Composite photo by Jack Brame
Football season is finally upon us, so we know what that means. It's time to do some mock drafts to prepare us for the drafts that really matter, and can put cash in our pockets. I wrote this column last year and it seemed to get a lot of good feedback, so why mess with a good thing?
Here's how this works. Each week I will draft a different fantasy team and I will change my draft position to highlight the types of teams one can build depending on where they are drafting. For this week's exercise, I participated in a mock draft in which I drafted with the No. 1 overall pick. Next week I'll draft in the middle of the round, and finally I will do a draft picking at No. 11 or No. 12.
I always advise people to participate in as many mocks as they can before drafting, but not everyone has the time. If that's the case for you, I'll do all the leg work participating in dozens of mock drafts, and you can sit back and learn the positives and negatives of each draft slot. These are PPR drafts, by the way. Let's get started.
With my first pick I selected Saints RB Alvin Kamara. I considered Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey here, and I would be happy with any of these 3 players. I took Kamara because he's had more than one good season unlike Barkley, and he plays on an elite offense. With Ezekiel Elliott's holdout, I'm staying away from him for the time being.
With my second pick I knew I was going to get two picks in a row, so I opted for the best WR on the board in Mike Evans and decided to take one of the elite TEs. I wanted to see how my team would look if I invested early in a TE. The 3 elite TEs (Kelce, Kittle, Ertz) will all be drafted before the 3rd round is over, and I had to take Zach Ertz with the 1st pick of the 3rd round because there's no way he would be there the next time I picked. If I had passed on TE, I would have drafted Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, Damien Williams, or T.Y. Hilton. If Williams wasn't dealing with a hamstring injury, he would be hard to pass up. His upside is massive in the Kansas City offense.
As far as the Evans selection, I wanted to take the best WR on the board and my other options were TY Hilton, Amari Cooper, and Keenan Allen. I was tempted to take Cooper or Allen, but Evans had over 1500 yards last year and if he hits double digit TDs, I will be extremely happy with the pick. He had 8 last year and with Bruce Arians coming in, I like my chances. Arians loves to push the ball down field, and DeSean Jackson is no longer the deep threat after signing with the Eagles in the offseason.
With my fourth selection I didn't like the running backs left on the board, so I grabbed by second WR by drafting Kenny Golladay. He's a big talented dude that should put up good numbers as the Lions #1 WR with Golden Tate out of the picture. The RBs I passed on here where Kenyan Drake, Phillip Lindsay, and Tevin Coleman. Drake will likely be in a timeshare on maybe the worst offense in the league, and Lindsay has a new coaching staff that might use Royce Freeman more this year. Coleman I like, but not until the 6th round.
With my 5th pick I went WR again and landed Cooper Kupp. He'll be my flex and I'm totally cool with that. Goff looks for him in the red zone, and this offense should be dynamic again. I think he'll be okay coming off the ACL injury.
I had a long wait before my 6th pick came around and here's where I selected my #2 RB. I got Lamar Miller, and this was before the Duke Johnson trade. Miller doesn't have much upside, but he's the starter on an offense that I think will be pretty good this year. My next pick may be a bit of a reach, but I love his upside in an offense that wants to run the ball. Rashaad Penny was my selection with the 1st pick of the 7th round. I knew he wouldn't be there when I picked in the 8th round, so it was now or never. The Seahawks spent a 1st round pick on him last year, and I think he could take over the starting job at some point this season.
In the 8th round Corey Davis felt like a good gamble, let's hope he breaks out in his 3rd NFL season like many WRs do. I continued to add depth in the 9th round with Chargers RB Austin Eckler, who could be a huge value with Melvin Gordon holding out.
You can clearly tell that I was waiting as long as possible to address QB, and when you take a TE as early as I did, it's a good approach. With my next 2 picks I added more depth with veteran WR DeSean Jackson, who I'm told is showing great chemistry with Carson Wentz, and RB LeSean McCoy. I don't really like McCoy, but I'll take him all day in round 11. In rounds 12 and 13 I grabbed two QBs in Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady. I love Jackson's upside, and I have Brady if he falters.
Overall, I really like my team. I don't know if I'll continue to address TE so early, but I wanted to see how thin I would be at other positions if I drafted that way. I think I would like my team better with Keenan Allen or Amari Cooper as my #2 WR, but that's the price you pay when you take a TE early. Here's a look at my starters.
QB Lamar Jackson
WR Mike Evans
WR Kenny Galladay
RB Alvin Kamara
RB Lamar Miller
TE Zach Ertz
FLEX Cooper Kupp
My QBs aren't super sexy, but Lamar Jackson has a great chance to surprise this year with Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator. Roman was the OC in San Francisco when Kaepernick was the QB, so this guy knows how to work with a running QB. I don't love Brady this year because he doesn't have a lot of talent to work with, but in round 13 he's worth a shot.
This is my first edition of Mock my mock for 2019, and I'll be drafting at pick #6 for next week's exercise. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5. We're on every Sunday from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.
While most of the Astros roster is returning for the 2024 season, there are still some areas of uncertainty for the club. Astros manager Joe Espada will have some tough decisions to make in his first season managing the team.
The Astros infield is set, so we know who will be playing on a nightly basis, assuming health. The outfield is where things get tricky. Espada told the Houston Chronicle last week that he hopes to play Alvarez more in left field this season, which would open up the DH spot for Chas McCormick and players he would like to rest while keeping their bat in the lineup (Yainer Diaz, Jose Altuve, etc).
Astros GM Dana Brown would like to see if Jake Meyers can hit well enough to play regularly in center field. This is a team that stresses defense, which Meyers provides. But if defense is the top priority, wouldn't that mean Chas McCormick should play left field with Yordan Alvarez hitting in the DH spot?
Certainly, there will be nights when that's the case. The reality of the situation is all these guys are going to play, but how much and where is yet to be seen.
Houston plays 20 games in 21 days to start the season, so it's not going to take long to see if Meyers is providing enough offense to play regularly. If we get into the month of May and Meyers is an offensive liability in the lineup, we won't be surprised if his playing time starts to decrease. But by how much?
Don't miss the video as we examine how Joe Espada will deploy his outfielders and get the most out of the DH this season!
Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.