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 Fantasy Football Guide 2011. The lockout might have killed the Hall of Fame Game and some of the industry's fantasy annuals, but SI knows magazines and we bring it better -- and fresher -- than ever.
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:
Round 1: RB Chris Johnson
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.
Round 2: QB Tom Brady
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.
Round 3: WR Reggie Wayne
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.
Round 4: WR Jeremy Maclin
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.
Round 5: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
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.
Round 6: RB Ryan Grant
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.
Round 7: WR Mario Manningham
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.
Round 8: QB Eli Manning
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.
Round 9: RB Brandon Jacobs
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.
Round 10: TE Marcedes Lewis
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.
Round 11: D/ST Eagles
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.
Round 12: WR Deion Branch
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.
Round 13: RB Roy Helu
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.
Round 14: TE Aaron Hernandez
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.
Round 15: WR Steve Breaston
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.
Round 16: K Nick Folk
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.
And one final thought ...
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 2. Adrian Peterson, Min, RB3. Arian Foster, Hou, RB4. Chris Johnson, Ten, RB 5. Ray Rice, Bal, RB 6. LeSean McCoy, Phi, RB 7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac, RB8. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB 9. Rashard Mendenhall, Pit, RB10. Andre Johnson, Hou, WR11. Frank Gore, SF, RB 12. Michael Turner, Atl, RB
13. Steven Jackson, STL, RB 14. Roddy White, Atl, WR 15. Darren McFadden, Oak, RB16. Ryan Mathews, SD, RB 17. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG, RB 18. Michael Vick, Phi, QB 19. Drew Brees, NO, QB 20. Calvin Johnson, Det, WR 21. Tom Brady, NE, QB 22. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR 23. Matt Forte, Chi, RB 24. DeAngelo Williams, Car, RB
25. Shonn Greene, NYJ, RB 26. Peyton Manning, Ind, QB 27. Mike Wallace, Pit, WR 28. Reggie Wayne, Ind, WR 29. Greg Jennings, GB, WR 30. Hakeem Nicks, NYG, WR 31. Peyton Hillis, Cle, RB B32. Mike Williams, TB, WR 33. Dez Bryant, Dal, WR 34. Knowshon Moreno, Den, RB 35. LeGarrette Blount, TB, RB 36. Philip Rivers, SD, QB
37. Vincent Jackson, SD, WR 38. DeSean Jackson, Phi, WR 39. Antonio Gates, SD, TE 40. Brandon Lloyd, Den, WR 41. Dwayne Bowe, KC, WR 42. Miles Austin, Dal, WR 43. Jahvid Best, Det, RB 44. Tony Romo, Dal, QB 45. Jeremy Maclin, Phi, WR 46. Cedric Benson, Cin, RB 47. Santonio Holmes, NYJ, WR 48. Ben Roethlisberger, Pit, QB
49. Kenny Britt, Ten, WR 50. Percy Harvin, Min, WR 51. Matt Ryan, Atl, QB 52. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE, RB 53. Felix Jones, Dal, RB 54. Jonathan Stewart, Car, RB 55. Mark Ingram, NO, RB 56. Joseph Addai, Ind, RB 57. Dallas Clark, Ind, TE 58. Matt Schaub, Hou, QB 59. Jason Witten, Dal, TE 60. Marques Colston, NO, WR
61. Steve Johnson, Buf, WR 62. Daniel Thomas, Mia, RB 63. Brandon Marshall, Mia, WR 64. Kevin Kolb, Ari, QB 65. Mikel Leshoure, Det, RB 66. Wes Welker, NE, WR 67. Jermichael Finley, GB, TE 68. Fred Jackson, Buf, RB 69. Ryan Grant, GB, RB 70. Vernon Davis, SF, TE 71. Pierre Garcon, Ind, WR 72. Chad Ochocinco, NE, WR
73. Mike Thomas, Jac, WR 74. Anquan Boldin, Bal, WR 75. Ryan Williams, Ari, RB 76. Mario Manningham, NYG, WR 77. Owen Daniels, Hou, TE 78. Austin Collie, Ind, WR 79. Kellen Winslow, TB, TE 80. Julio Jones, Atl, WR 81. Jordy Nelson, GB, WR 82. James Starks, GB, RB 83. Josh Freeman, TB, QB 84. Sidney Rice, Sea, WR
85. Michael Crabtree, SF, WR 86. Lance Moore, NO, WR 87. A.J. Green, Cin, WR 88. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buf, QB 89. Tony Gonzalez, Atl, TE Wil90. Marshawn Lynch, Sea, RB 91. Beanie Wells, Ari, RB 92. Mike Sims-Walker, STL, WR 93. Eli Manning, NYG, QB 94. Santana Moss, Wsh, WR 95. Brandon Pettigrew, Det, TE 96. Thomas Jones, KC, RB
97. Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE 98. Pierre Thomas, NO, RB 99. Ryan Torain, Wsh, RB 100. Brandon Jacobs, NYG, RB 101. Jimmy Graham, NO, TE 102. Johnny Knox, Chi, WR 103. Roy Williams, Chi, WR 104. Jets D/ST105. Reggie Bush, Mia, RB 106. Mike Tolbert, SD, RB 107. Matthew Stafford, Det, QB 108. Braylon Edwards, SF, WR
109. C.J. Spiller, Buf, RB 110. Tim Hightower, Wsh, RB 111. Jerome Simpson, Cin, WR 112 .Steve Smith, Car, WR 113. Marion Barber, Chi, RB 114. Robert Meachem, NO, WR 115. Joe Flacco, Bal, QB 116. Emmanuel Sanders, Pit, WR 117. Marcedes Lewis, Jac, TE 118. Steelers D/ST 119. Willis McGahee, Den, RB 120. Delone Carter, Ind, RB
121. Mike Williams, Sea, WR 122. Packers D/ST 123. James Jones, GB, WR 124. Eagles D/ST 125. Sam Bradford, STL, QB 126. Chris Cooley, Wsh, TE 127. Rashad Jennings, Jac, RB 128. Hines Ward, Pit, WR 129. Zach Miller, Sea, TE 130. Greg Olsen, Car, TE 131. Plaxico Burress, NYJ, WR 132. Michael Bush, Oak, RB
133. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ, RB 134. Montario Hardesty, Cle, RB 135. Ronnie Brown, Phi, RB 136. Malcom Floyd, SD, WR 137. Visanthe Shiancoe, Min, TE 138. Matt Cassel, KC, QB 139. Ravens D/ST 140. Tashard Choice, Dal, RB 141. Deion Branch, NE, WR 142. Jay Cutler, Chi, QB 143. DeMarco Murray, Dal, RB 144. Donovan McNabb, Min, QB
145. Darren Sproles, NO, RB 146. Mark Sanchez, NYJ, QB 147. Shane Vereen, NE, RB 148. Roy Helu, Wsh, RB 149. Danario Alexander, STL, WR 150. Danny Woodhead, NE, RB 151. Patriots D/ST 152. Cam Newton, Car, QB 153. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atl, RB 154. Josh Morgan, SF, WR 155. Jacoby Ford, Oak, WR 156. Mike Goodson, Car, RB
157 Bears D/ST 158 Tony Moeaki, KC, TE 159 Vincent Brown, SD, WR 160 Roscoe Parrish, Buf, WR 161 Ben Tate, Hou, RB 162 Jared Cook, Ten, TE 163 Stephen Gostkowski, NE, K 164 Toby Gerhart, Min, RB 165 Aaron Hernandez, NE, TE 166 Nate Kaeding, SD, K 167 Garrett Hartley, NO, K 168 Lions D/ST D
169. Sebastian Janikowski, Oak, K 170. Jermaine Gresham, Cin, TE 171. Davone Bess, Mia, WR 172. Steve Breaston, KC, WR 173. Saints D/ST 174. Derrick Mason, NYJ, WR 175. Donald Driver, GB, WR 176. Matt Bryant, Atl, K 177. Falcons D/ST 178. Chargers D/ST 179. Giants D/ST 180. Neil Rackers, Hou, K
181. Dustin Keller, NYJ, TE 182. Mason Crosby, GB, K 183. Alex Henery, Phi, K 184. Josh Brown, STL, K 185. Arrelious Benn, TB, WR 186. Rob Bironas, Ten, K 187. Jason Snelling, Atl, RB 188. Adam Vinatieri, Ind, K 189. Nick Folk, NYJ, K 190. Danny Amendola, STL, WR191. Greg Little, Cle, WR 192. Kyle Orton, Den, QB
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.
ON SALE SOON: Sports Illustrated's Fantasy Football 2011 issue tells you where all the free agents landed and what their fantasy impact will be, along with the critical draft strategy and stats analysis you need to win your league. Order one now.