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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 2015: 10-Round Mock Draft, Team Names and More

Fantasy Football
August 21, 2015

Before the NFL season, I’ll be bringing you some mock drafts where I break down how I would draft from each position. I’ve already drafted from the No. 5 position. Here, I’m going to break down my strategy for selecting from the No. 10 position in a 10-team league.

So let’s get to it!

Mock Draft

Mock Draft Walkthrough

In this article, I want to do a walkthrough of how I would approach the draft if I ended up with the 10th overall pick in a 10-team draft, which means I would have the 10th, 11th, 30th, 31st, 50th, 51st, 70th, 71st, 90th and 91st picks to choose from.

I’ll assume, for the sake of this draft, that the board plays out in the order I have outlined above. That means, however, that I may stray from my own big board if I need to fill a certain position or want to try out a strategy.

So, let’s get it going.

At No. 10, I’m going to miss out on the elite crop of running backs, so I have a huge decision to make. Do I ensure I can get at least one elite wideout or quarterback, or do I reach for a running back?

I don’t like reaching in the first round. I want a safe option. I also think I can nab a good quarterback in the third or fourth round. So I’m playing it safe and going with a wideout I know will post huge numbers, Demaryius Thomas.

Of course, if Antonio Brown is somehow available, he’s my pick.

The No. 11 pick is another really interesting conundrum. On my board, I have Rob Gronkowski as the pick, and I love Gronk simply because he gives you wide receiver production at a weak position, tight end. But on draft day, I know I would be tempted to either select Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck (at this point, I’m through the looking glass on running backs and willing to wait).

Frankly, I think the benefit of having Gronk over the next tier of tight ends is greater than the benefit of having Rodgers or Luck over the next tier of quarterbacks, so I’m going to pray he stays healthy and select the star tight end.

Now, no matter how the board shakes out, I know I probably need to add two running backs with my next two picks and at the very least must add one. Mark Ingram and Melvin Gordon are sitting on my board, so while I might consider nabbing Peyton Manning here, I’m going to address running back before I completely miss out on the viable options.

Yes, drafting a rookie in the fourth round makes me somewhat nervous, but Gordon is an explosive athlete on a good offense and should be considered the front-runner to win Rookie of the Year. So I don’t mind the gamble.

At Nos. 50 and 51, I could go with two more wideouts per my board, Jordan Matthews and Sammy Watkins. But a little further down my board, I see Drew Brees lurking. Given that I don’t have a quarterback yet, I’ll jump at the chance to take Brees at this point for a pretty solid value. So that’s an easy choice.

But I’d love to add another wideout here too. The question is, Matthews or Watkins?

I like Sam Bradford more than whoever ends up playing quarterback in Buffalo, so I’m going with Matthews.

At this point, I have my starters selected, so I’m going to start drafting for depth and trying to add solid players for the flex. Atop my board is wideout Torrey Smith, which makes him my first pick. I want to add another running back here, however, so I’m going to nab the top back on my board, Latavius Murray, to ensure I have options at the position.

Going into the ninth and 10th rounds, I’m looking to add solid depth. I don’t need to add another quarterback here because Brees is so solid, but with Gronk’s injury history, I’m seriously considering adding another tight end, namely Coby Fleener.

But ultimately, I’d rather ensure I had nice options at RB4 and WR4 for my team, so I’m going to go with the top option on the board at both positions. Eric Decker and LeGarrette Blount, come on down.

Team Name Suggestions

  • Amari 2600
  • Gurley Talk
  • Gotta Go To Odell’s
  • All About the Kelvin Benjamins
  • Too Many Brandin Cooks
  • MegaErtz
  • Not One Mariota (That’s how much Chip Kelly will pretend he cared about not being able to draft him.)

As always, share your favorite team names in the comments.

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Best Picks by Round in 2015 Fantasy Football Leagues

Fantasy Football
August 20, 2015

There are value picks in each and every round of a fantasy football draft, but which players are the best picks of each respective round? We’ll answer that question here.

The picks assume a 12-team league and a points-per-reception (PPR) format, though it should be noted that most, if not all of these players would be in the same position in standard leagues.

If you can land a few of these players on draft day, you’ll be well on your way to building a championship team.

Begin Slideshow

Terrance West, Isaiah Crowell Post-Preseason Week 2 Fantasy Advice

Fantasy Football
August 20, 2015

The Cleveland Browns are looking for more consistency from the running back position after they finished 17th in the league in total rushing in 2014, but neither Terrance West nor Isaiah Crowell turned many heads in Thursday’s 11-10 preseason loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Here is a look at how the two rushers stacked up in Cleveland’s second preseason game:

The lack of touchdowns from West and Crowell jumps out for fantasy players, but the small sample size matters here. Jalen Parmele and Timothy Flanders are probably not going to steal carries from the two regulars during the season, barring injury. That means West and Crowell will have more chances to find the end zone when the games count than their 16 combined carries from Thursday.

Crowell managed to score eight touchdowns in 2014, although West only scored four times on the ground.

Touchdowns are the lifeblood of fantasy football from the running back position, and the lack of preseason scores is concerning. The Browns were a dismal 27th in the league in scoring offense in 2014 and don’t exactly put up a ton of points, so there is little reason to expect a significant increase in touchdowns this year, especially for Crowell after notching a solid eight.

West and Crowell didn’t do much to inspire fantasy owners’ confidence Thursday, either, once again failing to reach the end zone.

The yards-per-carry numbers (3.8 from West and 2.8 from Crowell) were also concerning, and neither running back tallied a catch. The two backs combined for only 20 catches throughout the entire 2014 season, so the failure to get involved in the passing game was not a surprise. That severely limits their fantasy value because so many running backs do put up solid reception totals every season.

West and Crowell also only ran for 16 combined yards in the preseason opener against Washington.

Coach Mike Pettine reassured fans the running backs were fine in the aftermath of that game, per Tom Reed of the Northeast Ohio Media Group: “No, we have a plan. It is a long preseason. Obviously, Terrance coming off the injury and Crow probably having too heavy a load at practice, I am not going to hit the panic button after the first preseason game about our run game. We will be fine.”

Alas, West and Crowell failed to impress again in their second preseason opportunity.

The only silver lining if you are a fantasy football player eyeing West is the fact that he received the start and more carries throughout the game. Dave Richard of CBS Sports noticed:

Had West taken full advantage of the start, fantasy owners would likely feel more confident. At this point, it is a safe assumption the two Cleveland running backs will split carries this season, which is a fantasy death sentence at the running back position.

What’s more, opposing defenses will likely stack the box against the Browns because quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown are not exactly Aaron Rodgers under center. That will mean less rushing room for West and Crowell and fewer yards.

As if that’s not enough, rookie running back Duke Johnson hovers over any fantasy hype for West and Crowell like an impending cloud. While he is yet to appear in a preseason game with injury concerns, the rookie running back was explosive at Miami and tallied 1,652 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns in 2014.

Parmele and Flanders may not steal carries from West and Crowell, but Johnson certainly will when healthy. He has too much talent to ignore moving forward, especially since Cleveland’s running game has been so lackluster early in the preseason.

All of these factors combined do not paint the picture of a No. 1 running back option in fantasy circles. Neither Cleveland back holds great value until one completely seizes a starting role and sees a significant boost in carries, and the preseason production does not suggest that will ever happen.

If anything, Johnson could ultimately earn the spot if he looks like the back fans saw at Miami.

At this point, Crowell and West are worth a flex option at best for your fantasy lineup (although the wide receiver position is so loaded this year that you may be better off slotting a pass-catcher in the flex). Crowell scored enough touchdowns in 2014, but he is yet to find the end zone in the preseason and will split carries against loaded defensive fronts in an offense that doesn’t put up many points.

He also didn’t start in Thursday’s game.

It is only the preseason, but neither Browns back brings value as a pass-catcher, and the touchdown totals are bound to dip for Crowell if West starts and tallies more carries and Johnson sees opportunities. Proceed with caution if you plan on drafting a Cleveland running back.

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Johnny Manziel vs. Bills: Stats, Reaction and Updated 2015 Fantasy Advice

Fantasy Football
August 20, 2015

Johnny Manziel flashed promise in the Cleveland Browns’ preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, and he followed up that performance with a solid showing Thursday night in an 11-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Here’s how the 2014 first-round pick’s stats shook out during the third and fourth quarters:

Recap and Reaction

First-string quarterback Josh McCown totaled 57 yards and two interceptions on 7-of-10 passing during the first half, but Manziel trumped that production on a 14-play, 96-yard drive that culminated with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Shane Wynn.

The NFL’s official Twitter account provided a look at the go-ahead score:

Prior to slinging the touchdown, Manziel used his wheels to roll left and escape Buffalo’s pass rush before firing a strike 37 yards down the field to Darius Jennings, as the NFL Network noted:

Former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen was among those impressed with Manziel’s mechanics on the big pickup:

ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler took note of Manziel’s improved poise in the pocket:

The Bills took an 11-10 lead with just over 90 seconds remaining following an EJ Manuel touchdown pass and two-point conversion, but Manziel couldn’t lead the Browns down the field for a game-winning field-goal attempt.

However, it should be noted a 17-yard pass that came on the heels of a nice scramble in crunch time was nullified by a penalty, per the NFL:

Ultimately, Manziel’s increased level of comfort under center was the biggest positive that emerged from Thursday’s contest. Big plays aside, Manziel picked his spots and delivered balls on time with sufficient accuracy, as his 75 percent completion rate (9-of-12) prior to Cleveland’s last-gasp final drive indicated.

Now the question facing the Browns is whether Manziel has earned a shot at the starting gig.

As CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora opined, head coach Mike Pettine is facing a tough decision entering next week’s clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

After the second-year quarterback told reporters Tuesday that his primary aim against the Bills was to “do better than last week,” according to ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon, it’s safe to say he achieved his goal.

Fantasy Outlook

Manziel’s fantasy stock is directly tied to his status as a starter, so it’s likely going to be another couple of weeks before owners have clarity on that front.

However, if Manziel is able to eventually eclipse McCown on the Browns’ depth chart, he’ll be an intriguing play to stream against weaker defenses.

The key, though, will be how much value he can offer as a rusher.

Since Cleveland’s go-to receivers are Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Travis Benjamin, Manziel and the Browns likely won’t be burning opponents with aerial assaults. Therefore, Manziel’s upside as a passer is capped.

Given the team’s absence of legitimate downfield threats, Manziel’s legs could entice owners—particularly if Cleveland turns to him as a primary red-zone option in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

But prospective buyers should beware. The possibility of rushing yards and touchdowns will make aggressive fantasy players salivate, but those tend to be volatile and unpredictable numbers owners can’t count on week-to-week.

Manziel’s raw physical talent will always make him intriguing fantasy fodder, but until he establishes a track record of proficiency in the pocket and is surrounded by more dynamic receivers, he’ll remain a backup option at best.

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com

Fantasy Football Sleepers 2015: Analyzing Most Underrated Skill Position Players

Fantasy Football
August 20, 2015

Cue the oversized draft boards, the beverages and all the chips and dip you can possibly afford. For many, fantasy draft night approaches, and it is time to show your friends and colleagues that you are the person to beat this year.

In order to do so, you’re going to need to put together a complete draft, with the added knowledge of which players flying under the radar could provide the biggest boost to your roster.

Let’s take a look at the biggest fantasy sleepers at each skill position.


Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater made an impressive claim to become a talented starting quarterback for the foreseeable future in the NFL.

In just 13 games in his rookie season after relieving Matt Cassel, Bridgewater led the Vikings to a 6-6 record, racking up 2,919 yards and 14 touchdowns in a thinly worn talent pool of targets that was led by the 752 receiving yards of veteran Greg Jennings.

This season, Bridgewater is going to have some new weapons with the return of running back Adrian Peterson and new, explosive wide receiver Mike Wallace. Early on, Bridgewater loves his new situation, according to VikingUpdate.com:

With a now legitimate run game that will at least take some attention off Bridgewater, expect him to put up some big numbers for your fantasy team.

According to ESPN Fantasy Projections, Bridgewater is ranked 18th among quarterbacks and is predicted to record 242.2 points this season, which includes 3,680 yards passing and 23 total touchdowns. But if he continues to show the poise he had as a rookie with some new talent, Bridgewater could sneak his way into your QB1 spot come midseason.

Running Back

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

Give Justin Forsett a full season of play and look what happens. Playing for his fifth team in seven seasons in 2014, Forsett took full advantage of the Ray Rice debacle in Baltimore, rushing for 1,266 yards despite giving up some carries to Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

But all signs have Forsett getting all of the rushing workload in 2015, as Pierce went to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Baltimore’s new No. 1 man has a good chance of hanging around for a little bit in your draft, too.

“All told, Forsett—who has an ADP of 32.88—has the backfield to himself entering 2015 and if he can get anywhere near [Matt] Forte-esque numbers, he will be an unquestionable value in upcoming drafts,” according to Zachary Edwards of Scout.com.

Forsett is projected to put up 966 yards and seven total touchdowns for 175.4 points. And if he is able to establish a rapport with an offensive line that is returning all of its starters for the first time in franchise history, according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, Forsett will be able to exceed those 966 yards and electrify the league once more.

Wide Receiver

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles

There’s three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and an offensive-laden Chip Kelly-coached team.

But with DeSean Jackson’s release a couple of years ago and Jeremy Maclin moving to the Kansas City Chiefs, Kelly’s aerial attack didn’t look too imposing with Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper as the team’s top receivers.

Thanks to the draft, though, they have a new top man, and his name is Nelson Agholor.

The 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Agholor recorded 1,313 yards in his junior season at USC and has immediately impressed Newsday’s Bob Glauber:

Watch Agholor in practice, and you see his talent flash immediately. He has the “it” factor, that indefinable quality that often separates good players from great ones. The burst off the line of scrimmage. The immaculate route-running. The gifted hands.

And those gifted hands are going to see a lot from new quarterback Sam Bradford, as he is projected to put up a solid rookie season of 837 yards and five touchdowns. With new running back DeMarco Murray surely to take a lot of eyes off of Bradford, watch Agholor put up some monster games in 2015.

That being said, don’t expect Odell Beckham Jr. numbers in this rookie season, but there is the possibility that you will be drafting the game’s next marquee receiver.

Tight End

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As soon as one of your colleagues takes a tight end, wave goodbye to all of them, as one of the thinnest positions in fantasy will be a mad scramble to address during your draft.

One name that could slip through the cracks and could be a viable option for the position is Tampa Bay’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

He struggled in his rookie season last year with just 21 receptions for 221 yards, but there’s a good chance he could be seeing a lot more of the ball in 2015.

Projected to score 81.5 points this season with 587 yards and four touchdowns, preseason signs are pointing for those numbers to be even better.

With a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston who is going to be searching to create that perfect chemistry with his receivers, Seferian-Jenkins could develop into Winston’s safe option. A big target who can catch the ball in traffic, he’ll be invaluable going over the middle for Winston.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman shows what you could expect this season:

Add the fact that big wide receivers like Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are going to garner a lot of attention, a reliable third or fourth option like Seferian-Jenkins in Tampa Bay can be a fruitful addition to your fantasy team.

Let’s get something straight: These picks might not make you a champion, but these low-risk, high-reward players who can be chosen in a reasonable round will certainly help. So happy drafting, and make sure you don’t lose out to that one player who autodrafts.

Projections and stats courtesy of ESPN.com

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