Here is the first mock draft of the season.  In this mock I drew the eighth selection.  Below are how I came to each pick and what my thought process was in each round.

Peterson was the first player chosen overall.
Peterson was the first player chosen overall.

Round: 1                                                                                                                      
(1) Team 1 – Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Team 2 – Jamaal Charles RB
(3) Team 3 – Marshawn Lynch RB
(4) Team 4 – LeSean McCoy RB
(5) Team 5 – Matt Forte RB
(6) Team 6 – Peyton Manning QB
(7) Team 7 – Eddie Lacy RB
(8) MyFantasy – Dez Bryant WR
(9) Team 9 – Aaron Rodgers QB
(10) Team 10 – Jimmy Graham TE
(11) Team 11 – Calvin Johnson WR
(12) Team 12 – Demaryius Thomas WR

I know I will generally be killed for this pick.  I chose Dez Bryant as the first wide receiver off the board.  Most people would have selected Calvin Johnson with my pick but let me tell you why I went off the grid.  Calvin has been the number one receiver in fantasy the last few seasons, I do not think he will be this season.  I just feel he is due for a decline whether it be due to injury or Stafford throwing to other weapons on the team.  Bryant on the other hand, I feel has not yet reached his potential.  Bryant has improved statistically every year he has been in the league, a trend I do not expect to stop.  Selecting any of the top three wide receivers here would have been justified (Johnson, Bryant, and Green).

Round: 2
(13) Team 12- A.J. Green WR
(14) Team 11 – DeMarco Murray RB
(15) Team 10 – Drew Brees QB
(16) Team 9 – Doug Martin RB
(17) MyFantasy – Arian Foster RB
(18) Team 7 – Zac Stacy RB
(19) Team 6 – Julio Jones WR
(20) Team 5 – Brandon Marshall WR
(21) Team 4 – Le’Veon Bell RB
(22) Team 3 – Jordy Nelson WR
(23) Team 2 – Alfred Morris RB
(24) Team 1 – Giovani Bernard RB

Going into the second round, I knew I wanted to target running back.  Grabbing an elite receiver in round one is great, but knowing there are not a lot of elite running backs left in the league means I have to grab a running back next.  I had my eye on Foster and Gio Bernard.  I think Bernard is a gifted athlete who can take an ordinary three yard gain into a 75 yard touchdown at any time.  While Foster doesn’t have that type of speed he is a very consistent running back.  Even though Foster is coming off an injury riddled season, reports out of Houston are that he is healthy and ready to be the number one back again.  The main reason I went Foster over Bernard was due to the fact I know Foster will be given the rock 15-25 times per game.  I’m not 100% on how the Bengals and a new coaching staff are planning to use Bernard, or how they are going to split up the carries between Bernard, Green-Ellis, and rookie Jeremy Hill.  That uncertainty in my mind made my selection of Foster easier.

Round: 3
(25) Team 1 – Alshon Jeffery WR
(26) Team 2 – Montee Ball RB
(27) Team 3 – Reggie Bush RB
(28) Team 4 – Julius Thomas TE
(29) Team 5 – Antonio Brown WR
(30) Team 6 – Andre Johnson WR
(31) Team 7 – Randall Cobb WR
(32) MyFantasy – C.J. Spiller RB
(33) Team 9 – Vincent Jackson WR
(34) Team 10 – Ben Tate RB
(35) Team 11 – Pierre Garcon WR
(36) Team 12 – Ryan Mathews RB

Round three was a lot easier for me.  I saw Spiller was available and unlike some that believe Spiller will never live up to his potential, I happily grabbed him in the third round.  I see Spiller as the workhorse back for the Bills, while many expect to see a lot of Freddy Jackson and Bryce Brown.  Jackson has been a solid running back in Buffalo, but at age 33 I do not expect the same type of production we are used to, at least not with the same amount of touches he has received in the past.  Bryce Brown was acquired in a draft day trade with the Eagles, as he kept sliding down Philadelphia’s depth chart.  I do not see a lot of competition from Brown in regards to game day touches for CJ.  I hope to have a 1,200 yard rusher with 8+ touchdowns in Spiller as my RB2.

Round: 4
(37) Team 12 – Matthew Stafford QB
(38) Team 11 – Andre Ellington RB
(39) Team 10 – Keenan Allen WR
(40) Team 9 – Andrew Luck QB
(41) MyFantasy – Rob Gronkowski TE
(42) Team 7 – Larry Fitzgerald WR
(43) Team 6 – Percy Harvin WR
(44) Team 5 – DeSean Jackson WR
(45) Team 4 – Frank Gore RB
(46) Team 3 – Vernon Davis TE
(47) Team 2 – Jason Witten TE
(48) Team 1 – Cam Newton QB

A healthy Gronk can compete with Jimmy Graham as the best tight end in the league.  I went value with my fourth round pick, I saw Graham was drafted tenth overall and Julius Thomas not going much later at 28th overall.  Now thirteen selections later I had to decide either go with my first tight end or grab my second receiver to pair with Bryant.  I had narrowed the selection down to Gronk or Keenan Allen at the start of the round.  Then two selections before my pick, my selection was made for me as Allen got drafted.  Sometimes you get angry when someone picks the guy you were considering on taking, this time I was relieved I knew I was getting possibly the best tight end if healthy.  Yes the health is a concern for me with Gronk, but every once in a while you have to roll the dice during the draft, and I did just that.  I just hope it pans out.

Round: 5
(49) Team 1 – Wes Welker WR
(50) Team 2 – Victor Cruz WR
(51) Team 3 – Chris Johnson RB
(52) Team 4 – Roddy White WR
(53) Team 5 – Trent Richardson RB
(54) Team 6 – Ray Rice RB
(55) Team 7 – Michael Crabtree WR
(56) MyFantasy – Cordarrelle Patterson WR
(57) Team 9 – Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(58) Team 10 – Steven Jackson RB
(59) Team 11 – Shane Vereen RB
(60) Team 12 – Rashad Jennings RB

After targeting my tight end in the previous round I was looking to round out my starting roster in round five.  I originally was debating quarterback vs wide receiver, but once I saw some of the quarterback’s that were available (Wilson, Griffin, Ryan, Brady, Romo) I knew I had to go wide out.  I like to monitor the depth of the quarterback position in each round and with so many studs still available I had to get my second wide receiver.  I had my freak out moment of the draft as I saw Victor Cruz still available (I have him ranked as my No.8 wide receiver) going into round five.  My mind was set I was going to get a steal in Cruz, then of course he was drafted second in the fifth round.  After I shouted some expletives, I refocused and went with Patterson.  I originally thought the Vikings reached when they drafted Patterson in the first round last year, but with his limited experience he showed that he belongs in the NFL.  Any time he touches the ball he can score.  With a new coaching staff coming in they have said Patterson will be the number one receiver, with that you can expect a definite increase in value.

Round: 6
(61) Team 12 – Bishop Sankey RB
(62) Team 11 – Nick Foles QB
(63) Team 10 – T.Y. Hilton WR
(64) Team 9 – Joique Bell RB
(65) MyFantasy – Danny Woodhead RB
(66) Team 7 – Robert Griffin III QB
(67) Team 6 – Jeremy Maclin WR
(68) Team 5 – Russell Wilson QB
(69) Team 4 – Torrey Smith WR
(70) Team 3 – Sammy Watkins WR
(71) Team 2 – Emmanuel Sanders WR
(72) Team 1 – Michael Floyd WR

In round six I checked the quarterback situation and the guys I was looking at were all still there so I decided to go with either running back or wide receiver.  Looking at what was available I saw Danny Woodhead there for the taking.  Woodhead fits both of my needs as he is one of the best receiving backs in the game, catching 76 passes last season.  I expect similar results in 2014, and as a PPR league Woodhead is a great flex option for my team.  Of course as soon as I drafted Woodhead, Griffin, Wilson, and Brady all came off the board.  Not what I wanted to see.

Round: 7
(73) Team 1 – Stevan Ridley RB
(74) Team 2 – Tom Brady QB
(75) Team 3 – Knowshon Moreno RB
(76) Team 4 – Julian Edelman WR
(77) Team 5 – Pierre Thomas RB
(78) Team 6 – Panthers D/ST D/ST
(79) Team 7 – Reggie Wayne WR
(80) MyFantasy – Matt Ryan QB
(81) Team 9 – Golden Tate WR
(82) Team 10 – Marques Colston WR
(83) Team 11 – Toby Gerhart RB
(84) Team 12 – Greg Olsen TE

After seeing the quarterbacks come off the board like hotcakes once I drafted Woodhead, I was praying the for the one quarterback I expect to finish in the top five to be available at my pick.  Once Tom Brady was taken my heart began racing faster, it just meant one more quarterback off the board.  Finally it was my pick, and I was able to draft “Matty Ice” I was ecstatic.  Matt Ryan has been very consistent his entire career, and even though his team faltered last year, Ryan’s performance was solid (4,500+ yards and 26 touchdowns).  Ryan who is capable of a 30+ touchdowns and 4,500+ yards is being drafted well below value, I was able to get him in the seventh round and the tenth quarterback taken.

Round: 8
(85) Team 12 – Mike Wallace WR
(86) Team 11 – Dennis Pitta TE
(87) Team 10 – Kendall Wright WR
(88) Team 9 – Colin Kaepernick QB
(89) MyFantasy – Mike Evans WR
(90) Team 7 – Jordan Cameron TE
(91) Team 6 – Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(92) Team 5 – Eric Decker WR
(93) Team 4 – Cecil Shorts WR
(94) Team 3 – Tony Romo QB
(95) Team 2 – Broncos D/ST D/ST
(96) Team 1 – Jordan Reed TE

Going into the eighth round I was going to target a wide receiver.  I felt comfortable with my three running backs providing me with depth but only having two wide outs and one being so young (Patterson) I needed to target one here.  After looking at my available prospects I had narrowed it down to two choices, Mike Wallace and Kendall Wright.  Until this point my plan has worked out mostly in my favor, and then round eight happened.  Every pick in our draft had a 45 second time limit, which I will never support again.  Mike Wallace was drafted first in the round and before I look for a potential replacement, boom there goes Kendall Wright.  I freak out, and while I freak out there goes Kaepernick off the board.  So now it’s my selection and 45 seconds and counting to figure it out.  I had Mike Evans rated well for the slot although I did not want another young receiver to pair with Patterson.  Looking at other prospects is not so easy when the clock is now below 20, I had Terrance Williams rated higher and would have taken him only to realize I had already drafted the Cowboys receiver prior.  I’m not a fan of having two teammates that play the same position on my team.  So with three seconds on the clock I went with Evans.  It could have turned out a lot worse, Evans is the most polished of all the rookie wide receivers, and has the most NFL ready body.

Round: 9
(97) Team 1 – Terrance Williams WR
(98) Team 2 – Josh Gordon WR
(99) Team 3 – Anquan Boldin WR
(100) Team 4 – Chris Ivory RB
(101) Team 5 – Fred Jackson RB
(102) Team 6 – Steven Hauschka K
(103) Team 7 – Darren Sproles RB
(104) MyFantasy – Lamar Miller RB
(105) Team 9 – DeAngelo Williams RB
(106) Team 10 – David Wilson RB
(107) Team 11 – Dwayne Bowe WR
(108) Team 12 – Jeremy Hill RB

In round nine I was looking to secure depth for my team.  Having drafted all of my starters in the crucial positions I was looking for top player available.  With that I found Lamar Miller who can be Miami’s main back this season.  Knowshon Moreno was signed in the off season to compete for the starting job, but coming into mini camps over weight and since then having arthroscopic knee surgery, he will be lucky to secure a roster spot.  The Dolphins play one of the easiest schedules against the run, so I expect the Dolphins to take advantage of that.  Being able to draft Miller in round nine gives me a lot of value for the slot.  Miller will be my fourth running back but can turn into a top fifteen fantasy running back option.

Round: 10
(109) Team 12 – Jay Cutler QB
(110) Team 11 – Terrance West RB
(111) Team 10 – Bernard Pierce RB
(112) Team 9 – Kyle Rudolph TE
(113) MyFantasy – Delanie Walker TE
(114) Team 7 – DeAndre Hopkins WR
(115) Team 6 – Antonio Gates TE
(116) Team 5 – Riley Cooper WR
(117) Team 4 – Danny Amendola WR
(118) Team 3 – Khiry Robinson RB
(119) Team 2 – Darren McFadden RB
(120) Team 1 – Tre Mason RB

Similar to round nine I was looking to add depth to my roster with one of the best available players.  I took Delanie Walker for a multitude of reasons with this pick.  Yes Walker is my second tight end, but having a deep team is important to me, I know what injuries can do to a team.  Especially since I used my fourth round pick on Gronkowski, a guy who can sneeze and break an arm.  Walker gives me that insurance that I need in case something does happen to Gronk.  Another reason I drafted Walker was due to my league allowing tight ends as a flex position.  So if I have bye weeks affecting my team, or matchups certain weeks Walker will be a great fit.

Round: 11
(121) Team 1 – 49ers D/ST D/ST
(122) Team 2 – Andy Dalton QB
(123) Team 3 – Shonn Greene RB
(124) Team 4 – Philip Rivers QB
(125) Team 5 – Hakeem Nicks WR
(126) Team 6 – Cardinals D/ST D/ST
(127) Team 7 – Mark Ingram RB
(128) MyFantasy – Andrew Hawkins WR
(129) Team 9 – Mike Tolbert RB
(130) Team 10 – Andre Brown RB
(131) Team 11 – C.J. Anderson RB
(132) Team 12 – Rueben Randle WR

In this round I knew I had to to target another wide receiver, having drafted running back and tight end with my last two selections.  Looking at who was available, it was not an easy decision.  At this point in the draft the talent pool starts to weaken, but wide receiver still had a lot of potential impact players for my team.  Some names that were around were Wheaton, Dobson, Hawkins, Cooks, Steve Smith, Tavon Austin, Reuben Randle, and Boykin.  Those are some talented receivers to have as my fourth wide out.  I went with the up and coming Andrew Hawkins from Cleveland.  Hawkins has been rising draft boards and I have been buying into the hype.  I liked what he did when healthy in Cincinnati, and now in Cleveland he is one of their main targets.  They literally do not have any other options with the looming Josh Gordon suspension, so I know Hawkins will be receiving a lot of targets from whoever is behind center.

Round: 12
(133) Team 12 – Bengals D/ST D/ST
(134) Team 11 – Kenny Stills WR
(135) Team 10 – Greg Jennings WR
(136) Team 9 – Stephen Gostkowski K
(137) MyFantasy – Rams D/ST D/ST
(138) Team 7 – Donald Brown RB
(139) Team 6 – Martellus Bennett TE
(140) Team 5 – Steve Smith WR
(141) Team 4 – Justin Hunter WR
(142) Team 3 – LeGarrette Blount RB
(143) Team 2 – James Starks RB
(144) Team 1 – Ben Roethlisberger QB

I honestly was not paying too much attention to the defenses that were coming off the board, mainly because I would never draft one as early as some of my league mates did.  I mean seriously Seattle defense in the fifth round? If you want to be “that guy” then go ahead take a defense in the fifth round.  I however strive to win every league I’m in so I waited until the 12th round to select my defense.  I knew I wanted the Rams defense, they have the most talented front seven in the league and are more than capable of being a number one ranked defense by season’s end.  Grabbing St. Louis in the 12th round compared to Seattle in the fifth is much better value.

Round: 13
(145) Team 1 – Latavius Murray RB
(146) Team 2 – James Jones WR
(147) Team 3 – Chiefs D/ST D/ST
(148) Team 4 – Christine Michael RB
(149) Team 5 – Knile Davis RB
(150) Team 6 – Tavon Austin WR
(151) Team 7 – Patriots D/ST D/ST
(152) MyFantasy – Markus Wheaton WR
(153) Team 9 – Brandin Cooks WR
(154) Team 10 – Roy Helu RB
(155) Team 11 – Jarrett Boykin WR
(156) Team 12- Matt Prater K

Going into round 13 I was thinking about grabbing my backup quarterback, but there were still too many talented ones left on the board to justify selecting one here.  So I turned to more depth for my team, looking at selecting Knile Davis or Markus Wheaton.  I considered Wheaton earlier but thought he may continue to slip, and I was correct he fell to me after Davis was nabbed three slots before my pick.  Wheaton will fill the shoes left by Emmanuel Sanders who left for Denver.  Most defenses who play against Pittsburgh will try and stop Antonio Brown leaving plenty of opportunity for Wheaton to shine.

Round: 14
(157) Team 12-Ka’Deem Carey RB
(158) Team 11 – Ladarius Green TE
(159) Team 10 – Bills D/ST D/ST
(160) Team 9 – Aaron Dobson WR
(161) MyFantasy – Devonta Freeman RB
(162) Team 7 – Jonathan Stewart RB
(163) Team 6s – Jonathan Dwyer RB
(164) Team 5 – Justin Tucker K
(165) Team 4 – Mason Crosby K
(166) Team 3 – Eli Manning QB
(167) Team 2 – Dan Bailey K
(168) Team 1 – Phil Dawson K

I always want to grab at least one of my sleepers each year.  Devonta Freeman will start lower on the depth chart behind Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers, but I believe he will slowly climb up the ranks and demand touches with his play.  Atlanta needs a running back playmaker and that is what they have in Freeman who can hurt you in both the running and receiving game.  It may take some time for Freeman to get the touches he needs to be a fantasy starter, but as my fifth running back I couldn’t pass him up.

Round: 15
(169) Team 1 – Steve Johnson WR
(170) Team 2 – Robert Woods WR
(171) Team 3 – Nick Novak K
(172) Team 4 – Adam Vinatieri K
(173) Team 5 – Charles Clay TE
(174) Team 6 – Jordan Todman RB
(175) Team 7 – Blair Walsh K
(176) MyFantasy – Ryan Tannehill QB
(177) Team 9 – Doug Baldwin WR
(178) Team 10 – Carson Palmer QB
(179) Team 11 – Raiders D/ST D/ST
(180) Team 12 – Kenny Britt WR

With two rounds left I needed to draft a kicker and a backup to Matt Ryan.  One rule I follow every year in any fantasy draft I am in is drafting my kicker last.  The minimal points difference is not worth using a higher round draft pick on one.  So round 15 I selected Ryan Tannehill as my backup quarterback.  I was shocked he was still available with all the “love” he is receiving this fantasy off season as a possible break out candidate.  With the selection of Tannehill I feel very comfortable with the quarterbacks on my roster.

Round: 16
(181) Team 12 – Eric Ebron TE
(182) Team 11 – Matt Bryant K
(183) Team 10 – Nick Folk K
(184) Team 9 – Marqise Lee WR
(185) MyFantasy – Greg Zuerlein K
(186) Team 7 – BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
(187) Team 6 – Josh McCown QB
(188) Team 5 – Buccaneers D/ST D/ST
(189) Team 4 – Saints D/ST D/ST
(190) Team 3 – Andre Williams RB
(191) Team 2 – Brandon LaFell WR
(192) Team 1 – Carlos Hyde RB

Last round means kicker time.  I was hoping Matt Bryant would fall to me but of course he went three picks prior.  So with my last selection I went with Greg “the leg” Zeuerlein.  If you can’t decide between kickers always, always, always draft the one who kicks indoors as opposed to those who kick in the elements.  I feel more comfortable with kickers that kick at least half of their games in a dome, you don’t have to factor in weather while choosing your lineup every week.


So after our first mock draft here is how my team shakes out:

QB: Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill

RB: Arian Foster, CJ Spiller, Danny Woodhead, Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman

WR: Dez Bryant, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Evans, Andrew Hawkins, Markus Wheaton

TE: Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker

DEF: St. Louis

K: Greg Zeuerlein

Overall I am pleased with my draft, I feel like my team can withstand injuries when they happen (they always happen) and can compete every week.  Every draft process and strategy is different, I chose to draft with depth in mind, but it does not mean this is the only way.  In future mock drafts I will show different but effective draft strategies.

Dan SchalkFF Mock DraftsHere is the first mock draft of the season.  In this mock I drew the eighth selection.  Below are how I came to each pick and what my thought process was in each round. Round: 1                                                                                                                       (1) Team 1 - Adrian Peterson RB (2) Team 2 - Jamaal Charles RB ...