Fantasy Playoffs Mock Draft
Several of the PFF Fantasy Staff got together, online, and completed a Staff Playoffs Fantasy League draft. We are, of course, playing for pride. It was a slow draft done without a timer. Scoring is half-point PPR
Teams were drafted with a strict roster requirement of two quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, two defenses and two kickers.
Of course, as in most playoff leagues, there is no bench. When your player is eliminated you no longer score any points in that position. The teams and draft order are as follows:
- Tyler Loechner – Lead Writer
- Dan Schneier – Staff Writer
- Ross Miles – Online Marketing Director/ Lead Writer
- Jeff Ratcliffe – Assistant Managing Editor
- Mike Clay – Director/Managing Editor
- Pat Thorman – Lead Writer
Before we jump in, if you want to check out the results and recap from last year’s draft, you can find that here. I can proudly say that I ended up taking the win on the backs of five 49ers and Knowshon Moreno. Thank you Colin Kaepernick for that amazing playoff run, but what the hell happened to you in 2014?
- Tyler– Tom Brady
- Dan – Aaron Rodgers
- Ross – Andrew Luck
- Jeff – Russell Wilson
- Mike – Rob Gronkowski
- Pat – Cam Newton
Notes: No surprise seeing Mike snap up Gronkowski in Round 1. Mike has been a major supporter of Gronkowski since the early preseason, and if the Patriots go on a run then this pick will pay off given the position scarcity at TE.
Five of the first six picks were quarterbacks, but that’s no surprise either. In these formats, it is important to get as many guaranteed points as possible. If you have the QB who plays in the most games, you are generally going to finish in the top one or two spots. I was, however, surprised to see both Luck and Newton go off the board where they did. In both cases, you see each manager with a strong take on the Colts and Panthers respectively.
My Pick: I went with Rodgers because he provides top scoring potential on a per-snap basis and the Packers enter this postseason with their best defense in the last four or five seasons. It’s a crap shoot in the NFC, and I can see the Packers, Seahawks, or Cowboys making it out. I just didn’t have the guts to snap up Romo instead.
Best Pick: Mike, Rob Gronkowski. As I went over above, Gronkowski provides top scoring potential, he is on a team that is expected to make a run, and he plays a position that most of us won’t be getting many points from.
- Pat– C.J. Anderson
- Mike – Peyton Manning
- Jeff – Ben Roethlisberger
- Ross – Le’Veon Bell
- Dan – DeMarco Murray
- Tyler – Dez Bryant
Notes: It was interesting to see Manning go off the board after some of the quarterbacks taken in round 1. He still has the weapons around him and he knows where to go with the ball every time–so what if he can’t make a throw to left side of the field. Ross went for it all and drafted Bell despite his questionable status for the first round. I think this was a mistake with healthy standouts like Murray, Bryant, Brown, and several others still on the board.
My Pick: I went with Murray because he has looked fine since the injury and he has proven that he can put up big time fantasy numbers behind this offensive line. Of course, I made this pick at the time of the week when it looks like Suh was suspended. Had I known that he was playing, I would have likely ended up going with the player I got in Round 3 here.
Best Pick: Mike, Peyton Manning. The Broncos can still make a run this postseason, but it will likely be led by their defense. Either way, if Peyton gets three games, it will be tough to keep him off the fantasy scoreboard.
- Tyler– Antonio Brown
- Dan – Eddie Lacy
- Ross – Jordy Nelson
- Jeff – Marshawn Lynch
- Mike – Demaryius Thomas
- Pat – Emmanuel Sanders
Notes: Any of these six players could be found on several championship teams this season. They are all big-time scorers and if any of these four teams go on a run, they can make the difference in a league like this.
My Pick: I went with Lacy to add to the Rodgers stack. Although picking Nelson would have accomplished the same thing, I choose the position with more scarcity. I can’t see the Packers using anything close to a timeshare in the playoffs, so I expect Lacy to be leaned on.
Best Pick: Mike, Demaryius Thomas. This is basically a toss up as I mentioned above, but I like Thomas the best value wise. He is more likely to play in another game than the Packers’ crew, and his upside is not capped if the Broncos draw the Steelers in the Divisional round.
- Pat– Matthew Stafford
- Mike – Tony Romo
- Jeff – Julian Edelman
- Ross – Randall Cobb
- Dan – Julius Thomas
- Tyler – Joe Flacco
Notes: With just three quarterbacks left, Tyler didn’t want to get stuck with Andy Dalton or whoever ends up starting on the Cardinals. I’m not so sure that Flacco is a better bet to score and move on than Dalton given the state of that Ravens offensive line.
My Pick: I went with Thomas because I think the Broncos will play at least two games, Thomas will all of the sudden look 100 percent healthy again, and because he’s a tight end. Also, this is the same guy who scored nine touchdowns in his first five games this season.
Best Pick: Mike, Tony Romo. I swear on my life that I am not just picking Mike in this spot every round because he’s my boss. I know it probably looks that way, but Mike was able to get the last “plus” quarterback available. Romo has a tough matchup if the Cowboys win this weekend, but he has been at his best this season.
- Tyler– Justin Forsett
- Dan – T.Y. Hilton
- Ross – Calvin Johnson
- Jeff – Jeremy Hill
- Mike – LeGarrette Blount
- Pat – Jonathan Stewart
Notes: A talent like Calvin Johnson comes off the board at No. 27 overall in a format like this. This round featured several workhorse backs as teams looked to avoid getting stuck with two stiffs at RB. The round featured different strategies to attack the position. Tyler and Jeff went with underdog workhorses, Mike went with a timeshare back on a team he thinks will make a run, and Pat has to hope that Deangelo Williams doesn’t suit up.
My Pick: I went with Hilton because I think he will be 100 percent and he is Luck’s most dynamic weapon. I also like his chances of playing multiple games based on his first round matchup and the fact that he’s got Mr. Luck at quarterback.
Best Pick: Ross, Calvin Johnson. Ah, it feels great to write in someone other than Mike. At this point of the draft, Johnson is a steal. As Ross mentioned to me, even if the Lions lose, he could potentially produce more in this one game than several other receivers in multiple games. The last time Johnson matched up with Brandon Carr on the Cowboys, he torched him for 329 yards and a touchdown on 14 receptions.
- Pat– Kelvin Benjamin
- Mike – Brandon LaFell
- Jeff – Greg Olsen
- Ross – Coby Fleener
- Dan – AJ Green
- Tyler – Shane Vereen
Notes: Pat was able to pair Stewart with Benjamin and come away with a combination that he sees playing in multiple games. Green was this round’s best talent by a considerable margin, but last week’s concussion and pessimism surrounding the Bengals dropped him to round six. Vereen has really seen his role disappear over the last several weeks, and I’m surprised that Tyler went this route considering he didn’t have any other Patriot but Brady at this point. Mike continues with the team stacking strategy–he’s got the Patriots. I can think of worse teams to go all-in on.
My Pick: I went with Green because the matchup is not as bad as it looks on paper. Green beat Vontae Davis for six catches, 72 yards, and a touchdown in their last meeting. This Bengals team is playoff tested and they just put a beat down on the Broncos two weeks ago. I think they’ve got a decent chance to upset the Colts.
Best Pick: Pat, Kelvin Benjamin. The Panthers are playing much better football now and I can’t see them laying down for Ryan Lindley. Benjamin should play multiple games and he’s Cam Newton’s obvious top target.
- Tyler– Doug Baldwin
- Dan – Dan Herron
- Ross – Joique Bell
- Jeff – Martavis Bryant
- Mike – Jonas Gray
- Pat – Golden Tate
Notes: Most people used this round to round out the skill positions. Some targeted upside like Jeff did with Bryant while others filled out the rest of their stack like Mike did with Gray.
My Pick: I went with Herron because I like what I’ve seen from him starting in preseason and throughout his snaps during the regular season. I think the Colts will continue to lean on him with Richardson taking more of a change of pace role. I’m not thrilled with the selection, but there’s always a chance to make a run with Luck.
Best Pick: Jeff, Martavis Bryant. Bryant is the perfect pick in a league like this. He’s on a team that is hot at the right time and he’s a boom-or-bust type play. He has a high ceiling and a low floor–this is exactly what you want in a winner takes all format like this one.
- Pat– Denver D/ST
- Mike – Seattle D/ST
- Jeff – New England D/ST
- Ross – Gio Bernard
- Dan – Paul Richardson
- Tyler – Jason Witten
Notes: We saw the first D/ST go off the board and it started a little run. In these type of drafts, D/ST and K’s hold extra value because games played makes such a big difference. I couldn’t get to either of the D/ST that I thought would make a difference, and I attempted to wait it out one more round. This turned out to be a mistake.
My Pick: I went with Richardson because I think he could be in store for a huge playoff run. This was the one player who I wanted to get no matter what going into this draft. Richardson’s role in the offense and has production have seen an uptick over the last three games. I think that this offense needs a spark in the postseason and Richardson will be that guy. Can you make the argument that he’s not more naturally talented than Baldwin or Kearse?
Best Pick: Tyler, Jason Witten. Witten is on a team that could make a run and his role in the passing game has seen a major uptick over the last few games. When the defense takes away Dez Bryant, Witten is generally open over the middle.
- Tyler– Ronnie Hillman
- Dan – Andy Dalton
- Ross – Arizona D/ST
- Jeff – Josh Harris
- Mike – Jermaine Kearse
- Pat – Carolina D/ST
Notes: Is it bad that I think that the Bengals have a much better chance of winning than the Cardinals who are facing a team with four less regular season wins than them? I love the snipe here by Jeff grabbing Harris. Who knows how serious Bell’s injury really is and there’s a chance he could aggravate it if he plays. Harris could pay off huge if the Steelers make the run that many think they will. It seems that Mike doesn’t exactly share my enthusiasm for Paul Richardson. Hillman has to be the biggest wildcard in this thing.
My Pick: I went with stack that has upside. Dalton and Green have had a ton of success over the last several seasons.
Best Pick: Jeff, Josh Harris. You have to love the high upside pick in a format like this one.
- Pat– Connor Barth
- Mike – Steve Hauschka
- Jeff – Stephen Gostkowski
- Ross – Packers D/ST
- Dan – Mason Crosby
- Tyler – Dallas D/ST
Notes: Several managers did an excellent job in this round pairing their kicker with their defense. In some cases, they added yet another player from the same team. Once again, this is probable y the most successful strategy longterm in this format. Anyway, I was disappointed when Ross picked Packers D/ST just one pick before me.
My Pick: I went with Crosby because I wanted to add another Packers to my squad.
Best Pick: Jeff, Stephen Gostkowski. Unless you think that the Patriots suck, there is no way Gostkowski shouldn’t be the first kicker off the board. The sick thing about that statement is that I’m actually serious. I actually think that one kicker is the clear best option. With that kiss of death, he won’t finish in the top five at his position.
- Tyler– Dan Bailey
- Dan – Pittsburgh D/ST
- Ross – Adam Vinatieri
- Jeff – Lions D/ST
- Mike – Colts D/ST
- Pat – Theo Riddick
Notes: The Theo Riddick picks stands out to me most in this round. You an upset over the Cowboys for this pick to be worth it, and you likely also need some kind of injury to Reggie Bush or Joique Bell. Pat is one of the best in the business though, so there’s definitely something he knows that I don’t here. This is like when Vegas gives you a line that looks too good to be true and you just know that they have some weird reason why. Not much else to say about this actual round.
My Pick: I went with the D/ST that I think had the best chance to play in multiple games out of the remaining options. I’m not thrilled with it. I don’t know what the upside is for a D/ST that has no secondary.
Best Pick: Pat, Theo Riddick. Thi pick s is in the “Thorman zone”. Riddick is going to bust out a random 20+ pointer this weekend.
- Pat– Graham Gano
- Mike – Shaun Suisham
- Jeff – Matt Prater
- Ross – Chandler Catanzaro
- Dan – Baltimore D/ST
- Tyler – Bengals D/ST
Notes: We’re scraping at the bottom of the barrel here folks.
My Pick: The Ravens earned Pro Football Focus’ best pass rush grade this season by a wide margin. That has to count for something in relation to their D/ST. I could have added another Bengal to this roster, but I like my round one matchup much better with the Ravens.
Best Pick: N/A
- Tyler– Justin Tucker
- Dan – Mike Nugent
- Ross – Ryan Lindley
- Jeff – Markus Wheaton
- Mike – Trent Richardson
- Pat – Heath Miller
Notes: Someone had to own Lindley. I wonder, would taking the zero be better than rolling out Lindley? That’s probably too extreme.
My Pick: I went with a kicker on a team that I have the QB/WR stack already set up. Nugent was also the last kicker available.
Best Pick: N/A
|QB||Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers||Andrew Luck||Russell Wilson||Peyton Manning||Cam Newton|
|QB||Joe Flacco||Andy Dalton||Ryan Lindley||Ben Roethlisberger||Tony Romo||Matthew Stafford|
|RB||Justin Forsett||DeMarco Murray||Le’Veon Bell||Marshawn Lynch||LeGarrette Blount||C.J Anderson|
|RB||Shane Vereen||Eddie Lacy||Joique Bell||Jeremy Hill||Jonas Gray||Jonathan Stewart|
|RB||Ronnie Hillman||Dan Herron||Gio Bernard||Josh Harris||Trent Richardson||Theo Riddick|
|WR||Antonio Brown||T.Y. Hilton||Jordy Nelson||Julian Edelman||Demaryius Thomas||Emmanuel Sanders|
|WR||Dez Bryant||AJ Green||Calvin Johnson||Martavis Bryant||Brandon LaFell||Kelvin Benjamin|
|WR||Doug Baldwin||Paul Richardson||Randall Cobb||Markus Wheaton||Jermaine Kearse||Golden Tate|
|TE||Jason Witten||Julius Thomas||Coby Fleener||Vernon Davis||Rob Gronkowski||Heath Miller|
|K||Dan Bailey||Mike Nugent||Adam Vinatieri||Stephen Gostkowski||Steven Hauschka||Connor Barth|
|K||Justin Tucker||Mason Crosby||Chandler Catanzaro||Matt Prater||Shawn Suisham||Graham Gano|
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy but also writes about real football for FOX Sports. If you have any lineup, trade, or free agents questions you can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.