2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1- Mock start date: Saturday, May 14th
- Mock end date: TBD
Scoring: This mock draft is based on standard-scoring formats and is for the 2016 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 or 10 receiving yards.
In this mock draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.
Note: This is a "slow" mock, but picks will be added once they are made with commentary from Kevin Hanson.
Here is Round 1 of our post-draft 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:
1.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Perhaps the consensus top pick in 2016 fantasy football drafts, Dan gets a player that is as safe and productive as it gets. As the saying goes, you can't win -- but you can lose -- your league in Round 1.
While Brown set career highs of 136 catches and 1,834 yards, his numbers may have been even better had Ben Roethlisberger not missed time last season. Over his past three seasons combined, Brown has a total of 375 receptions for 5,031 yards and 31 touchdowns with a minimum of 110 catches and 1,499 yards per season.
The full-year suspension of Martavis Bryant will benefit the rest of the team's pass catchers more than Brown, but it's another reason that Brown could once again be in store for a career-best season. My top-ranked fantasy wide receiver for 2016, Brown has led all wide receivers in fantasy points in both of the previous two seasons.
1.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Injuries at running back are obviously a huge risk with any running back and Bell missed a huge chunk of last season, but he's a highly productive, true three-down back when he's on the field. In 22 games over the past two seasons, Bell has 510 touches -- 403 carries and 107 receptions -- for 2,907 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. That averages out to 23.18 touches, 132.14 YFS and 0.64 touchdowns -- or more than 17 (standard) fantasy points -- per game.
Last season, only two running backs exceeded 200 fantasy points — Devonta Freeman (243.9) and Adrian Peterson (230.7). With Bell missing 10 games due to suspension or injury last season, DeAngelo Williams stepped up big time as he finished as fantasy's RB4 (193.4 fantasy points) last year.
If we used Bell's fantasy points scored in the games he played and Williams' fantasy points in the games he did not, the featured back in those 16 games scored 265.3 fantasy points (or more than Freeman or Peterson) . There is obviously some injury concern with Bell (MCL, PCL) going into 2016, but he's my top-ranked fantasy running back and worthy of a top-two pick after Brown.
1.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
Three of the top four players in my overall 2016 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet are wide receivers. With the next two picks in this mock, I've stuck to my board with a pair of wide receivers, but I at least considered drafting a stud running back here given there are so few true workhorse backs in the league these days.
In his young career, Beckham has averaged more than 100 yards per game (2,755 yards in 27 career games). Even though he has missed five games over his first two seasons, OBJ has 15 100-yard games during that span. Only Brown (17) and Julio Jones (16) have more. In addition, no player has more receiving touchdowns than Beckham (25) during his two NFL seasons.
1.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Not only did Jones lead the NFL in receiving yards (1,871), but it was second-most of any season in NFL history. Despite having more than 100 catches and 1,500 yards in back-to-back seasons, Jones has only 14 touchdowns in those two seasons. Based on his volume of targets as well as his combination of size and speed, Jones should be more productive in the red zone.
1.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Injuries finally led to Johnson getting a shot at the featured role, but the third-rounder out of Northern Iowa had been productive in limited opportunities before that. Johnson scored a total of 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one return -- on only 161 touches last season. Finishing as a top-five weekly performer in three of his five starts, Johnson will spend all of 2016 as the team's featured back.
1.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
One of the best young talents in the NFL, Hopkins took another big step forward in his age-23 season. Even with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, Hopkins set career highs across the board with 111 receptions, 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.
1.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Despite missing the first three games of the season, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Gurley exceeded the 100-yard mark only once in his final eight games, but he still averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his rookie campaign. Despite running behind a poor offensive line and with a rookie quarterback under center, Gurley will be one more year removed from his torn ACL and could lead the league in rush attempts in 2016.
1.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
After sitting out virtually all of the 2014 season, Peterson led the NFL in carries (327), rushing yards (1,485) and rushing touchdowns (11). The Vikings will continue to ride AP as their workhorse. Despite his superhuman physical traits, the only concern is that he turned 31 years old in March.
1.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Counting 10 playoff games, Gronkowski has a total of 75 touchdowns in 90 career games. And with the exception of his seven-game 2013 season, Gronk has double-digit touchdowns in five of his six NFL seasons. Gronk is one of the league's biggest mismatches and the clear-cut top option at his position. If there's any concern, it's a potential slow start if Tom Brady's four-game suspension is upheld, but I would have taken him if he had slipped two more spots to me at 1.11.
1.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off a torn ACL, there's obviously concerns with Charles from a health perspective, but the good news is the injury happened reasonably early in the season so he remains on track for Week 1. The next time the versatile eight-year veteran averages less than 5.0 yards per carry for a season, it will be his first. In his five games last season, he averaged 18.4 touches, 108.2 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game.
In addition to returning from the injury, the other concern with Charles is that the Chiefs will scale back his workload with the presence of other capable backs. Before his injury-shortened 2015 season, Charles' workload dropped from 285 carries (2013) to 259 (2014) to 206 (2015).
1.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
As a Cowboys fan, I still wish the team used the fourth-overall pick on Jalen Ramsey instead of Elliott. With that said, however, Elliott is a complete back with the vision, power and speed to excel as a runner. Possessing soft hands as a receiver, Elliott is also outstanding in pass protection, which can often limit rookie playing time.
From a fantasy football perspective, Elliott could not have ended up in a better situation. With the skill set to be a true three-down back, Elliott gets to run behind the NFL's best offensive line. Provided Tony Romo and Dez Bryant stay healthy to keep opposing defenses honest, Elliott has the upside to finish as the RB1 in 2016.
1.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
It was a disappointing season for Dez and the Cowboys. Not only was Bryant sidelined for nearly half the season with a broken foot, but Tony Romo broke his collarbone (two times). When healthy, however, Bryant is one of the most dominant receivers in the league and only Rob Gronkowski has more receiving touchdowns than Bryant (53) since 2011.
> Continue to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
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