A quick foreword: This piece is going to deal with the mock draft we conducted in episode 10. If you have not listened to episode 10, this article may not make a lot of sense. Here is what you should do:
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So with that out of the way, I wanted to break down our mock draft from last night just a little bit. First off a major shout to the guys at Fantasy Pros, their tool is amazing and it does account for that one in a hundred owners who is gonna take Julio Jones at 1 overall. And it shows in this draft. Devonta Freeman went 6th in this draft, that’s four picks earlier than most experts have him at and ahead of both Melvin Gordon and LeSean McCoy who are both higher projected and higher drafted according to the Consensus ADP they offer. The computer made that decision based on probability and if you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons or a similar game that relies on random number elements, you know it happens. So kudos to those guys, keep up the great work and check out their site.
We intentionally chose tenth, it’s a standard snake draft and I think Craig liked picking from the double. I don’t necessarily like to do that personally, I’d rather draft nearer the middle in a mock so I can see trends develop around me in a more time friendly manner but I left that up to him and I can’t blame hm for it. So by the time our pick came up at 10th, all the expected guys were gone. The only guy in the top ten still there was Melvin Gordon (ADP 9). Having the double here matters, it allows you to stock up or to reach out with one of the picks. We decided to reach down for a risky but high upside RB with Jay Ajayi. Gordon s not a safer pick, let me say that again, Gordon is not a safer pick. I worry about his fumbling and never forget he rode the Cart of Death last December. And recall that the team shut him down, he wanted to play week 17 and the team said no. Even with Ajayi recovering from his concussion, I’m not convinced Gordon will outperform Ajayi. I also passed on Howard and Murray. I’m not a big fan of taking the only option on a team, so I’m not sure how much I’d want to draft Howard here. In retrospect, Murray is the only guy I would have considered. But it was a coin toss and Craig liked Ajayi and I deferred because…..
In round two I knew I wanted to go WR after grabbing a RB. I could have grabbed Murray here and slept like a baby, but remember that after grabbing Michael Thomas, the next best guys were Jordy Nelson (injury history), T. Y Hilton (Injured currently and historically), and Dez Bryant (injury history). I think you see where I’m going here, so I exercised my will and grabbed Thomas. Michael Thomas was the last wideout in my second tier available, I did not want to miss out and its about value, with Ajayi already in the lineup, I felt that Thomas would yield better value than another RB. Additionally, I foresaw WRs flying off the board in rounds 2 and 3 and there would be RB help still around when we came around in round 3.
I was wrong, by the time it came back around 7 WRs and 7 RBs were gone off the board. Craig wanted Alshon Jeffrey because he has some sort of bizarre man-love for the Philadelphia Eagles, it borders on zoophilia. So we grabbed the second WR. So again, I exerted my will and took Kelce with the turn pick. So we have a RB1, two WR1 and the second best TE in the ADP. What I needed now was for one of my midrange RBs to fall to us so we could grab at the next turn. Five of the next ten picks were RBs including Craig’s predicted rookie of the year, Joe Mixon and the guy I was really eyeballing, Dalvin Cook. I waited too long to grab that second RB and we were now going to pay for it, so I shifted strategy. I had Carlos Hyde and Mark Ingram both available but both are huge role question marks. Looking a little further down I see CJ Anderson and Spencer Ware and now they will be there for at least another round, so I then look and see where I’m ahead of everybody else (keep in mind this is all happening in my head and in a way that I may not even be overtly conscious of, so its hard to say in the moment, its hard to articulate every thought on a podcast). We’ve got the TE, the RB value is not great here, I still need a flex and a QB…..quarterback, the only two gone right now are Brady and Rodgers. It’s the 5th round turn into 6, this is where the other teams will start looking to grab a QB. If I grab here, I can get ahead of the rush and get a lot better value than drafting a RB, so we grab Drew Brees and then shore up the WR core/flex with Larry Fitzgerald.
This time, I was right, before we pick again, seven QBs come off the board. So the distance between my decision is the distance between Brees and Mariota, win for us. But now I have absolutely painted myself into a corner. I have to get a RB at this point. I HATE positional drafting, but I’ve got the QB, 1 RB, 3 WR and a stud TE, I need that last RB. As expected CJ Anderson and Ware are still on the board at the end of round 6. Which do I grab? Craig likes Anderson over Ware and despite the injury we grab Woodhead with the next pick. So now our RB core is Ajayi, Anderson and Woodhead. They all have high upsides and a decent amount of risk, so I’m keeping my eyes open. We are building bench at this point and I’ve already three really solid WRs, if there is a reliable option next time up at RB, I gotta think about it.
Frank Gore. No matter how bad the Colts have been, he’s been decent. Hasn’t missed a game in three years, seems ageless and the price is absolutely right, so at the end of round 9, we grab Gore. Its not a sexy pick but he does the job, he fills a gap should two of his three RB squad mates have a major issue. I love stocking up on RBs and with three straight picks, I’ve just gone from not having a field to locking down the entire position on my roster. Don’t forget too, I already have Michael Thomas, Alshon Jeffrey and Larry Fitzgerald in my receiver core, I’m not unhappy about going for depth at RB right now. So now we start looking for the value picks that round out our bench. Randall Cobb (Round 10) fits the bill. Then it happens….. one of us wants a defense.
Craig looks at round 11 and wants to grab a good defense. Seattle goes off the board three picks before us and he smells a rush. I did not want a defense there. We need a solid backup for TE and QB. Defenses get dropped all the freaking time and (yes I know it’s a mock), I’m in bye week mode. Why am I spending an 11th rounder on someone who I’m gonna drop as soon as I need their bye week replacement? So we took the Denver defense, but I then decided that we were gonna take Jack Doyle. Big possible upside and he may be drop-able for a defense later to protect the early investment. If my partner had not been pushing for a defense, I would have waited there and grabbed more bench depth, but this is a partnership and we gotta work together.
Into the final three rounds, we are looking for one last receiver/ running back, a QB and a kicker. Jordan Mathews and his broken sternum drop to us, we grab Philip Rivers and Caleb Sturgis before signing off. In the end, I have a top three QB with an upside backup, a pack of RBs who could all be really good or really bad, a very solid WR core and Travis Kelce with a high upside backup, its not a bad group of guys.
We got a B grade for the draft. Probably because we reached out for Ajayai and made a couple of moves the experts disagreed with but we stayed true to our plan, remained flexible and got some good practice. That’s the whole idea, to get some practice. Remember that, its about fun and preparation. Unless it’s a live draft, then its about fun and crushing the souls of your friends and enemies. Mock drafting is a great way to prepare for your draft, particularly if you know the settings and your draft order. I strongly recommend doing it and if you hate mocks who start full and begin autodrafting after round 5 (like me) check out the guys at FantasyPros.com, I love their tool and recommend to anyone. Good luck in your draft everybody! -B