Fantasy football mock drafts: 10-team PPR league
Dan Schneier runs through the takeaways and lessons from a 10-team PPR mock draft after free agency.
Fantasy football mock drafts: 10-team PPR league
Free agency is just about to wrap up its second wave, and with most of the player movement settled, it’s time to start breaking down the new look fantasy football landscape with a good old-fashioned mock draft.
For this draft, it was a 10-team mock hosted by Fantasy Football Calculator. The settings: PPR, 15 rounds, 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 flex, 1 TE, 1 D/ST, 1 K. We drew the No. 7 overall pick in the snake format. We’ll first break down our strategy entering the draft and then analyze the final product on a round-by-round basis.
Strategy going in:
The strategy was simple — load up on the best value at running back and wide receiver for the first 11 rounds unless a glaring value emerges at TE or QB. The idea was to target the wide receiver position in the first few rounds because they have added bonus in a full-point PPR format. It also helps that there is a nice group of potential breakout running backs to be had in the middle rounds. Lastly, there’s no issue with only drafting one tight end or quarterback in a 10-team league — the waiver wire (if this league were real) would be flush with streaming options on a weekly basis.
This strategy is very similar to what we’ve used in the past — 2016 proved that once again a late-round QB and late-round (or streaming) TE strategy is the optimal way to draft.
Team 1: David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
Team 2: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
Team 3: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
Team 4: Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
Team 5: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Team 6: Mike Evans, WR. Buccaneers
PFF (@DanSchneierNFL): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
Team 8: Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Team 9: LeSean McCoy, RB. Bills
Team 10: A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Notes: There is already a big three that has formed with Johnson, Elliott, and Bell. Even in a PPR format, the dropoff between the bottom of that top tier and the next one is steep enough to create the gap. Evans was a dominant fantasy force in 2016, and he’s both talented and young, but who knows how DeSean Jackson and a full season of Cameron Brate will affect him. I’d prefer A.J. Green — the proven commodity’s injury history is the only thing keeping him from being the fourth wide receiver off the board.
My pick: I couldn’t be happier to grab Beckham at No. 7 overall in a PPR format. Brandon Marshall’s presence is a concern, but Beckham scores his touchdowns on big plays. Marshall may take the lion’s share of red-zone targets, but Beckham will get his touchdowns in other ways like he has throughout his career. Also, If Marshall returns to 2015 form, defenses will be forced to leave Beckham one-on-one in some situations.
Team 10: Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
Team 9: DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans
Team 8: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
PFF: Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
Team 6: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
Team 5: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Team 4: Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
Team 3: Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Team 2: Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins
Team 1: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
Notes: Howard is no fluke. In addition to rushing for 5.2 yards per carry — the second-highest average for running backs with at least 150 carries behind LeSean McCoy — Howard dominated our elusive rating metric. He finished as the fifth-most-elusive back thanks in large part to his 2.98 yards after contact average. Michael Thomas’ rise has as much to do with his unique talent as it does the opportunity that has opened up with Brandin Cooks gone. Cooks’ absence doesn’t really affect how the Saints use Thomas and shouldn’t be a huge factor. Jay Ajayi was another back, like Howard, with dominant yards per carry and elusive rating. The difference is Howard runs behind a much stronger run-blocking offensive line.
My pick: I swung for the fences with this pick. If Tony Romo does end up on the Texans, Miller could explode in his second season in Houston. All of the explosive metrics and stats Miller brought into draft season last year are still applicable if he stays healthy. With Romo, he could easily emerge as the top back after the big three.
Team 1: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Team 2: Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders
Team 3: Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
Team 4: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
Team 5: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
Team 6: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
PFF: Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
Team 8: Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
Team 9: Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Team 10: Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
Notes: Gronkowski falls all the way until the top of the third round and I still think it’s a reach. If healthy, Gronkowski in the third round is a potential league-winner. But now, after seven seasons in the NFL, and multiple back and lower-body surgeries, Gronkowski has played half of the season or less in two of his last four seasons. This is a major gamble with so much talent left on the board. Carlos Hyde and Todd Gurley are certainly talented, but playing on awful offenses is tough. Maybe Kyle Shanahan will turn around the 49ers and Sean McVay the Rams. They are probably two of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds.
My pick: I decided to take the most dominating physical threat left at the wide receiver position. Robinson has gone through stretches of dominant play over the past two seasons. If Blake Bortles can turn it around with an upgraded offensive line, Robinson will bounce back in a big way.
Team 10: C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos
Team 9: Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
Team 8: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
PFF: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles
Team 6: Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
Team 5: Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs
Team 4: Adrian Peterson, RB, free agent
Team 3: Davante Adams, WR, Packers
Team 2: DeMaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
Team 1: Brandin Cooks, WR, Patriots
Notes: Even though Anderson’s recovery is going well, this seems like an early pick given his history and the uncertainty of the Broncos offense. If Romo goes to Denver, I take back everything I just wrote. Peterson is an interesting pick — the first free agent of the draft and as early as the fourth round. If Peterson is lucky enough to land in the right situation — like Oakland or Green Bay — he could end up a steal. Fantasy owners are shy about Cooks in the early stages probably because they don’t trust that he’ll get enough targets. I’m more concerned with his ability to quickly pick up a Patriots offensive scheme that has given countless receivers trouble over the years.
My pick: Jeffery has a chance to be an absolute target monster with Carson Wentz. Two years ago, Jeffery had the highest targets-per-route-run rate in the NFL. Wentz can make the throws in between zones that Jeffery can get open in and then use his frame to make the play. He will move up draft boards despite his injury history.
Team 1: Tryeek Hill, WR, Chiefs
Team 2: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
Team 3: Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
Team 4: LeGarrette Blount, RB, free agent
Team 5: Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks
Team 6: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
PFF: Eddie Lacy, RB, Seahawks
Team 8: Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
Team 9: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Team 10: Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks
Notes: There’s a bit of a tight end run at the top. You’ll see the plentiful positions (QB, TE) go on runs when managers scramble if they think there’s a clear top group at either position. Rawls is an interesting pick after Lacy has joined the team and with C.J. Prosise waiting in the wings. I’m not sure Rawls will even be drafted in the first 15 rounds of every draft by the time August rolls around. Blount is a risky pick right now as well without a team. Watkins will return massive value if he can stay healthy for a full season. He has yet to prove that he can.
My pick: At this stage of the draft, I was already looking for home run picks at running back or receiver. This is the perfect time to start doing that. Lacy was one of the most elusive backs in the NFL in 2014 and he looked great when healthy in 2016. I think buying into him on a roster with Russell Wilson is a good move at this stage of the draft.
Team 10: Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings
Team 9: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Team 8: Brandon Marshall, WR, Giants
PFF: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
Team 6: Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
Team 5: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Team 4: Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
Team 3: Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders
Team 2: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
Team 1: Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Notes: Marshall is an excellent pick. He may be a bit older, but he trains like he just entered his prime. If he can stay healthy, this will be the first time in years that he sees single coverage and No. 2 cornerbacks. He can do a lot under those circumstances. Doug Martin is someone whose draft stock will fluctuate from now until draft time like a roller coaster thanks to his off-field issues and streakiness as a fantasy contributor.
My pick: Abdullah looked to seize a legitimate role with the Lions until an unlucky injury ruined it. Abdullah doesn’t have a vast history of injuries dating back throughout his football career, but he does have some dominant college game tape and an off the chart elusive rating. Abdullah is a potential home-run pick with a core already in place.
Team 1: Jamaal Charles, RB, free agent
Team 2: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Team 3: Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
Team 4: Golden Tate, WR, Lions
Team 5: Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts
Team 6: Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
PFF: Paul Perkins, RB, Giants
Team 8: Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
Team 9: Frank Gore, RB, Colts
Team 10: Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins
Notes: Charles in Round 7 is interesting because we know that this will dramatically change by August. After a major knee surgery and no contract with any team in hand, Charles is a wild card. Newton had fewer rushing attempts in 2016 than any prior year. A surgery to his throwing shoulder doesn’t inspire confidence in a bounce-back season. Moncrief was a fourth-rounder last year and seventh-rounder now, but what has changed? If he can stay healthy, he’s going to be a value if he stays in this price range. Pryor could have a tough time picking up the Redskins’ scheme and building immediate chemistry with Kirk Cousins.
My pick: The upside is obvious, but Perkins is not a home-run pick. It’s clear the Giants have big plans for their 2016 rookie in 2017. They released Rashad Jennings and have since re-signed and signed special-teams and third-down backs Orleans Darkwa and Shaun Draughn. Shane Vereen is on the roster, but he has a specialty. Perkins will get first crack at the starting job unless the Giants draft a running back in the first round. Perkins made two total starts in 2016 and rushed for over 100 yards in one of them. He was the only Giants running back to rush for 100 yards or more in a game in 2016.
Team 10: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Team 9: Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers
Team 8: Theo Riddick, RB, Lions
PFF: Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
Team 6: Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots
Team 5: Martellus Bennett, TE, Packers
Team 4: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Team 3: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
Team 2: Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
Team 1: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
Notes: Carr will return his weapons and offensive line and this time he has Jared Cook to threaten the seam at tight end. Riddick is always a contributor in PPR leagues when healthy and shouldn’t lose his role in the offense. Henry is oozing with upside but probably needs a DeMarco Murray injury to have any value. If the Broncos sign Romo, Sanders is a steal here.
My pick: Coleman is a bit of a home-run pick after building a core group at WR, but he could very likely emerge as the No. 1 now that Terrelle Pryor is replaced by Kenny Britt. Coleman exploded for five receptions, 104 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 before getting injured and never coming back the same. It doesn’t hurt Coleman or any Browns skill position player that the Browns invested so much money in the offensive line this offseason. Of course, this pick could bust fast if the Browns can’t figure out their quarterback situation.
Team 1: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns
Team 2: Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers
Team 3: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens
Team 4: Matt Forte, RB, Jets
Team 5: C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks
Team 6: Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
PFF: Rob Kelley, RB, Redskins
Team 8: Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Packers
Team 9: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
Team 10: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
Notes: Crowell could be a great value here behind what should be an improved offensive line. Dixon would have been a much trendier pick if not for the suspension. Prosise’s ceiling is capped by the other back on Seattle’s roster. Diggs could be a steal here in a PPR league.
My pick: In Round 9, the RB position is always a barren wasteland. Why not take a chance on Kelley here? The Redskins didn’t sign any threats in free agency and Kelley was actually quite efficient in 2016 as a rookie. Kelley finished with our second-best elusive rating behind just Jay Ajayi.
Team 10: Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins
Team 9: Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans
Team 8: Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals
PFF: DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
Team 6: Danny Woodhead, RB, Ravens
Team 5: Eric Decker, WR, Jets
Team 4: Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
Team 3: Broncos D/ST
Team 2: Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles
Team 1: Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
Notes: Crowder is a steal here in PPR leagues. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone, Crowder is the only holdover pass-catcher Kirk Cousins trusts aside from Jordan Reed — a tight end. Cobb has really fallen down draft boards these past two seasons. Woodhead could end up a steal here and yet his draft stock won’t rise too much thanks to the uncertainty.
My pick: I continue the trend of picking high-upside players with Jackson. The Redskins took a few timely deep shots per game, but their offensive scheme wasn’t assembled to attack vertically. The opposite is true for Dirk Koetter’s Buccaneers. They want to attack down the field and Jackson is the perfect wide receiver to do so with.
Team 1: Chiefs D/ST
Team 2: Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans
Team 3: Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
Team 4: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
Team 5: Texans D/ST
Team 6: Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
PFF: Willie Snead, WR, Saints
Team 8: Seahawks D/ST
Team 9: DeAngelo Williams, RB, free agent
Team 10: Vikings D/ST
Notes: Shepard could end up underrated — Eli Manning has always favored his slot receiver. Matthews seems like a name-brand pick at this point. He hasn’t done much to inspire since early in the 2015 seasons. Maclin was not as major of an offensive focal point in 2016 vs. 2015 and it’s hard to tell if that will change.
My pick: Snead was once again criminally undervalued here — especially after the Saints traded away Cooks.
Team 10: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
Team 9: Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
Team 8: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
PFF: Kevin White, WR, Bears
Team 6: Patriots D/ST
Team 5: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Team 4: Cardinals D/ST
Team 3: Eli Manning, QB, Giants
Team 2: Giants D/ST
Team 1: Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins
Notes: Doctson is the most intriguing name in this round. Doctson was the No. 10 overall prospect the PFF draft guide last season. An Achilles injury derailed his rookie season, but he finished with the second-most yards per route run in his final season at TCU in 2015. He also finished with 553 yards and nine touchdowns on deep passes in 2015. With the new additions in Philadelphia (Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery), Ertz seems like a reach here. Given his history of struggling in the red zone, Ertz doesn’t offer much upside anymore.
My pick: I waited one round too long to select a quarterback. My mistake here is a great example of what drafters should avoid. You need to come into each draft with tiers at each position — especially quarterback and tight end. Entering this round, I had Jameis Winston and Eli Manning as the last two quarterback before a tier dropoff. I thought I could wait one more round and grab Manning then, but in this mock draft, that wasn’t the case. I like White as an incredible value here and potential late-round league winner if he becomes a target hog in a dry Bears wide receiver corps, but it’s not worth missing at quarterback.
Team 1: DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Team 2: Marvin Jones, WR, Lions
Team 3: Chris Ivory, RB, Jaguars
Team 4: Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
Team 5: Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
Team 6: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
PFF: Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys*
Team 8: Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers
Team 9: Ravens D/ST
Team 10: Kenny Britt, WR, Browns
Notes: Ivory could end up being a league-winning pick if the Jaguars can get their offensive line together as Tom Coughlin pours resources into the position group. Parker and Jones seem like reaches who are being drafted on name and talent alone. Both players fell out of favor in the targets pecking order and not much should change. Lee is a reach here as the No. 3 target for Blake Bortles. Sims could end up being a steal if Doug Martin is not with the team in 2017 due to off-field issues.
My pick: Romo is a dropoff for me from Winston and Manning, but he should put up borderline QB1 numbers and can be used as a quality quarterback in plus matchups. The quarterback position is so easy to stream that I’m not worried. There will be waiver-wire additions with great matchups to help me in case of a Romo injury or poor matchup. If Romo joins the Texans, he gets Bill O’Brien’s offensive mind, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Lamar Miller. If he joins the Broncos, he gets DeMaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and C.J. Anderson. He’s going to have a strong supporting cast either way.
Team 10: Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
Team 9: Matt Bryant, K, Falcons
Team 8: Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
PFF: Panthers D/ST
Team 6: Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
Team 5: Cairo Santos, K, Chiefs
Team 4: Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
Team 3: Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts
Team 2: Mason Crosby, K, Packers
Team 1: Brandon McManus, K, Broncos
Notes: Do your best to convince your commissioner to get rid of the kicker position. That’s all I have to say about a round dominated by this position.
My pick: Panthers are a nice bounce-back candidate with a healthy Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short and after adding Julius Peppers to the mix.
Team 1: James White, RB, Patriots
Team 2: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers
Team 3: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
Team 4: Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
Team 5: Michael Floyd, WR, free agent
Team 6: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
PFF: Matt Prater, K, Lions
Team 8: Cameron Meredith, WR, Bears
Team 9: Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles
Team 10: Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers
Notes: Henry and Green could end up as trendy tight end fliers who move up into the eight- to 10th-round range with the right preseason buzz and good health.