Cowboys.
4.08 Morgan Freeman: Ryan Grant RB GB
4.09 Captain Stabbins: Santonio Holmes WR PIT
If Big Ben can avoid getting sacked over and over again this year, Santonio will be putting up some points. Hines Ward has past the peak of his career and will most likely not start all the games this season.
4.10 A Chinese Okie: LenDale White RB Ten
He’s quiet but he gets a ton of carries. Good value for the end of Round 4.
4.11 Kansas City’s Finest: Torry Holt WR STL
Holt is getting older, but he’s still a top man in St. Louis. As long as they improve just a bit, he should be in line for another good season. Taking him here gives me a pretty sick 3 RB core and 1 top WR at the end of our fourth round.
4.12 Houston Rockets Will Be 2009 Champions: Edgerrin James RB ARI
While I like Willie Parker, I really want to grab another RB in case he doesn’t pan out. I was contemplating taking Edge with my 3.01 pick but figured at least one of the RBs I liked would slip. I’m stoked that one fell this far.
Edge will be a solid RB2 this year with Fitz, Boldin, tight end sleeper Leonard Pope and Leinart/Warner deflecting attention from the running game out in the desert. I personally think Arizona will be a high scoring team that should battle for a playoff spot in the wide-open NFC West.