Fantasy football mock drafts: A full redraft with all the rookies in place

The PFF Fantasy team held a full mock draft coming out of the player-acquisition period. Scott Barrett identifies the top lessons.

| 3 weeks ago
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Fantasy football mock drafts: A full redraft with all the rookies in place

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding a little life with dried tubers.” – T.S. Eliot

I was told by a high school teacher that when Eliot wrote these lines in The Waste Land he was speaking of his own battles with depression. I like to re-imagine these lines in terms of my own symptoms of withdrawal following the end of fantasy season. Despite the harsh weather winter provides, it’s too often negated by the joys and excitement fantasy football provides us. February is not the cruelest month because the season is finally over. April instead earns that distinction because we know how close we are and, yet, how slow those final days seem to drag on. But, alas, here we are in May. The NFL draft is over and fantasy season begins again.

Our next several months will be spent tea-leaf-reading coach-speak and agonizing over the various draft strategies we may or may not employ. Earlier this week we concluded a staff mock draft. This will ultimately look far different than our drafts in July, but today, it is a mock draft at its most pure — not yet corrupted by fantasy group-think or something a head coach had said that was inevitably blown-out of proportion and taken far out of context.

As much as I love inventing new stats or agonizing over rookie landing spots, there’s nothing I’d rather do at present than review our most recent mock draft. If you’re a true degenerate such as myself, real-life drafts are currently taking place at MyFantasyLeague here.

Round 1

Pick Ovr Franchise Selection
1.01 1 Mike Castiglione Bell, Le’Veon PIT RB
1.02 2 Dan Schneier Johnson, David ARI RB
1.03 3 Jeff Ratcliffe Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB
1.04 4 Michael Moore Brown, Antonio PIT WR
1.05 5 Joey Cartolano Jones, Julio ATL WR
1.06 6 Brandon Marianne Lee Beckham, Odell NYG WR
1.07 7 Pat Thorman Green, A.J. CIN WR
1.08 8 Scott Barrett Gordon, Melvin LAC RB
1.09 9 Daniel Kelley Evans, Mike TBB WR
1.10 10 Tyler Loechner McCoy, LeSean BUF RB
1.11 11 Walton Spurlin Thomas, Michael NOS WR
1.12 12 Jon Moore Ajayi, Jay MIA RB

Round 1 went pretty much as expected. The three “uber-backs” were selected in the first three picks, followed by four consecutive wide receivers. After A.J. Green fell at No. 7, my first tier of players was gone and I was left picking between Melvin Gordon and Mike Evans from the start of my second tier of players. Given the lack of depth behind Gordon, I feel strongly about his potential as a bell-cow running back on, what’s looking like, one of the most potent offenses in football.

Round 2

2.01 13 Jon Moore Howard, Jordan CHI RB
2.02 14 Walton Spurlin Bryant, Dez DAL WR
2.03 15 Tyler Loechner Freeman, Devonta ATL RB
2.04 16 Daniel Kelley Gurley, Todd LAR RB
2.05 17 Scott Barrett Nelson, Jordy GBP WR
2.06 18 Pat Thorman Murray, DeMarco TEN RB
2.07 19 Brandon Marianne Lee Fournette, Leonard JAC RB (R)
2.08 20 Joey Cartolano Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR
2.09 21 Michael Moore Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE
2.10 22 Jeff Ratcliffe Hilton, T.Y. IND WR
2.11 23 Dan Schneier Robinson, Allen JAC WR
2.12 24 Mike Castiglione Cooper, Amari OAK WR

There were relatively few surprises in Round 2, outside of Brandon Marianne Lee selecting rookie running back Leonard Fournette. I’m not as in love with the landing spot as she appears to be, but I do understand the appeal. The Jaguars are likely shifting to a more run-first approach in 2017, and Fournette projects to dominate goal-line carries as early as Week 1, and in standard leagues his deficiencies as a receiver are far less detrimental. Coming off of their pedestrian 2016 seasons, I also would have preferred a better discount on DeAndre Hopkins (2.08) and Allen Robinson (2.11).

Round 3

3.01 25 Mike Castiglione McCaffrey, Christian CAR RB (R)
3.02 26 Dan Schneier Cooks, Brandin NEP WR
3.03 27 Jeff Ratcliffe Jeffery, Alshon PHI WR
3.04 28 Michael Moore Mixon, Joe CIN RB (R)
3.05 29 Joey Cartolano Davis, Corey TEN WR (R)
3.06 30 Brandon Marianne Lee Baldwin, Doug SEA WR
3.07 31 Pat Thorman Miller, Lamar HOU RB
3.08 32 Scott Barrett Watkins, Sammy BUF WR
3.09 33 Daniel Kelley Allen, Keenan LAC WR
3.10 34 Tyler Loechner Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB
3.11 35 Walton Spurlin Hyde, Carlos SFO RB
3.12 36 Jon Moore Cook, Dalvin MIN RB (R)

In the last round, we saw a rookie running back get drafted too high for my liking. In the third round, rookie fever hit pandemic-status as three more rookie running backs went off the board. Christian McCaffrey going 3.01 seemed like a reach, especially given the standard format, for a running back projected to do most of his damage in the passing game, while likely splitting carries with Jonathan Stewart. Soon after (3.04), we saw rookie Joe Mixon get selected by Michael Moore. Several picks later, at 3.12, Dalvin Cook went off the board. I think both running backs are fairly safe bets to lead their team in running back touches by the end of the year, but still feel hesitant taking them over more well-established veterans still on the board.

Rounds 4-6

4.01 37 Jon Moore Moncrief, Donte IND WR
4.02 38 Walton Spurlin Wilson, Russell SEA QB
4.03 39 Tyler Loechner Adams, Davante GBP WR
4.04 40 Daniel Kelley Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR
4.05 41 Scott Barrett Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR
4.06 42 Pat Thorman Pryor, Terrelle WAS WR
4.07 43 Brandon Marianne Lee Kelce, Travis KCC TE
4.08 44 Joey Cartolano Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB
4.09 45 Michael Moore Luck, Andrew IND QB
4.10 46 Jeff Ratcliffe Reed, Jordan WAS TE
4.11 47 Dan Schneier Diggs, Stefon MIN WR
4.12 48 Mike Castiglione Crabtree, Michael OAK WR
5.01 49 Mike Castiglione Bryant, Martavis PIT WR
5.02 50 Dan Schneier Coleman, Tevin ATL RB
5.03 51 Jeff Ratcliffe Lacy, Eddie SEA RB
5.04 52 Michael Moore Montgomery, Ty GBP RB
5.05 53 Joey Cartolano Ware, Spencer KCC RB
5.06 54 Brandon Marianne Lee Coleman, Corey CLE WR
5.07 55 Pat Thorman Olsen, Greg CAR TE
5.08 56 Scott Barrett Anderson, C.J. DEN RB
5.09 57 Daniel Kelley Abdullah, Ameer DET RB
5.10 58 Tyler Loechner Landry, Jarvis MIA WR
5.11 59 Walton Spurlin Henry, Derrick TEN RB
5.12 60 Jon Moore Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB
6.01 61 Jon Moore Matthews, Jordan PHI WR
6.02 62 Walton Spurlin Peterson, Adrian NOS RB
6.03 63 Tyler Loechner Benjamin, Kelvin CAR WR
6.04 64 Daniel Kelley Eifert, Tyler CIN TE
6.05 65 Scott Barrett Brady, Tom NEP QB
6.06 66 Pat Thorman Lynch, Marshawn OAK RB
6.07 67 Brandon Marianne Lee Brees, Drew NOS QB
6.08 68 Joey Cartolano Hill, Tyreek KCC WR
6.09 69 Michael Moore Tate, Golden DET WR
6.10 70 Jeff Ratcliffe Edelman, Julian NEP WR
6.11 71 Dan Schneier Marshall, Brandon NYG WR
6.12 72 Mike Castiglione Henry, Hunter LAC TE

I wasn’t in love with Jon Moore’s selection of the inconsistent and inefficient Donte Moncrief at 4.01, especially after his general manager’s most-recent comments. Over the last three seasons, among all 54 wide receivers with at least 200 targets, Moncrief ranks bottom-six in both yards per route run and yards per target. I also felt like Derrick Henry was a bit of a reach for a running back who, in all likelihood, will be playing backup to or be stuck in a committee with Demarco Murray this season.

However, perhaps the worst pick of this range belongs to me, selecting C.J. Anderson at 5.08 — just hours before the Denver Broncos signed Jamaal Charles. At this point, with running back talent drying up, I realized I needed to shift my strategy to more of a “zero-RB”-approach (or rather, one-RB with Gordon on my team.) I felt slightly better about my team after drafting Tom Brady in the next round at 6.05. After trading for Brandin Cooks, this might be Brady’s best offense on paper since the Randy Moss Golden Era. He finished third in fantasy points per game last season without Cooks and without Rob Gronkowski for 50 percent of his games. The next pick, by Pat Thorman, again brought me to a state of T.S. Eliot-like melancholy. I must have been using a set of outdated rankings, not realizing Marshawn Lynch was still on the board – a steal at 6.06.

Rounds 7-10

7.01 73 Mike Castiglione Hunt, Kareem KCC RB (R)
7.02 74 Dan Schneier Charles, Jamaal DEN RB
7.03 75 Jeff Ratcliffe Cobb, Randall GBP WR
7.04 76 Michael Moore Perkins, Paul NYG RB
7.05 77 Joey Cartolano Graham, Jimmy SEA TE
7.06 78 Brandon Marianne Lee Woodhead, Danny BAL RB
7.07 79 Pat Thorman Jackson, DeSean TBB WR
7.08 80 Scott Barrett Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
7.09 81 Daniel Kelley Gillislee, Mike NEP RB
7.10 82 Tyler Loechner Crowder, Jamison WAS WR
7.11 83 Walton Spurlin Williams, Tyrell LAC WR
7.12 84 Jon Moore Ingram, Mark NOS RB
8.01 85 Jon Moore Williams, Mike LAC WR (R)
8.02 86 Walton Spurlin Meredith, Cameron CHI WR
8.03 87 Tyler Loechner Prosise, C.J. SEA RB
8.04 88 Daniel Kelley Ertz, Zach PHI TE
8.05 89 Scott Barrett Walker, Delanie TEN TE
8.06 90 Pat Thorman Snead, Willie NOS WR
8.07 91 Brandon Marianne Lee Matthews, Rishard TEN WR
8.08 92 Joey Cartolano Perine, Samaje WAS RB (R)
8.09 93 Michael Moore Brown, John ARI WR
8.10 94 Jeff Ratcliffe Doctson, Josh WAS WR
8.11 95 Dan Schneier Mitchell, Malcolm NEP WR
8.12 96 Mike Castiglione Parker, DeVante MIA WR
9.01 97 Mike Castiglione Newton, Cam CAR QB
9.02 98 Dan Schneier Martin, Doug TBB RB
9.03 99 Jeff Ratcliffe Perriman, Breshad BAL WR
9.04 100 Michael Moore Maclin, Jeremy KCC WR
9.05 101 Joey Cartolano Winston, Jameis TBB QB
9.06 102 Brandon Marianne Lee Thielen, Adam MIN WR
9.07 103 Pat Thorman Decker, Eric NYJ WR
9.08 104 Scott Barrett Gore, Frank IND RB
9.09 105 Daniel Kelley Britt, Kenny CLE WR
9.10 106 Tyler Loechner Powell, Bilal NYJ RB
9.11 107 Walton Spurlin Bennett, Martellus GBP TE
9.12 108 Jon Moore Shepard, Sterling NYG WR
10.01 109 Jon Moore Ebron, Eric DET TE
10.02 110 Walton Spurlin Forte, Matt NYJ RB
10.03 111 Tyler Loechner Murray, Latavius MIN RB
10.04 112 Daniel Kelley Kelley, Rob WAS RB
10.05 113 Scott Barrett Garcon, Pierre SFO WR
10.06 114 Pat Thorman Wallace, Mike BAL WR
10.07 115 Brandon Marianne Lee Riddick, Theo DET RB
10.08 116 Joey Cartolano Howard, O.J. TBB TE (R)
10.09 117 Michael Moore Lockett, Tyler SEA WR
10.10 118 Jeff Ratcliffe White, Kevin CHI WR
10.11 119 Dan Schneier Ryan, Matt ATL QB
10.12 120 Mike Castiglione Mariota, Marcus TEN QB

At the 6.12 and 7.01 turn, Mike Castiglione selected Chiefs’ rookie running back Kareem Hunt and Chargers’ sophomore tight end Hunter Henry. Chiefs’ incumbent starting running back, Spencer Ware, went off the board at 5.05. Of the two backs, I prefer Hunt, even if we excluded his discount. Few landing spots provide more fantasy value than locking up the starting running back job in an Andy Reid offense, and while I’m not sure Hunt is an immediate contributor, I think he’ll be the more valuable back to own by the time the fantasy playoffs rolls around. With the selection of Henry, Mike wrote, “What Scott said about the Year 2 tight end jump.” Here, Mike is referring to an article I wrote earlier in the season where I explain, “Henry just posted the 13th-best fantasy season by a rookie tight end ever. On average, tight end fantasy production increases by 86 percent from Year 1 to Year 2.” Again, Thorman got a steal, this time in DeSean Jackson at 7.07, forcing me into Larry Fitzgerald at 7.08.

Rounds 11-14

11.01 121 Mike Castiglione Smallwood, Wendell PHI RB
11.02 122 Dan Schneier Williams, Jamaal GBP RB (R)
11.03 123 Jeff Ratcliffe Bernard, Giovani CIN RB
11.04 124 Michael Moore Njoku, David CLE TE (R)
11.05 125 Joey Cartolano Jones, Marvin DET WR
11.06 126 Brandon Marianne Lee Johnson, Duke CLE RB
11.07 127 Pat Thorman Cousins, Kirk WAS QB
11.08 128 Scott Barrett Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE
11.09 129 Daniel Kelley Lee, Marqise JAC WR
11.10 130 Tyler Loechner Engram, Evan NYG TE (R)
11.11 131 Walton Spurlin Gordon, Josh CLE WR
11.12 132 Jon Moore Prescott, Dak DAL QB
12.01 133 Jon Moore Hooper, Austin ATL TE
12.02 134 Walton Spurlin Nelson, J.J. ARI WR
12.03 135 Tyler Loechner Sanu, Mohamed ATL WR
12.04 136 Daniel Kelley Rivers, Philip LAC QB
12.05 137 Scott Barrett Gallman, Wayne NYG RB (R)
12.06 138 Pat Thorman Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB
12.07 139 Brandon Marianne Lee Brate, Cameron TBB TE
12.08 140 Joey Cartolano Sproles, Darren PHI RB
12.09 141 Michael Moore Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB
12.10 142 Jeff Ratcliffe Kamara, Alvin NOS RB (R)
12.11 143 Dan Schneier Blount, LeGarrette NEP RB
12.12 144 Mike Castiglione Ross, John CIN WR (R)
13.01 145 Mike Castiglione Mack, Marlon IND RB (R)
13.02 146 Dan Schneier Broncos, Denver DEN Def
13.03 147 Jeff Ratcliffe Manning, Eli NYG QB
13.04 148 Michael Moore Ginn Jr., Ted NOS WR
13.05 149 Joey Cartolano Foreman, D’Onta HOU RB (R)
13.06 150 Brandon Marianne Lee Richardson, Paul SEA WR
13.07 151 Pat Thorman Woods, Robert LAR WR
13.08 152 Scott Barrett Burkhead, Rex NEP RB
13.09 153 Daniel Kelley Samuel, Curtis CAR WR (R)
13.10 154 Tyler Loechner Fuller, Will HOU WR
13.11 155 Walton Spurlin Palmer, Carson ARI QB
13.12 156 Jon Moore Enunwa, Quincy NYJ WR
14.01 157 Jon Moore Dalton, Andy CIN QB
14.02 158 Walton Spurlin Witten, Jason DAL TE
14.03 159 Tyler Loechner Carr, Derek OAK QB
14.04 160 Daniel Kelley Taylor, Tyrod BUF QB
14.05 161 Scott Barrett Mathews, Ryan PHI RB
14.06 162 Pat Thorman Williams, Jonathan BUF RB
14.07 163 Brandon Marianne Lee Richard, Jalen OAK RB
14.08 164 Joey Cartolano Williams, Joe SFO RB (R)
14.09 165 Michael Moore Wright, Kendall CHI WR
14.10 166 Jeff Ratcliffe Stafford, Matthew DET QB
14.11 167 Dan Schneier Thomas, Julius MIA TE
14.12 168 Mike Castiglione Hill, Jeremy CIN RB

I really liked the selections of Dak Prescott at 11.12, Phillip Rivers at 12.04, Ben Roethlisberger at 12.09, and Derek Carr at 14.03. This appears to be the sweet spot for “late-round QB” teams. Not feeling incredibly comfortable with my running back stable of Frank Gore and C.J. Anderson fighting over RB2 status after Melvin Gordon, I began making dart throws at high-upside low-ceiling running backs for my “one-RB” team. After hating on all of the rookie running back picks in Rounds 2 and 3, I love the upside in Joe Williams at 14.08. I also liked Walton Spurlin’s pick of Jason Witten at 14.02. Already we’d had three rookie tight ends get taken off the board, but I’d prefer old reliable to all of them.

Rounds 15-16

15.01 169 Mike Castiglione Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def
15.02 170 Dan Schneier Bryant, Matt ATL PK
15.03 171 Jeff Ratcliffe Gostkowski, Stephen NEP PK
15.04 172 Michael Moore Patriots, New England NEP Def
15.05 173 Joey Cartolano Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def
15.06 174 Brandon Marianne Lee Texans, Houston HOU Def
15.07 175 Pat Thorman Jaguars, Jacksonville JAC Def
15.08 176 Scott Barrett Rawls, Thomas SEA RB
15.09 177 Daniel Kelley Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def
15.10 178 Tyler Loechner Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def
15.11 179 Walton Spurlin Eagles, Philadelphia PHI Def
15.12 180 Jon Moore Chargers, Los Angeles LAC Def
16.01 181 Jon Moore Tucker, Justin BAL PK
16.02 182 Walton Spurlin Bailey, Dan DAL PK
16.03 183 Tyler Loechner Vinatieri, Adam IND PK
16.04 184 Daniel Kelley Crosby, Mason GBP PK
16.05 185 Scott Barrett Doyle, Jack IND TE
16.06 186 Pat Thorman Janikowski, Sebastian OAK PK
16.07 187 Brandon Marianne Lee McManus, Brandon DEN PK
16.08 188 Joey Cartolano Aguayo, Roberto TBB PK
16.09 189 Michael Moore Boswell, Chris PIT PK
16.10 190 Jeff Ratcliffe Falcons, Atlanta ATL Def
16.11 191 Dan Schneier Reynolds, Josh LAR WR (R)
16.12 192 Mike Castiglione Bullock, Randy CIN PK

Though I did like Spurlin’s pick of Witten in the last round, I think my selection of Jack Doyle 16.05 was one of the big steals of the draft. Though dependable, Witten certainly lacks Doyle’s upside. I tried treating this as if it were truly a real-life draft. This is why I did not select a back-up quarterback, a kicker, or defense. If I were in an actual draft in May (with waivers), I’d rather not have those positions occupying roster spots for the next four months. Instead I’ll likely continue to add and drop the various buzzed-about fliers, hoping someone sticks or I can trade one away for an upgrade somewhere else. Several days before Week 1, I’ll drop the two players I feel least comfortable about for the top kicker in my rankings and the defense with the most attractive Week 1 schedule. I’ll continue to stream these two positions throughout the rest of the season, or until I’ve found an every-week starter.

Scott Barrett is our Senior Fantasy Analyst and one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

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