The RotoViz gang reassembled last week for Part 2 of our four-part mock draft series. You can read the Part 1 recap here. Like last time, it was a PPR mock with otherwise standard Yahoo! scoring and roster settings (start one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one defense, and one kicker). All teams were required to fill their starting lineups.
Here was the draft order:
- Cort Smith
- Jeremy Marin
- Dave Caban
- Mark Schoennagel
- Matt Jones
- Phil Caldwell
- Ryan Collinsworth
- Blair Andrews
- Kate Magdziuk
- Larry Weinhauer
- John Lapinski
- Jack Miller
The first four picks went as expected — except they weren’t the same four players as last time. In light of Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout, David Johnson went off the board at 1.04 while Elliott dropped to 1.07. In our first mock draft, the first surprising move of the draft happened at 1.05 when DeAndre Hopkins came off the board. This time, Matt Jones took Nick Chubb at 1.05, well ahead of his second-round ADP, although he should rise up draft boards over the next few days as the fantasy world reacts to the Duke Johnson trade. I asked Matt what made him go with Chubb instead of Elliott, Hopkins, or Travis Kelce, and he explained that the Browns have made their commitment to Chubb clear through their offseason moves.
Everything the Browns have done since trading Carlos Hyde away midseason last year has signaled a clear commitment to Chubb. He was getting 20-plus opportunities per game once Hyde left, and that was with Duke Johnson in the picture. If the Browns offense goes like we think it will, Chubb has a ceiling that puts him in the top tier of RBs for me.
Matt also recently wrote about why Chubb is an ascending star who is well-worth a first-round pick.
In Part 1 of this mock draft series, six wide receivers came off the board in Round 1. This time, only four did (although I took Odell Beckham at 2.01, which is basically the first round). The selections of Le’Veon Bell and the aforementioned Chubb pushed Beckham and Michael Thomas into the second round.
The second round was relatively uneventful, with the main storyline being Tyreek Hill’s drop to 2.08 (WR9). While the first seven wide receivers (from Hopkins to Mike Evans) typically go ahead of or in the same range as Hill, Phil Caldwell surprisingly opted for Keenan Allen over the Kansas City speedster. I asked Phil to explain his rationale, and he went player-by-player to detail why he chose Allen.
1. I took Allen over Tyreek Hill because I have a basic rule in fantasy football. I want to root for “my guys.” With everything that’s going on with Hill, I can’t root for him, so he is off my board.
2. I took Allen over T.Y. Hilton because the newest Andrew Luck injury news has him falling a spot or two in my rankings. If Luck is healthy, Hilton will bounce right back up. But if Luck misses any time at all, Hilton suffers the most in my opinion.
3. Amari Cooper has one of the lowest Consistency Scores for wide receivers who are currently getting taken in the first two rounds. I want no part of him with one of my early picks. I go with high-upside, low-floor players later in drafts.
The third round started off with a bang when Cort Smith chose Chris Godwin at 3.01, just eight picks after his teammate Evans went off the board. Godwin was drafted at 3.05 in our last mock draft – more than a round ahead of his 47.8 ADP — but Cort went even higher on him this time by taking him over players like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Brandin Cooks.
Given how wide receiver-heavy Rounds 3 and 4 were last time, Cort wasn’t going to get Godwin at 4.12, so he had to take him at 3.01 if he wanted to lock him up. Cort explained that he took Godwin over those other guys because he wanted a high-upside wideout and knew this group would target wide receivers heavily. However, he went on to say that he would have taken Zach Ertz if he could do it over.
I’ve been picking from the 1.01 & 1.02 a lot this season, and this is the first time I haven’t been able to pick from the Hilton/Keenan tier when it comes back to me at the turn. Usually it’s an easy decision there, but this crew obviously makes it hard, and I was admittedly unprepared to choose from this lower tier. My thought process is that in a sharp crowd like this is that I want players who have the potential for a huge swing in value. Even though Godwin’s a bit of a reach here, he fits that bill. I didn’t want to start RBx2, which eliminated Todd Gurley and Kerryon Johnson from consideration, and I have serious concerns about a significant downtick in passing volume affecting Diggs and Theilen. Cooks would have been a fine pick, but he doesn’t have that same potential for a wild swing in value. In the end, I’m fine with the pick in a tough draft like this as I am starting to buy the Godwin-is-the-1A hype, but if I could do it again, I’d have taken Ertz.
This was also the second time Tyler Boyd has been selected well ahead of his 74.8 ADP, as he went at 4.07 in our first rendition and 4.10 this go-around. Boyd has been a controversial player as of late because his numbers fell off a cliff after A.J. Green’s injury last year (of course, Green’s injury was around the same time as Andy Dalton’s injury, which might have had more of an impact on Boyd’s numbers), as shown by the RotoViz Game Splits App. However, Boyd is ranked 45th in the RotoViz redraft rankings, so RV writers clearly are not worried about Green’s absence negatively impacting the Pitt product.
Christian Kirk was selected at 5.03 for the second mock draft in a row, this time by Dave Caban. Last year, the Cardinals ran the second-fewest plays of any team since 2006, but that should change this year with Kliff Kingsbury coming in to install a more modern offense. Kingsbury’s Texas Tech teams were regularly among the fastest in college football, meaning the Cardinals should be in for a massive uptick in total play volume this year. That’s good news for Kirk, who saw a 19% target share as a rookie and managed to be one of two Arizona pass-catchers with a positive Fantasy Points Over Expectation (FPOE) total on at least 30 targets.1 Heading into Year 2, Kirk looks like a screaming value at his current ADP – especially because second-year wide receivers are the biggest edge in all of fantasy.
Like last time, Rounds 7-10 were full of running backs because most teams targeted wide receivers early. Blair Andrews went further than anyone with the Zero-RB strategy, taking five wide receivers and one tight end in the first six rounds before finally pivoting to running back in this range. In Round 7, Blair went with Miles Sanders, whose ADP has been rising after a good camp. Sanders’ ADP dipped into Round 8 toward the end of July, prompting Shawn Siegele to write about why he could be this year’s Nick Chubb. His ADP has since rocketed upwards, but he’s still a target of mine as the lead back in one of the league’s most potent offenses. Blair followed the Sanders pick up by taking another lead back in a prolific offense in Ronald Jones. Jones is another one of my favorite Zero-RB targets, but the public is scared off after an abysmal rookie season. Blair shared the same sentiment as me when I asked him why he took Jones well ahead of his ADP.
Jones was one of my favorite prospects when he came out — youngest RB in the class, 1,000 yards from scrimmage as a freshman, and he’s probably faster than he tested. His rookie year was disastrous, but if there’s any mitigating factor it’s that he didn’t get much opportunity. I wouldn’t say I’m confident in Jones, but I’m optimistic. In Round 8, that’s enough for someone who could end up leading his backfield in touches and scoring a lot of TDs in an explosive offense.
Jeremy Marin took Duke Johnson at 8.09, which is notable because we did this draft on the day he was traded to Houston. I would argue the late-eighth round is still too late for Johnson; Lamar Miller has proven to be nothing special, and Johnson could emerge as the early-down between-the-tackles running back in addition to providing his usual receiving floor. Any time you can get a potential three-down starter on an elite offense — especially one with a locked-in receiving role — late in Round 8, you have to go for it.
Mark Schoennagel took Zay Jones rounds ahead of his ADP at 10.09. After a disastrous rookie season, Jones rebounded to post a positive FPOE total in Year 2, and he has been working with the starters at training camp over the last few weeks. Mark believes Jones could take another leap in Year 3.
In most drafts I wouldn’t have taken him that early, but in this one full of RotoViz writers, the wide receiver pool diminished quickly. I was hoping Tre’Quan Smith would make it back to me in this round but you sniped him. Jones led the Bills last year in target share, air yards, and WOPR. Still only 24 years old, he also appeared in Shawn Siegele’s teaser for third-year breakout candidates. After my RB-heavy start, these types of receivers with big breakout potential are who I was targeting.
Quarterbacks, kickers, and defenses made up 28 of the final 60 picks, so this was the least exciting portion of the draft. I’m always interested in seeing where Carlos Hyde and Darwin Thompson go relative to each other in these mocks because the incumbent starter in Kansas City is a 27-year-old veteran who has never had more than 73 touches in a season. That’s not to say you shouldn’t draft Damien Williams — in fact, I did draft him in our first mock because his upside is tantalizing — but he’s clearly one of the riskier early-round picks. Last time, Thompson went in Round 12 and Hyde went undrafted. This time, Hyde went three picks ahead of Thompson, but both moved up to Round 11.
Thompson isn’t the only Day 3 rookie running back whose ADP is skyrocketing right now. Tony Pollard’s ADP is rising every day that Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t show up to camp, and Ryan Collinsworth took him at 13.07 in this mock. Pollard has been getting rave reviews in camp and has RB1 upside should Elliott’s holdout extend into the regular season. He’s become a Zero-RB priority for me over the last few weeks.
Thanks for reading the second edition of our four-part mock draft series. You can see the full mock draft results here.
Image Credit: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Saquon Barkley.
- David Johnson was the other. (back)