Fantasy football mock drafts: A 12-teamer before the draft

It's smart to see where everything stands before the NFL draft throws it all out of whack, so the PFF Fantasy team got together for an early-April mock.

| 2 months ago
(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

Fantasy football mock drafts: A 12-teamer before the draft

The calm before the storm…

We’re three weeks away from the NFL draft. Free agency has been in motion for a month so the onslaught of news has lessened to a crawl. Analysts have declared what each team needs in the draft. So now it’s time to wait…

Or mock draft with some of the brightest minds in the business!

All offseason, we’ll be running through a variety of mocks to keep fantasy players abreast of trends and strategies as we see them. First up is a 12-team PPR league.

Walton Spurlin, Pat Thorman, Mike Castiglione, Michael Moore, Jeff Ratcliffe, Jon Moore, Scott Barrett, Tyler Loechner, Chase Howell, Joey Cartolano, Daniel Kelley, and I all took part in this mock draft. In each of the tables I also included the player’s current ADP according to

Round 1

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
1.01 1 1 Johnson, David ARI RB Walton Spurlin
1.02 2 2 Bell, Le’Veon PIT RB Pat Thorman
1.03 3 3 Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB Mike Castiglione
1.04 4 4 Brown, Antonio PIT WR Michael Moore
1.05 5 6 Beckham, Odell NYG WR Jeff Ratcliffe
1.06 6 7 Evans, Mike TBB WR Jon Moore
1.07 7 5 Jones, Julio ATL WR Scott Barrett
1.08 8 9 Green, A.J. CIN WR Tyler Loechner
1.09 9 15 Bryant, Dez DAL WR Chase Howell
1.10 10 12 Howard, Jordan CHI RB Brandon Marianne Lee
1.11 11 17 Thomas, Michael NOS WR Joey Cartolano
1.12 12 10 Freeman, Devonta ATL RB Daniel Kelley

The top four players are basically indisputable. The rest of the top 12 are interchangeable. No one wins or loses at this point in the draft.

Jon Moore pointed out during the draft that Winston targeted Mike Evans on 29 percent of his snaps in route last season, the highest rate of any wideout with 90-plus targets. He also believes that the arrival of DeSean Jackson and the emergence of Cameron Brate will spread out the defense and Evans will excel.

I will point out that Michael Thomas is the newest edition to the elite wide receiver club. With the departure of Brandin Cooks, Thomas solidified his role and Drew Brees’ No. 1 option. I say solidify, because if you were paying attention, he earned that role with or without Cooks on the field during his rookie season. Thomas led the team in targets (119), catches (92), and touchdowns (9), while Cooks’ 1,175 yards just edged out Thomas’ 1,137. Thomas is the guy.

Another addition to the elite running back club is Jordan Howard. Ezekiel Elliott led the league with 1,631 yards, but Howard was second with 1,313 yards even though he didn’t get the opportunity to be the starter until Week 4. Howard managed 5.2 yards per carry and an impressive 3.0 yards after contact. He will get volume while playing on the rebuilding Bears offense.

Rounds 2-3

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
2.01 13 16 Hilton, T.Y. IND WR Daniel Kelley
2.02 14 11 Gordon, Melvin LAC RB Joey Cartolano
2.03 15 8 McCoy, LeSean BUF RB Brandon Marianne Lee
2.04 16 18 Ajayi, Jay MIA RB Chase Howell
2.05 17 13 Nelson, Jordy GBP WR Tyler Loechner
2.06 18 21 Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE Scott Barrett
2.07 19 22 Cooper, Amari OAK WR Jon Moore
2.08 20 25 Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR Jeff Ratcliffe
2.09 21 29 Cooks, Brandin NEP WR Michael Moore
2.10 22 45 Watkins, Sammy BUF WR Mike Castiglione
2.11 23 30 Robinson, Allen JAC WR Pat Thorman
2.12 24 36 Landry, Jarvis MIA WR Walton Spurlin
3.01 25 39 Jeffery, Alshon PHI WR Walton Spurlin
3.02 26 14 Murray, DeMarco TEN RB Pat Thorman
3.03 27 24 Baldwin, Doug SEA WR Mike Castiglione
3.04 28 27 Ingram, Mark NOS RB Michael Moore
3.05 29 28 Allen, Keenan LAC WR Jeff Ratcliffe
3.06 30 41 Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR Jon Moore
3.07 31 19 Gurley, Todd LAR RB Scott Barrett
3.08 32 26 Hyde, Carlos SFO RB Tyler Loechner
3.09 33 20 Miller, Lamar HOU RB Chase Howell
3.10 34 38 Adams, Davante GBP WR Brandon Marianne Lee
3.11 35 60 Pryor, Terrelle WAS WR Joey Cartolano
3.12 36 23 Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB Daniel Kelley

At the top of the list you’ll see that LeSean McCoy was a steal dropping into the second round. He turns 29 years old in July, but last year he posted a career-high 5.4 yards per carry. It feels like he has one more elite year in the tank. That was my pick, so I’ll admit to you that I wasn’t thrilled with starting my draft with two running backs considering it is a PPR league, but the value was too strong to ignore.

The Todd Gurley pick at 3.08 was polarizing. The conversation bled over to email, where Jeff Ratcliffe pointed out that Gurley as the 31st pick is great value, even though the guy who drafted him, Scott Barrett, wrote “yuck” next to his pick in the draft room. I tend to agree with Ratcliffe on this one. While Barrett pointed out that he only has 100-yard game over the last 24 and a 3.4 yards-per-carry average over that timeframe, Ratcliffe and Tyler Loechner argued that he has the fifth-most attempts last season, even if the quality wasn’t necessarily there, and his offensive line should be improved. But the most convincing argument was “No more Jeff Fisher.”

You’ll also notice that Joey Cartolano valued Terrelle Pryor more than the ADP suggests. Pryor will be that kind of player in your drafts — the one that someone in your draft will take early because they believe in his talent, and perhaps are doubtful that Josh Docston will develop in his sophomore season to be the WR1 on a Washington team led by an accurate Kirk Cousins. A full offseason will help to clarify this situation, but for now, Cartolano is #TeamPryor

Rounds 4-6

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
4.01 37 49 Reed, Jordan WAS TE Daniel Kelley
4.02 38 35 Kelce, Travis KCC TE Joey Cartolano
4.03 39 34 Edelman, Julian NEP WR Brandon Marianne Lee
4.04 40 50 Luck, Andrew IND QB Chase Howell
4.05 41 37 Ware, Spencer KCC RB Tyler Loechner
4.06 42 72 Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR Scott Barrett
4.07 43 104 Coleman, Corey CLE WR Jon Moore
4.08 44 54 Lacy, Eddie SEA RB Jeff Ratcliffe
4.09 45 90 Montgomery, Ty GBP RB Michael Moore
4.10 46 62 Moncrief, Donte IND WR Mike Castiglione
4.11 47 87 Crowder, Jamison WAS WR Pat Thorman
4.12 48 47 Coleman, Tevin ATL RB Walton Spurlin
5.01 49 77 Wilson, Russell SEA QB Walton Spurlin
5.02 50 51 Crabtree, Michael OAK WR Pat Thorman
5.03 51 31 Anderson, C.J. DEN RB Mike Castiglione
5.04 52 78 Diggs, Stefon MIN WR Michael Moore
5.05 53 NR McCaffrey, Christian FA RB (R) Jeff Ratcliffe
5.06 54 68 Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB Jon Moore
5.07 55 NR Cook, Dalvin FA RB (R) Scott Barrett
5.08 56 53 Marshall, Brandon NYG WR Tyler Loechner
5.09 57 63 Benjamin, Kelvin CAR WR Chase Howell
5.10 58 57 Tate, Golden DET WR Brandon Marianne Lee
5.11 59 NR Fournette, Leonard FA RB(R) Joey Cartolano
5.12 60 55 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR Daniel Kelley
6.01 61 58 Powell, Bilal NYJ RB Daniel Kelley
6.02 62 42 Hill, Tyreek KCC WR Joey Cartolano
6.03 63 43 Brees, Drew NOS QB Brandon Marianne Lee
6.04 64 56 Eifert, Tyler CIN TE Chase Howell
6.05 65 33 Peterson, Adrian MIN RB Tyler Loechner
6.06 66 32 Brady, Tom NEP QB Scott Barrett
6.07 67 89 Perkins, Paul NYG RB Jon Moore
6.08 68 46 Olsen, Greg CAR TE Jeff Ratcliffe
6.09 69 61 Graham, Jimmy SEA TE Michael Moore
6.10 70 70 Bryant, Martavis PIT WR Mike Castiglione
6.11 71 91 Jackson, DeSean TBB WR Pat Thorman
6.12 72 67 Riddick, Theo DET RB Walton Spurlin

Daniel Kelley let the draft room know that he would not normally draft Jordan Reed this high, but decided to try a different strategy for this mock. Reed was the second tight end taken off the board in this draft, even though both Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen have higher ADPs. Reed is a dynamic player, but perhaps Kelce and Olsen usually go before him due to their consistency. Olsen led the league with 122 targets last year, and Kelce was second in receptions (85). Which tight end had the most receptions in 2016? Dennis Pitta, a man hell-bent on proving that opportunities don’t always translate to fantasy production. Pitta is the exception, not the rule.

Please note that Adrian Peterson, the free agent, went at pick No. 65. This could be a value pick, or a disaster, but it’s a much more reasonable place to take him than at his No. 33 ADP. After making the pick, Tyler Loechnoer told the draft room, “OK. In the sixth round, I’m fine with this.” I wrote about how Peterson is a potential bust and unlikely to bounce back this season. I’m not going to go off the rails here and do another expose on this player, but do know that you absolutely do not need to draft Peterson in the second or third round to get him if you really want him. Please wait.

You’ll also notice that the big-three rookies that will enter the league this year in the draft went off the board starting in the fifth round. This is a PPR league, so the dynamic pass-catcher Christian McCaffrey went off the board first. Then Dalvin Cook and then Leonard Fournette. Personally, I do not draft rookies until double-digit rounds prior to knowing their team and/or role. So much of a player’s productivity is based on role, so it’s incredibly difficult to guarantee a return on a fifth-round investment. Even if you are playing in dynasty formats, encourage your commissioner to have the draft and/or determine keepers after the official NFL draft.

Rounds 7-9

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
7.01 73 141 Lynch, Marshawn FA* RB Walton Spurlin
7.02 74 74 Henry, Derrick TEN RB Pat Thorman
7.03 75 52 Ryan, Matt ATL QB Mike Castiglione
7.04 76 79 Carr, Derek OAK QB Michael Moore
7.05 77 115 Parker, DeVante MIA WR Jeff Ratcliffe
7.06 78 111 Henry, Hunter LAC TE Jon Moore
7.07 79 NR Mixon, Joe FA RB (R) Scott Barrett
7.08 80 80 Lewis, Dion NEP RB Tyler Loechner
7.09 81 94 Cobb, Randall GBP WR Chase Howell
7.10 82 82 Matthews, Rishard TEN WR Brandon Marianne Lee
7.11 83 143 Meredith, Cameron CHI WR Joey Cartolano
7.12 84 113 Snead, Willie NOS WR Daniel Kelley
8.01 85 73 Abdullah, Ameer DET RB Daniel Kelley
8.02 86 96 Bernard, Giovani CIN RB Joey Cartolano
8.03 87 130 Britt, Kenny CLE WR Brandon Marianne Lee
8.04 88 101 Matthews, Jordan PHI WR Chase Howell
8.05 89 66 Walker, Delanie TEN TE Tyler Loechner
8.06 90 157 Garcon, Pierre SFO WR Scott Barrett
8.07 91 44 Murray, Latavius MIN RB Jon Moore
8.08 92 86 Decker, Eric NYJ WR Jeff Ratcliffe
8.09 93 84 Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB Michael Moore
8.10 94 93 Prosise, C.J. SEA RB Mike Castiglione
8.11 95 145 Brown, John ARI WR Pat Thorman
8.12 96 NR Davis, Corey FA WR (R) Walton Spurlin
9.01 97 NR Williams, Mike FA WR (R) Walton Spurlin
9.02 98 92 Woodhead, Danny BAL RB Pat Thorman
9.03 99 85 Ertz, Zach PHI TE Mike Castiglione
9.04 100 121 Doctson, Josh WAS WR Michael Moore
9.05 101 NR Kamara, Alvin FA RB (R) Jeff Ratcliffe
9.06 102 NR Williams, Tyrell LAC WR Jon Moore
9.07 103 168 Thielen, Adam MIN WR Scott Barrett
9.08 104 69 Newton, Cam CAR QB Tyler Loechner
9.09 105 40 Rawls, Thomas SEA RB Chase Howell
9.10 106 95 Kelley, Rob WAS RB Brandon Marianne Lee
9.11 107 137 Johnson, Duke CLE RB Joey Cartolano
9.12 108 NR Ross, John FA WR (R) Daniel Kelley

It’s clear that our analysts are higher on some players than the public, and way lower. It’s in these next few rounds that you can see trends and sleepers emerge.

First, Cameron Meredith is either the WR1 or WR2 for the Bears. Yes, Kevin White has all the potential in the world, but in two years White has only played in four games, caught 19 passes for 187 yards and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Meredith entered the league at the same time as White and came out of nowhere and became the Bears’ No. 1 wide out by the end of the season. Sure, White could take a big step forward and become the player that the Chicago front office thought he would be, but that would still make Meredith an incredibly good WR2. His ADP will climb as the offseason progresses, but for now, get him at a steal.

Although on paper it looks like a reach, Scott Barrett’s Adam Thielen pick at 9.07 was right in line with how the Vikings value this undrafted free agent who they just signed to a $19 million contract over the offseason. Thielen, like Meredith, is an ADP mystery.

Latavius Murray and Thomas Rawls both went quite a bit lower in this draft than their ADPs would suggest. Murray came to the Vikings from the Raiders, and the Vikings offensive line ranked 29th last season. Murray played behind the Raiders’ offensive line that ranked fourth in the league, and only averaged 4.0 yards per carry. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which his fantasy value doesn’t take a hit. And one would have to assume that the current ADP hasn’t taken into consideration that the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy.

Also note that the top two wide receivers who will enter the league in the draft later this month both went at the eighth and ninth round turn. Corey Davis and Mike Williams could both have fantasy relevance, so keep an eye on them moving forward.

Rounds 10-12

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
10.01 109 48 Blount, LeGarrette NEP RB Daniel Kelley
10.02 110 135 Wallace, Mike BAL WR Joey Cartolano
10.03 111 100 Shepard, Sterling NYG WR Brandon Marianne Lee
10.04 112 102 Broncos, Denver DEN Def Chase Howell
10.05 113 136 White, Kevin CHI WR Tyler Loechner
10.06 114 185 Ginn Jr., Ted NOS WR Scott Barrett
10.07 115 112 Winston, Jameis TBB QB Jon Moore
10.08 116 83 Prescott, Dak DAL QB Jeff Ratcliffe
10.09 117 108 Maclin, Jeremy KCC WR Michael Moore
10.10 118 152 McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB Mike Castiglione
10.11 119 NR Doyle, Jack IND TE Pat Thorman
10.12 120 105 Bennett, Martellus GBP TE Walton Spurlin
11.01 121 161 Ebron, Eric DET TE Walton Spurlin
11.02 122 97 Cousins, Kirk WAS QB Pat Thorman
11.03 123 NR Hunt, Kareem FA RB (R) Mike Castiglione
11.04 124 75 Forte, Matt NYJ RB Michael Moore
11.05 125 190 Perriman, Breshad BAL WR Jeff Ratcliffe
11.06 126 81 Brate, Cameron TBB TE Jon Moore
11.07 127 98 Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE Scott Barrett
11.08 128 129 Lockett, Tyler SEA WR Tyler Loechner
11.09 129 64 Hill, Jeremy CIN RB Chase Howell
11.10 130 179 Hooper, Austin ATL TE Brandon Marianne Lee
11.11 131 99 Mariota, Marcus TEN QB Joey Cartolano
11.12 132 153 Miller, Zach CHI TE Daniel Kelley
12.01 133 126 Jones, Marvin DET WR Daniel Kelley
12.02 134 151 Gordon, Josh CLE WR Joey Cartolano
12.03 135 205 Boyd, Tyler CIN WR Brandon Marianne Lee
12.04 136 182 Fuller, Will HOU WR Chase Howell
12.05 137 109 Booker, Devontae DEN RB Tyler Loechner
12.06 138 65 Charles, Jamaal FA RB Scott Barrett
12.07 139 199 Enunwa, Quincy NYJ WR Jon Moore
12.08 140 142 Green, Ladarius PIT TE Jeff Ratcliffe
12.09 141 172 Fleener, Coby NOS TE Michael Moore
12.10 142 76 Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB Mike Castiglione
12.11 143 116 Rivers, Philip LAC QB Pat Thorman
12.12 144 NR Nelson, J.J. ARI WR Walton Spurlin

LeGarrette Blount still doesn’t have a team, so even though his ADP is high, he went off the board at the beginning of the double-digit rounds. Same can be said for Jamaal Charles, a very interesting 12th-round pick.

Walton Spurlin went back-to-back tight ends with Martellus Bennett and Eric Ebron. He noted that Aaron Rodgers will love having a big TE that can catch the ball, and that Ebron put up career highs last season in targets, receptions and yards. Both options come with risk, but he’s banking on one of them working out and he liked knocking out that position with one big turn.

Jeff Ratcliffe took Dak Prescott the pick after Jon Moore took Jameis Winston in the 10th round. I found this intriguing because both of those players offer tremendous upside while being undisputed starters at their position. You can get them both in the double-digit rounds, and I’m sure that they will rotate as to who will have a higher rank based on who’s list you’re referencing. They are practically interchangeable and it’s a very good strategy to go with them late and to grab talent at the other positions early.

Even more intriguing is that Pat Thorman took Kirk Cousins a round later. Surely, the instability within the Washington clubhouse attributes to Cousins’ declining fantasy ADP, but it’s also a weapons concern. The team lost both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, and picked up Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick.

Rounds 13-16

Round Pick ADP Player Manager
13.01 145 107 Stafford, Matthew DET QB Walton Spurlin
13.02 146 140 Burkhead, Rex NEP RB Pat Thorman
13.03 147 NR Howard, O.J. FA TE (R) Mike Castiglione
13.04 148 148 Taylor, Tyrod BUF QB Michael Moore
13.05 149 88 Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB Jeff Ratcliffe
13.06 150 132 White, James NEP RB Jon Moore
13.07 151 71 Gore, Frank IND RB Scott Barrett
13.08 152 173 Allen, Dwayne NEP TE Tyler Loechner
13.09 153 144 Beasley, Cole DAL WR Chase Howell
13.10 154 150 Yeldon, T.J. JAC RB Brandon Marianne Lee
13.11 155 NR Funchess, Devin CAR WR Joey Cartolano
13.12 156 59 Martin, Doug TBB RB Daniel Kelley
14.01 157 NR Samuel, Curtis FA WR (R) Daniel Kelley
14.02 158 170 Washington, DeAndre OAK RB Joey Cartolano
14.03 159 207 Stills, Kenny MIA WR Brandon Marianne Lee
14.04 160 171 Witten, Jason DAL TE Chase Howell
14.05 161 209 Richardson, Paul SEA WR Tyler Loechner
14.06 162 149 Palmer, Carson ARI QB Scott Barrett
14.07 163 134 Dalton, Andy CIN QB Jon Moore
14.08 164 NR Perine, Samaje FA RB(R) Jeff Ratcliffe
14.09 165 NR Foreman, D’Onta FA RB(R) Michael Moore
14.10 166 146 Lee, Marqise JAC WR Mike Castiglione
14.11 167 192 Woods, Robert LAR WR Pat Thorman
14.12 168 117 Sims, Charles TBB RB Walton Spurlin
15.01 169 114 Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def Walton Spurlin
15.02 170 NR Higbee, Tyler LAR TE Pat Thorman
15.03 171 119 Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def Mike Castiglione
15.04 172 103 Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def Michael Moore
15.05 173 120 Patriots, New England NEP Def Jeff Ratcliffe
15.06 174 211 Chargers, Los Angeles LAC Def Jon Moore
15.07 175 162 Gostkowski, Stephen NEP PK Scott Barrett
15.08 176 110 Texans, Houston HOU Def Tyler Loechner
15.09 177 195 Tannehill, Ryan MIA QB Chase Howell
15.10 178 177 Fiedorowicz, C.J. HOU TE Brandon Marianne Lee
15.11 179 NR Engram, Evan FA TE (R) Joey Cartolano
15.12 180 127 Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def Daniel Kelley
16.01 181 139 Tucker, Justin BAL PK Daniel Kelley
16.02 182 133 Giants, New York NYG Def Joey Cartolano
16.03 183 160 Wentz, Carson PHI QB Brandon Marianne Lee
16.04 184 186 Vinatieri, Adam IND PK Chase Howell
16.05 185 155 Bryant, Matt ATL PK Tyler Loechner
16.06 186 125 Ivory, Chris JAC RB Scott Barrett
16.07 187 165 Bailey, Dan DAL PK Jon Moore
16.08 188 193 Crosby, Mason GBP PK Jeff Ratcliffe
16.09 189 212 McManus, Brandon DEN PK Michael Moore
16.10 190 228 Aguayo, Roberto TBB PK Mike Castiglione
16.11 191 197 Falcons, Atlanta ATL DEF Pat Thorman
16.12 192 NR Gould, Robbie SFO PK Walton Spurlin

It may only be April, but it’s never too early for a friendly reminder to read your league settings. Yes, I was one of the people who didn’t do that and didn’t realize we were doing a mock that contained a defense and kicker. That is unacceptable, but if you can’t learn from my mistakes prior to the draft, then what’s the point of it all?

Tyler Loechner’s Paul Richardson pick is the perfect example of what you should do toward the end of the draft. Richardson had a bit of a hot streak at the end of last season and caught seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs. When you’re this late in the draft, go with upside, someone you think could be a big-time contributor. He may not. So what? Even if this was a real draft, you would just drop him at little cost to you and your fantasy team.

It’s shocking to me that Charles Sims dropped to the 14th round in a PPR league. Sims has surgery due to a pectoral injury and his 2016 season was cut short with only 51 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown. However, he also caught 24 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. In 2015, Sims was one of PFF’s highest-graded running backs and averaged 3.2 catches and 35.1 receiving yards per game. He’s not going to be an every-week starter, but he’s certainly someone you should consider for the flex in a PPR league.

Things change. The NFL draft at the end of the month is going to disrupt a lot of roles. But right now, this is a good assessment of where the fantasy talent resides and who you should target early on.

Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

  • Mr Snrub

    Jesus Christ, you should all resign. Terrible, just terrible.