Scoring: This mock draft is based on re-draft leagues (2014 season only). 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.
With the Seahawks taking the Lombardi Trophy back to the Pacific Northwest to conclude the 2013 season, we now begin the long seven-month wait until the 2014 regular season begins.
Even though most won't draft their fantasy team(s) for another five to six months, we are starting another mock draft. This time, the mock will include more contributors (Brendan Donahue, Dan Yanotchko and Sean Beazley) and will go eight rounds instead of just four.
Of course, free agency and the NFL draft (see our latest mock draft here) will alter how future fantasy mock drafts play out. In the future, we will conduct additional mock drafts and include more rounds.
For now, we will post the individual picks of this "slow" draft as they occur with commentary from Kevin Hanson.
Without further ado, here are the picks in Round 1:
The choice for me at 1.01 would come down to LeSean McCoy or Jamaal Charles, but there is certainly nothing wrong with going All-Day here as it essentially comes down to personal preference. And we've certainly seen that doubting the super-human Peterson comes with its own risks.
Unlikely to ever rush for 2,000 yards again, Peterson still managed to rush for 1,266 yards in only 14 games despite playing through injury and with poor quarterback play in addition to facing eight (or more) men in the box. As difficult as it is to rely on touchdowns from most players, Purple Jesus has rushed for double-digit touchdowns in all seven years of his career.
As noted with pick 1.01, this is a two-player debate between McCoy and Charles for me. Even though I'd be happy with either one here, I have to choose one and I'd lean McCoy as my 1(a) with Charles as my 1(b).
McCoy led the NFL in rushing yards (1,607), yards from scrimmage (2,146) and touches (366) in his first season playing in Chip Kelly's offense. One of the benefits in favor of McCoy over Charles is that the Eagles have a much better supporting cast, which puts a little less focus on McCoy, than Charles, from opposing defenses. To be fair, however, any opposing defensive coordinator will make it their priority to stop (or contain) these two guys.
How can Sean (or anyone that lands JC third overall) not be ecstatic with this pick?
Charles led the league in total touchdowns with 19 — 12 rushing and seven receiving scores. As great as that was for his fantasy owners in 2013, it will be unlikely for Charles to repeat. If you remember back to 2011, McCoy scored a league-high 20 touchdowns and then followed that up with just five total touchdowns in 2012. I'm not saying Charles will score only five times in 2014, but it's not a knock on Charles to not repeat a 19-TD season.
Playing one less game than McCoy as the Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17, Charles set a career high in YFS (1,980) and ranked second only to McCoy. In addition, no other player had as many games with 100-plus YFS than Charles (13) this season.
Forte rushed for 1,339 yards and caught 74 passes for 594 yards, all of which are career highs, and tied his previous career high of 12 total touchdowns this season. While Forte (and the entire team) had a disappointing performance in Week 16, he closed the season strong with 20-plus carries and 102-plus rushing yards in four of his final five games.
One of the league's most complete backs, Forte also benefits from having one of league's best tandem of wide receivers on the outside in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Not only does the duo help keep eight men out of the box, but both of them are good blockers at receiver.
Despite slipping to late in the second round, Lacy had a monster rookie season — 1,178 rushing yards and 11 TDs plus 35 receptions for 257 yards — that earned him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. From Week 5 through their playoff loss, Lacy had 11 games with 20-plus carries as the Packers were committed to the run with or without Aaron Rodgers under center.
Provided Rodgers stays healthy for a full 2014 season, I think Lacy's numbers can be even better in Year 2.
One of the most physical runners in the league, Lynch rushed for more than 1,200 yards and double-digit touchdowns for a third consecutive season. During that stretch, he has 901 carries for 4,051 yards, 87 catches for 724 yards and a total of 39 touchdowns.
Any time a running back has a cumulative heavy workload from previous seasons, it's only natural to have some concerns. That said, the Seahawks style of play is conducive for Lynch to be my fantasy team's workhorse back provided he stays healthy.
Without question, wide receiver is extremely deep and you can certainly wait on drafting one. And truth be told, I much rather use my first-round pick on a running back than a receiver. But at this point, I'd also draft Megatron, who is arguably the most dominant wide receiver ... ever.
Even though he missed two games this season (and Josh Gordon led the league in receiving), Johnson had 84 receptions for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns. In his record-setting campaign in 2012, he had only five touchdowns, but he now was 12-plus receiving touchdowns in three of the past four seasons. Over the past three seasons, Megatron has averaged an absurd line of 101/1,712/11.
The Muscle Hamster had a disappointing sophomore campaign as a season-ending injury ended his season after just six games. Even before the injury, however, Martin was not running the ball well as he averaged a yard less per carry (3.6) than he did as a rookie (4.6 YPC).
That said, Peterson was the only running back to have more YFS than Martin in 2012. Assuming good health in 2014, I expect a bounce-back year (on a per-touch and overall basis) for Martin.
While there are a few running backs I'd prefer over Bell as the eighth running back off the board, Bell got nearly 300 touches (244 carries and 45 receptions) in only 13 games. In addition, the rookie had 20-plus touches in 11 of those 13 games.
Graham became the 19th player in the history of the NFL to catch at least 16 touchdown passes and just the second tight end to ever do so. If the first to do so, Rob Gronkowski, was not returning from a torn ACL and an injury-plagued season, Graham might be the No. 2 tight end on my board. That said, an offseason of uncertainty about Gronk's health once again boosts Graham's value a bit further.
Since his breakout season in 2011, Graham has averaged a line of 90/1,169/12 in those three seasons. Graham is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason, but there is absolutely no way that the Saints will let him hit the open market and the team has said as much.
After Megatron, there are a number of receivers that are worthy of consideration to be the second receiver off the board. While he may not have the most upside out of the group, Green is the safest among that next tier of stud receivers and he has the ability to dominate opposing defensive backs on any given Sunday.
Through his first three seasons, Green has 260 receptions for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns. In a three-year span to start a career, no player has had more receptions than Green (260) and only Randy Moss has more receiving yards (4,163) than Green (3,833). In each of his three seasons, Green's numbers have improved — 65/1,057/7 (2011), 97/1,350/11 (2012) and 98/1,426/11 (2013).
Beginning with plenty of uncertainty last offseason and into training camp, Foster was a risky selection for fantasy owners, but he was getting into a groove before his season was ultimately cut short. In the final three full games that he played, Foster had 82 touches (68 carries and 14 receptions) for 487 yards from scrimmage (341 rushing and 146 receiving).
In the previous three seasons, Foster rushed for 4,264 yards, added 159 receptions for 1,438 yards and scored a total of 47 touchdowns in 45 games. With better health (knock on wood) in 2014, Foster could turn out to be a bargain here, but there is obviously some (health) risk as well.