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2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2.0: 12-team, standard scoring

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2.0: 12-team, standard scoring Photo:

The NFL regular season kicks off in two weeks, which means we're in the heart of fantasy football drafting season. Owners who haven't yet picked their team are likely digging around for all of the advice they can get.

To help you out, SI.com's fantasy experts Michael Beller and David Gonos tag-teamed a 12-team, standard-scoring mock draft with one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one flex, one kicker, one D/ST and five bench spots per team; Beller drafted the odd picks while Gonos selected the even picks. 

Sure, only two guys participated in this draft, but that doesn't mean it was devoid of interesting twists. Take note of when the first quarterback was drafted (Round 2) and how far A.J. Green fell (No. 15 overall).

Read below for round-by-round picks followed by analysis.

FANTASY FOOTBALL POSITION RANKINGS AND PROJECTIONS:

ROUND 1
 
pick overall player position owner
1 1 Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs RB BELLER
2 2 LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles RB GONOS
3 3 Matt Forte, Chicago Bears RB BELLER
4 4 Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings RB GONOS
5 5 Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers RB BELLER
6 6 Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions WR GONOS
7 7 Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints TE BELLER
8 8 DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys RB GONOS
9 9 Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos WR BELLER
10 10 Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers RB GONOS
11 11 Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears WR BELLER
12 12 Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals RB GONOS

You can’t win your draft in the first round, but you sure can lose it. As you can see, this round is filled with the most reliable, consistent players. While three of last year’s rookies made it into this group, they are three featured backs who are expected to get most of their team’s carries. Both Bell and Bernard, however, could lose goal-line touches -- which shows you how thin the top shelf of running backs really is. Three wide receivers also bust into the first round, with the top tight end in the game. Each of these players were targeted at least 8.9 times per game last season by their respective quarterbacks. -- DG

ROUND 2
 
pick overall player position owner
1 13 Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys WR GONOS
2 14 Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks RB BELLER
3 15 A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals WR GONOS
4 16 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers WR BELLER
5 17 Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons WR GONOS
6 18 Montee Ball, Denver Broncos RB BELLER
7 19 Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins RB GONOS
8 20 Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears WR BELLER
9 21 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers WR GONOS
10 22 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers QB BELLER
11 23 Arian Foster, Houston Texans RB GONOS
12 24 Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers WR BELLER

Unsurprisingly, the second round was heavily populated with receivers. Seven wideouts heard their name called in this round, meaning that 10 receivers went off the board in the first 24 picks. The times, they done changed. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers became the first quarterback selected with the 22nd overall pick. As is typically the case with expert drafts, quarterbacks were a bit devalued. If you want someone like Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, you’ll likely have to jump a bit earlier than we did here. You may quibble here or there with the order in which these players were drafted, but all 12 guys are worthy of the price we paid for them. -- MB

ROUND 3
 
pick overall player position owner
1 25 Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals RB BELLER
2 26 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals WR GONOS
3 27 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR BELLER
4 28 Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB GONOS
5 29 Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos QB BELLER
6 30 C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills RB GONOS
7 31 Victor Cruz, New York Giants WR BELLER
8 32 Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers WR GONOS
9 33 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints QB BELLER
10 34 Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions RB GONOS
11 35 Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots TE BELLER
12 36 Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos TE GONOS

The third round has a nice mix of everything, with four running backs, four wide receivers, two quarterbacks and two tight ends. Teams began to fill out their RB2 spots in Round 3, while there were still some top-12 wide receivers available. The first two quarterbacks in the draft were taken in the third round, which is closer to what you’ll see in writer drafts, compared to user drafts -- as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are all possibilities in the second and third rounds, depending on owners and league scoring settings. Rob Gronkowski represents the best fantasy tight end in points per game, but projected number of games played is what keeps him from joining Graham in Round 1. -- DG

ROUND 4
 
pick overall player position owner
1 37 Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers RB GONOS
2 38 Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins WR BELLER
3 39 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers WR GONOS
4 40 Rashad Jennings, New York Giants RB BELLER
5 41 Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams RB GONOS
6 42 Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons WR BELLER
7 43 Wes Welker, Denver Broncos WR GONOS
8 44 Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals WR BELLER
9 45 Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks WR GONOS
10 46 Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars RB BELLER
11 47 Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions QB GONOS
12 48 Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers RB BELLER

This is the point of the draft where existing roster composition really starts to come into play. For example, I prefer Roddy White to Rashad Jennings in a vacuum. However, team nine used its first two picks on Demaryius Thomas and Jordy Nelson, and was in greater need of a running back. That’s why Jennings was the pick. You may not see Zac Stacy go lower in any mock draft in America. I’ve been selling Stacy all summer, and it appears my partner in crime Gonos isn’t much higher on the overpriced starter in St. Louis. Team 11 got a great price on Pierre Garcon, who has legitimate WR1 bona fides. Every receiver taken in this round has a very high ceiling. I’d be happy with any of them (other than Harvin) as my WR2. -- MB

ROUND 5
 
pick overall player position owner
1 49 Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens WR BELLER
2 50 Shane Vereen, New England Patriots RB GONOS
3 51 DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins WR BELLER
4 52 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts QB GONOS
5 53 Joique Bell, Detroit Lions RB BELLER
6 54 Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns RB GONOS
7 55 Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans RB BELLER
8 56 Andre Johnson, Houston Texans WR GONOS
9 57 Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings WR BELLER
10 58 Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans WR GONOS
11 59 Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots RB BELLER
12 60 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles WR GONOS

Wide receivers ruled Round 5. It looks like this will be your last shot at getting a top-25 wide receiver. It’s also a spot for two of the biggest breakout candidates at the position, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kendall Wright, as well as a veteran bust candidate in Andre Johnson. Among the running backs picked up, of the five taken, three are in a timeshare with other tailbacks (Shane Vereen, Joique Bell and Stevan Ridley). The first rookie of the draft goes off the board here, too, as Bishop Sankey looks to be the only first-year running back with a starting gig. -- DG

ROUND 6
 
pick overall player position owner
1 61 Chris Johnson, New York Jets RB GONOS
2 62 Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins RB BELLER
3 63 Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers TE GONOS
4 64 Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens RB BELLER
5 65 Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts RB GONOS
6 66 Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons RB BELLER
7 67 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons QB GONOS
8 68 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts WR BELLER
9 69 Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins WR GONOS
10 70 Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints WR BELLER
11 71 Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos WR GONOS
12 72 Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins QB BELLER

I cannot speak for Gonos, but every running back pick I made in the sixth round felt desperate. Unfortunately, that is going to happen with the running back crop uninspiring in the mid-20 through early-30 ranks at the position. The backs taken in this round -- Chris Johnson, Lamar Miller, Ray Rice, Trent Richardson and Steven Jackson -- feel like the last group of viable starters, but even they come riddled with question marks. Matt Ryan and Robert Griffin are a pair of quarterbacks looking for some redemption after disappointing 2013 seasons. Both have tremendous upside, especially Griffin, who is now 20 months removed from the knee injury he suffered in the 2012 playoffs. -- MB

ROUND 7
 
pick overall player position owner
1 73 Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens RB BELLER
2 74 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts WR GONOS
3 75 Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders RB BELLER
4 76 Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints RB GONOS
5 77 Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles RB BELLER
6 78 Julian Edelman, New England Patriots WR GONOS
7 79 Eric Decker, New York Jets WR BELLER
8 80 Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers TE GONOS
9 81 Terrance West, Cleveland Browns RB BELLER
10 82 Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles QB GONOS
11 83 Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys WR BELLER
12 84 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills WR GONOS

This round should be called, “The Flex Round,” as many players taken are RB3s and WR3s in fantasy. Some of the top backup tailbacks in the league were snatched up here, as each of them is expected to get a great number of carries -- and possible starts -- with their teams. Guys like Bernard Pierce, Maurice Jones-Drew, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Terrance West will see plenty of work, if not starts. This is a good spot to gamble on RBs who could easily outproduce their draft slot. Sammy Watkins, the second rookie taken in the draft, also went at the end of the seventh as the 35th wide receiver drafted. -- DG

ROUND 8
 
pick overall player position owner
1 85 Tom Brady, New England Patriots QB GONOS
2 86 Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers QB BELLER
3 87 Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers RB GONOS
4 88 Golden Tate, Detroit Tigers WR BELLER
5 89 Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars WR GONOS
6 90 Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills RB BELLER
7 91 Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns TE GONOS
8 92 Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers RB BELLER
9 93 Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys TE GONOS
10 94 Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens TE BELLER
11 95 Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons RB GONOS
12 96 Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints WR BELLER

When we look back on this mock draft at the end of the season, it’s possible the eighth round will have produced the best value. Tom Brady and Cam Newton are affordable alternatives to quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck. Brandin Cooks and Golden Tate could explode in New Orleans and Detroit, respectively. Jordan Cameron may prove to be the best tight end not named Graham or Gronkowski. Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman are exciting rookie runners who are backing up aging veterans and should have significant roles in strong offenses. The middle rounds are typically where fantasy drafts are won, and this could prove to be the tell-tale round in our mock. -- MB

ROUND 9
 
rank overall player position owner
1 97 Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins TE BELLER
2 98 Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams WR GONOS
3 99 Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers WR BELLER
4 100 Seattle Seahawks DST GONOS
5 101 Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles TE BELLER
6 102 Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins RB GONOS
7 103 Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears QB BELLER
8 104 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys QB GONOS
9 105 DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers RB BELLER
10 106 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans WR GONOS
11 107 Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns WR BELLER
12 108 Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders RB GONOS

If you don’t have a tight end at this point, you’re choosing from the bottom of the fantasy starter barrel here. While Jordan Reed and Zach Ertz are both quality sophomore tight ends expected to break out this season, concussions ended Reed’s season early and Ertz was targeted just 4.0 times per game in the final four games last season. This is also the likely last round to grab a top-12 fantasy quarterback, with Jay Cutler and Tony Romo going off the board. It’s also a thin round for running backs, as the last of the quality backups go off the board, but it’s still too early for sleeper running backs and great handcuffs. -- DG

ROUND 10
 
pick overall player position owner
1 109 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers WR GONOS
2 110 Andre Williams, New York Giants RB BELLER
3 111 Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints RB GONOS
4 112 Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals RB BELLER
5 113 Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks RB GONOS
6 114 Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts WR BELLER
7 115 Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles WR GONOS
8 116 Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans WR BELLER
9 117 Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs WR GONOS
10 118 Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints RB BELLER
11 119 Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings TE GONOS
12 120 Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR BELLER

I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier to get someone with the 108th overall pick as I was to get Hunter here. There is some serious breakout potential with the Titans’ second-year receiver. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him put up WR3 numbers, and he has legitimate WR2 upside. Those high-ceiling guys are exactly the players to target at this stage of the draft, and that makes Hunter a great selection in this range. We engaged in some dart throwing at running back, focusing on guys who will likely get goal-line carries (Andre Williams, Jeremy Hill) key backups (Christine Michael) and a pair of Saints (Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson). -- MB

ROUND 11
 
pick overall player position owner
1 121 Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers RB BELLER
2 122 Danny Amendola, New England Patriots WR GONOS
3 123 Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers WR BELLER
4 124 Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams RB GONOS
5 125 Chris Ivory, New York Jets RB BELLER
6 126 LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers RB GONOS
7 127 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts RB BELLER
8 128 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers QB GONOS
9 129 Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles WR BELLER
10 130 Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers WR GONOS
11 131 Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers QB BELLER
12 132 Rueben Randle, New York Giants WR GONOS

Plenty of players who lived past fantasy glory started going off the board here, as owners hope for one last great season from Jonathan Stewart, Danny Amendola, Chris Ivory, LeGarrette Blount and Ahmad Bradshaw. Also, the very first fantasy backup quarterbacks were taken in Round 11, as both Colin Kaepernick and Philip Rivers will serve as excellent backups to quarterbacks who might have extensive injury histories, like Tony Romo or Jay Cutler. Two rookies (Tre Mason and Jordan Matthews) went off the board here, along with two more sleeper wideouts in Rueben Randle and Markus Wheaton. -- DG

ROUND 12
 
pick overall player position owner
1 133 C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos RB GONOS
2 134 Jonathan Grimes, Houston Texans RB BELLER
3 135 Cincinnati Bengals DST GONOS
4 136 Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers TE BELLER
5 137 Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans RB GONOS
6 138 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers QB BELLER
7 139 Denver Broncos DST GONOS
8 140 Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens WR BELLER
9 141 Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs RB GONOS
10 142 Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys RB BELLER
11 143 Carolina Panthers DST GONOS
12 144 James White, New England Patriots RB BELLER

For the most part, we were grabbing our final bench player in the 12th round. This is where you’re largely going to see a backup running back with some hype or a backup quarterback. Rarely is your 12th-round pick going to matter all that much. This is a time to go after someone who is one injury away from being in a high-volume role. That’s why you see guys like C.J. Anderson, Jonathan Grimes, Knile Davis and Lance Dunbar coming off the board here. Anderson, Grimes and Dunbar are especially intriguing. Montee Ball has yet to prove himself as a primary back in Denver, while Grimes and Dunbar are backing up injury-prone backs in Houston and Dallas, respectively. -- MB

ROUND 13
 
Pick Overall Player Position Owner
1 145 San Francisco 49ers DST BELLER
2 146 Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints WR GONOS
3 147 Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots K BELLER
4 148 James Jones, Oakland Raiders WR GONOS
5 149 Matt Prater, Denver Broncos K BELLER
6 150 Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings WR GONOS
7 151 Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys K BELLER
8 152 St. Louis Rams DST GONOS
9 153 Arizona Cardinals DST BELLER
10 154 Miles Austin, Cleveland Browns WR GONOS
11 155 Houston Texans DST BELLER
12 156 New England Patriots DST GONOS

The second-to-last round is, and should be, always filled with defense/special teams and kickers, with the last set of sleepers. Among the five defenses taken, the 49ers are the class of the group, although, they’re dealing with issues dealing with injuries and a suspension. The top kickers were picked up here, as some owners prefer to get one of the best kickers, and roll the dice on a defense. Finally, the last sleepers at skill positions were picked up, as Kenny Stills, James Jones, Greg Jennings and Miles Austin should all see plenty of opportunities in 2014. -- DG

ROUND 14
 
pick overall player position owner
1 157 Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks K GONOS
2 158 Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens K BELLER
3 159 Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers K GONOS
4 160 Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers K BELLER
5 161 Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons K GONOS
6 162 Kansas City Chiefs DST BELLER
7 163 Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings K GONOS
8 164 Cleveland Browns DST BELLER
9 165 Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles K GONOS
10 166 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST BELLER
11 167 Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers K GONOS
12 168 Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears K BELLER

Nine kickers and three defense/special teams units. There really isn’t much more to say beyond that. Rather than recap the round, allow me to make a case for the defense carousel. At this point of the draft, you’ve already missed out on the Seahawks, 49ers and any other truly difference-making defense. Rather than simply taking the next-ranked group, why not go after a team that has an easy matchup or two to start the season, then stream defenses on a weekly basis? In an offensive-driven league, you’re better off taking advantage of the worst offenses in the league by trying to pick up whichever defense might be playing them in a given week rather than trying to pick a defense that ends up being good for fantasy purposes all year long. The position is just too volatile to predict with a high degree of certainty. -- MB

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