Rotoworld IDP Mock Draft Recap
Have you ever drafted a fantasy football team with top 10 guys at every starting position? Well, I might have done it.
Am I delusional? Did I simply have to sacrifice depth? I'm biased, so I'll lay out all the picks and let you decide. Bonus: The draft included IDPs.
For the 2nd straight year, the Rotoworld crew invited me to take part in the IDP draft for their magazine. The setup certainly includes a non-standard lineup and a scoring system with some quirks. Here's the 15-man starting lineup ...
The scoring is PPR on offense with 4-point passing TDs. On defense, sacks get 4 points, INTs 6 and forced fumbles 4. We get 2 points for each tackle for loss.
For the sake of context, 26 QBs ranked among the top 100 scorers in this format last season, along with 27 defensive players, 25 WRs, 17 RBs and 5 TEs. J.J. Watt ranked 13th overall.
Now let's get to the players.
1.02 -- Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
You already know this one from the projections release. Martin simply looks like the safest bet behind Adrian Peterson. He drew the league's 4th-most carries as a rookie and ranked among the top 10 RBs in receptions (49). Now, both starting Gs return from injury. And history doesn't hurt him either. Of the 15 rookie RBs who carried 300+ times before last season, 8 reached 300 carries again in year 2. Another 5 surpassed 250 carries. Martin is a sure bet for a large workload and could prove even more efficient with his touches.
2.11 -- Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
You know the deal with this guy: If he could only stay healthy ... Well, I'll gladly take that risk at this stage of a draft. Oakland fixed the broken blocking scheme that helped make McFadden a crappy fantasy play even when healthy last year. And we've seen the upside. He posted the 2nd-best fantasy scoring average among RBs in 2010, behind only Arian Foster. D-Mac went 14th among RBs in this draft.
3.02 -- Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
I haven't had any trouble with skipping WRs through the 1st 2 rounds of drafts so far this year. It was even easier in a setup that only starts 2. Cobb ranked 16th among PPR wideouts last season and should only see his role grow in 2013. He also looks like a strong bet for consistent production after leading a loaded Packers team by 16 receptions in just his 2nd season.
4.11 -- Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots
Wes Welker went from a 67-687-1 line in Miami in 2006 to a league-high 112 catches in his 1st season with the Pats (plus 1,175 yards and 8 TDs). The Brady-Amendola connection is already drawing strong reviews, and this offense has no Randy Moss, no Aaron Hernandez, no proven #2 WR to date and a big question mark over Rob Gronkowski. Draft Sharks subscribers are sure to hear plenty more about Amendola, and I think he makes for a stellar #2 here.
5.02 -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers
Too early for a defensive player? Well, LB is the only position that requires 3 starters in this setup. And the defensive flex should most often go to a 4th. Kuechly proved awesome as a rookie, especially after taking over the MLB job in Week 5. He heads into 2013 as the consensus #1 fantasy LB, and the competitors appear further behind than they were behind previous #1s.
6.11 -- Andre Brown, RB, Giants
I'm excited about David Wilson, too. But he spent most of last season proving unready for a prominent NFL backfield role. He turned it on late in the year and might very well bust out this season. But he also might disappoint. Even if Wilson lives up to expectations, HC Tom Coughlin has long favored a 2-RB approach. Brown looked really good when filling in for Ahmad Bradshaw last season. He'll at least be a busy part-time back, a TD vulture and among fantasy's strongest handcuffs.
7.02 -- Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
I wanted to wait for Tony Romo here and thought about it strongly. But I knew a QB run was coming. Only 4 passers preceded Manning off the board. Sure enough, 5 more got picked between Manning and my next turn. Romo would have been available with my pick at 10.11, though. That said, I'll gladly take any draft in which my biggest regret is taking Peyton Manning in Round 7.
8.11 -- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
Seriously? A position battle with Darrius Heyward-Bey? Hilton led the Colts in TD catches despite ranking just 3rd on the team with 50 receptions. His 17.2 yards per catch ranked 5th in the league among qualifying pass-catchers. DHB sports a 46.7% catch rate through 4 NFL seasons. Reggie Wayne's age makes him a prime candidate for decline. From here, Hilton looks more like an heir -- or at least strong complement -- than Heyward-Bey.
9.02 -- Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks
This pick proved a tossup for me between Wagner and Lavonte David, with 5 LBs already off the board. I opted for Wagner in this case because I think he brings more big-play upside. In most cases, David would win out. Both appear capable of finishing #2 behind Kuechly this season.
10.11 -- Chandler Jones, DE, Patriots
J.J. Watt went so early that it surprised even me, though I believe he deserves to go well ahead of the rest of the position. Then a 10th-round run helped remove 8 more D-linemen from the board before my pick at 10.11. You shouldn't get caught up in position runs and reach for the next player if the value doesn't make sense. However, if you're still staring at your #5 D-lineman after the draft has taken 9 others off the board, it's not a reach. Jones started wonderfully as a rookie before succumbing to injury. He has reportedly worked hard in the offseason and could be on the verge of a breakout campaign.
11.02 -- Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
I'll take Thomas as my 4th RB on every team, especially in PPR. Mark Ingram's knees reportedly feel the best they have since he entered the league. Terrific. He still has to show that he's better than -- or even nearly as good as -- Thomas. The Saints have frustratingly insisted on running Ingram ahead of Thomas for the past couple of years, but Thomas ran with the starters ahead of Ingram in spring workouts. That's encouraging.
12.11 -- Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
It's time for this guy. He let fantasy owners and the Packers down last year and has yet to realize his ample potential. But Finley heads into a contract year, and HC Mike McCarthy said he has looked "excellent" so far. Finley finished top 9 among TEs across formats in 2011. I got him 11th at the position in this draft, which matches his ADP to date.
13.02 -- Bruce Carter, LB, Cowboys
This should be a good year for Carter. It could be a huge year -- like, challenging for the top fantasy LB spot huge. We'll dive into that completely in the coming weeks as we roll out our full IDP coverage. He'll prove a tremendous 3rd LB whenever you can get him there. Here, he rounds out my group of 3 starters who all present top 5 upside at the position.
14.11 -- Osi Umenyiora, DE, Falcons
At age 31 -- 32 in mid-November -- Umenyiora could be in full decline mode. But he could also just need full health and a return to a full-time role to prop his numbers back up. He posted a top 10 fantasy-scoring average among linemen in 2011, when he was limited to 9 games. Umenyiora registered 9 sacks in those contests and added another 3.5 over the 1st 3 playoff games that year. He remains a candidate for 10+ sacks and comes with fairly little risk as the 18th lineman off the board in this draft. I expect that you'll be able to get him in a similar range (perhaps even a bit later) throughout the summer.
15.02 -- Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
The Bears should be quite disappointed if Brandon Marshall approaches the 40% of team targets that he garnered last year. That would indicate stunted growth in the rest of the offense. As long as he stays healthy, though, Jeffery should cut way into that target share. Under passing guru HC Marc Trestman, a healthy Jeffery could easily top 100 looks. His size and leaping ability could turn that into big numbers by making him a particularly attractive scoring target. I'll gladly take him as my 2nd reserve wideout.
16.11 -- Harrison Smith, S, Vikings
Along with ranking 3rd in our site projections at DB, Smith looks like 1 of the position's safest IDP bets. His 2 defensive TDs inflated his fantasy score last year, but Smith ranked 3rd among DBs in total tackles. Minnesota's secondary figures to allow plenty of completed throws again this year. He also carries further INT upside. Smith picked 7 passes as a junior at Notre Dame and broke up 24 passes over his final 2 college seasons. He intercepted 3 and defensed 11 others as a rookie last year. The extreme volatility of DB scoring pushes the position's value down the draft board. But it also makes a safe-looking option more attractive beyond the draft's midway point.
17.02 -- Fred Davis, TE, Washington
If Davis is close to all the way back from his ruptured Achilles, he'll provide top 12 upside at TE this year. Robert Griffin raised the performance of every pass-catcher around him last season and continues to play with a sketchy set of options. At full health, Davis could challenge WR Pierre Garcon for top billing in the passing game. He's low risk here as a #2, and I expect that he'd man my flex spot at least a few times in 2013.
18.11 -- Johnathan Cyprien, S, Jaguars
Cyprien reached 78 tackles in each of his 4 college seasons, averaging 91 per year. He compiled 6 total INTs and 6 forced fumbles. He broke up at least 7 passes each of the past 3 years. He steps into a Jaguars defense that isn't very good, especially in the pass rush. Opportunities will abound in his rookie season. I think our projection for him might turn out to be conservative. I won't be surprised if he finishes among the top 10 fantasy DBs this year.
19.02 -- Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
The large IDP section of the lineup pushed all backup QBs down the board in this draft. I took Roethlisberger as the 15th QB overall to get ahead of a backup-QB run. Sure enough, 3 more came off the board behind him in Round 19. Losing WR Mike Wallace steals some of Roethlisberger's luster. But he has finished 4 straight seasons among the top 14 QBs in fantasy points per game, 3 of those among the top 11.
20.11 -- Darnell Dockett, DE, Cardinals
Drafting Dockett here is less about following my rankings and more about pursuing upside. He's pumped about new DC Todd Bowles' scheme, which seeks to turn Dockett back into a playmaker instead of asking him to tie up blockers. At 6'4 and 290 pounds, Dockett has always been better suited for shooting a single gap than managing 2 of them while eating blocks. He put up a top 15 fantasy season among linemen in 2009 and ranked top 30 the year after before an altered role cut down his numbers. Dockett continued to play well but simply wasn't asked to put up numbers. (Calais Campbell -- at 6'8, 300 pounds -- is a different player and delivered plenty of stats in the same role.) Dockett has missed just 2 games through 9 seasons and remains a viable NFL starter at 32. He'll enter 2013 as an IDP sleeper, especially in a league that counts tackles for loss. Dockett led all DTs with 17 of those back in 2009 as a one-gap interior player.
21.02 -- Sio Moore, LB, Raiders
Part of me wanted to wait until the end to see if anyone else would draft Moore. But I just couldn't take that chance with one of my favorite IDP sleepers for this season. The rookie from UConn showed he could be a high-tackle chase LB with 110 tackles as a sophomore. Then the Huskies asked him to rush the passer a lot more, and he racked up 14.5 sacks over his final 2 seasons. Moore also tallied at least 11.5 tackles for loss in each of his final 3 seasons, picked 3 career passes and broke up 19 over his final 2 campaigns. The Raiders appear ready to start him in the role that Philip Wheeler played last year. HC Dennis Allen has already compared the 2, adding that the rookie has "probably got a little more coming off the edge" than Wheeler. The former Raider -- now Dolphin -- enjoyed a top 30 fantasy breakthrough last season. That kind of season looks quite possible for Moore right away.
22.11 -- Tamba Hali,
23.02 -- Elvis Dumervil, LB, Ravens
24.11 -- Nick Fairley, DT, Lions
Dumervil finished last season 38th among LBs in this format. Hali finished 2011 38th among all defensive players. Both will prove volatile scorers because of their reliance on sacks, but each is also a strong annual contender for 10+ in that category. At the least, they make for strong matchup plays as reserves. I debated between them at the 22.11 spot and figured I'd snag both. That would allow me to keep the better 2013 performer between them as well as guard against injury and/or disappointment from Sio Moore.
Fairley carries big-time sleeper potential, especially in leagues that require DTs. He seems to finally be getting it after spending too much of his 1st 2 pro years injured or high. Fairley left Auburn after compiling 11.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as a junior. Playing next to DT Ndamukong Suh, Fairley could wind up fighting Geno Atkins for the position's sack lead.
Were I playing this league out, I'd have probably reached for a 5th RB and/or a 5th WR among these last 3 picks. Quality defensive players will probably always be easier to find on the wire because even IDP veterans often don't pay enough attention to that side of the ball. Because this draft counts for display only, though, I thought it more worthwhile to focus on players I actually like at these spots.
I'd have selected Golden Tate or Greg Little next at WR, ahead of Jeremy Kerley, Brandon LaFell, Santana Moss and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
At RB, I nearly went Marcel Reece (who didn't get drafted) as a McFadden handcuff. But that situation wasn't clear enough at draft time to persuade me (and isn't now). Other options who went undrafted would have been Jonathan Dwyer, Alex Green or some Washington RB (likely Roy Helu or Chris Thompson).
Just to wrap up, here's my starting lineup (with offensive flex the most questionable spot):
QB -- Peyton Manning
RB -- Doug Martin
RB -- Darren McFadden
WR -- Randall Cobb
WR -- Danny Amendola
TE -- Jermichael Finle
Flex -- Andre Brown/Pierre Thomas/T.Y. Hilton/Alshon Jeffery/Fred Davis
DL -- Chandler Jones
DL -- Osi Umenyiora
LB -- Luke Kuechly
LB -- Bobby Wagner
LB -- Bruce Carter
DB -- Harrison Smith
DB -- Johnathan Cyprien
D-Flex -- Sio Moore/Tamba Hali/Elvis Dumervil