The NFL Draft has brought a ton of new talent to the NFL as well as fantasy football.
Whether you’re in a redraft league or a dynasty league, hopefully you were paying attention to this insanely deep draft at the skill positions. There will be several rookies that you want to keep an eye on as your draft approaches.
Tell me your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @john9williams.
Round 1 – Fantasy Football Mock Draft
1.01 Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (RB1)
1.02 Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (RB2)
1.03 David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (RB3)
1.04 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (WR1)
1.05 Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (WR2)
1.06 Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (WR3)
1.07 Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR4)
1.08 A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (WR5)
1.09 LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (RB4)
1.10 Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (RB5)
1.11 Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (RB6)
1.12 Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (WR6)
Round 1 Mock Draft Notes
– Nothing has changed in the way I see the running backs in round one. I still have Ezekiel Elliott as my number one running back and overall player. You can read more about that here.
– My only change at the wide receiver position is moving Julio Jones to number 2 ahead of Odell Beckham Jr.
While the New York Giants offense is going to have better weapons in 2017, I have a feeling we are going to see Beckham’s target total drop below 140.
The Giants added Brandon Marshall via free agency and uber athletic tight end Evan Engram via the draft.
You can read more about my top three wide receivers here.
– Mike Evans and Melvin Gordon were highly productive players while very inefficient.
Evans saw 173 targets, but in his career, has never posted a catch rate greater than the 55.7% he posted in his rookie season. Compare that to Antonio Brown who has only one season with a catch percentage less than 62.3%. Evans has scored 12 touchdowns in two of his three seasons.
Melvin Gordon saw a ton of touches in 2016 and will again in 2017. His 3.9 yards per carry in 2016 wasn’t great, but you love the volume and the touchdowns; 13 touchdowns in 13 games.
– Six running backs and six wide receivers should make up the first round in most 12 team drafts. While there may be some variation at the back-end of the first and beginning of the second, I still think that is the proper distribution by position.
– The Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Atlanta Falcons each feature two players in my top-12 overall at the moment.
Round 2 – Fantasy Football Mock Draft
2.01 Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears (RB7)
2.02 Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (WR7)
2.03 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (WR8)
2.04 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (WR9)
2.05 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (WR10)
2.06 DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans (RB8)
2.07 Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (RB9)
2.08 Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (RB10)
2.09 Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (WR11)
2.10 Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (WR12)
2.11 Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (WR13)
2.12 Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (RB11)
Round 2 Mock Draft Notes
– Jordan Howard and Michael Thomas are the two rookies who stood out most in 2016 and both will have a great opportunity to continue to establish themselves in 2017. Both have favorable positions within their offensive hierarchy. I can see top-five positional scoring for both of these players.
– Jay Ajayi as my 11th running back might be a little bit low, but I am just not sold yet. Yes, his 1,400 total yards is impressive, but when you look at his game logs you see four games with more than 100 total yards. Those four games accounted for more than 50% of his total yardage output. In his other 12 games, he only totaled more than 80 yards one time. He is the definition of boom or bust.
– Running Back Joe Mixon is the first rookie taken for me. I’m willing to do so as high as the second round, but because a lot of people aren’t as sold, you might be able to get him a couple of rounds later.
As I wrote in my Dynasty Rookie Rankings Top 50, Mixon combines elite speed, size, agility, and three down ability. It won’t be long before he is receiving 18-20 touches a game for the Cincinnati Bengals.
– 2016 receiving yardage leader T.Y. Hilton is one of my favorite, seemingly undervalued players. In some drafts, you might be able to get him at the back-end of the round, but I like him in the middle of the second.
– If I were assembling an All-Bounce Back team it would feature DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, and Todd Gurley. All had very bad 2016 seasons, but all have top-five positional scoring ability.
Round 3 – Fantasy Football Mock Draft
3.01 Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (TE1)
3.02 Lamar Miller, Houston Texans (RB12)
3.03 Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (RB13)
3.04 Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles (WR14)
3.05 Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots (WR15)
3.06 Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars (RB14)
3.07 Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (RB15)
3.08 Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (RB16)
3.09 Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (TE2)
3.10 Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (WR16)
3.11 Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (WR17)
3.12 C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (RB17)
Round 3 Mock Draft Notes
– Count me as someone who never felt completely comfortable investing a top-12 pick in a tight end, even one as dominant as Rob Gronkowski. Top of the third is where I feel most comfortable because TE fills only one roster spot. When you are trying to typically fill two running back, two wide receiver, and one to two flex spots, a tight end in round one just doesn’t make sense.
– I look for this to be the season in which Keenan Allen finally has some injury good luck. Much like Sean Lee, the talent level has always been there, but a rash of injuries have kept him off the field. Look for Allen to eclipse 80 catches and 1,200 yards in his bounce back campaign.
– Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey fall into a couple of really good situations. They will be the focal points of their team’s running game. McCaffrey especially will have a large role in the Carolina offense that will look to keep up with the other NFC South powerhouses.
– While I still have Jordy Nelson ranked ahead of Davante Adams, I expect 2017 to be a sort of changing of the guard. Adams saw six targets or more in all but two game last season, scored 12 touchdowns and secured more than 60% of his passes. He had two games with double-digit receptions and six games with more than 70 receiving yards. Not elite numbers, but steadily improving.
– Isaiah Crowell is my favorite player in the third round. He had more than 1,200 total yards for the hapless Cleveland Browns last season. Cleveland invested in the offensive line in free agency. They didn’t add a running back in the draft as was speculated during the offseason, setting Crowell up for a breakout season.
– Greg Olsen isn’t a sexy name in fantasy circles, but he gets the job done. He’s finished with more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons and there’s no reason to suspect he won’t this year. He’s still the top target in the Carolina Panthers passing game.
Round 4 – Fantasy Football Mock Draft
4.01 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (QB1)
4.02 Tom Brady, New England Patriots (QB2)
4.03 DeMaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (WR18)
4.04 Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (RB18)
4.05 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (WR19)
4.06 Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (RB19)
4.07 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (QB3)
4.08 Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (TE3)
4.09 Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks (RB20)
4.10 Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (WR20)
4.11 Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins (WR21)
4.12 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (QB4)
Round 4 Mock Draft Notes
– Round four is where I begin feeling comfortable taking quarterbacks. While you may see some in your draft begin taking them in round three, I say wait. Like was discussed with Gronkowski, when you are trying to fill several positions, you want to invest where the impact will be most greatly felt; running back and wide receiver.
There are several great quarterbacks available in this round, but if you want to wait, you can get top-five upside several rounds later with a Dak Prescott or Jameis Winston.
– There is nothing but questions with the running backs in round four and beyond. What you are looking for is opportunity and Spencer Ware at the moment has the best opportunity.
Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy are good backs, but their situation is clouded by the depth chart. The additions of Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara leave Ingram’s touch count in doubt.
– Sammy Watkins has all the ability but has struggled to stay on the field. Round four is a good place to take a risk on someone with huge upside.
– It’s safe to say that Terrelle Pryor has made the successful transition to wide receiver after posting his first 1,000 yard season for the Cleveland Browns. He now moves to a much improved offensive situation in Washington, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Signed to only a one year deal, Pryor will have a ton to prove.
Round 5 – Fantasy Football Mock Draft
5.01 Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (WR22)
5.02 Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (WR23)
5.03 Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (RB21)
5.04 Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins TE4)
5.05 Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (RB22)
5.06 Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (WR24)
5.07 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (QB5)
5.08 Rob Kelley, Washington Redskins (RB23)
5.09 Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (WR25)
5.10 Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (QB6)
5.11 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (WR26)
5.12 Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (RB24)
Round 5 Mock Draft Notes
– Dalvin Cook may have dropped in value during the pre-draft process, but I can’t discount what he did and the reputation he had coming out of Florida State. He was seen by a lot of people as the top running back during the season. Game production doesn’t lie.
– Ty Montgomery is going to be an interesting name to watch in Green Bay. If the Packers continue to use him as their RB1, he will be a productive player in their pass happy, shotgun focused offense. I think it’s just as possible that he becomes a third down back and Jamaal Williams takes over the early down work.
– Rob Kelley impressed in his rookie year and will get the first crack at lead back in Washington, despite the addition of Samaje Perine.