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Mock Draft Monday: Testing a WR-heavy strategy

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For this edition of our #MockDraftMonday series, I wanted to adhere to a specific strategy and see how the draft unfolded. Mock drafts are meant for practice, after all, and trying as many strategies as possible is the best way to get prepped for draft day. The last thing you want is to be caught unawares when one of your league mates throws a wrench into your heretofore "fool-proof" plan.

The strategy for today's exercise was a wide-receiver heavy approach. A few years back, the "Zero-RB" strategy was all the rage, leading to a spirited debate on this very website. The pendulum has swung back toward the running backs of late, as evidenced in this very mock -- 15 of the first 24 picks were runners. This preference for running backs could create a situation for savvy drafters to exploit, which is exactly what I wanted to test in this mock. I picked 11th in a 12-team, PPR mock earlier today, and here's the team I assembled:

STARTERS:
QB: Andrew Luck  
RB: Jay Ajayi  
RB: Lamar Miller  
WR: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR: Davante Adams  
WR: Stefon Diggs  
FLEX: Golden Tate  
TE: Jack Doyle  
K: Stephen Gostkowski  
D/ST: Chicago Bears  

BENCH:
RB: Ronald Jones  
RB: Isaiah Crowell  
WR: Allen Hurns  
RB: Devontae Booker  
RB: Giovani Bernard  

Below I take you through the draft with my thought-process and some analysis after each couple rounds.

1.10) Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
2.03) Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
3.10) Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

To give this strategy an honest test I wanted to go with three straight wide receivers to start, possibly four. I was hoping to land Keenan Allen or Michael Thomas for my WR2, but they went with the first two picks of Round 2, right before me. After that, my debate was between Davante Adams, Julio Jones, or A.J. Green. I opted to chase the ceiling and go with Adams. He leads the league in touchdown receptions over the last two years and will be the unquestioned No. 1 option in Green Bay with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Giddy up.

4.03) Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
5.10) Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
6.03) Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
7.10) Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8.03) Isaiah Crowell, RB, New York Jets

Coming back around the turn into Round 4, I wasn't opposed to grabbing a fourth wideout but Jay Ajayi was too tantalizing as a discount RB1. It seems like the Eagles want him to be close to a featured back this year, which is great news. They flirted with this late last year, as he averaged just shy of 16 touches per game over his final six games (playoffs included). Lamar Miller is one of my favorite running backs to target if I start with a wide receiver-heavy strategy. Miller isn't the most exciting name (as Marcas Grant recently tweeted) but there is some upside. He's the equivalent of picking chicken as your entree at a wedding over lobster or steak. The flavor profile and overall experience may be lacking, but you know what you're getting and it comes with a minimal risk of disappointment. He's being overlooked right now even though he has little competition in his backfield and averaged roughly 15 PPR points per game when Deshaun Watson played last year. Golden Tate was a luxury pick, while Ronald Jones and Isaiah Crowell are riskier picks in potential committees, but both could lead their backfields in touches.

9.10) Allen Hurns, WR, Dallas Cowboys
10.03) Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
11.10) Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos

Allen Hurns as my WR5 feels like stealing. He's the likely No. 1 wideout for the Cowboys, and even if they remain extremely run-heavy he should see somewhere in the range of 110-plus targets. With my top tier of quarterbacks off the board, I decided to roll the dice with Andrew Luck. (It's June, after all). Luck looks to be in shape and did throw some sort of football-shaped object recently at practice, so his arrow is starting to point up. Most are assuming Royce Freeman is going to come in and run away with the Broncos' starting running back job, expecting him to be this year's Kareem Hunt. However, Booker is still hanging around and could be a big factor. Let's not forget that Hunt only became the fantasy stud we knew and loved from last year once Spencer Ware suffered a season-ending injury.

12.03) Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
13.10) Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
14.03) Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
15.10) Chicago Bears D/ST

If you miss out on one of the elite tight ends you'll quickly find yourself in a wasteland at the position, left to choose from committees (Buccaneers, Colts), unproven but talented youngsters (David Njoku), or regularly injured veterans (Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert). I opted for Doyle here, hoping to at least get the nice Luck-Doyle double up occasionally. Worst case scenario, if Doyle gets usurped by Eric Ebron I can always stream the position (or pick up Ebron, who went undrafted). Giovani Bernard was a depth pick, and then as is tradition I grabbed my kicker and defense with my final two selections.

So there you have it. This is an example of what your team could look like if you employ a wide-receiver heavy approach at the back-end of the draft. How do you think I did? What are your experiences in mocks thus far? Let me know on Twitter @AlexGelhar or use #MockDraftMonday to keep the conversation going. Until next time ...

-- Alex is a fantasy football writer and editor, who has been to the theater four times in the last seven days. He's seen UPGRADE, HEREDITARY, OCEAN'S 8, and a preview screening of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. Hit him up on Twitter @AlexGelhar if you'd like to find out his thoughts on any of these cinematic adventures.

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