It never fails. When the NFL draft is completed all fantasy football players analyze every move every team did in the off-season and try to figure out how the upcoming season will play out. Countless fantasy football sites gather together and hold Mock fantasy football drafts and compile their findings for their own website about rankings, adp, and so on. I will look at some findings by looking at the early Average Draft Position (adp) as of May 3rd with 88 mock drafts on record.
The top 5 are who you think they are and are all gone by the 20th pick. The big surprise here is Cam Newton is 2nd among QBs and 6th overall. I realize that he had a great year last year, but I would rather go with somebody who has a proven track record. Drew Brees at #11 and Tom Brady at #20 would both be taken by me ahead of Cam Newton. Just saying. After Brady at #20, there is a break of 19 spots before the next qb. Then between #39 and #54 4 QBs go off the board. It looks like you will have to draft your starting qb by the middle of round 6 in your draft. If you decide to wait, I see some definite value in waiting and drafting later. The QBs listed up until qb #16 all could put up starting qb points on your team and the 16th qb is the #99 overall pick. Peyton Manning is coming back from injury and now is a member of the Denver Broncos and is the #11 qb going around pick #70. Come on people, he's Peyton Manning!!! Jay Cutler should rebound nicely with the addition of Brandon Marshall and is going at pick #113. With the drafting of Alshon Jeffery to also help out the passing game, Cutler could be a real steal.
Running Back By Committee (RBBC) seems to be taking over the NFL as more and more teams trend away from a for sure #1 running back. Because of this, it is more important than evey to make sure you have AT LEAST one for sure lead back, if not 2. The dreaded RBBC approach can kill a fantasy league player because you never know which back you can rely on. By pick #30, 13 running backs are off the board and you will for certain want 1 of them, if not 2. After that spot, you have questions about every other running back either because of age, injury, or rbbc. A few things are very curious looking at the rest of the ranks. C.J. Spiller is picked 4 spots ahead of Fred Jackson. Michael Turner is going at running back #22, seems too low for a lead back on a good football team. Isaac Redman at #34 is way too low for a lead back on a team that likes to run the football. Fellow writer Walton Spurlin wrote on the free agent signings that Benjarvus Green-Ellis could threaten to beat his 13 touchdowns of 2010 this year as the lead back for Cincinnati. He is the 36th running back taken and going at pick 100. If Walton is correct, wouldn't you be thrilled to get that total from your 10th round pick?? I thought so. Doug Martin could be a real steal at #77 overall for an improved Tampa Bay offense. If he is indeed #1 on the depth chart, watch out!! Donald Brown should be the lead back for the Colts this year and is going at pick #121. That is for sure to go down as the season approaches.
Passing has become the preferred way in the NFL and there is a great deal of wide receivers to covet in your draft. By pick #45 20 wide receivers are on the board and every one on the list could have an argument to be a #1 on your fantasy team. Even the #23 wide receiver, Steve Smith from Carolina, could stake a claim to that and he is going at #53. In other words, to keep up with the rest of your league, you will want at least 2 wide receivers going into round 6. I think Steve Smith is low for sure, but the talent runs deep this year. The big thing to watch is the rookies. I think Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Brian Quick, Marvin Jones and Greg Childs all could move up the ranks.
Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham had fantastic years last year and it shows in the early adp this year, both are ranked in the top 15 overall. That is the highest I have ever seen tight ends ranked. There is a drop off at that point, and we all know that. Between #46 and 88 there are 8 tight ends to be drafted. That seems to be the spot to focus on getting your tight end. I do see some others that could still put up good numbers for you after that spot. Jacob Tamme has a history with Peyton Manning and is going at #146. That should go down a great deal. Andrew Luck relied on Coby Fleener often in college and will probably do so again for the Colts. At #130, I also see Fleener as a bargain.
In summary, here are some points you want to be at in your draft:
Round 5, .8 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, .2 TEs
Round 8, 1.2 QBs, 2.8 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE
Round 10, 1.5 QBs, 3.5 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE
Those numbers will go up or down throughout the summer, but there are always good values to be found. Trust your judgments and pay attention to training camp. The more you know, the better off you will be in the long run. Trust me.