Mock Draft Series 2.0

Edited by Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Welcome back to the Mock Draft Series! This is a series of mock drafts that will happen throughout the 2018 NFL off-season. The drafts will have different rules, that are tailored to different league formats. This draft is Dynasty, PPR, Supeflex and does include rookies. This article provides some reaction/feedback to picks but we go into full detail on the Top2Pod, our podcast that you can listen to, or download via Apple Podcast HERE. The writers have their twitter handles linked in their comment. Each featured writer has one pick explained, and that pick is unedited and in their own words, not mine.

1.1        THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Ezekiel Elliot

1.2        Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               DeAndre Hopkins

1.3        Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Todd Gurley

1.4        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Odell Beckham Jr.

1.5        Eric Adams/Top2                          Le’Veon Bell

1.6        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Antonio Brown

1.7        Rick from The Checkdown           Leonard Fournette

1.8        Wheeler/nflmock                          David Johnson

1.9        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                 Deshaun Watson

Why Watson this early? this is how I Superflex! Despite playing just 6 1/2 games he threw for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 269 yards and 2 more Touchdowns. If you translate that over 16 games, you get 4,180 passing yards, 46 Tds,19 interceptions, 662 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns.

1.10      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Michael Thomas

1.11      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Kareem Hunt

1.12      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Mike Evans

2.1        Matt Hicks/Top2                           Dalvin Cook

2.2        AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Melvin Gordon

2.3        Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                   Saquon Barkley

It feels absolutely strange taking a rookie this early. The thing that truly separates Barkley is his elite receiving floor. He’s just as talented catching the ball out of McCaffrey with far more upside as a rusher. As well he’s been getting ridiculous value in trades; the more the hype builds which will only go up after the combine.

2.4        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Alvin Kamara

2.5        Wheeler/nflmock                          Carson Wentz

2.6        Rick from The Checkdown           Julio Jones

2.7        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Christian McCaffrey

2.8        Eric Adams/Top2                          Keenan Allen

2.9        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       AJ Green

2.10      Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Davante Adams

2.11      Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Derrick Henry

2.12      THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Joe Mixon

3.1        THE FANTASY TYPHOON             Amari Cooper

Im sticking with my young, high draft capital template. Here is another talented former NFL draft, first round pick, laying around. Welcome aboard team TYPHOON Mr. Cooper. He had one down season and the fantasy community immediately says, Ut oh he’s a bust. One day folks will learn that most players value fluctuate from year to year especially when you have constant changes with OC/HC and GM’s. Now with Gruden in the building on a nice long contract Amari can get the stable and consistent coaching he desperately missed last year for the next 5+ years. Now he can learn and build up his game and continue to grow. Gruden will make it a priority to make Amari pop in 2018 and beyond. With his fantasy value set to make a rebound back to the mid first conversation, I already have my ticket. Bought at the 3.1 on 2/16/2018. When we look back on this exercise, watch how INSANE this pick will be.

3.2        Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Devonta Freeman

3.3        Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Stefon Diggs

3.4        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Russell Wilson

3.5        Eric Adams/Top2                          Cam Newton

3.6        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Aaron Rodgers

3.7        Rick from The Checkdown           Tom Brady

3.8        Wheeler/nflmock                          Tyreek Hill

3.9        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Marcus Mariota

3.10      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Jordan Howard

3.11      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Jared Goff

3.12      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Jarvis Landry

4.1        Matt Hicks/Top2                           Zach Ertz

4.2        AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Alshon Jeffery

4.3        Ryan/fntsyfbconnect                   Brandin Cooks

4.4        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Josh Gordon

4.5        Wheeler/nflmock                          Derrius Guice

4.6        Rick from The Checkdown           Carlos Hyde

4.7        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Allen Robinson

4.8        Eric Adams/Top2                         LeSean McCoy

I expect Shady to have another good year being the main focal point in what should be a revamped Buffalo offense. Lamar Jackson as the QB would work wonders for McCoy. Also good value here in the 4th

4.9        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Travis Kelce

4.10      Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Mark Ingram

4.11      Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Matthew Stafford

4.12      THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Sony Michel

5.1        THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Corey Davis

5.2        Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Kirk Cousins

5.3        Dave H/ DynastyDorks                T.Y. Hilton

Hilton was my buy low and I was surprised to see him fall.  Definitely could end up as my WR1 at the end of the year.  Rounds out my WR room and with Luck coming back, I expect him to return to WR1 form.  He didn’t have any offseason to get chemistry with Brissett so this season was a wash.  The best part of the season was that he escaped injury.  Felt like I got my best value so far this draft with this pick.  Just missed on Cousins who I was hoping to pair with Diggs.

5.4        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Andrew Luck

5.5        Eric Adams/Top2                          Lamar Jackson

5.6        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Duke Johnson

5.7        Rick from The Checkdown           Adam Thielen

5.8        Wheeler/nflmock                          JuJu Smith-Schuster

5.9        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Sammy Watkins

5.10      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Dak Prescott

5.11      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Marvin Jones Jr.

5.12      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Jimmy Garappolo

6.1        Matt Hicks/Top2                           Kenyon Drake

6.2        AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Derek Carr

6.3        Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Matt Ryan

6.4        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Jamaal Williams

6.5        Wheeler/nflmock                          Jameis Winston

6.6        Rick from The Checkdown           Evan Engram

6.7        Marc S/ FF Addicts                      Drew Brees

While others are distracted by unproven rookies or youth with lots of ups and downs, I’ll be here taking proven assets and winning a championship in 2018. I can take a rookie with my #12 pick in the 2019 first round. Yep, Brees is old. But Brees is good.

6.8        Eric Adams/Top2                          Larry Fitzgerald

6.9        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Rob Gronkowski

6.10      Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Patrick Mahomes

6.11      Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Tevin Coleman

6.12      THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Calvin Ridley

7.1        THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Will Fuller

7.2        Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Hunter Henry

7.3        Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 OJ Howard

7.4        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                      Ronald Jones II

Well it was time to address running back. Waiting this long means swing for the fences in my book. Jones is dripping with upside. Can he prove to be a 3 down back or will he fill a more Sproles-esque role, who knows? However I could easily see him being what Ameer Abdullah woulda, coulda, shoulda been.

7.5        Eric Adams/Top2                          Jack Doyle

7.6        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Dion Lewis

7.7        Rick from The Checkdown           Josh Rosen

7.8        Wheeler/nflmock                          Baldwin, Doug

7.9        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Golden Tate

7.10      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Devin Funchess

7.11      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Jay Ajayi

7.12      Matt Hicks/Top2                           C.J. Anderson

8.1        Matt Hicks/Top2                          Blake Bortles

Bortles is an absolute steal in the 8th. Bortles doesn’t sound exciting, but he’s finished as QB 4, QB 8, and QB 13 the last two seasons. More on why the fantasy football community needs to start respecting Bortles here.

8.2        AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Demaryius Thomas

8.3        Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Alex Collins

8.4        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Chris Carson

8.5        Wheeler/nflmock                          Foreman, D’Onta

8.6        Rick from The Checkdown           Cooper Kupp

8.7        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Jamison Crowder

8.8        Eric Adams/Top2                          Nelson Agholor

8.9        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Courtland Sutton

8.10      Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Phillip Rivers

8.11      Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Robert Woods

8.12      THE FANTASY TYPHOON              David Njoku

9.1        THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Ben Roethlisberger

9.2        Derek Brown /FFB 24/7              Dez Bryant

Not the sexiest pick ever but for a WR entering his age 30 season he still was WR24 on the season. 8 top 24 finishes in 16 gms. What goes unnoticed is that he finished the season healthy unlike previous seasons where he continuing recovery from an injury or surgery. I do expect him to return as the WR #1 for DAL. If DAL schemes him into space or adds WR playmakers (which I expect them too) Dez should easily be top 20 which at this point in the draft I will gladly take.

9.3        Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Lamar Miller

9.4        Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Nick Chubb

9.5        Eric Adams/Top2                          Jimmy Graham

9.6        Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Chris Thompson

9.7        Rick from The Checkdown           Mitchell Trubisky

9.8        Wheeler/nflmock                          Greg Olsen

9.9        PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  George Kittle

9.10      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Baker Mayfield

9.11      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Kyle Rudolph

9.12      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Michael Crabtree

10.1      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Jordy Nelson

10.2      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         DeVante Parker

10.3      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Kelvin Benjamin

10.4      PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Robby Anderson

10.5      Wheeler/nflmock                          Tarik Cohen

With Nagy at the helm Cohen could turn into the next Tyfreek (spelled slightly differently), think 2016 tyfreek when he was often coming out of the backfield.

10.6      Rick from The Checkdown           Marlon Mack

10.7      Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Austin SJ

10.8      Eric Adams/Top2                          Julian Edelman

10.9      Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Mark Walton

10.10    Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Rashaad penny

10.11    Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Kenny Golladay

10.12    THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Alex Smith

11.1      THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Nick Foles

11.2      Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Aaron Jones

11.3      Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 John Kelly

11.4      Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Demarco Murray

11.5      Eric Adams/Top2                          Christian Kirk

11.6      Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Equanimeous St. Brown

11.7      Rick from The Checkdown           Orleans Darkwa

11.8      Wheeler/nflmock                          Jerrick McKinnon

11.9      PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Dallas Goedert

11.10    Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Sterling Sheppard

11.11    AZ/RedraftFootball Factory        Kerryon Johnson

The 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year was a monster last season for Auburn. In his two regular season games against Alabama and Georgie (defenses full of NFL talent), Johnson had his way in both matchups. If he finds a nice home in the draft (TB, OAK, MIA), Johnson could have an immediate impact his rookie season.

11.12    Matt Hicks/Top2                           Josh Allen

12.1      Matt Hicks/Top2                           Kalan Ballage

12.2      AZ/RedraftFootball Factory         Sam Darnold

12.3      Rysn/fntsyfbconnect                    Mark Andrews

12.4      PKRipper/Pyromaniac                  Joe Williams

12.5      Wheeler/nflmock                          Chris Godwin

12.6      Rick from The Checkdown          Pierre Garcon

Steal of the draft. Locked for 90 catches with Jimmy G under center.

12.7      Marc S/ FF Addicts                       Eli Manning

12.8      Eric Adams/Top2                          Auden Tate

12.9      Josh P/Top2/Dorks                       Ameer Abdullah

12.10    Dave H/ DynastyDorks                 Ryan Tannehill

12.11    Derek Brown /FFB 24/7               Cam Meredith

12.12    THE FANTASY TYPHOON              Delanie Walker

Fantasy Preview: Cleveland Indians

John Aurora, Contributor

The Indians shocked much of the baseball world in 2017, going 102-60 and winning the AL Central. Although their playoff run fell short of a Cinderella story, they have a solid foundation to build on for 2018, here’s the fantasy players you need to watch for:

Key Players

Francisco Lindor, SS (rank 21, ADP 21.0)

2017: .273 AVG, 33 HR, 89 RBI, 99 R, 15 SB

Lindor transformed dramatically from being a high-contact, high-stolen base guy to a power hitter with less-than-expected stolen bases. Although his average went down, his contact rate remained the same, so his average could return closer to .300 than .270. I think there’s potential for stolen bases to go up too. Maybe a realistic projection is .290 AVG, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 100 R, 20 SB. A solid line for a shortstop, who I’ll be targeting early on.

Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B (rank 22, ADP 24.8)

2017: .318 AVG, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 107 R, 17 SB

Ramirez broke out last year hitting .318 with 29 HR, 83 RBI, 107 R, 17 SB. Ramirez has always been a high contact player and at age 25, I think he is just scratching his ceiling. He is a five-category contributor in addition to his dual position eligibility. Feel confident drafting him early.

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH (rank 27, ADP 44.9)

2017: .258 AVG, 38 HR, 107 RBI, 96 R, 2 SB

Encarnacion started off slowly last year, but ended with his normal elite power numbers, .258 AVG, 38 HR, 107 RBI, 96 R. He will be 35 years old this season and is coming off a sprained ankle in the playoffs, but will fulfill the everyday DH role this year vacated by Carlos Santana meaning his age-related decline may not affect his production as much. Temper expectations somewhat, but expect his usual 30+ home runs.

Corey Kluber, SP (rank 13, ADP 14.9)

2017: 18 W, 265 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

I think Kluber can be even better than last year. Remember, he was a workhorse in the 2016 playoffs, so I think the added rest this offseason will do wonders for the reliable Kluber. Plan on anchoring your staff with him.

Carlos Carrasco, SP (rank 43, ADP 37.6)

2017: 18 W, 226 K, 3.29 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

For the first time in his career, Carrasco remained healthy to finish with 200 innings. His injury history cannot be ignored; however, plan on drafting him as your second pitcher with the potential of an ace.

Sleepers

Mike Clevinger, SP (rank 215, ADP 220.3)

2017: 12 W, 137 K, 3.11 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Clevinger was dominant at the end of last year posting a 10.1 K/9 rate before moving to the bullpen. He only pitched 120 innings last year so if he can pitch 180 innings while limiting his walks, enjoy the ride as his wins and strikeouts will surely add up. When I target pitchers, I want strikeout potential. The pitchers that have at least a 10.1 K/9: Chris Sale, Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, Chris Archer, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Carrasco, and Jimmy Nelson. Not a bad list to be on. I think he can be real good if given the chance, so I am BUYING (see position battles).

Bradley Zimmer, OF (rank 308, ADP 221.0)

2017: .241 AVG, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 41 R, 18 SB

If Zimmer can keep his job in center field, he will be a sleeper this year. Zimmer stole 18 bases in 101 games last year, although his season ended prematurely with a broken hand. Zimmer has the speed to steal at least 30 bases to go along with 10-15 HRs. Steals are scarce, notice the theme? At his ADP, I am BUYING.

Position Battles

4th and 5th spot of starting pitcher rotation

Candidates: Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin

My prediction: Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin

I think the days of counting Salazar as a sleeper/breakout are over. His upside is tantalizing but his durability and control are a concern, especially his right shoulder inflammation history. Only once in the last 4 years has he been able to pitch over 180 innings. I would love to see Salazar put it together this season, but my expectations are low. I think he would be a dynamic option in the bullpen to pair with Andrew Miller. That leaves Clevinger and Tomlin to finalize the rotation.

Fantasy Preview: Chicago White Sox

John Aurora, Contributor

The White Sox struggled in 2017, finishing with a record of 67-95. Although they’re not pinned for the top of the AL Central in 2018 either, they have some great fantasy assets; especially when it comes to value. Here are the players to watch in 2018:

Key Players

Jose Abreu, 1B (rank 37, ADP 37.6)

2017: .304 AVG, 33 HR, 102 RBI, 95 R, 3 SB

Abreu is as consistent as it comes producing at least a .290 AVG, 25 HR, and 100 RBI every year he’s been in the big leagues. He is one of those players that have a high-floor, low-ceiling, and should be considered once the top tier of first basemen are drafted.

Avisail Garcia, OF (rank 220, ADP 197.7)

2017: .330 AVG, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R, 5 SB

Garcia finally put it together last season as “Little Miggy” (referring to comparisons to Miguel Cabrera) hit a .330 AVG, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R, 5 SB. However, Garcia did lead the league in BABIP, .392, making this type of production unsustainable. The 26-year-old is now in his prime years and maybe figured it out last year making him worth a spot as your last outfielder.

Sleepers

Yoan Moncada, 2B (rank 100, ADP 167.7)

2017: .231 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 31 R, 3 SB

The hype train for Moncada last year was out of control. Moncada struggled last year hitting a .231 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 3 SB; however, he turned it up in September hitting .276 with 5 HR over his final 24 games. Hitting near the top of the lineup, the White Sox will need an offensive spark and Moncada will be key for them. He has legitimate potential for a 20/20 season this year, and at his current ADP, I am BUYING Moncada even if his ADP increases over the coming weeks. Stolen bases are once again scarce, especially for a middle infielder, so I’ll have no problem drafting him. The speed is real and he’ll have the ‘go’ to take that additional base.

Wellington Castillo, C (rank 248, ADP 229.8)

2017: .282 AVG, 20 HR, 53 RBI, 44 R, 0 SB

Castillo inked a two-year deal with the White Sox to be their top catcher after hitting .282 AVG, 20 HR, 53 RBI last year with the Orioles where he split time with Caleb Joseph. Moving to another hitter-friendly home, Castillo should carry over his success from last year. His ADP is insanely low considering the lack of depth at catcher. With a lack of competition at catcher this year, Castillo should get a healthy number of at-bats for the first time in his career. Castillo will not hurt your average as many other catchers do and is a threat to hit 20+ homers. If I am unable to draft one of the top three catchers, I am waiting to BUY Castillo as I do not see much difference in value between him and the second tier of catchers.

Prospects

Eloy Jimenez, OF

Acquired from the Cubs during last year’s trade deadline, this kid can rake as he hits for contact and power making him one of the top hitters in the minors. Scouts compare his upside to Giancarlo Stanton. Jimenez should be on your radar mid-to-late season. See 2017 Carolina League Home Run Derby Video.

Michael Kopech, SP

Acquired from the Red Sox last offseason, Kopech has a scary arsenal of pitches including his 100+ mph fastball. Scouts compare his arsenal to Noah Syndergaard. Walks have always been a concern, but late last year he seemed to figure it out with 1.9 walks per nine innings over his last nine games. Although I’m usually hesitant to buy rookie pitchers due to inning restrictions, I think Kopech can be an impactful call-up due to his strikeout potential as long as his control continues to improve.

Running Back Rankings 1.0

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

These rankings are based on consensus rankings between myself and Eric. Below is a table of our full rankings. In this article, I only talk about a few players; to hear our full analysis  on every RB 1-18, listen to the Running Back Rankings Part 1 Episode of the Top2Pod

Team Matt Eric Average
Todd Gurley LAR 1 1 1
Le’Veon Bell PIT 2 3 2.5
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 4 2 3
David Johnson* ARI 3 4 3.5
Kareem Hunt KC 5 5 5
Melvin Gordon LAC 6 6 6
Alvin Kamara NO 9 7 8
Leonard Fournette JAX 7 9 8
Dalvin Cook MIN 8 10 9
LeSean McCoy BUF 12 8 10
Jordan Howard CHI 10 11 10.5
Mark Ingram NO 11 13 12
Kenyan Drake MIA 14 12 13
Devonta Freeman ATL 13 14 13.5
Christian McCaffrey CAR 15 15 15
Carlos Hyde SF 17 17 17
CJ Anderson DEN 16 20 18
Derrick Henry TEN 18 18 18
Dion Lewis NE 20 19 19.5
Alex Collins BAL 23 16 19.5
Jay Ajayi PHI 19 21 20
Chris Thompson WAS 21 22 21.5
Duke Johnson CLE 26 23 24.5
Lamar Miller HOU 22 28 25
Frank Gore IND 24 26 25
Isaiah Crowell CLE 25 27 26
Marshawn Lynch OAK 27 25 26
Tevin Coleman ATL 29 24 26.5
Latavius Murray MIN 28 31 29.5
Joe Mixon CIN 30 29 29.5
Jamaal Williams GB 31 33 32
Bilal Powell NYJ 34 30 32
Orleans Darkwa NYG 32 35 33.5
DeMarco Murray TEN 33 34 33.5
Rex Burkhead NE 35 32 33.5
Jerick McKinnon MIN 36 36 36
*2016 Stats
  1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Gurley’s breakout 2017 season gives him the nod to win a very competitive RB1 designation, to start the offseason. Gurley proved to be effective in both the rushing game (1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns) and the passing game (788 yards and 6 touchdowns).

  1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bell’s ranking is justified by his consistency; he finished as RB2 in 2017, and RB3 in 2016. Bell totaled just 11 touchdowns in 2017 but made up for it with 1,946 total yards. Bell’s ranking is likely to fluctuate throughout the offseason, as his contract discussions progress (or don’t) with Pittsburgh.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Zeke finished as RB 10 in 2016, despite playing just 10 games. He rushed for 98.3 yards/game and still has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to rush behind. If Zeke avoids more off the field issues, it will be hard for Zeke owners to avoid fantasy championships.

  1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

Johnson missed all of 2017, with an upper body injury sustained in the first game of the season. He had an extremely explosive 2016 season; totaling 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns; including 879 receiving yards on 80 receptions for 4 touchdowns. Johnson’s stock will be impacted by how the Cardinals fill their quarterback void.

  1. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

Hunt gets the early nod as the best sophomore RB for the 2018 season. Hunt finished as RB3 in 2017; finishing out a roller coaster season with 1,782 total yards and 11 touchdowns. Hunt relied on producing in the passing game; catching 53 passes for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns.

  1. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
  3. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Cook showed flashes of greatness before having his season cut short by a devastating knee injury. Cook owners should be very excited for 2018; but proceed with caution because we still don’t know exactly what we’re getting.

  1. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  2. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

Howard is currently being disrespected in mock drafts. 2017 demonstrated his floor; as saw the end zone just 9 times on a horrific Bears offense. With the addition of Nagy, the Bears should see a jolt of production and Howard stems to benefit the most from it.

  1. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
  2. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins
  3. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  5. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  6. CJ Anderson, Denver Broncos
  7. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Henry spent much of 2017 on the bench; but Henry truthers got to see their star late in the season. He had huge games in the playoffs; but has limited upside until we see what he can do as the regular starter.

  1. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
  2. Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
  3. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
  5. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
  6. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  7. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
  9. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  10. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
  11. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
  12. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
  13. Jamaal Williams , Green Bay Packers
  14. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  15. Orleans Darkwa , New York Giants
  16. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  17. Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
  18. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings

NFL Mock Draft

The Top2Sports staff performed our first NFL mock draft on February 10th. Below are the results; with short explanations for each pick. We explain each pick in much more detail in Episode 3 of the Top2Pod; listen in and follow us on Podbean/subscribe on iTunes.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA
    Rosen is the most polished QB in this class. He will maximize the talent the Browns now truly are building around him on offense. He will get them to playoffs sooner than the other QB’s in this class.
  2. Miami Dolphins (via NYG): Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
    The Giants resist drafting Barkley here, and instead trade back to the Dolphins who are eager to cut Tannehill’s $24 million contract for $4 million in dead cap. They draft Darnold for his potential, but he is still a very raw player.
  3. Indianapolis Colts Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
    Barkley adds an Immediate spark to an offense that’s become stagnant. The Colts need to take pressure off Luck, and Barkley will definitely accomplish that. 
  4. Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick Defensive Back, Alabama  
    Minkah could hold claim to being the best player in this class. He is so versatile on the back end of the defense. He will be what they thought Jabrill Peppers was going to be. He can also ruin any offensive mismatches caused by TE’s or RB’s.
  5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Norte Dame
    After securing Kirk Cousins via Free Agency, the Broncos focus on shoring up their offensive line. They get the best lineman in the draft here.
  6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma                                                       Jets need a Quarterback. Mayfield has Namath-type potential and Manziel-type hype; everything the Jets could ever want.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb Defensive End, North Carolina State
    Chubb with a mini slide allows the Bucs to steal the best pass rusher in the draft. He is very talented and will slot in well next to Gerald McCoy. He has all the potential to be a double digit sack artist.
  8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama 
    The Bears reach here to get the offensive weapon they desperately need to help Trubisky.
  9. San Francisco: 49ers Derwin James, Defensive Back, Florida State
    Lynch knows a good safety when he see him, and with Eric Reid being a Free Agent, this fits nicely.
  10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith Line Backer, Georgia
    Time to go super chalky. Roquan is going to the Raiders in all the mocks. I like the fit a lot. A plus athlete who is phenomenal in coverage and sharp as a tack. Great compliment to Khalil Mack in that front seven.
  11. New York Giants (via MIA): Connor Williams, Offensive Tackle, Texas
    The Giants address their biggest need, while stocking up on draft picks for trading down this far. They’ll use their extra picks to address the running back position in round 2.
  12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
    Bengals get a nice big tackle to waste away in Marvin Lewis’ awful offense full of talented skill players, and Andy Dalton.
  13. Buffalo Bills (via WAS): Josh Allen Quarterback, Wyoming
    The Bills move up for fear of missing out on a QB. Allen is what they wanted Peterman to be. Still a bit of a rash decision maker, but he has all the physical talent to have the best career of anyone in this class.
  14. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State
    Packers get great value in this defensive back who could’ve easily gone top 10; it helps them build a defense that can support an Aaron Rodgers led championship run.
  15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville                                         Lamar Jackson brings the speed and excitement to Arizona that will make Fitzgerald not regret coming back for another season.
  16. Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton Wide Receiver, SMU
    The Ravens grab my WR1 in this class. He is a specimen, long and athletic. He is strong at the catch point and can be the more athletic Brandon Marshall to aging Joe Flacco’s Jay Cutler.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: Tremaine Edmunds, Line Backer, Virginia Tech
    The Chargers get another extremely athletic and talented piece to their defense, scoring big from Edmunds taking a slide; he is a top 10 talent.
  18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, Defensive End, UTSA
    Seattle’s defense is in desperate need of revamping. The Seahawks start by addressing an obvious void in their depth chart; defensive live.
  19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
    My favorite in a deep class of interior defensive lineman. Hurst is a grown man in the middle. He can be the run stopping force that really opens up the Dallas pass rushers.
  20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, Running Back, LSU
    The Lions get the best pick in the first round here. Guice’s strength based approach compliments the pass catching backs in Detroit, and makes them an instant playoff contender.
  21. Buffalo Bills: Dallas Goedert, Tight End, South Dakota State
    Dallas “Gogurt” Goedert gives Josh Allen a weapon more dangerous than the extremely average Charles Clay.
  22. Washington Redskins (via BUF): Ronnie Harrison, Defensive Back, Alabama
    Washington trades down with the Bills in this scenario grabbing Harrison as a big presence in the secondary. Breeland and Norman are strong corners who will allow Harrison to play box safety often which will help alleviate concerns with the linebacking core should Zach Brown leave.
  23. Los Angeles Rams: Mike Hughes, Cornerback, UCF
    The Rams get help in the secondary from the versatile national champion. He should be able to make an immediate impact in pass coverage.
  24. Carolina Panthers: Arden Key, Defensive End, LSU
    Panthers take advantage of the depth at interior line in this draft. They are likely to lose guys at this position to free agency, and Key will fill the void.
  25. Tennessee Titans: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo EDGE , OKlahoma
    A strong hands pass rusher with plenty of bend around the edge steps in to replace Orakpo. Opinions differ greatly on Okoronkwo around the draft community, but he holds a 1sr round grade in my book.
  26. Atlanta Falcons: Viita Vea, Defensive Tackle, University of Washington
    The Falcons score big, literally, with this pick. Vea is a big tackle that fills the anticipated gaps in their rush defense.
  27. New Orleans Saints: Christian Kirk, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M University
    Kirk goes a bit higher than most expect here, but he fits the Saints well. Their offense gets a major bump from a reliable slot receiver.
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, Linebacker, Alabama
    Because linebackers go to Pittsburgh. But also because the loss of Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison shows and they need more help there. Evans can develop into a strong leader in the middle of a defense that still has plenty of young talent.
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
    McGlinchey brings versatility and potential to Jacksonville’s offensive line. It’s a great pick by Jacksonville, whose priority this offseason will be getting Bortles more support.
  30. Minnesota Vikings: Dorian O’ Daniel, Linebacker, Clemson
    Embarrassment of riches. O’Daniel is a freak athlete that can be employed properly by Mike Zimmer amd makes an already great defense even better.
  31. New England: Patriots Joshua Jackson Defensive Back, Iowa
    Physical corner with a good size and speed combo. He’ll help replace Malcolm Butler in the secondary.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Allen, Defensive Back,  Penn State
    Marcus Allen, though similar to Malcolm Jenkins, can compliment him well. The pair are both good run defenders and Jenkins can help to develop Allen’s weaknesses in deep coverage. Allen is a first round type of athlete and polished tackler and fits the Eagles grinding style of defense.

The Rise of the Rushing Quarterback

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

The days of prioritizing the pocket passing quarterback in fantasy football are over. We need to start recognizing the value of rushing quarterback; who are too often disrespected and devalued based on traditional perceptions of good quarterback play. The basic argument for rushing quarterbacks is that they provide more upside; pocket passing quarterbacks must work 2.5 times as hard to produce points (based on the scoring system of most leagues; where points are awarded for every 25 passing yards, and every 10 rushing yards gained). The argument for rushing quarterbacks, however, goes much, much further.

Rushing Quarterbacks Dominated in 2017

Of the top 5 fantasy finishers at quarterback in 2017, 4 rushed the ball at least 60 times. Russell Wilson (95 attempts, 586 yards) finished at QB1, Cam Newton (139 attempts, 754 yards) was QB2, Alex Smith (60 attempts, 355 yards) was QB4, and Carson Wentz (60 attempts, 299 yards) finished as QB5. 3 of these quarterbacks (Wilson, Newton, and Wentz) threw for less than 4,000 yards and both Newton and Wentz threw for 3,350 yards or less. Still these quarterbacks finished as top 5 players; because of their ability to rush the ball. Each of these quarterbacks rushed for at least 4.6 yards/carry; with Wilson rushing for 6.1 yards/carry. To put this into perspective, Todd Gurley rushed for 4.6 yards/carry and Alvin Kamara rushed for 6.07 yards/carry. When you have a rushing quarterback, you essentially have an extra running back on your roster.

The Fall of the 4,000 Yard Passing Quarterback

4,000 yards is often used as the gauge for an elite level season for a quarterback (although Joe Flacco has only thrown for 4,000 or more yards once). The 4,000-yard passing quarterback, however, is becoming a rare sight. In 2017, only 8 quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards (Brady, Rivers, Stafford, Brees, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Cousins, Smith). This is the least number of quarterbacks hitting the mark since 2010; when only 5 quarterbacks threw for 4,000 yards. Since then there have been: 10 (2011), 11 (2012), 9 (2013), 11 (2014), 12 (2015), and 13 (2016). The sharp drop, to me, represents an intentional move away from pure passing offenses; teams are instead opting for a balanced approach. Brees, for example, threw for 4,334 yards in 2017; this was his lowest total passing yards since 2005. This is due, directly, to the emphasis on Kamara and Ingram. This move isn’t limited to New Orleans. It is, however, diluting the value of pocket passing quarterbacks across the league, who are relying on large passing yards to break into fantasy relevance.

Value Comes from the Low ADP of Rushing Quarterbacks

The key to this article is that rushing quarterbacks are undervalued. For this, I’m considering any quarterback who rushed the ball more than 50 times; which leaves us with Smith, Wentz, Bortles, Wilson, Newton, Taylor, Prescott, and Mariota. Of these 8 quarterbacks; 6 finished 2017 with a positive value (ADP-Position Rank). Smith and Wentz finished the season as the 2 most valuable quarterbacks, and Bortles, Wilson, Newton, and Taylor made it so that 6 of the top 9 most valuable quarterbacks were rushing quarterbacks; twice as many as non-rushing quarterbacks. Although 4 rushing quarterbacks finished in the top 5 in terms of position rank in 2017 (Wilson, Newton, Smith, and Wentz); only one was drafted in the top 5 in positional ADP (Wilson, POS ADP of 5). Rushing quarterbacks were disrespected in ADP in 2017; they should not be treated the same in 2018.

Rushing Attempts are a Better Gauge of Success, Compared to Passing Attempts

I’m a big proponent of playing volume-based running backs. The reason being, that I believe that having opportunity can often outweigh talent. Although this mindset is often tied to running backs, and wide receivers, it also ties into quarterbacks; but only when it comes to running the ball. The 5 quarterbacks who threw the ball the most in 2017 were Tom Brady (581 attempts), Phillip Rivers (575 attempts), Eli Manning (571 attempts), Matthew Stafford (565 attempts), and Ben Roethlisberger (561 attempts). Only Tom Brady, however, finished as a top 5 fantasy quarterback. The other 4, top 5 finishers all finished in the top 5 of rushing attempts for quarterbacks. When looking at quarterbacks, it proved much more reliable to judge value based on rushing volume; instead in passing volume in 2017.

Blake Bortles: The Perfect Case Study

If nothing else in this article has sank in, this should do it. Blake Bortles, by all measures of the eye, is painful to watch from a fantasy and all-around football perspective. Bortles has a career average of just 3,731 passing yards per season, and a career TD:INT ratio of 90:64. He has an average QB rating of 80.2. Yet, Blake Bortles has finished the last three fantasy seasons as: QB 4 (2015), QB 9 (2016), and QB 13 (2017). This is due, in large part, to his ability to rush the ball. Bortles has at least 310 rushing yards in every season of his career and averages 56 attempts per season for 352 rushing yards. He also has 7 career rushing touchdowns. Bortles, although not thought of as a pure rushing quarterback, has finished, essentially, as a QB1 the last three seasons because of his ability to rush the ball. Without his rushing points in 2017 (32 for yards, 12 for touchdowns) he would have finished as QB 21; just behind Jacoby Brissett. In 2016, he would have lost 53 points (35 for yards, 18 for touchdowns) and would have finished as QB 24 instead; just behind Sam Bradford. Bortles is the perfect example of fantasy value; he isn’t flashy and it’s not exciting to draft him but he’s severely underrated; as most rushing quarterbacks are.

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