The 2013 Assumption Draft, brainchild of LateRoundQB.com founder JJ Zachariason, brought a bunch of us fantasy aficionados/geeks/whizzes together to partake in a little offseason mocking.
For a complete breakdown of how the assumption draft works, click here. For a quick explanation, keep reading this sentence: We assigned notable rookies and free agents to teams (that’s the assuming) and held a mock draft. Simple, fun and imaginative.
The draft was for a 12-team, non-PPR league with standard starting rosters — QB, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, Flex, D and K.
If you’re looking for the names Brees, Rodgers and Brady, skip this recap of the first two rounds, kiss your children goodnight, shotgun two Red Bulls and stay up all night reading this masterpiece.
Here we go:
1.01: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings – Austan Kas of LateRoundQB.com
No surprise here. I landed the first pick, so I took the best fantasy football player. It’s as simple as that. Peterson was a monster in 2012, setting the league on fire despite tearing his ACL in the 2011 finale. After rushing for 2,000 yards, some regression is to be expected, but he will see plenty of the rock in an offense that’s without another true weapon (Remember, Harvin is in New England).
So far, so normal. Foster has been consistently excellent the last three seasons, averaging 1,421 rushing yards during that stretch. The only possible concern is his workload. The Texans’ star ran the ball a staggering 351 times a year ago.
1.03: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The FF Ghost of DynastyLeagueFootball.com
This is where things are going to get interesting in drafts this fall, as more often than not AP and Foster will be the first two players off the board. The FF Ghost snagged Martin over the likes of C.J. Spiller, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice. Martin, coming off a superb rookie campaign, gets back a pair of Pro Bowl offensive linemen for his sophomore season. He was the second-highest scoring running back a year ago, although 84 of his 262 points came in a two-week eruption. Tampa Bay brought in Ahmad Bradshaw to take a little workload off Martin, but it won’t be enough to prevent him from being a top-five choice.
1.04: C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills – Ryan McDowell of DynastyLeagueFootball.com
Thanks to a Fred Jackson injury, Spiller got to show what he could do as the bell cow in 2012, and, boy, did he impress. Showcasing big-time speed, agility and power, Spiller rushed for 1,244 yards in 2012. You have to think Buffalo is done with the 50-50 timeshare. It should be Spiller’s show from here on out, making him a sure-fire top-tier running back.
1.05: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – Keith Black of LateRoundQB.com
Keith said Charles at number five may be a little bit of a reach in the draft comments section, and I agree with him. With that said, if there’s a player you want, go and get him. Charles definitely wouldn’t be available for Keith’s second pick, so he reached a little to get his guy. Charles is capable of ripping off a big play at any time (six weeks of at least 16 points in 2012), but he also had a handful of no-shows (three weeks with five or less points). Shifty backs with good hands have always excelled under Andy Reid, and Charles certainly fits that mold. It also should help that Kansas City’s quarterback play will be improved (Alex Smith).
1.06: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks – JJ Zachariason of LateRoundQB.com, ProFootballFocus.com
There’s a lot to be said for knowing what you’re going to get. When you draft Marshawn Lynch, you know he’s going to get plenty of carries, and you know he’s going to produce. After rushing for a career-best 1,204 yards in 2011, Beast Mode upped it to another level last season, racking up 1,590 yards. What he lacks in breakaway speed and big-play ability (shhh, don’t tell the Saints), he more than makes up for with consistency and dependability (nine points in 14 of 16 games). Solid player, solid pick.
With Ray Rice still on the board, Ladd opted for the upside and Chip Kellyness of McCoy. With his season cut short by a concussion, McCoy finished with 840 rushing yards and 373 receiving yards in 12 games. Heading in to 2012, he had posted back-to-back years of at least 1,600 total yards. With an offensive guru like Kelly – who loves to run the ball – at the controls, the McCoy figures to be a dual-threat stud in 2013. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the workload is split between he and Bryce Brown, who performed well in McCoy’s absence a year ago.
1.08: Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens – Nick Raducanu of FantasyTrade411.com, FantasyPros911.com
Nick commented that he “sort of hate(d)” his selection of Rice at number eight. The fact that Rice could slide to eighth and someone not be thrilled to have him tells you how Rice’s stock has slipped. Still, getting a guy who has rushed for at least 1,100 yards and hauled in 470 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons is nothing to be disappointed about. Yes, Rice’s receiving yards in 2011 were down to his lowest mark (478) since his rookie year. Yes, he had just five 100-yard rushing games in his 20 outings (counting the playoffs). And, yes, Bernard Pierce appears to be worthy of more touches. But Rice – much like Lynch – is reliable (played in 16 games four straight seasons) and consistently productive, two things that are hard to find.
1.09: Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins – Phil Culbertson of LateRoundQB.com
I was curious to see where Morris ended up. He exploded on to the scene last season, totaling 1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on his way to being the fifth-ranked running back. With RGIII possibly out for a portion of the season, Morris could shoulder even more of the Redskins’ offense, or maybe he won’t be as effective without his electric zone-read mate. We shall see. Morris was a model of steadiness a year ago, scoring over eight fantasy points in all but one week while never scoring more than 13 points in a given week. The lack of big plays may be a small concern, but his unquestioned alpha male status in Washington’s backfield and his week-to-week consistency make him a really nice pickup as the ninth back off the board.
1.10: Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns – Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com
Richardson is ranked near the top five running backs in a lot of preseason rankings, but he fell to a more-than-welcoming Jake here at number ten. I don’t like Richardson as much as some, with his lack of big-play ability (3.6 yards per carry) and sorry surrounding cast as my main reasons. With that said, as a rookie, he managed to rush for 950 yards with said sorry surrounding cast. He should make the leap over the century mark in his second-year, and he’s the unquestioned top back in Cleveland. I just don’t as much of the upside as I do in other backs.
2.01: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos – Chad Scott of LateRoundQB.com, DynastyLeagueFootball.com
After a run of 10 straight running backs, Denny jumped ship and got one other guy to follow him (twice).
You can’t quibble with Megatron in the first round. There are plenty of starting running backs who wish they got as many touches as Johnson. Every time I look up the stats, it boggles my mind: Johnson led all receiver in fantasy points, and he scored just five touchdowns. FIVE! He did that thanks to a 1,964-yard season. He’s the top wideout – no question – and worthy of a first-round pick.
Chad followed by taking Green and Thomas with his wrap-around selections, giving him two elite wide receivers to build around, something which no one else in the league has. Green is a fairly consensus number two wideout behind Calvin, but number three is where it gets blurry. Thomas, who emerged as an elite wide out in his first year with Peyton Manning, is a fine choice, given his big-play ability and who’s throwing him the pigskin. I think an argument could be made for Brandon Marshall at this spot, but new teammate Wes Welker (assumptions) figures to entice Jay Cutler to throw the ball to someone else for a change.
2.02: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears – Denny Carter of TheFakeFootball.com, SportsJerks.net
Forte has rushed for between 929 and 1,238 yards in each of his five seasons. Couple that with him being one of the best pass-catching backs – maybe the best – and you’ve got yourself a fantasy stud. The only real knock on Forte is his lack of touchdowns. Sure, some of that is probably due to the random nature of touchdowns, but the Bears employ Michael Bush for short-yardage situations and Forte has only reached the end zone ten times in the past two seasons. That lack of scoring is the only thing keeping him from being a first-rounder.
2.03: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com
Along with Morris, I was interested to see where Jones-Drew would land. A mainstay as an elite running back, Jones-Drew suffered through the worst season of his pro career last year, playing in just six games due to a foot injury. Before the injury, Pocket Hercules was getting 4.8 yards per carry, his best clip since he took over the starting gig in Jacksonville. MJD had rushed for at least 1,300 yards in the previous three seasons before 2012. If he returns to those levels in 2013, Jake got himself a steal. Jones-Drew and Richardson make a pretty nice tandem, too.
2.04: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England – Phil Culbertson of LateRoundQB.com
Gronkowski, the top tight end, comes off the board early in round two, probably right about where he should be scooped up. There’s no denying how productive he is. Before breaking his forearm, Gronk had at least 130 yards and two scores in two of the last three games. That’s other-worldly for a receiver, nonetheless a tight end, making him so dang valuable. Despite playing in just 11 games, he still nearly led the position in fantasy points, with fellow tight end conqueror Jimmy Graham besting him by nine. When you take a tight end this early, you’re passing on some very enticing running backs and wideouts, but Gronkowski is certainly worth it. Phil will need to pick up a solid number two running back (has Morris already) or a stout receiver with his next pick, and running back is getting thin fast.
2.05: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans – Nick Raducanu of FantasyTrade411.com, FantasyPros911.com
Going by the draft comments (“Ugh” here), I’m not sure Nick liked either of his picks (Rice in Round 1). Still, he’s got two running backs who he can pencil in for at least 1,000 yards. That’s a pretty good start to building a solid fantasy team. Johnson was ridiculed after a horrible start to his 2012 campaign, but he quietly turned in his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Johnson showed flashes of his game-breaking big-play ability that he became famous for in 2009, when he rushed for 2,006 yards. I think Johnson will have one more monster season before it’s all said and done. Even if he doesn’t have it this year, he’s still going to produce good numbers for a high end No. 2 running back.
2.06: Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders – Ladd Davies Ladd Davies of LateRoundQB.com, MrFantasyFreak.com, RotoHobo.com
Darren McFadden is like that one girl you went on a date with and things went really well. Like freaking perfect. She was good looking, funny, smart and even offered to pay for dinner. Obviously, you ask her out again, but for some reason, the second date doesn’t go nearly as well. Things just don’t click, and she’s not quite the all-world chick you thought she was. It was just an off night, the third date will reignite things, right? Wrong. Fourth date? Nope. Now you’re asking her out just because you know that the girl from the first date is in there somewhere and you’re determined as hell to bring it out of her. That’s how I feel about McFadden, who, at times, looks like the most talented running back in the league. One of these years, he’s going to stay healthy, maintain those flashes of brilliance for 16 games and light up the NFL. And when it happens, you want him on your team. Maybe this is that year. Probably not. Still, there isn’t anyone else with his upside, which is through the roof, available in the middle of the second round.
2.07: Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots – JJ Zachariason of LateRoundQB.com, ProFootballFocus.com
Frankly, I’m a little surprised Ridley was still on the board here. In his second year, Ridley took the reins as the lead back for the league’s top offense and put together a 1,263-yard season, scoring 12 times and finishing the season as a top-10 running back. Ridley did have a little case of the fumbles late in the season, and Shane Vereen will probably eat in to some of that workload. But a guy going into his third year coming off a season where he rushed for at least 70 yards in 13 of his team’s 18 games is a mighty fine pickup with the 19th overall pick. Ridley and Lynch are going to be as good of a one-two punch as you’ll find in fantasy in 2013.
2.08: Percy Harvin, WR, New England Patriots – Keith Black of LateRoundQB.com
With Wes Welker out of town, Harvin steps in and fills the slot role for the Patriots. He may not be the precise route runner Welker is, but he’s far more explosive. Harvin’s bugaboo (other than his quarterback the past two seasons) has always been the injury bug. He’s never started more than 14 games in a season, including last year, when he played in nine games. However, if he can stay on the field for a full season with Tom Brady as his quarterback, look out.
2.09: Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears – Ryan McDowell of DynastyLeagueFootball.com
Getting Marshall as the number five wide receiver is a bargain, as far as I’m concerned. No one in the NFL, not even Megatron, is force fed the ball quite like Marshall is. It’s clear he and gun slinger Jay Cutler have quite a rapport, and that the Bears lacked a real number two wideout a year ago. With the addition of Welker, that definitely changes, and maybe that’s why Marshall slid a little. Either way, Ryan lands last season’s second best wide receiver with the 21st overall selection, pairing him with 2012’s second best running back (Martin). Heck of a start to the draft for Ryan.
2.10: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons – The FF Ghost of DynastyLeagueFootball.com
In 2012, Matt Ryan proved he can spread the wealth enough to make Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez fantasy studs. The athletic freak from Alabama has wasted no time becoming one of the game’s top wide receivers, going for 1,198 yards and 10 scores in his second season. Jones has everything you could want in a fantasy wideout – great hands, big-play speed, a good quarterback and a nice complementary wideout to keep the secondary occupied. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Jones finish 2013 as a top-five receiver.
2:11: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys – David Gonos of DavidGonos.com, SportsIllustrated.com
Murray has yet to play more than 13 games in a season, but he’s given everyone glimpses of what he can be. After averaging 5.5 yards per carry in 2011, Murray dipped to a 4.1 clip a year ago, missing six games with a foot injury. He has the ability to be an elite fantasy running back, and he’s the clear lead back in a potent offense. If he puts it all together in 2013, expect to have to use a first round pick to get his services in 2014. Pairing Murray with Foster gives David a nice looking starting backfield.
2:12: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys – Austan Kas of LateRoundQB.com
Always a volatile player (on and off the field), Bryant fulfilled his enormous potential in 2012, specifically in the second half of the season. Over his last eight games, Bryant amassed 879 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a nice year for a lot of guys. I’m pretty pleased to get someone with that ability with my final pick of the second round. Bryant was number four on my receiver rankings so getting him with six other wideouts off the board feels like a bargain.