FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTING ADVICE

Mock my Mock: 3rd edition

Photo via:Browns/Facebook


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. If you missed my last couple articles, you can read them below. One draft I selected from No. 1 overall (edition 1) and the other from No.7 (edition 2). You can also check out my PPR fantasy ranks.

Mock My Mock edition 1

Mock my Mock edition 2

Fantasy Football ppr rankings

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.

For this week's exercise, I participated in a mock draft in which I drafted with the No. 12 overall pick. Keep in mind I get two picks every time the draft snakes back to me. One popular way to approach drafting from No. 12. is to draft two stud receivers right out of the gate. If I had done that, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Tyreek Hill would have been my picks. Instead, I opted for balance. I took J. Smith-Schuster and RB Nick Chubb. I really like this start. Le'Veon Bell was already gone, and I considered taking James Connor, but I like N. Chubb a lot this year, so he was my pick at RB. As far as WR, Tyreek Hill was tempting, but his off-field stuff makes me a little nervous. Odell Beckham was another player I considered, but since I had decided to draft Chubb, I didn't want to have too many Browns on my roster.

I had to wait awhile before I got to pick again and I selected one of my favorite draft targets, Chiefs RB Damien Williams. I was surprised he was still there at the back of the third round, so I was thrilled. If you've read my other draft content, you know how much I love RBs that play in Andy Reid's offenses. The guy knows how to get his backs involved in the passing game.

After the Williams pick, I wanted to add a receiver and Robert Woods was a no-brainer for me in the fourth round. I have to say, I really like this start to a team. I have 4 really good players and great balance with two RBs and two WRs. Also, notice that all four of my players are on terrific offenses. I always try to keep that in mind.

With my next pick, once again I had another long wait before I got to draft again, and I was looking for another guy I have been drafting a lot, 49ers RB Tevin Coleman. Kyle Shanahan gets the most from his RBs and Coleman has looked good so far in the preseason. Plus, Coleman is familiar with Shanahan's system since they were both together in Atlanta a few years ago.

Round 6 is where I decided to take my TE. In my last couple articles I drafted TE early with Travis Kelce in Round 2 and Zach Ertz in Round 3. This time, I wanted to wait a little longer and load up on RBs and WRs. I got TE O.J. Howard in Round 6 and I feel like that was great value. I think he'll have a big year, and TE turns into a wasteland after the Top 6 guys go off the board.

I don't think I could be any happier with the start to my team, and I have all my starters locked down except for QB. I have waited until the double digit rounds to take a QB in every mock draft I have written up, and this one is no different. My approach for the next four rounds is to add depth at RB and WR. Since I didn't love the RBs available to me in Rounds 7 and 8, I added WRs.

Panthers WR Curtis Samuel and Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders were my next two picks. Samuel is one of my favorite sleepers this year, and Sanders has looked explosive in the preseason despite coming off an Achilles injury. My next pick I used the same strategy, grabbing another sleeper WR I think can turn back the clock in WR DeSean Jackson. With my 10th round pick, I added some insurance when I drafted Chiefs RB Darwin Thompson. If Damien Williams falters, I think Thompson will be the guy for Andy Reid.

In Round 11 I finally added my QB when I selected Lamar Jackson. I love his rushing potential and I also added another QB later just in case Jackson struggles. Round 12 I took a shot on Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage. He could have a significant role in the offense, and that's good value in the 12th round.

Round 13 I grabbed Chargers RB Justin Jackson. I think he could take over the main RB job and get some goal line work if Melvin Gordon holds out all season. Finally, I drafted Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Round 14, giving me some depth behind Lamar Jackson. You won't typically see Winston go this late, but it happened in this mock.

Takeaways

I think this is the best team I have drafted. Picking from the No.12 spot allowed me to load up on RB and WR early, but also still come away with a TE that I'm excited about.

Here's a look at my starters.

QB (BAL) Lamar Jackson/ (TB) Jameis Winston

RB (CLE) Nick Chubb

RB (KC) Damien Williams

WR (PIT) JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR (LAR) Robert Woods

TE (TB) O.J. Howard

FLEX (SF) Tevin Coleman

Bench

WR (CAR) Curtis Samuel

WR (DEN) Emmanuel Sanders

WR (PHI) DeSean Jackson

RB (KC) Darwin Thompson

RB (MIA) Kalen Ballage

RB (LAC) Justin Jackson

Final thoughts

My QBs are a little shaky, 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. Winston should get a ridiculous amount of pass attempts, so he could easily be a Top 10 QB. This was one of those drafts where the player I wanted fell to me almost every time. There's not much I would change if I had to do it again. You might notice that I didn't draft Kareem Hunt to lockup the Browns backfield. I did that on purpose. With Hunt serving an 8-game suspension, I didn't want to waste a roster spot on him for half the fantasy season. Most fantasy owners will end up dropping him after two or three weeks, so I don't feel like he's a priority as the handcuff to Chubb. I hope these mock drafts help you with your drafts this season.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or listen to my radio show with Jerry Bo Sundays from 10-noon on ESPN 97.5 FM. We talk all things fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday. Also, we'll be drafting at Twin Peaks 290 this Friday night (8/23) from 7-9pm if you want to come out and grab a beer.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

@JerryBoKnowz

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Jose Altuve is on a roll. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

And then there were six. Games left in the Astros’ regular season. Three vs. Tampa Bay then three vs. Philadelphia, all at Minute Maid Park. The first three are important for the Rays as they jockey for Wild Card positioning with the Blue Jays and Mariners. The second three games decide playoffs or no playoffs for the Phillies as they try to stave off the Brewers. The Astros have nothing to play for with regard to the standings but it’s still a fun finish to another fabulous season. 102-54! Matching or topping the franchise record of 107 regular season wins would be grand, but it’s not a goal they’re going to push the limits to achieve. There are a couple individual pursuits of note this final week. We’ll hit those then get to truly important stuff to be settled on before the Astros start their postseason October 11.

Crunching the numbers

Three weeks ago I wrote that Jose Altuve needed a tremendous finishing kick to get there, but that his first .300 batting average season since 2018 was within striking distance. He promptly went one for eight over his next two games, lengthening the odds against him. In 15 games since Altuve has sizzled, banging out 21 hits in 54 at bats for a .389 average. So with six games to go he’s at .297. If Altuve gets 20 more official at bats he needs eight hits.

Yordan Alvarez’s assorted maladies sure cause some indigestion. The knee history, the hands, and now an ankle roll. Yordan is still four RBI short of joining Kyle Tucker with 100+. They’d be the Astros first 100+ tandem since…just three years ago when Alex Bregman (112) and Yuli Gurriel (104) did it.

Setting the playoff rotation

The playoff schedule is stupid in spots, dictated by television. The Astros against To Be Determined in their best-of-five American League Division Series will have game one Tuesday October 11, then a day off before game two Thursday, then a day off before game three Saturday (same is true for Yankees vs. To Be Determined). That’s ridiculous, and gives longtime Astros fans Kevin Brown nightmares (see 1998 NLDS). Unless there’s a three game sweep, game four would be Sunday. Should the series go to a decisive fifth game, there is no off day between games four and five. This impacts starting pitcher planning. Obviously the Astros go Justin Verlander in game one and Framber Valdez in game two. Almost certainly Lance McCullers gets the ball in game three. Then (unless the series is a sweep) there is a decision to be made. First, with the two off days Verlander would be available on four days rest. Up 2-1 last year, after a rainout the Astros brought back McCullers on a shorter four days rest (game one was a night game, game four a day game) and Lance blew out his arm again. If up two games to one, pitching Verlander on “normal” four days rest to go for the kill would take him out of the American League Championship Series until game three, and that would be his only starting availability in the ALCS unless you’d foolishly bring him back on three days rest if there was a game seven. So, if up 2-1 the smarter play is to start Cristian Javier in game four which has Verlander ready to go in a do-or-die game five or if the Astros advance in four, game one of the American League Championship Series. If down 2-1 and you pitch Verlander, if there’s a game five it’s the guy you passed over in game four, or Framber on three days rest.

Yes, Javier in game four, over Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia because quite simply, Javier is better. Unless Verlander or Valdez gets knocked out early, committing Javier to a bullpen role where he’d throw two or three innings vs. the six or so you’d expect out of him as a starter doesn’t make sense, definitely not with the first round schedule. Presumably Urquidy or Garcia will be on the roster for long reliever duty (carrying both would be poor roster management). The Astros have the best bullpen in the Major Leagues. Getting cute and using Javier over Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, or Ryan Pressly would be silly. Over Hector Neris or Bryan Abreu? Maybe. When Javier is vulnerable it’s walks and home runs that typically get him, so bringing him in in a tight seventh or eighth inning spot would be a dubious choice given the high caliber alternatives.

As for the roster, teams can change it round by round. Carrying 13 pitchers in a best-of-five with two scheduled off days is impractical. The Astros should carry Yainer Diaz or Korey Lee as a third catcher and David Hensley as an extra utility option. 12 pitchers: Verlander, Valdez, McCullers, Javier, Urquidy OR Garcia, Pressly, Montero, Stanek, Neris, Abreu, Will Smith, Hunter Brown OR Phil Maton.

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