What offseason? Before the dust had a chance to settle on the 2017 season, the PFF Fantasy crew came together to complete an early mock draft for the 2018 campaign.
The 12-team league featured full-point PPR scoring with a starting lineup requirement of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 flex, 1 K, and 1 D/ST.
Without further ado, here are some of the key takeaways from the first mock draft of the new year.
|1.01||Gurley, Todd LAR RB|
|1.02||Bell, Le’Veon PIT RB|
|1.03||Brown, Antonio PIT WR|
|1.04||Hopkins, DeAndre HOU WR|
|1.05||Johnson, David ARI RB|
|1.06||Jones, Julio ATL WR|
|1.07||Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB|
|1.08||Hunt, Kareem KCC RB|
|1.09||Beckham, Odell NYG WR|
|1.10||Kamara, Alvin NOS RB|
|1.11||Thomas, Michael NOS WR|
|1.12||Allen, Keenan LAC WR|
Round 1 trends:
- QBs taken: 0
- RBs taken: 6
- WRs taken: 6
- TEs taken: 0
One year after everyone had (prematurely) written him off as a bust, Todd Gurley assumes the top spot in the first 2018 fantasy football mock draft. His 382 PPR points were 39 points ahead of anyone else at the position last year, and his six receiving touchdowns led the position as well. He’s a fine top overall pick.
Another player who had been largely written off at this point last year? DeAndre Hopkins, who went at 1.04 in our first mock. Hopkins’ 13 touchdowns paced the league last year, and he only played with the electric Deshaun Watson for about half the season.
Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt — last year’s rookie revelations — worked their way into the first round of this mock. They have some question marks leading into 2018, but slotting them in at the back end of the first round in PPR leagues is perfectly reasonable.
|2.01||Green, A.J. CIN WR|
|2.02||Fournette, Leonard JAC RB|
|2.03||Gordon, Melvin LAC RB|
|2.04||Cook, Dalvin MIN RB|
|2.05||Cooks, Brandin NEP WR|
|2.06||Evans, Mike TBB WR|
|2.07||Adams, Davante GBP WR|
|2.08||Hill, Tyreek KCC WR|
|2.09||Howard, Jordan CHI RB|
|2.10||Drake, Kenyan MIA RB|
|2.11||McCoy, LeSean BUF RB|
|2.12||Freeman, Devonta ATL RB|
Round 2 trends:
- QBs taken: 0
- RBs taken: 7
- WRs taken: 5
- TEs taken: 0
The first round featured all running backs and wideouts, and the trend continued through the second.
There were a few noteworthy picks in this round, starting with the injured Dalvin Cook, who went at 2.04. Cook played just four games last year, but in those four games, he averaged 4.8 YPC and was a top-10 running back in PPR formats.
Tyreek Hill going at 2.08 feels early, but it isn’t. He was the No. 8 overall receiver in PPR leagues last year. The only question here is whether or not Hill will see a dropoff with Patrick Mahomes under center next year.
Kenyan Drake at 2.10 is a bit of a leap of faith. Over the final six games of 2017, Drake was fantasy’s No. 7 running back, racking up 641 total yards (107 per game) and scoring three times. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be a workhorse for the Dolphins in 2018.
|Round 3||Round 4|
|3.01||Thielen, Adam MIN WR||4.01||Ingram, Mark NOS RB|
|3.02||Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR||4.02||Gordon, Josh CLE WR|
|3.03||Mixon, Joe CIN RB||4.03||Diggs, Stefon MIN WR|
|3.04||Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE||4.04||Bryant, Dez DAL WR|
|3.05||Jeffery, Alshon PHI WR||4.05||Cooper, Amari OAK WR|
|3.06||Baldwin, Doug SEA WR||4.06||Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR|
|3.07||Landry, Jarvis MIA WR||4.07||Collins, Alex BAL RB|
|3.08||McCaffrey, Christian CAR RB||4.08||Henry, Derrick TEN RB|
|3.09||Barkley, Saquon TBD RB||4.09||Hilton, T.Y. IND WR|
|3.10||Kelce, Travis KCC TE||4.10||Jones, Marvin DET WR|
|3.11||Lewis, Dion NEP RB||4.11||Robinson, Allen JAC WR|
|3.12||Hyde, Carlos SFO RB||4.12||Tate, Golden DET WR|
Round 3-4 trends:
- QBs taken: 0
- RBs taken: 8
- WRs taken: 14
- TEs taken: 2
Rob Gronkowski slipped into the third round (3.04), likely due to concerns about whether or not he will retire. If he’s a go, look for him to rise to the middle of the second round in most drafts.
Christian McCaffrey was underrated during his rookie year, and he’s a steal at the 3.08 spot. McCaffrey was the No. 9 overall fantasy running back in PPR leagues last year after pacing the position in targets (106).
One pick later? Yet-to-be-drafted rookie running back Saquon Barkley came off the board. Barring a completely unexpected landing spot, Barkley will go higher than 3.09 once he has an actual team.
In the fourth round, we saw Dez Bryant and Amari Cooper go back-to-back at picks 4.04 and 4.05. Bryant will turn 30 during the 2018 campaign, and he’s coming off a major letdown season after posting a 69-838-6 line despite being Dallas’ predominant offensive weapon in 10 full games. Taking him toward the beginning of the fourth round is a bet that he’ll improve on those numbers next season.
Cooper is also coming off an awful season, producing a 48-680-7 line in his third year. But he will still only be 24 years old next year, and he did produce 70-plus receptions and 1,000-plus yards in his first two years in the league. We also saw that Cooper is still capable of simply taking over games, evidenced by his 11-210-2 demolition of the Chiefs in Week 7. Cooper is a great bet to rebound and would be a steal at 4.05 if he performs at even his rookie season levels.
|Round 5||Round 6|
|5.01||Johnson, Duke CLE RB||6.01||Riddick, Theo DET RB|
|5.02||Perine, Samaje WAS RB||6.02||Nelson, Jordy GBP WR|
|5.03||Ajayi, Jay PHI RB||6.03||Funchess, Devin CAR WR|
|5.04||Anderson, C.J. DEN RB||6.04||Anderson, Robby NYJ WR|
|5.05||Crabtree, Michael OAK WR||6.05||Watson, Deshaun HOU QB|
|5.06||Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB||6.06||Miller, Lamar HOU RB|
|5.07||Ertz, Zach PHI TE||6.07||Thompson, Chris WAS RB|
|5.08||Woods, Robert LAR WR||6.08||Engram, Evan NYG TE|
|5.09||Smith-Schuster, JuJu PIT WR||6.09||Parker, DeVante MIA WR|
|5.10||Develin, James NEP RB||6.10||Watkins, Sammy LAR WR|
|5.11||Olsen, Greg CAR TE||6.11||Brady, Tom NEP QB|
|5.12||Edelman, Julian NEP WR||6.12||Garcon, Pierre SFO WR|
Round 5-6 trends:
- QBs taken: 3
- RBs taken: 8
- WRs taken: 10
- TEs taken: 3
Samaje Perine is a risky pick at 5.02. Will he be Washington’s lead back in 2018? The team still has Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson in town. Perine was unremarkable as a rookie, gaining just 3.4 YPC and scoring just one rushing touchdown on 175 attempts. From Weeks 11-15, however, when he was featured in Washington, Perine was the No. 17 fantasy running back, making him a solid RB2.
Aaron Rodgers came off the board at 5.06. I’m all for waiting on a quarterback, but this seems like a steal.
Rodgers favorite target for the better part of a decade, Jordy Nelson, came off the board at 6.02. Nelson gained just 482 yards in 2017, but he played with Rodgers for only about six games. He also scored six touchdowns in his first five games of the year — all with Rodgers — and he didn’t score after Rodgers went down. Nelson is a bet-on-rapport pick at 6.02, but given his touchdown equity with Rodgers under center, it’s not a bad bet at all.
Pierre Garcon slipped in at 6.12, which is one of the most underrated picks of the entire draft. In eight games last year, Garcon caught 40 passes for 500 yards — but he didn’t score. That put him on pace for 80 catches and 1,000 yards, and he’ll surely be on the right side of touchdown variance in 2018, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo now in town.
|Round 7||Round 8|
|7.01||Crowder, Jamison WAS WR||8.01||Pryor, Terrelle WAS WR|
|7.02||Hogan, Chris NEP WR||8.02||Bernard, Giovani CIN RB|
|7.03||Graham, Jimmy SEA TE||8.03||Kupp, Cooper LAR WR|
|7.04||Mack, Marlon IND RB||8.04||Newton, Cam CAR QB|
|7.05||Sanders, Emmanuel DEN WR||8.05||Jones, Aaron GBP RB|
|7.06||Coleman, Tevin ATL RB||8.06||Murray, DeMarco TEN RB|
|7.07||Wilson, Russell SEA QB||8.07||Reed, Jordan WAS TE|
|7.08||Henry, Hunter LAC TE||8.08||Chubb, Nick TBD RB|
|7.09||Michel, Sony TBD RB||8.09||Benjamin, Kelvin BUF WR|
|7.10||Fuller, Will HOU WR||8.10||Davis, Corey TEN WR|
|7.11||Wentz, Carson PHI QB||8.11||Agholor, Nelson PHI WR|
|7.12||Stafford, Matthew DET QB||8.12||Cousins, Kirk KC QB|
|Round 9||Round 10|
|9.01||Johnson, Kerryon TBD RB||10.01||Cohen, Tarik CHI RB|
|9.02||Montgomery, Ty GBP RB||10.02||Jackson, DeSean TBB WR|
|9.03||Jones, Ronald TBD RB||10.03||McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB|
|9.04||Brees, Drew NOS QB||10.04||Foreman, D’Onta HOU RB|
|9.05||Cobb, Randall GBP WR||10.05||Bryant, Martavis PIT WR|
|9.06||Burkhead, Rex NEP RB||10.06||Carson, Chris SEA RB|
|9.07||Lynch, Marshawn OAK RB||10.07||Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB|
|9.08||Shepard, Sterling NYG WR||10.08||Godwin, Chris TBB WR|
|9.09||Rudolph, Kyle MIN TE||10.09||Williams, Jamaal GBP RB|
|9.10||Westbrook, Dede JAC WR||10.10||Lockett, Tyler SEA WR|
|9.11||Booker, Devontae DEN RB||10.11||Coleman, Corey CLE WR|
|9.12||Howard, O.J. TBB TE||10.12||Walker, Delanie TEN TE|
Round 7-10 trends:
- QBs taken: 6
- RBs taken: 19
- WRs taken: 17
- TEs taken: 6
Rounds 7-10 also saw a host of promising incoming rookie running backs come off the board, starting with Sony Michel at 7.09 and finishing with Ronald Jones at 9.03. With the NFL draft still months away, these draft slots are estimates at this point, but it’s about where rookie running backs in decent situations have landed in the past. If one of these backs lands in a great spot, look for their ADP to skyrocket. But beware: Rookie running backs might rise more than they should this year given the massive success Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara experienced as rookies in 2017. Just make sure you aren’t wearing rose-tinted goggles.
Chris Hogan at 7.02 is a steal. From Weeks 1-8 (prior to his injury), Hogan was a top-10 fantasy receiver in PPR leagues.
Russell Wilson at 7.07, Carson Wentz at 7.11, and Cam Newton at 8.04 are some of my favorite quarterback picks of the draft. Wilson’s 361 fantasy points were a full 46 points better than the next-best fantasy quarterback. Wentz, meanwhile, ranked second in passing touchdowns (33) despite playing in only 13 games. Wentz was an underrated rusher too, gaining an average of 23 rushing yards per game, which is equivalent to an extra 50-something passing yards per game. Newton ranked second in total fantasy points last year and shows no signs of slowing down as a rusher.
Starting in Round 9 is when people started to take some more shots on upside. We saw Ty Montgomery go at 9.02. Will he be Green Bay’s lead back again in 2018? If so, this pick is a steal. Ditto for Jamaal Williams, who went a round later, at 10.09.
Perhaps my favorite shot taken in this portion of the draft is Chris Carson at 10.06. Carson had the look of a bruising lead back for the Seahawks before an injury ended his season just one month into the 2017 campaign. It’s hard to find players with legitimate 20-plus touch upside this deep in a draft — but that’s exactly what Carson brings to the table.
|Round 11||Round 12|
|11.01||Meredith, Cameron CHI WR||12.01||Woodhead, Danny BAL RB|
|11.02||Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB||12.02||Williams, Mike LAC WR|
|11.03||Garoppolo, Jimmy SFO QB||12.03||Powell, Bilal NYJ RB|
|11.04||Henderson, Carlos DEN WR||12.04||Ridley, Calvin TBD WR|
|11.05||White, James NEP RB||12.05||Stills, Kenny MIA WR|
|11.06||Doyle, Jack IND TE||12.06||Sanu, Mohamed ATL WR|
|11.07||Goodwin, Marquise SFO WR||12.07||Luck, Andrew IND QB|
|11.08||Ebron, Eric DET TE||12.08||Mariota, Marcus TEN QB|
|11.09||Doctson, Josh WAS WR||12.09||Gallman, Wayne NYG RB|
|11.10||Golladay, Kenny DET WR||12.10||Moncrief, Donte IND WR|
|11.11||Goff, Jared LAR QB||12.11||Murray, Latavius MIN RB|
|11.12||Matthews, Jordan BUF WR||12.12||Davis, Mike SEA RB|
|Round 13||Round 14|
|13.01||Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB||14.01||Njoku, David CLE TE|
|13.02||Amendola, Danny NEP WR||14.02||Ginn Jr., Ted NOS WR|
|13.03||Prescott, Dak DAL QB||14.03||Mahomes, Patrick KCC QB|
|13.04||Eifert, Tyler CIN TE||14.04||Jones, Zay BUF WR|
|13.05||Lee, Marqise JAC WR||14.05||Smith, Alex WAS QB|
|13.06||Ross, John CIN WR||14.06||Ryan, Matt ATL QB|
|13.07||Jaguars, Jacksonville JAC Def||14.07||Richardson, Paul SEA WR|
|13.08||Clement, Corey PHI RB||14.08||Prosise, C.J. SEA RB|
|13.09||Winston, Jameis TBB QB||14.09||Williams, Joe SFO RB|
|13.10||Rams, Los Angeles LAR Def||14.10||Witten, Jason DAL TE|
|13.11||Abdullah, Ameer DET RB||14.11||Kittle, George SFO TE|
|13.12||Rivers, Philip LAC QB||14.12||Vikings, Minnesota MIN Def|
Round 11-14 trends:
- QBs taken: 11
- RBs taken: 11
- WRs taken: 17
- TEs taken: 6
As is typical, this is where we see more players take shots on fliers. Marquise Goodwin showed huge potential with Garoppolo under center, and he makes for an excellent let’s-see-what-happens pick at 11.07. Josh Doctson is also interesting at 11.09 with a new quarterback now in town.
If Andrew Luck is truly healthy for 2018, Donte Moncrief will surely see his draft stock rise from where it currently is — of course, assuming he remains in Indianapolis. He went at 12.10 in this mock draft.
Those who waited on a quarterback were rewarded with some excellent late-round picks. Round 13 seemed to be the sweet spot, with Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, and Philip Rivers all coming off the board. Nobody would be surprised to see all four of these players finish among the top 12 quarterbacks in 2018.
|Round 15||Round 16|
|15.01||Sutton, Courtland TBD WR||16.01||Boswell, Chris PIT PK|
|15.02||Carr, Derek OAK QB||16.02||Gostkowski, Stephen NEP PK|
|15.03||Brown, John ARI WR||16.03||Elliott, Jake PHI PK|
|15.04||Chargers, Los Angeles LAC Def||16.04||Tucker, Justin BAL PK|
|15.05||Eagles, Philadelphia PHI Def||16.05||Butker, Harrison KCC PK|
|15.06||Ravens, Baltimore BAL Def||16.06||Hooper, Austin ATL TE|
|15.07||Burton, Trey PHI TE||16.07||Lutz, Wil NOS PK|
|15.08||Ekeler, Austin LAC RB||16.08||Zuerlein, Greg LAR PK|
|15.09||Cardinals, Arizona ARI Def||16.09||Prater, Matt DET PK|
|15.10||Cole, Keelan JAC WR||16.10||Crosby, Mason GBP PK|
|15.11||Saints, New Orleans NOS Def||16.11||Bryant, Matt ATL PK|
|15.12||Broncos, Denver DEN Def||16.12||Bailey, Dan DAL PK|
Round 15-16 trends:
- QBs taken: 1
- RBs taken: 1
- WRs taken: 3
- TEs taken: 2