Before you know it, it will be fantasy football draft time, we hope! During the next month or so, I will be conducting several mock drafts. During the drafts, I will pick in all 12 positions, with all sorts of scenarios.
As a rule, I prefer to draft three starting running backs within the first four rounds. It is a tried-and-true strategy, which has done me well for 20-plus years. The mock drafts I do will all assume 12 teams are in the league (unless otherwise noted) with the following positions: quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, tight end, a flex (running back, wide receiver or tight end), kicker, team defense and six bench spots. Therefore, it is a 16-round snake draft.
I have the third overall pick; let’s see how it all works out. In this format, I am playing in a HALF point-per-reception league (0.5 PPR), which means that every reception is worth a half-point.
You can see the entire draft by clicking here.
Here is my roster:
Round 1, Pick 3: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
Round 2, Pick 10: George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Round 3, Pick 3: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Round 4, Pick 10: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Round 5, Pick 3: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
Round 6, Pick 10: Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
Round 7, Pick 3: Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Round 8, Pick 10: Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 9, Pick 3: Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
Round 10, Pick 10: Golden Tate, WR, New York Giants
Round 11, Pick 3: Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Round 12, Pick 10: Darrynton Evans, RB, Tennessee Titans
Round 13, Pick 3: Baltimore Ravens DST
Round 14, Pick 10: Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens
Round 15, Pick 3: Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Round 16, Pick 10: Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts
My overall strategy in a half-PPR league is to treat it like a PPR league. You get a slight bonus for players that are double-digit touchdown players, but not enough to overhaul the rankings a bunch. Derrick Henry-type players may get a boost in this format, for example.
So, if you have followed me, you know I preach running backs early and often. In this mock, I tried a different approach — and after working through my cold sweats, I took a tight end and a quarterback early … so how did it work out?
Overall, I can win with this team, but it does have some issues. Starting the draft with a top-four running back, a top-two quarterback and a top-two tight end is never a terrible start. Christian McCaffrey is the consensus No. 1 pick in all formats, but after that I have seen Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara in any order with picks two through four.
I prefer Kamara in PPR and half-PPR leagues slightly to Elliott. Kamara, George Kittle and Lamar Jackson in the first three rounds — so far, so good. By the way, if you want Travis Kelce or Kittle, you have to draft them before the end of Round 2. If you want Patrick Mahomes or Jackson, you have to snag one of them before the end of Round 3. Otherwise, they will be gone 99 percent of the time.
Three of my next four picks were running backs, as I felt a pit in my stomach. Jonathan Taylor, David Montgomery and Cam Akers all have questions to answer. Taylor, Montgomery and Akers have to share touches with Marlon Mack, Tarik Cohen and Darrell Henderson, respectively. But Taylor, Montgomery and Akers could wind up being workhorses regardless. With four running backs in the fold, it was time to draft some wide receivers.
At receiver, hey, I am weak. When you draft quarterback and tight end early, you have to give up something somewhere. Jarvis Landry is always solid and will be a top-25 receiver. I get nice upside with Diontae Johnson and Darius Slayton if they continue to build on what they did in 2019. Golden Tate is safe and offers protection if Darius Slayton falters. Justin Jefferson should start in Minnesota — but in a run-first offense. Parris Campbell has talent but really did not get going last year.
I ended this draft as I like to do — with two running back flyers in Darrynton Evans and Joshua Kelley, both of whom are an injury or holdout away from being very useful. I tend to draft my kickers and defense in the Rounds 13 and 14, as I get the team and player I want — and still get the flyers I want later as well.
Overall, if my receivers perform … this is certainly a title-contending team.
What do you think of this team? Let me know at @FansFantasy on Twitter.
Please try a mock yourself as practice makes perfect. You can mock in minutes by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
Ken Zalis ranked No. 3 in FantasyPros’ 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Accuracy Rankings.