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2017 fantasy football PPR mock draft: WRs rule

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Things are quiet in the NFL right now. Too quiet.

Actually, that's a lie. This brief lull in the NFL calendar before training camp is a true blessing. It gives those who work in this business a chance for much-needed vacations. It also slows down the news cycle, allowing us more time to do more in-depth analysis ... or another mock draft. That's right, because it's never too early to mock draft (you can join one right now on NFL.com by clicking here), I gathered up 11 friends for our first PPR (point per reception) mock draft of 2017.

The PPR scoring, 12-team, 15-round mock draft consisted of our best analysts, writers and producers from NFL Fantasy LIVE/NFL.com, as well as special guests Raymond Summerlin (Rotoworld.com), Ari Ingel (Footballguys.com), Scott Barrett (Pro Football Focus) and Scott Fish (Dynasty League Football). Teams did not need to draft a full roster, so several teams went without a kicker or defense. I provide some brief thoughts about most rounds below. And to answer your questions: yes, we get paid for this, no, you can't have our jobs, and yes, we know about Player X but value him differently than you in fantasy. Also, it's the summer, calm down. Go outside and enjoy the sun.

Now, with that out of the way, let's get to it.

Draft order

(randomized 30 minutes before start)

1. Cynthia Frelund (@cfrelund) - NFL Fantasy LIVE analytics expert
2. Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin) - Fantasy writer, Rotoworld
3. James Koh (@JamesDKoh) - NFL Fantasy LIVE host
4. Hytham Kilani (@HythamsBrain)- NFL Fantasy LIVE producer
5. Alex Wilk (@AlexCWilk) - Fantasy and Friends producer
6. Dylan Milner (@DMilner13) - NFL Network Senior Fantasy producer
7. Ari Ingel (@FFesq) - Footballguys writer
8. Alex Gelhar (@AlexGelhar)- NFL Fantasy Writer/Editor
9. Scott Fish (@ScottFish24 - Senior Writer/Developer, Dynasty League Football
10. Adam Rank (@adamrank)- NFL Fantasy LIVE analyst
11. Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) - Senior Fantasy analyst, Pro Football Focus
12. Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano)- NFL Senior Fantasy Analyst

ROUND 1


1. David Johnson, Cardinals (RB1) - Frelund
2. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers (RB2) - Summerlin
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (RB3) - Koh
4. Antonio Brown, Steelers (WR1) - Kilani
5. Julio Jones, Falcons (WR2) - Wilk
6. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (WR3) - Milner
7. LeSean McCoy, Bills (RB4) - Ingel
8. A.J. Green, Bengals (WR4) - Gelhar
9. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins (RB5) - Fish
10. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (WR5) - Rank
11. Melvin Gordon, Chargers (RB6) - Barrett
12. Devonta Freeman, Falcons (RB7) - Fabiano

Very little changed at the top of this draft, though it was nice to see Devonta Freeman get a little more love and slide into the first. Even with Tevin Coleman seeing more work last year, Freeman amassed 1,000-plus rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 50-plus receptions, and 400-plus receiving yards for the second consecutive year. Freeman's a touch undervalued at this juncture in my opinion.


Favorite pick: It's the first round, come on
Biggest surprise: See above.

ROUND 2


13. Jordy Nelson, Packers (WR6) - Fabiano
14. Jordan Howard, Bears (RB8) - Barrett
15. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (WR7) - Rank
16. Michael Thomas, Saints (WR8) - Fish
17. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (WR9) - Gelhar
18. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (TE1) - Ingel
19. Dez Bryant, Cowboys(WR10) - Milner
20. DeMarco Murray, Titans (RB9) - Wilk
21. Marshawn Lynch, Raiders (RB10) - Kilani
22. Todd Gurley, Rams (RB11) - Koh
23. Lamar Miller, Texans (RB12) - Summerlin
24. Terrelle Pryor, Redskins (WR11) - Frelund

In a bit of an upset, more running backs were drafted in the first two rounds than wide receivers, despite this being a PPR league. Perhaps it's a sign of how many analysts covet the few workhorse backs in the league like they're a treasured family heirloom. Or because several of the wideouts selected in the next round have big question marks clouding their 2017 outlook.


Favorite pick: Doug Baldwin, 17th overall (yes it's my pick, but Baldwin deserves more respect in fantasy this year)
Biggest surprise: Todd Gurley, 22nd overall (mostly just because I didn't expect James to be the one to pull the trigger)

ROUND 3


25. Brandin Cooks, Patriots (WR12) - Frelund
26. Joe Mixon, Bengals (RB13) - Summerlin
27. Isaiah Crowell, Browns (RB14) - Koh
28. Amari Cooper, Raiders (WR13) - Kilani
29. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (RB15) - Wilk
30. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (RB16) - Milner
31. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (WR14) - Ingel
32. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (TE2) - Gelhar
33. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (WR15) - Fish
34. Allen Robinson, Jaguars (WR16) - Rank
35. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (WR17) - Barrett
36. Bilal Powell, Jets (RB17) - Fabiano

Couple things to note in this round, starting with the Brandin Cooks pick by Cynthia. I love Cooks as a player, but man, WR12 is a steep price to pay for a guy trying to get his targets in a crowded offense. Graham Barfield of FantasyGuru.com noted recently that since Rob Gronkowski joined the Patriots, there have been only two top-12 WR finishes for the Patriots. There's certainly appeal with Cooks' situation, but also much to be worried about at this type of asking price.

Next, my pick of Travis Kelce at 32nd overall. I took some grief for this on Twitter, but the only reason I took Kelce this high is because it's PPR. He has increased his targets, receptions and receiving yards in each of the last three years, and the team just released Jeremy Maclin, basically cementing Kelce as the top option in this passing attack. Also, here's a list of tight ends with 65-plus catches in each of the last three years: Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce. That's it. He has a really safe floor and a tremendous ceiling if he pushes his touchdown total toward double digits.

Lastly, Fabs threw us all for a bit of a loop taking Bilal Powell at the end of the round. Powell wasn't going to last much longer, but this is a great example of how PPR changes drafts. Powell could easily be among the top backs in receptions, which makes him a top-20 positional pick in this format.


Favorite pick: Demaryius Thomas, 31st overall
Biggest surprise: Bilal Powell, 36th overall

ROUND 4


37. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (WR18) - Fabiano
38. Sammy Watkins, Bills (WR19) - Barrett
39. Ty Montgomery, Packers (RB18) - Rank
40. Michael Crabtree, Raiders (WR20) - Fish
41. Golden Tate, Lions (WR21) - Gelhar
42. Keenan Allen, Chargers (WR22) - Ingel
43. Jamison Crowder, Redskins (WR23) - Milner
44. Jordan Reed, Redskins (TE3) - Wilk
45. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (RB19) - Kilani
46. Davante Adams, Packers (WR24) - Koh
47. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (WR25) - Summerlin
48. Greg Olsen, Panthers (TE4) - Frelund

It's been hours since this draft ended and I'm still mad at Rank for sniping Ty Montgomery from me. All signs right now point to Montgomery being the leading back in the high-powered Packers offense, and he'll see plenty of passing game work as well (let's not forget he's a converted wide receiver). I was OK with Golden Tate, who is a rock-solid PPR wide receiver who could see more touchdowns come his way in 2017. I just didn't feel comfortable enough with any of the other backs available over the plethora of great PPR receivers. As a result, the depth in my backfield took a hit throughout the whole draft (as you'll see).


Favorite pick: Ty Montgomery, 39th overall
Biggest surprise: Dalvin Cook, 45th overall

ROUND 5


49. Spencer Ware, Chiefs (RB20) - Frelund
50. Carlos Hyde, 49ers (RB21) - Summerlin
51. Martavis Bryant, Steelers (WR26) - Koh
52. Donte Moncrief, Colts (WR27) - Kilani
53. DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers (WR28) - Wilk
54. Pierre Garcon, 49ers (WR29) - Milner
55. C.J. Anderson, Broncos (RB22) - Ingel
56. Stefon Diggs, Vikings (WR30) - Gelhar
57. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (QB1) - Fish
58. Danny Woodhead, Ravens (RB23) - Rank
59. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (WR31) - Barrett
60. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (WR32) - Fabiano

The depth at the wide receiver position available in this round did make me question my WR-heavy approach to start the draft. I was struggling at running back while there were top-20 PPR wide receiver options like Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders and Larry Fitzgerald still chilling in Round 5 (not to mention the huge upside plays like Martavis Bryant, Donte Moncrief, and DeSean Jackson). This is a good reminder to be flexible in your draft strategy as the picks unfold. I had wanted a running back for the last two rounds, but the value wasn't right relative to the other players still available. Don't be afraid to swerve from your original strategy if the board allows it, and also don't feel obligated to always fill your starting roster in lieu of loading up at one position. Football is an unpredictable game, and no fantasy roster taken from a draft is ever the same come season's end.


Favorite pick: DANNY WOODHEAD OBVIOUSLY, 58th overall
Biggest surprise: Larry Fitzgerald, 60th overall (he may be older than dirt at this point, but WR32 is too low for Fitz in PPR if you ask me)

ROUND 6


61. Frank Gore, Colts (RB24) - Fabiano
62. Julian Edelman, Patriots (WR33) - Barrett
63. Tevin Coleman, Falcons (RB25) - Rank
64. Paul Perkins, Giants (RB26) - Fish
65. Doug Martin, Buccaneers (RB27) - Gelhar
66. Brandon Marshall, Giants (WR34) - Ingel
67. Theo Riddick, Lions (RB28) - Milner
68. Matt Forte, Jets (RB29) - Wilk
69. Tom Brady, Patriots (QB2) - Kilani
70. Willie Snead, Saints (WR35) - Koh
71. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (WR36) - Summerlin
72. Andrew Luck, Colts (QB3) - Frelund

Willie Snead in the sixth round is just plain stealing from Koh. The first three picks surprised me a bit given the other players hanging around. Tevin Coleman is a role player, Julian Edelman looks like he's on his way out (slowly) in New England, and Frank Gore is ancient and doesn't see a ton of work in the passing game. In hindsight, I kind of wish I'd taken Theo Riddick or Matt Forte instead of Doug Martin. I really wanted Paul Perkins, but Fish had to go and ruin that, leaving me tilting as the pick clock was winding down. I invite him to join us for this draft and then he snipes me. How rude. Now I'm left hoping that Martin returns to 2015 form after serving his three-game suspension. Hooray?


Favorite pick: Willie Snead, 70th overall
Biggest surprise: Tevin Coleman, 63rd overall

ROUND 7


73. Jeremy Maclin, Ravens (WR37) - Frelund
74. Cameron Meredith, Bears (WR38) - Summerlin
75. Samaje Perine, Redskins (RB30) - Koh
76. Ameer Abdullah, Lions (RB31) - Kilani
77. Marvin Jones, Lions (WR39) - Wilk
78. Kenny Britt, Browns (WR40) - Milner
79. Drew Brees, Saints (QB4) - Ingel
80. Mark Ingram, Saints (RB32) - Gelhar
81. C.J. Prosise, Seahawks (RB33) - Fish
82. Delanie Walker, Titans (TE5) - Rank
83. Kareem Hunt, Chiefs (RB34) - Barrett
84. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (TE6) - Fabiano

Round 7 offers a bit of a mixed bag. More QBs and TEs come off the board, while some more great values at wide receiver are taken advantage of. A healthy Jeremy Maclin in Baltimore could have some sneaky value, especially in PPR. Ditto for Cameron Meredith, who appears to be Chicago's new No. 1 wide receiver. If he lives up to that billing after spending much of 2016 in the slot (47 percent of his snaps per Next Gen Stats), he could pay HUGE dividends in fantasy (just remember the Fantasy Hipsters told you about him first).


Favorite pick: Cameron Meredith, 74th overall
Biggest surprise: Samaje Perine,75th overall

ROUND 8


85. Corey Davis, Titans (WR41) - Fabiano
86. Tyler Eifert, Bengals (TE7) - Barrett
87. Mike Gillislee, Patriots (RB35) - Rank
88. DeVante Parker, Dolphins (WR42) - Fish
89. John Brown, Cardinals (WR43) - Gelhar
90. Adam Thielen, Vikings (WR44) - Ingel
91. Martellus Bennett, Packers (TE8) - Milner
92. Matt Ryan, Falcons (QB5) - Wilk
93. Corey Coleman, Browns (WR45) - Kilani
94. Randall Cobb, Packers (WR46) - Koh
95. Quincy Enunwa, Jets (WR47) - Summerlin
96. Robert Woods, Rams (WR48) - Frelund

I'm pretty much on board with every pick in this round, save two. Corey Davis, and DeVante Parker. Both have the type of talent that would make Jim Schwartz feel giddy, but I worry about their opportunities enough to question them being taken in the eighth round. Davis has to compete with Eric Decker, Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews for targets, while Parker still needs to put it all together on the field whilst battling Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills for valuable looks. It wouldn't surprise me if either (or both) of these guys finished as top-30 wide receivers. But it also wouldn't surprise me if they were entirely frustrating on a week-to-week basis and scored more points on your bench than while in your starting lineup.


Favorite pick: Martellus Bennett, 91st overall
Biggest surprise: Matt Ryan, 92nd overall

ROUND 9


97. Tyrell Williams, Chargers (WR49) - Frelund
98. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (TE9) - Summerlin
99. James White, Patriots (RB36) - Koh
100. Adrian Peterson, Saints (RB37) - Kilani
101. Derrick Henry, Titans (RB38) - Wilk
102. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (RB39) - Milner
103. Eric Decker, Titans (WR50) - Ingel
104. LeGarrette Blount, Eagles (RB40) - Gelhar
105. Mike Wallace, Ravens (WR51) - Fish
106. Rishard Matthews, Titans (WR52) - Rank
107. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (QB6) - Barrett
108. Eddie Lacy, Seahawks (RB41) - Fabiano

Running backs really dried up quickly in this draft from a PPR standpoint. There are some good players here, but none who command a respectable amount of weekly targets.

It's important to consider your roster construction as you go through the draft. Knowing I was deep at wide receiver and had an elite PPR tight end, I figured I could cover the loss of receptions at running back. That's why LeGarrette Blount felt right here because of his touchdown upside. It doesn't matter that he has skillets for hands as long as he finds his way into the end zone on a semi-regular basis for my squad. I don't need him to score 18 times, but 8-10 would be grand (and before you scoff at that notion, Ryan Mathews tied for the fourth-most rush attempts and rushing TDs inside the 5-yard line last season at 16 and six, respectively).


Favorite pick: Russell Wilson, 107th overall
Biggest surprise: Derrick Henry, 101st overall

ROUND 10


109. Jordan Matthews, Eagles (WR53) - Fabiano
110. Kenneth Dixon, Ravens (RB42) - Barrett
111. Duke Johnson, Browns (RB43) - Rank
112. Hunter Henry, Chargers (TE10) - Fish
113. Terrance West, Ravens (RB44) - Gelhar
114. Eric Ebron, Lions (TE11) - Ingel
115. Sterling Shepard, Giants (WR54) - Milner
116. Mike Williams, Chargers (WR55) - Wilk
117. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons (WR56) - Kilani
118. Shane Vereen, Giants (RB45) - Koh
119. Kevin White, Bears (WR57) - Summerlin
120. Alvin Kamara, Saints (RB46) - Frelund

While I was very happy with my Travis Kelce pick, seeing Eric Ebron go in the 10th stings a bit. Ebron has increased his targets, receptions and receiving yards in each of his three professional seasons, and is a candidate for positive touchdown regression with Anquan Boldin out of the picture. Boldin saw 22 targets in the red zone last year, which are now up for grabs.


Favorite pick: Eric Ebron, 114th overall
Biggest surprise: Taylor Gabriel, 117th overall

ROUND 11


121. Will Fuller, Texans (WR58) - Frelund
122. Darren Sproles, Eagles (RB47) - Summerlin
123. Jack Doyle, Colts (TE12) - Koh
124. John Ross, Bengals (WR59) - Kilani
125. Jamaal Charles, Broncos (RB48) - Wilk
126. Dion Lewis, Patriots (RB49) - Milner
127. Jonathan Williams, Bills (RB50) - Ingel
128. Joe Williams, 49ers (RB51) - Gelhar
129. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (RB52) - Fish
130. Breshad Perriman, Ravens (WR60) - Rank
131. Ted Ginn, Saints (WR61) - Barrett
132. Marcus Mariota, Titans (QB7) - Fabiano

I really liked the back-to-back Williams picks by Ari and me in this round. Jonathan Williams is the better option of the two, as he looks to have a clearer path to early-season touches filling in for Mike Gillislee (who saw 101 attempts last year). Joe Williams is a favorite of new head coach Kyle Shanahan who some believe could take the starting job from Carlos Hyde at some point this season. That's solid upside to chase in Round 11.


Favorite pick: O'(Jack)Doyle rules, 123rd overall
Biggest surprise: Dion Lewis, 126th overall

ROUND 12


133. Josh Doctson, Redskins (WR62) - Fabiano
134. Zach Ertz, Eagles (TE13) - Barrett
135. Rob Kelley, Redskins (RB53) - Rank
136. Coby Fleener, Saints (TE14) - Fish
137. Chris Thompson, Redskins (RB54) - Gelhar
138. Zay Jones, Bills (WR63) - Ingel
139. Cam Newton, Panthers (QB8) - Milner
140. Jamaal Williams, Packers (RB55) - Wilk
141. Cole Beasley, Cowboys (WR64) - Kilani
142. Chris Conley, Chiefs (WR65) - Koh
143. Curtis Samuel, Panthers (WR66) - Summerlin
144. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (WR67) - Frelund


Favorite pick: Zay Jones, 138th overall
Biggest surprise: Tyler Lockett, 144th overall

ROUND 13


145. Julius Thomas, Dolphins (TE15) - Frelund
146. Matthew Stafford, Lions (QB9) - Summerlin
147. Latavius Murray, Vikings (RB56) - Koh
148. O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (TE16) - Kilani
149. Tavon Austin, Rams (WR68) - Wilk
150. Jeremy McNichols, Buccaneers (RB57) - Milner
151. Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers (RB58) - Ingel
152. Kenny Stills, Dolphins (WR69) - Gelhar
153. DeAndre Washington, Raiders (RB59) - Fish
154. ArDarius Stewart, Jets (WR70) - Rank
155. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (QB10) - Barrett
156. Kirk Cousins, Redskins (QB11) - Fabiano


Favorite pick: Kirk Cousins, 156th overall*
Biggest surprise: Jeremy McNichols, 150th overall

* A note on QBs: There's a disconnect between expert** drafts and more casual leagues in terms of how quarterbacks are valued. Reading a mock like this, quarterbacks will almost always hang around significantly longer than in your local office, family, or dorm room league. Casual players perhaps assume that since QB is the most important position in real football, it should be the same (or close to it) in fantasy football. This isn't the case though. Guys who aren't anywhere near the top of the heap in terms of quarterback talent can produce as a top fantasy quarterback, and do on a regular basis. This has paved the way for strategies like streaming quarterbacks, where you add/drop signal-callers based on the matchups. But back to the main point, fantasy scoring devalues the quarterback position, creating value situations for those who wait on the position. JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB on Twitter and author of "The Late Round Quarterback") wrote the definitive piece on this strategy which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read here. But for those who want to have the value of quarterbacks more accurately represented in their fantasy leagues, there are a few options. For starters, force the teams in your league to start two quarterbacks, or add a "super flex" position, where you can start any one of QB/RB/WR/TE. In addition, James Koh offers some great ideas on scoring changes to revive QB value in this piece.

If you don't make any of those changes and play in a standard league, we as fantasy analysts will continue to bang the drum and tell you to wait on the position. You can draft whomever and however you want (that's the beauty of fantasy football), but if your primary goal is to win, this is often the more advantageous approach. Trust us.

(** There is no such thing as a fantasy expert and it's a silly term, but it helps limit the word salad necessary to describe what we do/are ... though I've ruined the utility of that phrase by writing out this incredibly verbose explanation. Oh well. Words are fun.)

ROUND 14


157. Giovani Bernard, Bengals (RB60) - Fabiano
158. James Conner, Steelers (RB61) - Barrett
159. Justin Tucker, Ravens (K1) - Rank
160. Marqise Lee, Jaguars (WR71) - Fish
161. Tyrod Taylor, Bills (QB12) - Gelhar
162. Denver Broncos D/ST (DEF1) - Ingel
163. Houston Texans D/ST (DEF2) - Milner
164. Jerick McKinnon, Vikings (RB62) - Wilk
165. Ryan Mathews, Eagles (RB63) - Kilani
166. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (QB13) - Koh
167. D'Onta Foreman, Texans (RB64) - Summerlin
168. Kansas City Chiefs D/ST (DEF3) - Frelund


Favorite pick: James Conner, 158th overall
Biggest surprise: Ryan Mathews, 165th overall

ROUND 15


169. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (K2) - Frelund
170. Allen Hurns, Jaguars (WR72) - Summerlin
171. Marlon Mack, Colts (RB65) - Koh
172. Travis Benjamin, Chargers (WR73) - Kilani
173. Derek Carr, Raiders (QB14) - Wilk
174. Matt Bryant, Falcons (K3) - Milner
175. Devontae Booker, Broncos (RB66) - Ingel
176. Buffalo Bills D/ST (DEF4) - Gelhar
177. Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (RB67) - Fish
178. Justin Hardy, Falcons (WR74) - Rank
179. Darren McFadden, Cowboys (RB68) - Barrett
180. Jason Witten, Cowboys (TE17) - Fabiano


Favorite pick: Jason Witten, 180th overall (a consistent PPR force, even at his advanced age)
Biggest surprise: Justin Hardy, 178th overall

Hope you all enjoyed reading about our first PPR mock draft. Tell us how wrong we all are in the comments below or on Twitter. Until next time.

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com who is currently reding "Evicted" by Matthew Desmond. Ask him fantasy questions or discuss books with him on Twitter @AlexGelhar or on Facebook.

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