As we wait impatiently for the NFL and NFLPA to give each other giant hugs, buy each other gifts and quit acting like scorned ex-lovers trying to split assets, we fantasy footballers continue to march to our own drum beat. There have been a series of drafts taking place in the Twitterverse, thanks to the one they call @FantasyTaz. If you haven’t gotten in on the fantasy football version of March Madness yet, hit up @FantasyTaz to get yourself involved in the Draftmaster drafts. These drafts play out, but you don’t touch them during the season. So they aren’t exactly mocks, but they act like them!
Now is as good a time as any to break down one of the Draftmaster drafts. This particular one is Draftmaster 29, and all drafts in the Draftmaster series are under the PPR scoring format. So since not a single one of you asked for my opinion, here it is. We’ll start with round 1 in this entry since it’s the first round and that’s the round most mock drafts start in.
@EyeOfTheGator – Arian Foster (#1 overall): I keep looking for a reason not to draft Arian Foster #1 overall and I can’t find one. The coaching staff is back, Foster had over 2,200 total yards and lead the universe with 18 total touchdowns last year, and he finished 2010 with 66 receptions. He’s the focal point of a high scoring offense, and shouldn’t have any trouble approaching similar numbers in 2011. A running back with 2,000 total yard, 15+ touchdown potential is a safe #1 pick in any format.
@FatKat52 – Chris Johnson (#2 overall): I’d feel better about this pick if the Titans had a passing game. CJ is the only show in town and defenses know it. He’ll see plenty of 8-man fronts. Despite that, he’s still one of the safest selections in any fantasy football draft. We know he’ll see all the carries in the Titan backfield and he plays the Colts, Texans, and Jaguars twice, all of whom really suck at tackling really fast running backs. I may have considered LeSean McCoy or Ray Rice here given the PPR scoring, but I can’t argue with this pick.
@FF101 – Adrian Peterson (#3 overall): I have similar concerns with All Day as I do with Chris Johnson. He’ll command all the defensive attention, but it isn’t like that’s anything new. Even when facing 8 in the box Peterson still delivers exceptional numbers. Again, I like LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice just a LITTLE more in PPR leagues, but Peterson isn’t going to disappoint his fantasy owners. I’m a little nervous about saying I “own” Peterson now. Maybe I’ll just steer clear of him in 2011 because I don’t want to be considered a “modern day slave” owner.
@BNQuinlan – LeSean McCoy (#4 overall): Love this pick. McCoy lead all running backs with 78 receptions last season to go along with his 1,600+ yards and 9 TD’s (15 games). Michael Vick will steal some of his TD’s again, but what McCoy lacks in the scoring department he makes up for in receptions. The Eagles get off the bus throwing the football, so I expect McCoy to approach 80 receptions again in 2011, making him one of the best PPR running backs in the league. He’s PPR gold, Jerry! PPR gold!
@RadialRebels – Jamaal Charles (#5 overall): The Chiefs lead the league in rushing attempts last year, so it’s pretty clear how they intend to win games. That’s the good news for Charles. The bad news, of course, is Thomas Jones. Jones lead the team in carries last season and I just don’t see that happening again. Charles is hands down the better back and should see the majority of the carries in Kansas City. It’s hard to find a running back with more upside. I think the 5th overall pick is a perfect spot for Charles in PPR leagues.
@EricPedigo – Ray Rice (#6 overall): I have Rice as a top 3 pick in PPR leagues, so getting him at #6 is great. Rice caught over 60 passes last season and had over 1,750 total yards. The reason he had a “down” year is because he only scored 6 times. The Ravens had the 6th most rushing attempts in 2010 and I fully expect them to continue on with that philosophy. He’ll score more than 6 times in 2011. He’s one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league. Excellent, safe first round pick.
@Redsoxnation88 – Maurice Jones-Drew (#7 overall): His off season knee surgery is worrisome, but I’m not losing sleep over it. MJD is capable of top 3 fantasy numbers, so getting him at #7 overall could prove to be the best value of the first round. The Jaguar offense is built around him, he’s an excellent receiver, and he’s a great short yardage/goal line back. I worry a little about his small frame and heavy workload over the years, but that hasn’t seemed to slow him down in the past. This is another great pick. This group of drafters clearly know what they’re doing.
@vmahaffe – Steven Jackson (#8 overall): I have my doubts with Steven Jackson. The guy has some pretty serious back issues, and he’s carried the ball close to a billion times in his career. He’ll be 28 when we kick off the 2011 season, and I think he’ll really slow down about half way through it. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking Jackson this high. I like him more in the late round 1-early round 2 range.
@Gridironguy – Andre Johnson (#9 overall): All of the safe stud running backs are off the board, so Andre Johnson makes perfect sense with this pick. It’s a two horse race between he and Roddy White for the top PPR wide receiver. You can’t go wrong with either, it’s just a matter of preference. I lean Roddy’s way since AJ has never had a double-digit TD campaign and the newly found Texans running game will cut into his production. I also think White is a bit more consistent, but I’m just nitpicking. AJ is a beast, particularly in PPR leagues. Great pick.
@Treadstone06 – Roddy White (#10 overall): White lead the league with 179 targets in 2010. When Matt Ryan trips while holding a football, the ball goes flying out of his hand and generally lands in the vicinity of Roddy White. When Matt Ryan dreams about playing catch with his dad on a warm Sunday afternoon in July, Roddy White flies in and intercepts Ryan’s passes intended for his dad. Matt Ryan throws to Roddy White a lot. He’s the PPR receiver I want the most.
@Fantasytaz – Frank Gore (#11 overall): I wrote an entire article on why I don’t like Gore in the first round. I don’t have much to add to that article, but I will say this – Gore, when healthy and at his best, is one of the best PPR running backs in fantasy football. If I’m going to take a risk on a running back with question marks though, I’m going to do so with a guy like Darren McFadden since he’s younger, more explosive, and has a higher ceiling than a guy like Gore.
@ericdickens – Calvin Johnson (#12 overall): Johnson won’t approach 100 receptions like the Roddy White’s and Andre Johnson’s of the world, which is what keeps him from being the top WR taken in PPR formats. I love what the Detroit offense is doing, and I have some pretty lofty expectations of Megatron in 2011. He isn’t as consistent as I’d like out of my WR1, but his potential alone validates his status as a first round fantasy selection, and a top 3 WR in every format.
This is a great first round for a PPR league. There weren’t any bad selections. Even though Steven Jackson and Frank Gore wouldn’t have been my first choices in their respective draft spots, they’re still solid picks. I think this will be the look of a typical first round PPR draft in 2011. We’ll continue on with round 2 later in the week.
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