numberFire Mock Draft: Forte, Bush Enter the First Round

Wait a second. Reggie Bush and Matt Forte went in 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.

Round 1

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl, Writing Intern1Adrian Peterson, RB
JJ Zachariason, Editor-In-Chief2Doug Martin, RB
Adam Kaplan, VP Sales and Bus. Development3Marshawn Lynch, RB
Keith Goldner, Chief Analyst4Arian Foster, RB
Matt Grasso, Writer5Ray Rice, RB
Nik Bonaddio, CEO & Founder6Jamaal Charles, RB
Jeff Miller, Writer7C.J. Spiller, RB
C.D. Carter, Writer8Matt Forte, RB
Leo Howell, Writer9LeSean McCoy, RB
Mike D'Ecclessis, Writer10Trent Richardson, RB
Abe Schwadron, Editor, TDDaily.com11Calvin Johnson, WR
Rich Hribar, Writer12Reggie 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 ended up selecting Reggie Bush at the turn, which was one of the biggest risks taken all draft. The numbers do say, however, that he could be worth the gigantic gamble.

Round 2

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar13Brandon Marshall, WR
Abe Schwadron14Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
Mike D'Ecclessis15A.J. Green, WR
Leo Howell16Alfred Morris, RB
C.D. Carter17Chris Johnson, RB
Jeff Miller18Dez Bryant, WR
Nik Bonaddio19Steven Jackson, RB
Matt Grasso20Stevan Ridley, RB
Keith Goldner21Demaryius Thomas, WR
Adam Kaplan22Aaron Rodgers, QB
JJ Zachariason23Darren Sproles, RB
Alex Hampl24Jimmy 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.

Round 3

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl25Drew Brees, QB
JJ Zachariason26Roddy White, WR
Adam Kaplan27Frank Gore, RB
Keith Goldner28DeMarco Murray, RB
Matt Grasso29Darren McFadden, RB
Nik Bonaddio30Andre Johnson, WR
Jeff Miller31Julio Jones, WR
C.D. Carter32David Wilson, RB
Leo Howell33Vincent Jackson, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis34Victor Cruz, WR
Abe Schwadron35Peyton Manning, QB
Rich Hribar36Lamar 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.

Round 4

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar37Larry Fitzgerald, WR
Abe Schwadron38Randall Cobb, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis39Marques Colston, WR
Leo Howell40Rob Gronkowski, TE
C.D. Carter41Dwayne Bowe, WR
Jeff Miller42Danny Amendola, WR
Nik Bonaddio43Reggie Wayne, WR
Matt Grasso44Wes Welker, WR
Keith Goldner45Tom Brady, QB
Adam Kaplan46Chris Ivory, RB
JJ Zachariason47Le'Veon Bell, RB
Alex Hampl48Eric 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.

Round 5

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl49Antonio Brown, WR
JJ Zachariason50Steve Smith, WR
Adam Kaplan51Mike Wallace, WR
Keith Goldner52Ryan Mathews, RB
Matt Grasso53Jordy Nelson, WR
Nik Bonaddio54Matt Ryan, QB
Jeff Miller55Eddie Lacy, RB
C.D. Carter56Pierre Garcon, WR
Leo Howell57Torrey Smith, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis58Cam Newton, QB
Abe Schwadron59Jason Witten, TE
Rich Hribar60Shane 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.

Round 6

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar61Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
Abe Schwadron62Montee Ball, RB
Mike D'Ecclessis63Rashard Mendenhall, RB
Leo Howell64Mike Williams, WR
C.D. Carter65Hakeem Nicks, WR
Jeff Miller66Daryl Richardson, RB
Nik Bonaddio67DeAngelo Williams, RB
Matt Grasso68Matthew Stafford, QB
Keith Goldner69BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB
Adam Kaplan70Tony Gonzalez, TE
JJ Zachariason71DeSean Jackson, WR
Alex Hampl72James 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.

Round 7

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl73Vick Ballard, RB
JJ Zachariason74Andre Brown, RB
Adam Kaplan75Greg Jennings, WR
Keith Goldner76Anquan Boldin, WR
Matt Grasso77Colin Kaepernick, QB
Nik Bonaddio78Tavon Austin, WR
Jeff Miller79Robert Griffin III, QB
C.D. Carter80Cecil Shorts, WR
Leo Howell81T.Y. Hilton, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis82Vernon Davis, TE
Abe Schwadron83Russell Wilson, QB
Rich Hribar84Miles 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.

Round 8

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar85Tony Romo, QB
Abe Schwadron86Steve Johnson, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis87Giovani Bernard, RB
Leo Howell88Mark Ingram, RB
C.D. Carter89Josh Gordon, WR
Jeff Miller90Ronnie Hillman, RB
Nik Bonaddio91Greg Olsen, TE
Matt Grasso92Lance Moore, WR
Keith Goldner93Sidney Rice, WR
Adam Kaplan94Andrew Luck, QB
JJ Zachariason95Emmanuel Sanders, WR
Alex Hampl96Isaiah 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.

Round 9

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl97Johnathan Franklin, RB
JJ Zachariason98Alshon Jeffery, WR
Adam Kaplan99Kyle Rudolph, TE
Keith Goldner100Kenny Britt, WR
Matt Grasso101Ben Tate, RB
Nik Bonaddio102Michael Floyd, WR
Jeff Miller103Golden Tate, WR
C.D. Carter104Chris Givens, WR
Leo Howell105Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Mike D'Ecclessis106Denarius Moore, WR
Abe Schwadron107Bernard Pierce, RB
Rich Hribar108Pierre 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.

Round 10

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar109Kendall Wright, WR
Abe Schwadron110Brian Hartline, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis111Bryce Brown, RB
Leo Howell112Eli Manning, QB
C.D. Carter113Danny Woodhead, RB
Jeff Miller114Vincent Brown, WR
Nik Bonaddio115Fred Jackson, RB
Matt Grasso116Jonathan Stewart, RB
Keith Goldner117Brandon Myers, TE
Adam Kaplan118Seahawks D/ST
JJ Zachariason119Ben Roethlisberger, QB
Alex Hampl120Antonio 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.

Round 11

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl121DeAndre Hopkins, WR
JJ Zachariason122Ryan Broyles, WR
Adam Kaplan123Owen Daniels, TE
Keith Goldner124Mikel Leshoure, RB
Matt Grasso12549ers D/ST
Nik Bonaddio126Michael Vick, QB
Jeff Miller127Bilal Powell, RB
C.D. Carter128Jordan Cameron, TE
Leo Howell129Zac Stacy, RB
Mike D'Ecclessis130Shonn Greene, RB
Abe Schwadron131Texans D/ST
Rich Hribar132Joique 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!”

Round 12

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar133Rueben Randle, WR
Abe Schwadron134Joe Flacco, QB
Mike D'Ecclessis135Andre Roberts, WR
Leo Howell136Marcel Reece, RB
C.D. Carter137Dustin Keller, TE
Jeff Miller138Kendall Hunter, RB
Nik Bonaddio139Michael Bush, RB
Matt Grasso140Justin Blackmon, WR
Keith Goldner141Malcom Floyd, WR
Adam Kaplan142Brandon Lloyd, WR
JJ Zachariason143Coby Fleener, TE
Alex Hampl144Bears 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

Round 13

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl145Jared Cook, TE
JJ Zachariason146Austin Collie, WR
Adam Kaplan147Sam Bradford, QB
Keith Goldner148Daniel Thomas, RB
Matt Grasso149Jermichael Finley, TE
Nik Bonaddio150Rod Streater, WR
Jeff Miller151Martellus Bennett, TE
C.D. Carter152Alex Smith, QB
Leo Howell153Brian Quick, WR
Mike D'Ecclessis154Christine Michael, RB
Abe Schwadron155Stephen Gostkowski, K
Rich Hribar156Fred 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?

Round 14

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar157Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
Abe Schwadron158Broncos D/ST
Mike D'Ecclessis159Jeremy Kerley, WR
Leo Howell160Zach Sudfeld, TE
C.D. Carter161Brandon Weeden, QB
Jeff Miller162Cardinals D/ST
Nik Bonaddio163Julian Edelman, WR
Matt Grasso164Donnie Avery, WR
Keith Goldner165Bengals D/ST
Adam Kaplan166Blair Walsh, K
JJ Zachariason167Andy Dalton, QB
Alex Hampl168Santana 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.

Round 15

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Alex Hampl169Greg Little, WR
JJ Zachariason170Rams D/ST
Adam Kaplan171Roy Helu, RB
Keith Goldner172Sebastian Janikowski, K
Matt Grasso173Aaron Dobson, WR
Nik Bonaddio174Patriots D/ST
Jeff Miller175Josh Freeman, QB
C.D. Carter176Colts D/ST
Leo Howell177Buccaneers D/ST
Mike D'Ecclessis178Steelers D/ST
Abe Schwadron179LeGarrette Blount, RB
Rich Hribar180Browns 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.

Round 16

OwnerPick NumberSelection
Rich Hribar181Phil Dawson, K
Abe Schwadron182Dwayne Allen, TE
Mike D'Ecclessis183Matt Bryant, K
Leo Howell184Greg Zuerlein, K
C.D. Carter185Kai Forbath, K
Jeff Miller186Robbie Gould, K
Nik Bonaddio187Matt Prater, K
Matt Grasso188Dan Bailey, K
Keith Goldner189Matt Schaub, QB
Adam Kaplan190Robert Turbin, RB
JJ Zachariason191David Akers, K
Alex Hampl192Steven Hauschka, K

Congratulations, Steve Hauschka: You’re Mr. Irrelevant.