So I realize the last two months or so have been all about the NFL Draft. And that is fine and all, but it is about time to get back to the good stuff: fantasy mock drafts.
Aaron Kadkhodai from The Microcosm joined me with the even-numbered picks in this mock draft. Take a second to head over to his blog for all kinds of content, mostly humorous. I even do a little side blogging over there with some Hell’s Kitchen recaps and other random goodies.
The last time I put out a mock, it felt a little rusty and off-the-mark. Now that free agency and the NFL Draft are behind us, I am feeling much better about this mock draft. See if you agree below:
- LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: No Michael Turner = more playing time for Tomlinson? Maybe not with the multi-talented Darren Sproles and the newly-acquired everyman Jacob Hester on the depth chart behind LT2. But you know LT2 will get his, as long as he can avoid injury.
- Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: I see no reason for a sophomore slump. I think he may exceed his numbers from last year and the Vikings are only getting better. He’s a hoss.
- Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Dude was supposed to challenge LT2’s numbers last year. Got hurt, missed a lot of time, but came back and finished strong. If the Rams’ can improve the offensive line somehow, SJax should be able to roam free.
- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Even though in the past QBs have had stellar years and then tapered off, I don’t expect this from Brady. After losing the Super Bowl there should be the same intensity and fire in the Patriots’ eyes. I get the feeling they will maintain the same course as last year, with the exception of rather than trying to win them all, trying to perfect their team for postseason play. I think, though the numbers won’t be as great as last year, Brady will still be the top QB and I will make the rare QB first-round pick.
- Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: Somebodies injury history and propensity still concerns me despite a strong 2007 season, so Addai is the pick here. Still an up-and-coming star, Addai has been more than lucrative as the starting runningback for the high-powered Colts’ offense. Hopefully, someone in the AFC South will challenge Indy this year, which would keep Addai on the field through the fantasy playoffs.
- Jamal Lewis, RB, Browns: Last year, Jamal proved to me that he is back in the saddle again. He has finally shrugged off prison and is a quiet football star waiting for his moment. With the offensive talent that surrounds him at the receiver position, he should explode with a lot of stats. Nine TDs rushing last year, will become 12 + this year as defenses focus on the Browns’ significant passing game.
- Brain Westbrook, RB, Eagles: Value, value, value. If Westy falls this far in the first round, consider yourself a lucky man/woman/being. Yes, he does have the ever-popular injury concerns. But he started and played in 15 games last year and was a fantasy stud. The reward greatly outweighs the risk here at No. 7.
- Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: It looks like a winning combination. Although defenses try their best to stop Randy Dandy Moss, it just can’t happen against an offense with this kind of versatility. He will get at least 16 TDs and 1000 yards. That makes him a reliable starting receiver every week. It adds something special to a fantasy team to have a receiver that averages at least 80 yards a game with a TD (but I expect Moss’ numbers to be more like 100 yards with a TD).
- Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: So far, my picks have been pretty straight-forward and solid (Tomlinson, Jackson, Addai and Westbrook), but this may be my first risk. LJ was less than great after his lengthy hold-out on a bad football team. Did the Chiefs improve enough this offseason? That remains to be seen. High risk, high reward: It all hinges on that offensive line and Brodie Croyle.
- Marion Barber, RB, Dallas: This pick should be solid. As a No. 10, I don’t feel I am taking too much of a risk. He has been a resilient, powerful runner for a while and without Julius Jones in the backfield he should be able to emerge from the shadows and take a spot in the limelight. Dallas is going to be potent and Barber scores TDs and racks up yards at nearly 5 a carry. Could be similar numbers to last year if taking a full time starting role backfires, but I expect a strong performance to compliment the passing game.
- Peyton Manning, QB, Colts: Several good runners still are available at this point in the draft, and the person picking at No. 11 could scoop one up after the turn. So why not grab the guy who arguably is the best quarterback in the league year-after-year? Yes, Tom Brady did surpass him last year, but this Manning is the most consistent of all the quarterbacks available and will battle Brady et al for top dog again this season.
- Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: I expect that the Ravens are going to have a re-emergent year. Maybe not stellar, but playoff possibilities. I look for Willis to have his strongest year to date. He is nearing that period in most running backs careers in which they shine the brightest. That point where youth and experience meet to form the best two or three years in a RBs career. Barring an injury, I see McGahee posting some strong numbers.
- Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: He is hard to catch, lightning quick and extremely versatile as a RB. Even though Taylor had a career year in 2007, I think it is the downside of the slope for his career. I picture Taylor being the power back and Jones-Drew being the everything else back. If too many TDs are not stolen from him in the short yardage, goal line runs, he could have a major fantasy impact. [After two rounds: Willis McGahee, Maurice Jones-Drew]
- Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: This is a pretty big slip for Gore, who went high — very high — in some drafts last year. Many fantasy owners may shy away from the big back after a woeful 49ers’ offense took the field last year. With Mike Martz at the helm, things could get better, or worse, for Gore. I do not consider this much of a gamble here, though, and many would consider this a steal. [After two rounds: Peyton Manning, Frank Gore]
- Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: There are still some good backs out there, and some might argue that Braylon Edwards deserves some consideration, but I think that Fitz has the work ethic and skills to prove his big new contract was worth the money. I like his chances of being the top receiver in the league especially with Matt Leinart getting more comfortable as a pro. Arizona underperformed last year and this is a good time for them to prove they are ready to play with the big boys and Fitz is a crucial playmaker. [After two rounds: Marion Barber, Larry Fitzgerald]
- Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins: This is a tough call for the Larry Johnson owner, but a good situation in which to be. The decision came down to Portis or Buffalo bruiser Marshawn Lynch. I went with Portis because of his experience and the more positive outlook of the Washington offense, but Lynch would have been a nice consolation had Portis been off the board. The backs are comparable. [After two rounds: Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis]
- “Fast” Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: Although Marshawn Lynch has been mentioned as a top prospect for the draft, I cannot say that I believe he has totally proven himself. Buffalo still has not proven it can win consistently and Lynch is not a household name, so I am going with the proven yard devourer Parker. Though he has never been a touchdown monster like LT, he has unquestionably quick feet and I think his fumbling troubles are long gone. The Steelers will be good, and Parker will score enough to make this a worthwhile pick to complement first-rounder Randy Moss. [After two rounds: Randy Moss, Willie Parker]
- Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: I keep tipping my hand but Aaron keeps slapping it away. He has his own agenda and I like that. Lynch makes a great complement to the first-rounder taken at this spot, Brian Westbrook. Funny coincidence: A guy in our main league likely will be rolling these two guys out onto the field for his fantasy team every week this season, assuming he uses his two keeper spots for Westy and Lynch. After two rounds: Brian Westbrook, Marshawn Lynch]
- Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: I worry about this pick, because I think it is a toss up. It could be that the very potent and young and talented Packers flounder under Rodgers and Grant is not able to produce, or they could play to their potential and Grant could be a superstar. That is why I waited this long to select arguably one of the most solid running backs of the second half of last year’s season. Either way, he’s a starter and will get some good points even if the Packers struggle, but I don’t want to see the next Kevin Jones. [After two rounds: Jamal Lewis, Ryan Grant]
- Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: My first non-runningback pick since Peyton Manning in the first round, Edwards is an up-and-coming star on an up-and-coming team. He is going high in early fantasy drafts, some even higher than this spot in the second round, so this is not a bad place for him. This pick here also gives this team two of the top players at their respective positions. [After two rounds: Joseph Addai, Braylon Edwards]
- Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins: With Bill Parcells helping to bring this team new life, Brown should be back to his old form. He has certainly proven himself and before he got hurt, he was performing incredibly well, despite his team’s woes. Even with Ricky Williams (where’s the wedding dress?), I think he will be a good for a TD and 90 yards a game barring he does not get hurt (and that is a major fear). [After two rounds: Tom Brady, Ronnie Brown]
- Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: Aaron did not fall for what I thought would start a run on wide receivers with the Edwards pick. Try, try again here: Now the best receiver in Indianapolis, Wayne stepped into that role in a big way in 2007 after Marvin Harrison went down with a mysterious knee injury. Wayne should continue to develop into the feature role while Harrison ages and gets himself in trouble (maybe). [After two rounds: Steven Jackson, Reggie Wayne]
- Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: A gunslinger, a reckless throwback to Brett Favre, the love of Jessica’s life, Romessica, whatever you want to call him, Romo has proven he can be consistent enough to get the Cowboys deep in the playoffs and throw for big stats week in week out. He has the right supporting cast and the burning desire to win. He could prove to be a TD machine with his crew of wide receivers healthy and a solid running game. [After two rounds: Adrian Peterson, Tony Romo]
- Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: Not a bad back to snag here at the end of round 2 for the team that already owns the league’s best back, LaDainian Tomlinson. On the other side of the turn, several top-notch wide receivers are available, including Steve Smith, Terrell Owens and Andre Johnson. Plenty of talent still available! [After two rounds: LaDainian Tomlinson, Brandon Jacobs]
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