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Point-Counterpoint: Fantasy Mock Draft

Posted Aug 22, 2014

Buccaneers.com contributors Andrew Norton and Scott go head-to-head in a fantasy mock draft, then analyze their picks, which did include a couple Buccaneers


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mock drafts are a great way to prepare for the real thing, as one contributor here found out when he took a QB at #13
  • Andrew Norton started his draft with two big-time producers in the same offense
  • Scott Smith tried to continue a run of good luck with rookie running backs
It’s 2014. No sports website worth its salt can go through an NFL preseason without delving into the world of the fantasy football mock draft. Being the fantasy football contributor for Buccaneers.com and having made up the previous blanket statement about reputable websites, I walked into Scott Smith’s office and threw down this challenge: you, me, 10 random internet strangers, fantasy mock draft. So here we are.

The first snag we hit was the oversight of just how hard it would be to perfectly time getting into the same public 12-team mock draft. After a few failed attempts, we finally found our seats. I chose the fourth spot, knowing I could lock up one of the best RBs, Scott went for #12 to practice for a draft of his own. Then we watched and waited for the timer to tick down to zero. Number one was on the clock. The first pick came in.

Quarterback, Johnny Manziel.

Dang it.

Such is the life of a mock drafter. Whether it was someone purposely nonchalantly trolling 11 total strangers or just a die-hard fan repping his favorite player with the apparent intent on building a 2-11 fantasy squad, we may never know. So, it is back to the mock lobby to blindly coordinate our mouse clicks in hopes of ending up in the same draft.

Finally settled, fantasy mock draft Attempt #2 begins successfully. We roll through 16 rounds. And now to present our findings to you I am joined by my co-drafter, Scott Smith. We will lay out all of the rounds and explain our choices, hoping to give you some solid advice, tips and lessons as you start to draft for your own leagues.

Scott, anything you want to say before we get started?

Scott Smith: Well, I'd like to say that I hope the guys in that draft I was practicing for don't read Buccaneers.com or they might catch on to some of my preferences. They're not very supportive friends, so I'm probably alright.

Also, I'd like to say that this was indeed good practice, because I don't believe I'll take the same approach at picks 12 and 13 when I get to the real thing. Seeing you get Tony Romo in the ninth round, I think I'd rather wait on a quarterback and get either a second great running back or a stud receiver at 13.

Otherwise, I'll save my comments for our round-by-round analysis. You can go first and tell us how much you love Matt Forte and that you would have taken him first overall if you had that pick. Go ahead, we're all waiting.

Round: 1
(1) Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Jamaal Charles RB
(3) LeSean McCoy RB
(4) Matt Forte RB (Andrew)
(5) Marshawn Lynch RB
(6) Calvin Johnson WR
(7) Eddie Lacy RB
(8) Jimmy Graham TE
(9) Peyton Manning QB
(10) Aaron Rodgers QB
(11) Arian Foster RB
(12) Doug Martin RB (Scott)

Andrew: I love Matt Forte and I would have taken him first overall if I had the pick. In fact, I have done that. So there. I think any of the top four guys could be taken at #1 overall, rarely do I see Forte go first, but he is who I’ve put at the top of my board. Solid offense with good receivers to take pressure off, he is a true number one, and less of an injury concern in my eyes. Happy with this pick.

Though he has his fantasy football detractors this year, Bucs RB Doug Martin snuck into the first round of our mock draft

Scott: So I had to get a back and for me it basically came down to Martin vs. Bell vs. Murray. I'm not sure I could go wrong with any of those, so I let my heart decide in the end. You can certainly make justifications for it, even though I know the Dougernaut has some fantasy doubters out there this year. The unfortunate injury to Charles Sims probably increased his number of touches by a not-insignificant amount and I believe the Bucs' offense will be significantly better all around this year.

Round: 2
(13) Drew Brees QB (Scott)
(14) Zac Stacy RB
(15) Le'Veon Bell RB
(16) DeMarco Murray RB
(17) A.J. Green WR
(18) Demaryius Thomas WR
(19) Alfred Morris RB
(20) Dez Bryant WR
(21) Brandon Marshall WR (Andrew)
(22) Julio Jones WR
(23) Montee Ball RB
(24) Jordy Nelson WR

Scott: As I mentioned, I thought taking Brees made sense at the time, and it's a defensible, but I didn't love the way the rest of the draft fell out for me after that. As such, if we were doing this again I believe I would either double up on the running back or take one of the top-notch stud receivers. It would probably be hard to pass on Demaryius Thomas – he's been going in the first round in most of the mock drafts I've been a part of – so that would be my likely pick. I like your pick, too, but I wonder if you were tempted to go back to that old RB-RB strategy that used to be so popular, with Montee Ball and Giovani Bernard sitting there.

Andrew: I looked at going RB-RB. It’s generally the strategy that I stick to, but Marshall was just sitting there and I went for it. I will admit that this isn’t my first mock of the season, and I have studied my ADPs, so I knew that there would be RB value at my next pick at #28. I have read arguments against grabbing people from the same team, but Forte and Marshall looks like a pretty killer duo to start every week. I see it as basically locking down 60% of a single team’s touchdowns. How can that be a bad thing?

Round: 3
(25) Cam Newton QB
(26) Antonio Brown WR
(27) Randall Cobb WR
(28) Reggie Bush RB (Andrew)
(29) Alshon Jeffery WR
(30) Ryan Mathews RB
(31) Giovani Bernard RB
(32) Rob Gronkowski TE
(33) Ben Tate RB
(34) Julius Thomas TE
(35) Andre Johnson WR
(36) Pierre Garcon WR (Scott)

Andrew: As was previously mentioned, I was confident that I could pick up a good starting second RB here, and I did. But this pick threw me a bit. One spot before my pick, I saw Cobb on the board and was very excited and debating taking my second receiver and hoping for some luck for my RB2. But he was taken, so my eyes went to Alshon Jeffery, but I couldn’t justify having three Bears with my top three picks. Eventually I landed back on RB with the clock winding down fast. Looking back, I would rather have taken Giovani Bernard here. Bush is solid, even better for PPR leagues, but Bernard has that upside that I would have liked better.

Scott: I, too, would have taken Bernard over Bush. I used to be solidly on the Reggie Bush bandwagon – I've had him on at least four teams the last two years – but I'm worried that he could end up as the lesser half of the RB production due on Detroit to Joique Bell (who I desperately wanted and missed by two picks). As for Pierre Garcon, I was kind of in your Bears boat there but I went the other direction. In a vacuum, I would have rather had VJax (who went two picks later) than Garcon, but I didn't want all my eggs in the Bucs' basket. Here's the more important takeaway, however: Had I used my first two picks on two backs, I would have gotten to the second turn here and been able to load up on two receivers from the group of Garcon, Jackson, Cruz, Fitzgerald, Allen and White. That would have been good.

Round: 4
(37) Frank Gore RB (Scott)
(38) Vincent Jackson WR
(39) Victor Cruz WR
(40) DeSean Jackson WR
(41) Andre Ellington RB
(42) Larry Fitzgerald WR
(43) Keenan Allen WR
(44) Matthew Stafford QB
(45) Roddy White WR (Andrew)
(46) C.J. Spiller RB
(47) Andrew Luck QB
(48) Wes Welker WR

Scott: Going back to what I said last round, I think I would have preferred something like a Garcon-Allen WR combo and a Martin-Bell RB tandem to what I got. Frank Gore has to fall off the table at some point, right? That's why San Francisco keeps drafting running backs by the basket-load every spring.

Andrew: No problems here. I had my eye on Stafford, but again had him swiped away one pick prior to mine. All set at running back, I went for the second receiver, giving me a combo of Marshall-White, I like it. Sure we still have the injury and possible age concern here, but I think he’ll see enough action going his way to do bounce back this season.

Round: 5
(49) Percy Harvin WR
(50) Vernon Davis TE
(51) Ray Rice RB
(52) Chris Johnson RB (Andrew)
(53) Trent Richardson RB
(54) Shane Vereen RB
(55) Rashad Jennings RB
(56) Reggie Wayne WR
(57) Toby Gerhart RB
(58) Joique Bell RB
(59) Michael Crabtree WR
(60) T.Y. Hilton WR (Scott)

Andrew: This is the crossroads for me. I came in with the strategy to wait on a QB, big points are to be had late (Brady, Romo, Rivers, Ryan, Cutler all still on the board at pick #94) so I see no need to jump on an early quarterback. There were not too many RBs left to confidently start, so I opted to fill my flex with one I have higher on my boards. A bit of a gamble, but I’d rather get a backup RB before a backup WR, just because WR is so much deeper.

Scott: That's the best thing you've written so far, Andrew. As this draft was going on, I was starting to become jealous of your wait-on-QB strategy. I did go with a receiver in this round, but only because I had another pick on the turn and knew I was taking a back. I don't know if I'm lucky, but I have almost always had good luck with rookie backs (I won a league in part due to Le'Veon Bell last year), so I couldn't resist Sankey.

Round: 6
(61) Bishop Sankey RB (Scott)
(62) Robert Griffin III QB
(63) Julian Edelman WR
(64) Torrey Smith WR
(65) Steven Jackson RB
(66) Michael Floyd WR
(67) Jordan Cameron TE
(68) Cordarrelle Patterson WR
(69) Jason Witten TE (Andrew)
(70) Jeremy Maclin WR
(71) Colin Kaepernick QB
(72) Stevan Ridley RB

Scott: Um, oops. I already wrote about my sixth-round pick after the fifth round, so it seems like I have some free time on my hands here. Perhaps I'll use it to point out that while I'm really high on Hilton, I came thisclose to taking Cordarrelle Patterson instead. Like him a lot this year.

Andrew: As soon as you made your Hilton pick, I had my eyes set on Patterson. By this point, I imagine a handful of people had left the mock, and now we’re starting to deal with those crafty auto-draft computers. Anyways, I generally like to wait on TE because you have those three elite guys that go too early for my taste, then (for the most part) you can get any of 10 TEs that will get you a serviceable amount of points. Usually, I’d wait until round 10 to find my guy, but Witten has always been solid and is a good value here I think. Plus the Cowboys defense is going to be brutal, so any player from their offense is a good bet this year.

Round: 7
(73) Nick Foles QB
(74) Mike Wallace WR
(75) Sammy Watkins WR
(76) Emmanuel Sanders WR (Andrew)
(77) Marques Colston WR
(78) Golden Tate WR
(79) Kendall Wright WR
(80) Danny Woodhead RB
(81) Pierre Thomas RB
(82) Cecil Shorts WR
(83) Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(84) Darren Sproles RB (Scott)

Andrew: That last one brought me near Scott Smith word count levels, so I’ll cool down here. Lots of people are scoffing at Sanders, but Eric Decker ranked eighth in WR fantasy points last year as Peyton’s second target. I think Sanders will do just fine and could be the mid-round gem of your fantasy draft.

Scott: My first three backs have some legitimate question marks, so I thought I needed some more depth. Since I don't believe in an MJD bounce-back and I have no idea what to expect out of Jackson this year, I figured I'd go with Sproles in that Philly offense. This is a (non-existent) PPR league, right? Probably should have checked that first. You might have gotten a better option in the next round (foreshadowing!).

Round: 8
(85) Anquan Boldin WR (Scott)
(86) Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(87) Fred Jackson RB
(88) Eric Decker WR
(89) Terrance Williams WR
(90) Russell Wilson QB
(91) Riley Cooper WR
(92) Chris Ivory RB
(93) Khiry Robinson RB (Andrew)
(94) Tom Brady QB
(95) DeAngelo Williams RB
(96) Greg Olsen TE

Scott: Boring. If Boldin can duplicate what he did last year, I'll be happy, I guess, but this was not a sexy pick at all.

Andrew: What is Khiry Robinson going to do this year? Apparently no one knows. ESPN’s Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell and Christopher Harris all kind of agree (giving him an RB ranking of 40, 41 and 33, respectively). The experts at Yahoo have him ranked anywhere from 46th to 56th best at the position. Look at the NFL.com rankings, he is as high as 35th (Adam Rank) or as low as 71 (Marcas Grant). I guess I need another backup RB since Bush and Forte have the same bye and I’d rather take a upside gamble than anyone left on the board.

Round: 9
(97) DeAndre Hopkins WR
(98) Lamar Miller RB
(99) Dennis Pitta TE
(100) Tony Romo QB (Andrew)
(101) Bernard Pierce RB
(102) Jay Cutler QB
(103) Danny Amendola WR
(104) Matt Ryan QB
(105) Dwayne Bowe WR
(106) Steve Smith WR
(107) Hakeem Nicks WR
(108) Kyle Rudolph TE (Scott)

Andrew: This is why I go quarterback late. Even if Romo had been taken right before my pick, I could have gotten a great fantasy player with Cutler, Ryan or Rivers still on the board. So rather than going for one early and playing catch-up, I now have a more complete starting roster, some significant bench players, and a QB I can start confidently. Save your QB pick for round eight or none. I promise.

Scott: I'm getting beat in this draft, aren't I? Dangit, I'm getting beat by Andrew Norton, who struts around this office like he's some kind of fantasy football wunderkind, preening and rattling off "ADPs" and "targets" whenever the topic comes up. Or at least that's what I'd like you to believe so you'll be on my side. (Seriously, he's insufferable…take my word for it.) Anyway, in my ongoing effort to put the readers to sleep, I follow up Anquan Boldin with Kyle Rudolph. Perfectly fine get for someone waiting late on TE (I would have been fine with Jordan Reed, too), but not exactly wake-up-your-long-suffering-wife-and-tell-her-about-your-great-fantasy-football-ninth-round-steal material, either.

Round: 10
(109) Philip Rivers QB (Scott)
(110) Knowshon Moreno RB
(111) Mike Evans WR
(112) Tre Mason RB
(113) Darren McFadden RB
(114) Mark Ingram RB
(115) Panthers D/ST D/ST
(116) Shonn Greene RB
(117) Greg Jennings WR (Andrew)
(118) Jeremy Hill RB
(119) 49ers D/ST D/ST
(120) Christine Michael RB

Scott: When using the 13th overall pick on a quarterback, make sure you also spend your 10th-round pick on his backup. That's what Andrew Norton has always told me. Was this a mistake? Maybe. I think Rivers is awfully good value in the 10th round, but maybe that's best value for somebody that doesn't already own Drew Brees. I probably should have used that pick for more RB or WR depth, but I just didn't see anybody that excited mea t the time. In retrospect, Moreno, Hill, Hyde or Andre Williams could have been useful picks instead. Is it too late to change the rules so that we're starting two QBs?

Andrew: 1) Listen, I didn’t choose the fantasy football life, the fantasy football life chose me. 2) I don’t completely despise the idea of taking a backup QB, but round 10 might have been a little expensive considering you have Brees. 3) I feel that mine is probably our least sexy pick to this point. If he can stay healthy, he is a solid receiver. There is a lot up in the air in Minnesota, but if he can stay on the field, I like him here. And I can afford to take that gamble, already having four RBs on my roster.

Round: 11
(121) Donald Brown RB
(122) Matt Prater K
(123) Terrance West RB
(124) Carlos Hyde RB (Andrew)
(125) LeGarrette Blount RB
(126) Andre Williams RB
(127) James Starks RB
(128) Tavon Austin WR
(129) Justin Hunter WR
(130) James Jones WR
(131) Ben Roethlisberger QB
(132) Brandin Cooks WR (Scott)

Andrew: Once again duped by the auto-draft. I wanted West, I don’t trust Ben Tate’s injured past. I was thrown to see him taken here and panicked. Is it a terrible pick? No. But a lot needs to happen for him to ever make my starting lineup. Would actually prefer to take the RB you got in the next round.

Scott: Hey, look! A pick I'm still happy about. In my internal narrative, this is the player you really wanted next and instead you had to settle for a lesser NFC South rookie wideout a few rounds later. And you were sad when you made that pick. Look, I love Brandin Cooks. In my real drafts, I'm probably going to go a round earlier on him just to make sure I get him.

Round: 12
(133) Devonta Freeman RB (Scott)
(134) Latavius Murray RB
(135) Broncos D/ST D/ST
(136) Cardinals D/ST D/ST
(137) Chiefs D/ST D/ST
(138) Jordan Reed TE
(139) Rueben Randle WR
(140) Bengals D/ST D/ST
(141) Ka'Deem Carey RB (Andrew)
(142) Martellus Bennett TE
(143) Knile Davis RB
(144) Rams D/ST D/ST

Scott: Man, I hope for real-life-football purposes that I'm wrong about these NFC South rookies, but isn't Devonta Freeman a potential breakout player. Who feels good about Steven Jackson these days? I'm not as into Jacquizz Rodgers as I used to be, so I'm thinking that Freeman has a shot for a major role if Jackson falters. Of course, like all backup RBs taken at this part of the draft, he might also become waiver-wire fodder when I start streaming defenses.

Andrew: Having a top running back makes it more palatable to get his handcuff just in case. Nothing to see here, move along.

Round: 13
(145) C.J. Anderson RB
(146) Jarrett Boykin WR
(147) Steve Johnson WR
(148) Kelvin Benjamin WR (Andrew)
(149) Roy Helu RB
(150) Stephen Gostkowski K
(151) Patriots D/ST D/ST
(152) Mason Crosby K
(153) Andy Dalton QB
(154) Justin Tucker K
(155) Jonathan Stewart RB
(156) Bills D/ST D/ST (Scott)

Andrew: Someone in Carolina has to catch the ball, right? He’s my third favorite fantasy rookie receiver behind Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins. (Sorry, it’s not Cooks.) No problem taking higher risk players in these late rounds, you’re just filling the bench and hoping that one strikes gold. I do agree with your last statement, here’s hoping the NFC South rookies fail to bring our mock teams glory this season.

Scott: Looks like we'll get to see our two fantasy defenses on the same field on Saturday. That will be fun.

Round: 14
(157) Doug Baldwin WR (Scott)
(158) Eli Manning QB
(159) Steven Hauschka K
(160) Phil Dawson K
(161) Josh McCown QB
(162) Johnny Manziel QB
(163) Nick Novak K
(164) Adam Vinatieri K
(165) Buccaneers D/ST D/ST (Andrew)
(166) Dan Bailey K
(167) Markus Wheaton WR
(168) Blair Walsh K

Scott: If you had told me that I would have Doug Baldwin on my team at the end of this draft, I would have chuckled quietly, crossed my legs and turned my leather lounge chair slowly away as if you weren't worthy of my time. I think I was just trying to make you over-confident, Andrew, as if I was hustling you at the pool table. Now we'll do another draft, except this time for money, and he won't be expecting me to be so good. Not sure there's a better explanation of why I took Baldwin over Markus Wheaton.

Andrew: I figured that was the case. You’ve got me right where you want me. I certainly didn’t see that coming. Very happy with my pick here. In the first quarters of the first two preseason games, the starting defense has allowed seven rushing yards on 11 carries and three offensive points. Not to mention the big sack/fumble from last week’s Dolphins game and Lovie Smith’s defensive turnover prowess. Right now, the Bucs D is owned in 59% of ESPN leagues. Expect that number to jump by midseason.

Round: 15
(169) Carson Palmer QB
(170) Charles Clay TE
(171) Miles Austin WR
(172) Andrew Hawkins WR (Andrew)
(173) Jonathan Dwyer RB
(174) Jordan Todman RB
(175) Kenny Stills WR
(176) Jacquizz Rodgers RB
(177) Brandon LaFell WR
(178) BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
(179) Nick Folk K
(180) Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE (Scott)

Andrew: “Who else are they going to pass it to,” seems to be the theme of my draft. If Gordon doesn’t play for a significant stretch, Hawkins will be the go-to receiver in Cleveland.

Scott: No, I don't think ASJ will be drafted in most leagues, but I do think there's a chance he shows up on rosters before it's all said and done. It might actually take a while for him to become a focal point in the Bucs' offense, so there's a good chance he's not on my roster for long, but isn't that usually the case with the player you pick in the 15th round? So this pick was kind of just for the fun of it.

Round: 16
(181) Robbie Gould K (Scott)
(182) Delanie Walker TE
(183) Mike James RB
(184) Zach Ertz TE
(185) Denarius Moore WR
(186) Matt Bryant K
(187) Chris Polk RB
(188) Antonio Gates TE
(189) Alex Henery K (Andrew)
(190) Ravens D/ST D/ST
(191) Lance Dunbar RB
(192) Joe Flacco QB

Scott: I always take my kicker in the last round. I never have anything particularly important to say about it.

Andrew: Agreed.

There we have it. Scott, thank you for playing along. I hope that everyone was able to take something from this to use in their own fantasy football draft this year. If there is one lesson I can end this exercise with, it would be this: Do some mock drafts! Life is much easier when you can relax a little bit in your actual draft because you practiced beforehand.
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