NFL.com held it's first experts league mock draft of the year on Monday, May 20th. The standard scoring league consists of NFL Fantasy LIVE members Dave Dameshek, Elliot Harrison, Michael Fabiano, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Jaime Maggio, Adam Rank, Matt "Money" Smith and Jason Smith. Also in the league are NFL.com fantasy editor Marcas Grant and NFL.com features editor Alex Gelhar. Each owner was required to put together a lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams unit.
With the No. 1 overall pick, I knew I was going to get three of the 21 best players in the draft, so I wanted to make sure I cashed in on those picks with guys I could count on week in and week out. You can't really win a league with your early picks, but you certainly can lose it. I went for consistency at the top of my draft, and sought upside at the bottom.
Did your draft strategy work?
For the most part, yes. When I look over my roster, the starters at the skill positions aren't the sexiest names in fantasy, but they're all proven contributors in positions to succeed. Little has changed from 2012-13 for them, and if it has, it's for the better, like Larry Fitzgerald getting Carson Palmer as his quarterback. Meanwhile, I nabbed some high-upside, young players later in the draft. If Eddie Lacy or Kendall Wright break out, I am in business.
What was your favorite pick(s)?
Shonn Greene, Round 15. Yes, Chris Johnson is still the lead-dog in the backfield, but if he becomes invisible for months at a time like he was last year, I have his talented replacement running behind a re-tooled offensive line waiting in the wings. Or, I could have a touchdown vulture to employ in the flex akin to LenDale White back in 2008 who scored 15 times in a year when Chris Johnsson ran for 1,228 yards and nine touchdowns himself. Hey, a guy can dream can't he?
What pick(s) do you most regret?
Russell Wilson, Round 6. I blame the fact that I was trying to draft while working on a separate article on this pick. While I do like Russell Wilson A LOT this year, and nabbing him at the end of the sixth-round isn't really a reach, I was caught up in the zeitgeist as four quarterbacks were taken in rounds five and six so I pulled the trigger on Wilson. Had I been patient, I could have had Ryan Mathews as my third running back, and grabbed Matt Ryan in the ninth before Fabiano had a chance at him instead.
Who drafted the best fantasy team?
I'm rather fond of what Marcas Grant did at the opposite end of the draft from me. His backfield is strong, but perhaps a bit unproven, yet he backed that up with two wideouts who combined for over 3,500 yards last season. Manning at the helm and Gonzalez at tight end add more stability (and loads of points) if Ivory struggles or Morris gets Shanahan-ed. He also has plenty of breakout options to rotate through his flex spot like Lamar Miller and Danario Alexander -- a dangerous proposition with a roster already loaded with talent.