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Fantasy Football Mock Draft Analysis, Part 1

There is no better way to prepare for the fantasy football season than with a mock draft.  A mock draft gives insight into where players are ranked on the default draft board, where players generally get taken, and how you need to draft in order to fill out your roster the way you want it.  I recently did a mock draft and am here to break down why I made the picks I made.  The mock was a 12-team, standard scoring draft and I held the 10th overall pick.  Here’s what happened;

Round 1, Pick 10: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

After some wacky picks in the top-9 (Kelce at 1?), I ended up with Taylor at 10 and was thrilled.  I always try to take an RB in the first if possible and I have Taylor ranked at #7 overall.  I get it, there are concerns about Marlon Mack vulturing some touches from Taylor.  It could happen. I still think Taylor gets a large workload given his incredible talent and the run-heavy Colts offense.

Last season, Indy ran the ball on 44.13% of plays (9th most). Taylor had 47 red zone carries (6th most).  Despite ranking only 8th in total carries, he finished with the 3rd most rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns.  The Colts have the 2nd best offensive line in football (PFF) and will be starting the season with Carson Wentz at QB (a struggling player in need of run support).  Taylor also has passing-game upside, getting 41 targets last season.

I know that was stats overload. I am admittedly a bit of stat fiend when it comes to fantasy football.  In short, I expect Taylor to have a workhorse type role even if Mack gets some touches. His talent combined with the strong O-line should allow him to easily produce RB1 numbers.  He’s a steal at 10 considering he was RB6 in fantasy scoring last season.

Round 2, Pick 15: Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

I’m going to take this opportunity to remind you that I predicted a Josh Allen breakout season all Summer last year, and then it happened.  Why?  Because I am also inclined to tell you I HATED Tyreek Hill during the 2020 preseason and avoided him in every single draft I did.  Of course, he proceeded to scored the 2nd most fantasy points among receivers behind over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Needless to say, I shit the bed on that one.

But I am a changed man!  No longer will I point to Hill’s inconsistency in 2018 and injury-ridden 2019.  No longer will I claim his sub top-10 target totals make him too risky of a pick in the first two rounds.  The simple truth is this; Hill is a beast, and he has the best QB in the league throwing him the ball, #analysis.  I know this is a different tune from my analysis on Taylor, where I stuffed you full of stats.  But that’s the wrong way to think about a guy like Hill.

He doesn’t have amazing target/target share numbers.  But he’s a deep ball machine which results in a lot of big plays and a lot of touchdowns.  The Chiefs throw the ball as much as anyone, and with Mahomes slinging it, good things happen.  I like Hill a lot this season, and after grabbing an elite RB in round one I felt great about snagging my top ranked receiver in round 2.

Round 3, Pick 34: D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions

This is where things got tricky.  After an absurd amount of RBs got taken in the first 2.5 rounds I felt like Tyler Glasnow trying to pitch without using illegal substances, helpless.  I knew I wanted to take an RB because I did not want to risk only having one guy I felt good about at the position.  Swift was the best option here, ahead of guys like Myles Gaskin and David Montgomery.

I know this offense is going to be worse than Ben Simmons in clutch time, but the backfield is Swift’s alone.  The release of Kerryon Johnson confirms that Detroit is committed to Swift as their workhorse guy.  From weeks 8-17 of 2020, Swift averaged a 62% snap share and finished as a top-20 scoring RB in 5/7 weeks (he was injured for a few games). 

He also has passing game upside, getting 57 targets in 2020.  And while the skill of the offense is a concern, the line is sneakily one of the better units in the league, ranking 10th according to PFF.  Detroit will likely be very run-heavy as they try to develop Jared Goff.  With a shortage of receiving threats, Swift could see significant usage in both the passing and running games behind a skilled O-line.  He’s a strong RB2.

Round 4, Pick 39: Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

Dak Prescott was on a historic pace during the first four weeks of last season before being injured.  During that time, Cooper averaged 12.8 targets/game and over 100 receiving yards/game.  He was plagued by poor QB play the rest of the season but still finished 11th in receptions and 14th in receiving yards.  Only scoring 5 touchdowns hurt him quite a bit. But a full season with healthy Dak should return his TD numbers to the mean (around 8-9, maybe more).

This pick felt great to me, as I came out of the first four rounds with 2 RBs and 2 WRs, all of which I felt really good about.  We all know the Cowboys offense is going to be stellar this year. Plus, they will likely have to throw the ball a lot to make up for the lackluster defense.  Cooper is WR1, and has the best connection with Dak so he should garner a significant target share.  Love him here in the 4th round.  Stay tuned for an analysis of how the rest of my mock draft went.  But as I said, I felt really good with these first four picks, and the top-4 really is where you can bust your season.