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One-man fantasy mock: Jordan Howard in Round 1?

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Well, it's that time again ... let's get mocked! I'm not talking about NFL mock drafts ahead of next month's extravaganza, I'll leave those for the Mike Mayocks and Daniel Jeremiahs of the world. This one is for fantasy fanatics who can't wait to draft or for those who have gotten into MFL/best ball leagues. Of course, this latest edition includes some old faces in new places, as the free-agent period has shaken up the value of several big-name players. Read it. Love it. Hate it. Mock it. Enjoy it.

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.

Round 1


1. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Johnson recorded 2,000-plus scrimmage yards and 20 total touchdowns last season, scoring more fantasy points than all but three quarterbacks. That's a Marshall Faulk/LaDainian Tomlinson type of season. Consider D.J. the consensus No. 1 overall selection.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Elliott was better than all but five fantasy quarterbacks in his rookie season, rolling for 1,631 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns. He's going to go second or third overall in all drafts, as long as his recent off-field antics don't land him in hot water.

3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Bell missed four games last season due to suspension/rest, but he still finished fourth in fantasy points among running backs. Barring a setback in his return from a procedure to repair a core muscle, Bell is going to be a top-three overall pick in all drafts.

4. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown has posted a combined 371 catches for 4,816 yards with 35 touchdowns over the last three years, and he's finished no worse than sixth in fantasy points among wideouts in four straight seasons. He's a durable dude too, missing just one contest since 2013.

5. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones had a few weeks where he killed fantasy fans last season, but he also had the second-most top-10 finishes among wideouts based on points. While the offense will look a bit different under Steve Sarkisian, Jones will continue to produce in the stat sheets in 2017.

6. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: Beckham had a slow start to last season, but he still put up a career-best 101 catches with 1,300-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns for the third time in his three-year NFL career. I don't see his numbers dropping even with Brandon Marshall in the mix.

7. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Evans was a target machine (173) en route to a career season that included personal bests in receptions (96), yards (1,321) and touchdowns (tie, 12). While his looks could decline a bit with DeSean Jackson on board, Evans will still shine. He's a first-rounder.

8. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: McCoy should be considered a winner during the free-agent period, as the Bills added fullback Patrick DiMarco to open holes for the talented runner to dash through next season. He'll continue to be the focus of Buffalo's offense under new head coach Sean McDermott.

9. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans: Did you know that Murray has ranked no worse than seventh in fantasy points among running backs three times in the last four years (2013, 2014, 2016)? He's underrated, both on the field and in fantasy circles, and should be a first-round lock in drafts.

10. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: Maybe I'm too high on Howard, but he rushed for 100 yards seven times as a rookie (13 starts) and he did it on a team that had Matt Barkley as its leading passer! Mike Glennon should be an upgrade, right? There is "sophomore slump" potential, but I'm still all in.

Round 2


11. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: The planets aligned for Gordon last season, as he tied for fourth among runners in red-zone touches (57) and eighth in fantasy points despite missing three games. The departure of Danny Woodhead (Ravens) means a featured role should continue for Gordon in 2017.

12. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green was on pace to finish fifth in fantasy points among wideouts before he went down with an injured hamstring last season, so don't let his finish (34th) fool you. The veteran will be fine far in advance of training camp and remains a top-15 overall selection.

13. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: The Comeback Player of the Year in fantasy football, Nelson posted 1,257 yards and a career-best 14 scores last season. He's now recorded a combined 27 touchdowns in his last 32 regular-season games, and his quarterback is the best in the fantasy football world.

14. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: Ajayi put up career bests across the board in Miami last season, and he did it despite seeing seven or fewer carries in each of his first four games (Arian Foster, remember?). He also showed lots of grit on the gridiron, rushing for an NFL-high 783 yards after contact.

15. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman went from the top-scoring running back in fantasy football (2015) to sixth last season, but he scored just 13.3 fewer points in standard leagues. At 24 and heading into a contract campaign, Freeman should record a third straight solid fantasy season.

16. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: Gurley was the biggest running back bust in fantasy football (it still hurts), but he's young at 22 and there's now hope in the form of new coach and offensive mind Sean McVay. The Rams have also started to get better on the line, adding tackle Andrew Whitworth.

17. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Hyde just missed rushing for 1,000 yards a season ago, as he continued to have issues staying on the football field. Still, he hasn't yet hit his ceiling and should benefit under new coach Kyle Shanahan. Hyde will be a high-end, but risk-reward No. 2 runner.

18. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Did Bryant lose a bit of his fantasy luster last season without Tony Romo? No question about it. But the veteran still scored eight times in 13 games and finished among the top-10 weekly wide receiver scorers in points five times. He's a second-rounder playing with Dak Prescott.

19. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Hilton led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards, which is pretty impressive when you consider the number of stud wideouts around the league. His lack of touchdowns (career best is just seven) is what keeps Hilton from being selected higher in fantasy drafts.

20. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: Thomas experienced a bump after the Saints traded Brandin Cooks to New England, a move that left 117 targets and a boatload of fantasy points up for grabs in the Saints pass attack. I can see Thomas going even higher in future mocks after the 2017 NFL Draft.

Round 3


21. Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots: Cooks' move to New England was a lateral one in fantasy circles, as he goes from Drew Brees to Tom Brady. The Patriots offense has a lot more mouths to feed than the Saints, however, so a slight decline in Cooks' overall numbers should be expected in 2017.

22. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Miller, like most of Houston's offensive players, failed to meet expectations with just over 1,000 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. He did average a solid 19 carries per game, however, and at 25 he's an attractive gamble in Round 3 as a No. 2 runner.

23. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski's draft position will be argued a million times over the next several months. He's a beast when he's on the field, but the big man has missed 24 games over the last five seasons including most of 2016. Gronk's potential will be hard to pass here.

24. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: Nuk exploded in the faces of fantasy fans last season, but here's some good news: Brock Osweiler is no longer on the Texans roster. That coupled with Hopkins' talent makes me believe he can rebound and have a solid year with Tom Savage or ... maybe Tony Romo?

25. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Cooper saw slight increases in his reception and yardage totals compared to his rookie season, but he scored just five touchdowns and finished in the top 10 in points among wideouts just three times. Until he's more consistent, Cooper won't be a top-20 choice.

26. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: Ingram filled owners with frustration often times a season ago, but he still finished 10th in fantasy points among backs. While his role could change at a moment's notice under coach Sean Payton, Ingram will remain a No. 2 fantasy runner ... at least for now.

27. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos: Anderson missed nine games due to an injured knee in 2016, but he was on pace to finish with 197.7 points before going down. That would have ranked him 11th among backs, ahead of Ajayi and Hyde. He's just 26, and there's upside as a No. 2 runner next season.

28. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Another massive bust at the wideout spot, Robinson saw decreases in catches, yards, touchdowns and fantasy points. He did show flashes once the Jaguars promoted Doug Marrone, however, so A-Rob (like Hopkins) has some bounce-back appeal for fantasy owners.

29. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills: Watkins has missed a combined 11 games over the last two seasons due to foot problems, so there is some risk in his selection. On a positive note, he's expected to be 100 percent in time for training camp. The Bills also retained mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

30. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers: Allen has missed 23 games over the last two years due to injuries, including almost all of last season with a torn ACL. The good news is that he's expected to be back in time for training camp, but I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a lot of risk involved.

Round 4


31. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Jeffery should emerge into the No. 1 wideout in Philadelphia sooner than later, but I don't see him as more than a No. 2 for fantasy purposes.
32. Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Ware is in line to be the main running back after the release of Jamaal Charles, but let's see if the Chiefs add a back in next month's draft.
33. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: I won't take a quarterback in the first four rounds, but this is where you'll see Rodgers land in some drafts. He's the best player available.
34. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Baldwin's numbers dropped almost across the board compared to his 2015 totals, but he still finished 10th in points among all wideouts last season.
35. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: Thomas needs an upgrade at the quarterback position in Denver to reclaim his status as a No. 1 fantasy receiver. Romo would be a good candidate.
36. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns: The additions of Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter to Cleveland's offensive line puts Crowell firmly on the No. 2 running back radar next season.
37. Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Murray's move to Minnesota was a lateral one for fantasy purposes, but the Vikings have to make more improvements to their offensive line.
38. Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders: Crabtree's yardage totals don't pop off the stat board, but he's scored 17 touchdowns since 2015 and finished higher than Cooper last season.
39. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: How do you make Brady an even better fantasy quarterback? You give him Brandin Cooks to go along with a host of incumbent playmakers in the pass attack.
40. Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Lacy's YPC and yards after contact numbers are impressive, but he's been a bust for two straight seasons. He's a risk-reward No. 2 running back.

Round 5


41. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins: With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone, Pryor should see plenty of targets in an offense that loves to throw the ball under head man Jay Gruden.
42. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: Adams went from waiver-wire fodder to a top-seven fantasy wideout in the space of just one year. Having Rodgers under center is also an advantage.
43. Rob Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins: Kelley's value is still up in the air, but he did show flashes of potential as a rookie. Will the Redskins select a running back in the NFL draft?
44. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce is coming off the best season of his career, but I wonder if he hit his statistical ceiling. He's still not even close to Gronkowski's level.
45. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: Olsen saw his yardage, touchdown and point totals decrease last season. Still, few players at his position have been more consistent in the stat sheets.
46. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins: Reed was a major disappointment a season ago, but the talent is there in an offense that will put points on the board. He's worth the gamble here.
47. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Brees, 38, finished third in fantasy points among quarterbacks last season. He's ranked no worse than sixth at the position since 2009. That is consistency.
48. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Stewart is a candidate to drop out of the top 50 in future mock drafts, but that depends on if the Panthers add an impact running back in the draft.
49. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins: Landry was a disappointment for a good part of last season, but he finished strong and will remain on the radar as a No. 2 fantasy wideout in most drafts.
50. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Luck is expected to be back from shoulder surgery in time for the start of training camp. At 27, there's still some room for statistical improvement.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com 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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