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Fantasy football mock draft analysis: Cynthia Frelund


Since it's May, my strategy was to try to learn something about my opponents' biases and how they think about the relative value of players right now. I'm not as concerned about the top "known" guys (David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, Julio Jones, etc.) but rather the value they place on the lesser-to-unknown guys. My theory is that aside from major injuries or big news (like someone being named a starter, etc.) at least some, if not half/more of these valuations will hold until the beginning of the season. Therefore, if I keep track in all of our team mocks like this, maybe I can, at least somewhat, get a sense of my colleagues' tendencies and potentially use this as an advantage in late August/early September. Don't tell them. I love our fantasy family and genuinely believe that our collective brain is likely a great measuring stick for any competitive league's fantasy draft valuations, so let's see if this exercise is helpful.

We didn't draft K/DEF for this mock so keep that in mind.

Here are five notes from our mock today (and know I am tracking our order movement starting now, if you want to track with me):

1) It seems like most of us are all pretty high on Samaje Perine's potential (James Koh took him in Round 7) and the chat seemed to reflect a collective notion of good value. To me, Marcas' handcuff of Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt or "Special K" as he is supposedly now referred to, went under the radar. It seems to me like Hunt is one rookie RB that could go overlooked in that same approximate value range.

2) I chose Zay Jones with the second pick of the seventh round (7.2, 62nd overall -- he was my fourth receiver), in part because my sense is his opportunity with the Bills will be worthy of a spot on fantasy rosters. However, this is at least a round higher than I think he'll be drafted in fantasy. The group chat did almost collectively comment, making me think that felt high to them. It is worth noting that Corey Davis went three picks later and Mike Williams didn't go until about a round later (and John Ross went in the middle of the 15th).

3) I was surprised that David Njoku, Evan Engram and Adam Shaheen were all not selected. My sense right now is that for fantasy purposes Njoku then Shaheen are both viable -- and likely great upside fantasy picks. I chose Gronk early purposely to see who the later picks would be, but my colleagues stonewalled those rookie TEs. P.S. I think that Njoku and Shaheen will likely have better projections in terms of fantasy points by the beginning of the season than Howard, who was selected in this mock (11.1, 101st overall).

4) Robert Woods and Kamar Aiken were chosen really late. I got Woods with the ninth pick of Round 14 (14.9, 139th overall) and Harmon got Aiken in with the same pick a round later (15.9, 149th overall). These are potential WR1s for their teams so I will be tracking their workload and offseason info closely.

5. I took DeAndre Hopkins at the end of the second round (2.9, 19th overall) and felt really happy about it. I know there are question marks at quarterback in Houston, and both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson seem like limiting factors for Nuk, but I think this isn't actually the case. To me, Hopkins' ability to run really precise routes will make both Savage and Watson comfortable throwing the ball to him. Last year Hopkins averaged only 12.2 yards per reception. In 2015 this number was 13.7, in 2014 it was 15.9 and in 2013 it was 15.4. Think of about 15 yards per reception as a good threshold for top WR1s. Remember there are things like the number and types of routes run as well as situations that influence yards per reception, but as a rule of thumb 15 yards per catch is where elite wide receivers are typically at or above. I think Nuk gets back into that range this season on the same type of volume.

-- Cynthia Frelund is an analytics expert who appears regularly on NFL Fantasy LIVE and GameDay Morning. Follow her on Twitter @cfrelund


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