numberFire's Round 3 Mock Draft

It's RB time in round three of the mock draft, with 7 of the 10 off the board playing in the backfield.

After Round 1 and Round 2, we’re on to Round 3 of the nF mock draft, the time of the draft where you start hearing things like “I totally think Darren McFadden makes sense!” and you don’t immediately grab your friend’s car keys. Just to recap so far, there’s been a wide variety of players off the board: 8 RBs, 7 QBs, 4 WRs, and Rob Gronkowski. That’s more parity at the top of the draft board than there’s been in years. But now here in Round 3, it’s the backs that really start to take over - 7 of our 10 guys drafted in this round hang out in the backfield. And if you’re like Jeremy and are sitting at the end of the third round, still without a starting back, may the Deity of your choice have mercy on your fantasy-playing soul.

Round Three

Third Round
Pick GM Selection
21 Terence, Intern Wes Welker
22 Andrew, Intern Jimmy Graham
23 Michael, CTO Marshawn Lynch
24 Zach, Writer Ryan Mathews
25 Nik, CEO Jamaal Charles
26 Keith, Chief Analyst Frank Gore
27 Sean, COO Darren McFadden
28 Matt, Intern Fred Jackson
29 Jeremy, CTO at Centzy Greg Jennings
30 Abe, Editor at Trent Richardson

My Match – Ryan Mathews
ESPN’s rankings are extremely high on Mathews, calling him the 12th best selection in fantasy, a borderline first round pick. numberFire says… not so much. The truth is, it’s all pretty much speculation when it comes to Mathews. There are multiple arguments for and against. He hit 1000 yards rushing last year, but it was his first as a full starter. The passing game is more of a question mark this season with Vincent Jackson leaving, so more defenses might stack the box. He has tons of value in that passing game though – his 50 catches make him infinitely more valuable in a PPR league than the standard Yahoo format we chose. Ultimately, though, I felt that he was worth the risk. I’ll take a high upside guy over the injury issues of Gore and Charles, especially since I’m only relying on him as my #2 behind Jones-Drew.

Blazing Glory – Jamaal Charles
numberFire stats guru Keith Goldner called Jamaal Charles the “steal of the draft”, and I’m not inclined to disagree. Of course there’s always the injury risk and the traumatic memories of when he went Rambo on 1/10 of the nation’s fantasy football seasons. But come with me, and try to remember way back to August 2011, when life was simple and Jamaal Charles was a top 5 fantasy selection. Remember those days, how excited you were? Exactly. Well, that can happen again, my friend, and with a lot less of the risk being as it’s the third round. He was never even a full starter in 2009 or 2010 in Kansas City and still racked up 190 and 242 fantasy points, respectively. Three seasons of over 250 yards receiving as well. Give in to the memories…

Burned Out – Frank Gore
In that same statement where Keith called Charles the steal of the draft, he said that his strategy was to go for “reliable RBs” after he “wanted Jamaal Charles… but he went the pick before me”. Of all the backs however, I don’t quite understand Gore. He’s had a bit of injury trouble each of the past two seasons, he’s coming up on 29 years old after getting at least 200 carries for 6 straight years, and Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are also now in town to share the load. I understand going with the veteran option, but there would have been more upside with Darren McFadden or Trent Richardson on the board.

Potential Wildfire – Trent Richardson
Ah, the eternal problem of drafting rookies in fantasy sports drafts. As our own Eric Mayo notes, it can usually lead to your downfall. If there’s ever one guy who could bust out in a Peterson-like way to be the exception, however, it’s the runner from Alabama. Cleveland’s offensive line has been steadily improving since drafting Joe Thomas, giving Richardson some holes that would make Reuben Droughns have incredible fits of jealousy. Abe Schwadron says that this pick “could bring me first round value, easily”. While Richardson could also have some downside, if there’s still a guy who you can say this about at pick #30, and it doesn’t sound too crazy, the pick’s a no-brainer.