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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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