I spent the morning today writing about Derrius Guice and arguing about food on Twitter, so I ended up behind the eight ball just a little bit when it comes to today’s Mock Draft Monday. Last week, I tried ZeroRB. This week, I’m trying the reverse: all running back. Well, no, not that. ZeroWR. Last week I loaded up on wide receivers, this week I’m punting on them to see how much I hate my team. This time for the mock draft, I ended up in the #4 slot, which is incredibly ideal for drafting as many running backs as possible. You get a crack at the big four, which is a great way to start off your squad. Like last week, we are going QB, 2RB, 2RB, a flex, and a TE. No kickers or DST because I am just going to draft the Tampa Bay DST and whatever kicker is there in the fourteenth round.
And now, on with the show
Round 1, Pick 4: Alvin Kamara, Running Back, New Orleans
Alvin Kamara is my #2 running back on the season, so snagging him here at #4 is an absolute steal. My biggest fear with drafting #4 is ending up with Ezekiel Elliott. He will be amazing when he plays, but I fear this year is when his workload catches up with him. It’s not enough to move him down in my rankings, but it is enough to make me worried to own him.
As for Alvin Kamara, he’s caught 81 balls in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, plays on one of the most potent offenses in the league, and averages over 99 yards from scrimmage over his three-year career so far. We’ve seen the highs for Alvin Kamaras, and we’ve seen the lows. I’m ready to get back to the highs.
Also in Consideration: Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry
Round 2, Pick 9: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back, Kansas City
This was a slam dunk for me in a half-PPR league with no wide receivers going in the first (at least) five rounds for me. CEH was arguably worth a second-round pick in the Kansas City offense before Damien Williams opted out for 2020. Now, he squeaks into the first round in some places.
A major concern for CEH detractors is his lack of pass-blocking skills. He caught 55 balls at LSU and I watched three cutups before I saw him pass block once, so maybe it’s something they don’t want, or need, him to do. Related: the Chiefs ask their RBs to pass block at one of the lowest rates in the entire NFL.
Also in Consideration: Austin Ekeler
Round 3, Pick 4: James Conner, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers
I really, really like James Conner as a running back, but I really, really hate owning James Conner on any of my fantasy football teams. Why? He appeared in ten games last year, but had fewer than fifteen snaps before leaving in two of them. That’s half the season of uselessness out of Conner, twice where he burned you. The injuries are why owning Conner proves difficult year-over-year. But, before Conner was hurt last year, he was really good! He averaged 88 yards per game and scored six times in seven contests. Conner was a valuable fantasy football commodity until the injury. Given that he’s my third back, I’m not going to worry about the injury risk and bank on the upside.
Also in Consideration: Chris Carson, Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley
Round 4, Pick 9: Jonathan Taylor, Running Back, Indianapolis
As I drafted James Conner, I quietly whispered “come on, Jonathan Taylor.” Taylor and Mack likely will start the season splitting snaps in a part-time role with Marlon Mack. But, the rookie running back is much better than Marlon Mack, pretty much in all aspects. His physical player comparison is Ezekiel Elliott, and he topped 2,000 yards in each of his three years in Wisconsin. He’s a monster and is poised to steal the show from Marlon Mack sooner or later. Pairing him with James Conner makes for a good pairing as Conner will eventually die, and Taylor will inevitably rise from the RBBC in Indianapolis.
Also in Consideration: Kareem Hunt, Cam Akers, Ronald Jones II
Round 5, Pick 4: Kareem Hunt, Running Back, Cleveland Browns
This is the first time I wish I had zagged while ZeroWR told me to Zig. Luckily, I can start taking a WR in round seven, so I only have to be pained just once. As for Kareem Hunt, I honestly see him as a top-20 running back this season with improved Browns offensive line and the improved Browns offensive mind (Kevin Stefanski). He’s going to split touches and carries with Nick Chubb, but was an RB2 last season (depending on format) when he returned part-way through the year. We can’t forget that even though he splits touches with Chubb, he is still one of the best running backs in the NFL. I’ll take that talent in the fifth round.
Also in Consideration: Raheem Mostert, Cam Akers, Ronald Jones II
Round 6, Pick 9: DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, Miami
This pick was going to be Cam Akers, and I was going to throw myself down a well after the draft ended. But speaking of wells… Well, well, well, what do we have here? A top-fifteen wide receiver? What are you doing all the way down here in round six? After the Dolphins benched Josh Rosen for good last season, Parker paced out for 1,335 yards and eleven touchdowns. A steal in the sixth round, and a big sigh of relief for me because I feared I had gone too far with this exercise.
Also in Consideration: Brandin Cooks, J.K. Dobbins, Evan Engram
Round 7, Pick 4: Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, Denver
This is silly. Between Sutton’s 124 targets last season and Parker’s 128, I’m snatching up over 250 target upside in the sixth and seventh rounds and filling both my WR slots fairly simply. We worry about Jerry Jeudy, and we worry about K.J. Hamler for some reason. Last year, however, Sutton produced better with Emmanuel Sanders opposite him to take coverage last year. With Sanders, he averaged 80.6 yards per game on 7.7 targets a game in seven games. Without Sanders, he averaged 61 yards per game on 7.9 targets a game. People fear Jerry Jeudy, but you likely won’t go broke betting against rookie wide receivers to take over a team’s offense.
Also in Consideration: Michael Gallup, Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman
Round 8, Pick 9: Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh
Now that I’ve secured 250 targets from my two starting spots, it’s time to start looking at upside plays in case one of them doesn’t work out. I’m snagging Diontae Johnson here. The Steelers drafted him as Antonio Brown 2.0. He had at least seven targets in each of the last four games last year, and turned in 6 catches and 64 yards per game in those contests, chipping in two touchdowns in four games. That was with the junk quarterbacks, and he gets Big Ben back this year to (hopefully) throw him much better footballs.
Also in Consideration: CeeDee Lamb, Darius Slayton
Round 9, Pick 4: Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit
I needed to take a break from the wide receiver run to make sure I didn’t end up starting Jared Goff week one. I love Matthew Stafford with all of my heart… from a fantasy football perspective. Last year before getting hurt and missing half the year, Stafford averaged the third-most fantasy points per game. He’s a dying breed: a good deep gunslinger. Stafford led the league in 20+ yard pass attempts last year and had career highs in passer rating, yards per attempt and completion, and touchdown rate. Should he stay healthy in 2020, he’s the only QB that doesn’t really run that has a chance to finish inside the top-three. And I got him over halfway through the draft.
Also in Consideration: Carson Wentz, Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones (yes, Daniel Jones)
Round 10, Pick 9: Zack Moss, Running Back, Buffalo
I wanted to get a tight end here, but Zack Moss was staring me square in the face here, with Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, and T.J. Hockenson all staring me in the face. I rolled the dice that one of those guys would return to me in round eleven. Let that be the lesson here: if you pick near the turn and there is one guy you want at one position (Moss, Running Back) and three guys you want at another position (Gesicki/Goedert/Hock, Tight End), then take the one guy. I would not have been happy getting one of those three guys then say, Tarik Cohen or Chase Edmonds at the bounce back. Moss isn’t exactly the steal I want him to be anymore, but he’s still good value in the tenth round.
Buffalo said they wanted to use Moss like they used Frank Gore; before Frank Gore proved they shouldn’t trust him, he had 14.2 touches per game. I’ll take any running back getting 14+ touches per game here in the tenth round as an upside dart throw.
Also in Consideration: Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson
Round 11, Pick 4: Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami
Ah, would you look at that, the gambit paid off, and the tight end heavy strategy paid off. I love Mike Gesicki so, so much. Without Preston Williams and Allen Hurns, it’s astonishingly difficult to chop up the Miami passing game in a way that doesn’t end with at least 100 targets going towards Mike Gesicki. He became that target machine down the stretch last year, getting four catches for 46 yards per game, scoring a touchdown per game, in the last six games last year. He’s a big wide receiver and is set to play the slot in three-wide receiver sets this year. He’s going to feast this year with the targets opening up in a big way.
Also in Consideration: Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson
Round 12, Pick 9: N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, New England
N’Keal Harry is the best deep dart throw wide receiver in this year’s fantasy football drafts. He has a new quarterback, had to essentially redshirt his rookie year, and has all the talent in the world. Unless you seriously think that N’Keal Harry forgot how to play football after marking him as the 1.01 in all rookie drafts last offseason, then you should snatch him up here at the end of the 12th round too. After all, he went in the first, and we already saw D.J. Chark burn people who discounted sophomores on rookie year troubles.
Also in Consideration: Jalen Reagor, Preston Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, Allen Lazard
Round 13, Pick 4: Preston Williams, Wide Receiver, Miami
L.O.L. I guess if you can’t pick out which will be the best part of the Miami Dolphins passing game this year, take all the pieces of the Miami passing game. I passed on Preston last round because I didn’t want three pieces of Miami’s offense, but II couldn’t skimp out on him here in the last round of our draft. He played in eight games last year and averaged 7.5 targets in that stretch. Not too shabby for an undrafted free agent. His only question mark this year is his ACL tear recovery (which seems to be going to plan).
Also in Consideration: Brandon Aiyuk, Michael Pittman, Allen Lazard
The Team & Takeaway
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Alvin Kamara, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, James Conner, Jonathan Taylor, Kareem Hunt, Zack Moss
WR: DeVante Parker, Courtland Sutton, Diontae Johnson, N’Keal Harry, Preston Williams
TE: Mike Gesicki
Overall, I don’t really hate it so much. Granted, I stare directly at the running backs that I intentionally deferred to at every opportunity when I say this. But, given that it’s a two-QB league, I will manage with one of Parker and Sutton (if not both) and a rotation of the other three guys, should one break out. I have more than enough running backs to fill my RB slots and my flex spot, and I have the depth in the case of injury.