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Hello again fantasy world, its been a while since I posted my tier 1 rankings but as promised I have completed my tier 2 rankings.  My first 5 rankings were the cream of the crop and are all likely gone by the early 3rd round.  Now to get into those QB’s who can be taken between rounds 4 and 6 who are capable also of being your starter and lead you to the playoffs.  Here are the next 5 QB’s who are all starting caliber fantasy players (based on a 10 team league).   (All points based on ESPN standard scoring)

6.  Eli Manning:  I guess it was always just a matter of time before Eli surpassed his brother in fantasy ranks and this is the year.  Last year Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns making 2011 the 3rd straight year he has eclipsed 4,000 yards passing.  He has elite talent to throw to with Nicks and Cruz and has a back capable of keeping defenses honest in Bradshaw.  I like Manning to pick off where he left off and post good numbers.

7.  Tony Romo:  In the 3 seasons Romo has played all 16 games he has averaged 4,292 yards and 31 touchdowns.  His durability is an issue but he has enough weapons around him that he is worth the risk.  With Bryant poised to have a breakout year and targets in Austin and Witten I feel Romo will post big time numbers.  This is also the year he has a game changing back that will help open up things passing.  Romo is a gem as he is mostly going in the 5th round of fantasy drafts.

8.  Phillip Rivers:  Rivers was a disappointment last season as he had 20 interceptions and put the ball on the ground 9 times.  Half of the games he played in he had multiple picks and had only 3 games with 20 or more fantasy points.  That being said I still feel Rivers is one of the safest fantasy QB’s in the league and is very capable of leading your roster to the playoffs.  Rivers over the past 4 seasons has averaged 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns and don’t forget that he still had a great season last year throwing over 4,600 yards and 27 touchdowns good enough for a 9th place finish in fantasy.  I like Rivers to bounce back with a great campaign in 2012 and considering he is being picked in the 5th and 6th rounds has great value.

9.  Peyton Manning:  There has not been this level of uncertainty around Manning since his rookie year.  Critics will say that he has too much risk, is too old, one good hit will finish him, blah blah blah.  We are talking about arguably the best QB to ever lace up his cleats and a QB who according to his receivers has plenty zip still on the ball.  in 11 of Manning’s 13 seasons he has thrown for 4,000 plus yards and has NEVER thrown for less than 26 touchdowns.  If Manning is healthy and all signs are looking that way he will again perform great.

10.  Michael Vick:  I can almost guarantee that Vick will not be on my fantasy roster this season because there is almost no chance he will be the 10th QB off the board.  He has great potential to post huge numbers but is almost a lock to miss time due to injury.  Because of his injury issues you are going to  have to spend an earlier pick than most to find a quality QB2 like Roethlisberger, Ryan or Cutler.  I feel that to spend a 4th round pick on a player who is almost certain to miss time is not worth it.  So like I said he wont be on my roster.


So there you have it my tier 2 rankings.  I can already tell that many will disagree, and if you do please comment or hit me up on twitter.


So far I have gone over four draft strategies (RB heavy, WR heavy, elite QB, and elite TE) that all have advantages as well as disadvantages in their own right.  The last strategy I have decided to cover is the more traditional route that garners a more balanced team than the others.  This strategy makes sure you have your starting QB, RB’s, WR’s, and flex in the first 6 picks and then taking the best player available.  Out of all the strategies I have covered I am the most in favor of this strategy because I like to make sure I have all my bases covered  during a draft.  Having the comfort of knowing that all of your starters are covered and then focus on the TE and bench players makes it easier to draft the best available player.  So here is how my draft panned out and if I may say so myself it is one of the better mocks I have done.  (completed at, all points based off of ESPN standard scoring)

(1.3) Ray Rice:  Rice is my highest rated player this fantasy season so to have him come to me 3rd overall was great for me.  Coming off of the best year of his career posting 2,068 total yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns, Rice finished 6th overall among all players and 1st among non QB’s with 283 fantasy points.  In 2 of the past 3 years Rice has had over 2000 scrimmage yards…the year he missed he “only” posted 1,776.  With the leagues best FB paving lanes in front of him I like Rice to again post huge numbers in fantasyland.

(2.18) Greg Jennings:  Greg Jennings was on pace to post top 5 fantasy points among WR’s before going down with injury last season.  He is the top target for the best QB in the league and this year I feel he will cement his status as one of the elite WR’s in the league.  He is playing for a contract and I feel he will show the world what he is worth.

(3.23)  Darren McFadden:  If DMC can stay healthy he can easily post top 5 fantasy points for runners.  The fact that he has never played more than 13 games in a season and is always a injury risk will scare off a lot of people but not me.  In 2010 in only 13 games he had 1,663 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns.  Last season in only 7 games he had 768 scrimmage yards and 5 touchdowns.  My point is that when he is on the field he is incredible and I feel that if he only starts 12 games next season is worth the risk.  Just remember you MUST handcuff him with whoever looks like second string when your draft.

(4.38) Brandon Marshall:  As you know if you have read any of my previous mocks I am in love with Marshall this season.  With Jay Cutler as his QB he has averaged 1,237 yards and nearly 8 touchdowns per season as a starter (each with over 100 catches.)  This season he easily has top 10 potential.

(5.43) Steve Smith:  At this point in the draft it was very difficult not to draft a QB because both Michael Vick and Tony Romo were available.  But I rationalized that I could not pass up Smith with this pick because in the 5th round he is great value.  Last year Cam Newton brought him back to fantasy stardom as he posted 1,394 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Smith might be aging but he is not showing signs of slowing down and should be in line for a fine fantasy season.

(6.58) Demaryius Thomas:  I know what you are thinking, “I thought he said this strategy was make sure to have a QB, 2RB’s, 2WR’s, and a flex with the first 6 picks.”  The only thing is I knew I could get Rivers 5 picks later because the teams picking after me already had there starting QB.  I went Thomas with this pick because he was the best player available by far.  With Manning throwing him the ball he can easily outperform this draft spot.  Manning has a history of making his top WR look like a superstar and I don’t see that changing.

(7.63) Philip Rivers:  I actually have Rivers as my 8th rated QB so the fact that I was able to land him this late is great for me.  I like Rivers this season to bounce back after throwing 20 int’s and post great numbers.  He has not failed to throw for over 4,000 yards the past 4 seasons and last season was his lowest TD total with 27 in the same span.  He will get the picks down this year and will perform just fine.

(8.78) James Starks:  I feel that Starks is one of the best fantasy sleepers heading into the season.  I define a sleeper as a player who has opportunity to significantly outplay their ADP.  Starks is not one of the top backs in the league, but he is the feature back for one of the more elite offenses.  With Grant out of the picture I think Starks will easily have 1,000 plus total yards and 5 plus touchdowns.

(9.83) CJ Spiller:  Spiller scored 89 points throughout the final 6 games last season after Fred Jackson went down with injury averaging just under 15 points per game.  With Jackson back Spiller will not post big time numbers but I think Spiller will get enough touches to draft him at this point.  I see the Bills using him out wide and in a variety of ways to get him the ball in space to try and make people miss with his big play ability.

(10.98) Jay Cutler:  Jay finally has enough talent at WR to post the kind of numbers many expected after he was traded to Chicago.  I think Chicago will be throwing the ball more often than they have in the past and feel that Cutler is the BEST value at QB this season.  To get a player around 100 overall that has top 10 potential is rare.

(11.103) Fred Davis:  Referring back to my previous statement, it is rare to get a player around 100 overall that has top 10 potential, and I now have got two such players in back to back picks.  Davis was on pace to post big time numbers last season before being suspended because of a drug charge.  Look for RG3 to lean on his TE and for Davis to be in for great numbers.

(12.118) Cedric Benson:  Like I said earlier if you draft Darren McFadden you must draft his handcuff.  Benson is not officially a Raider but word is that Oakland has reached out to the veteran back.  The past 3 seasons in Cincinati he has posted over 1,000 rushing yards as well as 6 or more touchdowns each season.  In the event that DMC goes down yet again to injury Benson will be more than capable of carrying the load.

(13.123) Mike Williams:  Williams had horrible case last season of the sophomore slump.  With the same amount of receptions the past two seaons (65), Williams numbers went down from 964 yards to 771, and 11 touchdowns to 3.  The whole Tampa team appeared to have quit during the season and nobody performed well.  This season under new coaching and the addition of WR Vincent Jackson drawing most of the coverage Williams is poised to have a great season.  He will see plenty of one on one coverage and if he can make the most of his opportunities can post good numbers.

(14.138) Jets DST:  I think the Jets DST will be fine next season.  Like I said before I am usually in favor of picking DST’s on the waiver wire.  Unless I decide to reach for an elite DST like the Ravens or 49’ers I see myself playing the wire.

(15.143) David Akers:  Akers was great last season…can he do it again?  I have no idea but decided to find out.

(16.158) Leonard Hankerson:  It was the last pick…decided to go for the home run.  He is a deep sleeper and if it doesn’t pan out no biggie.  That being said I can easily see him emerging as the top WR next season for Washington.


All things considered I feel this was a very successful draft.  Rice is solid as they come and if DMC is healthy I have possibly 2 top 5 backs.  I have 4 WR’s I feel are all WR1’s who all have potential to score in the top 15.  I have Rivers who is a perennial Pro Bowler and a TE who will have a breakout year.  Add the fact that I have good bench players and it all adds up to one of the best drafts I have done.  So there you have fantasy fans, my last and best mock draft strategy I have covered.  If I had to recommend any of the strategies I have covered this would be it.  As always comments are encouraged.



There were two tight ends who were either drafted very late or added on the waiver wire last season who put up numbers more in line with a WR1 in fantasy.  You know there names Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, or the Dynamic Duo as I like to call them.  To get either one of these players you are likely going to have to use a 2nd pick to acquire their services.  For more analysis on these two please refer to my previous post “The Dynamic Duo…Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.”  What I have been questioning for a while now is weather it is a good strategy to draft one of these players this early.  So to answer the question I recently completed a mock draft on ESPN to see the results.  (all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

(1.8) Drew Brees: Drew Brees is money in the bank when it comes to posting big time fantasy points.  Since 2008 he has never failed to throw for over 4,300 yards or 34 touchdowns.  Last season he posted video game stats throwing for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns.  I’m not concerned with the contract situation cause one will get made, and I’m also not concerned with the loss of Sean Peyton because Brees knows the offense and will not miss a beat.

(2.13) Jimmy Graham: Double points anyone?  I have always been a fan of pairing an Elite QB and WR together and by all accounts Jimmy Graham is the top reciever in New Orleans.  Last season he posted 99 receptions, 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns beating out New Orleans’ WR1 Marques Colston in every single category.  Graham’s 187 points earned him a 12th place finish among non QB’s.  Graham would have placed 6th among WR’s.

(3.28) Trent Richardson: As you know I am a HUGE fan of Trent Richardson this coming fantasy season.  Peyton Hillis posted 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in the same division two seasons ago.  Richardson is considered the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson and has more than enough talent to post huge numbers.

(4.33) Julio Jones:  There has been a lot of talk this off-season about Atlanta getting Jones more involved this coming season.  Jones had some hamstring issues his rookie year and if he can move past them is a stud in the making.  He posted 11 or more points in 7 games last season and if healthy will be more reliable and post elite numbers.

(5.48) BenJarvus Green-Ellis:  BJE is not the home run hitting, rush for 200 yards and put up 20 plus points type of back.  That being said this season he should be a middle of the road decently reliable RB2.  Even if he has to split carries with Bernard Scott he should still have enough touches (especially in the red zone) to pick him at this point.

(6.53) Demaryius Thomas: Yet another player I feel is poised to have a breakout year.  Down the stretch last season Thomas had great numbers with a terrible passer with 4 of the last 5 regular season games posting over 75 yards.  With Manning in town he has enormous upside and will easily score enough points that do not reflect his current ADP.

(7.68) Shonn Greene: Shonn Greene had the best season of his career in 2011 as he posted 1,265 yards from scrimmage and 6 touchdowns.  He had a career high in rushing attempts with 253 and according to new offensive cordinator Tony Sparano Greene will have much more attempts this season.  The only downside is that with the presence of Tim Tebow on the roster I’m just not sure whats going to happen especially in the red zone.  Still Greene at worst should be a decent flex play and bye week filler.

(8.73) Kenny Britt:  If you have read any of my previous mock drafts you know I am very high on Britt this season.  At this point in the draft he has tremedous value as last season he showed a glimpse of what he can do with 271 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first two games.  Comming off of an ACL is always tough but Britt was injured early and if he can revert to his previous form will post huge numbers.

(9.88) James Starks: Not going to score you big time points but should be a decent flex play most of the season.  If you combine his numbers with Ryan Grant’s then you get 1,621 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns.  Now with Grant out of the picture Starks will get much more oppurtunity that make him great value this late in the draft.  I see him having around 1,000 total yards and 5 touchdowns.

(10.93) Jay Cutler:  In 2008 he threw 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with the Denver Broncos.  Now that he finally has talent surrounding him again like he did in Denver I see Cutler playing more like he did before moving to Chicago.  He is a QB2 with great upside.

(11.108) Darrius Heyward-Bey:  I figure DHB has the best chance of any of the Raiders wide-outs to emerge as Carson Palmer’s top target.  Last season he finished with 975 yards and 4 touchdowns and as he builds more chemistry with Palmer those numbers will improve.  This could be the season he finally breaks out.

(12.113) Bernard Scott:  I drafted Scott to handcuff BJE in case the Bengals decide to use him more than I anticipate.

(13.128) Nate Washington:  It was a little weird drafting Washington with this pick because I already have Britt but he was the WR I felt had the best oppurtunity to produce.  And if Britt goes down I will still have Tennessee’s top WR.

(14.133) Jacob Tamme:  Many would not have drafted a second TE because Jimmy Graham will obviously be your starter each week, but I have always been a more cautious drafter than most.  I figure Tamme has top 10 potential this season and will be a great bye week replacement and will provide good insurance at TE in case of injury to Graham.

(15.148) Falcons DST:  I just went with the highest rated defense available.  I usually play the waiver wire.

(16.153) Garrett Hartley:  Can anybody really predict what a kicker is going to do each season?  I cant so again went with the highest rated.


This strategy to draft Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski in the 2nd round to me simply is not worth it.  I ended up with what I feel are good starters at each position with decent depth but I feel that to forgo a top RB or WR in the first round for either TE is not worth it.  I feel that waiting and picking up someone like Aaron Hernandez, Jason Witten, or any other second tier TE is much better overall.  For either Gronk or Graham to finish with a season like last is going to be very difficult.  That being said I know I will not end up with either player on my squad this season.

Mock Draft…Run and Gun

Greetings again fantasy world just completed my latest mock draft with an emphasis on finding an elite QB and RB’s in my first few picks.  Picking an elite signal caller in the first round is the new trend in fantasy as the stable of RB’s have become less dependable and there is more depth at WR than ever.  Getting a solid foundation with runners still is important so I have opted to go RB with picks 2 and 3.  (Draft completed at and all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

(1.5) Tom Brady: Brady is solid as they come in fantasy football and was the pick I felt the most comfortable with at this point.  Many would take Brees ahead of him but I feel that Brady is going to have a huge season.  Brady had 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns last season without a true deep threat.  Now with Brandon Lloyd available to stretch the field I think Brady will easily outscore Brees.  I think its safe to pencil him in for AT LEAST 4,700 yards and 40 plus touchdowns.

(2.16) Darren McFadden:  DMC was ridiculous the first 6 games last season as he accumulated 761 total yards and 5 touchdowns before being injured with a foot sprain.  If you were to prorate the 100 fantasy points scored through these games, McFadden would have been 3rd among runners with 267 points.  McFadden’s talent outweighs the risk, and if he can stay healthy for even 12 games I feel he is worth the pick.  Remember though you MUST handcuff him with whoever earns the #2 role in Oakland.

(3.25) DeMarco Murray:  Demarco Murray is another back who if can stay healthy will be among the elite at his position this year.  Murray had some huge games last season before coming down with injury including a 253 yard 1 touchdown game in week 7.  Look for Murray to have a big year.

(4,36) Brandon Marshall: Marshall has averaged 1,187 yards and over 6 touchdowns a season the past 5 years and that trend should move up.  With sub-par QB play last season he still managed over 1,200 yards.  Marshall with Cutler has averaged 1,237 yards and nearly 8 touchdowns per season as a starter (each with over 100 catches.)  Back in the orange and blue with the cannon armed Vanderbilt product I see top 10 WR written all over Marshall.

(5.45) Demaryius Thomas:  Everyone saw what Thomas could do down the stretch last season with horribly inaccurate Tim Tebow under center.  Manning has had a history of making his WR1 look like a superstar and I don’t see why that trend will stop.  I think Thomas has top 10 potential and at this draft slot has ridiculous value.

(6.56) Willis McGahee:  He is getting older but he is not showing signs of slowing down as last season he had 1,250 total yards and 5 touchdowns.  He may has a lot more tread on his tires than most backs over 30 because of the low use he had for 4 seasons with Baltimore.  McGahee will still see plenty of looks this season as I see Denver running to open up the pass and play action.  I consider him a low end RB2 or flex play.

(7.65) Kenny Britt:  Kenny Britt is yet another player drafted who is coming off of injury and is also another player who was drafted because of his enormous potential.  In Britt’s first two games last season he had 271 yards and 3 touchdowns.  If healthy he will be the top target for the Titans and will post great numbers.

(8.76) Aaron Hernandez: Being one of the top targets for Tom Brady is always great to having fantasy success.  The Patriots employ more than enough 2 TE packages to consider Hernandez an Elite fantasy TE.  He has a unique skill set that will allow him to be aligned on the line, out wide, and in the backfield.  To get a TE this late with this value is great.

(9.85) James Starks:  Starks had flex play consideration most of last season even with the presence of Ryan Grant.  With Grant out of the picture I feel Starks will be just fine and well worth a pick.  The Packers may not run the ball that much but they will still have enough runs to make James Starks worth at worst a flex play.

(10. 96) Jay Cutler:  Cutler is in line for his best season as a member of the Chicago Bears.  The addition of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are an immense upgrade over the recievers Cutler has had over the past few seasons.  Cutler is a QB2 who can easily outplay his draft position.

(11.105) Reggie Wayne:  Wayne is getting up their in age and has lost a step but will do better than many think this season.  With horrible QB play Wayne still managed 960 yards and 4 touchdowns.  With Andrew Luck in town I easily see him posting over 1,000 yards and 5 plus touchdowns.

(12.116) Mike Goodson:  Like I said if you draft McFadden you have to draft a handcuff for him.  Goodson was overlooked in Carolina behind Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams but is a very capable runner.  If McFadden goes down he will play very well in his place.

(13.125) Mike Williams:  Mike Williams had a horrible case last season of the sophomore slump.  With Vincent Jackson in town drawing most of the coverage, Williams will see plenty of man on man coverage this season.  If he can move past last season and play more like the promising rookie he will do fine.

(14.136) Carson Palmer:  I walked away from the computer with this pick and it put me on auto draft.  Still I’m not complaining Palmer and Cutler will both be on my roster as Insurance.

(15.145) Steelers DST:  Just left it on auto

(16.156) Rob Bironas:  auto pick

I like this team on the whole but looking back realized I never should have drafted so much risk in my running backs.  If both runners play to their potential this team is awesome however it could also blow up in my face leaving me in the bottom of my league.  Having Tom Brady is always good and I feel confident with my WR’s and TE but as a team I feel I drafted to many question marks.  I will definitely have to do a couple more drafts with this strategy to see how if I can improve.  As always comments are encouraged.

Hello fantasy world here is the follow up to my latest post about different draft strategies.  In my latest mock I have gone the opposite direction and have went WR heavy selecting wide-outs as my top 3 picks.  Every draft strategy has both its benefits as well as risks and this was no different.  A benefit of having elite wide-outs in place of their running counterparts is they usually hold up better and are much less injury prone.  RB’s by nature take the most beating and so it stands to reason they are more susceptible to injury.  Also there is not as much of volatility among the position.  However one could argue this is a disadvantage as well because of the depth at WR.  So is this a good strategy?  I decided to find out…(Mock was completed at, and all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

(1.10)  Larry Fitzgerald: Fitz is my second rated WR and is in my opinion the only one who has a chance to dethrone Calvin Johnson this year.  Since his rookie year in 2004, Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 87 rec, 1,201 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  Last season with sub par QB play he managed over 1,400 yards (the 4th time he has done so in his career.)  I don’t care who he has throwing him the ball because he has already shown he can produce regardless.

(2.11)  Greg Jennings:  Quoting ESPN “Jennings was on pace for a career-high 87 grabs for 1,239 yards and 12 TDs, which would have put him fifth among fantasy WRs.”  Jennings is the top target for the best QB in football and I feel this year will be his breakout year where he cements his status among the NFL elite.  Throw in the fact that he is playing for a contract and wants to prove himself, I feel Jennings will post top 3 numbers.

(3.30)  Brandon Marshall:  Marshall has averaged 1,187 yards and over 6 touchdowns a season the past 5 years and that trend should move up.  With sub-par QB play last season he still managed over 1,200 yards.  Marshall with Cutler has averaged 1,237 yards and nearly 8 touchdowns per season as a starter (each with over 100 catches.)  Back in the orange and blue with the cannon armed Vanderbilt product I see top 10 WR written all over Marshall.

(4.31)  Trent Richardson:  If you have read my blog you know how high I am on the Alabama runner.  One of the rare workhorses left in the league I feel he will have a huge debut season.  Peyton Hillis posted 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in the same division two seasons ago.  Richardson should easily eclipse these totals.

(5.50)  Reggie Bush:  Bush had a career last year with 1,292 yards from scrimmage (1,086 rushing, 296 recieving) and 7 total touchdowns.  Bush was very consistent down the stretch last season posting 11 plus fantasy points in 8 of the last 9 games played.  Even with talk about changing Bush’s role on offense I feel very confident with him as my RB2 so long as he can stay healthy.  I would highly recommend drafting Daniel Thomas as a handcuff though.

(6.51)  Tony Romo:  Say what you want about Tony Romo…He’s a choke artist, he cant get it done in the playoffs, blah blah blah, all the guy does is put up fantasy points.  Romo has had some durability issues in his career and I feel that is cause for some concern, but I feel that his upside greatly outweighs the risk.  In the 3 seasons Romo has played all 16 games he has averaged 4,292 yards and 31 touchdowns.  This is the first season he has a true game changing back so I feel Romo will be able to take advantage and post big time numbers.

(7.70)  Doug Martin:  Every fantasy owner has their pet players they tend to target at certain points in the draft and Martin is definitely one of mine.  I feel a little wary with 2 of my 3 runners being rookies, but the opportunities are there for both players.  Martin has a skill set Blount lacks as he has skills catching the ball out the backfield and is a much better pass blocker.  He will be running behind 3 pro bowl offensive lineman and will be on the field more than enough to be a decent RB2 or at worst bye week filler and flex play.

(8.71)  Isaac Redman:  It was hard not taking Hernandez or Decker with this pick as I see both having big years, but I rationalized with myself and knew I needed more depth at RB.  Redman this far in the draft has ridiculous value as he will be the primary ball carrier with Mendenhall starting the season on the PUP list.  I see Redman having at least flex play consideration.

(9.90)  Torrey Smith: Another one of my top pet players this season I honestly think Smith is the only player worth a pick from Baltimore outside of Rice and possibly Flacco as a QB2.  Last season he showcased his big play ability posting 841 yards on only 50 receptions and 7 touchdowns.  Anquan Boldin is slowing down as he has failed to top 900 yards in consecutive years.  Smith is the WR to own in Baltimore this season and I don’t think 1,100 yards and 7 plus TD’s unrealistic.

(10.91)  Fred Davis:  7 out of the 12 games Davis played last year he logged 9 or more fantasy points.  He was suspended for the final 4 games last year for marijuana use but hopefully he has learned from his mistakes and will move past it.  Look for RG3 to lean on Davis and for him to have a fine season.

(11.110)  Darrius Heyward-Bey:  The WR situation in Oakland is hard to predict at this point as I can see really anyone stepping up and being the man to own.  But I feel that DHB coming off his best season (975 yards and 4 Td’s) will be the guy people expected him to be after being drafted 7th overall in 2009.  Palmer may not be elite anymore but he is still the best QB DHB has played with so a breakout year is probable.

(12.111)  Daniel Thomas:  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Thomas had a great season as I feel it likely he gets plenty of carries either spelling Bush or when Bush is split out wide.  Either way Thomas is very valuable to have in case the injury prone Bush goes down.

(13.130)  Jacob Tamme:  When I don’t draft an Elite TE I like to have a TE committee so that I can play the match-ups.  I feel that both Davis and Tamme have top 10 potential and feel confident with these two on my roster.  Look for Tamme to have a great season as he already has chemistry with Peyton Manning.

(14.131)  Carson Palmer: I wasn’t sure if I should have went Palmer or Luck with this selection so I went with experience.  Having 3 rookies on my squad just did not sound appealing to me.  Palmer is a pretty solid QB2 playing with a lot of explosive weapons so I feel confident with him for my bye week QB.

(15.150)  Sebastian Janikowski:  Usually reliable kicker.

(16.151)  Bills DST:  Mario Williams.  To be honest I let the computer pick…I usually just play the waiver wire.

This draft was not as bad as I thought it was going to be selecting WR’s in my top 3 picks as I feel confident Fitzgerald and Jennings will both be top 5 and Marshall to be top 10.  My running backs weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be as Richardson fell to the 4th round and selected some quality depth in Bush, Redman, and Martin.  I feel confident with Romo as he is my 6th ranked passer outside the elite 5.  And finally my TE tandem in Davis and Tamme if selected correctly will be solid.  All in all this strategy worked better than I would have thought.  Of course I will need to do more mocks with the same strategy to see how reliable it is.  I will keep you posted.  As always comments welcome.

Every fantasy player looking this early for information on the upcoming season is more than likely no stranger to Mock Drafts.  Mock Drafts are the best tool available for us because it allows us to look at players ADP (average draft position), try different strategies for each position and of course for us to learn from mistakes.  It has been said that practice makes perfect and mock drafts are how we can practice for our upcoming leagues.  To help ensure bragging rights I have decided to write a series of entry’s highlighting different strategies in hopes to find the one that works best.  To start off I went the traditional route and have went RB with my first 3 picks.  (All points based on ESPN Standard Scoring)

(1.7)  Maurice Jones Drew:  MJD is my 4th ranked RB heading into this fantasy season and is a solid pick in round 1.  There is some risk because of the heavy workloads he has endured and a possible holdout, but to be honest outside the top 3 (Rice,Foster,McCoy) there is some question marks surrounding all runners.

(2.14)  Ryan Mathews:  Mathews has had some durability issues his first two seasons but his talent greatly outweighs the risks especially in the 2nd round.  This will be his first season without the shadow of Mike Tolbert so I see his 3rd season campaign to be a huge breakout year for him.  If he stays healthy he has top 5 potential.

(3.27)  Trent Richardson:  I am very high on Trent Richardson in this coming fantasy season because he is one of the few runners in the league who will be a true workhorse for his team.  Richardson is considered the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson so I feel very confident taking him at this point.

(4.34)  Brandon Marshall:  Marshall has averaged 1,187 yards and over 6 touchdowns a season the past 5 years and that trend should move up.  With sub-par QB play last season he still managed over 1,200 yards.  This season with his former teammate I see top 10 WR written all over Marshall.  1,300 yards and 10 or more TD’s is easily within reach.

(5.47)  Phillip Rivers:  Was very pleased Rivers fell this far in the Draft and picked him quick.  Fantasy owners tend to have short term memories and all to often judge picks based on their previous seasons performance.  Rivers 20 INT’s last season will move him down draft boards making him a great value for the smart owner.  Look for Rivers to get the picks under control and turn back to elite form (top 8 fantasy starter)

(6.54)  Demaryius Thomas:  I still cannot believe that ESPN has Thomas ranked this far down their big board.  Thomas came alive the last few weeks last season with horribly inaccurate Tim Tebow under center.  Everyone remembers the game winning touchdown he had against the Steelers in the playoffs because you only saw it on replay about 100 times that week.  With a healthy Peyton Manning look for plenty more of these type of highlights from Thomas in the coming season.

(7.67)  Steve Johnson;  Johnson is another player I feel is ranked way too low on ESPN.  Johnson has put up back to back seasons now with 1,00o plus yards and 17 total touchdowns.  These numbers will go up as he builds more chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick translating to solid fantasy points.  I see him as good #2 so the fact he is my 3rd WR is great for me.

(8.74)  Doug Martin:  Martin will be the primary runner in Tampa as he has a skill set LeGarrett Blount clearly lacks as he can catch balls out of the backfield and is a good pass blocker.  Look for Martin and Blount to split early down work and Martin to be in on 3rd and passing downs.  He should be a decent bye week filler and flex play.

(9,87)  Torrey Smith: There have been very few drafts that I have not had Smith on my roster.  At this point in the draft he is a true Gem as last season he showcased his big play ability posting 841 yards on only 50 receptions and 7 touchdowns.  Anquan Boldin is slowing down as he has failed to top 900 yards in consecutive years.  Smith is the WR to own in Baltimore this season and I don’t think 1,100 yards and 7 plus TD’s unrealistic.

(10.94)  Fred Davis: Seconds after picking Smith a realized I had overlooked the fact that I needed a TE and my 4th ranked TE was available in Aaron Hernandez.  Still like I stated at the beginning of this article one of the best things mock drafts gives us is the chance to learn from our mistakes.  Don’t get me wrong Davis is a fine TE, definitely top 10 meaning he is a starter in standard formats but I would have preferred Hernandez.  Look for RG3 to lean on his athletic TE a lot and for Davis to emerge with a great fantasy season.

(11.107)  Darrius Heyward-Bey:  This far into the draft is where you need to go with your gut and pick the players you feel have the best opportunities to flourish.  Heyward-Bey has been a bust of sorts since being drafted 7th overall in the 2009 draft.  I think a big part in his lack of success has been the horrific QB play that he has played with.  Last season was by far the most productive of his career with 975 yards and 4 Td’s.  He also had 9 games with at least 7 fantasy points.  Its hard to say who the main target will be for the Raiders but I see Heyward-Bey getting the nod.

(12.114)  Andrew Luck:  Similar to my Smith pick I realized the player I should have selected after pressing the button.  Blount was still on the board and was an obvious handcuff to Martin.  I could have easily picked Luck up a round later or another QB 2 with similar upside.  Oh well lesson learned.  That being said I see Luck putting up better numbers than many think and will be a great bye week fill in.

(13.127)  Jacob Tamme: Tamme has top 10 potential playing with Manning this season and was in my opinion the best player available at this point.  I feel confident having Davis and Tamme both on my roster and if selected correctly can combine to create a great TE tandem.

(14.134)  Mike Goodson:  Darren McFadden has never played in more than 13 games his entire career.  Goodson was looked over in Carolina because of the presence of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams but is a very capable runner.  When DMC goes down with injury Goodson will have great appeal.

(15.147)  Jets DST:  Defense’s and Kickers are crazy unpredictable so I went with a defense that is likely to be on the field less than many because of their ability to run the ball and control the clock.  Who knows what will happen.

(16.154)  Dan Bailey:  Just let the computer pick that one…

This was one of my best mock drafts that I have completed so far.  This strategy worked tremendously well for me this mock as I believe I ended up with 3 top 10 RB’s, 2 top 10 WR’s, a top 8 QB, a TE tandem I feel will be successful, and great value flex players and bye week replacements.  So there you are fantasy world my RB Heavy Mock.  As always opinions and comments are welcome.

Last season Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski were two tight ends selected mainly late in drafts or even on the waiver wire who went on to put up fantasy numbers more in line with a WR1.  These two have taken the fantasy world by storm and are being considered by some to be worthy of a late 1st round selection.  There is almost no chance either of these players will make it past the 3rd round this year in drafts but are these two worth such a high draft selection?

  • Rob Gronkowski set the TE single season record with 17 touchdowns as well as catching 90 receptions for 1,327 yards.  Gronkowski’s efforts earned him a 6th place finish in fantasy points (not including QB’s) with 233.  Gronk outscored fantasy studs such as Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Adrian Peterson and many others.   Gronk would have had a 2nd place finish among wide-outs behind Calvin Johnson.
  • Jimmy Graham was the go to man in the New Orleans offense last season and was a huge part in Drew Brees’ record setting year.  Graham went off last year for 99 receptions, 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns beating out New Orleans’ WR1 Marques Colston in every single category.  Graham’s 187 points earned him a 12th place finish among non QB’s.  Graham would have placed 6th among WR’s.

Based on 2011 totals these two TE’s would garner a 2nd or 3rd round selection, but I am still very wary of selecting either that high.  For starters both had career years last season and are therefore likely to see statistical declines across the board.  It is going to be extremely difficult for Gronkowski to have a repeat performance because of the addition of Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney.  Both of these players are capable red zone targets who will take looks away from Gronk.  On the same note these two additions give Brady yet another set of mouths to feed so all Patriots will see less targets than the previous season.  I see Gronk still having a tremendous year easily above 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, but that is a huge difference in production.  Jimmy Graham will see additional coverage but may see some additional targets as Robert Meachem has left for San Diego.  I could see Jimmy Graham having a season similar to what he did in 2011 but I also would not be surprised if he had 3oo less yards and 3-4 less touchdowns.  I like Graham ahead of Gronkowski this season because he should have additional opportunities whereas Gronkowski should see less.

Because of the reasons above I do not see a scenario in which I will get either of these players on my roster this fantasy season.  I feel that even a 3rd round draft pick on a TE is way too high as it will be extremely difficult for either to repeat their respective performances.  I would much rather take a QB in round 2 or stud WR/RB in round 3 than stretch for a TE.  There will be plenty of quality TE’s in later rounds so I see no reason to reach too far.  If you have your heart set just know what you are forgoing to get your TE.  And if both are available go for Graham.

Tier 1 WR’s…The Super Elite

In fantasy football there are two things the WR position usually has going for it…One it has the most depth than any other position; and two, because of the depth it is usually the most unpredictable to draft.  In last seasons drafts most people slept on players such as Jordy Nelson, Wes Welker, and Victor Cruz who ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in fantasy scoring respectively.  In the same drafts many drafted in early rounds players such as Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, and DeSean Jackson who finished 17th, 20th, and 27th respectively in fantasy points.  But really who could have predicted that Nelson would walk away with 15 touchdowns, or that DeSean would fall of a cliff?  According to Michael Fabiano since 2007 no more than 4 WR’s to finish in the top 10 have repeated the following season, quite a bit of volatility.  In reference to my previous entry (Breaking down 2011’s flex rankings) of the top 25 players only 8 were WR’s, so having one of these players gives you a huge edge on your roster.  Following are 5 players I have the best chance to give you this edge and finish toward the top of.  (All points based on ESPN Standard Scoring)

  1. Calvin Johnson-  Is any body really surprised with this ranking?  Didn’t think so as Megatron is considered nearly exclusively the top WR in both the NFL and fantasy football. Johnson has been good for a while now as he has had at least 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns in 3 of the past 4 years.  Last year however was the first full season Johnson had together with a healthy Matthew Stafford and it was incredible to watch as Johnson had 96 rec, 1,681 yards, and 16 touchdowns.  His accolades earned him a 1st place finish among WR’s with 254 points (44 more points than 2nd place Jordy Nelson with 210).  Defenses have already tried everything including triple coverages to stop him and have failed miserably…nothing should change this season.
  2. Larry Fitzgerald-  Since his rookie year in 2004, Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 87 rec, 1,201 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  In that time frame last seasons 1,411 yards was the 4th such time he has posted over 1,400.  Consistency is Larry Fitzgerald’s middle name and as I expect better play this year from Kevin Kolb, Fitzgerald should easily come in top 5 and is the only player I think can dethrone Johnson this year in scoring.
  3. Wes Welker-  Last year was far and away the best of his career as Welker posted 122 rec, 1,569 yards, and 9 touchdowns earning him a 3rd place finish among WR’s.  In PPR Wes has been gold since joining the pats as he has had over 110 receptions 4 of the past 5 seasons.  The only drawback in is that Welker plays with a quarterback who has a lot of mouths to feed as Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Lloyd will all get their fair share of looks.  Still Wes has over 1,150 yards 4 of 5 seasons with the patriots and is a safe pick in the early rounds.
  4. Greg Jennings-  Quoting ESPN “Jennings was on pace for a career-high 87 grabs for 1,239 yards and 12 TDs, which would have put him fifth among fantasy WRs.”  Since Jennings’ rookie year he has averaged 1,024 yards and 8 touchdowns.  He is also in his contract year and will be determined to show his worth and reassert his dominance as the top WR in Green Bay.  Look for Jennings to post huge numbers this year.
  5. Roddy White-  Over the past five seasons White has averaged 94 rec, 1,284 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Last season White was very consistent having 9 games posting double digit fantasy points helping him to a 7th place finish among WR’s.  Julio Jones’ big play ability will take some opportunity away from White but he has enough talent to overcome it.  Atlanta will be throwing more this season in my opinion so look for White to have a very successful season.

So there you have it fantasy world my list of WR’s who warrant the label tier 1.  As always comments welcome



Remember a few years back when taking a QB like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady in the first round was met with major criticism?  Back when workhorse backs where not near extinct and RB’s composed nearly every selection in round 1?  Well like Bob Dylan once said “times they are a changing”, especially in the world of fantasy football.  Nearly every back in the draft has major question marks this season because of injury, holdouts, and the ever popular RB by committee approach NFL teams have embraced.  In some mock drafts this season I have seen as little as 4 RB’s taken in the first round…a major reality check we as fake football managers must take notice of.  As it just so happens these 4 running backs just happen to be the 4 RB’s I have listed as my tier 1 backs.  So here it is… my very short list of RB’s I feel warrant the label “Tier 1” in my rankings…(all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

  1. Ray Rice:  Coming off of the best year of his career posting 2,068 total yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns, Rice finished 6th overall among all players and 1st among non QB’s in fantasy points with 283.  In 2 of the past three years Rice has had over 2000 scrimmage yards…the year he missed he “only” posted 1,776.  Rice has added value in PPR leagues as his reception numbers since 2009 have gone as follows; (78/702/1), (63/556/1), and (76/704/3), very impressive.  Another factor most people do not think of in drafting Rice is that he has the leagues BEST FB in Vontae Leach opening lanes for Rice to run.  And last but not least the reason why I will rank Rice #1 overall is the fact that has remained healthy starting 16 games for 3 consecutive seasons.
  2. Arian Foster:  The top running back according to the majority of FF players ranks 2 in my list.  Playing in only 13 of 16 games last season, Foster still earned enough points to finish 4th among running backs and had the highest points per games played ratio for his position.  There is no denying Foster has the skills to be the top RB this year, but one thing is keeping me from taking him ahead of Rice, and his name is Ben Tate.  Foster will command the lion share of the carries but Tate will still take plenty of opportunity away from Foster as he had 175 carries and 942 yards last season (a 5.4 avg!) proving he has talent to deliver as well.  So while Tate is around Foster is my #2.
  3. LeSean McCoy:  Last season McCoy was the top weapon in Philly posting 1,624 scrimmage yards and a stunning 20 total touchdowns.  McCoy is explosive and is the best player on the Eagle roster offensively in my opinion.  I’m not buying Andy Reid stating that the overused him last season and may cut back on his touches…come game time they will get him the ball if they want to win.  However I am concerned with Mike Vick taking back a few touchdowns.  Either way McCoy is solid as they come in reliability.
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew:  The leagues leading rusher from last season with 1,606 yards along with an additional 374 through the air and 11 total touchdowns, MJD ranks in #4.  MJD has posted at least 1,600 scrimmage yards and 7 TD’s in each of the last 3 seasons.  He does come with some risk however…firstly he is in a contract depute with the Jaguars and the longer he holds out the more his stock declines.  Secondly his heavy workload he has endured the past 3 seasons may make him a bit more of an injury risk.  Still once the Big 3 names get called, don’t hesitate to draft him.

So there you have my fellow fanatics… my tier 1 RB rankings.  As always comments welcome! Look for my Tier 2 rankings coming soon…

The days of drafting RB’s nearly exclusively in round 1 are all but a distant memory in fantasy football.  With the increase in running back tandems and rise of super dominant QB play has turned the current fantasy season into one of the most unpredictable in recent memory.  In nearly all drafts this year there will be 5 QB’s who will get drafted in the first 2 rounds, and more surprisingly up to 3 who go in the first round alone.  I will not insult your intelligence because chances are you have already heard these 5 names through countless articles, but in counting down my QB tier’s I need to start with the cream of the crop.  So without further ado the top 5 QB’s going into the 2012 season…(All points based on ESPN Standard Scoring)

  1. Aaron Rodgers- The only player I would consider taking ahead of Ray Rice or Arian Foster with a #1 overall pick, Aaron Rodgers has been fantasy gold the past 3 seasons.  Aaron Rodgers led all QB’s last fantasy season despite only playing in 15 games averaging a ridiculous 25.67 points per game played.  Rodgers lowest scoring game was 17 points in week 14 against Oakland, and was the only game in which he failed to post 20 plus points.  Rodgers threw for 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions (7.5/1, TD/INT ratio).  Add the fact that he will likely get you some yards on the ground and a few rushing TD’s, there just is NO other player that can match up.
  2. Tom Brady- Tom Terrific is coming off 5,235 yard, 39 touchdown campaign in 2011 finishing 3rd in fantasy points.  With the emergence of his talented TE tandem and always reliable Wes Welker Brady had a stupendous year.  However I feel this year should prove to be equally or even more impressive.  When Brady set the NFL record with 50 touchdowns in 2007 he had two things he has again but lacked last season…One his Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and two a true deep threat which he has acquired in Brandon Lloyd.  While I don’t think another 50 TD campaign is in the making, I feel that a 4,800 40-45 touchdown is well within reach.
  3. Drew Brees- Brees is coming off a record breaking year posting an outrageous 5,476 yards shattering Dan Marino’s long standing record.  In addition to that he also came within hollering distance of the TD record throwing for 46.  Since 2008 he has never failed to throw for over 4,300 yards or 34 touchdowns.  The contract situation and Sean Peyton suspension do not concern me…Brees knows the offense inside and out and will post great numbers again this season.
  4. Matthew Stafford- In his first full healthy season, Stafford finally displayed his the talent that made him the #1 pick in the 09′ draft.  Throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns, Stafford cemented his place among the NFL elite.  A full off season with his Decepticon friend will elevate his game even more.
  5. Cam Newton- Superman himself could not have had a more impressive rookie campaign than Cam Newton had last season.  Those of us who were lucky enough to draft him with a late round flier or add on the waiver wire after his 422 yard, 2 touchdown debut were rewarded by adding a QB who tied for 3rd overall in fantasy scoring.  If posting 4,o51 yards (breaking Peyton Manning’s rookie record) and 21 passing touchdowns weren’t impressive enough, Cam added 706 yards 14 touchdowns on the ground.  A full off season program with his team will help Newton post impressive numbers yet again in 2012.

So there you have it fantasy world, yet another column about why these 5 players are fantasy gold.  Coming soon my Tier 2 QB rankings…