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Fantasy Football 2015: Preseason Mock Draft Strategy, Rankings and Analysis

Fantasy Football
August 27, 2015

This is the time of year when you overanalyze fifth-round running backs who are overachieving in their first training camp. When one injury can completely derail everything. When people legitimately question whether Brian Hoyer might possibly have fantasy value or not (Spoiler Alert: He doesn’t).

It’s fantasy draft season, folks, meaning every little thing matters. So below, I’ll take you through my 10-round mock draft and rankings, breaking down my strategy for one specific draft slot.

In this walkthrough, I want to show you how I would approach a draft in a 10-man league if I had the top overall pick. That means I’ll be making the first, 20th, 21st, 40th, 41st, 60th, 61st, 80th, 81st and 100th picks.

You could make lengthy arguments for several players with the top overall pick, but in my opinion, you should be choosing between four players: Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles (I think DeMarco Murray will lose enough carries this year to drop him out of this conversation, while I’m not drafting a player like Le’Veon Bell—who is missing two games—with the top overall pick).

This pick comes down to preference. Peterson and Charles are probably the higher upside picks, while Lynch and Lacy are probably a bit safer. Lynch remains Seattle’s focus, though his years of wear and tear give him at least some risk. Lacy will probably be an even bigger part of Green Bay’s offense following Jordy Nelson’s injury, but Aaron Rodgers and the passing game will still be the team’s calling card.

Peterson didn’t play football at all last year, so that’s always a risk, while the Chiefs actually have some decent offensive weapons this year and may not need to completely rely on Charles to move the ball, which could curb his production somewhat.

Ultimately, though, with the top overall pick, I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of these players. I simply love how reliably awesome Lynch has been for the past several years, so he would be my pick.

The next two picks, if you have the top overall selection, will make or break your draft. Anytime you are at the beginning or end of the round in a snake draft, you have to very carefully calculate if quality players at key positions will drop to you the next time you pick or if you have to nab them a bit earlier than you might want. Picking first or last in a draft means you may have to pick a player a round earlier than you’d prefer.

At 20 and 21, I’ve missed out on the elite options at quarterback and wide receiver, while Rob Gronkowski is also off the board, so I’m not even considering tight end here. Without question, then, I’m going to draft another running back here. The fact that Jeremy Hill is sitting on the board and can basically help me address running back with two potential top-10 players at a very unpredictable position is a no-brainer in my opinion.

The thing that good, consistent running backs do for your team is ensure you have a steady stream of points coming in each week. That means that most weeks you’ll at least be in the running for a win and will probably beat the team with a lot of high-risk, high-reward players if that team is having a down week. So having the option of pairing Lynch with Jeremy Hill is a no-brainer.

After that, I’m going to take a wideout here, knowing I can wait on quarterback and still get a reliable option. I don’t think you can go wrong with Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery or Mike Evans here, though I’ll take the player that is going to be Rodgers’ No. 1 target this season.

Picks No. 40 and 41 get interesting. If Greg Olsen dropped one more pick I’d probably take him, but that’s not the case here, so I won’t stray too far from my board, taking Jeremy Maclin as a nice No. 2 option at wideout. From there, Cam Newton is a very tempting selection, since I don’t want to take a tight end just yet given the players available and I’d basically be choosing between Newton and a flex possibility.

I could see a quarterback run happening before I pick again, so I’m taking Newton here.

At picks No. 60 and 61, I might be lamenting my choice to wait on tight ends a little bit, as a few players I would have wanted went off the board. But I like Zach Ertz’s upside, so I’ll be just fine. With my second pick, I’m just going to follow my board, so Jarvis Landry is the selection and a solid flex option.

At picks No. 80 and 81, I might be tempted to double dip on tight end with Jordan Cameron available, but I’ll restrain myself, knowing depth at running back, wide receiver and quarterback is more important. Chris Ivory gives me a solid if totally unspectacular RB3 option, while I like the potential upside Michael Floyd provides me as a WR4 and potential flex option, so I’m nabbing him here.

Finally, pick No. 100. On my board, the value pick is the Seattle defense, because I think that’s where you can start valuing the top-end, reliable defenses. But here’s the thing—in my personal drafting philosophy, I don’t draft defenses this high. For players who value defense highly, this is where you take the Seahawks.

I’m not that guy, so with my last pick I’d be targeting either a backup quarterback or an RB4. I’d likely take Terrance West here, with an eye on Sam Bradford after that, who I think could be a sneaky top-10 quarterback this season if he stays healthy.

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