The word mock means, by definition, to tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner. If you’re drafting your fantasy team in mid-May then undoubtedly by the beginning of October you will deserve such teasing and scorn. The purpose of mock drafts in fantasy sports is to make your mistakes early and get in what should be well needed practice leading up to the big day when your selections will be printed in permanent ink and no mulligans will be granted. So with that in mind, I am here to mock you (that didn’t look the way it sounded in my head).
Nonetheless, whether you do Salary Cap or old-school Snake drafts, I’ve got you covered here. It’s never too early to practice, is it? Unless you’re Allen Iverson (who I met once in an Atlanta Cheesecake Factory, thought he’d be nicer but to be fair he was playing for the Grizzlies at the time). Any-who, on to the scornful laughter. My first mock draft with the Salary Cap Draft format had some interesting turns so I’ll walk you through some of the moves that I made and why I drafted these players.
SALARY CAP MOCK DRAFT
My first selection of the draft was Nick Chubb. No, it’s not an Athens, GA homer pick but rather a really good deal on an RB1 in a 16 round draft with a budget of $200. Chubb is arguably the best pure runner in the league and has potential for big plays as well as lots of short yardage TD’s in a very run-heavy Cleveland Browns offense. Always take a good RB first, you never want to get too far behind at the most valuable position in fantasy football.
Definitely take one for a deal if possible (by comparison Christian McCaffrey $78, Dalvin Cook for $76). Chubb received 190 carries last season despite missing 4 games and sharing a backfield with super handcuff Kareem Hunt. According to Pro Football Reference, he was still able to rush for 1,067 yards, 5.6 yards per carry, and scored 12 touchdowns. I’m definitely a “Chubby Guy” (again, that seemed way cooler in my head).
My next selection was DeAndre Hopkins. I tried to eliminate weakness at the main 2 skill positions by getting what’s likely to be the safest WR pick of any format (but seriously, if you’re not playing some form of PPR I just want to know who hurt you?) Hopkins is a target machine who will rack up receptions. According to NFL.com, Hopkins averaged 7.1 receptions per game. Pro Football Focus says he was targeted 146 times for 115 total receptions (78% catch rate) and he also had 6 plays of 40+ yards which means big play potential as well. I got him for $49, the same price Stefon Diggs went for. Davante Adams went for $65. FYI, Adams just had the best season of his career and as of this writing, A-Rod is still uncertain. Take Hopkins or Diggs at these prices if possible, don’t pay for last year’s production.
My third player, at a pricey $45, was Najee Harris. The rookie from Alabama will almost certainly be the starting back in Pittsburgh this upcoming season with the departure of James Connor. Normally you wouldn’t want to pay too much for an unproven rookie RB but considering the offense, coaching, veteran talent around him, and his own talent combined with the fact that they took him in Round 1 it’s obvious this almost a can’t miss. There’s always bust potential (I hope you’re reading this Montee Ball) but that seems unlikely here. Also, remember you can never have too many RB’s in fantasy. I just wish the Steelers would realize that you actually can in real life. They actually signed Kalen Ballage???
My final big price selection I picked was yet another rookie sensation, Atlanta Falcons TE, Kyle Pitts. You’re going to see Pitts on a lot of lists this season ranging everywhere from breakout rookie candidates, dynasty discussions, sleeper picks, and for those not so fond of his QB Matt Ryan, bust alerts! Let none of that deters you. Kyle Pitts is the real deal and he landed in the perfect offense. Whether Julio Jones is there or not just know that Matt Ryan loves his TE’s and isn’t shy about throwing their way. Pitts will be the most talented TE Ryan’s had since Tony Gonzalez (no offense Hayden Hurst) and he will find ways to utilize him. TE is the toughest position in fantasy and honestly, it’s a crapshoot from year to year outside of guys like Kelce, Kittle, and Waller. Pitts cost me $23, which is honestly more than I wanted to pay, but you should have seen the prices for the other guys I mentioned. Yikes!!! If you have to gamble on TE, gamble low and hope for the big payout.
At this point, you likely don’t have much money left and have to either be really patient or take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. My next pick, much later, was NFL MVP and “current” QB of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers. I paid $6 for him and to be honest, that was the result of a mini bidding war. While QB’s can be quite significant to your fantasy success (Mahomes owners know this) or fantasy failures (Dak owners know this) we have to also realize that they’re also about a dime a dozen. Don’t overspend at QB, get them as cheap as possible, a few bucks, and never more than $10. According to Fantasy Pros, the top fantasy QB last season was Josh Allen with 405.06 total fantasy points. The number 10 best QB was Lamar Jackson with 341.78 total fantasy points. Allen averaged 25.3 PPG, while Jackson averaged 22.7 PPG. DON’T OVERPAY FOR QB!!! I later got both Matt Ryan and Trevor Lawrence for $1. If Ryan or Lawrence pop, I can later potentially package Rodgers in a trade. Never plan to keep 3 QB’s but $1 for potential top 12 production was too hard to ignore.
Speaking of Lawrence, I took his former college and current pro teammate, Travis Etienne with my next pick for $9. Urban Meyer says they’re trying him out at receiver some too. Seems like the coach has plans to put him all over the field. James Robinson, while under a new coach and coming off of an injury, is very young and likely did enough last year to make the new regime at least keep him involved this year.
That said, Etienne is Urb’s guy (just like Tim Tebow is Urb’s guy) so he’ll definitely find as many ways possible to put him on the field and not wear down either of his young RB’s. Later on for $1 I took Trey Sermon, rookie RB out of Ohio State, simply for the fact that Kyle Shannahan will put anyone with a pulse on the field at RB and those guys in San Fran are always an injury away from being the next hot waiver pickup. Also, I can’t emphasize this enough, you can never have too many RB’s, especially young ones in run-heavy offensive schemes. This is why I also took Gus Edwards and A.J. Dillon for $1 each as well. If nothing else you have bye week depth.
Wide receivers, in a similar manner to QB’s, are plentiful. You can trade for them the easiest and likely also find them on the waiver wire throughout the season. Don’t overpay! I selected Tyler Boyd ($3) and his former teammate and current Hopkins teammate A.J. Green ($1). They should both benefit from A.J. Green no longer being there. To be fair, A.J. hasn’t really been there in a while. My other WR pick was Cole Beasley ($1). Good plug and play WR, bye week filler. Cole Beasley was WR31 last season (by the same Fantasy Pros metrics) which was actually higher than all the receivers I’ve listed previously (Boyd was 37) and his role seems like it will remain the same this upcoming season.
Other than that good people, use whatever you have left to take your DST’s and kickers last. If you have some solid money left get you some good ones. For suggestions, Falcons kicker Younghoe (pronounced Young-way) Koo is in a solid offense that tends to stall in the red zone a lot and he’s about as solid as they come. Tampa Bay’s DST is excellent at keeping offenses one dimensional and with the retirement of Drew Brees have one less HOF QB to deal with in the NFC South (yes Matt Ryan is the other, don’t be a hater). Spend all your money, you can’t take it with you, unless you have a weird league that allows such chicanery. Most importantly of all, enjoy yourself and have fun and again, you can never have too many RB’s!!!
Please be on the lookout for my next “Way Too Early Mock Drafts” where I break down my formula for Snake drafts. When it comes to your fantasy teams just remember sometimes you’re incorrect, but never wrong. Until next time good people.