Fantasy Football 2011 Mock Draft
Internet fantasy content hasn't killed the '90s heyday of the fantasy football annuals; it might have only made them more prevalent. Admit it, drafting online might be convenient, but there's nothing like getting together, face-to-face, once a year with your buddies to pick your teams every August.
Flipping through the glossy pages as you scramble to pick is more than just a novelty; it's a rush you can't replicate on a laptop.
To that end on Tuesday you can pickup Sports Illustrated presents
One of our last tasks in building this beast was the obligatory Mock Draft, and we give you a sneak peek of it here. For team-by-team analysis of the draft below, pick up the magazine on newsstands now.
This mock was a standard 12-team league (no PPR) with ESPN.com scoring (four points per passing touchdowns). The lineups require 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST.
Since you might want this writer to put his words where his picks were, here are my thoughts on how I picked with the fourth overall selection in a standard ladder draft, with a list of the full draft below:
Going with a holdout running back is a risk, but Adrian Peterson and Johnson are just too talented to not go No. 1 or 2. Seeing Jamaal Charles go before both was surprising. Charles' schedule is just too tough down the fantasy stretch. The Chiefs have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL and it features all of the elite run defenses in crunch time. Arian Foster was great a year ago, but you're not drafting last year's fantasy team -- you're drafting for what will be in 2011.
It is surprising that few, if any, fantasy pundits are ranking Brady as the No. 1 quarterback. He was last year. The supporting cast will improved -- with the development of the young tight ends and Brandon Tate (Who? Yes, remember the name.). And we don't even have to mention Chad Ochocino, but we will anyway. Brady will throw for the most touchdowns and fewest picks, and that should make him the highest scoring -- and most consistent -- player in fantasy this season.
Another personal statement: This writer might be the only one that likes him over Greg Jennings. In a position of turmoil and turnover at the top, Wayne is easily the most consistent. Minus a double-digit touchdown total, Wayne was second in receptions and yards receiving in a down year. He is due for a TDs rebound.
This third-year wide receiver breakout will take a huge step into the elite at the position. He isn't even the No. 1 option on his own team with DeSean Jackson, but Maclin still could outscore everyone at the position when it is all said and done.
The law firm of BJGE is coming off 1,000 yards and 13 TDs; only Foster had more TDs at running back. BJGE wasn't even a starter from Day 1 a year ago. This kind of production is rarely found this late at this position.
A healthy Grant in that Packers offense has third-round value. He still will have to prove healthy and beat out James Starks. It is the belief here Grant will be fine, if not great, and Starks was a postseason flash in the pan because of circumstance.
This 25-year old keeps getting better and enters season as Giants' No. 2 receiver for first time in Year 4. Steve Smith (knee) remains unhealthy and unsigned, and Manningham performed like a No. 1 fantasy starter at the position when he was getting starts for the Giants. He could be a real steal for owners, especially with the Giants expecting to play a lot of shootouts.
There was no reason to pick a second passer after picking Brady early, but there was also no reason 4,000-plus yards and 30-plus TDs should still be available in Round 8. This was merely a value pick. He could be trade bait for the first team to lose its quarterback.
His running style and injury history no longer make him a viable fantasy starter, but he will remain a TD vulture. We needed another back at this point, but there wasn't much else to like on the board here. This was a third consecutive Giant picked, but none of them were drafted as a fantasy starter. They all represent good value relative to draft position.
Apparently he is a name easy to forget among tight ends. He shouldn't be. It is a sign you can wait, wait and wait some more if you don't like one of the elite at this position. Lewis tied for a TE-leading 10 TDs and he is his team's primary threat in passing game -- in Round 10? Sold.
Had to jump on the hype bandwagon here. Nnamdi Asomugha and great cover corners will mean blitz, blitz, blitz, turnover then touchdown. This defense might give up points, if only because the Eagles offense is going to generate a lot of garbage time, but the turnovers, defensive scores and Jackson returning kicks in the clutch should make this a great unit.
Missed out, barely, earlier on Ochocinco, but went with Brady's No. 3 wideout option in Branch. He has always played favorites with Branch and there should be some sneaky good weeks in this vet.
The Redskins are going to stink, seriously, raunchy stink. But the rookie Helu might not be bad by midseason. We needed another RB here, a young one, and the fourth-rounder from Nebraska has considerable upside once he knocks Ryan Torain out of the starting role.
This was a pick that was ready to be made back in Round 10 with the Lewis pick. Hernandez is going to be a great late-round sleeper. Hip surgery knocks him down, as does the presence of Rob Gronkowski, but Hernandez is the famed "tight end trapped in a wide receiver's body." Oh, having Brady sprinkle the ball to you down the seam -- with Ochocino working the outside and Wes Welker working underneath -- doesn't hurt either. Gronk is the 1-yard TD guy and BJGE will rack up the yards between the 20s. Wow, this is going to be one tough Pats offense to stop; hence, all the picks spent on Pats.
Breaston was a bust last year with bad quarterback in Arizona, and the Chiefs sorely need someone to take pressure off Dwayne Bowe. Breaston isn't a top-flight option, but the value this late makes him a potential sleeper.
He wasn't the first (Stephen Gostkowski), second (Mason Crosby) or third (Adam Vinatieri) choice by this team, but a great defense, plus a great running game, plus a mediocre quarterback will equal ample field-goal attempts. Those other three will score more of points because of the PATs, but Folk will get the most field goals.
In hindsight, while I rank Brady the No. 1 passer and tout him as fantasy's No. 1 scorer again, he might not have to get picked in Round 2 at all. That Pats offense is going to be a machine almost as good as it was in Brady's record-breaking year, but perception elsewhere is Brady might be as low as the fifth-best QB. It was a chance to pick up a sleeper.
Also, Eli Manning and Jay Cutler went surprisingly late. It highlights a potential opportunity at the quarterback position, like we outlined in the QB tiers column last week. That Manning and Cutler just don't get the respect they deserve in fantasy circles. Picking the pair of them late and loading up on RBs and WRs could make for a championship-caliber roster.
1. Jamaal Charles, K.C., RB
13. Steven Jackson, STL, RB
25. Shonn Greene, NYJ, RB
37. Vincent Jackson, SD, WR
49. Kenny Britt, Ten, WR
61. Steve Johnson, Buf, WR
73. Mike Thomas, Jac, WR
85. Michael Crabtree, SF, WR
97. Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE
109. C.J. Spiller, Buf, RB
121. Mike Williams, Sea, WR
133. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ, RB
145. Darren Sproles, NO, RB
157 Bears D/ST
169. Sebastian Janikowski, Oak, K
181. Dustin Keller, NYJ, TE