Know what you should never trust?
Uh, pretty much anything I read on the Internet at this point, Matt.
OK, fair enough. But for our purposes here, let’s pretend there’s 1 best answer: You should never trust a January fantasy football mock draft.
I joined a group of fellow analysts for a 2017 redraft-style fantasy football mock draft back at the end of December, heading into Week 17. We didn’t know yet what free agency will do to the league rosters. We had no idea where any of the NFL Draft picks are headed. We hadn’t even really had time to break down the season just completed yet.
On top of that, these mock drafts will always feature owners making some statement-type picks: elevating a player or 3 to show excitement for certain guys.
All that said, the completion of the Super Bowl means that MFL10 drafting is already about to start up on MyFantasyLeague.com. If you plan to jump into the early action, then it helps to get some kind of read on the environment.
Which breakthrough players from 2016 will drafters be wary of in 2017? Which letdowns still make fantasy geeks hopeful for a turnaround?
We’ll soon start getting some ADP numbers from the actual MFL10 drafting. But for now, here’s a way-too-early look at what you can expect.
First, the partcipants (in draft order):
1. Adam Ronis, Scout
2. Dish Adams, Fantasy Sharks
3. Brandon Marianne Lee, Her Fantasy Football
4. Raphael Rabe, Rotoballer
5. Jeff Mans, Fantasy Alarm
6. Dan Clasgens, Fantistics
7. Jeff Ratcliffe, Pro Football Focus
8. Mike Clay, ESPN
9. Paul Kelly, SiriusXM
11. Bob Harris, Football Diehards
12. Antony Aniano, Rotoballer
We used fairly standard PPR scoring with the following common lineup construction:
1.01 David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
1.02 Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
1.03 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
1.04 Odell Beckham, WR, Giants
1.05 Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
1.06 Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
1.07 Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
1.08 A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
1.09 T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
1.10 Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
1.11 Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
1.12 Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Bryant ranked 6th among WRs in non-PPR scoring and 10th in PPR from Week 8 on last season. I think a healthy offseason will restore him as a solid Round 1 pick. Gordon and Hilton worry me most as 1st-rounders among this group. Hilton’s not generally quite the target hog that the other wideouts in this range are, while Gordon benefitted from Danny Woodhead’s absence and got hurt again. I was very wrong about him in 2016, but I’m not ready to elevate him this high.
2.01 Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders
2.02 Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
2.03 Alshon Jeffery, WR, Free Agent
2.04 Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
2.05 Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints
2.06 LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills
2.07 DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans
2.08 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
2.09 Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins
2.10 Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
2.11 Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2.12 Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
I over-drafted Jeffery here. Consider it 1 of those statement picks. I probably wouldn’t take him ahead of Nelson or Cooks if I started an MFL10 today. But I do think a healthy Jeffery in the right landing spot carries upside into the top 6 among fantasy WRs. I’d also probably take McCoy, Howard and Ajayi over Jeffery if we redid this draft today.
Like with Gordon, I was quite wrong about Murray heading into 2016. But also like with Gordon, I don’t think I’m comfy with drafting him quite this early. That said, I won’t tell you it’s a bad pick right now either.
3.01 Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
3.02 Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
3.03 Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
3.04 Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
3.05 Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
3.06 Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
3.07 Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
3.08 Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
3.09 Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
3.10 C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos
3.11 Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs
3.12 Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens
This particular draft found 16 RBs among the 1st 3 rounds, compared with 13 among the top 36 in August ADP for 12-team PPR leagues on MFL last summer. Our Round 3 was the only one among the top 3 that actually included more RBs than the same range in ADP last August.
I had my fingers crossed for Hyde in this round. Missing that, though, I remain interested in Anderson. He endured a rough 2016 even when healthy, but he still outperformed the rest of the Denver backfield.
4.01 Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
4.02 Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
4.03 Jordan Reed, TE, Washington
4.04 Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders
4.05 Rob Kelley, RB, Washington
4.06 Dalvin Cook, RB, Rookie
4.07 Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
4.08 Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks
4.09 Davante Adams, WR, Packers
4.10 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
4.11 Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
4.12 Leonard Fournette, RB, Rookie
The past few years of MFL public-league drafting has showed us that you can get good deals on rookies in the early drafts. We’re all a bit wary of the unknown. If Cook and Fournette land in good NFL homes, don’t be surprised if they climb another round to round-and-a-half above this.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what to do at this turn. In hindsight, I probably should have jumped on 1 of those rookie RBs. That said, a healthy – or even mostly healthy – Reed has showed that he can deliver value beyond this spot. For best-ball-style MFL10 drafting, I’d wait longer for a TE.
As or the Tennessee backfield: If Murray and Henry both settle into the Round 2-4 range in early drafting – with fantasy folks likely split on which horse they want to ride – I’ll probably pass on both.
5.01 Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns
5.02 Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
5.03 Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans
5.04 Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
5.05 Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
5.06 Golden Tate, WR, Lions
5.07 Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts
5.08 Eric Decker, WR, Jets
5.09 Theo Riddick, RB, Lions
5.10 Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers
5.11 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
5.12 Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
If Bryant stays in this range after he gets reinstated – and I don’t know why he wouldn’t be – then I’ll gladly take him regularly. Sammie Coates and the TEs continued to show us some of the upside to the situation (beyond Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, obviously), while also failing to nail down roles in the offense.
I’m not comfy with Matthews this early. We’ll see how the offseason treats Charles and Decker. I’m much comfier with Moncrief in the middle of Round 5 than Hilton in the middle of Round 1, though.
6.01 C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks
6.02 Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington
6.03 Christian McCaffrey, RB, Rookie
6.04 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
6.05 Eddie Lacy, RB, Free Agent
6.06 Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
6.07 Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers
6.08 Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
6.09 Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
6.10 Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
6.11 Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks
6.12 DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Crap! I shoulda taken Prosise in Round 5 when I had the chance. McCaffrey could turn into a nice score in Round 6, though. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and 12.2 yards per catch career at Stanford, and tallied 82 receptions over just the past 2 seasons.
Graham endured an inconsistent season but wound up well outperforming our expectations for him overall. He could turn into a nice draft value if his ADP settles in this range—especially for best-ball formats.
7.01 Paul Perkins, RB, Giants
7.02 Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers
7.03 Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers
7.04 Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots
7.05 Latavius Murray, RB, Free Agent
7.06 Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets
7.07 Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
7.08 Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
7.09 Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
7.10 DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders
7.11 Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
7.12 Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
If Washington emerges from the offseason as Oakland’s lead back, then he’s a solid value at this stage. We’ll see how that situation develops.
Speaking of developing situations, you might get some strong early value on Marshall. He doesn’t seem ready to quit, and I’d certainly bet on him finding a 2017 home even if the Jets decide to move on. He’s not young, but he’s also not ancient on the verge of his age-33 season. Marshall missed just 1 total game over the past 2 years.
And 1 more developing-situation point: The Green Bay backfield presents lots of room for potential change in draft position this offseason. We know that the Packers plan to keep Montgomery at RB. We’ll see if they keep Lacy around.
8.01 Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons
8.02 Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
8.03 Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
8.04 Drew Brees, QB, Saints
8.05 Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
8.06 Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
8.07 Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
8.08 Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
8.09 LeGarrette Blount, RB, Free Agent
8.10 Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
8.11 Cameron Meredith, WR, Bears
8.12 Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
Martin’s a scary prospect after the late-season drug stuff. I might have over-drafted him even at this level. I didn’t realize at the time that his failed drug test voided the guaranteed 2017 salary on the contract he signed with the Bucs just last offseason. That said, a 28-year-old Martin should find opportunity somewhere if he cleans up.
The later-round QB is always fun to hit in an “expert” draft … and it will invariably come later that in your common home draft. I think Ryan’s overpriced among this group. He was bound or some positive TD regression in 2016, but the 38 he threw beat his previous career high by 6. It also marked just the 2nd time in his career that Ryan has reached 30 TD passes.
9.01 Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
9.02 Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
9.03 Kenny Britt, WR, Free Agent
9.04 Eric Ebron, TE, Lions
9.05 Mike Williams, WR, Rookie
9.06 Isaiah Crowell, RB, Free Agent
9.07 DeSean Jackson, WR, Free Agent
9.08 Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals
9.09 Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings
9.10 Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
9.11 Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington
9.12 Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Check out how far Maclin has fallen. He’s a “why not” pick at this point in any draft—even if Tyreek Hill actually surpasses him in targets in 2017.
Peterson’s currently signed through 2017, but he has a $6 million roster bonus coming in March and an $18 million cap number for the season. He might as well be a free agent. We’ll see what happens here.
Crowell’s a strong value in Round 9. I’m not sure I realized at the time of this draft how solid a season he was wrapping up.
10.01 Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots
10.02 Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
10.03 John Brown, WR, Cardinals
10.04 Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers
10.05 Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
10.06 Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
10.07 Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers
10.08 Breshad Perriman, WR, Ravens
10.09 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
10.10 J.J. Nelson, WR, Cardinals
10.11 Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
10.12 Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Some sneaky value in this round: Newton went 10th among QBs after tumbling from dominant #1 in 2015 to 16th in points per game last year. Most of his career has resided closer to the former. Prescott looks like a fine value as QB8. The Arizona passing game will need some sorting out this offseason, but I’ll take Brown at a 4-5 round discount from his draft price last summer. I’ll also be shocked if Lewis stays in this range as MFL10 drafting gets running.
11.01 Josh Doctson, WR, Washington
11.02 Tavon Austin, WR, Rams
11.03 Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
11.04 C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Texans
11.05 Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
11.06 Frank Gore, RB, Colts
11.07 Kevin White, WR, Bears
11.08 Will Fuller, WR, Texans
11.09 Marvin Jones, WR, Lions
11.10 Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans
11.11 Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens
11.12 Matt Forte, RB, Jets
I think we all expect the Colts to address their backfield more fervently than Robert Turbin and Josh Ferguson this offseason. Gore’s a solid buy at this stage in early drafting, though. White looks like an even stronger value, though, especially when you consider that Alshon Jeffery looks likely to leave in free agency. Fuller, Jones and Wallace are also fine WR values in late Round 11.
At this point, I’m obviously not drafting Mariota to be my every-week QB. His value as the top half of a platoon climbs well past QB12—assuming his offseason recovery goes smoothly.
12.01 JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Rookie
12.02 Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers
12.03 Willie Snead, WR, Saints
12.04 Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
12.05 Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders
12.06 Michael Floyd, WR, Free Agent
12.07 Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
12.08 Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles
12.09 Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys
12.10 Pierre Garcon, WR, Free Agent
12.11 Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
12.12 D’Onta Foreman, RB, Rookie
If the Bucs move on from Doug Martin, I’d bet on them adding to the backfield. HC Dirk Koetter hasn’t effused confidence in Sims as a lead back. But he’s a nice floor bet for a PPR lineup at this stage regardless.
Otherwise, Round 12 looks fairly non-descript. Mathews would obviously climb if he sticks with the Eagles or lands in any other positive spot. For now, he looks like a potential cap casualty in a crowded backfield coming off a wildly inconsistent season.
13.01 T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars
13.02 Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
13.03 Eli Rogers, WR, Steelers
13.04 Tajae Sharpe, WR, Titans
13.05 Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars
13.06 Chris Thompson, RB, Washington
13.07 Samaje Perine, RB, Rookie
13.08 Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
13.09 Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams
13.10 Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings
13.11 Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles
13.12 Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
Welcome to the Jaguar round. Not much exciting here, so I’m happy to take a shot on Treadwell. He just finished an extremely disappointing debut campaign, but the Vikes drafted him in Round 1 less than a year ago.
14.01 Phillip Dorsett, WR, Colts
14.02 Adam Humphries, WR, Buccaneers
14.03 Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
14.04 Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars
14.05 Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
14.06 Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
14.07 Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Eagles
14.08 Tony Romo, QB, Every Team with a QB Question
14.09 Shane Vereen, RB, Giants
14.10 Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
14.11 Eli Manning, QB, Giants
14.12 Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles
Welcome to Backup-QB Round. Rivers has finished 8th, 10th, 11th and 4th among fantasy QBs the past 4 years. I’ll gladly take him 15th at the position here. Tannehill looks like a potential steal in this range as well. We’ll see if he climbs in ADP as he gets healthier.
15.01 Broncos D/ST
15.02 Seahawks D/ST
15.03 Chiefs D/ST
15.04 Vikings D/ST
15.05 Texans D/ST
15.06 Panthers D/ST
15.07 Titans D/ST
15.08 Raiders D/ST
15.09 Giants D/ST
15.10 Cardinals D/ST
15.11 Patriots D/ST
15.12 Steelers D/ST
We had to take a defense. It’s way too early to analyze this group much. The message, as always: Wait on the position.