Editor’s Note: This article is submitted by a new Member Corner author, Davis Mattek. You may recall his recent article on DuJuan Harris. We welcome Davis to the Member Corner and look forward to seeing more of his work in the future!
I recently participated in the first round of one of Dynasty League Football’s off-season dynasty mock drafts. Along with 12 other mock owners, I drafted 20 players along the scoring system of starting one quarterback, two runnings back, one wide receiver, a tight end and three flex positions. The scoring system was standard with PPR and we were not required to draft a kicker or defense, but if the league were to be played, starting lineups would have both as starting slots. I had the first pick of the draft and as a result, the wrap around pick for the next 19 rounds. I am going to take you through my roster and identify why I made the selections I did. The strategy here was to win right out of the gate, but also to add some youth for the future. You can find the entire draft here.
1.01 – Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
I think this is probably the easiest pick anyone in the draft had. He led the NFL in rushing less than a year removed from ACL surgery, is an inextricable part of a run heavy offense, and had a 30.1 offensive player rating from Pro Football Focus which led the second place finisher by 4.7. His resume is unparalleled and he is the most talented offensive skill position player in the league. In a league where you could potentially start up to five running backs and for a team wanting to compete early, taking Peterson first is a no brainer.
2.12 – Alfred Morris, RB WAS
I truly don’t know how he fell this far. Granted, it is a PPR league and Morris was not really featured out of the backfield much, but he seemed an extreme value. Weather he is running the pistol zone-read option with Robert Griffin III or the focus of a run heavy offense with Kirk Cousins, Morris has totally earned the trust of Mike Shanahan and will get fed the football. He had over 1,000 yards rushing last year after contact. While he is typically depicted as a plodder, his elusive rating of 51.0 was higher than LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush. While it feels very unusual to invest this high a pick on a Mike Shanahan running back, I have always been of the mind that once he gets a running back he trusts, he runs them into the ground. Effectively, Shanahan has just been trying to replace Terrell Davis; in Morris, he found another workhouse sixth round pick to carry the load.
3-01 – Roddy White, WR ATL
Both of my WR1 picks, Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb had already been selected. I didn’t like the options presented of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald or Jordy Nelson. White, while aging, still has not missed an NFL game and when I personally doubted him while dinged, had a two touchdown, 124 yard performance against the Detroit Lions. The best way to view dynasty leagues is in three year windows. I personally believe after he finished two spots ahead of A.J Green and three ahead of Brandon Marshall in PFF’s WR rating, White has two seasons of elite production left and at least four of a top 30 output still in the tank.
4.12 – Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
To be fair to my fellow drafters, it’s worth noting this pick was made before Kaep’s excellent showing against the Green Bay Packers. That explains why he was still available at this steep discount. To me, Kaepernick showed enough in the Bears and Patriots game to trust him as a top eight quarterback until he suffers a serious injury. His cannon of an arm, daring ability to throw downfield, intelligence in the zone-read and Harbaugh’s faith in the young man make it evident he has the skills to put up huge fantasy numbers. Running quarterbacks will always have a higher floor than strict pocket passers and after his record breaking rushing yardage in the divisional round, Kaepernick has proven to be explosive in that area.
5.01 – Marques Colston, WR NO
This is a PPR league, so adding Colston in the fifth round was a steal. The reason he falls this low for competing teams in dynasty startups could be the fact he’s simply boring. He will get around 125 of Drew Brees’ targets, score around ten touchdowns and reach around 1,200 receiving yards. A consistent high end WR2 is nothing to sneeze at in the fifth round, even though he has limited upside. One point in Colston’s favor is that Jimmy Graham’s battle with drops in 2012 could equate to more targets coming Colston’s way in 2013 as Brees has to re-learn to trust the redheaded tight end.
6.12 – DuJuan Harris, RB GB
I said about as much as can be said about DuJuan Harris in an earlier post for DLF. His decisiveness, mediocre surrounding talent, ability to make himself small to fit through the holes created by a bad offensive line and general elusiveness make him an attractive option. While the sixth round may be the highest Harris goes in an dynasty draft this summer, to me, this pick still has the chance of providing excess value due to his potential.
7.01 – Danny Amendola, WR STL
As injury prone as he is, the seventh round for a potential top ten option will always be worth it to me. Many owners prefer to minimize risk and use bottom feeders to build their potential. My dynasty philosophy has always been to employ high ceiling players. As Amendola’s performance against the Washington Redskins in 2012 shows, he has the potential to be a top ten wide receiver in a PPR league. Sam Bradford has a laser lock on Amendola once he drops back to pass and he even had seven games out of 12 with over nine targets, sporting an impressive 66.3 catch percentage with them.
8.12 – Bernard Pierce, RB BAL
For whatever reason, the Ravens appear to be apprehensive to give Ray Rice a full and total load. Pierce has firmly entrenched himself as Rice’s primary backup and received 126 carries to Rice’s 302, netting an impressive 432 of his 649 yards after contact while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Pierce is the prototypical young and talented running back to stash in dynasty formats.
9.01 Greg Little, WR CLE
As much as Little has been admonished for dropping easy passes and generally not living up his prodigious potential, I am still a fan. With the Browns bringing in Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski, I expect Cleveland’s offense to open up and be able to provide some decent WR3 numbers for Little. He was absolutely horrendous in the first five games of the 2012 season, earning overall negative ratings from Pro Football Focus each week. However, he was able to slightly rebound and post six games with a catch percentage over 75% while catching four of his 11 deep targets (which was actually better than Josh Gordon’s 26.1 deep ball catch rate).
10.12 Golden Tate, WR SEA
After arriving in the national conscience as a result of the “fail mary,” Tate actually played really well in a few games. As Russell Wilson improved as a passer and Pete Carroll opened up the offense, Tate’s yards per reception sky rocketed. He also proved to be solid deep threat for Wilson’s cannon arm, not dropping a single deep target and gaining 343 yards on targets 20 yards down the field or more and lead the Seattle wide receivers in PFF’s WR rating.
11.01 Robert Turbin, RB SEA
Another Seahawk whose talent I believe in. Spelling Marshawn Lynch in several blowouts and playing on some third downs, Turbin’s progress from college was evident. Football Guys greats (and good DLF friends) Matt Waldman and Sigmund Bloom were very vocal early on in the season that the Seahawks coaching staff had done a great job with Turbin and recommended him as a high upside handcuff. Not a typically sexy dynasty pick, but with Lynch’s back problems and the way Seattle’s offense is constructed, Turbin could be huge.
12.12 Brent Celek, TE PHI
As an owner who streamed tight ends in re-draft for 2012, Celek was a constantly available and frustrating player. There is no telling who ends up as the quarterback for the Eagles in 2013, but when not asked to block constantly, Celek is a solid TE2 in most formats. Only scoring one touchdown in 2012 really hurt his value, but any sort of progression in that area could change that.
13.01 Chris Ivory, RB NO
Much like DuJuan Harris, Chris Ivory is a personal favorite of mine. A strong and violent runner, Ivory’s inability to stay healthy has killed him over the years, but he is an immensely talented player. Given his status as a restricted free agent, it is not hard to imagine a scenario where Ivory ends up as time carry back who gets looks in the red zone. In 2012, Ivory’s yards after contact average was 4.7, which was better than Adrian Peterson.
14.12 Micheal Bush, RB CHI
At this point, we know who Bush is – a touchdown vulture who will perform well if the running back ahead of him gets injured. He is, however, getting a little on the old side which explains his slide into the 14th round.
15.01 Lestar Jean, WR HOU
The Texans have been trying to fill their second wide out slot basically since the beginning of their franchise. Out of all of the options who have been on the roster, Jean offers the most playmaking potential. I actually debated this on twitter with Chad Scott and a few others and they were on the opposite side of the debate. I believe he flashed real ability when he got his limited opportunities on the field. He’s a pure speculative add this late in the draft, but one with a high upside.
16.12 Travaris Cadet, RB NO
The Saints just flat out know what they are doing with with UDFA running backs. Cadet impressed so much that the team worked with him to allow him to play on special teams and as a running back. With Ivory likely leaving town before 2013, there will be a very small opening for Cadet to see the field. Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas are all very injury prone as a unit, making Cadet worth a roster spot in a deeper fantasy league.
17.01 Terrelle Pryor, QB OAK
Deep dynasty mocks are the best place to call your shot. After doing an extensive film study of Pryor’s first start against the Chargers, I came away very impressed. The way that he improvised when the play broke down and delivered several on-target deep balls showed real potential. Recent reports out of Oakland have stated he has been very humble and open to instruction. That, in combination with his insane ability to create opportunities in the red zone could result in incredible dynasty value.
18.12 Devin Aromashodu, WR MIN
The last four games of the 2009 season, when Aromashadu was with the Chicago Bears, he posted 22 catches for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, he has basically done nothing and was unceremoniously cut by the Bears. This late in a deep draft with guys who know what they are doing, upside and potential are the buzzwords (as you can probably tell by reading my writing for the last few picks). To me, a 6’3 wide receiver who runs a 4.35 40 yard dash and has a 39′ vertical represents a solid investment.
19.01 Tandon Doss, WR BAL
Anquan Boldin is getting older. Jacoby Jones is Jacoby Jones. Joe Flacco has an absolute cannon. Doss caught the two catchable deep targets he received. These were all positive signs for an offense that will have a (hopefully) new look in 2013 with a new coordinator. If the Ravens get away from running isolation routes and get Doss down the field, there could be something here.
20-12 Riley Cooper, WR PHI
Both Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson have become disappointing players. When Cooper has been called up to a starting role, he didn’t disappoint. A bigger wideout who can fight for jump balls, Cooper could end up being useful in Chip Kelly’s new offense.