Well, it's that time again ... let's get mocked! I'm not talking about NFL mock drafts ahead of next month's extravaganza, I'll leave those for Mike Mayock, Daniel Jeremiah and the like. This one is for fantasy fanatics who can't wait to draft or for those who have gotten into early best ball leagues. Of course, this latest edition includes some old faces in new places, as the free-agent period has shaken up the value of several big-name players. Read it. Love it. Hate it. Mock it. Enjoy it.
This mock draft is based on a 10-team league with a PPR scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns.
1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: I can make an argument for at least five different players to be the No. 1 overall pick, but I'm going with Bell. He was a top-10 PPR running back 12 times and ranked in the top 20 in more than 50 percent of his starts last season. The potential for another camp holdout is a cause for concern, so Bell could move down a spot or two in future mocks.
2. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: Gurley went bananas last season, as he was a top-10 PPR runner in 12 of his 15 games. Furthermore, he averaged 25.5 points per game and scored 20-plus points 10 times including seven games with more than 25 points. While I do expect there to be at least some regression after what was a career campaign, Gurley won't fall past the second pick.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Am I sometimes a Cowboys homer? Yup. But how can you pass on Zeke as a top-three pick? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he leads the position in fantasy points next season. Elliott missed six games due to a suspension in 2017, but he averaged the third-most PPR points (20.3 PPG) among backs who played at least seven games (Gurley and Bell).
4. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Johnson scored over 400 PPR points in 2016 and was the consensus top pick this past season, but an injured wrist sidelined him for most of the 2017 campaign. He'll be back at 100 percent for the start of camps, however, and he'll be fresh after missing significant time. New coach Steve Wilks is going to run Johnson a ton, too.
5. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: The best wide receiver in fantasy football, Brown led his position with 1,533 yards and six top-five finishes in 14 games. He also scored 25-plus PPR points in half of his games and led all PPR receivers in points-per-game average (22.2). I can see A.B. being the top overall selection in countless PPR drafts, but this running back truther has him at No. 5.
6. Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Hunt was a fantasy machine as a rookie, as he had seven top-10 PPR finishes and was a top-20 runner 10 different times. He was able to reach these heights despite a five-game stretch where he ranked no higher than 24th at the position. While Spencer Ware (knee) should be back in the mix, Hunt isn't about to lose his featured role in K.C.
7. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints: Kamara failed to finish better than 18th in PPR points among running back in four of his first five games as a rookie, but he thrived once the Saints traded Adrian Peterson. In fact, he had a six-week stretch where he ranked no worse than ninth among PPR backs including five top-4 finishes and three No. 1 finishes. Kamara is the real deal, my friends.
8. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: A superstar rookie back, Fournette scored 10 total touchdowns and averaged 17.7 PPR points in 13 games. While he finished as a top-five runner just twice, he also ranked in the top 15 in PPR points 10 times. Fournette will continue to shine as the centerpiece of the Jags offense, so expect to hear his name called in the first round of drafts.
9. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: Hopkins, a massive disappointment for owners in 2016, Hopkins exploded for 96 receptions, 1,378 yards, 13 touchdowns and the second-most PPR fantasy points among wide receivers. In seven games with Deshaun Watson under center, Nuk ranked in the top five at his position three times (43 percent) and in the top 10 four times (57 percent). Giddy up.
10. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: Beckham Jr. was playing at a high level before suffering a gruesome leg injury last season, as he scored 20-plus PPR points in two of his four games. Barring a setback in his return to the gridiron, OBJ figures to be a top-10 overall pick and won't last past the top 15 in most formats. Let's just hope he stays out of trouble off the field.
11. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: Gordon proved that his sophomore campaign was no fluke, as he scored 12 touchdowns and ranked fifth in PPR points among running backs this past season. He also tied for fourth in top-5 finishes (5), and just five other backs averaged more PPR points. Flash also scored 20-plus points five times, including four games with 25-plus points.
12. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: Thomas wasn't much of a touchdown scorer last season, but he did finish third in receptions (104) and sixth in receiving yards (1,245) among wideouts. He was very reliable in his final 11 contests too, as Thomas ranked in the top-20 eight times (72.7 percent) including five top-12 finishes and a pair of top-four ranks in the fantasy postseason.
13. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: A first-round pick last season, Jones has fallen into the second round of these mock drafts. While his final numbers looked good, the veteran ranked outside of the top 20 PPR wideouts in 11 of his 16 games, and 20 percent of his total fantasy points came in just one game. He's just too inconsistent to be a first-round selection at this point in time.
14. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers were a fantasy disappointment as a team last season, and Evans was the main perpetrator. A top-10 wide receiver in four of his first six games, the talented veteran went on to rank better than 23rd in PPR points at his position in just seven of his final nine games. He's Florida's version of Jones ... talented, but unreliable at times.
15. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green is another in a long line of unreliable fantasy wideouts from a season ago. While he did have four top-10 finishes and seven top-20 finishes among receivers, most of his success came in the first half of the season. In fact, Green ranked 35th or worse at his position in four of his final seven games and was better than 17th once during that time.
16. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: McCoy had another successful season in the stat sheets, as he ranked seventh among PPR running backs with six top-10 finishes. He also had four games where he ranked fifth or better. Based on the high number of talented, young players at his position and the fact that McCoy will turn 30 this summer, I'm projecting him as a second-round pick in PPR formats.
17. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers: The 2017 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Allen returned from a torn ACL to produce career bests in catches (102) and receiving yards (1,393) last season. He also finished third behind Brown and Hopkins among wideouts in PPR leagues, making him a massive asset. In what will remain a potent offense, Allen will be a top-25 choice in PPR drafts.
18. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Cook, who missed all but four games as a rookie due to an injured knee, had two top-10 performances in three full contests. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman believes Cook will be fine for the start of training camp, so look for him to reclaim a featured role. With Jerick McKinnon no longer on the roster, I like Cook as a surefire top-20 selection.
19. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: Ingram ranked 20th or worse among running backs in PPR leagues in each of his first five games, but he went on to rank in the top 10 in seven of his next eight. He also ranked in the top 5 in five of his 16 games, which ranked tied for fourth with Gordon at the position. A first-round talent, Ingram will be a nice second-round bargain in 2018 PPR drafts.
20, Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers: McCaffrey ran for just 435 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, but his 80 catches, 651 yards and five scores as a receiver made him a top-10 fantasy back in PPR leagues. His value is rising after the team released Jonathan Stewart and didn't replace him in free agency, though I do fear the Panthers will add a big back in the draft.
21. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: Adams was very inconsistent in his first eight games, but he finished with four top-12 PPR finishes including two top-10 ranks in his final five full games before being injured in Week 15. I can see him being picked in the second round after the release of Jordy Nelson, but Adams is locked and loaded as a top-25 PPR selection regardless.
22. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski looks like he'll be back for this ninth NFL season, so he'll also be back as a top-25 PPR pick in fantasy land. In fact, I have the big man as the first tight end off the board (big shocker). Last season, the New England touchdown machine recorded nine top-10 finishes and had eight top-5 finishes at the tight end position.
23. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings: While Blue Swede came to our minds when we heard his name, Thielen was making sweet fantasy music for owners last season. He finished eighth in PPR scoring despite scoring just four times, and now he'll have Kirk Cousins throwing him the football. You like that? Thielen should lead the Vikings in targets in what will be a fun offense to watch.
24. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman ranked 13th among backs in PPR scoring this past season, which is his worst finish since 2014. He was still a reliable option though, as he finished with double-digit points 12 times and was a top-20 performer in seven of his 14 games. Still just 25 years old, the veteran will be a high-end No. 2 fantasy runner in 10-team PPR leagues.
25. Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers: The biggest mover after the free-agency frenzy, McKinnon is now locked into a top-30 pick in PPR leagues. New coach Kyle Shanahan, who has had a top-8 PPR runner in three straight seasons, will use McKinnon much like he did Freeman in Atlanta. McKinnon, a solid pass-catcher, should haul in 50-plus receptions from Jimmy Garoppolo.
26. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: Howard saw a decline in his rushing yards compared to his rookie season output, but he did find the end zone nine times and ranked as a top-15 runner in PPR formats. While he figures to lose work on passing downs to Tarik Cohen, Howard should produce RB2 numbers under the guidance of new head coach Matt Nagy. He'll be a popular pick in Round 3.
27. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Hill ranked in the top-20 nine times last season, including four different games in the top 10. He was also a star down the stretch, putting up three top-11 finishes over his final four games of the fantasy season. I wouldn't expect his value to change much with Patrick Mahomes under center, so look for Hill to be a top-35 selection next season.
28. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald might be getting up there in age, but that hasn't curbed his level of production. In fact, the future Hall of Famer was second in receptions behind Jarvis Landry last season. While Sam Bradford might not be the sexiest name at quarterback, he's an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert, right? I'm betting on another nice season from Fitzgerald.
29. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: An argument can be made that Kelce, and not Gronkowski, should be the first tight end pick in 2018 drafts. After all, he has been the highest-scoring player at the position for two straight seasons, He also finished no worse than 13th in all but three games, and he failed to post top-20 totals just once. You have to like that level of production.
30. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: I have Hilton ranked in the top 30 based on the assumption that Andrew Luck (shoulder) will be back under center for the Colts in Week 1. In that scenario, Hilton could be a steal in some drafts. A potential target hog with Donte Moncrief now in Jacksonville, I can see the talented veteran hitting the 80-catch mark with relative ease ... and lots of "Luck."
36. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Baldwin made his fantasy owners angry with some inconsistent stat lines a season ago, but he still finished 13th in PPR scoring among wideouts.