Before you know it, it will be fantasy football draft time. Leading up to the season, I will conduct several mock drafts. During the drafts, I will pick in all 12 positions, with all sorts of scenarios.
As a rule, I prefer to draft three starting running backs within the first four rounds. It's a tried-and-true strategy that has done me well for 20-plus years. The mock drafts will all assume 12 teams are in the league (unless otherwise noted) with the following roster breakdown: a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, a flex position (running back, wide receiver or tight end), as well as a kicker, team defense and six bench spots. It's a 16-round snake draft.
Here is scenario No. 1.
I have the first overall pick. I'm playing in a points-per-reception league (PPR), which means that every reception is worth one point.
You can see the entire draft by clicking
Here is my roster:
Round 1, Pick 1: Running back Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams)
Round 2, Pick 12: Running back Jerick McKinnon (Minnesota Vikings)
Round 3, Pick 1: Running back Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)
Round 4, Pick 12: Wide receiver Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns)
Round 5, Pick 1: Wide receiver Brandin Cooks (Los Angeles Rams)
Round 6, Pick 12: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (Washington Redskins)
Round 7, Pick 1: Wide receiver, Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)
Round 8, Pick 12: Running back Dion Lewis (Tennessee Titans)
Round 9, Pick 1: Tight end Trey Burton (Chicago Bears)
Round 10, Pick 12: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Round 11, Pick 1: Running back Jamaal Williams (Green Bay Packers)
Round 12, Pick 12: Wide receiver Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks)
Round 13, Pick 1: Minnesota Vikings team defense/special teams
Round 14, Pick 12: Kicker Stephen Gostkowski (New England Patriots)
Round 15, Pick 1: Quarterback Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans)
Round 16, Pick 12: Running back Chris Ivory (Buffalo Bills)
Gurley is the clear No. 1 pick to start the year with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell planning on holding out again. The Rams should be one of the top offenses this season, so it's a great start to the draft. True to my usual strategy, I took three running backs with my top three picks. I always believe getting three of the top 15 running backs gives me a huge advantage over the rest of my league. I got three of my top 12 running backs during this draft.
I addressed wide receiver in a big way with my next four picks. I grabbed two of my favorite targets in a PPR setting by drafting Crowder and Cobb in the sixth and seventh rounds. Crowder should have a bounce-back season with new Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, whose strength is his accuracy and the short passing game. Cobb could see 100-plus targets in Green Bay's high-powered offense given that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is healthy and receiver Jordy Nelson left via free agency.
The top fantasy football tight ends are Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, Travis Kelce of the New York Giants, Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles and Evan Engram of the New York Giants. The position is wide open after those four. Burton, who I picked in the ninth round, should be used in a Kelce-like role in Chicago, so there's upside.
At quarterback, my rule is simple: wait as long as you can to take a top 10 passer. I took Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the 10th round after securing great depth at running back and receiver during this draft.
I've drafted defenses and kickers starting in the 13th or 14th rounds over the years, which allows me to draft the ones I want before the runs usually start.
I like to take flyers or handcuffs during the 15th and 16th rounds. Getting a quarterback like Mariota in the 15th round is terrific value for a quarterback who could return top-10 stats. Ivory in the 16th round was a great chance to take with the off-field issues backfield mate LeSean McCoy is having.
Overall, I love this team and would be very happy to draft this team in a real league. I have top running backs with great depth at receiver.
Please try a mock draft yourself, as practice makes perfect. You can mock
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox