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David Johnson

Fantasy Football 2017: 5-Round Standard League Mock Draft, Potential Team Names

Fantasy Football
September 2, 2017

With Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season quickly approaching, it is prime time for fantasy football drafts ahead of Thursday night’s season opener.

There has been a great deal of turnover in fantasy circles in recent weeks due to surprising personnel moves and significant injuries, and they figure to have a major impact on the way drafts play out now that the picture is clearer for all 32 NFL teams.

As you prepare for your draft, here is a five-round mock for 10-team, standard leagues, along with analysis for each round and a look at some potential team names to consider.

      

Round 1

1. Team 1: David Johnson, RB, ARI

2. Team 2: Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT

3. Team 3: Antonio Brown, WR, PIT

4. Team 4: Julio Jones, WR, ATL

5. Team 5: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG

6. Team 6: LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF

7. Team 7: Mike Evans, WR, TB

8. Team 8: Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL

9. Team 9: A.J. Green, WR, CIN

10. Team 10: Melvin Gordon, RB, LAC

        

Round 1 Analysis

Perhaps the biggest no-brainer in any fantasy football draft this year is to take Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson No. 1 overall. It was once a competition with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Johnson is now the clear choice.

Bell could get off to a slow start this season after sitting out all of training camp and the preseason, while Elliott is suspended for the Cowboys’ first six games.

Outside of Johnson and Bell, there is a trio of top-flight wide receivers, although there are some questions surrounding New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr.’s Week 1 availability due to an ankle injury suffered during the preseason.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is the clear third choice among players at his position, but with the Bills trading No. 1 wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, McCoy is a somewhat under-the-radar option to be fantasy MVP this season and turn in No. 1 overall production provided he stays healthy.

        

Round 2

11. Team 10: Jordy Nelson, WR, GB

12. Team 9: Jay Ajayi, RB, MIA

13. Team 8: Michael Thomas, WR, NO

14. Team 7: Jordan Howard, RB, CHI

15. Team 6: DeMarco Murray, RB, TEN

16. Team 5: Brandin Cooks, WR, NE

17. Team 4: Todd Gurley, RB, LAR

18. Team 3: Leonard Fournette, RB, JAC

19. Team 2: T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND

20. Team 1: Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA

       

Round 2 Analysis

There is plenty of high upside available in the second round, but the bulk of the players coming off the board have some question marks as well.

New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks could conceivably be in for a massive season with Julian Edelman out for the year, but Tom Brady loves to spread the ball around, which could limit his ceiling in comparison to what he did with the New Orleans Saints.

Rams running back Todd Gurley went from being dominant as a rookie to inefficient as a second-year player. Deciding which version he is closer to is a guessing game of sorts, but with a new coaching staff in place and some weapons in the passing game that can stretch the field, there should be better running lanes for the Georgia product in 2017.

Although rookies are always a risky proposition, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is worth a look in the second round. Jacksonville undoubtedly intends to use him regularly after selecting him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and since quarterback Blake Bortles is a turnover machine, keeping the ball on the ground is Jacksonville’s best chance of success.

           

Round 3

21. Team 1: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL

22. Team 2: Kareem Hunt, RB, KC

23. Team 3: Dez Bryant, WR, DAL

24. Team 4: Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE

25. Team 5: Marshawn Lynch, RB, OAK

26. Team 6: Amari Cooper, WR, OAK

27. Team 7: Keenan Allen, WR, LAC

28. Team 8: Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR

29. Team 9: Lamar Miller, RB, HOU

30. Team 10: Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE

           

Round 3 Analysis

The third round starts with a bit of an eyebrow-raiser in the form of Elliott. Although he is slated to miss six games, Elliott is a top-three fantasy player when on the field, and that still makes him worth a premium pick. If Team 1 nabs Darren McFadden later in the draft, then it will have the benefit of Dallas’ dominant running game for the entire season.

It has long been assumed that Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is the No. 2 rookie back behind Fournette in fantasy terms, and while McCaffrey does get taken at No. 28, he has arguably been supplanted by Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

The rookie third-round pick out of Toledo is KC’s unquestioned top back with Spencer Ware out for the season, and since the Chiefs run a fairly conservative offense, he is in line to get a ton of touches both as a runner and in the passing game.

Also in the third round, Team 3 cracked the seal on the tight end position with Rob Gronkowski. While staying healthy has been a major issue for Gronk in recent years, he is a game-changer when he plays and should benefit from the absence of Edelman in the form of more targets.

         

Round 4

31. Team 10: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB

32. Team 9: Terrelle Pryor Sr., WR, WAS

33. Team 8: Alshon Jeffery, WR, PHI

34. Team 7: Ty Montgomery, RB, GB

35. Team 6: Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

36. Team 5: Tom Brady, QB, NE

37. Team 4: Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN

38. Team 3: Carlos Hyde, RB, SF

39. Team 2: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU

40. Team 1: Golden Tate, WR, DET

       

Round 4 Analysis

Teams wisely held off on quarterbacks in the first three rounds due to the impressive depth at the position, but the elite options come off the board in Round 4 in the form of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

It is essentially a coin flip when deciding which signal-caller will be better from a fantasy perspective in 2017, but these choices came down to fits. Rodgers made sense for Team 10 in order to form a combo with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, while Brady joins Team 5 to unite with his Patriots teammate in Cooks.

A few high-ceiling running backs also came off the board, including the Packers’ Ty Montgomery. The converted receiver is still learning the nuances of the running back position, but he has absolutely no competition for touches in Green Bay’s backfield, and he stands to potentially be one of the top backs in the NFL in terms of catching the football.

Minnesota Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook was also selected. Although the team signed veteran Latavius Murray, and he could potentially steal a lot of short-yardage work, Cook is the far more dynamic player, and that should allow him to put a stranglehold on the starting job as the season progresses.

      

Round 5

41. Team 1: Jordan Reed, TE, WAS

42. Team 2: Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK

43. Team 3: Travis Kelce, TE, KC

44. Team 4: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI

45. Team 5: Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ

46. Team 6: Greg Olsen, TE, CAR

47. Team 7: Danny Woodhead, RB, BAL

48. Team 8: Drew Brees, QB, NO

49. Team 9: Joe Mixon, RB, CIN

50. Team 10: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR

        

Round 5 Analysis

A run on tight ends is the name of the game in the fifth and final round of the mock draft, with three of them coming off the board in the first six picks.

Outside of the first four tight ends, the position is a crap shoot as far as fantasy is concerned, which is why it’s a good idea to wait on taking one unless you land a top-flight option. Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen all reside in the tier below Gronk, and getting one of them will create a slight advantage over those who are forced to play the guessing game of selecting a mid-tier tight end.

Yet another rookie running back is the most intriguing pick of the round, with Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals coming off the board at No. 49. Although his off-field issues are well-documented, Mixon is an incredible talent who arguably has a better overall skill set than any other rookie back.

The biggest issue for Mixon is the fact Cincinnati has a crowded backfield that also includes Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. Although Hill is likely to vulture some touchdowns and frustrate Mixon‘s fantasy owners, Mixon should get enough work between the 20s to warrant RB2 status or flex consideration most weeks.

        

Potential Team Names

Keenan & Bell (For Kenan & Kel fans who also happen to own Keenan Allen and Le’Veon Bell)

Super Coopers (For fans of Super Troopers and Amari Cooper alike)

McCoy Meets World (Boy Meets World combines with LeSean McCoy)

Zay Darnold (Perfect for teams who have Zay Jones and are also tanking for the first pick in a dynasty league)

Jack Doyle Rules (Billy Madison fans know what I’m talking about)

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com

NFL

Fantasy Football

Preview/Prediction

Fantasy Draft Prep Kit

Cardinals release RB Chris Johnson

Fantasy Football, NFL News
September 1, 2017

Kerwynn Williams is the No.2 running back

Cardinals released veteran RB Chris Johnson, per source. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)

Nerdy Football Analysis: Johnson lacked explosiveness in camp and was plagued by fumbling issues during pre-season games. Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington and Elijaah Penny are next up on the depth chart behind do-everything David Johnson.

Fantasy Football Big Board Heading into Final Week of Preseason

Fantasy Football
August 30, 2017

The important part of the preseason games is finally behind us, and in just over a week the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will open the 2017 regular season, although they’ll do so without Spencer Ware and Julian Edelman, respectively. Those two were casualties of meaningless preseason action, but that means their teammates have to fill the void, like Kareem Hunt and Brandin Cooks. 

If you had your draft at any point in the last three weeks and owned the No. 1 overall pick, you probably held your breath whenever David Johnson was on the field. Luckily, he escaped what little preseason action he saw without injury and can now focus on preparing for Week 1.

In addition to obvious rankings shifts related to injuries, you may notice some changes at running back and wide receiver, specifically in the RB2 and WR2 ranges. Those are the result of reassessing where players fit in and how I feel about teams going into the regular season compared to the start of preseason. Truthfully, I didn’t have a great grasp of every situation at the beginning of August but have learned more in the last few weeks.

This is the final preseason Big Board article, but I’ll continue to update rankings until the opening week of the regular season. You can bookmark this page to see the latest changes.

 

Note: All ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes from FantasyPros. All advanced stats calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on points per reception (PPR) format.

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NFL

Fantasy Football

Rankings/List

Andrew Luck

T.Y. Hilton

Brandin Cooks

Fantasy Football 2017: 1st-Round Mock Draft and Strategy for Later Rounds

Fantasy Football
August 28, 2017

The NFL preseason is winding down, which means it’s time for you to gear up for your fantasy football draft. 

Being fully prepared for your draft means a lot more than glancing at the latest fantasy football rankings and checking out the injury report. You need to make some decisions ahead of time and plan a strategy so that you don’t get caught frantically looking up information while you’re on the clock. 

To help prepare you for the draft, here’s a look at a first-round mock draft, followed by a few tips you should keep in mind to help you in the later rounds. Being prepared will make you more confident on draft day, and could be the first step towards taking home that championship trophy. 

             

First-Round Mock Draft

1. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals

2. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

3. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers

4. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants

5. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

6. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

7. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons

8. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

9. DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans

10. Jordy Nelson, WR. Packers

11. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

12. Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins

             

First-Round Strategy

If you own the first or second pick, congratulations; your decision is easy. But after David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell are off the board, the first round becomes a bit of a mess. 

The safer first-round options are the wide receivers. You know what you’re getting from a player such as Julio Jones or Mike Evans. However, wide receiver is also a deeper position. There will be safe selections available in the second and third round as well. 

At running back, however, the depth is severely lacking, which means risky players start coming off the board early.

Take LeSean McCoy for example. As the feature back in the Buffalo Bills offense, he is going to get plenty of touches and will definitely come off the board in the first round. But the Bills are in full rebuilding mode now and the talent around him is lacking. If opposing teams aren’t scared of Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ depleted receiving corps, the 29-year-old McCoy could see a drop in production. 

So do you want to be the one to gamble on McCoy due to the running back scarcity? Or do you want to take the safer route with an Evans or Jones, and worry about running back when the price isn’t as steep?

Those are decisions you should make before the draft so that you aren’t agonizing over your selection as the clock is winding down. 

         

When to draft Ezekiel Elliott?

Another decision you should make before the draft is whether or not you want to be aggressive in targeting Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. 

Elliott is suspended for the first six games of the season, which means he’ll miss almost half of your fantasy football regular season. However, when he returns he’ll be fresh and motivated, and his presence on your roster could dramatically alter your outlook down the stretch. 

To determine whether or not to gamble on Elliott, find out how many teams make the playoffs in your league. 

If you play with a deep playoff pool, where at least half the league makes it to the postseason, it might be worth snagging Elliott early. You might miss out on the No. 1 seed, but with Elliott on your roster you’ll be a force once the playoffs roll around.

If you play in a league where only four out of 12 teams make the postseason, however, gambling on Elliott might be too risky. You’ll miss out on early-season production from a high draft pick and potentially dig yourself a hole you can’t climb out of down the stretch. 

             

Make yourself a do-not draft list

Everyone has different criteria for their do-not draft list. Some people like to avoid players with a long injury history. Others use more personal reasons, such as avoiding their rival team. What’s important most important, however, is that you make these decisions ahead of time so that you aren’t rushing mid-draft decisions and potentially hurting yourself by being inconsistent with your strategy. 

A good example of a decision to make before the draft is whether or not you’re going to draft New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Gronk is a game-altering talent on the field and in your fantasy lineup, but only when he’s healthy. Over the past five seasons, he’s only played in 55 out of a possible 80 regular season games. 

If stays healthy you’ll get the No. 1 tight end a couple rounds later than he would go if not for the injury concerns. But there’s also a chance you’ll end up dropping him after another season-ending injury. 

There are good arguments for drafting and avoiding Gronk. But either way, you’ll feel more prepared and make more consistent decisions on draft day if you’ve already decided how to handle that potential dilemma ahead of time. 

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com

NFL

Fantasy Football

LeSean McCoy

Preview/Prediction

Rob Gronkowski

Ezekiel Elliott

WR Andre Ellington moving back to RB

Fantasy Football, NFL News
June 7, 2017

Arians wants Ellington to be tougher runner

Arians: Andre Ellington is back to being a RB. challenge for him is running tougher, not going down as easy. (Kent Somers on Twitter)

Nerdy Football Analysis: Ellington was declared a wide receiver earlier this off-season but that experiment didn’t last long. The Cardinals don’t currently have a true backup behind David Johnson although reports suggest the team is still in touch with Chris Johnson. Even so, Ellington’s fantasy value remains minimal at this point.