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 12th 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 12: Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
Round 2, Pick 1: Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Round 3, Pick 12: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Round 4, Pick 1: David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
Round 5, Pick 12: Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Round 6, Pick 1: Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
Round 7, Pick 12: Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
Round 8, Pick 1: Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Round 9, Pick 12: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Round 10, Pick 1: Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Round 11, Pick 12: Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns
Round 12, Pick 1: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Round 13, Pick 12: Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens
Round 14, Pick 1: Darrynton Evans, RB, Tennessee Titans
Round 15, Pick 12: James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 16, Pick 1: Los Angeles Rams DST
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.
I had the wheel pick — 12th overall, last pick in the first round. You get to draft day ready to go, with dreams of Christian McCaffrey or Clyde Edwards-Helaire in your mind, and boom, just like that you have to wait for 15 minutes before you can pick. Well, relax if you are not first. You are last, and in this case, that is A-OK with me.
If you asked me to choose my draft position, I am either picking first or last. I love the wheel. The smoke settles in front of you and you just pick — well, sort of.
As far as this draft, with all due respect to FantasyPros (which gave me a C- for this draft), I LOVE IT!
For my first four picks, shocker alert, I went with running backs. Jacobs is my eighth-ranked running back, so getting him at 12 is wonderful. I passed on Miles Sanders, who is not practicing because he’s banged up. I took Austin Ekeler next. I love his upside. He’s risky, sure, but the payoff could be huge. Leonard Fournette and David Johnson — two backs I am higher on than most — are on-brand picks. I have great depth with four backs who are RB1’s on their respective teams.
I went with four wide receivers with my next four picks. Michael Gallup, Jarvis Landry, Jamison Crowder and Christian Kirk are WR2’s on their respective teams. All four have 100-plus-target and 80-plus-catch potential. That’ll do donkey, that’ll do … to borrow a phrase.
In Round 9, I was not even thinking about a quarterback, but Josh Allen was sitting there. I could have waited and taken Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford or Aaron Rodgers later, but the upside of Allen is huge and I thought I could still draft one of those other quarterbacks later.
Marlon Mack in the 10th, why not? Sure, I expect Jonathan Taylor to eventually take over, but let’s hope Mack goes for 125 yards with a score or two in Week 1 and I flip him via trade. Even waiting until Round 11, I still got a tight with top-10 potential in Austin Hooper … giddy up.
As I thought, I could get a veteran quarterback later. Stafford, who has top-five QB upside, was still there in the 12th. I’m a homer, so I had to take Justin Tucker. I grabbed my favorite player from the 2020 NFL Draft, Darrynton Evans … yay for me in Round 14. James Washington in the 15th makes sense since Diontae Johnson hasn’t practiced in a week, so again, why not?
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.