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Fantasy football draft season is 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. 7 overall pick. Later this week I'll draft at the end of the round. If you missed my article last week when I drafted with the No. 1 overall pick, you can read it here.
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.
I did a few drafts selecting from the No. 7 overall position, but I chose to write this one up because it's a great example of how different each draft can be. I was expecting to take a RB here, but Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson were shockingly already taken. For the record, I'm out on David Johnson, but I have no problem taking Bell as early as pick No. 4. With Ezekiel Elliott still holding out, things are volatile in Round 1. If Elliott returns before the preseason is over, I have no problem with him going No.1.
Okay, now that we got all that out of the way let's get to my pick. I took Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins at No.7 and it was only between him and Davante Adams, for me. I love Adams, but with a new coaching staff in Green Bay, I felt more comfortable with Hopkins.
With my second pick things got interesting. I typically one RB and one WR with my first two picks, but Travis Kelce fell to me in Round 2. I was hoping Nick Chubb would make it back to me, but he was taken right before I picked. I considered Mike Evans and Dalvin Cook, but instead I went with Kelce. I worry about Cook's health and the addition of RB Alexander Mattison. With Gary Kubiak involved in the offense in Minnesota, I know all about his affinity for bigger backs like Arian Foster, and Mattison has some similar traits coming in at over 220 pounds. I think Cook will still be the starter, but he may share some carries.
To be honest, I was terrified at what my RB group would look like waiting until Round 3 to pick my first one, but Damien Williams fell right in my lap, so I was thrilled. Some may be concerned about having two players on the same team, but not when both players are on an offense like the Chiefs.
I truly believe Williams has Top 5 upside, and that's what you have to shoot for when taking a RB in the first three rounds. The other players I would have considered in Round 3 were T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper, both players have concerns. Like Cooper's foot injury and Hilton's dependence on the health of Andrew Luck.
With my pick in the fourth round I was happy to take the best WR or RB available, and I went with Seahawks grinder Chris Carson. Seattle is one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL, and Carson should get a ton of opportunities. Some of the other players I was considering were Cooper Kupp, Mark Ingram, and Tyler Lockett. Since I already had an elite WR, I decided to take another RB.
Moving on to the fifth round I was extremely happy to see Tevin Coleman available. He has Top 10 upside in Kyle Shanahan's offense and Jarvis Landry and Tyler Boyd weren't that appealing to me.
Next up, I decided to roll the dice on Josh Gordon in the sixth round. I was definitely targeting a WR here, and I knew I could grab another WR in Round 7 if Gordon flames out again. Just like my last mock draft, I'm waiting on QB until the double digit rounds, and I already have my TE. This allows me to keep piling up WRs and RBs.
In Round 7 my plan really came together. I was thrilled to draft Panthers WR Curtis Samuel, who has been the talk of camp in Carolina. I'm really feeling the Panthers offense this year.
Round 8 I decided to add more depth at WR with Lions pass-catcher, Marvin Jones. Round 9 I drafted some insurance for Damien Williams when I selected Chiefs RB Darwin Thompson. There are rumors that Carlos Hyde won't make the team, so I like Thompson to be the guy if Williams doesn't pan out. Running backs in Andy Reid's offenses have been pure gold regardless of where he was coaching. Brian Westbrook, Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt. Need I say more?
In Round 10 I grabbed yet another WR with Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Packers are high on him, and his speed excites me a lot more than Geronimo Allison's possession receiver skill set.
I finally grab my QB in Round 11. I don't love Jameis Winston, but as a fantasy QB, the guy puts up numbers and has great weapons to throw to. Plus, their defense is beyond terrible, so I expect him to be chasing points almost every week. I finished my draft grabbing some depth at RB with Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage and Bills RB Devin Singletary. I also added Jimmy Garoppolo in Round 14 just in case Winston doesn't work out.
I really like this team. This squad doesn't have the star power that many covet, but taking a TE early will give your roster a different look. Here's what my starters will look like.
QB Jameis Winston (Round 11)
RB Damien Williams (Round 3)
RB Chris Carson (Round 4)
WR DeAndre Hopkins (Round 1)
WR Josh Gordon (Round 6)
TE Travis Kelce (Round 2)
FLEX Tevin Coleman (Round 5) or I can go with Curtis Samuel (Round 7)
I have tons of depth and some excellent starters. I waited until Round 3 to take my first RB and I still think I'm pretty strong at the position.
A lot of my team's success may depend on Josh Gordon, but I added a lot of depth behind him just in case he goes 'Josh Gordon' on me.
Fantasy owners are still getting a feel for the first and second rounds. Guys like Le'Veon Bell, Travis Kelce, and even Todd Gurley are being drafted in Round 1 and Round 2 depending on who you're drafting against. Be prepared to see some curveballs in the first few rounds. For my final Mock my Mock, I will draft at the end of Round 1, and I will not take a TE early. We'll see what my roster looks like when I wait on TE until the bitter end. Or who knows, maybe I'll grab one in the middle rounds.
- In a week that is in large part about being thankful for the good things we are fortunate to have in life, Texans’ fans can have an extra helping of glee. After three years of enduring an absolute turkey of a franchise, it is certainly a football blessing to have the Texans gobble up three straight wins to get to 6-4 and make it a legitimately big game Sunday versus 7-3 Jacksonville at NRG Stadium.
Should the Texans beat the Jaguars for a second time, they sweep the season series and take over first place in the AFC South. Raise your hands if back in early September you had this as a likely scenario. Hands down liars! With six more games to play after Sunday it’s not as if the Texans clinch the division with a win, but it clearly positions them to take the division and go from last to first as the Jaguars did from 2021 to last season. Among the Texans’ final six games, only Cleveland is an opponent currently with a winning record. The Broncos have won four in a row to enter the wild card race at 5-5, but that game is in Houston. Then the Texans play at the offensively impotent Jets and the dead in the water Titans. The Deshaun Watson-less Browns are here Christmas Eve before the Texans get their second game with the Titans, ahead of the season finale at the presently 5-5 Colts. That is a very favorable schedule. With a win over the Jags Sunday, the Texans finishing 11-6 becomes very plausible. That would force the Jaguars to win five of their final six games, which include playing at Cleveland and a home date vs. the Ravens. Jacksonville’s other four games project as wins: home games vs. the no-Joe Burrow Bengals and the horrible Panthers, road games at Tampa Bay and Tennessee.
On the flip side, if the Jaguars come here and win Sunday, they come relatively close to putting away the division. The Jags’ would leave with a two game lead, and a split with the Texans would give the Jacksonville the tiebreaker via better divisional record, unless they somehow lose at Tennessee in their season finale.
Beating the Jags again doesn’t figure to be as easy as it turned out to be for the Texans in Florida back in September. The Texans won 37-17 despite being outgained 404 yards to 366. After getting out to a 17-0 lead, the Texans saw Jacksonville draw within 17-10 with 4:35 to go in the third quarter. Then Andrew Beck shockingly rumbled 85 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return. Thereafter the outcome was never in doubt. The Texans were turnover-free in the game, the Jaguars coughed it up twice. With C.J. Stroud coming off of a three interceptions game you know taking care of the ball is a point of re-emphasis this week.
The Jaguars are a perfect 4-0 on the road, one of the road games being a road trip not a true road game. They beat the Buffalo Bills in London.
If C.J Stroud opted to take the rest of the season off, he’d still have the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award just about sewn up. Fellow freshman Texan Tank Dell is in the hunt for runner-up. The dynamic 165 pound former Houston Cougar has six touchdown catches. That equals the rookie TD haul total of Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins combined. Johnson had four TD grabs as a rookie in 2003, Hopkins just two as a rook in 2013. Dell is on pace for 10 touchdown catches. The schedule being 17 games now impacts this stuff of course, but Dell missed the Saints game while in concussion protocol. In the Super Bowl era, only nine first year wide receivers have cracked double digits in TD receptions. Randy Moss blew away the field with his epic 17 TD catch rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. Next with 13 are Ja’Marr Chase two years go with the Bengals and the begoggled John Jefferson with the Chargers in 1978. Odell Beckham and Mike Evans caught 12 apiece as rookies, Mike Williams 11. Calvin Ridley, Daryl Turner, and Sammy White each snared 10. White did it in a 14 game schedule.
Rams rookie fifth round pick Puka Nacua is Dell’s chief competition for rookie wideout of the year. Nacua is on pace for a whopping 117 receptions for more than 1500 yards.
A Thanksgiving-related note/quasi prediction. If the Texans ultimately finish second in the division, here’s a guess that they play at the Arlington Cowboys Turkey Day 2024. The Texans next season will play a game at the NFC East team that finishes in its division this year in the same place the Texans do theirs. The Cowboys are going to be second behind Philadelphia in the NFC East. C.J. Stroud’s arrival means no more zero nationally televised games for the Texans. A Texans-Cowboys holiday tilt makes sense. The Texans have played two Thanksgiving Day games, both at Detroit.
Looking for more Texans coverage?
Texans on Tap is the weekly Texan-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule a first video segment goes up Monday on the SportsMapTexans YouTube channel.