Ryan Mathews, Adrian Peterson rise in latest fantasy mock draft

This mock draft is based on NFL.com's standard 10-team leagues with a basic (non-PPR) scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns scored. Each numbered position represents an individual fantasy team, so no more than one quarterback, three running backs, three wide receivers or one tight end will be selected per roster.

Round 1

1. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Foster averaged more fantasy points per game than any running back last season, so there's no longer a question about whether his 2010 season was a fluke. The closest thing the NFL has to Marshall Faulk, Foster is the top fantasy player on my board.

2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Unless you have the top-five overall pick, say good-bye to your strategy of exclusively drafting running backs in Round 1. Rodgers has finished in the top two in fantasy points at his position in four straight years, and that trend should continue.

3. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: The leading point scorer among fantasy running backs last season, Rice recorded career bests in rushing yards, scrimmage yards and total touchdowns as the top option in the Ravens offense. Barring a holdout during training camp, he's a lock top-five pick.

4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: McCoy has become one of the elite runners in fantasy land, and his 20-touchdown campaign in 2011 proved it. One of the few featured backs left in the league, the Pittsburgh product will no doubt continue to rack up the yards, touchdowns and fantasy points.

5. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Once considered a good (not great) fantasy quarterback, Brady is now cemented among the elite players at his position. One of three signal-callers to throw for 5,000-plus yards last season, he has averaged 40 total scores in his last three full seasons.

6. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Brees has finished in the top two in fantasy points among quarterbacks in three of the last four years. The one season he missed was when he was on the Madden cover. Despite the loss of coach Sean Payton, Brees is still a lock first rounder in drafts.

7. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: Despite having no help on offense, Jones-Drew still rolled up a career-best 1,606 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns last season. Whether he can duplicate that level of yardage remains to be seen, but Jones-Drew remains a No. 1 fantasy back.

8. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: In his first full season with Matthew Stafford under center, Megatron transformed into an even bigger statistical monster than he was in the past. For those who aren't scared of his image being on the Madden cover, Johnson has first-round appeal.

9. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Mathews has a real shot at having a breakout season in 2012, but he'll need to avoid the nagging injuries he's dealt with in the past to reach his full potential. He has first-round statistical upside without Mike Tolbert, and he's moved into my top 10.

10. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: Stafford stayed out of the trainer's room and thrived for the Lions and fantasy owners alike, throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011. As long as he remains free of those worrisome injuries, there's no reason Stafford won't continue to roar.

Round 2

11. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: Johnson is coming off the worst fantasy season of his career, but I can't see a player with his previous resume dropping any further than this in drafts. Yes, there is some risk with CJ2K. But he'll have a full offseason and training camp to prepare.

12. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Though he finished with his lowest reception total since 2006, Fitzgerald still ranked fifth in fantasy points among wide receivers last season. The team's quarterback position has questions, but Fitzgerald is clearly talented enough to overcome.

13. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Newton is coming off the best rookie season ever for a quarterback, so the bar has been set highly for his sophomore campaign. While I doubt he'll record 14 rushing touchdowns again, Newton's versatile skill set and potential are still unquestionable.

14. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: You can argue that Johnson is still the best wide receiver in the NFL, but his proneness to injuries over the last two years has put a dent in his overall draft value. I still see him as an elite fantasy wideout, however, and worth a second-round pick.

15. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: This is the highest I have ever ranked a tight end, and I still fear that Gronkowski will never duplicate his 2011 numbers again. But it's still hard to argue with his production - Gronk outscored every wideout but Megatron last season.

16. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: New OC Mike Tice is going to lean on the run, and Forte is one of the league's most versatile featured backs. But a contractual holdout seems imminent, not to mention the addition of Michael Bush. Forte will move up if he signs before the start of camp.

17. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: Welker was a beast in the stat sheets in 2011, posting career bests in yards, touchdowns and yards per catch. His stock could fall just a bit now that the Patriots have added a deep threat in Brandon Lloyd, but he'll remain a No. 1 fantasy wideout.

18. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: White posted 100 receptions, finished in the top seven in fantasy points and led all wideouts in targets for the second straight season, so the presence of Julio Jones didn't have a huge effect on his production. He is well worth a second-rounder.

19. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: If value were based on talent alone, McFadden would be a first-round pick. But the fact that he hasn't stayed healthy makes him one of the true risk-reward runners in fantasy land. I like him in Round 2, but you have to get Mike Goodson as insurance.

20. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers: Jennings was on pace for 183.2 fantasy points last season before a knee injury knocked him out for the final three games. That total would have ranked him seventh among wide receivers. Jordy Nelson was better in 2011, but I still like Jennings.

Round 3

21. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints: Graham would have finished fifth in fantasy points among wideouts last season, posting statistical bests across the board. In an offense that features a pass-laden system and an elite quarterback like Brees, Graham is a good bet to succeed

22. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Jones is firmly entrenched as a member of my fantasy man crush list for 2012. In fact, I think he could outscore his teammate, White, from a fantasy perspective. With the Falcons going to the air more often, I see Jones breaking out big time.

23. Trent Richardson, RB, Browns: The unquestioned No. 1 rookie in fantasy football right now, Richardson is in a great position to find statistical success as the centerpiece of the Browns offense. If he can meet expectations and avoid any further knee issues, the Alabama product will be a fantasy superstar.

24. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: Smith's fantasy appeal was resurrected last season, as he posted nearly 1,400 yards and finished as a top-10 fantasy player at his position. He still doesn't have a true complement, but it's tough to pass on Smith at this point in the second round.

25. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green might not have the most attractive schedule in the world, but his upside is enormous. With a full year of NFL experience under his belt, not to mention a great rapport with Andy Dalton, I can see Green finishing among fantasy's 10 best wideouts in 2012.

26. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Murray showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, but his season was cut short due to a broken ankle. If he can remain free of injuries, I can easily see the Oklahoma product finishing in the top 10 in fantasy points among running backs this year.

27. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: After a slow start, Lynch went into permanent beast mode with a ridiculous streak of scoring at least one touchdown in 11 straight games. I do have concerns about taking Lynch any higher than this after posting one good season since 2008, however.

28. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Of the three big-name running backs to suffer ACL tears last season, Charles has the best chance to rebound in 2012. He injured himself in Week 2, so he has had plenty of recovery time. However, the presence of Peyton Hillis does hurt his overall appeal.

29. Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Wallace produced a career best 72 receptions last season, but he did still experienced a small declined in yardage and touchdowns compared to 2010. Regardless, he's a playmaker with the tools to be a true No. 1 fantasy option in OC Todd Haley's system.

30. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Peterson is drawing rave reviews in his recovery from major knee reconstruction, so he's snuck into the bottom of my top three rounds. However, I need to see more - like watching him make hard lateral cuts, avoid tacklers, etc., before he moves up again.

Round 4

31. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
32. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
33. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
34. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears
35. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
36. Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
37. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
38. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
39. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
40. Marques Colston, WR, Saints
 

Round 5

41. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
42. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
43. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys 
44. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
45. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
46. Darren Sproles, RB, Saints
47. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
48. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
49. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
50. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
 

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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