It’s June 6. We’re 90 days away from the first game of the NFL season. I’ve already completed over 20 mock drafts. Say what you want, but I love it. I’ve done two quarterback league mock drafts, IDP mock drafts, dynasty mock drafts, standard ten-team mock drafts, 12-team mock drafts. You name it, I’ve drafted it.
But now we’re getting into minicamps and soon enough we’ll be into training camps. That means player stocks are rising and falling with injury, with word of coaches, beat writers, and other sources. We’ve already seen injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Michael Crabtree and Trent Richardson move them right on down the draft board, and they’re the first of many.
That’s why we have this here 12-team, 15-round, non-PPR mock draft. I did a mock on Wednesday to look at some good picks and some not so good picks in fantasy football right now. Some of the picks that I like (for value or others news). To expand the mock (you probably can’t read it in the image above, my sincerest apologies) just click on the image of the draft board above. However, I’ll be breaking down some of my favorite picks and five of the worst picks down below. Let’s get to it.
Jimmy Graham, TE at 2.07
Graham gives you such an advantage over other tight ends, that he’s worth a second-round pick. He would have been mine if running backs weren’t flying off of the board so quickly. However, I”m glad I didn’t grab Graham, because I was happy with the way my team turned out.
Demaryius Thomas, WR at 3.07
I know this is my own pick, but really, Thomas was the ninth wide receiver off the board. Are you kidding me? Behind Julio Jones, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald? There was absolutely no contest for this pick. He is my fifth ranked wide receiver for 2013.
Tony Gonzalez, TE at 7.03
Value, value, value. Regardless of age, Gonzalez was the third scoring tight end in non-PPR last season. He was the seventh tight end off of the board in this draft. It’s the lowest that I’ve seen him drop. A great value like this is the only reason that you should be taking a tight end in the middle rounds. If you don’t get Graham or an obvious value in the middle rounds, I’m passing until my final picks. Then, I may be streaming during the regular season.
Shane Vereen, RB at 9.04
It’s astonishing that Vereen lasted this long, and seeing some of the other backups that wen’t before him. Zac Stacy, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Daryl Richardson, and Johnathan Franklin, all currently backups, were drafted before Vereen, who is the most fantasy-relevant back-up in the NFL right now. Say what? Vereen should finish the year as a top 25 running back, if not better, on a team that lost Danny Woodhead and has committed to the run over the last couple of years.
Greg Olsen, TE at 12.06; Martellus Bennett, TE at 15.08
Unless you get Jimmy Graham, there is no reason to get a tight end in the middle rounds (unless Gonzalez is somehow there in the seventh round). Olsen was sixth highest scoring tight end last season, and he should be in that scoring region again. Plus, he’s taken two rounds before my defense? I love this pick. Bennett was taken in the last round and could easily produce top 12 numbers in Marc Trestman’s pass-happy offense, so that was also a great pick.
Justin Blackmon, WR at 11.08
Blackmon is at the end of the bench, which is the best you can ask for as a fantasy owner. He doesn’t need immediate production with Percy Harvin, Randall Cobb and Wes Welker at the top, which is a very solid group. Blackmon’s four-week suspension is no biggie, because this owner has blanketed his team with other wide receivers, so Blackmon can serve as a fill-in when Harvin/Cobb/Welker get to their bye weeks. Great pick.
Aaron Rodgers (2.10) and Drew Brees (2.11)
No reason to take a quarterback in the first two rounds, or even the first three. The position is not valuable. The owner of Team 3 who drafted Rodgers in the second round ended up with Doug Martin and Ryan Mathews as his starting running backs. And his wide receivers were Roddy White, Greg Jennings and Mike Williams. That’s painful to see. There are too many good quarterbacks. Don’t waste picks early on. Also worth noting that Team 2 drafted Matthews Stafford in the sixth round as a back-up to Brees, which is beyond me, but he actually had a very solid lineup.
Better options: DeMarco Murray, Reggie Bush — go running back, almost regardless, in the first two rounds.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB at 5.03
Wait… what? I was befuddled at this pick. It simply didn’t make sense. We’re not even sure Mendenhall will start, and even if he does, he has three solid options — Ryan Williams and rookies Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor — behind him that will take plenty of carries. Not a fan of Mendenhall, even of he does start. Nothing to see.
Better options: With only Roddy White in the WR corps, this team should have picked either Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, Hakeem Nicks, or Danny Amendola, all of which can be no. 2 receivers for your team. Then in the sixth round, rather than draft Greg Jennings, he should have grabbed Mark Ingram. But desperate running back situations in the fifth round cause for desperate picks.
Vernon Davis, TE at 6.01
I don’t blame the guy who made the pick, but I’m not on this bandwagon yet. His role should expand, but how much? He never really clicked with Colin Kaepernick last season, and I don’t see that changing that much this season. His lack of production in recent years, despite his incoming increase in targets with the Miachel Crabtree injury, has driven me off the cliff with Davis.
Better Options: Tony Gonzalez, Dennis Pitta, Kyle Rudolph
Daryl Richardson (7.05) and Zachary Stacy (9.03)
I continue to scratch my head at these picks. Stacy and Richardson will be in a timeshare for Week 1 when Isaiah Pead is suspended, but when Pead returns, I believe he will be the clear starter. He’s the most talented running back on this team, and the coaches are backing him despite the suspension. The suspension is nothing to worry about with Pead. There’s no reason these two guys, who will be very limited all year long in their current situation, should be drafted this high.
Better Options for Richardson: Mark Ingram, Jonathan Stewart, Andre Brown
Better Options for Stacy: Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Isaiah Pead
Seattle Seahawks (8.04) and San Francisco 49ers (9.05) defenses
When defenses go before the last three rounds, it just makes me shake my head. Every damn year this happens. When will owners learn? It just doesn’t make sense. There are still solid bench players still on the board, and instead some owners fill the need to complete their starting lineup first. Defenses are one of the easiest positions to stream and play matchups with, especially when owners are only owning one defense at a time in today’s fantasy football. Go defense and kicker in your last two rounds, like I did. (I still ended up with Baltimore, which I felt very good about.)
Better Options for Seattle: T.Y. Hilton, Eli Manning, Shane Vereen
Better Options for San Francisco: Miles Austin, Danny Woodhead, Cecil Shorts, Jeremy Maclin, Lance Moore
Bad late-round picks
The late rounds are hard to analyze. But here I’m going to list some of the picks that I really didn’t like the upside of in the late rounds, something that should be the primary focus of owners at this point in the draft.
DeAngelo Williams (10.01), Joseph Randle (11.05), Brian Hartline (12.10), LaMichael James (13.03), Shonn Greene (13.10).
Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed reading about some of my draft strategy for this season early on in this summer. What parts did you agree with? Disagree with? Leave your comments below or hit me up on Twitter. You can also suggest blog ideas over on that Twitter, and I hope you do so!