Fantasy football 2016 analyst mock draft: WRs rule

With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, it is time to turn our attention to the 2016 fantasy season. And what better way to do that than with out first NFL Fantasy staff mock draft! (By the way, you can join a mock draft of your own by clicking here.

The standard scoring, 10-team, 15-round league consisted of NFL Fantasy LIVE members, producers, and writers. Teams did not need to draft a full roster, so several teams went without a kicker, defense or both (because who really needs to read about those positions in May, right?). Marcas Grant and Alex Gelhar provide a commentary and analysis in between the results of each round below. So soak up all of the glory of this mock, and be sure to let the crew know how bad their teams are in the comments below or on Twitter.

Draft order

  1. Matt Franciscovich (@MattFranchise) - NFL.com Associate Fantasy Writer/Editor
    1. Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) - NFL.com Associate Fantasy Writer/Editor
    2. Alex Wilk - NFL Fantasy LIVE Producer
    3. Hytham Kilani - NFL Fantasy LIVE Producer
    4. Alex Gelhar (@AlexGelhar) - NFL.com Fantasy Writer/Editor
    5. Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) - NFL.com Senior Fantasy Analyst
    6. Dylan Milner - NFL Fantasy LIVE Senior Producer
    7. Matt "Money" Smith (@MattMoneySmith) - NFL Fantasy LIVE host
    8. Adam Rank (@adamrank) - NFL Fantasy LIVE analyst
    9. Marcas Grant (@MarcasG)- NFL.com Fantasy Editor

ROUND 1

  1. Antonio Brown, Steelers (WR1) - Franchise
    1. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (WR2) - Harmon
    2. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers (RB1) - Wilk
    3. Todd Gurley, Rams (RB2) - Kilani
    4. Julio Jones, Falcons (WR3) - Gelhar
    5. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (RB3) - Fabiano
    6. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (WR4) - Milner
    7. David Johnson, Cardinals (RB4) - Money
    8. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (RB5) - Rank
    9. Devonta Freeman, Falcons (RB6) - Grant

Alex Gelhar: Well, it took us awhile to assemble a crew, but we finally put together our first staff mock of the 2016 fantasy season, and I for one had a blast. How was your inaugural mocking experience?

Marcas Grant: It was certainly interesting. I was very curious to see how high Ezekiel Elliott would go. Being in the 10th spot, I didn't think I had a shot at him, but he got closer than I ever would have imagined.

AG: Very true, though the early (and expected) run on wide receivers certainly made that possible. I imagine these 10 players will comprise many first round mocks the rest of the offseason, give or take a Gronk here or there.

ROUND 2

  1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (TE1) - Grant
    1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (RB7) - Rank
    2. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (WR5) - Money
    3. Doug Martin, Buccaneers (RB8) - Milner
    4. A.J. Green, Bengals (WR6) - Fabiano
    5. Lamar Miller, Texans (RB9) - Gelhar
    6. Allen Robinson, Jaguars (WR7) - Kilani
    7. Jordy Nelson, Packers (WR8) - Wilk
    8. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (WR9) - Harmon
    9. LeSean McCoy, Bills (RB10) - Franchise

MG: Speaking of Gronk ... is it weird that I waited until pick 11 to take him instead of pick 10? Just mentally it felt more comfortable saying I drafted him in the second round.

AG: Nah, I totally get that. You could easily make a case for several names in this round to be first-rounders (Dez Bryant, Jamaal Charles, Lamar Miller), but I'm sure all of the owners preferred getting them in Round 2. If there was a surprise pick, I might go with Mike Evans by Harmon, though I know he's quite high on him.

MG: I might say the same about Doug Martin. I loved him last year as an RB2. I fear that this year he's going to get overdrafted and leave a lot of people disappointed.

ROUND 3

  1. Brandon Marshall, Jets (WR10) - Franchise
    1. Keenan Allen, Chargers (WR11) - Harmon
    2. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (RB11) - Wilk
    3. Alshon Jeffery, Bears (WR12) - Kilani
    4. Eddie Lacy, Packers (RB12) - Gelhar
    5. Mark Ingram, Saints (RB13) - Fabiano
    6. Brandin Cooks, Saints (WR13) - Milner
    7. Cam Newton, Panthers (QB1) - Money
    8. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (QB2) - Rank
    9. C.J. Anderson, Broncos (RB14) - Grant

AG: Moving on to Round 3, I was a bit surprised to see multiple quarterbacks off the board (especially since Money didn't draft Drew Brees!). What was your thinking as Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers went right before your pick?

MG: I was fine with it since I had no intentions of taking a QB in that slot. I was a little surprised to see Thomas Rawls gone so soon since we have no real idea what his status is going to be for training camp, let alone Week 1.

AG: Count me among the Rawls believers. I'm fine with taking him there, but his ADP will change drastically as his recovery timeline becomes more clear closer to the season. I don't want to be too self congratulatory, but I thought nabbing Eddie Lacy in a contract year in the middle of the third was a steal.

ROUND 4

  1. Amari Cooper, Raiders (WR14)- Grant
    1. Sammy Watkins, Bills (WR15) - Rank
    2. Jordan Reed, Redskins (TE2) - Money
    3. Carlos Hyde, 49ers (RB15) - Milner
    4. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (WR16) - Fabiano
    5. Ryan Mathews, Eagles (RB16) - Gelhar
    6. Tyler Eifert, Bengals (TE3) - Kilani
    7. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (WR17) - Wilk
    8. Randall Cobb, Packers (WR18) - Harmon
    9. Matt Forte, Jets (RB17) - Franchise

MG: I'll give Franchise credit for a huge steal getting Matt Forte at the end of Round 4. I chose C.J. Anderson over him at the end of the third round but never imagined he'd last on the board that much longer.

AG: Franchise, Harmon and Fabs had my favorite picks of the round. Demaryius Thomas' value could be hurt by his quarterback situation, but that is one talented wideout to get in the fourth. Same goes for Randall Cobb, who I expect to bounce back in a big way. I know some were surprised Harmon grabbed four wideouts to start, but I would have done the same in his position with Cobb.

MG: Maybe this is for another time and place, but the start of Harmon's draft (four straight WRs) brings up an interesting conversation about drafting for value versus drafting to fill needs.

ROUND 5

  1. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (WR19) - Franchise
    1. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (RB18) - Harmon
    2. Julian Edelman, Patriots (WR20) - Wilk
    3. Dion Lewis, Patriots (RB19) - Kilani
    4. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (WR21) - Gelhar
    5. Jeremy Hill, Bengals (RB20) - Fabiano
    6. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (WR22) - Milner
    7. Jeremy Langford, Bears (RB21) - Money
    8. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (K1) - Rank
    9. Latavius Murray, Raiders (RB22) - Grant

AG: I see your point, but that early in the draft I'll almost always take the superior player over need. As for Round 5, my heart grew two sizes when Hytham made Dion Lewis a top 20 running back in this mock, but we'd be doing this article a disservice if we didn't talk about Rank's curious kicker pick.

MG: I applaud him for it. He's been threatening to do it all offseason. Good to know he's a man of his word. Plus, he got the best player at his position. And for everyone giving him grief for it on Twitter. Calm all the way down. It's a mock draft in May ... and it ain't your team.

AG: I 100 percent agree. It's not like Rank's a surgeon saying he's performing his next operation using a Doc McStuffins playkit. He's an analyst for a game about fake football, and he's having fun -- like you're supposed to. People take this too seriously sometimes.

ROUND 6

  1. Eric Decker, Jets (WR23) - Grant
    1. Greg Olsen, Panthers (TE4) - Rank
    2. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs (WR24) - Money
    3. Matt Jones, Redskins (RB23) - Milner
    4. Golden Tate, Lions (WR25) - Fabiano
    5. Michael Floyd, Cardinals (WR26) - Gelhar
    6. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (QB3) - Kilani
    7. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins (RB24) - Wilk
    8. Danny Woodhead, Chargers (RB25) - Harmon
    9. DeMarco Murray, Titans (RB26) - Franchise

MG: On to Round 6 ... the Matt Jones pick seems aspirational. But I did like Alex Wilk's Jay Ajayi pick later in the round.

AG: Indeed. I also felt this round offered some great value at the wide receiver position. Decker, Maclin, Tate and Floyd should all be solid contributors to fantasy squads this fall.

MG: And in a sign of the times, Danny Woodhead came off the board ahead of DeMarco Murray. How the mighty have fallen.

ROUND 7

  1. John Brown, Cardinals (WR27) - Franchise
    1. Gary Barnidge, Browns (TE5) - Harmon
    2. Tom Brady, Patriots (QB4) - Wilk
    3. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars (RB27) - Kilani
    4. Michael Crabtree, Raiders (WR28) - Gelhar
    5. Andrew Luck, Colts (QB5) - Fabiano
    6. Coby Fleener, Saints (TE6) - Milner
    7. Frank Gore, Colts (RB28) - Money
    8. Jordan Matthews, Eagles (WR29) - Rank
    9. Melvin Gordon, Chargers (RB29) - Grant

AG: Call me crazy, but Money getting Frank Gore, a starting running back with little depth behind him in a potentially high-powered offense, might just be the steal of the draft. Meanwhile, the pick right before it, Coby Fleener, might be the reach of the draft.

MG: If we're talking about Colts drafted, Fabiano taking Andrew Luck in the seventh round might be the biggest surprise of the draft. I have to think he was distracted and just doesn't want to own up to it.

AG: Very true. Mr. "Wait on a QB" went and grabbed one three-plus rounds ahead of his usual schedule. I did like the wide receivers selected by Franchise and Rank here, as both John Brown and Jordan Matthews could be in for big years.

ROUND 8

  1. DeSean Jackson, Redskins (WR30) - Grant
    1. DeVante Parker, Dolphins (WR31) - Rank
    2. Kevin White, Bears (WR32) - Money
    3. Ameer Abdullah, Lions (RB30)- Milner
    4. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (WR33)- Fabiano
    5. Drew Brees, Saints (QB6)- Gelhar
    6. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (WR34) - Kilani
    7. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (TE7) - Wilk
    8. Donte Moncrief, Colts (WR35) - Harmon
    9. Delanie Walker, Titans (TE8) - Franchise

MG: I liked the Kevin White and Ameer Abdullah picks in Round 8. They're both sort of speculative, but there's plenty of upside with both of those players if they perform anywhere near expectations.

AG: Absolutely. Kind of crazy to see Emmanuel Sanders fall so low, but I feel the uncertainty over the quarterback position in Denver has everyone worried about those wide receivers. Thankfully, it's only May.

MG: And Drew Brees this low? This could be the second straight year where there's (mostly unfounded) draft panic over a Brees fall-off. But good on you for getting him there.

ROUND 9

  1. Duke Johnson, Browns (RB31) - Franchise
    1. Giovani Bernard, Bengals (RB32) - Harmon
    2. Allen Hurns, Jaguars (WR36) - Wilk
    3. Rashad Jennings, Giants (RB33) - Kilani
    4. Kenneth Dixon, Ravens (RB34) - Gelhar
    5. Ladarius Green, Steelers (TE9) - Fabiano
    6. Stefon Diggs, Vikings (WR37) - Milner
    7. Blake Bortles, Jaguars (QB7) - Money
    8. Paul Perkins, Giants (RB34) - Rank
    9. Carson Palmer, Cardinals (QB8) - Grant

AG: Yeah, people forget Brees suffered from both shoulder and foot injuries last year ... and still finished as a the QB6. Looking at Round 9, we could call this the "upside" round. Guys like Duke Johnson, Ladarius Green, and all of the rookies have potentially high ceilings, but also low floors.

MG: Money passes on Drew Brees and takes Blake Bortles one round later. Is this going to be his new M.O.? That might be the biggest fantasy storyline of the offseason to watch.

AG: I was a little surprised he grabbed a second signal-caller after taking Cam in Round 3, but Money has always been higher on quarterbacks than many of us in the office.

ROUND 10

  1. Corey Coleman, Browns (WR38) - Grant
    1. Josh Doctson, Redskins (WR39) - Rank
    2. Devontae Booker, Broncos (RB36) - Money
    3. Kirk Cousins, Redskins (QB9) - Milner
    4. Justin Forsett, Ravens (RB37) - Fabiano
    5. Sterling Shepard, Giants (WR37) - Gelhar
    6. Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans (WR41) - Kilani
    7. Chris Ivory, Jaguars (RB38) - Wilk
    8. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (WR42) - Harmon
    9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (QB10) - Franchise

MG: Rookies galore in Round 10! I like all of those picks. Admittedly one was mine. /pats self on back

AG: Psh, I took my second consecutive rookie, and loved both picks. /high fives self

MG: I want to think highly of Dorial Green-Beckham, but in my mind he has the stink of the Titans offense on him. I hope to shake that bias, but I'll probably end up avoiding him in all drafts.

ROUND 11

  1. Karlos Williams, Bills (RB39) - Franchise
    1. C.J. Prosise, Seahawks (RB40) - Harmon
    2. Derrick Henry, Titans (RB41) - Wilk
    3. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (RB42) - Kilani
    4. Marvin Jones, Lions (WR43) - Gelhar
    5. Theo Riddick, Lions, (RB43) - Fabiano
    6. Broncos D/ST (DEF1) - Milner
    7. Travis Benjamin, Chargers (WR44) - Money
    8. Markus Wheaton, Steelers (WR45) - Rank
    9. Charles Sims, Buccaneers (RB44) - Grant

AG:Derrick Henry slipping to Round 11 is my bad ... I was the one putting the rookies higher in the draft client rankings the night before and he got left a little too low. Kudos to Wilk seeking him out though.

MG: We've got our first defense off the board in this round as well. Probably worth mentioning that we didn't mandate that everyone select a kicker or defense in this draft. But the Broncos are too good to pass up.

AG: I always wait on a defense, but the Broncos do give Milner a bit of a weekly advantage. I did love the receiver picks in this round, particularly Rank nabbing Markus Wheaton.

ROUND 12

  1. Andy Dalton, Bengals (QB11) - Grant
    1. Jordan Howard, Bears (RB45) - Rank
    2. Dwayne Allen, Colts (TE10) - Money
    3. Tavon Austin, Rams (WR46) - Milner
    4. Steve Smith, Ravens (WR47) - Fabiano
    5. Arian Foster, free agent (RB46) - Gelhar
    6. Tevin Coleman, Falcons (RB47) - Kilani
    7. Laquon Treadwell, Vikings (WR48) - Wilk
    8. Torrey Smith, 49ers (WR49) - Harmon
    9. Willie Snead, Saints (WR50) - Franchise

MG: I feel like Round 12 was the Hail Mary round. Tavon Austin, Steve Smith, Arian Foster. Then somehow Laquon Treadwell sneaks in. What were we thinking to let him fall that far?

AG: That the Minnesota offense ranked 32nd in pass attempts last year?

MG: Welp.

ROUND 13

  1. Kamar Aiken, Ravens (WR51) - Franchise
    1. Eli Manning, Giants (QB12) - Harmon
    2. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (TE11) - Wilk
    3. Derek Carr, Raiders (QB13) - Kilani
    4. Antonio Gates, Chargers (TE12) - Gelhar
    5. Julius Thomas, Jaguars (TE13) - Fabiano
    6. Jeff Janis, Packers (WR52) - Milner
    7. Texans D/ST (DEF2) - Money
    8. Jaguars D/ST (DEF3) - Rank
    9. Seahawks D/ST (DEF4) - Grant

AG: I was thrilled grabbing Brees when I did, but man, seeing Harmon and Kilani grab Eli Manning and Derek Carr in Round 13 made me question that pick. Also ... Kamar Aiken, steal of the round?

MG: I think you misspelled Jeff Janis. But yeah, I did love the Manning and Carr picks there.

AG: All hail Janis, king of the largest truther army.

ROUND 14

  1. Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers (RB49) - Grant
    1. Clive Walford, Raiders (TE14) - Rank
    2. Darren McFadden, Cowboys (RB50) - Money
    3. Marcus Mariota, Titans (QB14) - Milner
    4. Tony Romo, Cowboys (QB15) - Fabiano
    5. Jared Cook, Packers (TE15) - Gelhar
    6. Panthers D/ST (DEF5) - Kilani
    7. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (QB16) - Wilk
    8. Zach Ertz, Eagles (TE16) - Harmon
    9. Wendell Smallwood, Eagles (RB50) - Franchise

MG: Michael Fabiano drafts Tony Romo in Round 14. All is right with the world.

AG: Another steal. I threw a dart at Jared Cook because ...  ¯_('-')_/¯

ROUND 15

  1. Tyler Ervin, Texans (RB51) - Franchise
    1. Isaiah Crowell, Browns (RB52) - Harmon
    2. Robert Woods, Bills (WR52) - Wilk
    3. Chandler Catanzaro, (K2) - Kilani
    4. Rams D/ST (DEF6) - Gelhar
    5. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers (WR53) - Fabiano
    6. Graham Gano, Panthers (K3) - Milner
    7. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks (K4) - Money
    8. Nelson Agholor, Eagles (WR54) - Rank
    9. Albert Wilson, Chiefs (WR55) - Grant

MG: If there's a better way to end a draft than by sounding a Bert Alert, I'd love to hear it.

AG: Answer: There isn't.

Why wait? CLICK HERE to get your 2016 NFL Fantasy season started.

-- Follow Alex and Marcas on Twitter @AlexGelhar and @MarcasG

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