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Some risk, lots of reward in full fantasy mock draft


It's May and the 2014 NFL Draft just wrapped up, so you know what time it is ... it's time for a fantasy football mock draft! (No seriously, training camp will be here before you know it!)

On Monday, members of the NFL Fantasy LIVE and NFL Digital Media fantasy team got together for a 10-team, 15-round mock that was based on our standard scoring system. Each owner was required to select at least one starter (2 RB, 2 WR) at each of the top six fantasy positions, but there were no other roster restrictions in terms of positions. I held the ninth overall selection (random draw), and figured I'd go ahead and break down what I did and why I did it, pick by pick for all 15 rounds.

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Round 1 (No. 9) - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: Foster is coming off back surgery, but he's already been cleared for action and will be a bounce-back candidate in 2014. While he does come with some risk, I feel he's worth a late first-rounder. I'll need to have a deep backfield, though.

Round 2 (No. 12) - Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: I will go running back, wide receiver in most standard drafts, and Bryant was the best wideout on the board. In fact, he could end up being the top fantasy player at his position under the guidance of new pass-first coordinator Scott Linehan.

Round 3 (No. 29) - Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions: Bush isn't going to be a featured runner, as Joique Bell will also be in the mix for carries in the Lions backfield. Still, the USC product is in a great offense for statistical purposes and remains a strong RB2 option even in standard leagues.

Round 4 (No. 32) - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Ellington is a member of my fantasy man crush list for 2014, and I loved the fact that I landed him as an RB3. That means if Foster or Bush falter, I can plug him in as a starter. Ellington will make for a fabulous flex starter too.

Round 5 (No. 49) - Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans: I realize that Johnson's best statistical days are in the rearview mirror, but he's still a nice pick as a No. 2 fantasy wideout across the board. I suspect the Texans will be behind and have to throw next season, which is a benefit.

Round 6 (No. 52) - Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns: There had been no word of Gordon's suspension details at the time of this draft, so I couldn't let him fall any further. The top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy land last season, I can stash him if he's forced to miss games in 2014.

Round 7 (No. 69) - Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens: Another member of the man crush list, Pitta is in a great position to put up career-best totals next season. One of Joe Flacco's favorite targets in the red zone, I wouldn't be surprised to see him rank as a top-five fantasy tight end.

Round 8 (No. 72) - Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Richardson is one of the biggest risks in fantasy football among runners, but I felt like he was worth it in Round 8. Obviously I want him to return to his superb rookie form, but he's only the fourth running back on this roster.

Round 9 (No. 89) - Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Like Richardson, there is risk in drafting Wayne. He's 35 and coming off a knee reconstruction, and the Colts added Hakeem Nicks. Keep in mind that Wayne is the fourth wideout on this roster, though, so the risk is minimized.

Round 10 (No. 92) - Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: This is why you wait on a quarterback. Foles is no guarantee to duplicate his ridiculous 2013 totals, but he's still a lock to be productive in coach Chip Kelly's offensive attack. And as a tenth-rounder, Foles is an absolute fantasy steal.

Round 11 (No. 109) - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: The Lions didn't land an impact rookie wideout, so Tate is going to be the man opposite Calvin Johnson. Now in an offense that likes to throw the football, Tate should have a career season. And he's the fifth wideout on this team.

Round 12 (No. 112) - Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints: Now is the time to target sleepers, and Robinson fits the bill. While Pierre Thomas figures to start for the Saints, I see him moving up the depth chart, ahead of Mark Ingram and into a more prominent backfield role.

Round 13 (No. 129) - Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns: Come on, you knew I was going to take Manziel, right? A major sleeper in fantasy football leagues because of his skills as both a passer and a runner, the rookie out of Texas A&M is well worth a roll of the dice at this point.

Round 14 (No. 132) - Panthers defense: This unit finished third in fantasy points at the position in 2013, and there's no reason to think it will decline. The team franchised star DL Greg Hardy, who posted 15 sacks last season, and brought in DB Roman Harper and rookie DL Kony Ealy.

Round 15 (No. 149) - Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers: You should almost never draft a kicker until the final round of your draft, thus the selection of Novak here in the last stanza. He ranked seventh in fantasy points among kickers in 2013, nailing 11 field goals from 40-plus yards.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!


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