2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1Scoring: This mock draft is based on standard-scoring fantasy football leagues for the 2015 season only (i.e., not keeper or dynasty leagues). Passing touchdowns are worth four points while rushing and receiving touchdowns are worth six points. In addition, one point is earned per 25 passing yards, 10 rushing yards and 10 receiving yards.
Mock Draft Start Date: Saturday, May 9th
Mock Draft End Date: Friday, May 22nd
Four of our site's contributors — Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko — will make picks for three teams of this 12-team mock. The mock will go 12 rounds with no kickers or team defenses selected.
Although this is a slow draft, we will post picks as they occur, along with comments from Kevin Hanson, as opposed to waiting for the entire mock draft to be completed.
Here are the Round 1 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:
Note: Picks and comments will be posted here when they are made.
1.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
While it was a relatively disappointing season for Charles, selected first or second in most leagues last season, he still finished as the seventh-highest scoring fantasy running back in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns.
Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was the reduction in his workload. After 320 touches in 2012, Charles had 329 touches in Andy Reid's first season as head coach in 2013. Last year, however, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more. Perhaps we won't ever see Charles get in the 320-range again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.
1.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Starting slowly and worrying those that did not heed the general advice of Aaron Rodgers ("R-E-L-A-X"), Lacy carries plenty of positive momentum into Year 3. Lacy faced three elite rush defenses (SEA, NYJ and DET) to begin last season, but only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell scored more fantasy points than he did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over the final 13 games of the season, Lacy averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with the league's best quarterback means that defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (4.89 YPC over final 13 games).
1.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell's production spiked across the board -- 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns -- in his second season as he was named to the 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team. Bell finished second to only DeMarco Murray in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage (2,215) and the two backs were tied for the most games with at least 100 YFS (13).
Whether the Steelers have the lead (and want to use the clock) or trail and need to throw, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), his discipline stemming from last August's DUI/marijuana arrest has netted him a three-game suspension.
Over the course of last year, Bell averaged 17.97 fantasy points per game although his production spiked to 24.7/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture. If he maintained his full-season average of 17.97/G over 13 games this year, however, Bell would score 233.59 fantasy points, which would have ranked him sixth among running backs in 2014.
Like Dan did here, I'd be willing to select Bell with a top-three pick. As noted above, it wouldn't be a stretch if Bell still produced mid-RB1 numbers even while missing three games. If you added three games of replacement-level production in his absence, that duo should combine for close to a top-three finish.
1.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards, third-most in the NFL behind Murray and Bell, and was one of only two backs to get 300-plus carries last season. That said, McCoy barely finished as a top-12 fantasy running back as he scored only 0.5 fantasy points more than Washington's Alfred Morris (RB13). In addition, McCoy averaged nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013 while also seeing his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively. While McCoy gets a downgrade in quarterback situation and blocking, the Bills will make sure that Shady gets a sizable workload in a ground-and-pound offense.
1.05 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns every year. During that four-year span, no running back has more rushing yards (5,357) or rushing touchdowns (48) and no player has more total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode has shown no signs of slowing down, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.
1.06 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back in 2012 and is one of the league's all-time best running backs. After last year's lost season, it was unclear where he would play in 2015, but the draft has come and gone with Peterson still on the Vikings roster. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015.
1.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Murray has always been productive on a per-game and per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons. With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability could be the biggest concern for Murray's fantasy owners (like Brendan) in 2015 as well. Even though the Eagles have added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy.
1.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more than him -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish with around 70 catches. While Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has at least 929 rushing yards in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season, but I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015.
1.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
In 16 games this season, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) That's a surprise given that no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.
Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in all 33 games.
One of the sayings that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer pick among wide receivers (and perhaps among all first-round picks).
1.10 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants
From Week 9 through the end of the season, Beckham was simply unstoppable. Not only was he consistent (90-plus yards in all nine of those games), but his nine-game stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets was better than the full-season production of most receivers. There were only 11 receivers not named Odell that had more than 1,199 yards over the full season. And as impressive as that sounds, he was especially dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets. While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.
1.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Yo soy fiesta ... Not only is Gronkowski in a tier all by himself among tight ends, no player is more dominant at his respective position, which makes him somewhat of a value this late in the first round. With 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns over 15 games, Gronk scored 184.4 fantasy points, 30.3 points more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. In other words, he had 19.66 percent more than the guy that had the second-most. While he had some huge games, Gronk was consistent on a weekly basis and finished as a top-five fantasy scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games.
1.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards in five games including the final three of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard as the change-of-pace option.
> Continue to Round 2 of our fantasy football mock draft
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