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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

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Fantasy Draft Prep Kit

Julio Jones primed to see more red zone looks?

Fantasy Football, NFL News
August 14, 2017

Team placing emphasis on getting top WR more targets in close

Seems to be a real emphasis around getting Julio Jones more touches in the red zone this camp. (Head coach Dan Quinn) said he’s been a real factor there. (AtlantaFalcons.com)

Nerdy Football Analysis: New OC Steve Sarkisian has been consistent about feeding Jones near the goal line, so perhaps this is the year he breaks through in the touchdown department. Besides his history with foot injuries, the one thing keeping Jones from becoming possibly the best receiver in fantasy football is the fact he has topped eight TDs just once. He’s a top-three fantasy receiver regardless and a near-lock to come off the board among the first five picks in most drafts.

Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 11: Reviewing Fantasy Football’s Top Fringe Starters

Fantasy Football
November 16, 2016

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Some fantasy football owners are in cruise control.

Already set for the playoffs at 8-2 or 9-1, Week 11 brings little pressure. But to most players, this is crunch time.

Here are four teams who you won’t be able to lean on this week due to byes:

  • Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Taylor Gabriel, Mohamed Sanu, Matt Bryant)
  • Denver Broncos (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Devontae Booker, D/ST)
  • New York Jets (Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and…uh…that’s it)
  • San Diego Chargers (Melvin Gordon, Philip Rivers, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, Josh Lambo)

Let’s talk some close-call start-sit decisions.

      

Running Backs

Start: Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks

Sometimes, saying nothing says a lot.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll neglected to mention Christine Michael while talking about his running backs on Tuesday, per ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia.

He instead focused on rookie C.J. Prosise, who totaled 153 yards in a 31-24 win over the New England Patriots Sunday night, and Thomas Rawls, last year’s breakout star who has been injured since Week 2.

C-Mike owners freaked out.

Later in the day, they wept. Seattle waived him, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

Rawls‘ return is the clear reason why. Here’s Carroll on his second-year back, per Kapadia:

I’m really excited about this one because Thomas is practicing to play this week. That’s where it is. We’ve come to that conclusion. He got himself ready to play this week mentally, and he’s ready to go at it. We have to get through the days and the work and all that, but with some optimism here, at the end of the week he can come out playing.

When Rawls subbed in for the hobbled Marshawn Lynch in Weeks 3-5 last year, he ranked as the No. 10 standard fantasy back, per Fantasy Pros. When he again took the reins from Weeks 10 to 12, the undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan was the No. 2 overall RB, trailing only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.

Rawls finished his rookie campaign with 147 totes for 830 yards (5.6 per carry) and four touchdowns. He added nine catches for 76 yards and a score.

Rawls injured his fibula in Week 2 this year and has missed every week since. Now, it appears he’s ready to rock, according to Schefter:

With the shifty, sure-handed Prosise sliding into a third-down role, Rawls seems poised to be immediately start-worthy for fantasy owners who can acquire him.

The Philadelphia Eagles are no cupcake matchup, but they have been torn up on the ground. With a rejuvenated Russell Wilson back to commanding an elite offense, expect Rawls to have a shot at goal-line work and 10-12 carries, even in his first game back. His role figures to grow in the coming weeks, too.

      

Sit: Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints

The Tim Hightower Experience is not over yet.

But for this week, it’s on intermission.

The Carolina Panthers rank fourth against fantasy running backs, having smothered Arizona’s David Johnson, Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley and Kansas City’s Spencer Ware for a combined 148 rushing yards over the past three weeks. That’s an average of 49.3 yards on the ground with zero combined touchdowns against three guys who warrant weekly RB1 consideration.

This should be the type of game that Drew Brees just flat-out chucks. Carolina is the fifth-most generous defense to opposing fantasy signal-callers, so head coach Sean Payton will have little reason to pound both Hightower and Mark Ingram.

If you want to make the whole “short weeks should favor the running game” argument, fine. NOLA is playing on Thursday, after all. But Hightower only totaled 6.5 points in half-point-per-reception leagues last week. In a bind, he’s droppable.

But if you have the bench space, he’s worth rostering as a future flex play with the added upside of a season-winner should Ingram get hurt or fumble his way back into the doghouse.

          

Wide Receivers

Start: Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears

With Alshon Jeffery sidelined four weeks thanks to a performance-enhancing drug suspension, Jay Cutler‘s passes have to go to somebody.

You know, when they’re not caught by opponents.

Cameron Meredith was much more lethal under backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, who peppered him with a WR1-worthy number of targets, than he’s been under Cutler. He has just three receptions in his past three games, which is clearly less than ideal.

Here’s one of those catches, though, per SportsCast:

At 6’3”, 207 pounds, the 24-year-old rookie has the makings of an effective outside receiver. Eddie Royal and tight end Zach Miller figure to see an uptick in targets, too, but Meredith should see the biggest boost as Jeffery’s fill-in.

Rotoworld’s Raymond Summerlin listed Meredith as his No. 1 WR waiver pickup this week, citing sheer volume as reason for a roster spot.

For all his turnover issues, Cutler has an affinity for the splashy big play, and Meredith could find success against an underrated New York Giants secondary in Week 11. Big Blue figures to jump out to a decent lead, forcing the Bears to try to push the rock.

You’re not starting Cutler, but Meredith certainly warrants a WR2 play. It only takes one catch to make that move worth your while.

       

Sit: Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions

In a season mired with question marks, Jalen Ramsey has been an exclamation point for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Just 10 weeks into his NFL career, last spring’s No. 5 overall pick is already a true shutdown corner.

Draft Sharks’ Jared Smola has the numbers to prove it:

Matt Harmon of NFL.com has some more:

How’d that game against the Houston Texans go? Brent Martineau from CBS 47/Fox 30 will tell you:

This week against the Detroit Lions, Ramsey figures to line up against Marvin Jones. Though Golden Tate seems to have supplanted for the former Cincinnati Bengal as Matthew Stafford’s go-to target, the bigger Jones fits the traditional No. 1 receiver role.

He’s likely to see more of Ramsey, who will make life even harder than it has been for Jones owners. After an outstanding start to the season, here are his last four outings:

  • Two catches, 10 yards, one touchdown vs. Los Angeles Rams
  • Four catches, 94 yards vs. Washington Redskins
  • Three catches, 33 yards at Houston Texans
  • One catch, five yards at Minnesota Vikings

It’s hard to imagine Jones being completely taken out of the game, but it’s certainly possible if Ramsey shadows him. Don’t get your hopes up for a bounce-back from the 26-year-old.

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