By Joseph Zbytek
Summer is finally here for those who love the heat. That also means it’s one more Sunday closer to the 2016 NFL season. There is absolutely no better day than “draft day”.
In one of my many leagues called “The Cheektowaga Poolside League” (Yes i know, our league name sucks) our closest friends all get together and all throw down some money and cook some meat. Every year we decide on something different. We all bring our own “refreshments”, go swimming in our Commissioners pool, hang out and either talk trash or just talk football.
There really is not a day (besides the Buffalo Bills home opener) that I would never want to miss. Even the drafts where it is pouring we are still out there making our picks while our paper and draft board is getting soaked. I can’t stop thinking about draft day so this is where I’m making my own mock draft.
This will be standard scoring, no PPR. Six points awarded for a receiving or rushing touchdown and four points for a touchdown pass
Did he just do that?!?
— NFL (@NFL) June 24, 2016
“And with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL fantasy football draft. Team such and such selects…”
- Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: Bell is coming off an injured MCL and PCL to his knee. He is on a terrific offense that can put up a lot of points. Being a versatile player who can run and catch brings up his value. Everyone knows what Bell brings to the table and in a standard scoring league he is the top player to draft.
2. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Has there ever been a draft where players on the same team were picked number one and two? Brown is an outstanding player with great hands, speed, and elusiveness. Martavus Bryant is suspended the whole year which will give Brown even more targets. If you are in PPR league you may even want to consider drafting him first overall.
3. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Julio! Whoaaaaa! If the guys in my league hear me chant his name one more time they’ll probably want to slap me upside the head. The departure of Roddy White is going to leave Julio with a lot more targets. The Falcons have established a great running game which will open up the passing game. Last year, Julio had career bests in catches (136) and yards (1,871).
4. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams: Last season Gurley had 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. Did I mention he didn’t start his first game until Week 4? If you seen his highlights you already know that he is a top player. Really he’s the only star player on this team. Expect another great season from him this year.
5. Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Giants: OBJ didn’t have the same spectacular season as he did last year but he did manage to put up 90 catches, 1,305 yards and 12 TDs. Rueben Randle is no longer a Giant, so expect much more targets for OBJ.
6. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Even though A.P. Is 31 years old, he was still an absolute monster last year. With 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns, I just don’t see that theres anyway that he will have a bad year. Being one of the best running backs of this generation, its hard to see him not being picked in the top 10.
7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: “Nuk” had an outstanding season last year. Posting career bests in catches yards and touchdowns. New quarterback Brock Osweiler will help give Hopkins even more targets. The Texans also drafted Will Fuller and Braxton Miller who will help take the double coverage off Hopkins.
8. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: Don’t be afraid to take a rookie in the top 10 of your draft. “Zeke” is an every down back who will run behind the best offensive line in the NFL. He is a great pass catcher as well and may even want to be drafted higher in PPR leagues.
9. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals: Johnson exploded after the injury of Chris Johnson. He is an excellent pass catcher as well as a runner totaling 581 yards rushing and 457 yards receiving. Head Coach Bruce Arians is going to want to keep giving him the ball after seeing what he did on the field last season.
10. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Yes we all know Dez had a tough season last year, but we all also know that he wasn’t healthy and his quarterback Tony Romo wasn’t either. Dez and Romo are both fully healed and we should expect to see them put up big numbers together again.
11. Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: The Dolphins really didn’t know how to use Miller last year although he did finished sixth in fantasy points among runners. Moving to the Houston could have been the best decision for him. The Texans love to run the ball and this seems like the perfect spot for Miller to be the lead back.
12. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green finished the 2015 season with over 1,200 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns. With Marvin Jones and Mohsmed Sanu both not with the Benglas anymore, Green is going to see a lot more targets coming his way.
13. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Guess who back? After tearing his ACL in the beginning of last season, Jordy is back being the top receiver on the Packers. He is Aaron Rodgers favorite target and look for them both to put up big numbers this year.
14. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons: If you landed Freeman late in your drafts last season, then most likely your team made it into the playoffs. In a four game stretch, he had reached the end zone a total of 9 times and had 25+ points in each of those games. Don’t expect the same numbers from Freeman this year but expect a productive season.
15. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Gronk is the most valuable tight end in the entire NFL. He has put up over 1,100 yards and double-digit touchdowns in back to back seasons. The only reason I don’t have him higher is because of the Tom Brady suspension. If the suspension is vindicated, then expect Gronk’s value to rise.
16. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Charles was on his way to another spectacular season before blowing out his ACL once again. He’s had multiple 1,000 yard rushing seasons and is excellent catching the ball. We all know what Charles is capable of and theres no doubt that he is going to be the work horse in the Chiefs offense.
17. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Despite only playing 12 games last year, Ingram finished the season with 769 rushing yards and 6 scores. He is a hard runner who will fight to get inside the end zone. The only problem with Ingram is that he has never started more than 10 games in a season due to injuries.
18. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills: McCoy is one of the most elusive runners in the NFL. In 12 games he ran the ball 203 times for 895 yards and three scores. He also caught 32 balls for 292 yards and two scores. He runs behind a very good offensive line and is excellent at pass catching. McCoy averaged 12 fantasy points a game. Look for him to have a much better year.
19. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: Remember when Jon Gruden called this guy the “muscle hamster”? Well Martin had a bounce back year gaining a total of 1,402 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. He is the Bucs feature running back behind QB Jameis Winston. Don’t be afraid to draft him this year.
20. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: Watkins is one of the top candidates for breakout player of the year. In 13 games Watkins had 60 catches for 1,047 yards and 9 touchdowns. He averaged 17.5 yards a catch. With the loss of Chris Hogan, expect Tyrod Taylor to get the ball to Watkins a lot more.
21. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: Jeffery missed seven games last season along with posting awful numbers. The games that he did play though, he averaged just shy of 100 yards in the nine games he did play. He is still the Bears number one receiver and it looks like he is 100% healthy.
22. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Being called the “fat kid” does not go over well with most people. Lacy took it to heart and shed off some of the weight and is back into shape. This is a contract year for Lacy so look for him to give it everything he’s got.
23. Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars: “A-Rob” had an outstanding year last season posting 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had 10 or more points in 12 games with at least one touchdown in 10 of those games. Robinson is a top notch receiver and you should not pass on him here.
24. Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets: Marshall was one of the best receivers last year posting an incredible 1,502 yards with 14 touchdowns. As long as the Jets keep quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, then Marshall is going to post excellent numbers once again. If not, then expect his value to drop.
25. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Although Cam was the number one fantasy player in 2015 season, the QB position is extremely deep. He has his number one receiver back and he is an absolute threat running the ball himself. If they are at the goal line, you would have to expect Cam to try and punch it in himself at least once.
26. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: Cooper had an excellent year posting just over 1,000 yards and six scores. It looks like the Raiders have solidified their offense and it should continue to improve every year. He is going to be a solid pick this year and an excellent receiver on your team.
27. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks: When Rawls carried the ball in the absence of Marshawn Lynch, Rawls averaged 16 fantasy points a game. Lynch has “hung up the cleats” which gives Rawls the opportunity to be the premiere back in Seattle. He had suffered a broken ankle near the end of the season so you may want to keep tabs on that.
28. Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints: Cooks had a slow start to the 2015 season although he did finish strong putting up 1,138 yards and 9 touchdowns. Having Drew Brees as your quarterback always helps your value and he is the clear number 1 receiver in New Orleans.
29. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: A lacerated kidney kept Allen from having one of his best seasons of his career. In just 8 games he had 725 yards and 4 scores. Phillip Rivers has developed a very good chemistry with Allen and it seems that Allen is completely healthy from his injury. Don’t be shy to draft him.
30. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: I just can’t see “A-Aron” discount double checking to the fourth round. Even without his number one receiver last year he still put up 286 fantasy points. Like I said a few picks ago the quarterback position is deep, so in a few drafts he may even go higher. He could be a steal if you can snag him this late.
31. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Evans had a lop sided year in 2015. There were times where he showed signs of being just a practice squad receiver, then came back the following game and showed what he was expected to be. He finished the year with just over 1,200 yards but only 3 touchdowns. Expect the TD total to increase this year.
32. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: Hyde only played 7 games last year and in that span he totaled 470 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is a hard runner and is now in an offense where Coach Chip Kelly absolutely loves to run the football. As long as Hyde can stay healthy he can be quite the bargain here in the fourth round.
33. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Hill didn’t hit the 1,000 yard mark last year but he did score 11 touchdowns. Since joining the NFL, no other running back has scored more rushing touchdowns than Hill. In fact, he has never missed a game in his career. This RB could be a steal in this round and could be your number one back if he stays consistent all year.
34. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: Compared to his average draft position from last year, his value has dropped a couple rounds into the fourth. He didn’t pick things up until the end of the year in 2015, but he is still the Broncos lead and go-to back for this upcoming season.
36. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: With “The Sheriff” finally retiring from football, the Broncos will have new quarterback in town. This is going to decrease Thomas’s value and we won’t see the same numbers from him that we had seen in the past.
37. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: In 13 games last year, Stewart finished just shy of a 1,000 yards and scored 6 times. In a 8 game stretch, he had carried the ball over 20 times in all of those games. No other running back had more in 3 straight games.
38. Matt Forte, RB, Jets: Forte is on a new team this year, but will still be the lead back in New York. He is a great pass catcher which will increase his value in certain leagues such as PPR. Wait to see what happens with their quarterback situation first before you pull the trigger on him.
39. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: With the return of a healthy Andrew Luck this year, Hilton should be able to achieve similar stats as he did in 2014. He has over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his last three seasons. Hilton can be a nice commodity to your team this season.
40. Ryan Matthews, RB, Eagles: Once again it looks like Matthews will be the number one back for Philly this season. Although he is injury prone, he’s healthy as of now. He shows signs of being a good running back, but when you draft him; make sure you grab his handcuff.
To Be Continued…