I haven't done one of these one-man, five-round mock drafts in awhile. How long has it been, you might ask?
Well, Adrian Peterson was worth a first-round selection. Barack Obama was still the President of the United States. Orange wasn't the new ... POTUS? The Chargers were in Southern California, but not Los Angeles. I hadn't started to binge watch "Homeland." Seriously, has any TV character (who isn't a superhero) survived more explosions than Carrie Mathison? People were excited to draft DeAndre Hopkins. And Todd Gurley. And Allen Robinson. And Jordan Reed. "The Miz" was the WWE Intercontinental Champion, but John Cena hadn't yet won his 16th WWE Championship.
So yeah, it's been awhile.
Some might think it's too soon for a mock, as the free agent period hasn't begun and we're still months from the 2017 NFL Draft. But what the hell, it's still fun to throw some names on the board. It's also quite interesting to see which players have gone from surefire Top 50 picks last season to "where-do-I-draft-him?" status. Jamaal Charles, calling Mr. Jamaal Charles. You're wanted in Round ... ? Anyway, here's a look at how a mock draft might look before all of the NFL offseason madness begins. So go ahead and comment. Agree. Call me an idiot. Enjoy.
This mock draft is based on NFL.com's standard 10-team leagues with a basic (non-PPR) scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns scored.
1. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Johnson broke out to the tune of 2,000-plus scrimmage yards and 20 total touchdowns last season, scoring more fantasy points than all but three quarterbacks. That's Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson-level totals. Consider D.J. the consensus No. 1 overall selection.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Elliott was better than all but five fantasy quarterbacks in his rookie season, rolling for 1,631 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns. He's going to go second or third in just about all drafts, but I like him over Le'Veon Bell because of his offensive line and ...
3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Bell is awesome, talented, etc., and he's a lock to be a top-three overall pick. I have him ranked third out of the top three because he's missed 14 games in the last two seasons due to injuries and suspensions, and he got hurt again in the playoffs. Cause for concern?
4. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown has posted a combined 371 catches for 4,816 yards with 35 touchdowns over the last three years, and he's finished no worse than sixth in fantasy points among wideouts in four straight seasons. AB is a durable dude too, playing in all but one contest since 2013.
5. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: Beckham had a slow start to last season, but he went on to record a career-best 101 catches and put up 1,300-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns for the third time in his three-year NFL career. He's also been no worse than fifth in points at wideout in that time.
6. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones had a few weeks were he killed fantasy fans, but he also had the second-most top-10 finishes among wideouts based on points. While the offense will look a bit different under Steve Sarkisian, Jones is still going to remain the biggest weapon in the team's pass attack.
7. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: McCoy was pissed at the "nerds" at Pro Football Focus for not listing him among their top 100 players, but even the peeps at PFF know he's a top-10 player in the world of fantasy football. He'll continue to be the focus of Buffalo's offense under new head coach Anthony Lynn.
8. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Evans, the top-scoring wideout in fantasy football, was a targets machine (173) en route to a career season that included personal bests in receptions (96), yards (1,321) and touchdowns (tie, 12). There's no stopping this physical freak from continued fantasy stardom.
9. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans: Murray was one of the top draft bargains a season ago, as countless fantasy fans avoided him in drafts after the selection of Derrick Henry. He went on to rank fifth in points among backs. Murray will remain the lead dog for the Titans, and he's a first-round talent.
10. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: Maybe I'm too high on Howard, but the dude rushed for 100 yards seven times as a rookie and he started just 13 games. With Jay Cutler on his way out of Chicago and Alshon Jeffery set to be a free agent, there's a chance Howard will become Chicago's top offensive weapon.
11. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green was on pace to finish fifth in fantasy points among wideouts before he went down with an injured hamstring, so don't let his finish (34th) fool you. The veteran will be fine far in advance of training camp and will be one of the top wideouts picked in 2017 drafts.
12. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: The planets aligned for Gordon in 2016, as the Chargers lost their top wideout (Keenan Allen) and change-of-pace back (Danny Woodhead) to injuries. Gordon also tied for fourth among runners in red-zone touches (57). Still, he's a surefire No. 1 fantasy running back.
13. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: The Comeback Player of the Year in fantasy football, Nelson posted 1,257 yards and a career-best 14 scores last season. He's now recorded a combined 27 touchdowns in his last 32 regular season games, and his quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) is the best in the fantasy world.
14. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Did Bryant lose a bit of his fantasy luster last season without Tony Romo? No question about it. But the veteran still scored eight times in 13 games and finished in the top 10 in points at the position five times. He's a lock second-rounder with Dak Prescott at the helm.
15. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: Ajayi put up career bests across the board in Miami last season, and he did it despite seeing seven or fewer carries in each of his first four games. While he wasn't the most consistent back in the league, Ajayi is still in a nice position to find continued success.
16. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman went from the top-scoring running back in fantasy football (2015) to sixth last season, but he scored just 13.3 fewer points in standard scoring leagues. At 24 and heading into a contract campaign, Freeman should post a third straight solid fantasy season.
17. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: Gurley was the biggest running back bust in fantasy football (it still hurts), but he's young at 22 and there's now hope in the form of new coach and offensive mind Sean McVay. After a season that saw him rank 20th in points among backs, things should be better in 2017.
18. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Hilton led the league with 1,448 receiving yards, which is pretty impressive when you consider the number of stud wideouts around the league. His lack of big touchdown totals (his career best is just seven) is what keeps Hilton from being selected higher in fantasy drafts.
19. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints: Cooks posted solid totals across the board for the second straight season and finished eighth in fantasy points among wideouts. That's his best rank as a pro. While there's going to me more hype around his teammate, Michael Thomas, Cooks still warrants a higher choice.
20. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Hyde just missed rushing for 1,000 yards a season ago, as he continued to have issues staying on the football field ... and out Betgram of the trainer's room. Still, he hasn't yet hit his ceiling and should benefit under new coach Kyle Shanahan. Hyde will be a risk-reward No. 2 back.
21. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Cooper saw slight increases in his reception and yardage totals compared to his rookie season, but he scored just five touchdowns and finished in the top 10 in points among wideouts just three times. Until he proves to be more consistent, Cooper won't be a top-20 choice.
22. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Miller, much like most of Houston's offensive players, failed to meet expectations with just over 1,000 yards on the ground and six total touchdowns. He did average a solid 19 carries per game, however, and at 25 he's an attractive gamble as a No. 2 back in the third round.
23. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski's draft position will be argued a million times over the next several months. He's a beast when he's on the field, but the big man has missed a combined 24 games over the last five seasons. I'd be willing to gamble here, but he's a tougher sell as a top-20 pick.
24. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: Ingram filled owners with frustration often times a season ago, but he finished with his first 1,000-yard rushing campaign and was 10th in points at his position. While his role could change at a moment's notice under coach Sean Payton, Ingram will remain a No. 2 runner.
25. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos: Anderson missed nine games due to an injured knee, but he was on pace to finish with 197.7 points before going down. That would have ranked him 11th among backs, ahead of Ajayi and Hyde. He's still young at the age of 26, and there's upside as a No. 2 runner next season.
26. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: Nuk's numbers exploded the fantasy hopes and dreams of countless fans last season, but it's hard to blame him when his quarterback had more turnovers than touchdowns and a 72.2 passer rating. Hopkins will be a 2017 bounce-back candidate if Osweiler isn't the starter.
27. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Another massive bust at the wideout position, Robinson saw decreases in catches, yards, touchdown, fantasy points and draft value. He did show flashes once the Jaguars promoted Doug Marrone, however, so A-Rob (like Hopkins) has some bounce-back value for next season.
28. LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots: Blount, set to be a free agent, is impossible to rank at this point. Even if he remains with the Patriots, he's destined to lose work to Dion Lewis and James White next season. If Blount takes his act to a new town, his stock could sink even further. Stay tuned.
29. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills: Watkins has all the talent in the world, but he's missed a combined 11 games over the last two seasons due to foot problems. While he should be fine in time for training camp, the Clemson product will be seen as one of the biggest risk-reward players in fantasy football.
30. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: Thomas is a candidate to move up in future mock drafts based on potential offseason movement involving some of the wideouts listed ahead of him. For now, the Ohio State product should be considered a high-end No. 2 fantasy wideout in what will remain a potent offense.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!
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