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You know fantasy football season is right around the corner when the NFL Draft passes us by, but it really hits you when you start doing mock drafts.

For many, doing mocks in May is a tad bit early, but I am one of the millions of fantasy owners who have embarked on this journey – whether I like it or not!

Fantasy football is becoming increasingly more popular – not to say it wasn’t a juggernaut already – but there are people playing it all around the globe and from all walks of life.  While people used to draft a team or two a week or so before Opening Kickoff, you now have guys (and girls) with multiple teams (we’re talking dozens here), and they’re drafting all year round.  Dynasty league gurus have affectionately coined the term: “In dynasty leagues, there is no offseason”.  Such is the ADD/OCD culture we live in today.

I wasn’t planning on doing a mock so early, but I was invited by the esteemed website, Lindy’s Sports, to participate in a mock draft that would later be featured in their magazine’s 2014 Fantasy Football Preview Edition.  When glancing at some of the names on draft order list, I was sure that this would be a challenge.  Amongst my mock-mates were writers from some of the biggest fantasy football sites and publications out there.  This was gonna be interesting.

The following is a recap of what went down for me on that warm, Southern California night.  The settings for the mock are as follows: 14 teams, 14 roster spots (3 WR/2 RB/FLEX format), non-PPR, standard scoring settings.  I had the 14th pick.

1st Round: DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys:

I don’t love Murray (partly cuz I’m a Giants fan and hate the Cowboys), but at this point, being that it was a non-PPR, most of the top backs were taken.  My strategy was to go WR/WR coming in, but once it came around to me, I decided to nab a RB.  With there being so much depth at WR, and knowing I would have the very next pick, I could afford to take him here.  I’m a little worried about the Cowboys offensive line woes, but if healthy, Murray is a beast.

2nd Round: Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys:

Dez is truly a massive talent and has a unique rapport with QB Tony Romo.  Despite Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green’s talents, I could argue that Dez is the top receiver in the league.  Romo will go to him and go to him often.  Expect the Cowboys’ 32nd-ranked defense (415.3 yds/gm) to give up a ton of points – and quick points at that – allowing Romo and Dez plenty of time to play catch-up ball, which is always good for padding the fantasy stats.

3rd Round: Andre Johnson, WR, Texans:

There are lots of questions surrounding Johnson’s situation in Houston.  He has voiced his displeasure with the franchise and it’s no secret he wants out.  Whether he is traded or not remains to be seen, but once the season starts, he’ll be productive wherever he plays.  Owners may be sour on him, but he had one of his best seasons in 2013, amassing 1,407 yards and 5 TD to go along with 109 catches and a career-high 181 targets.  Those numbers were mainly put up with Case Keenum at the helm, so his production doesn’t seem like it will be affected by whomever the Texans decide to play at QB.  Johnson is a steal in the third round.

4th Round: Victor Cruz, WR, Giants:

Cruz, like the rest of the Giants, had a poor 2013 season.  His lack of production had a lot to do with Eli Manning being un-Eli Manning-like and the offensive line not pulling its weight.  With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo in charge now, the Giants’ should get back on track.  Former OC Kevin Gilbride’s style and play calling stagnated and stopped many drives in their tracks.  Cruz should have a bounce-back season and get back to putting up the numbers that earned him a Pro Bowl spot two years ago.  I’m extremely happy with him as my WR3.

5th Round: Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots:

Not my favorite pick of the draft.  I had my eye on new Dolphins’ RB Knowshon Moreno, but he was nabbed two spots before me.  Zoinks!  Ridley fell out of favor with Bill Belichick last season because he simply couldn’t hold on to the ball.  He also lacks any sort of receiving game (19 career receptions), but since this is a non-PPR league, that is inconsequential.  The Pats drafted Wisconsin’s James White, and while he has the makings of a feature back, Belichick is not one to put too much stock into rookies.  Shane Vereen is more of a pass-catching back and Brandon Bolden has been inconsistent at best.  Despite receiving just 27.8% of the snaps in the Patriots’ backfield last year, Ridley still went on to rumble for 773 yards and 7 TD.  Ridley could be in for another time share, but if he can get me 800-900 yards and 8 TD, I’ll be thoroughly pleased.

6th Round: Fred Jackson, RB, Bills:

F-Jax is a safe pick here.  He’s not gonna blow anyone away with his stats, and at his age he’s no guarantee to stay healthy, but when he’s on the field he’s proven he can make things happen.  A timeshare exists with C.J. Spiller, but Spiller was highly ineffective for much of last season, opening the door for Jackson to receive more playing time.  He has great pass-catching ability, and while this isn’t a PPR league, he’ll still likely contribute 300+ yards via the air, meaning he could total 1,000+ yards combined.  As the Bills’ goal line back, he has a chance to vulture anywhere from 6-10 TD.  He’ll be a great bye-week/matchup play for me.

7th Round: Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints:

This is probably by favorite pick of the draft.  Injury-prone vets like Darren McFadden and DeAngelo Williams as well as rookies like Devonta Freeman and Terrance West were still on the board, but I felt Robinson had the biggest upside here.  He led the Saints in carries in two of their last three games, and with Darren Sproles gone he’ll only have the underwhelming Mark Ingram and the aging Pierre Thomas to compete with for snaps.  He has a good shot to be a solid RB2/3 with RB1/2 upside.

8th Round: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons:

I don’t like taking QBs this early.  I should’ve waited for a guy like Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger, but I panicked a little.  Ryan had a down year in 2013, which was easily the worst of his career, however, he’ll get a huge weapon back in WR Julio Jones (foot surgery), and with the Falcons’ run game in question,  “Matty Ice” should be heaving the ball up to his receivers constantly on Sundays.

9th Round: Eric Ebron, TE, Lions:

A bit of a reach here.  I don’t dislike Ebron, in fact I think he’ll be a deadly WR/hybrid-type, but first-year tight ends don’t traditionally have great rookie campaigns.  If there’s an offense to succeed in, though, it’s with gunslinger Matthew Stafford and Co.

10th Round: Justin Hunter, WR, Titans:

Great value here on a guy I think is poised to break out.  Having averaged 36.25 yards per touchdown reception last year, Hunter impressed everyone with his tremendous leaping skills and big-play ability.  Kendall Wright is still the possession guy in Tennessee, but Hunter should be able to leapfrog 30-year-old Nate Washington on the depth chart at some point this season.  I was ecstatic to have him fall to me here.

11th Round: Vick Ballard, RB, Colts:

It’s no secret the running attack (for lack of a better word) in Indy is terrible.  Do I think Trent Richardson will be quite as bad as he was last year?  Probably not.  But there will be a lot of fans clamoring for change if he can’t get the job done in the early going.  Ballard is no superstar, and he may not even be that great of a running back, but he proved to be serviceable during his rookie season in which he ran for 814 yards on 211 carries.  Of course, Ballard, like fellow Colts’ RB Ahmad Bradshaw, is coming off surgery (ACL), so there’s no telling if he’ll be healthy enough to compete for the starting job.  At this point in the draft there were very few RBs remaining, so I chose a guy I feel has a chance to be the starter for the Colts if things were to go sour with T-Rich.

12th Round: Stevie Johnson, WR, 49ers:

I’m not really sure how he dropped this far.  The Niners do have depth at WR this year (not to mention Vernon Davis at TE), so Johnson isn’t going to be more than a 4th option by the Bay, but he has good hands, and that could lead to 5+ TD and 700+ yards.  If either Anquan Boldin or Michael Crabtree were to get hurt, Johnson’s fantasy value would get a significant boost.  Easily one of the strongest WR5s on anyone’s roster in this draft.

13th Round: Baltimore D/ST:

Not much to read into with this pick – it’s a defense.  The big name Ds (Seattle, SF, Denver, StL, Cincy) were already taken, so I went with a proven commodity.  The Ravens get to play the Browns twice and the AFC North matches up with the AFC South on the schedule this year, meaning they’ll face the Jaguars, Titans and Texans, too.  There’s upside here.

14th Round: Steven Hauschka, K, Seahawks:

Hauschka finished fourth among all kickers in fantasy points last year.  That’s good enough for me.

Evaluation:

I was pretty happy with my first four rounds.  I think I took the best RB I could with the 14th pick and then got the receivers I wanted with my next three.  Having Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson and Victor Cruz in my lineup every week gives me a great shot to remain competitive at all times.  I can’t really envision a single week where at least one of those three guys won’t record a 100-yard or multiple TD performance.  Running back depth is not my strong suit.  Boy, did that RB field thin out quickly!  I wouldn’t expect to encounter quite the same issues in PPR leagues.  Even so, I’m happy with Khiry Robinson as a high-upside guy.  My QB, TE, D/ST and backup WRs are above-average to adequate.

Overall, I’d give myself a B- on my draft.  It wasn’t the best draft, but my team should be able to win on a regular basis and is good enough to avoid getting blown out.  This is why we mock.

Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage

  1. Fantasy with Dase or Days

    Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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    Hey, man! Hope your morning is getting off to a good start! I am one of those fantasy drafters that is looking to draft as much as possible after the NFL draft. So far I am close to wrapping up 9 MFLZeros/MFL10s.

    I remember chatting it up a bit with you about this draft. You were tweeting out the picks. That’s one of the many awesome things about twitter and the fantasy football community.

    You said that DeAngelo Williams is injury prone? Well, over the last three years, he has only missed one game. On top of that, he finished as the 21st RB in standard (Non-PPR) scoring last year. It’s only a matter of time/days till Jonathan Stewart comes away with another injury. It’s not like the Carolina Panthers have had a respected WR group before this new core group.

    If you take the final two regular season games and the two playoff games for Ingram and Robinson.

    Ingram: 44 carries, 249 and 1 touchdown

    Robinson: 39 carries, 170 and 1 touchdown

    Not only did Ingram get more carries but he was the better back between the two. Outside of the pass catching back in this offense (Pierre Thomas), it’s got STAY AWAY!!! Written all over it.

    It’s players like Robinson that as a fantasy drafter we have to be thankful for. They get all the hype and it allows players like Williams to keep falling and we are able to gobble up his value in those middle to later rounds of a draft:)

  2. SMLV1 says:
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    Any good draft cheat sheets, good ranking lists etc. anywhere? I know its early so IDK if theres much around yet. Doing my first ever live draft Sunday afternoon. Will be a standard Y! 10 team H2H League….I always autodraft so im a little nervous haha.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @SMLV1: Razzball rankings will be be out soon… but Sunday might be a little too close.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Jay: @SMLV1: Until those Razzball rankings are out, Fantasy Pros is a is a good place to get some early rankings

  3. SMLV1 says:
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    How do you feel about this draft? Had the 3rd pick 10 team H2H league.

    1. Peterson
    2. Stacy
    3.Jordy Nelson
    4. Cruz
    5. Ryan Matthews
    6. Torrey Smith
    7. Luck
    8. Rudolph
    9. Sankey
    10. Romo
    11. Sammy Watkins
    12. New England
    13. Rueben Randle
    14. Dan Bailey
    15. Steve Smith Sr.

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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      @SMLV1: Good morning! I am going to throw my two cents into your team. I am going to base this off your previous comment (above) and assume it a start 2RB/3WR with no flex (Yahoo) format. Oh, also Non-PPR.

      Going off those rules, I would have to say the first thing that jumps out is the lack of quality and depth at your WR spot for this format. I really like your WR1 (Nelson) and Cruz is a bounce back canidate but after that it gets murky. With the return of Dennis Pitta it had a really negative impact on Torry Smith. In the four games with both players on the field, he (Smith) had a stat line of 2.8 catches for 44 yards per game. I’m not saying that he should not be viewed as a WR3 but I don’t expect to be consistency and when you have to start 3 WRs that can be hard.

      You are loaded at RB and it could be too loaded up at that spot in this format. You can only start two of them and if you can land a player like Sankey in the middle rounds. I would have liked to see you go with a WR with your Mathews pick.

      When it comes to the QB spot, I see two groups. The first group is Manning/Brees/Rodgers. Then you have a huge pool of solid/quality QB1 options. I can see at least 11-12 options in this pool. They are all very interchangeable and its best to wait and let one or two of them fall to you in the double digit rounds. I bring this up because I don’t reccomend pulling the trigger on Luck in the 7th round when you can get a Romo in the 10th round. I would have used that 7th pick on a RB/WR.

      Just like QB, I feel you have three groups when it comes to TE. I would be all over Jimmy Graham in round 1. If I can’t land him, I really like and feel safe with Julius Thomas in the 3rd round (10 teams). If I miss on both of them, I see a group of 5 tight ends that I would feel comfortable as my TE1. I see them also being very interchangeable and will not reach to have any particular one. I don’t see Rudolph being in the group of five and feel like if he was the best on the board at that time, I would have passed and again dipped into the RB/WR pool.

      Overall, I like your start and the more you draft the better feel you will get for were players are going and how to draft to fit this format.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @SMLV1: Love Luck. He is going to have a huge year. I like the value you got on Sankey there, too. Also a big fan of Rudolph in the Norv Turner offense. WRs are a little weak. I may have waited on grabbing a backup QB till later or not at all. Taking Romo #10, who for all intents and purposes will only play on Luck’s bye week, could have deprived you of a better WR than Watkins, who I’m not sure will have a great year THIS year (soon, though). In 10 team leagues I dont think it’s necessary to draft a backup QB, there will always be ones on wire for that bye week fix. I like the late round value you got with Randle and Smith though. Randle could be in for a big year.

  4. Clint says:
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    My case in point why I wanna get rid of more than 1 RB having to start in fantasy leagues. Having to rely on 3 headed monsters in NE, NO, and Buffalo for an RB2 would give me so much indigestion I’d have to buy stock in Rolaids. I could foresee an NFL in the not too distant future where between the tackles RB’s aren’t even utilized anymore and only the pass catching guys are left at the rate they’re going.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Clint: this is all true, but for fantasy purposes, it’s supposed to be a challenge, no? The deeper the rosters/starting slots the better IMO. Separates the good drafters/strategists/traders/WW assassins from the bad. No fun having a team of All-Stars every week. But thats just me.

  5. fitz says:
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    Hey Seth, do you know if anybody will have a 2 QB league mock draft / draft strategy post this year?

    Thanks for all your work!

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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      @fitz: Good almost afternoon! I would reccomend if you have twitter handle. To go and give @2QBFFB a follow. He has done work for many sites and is a terrific resource for that format.

  6. SMLV1 says:
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    Well Guys my draft was today….Would love to hear your opinons Fantasy with dase or days and Seth!

    10 team Y! H2H standard league. 1 qb, 3wr, 2rb, 1te, 1def and 1K.

    I had the 5th pick.

    1.(5) Lacy
    2.(16) Stacy
    3.(25) Nelson
    4.(36) Cruz
    5.(45) Andre Johnson
    6.(56) Ben Tate
    7.(65) Matt Ryan (I freaked out a bit..everyone was drafting qbs)
    8. (76) Kendall Wright
    9.(85) Kyle Rudolph
    10.(96) Reggie Wayne
    11.(105) Pierre Thomas
    12.(116) St. Louis
    13.(125) DeAngelo Williams
    14.(136) Tavon Austin
    15.(145) Mason Crosby

    Best on waivers – Greene, Ivory, Freeman, McFadden, Dobson, L. Miller, Helu, Steve smith sr., Wheaton, Ingram, Stills, Stewart, Eifert…among others.

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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      @SMLV1: Hey, man! Hope your weekend has been a good one. I would definitely like to chime in on your draft.

      Right away, I notice the massive upgrade at you WR3 spot (AJ>Smith) from your mock draft. Even with sub par QB play (that’s putting it nicley) last year, he continued his way of accumulating a lot of yards. I look at him as a solid WR2 option and he is your WR3!

      I really like your late round RB (Thomas & Williams). It always seems like Thomas is a back that is always overlooked in the Saints backfield. Yet, he is always returning a value to fantasy owners. It looks to be the same story this summer. I went over Williams with my first comment for this post (see above).

      You know how I feel about the QB spot and I feel like you should have waited much later to pick one. I understand how good Ryan was with Julio Jones. I did a little write up for Ryan here—>http://football.razzball.com/final-fantasy-matt-ryan That being said I put him in that interchangeable QB1 (quality) pool and it’s perfect to just wait and grab what’s left of it. Especially in a 10 team format, I would wait till my back end of the draft before pulling the trigger on a QB1.

      I don’t like your depth after your first 3 WRs. I would be more of a fan of Wright if this was a PPR format. He finished with barley over a 1,079 yards and only two TDs. His YPC was only 11.5. The new head coach did find a way to get Eddie Royal in the end zone six times last year (so there is hope). It’s hard to be positive about Wayne and his outlook in a non-PPR format. He is 35 and coming off (trying to come back) an injury. With the emergence of T.Y. Hilton and then you add Nicks (who I can see impacting Wayne more then Hilton), I just don’t like him at the moment. I would do whatever it takes to drop Austin and pickup Stills! I would do that like yesterday! I am a huge fan of Stills and his effiency in that potent Saints passing attack. He will get Moore’s targets and Sproles is gone (hopefully some of those too). If the Saints WR2 job is his, I like his as a strong WR4 (10 teams) with upside for WR3 or higher production.

      If you are going to draft a TE like Rudolph, I would rather just wait and pick a player like Bennett, Walker, Gates or play a TEBC approach. These are all options of players that will provide close to similar production and allows you to load grab another quality RB/WR in the process.

      Overall, I like your start but I feel like the draft got away from you in the 7th round and beyond. I would definitely look to add Stills and keep practice for your future drafts.

      I hope that you will find this feedback helpful and useful in your future drafts. I am always open to talk players, drafts or anything fantasy football. You can hit me up on twitter (@FwDorD).

      • SMLV1 says:
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        @Fantasy with Dase or Days: I did follow you on twitter but new to it and wont let me type a lot.

        Do you prefer any of these players over Kendall Wright, Reggie Wayne or Pierre Thomas?…..I am dropping T. Austin for Stills. ( Am Nervous about it since NO has so many WR weapons.)

        WR – Dobson, Smith Sr., Wheaton, Hartline, Beckham Jr., Stevie Johnson, Jennings, Woods, Boykin, Baldwin, Miles Austin, Rodgers, Douglas, M. Lee or Rice?

        RB – McFadden, Freeman, Ivory, Miller, Greene, Blount, Wilson, Robinson, Helu, Rainey, Both Browns, Wilson, Mason, Mendenhall, Powell or Rodgers?

        • SMLV1 says:
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          @SMLV1: Also, How do you feel about Tate in CLE?

          • Fantasy with Dase or Days

            Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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            @SMLV1: I like Tate in Cleveland. The opportunity + ability is/can be a very beneficial combo for us fantasy owners. I also would like to note that he showed us that he can be involved in the passing game last year (2.4 catches per game). The big elephant in the room is his ability to stay healthy. This is something that has plagued him since he was drafted (24 games missed in four seasons). If you can draft him as a RB2 in either 10/12 teams, I would be fine with that. He should have the workload that can translate to a RB1 type production for you.

        • Fantasy with Dase or Days

          Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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          @SMLV1: I would also drop Wayne and add Greg Jennings. I really love the value of Jennings if Matt Cassel is the QB for the Vikings. I did a little write up on Jennings—>http://football.razzball.com/final-fantasy-greg-jennings

          The main point, I want to get to you is that in the 7 games that Cassel was the QB. We saw a stat line of 5.9 catches, 70.1 yards, .6 touchdowns with 8.3 targets per game from Jennings. Now I am not suggesting that’s what to expect from him. But, their is a lot of value to be had if this duo is on the field together. He is a solid WR4 option with his upside for more.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @SMLV1: Like your top 3 WR, you did a great job there. Great value at end of draft with DeAngelo.

      I agree with you, you took QB a bit early which you can see almost immediately affects the following picks, BUT, I do think Ryan will have a good season, so at least you took someone who will produce for you.

      I’m not too high on Austin and I see from your comment below that you are dropping him for Stills. I like that move. I am not worried about Stills’ production. Marques Colston is not a productive WR anymore and Stills will essentially be battled with Brandin Cooks as the #2 (Graham is de facto #1 even though hes a TE). Still won’t be targeted a ton, but he is one of the better deep ball route runners in the league already, which is great for a standard league.

      Because it is standard, I dont love Pierre Thomas much at all. His value is tied into his pass-catching ability. I think you have enough depth at RB where you could almost even drop him, especially since its a 10 team league. Guys will get hurt and new RB will pop up on waivers every week. Out of the FA you listed below, I really think Aaron Dobson will have a breakout season and hes worth adding simply for the upside. You can always cut him if he doesnt pan out.

      Also, an FYI, Rashard Mendenhall retired. Just good to note in case you were taking a look at him

      • Fantasy with Dase or Days

        Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan: I don’t understand the no love for PT. He finished last year as the RB23 (Strong RB3) in 10 team for non-PPR scoring. He has finished as a top 27 RB in standard non-PPR scoring (4 of his 6 season).

        What has changed about the Saints backfield to think he is not a top 27 RB this year? Just because he is primarily a pass catching back, his history tells you that he is still a productive fantasy asset and even more so with an 11th round price tag. I still don’t understand not wanting him but to say just drop really boggles me. He is very tradeable if you are wanting to not have him or add to your team via another position.

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