First Mock Draft of 2012

I am participating in my first 2012 mock draft today (for Rotowire Magazine), so I figured I would share my picks for those interested on the blog, while I am making them.

This is a 14-teamer, which kind of stinks because I was really curious to see how a 12-teammer would go, but this will have to do for now. I’m still developing my Draft Plan for this year, but I have some interesting ideas and hope to shape them further during this draft.

I’ll post the picks with some analysis as I make them. The draft kicks off at 4pm ET and is 15 rounds. This is a PPR league, by the way.

Round 1, pick 12 – In perhaps an upset, I took TE Jimmy Graham, who is my #1 TE over Rob Gronkowski. I give Graham the slight edge because the addition of Brandon Lloyd could mean fewer looks for Gronk, who obviously plays TE with another great option. I knew I would still get a crack at a stud QB with my next pick , so I took Jimmy.

Round 2, pick 2 – I picked Graham because I was hoping Cam Newton would slip to me in the 2nd, but he was taken 1 pick before me. That left me with a dilemma with Drew Brees being the obvious pick. But given the shaky vibes in New Orleans, I didn’t feel comfortable going “all in” on the Saints. In a 14-team league, if I mess up these first two picks, I’m done, so I “settled” for QB Matthew Stafford. Obviously, this is a risky pick over Brees due to Stafford’s durability, but I’m convinced he’s past those concerns.

Round 3, pick 12 – I’m looking for impact players, studs, talented guys, so I took Julio Jones. I actually have Marques Colston over Jones, but again the shaky vibes in New Orleans is a little scary in terms of investing 2 of my first 4 picks on a Saint.

Round 4, pick 3 – I needed a RB, obviously, and while it’s a small risk taking a rookie who is not a lock to start, I think Doug Martin will start, and he can catch the ball and has the potential to haul in 40 passes as a rookie, which works in this PPR league.

Round 5, pick 12 – I suppose I’m a sucker for the Eagle offense for life, but I felt DeSean Jackson was the most impactful player left on the board at WR, so I grabbed him. With no contract concerns and a full off-season for Michael Vick, there should be some confidence in Jackson to bounce back in 2012.

Round 6, pick 3 – The draft is moving quickly, so I’m having trouble marking guys off and doing these writeups, but I did think about my selection of Peyton Hillis. He may not have a lot of upside if Jamal Charles is fine, but he should score TDs and he can help in this PPR format with catches. The Chief offense is looking really good on paper, and Hillis has every reason to excel because he’s in a one-year contract.

Round 7, pick 12 – Well, I had to do it. With some deficiencies at RB, I had to recognize BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a decent value in the 7th round of a 14-team league. I actually think he can grab 30-35 passes here, which helps, but unless someone shocks us or they add another good veteran, Law Firm has to be the guy in a pretty decent offense and on a pretty good team.

Round 8, pick 3 – I feel better about the BJGE pick now because I landed a potential impact player in a PPR league in Greg Little. He was my guy last year, and he did catch 61 balls despite not playing a lot early in the year and in a horrendous offense with a bad QB. The offense will be much better, and Brandon Weeden is a good guy to get him the ball in the short-to-intermediate passing game, so I loved this pick.

Round 9, pick 12 – I’m looking for more WR help in this PPR after using my first two picks on a TE and a QB and I really liked my pick of Austin Collie. Although they will throw to the TE a lot, Collie is going to be a great option for QB Andrew Luck. They should have to throw a lot, so Collie has upside in this format.

Round 10, pick 3 – Looking for more RB and help and most importantly upside, I grab my guy Alex Green. I know they don’t run it here, but they took Green for a reason: he’s a bigger back like they prefer, and he’s used to playing in pass-happy offense, plus he can catch the ball. He’s coming off an ACL injury, of course, but all is going well, and the Packers not only are letting Ryan Grant go, they also didn’t draft a RB. I view that as an endorsement for Green, and I also got a great endorsement of Green earlier this year from Greg Jennings.

Round 11, pick 12 – I’m totally in upside mode here, searching for potential impact players, so I took a guy in Brian Quick who could be the Rams’ #1 WR by season’s end. He’s raw, but very talented and has a great opportunity. This is not too early for Quick.

Round 12, pick 3 – I realized while doing the DT projections that the San Francisco 49ers were 4th in fantasy scoring in 2011 despite scoring only 1 defensive TD. The top-3 teams combined for 19 TDs. So what does that say about the 49ers? It says they are extremely impactful despite not scoring TDs, which can be fluky. With all 11 starters back and an improved offense, and despite my disdain for fantasy defenses lately, I’m all in on the Niners as a terrific impact starter. The days of people taking a great defense 3-5 rounds before most of the defenses go off the board are over, so you can still hold off and grab SF. You just have to plan it well and not overpay too much. In this draft, it worked out perfectly for me because I helped start the DT run.

Round 13, pick 12 – I was a little bummed my guy Jake Locker went off the board in front of me, since I love him as an impact player to grab late in drafts. But I was satisfied enough with Josh Freeman as my backup. TB has been upgraded in several areas, so he should be much better under the new regime and in the new culture.

Round 14, pick 3 – There wasn’t much left on the WW, and everyone pretty much looked the same, so I figured I’d grab David Akers, who was a major impact guy in 2011. Obviously, I’m taking my kicker a little earlier, but in a 14-team league, and based on Akers’ sick production last year, why the hell not? It’s all about high-impact starters.

Round 15, pick 12 – I was ready to end this thing, so I just grabbed Bernard Scott as a bit of protection for BJGE. Mike Tolbert was there, I believe, and I had him ready to go, but didn’t pull the trigger for some reason.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this draft and feel this bodes well for my 2012 draft plan. We still have a long way to go, of course, but I like this starting lineup in a 14-team PPR:

Matthew Stafford

Doug Martin

Peyton Hillis

Julio Jones

DeSean Jackson

Greg Little

BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Austin Collie

Jimmy Graham

David Akers

SF Defense

Bench

Josh Freeman

Alex Green

Bernard Scott

Brian Still

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10 Responses

  1. Jimmerz says:

    What is this draft nonsense? Wake me up when you do an auction like a true Guru…

  2. Ariakis says:

    I love the go for it approach with Graham. What this mock tells me though is going QB really makes your team look weak on paper this year IMO. What QB’s were left in the 3-7 range if you had filled other needs and let QB slide? Perhaps a Manning, Rivers, or atleast an RG3 would still be there? If you had gotten QB8-14 for the Hillis pick to pair with Freeman you’d have a low RB1 or mid WR1 and two upside QB’s. Also curious how it would play out to take Gronk in the 2nd as your flex.

  3. John Hansen says:

    There were plenty of rock solid QBs still on the board. However, none of them had the upside to throw for 5000 yards and 45 TDs, which Stafford does. In this passing league, I’m going to lean on the truly elite and feel good about it. 1-2 of the low picks pans out, get 1-2 on the WW, and you’re gold.

    As much as I can appreciate the auction love, the fact of the matter is it’s just not taking off. Just like IDP, which was I was told 10 years ago was the future of fantasy (I didn’t see it then). It’s not really the future and it’s only for the hardcore people, which is the same as Auctions. Of the 350+ survey responses we got, less than 20% of people either do auction or plan to switch to it in 2012.

  4. Jason says:

    Where did Richardson go? I’m almost inclined to go first or early 2nd for him.

  5. PackFan says:

    I am not necessarily inclined to wait until the final rounds to select a defense … in part, because I think one has to first look at the scoring system used in one’s league, and determine just how impactful a defense can be in your situation. I regard the defense / special teams as simply being one player. At the end of the season, at least in the league I play in … a good defense can rank very high in total fantasy points accumulated, when I compare them to other “players” I might select in the mid-rounds. I have played it both ways … taking a defense with my last pick, and other years taking a defense with a selection as high as in the 7th or 8th round. Personally, I’m going to gravitate towards taking a defense earlier … there are only 32 of them, and I want one of the top five. Over the course of the season, the waiver wire runs hot and cold with talent, and I can sometimes pick up a good player or three .. but if I start out with a crap defense, it’s darn difficult to pick up a good one once the season gets rolling. Of course, if I happen to pick a bad one to begin with .. things are not good either. My point is not to argue with you … but, to simply express one man’s opinion or perhaps philosophy; draft a decent starting lineup, and then grabbing a very good defense can prove to be very fruitful and effective over 15 or 16 weeks.

  6. John Hansen says:

    Jason: Believe it or not, Richardson went 11th overall! Graham may have been a bit of a reach because his ADP may be in the mid-20s, but that’s one of the things we try to get a handle on this early and this was my first draft. I should have taken Newton but thought I’d have a crack at him with my next pick. Turns out, I probably could have gotten Newton and Graham had I gone Newton and then Graham.

    Pack: I hear you and that used to be my position completely. The defenses, however, have been awful lately, so that hasn’t been a wise move. BUT I do see something special with the 49ers, so I do think grabbing them is a good move, especially since the final third of a draft this year will be littered with hit-or-miss picks.

  7. Jeremy Senn says:

    Hey John!
    I love the Doug Martin and the Law firm picks!
    ( my nickname for Ellis is Big Green Egg like the charcoal cooker!)
    I picked Cam in our partial keeper league last year, he was Mr Irrelevant!
    I’ll be carrying him over this year along with either MJD or Andre the Giant!
    Peace out from EHC!

  8. Rob says:

    Hi John …
    I’m in a 14 team PPR Keeper league (4 + 1 Rookie) and my keepers from 2011 are planned to be:
    Jimmy Graham – Matthew Stafford – Julio Jones (rookie) – Wes Welker – Dez Bryant
    Like your Mock, I’m also picking 12th so was gratified to see your first 3 picks jibed with my most of my Keepers
    I am concerned though that in a Keeper league it might be difficult to get a value RB. I have Turner & Bradshaw but have a decision to make re dropping 1 of my WRs for either. Thanks for the insight behind your picks – always informative !

  9. John Hansen says:

    Rob, I may go with 0 RBs kept, but if I had to I’d actually drop Bryant, who’s been slightly more of a pain in the pass than a great asset. Definitely look at David Wilson because he projects as a “feature” back in 1-2 years.

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