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2018 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (Five Experts Picking with Commentary) *#2.12-3.01

Air Date:
April 5, 2018

Five experts mock drafting the rookie draft, pre-NFL Draft…so it’s a bit flying-blind on their landing spots, but we wanted to show you what some experts were thinking at this stage of the draft studies.

We’ll release a few picks each day as they are made, and the commentary is organized to be published. The draft is going on, a slow draft, as I type. After each round we'll publish the whole thing as one post and then all of them as a post in the end, but for now pieces at a time.

*Informal chats via email, so forgive typos or grammar.

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Welcome to the first annual FFMetrics expert rookie mock draft. The participants and draft order is as follows: 

1.1 Jason Katz (Katz)

1.2 Myles Crowe (MC)

1.3 Ender (END)

1.4 Xavier Cromartie (XC)

1.5 RC Fischer (RC)

And keeping that order for 25 picks.

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This Post: Picks #2.12-3.01

1.01 RB Saquon Barkley

1.02 RB Rashaad Penny

1.03 WR Courtland Sutton

1.04 QB Lamar Jackson

1.05 RB Royce Freeman

1.06 RB Derrius Guice

1.07 RB Ronald Jones

1.08 RB Sony Michel

1.09 WR DJ Moore

1.10 RB Josh Adams

1.11 RB Nick Chubb

1.12 WR DJ Chark

2.01 TE Dallas Goedert

2.02 QB Baker Mayfield

2.03 RB Jaylen Samuels

2.04 WR Calvin Ridley

2.05 RB Kalen Ballage

2.06 WR Christian Kirk

2.07 WR Michael Gallup

2.08 WR Anthony Miller

2.09 WR Equanimeous St. Brown

2.10 RB John Kelly

2.11 WR James Washington

 

XC: 2.12 Kerryon Johnson is my pick and the 12th RB off the board. He typically ranks somewhere between 4th and 8th among RBs in both dynasty and the real world. Clearly this group hates him. Tough guy but extremely long medical history (too many to list). Age 21. Tries to play like Le'Veon Bell but I had him as another Kenneth Dixon. Second guy in a timeshare (10 carries and 3 catches per game). You hope for a Kenyan Drake scenario where he takes all the work.

 

Katz: I looked at Kerryon before my last pick as well. I just couldn't do it. I know I keep getting back to the whole ceiling argument with all these picks, but I just think his upside is capped. I kinda see a Jeremy McNichols situation coming for him. I don't think McNichols is that bad at all and he could probably produce if given the chance, but he's never going to get it. Similarly, Kerryon will likely end up on a team with at least two backs clearly ahead of him and end up as a gameday inactive. The Drake scenario is a perfect example of what it would take when you consider all that needed to happen for Drake to end up with the role he had at the end of last season. 

 

RC: At least with McNichols we have the head-fake of great measurables. I hate Kerryon's measurables (after discussing how they don't matter a bit ago). Tweener body...is he a power runner or drop 5 pounds and try to be a speed guy? Weak 20-yard/10-yard. Embarrassing bench press makes me think he's not too serious about this...or has a weak upper body. I need to do more work on him, but just my first watches weeks ago and the Combine/Pro Day...he hasn't excited me yet. 

Every time I watched Auburn's offense this draft study year, I was more like...who is that Kamyrn Pettway?

 

XC: I think that his 11 on the bench is because of his history of shoulder injuries. He also has some of the longest arms. Bench isn't a big deal for RBs anyway.

 

MC: I know there are people who really like Kerryon but he just doesn't do it for me.    Too many times where it looks like he's running in wet cement.  There's running with patience and then there's running like you're high and you just stumbled into the chips and candy isle of the convenient store and sluggishly have no idea what to decide on.  I'm obviously exaggerating a bit; however, I don't perceive Kerryon as being exceptional enough at that particular style for it to translate well to the NFL level where the defensive speed is much faster and the operating space is typically more confined.  It works for Le'Veon b/c his vision is consistently incredible and he can cut, bounce, hop, and spin instantaneously as well as anyone.... and he's doing it at 225 pounds.   Not to mention, it's tough sledding being a high-cut upright runner in the NFL at 213 pounds.... doubly so if you're spending a lot of time bouncing around behind the LOS.   

I don't know if I get the "souped up Wayne Gallman" comparison. A souped up Gallman is a 2nd round back with legitimate RB1 potential.   He's not bigger or stronger than Gallman and doesn't appear particularly faster, more athletic, or more violent either.  Wayne was a 4th rounder, and Kerryon will be lucky to be selected on Day 2 and could conceivably be drafted after Gallman.   To me Kerryon is more like a slower DeMarco Murray trying to do his best Le'Veon Bell impersonation.  It looks a bit unorthodox at times and he should probably get back to being his more decisive DeMarco self who runs better behind his pads as a result.  

 

END: Well again, I don't have an eye for RB's admittedly. I'm also not looking for "franchise" backs typically. In fantasy the runningback position is far too volatile for my tastes. Todd Gurley looks very good his rookie year, crap his 2nd year, and all-world his 3rd. There's simply too many other factors that go into a RB having a great year, and unless you get one of those top 3-4 type years, its all essentially the same. I would much rather spend a 10th round pick on Danny Woodhead who finishes #14 in scoring than spend a 3rd round pick on Carlos Hyde who finishes 7th (the names and positional finishes are fictional to make my point). The total points discrepancy just isn't enough to justify the additional resources spent to acquire it. Let's say Kareem Hunt goes on to have a pretty good career and finishes as a top 8 back, oh, 3 more times. That's an excellent return on investment if you know to look Hunt. I'm reading every word that Myles writes on RB's because he clearly has a knack for it, and I will hang onto every word of anyone that can clearly demonstrate that they actually know a subject well. But again talent only gets you so far in football. Guys have up years and down years, and sometimes you have to be willing to not draft someone very talented because the timing isn't right. For example, I was all over Allen Robinson his breakout year and avoided him like the plague the year after. That wasn't a decision based on his talent. I know he's talented. It was simply acquisition price for me. I liked him as an 8th round gamble even with Bortles, and I hated him as a 2nd rounder. I suppose what I'm trying to get at is with RB's I'm looking to rent 99 times out of a 100. And because I'm generally only looking to rent, one thing I value in rookie RB's is agility, specifically 3-cone. I don't care about shuttle times nearly as much. It's been pointed out that shuttle times are basically useless and I agree. I also don't care about SPARQ as a whole for RB's. Weight and 3-cone are the only numbers I really care about and they are merely a way of simplifying the process. That doesn't mean I automatically draft guys with excellent 3-cones and I don't always avoid guys with average ones. I can always trade for undervalued guys (like grabbing Kamara this past year when I noticed his usage pattern was ticking up) or off waivers. So I would say to anyone reading this, be sure to separate out what each person is talking about. Myles has far, far more to offer than I do about the long term viability of these RB's. I might have a little something to offer on a year to year basis but that's as far as I should be trusted, if even then. I would encourage everyone to always think for their self and integrate whatever decision making process works for you. 

 

RC: in the spirit of the RB debate.. 

I have the final pick in this mock and I am going off the deep end looking for RB gold. I am going to select the available RB with the most upside (I think) to be a shock superstar (or expected flameout). Not a name found in any top 40-50 DRD today that I ever see. 

Who am I going to take? 

In a real draft I’d wait on him and take WR Allen Lazard or fake great TE Mike Gesicki here. But for RB fun...and someone I think warrants a radical look see trying to find a gem...I’ll end on an RB. 

Anyone have an RB name they love who is way off the grid a bit? 

 

END: Way, way off the grid, but Jarvion Franklin might need a look. His profile caught my eye. Big back with insane 3-cone for his size, (sorry Myles I love it!) good production despite splitting carries, and at least decent hands it sounds like. 

 

XC: Ryan Nall (Oregon State) is huge, athletic, and can catch.

 

MC: Excellent points by END there as always.  For me, dynasty is about both finding talent and finding guys I believe I can flip... and then hopefully having a Robert Fisher level of awareness to sell them if needed when the timing is right.  For instance, shortly into Jeremy Hill's 2nd season, I flipped him for what I knew would be a high 2nd the moment I sensed that things were different from his rookie year.  Last preseason, I had a bad feeling about Amari Cooper (I was apprehensive about all the bulking up he did in the offseason and thought he might settle into a lower volume target role b/c of Oakland wanting to run more and b/c of Crabtree), so I did what probably no one else did and  traded him.... for a mid 1st this year, a mid 2nd, and Sammy Watkins (b/c I'm a Clemson homer and b/c Sammy is a greater talent than Amari when healthy).  Cooper's value was still sky high, Sammy's was dirt low, and I figured I could land a borderline RB1 or a decent WR2 with that mid 1st in this strong draft.  Terrelle Pryor going to a new team and a new system scared me as well, so I traded him too while his value was high (I used Pryor to trade up my 2nd to 1.06 for Kareem Hunt, to trade up my 3rd to a 2nd for Pat Mahomes, and got Martavis Bryant thrown in as well).    

Your philosophy, END, rings so true my friend.  If a player isn't one of the top guys at his position, then there's simply too much volatility involved.  A dynasty GM's mentality should always be about working toward grabbing one of those top guys that you don't have to worry much about, which to me means flipping or packaging the non top guys as soon as their value ascends higher than their actual worth, or at least right before their value has a chance to plummet.  If I had the patience to play the long game, I could flip the 1st rounder I got for Amari Cooper for a late 1st and a 2019 1st.  I could then probably flip that late 1st for a 2nd and an additional 2019 1st..... and then next year flip one of those 2019 1sts for a later 2019 1st and a 2020 1st.  Amari Cooper becomes a 3 1st rounders, 2 2nd rounders, and Sammy Watkins.... and at any time that there's not a guy at my selection that I'm in love with, I trade the pick for increased future assets.  I usually have 2-3 1st round picks each year, and I typically preserve one of those for acquiring additional draft picks.  I cashed them all in last year though b/c I couldn't resist Mixon, Hunt, Kamara, and Evan Engram.... and thus Amari became my sacrificial lamb to jumpstart the process all over again.  

For redraft, I'm purely looking for value, for guys I feel will outperform their draft slot, and to that end, I can tell that I would not enjoy being in a league with you b/c I can already imagine you now swiping half of my targets right before I'm ready to pick, lol.  

 

END: Thank you Myles, that’s very gracious. All I can do is try my best and continue to read and learn from guys like everyone in this group. It’s not often I find myself listening more than speaking about all things fantasy, but this is one hell of a smart group. I have to imagine a fantasy league with all of us in it would be pure misery for my confidence. Especially because I only ever have a list of about 40 players I’d draft. If you thieves all snatched them from me I’d be panicking against the clock each round trying to take someone I don’t utterly despise. And God forbid trying to play the waiver wire or trade. Getting PTSD just thinking about it.  

One thing that’s interesting to me is seeing how everyone has a slightly different style even though we all think relatively similarly (compared to non-FFMers). Myles is a RB hound, RC loves his athletes and QB’s, Xavier seems like he could squeeze extra points out of a stone, Katz still has me stumped, and I’m in love with my WR’s. Waiting to see RC’s mystery back and then I’m excited to get the real mock draft going. 

 

Katz: If I still have you stumped, perhaps I'm doing it right? lol. Not sure if that's a good thing. I like to think I'm a hybrid of sorts. I care a lot of about athleticism, but I also acknowledge that the NFL is full of stupid people making stupid decisions. We can just refer to these people collectively as "Jon Grudens" (I am probably going to spend the entirety of 2018 bashing Jon Gruden). So for fantasy, it's more than just talent - it's what coaches will do with those players. I anticipate many more future email chats with all of you fine people so you should have a better read on me as the fantasy season actually nears and I develop stronger opinions on players. 

As for this mock. We're on the final pick. The bonus pick, if you will, of our two round mock, just so we all get to make the same amount of picks. RC is evidently one for suspense. We are all waiting in anticipation.

 

MC: I've been a Chase Edmunds fan..... but if I'm looking for a sleeper to advise people on in the late 2nd or early 3rd, it might be Bo Scarbrough. He's going to earn his coach's trust in the passing game quickly b/c he's great in pass protection and has reliable hands out of the backfield.  There are some coaches in the league who care more about picking up blitzes and protecting their QB than they do about how great the back is as a receiver, hence they might prefer a Bo Scarbrough over someone like Theo Riddick on passing downs.... and if Bo can earn his coach's trust on passing downs, and his offensive line is serviceable enough to keep him from being bottled up, he could very well find himself getting lots of work on 1st & 2nd down, too.  

 

Katz: It's not without a sense of irony that for years the NFL draft pundits have pumped up garbage Bama backs like Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy and not terrible, but certainly way overrated ones like TJ Yeldon and Mark Ingram (don't have about Ingram's longevity and production, he is nowhere near as good as they said he would be and honestly, I can't figure out how he gets yards), yet we hear very little about Bo Scarbrough, who performed way better at the combine than anyone expected. Scarbrough's ceiling is higher than any of the aforementioned Bama backs ever was. He could certainly be the type of back that's taken in the 4th or 5th round, landing him third on the depth chart, and is essentially one injury away from getting on the field before potentially forcing his way into a bigger role.

 

MC: Hey, I get fixated on a select handful of players too, END.... and I'm usually successful in structuring my drafts to ensure I get much if not most of them b/c I don't have a problem over-drafting targets by a round if I'm confident they'll outperform their draft status.  If you guys started picking off my players, I'd be freaking out too, likely panicking about how to recover.  I had one year where I abandoned my draft plan early on b/c someone fell in the 1st round that I wasn't expecting, and it turned the rest of my draft into a hot mess, smh.

 

END: That sounds exactly like me Myles. I’m the guy everyone usually looks at like “wtf.” I took Megatron his monster year in the 1st round back when WR’s didn’t go there often and he was being drafted as the 4th WR anyways. I’ve also take Trent Richardson #1 his sophomore year...not proud of that one. I take my guys where I want them end of story.  

Yes Katz you’ve got me stumped and that’s a good thing. Everyone has trends and patterns, strengths and weaknesses. A lot like poker actually. If you can figure those type things out it’s always tremendously helpful. 

 

MC: Since I'm new to the group I figured I should add in some background on my own fantasy approach/philosophy.  I do 3 leagues per year- 1 dynasty and 1 IDP on ThePhins.com.... and 1 redraft at TheClemsonInsider.  I like to keep it small so that each team actually means something to me.  Trying my best to be modest here, the majority of the time I finish 1st in scoring (which is what I covet most).  When I draft, my emphasis is all about value and very little about need. For instance, if I have a draft need at RB2 and my receivers are filled out (even in Flex), but there's a WR on the board I like a lot, I'll take that WR and continue to leave RB2 open b/c I'm confident I'll be able to package that WR with a RB for an upgraded RB once the season is under way, likely a better RB than I would've gotten had I drafted one out of need to fill that RB2 spot instead of taking the WR there.   

I realize that leagues and point titles are won by what you do in the mid rounds and beyond, not by what you do in the first 3.... so I always take a backward approach to drafting.  The first thing I do is identify the mid and late round players I believe will perform like early rounders, and then I build my draft around them, working backward.  For instance, last year my mid to late round targets were Kamara, Kareem Hunt, and Evan Engram.... so I penciled them into rounds where I knew I'd get them.  I think I put Kamara into the 8th or 9th and slapped Hunt into the 5th (this was before the Ware injury).  From Hunt, I worked backwards into the 4th round, again looking for the greatest value, where I was extremely bullish on Keenan Allen becoming a WR1 (as RC will begrudgingly testify).  Then from there I work backwards into rounds 1 through 3 where I marry need with value, b/c those are the rounds where it shouldn't be difficult to find your WR1's and RB1's. In rounds 1-3, I don't look at the players per se; I look at their maximum combined points- what combination of players will net me the most total points for the trio.   

I find that if you do it the other way and build your draft around who you want in the first 3 rounds, then it can really mess up your draft later on where the real value is at and where you win your leagues.  

 

Katz: Fascinating. I have some similarities and some differences. My main focus on choosing what players to draft is "will this guy be drafted at a higher round next season than where I'm taking him now?" Last year, with the help and advice of RC, I was quite confident Tyreek Hill would be a second round pick in 2018. Therefore, taking him in the fourth round was a no brainer. Looking at a draft backwards is an excellent approach. Where we differ is I do not believe in drafting to trade. In theory, everyone has drafted a complete team. Like you, I don't like a large pool of players, especially at their cost, which naturally carries over with them at least for a little bit into the season. DeMarco Murray was still second round value DeMarco Murray until about week 4 or 5 last year. That's a third of the season. It is difficult to find the right trade partner with the right players that's a good fit to make a move with. That's not to say I wouldn't also take a bench WR that I thought was incredible value despite needing an RB2. I just happen to be okay with a revolving door at RB2. 

My overall approach to drafting is to implement a strategy that I feel is a year early. I went back and looked at some of my old drafts. I'm talking like mid 2000s. I NEVER went RB-RB. I mean not even once. The first time I ever went RB-RB was in 2013. So even back when RBs dominated fantasy, I was still taking a WR in one of the first two rounds. Now way back then, I didn't really know what I was doing. But once I started to really study and learn, I was on the early round WRs and WR heavy approach before WRs overtook RBs as the best fantasy position. In 2016, I jumped back on the RB bandwagon after research revealed how truly anomalous (read: awful) the 2015 season was for RBs. This season, I am going to investigate heavily whether a WR heavy approach is the move after how historically bad WRs were in 2017...but I'm not yet entirely sure that this isn't just a trend going forward - the blurring of the tiers at WR. Luckily, it's only April. 

So that's a little insight into my approach.

 

END: Myles, it sounds like you and I have exactly the same approach. That’s exactly how I work. My guys this past year were Engram, Thielen, and Coleman. I liked Hopkins for a bounceback and rounded it out with Tyreek and Cooks. I also grabbed Gronk in the 3rd knowing I could flip him, which I eventually did for Gurley. Totally agree that drafts are won late and lost early. First 3 rounds I simply try not to miss. 

 

1.01 RB Saquon Barkley

1.02 RB Rashaad Penny

1.03 WR Courtland Sutton

1.04 QB Lamar Jackson

1.05 RB Royce Freeman

1.06 RB Derrius Guice

1.07 RB Ronald Jones

1.08 RB Sony Michel

1.09 WR DJ Moore

1.10 RB Josh Adams

1.11 RB Nick Chubb

1.12 WR DJ Chark

2.01 TE Dallas Goedert

2.02 QB Baker Mayfield

2.03 RB Jaylen Samuels

2.04 WR Calvin Ridley

2.05 RB Kalen Ballage

2.06 WR Christian Kirk

2.07 WR Michael Gallup

2.08 WR Anthony Miller

2.09 WR Equanimeous St. Brown

2.10 RB John Kelly

2.11 WR James Washington 

2.12 RB Kerryon Johnson

 

Katz: Bonus pick #3.01 so everyone gets to make five selections each.

 

RC: Pick #3.01 RB Chris Warren III, Texas

6"2"/247 with a 4.69 40-time, 6.98 three-cone. I'm looking at three things with him...

1: Was productive when given a shot. Had a weird career when they moved him to TE last year mid-season. First game he played heavy, true freshman...25 carries for 276 yards and 4 TDs. Rushed for 100+ five of 8 games as a serious starter from end of 2015, lost after 4 games 2016, and 2 games into 2017 before RBBC and move to TE killed him off. At least, some signs of life as a runner.

2: On tape, he's so big and so muscular...guys bounce off him and he doesn't realize it. He's a lean, pretty nimble 245+. He actually has surprising skills as a runner. Patient, a bit elusive, and runaway freight train to tackle. Count the legit broken tackles...and 'broken' doesn't do it justice...and this was as a  true freshman in his first real action:   https://youtu.be/ 6KYFz6YwEDg

3: Can the NFL get him to 235-240 and have a 4.5s/6.8s three-cone monster on their hands? He was playing at 250-255+ at times as a starter running all over people...6.6 ypc as a true freshman, 5.9 ypc as a 4-game starter in 2016. YPC died to 4.4 in 2017 when he became a split role and TE/FB. 

I'm drafting him for the monster he could become...knowing I could wind up with an H-back or 3rd string linebacker once the visionary NFL gets their hands on him. 

 

MC: That's a fun pick, RC.  Warren is highly tantalizing from the aspect of thinking about what he could become if he gets his head on straight and drops 7-10 pounds.   He's gotta be one of the best "man amongst boys" runners of the past few years.  Lotta fun watching him and Kamryn Pettway brutalize college defenders.    If Saquan Barkley could run with half of Warren's power I'd be in heaven.  

 

Katz: Now RC is just showing off! Serious question though - will Warren even be taken in your average rookie draft?

 

MC: Nope. Well not in mine b/c it's only 3 rounds. He's a guy you keep a close eye on in FA and pick up as soon as you hear rumblings about him doing something positive or moving up the depth chart.  

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>