Fantasy Playoffs Staff Mock Draft
- Six points for a rushing or receiving touchdown. Four points for a passing touchdown.
- One point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving. One point for every 25 yards passing.
- 0.5 points for every reception.
- A loss of one point for every interception or fumble lost.
- Two points for a two-point conversion.
- Kickers: One point for every extra point. Three points for a field goal under 40 yards, four points for a field goal from 40-49 and five points for a field goal of 50+ yards.
- Defense: Two points for an interception or fumble recovery, six points for touchdown, four points for safety, one point for sack
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:
- Jeff Ratcliffe – Assistant Managing Editor
- Mike Clay – Director/Managing Editor
- Dan Schneier – Staff Writer
- Matt Stein – Staff Writer
- Akshay Anand – Staff Writer
- Ross Miles – Online Marketing Director/ Lead Writer
- Jeff – Peyton Manning
- Mike – Russell Wilson
- Dan – Jamaal Charles
- Matt – LeSean McCoy
- Akshay – Aaron Rodgers
- Ross – Drew Brees
Notes: No surprises here. Quarterbacks are a hot commodity in the first round of these drafts as they are the most guaranteed source of points. Four of the six players drafted will be playing in wild card weekend—this does not surprise me either because generally, to outscore five other teams, you need to hit on players from a wild card team that goes to the Super Bowl. Two of the four players drafted in round one, Charles and Rodgers respectively, play on teams that are underdogs this weekend.
My Pick: I went with Charles because my strategy was to take running backs before it was too late. RB is a scarce position and my goal is to outscore teams at that position. I was debating between Charles and Lynch but decided on Charles because he is the better scorer on a per-game basis and I like his matchup against the Colts.
Best Pick: Matt, LeSean Mccoy. Weather concerns make it much more likely that the Eagles will prevail in a game where their secondary does not match up very well with the Saints’ passing game. Personally, I stand by my belief that the Saints will pull this game out which you will of course see reflected in my draft strategy.
- Ross – Demaryius Thomas
- Akshay – Marshawn Lynch
- Matt – A.J. Green
- Dan – Knowshon Moreno
- Mike – Eric Decker
- Jeff – Nick Foles
Notes: Both Lynch and Moreno lasted until the second round despite being the feature backs on each conference’s #1 seed and Super Bowl favorite. Jeff goes QB-QB in Rounds 1 and 2 and is the only team to have drafted a QB in the first two rounds. If The Eagles and Broncos match up in the Super Bowl there will be no stopping Jeff’s team.
My Pick: Knowshon Moreno was a player I had pegged as a top five pick. I believe the Broncos will have an easy cruise to the Super Bowl and Moreno plays a big time role as a running back and receiver. The Broncos have curtailed his usage in the last few weeks of the season in anticipation of a much bigger role for the playoffs.
Best Pick: Dan, Knowshon Moreno. I think you can go with Lynch or Green here as well. Lynch is the safest pick in the draft and Green has an incredibly easy first round matchup that his team is likely to win. Moreno, however, as mentioned above, has the easiest road to the Super Bowl and plays on the highest scoring of those three teams by far.
- Jeff – Wes Welker
- Mike – Frank Gore
- Dan – Colin Kaepernick
- Matt – Andrew Luck
- Akshay – Cam Newton
- Ross – Eddie Lacy
Notes: The first two 49ers go off the board to Mike and myself. Peyton Manning’s fourth skill position player goes off the board in the first 13 total picks. Andrew Luck is drafted before Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
My Pick: My strategy first kicks into gear here in Round 3 by drafting Kaepernick. I believe the 49ers have the best chance of all the teams wildcard weekend to play in the Super Bowl. The team with the most players from a team that plays in four games tends to win these leagues.
Best Pick: Akshay, Cam Newton. The Carolina quarterback has finished as a high-end QB1 in each one of his seasons in the NFL. When you consider that less-consistent scoring quarterbacks were taken before him and factor in a potential Divisional round matchup with the Eagles, his prospects look bright.
- Ross – Jimmy Graham
- Akshay – Giovani Bernard
- Matt – Tom Brady
- Dan – Vernon Davis
- Mike – Julius Thomas
- Jeff – Desean Jackson
Notes: Seems like a lot of high-upside skill position players went in this round. Giovani Bernard, Vernon Davis, Julius Thomas and Desean Jackson all have a lot of upside but have also had several duds.
My Pick: I took Vernon Davis over Julius Thomas because at the time I wanted to guarantee that I had a top 49ers’ skill position player. However, as always, hindsight is 20/20 and after ending up with Boldin and Crabtree as well, I would have preferred Thomas.
Best Pick: Ross, Jimmy Graham. PFF seems split on projecting the Saints @ Eagles. I tend to see things more in line with Ross, who teamed up Brees with his favorite red zone target. If Graham gets two games, he will easily outscore a few skill position players drafted higher than him.
- Jeff – Shane Vereen
- Mike – Andy Dalton
- Dan – Anquan Boldin
- Matt – Ryan Mathews
- Akshay – Jordy Nelson
- Ross – Randall Cobb
Overview: The first San Diego Charger player was drafted when Matt took Mathews 28th overall. They were the last team to have a player drafted. Ross, who wanted to continue rolling with the Packers, missed out on Jordy Nelson by one pick and settled with a higher-risk option, Cobb. I haven’t loved Vereen’s production in the final few games of the season, but the Patriots don’t have the many weapons and they have a good chance of playing multiple games.
My Pick: I was all set and ready to take Dalton until Clay snatched him up. Instead, I settled with Boldin who has played much better since Crabtree returned and took away top coverage. Boldin was a beast in the 2013 playoffs and I am confident he will play in multiple games.
Best Pick: Mike, Andy Dalton. An argument can be made that Andy Dalton is the best quarterback with the best chance to play in multiple games. The Bengals are undefeated at home this season and they already crushed the Chargers this season. It helps that Dalton has a dream matchup with a bottom-five Chargers’ secondary that he shredded during the regular season.
- Ross – Keenan Allen
- Akshay – Julian Edelman
- Matt – Dwayne Bowe
- Dan – T.Y. Hilton
- Mike – Seattle D/ST
- Jeff – LaGarrette Blount
Overview: Mike took the first defense in the draft at pick 35th overall. LaGarrette Blount represents a very high upside pick at 36th overall because of his play in the final games of the regular season. He has shown nice elusiveness in open space.
My Pick: Even though I had already selected Charles, I went with Hilton because I thought he had the most upside of any receiver left to break open a few big plays.
Best Pick: Akshay, Julian Edelman. Edelman could end up being the steal of the draft in a league that awards a half a point for every reception. He is Brady’s most trusted option left on the field and he racks up targets and catches. If the Patriots advance in the playoffs, this will end up being one of the best picks in the draft.
- Jeff – Broncos D/ST
- Mike – Golden Tate
- Dan – 49ers D/ST
- Matt – Bengals D/ST
- Akshay Panthers D/ST
- Ross – Phillip Rivers
Overview: Here comes the team D/ST run! Four team defenses come flying off the board just one pick after Mike took the Seahawks. Ross took the second-to-last remaining quarterback and I was the only team who had not drafted a QB2. I had planned this strategy before the draft because I believe the Chiefs have a strong chance to play in multiple games but drafters are hesitant to choose Alex Smith over anyone. Also, this allowed me use my final pick in the draft on a quarterback.
My Pick: I continued the trend by grabbing my fourth 49er. I stand by my strategy of targeting a team that has a maximum potential of four games played and loading up on players from their team. The Packers defense cannot stop the 49ers. This season, they graded out as our 12th-worst team in pass coverage, seventh-worst team in pass rush and fourth-worst team in run defense.
Best Pick: Jeff, Broncos D/ST. It is difficult picking a best choice when four defenses are taken. The best pick is the team that each individual believes will play in the most games. Most of the fantasy world thinks that team will be the Broncos, so I give this one to Jeff.
- Ross – Montee Ball
- Akshay – Greg Olsen
- Matt – Brent Celek
- Dan – Michael Crabtree
- Mike – Deangelo Williams
- Jeff – Matt Prater
Overview: Our first kicker comes off the board when Jeff selected Matt Prater 48th overall. The first two Panthers skill position players come of the board in Round 8, even though the Panthers are one of two NFC teams with a bye.
My Pick: By adding Crabtree, I added my third 49ers’ skill position player to a team that already had Colin Kaepernick. To say that all my eggs are in the 49ers’ basket would be an understatement. However, if the 49ers can play in three or four games, I have a very strong chance to win with this strategy.
Best Pick: Mike, Deangelo Williams. Williams has looked spry for some reason in the final weeks of the NFL season. He ended the year by racking up 343 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games. Those numbers are not bad for a player drafted 47th overall.
- Jeff – Riley Cooper
- Mike – Marvin Jones
- Dan – Phil Dawson
- Matt – James Jones
- Akshay – Marques Colston
- Ross – Darren Sproles
Overview: Round 9 saw a very big drop off in productive players. Cooper was the only player of these five position players who was a consistent fantasy option in the final month of the regular season.
My Pick: I did not see a big enough drop off in the talent at WR and RB to select one here. I figured I would take another player I felt had a better chance to play in multiple games. I regret not taking Hauschka here and I believe I got too caught up in my strategy of loading up on the 49ers.
Best Pick: Mike, Marvin Jones. Jones is a player that you will see my writing about in the coming off-season. From everything that I have seen, he is the real deal from a talent perspective. Given a full time role and more targets, he could easily emerge as a great second option for the Bengals’ passing game. He also has the luxury of a first-round matchup with the Charger’s secondary.
- Ross – Chiefs D/ST
- Akshay – Donald Brown
- Matt – Pierre Thomas
- Dan – Trent Richardson
- Mike – Steve Hauschka
- Jeff – Danny Woodhead
Overview: Both of the Colts running backs went within two picks of each other. It will be interesting to see if Richardson can find his way in the playoffs if he has a chance to play in multiple games. Thomas and Woodhead are dual-threat running backs but most believe that they will only play in one game.
My Pick: I took Richardson because I have liked the way he has finished the season off but I was really hoping to land Pierre Thomas with this pick.
Best Pick: Matt, Pierre Thomas. Thomas plays a much bigger role in the Saints offense than often realized. He is the player most likely to score for them and will be a great value pick if the Saints can beat the Eagles. (Editor’s note: Thomas is nursing a recent injury.)
- Jeff – Zach Ertz
- Mike – Stevan Ridley
- Dan – Patriots D/ST
- Matt – Colts D/ST
- Akshay – Stephen Gostkowski
- Ross – Saints D/ST
Overview: It is the end of the draft and team are filling in spots at kicker, defense, tight end or potentially a final running back or wide receiver slot. Stevan Ridley is drafted 62nd overall in a league with only 12 teams to draft from. This past August, he was being drafted as a top 15 and sometimes even top 10 overall player in fantasy leagues.
My Pick: I believe the Patriots have a much better chance than the Colts or Saints to play in multiple games so this pick was easy for me with just a kicker and the last quarterback remaining.
Best Pick: Selecting the best pick in these final rounds is difficult because it is based on how each writer sees the playoffs unfolding and nothing more.
- Ross – Graham Gano
- Akshay – Eagles D/ST
- Matt – Alex Henery
- Dan – Mike Nugent
- Mike – Packers D/ST
- Jeff – Chargers D/ST
Overview: The Chargers were the final defense to be selected. The Saints defense was surprisingly selected before the Eagles.
My Pick: I was surprised to get Nugent because of the earlier love shown to the Bengals’ “big three”, Green, Bernard and Dalton.
Best Pick: Mike Nugent. The Bengals will play in at least two games.
- Jeff – Adam Vinatieri
- Mike – Mason Crosby
- Dan – Alex Smith
- Matt – Ryan Succop
- Akshay – Shayne Graham
- Ross – Nick Novak
Overview: The draft finally wraps up as we each fill out our last player. I would like to take this time to welcome Alex Smith to the squad!
The Final Rosters
|QB||Peyton Manning||Russell Wilson||Tom Brady||Colin Kaepernick||Aaron Rodgers||Drew Brees|
|QB||Nick Foles||Andy Dalton||Andrew Luck||Alex Smith||Cam Newton||Phillip Rivers|
|RB||Shane Vereen||Frank Gore||Lesean McCoy||Jamaal Charles||Marshawn Lynch||Eddie Lacy|
|RB||LaGarette Blount||Deangelo Williams||Ryan Mathews||Knoshon Moreno||Giovani Bernard||Montee Ball|
|RB||Danny Woodhead||Stevan Ridley||Pierre Thomas||Trent Richardson||Donald Brown||Darren Sproles|
|WR||Wes Welker||Eric Decker||AJ Green||Anquan Boldin||Julian Edelman||Demaryius Thomas|
|WR||Desean Jackson||Golden Tate||Dwayne Bowe||T.Y. Hilton||Jordy Nelson||Keenan Allen|
|WR||Riley Cooper||Marvin Jones||Golden Tate||Michael Crabtree||Marques Colston||Randall Cobb|
|TE||Zach Ertz||Julius Thomas||Brent Celek||Vernon Davis||Greg Olsen||Jimmy Graham|
|K||Matt Prater||Steve Hauschka||Alex Henery||Phil Dawson||Stephen Gostkowski||Graham Gano|
|K||Adam Vinatieri||Mason Crosby||Ryan Succop||Mike Nugent||Shayne Graham||Nick Novak|