With less than a week left until the first day of the NFL Draft, Fantasy Football is starting to get into full swing. Between regular drafts starting underway right now (Some owners just can’t wait) and Fantasy Football Mock Drafts going furiously, now is a good time to update my own mock and see whether the players from my first fantasy football mock draft moved up or down the list.
For a full listing of the updated First Round Mock Draft CLICK HERE.
Standard 12-team PPR league with 6 points awarded for all touchdowns.
2.1 Matthew Stafford – QB – Detroit Lions (First Pick: 1.12 – Wes Welker)
As an owner with the last pick in the first round and the first pick in the second, I had better lock up a stud quarterback. Chances are, with six points awarded for all scores, a guy like Stafford isn’t going to be there when I pick at the bottom of the third. 5000+ passing yards and 41 touchdowns from 2011 is too hard to pass up. Lets just hope Stafford remains injury free going into the 2012 season.
2.2 Andre Johnson – WR – Houston Texans (First Pick: 1.11 – Larry Fitzgerald)
With Fitz locked up as my WR1, it came down to either Johnson or Roddy White as my WR2. I don’t see any running back worth this high a pick. Johnson comes out on top over White for the simple fact he doesn’t have someone like Julio Jones to take receptions away. Yes Johnson hasn’t played a full season since 2009, but his eight catch/111 yard performance in the playoff loss to the Ravens shows me AJ still has some fight left. In a PPR league, I now have two receivers who could rack up triple-digit receptions.
2.3 Roddy White – WR – Atlanta Falcons (First Pick: 1.10 – Chris Johnson)
With an RB1 locked up in the first round, I have to jump on a top-notch receiver since most will be gone by the time I pick in the third. I had considered strongly to put Greg Jennings here, but White is coming off two-straight triple-digit catch seasons. The biggest question mark, like I wrote in my drafting of Andre Johnson, is how much more will Julio Jones be involved in the offense? Was 2011 a mere rookie fluke? I don’t think so. Since I took White, I am going to have to hope Matt Ryan continues to progress and the team eventually starts to steer away from smash-mouth football with Michael Turner’s career slowly winding down.
2.4 Ryan Mathews – RB – San Diego Chargers (First Pick: 1.9 – Cam Newton)
You won’t find Matt Forte anywhere near my first two rounds. With his “I won’t play if you don’t pay” approach with the Bears and with Michael Bush around, Forte’s stock plummets. So that leaves Mathews as the first running back off the board in Round Two. Now that Mike Tolbert is now in Carolina, it’s finally time for Mathews to shine as the lead back, with only Le’Ron McClain behind him. Mathews’ injury history is frustrating. But after improving on his rushing and receiving stats from 2010 to 2011, 2012 could finally be the year Mathews takes that big leap as a fantasy stud running back. His upside is off the charts.
2.5 Greg Jennings – WR – Green Bay Packers (First Pick: 1.8 – Tom Brady)
With my QB1 locked up in Round One, the value for running backs simply isn’t there at the 2.5 spot. Are guys like Marshawn Lynch and DeMarco Murray worth it? Not in my mind. Not yet anyway. Some owners will be scared off by Jennings because of Jordy Nelson and the fact that he had lingering knee problems in 2011. Not me. The guy is a baller. And with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball up, I expect Jennings to have a solid bounce-back year in 2012, which happens to be the final year of his four-year deal. Gotta love those contract players.
2.6 Mike Wallace – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers (First Pick: 1.7 – Maurice Jones-Drew)
Luckily I don’t have to make my first fantasy pick until August. By then we’ll know the true fate of Wallace. But lets assume he plays nice, signs his RFA tender and remains in Pittsburgh. It’s hard to discount him with this pick considering he is coming off back-to-back 1000-yard seasons and 18 total touchdowns. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are still around, but Wallace’s receptions have improved every year.
2.7 Marshawn Lynch – RB – Seattle Seahawks (First Pick: 1.6 – Drew Brees)
I really don’t like Lynch. I know he had over 1000 rushing yards last year, but that was the first time since 2008. Add in the fact that he has had problems keeping his weight under control during the offseason and this pick could be a disaster. But on the flipside, Lynch could build off of the momentum from last year. And now that he has signed a new contract, he won’t have to worry about money. But was money the only reason he showed a late-season burst? It helps that there really isn’t a bonafide backup on the roster who can give him legit competition. There is always that ONE pick you hate making. This is mine.
2.8 Steven Jackson – RB – St. Louis Rams (First Pick: 1.5 – Calvin Johnson)
Another questionable pick to make before the draft, there are rumors that Steven Jackson could be in another uniform if Trent Richardson falls to the No. 6 pick and the Rams take him. Since we’re in fantasy lala land, Jackson is staying on as a Ram. As least in this writer’s mind. Jackson will turn an old 29 in July and doesn’t have that many years left with so much tread wearing out on his tires. But as one of the last full-time backs left on the board, I have to take Jackson here before he is gone by my third pick. Having Megatron as my leader makes this pick a little bit easier. I’d like to think Jackson can squeeze out at least one more 1000-yard season under Jeff Fisher.
2.9 Rob Gronkowski – TE – New England Patriots (First Pick: 1.4 – LeSean McCoy)
Throwing a wrench in the draft, I’m going to take a chance on Gronk as the first tight end in the draft. Taking over for Antonio Gates as the tight end to own this year, Gronkowski could easily put up numbers like a WR1. While I don’t expect 17 touchdowns in 2012, even 10-12 and 80-85 receptions would make this pick worth it. With an upper-tier RB1 and the best TE1 now on my roster, I can go with the best available quarterback or wide receiver left in Round Three.
2.10 Hakeem Nicks – WR – New York Giants (First Pick: 1.3 – Aaron Rodgers)
Since I don’t need to worry about a quarterback, I’ll gladly take Nicks here. Poised for a breakout year in 2011, Nicks dealt with numerous nagging injuries and still put up 1192 receiving yards. I expect him to top his 2011 numbers and make this the year we see Nicks become one of the elite WR1s. Nicks over Victor Cruz you ask? I’d rather Nicks’ resume’ over Cruz’s one-year relevance. That’s not to say Cruz won’t capitalize on his 2011 season, but I’d rather not take the chance this early in the draft.
2.11 Michael Vick – QB – Philadelphia Eagles (First Pick: 1.2 – Ray Rice)
Vick’s running abilities gives him the edge over guys like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Even though he has been hit with the injury bug, I’d rather take Vick and draft a capable backup who can fill in for a game or two if/when Vick goes down. Bringing DeSean Jackson back did nothing but help Vick’s fantasy value. His 18:14 TD:INT ratio from last year will raise some eyebrows, but those 45.3 rushing yards a game does help making this pick worth it.
2.12 A.J. Green – WR – Cincinnati Bengals (First Pick: 1.1 – Arian Foster)
This is one of the worst parts about picking at No. 1. Having to play the waiting game and seeing all those top-notch fantasy studs go between your first pick and your second is a killer. So like the Foster pick, I really have to make this one and my first pick in the Third Round count. I had contemplated taking Brandon Marshall, but his recent incident at a New York nightclub back in March could very well cost the troubled receiver a suspension. Julio Jones is another player I had thought about, but Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez make his fantasy value a bit muddy. So I will take Green here after his hot start in 2011. Another reason I take Green is the fact that he is practicing with Larry Fitzgerald this offseason. Guys like Dwayne Bowe and Sidney Rice improved their game greatly after practicing with Fitz, so I am banking on Green being the latest player to take Fitz’s teachings and use them on the field. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Andy Dalton doesn’t have a relapse.
With the first two rounds complete, who would you take with the first pick in the third? Arian Foster and A.J. Green is a strong start. Do you go with Philip Rivers or Peyton Manning? Or how about a tight end like Jimmy Graham, who could put up better numbers than the receivers already drafted.