FGT 2018 Fantasy Football Mock Draft – Rounds 1 & 2
By the Football Garbage Time Staff
As I mention every year, we here at Football Garbage Time are all about helping out our readers. And with football season a little over a month away, we all know what that means…FANTASY FOOTBALL season is ALSO a little over a month away!
So as everyone gets ready to root for their favorite NFL team and commit entire Sunday afternoons to eating tons of junk food and yelling at the TV screen when refs inevitably make yet another bad call on the field, some of us, including you I suspect, will be furiously tinkering with our fantasy football lineups and eventually wondering why the fantasy gods hate us when we end up losing by 0.01 fantasy points because Aaron Rodgers took one too many knees at the end of the game. Phew, that was a ridiculously long sentence.
Say what you will about whether Fantasy Football is “good” for the NFL or not. One thing we all agree on here is that playing Fantasy Football is a lot of fun…but much more so if you’re winning.
So, as we do every year, we conducted a live Mock Fantasy Football Draft on Twitter (just check out #FGTMockDraft) for a mock PPR standard scoring Yahoo 12-team league (1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K & 1 DEF with standard scoring) so that all of you can get some insight as to who we like for the upcoming 2018 season, and hopefully help all of you with your drafts.
But, for the FIRST TIME EVER, twelve different writers & podcasters from five different sites participated, including:
- Matt Hicks (@Top2Matt), Mike Colaianne (@mike_colaianne) and Mike Wallace (@HobbyWally) from the Top2Sports Podcast,
- Nick Spartz (@BeerFueledFF), Kris Hopper (@HoppBFF) and Dan Thury (@ThuryBFF) from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Football Podcast,
- Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL) from Fantasy Pros and the Fantasy Football 24/7 Podcast,
- Andrew Erickson (@AndrewErickson_) from Gridiron Experts and Pro Football Focus and
- Ryan (@RyanWhitfieldNE), Scott (@NFLFantasy_More), Joanne (@kongfu4u) and I from right here on Football Garbage Time!
Each one took part and conducted the mock draft live over several days on Twitter (feel free to check out the back and forth on Twitter by searching for #FGTMockDraft). A few trends became clear and we certainly had more than a few surprises.
Below are the results of the first two rounds along with some comments from those who made the picks. We also include the Average Draft Position (ADP) as of July 30th as per Fantasy Pros so you can see how we differ from how they’re currently being drafted in PPR leagues.
If you want to the see the complete four round draft results, check it out HERE.
Don’t agree? Well, it’s a free country, so sound off in the comments! And don’t forget to come back to check out Rounds 3 and 4 of the mock draft!
– Ha Kung Wong, Editor-In-Chief
1st Round – Pick 1 – David Johnson (RB) [Current ADP: 3.4]
2nd Round – Pick 24 – Joe Mixon (RB) [Current ADP: 26.6]
This is what Mike had to say about his picks:
David Johnson was easily my 1.01 last year. He has proven that he can carry this Cardinals offense and produce crazy numbers. He is one of the few running backs that has potential to put up 1000 yards rushing and 1000 yards receiving.
With Jeremy Hill out of town, I expect Mixon to end up with 250+ carries and see some receiving work. Cincinnati has improved done a decent job of improving their O-Line as well. I’m expecting big things out of Mixon this season.
After missing nearly all of the 2017 season, David Johnson could very well be the 2018 Comeback Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/YiumxXJbyg
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 25, 2018
1st Round – Pick 2 – Todd Gurley (RB) [Current ADP: 1.2]
2nd Round – Pick 23 – Doug Baldwin (WR) [Current ADP: 30.8]
This is what Kris had to say about his picks:
I had the unfortunate task of deciding which of the big 4 running backs went first. Todd Gurley to me provides the safest option of the 4. David Johnson will be playing in a worse offense, Zeke still needs to show he can get it done as a passer, and Lev is coming off one of his worst seasons from an efficiency standpoint. While I expect Gurley to take a step back in TGT volume, I think the Rams are playing ahead a lot and this offense still runs through him.
One of my favorite targets this season, Doug Baldwin is a lock for a ton of targets, and volume = success in fantasy. Graham and Richardson are gone and the defense has taken a step back which should play in his favor. I’ve heard the rumbling about Schottenheimer’s offense not playing well for WRs, but when your best have been Jerricho Cotchery, Chris Givens, Braylon Edwards, Jeremy Kerley and the ghost of Santonio Holmes, it’s easy to understand why the success wasn’t there.
Todd Gurley gives the Rams an all round superstar at running back. pic.twitter.com/rQfJar1Ksm
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 3, 2018
1st Round – Pick 3 – Ezekiel Elliott (RB) [Current ADP: 3.6]
2nd Round – Pick 22 – Davante Adams (WR) [Current ADP: 19.2]
This is what Mike had to say of his picks:
Zeke is the offense, he’s my top RB going into 2018. Love the guaranteed volume and getting him here.
Davante Adams is going to be the number 1 WR for Aaron Rodgers and has great TD upside.
Ezekiel Elliott delivered in the fourth quarter last season. pic.twitter.com/3Z46SNwgec
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 27, 2018
1st Round – Pick 4 – Melvin Gordon (RB) [Current ADP: 11.4]
2nd Round – Pick 21 – Rob Gronkowski (TE) [Current ADP: 23.0]
This is what Andrew had to say about his picks:
Melvin Gordon – Picking at the four spot, I knew I would not get another chance to get Gordon with my second pick. I believe based on his volume to go along with increased efficiency (better offensive line) and work in the passing game, Gordon is a strong candidate to finish as a top three running back.
Rob Gronkowski – I was not in love with any of the other skill positions at the time, so I felt Gronkowski gave me the best advantage over my opponents at the position.
Melvin Gordon picked up 20 first downs on runs where he made a defender miss, the most in the NFL in 2017. pic.twitter.com/IQ7YXhAEQy
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 21, 2018
Ha Kung Wong
1st Round – Pick 5 – Le’Veon Bell (RB) [Current ADP: 2.0]
2nd Round – Pick 20 – Christian McCaffery (RB) [Current ADP: 17.8]
Hey, all, the RB shortage is for real. Just sayin’, I don’t want to be without two mostly workhorse RBs coming out of my first three rounds this year. So with that said, why in the world was Le’Veon Bell available at 5th overall?
Bell had the second most fantasy points in PPR formats of any RB and the third most fantasy points in PPR formats of ANY OTHER PLAYER in 2017. And it’s no wonder, as Bell also had the MOST receptions of any RB and the 10th most receptions of ANY OTHER PLAYER in 2017. Yeah, that’s right, only nine players had more receptions that Bell in 2017, all of whom were WRs. Clearly, those numbers matter in a PPR format.
But heck, even for non-PPR formats, Bell still had the 3rd most rush yards per game (86.1), the 3 most rushing TDs (9) and the 4th most total receiving yards (655) of any RB in 2017. So, yeah, he’s pretty productive. With most of the surrounding cast returning in Pittsburgh, and Big Ben even losing a little weight and perhaps being a little more mobile, I don’t see any reason why Bell couldn’t repeat in 2018. That plus playing out what will likely be his last year in Pittsburgh before hitting free agency will mean that Bell will be looking to showcase his talent while the Steelers will try to squeeze every last drop out of him while they can.
Over the past two seasons, Le'Veon Bell has run 190 more routes than the next highest running back. pic.twitter.com/cN8VIVZp14
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 11, 2018
Christian McCaffery may only have one season under his belt, but he still managed the 3rd most receptions (80) on the most targets (113) and tied for the 2nd most receiving TDs (5) of any RB in 2017. And that’s with sharing the backfield with now jettisoned Jonathan Stewart. And he still managed to have the 11th most fantasy points among RBs in PPR format in 2017, despite having about 100 less total touches than any of the 10 RBs ahead of him. So what happens when he has apparent command of the backfield? Sure, CJ Anderson was picked up in the offseason for cheap, but McCaffrey appears to be the guy and is certainly more talented at this point of their respective careers. Heck, even head coach Ron Rivera boasted that it would be “ideal” for McCaffrey to get 25-30 touches per game. I don’t think that’s possible, but 15-20 sounds reasonable with reception and TD upside.
1st Round – Pick 6 – Antonio Brown (WR) [Current ADP: 5.4]
2nd Round – Pick 19 – Jerick McKinnon (RB) [Current ADP: 24.6]
This is what Joanne had to say about her picks:
Generally ranked the number 1 wide receiver in fantasy football drafts, Antonio Brown has yet to disappoint fantasy owners. Entering his ninth season in the league, Brown has averaged 1,569.6 yards per year in the last five years and has consistently had over a hundred targets per season, totaling a whopping 59 touchdowns over his career to date.
Although missing a few games in the 2017 season with a calf injury, Brown still dominated the fantasy world. According to ESPN, in 2017, Brown was the top scoring PPR fantasy wide receiver with 310.3 points, with DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) a close second with 309.8 points.
Antonio Brown was once again one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL in 2017. pic.twitter.com/ang0NqJta1
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 5, 2018
Signing a five year contact in 2017 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is no evidence of Brown slowing down in the upcoming season. In fact, with Ben Roethlisberger dropping some excess weight (cutting out sugar and carbs), a healthier and more agile quarterback should mean a stronger season for Pittsburgh and their offense.
Besides, in 2016, Brown appeared on season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, paired with Sharna Burgees, and finished 4th overall. With moves like this, he has to be good. Right?
Why are we high on Jerick McKinnon?
Now playing for the San Francisco 49ers, McKinnon will be entering his fifth year in the league. Granted, we won’t know his role within the 49er’s offense until the season begins, but the 49ers didn’t draft a running back during the 2018 draft, leaving the position without rookie competition. In comes McKinnon, and there’s a lot to be excited about. In 2017, Carlos Hyde had the 5th most targets of any running back in the NFL. With all else remaining the same in San Francisco, and McKinnon’s increased efficiency, the potential for a break-out season is there.
In 2017, while with the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnon had his best season since entering the league with 570 rush yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 421 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
You might be worried about 2017 UDFA Matt Breida sharing the back field. Breida had 105 rush attempts for 465 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 180 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Fact, even all that didn’t stop Carlos Hyde from being productive.
With a new system built around former New England back-up, Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers will be an interesting team to watch. In 2017, the 49ers were 6-10 season, finishing 4th in the NFC West. With essentially only Pierre Garcon and Marquis Goodwin at wide receiver, McKinnon will be a hot target for Garoppolo.
1st Round – Pick 7 – Alvin Kamara (RB) [Current ADP: 6.4]
2nd Round – Pick 18 – Devonta Freeman (RB) [Current ADP: 20.0]
This is what Scott had to say about his picks:
It’s almost time people, training camps have started and the Hall of Fame Game is right around the corner. For this Fantasy draft I followed the same strategy I’ve been using all offseason, take RB early and often. I went with Kamara with my first pick. Sean Peyton didn’t know what he had last season, with an entire offseason to prepare in expecting big things. With the second pick, I went RB again with Freeman. He’s playing in a dynamic office and will continue to put up numbers.
You can always rely on Alvin Kamara for a breakaway play. pic.twitter.com/F4FGoCWpE8
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 4, 2018
1st Round – Pick 8 – Saquon Barkley (RB) [Current ADP: 6.6]
2nd Round – Pick 17 – A.J. Green (WR) [Current ADP: 19.0]
This is what Nick had to say about his picks:
Picking out of the 8 spot, I knew I was either going to get one of my top tier players, or a top choice at my tier 2 guys. 5 out of my top 6 went in the first 6 picks (Johnson, Gurley, Elliott, Bell and Brown), but at the 8th pick Barkley was still available. Top 5 running back picks average over 250 points their rookie season, and Barkley is one of the best pass catching backs I’ve ever seen on film. I have full confidence in him as a top tier back and am happy to take him at the 1.08
Coming back around to the 2.05 – I was either looking at a tier 3 back who slipped or a top tier wide receiver. Keenan Allen, Odell, or Leonard Fournette are all players I was hoping would fall to me but wasn’t holding my breath. A.J. Green did slide to me though, and he’s my #5 receiver in 2018 and #15 player overall. He seems to be underrated this year, and I do expect the offense to be significantly improved in Cincinnati this year.
How much will Saquon Barkley boost the Giants' passing game?
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 28, 2018
1st Round – Pick 9 – Leonard Fournette (RB) [Current ADP: 11.4]
2nd Round – Pick 16 – Julio Jones (WR) [Current ADP: 12.8]
This is what Mark had to say about his picks:
Leonard Fournette – Very few RBs are more likely to score on a weekly basis than Fournette, because the alternative is letting Blake Bortles throw the ball in the red zone. The Jaguars ran the most run plays in 2017, and that philosophy should continue this year with Fournette being the focal point of the offense. I was surprised when I realized he saw 48 targets in 2017, as he is not known as a pass-catcher. However, he finished inside the top-24 RBs in targets and receptions, and only dropped two passes. Fournette can truly play on all three downs. Despite relative inefficiency on a per-carry basis, Fournette still created yards for himself, and the volume he commands will more than compensate. With an elite top-end speed for his size, the splash plays will be nice, too.
Julio Jones – he’s still elite, and I’m astounded that he’s being so overlooked. Jones scored just three touchdowns on 15 end zone targets, which is a disastrous anomaly for the “Julio Jones can’t score touchdowns” narrative. Jones finished 7th in the league in targets, and 2nd in receiving yards. Even without the scores, he’s elite for fantasy football, and once a few more bounce his way, he still carries legitimate WR1 overall upside in a Falcons offense that performed above expectation in 2016 and below expectation in 2017. They should settle somewhere in the middle.
Julio Jones once again led the NFL in yards per route run average in 2017. pic.twitter.com/88F7lwNcsD
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 29, 2018
1st Round – Pick 10 – Dalvin Cook (RB) [Current ADP: 13.6]
2nd Round – Pick 15 – Michael Thomas (WR) [Current ADP: 14.4]
This is what Ryan had to say about his picks:
Eight of the first nine picks were running backs. Knowing my next pick was just 4 picks away, I knew there would be a top end receiver there. It’s no secret I love Dalvin Cook, and being the best running back left, I had to take him. He was on pace for 1,416 yards, 8 touchdowns, 44 catches and 360 Rec yards before his injury last year. I’m high on the Vikings offense this year, and see Cook with 10 Touchdowns and 2,000 total yards from scrimmage.
Michael Thomas is an elite receiver, on a dome team in a high powered offense. I have high hopes for him again this season, and this was an easy pick for me ahead of Green and Julio.
Dalvin Cook's ability to make people miss before he got hurt makes him a prime candidate to break out in 2018! pic.twitter.com/2gmdyTeqeX
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 8, 2018
1st Round – Pick 11 – DeAndre Hopkins (WR) [Current ADP: 7.8]
2nd Round – Pick 14 – Keenan Allen (WR) [Current ADP: 16.0]
This is what Dan had to say about his picks:
DeAndre Hopkins – It’s hard for me to pass up my WR2, #6 player overall at the 1.11. Considered the most consistent WR in fantasy last season, Hopkins has the upside to post incredible numbers if Watson can play a full 16 game season.
Keenan Allen – If Kareem Hunt would have made it back to me here, it would have been him. Keenan Allen is my WR4, as of right now, and getting him at the 2.02 is great value. He has the chance to lead the league in targets after the Chargers lost Henry for the season. While most slot WRs are not considered true redzone threats, you also can’t ignore that Allen gets it done there as well, posting the highest redzone targets amongst WRs with 24 and 3rd best in redzone target share with 33.8%. I don’t see his target share dropping much, if at all.
Keenan Allen was the third most productive receiver in the NFL on a per snap basis in 2017. pic.twitter.com/GxeSDTFQ0t
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 29, 2018
1st Round – Pick 12 – Kareem Hunt (RB) [Current ADP: 10.0]
2nd Round – Pick 13 – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) [Current ADP: 10.2]
This is what Matt had to say about his picks:
Kareem Hunt is gold at the back-end of the first round. His stock is plummeting in fear of an overstocked Kansas City offense, but it makes little sense to me. Last season Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards, averaged 4.9 yards per carry, scored 11 touchdowns, and caught 84% of his targets. He surmounted these stats while being schemed out of the Kansas City offense for 4 weeks; imagine what he will do when he’s involved consistently this season. The addition of Watkins and swap to Mahomes doesn’t scare me off Hunt, either. Mahomes is sure to utilize Hunt in the short passing game as he adjusts to the offense, and Andy Reid will be sure to create a balanced offense while the sophomore (essentially rookie) quarterback adjusts to being at the helm of a top NFL offense.
Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off an injury that broke the hearts (and roster compositions) of his owners in 2017. That’s led to Beckham consistently falling outside the first round, leading to serious value for fantasy owners that haven’t forgotten how dominant he is. Prior to the injury, he finished as a top 7 receiver in the first 3 years of his career. In those seasons, he caught an average of 96 receptions per season for at least 1300 yards and combined for 35 touchdowns in his career.
Nobody has been more productive on a per snap basis than Odell Beckham Jr. in his first four seasons in the NFL! pic.twitter.com/H9G4Av5oyt
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 28, 2018