If you read my last article, you know that I’m about to analyze my picks from the middle rounds of a fantasy football mock draft I did. If you didn’t read my last article, then please reference the previous sentence. Anyways, these are the rounds where fantasy championships are won. You need to hit on a few guys here to have a good chance at taking home the trophy and avoiding a 15-hour Waffle House visit. I think I made some good picks here (obviously, or else I wouldn’t have done it) so let’s dive right in.
Round 5, Pick 58: Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns
I love this Cleveland backfield more than I love Terry’s soccer article, and I LOVE Terry’s soccer article. Seriously though, Chubb and Hunt combine to form the most lethal 1-2 punch in the NFL today. I know this comparison is terribly overused, but they remind me of the Ingram/Kamara days in New Orleans. You’ve got two talented backs who split time evenly in an offense that runs the ball as much as anyone. Oh, and did I mention they have the #1 ranked offensive line in the league (PFF)? Well they do.
Hunt finished as a top-10 scoring RB in every points format last year. That means he doesn’t rely entirely on receiving work (of which he gets a lot). He had over 1,000 scrimmage yards last year and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers are easily repeatable, and even if TDs regress he’ll still be flirting with the top-15 scoring RBs. I felt great getting him as my flex. I ended up with 3 RBs in this mock draft that I felt really good about, and was comfortable enough to look at other positions moving forward.
Round 6, Pick 63: Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
Speaking of other positions, welcome to the team Lamar! See what I did there? Don’t ever tell me I can’t write immaculate transitions. I’m shocked Lamar fell this far in the mock draft. Usually there is a run on QBs somewhere around the 4th-5th rounds, and despite a down season in 2020 I expect Jackson to get over drafted this year. I mean, he was the MVP in 2019 and led all QBs in fantasy points. He also averaged 6 points more per game than the 2nd highest scoring guy. In 2020 fantasy, he was frequently drafted in the first round. The definition of dominance.
He will always be the biggest running threat at the position, and you can count on him to give you 1,000 yards and 6-8 touchdowns on the ground. The question mark is his arm. He’s not the best passer, but he’s also never had as good of a receiving unit as he does this year. I like Rashod Bateman a lot, and Sammy Watkins is still a capable pass-catcher. With his new weapons and chip on his shoulder, I think he’ll easily eclipse 30 passing touchdowns and get close to his 2019 numbers. In round 6, this is a steal.
Round 7, Pick 83: DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles
Check you’re watch, cuz it’s rookie time in the mock draft. Ok, not my best line, but no one can be a genius 24/7, not even me. I get it, the Eagles passing game sucked last year. It was terrible. An abomination. But they didn’t have Heisman Trophy winner and National Championship legend DeVonta “The Real Slim Reaper” Smith.
From weeks 13-16 last year, Jalen Hurts was QB6 in fantasy scoring. He threw 6 touchdowns in that span despite the lack of weapons and O-line protection. Things should be better this year and I expect Philly to feed Smith like he’s Joey Chestnut at a buffet. Targets + Talent = Success. Smith fits this formula, and I think he could be a solid WR2 in fantasy this year because of it.
Round 8, Pick 87: Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers
This is going to be a split backfield, which I hate. But at this point in the draft you’re gonna be taking guys that have a lot of doubts surrounding them. That’s why they’re available so late. I like Fournette here because the Bucs offense is going to be dominant. He will likely have a lot of opportunities to score and get garbage time touches due to the Bucs being in the lead.
The O-line is great, and Fournette is the preferred pass-catching back of Tom Brady. James White has had a lot of success in that role, and the Pats never had as much offensive firepower as the Bucs do. Even if he only gets 10-15 touches a game, Fournette could do a lot with those touches in this offense. As an RB4, I can live with that.
Round 9, Pick 106: Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
Here’s a sneak peak of what will be a longer article on my tight end drafting strategy:
1.) Don’t take Kelce in the 1st, he’s overvalued.
2.) If you can’t get Kittle or Waller at a good ADP, wait until later in the draft (a la my Gesicki pick in my mock draft).
There is such a big gap between the top-3 tight ends and the rest of the players at the position. But the ADP difference does not accurately reflect that. I think if you take a TE earlier than this you’re reaching. The position is never very strong outside of the top guys, so if you’re not going to get one of them you should wait and stock up on more important positions.
In all honesty, I don’t have any particular reason to love Gesicki as a pick. I took him because he was the best TE on the board and I liked him a lot more than the guys below him. Like I said, I think TE is a bit of a crapshoot position. I’ll explain more in a later article, but if you’re missing out on the top guys, I don’t think it matters too much who you end up with.
Round 10, Pick 111: Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
At this point in the draft, any running back listed first on the depth chart is valuable. Damien Harris is exactly that, and the Patriots seem to be committed to having him as the primary ball carrier. In the ten games he played last year, Harris averaged 13.7 carries/game and 74.3 total yards/game. He only scored 2 touchdowns. The Patriots ran the ball a lot last year (2nd most in the league) and I expect that trend to continue into this year.
They have weak QBs, weak receiving threats, and an amazing O-line. That should equal a lot of ground work. James White is primarily a pass-catcher, and Sony Michel drops off the face of the Earth every year on opening day. I like to look for upside in the later rounds, and Harris has a ton of it. If he becomes a workhorse in this run-heavy offense, he could be an every week fantasy starter. He could also get lost in the fray of a crowded backfield and be unstartable. I’m willing to take the chance, considering he’s the 5th RB being added to my squad.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the picks I made (who gives a shit what defense and kicker I ended up with?) but I will highlight a few things from this mock that I liked. I liked that I loaded up on RBs, getting 2 in the first 4 rounds, 3 in the first 5, and 5 in the first 10. You gotta be strong at that position, and I felt strong coming out of this draft.
I also liked that I got Lamar as my QB in the 6th round, it felt like a steal. I also hate being weak at QB, as I think it’s hard to overcome. But I try to avoid reaching for one of the top guys. The middle rounds really are the QB sweet spot. There will surely be more articles to come about draft strategy, but hopefully this gave you a sneak peak as to what I think is the best way to draft.