FANTASY FOOTBALL: A mock-draft simulation, when holding the No. 11 slot in PPR leagues

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Seahawks tailback Chris Carson owns stellar two-year averages of 1,405 total yards and nine touchdowns ... despite missing three regular-season games during this span.

Here’s a dry run of draft expectations when holding the No. 11 slot in 12-team leagues (Points Per Reception scoring), working exclusively off an updated Average Draft Position chart from our friends at Fantasy Football Calculator.

NOTE: We made a conscious effort to land three running backs in the first four selections, essentially ignoring our ‘4-2-1’ system from previous years — a time-tested, PPR-enhanced process of grabbing four wideouts sometime in the first seven rounds.

Why the deviation?

There’s an overflow of quality receiving depth in the latter rounds; and as such, fantasy owners should feel emboldened to pursue high-end tailback options in the early rounds.

This is yet another perk of executing at least one mock per week, especially during this dark period of minimal live sports.

Preparation and experimentation breed draft-day confidence.

Round 1, Pick 11 overall: Motive — Best overall player

1st option: RB Aaron Jones, Packers
2nd option: WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
3rd option: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals

RATIONALE: Jones should greatly benefit from a schedule that includes the Panthers (NFL-worst 27 rushing TDs allowed last year), Jaguars (bottom-5 ranking with rushing yards/rushing TDs surrendered) and Lions (bottom-10 with rushing yards/rushing TDs allowed).

Two more bonus tracks:

**In his final six outings last season (including the playoffs), Jones posted supreme averages of 116 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns.

**Last season, Cowboys tailback Ezekiel Elliott nearly doubled Jones’ amount of red-zone carries (59-33 disparity); and yet, the latter finished with more rushing touchdowns inside the 20 (14-11 advantage).

Round 2, Pick 14 overall: Motive — Best overall player

1st option: WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
2nd option: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
3rd option: RB Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

RATIONALE: Talk about a certifiable steal, landing Godwin — BATSBY Sports’ No. 2-ranked PPR wideout — at pick 14.

Last year, Godwin finished second overall with the majority of PPR leagues (trailing only Michael Thomas), despite ranking 11th in receptions (86), 17th in targets (120), 3rd in receiving yards (1,333) and 3rd in receiving touchdowns (9).

As such, there are two ways to interpret our positional ranking for 2020:

GOOD: Godwin (three double-digit target outings, six 100-yard games last year) might already be a fantasy superstar … but also has plenty of tangible upside with catches, targets and touchdowns.

MEH: Fantasy owners should never assume 1,300-plus yards and nine touchdowns from any wideout, year to year, especially one who has yet to clear 90 receptions.

Put it all together, and it’ll be fascinating to see how new Bucs quarterback Tom Brady utilizes arguably the NFC’s best collection of playmakers from Day 1.

Round 3, Pick 35 overall: Motive — Best tailback or receiver

1st option: RB Chris Carson, Seahawks
2nd option: RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers
3rd option: WR A.J. Brown, Titans

Rationale: Carson owns stellar two-year averages of 1,405 total yards and nine touchdowns … despite missing three regular-season outings during this span.

Round 4, Pick 38 overall: Motive — Best overall player

1st option: RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers
2nd option: WR A.J. Brown, Titans
3rd option: RB Mark Ingram, Ravens

RATIONALE: It’ll be interesting to see how fantasy pundits gauge Mostert, moving forward.

On the down side, Mostert could remain embroiled in a time-share situation, divvying carries and touches among the likes of Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson Jr. or Jerick McKinnon, a lightning-fast asset who’s been plagued by major injuries for back-to-back seasons.

That said, it’s impossible to ignore Mostert’s absurd finishing kick to last season.

Citing his final nine games (including the playoffs), Mostert accounted for 13 total touchdowns … without registering more than 20 carries in a single outing.

And during that prolific span, Mostert produced sublime averages of 95.4 total yards and 1.4 TDs.

Round 5, Pick 59 overall: Motive — Best tight end or receiver

1st option: TE Darren Waller, Raiders
2nd option: WR DeVante Parker, Dolphins
3rd option: WR DJ Chark, Jaguars

RATIONALE: Waller represents tremendous value at 59 for four reasons:

a) Among tight ends last year, Waller enjoyed top-three finishes with catches (90), targets (117) and receiving yards (1,145). His catch-to-target rate of 77 percent was also among the elites at his position.

b) The odds of Waller repeating last year’s super-low tally of three touchdowns seem very unlikely. Especially since every score from 2019 occurred over consecutive games.

c) Waller was a bedrock of consistency last year, posting 12 outings of six-plus targets, 10 games of five-plus receptions and five 100-yard efforts.

d) A full month has passed since the NFL’s virtual draft … and we’re still shocked by the Raiders passing on Jerry Jeudy — a Julio Jones clone who somehow fell into the Broncos’ lap midway through Round 1 — for the explosive, but eminently raw Henry Ruggs III, Jeudy’s less heralded teammate at Alabama.

Round 6, Pick 62 overall: Motive — Best playmaker available

1st option: WR DeVante Parker, Dolphins
2nd option: RB D’Andre Swift, Lions
3rd option: WR DJ Chark, Jaguars

RATIONALE: Fantasy pundits might have Chark (73 catches, 1,008 yards, 8 TDsd in 15 games last year) ranked ahead of Parker, given the appearance of more stability with the quarterbacking situation (Gardner Minshew’s the clear-cut starter in Jacksonville).

However, we’d argue the Dolphins will do everything in their power to assign a redshirt year to rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, allowing him to fully mend from last year’s hip surgery and subsequently hit the ground running for 2021 — similar to how Patrick Mahomes transitioned to the starter role with the Chiefs in 2017-18.

And if that’s the case, we look forward to 12, 14 or even 16 games of Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging it around to Parker, who averaged 5.1 catches, 82 yards and 0.7 TDs in his final 13 outings last year.

For this prolific stretch, Parker collected double-digit targets seven different times. He also tallied six catches, 90 yards and/or one touchdown on 10 occasions.

Round 7, Pick 83 overall: Motive — Best wideout or tailback

1st option: WR Will Fuller, Texans
2nd option: RB Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
3rd option: RB Ronald Jones, Buccaneers

Round 8, Pick 86 overall: Motive — Best playmaker available

1st option: RB Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
2nd option: WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals
3rd option: RB Ronald Jones, Buccaneers

RATIONALE: I fully expect the Broncos to endorse a time-share situation at running back, essentially granting equal time and touches to Melvin Gordon and Lindsay.

For those with short memories, Lindsay ranked in the top 15 with both rushing yards (1,011) and rushing touchdowns (7) last season.

In other words, Round 8 seems like good value for a mid-20s talent (Lindsay turns 26 in July) who has collected 20-plus touches only four times in his NFL career.

Round 9, Pick 107 overall: Motive — Best wideout with upside

1st option: WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals
2nd option: WR Mike Williams, Chargers
3rd option: WR Sterling Shepard, Giants

Round 10, Pick 110 overall: Motive — Best QB1 available

1st option: QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
2nd option: QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans
3rd option: QB Jared Goff, Rams

RATIONALE: Stafford’s midseason injury served as a death knell for the eminently flawed Lions, who went winless without their franchise signal-caller last season.

There were also fantasy consequences to swallow, since Stafford was on pace for 4,998 yards passing and 38 touchdowns … before going down with a serious-but-not-surgery-worthy back ailment.

Can Stafford produce another year of monster numbers?

**Unlike previous years, the Lions are blessed with high-upside playmakers at the tailback, receiver and tight end slots.

**The schedule-makers have apparently been very kind, since Detroit draws the vulnerable pass defenses from the AFC South (Texans, Colts, Jaguars) and NFC South (Bucs, Falcons, Saints).

**Stafford posted the third-highest average of points among quarterbacks last year (25.9 per game).

The two passers ranked ahead? Lamar Jackson and Jameis Winston … currently Drew Brees’ backup in New Orleans.

Round 11, Pick 131 overall: Motive — Best wide receiver with upside

1st option: WR Mike Williams, Chargers
2nd option: WR Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
3rd option: WR Sterling Shepard, Giants

RATIONALE: Right now, BATSBY Sports has Alshon Jeffery ranked slightly above Shepard and Williams; but we’re not looking for a safe choice at the WR5 slot.

In a nutshell, we’re targeting youth, athleticism and depth-chart viability with the 131st selection.

Enter Williams, the mammoth-sized wideout who led the NFL in yards per catch last year (20.4), and managed to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards … without the benefit of 50 catches or three-plus touchdowns.

The only drawback: Williams must develop quick continuity with Tyrod Taylor (likely the Chargers’ first-half QB starter), before pivoting to rookie Justin Herbert, the franchise’s purported anchor for the next 10-12 years.

Round 12, Pick 134 overall: Motive — Best running back handcuff

1st option: RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
2nd option: RB A.J. Dillon, Packers

Round 13, Pick 155 overall: Motive — Best QB2 available

1st option: QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans
2nd option: QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
3rd option: QB Derek Carr, Raiders

Round 14, Pick 158 overall: Motive — Best backup tight end

1st option: TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions
2nd option: TE Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
3rd option: TE Eric Ebron, Steelers

Round 15, Pick 179 overall: Motive — Best kicker available

1st option: PK Zane Gonzalez, Cardinals
2nd option: PK Brandon McManus, Broncos
3rd option: PK Younghoe Koo, Falcons

Round 16, Pick 182 overall: Motive — Best defense/special teams

1st option: D/ST Buccaneers
2nd option: D/ST Saints
3rd option: D/ST Titans

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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