With one round already in the bag, lets continue our 2017 Fantasy MockDraft.
13) Jordy Nelson (GB) – There is a logical approach to drafting a wideout high in fantasy. Get one that is on a fantastic team. You’ll notice this with most WRs listed in the first few rounds. You need a WR that has a competent starting QB (sorry DeAndre Hopkins). No WR in the league has as great a QB as Jordy Nelson does and hence, he led all wideouts in the league in touchdowns this season. Seems like a pretty logical rule to follow if you ask me and Jordy nearly averaged a touchdown per game this year making him the last of the truly elite options at WR. His age and ACL tear a year ago are concerns, but Jordy was reliable in 2016 and will remain at the center of Green Bay’s passing attack in 2017.
14) Devonta Freeman (ATL) – You could make a case for the Falcons speedy back being a first round pick if not for the fact that the Falcons in reality have two excellent fantasy options in their backfield which scares me a bit. Freeman finished 2016 as the sixth highest scoring RB in the league; however, he could have been a top three option if not for Telvin Coleman’s contributions. With that being said, Freeman is worthy of a high second round pick. Lets just hope his touches don’t drop off in 2017 considering he’ll be entering the final year of his rookie contract. Lets also hope that a new offensive coordinator doesn’t get us “lost in the sauce” and provides us with the same Atlanta offense that won us fantasy leagues this season.
15) Melvin Gordon (SD) – Depleted with injuries in their backfield, the Chargers were forced to feature Gordon as the team’s feature back in 2016 and it was biggest positive the team experienced (besides from Bosa maybe?). Gordon, widely considered a fantasy bust last year, totally redeemed himself this season and was a low end RB1 that was extremely valuable in PPR leagues with over 400 receiving yards. The only question mark heading into 2017 is whether or not Danny Woodhead will eat into some of this production considering he was the preferred passing option before his injury. However, Gordon should be considered a trustworthy second round option next year.
16) TY Hilton (IND) – TY had a reemergence this season with over 1,400 yards receiving and top five fantasy results at wideout. Having a healthy Andrew Luck was critical to Hilton’s success this season and hopefully the Colts can continue this connection in 2017. Hilton would be higher up the list, but he doesn’t seem to be a red zone threat very often with most of his TDs coming off the long bomb. Regardless he’s a top three deep threat in the league and puts up some pretty monster performances at home. Lets just hope the Colts line can keep Luck upright and healthy in 2017 because Hilton’s success relies heavily on this.
17) Leonard Fournette (?) – It’s hard to determine a player’s fantasy value when they’re not on an NFL team yet, but there will be two rookie RBs taken early next year in fantasy that should have an immediate impact on their rosters. Last season had rookie Zeke Elliott joining the best offensive line in the league in Dallas which landed on my draft list at #6, so I doubt either rookie will be that high considering it was the perfect marriage of prospect and team. With that being said, the LSU back is considered the perfect NFL body and rushing style. If the Panthers take him then slide him up this board to 12th or even higher. If the Browns take him…then YIKES…maybe move him to the late 20’s to early 30’s.
18) Lamar Miller (HOU) – If you selected Lamar Miller in the top ten of this year’s fantasy draft…well I warned you not to do that. Miller was simply over-ranked this season, was signed to a new team, and played on a very unproductive offense. The good news is that Miller has no real competition in his backfield, so he should continue to produce right around that low end RB1 to high end RB2 results considering he sees so many touches. But the biggest issue is TDs which the Texans rarely score. Miller’s fantasy stock could end up banking on whom the Texans have under center next season. Lets hope for his fantasy value they switch QBs to somebody more competent.
19) Todd Gurley (LA) – Look at how far the mighty have fallen. How this happened is pretty basic. Gurley simply plays for a pathetic offense. The Rams were 32nd in the league in total yards and points scored, so it’s no mystery why Gurley has dropped over 10 picks in overall value heading into 2017. Until that offensive line is fixed, Gurley can’t produce. Add on a questionable QB and that doesn’t help considering defenses stack that box. However, Gurley was a top three RB in 2015 and with a new head coach that had some short-term success with RBs, so lets hope he’ll be a RB1 next year. He certainly has the talent to be one, but he’s hard to trust before the mid-second round or later.
20) Michael Thomas (NO) – Some may laugh at having a fairly unknown WR this high in the draft and in front of several superstars, but they shouldn’t be. You could easily make the argument that besides from Ezekiel Elliott, the most impressive rookie in 2016 was the Saints’ man. The former Buckeye became that safety valve the Saints have lacked since the departure of Jimmy Graham (and the downwards trend in Colston’s career). The logic to drafting Thomas high in 2017 is rather simple. He’s the top target on one of the top passing offenses in the league. I expect Thomas to become a model of consistency with at least 90 catches next season for 1,200 yards and 8 TDs. Certainly worthy of a locked in weekly start at WR.
21) Rob Gronkowski (NE) – Another player I didn’t like considering their fantasy predraft ranking was sadly the beloved Gronkey Punch. The TD monster is fun to own when healthy, but considering he’s missed sooo many games in his career thus far he’s become fairly unreliable with a bad back injury. Also TEs should be considered a lot like a nice appetizer. It’s nice to have, but early in drafts I prefer to focus on the meatiest of fantasy positions (RBs & WRs). Lets hope that Gronk bounces back next season to his TD scoring ways, but he shouldn’t be considered before the later end of the second round of the draft considering his recent games started vs games out ratio.
22) Amari Cooper (OAK) – Some will debate whether Cooper is even the best WR on his own team, but I honestly believe that the former Bama stud is a top threat in the league moving forward. The young Raiders were the most improved offense in 2016, so the logic is rather simple. Carr to Cooper should become a top 5 connection in the league, so landing the Raiders young star towards the backend of the second round is a very nice value pick. The only potential downside is that Crabtree does steal a decent number of red zone looks. However, Cooper is the real deal and the player to own moving forward.
23) Dez Bryant (DAL) – A few mocks I’ve seen have Dez in the top 10, so I’m sure having Dez as a very late second round fantasy option will piss off a lot of Cowboys fans. The reality is that Dez isn’t even the no-brainer preferred option on his own team. Sure the troubled WR stepped it up after returning from injury and he did have a big game in the postseason, but at the end of the day I’m drafting WRs high that already have that established connection and play for pass heavy offenses. I’m confident that his connection with Dak will only continue to improve next season and I think Dez would be a nice value here. However, chances are “that guy” in your league will take him roughly ten picks before here and lets face the facts. Dez is on a run-first offense. So let “that guy” have Dez.
24) CJ Anderson (DEN) – When you start to go down the list of potential high fantasy picks, you get into the murky area of the end of the second round. I say roll the dice on CJ next year. After signing a big extension, Anderson looked like a premiere back early in the 2016 campaign. However, a poor offensive line, mediocre QB play, and injuries proved costly for the former Super Bowl champ. Denver should only improve on offense this offseason making their feature back’s value increase as well. Anderson’s value could bank on whether or not the Broncos land a new starting QB in 2017, but either way he seems the clearcut best in Denver’s backfield considering Booker looked mediocre in his absence and shouldn’t challenge him for the job.