It's that time again ... are you ready for a little mock 'n' roll? This one is going to surprise some people out there for several reasons, none more evident than the utter lack of quarterbacks among the first 20 picks. I have said it before and I will say it again (and again, and again) -- the depth among signal-callers has never been more plentiful than it will be entering the 2013 season. This is also the first mock I've posted since the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft, so it will allow fantasy owners a much clearer view of what an actual fantasy football draft will look like for this upcoming campaign.
This mock draft is based on NFL.com's standard 10-team leagues with a basic (non-PPR) scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns scored. Each numbered position represents an individual fantasy team, so no more than one quarterback, three running backs, three wide receivers or one tight end will be selected per roster.
1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans:Adrian Peterson might have been better in 2012, but Foster was once again a superstar with 262.10 fantasy points. Sure, landing either one of these runners is a great way to start your fantasy draft. But let's talk about realistic statistical expectations -- do you really think Peterson will rush for 2,000-plus yards again? That's a tough task. I think Foster has a better chance to duplicate the 262.10 fantasy points he scored last season.
2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson, the 2012 NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year, showed that he is no mere mortal out on the football field. Despite having major knee surgery, he still put up 2,097 rushing yards and led all backs in fantasy points. While I have Foster ranked ahead of him, A.D. is going to be the No. 1 overall selection in countless 2013 fantasy drafts. And honestly, I don't have a problem with that at all -- he's a top-two draft pick.
3. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Lynch rocked the fantasy football world in 2011, rushing for more than 1,200 yards with an impressive 13 total touchdowns. To prove that was no fluke, he went into Beast Mode again in 2012 with more than 1,500 yards on the ground and 12 total scores. He's still in the prime of his career at the age of 26, and the Seahawks will no doubt continue to ride their workhorse throughout the upcoming season. He's a surefire first-round choice.
4. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Rice finished sixth in fantasy points at the position in 2012 and has a nice track record of success as the main back in Baltimore. At 25, he's also still in his athletic prime. Some fantasy leaguers might be worried about the presence of Bernard Pierce, who showed flashes of real potential during his rookie season. But if you ask me, Rice is still as close to being a featured back as you can have in the National Football League.
5. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Martin, a rookie standout in the stat sheets, finished second to Peterson based on fantasy points among running backs in 2012. While there is always that threat of a dreaded sophomore slump, Martin is still going to be a very tough runner to pass on in Round 1 -- especially with LeGarrette Blount now in New England. The "Muscle Hamster" will be off the board with one of the first five overall choices in a good majority of fantasy drafts.
6. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Charles rushed for more than 1,500 yards in his first year back from a major knee reconstruction, recorded 220-plus rushing yards twice and finished eighth at his position based on fantasy points. The addition of coach Andy Reid should mean even more of a featured role for Charles, who figures to also be more prominent in the pass attack. Still in the prime of his career, Charles should be considered one of the NFL's most-coveted running backs.
7. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: A top-five overall pick last season, McCoy missed several games with a concussion and didn't finish among the top 20 players at his position. Regardless, I think he'll have a major rebound in the stat sheets in the offense of coach Chip Kelly. Runners thrived in Kelly's system at Oregon, and McCoy is versatile enough to be a serious contributor. At 24, he's still a very young runner who will be a surefire first-rounder in most leagues.
8. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns: Richardson finished among the 10 best players at his position last season, despite missing some time due to injuries. The bruising back should be at 100 percent in time for the start of training camp, and I think he can improve on the 203.70 fantasy points he scored in 2012. With no threats to his backfield workload, including goal-line chances, Richardson will be a very valuable asset and is well worth a first-round draft selection.
9. C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills: One of the most explosive playmakers at his position, Spiller averaged six yards per carry, put up better than 1,700 scrimmage yards and found the end zone eight times last season. While the return of Fred Jackson from an injured knee is a cause for at least some concern, I can't see new coach Doug Marrone not utilizing Spiller in a prominent role in the offense. He averaged more fantasy points per touch than any prominent runner in 2012, too.
10. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: The top fantasy wide receiver in each of the last two seasons, Johnson will be one of the first 12 players selected in 2013 fantasy drafts. Not only did he break Jerry Rice's record for receiving yards in a single season with 1,964 in 2012, but he has now recorded 220-plus fantasy points in each of his last two campaigns. That's huge production from a wideout. Fantasy leaguers in PPR formats are also certain to target Megatron in Round 1.
11. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: One of the best draft bargains (or waiver-wire pickups) of the 2012 campaigns, Morris emerged to finish second in rushing yards and fifth in fantasy points among backs. The Florida Atlantic product could be hard-pressed to duplicate 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, though, and the spector of Shanahanigans always looms in Washington. Still, Morris has to be seen as a No. 1 fantasy runner across the board in 2013.
12. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Once Megatron is selected, Green is not going to be far behind. The breakout star put up career bests across the board in his second pro season, recording 1,350 yards with 11 visits to the end zone. Green was also a consistent and reliable contributor in the stat sheets, scoring double-digit fantasy points on 10 different occassions. The top option in the offense for coach Marvin Lewis, Green is a clear superstar in fantasy.
13. Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears: Reunited with Jay Cutler, Marshall put up career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2012. In fact, Megatron was the lone wide receiver to score more fantasy points -- and the difference between the two was fewer than four. Assuming he has no setbacks in his return from a surgical procedure on his hip, Marshall should continue to produce in the stat sheets. He won't last until the later portion of Round 2 in most leagues.
14. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Despite a painfully slow start to last season, Bryant finished hot and recorded career bests across the board. The third-ranked player at his position, he put up 1,382 yards with 12 touchdowns and scored no fewer than 9.90 fantasy points in each of his last seven games during the fantasy season. The top option in the offense for Tony Romo, Bryant is a fantasy star in the making and well worth a second-round selection in all standard and PPR formats.
15. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: Thomas put up career totals across the board and emerged as one of Peyton Manning's top options in the pass attack last season. A talented and physical receiver, the Georgia Tech product is tough for defenders to cover and should continue to produce impressive totals as long as he has the future Hall of Fame quarterback under center. In standard scoring and PPR leagues, Thomas will be off the draft board no later than Round 2 or 3.
16. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones had a bit of an inconsistent start to the 2012 campaign, but he finished strong and helped a lot of owners win a title. He put up 79 catches, 1,198 yards and found the end zone a total of 10 times as he emerged into one of Matt Ryan's most reliable options. At 23, Jones has a huge ceiling and should only get better with experience. In fact, I can easily see him improving on the 182.80 fantasy points he recorded this past season.
17. Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Harvin was well on his way to a monster 2012 season, but an injured ankle cost him his final seven games. The Florida product will be fine to start training camp, though, and the sky is once again the limit. A dual threat in both the passing and running game, Harvin's skill set makes him a candidate to rank among the top five players at his position in 2013. Whatever you do, don't let Harvin slide past the second or third round in drafts.
18. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: Let me preface this selection by saying this -- I know Rodgers is not going to be available at this stage of most 2013 drafts, but I simply refuse to take a quarterback in the earlier rounds. That's not a knock on Rodgers, but it's just not a smart strategy to pass on the elite running backs and wide receivers when there are so many good signal-callers out there -- and most fantasy owners are required to start just one every week of the season.
19. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans: Johnson was considered a bust for all intents and purposes during the first half of last season, but he finished strong with 100-plus yards in five of his last nine starts. In all, Johnson ranked among the top 10 players at his position based on fantasy points -- that's familiar territory for him. Johnson is getting older and is no longer a top-five wideout from a fantasy football standpoint, but A.J. still remains a low-end No. 1 option.
20. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: He's back! At least it looks like Fitzgerald will be back to the form that made him an elite wide receiver for so many years. The Cardinals upgraded the quarterback position with the addition of Carson Palmer, and their offensive line should be at least somewhat improved for the 2013 campaign. Fitzgerald, who is motivated to prove that last season was no more than a fluke, should be considered a low-end No. 1 option with top-five skills.
23. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers: Cobb showed flashes of brilliance in his second pro season, and I think he'll break out even more in 2013. Now that the Packers have severed ties with Greg Jennings, Cobb will see more targets, more playing time and more chances to score a ton of fantasy points.
31. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints: Graham led all tight ends in fantasy production last season, and he's the first player taken at his position in this offseason mock.
32. Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jackson has had 1,000-plus yards and at least seven scores in each of his last four full seasons. He has plenty left in his tank.
33. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Gore will be 30 this season, but he just seems to get better with age. He'll go in the top four rounds in most 2013 fantasy leagues.
34. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons: White is a virtual lock to catch 90-plus passes with 1,000-plus yards in Atlanta's pass attack. Consider him a No. 1 or 2 fantasy wideout.
35. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski's status for the start of the 2013 season could be in question due to complications from multiple forearm surgeries.
36. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers: If you want a breakout wideout, look no further than Crabtree. He could be an absolute steal from a fantasy football perspective.
37. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: Cruz saw his yardage totals decline in 2012, but he has a nice nose for the end zone and will be motivated to produce in a contract year.
38. Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets: A major breakout candidate with the Jets, Ivory will have every opportunity to put up 1,000-plus yards and eight to 10 touchdowns in 2013.
39. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: The veteran out of Hofstra is worth a look at this stage of all fantasy drafts, just as long as Brees is throwing him the football.
40. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders: A risk-reward selection, McFadden is worth a roll of the dice here -- just make sure to also draft his eventual backup as insurance.
41. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts: The veteran has been statistically resurrected with the talented Luck under center. Wayne will have more value in PPR leagues in 2013.
42. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Luck could make the biggest statistical jump from the 2012 quarterback class. He could also finish as a top-five fantasy signal-caller.
43. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Injuries were a huge issue for Nelson last season, but his role will increase with Jennings gone. He should score 10-plus times.
44. Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers: Owners might reach for Kaepernick after his impressive playoff run last season. Regardless, he's a huge breakout candidate in 2013.
45. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Murray has lacked durability, but his upside makes him well worth the risk in Round 5. He still has 1,000-yard potential in Dallas' offense.
46. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: Nicks dealt with injuries for most of last season, but he should be 100 percent for 2013 - he'll also be motivated in a contract year.
47. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson was solid as a rookie, and he now he has a star in Harvin in the pass attack. The sky seems to be the limit for him this season.
48. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: With Alex Smith under center and coach Andy Reid calling the plays, Bowe is in a great position to have a bounce-back season in 2013.
49. Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins: Miller, the favorite to start for coach Joe Philbin, is in a great position to put up solid totals for fantasy leaguers. He's a major sleeper pick.
50. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: If RG3 (knee) is ready to play in Week 1, he'll be moved up in future mocks. As of now, he's still well worth a top-50 selection.