In my last Fantasy Football Friday mock draft, I did my best to keep an even distribution of talent between multiple positions and managed to walk away with a headlining crew of Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and Melvin Gordon. This time, however, the chips fell a bit differently when I moved one spot lower in draft order and I ended up with a dramatically divergent roster. I will say one thing, however - this might be my favorite team that I have (fake) drafted throughout this entire summer, if only for the insanity that is my receiving corps.
1.9 (9 Overall): Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
I may have Antonio Brown ranked as my top receiver, but if Julio Jones stays healthy for a full 16 game season, I fully expect him to put up the best numbers of any wideout this year. I have seen what playing the X role in a Kyle Shanahan system can do for a wide receiver’s numbers – Andre Johnson and Pierre Garcon being the biggest recent examples, of course – and now Jones is expected to receive that high volume of targets in that same role. Hell, Jones may be the "safest" non-quarterback point producer in the entire league this season.
2.5 (16 Overall): A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green has dealt with some injury issues in the past few seasons, which is partially why he has been dropping to the second round so often. When he is on the field, however, the fourth year wideout is among the very best receivers in the game. Andy Dalton loves feeding him the ball at every opportunity, and I am hoping that a running back tandem of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard in Cincy will keep opposing safeties honest enough for Green to do some serious damage off of play action. You could sure as hell do worse for a WR2.
3.9 (33 Overall): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
This was a pure BPA pick for me. Melvin Gordon – my usual third round crutch – was already off the board and none of the available running backs seemed like the right value. I decided to just go with my gut, take the highest player in my rankings, and see how it all works out in the end. It really does not get any better than a wide receiver trio of Jones, Green, and Hopkins. They should all form a very nice point-producing core that I can build my team around.
4.4 (40 Overall): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
This seemed like a good value for Hyde. I took him in the fourth round in my last mock draft as well at 41st overall, so that will likely continue to be his draft range until training camp and preseason throw everything out of whack again. Hyde is the lead dog in the race for the 49ers’ starting running back spot, so at the very least he should be a good week to week play from a volume perspective.
5.9 (57 Overall): Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
I absolutely adored Tevin Coleman during the pre-draft process, and the fact that he landed in Kyle Shanahan’s zone-stretch heavy scheme was an absolute blessing for his career. Coleman has the speed to press the edge and capitalize on any running lanes that open up front side for big gains, while also having enough "one cut" ability to plant his foot and redirect to the back side lane when defenses start over-pursuing against his speed. Either way, he is fast enough to take it to the house on every single down from any area of the field. Coleman is not just an early contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year; he’s one of the favorites.
6.4 (64 Overall): C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints
The Saints lacked some of their usual offensive dynamism last season, and I think part of that is because they no longer had Darren Sproles to rely on in passing situations. With Jimmy Graham now on the Seahawks, New Orleans needs a backfield weapon that can be a mismatch against linebackers now more than ever. I expect Spiller to be fed the ball early and often both as a runner and as a receiver. To be honest, if Sean Payton started running two-back sets with both Mark Ingram and Spiller on the field at the same time, I would not bat an eye. 70 catches is a very realistic number for Spiller by season’s end, if not more, and that is good enough for me as a flex player and bye week substitution.
7.9 (81 Overall): Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
With all of the receiving talent that I already have on this team it is unlikely that Robinson will see my lineup all that often, but it never hurts to have more options for bye weeks and injury-related contingency plans. By all accounts this summer, Robinson has far and away been the Jaguars’ best receiver. He is in line to see a huge number of targets in his second season with Blake Bortles under center. If he lives up to all of these high expectations and starts blowing away the stat sheet, I may have myself a nice little piece of trade bait to secure more depth at another position group.
8.4 (88 Overall): Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
I really liked Abdullah at Nebraska as a Gio Bernard-ish type of prospect that should be able to contribute as a high end change-of-pace back as well as a receiving mismatch out of the backfield, and that is likely how he will be used in Detroit during his rookie year. However, there is a slight chance that Abdullah may work himself into the starting spot by the end of the season if Joique Bell’s consistency issues continue to plague the offense in 2015. I already have my starting receivers and running backs penciled in, so I might as well start swinging for the fences.
9.7 (105 Overall): Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
I am a big fan of Zach Ertz. The Eagles did not use their tight ends as much during parts of the 2014 season because they had to keep them in to block while multiple starting offensive linemen were out with various injuries or suspensions; however, that should hopefully change in 2015 with the core of Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, and Jason Kelce all returning perfectly healthy. Ertz should be in line to see significant targets in the red zone, as well as commanding the seams in zone coverage whenever Chip Kelly decides to start spreading defenses out.
10.4 (112 Overall): Jets Defense/Special Teams
I was originally targeting the Texans' defense with this pick, but they (and several other elite defenses) were unfortunately already off the board. The Jets should be an absolute terror on defense this season with the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, so this is about as good of a consolation prize as I could possibly hope for.
11.9 (129 Overall): Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
The fact that I can still get a guy like Matthew Stafford in the eleventh round speaks to the depth at the quarterback position this year. He may be a low end QB1, but he is still a QB1 and that is all that matters to me. If Calvin Johnson stays healthy and Ameer Abdullah provides another dimension to the offense out of the backfield, Stafford may yet return to throwing over 30 touchdowns this season.
12.4 (136 Overall): Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans
This is another repeated pick from my last mock draft (in the same round, no less). I am still expecting Arian Foster to miss games at some point this season, so Blue is a great option to have as a spot fill-in or trade bait.
13.9 (153 Overall): Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Williams may play second fiddle to Dez Bryant in Dallas, but he is a good receiver in his own right. A lot of fantasy players will be relying on him as a WR4 or even as a WR3 this coming season, so getting him as my WR5 is great value.
14.4 (160 Overall): Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
Walker is not only one of the most underrated tight ends in the league, but one of the most underrated players period. He has been a great blocker and security blanket for Tennessee for the past couple of seasons, and I think that reliability will continue in 2015 when he becomes Marcus Mariota’s proverbial panic button.
15.9 (177 Overall): Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston might struggle in his first few games as he adjusts to the pros, but I think he should be a viable quarterback play week in and week out by the halfway point of the season. If my Stafford pick does not pan out as I had hoped, I am willing to turn to Winston and his monstrous receivers to get me some points.
16.4 (184): Randy Bullock, PK, Houston Texans
As is tradition, Beercan Bullock will be on all of my teams this year if possible.
Here is what the final roster looked like by the end of the draft. How did I do, BRB?
QB: Matthew Stafford (11), Jameis Winston (15)
RB: Carlos Hyde (4), Tevin Coleman (5), C.J. Spiller (6), Ameer Abdullah (8), Alfred Blue (12)
WR: Julio Jones (1), A.J. Green (2), DeAndre Hopkins (3), Allen Robinson (7), Terrance Williams (13)
TE: Zach Ertz (9), Delanie Walker (14)
DEF: Jets Defense (10)
PK: Randy Bullock (16)