And now on to the mock draft commentary. The format is the same as the previous mock draft. Twelve teams, the scoring is standard performance plus 1 point per reception. There are 16 rounds with a starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 DEF. I managed to snag the 2nd overall pick.
The draft is still ongoing as of this morning. Check the draft report to review all of the picks made to date, and my pick-by-pick commentary through the first half of the draft is included below.
1.02 RB Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC – Pocket Hercules, come on down to kick off this mock draft for Team FF Today. I’m more than happy with either the #1 or #2 spot this year, as we see a drop-off after MJD and Adrian Peterson as the top tier RB this season. MJD is actually projected #1 for us in this scoring system thanks mainly to a projected 54 receptions versus only 19 for AP. The 54 may be slightly conservative, considering he earned 36 in just the final 8 games of 2008 and David Garrard lost every WR he had any rapport with.
2.11 WR Marques Colston, NO – Back at the 2.07 I pre-selected Colston, Roddy White, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin and Marion Barber. Thankfully Colston got here as he, White and Smith were the last of my tier 2 WR group. Colston missed 5 games last year but his 2nd half was spectacular, a 42-678-5 line in 8 games, and of course he benefits from working with the reigning top QB in fantasy football. Not a lot to worry about with Colston as my WR1.
3.02 RB Ronnie Brown, MIA – Ronnie Brown is certainly getting more love since we kicked off the start of fantasy football season in early June. That gets me worried when the value is lost on a player because everyone is hyping him up as a value play. But as an early 3rd round pick, and RB2, I’m still buying. Things are aligning nicely for Brown – youth/experience, length of time since injury, increased opportunity, system – and the talent is certainly there for a player who had nearly 1,000 combined yards through his first 7 games of 2007 prior to his ACL injury.
4.11 TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL – Some really good fantasy players were drafted prior to this pick (Witten, Gates, Rodgers, Grant), but it still left me with a tough decision at this pick between a top QB like Phillip Rivers, an excellent WR2 such as Chad Ochocinco or Vincent Jackson or the last of the top tier TE. I went with the TE, which is a position you can really make a difference at in a PPR scoring league. It is going to be odd seeing Gonzo in a Falcons uniform, but Matt Ryan looks like the real deal and should learn quickly to use his new TE early and often so we still end up with a typical, Tony Gonzalez year.
5.02 QB Donovan McNabb, PHI – I was really hoping for Rivers here, and in fact KFFL grabbed 2 of the guys I was considering at the last pick. If I had a re-do, I probably take Rivers at 4.11 and see if Gonzalez would slide into the 5th round. Still, that is not a knock on McNabb, who when healthy is a consistent top QB, especially with the Eagles propensity (or necessity) to throw the ball into the end zone rather than run it. The potential problem is the “when healthy” caveat. McNabb didn’t miss any games last year due to injury for the first time since 2004.
Vincent Jackson was also a strong consideration here to shore up the WR2 and wait at QB. It sure seems like fewer people are waiting on QB in recent years though, leaving a lot of dog QB candidates if you do decide to wait too long. Sometimes you go against the grain, and sometimes you have to go with the flow. Difference makers are what win championships, and getting that potential difference maker at QB is a more important piece in the championship puzzle than it once was. In this instance, I think it is best to go with the flow.
6.11 WR Donnie Avery, STL – This is hang onto your hats time. Drafting Avery as a starter and WR2 makes me a little nervous, but we are certainly bullish on his potential for a breakout season in his second year. He ascends into the primary receiver role on the Rams with the departure of Torry Holt, and showed some excellent skills a year ago. The concern is just how poor the Rams are as a team overall, and whether Avery is ready to be a consistent threat against the opposition’s top defensive backs. I’ll be coming back to the WR well in fairly short order.
7.02 WR Bernard Berrian, MIN – Following up the Avery pick, Berrian fits the bill as a good WR2/WR3 with nice potential to outperform his draft position. He hasn’t topped 1,000 yards in his career, but considering the quarterbacks he’s been working with, his stats look very good. Last year, he didn’t catch a lot of passes but turned only 48 of them into 964 yards and 7 TD. That is a 20.1 yard per catch average. One has to wonder how much he could benefit if/when Brett Favre comes to town.
8.11 RB LenDale White, TEN – You’re right, he catches hardly any passes, but coming off a 15 TD season, now reportedly more fit and with an improved attitude towards his work, we’re looking at some good value here in the late 8th round. I like Chris Johnson well enough, but do I really see him taking on a lot more workload than he got last year? Not really, or he’ll be bowing out of more games like the Divisional Playoff game against the Ravens. White is still integral to the Titans success.
That is the first 8 half of the draft, leaving me needing a K, DEF and depth across the board, not necessarily in that order. Hopefully we can wrap up the draft early next week and I’ll fill in the commentary for the final 8 rounds.