Running backs dominate first round of expert mock

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NFL.com Fantasy held its second experts league mock draft for the 2014 campaign on July 17. The standard scoring league consisted of NFL Fantasy LIVE members Michael Fabiano, Marcas Grant, Elliot Harrison, Adam Rank, Matt "Money" Smith and Jason Smith, NFL Media editor and fantasy contributor Alex Gelhar, NFL.com associate fantasy editor Matt Franciscovich, NFL Digital Media senior video producer Dylan Milner and NFL Media product manager Evan Singer. Each of the 10 owners were required to put together a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR), one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams unit.

Draft Order:
1. Northern White Walkers: Michael Fabiano
2. Qerim's Harem: Evan Singer
3. Ghost Rider: Adam Rank
4. Suhey's Soup Sifter: Matt "Money" Smith
5. Fear Luck's Neckbeard: Alex Gelhar
6. Championship Fring: Marcas Grant  
7. Agony and Ivory: Jason Smith  
8. Coup d'etat: Dylan Milner
9. Healthy8: Elliot Harrison
10. Kool Kats: Matt Franciscovich

Round 1

Best pick: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles - The first round included all running backs, so it's tough for me to pick one that was better than the others (based on how I draft teams). With that said, I'll say the "best" pick was McCoy because he fell to No. 4 overall. I've been in mock drafts where he's been picked No. 1, and getting him outside of the top three is tremendous. He's an absolute stud.

Worst pick: None - There isn't one first-round pick in particular that I look at and think "that was a really bad selection." Some would suggest Ball is too much of a reach for Round 1, but I'm on board with this kid as a potential breakout runner playing in a Peyton Manning offense. This was a draft after my own heart, at least in Round 1, with all of the backs coming off the board.

Round 2

Best pick: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints - The best tight end in fantasy football, Graham was a nice pick in the second round ... due in large part to the fact that he's worth a pick in Round 1. The Miami (FL) product is like having an extra wide receiver in your starting lineup, and an elite one at that. He's a virtual lock to lead his position in overall fantasy points once again.

Worst pick: None - I like all of these selections, as my own draft philosophy is to take a runner in Round 1 and a wideout in Round 2. Maybe the riskiest pick in the round was Martin, who is coming off a bum shoulder and could find himself in a committee with rookie Charles Sims, Mike James and Bobby Rainey. Whether or not new OC Jeff Tedford features Martin still remains to be seen.

Round 3

Best pick: Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals - I have high expectations for Ellington, who seems to have little competition for backfield touches in Arizona. A versatile runner who could catch 50-plus passes for coach Bruce Arians, he's in line to have a breakout campaign. The one down side for Ellington is his lack of size, but his statistical potential for 2014 is clearly evident.

Worst pick: Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns - I like Tate to have a 1,000-yard season with the Browns, but taking him in the third round could be considered a bit of a reach. The team also drafted Terrance West, who could put a dent into Tate's carries as the season wears on. I'd prefer to land Tate as more of a low No. 2, high No. 3 back somewhere closer to the fourth or fifth round.

Round 4

Best pick: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers - Nelson has a track record for stat-sheet success, a stud quarterback throwing him the football, and he's entering a contract year. Sign me up for getting him at the start of the fourth round, because he's well worth taking 10 spots earlier in drafts. The Kool Kats pair him with Calvin Johnson to boast a very formidable wideout duo.

Worst pick: Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars - I like Gerhart as a potential sleeper in fantasy land, but grabbing him before taking your first wide receiver was a questionable decision. Instead, Suhey's Soup Sifter could have drafted either Andre Johnson or Keenan Allen and still landed Gerhart in the fifth round. He's going to be a boom or bust selection in drafts this season.

Round 5

Best pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings - I absolutely love Patterson as a potential breakout candidate in 2014, and Ghost Rider landing him in the fifth round as a No. 3 wide receiver should turn into quite a good move. I was also quite pleased with landing Rob Gronkowski in this round. There is a lot of risk here, but the upside with this pick is well worth the dice roll.

Worst pick: Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns - Cameron was one of the top fantasy tight ends of last season, but he was mediocre at best during the second half. That's not to say that I see him as a bust in 2014, but taking him in the fifth round is a bit of stretch for me. I might have gone with either Vernon Davis, Jason Witten or even Dennis Pitta ahead of Cameron at this position.

Round 6

Best pick: Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots - Vereen, who is entering a contract year, has a chance to become a nice bargain pick for Fear Luck's Neckbeard. This fantasy team now features Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris as a 1-2 backfield punch, leaving Vereen as a solid flex starter. With LeGarrette Blount no longer in New England, the Cal product should post career totals.

Worst pick: Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns - I agree that West has some deep sleeper appeal behind Ben Tate in Cleveland, but taking a projected backup running back in the sixth round is just a little too rich for my blood. There were a few other runners I would have taken a chance on in this round, including Trent Richardson and Maurice Jones-Drew, ahead of the rookie runner.

Round 7

Best pick: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts - Like many analysts out there, I've been a fan of Luck's ever since he came out of Stanford. Furthermore, I wouldn't be shocked if he pushed himself into the next tier of fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. If he reaches the potential that I and others see in him, Luck could be a real steal based on Qerim's Harem grabbing him in Round 7.

Worst pick: Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots - Don't get me wrong ... I think Ridley will rebound and put up better numbers this season than he did in 2013. How could he not? But the reason I don't like this pick is that better and more valuable running backs like Joique Bell, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew were all still on the board for Agony and Ivory.

Round 8

Best pick: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts - Hilton, who is entering his third season as a pro, finished among the 20-best wideouts in fantasy football in 2013. Sure, Reggie Wayne is back and Hakeem Nicks is now in the mix, but landing Hilton as a No. 4 wideout when he still has plenty of upside was a steal at the end of the eighth round. Bell was also a nice selection in this round.

Worst pick: Seahawks defense - I know how good the Seahawks defense has been and will be in 2014, but I just can't recommended taking a defensive unit this soon in a standard scoring league. Instead, Healthy8 could have built up better depth at the running back or wide receiver positions. If you played in an NFL-managed league, there's just no reason to go defense until the late rounds.

Round 9

Best pick: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins - This round had a big run on field generals. In fact, you can argue that Cam Newton, Nick Foles and RG3 were all great picks. However, Griffin III came off last in the round and was the best selection of the trio. With no lingering knee issues and in an offense that will throw the football, RG3 is in line to have a bounce-back year.

Worst pick: Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints - Cooks might have all the upside in the world, but rookie wide receivers just don't put up big numbers in most cases. In fact, a mere six have had 1,000 yards since 2000 ... among 154 wideouts drafted in that time. I would rather have taken Cooks' veteran teammate, Marques Colston, who was drafted a few picks later by Coup d'etat.

Round 10

Best pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons - Ryan finished a disappointing 15th in fantasy points among quarterbacks last season, but he lost his top weapon in Julio Jones and played behind what was a sketchy offensive line. With Jones back, Roddy White at 100 percent and an improved line in front of him, however, Ryan should move back into the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks in 2014.

Worst pick: Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams - I like Mason's skill set, but Zac Stacy looks like the top guy in St. Louis. Why take a backup when runners like Lamar Miller and Pierre Thomas are available? This is a simple case of overlooking some of the better options out there for a player with upside ... but a hill to climb from a statistical perspective. Mason is better left until the later rounds.

Round 11

Best pick: Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints - Thomas, who caught 77 passes last year, never seems to get any respect. With Darren Sproles now in Philadelphia, the veteran out of Illinois is a good bet to remain a prominent member of the Saints backfield in 2014. So the fact that Coup d' etat was able to land Thomas this late, even in a standard scoring system, is most impressive.

Worst pick: Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - Honestly, I can't argue with many of the picks made in this round. There are a lot of potential draft bargains, including the likes of Lamar Miller, Golden Tate and Zach Ertz. The one selection that raised an eyebrow is Jones, based on the other wideouts (Riley Cooper, Dwayne Bowe among others) that were still on the board at the time.

Round 12

Best pick: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans - I was hoping to see Hopkins fall to me at No. 120, but Ghost Rider swooped him up a few picks earlier. A second-year wideout, he could be on the verge of a nice statistical season ... especially if veteran Andre Johnson holds out and remains disgruntled with the Texans. The upside with Hopkins is pretty high heading into this season.

Worst pick: Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers - I like Green's abilities, but how does he get drafted ahead of guys like Charles Clay, Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker? With Gates still in the mix, even if he's past his prime, Green has little chance at a true "featured" role at the tight end position in San Diego. There were simply better, safer players still on the board.

Round 13

Best pick: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons - It's at these late stages of a fantasy draft when you should take deep sleepers, and Ghost Rider did just that with the selection of Freeman. Playing behind an aging Steven Jackson, the rookie out of Florida State could bear statistical fruit if the cards fall in the right places. He's a low-risk, all-potential selection in this late round.

Worst pick: Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns - I have no idea if Gordon will be allowed to play this season, but my guess is that we won't see him on an NFL gridiron until 2015 ... at the earliest. So while I understand the decision of Suhey's Soup Sifter to take a flier on Gordon in the 13th round, I would be shocked if he was allowed to play and make any kind of impact in 2014.

Editor's note: Josh Gordon has since been suspended for one-year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Round 14

Best pick: Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins - Clay finished seventh in fantasy points among tight ends last season, ahead of Greg Olsen, Antonio Gates and Martellus Bennett. And while I know last year was exactly that -- last year -- the fact that Championship Fring was able to land him in the middle of the 14th round as a No. 2 tight end behind Vernon Davis is pretty impressive.

Worst pick: Rams defense - I like the Rams defense and feel like it belongs in the mix as a top-10 option in fantasy land, but I also think there were better units on the board when Qerim's Harem made this selection. Last year's top-ranked fantasy defense, the Kansas City Chiefs, was still available. So were solid defensive teams such as the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

Round 15

Best pick: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers - Roethlisberger isn't elite at his position anymore, but he's still a potential top-12 fantasy quarterback regardless. The fact that he was on the board at this late stage of the draft proves that owners can wait on the position. Want even more proof? Andy Dalton, the fifth-best fantasy quarterback last season, wasn't even drafted!

Worst pick: Alex Henery, K, Philadelphia Eagles - Kickers are more valuable in fantasy land these days, so you can't just pick a player randomly without looking at who else was out there. I see that as the case with Henery, who was picked despite the fact that both Phil Dawson and Nick Novak were still available. I don't see Henery as anything more than a serviceable No. 2 kicker in 2014.

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