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RotoBaller PPR Mock Draft Recap - Rounds 2-3


Hallelujah, we’ve officially entered fantasy football draft season! Even though it is a good idea to focus on the here and now when it comes to players and their average draft position, I personally love looking back at mock drafts that began prior to August. The preseason is rife with player progress, setbacks, and injuries that can completely alter the fantasy football landscape, making for some extremely interesting retrospective analysis.

In this article, I’ll be taking a look back at rounds two and three of the Rotoballer 12-team PPR mock draft that began in late July and ran through mid-August, all the while pointing out some of the key takeaways of note for fantasy owners.

For a look at the how round one shook out, check out the summary right here.

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Quick Summary of Rounds 2-3

Let’s start by looking at a summary of the picks made in rounds two and three. The following photo shows the round number (left), overall pick number (middle), and player name (right) of all the selections made in both of the rounds. The chart shows each owner and their selections in order of their draft position (Frankie picked first overall in the whole draft, so he is the first owner with his team listed).

 

  • Eight out of ten teams opted to round out their roster by getting at least one running back and one wide receiver, with the only exceptions being Adam electing to go double running back/quarterback and Sam going double wide receiver/tight end
  • Jason rocked the draft when he selected wide receiver Brandin Cooks at the round one/two turn, taking him ahead of T.Y. Hilton and Michael Thomas
  • Isaiah Crowell is really starting to carry a steep price on draft day, being selected in the mid-second round of this draft as the RB9

 

Top 3 Reaches*

*Average draft positions (ADPs) are from late July and combined from multiple sites

Brandin Cooks (WR, NE) – Drafted at 14th Overall with ADP of 25th Overall

Perhaps the most shocking pick of the two rounds, Brandin Cooks finds himself being drafted as one of the top wide-outs in fantasy football in our mock. Cooks is coming off of two back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the New Orleans Saints where he averaged 80-plus receptions and over 13 yards per game. There have been plenty of question marks surrounding whether the New England Patriot’s offense can support multiple fantasy relevant pass-catchers with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Rob Gronkowski all likely to get a number of targets themselves. Yet, it seems like Cooks has been absolutely lighting it up in training camp and showing the same explosiveness that allowed him to stretch the field with Drew Brees at quarterback. With another all-time great under center, Cooks has the potential to explode onto the fantasy scene and is, in my mind, a justifiable reach.

Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI) – Drafted at 24th Overall with ADP of 38th Overall

Nobody doubts Alshon Jeffery’s talent, just his ability to stay on the field. During his last season with the Chicago Bears, he managed to average a strong 15.8 yards per catch on a team with a mostly inept passing attack. At the same time, he was also hobbled by multiple injuries that ranged from hamstring to calf to knee, missing four games and failing to reach the 1,000-yard mark. Picking Jeffery in the second round requires making two assumptions: he will manage to stay on the field and return to form with a sophomore quarterback throwing him the ball. I would much rather wait until the late third and take my chances with another receiver on the board like DeAndre Hopkins or Demaryius Thomas.

Sammy Watkins (WR, BUF) – Drafted at 26th Overall with ADP of 35th Overall

Finally, a player whose draft narrative has completely changed since July! As many fantasy owners are well aware, Sammy Watkins was packaged off to the Los Angeles Rams in mid-August with a 2018 sixth-round pick in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick. Now the top wide receiver in L.A., Watkins has plenty of upside on a team with a common weekly game script of having to throw the football while down on the scoreboard. There are definitely injury concerns; Watkins has missed 11 games over the past two seasons due to foot problems and has struggled to return to full health. However, with quarterback Jared Goff feeling more comfortable in the Ram’s offense and key additions to the offensive line, Watkins might be in-line for his best fantasy season yet.

 

Top 3 Steals*

*Average draft positions (ADPs) are from late July and combined from multiple sports sites

Todd Gurley (RB, LAR) – Drafted at 27th Overall with ADP of 20th Overall

The 2016 season was a sophomore slump of horrific proportions for Todd Gurley, who was touted as one of the premier lead backs who can transcend an awful situation. Although he received more carries than in his rookie season, Gurley only rushed for 885 yards and six touchdowns while catching 43 passes for 327 yards, causing him to finish outside of the top ten for running backs. With the addition of offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and a new head coach in Sean McVay, he has a better chance of bouncing back to form as the rookie phenom we saw in 2015 than when he was being drafted in the first round. In the early to mid-third round, Gurley has a enough of a risk/reward balance to justify a selection.

Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE) – Drafted at 28th Overall with ADP of 22nd Overall

The most talented tight end in all of football, Rob Gronkowski missed a good chunk of the 2016 season when he was placed on injured reserve with a back injury in Week 11. He hasn’t played in a full 16 games since 2011, yet Gronkowski appears to be practicing without limits according to head coach Bill Belichick and is “feeling great” in training camp. Even if a fantasy owner only manages to get 12 games out of him, Gronkowski is by and large the top fantasy tight end that can literally win you your week. I'll take that upside in the third round.

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) – Drafted at 34th Overall with ADP of 27th Overall

Aaron Rodgers threw the most passing attempts in his entire career last season at 610, running the table in the back half of 2016 by throwing for over 4,000 yards and accumulating 40 touchdowns. Don’t expect the Green Bay Packers to give him the same volume again, but Rodgers will clearly continue to benefit from the multitude of weapons around him. His wide receiver core looks to be one of the deadliest he’s ever had in his career, with the offseason addition of Martellus Bennett only compounding the problem for opposing defensive coordinators. Ty Montgomery won’t command 20-plus carries a game, even making Rodgers’ situation better with a pass-catcher out of the backfield. You certainly can’t go wrong picking him in the late-third round, but waiting on a quarterback this year could also be just as viable a strategy.

 

Final Thoughts

This mock draft was particularly illuminating in terms of how people use different draft strategies simultaneously, combining elements of playing it safe and taking risks. When considering the most appropriate time to take a chance on a player you like with a later ADP, don’t base your entire judgement on how much of a reach it is. This is the reason why I don’t mind the selection of Brandin Cooks in the early second, as he is likely to be gone by the time Jason would pick again and he does possess risk that can be offset by other safer picks. I’ll leave my article with the following piece of advice: use ADP as a launch point for analysis, not the be-all end-all of your draft day choices.

 

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