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.
Knowing the owners the way I do, I knew they were all going to load up on running backs early, so I would have to do the same if I wanted to get at least two bell-cow runners. After that I was going to wait as late as I could before taking a quarterback. Andrew Luck is going to be a top-five fantasy quarterback this season so he was my main target. I was going to get him if at all humanly possible. I also had Brandon Myers and Kyle Rudolph as the top two tight ends on my board -- because I'll never draft a tight end early -- and was hoping to get one of them in the eighth round or later. I think they'll both be breakout tight ends this season.
Did your draft strategy work?
Yes. Picking sixth and 15th, I selected Doug Martin and Maurice Jones-Drew. I'm banking on a big bounce-back from MJD this season, whose 2012 injury let his draft stock drop to the second round. I was faced with taking Luck in the fifth round or losing him completely. And while I still could have gotten a quarterback like Cam Newton or Peyton Manning, you have to take the guy you believe in the most. Though I must admit, when Aaron Rodgers was still there in the third round a couple of picks before me I was debating to select him then, because I didn't think he'd still be there at that point. But he went before I selected, so I avoided that drama. Brandon Myers lasted until the 11th round, which I was extremely happy about. I might have been able to even wait another round to take him but I didn't want to mess around.
What was your favorite pick(s)?
Besides Luck in the fifth, I was pleased with Pierre Garcon in the sixth and Andre Brown in the ninth round. Garcon will be a breakout player this season now that he's healthy. He has incredible chemistry with Robert Griffin III and showed in limited action last year how much he can produce. Brown is very under-rated. He's going to get all the red zone carries for the Giants and will, at the very least, share the load with David Wilson. Brown runs angry, which I like, and Wilson has a fumbling issue, which could also play into Brown's favor. I wouldn't be surprised if he was my regular flex by mid-season.
What pick(s) do you most regret?
I liked how everything came around for me, but if I had to pick one, it would be James Jones in the eighth round. It's incredible value for Jones, who was clearly the best wide receiver left on the board. I briefly debated the merits of having both him and Randall Cobb, as I could see myself trying to decide which Green Bay wide receiverI would play each week when the season came around. Will I be able to play both of them every week? But in the end it was the eighth round and I didn't want to outthink myself. Who knows how things will unfold when the footballs start flying for real? Who stays healthy, who stays productive, etc? So I'll solve that issue in the fall if/when it comes around.
Who drafted the best fantasy team?
You mean outside of my own? OK. I love what RG3 and Outs did. Chris Ivory is going to be a star this season, as will Lamar Miller. I know it looks a little uncertain right now, but both will wind up being their teams' No. 1 RBs by a wide margin. I'm a big believer in DeAndre Hopkins having some pretty good value in 2012 as well. His bench is full of boom-or-bust type guys, which is what you want on your bench: Cecil Shorts, Danario Alexander, Johnathan Franklin. All you need is one of those guys to come through and you're looking pretty good.