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Fantasy Football 2013: Mock Draft Evaluation

Updated on September 9, 2014

So It Begins...

It's almost that time of year again, folks! Fantasy football season is just around the river bend, and in order to stand head and shoulders above your opponents you need to head into your draft with an informative and strategic advantage. I went through this 10-team mock draft last week with the #1 overall pick, and I'll explain to you why I went with each pick.

A few draft tips to consider before we begin:

1. Take running backs early. Everything those "experts" at ESPN have been saying about running backs? Yeah, they're actually right on this one. When it comes to value at their position, a great tailback can give your team the extra oomph it needs to succeed. Last year I nabbed Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, and Reggie Bush in consecutive rounds. Guess who ended as the league champion? If you already know you want Aaron Rodgers or Calvin Johnson in the first round, that's great. Just know you may be missing out on Trent Richardson or Matt Forte when your team could really use a great back.

2. Know when to play it safe. Let's say it's the date of your draft day. So far you've picked two good running backs and a great wideout. You'd prefer to draft another wideout, but somehow you see Peyton Manning has slipped all the way to the fourth round. As promising as Victor Cruz or Larry Fitzgerald may seem to you, carefully consider the value of each player left available. I would say nabbing Manning in the 4th round would be a pretty great pick for quarterback, as Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and perhaps even Tom Brady may be gone by then. It's important to grab great players for your starting and flex positions, but don't forget consistency at the other positions can be important too.

3. Wide receiver and tight end positions are very top-heavy. If you're thinking about drafting a wideout as high as the second round, be aware of how far you're stretching. Outside of the Big Four (Megatron, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, & AJ Green), there are quite a few question marks at the receiver position. How will Wes Welker's arrival impact Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker? Will age catch up to Andre Johnson this season? What about Fitz and Carson Palmer? If you don't grab one of the Four, I'd wait until at least the 4th round (all things permitting) to grab next-tier receivers like Marques Colston and Victor Cruz. Likewise, outside of Jimmy Graham you shouldn't be drafting any tight end before the 3rd round. There are a lot of injury questions for Rob Gronkowski and Heath Miller, plus there's no guarantee that Tony Gonzalez will still be drinking from the Fountain of Fantasy Youth in 2013.

4. Don't worry about bye weeks. People worry about these for little reason, I believe. While it's great if you can grab Brandon Marshall and Roddy White, two great receivers without the same bye week, it could potentially mean that you need a clutch receiver in Week 6 after a lackluster outing from Marshall and White's off that weekend. At the end of the day, they really aren't going to affect you that much. If they really do concern you that much, feel free to offer them up as trade bait! Maybe you can get that FLEX RB you really wanted or a great TE.

Now, on to the draft!

Round 1: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings


See? I drafted AP2K first overall and he's really excited about playing for me!

In all seriousness though, if you're first overall you can go any direction you want. I chose Adrian Peterson, where I know I'll get a guy who's a clear starter, can break tackles, catch passes, and see red-zone opportunities. You want Arian Foster? Fine. Beast Mode? Go for it. Doug Martin? Hey, whatever works. If you're #1 overall, pick whichever RB you want. I want Adrian Peterson and I won't regret this pick come draft day.

Round 2: Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears


Hey, why not? It's down to the 20th pick and I can grab a Big Four receiver. I've got a pick directly after this one, so if I wanna show more love to the NFC North I'm gonna do it. Marshall is already QB Jay Cutler's favorite target, and new coach Marc Trestman is supposed to be a quarterback guru. I'm not doubting Brandon Marshall in the slightest heading into 2013.

Round 3: Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints


Hey, I need another RB and I'm a sucker for all-purpose yards. As stated in my "Fantasy Man Crush" list, Sproles is a great runner and is among the best pass-catching backs in the league. As long as Drew Brees is throwing him the ball, I'm all-in on Sproles. I don't expect him to miss as much time as he did in 2012, and he didn't have any fumbles last year. Sproles is a guy who will get the ball, keep the ball, and do great things with the ball.

Round 4: Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks


Harvin in the 4th round? The prospect is too juicy to pass by. With all due respect to my beloved Adrian Peterson, Harvin was the head honcho of the Vikings offense in 2012 before his high ankle sprain. With the kind of season he was having, he would have been the #1 fantasy WR, no contest (save Megatron). Seattle knows that getting the ball into Harvin's hands will be great for the team, no matter if it's a return, handoff, or pass. Assuming he plays all 16 games, it's gonna be a career year for Harvin.

Round 5: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons


If I can get a top-8 quarterback in the 5th round, I'll take him, especially if everyone else decides to load up on QBs at this point. Ryan finished 7th among QBs last year and could post even better numbers this year. The sky's the limit for the Atlanta Falcons, and I'll be overjoyed to have Ryan in my lineup week after week.

Round 6: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins


It's the 6th round and many other players who haven't filled on RBs will already be regretting their choices. I'm satisfied with Lamar Miller as a FLEX back, especially with the upside he has; I say he wins the starting job over Daniel Thomas, and with that 4.40 speed he's a home run-potential back for sure. At this point, I'm very happy that I have All Day and Darren Sproles; though I'm a Miller believer, there's no way I'd be happy with my lineup if he was my #2 running back.

Round 7: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys


Witten seems as surprised as myself that I could grab a player who's in the top-5 at his position in the 7th round, but that's the name of the game. While Witten isn't exactly well-known for a red-zone tendency, the yards will always be there; in 2012, he was the only tight end to enjoy a 1,000 yard season. That kind of yardage will always suggest that he can get the touchdowns he wants on any given Sunday. I'll take Witten (and his consistency) with a smile on my face.

Round 8: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts


I had a serious fantasy fanfare over Hilton last season and was stoked to grab him off the waiver wire. He was the perfect deep-threat speedster to match Andrew Luck's big arm and Bruce Arians' vertical offense. I can only see his play evolving this year as Luck masters the new West Coast offensive system. Some have expressed concern that his numbers will decline with Darrius Heyward-Bey now wearing a Colts uniform; I disagree. While Heyward-Bey can certainly supply Indianapolis with some great skill and speed, Hilton was a rookie with Luck. They experienced all the ups and downs of adjusting to the pro game together, and I think that will stick. I'm also not a believer in Reggie Wayne this season, so I think that leaves opportunity for Hilton to grow into a fantastic #3 receiver.

Round 9: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers


The QB position is deep this year, and this is the pick to prove it. As I've stated in my Fantasy Football Man Crush List, Big Ben was having a great year in 2012 before he went down in Kansas City. I've got enough faith in the Steelers O-line and the receiving tandem of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to take a chance on Big Ben in 2013. It doesn't hurt that he came this cheap, either; I'll take a top-12 starting QB in the 9th round with a skip and a cheer.

Round 10: Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans

As you can tell, these RB picks are starting to become upside-only. I thought Shonn Greene was great last year as a New York Jet and was probably the lone bright spot on a horrendous offense. As a change-of-pace back for Chris Johnson, Greene may not have a career year, but I think the potential for goal-line carries will still be there. However, if the Titans begin to lose faith in CJ2K, Greene is an incredibly competent pounder who can still give the Tennessee running game a chance to perform.

Round 11: Michael Bush, RB, Chicago Bears


Again, this is an upside pick, especially if Matt Forte misses time this year due to knee injuries. Bush will also get a large portion of the goal-line carries and touchdowns, as Forte has proved to be incredibly ineffective running in the red zone. I'll be happy to have this jar on the shelf.

Round 12: Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Williams actually had a pretty decent year in Tampa Bay as a wideout behind Vincent Jackson, ending 2012 as a top-20 wide receiver. I'm not sure if he'll be able to improve much from that, but in a contract year for QB Josh Freeman he'll hopefully elevate his play to give Williams opportunities to succeed. He's a good backup in case one of my starters goes down.

Round 13: 49ers D/ST, San Francisco


The 49ers defense definitely gave up some big plays last season; however, it didn't translate over to much fantasy dropback. The San Fran unit finished at 9th among fantasy defenses last year, and another year of experience for Aldon Smith alongside Justin Smith and Patrick Willis will hopefully translate to more sacks and TFLs. They won't finish in the top 5, but there will be a few weeks where a solid defense can save your team from certain defeat.

Round 14: Brandon Myers, TE, New York Giants


Myers is another upside pick at tight end. There's no telling how he'll do on not only a new team in a different conference, but also with an inconsistent Eli Manning under center. However, he is definitely an improvement over Martellus Bennett and led the AFC in receptions by a tight end with 79 (tied for 7th with Stevie Johnson of the Bills). If anyone can make the tight end position in New York a bright spot, it's Myers.

Round 15: Rams D/ST, St. Louis


The Rams ended 2012 at 7th among fantasy defenses, which is pretty good considering cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins had trouble in coverage this year. However, they led the NFL in sacks with 52 (tying Denver), and Chris Long and James Laurinaitis will continue to lead this unit to success in 2013. Improvement will be found all around; I see the Rams improving from 5 defensive touchdowns to 7.

Round 16: Connor Barth, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


I know, I know...kickers. Great. While they should be saved for the last rounds, I feel confident in my Barth pick. He's very accurate and has a big leg, but he hasn't had much of an opportunity for field goals. I'm very optimistic about the Buccaneer offense in 2013 as Freeman, Williams, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin all settle into a better groove than they did in 2012. That will mean a higher volume of kicks for Barth and a great fantasy output for the kicker.

Fantasy Lineup (Based on Draft)

ESPN Predicted Position Rank (2013)
Matt Ryan
Adrian Peterson
Darren Sproles
Brandon Marshall
Percy Harvin
Jason Witten
Lamar Miller
Connor Barth
Ben Roethlisberger
T.Y. Hilton
Michael Bush
Shonn Greene
Mike Williams
Rams D/ST
Brandon Myers
Average Pos. Rank for Starting Lineup: 9.7 Bench: 29.1


Like the picks? Hate a few? Let me know! Draft strategies are important to key down on before the season starts, so let's debate. If you liked this article, you can check out my NFC and AFC playoff predictions, as well as my aforementioned Fantasy Football Man Crush List for 2013. Thanks for reading!


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    • Sam Bartz profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Bartz 

      5 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      That's an impressive win streak! I've only played with one team for a few years, but will be moving up to two or three this season.

      I recommend doing some mock drafts! You can find them for free at ESPN or other websites and they're very handy for planning draft strategies. You'll be able to get a good guess as to what picks you can grab and when you can get them.

    • Richard-Bivins profile image

      Richard Bivins 

      5 years ago from Charleston, SC

      I usually pick RB, RB, WR, QB, WR, RB, TE, WR, K, DEF and then I try to get the best by week replacements. I usually play the Yahoo FF and have won 6 championships in the last 8 years but I also came in dead last 2 years ago, so my method isn't a lock. I should really sit down and put some thought into my selections, can't believe how close it is to the start of the season. How many teams do you play in a season? I play 2 teams with live drafts.

    • moviesreviews profile image

      Cacey Taylor 

      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I Look forward to it Sam

    • Sam Bartz profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Bartz 

      5 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Thanks, moviesreviews! I'm not sure how I feel about AP first either. While I disagree that the knee will be an issue for him in 2013, I am a bit concerned about his schedule and the fact that I believe the Vikings will throw the ball more this season. But I love those picks as well! I hope you do well too. I may do a "Week in Review" post each week about how my fantasy team performed, so if something like that would interest you then stay tuned!

    • moviesreviews profile image

      Cacey Taylor 

      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I dont like Ap number one with his shaky knee and coming off a season where he almost broke Eric Dickersons record on that knee. Loving the Matt Ryan and Brandon Marshall Picks. Grabbing the 49ers defense in that round seems like a steal.

      I hope that you do well and I would be interested to know how your team does this year


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