USA Today Sports Weekly Mock Recap

On Tuesday, July 22, I participated in a 12-team, non-PPR mock draft with several industry leaders for USA Today Sports Weekly’s fantasy football special edition, which hits newsstands on August 4. I’ve been given permission to blog about the draft and my strategy, which is greatly appreciated, and I hope it sparks some discussion.

This was a non-PPR league with a relatively standard starting lineup – 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, W/R/T flex, K, D/ST. We were allowed to fill seven bench spots, as well.

I picked from the #9 spot, which I was excited to do because it’s a pretty interesting spot this year as most of the best RBs are off the board, and it could be an ideal spot for starting WR/WR or Graham/WR.

The draft grid is as follows (odd rounds read left to right, even rounds right to left. Click to enlarge):

Note that the empty 12th-round pick between Jordan Matthews and Carlos Hyde was meant to be Odell Beckham, and the empty 16th-round pick for Tuvey is meant to be Bryce Brown.

Here’s my team, and I’ll talk about my strategy afterward.

QB: Colin Kaepernick, Carson Palmer

RB: Le’Veon Bell, Ben Tate, Jeremy Hill, Chris Ivory, Carlos Hyde

WR: [...]

The Prince Connection: Rodgers and Nelson

If you follow along over at my Twitter account @FG_Dolan (shameless plug), you’ve probably noticed my undying love for Jordy Nelson, and the fact that I’d happily welcome him onto any of my fantasy teams this year.

First of all, he’s madly productive as is: he hauled in 85/1314/8 last year and averaged 16.5 FPG in a PPR league. That was good enough to rank him #13 among WRs who played at least seven games last year. By definition, he was a borderline #1 WR in a 12-team PPR league. A knee procedure last summer might have scared some people, but it helped make Nelson more explosive and turned him into a durable force in 2013, and an incredible fantasy value to boot.

Once again, Nelson proved to be among the NFL’s elite in both catch rate and yards per target: 67.5% catch rate and 10.43 yards per target in 2013, well above the 58.6%/7.80 league average at the WR position last year. This has become a trend for Nelson, who continually grabs a high percentage of his targets down the field, more than most of his peers grab in the intermediate area.

But there’s also one more thing that we have to remember [...]

Game Notes: Giants, Jets, Raiders, Eagles

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season. Each of the games that follows in this article is from Week Two.

New York Giants

Week 2 – Stl

Eli Manning
- 1st-quarter [...]

Game Notes: Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season.

Miami Dolphins

Week 2 – Hou

Chad Henne
- Sack on first series no receivers open… Henne had no chance.
- Henne stood in there [...]

Game Notes: Texans, Colts, Jags, Chiefs

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season.

Houston Texans

Week 2 – @Mia

Matt Schaub
- Texans came out throwing.
- First drive stalled inside the 5 when Dolphins got pressure on [...]

Game Notes: Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season.

Dallas Cowboys

Week 2 – @SF

Tony Romo
- First play, slightly overthrew Austin on potential big play, but Austin slowed down and probably [...]

Game Notes: Panthers, Bears, Bengals, Browns

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season.

Carolina Panthers

Week 2 – GB

Cam Newton
- Panthers came out chucking the ball. Deep shots to Jeremy Shockey first two plays. They [...]

Game Notes: Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens, Bills

This off-season, we spent some time watching each and every NFL team again, trying to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses with players we might have missed in the rush of the regular season. The intention was to feel more confident in our analysis for what turned out to be our biggest player profiles ever.We spent more time on some teams than on others, and even the teams we spent the most time on we were only able to watch a handful of games. But we thought it might be cool to publish a series of blogs detailing what we saw from the teams we watched with our raw notes.

These notes were never intended for publication, so forgive grammatical errors or the occasional poor language. Nor were they intended to be comprehensive, or definitive takes on fringe players (especially WRs, who are difficult to watch on TV angles). We simply thought it’d be a neat way to show a little extra insight into some of the players that we might not have felt like we had a great grip on this season.

Arizona Cardinals

Week 2 – @Was

Kevin Kolb
- Really tough to watch in this game…didn’t see him set his feet and deliver a [...]

Handcuffed: Is Ben Tate’s ADP straitjacketing Arian Foster owners?

It is getting to be the time of year when I am not only building my general draft strategy, but I am also starting to break down what I plan to do into specifics. I have my studs, sleepers, targets, and values highlighted. I have my duds and overvalues blacklisted. But most notably, and perhaps obviously, my analysis of these specifics starts with a single question:

“If I have the #1 pick in fantasy football this season, what am I going to do with it?”

Here’s the easy answer: I’m going to draft Arian Foster. I will take Foster and his 23.3 FPG in a PPR (1st among RBs), plus his 1841 yards from scrimmage and 12 TDs in 13 games. I will beam when he sucks up touch after touch down the stretch of a close game when both the Texans and my fantasy team need those yards and points.

But is the answer really that simple? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s a discussion I started on my Twitter account (@FG_Dolan) about a week ago, and my interest in the topic was rekindled on our subscriber message boards this morning.

To put it frankly, it’s wise to be a little bit concerned about Foster’s [...]

2011 Predictions

Each week we will bring you the weekly game picks from our staff. However, our group of senior writers decided to take things a step further making predictions for the season. Here is what they came up with:

Matt Camp

AFC

East: Patriots (13-3)

West: Chargers (13-3)

North: Steelers (11-5)

South: Texans (12-4)

Wildcards: Jets (12-4), Ravens (11-5)

Championship Game: Chargers over Patriots

NFC

East: Eagles (10-6)

West: Rams (11-5)

North: Packers (13-3)

South: Saints (11-5)

Wildcards: Lions (10-6), Falcons (10-6)

Championship Game: Packers over Eagles

Super Bowl: Packers over Chargers

MVP: Philip Rivers

Matt Brown

AFC

East: Patriots (13-3)

West: Chargers (12-4)

North: Steelers (11-5)

South: Texans (12-4)

Wildcards: Ravens (10-6), Jets (9-7)

Championship Game: Texans over Patriots

NFC

East: Eagles (12-4)

West: Rams (9-7)

North: Packers (13-3)

South: Saints (12-4)

Wildcards: Falcons (11-5), Lions (9-7)

Championship Game: Eagles over Packers

Super Bowl: Eagles over Texans

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Joe Dolan

AFC

East: Patriots (13-3)

West: Chargers (13-3)

North: Steelers (12-4)

South: Texans (10-6)

Wildcards: Ravens (12-4), Jets (10-6)

Championship Game: Chargers over Patriots

NFC

East: Eagles (13-3)

West: Rams (10-6)

North Packers (12-4)

South: Saints (12-4)

Wildcards: Falcons (11-5), Lions (10-6)

Championship Game: Eagles over Saints

Super Bowl: Eagles over Chargers

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Note: Matt Camp’s Weekly MATTchups will be posted on Saturday, but every Friday after that.

About Matthew Camp

Matthew Camp

Camp has been a fantasy football player since 1997, when he remembers using the box scores from the New York Daily News.

About Matthew Camp

About Joseph Dolan

Joe Dolan

Joe is a son of the video-game age - his extensive knowledge of NFL rosters dates back to the early 1990s.


About Joseph Dolan

About Tom Brolley

Tom Brolley

Brolley was blessed with the mobility of Peyton Manning, but lacked his encyclopedic football knowledge and rocket arm.

About Tom Brolley

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