PFF Fantasy Staff 2013 Mock Draft Recap
Twelve members of the PFF Fantasy staff gathered this week to complete a mock draft for the upcoming 2013 PFF Fantasy Draft Guide. This article is going to break down the draft, highlighting some of the best and worst picks, the different strategies that appeared, and what you can take away from this expert’s mock. You can also take a look at the full draft results online on MyFantasyLeague.com.
This was a PPR mock with a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one team defense.
There were no major surprises in the first round of the draft, with 10 running backs being selected in the first 12 picks. Austin Lee kicked the draft off with Adrian Peterson, and Mike Clay was able to snag Marshawn Lynch at 1.12 – potentially the best pick of the first round.
Mike Woellert drafted Trent Richardson at 1.04, a few picks above his ADP and ahead of guys like Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy. While most have the latter players ranked ahead of Richardson, Woellert stuck to his guns and went with his guy.
In the second round, five running backs, five receivers, and Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were selected. The selection of Gronk (which happened to be mine) was obviously made on the assumption that he will be healthy when the season rolls around. There is now news about an impending fourth arm surgery, and even whispers of potential back surgery, that cloud his status. Regardless, Gronk remains high on draft boards until it’s clearer whether or not he will miss games.
The best pick of the second round came at 2.07, when Alex Miglio scooped up A.J. Green. The young Cincinnati star was the fifth receiver taken off the board despite typically being the second, behind only Calvin Johnson.
Jeff Ratcliffe took a slight gamble in drafting Larry Fitzgerald as his WR1 in the third round. While he has a reputation as a WR1, any fantasy footballer that owned Fitzgerald last year would tell you he was a waste of a high draft pick. Carson Palmer is certainly an upgrade over Arizona’s starting quarterbacks last year (read: Tweedledum and Tweedledee), but he’s no Kurt Warner. With the likes of Andre Johnson and Randall Cobb still on the board, this pick was a head-scratcher.
Through three rounds, 18 running backs were selected (50% of the picks), 14 receivers (39%), three tight ends (8%), and one quarterback (3%). Keep in mind that 10 running backs were selected in the first round, which means the pickings thinned quickly.
While everyone seemed to go with running backs early, Shawn Siegele appeared allergic to runners. His first four picks were Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers, and Jordy Nelson. The first running back he selected was Arizona’s Rashard Mendenhall in the fifth round, followed by the much-hyped Chris Ivory (NYJ) in the sixth round.
On the surface, it appeared that Siegele went with a popular strategy of drafting the best player on your board regardless of position (until starters are filled). This strategy is difficult to follow because it requires a high level of self-control. However, Siegele’s strategy was deeper than that.
“I like upside-down as the dominant strategy in PPR formats where you start more receivers than running backs,” Siegele said. The upside-down strategy is forgoing running backs early and instead loading up on other skill positions. Siegele also said that tight ends should either be drafted “really early or really late,” and since Graham was available for him in the second round, he went with option A.
Woellert drafted the undervalued Reggie Wayne at 4.09. He is aging, but his 2012 season proved that not only does he have rapport with Andrew Luck, but also he’s a viable WR1 that will almost always be there in the fourth or fifth rounds of fantasy drafts. These are the types of value picks you should be looking for.
I went with Eric Decker in the fifth round despite drafting his Denver teammate, Wes Welker, in the fourth. With several teams sporting multiple options at receiver (Denver, Atlanta, NY Giants, Green Bay), you might run into this dilemma: do I draft two receivers from the same team? The answer is that as long as you draft other receivers that don’t have the same bye week, you will be fine. Individual players will get their due. In Denver, for example, it’s not hard to imagine all three receivers (including Demaryius Thomas) ending up with over 1,000 yards.
A common strategy among the PFF Fantasy drafters was waiting on quarterbacks. The first quarterback (Rodgers) didn’t go until 3.09. Drew Brees and Tom Brady went in the fourth round, and no quarterbacks were selected in the fifth. After Cam Newton fell to Miglio at 6.07 as the fourth quarterback off the board (potentially the pick of the draft), the QB floodgates opened.
Including the Newton pick, 9 of the next 18 players off the board were quarterbacks. Nate Jahnke drew the ire of leaguemates when he drafted Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III with back-to-back picks in the sixth and seventh rounds. Jahnke went with high-priced insurance in drafting both quarterbacks, but in the process he stopped others in the league from securing Kaepernick or RGIII and set himself up for a favorable trade down the road.
Bryan Fontaine didn’t follow the draft-a-quarterback trend in the middle rounds, waiting until the 13th and 14th rounds to select his quarterbacks: Jake Locker and Sam Bradford. It’s inadvisable to end up with a Locker/Bradford duo as your starter, but Fontaine was able to land decent skill position talent in the middle rounds that could be used as trade bait.
By the end of the seventh round, 12 quarterbacks had been drafted, 11 of which were selected between rounds four and seven. Assuming nobody takes two quarterbacks before the seventh round (which was not the case in this mock), this proves that you should be able to successfully wait on a quarterback and still land a quality starter.
By breaking down this mock by position and round, the depth at wide receiver becomes clear. At least five receivers were drafted in five straight rounds, totaling 52% of the picks between rounds two and six. When every other pick for five straight rounds is a viable fantasy starter from the same position, you know the position is deep.
The draft happened just two days prior to the writing of this article, and already news has broken that calls for clarification. For example, pre-arrested Mike Goodson was drafted in the 12th round. The arrest changes things, most notable of which is a boost to Ivory’s stock. By the time the season rolls around, Ahmad Bradshaw should be on a roster. Depending on where he lands, he figures to go much higher than 10.12, which is where Austin Lee drafted him in this mock.
A handful of staff members were chatting on Skype during the draft, and the conversation ended up being a live critique of every draft pick. We realized that this would have been worth recording a bit too late, but hope to do so next year. Several strategies were deployed in the draft, making the PFF Fantasy mock highly competitive and entertaining.