Over the last few weeks I had the pleasure of partaking for the 3rd year in a mock draft that will be published in the Athlons Sports College Football Magazine (web slideshow debuted today here). Some of the best fantasy college football minds around participate in this mock and has now become my official kickoff to the new season. Drafting in April certainly has its challenges as there is an endless list of questions that will mostly be answered in the next 4 months.
Format – 12 teams and 20 rounds in this mock and I got the 12th pick in the draft. The starting lineup consists of: 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 Flex (RB or WR), 1 TE, 1 Def/ST and 1 K. The scoring is straight-forward with the only addition a .5 points per reception.
With the 12th pick in the draft and a big starting lineup, my strategy was to draft more on value early on with little regard to positions. I wanted to avoid question marks early and concentrate on players that I feel strongly will have the same value in August as they do now. Once I have built a strong core of these type players, I would then shift my strategy to high upside guys in systems that produce fantasy studs.
Let’s break down my draft and see how I did and if I was able to stick to my strategy.
1.12 – Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky – Last year I caught a little criticism for having Rainey ranked lower than my peers, but with a brutal opening four games on the schedule expectations had to be tempered. Well Rainey ran through that gauntlet of a schedule and finished with 1649 yards and 15 TDs. This year the schedule is a joke compared to last year with Rainey having a chance to push 2000 yards. Extremely happy to see him available at pick #12.
The rest of the squad after the jump…
2.13 – Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii – Every year there seems to be something that causes people to be leery of Hawaii players. This year people are questioning whether Moniz can match his stellar 2010 season in which he threw for over 5000 yards because of the loss of Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares. The truth is that those players excelled because of the system and the system will produce a next group of stars at WRs. In a two QB starter league, getting Moniz at 13 is a steal.
3.36 – Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford – The Cardinals return Andrew Luck at quarterback which means the offense will continue to be potent giving Taylor plenty of running lanes and scoring opportunities. Taylor should be able to improve on his 1137 yards he gained last year with scoring 15-18 TDs.
4.37 – Royce Pollard, WR, Hawaii – Pollard is technically a risk because he is unproven as a starter. However as the most experienced WR on the team with a senior QB who will throw the ball close to 600 times, it is risk I had to take as solid proven WRs have been going quick.
5.60 – Latavious Murray, RB, UCF – Murray ran for only 637 yards and 11 TDs last year and has 2009 1000+ yard runner Brynn Harvey now fully healthy after missing the 2010 season. Add in the Iowa transfer Jeff Brinson hopefully healthy this year and drafting Murray seems to be a major reach at pick #60. I tend to agree with these things and will admit that this pick is more of a gut pick as Murray was unstoppable late in the season and once again this spring. George O’Leary tends to ride the hot hand and while Murray might not see enough carries to put up huge yards, I easily see 15+ TDs.
6.61 – Cole Beasley, WR, SMU – Beasley eclipsed the 1000 yard mark last year with hardly anyone noticing as Aldrick Robinson garnered most of the attention. Robinson has moved on leaving Beasley as the #1 WR for an SMU team that threw the ball 500+ times. A nice pick at #61.
7.84 – Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska – Shifting to my strategy of drafting high return players as the there just isn’t any solid, low risk players that excite me left in the draft. Martinez was one of the fantasy stars early in the season last year before things fell apart late with Martinez fighting with the coaching staff. Everyone is saying the right things now and if Martinez can keep his head on straight, he could be in for a huge fantasy year.
8.85 – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers – Sanu is a special talent who was a major fantasy disappointment last year after being drafted as a Top 10 WR. The Rutgers offense imploded last year and there are certainly plenty of question marks again this season. This is purely a pick based on Sanu’s talent and my belief that a good coach will find a way to get the ball in his hands.
9.108 – Silas Redd, RB, Penn State – With my questionable pick of Murray in the 5th round, I needed to spend the next few picks on some solid running backs that I can count on. Redd should replace Evan Royster as the starting back after leading the team with 5.7 ypc last season while Stephfon Green continues to be the change of pace back.
10.109 – Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA – Redd still has some question marks as he is unproven as a starter or perhaps the team turns to Green more so taking Franklin here made a lot of sense as he ran for 1127 yards and 8 TDs last year on a bad offense. It is fairly safe to assume he will be able to match those numbers which makes him a great backup to Murray and Redd if they both crash and burn.
11.132 – Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M – Like Sanu, I love the pure talent of Nwachukwu…but he faces a different issue in that the Aggies offense should be extremely potent this year but have a ton of talented players he needs to share the ball with. It is very likely that he will won’t get enough touches to be a stud, but then again in the 11th round taking a extremely talented player in a great offense is rarely a poor pick.
12.133 – Tyler Shoemaker, WR, Boise State – The Broncos still have Kellen Moore and they still have a great running attack so there will be a lot of open space for the receivers to work. Austin Pettis and Titus Young are both gone so someone is going to put up good stats on the team and Shoemaker is the receiver with the most experience with Moore making him potentially in for a great season.
13.156 – UCF Defense/ST – The UCF defense is one of the more under-rated defenses in the league. George O’Leary almost always have a studly defense and this year will be no difference.
14.157 – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford – After missing out on top tight ends it is time for me to get a little creative. Fleener is a 5th year senior playing for an all-world QB with a strong running attack and who lost their top 2 receivers from the year before. Sounds like a great situation for Fleener to build off his 434 yards and 7 TDS from the year before.
15.180 – Nick Montana, QB, Washington – Perhaps I got a little caught up in his name, but I from what I have been reading Montana looks like he is going to be darn good. Will he be a fantasy stud his first season, that might be a stretch but if he is the next great quarterback I will be glad he is on my team.
16.181 – Darrell Scott, RB, South Florida – Scott was the top running back in the country coming out of high school and could have gone to any school in the country. He decided to stay home and go to Colorado in which his career never got off the ground. Now he finds himself at South Florida for a 2nd chance and while the Bulls have a few options at running back, once again I am going with talent here. Skip Holtz is desperate to get some offense going and Scott could be the guy that provides it.
17.204 – Tyler Lantrip, QB, Nevada – Everyone knows what Colin Kaepernick did at quarterback in his career and I certainly do not expect Lantrip to match or even come close to those numbers, if I did I would have selected him 10 rounds earlier. However, Nevada is a system offense playing in a poor conference and Lantrip knows how to run the offense. He will have fantasy value this year.
18.205 – Danny Webster, WR, ECU – The Pirates threw the ball an unbelievable 609 times last year and must replace Dwayne Harris. Lance Lewis returns and should take over the #1 WR role although he was dealing with some academic issues in the spring. In his absence true freshman Webster was the star of the offense and garnered a ton of praise from head coach Ruffin McNeil. Webster was a huge recruit for the Pirates turning down offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Sounds like a nice gamble to take with the 18th round pick.