Wide receivers rise in new one-man fantasy mock draft

The 2016 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, most of the big-name free agents have re-signed or signed with new teams, and Tom Brady has been suspended ... again. As a result, we have a pretty good picture in terms of the players and their roles (or potential roles) for next season. You'll see that in my latest one-man, five-round mock draft that includes just three quarterbacks, one rookie (wonder who that could be?) and a major move upward for the value of wide receivers.

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.

Round 1

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: It's May, so Bell's status for the start of training camp is somewhat of a mystery after he injured the MCL and PCL in his right knee last November. If he's able to return without setbacks, he's the top player to draft in 2016. His rehab from these knee injuries will be a hot topic of conversation throughout the offseason.

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams: Gurley didn't start his first NFL game until Week 4, which makes his 1,106 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 187.4 fantasy points as a rookie even more impressive. If Bell's status for camp comes into question, the Georgia product would become a popular choice at the top of all drafts. Gurley is a true superstar in the making.

3. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Brown has been the top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football in each of the last two seasons, making him a virtual lock to be drafted in the top five next season. I could even see him picked No. 1 overall, especially in leagues that reward points for receptions. Brown has put up 100-plus catches in three straight years.

4. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: OBJ did see his fantasy points per game average dip in his sophomore season, but he still had a tremendous campaign with 96 catches, 1,450 yards and 13 scores. He has also recorded the second-most fantasy points of any wideout in their first two NFL seasons (behind Randy Moss) ... and OBJ missed a combined five games.

5. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Jones busted out in the stat sheets in 2015, posting career bests in catches (136) and yards (1,871) to go along with eight touchdowns. He also recorded more fantasy points than every single running back in the NFL not named Devonta Freeman (also his teammate). At the age of 27, Jones is now entering the prime of his pro career.

6. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Peterson turned 31 in March, and he's had over 2,300 career regular-season carries at the NFL level. With that said, the typical rules of an older back don't apply to one of the all-time greats at the position. It's difficult to envision a scenario where Peterson doesn't remain the true centerpiece of Minnesota's offense.

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: Nuk exploded in his third NFL season, posting career bests in catches (111), yards (1,521) and touchdowns (11) despite the fact that Houston lacked a stable quarterback. Hopkins has also seen his important fantasy totals increase in each of his first three years, and the addition of Brock Osweiler should be a major positive.

8. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals: Johnson started a mere five games as a rookie, but he still finished seventh in fantasy points among running backs on the strength of his 12 total touchdowns. Whether he turns into the next Zac Stacy or Jeremy Hill remains to be seen, but Johnson will be a top-10 pick based on his upside and the lack of depth at his position.

9. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: Is taking a rookie this high a risk? Sure, but it's hard not to expect greatness from Elliott. Case in point ... Darren McFadden had 37 combined carries in his first five games of last season and still finished in the top 15 in fantasy points among backs. Elliott is a three-down runner with massive upside in Dallas' offense.

10. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Gronkowski is far and away the most valuable tight end in fantasy football, and he's the lone player at his position who's worth a top-30 selection. The veteran out of Arizona has put up 1,100-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of his last two seasons. Losing Tom Brady for four games did drop him a few spots.

Round 2

11. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons: Freeman came out of nowhere to lead all running backs in fantasy points last season. He also had an historic four-game stretch where he found the end zone a combined nine times and put up 25-plus points in each contest. There is some bust concern as a result, but Freeman is still worth a first- or second-round look in drafts.

12. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Charles averaged more than five yards per attempt last season before suffering his second torn ACL in the last five years, so he didn't look like a back who was on the verge of a statistical decline. There's some risk in taking him coming off a second ACL procedure, but Charles is well worth that risk at this point in your draft.

13. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Forget about what happened to Bryant last season ... he was never 100 percent and had to catch passes from the likes of Kellen Moore. Heading into 2015, Bryant had put up 88 or more catches, 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in his previous three campaigns. With Tony Romo back under center as well, Bryant will rebound.

14. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: I like everything about Ingram from a statistical perspective, and I could see him moving up in future mock drafts throughout the offseason. The one concern is the fact that he has never started more than 10 games in a single season due to injuries. He's also been absent in at least three games in four of his five years at the pro level.

15. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: Watkins had a slow start to the 2015 campaign, but his numbers soared after he called for the football in the media. In fact, he averaged almost nine targets per game in the nine games after he made the statement. Watkins has also moved up in my wide receivers rankings since my last mock draft. I think he breaks out in a big way in 2016.

16. Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: Miller finished sixth in fantasy points among runners last season, and he did it despite carrying the football fewer than 200 times. His move to the Texans makes him an even more valuable asset, as he's now the lead back in an offense that wants to run the football. Miller is clearly in a position to have his best statistical season.

17. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: I have to admit to being a bit worried about Martin, who has not been the most durable or reliable fantasy running back in his four seasons at the NFL level. Still, he has produced 1,400-plus rushing yards twice in his career and should remain the featured runner in Tampa Bay after signing a contract to stay with the franchise.

18. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills: McCoy's first season in Buffalo was a modest one overall, as he averaged 12 fantasy points per game but missed four contests due to injuries. He also lost important work to Karlos Williams, who scored nine touchdowns compared to McCoy's five. Regardless, he's still a borderline No. 1 fantasy runner at what is a very thin position.

19. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green had an up and down 2015 campaign, posting fewer than eight fantasy points seven times. Regardless, the veteran still finished with 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns. That's the third time he's done that in his last four seasons. Green should see more targets with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu out of the mix, too.

20. Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars: Robinson was one of last season's biggest breakout candidates, posting career bests across the board. The Penn State product was also consistent in the stat sheets for owners, scoring 10-plus points in 12 games with at least one score in 10 contests. I do wonder if he can duplicate the 14 touchdown catches he posted, however.

Round 3

21. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks: Rawls averaged almost 16 fantasy points per game last season in the absence of Marshawn Lynch, so there's tons of potential here. C.J. Prosise shouldn't put a huge dent in his touches either, but owners do need to keep tabs on Rawls' return from a broken ankle.

22. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Nelson blew out his knee during the 2015 preseason, so he'll have had more than enough time to rehab and recover heading into training camp. Heading into his age-31 season and with Aaron Rodgers under center, Nelson could turn into a nice very bargain.

23. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: Jeffery suffered through an injury-plagued 2015 campaign that saw him miss seven games and post disappointing numbers. Still, he averaged 89.6 yards in the nine games he played and would have projected to score almost 190 fantasy points over a full year.

24. Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets: Marshall went nuts in the stat sheets in his first season with Gang Green, posting 1,502 yards with 14 touchdowns while finishing third in fantasy points at wideout. He could lose some of his luster if the Jets fail to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick, though.

25. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Allen was on pace to put up 134 catches and 1,400-plus yards last season before he suffered a lacerated kidney and was forced to miss the final eight contests. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Allen could be on the verge of a major statistical season.

26. Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints: Despite a slow start in the stat sheets, Cooks still put up nice totals for the Saints and fantasy fans last year. While he's not in the No. 1 wide receiver conversation, the Oregon State product would look great as a No. 2 on the rosters of most fantasy fans.

27. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: Anderson's value has taken a bit of a hit, as the Broncos re-signed Ronnie Hillman and drafted rookie Devontae Booker. Still, there's 18 million good reasons why he should be seen as the top back for the Broncos in 2016. Consider Anderson a fine No. 2 back.

28. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Thomas finished 13th in fantasy points among wideouts in 2015, which was a disappointment considering his second-round price. He's also averaged fewer than seven fantasy points per game during his career in contests not started by Peyton Manning.

29. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: The No. 1 scoring fantasy player from 2015 drafted ... in Round 3? Yessir. The quarterback position is deep, and chances are pretty good that Newton will see a 40-60 point decline in production in 2016. If he weren't such a productive runner, I'd pass on him here too.

30. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Evans dropped too many passes in his sophomore season, resulting in a major decline in his touchdown catches and fantasy points. Still, he's a good bet to improve on his 2015 fantasy totals next season. I like him as a solid No. 2 fantasy wideout in drafts.

Round 4

31. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Lacy might have been the biggest disappointment in fantasy football last season, but he's still young and back in good shape.
32. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: Cooper ranked outside of the top 20 among fantasy wideouts in 2015, but the sky is the limit for this uber-talented receiver.
33. Matt Forte, RB, Jets: Forte should be a featured back in New York, but he is entering his age-30 season and should be seen as a No. 2 in fantasy drafts.
34. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Rodgers is likely to go much higher in most 2016 drafts, but I don't think he's worth a top-30 pick at such a deep position.
35. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: Hyde is a serious bounce-back candidate in an offense that will lean on the run under new coach Chip Kelly. He could be a value.
36. Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles: The Eagles didn't add a big-name back in the draft, so Mathews is back on the radar as a viable No. 2 fantasy runner in 2016.
37. Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins: Ajayi's value is on the rise after the Dolphins decided against drafting a back who can threaten his spot atop the depth chart.
38. DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans: Murray's value took a massive blow when the Titans selected Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry in Round 2 of the NFL draft.
39. Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders: Murray finished in the top 10 in fantasy points among runners last season, and there's no real threat to his role in 2016.
40. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: Edelman has missed 16 contests over the last four seasons due to injuries, but he's still on the WR2 radar in all formats.

Round 5

41. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins: Landry will be more valuable in PPR formats, but his speed and skills make him a no-brainer as a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver.
42. Jeremy Langford, RB, Bears: The Bears didn't select a big-name back in the draft, but Jordan Howard will push Langford for touches in Chicago's backfield.
43. Matt Jones, Redskins: Jones doesn't have a lot of competition for the starting role in Washington, so he's firmly on the radar as a No. 2 fantasy running back.
44. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers Olsen has posted 1,000-plus yards in two straight seasons and scored no fewer than five touchdowns in eight consecutive seasons.
45. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Stewart finished 16th in fantasy points among runners in 2015, and he's likely to remain the top running back in Carolina.
46. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Hill's yardage totals declined in 2015 compared to his rookie season, but he still scored 11 touchdowns. He's a nice flex choice.
47. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Hilton isn't going to become an elite fantasy wideout, but the return of Andrew Luck should help his stock moving into next season.
48. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: Reed went nuts in the stat sheets, posting 157.20 fantasy points despite missing two games. He needs to avoid injuries, though.
49. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs: Maclin had an up-and down first campaign in Kansas City, but he proved to be a legitimate No. 2 fantasy wide receiver overall.
50. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: Wilson has been a fantasy star in two straight seasons, and the Seahawks gave him a lot of offensive line help in the draft.

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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