numberFire Mock Draft: Forte, Bush Enter the First Round
As our own Alex Hampl went to make the first pick in the numberFire mock draft last night, I hoped – prayed – his fingers would twitch. Perhaps, just for a second, he’d lose control of the way his hand was maneuvering his computer mouse. Even if it was just a mock, I wanted Adrian Peterson at number two. I spent time this week arguing for All Day as the top overall pick, noting that fantasy owners have been over analyzing his situation more than a group of sorority girls towards prospects during rush week.
But Alex is too smart for that. He doesn’t over think things. That’s why he writes for numberFire: We look at numbers, ignore narratives and make sound, rational fantasy football decisions.
Hampl took AP at number one overall without flinching, and the draft was underway. As for the rest of us? Well, our decisions weren’t as easy as his.
|Alex Hampl, Writing Intern||1||Adrian Peterson, RB|
|JJ Zachariason, Editor-In-Chief||2||Doug Martin, RB|
|Adam Kaplan, VP Sales and Bus. Development||3||Marshawn Lynch, RB|
|Keith Goldner, Chief Analyst||4||Arian Foster, RB|
|Matt Grasso, Writer||5||Ray Rice, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio, CEO & Founder||6||Jamaal Charles, RB|
|Jeff Miller, Writer||7||C.J. Spiller, RB|
|C.D. Carter, Writer||8||Matt Forte, RB|
|Leo Howell, Writer||9||LeSean McCoy, RB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis, Writer||10||Trent Richardson, RB|
|Abe Schwadron, Editor, TDDaily.com||11||Calvin Johnson, WR|
|Rich Hribar, Writer||12||Reggie Bush, RB|
We were under standard lineup rules: 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1Flex, 1TE, 1K, 1D/ST. Quarterback scoring was four points per touchdown pass, and receivers were to be rewarded half a point per reception.
The first round was pretty typical, as running backs dominated the draft selections. One of the bigger surprises came from C.D. Carter – a known Marc Trestman lover – with his eighth overall selection of Matt Forte. A slight reach, sure, but as I’ve noted, Trestman’s offense is reception heaven for starting running backs.
|Rich Hribar||13||Brandon Marshall, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||14||Maurice Jones-Drew, RB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||15||A.J. Green, WR|
|Leo Howell||16||Alfred Morris, RB|
|C.D. Carter||17||Chris Johnson, RB|
|Jeff Miller||18||Dez Bryant, WR|
|Nik Bonaddio||19||Steven Jackson, RB|
|Matt Grasso||20||Stevan Ridley, RB|
|Keith Goldner||21||Demaryius Thomas, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||22||Aaron Rodgers, QB|
|JJ Zachariason||23||Darren Sproles, RB|
|Alex Hampl||24||Jimmy Graham, TE|
The elite wideouts started jumping off the board in Round 2, with both Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green being selected as top-15 picks. A nice selection was made by Leo Howell at 16 with Alfred Morris who, despite it being a PPR league, should still be a top-12 or -13 draft choice. We have Morris projected to catch 25 balls this year, which is more than double his total last season.
Our fearless leader, Nik, snagged the aged Steven Jackson at 19, which seems like a steal given his potential use in the red zone this season. Michael Turner was relevant in fantasy football last year, guys, and he was dreadful toting the rock.
I felt really good about my Darren Sproles pick, too. In any kind of PPR league, Sproles instantly becomes solid RB2 material, and getting him towards the end of the second felt good.
|Alex Hampl||25||Drew Brees, QB|
|JJ Zachariason||26||Roddy White, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||27||Frank Gore, RB|
|Keith Goldner||28||DeMarco Murray, RB|
|Matt Grasso||29||Darren McFadden, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio||30||Andre Johnson, WR|
|Jeff Miller||31||Julio Jones, WR|
|C.D. Carter||32||David Wilson, RB|
|Leo Howell||33||Vincent Jackson, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||34||Victor Cruz, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||35||Peyton Manning, QB|
|Rich Hribar||36||Lamar Miller, RB|
Hampl took Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees at the turn, and Nik made the fantastic comment that “Graham and Brees” sounded like a band. In fact, Nik stated, “…like, my Dad would be listening to ‘feelin fine’ by Graham and Brees while he drives me to CCD.”
Our CEO, ladies and gentlemen.
C.D. Carter continued his pseudo-surprising picks, selecting Giants running back David Wilson towards the tail-end of the third. We’re not completely sold on Wilson – he’s our 22nd-ranked back – but he has the ability to be a big play runner in the league.
A big surprise was the drop of Julio Jones. Though he's one of the most talented pass catchers in the league, Julio fell to the middle of the third round, a spot I've rarely seen him fall to. We like Roddy more overall, and given Julio's target restrictions, he seems to be overvalued at his usual second-round ADP. A good pick in the third, but don't reach for him in the second.
|Rich Hribar||37||Larry Fitzgerald, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||38||Randall Cobb, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||39||Marques Colston, WR|
|Leo Howell||40||Rob Gronkowski, TE|
|C.D. Carter||41||Dwayne Bowe, WR|
|Jeff Miller||42||Danny Amendola, WR|
|Nik Bonaddio||43||Reggie Wayne, WR|
|Matt Grasso||44||Wes Welker, WR|
|Keith Goldner||45||Tom Brady, QB|
|Adam Kaplan||46||Chris Ivory, RB|
|JJ Zachariason||47||Le'Veon Bell, RB|
|Alex Hampl||48||Eric Decker, WR|
We were all watching the Thursday night games while drafting, and I was prepared for someone to take the now sleepwalker Jordan Cameron before Rob Gronkowski. Clearly that didn’t happen, as Gronk went to Leo with the 40th overall pick. That’s the type of high risk, high reward bet that could win a fantasy championship. For me though? I’m waiting on tight end.
Tom Brady went to our math genius, Keith Goldner, at 45 overall, the fourth signal-caller off the board. Unlike the rest of the football world, Keith didn’t overreact when Brady appeared to have died during practice earlier in the week. It was a sound choice given Brady’s history.
|Alex Hampl||49||Antonio Brown, WR|
|JJ Zachariason||50||Steve Smith, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||51||Mike Wallace, WR|
|Keith Goldner||52||Ryan Mathews, RB|
|Matt Grasso||53||Jordy Nelson, WR|
|Nik Bonaddio||54||Matt Ryan, QB|
|Jeff Miller||55||Eddie Lacy, RB|
|C.D. Carter||56||Pierre Garcon, WR|
|Leo Howell||57||Torrey Smith, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||58||Cam Newton, QB|
|Abe Schwadron||59||Jason Witten, TE|
|Rich Hribar||60||Shane Vereen, RB|
Goldner continued with a Ryan Mathews selection in Round 5. While plenty are going to say, “Ryan Mathews is dead to me,” the reality of the situation is that there are few probable 200-plus carry backs that can be had that late. To me, Keith took Mathews at the right time.
Rich Hribar closed out the fifth with a controversial Shane Vereen pick, but I couldn’t be happier to see him leave closer to the sixth round than the third. Back when I wrote about Vereen’s absurd ADP in July, he was rising to the end of the fourth round in PPR mock drafts. Like, starting running back territory. Rich’s valuation seems fair, as Vereen is still a risk as the number two running back in the Patriots’ offense.
|Rich Hribar||61||Ahmad Bradshaw, RB|
|Abe Schwadron||62||Montee Ball, RB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||63||Rashard Mendenhall, RB|
|Leo Howell||64||Mike Williams, WR|
|C.D. Carter||65||Hakeem Nicks, WR|
|Jeff Miller||66||Daryl Richardson, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio||67||DeAngelo Williams, RB|
|Matt Grasso||68||Matthew Stafford, QB|
|Keith Goldner||69||BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB|
|Adam Kaplan||70||Tony Gonzalez, TE|
|JJ Zachariason||71||DeSean Jackson, WR|
|Alex Hampl||72||James Jones, WR|
Though Montee Ball is on the decline in terms of ADP, a sixth-round selection is actually pretty good value for Abe’s team. Ball was the 29th back selected in this particular draft, which is lower than our 26th-ranked projection. Good on ya, Abe.
After risky calls in the early rounds, C.D. Carter ended up getting a great value in Hakeem Nicks during Round 6. Though injury is certainly a concern, a healthy Nicks is a happy fantasy squad. He’s one of the most physically gifted receivers in the league.
|Alex Hampl||73||Vick Ballard, RB|
|JJ Zachariason||74||Andre Brown, RB|
|Adam Kaplan||75||Greg Jennings, WR|
|Keith Goldner||76||Anquan Boldin, WR|
|Matt Grasso||77||Colin Kaepernick, QB|
|Nik Bonaddio||78||Tavon Austin, WR|
|Jeff Miller||79||Robert Griffin III, QB|
|C.D. Carter||80||Cecil Shorts, WR|
|Leo Howell||81||T.Y. Hilton, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||82||Vernon Davis, TE|
|Abe Schwadron||83||Russell Wilson, QB|
|Rich Hribar||84||Miles Austin, WR|
There weren’t a whole lot of surprises in Round 7, although it’s important to note that Vernon Davis left the board towards the end of the round, a cost three rounds cheaper than his current average draft position. We have him as our seventh-best tight end entering the season, showing the correct pick was made.
|Rich Hribar||85||Tony Romo, QB|
|Abe Schwadron||86||Steve Johnson, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||87||Giovani Bernard, RB|
|Leo Howell||88||Mark Ingram, RB|
|C.D. Carter||89||Josh Gordon, WR|
|Jeff Miller||90||Ronnie Hillman, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio||91||Greg Olsen, TE|
|Matt Grasso||92||Lance Moore, WR|
|Keith Goldner||93||Sidney Rice, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||94||Andrew Luck, QB|
|JJ Zachariason||95||Emmanuel Sanders, WR|
|Alex Hampl||96||Isaiah Pead, RB|
We’ve been doing a lot of work around here on Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, and Keith ended up choosing Rice over the more versatile wideout. Time will tell whether or not that was the correct decision. Rice seems to be a safer bet, but Tate may have more upside.
Rams running back Isaiah Pead also left the board in the eighth, two rounds after teammate Daryl Richardson. We’re much more optimistic about Richardson given camp reports, but Hampl was in desperate need of running back depth after snagging two non-runners in Rounds 2 and 3. Perhaps he should’ve listened to his own advice on this one.
|Alex Hampl||97||Johnathan Franklin, RB|
|JJ Zachariason||98||Alshon Jeffery, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||99||Kyle Rudolph, TE|
|Keith Goldner||100||Kenny Britt, WR|
|Matt Grasso||101||Ben Tate, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio||102||Michael Floyd, WR|
|Jeff Miller||103||Golden Tate, WR|
|C.D. Carter||104||Chris Givens, WR|
|Leo Howell||105||Jacquizz Rodgers, RB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||106||Denarius Moore, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||107||Bernard Pierce, RB|
|Rich Hribar||108||Pierre Thomas, RB|
This is typically when the upside players start dropping off, as the majority of non-defense and kicker lineup slots are filled. I went with one of my favorite sleepers this year, Alshon Jeffery, hoping Trestman’s offense allows for more than just one wideout to be relevant in Chicago this season.
Leo Howell ended up taking Jacquizz Rodgers, who according to ADP data, should have left the board a couple of rounds later. Perhaps he was influenced by the short touchdown run Rodgers had during our draft, but it’s important to always keep ADP data in mind while you select.
|Rich Hribar||109||Kendall Wright, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||110||Brian Hartline, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||111||Bryce Brown, RB|
|Leo Howell||112||Eli Manning, QB|
|C.D. Carter||113||Danny Woodhead, RB|
|Jeff Miller||114||Vincent Brown, WR|
|Nik Bonaddio||115||Fred Jackson, RB|
|Matt Grasso||116||Jonathan Stewart, RB|
|Keith Goldner||117||Brandon Myers, TE|
|Adam Kaplan||118||Seahawks D/ST|
|JJ Zachariason||119||Ben Roethlisberger, QB|
|Alex Hampl||120||Antonio Gates, TE|
The first defense went off the board in Round 10, but let’s not give Adam a bad time for it: He had accidently left the mock. As I’ve said, you not only need to wait until the final two rounds to select your defense, but you should target D/STs with favorable Week 1 matchups. Here are five of them to target during your draft.
|Alex Hampl||121||DeAndre Hopkins, WR|
|JJ Zachariason||122||Ryan Broyles, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||123||Owen Daniels, TE|
|Keith Goldner||124||Mikel Leshoure, RB|
|Matt Grasso||125||49ers D/ST|
|Nik Bonaddio||126||Michael Vick, QB|
|Jeff Miller||127||Bilal Powell, RB|
|C.D. Carter||128||Jordan Cameron, TE|
|Leo Howell||129||Zac Stacy, RB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||130||Shonn Greene, RB|
|Abe Schwadron||131||Texans D/ST|
|Rich Hribar||132||Joique Bell, RB|
The surprise in Round 11 was Jeff Miller’s selection of Bilal Powell. He must have read Leo’s article on Powell’s situation in New York, as starter Chris Ivory is injury-prone and Mike Goodson is stupidity-prone. Either that, or he was shouting his picks to his wife while he was getting a beer, and swallowed his tongue. “BILAL!”
|Rich Hribar||133||Rueben Randle, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||134||Joe Flacco, QB|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||135||Andre Roberts, WR|
|Leo Howell||136||Marcel Reece, RB|
|C.D. Carter||137||Dustin Keller, TE|
|Jeff Miller||138||Kendall Hunter, RB|
|Nik Bonaddio||139||Michael Bush, RB|
|Matt Grasso||140||Justin Blackmon, WR|
|Keith Goldner||141||Malcom Floyd, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||142||Brandon Lloyd, WR|
|JJ Zachariason||143||Coby Fleener, TE|
|Alex Hampl||144||Bears D/ST|
Carter took his own recommendation in Round 12, selecting Dustin Keller as his number two tight end behind Jordan Cameron. Carter is a proponent of tight end streaming, where he will play a different tight end each week based on matchup. It allows you to focus on higher-end running backs and receivers during your draft, hoping you can build a tight end Frankenstein that produces top tight end numbers throughout the season.
Matt Grasso took the suspended Justin Blackmon here, hoping to bench him for the four weeks he’s out. A bold move, but one that could pan out if Jacksonville can get their quarterback situation in place. However, I’m not sure I’d take Blackmon much higher than this round.
Oh, and disregard that pick by Adam. #autopicked
|Alex Hampl||145||Jared Cook, TE|
|JJ Zachariason||146||Austin Collie, WR|
|Adam Kaplan||147||Sam Bradford, QB|
|Keith Goldner||148||Daniel Thomas, RB|
|Matt Grasso||149||Jermichael Finley, TE|
|Nik Bonaddio||150||Rod Streater, WR|
|Jeff Miller||151||Martellus Bennett, TE|
|C.D. Carter||152||Alex Smith, QB|
|Leo Howell||153||Brian Quick, WR|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||154||Christine Michael, RB|
|Abe Schwadron||155||Stephen Gostkowski, K|
|Rich Hribar||156||Fred Davis, TE|
I have no idea what I was thinking when I took Austin Collie here, but I did it. I then was peppered with concussion jokes for the rest of the night. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
I really did like Nik’s Rod Streater pick, as Streater is looking more and more like the number one target in the middling Raiders offense. He put up solid efficiency scores last year, and has a chance to grow with whichever quarterback the Raiders decide to throw under center.
Why did I pick Austin Collie again?
|Rich Hribar||157||Cordarrelle Patterson, WR|
|Abe Schwadron||158||Broncos D/ST|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||159||Jeremy Kerley, WR|
|Leo Howell||160||Zach Sudfeld, TE|
|C.D. Carter||161||Brandon Weeden, QB|
|Jeff Miller||162||Cardinals D/ST|
|Nik Bonaddio||163||Julian Edelman, WR|
|Matt Grasso||164||Donnie Avery, WR|
|Keith Goldner||165||Bengals D/ST|
|Adam Kaplan||166||Blair Walsh, K|
|JJ Zachariason||167||Andy Dalton, QB|
|Alex Hampl||168||Santana Moss, WR|
A few sleepers left the board in Round 14, including Nik's pick of Julian Edelman. The Pats wideout has a big opportunity within their offense this season; the moving parts for Tom Brady are very inexperienced. Edelman is worth a shot at the end of your drafts.
Rich ended up selecting Cordarrelle Patterson, who will end up being Christian Ponder’s third-favorite target this season. He’s shown incredible athleticism this summer, and though rookie wide receivers rarely perform consistently throughout an entire NFL season (A.J. Green only comes every once and a while, folks), Patterson could be a serviceable bye week fill-in this year.
|Alex Hampl||169||Greg Little, WR|
|JJ Zachariason||170||Rams D/ST|
|Adam Kaplan||171||Roy Helu, RB|
|Keith Goldner||172||Sebastian Janikowski, K|
|Matt Grasso||173||Aaron Dobson, WR|
|Nik Bonaddio||174||Patriots D/ST|
|Jeff Miller||175||Josh Freeman, QB|
|C.D. Carter||176||Colts D/ST|
|Leo Howell||177||Buccaneers D/ST|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||178||Steelers D/ST|
|Abe Schwadron||179||LeGarrette Blount, RB|
|Rich Hribar||180||Browns D/ST|
And the defenses start dropping like flies. I went with the Rams – I really like their Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals. Nik made the decision to take the Pats, who like the Rams, have a juicy Week 1 game against the young Bills. The Bucs (vs. Jets), Steelers (vs. Titans) and Colts (vs. Raiders) each got selected as well, showing that we all mean business: We’re not necessarily looking to start these defenses each week of the season, but rather for the first week of the season.
|Rich Hribar||181||Phil Dawson, K|
|Abe Schwadron||182||Dwayne Allen, TE|
|Mike D'Ecclessis||183||Matt Bryant, K|
|Leo Howell||184||Greg Zuerlein, K|
|C.D. Carter||185||Kai Forbath, K|
|Jeff Miller||186||Robbie Gould, K|
|Nik Bonaddio||187||Matt Prater, K|
|Matt Grasso||188||Dan Bailey, K|
|Keith Goldner||189||Matt Schaub, QB|
|Adam Kaplan||190||Robert Turbin, RB|
|JJ Zachariason||191||David Akers, K|
|Alex Hampl||192||Steven Hauschka, K|
Congratulations, Steve Hauschka: You’re Mr. Irrelevant.