From Todd Gurley to Jarvis Landry: 5-round fantasy football mock draft

Many fantasy leagues are holding their drafts this week — and already camp battles and injuries (Redskins running back Derrius Guice, for example) already have had a major effect on the board.

I’ve mocked how the first five rounds should go.


1.1. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams – More rushing and receiving yards and touchdowns than Le’Veon Bell without nearly the mileage and drama.

1.2. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers – For what seems like the umpteenth season, the dual threat has been holding out and will be playing for a contract with a new team. But what if Bell’s latest game of chicken finally catches up with him?

1.3. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals – He’s a legitimate 2,000 yards-from-scrimmage candidate coming off a wrist injury.

1.4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys – Still managed nine overall touchdowns during last season’s 10-game tug-of-war with the league. But he won’t have much of a support cast to draw defenders and likely won’t see as many targets as the three ahead of him.

1.5. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers – He’s at least one sportsbook’s favorite to lead in yards, and who am I to argue?

1.6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans – He has been elite despite a QB carousel, so a full season of Deshaun Watson could elevate him above Brown.

1.7. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants – The Giants desperately want to take the load off Eli Manning, so the speedy two-way threat won’t lack for workload.

1.8. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints – I was Kamara’s personal stalker since last preseason, and even I think he’s being ranked too high on draft boards. He’s a prolific scorer, yes, but Sean Payton’s going to keep him on a snap count.

1.9. Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs – Hunt had 53 catches (third on the team) and three touchdowns, so if Patrick Mahomes can’t master that phase of the game as well as Alex Smith did, Hunt’s value gets dinged.

1.10. Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers – He may not be as dynamic as the backs preceding him but the rushing-receiving threat in this year’s Chargers offense is a place you want to be.


2.1. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars – He should improve in his second year but he probably still won’t see as many passes as his peers.

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette carries during practice in Eagan, Minn.

2.2. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons – Steve Sarkisian plans to feature Freeman and Tevin Coleman more in the passing game.

2.3. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants – There will be no holdout drama, but his contract impasse and surgically repaired ankle bear monitoring.

2.4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings – Players have had a good track record of bouncing back from season-ending injuries (with the caveat that they’re still in their prime), but handcuff him to Latavius Murray. And how much more attractive does Cook look in new coordinator John DeFilippo’s offense?

2.5. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers — Despite the recent and very public dressing down Rodgers gave his receiving corps, he has the most stable situation among the elite quarterbacks, and it’s not even close. Jimmy Graham’s a big boost, to boot.

2.6. Davante Adams, WR, Packers – In his fifth season, he’s the unquestioned No. 1 in Aaron Rodgers’ passing attack.

2.7. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals – The offense had its issues last season, but you can bank on 1,000 yards and eight to 10 touchdowns when Green plays a full season. The Bengals are going back to the long ball under Bill Lazor so I think Green’s being a bit under-drafted.

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2.8. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons – Still, but I want to know why he’s had only one double-digit touchdown campaign in seven seasons and just three scores last year.

2.9. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots – He’s still king of the castle until further notice. He had a ridiculous 10.65 yards per target over the last three seasons – higher than even Julio Jones (9.84).

2.10. Jordan Howard, RB, Bears – Howard’s stock gets a slight bump because Matt Nagy sounds committed to incorporating him in the passing game despite Howard’s shortcomings as a pass catcher. Howard’s been working with coaches on becoming a more reliable target. Wait and see.


3.1. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints – He won’t put up flashy numbers but he’s steady, even if Drew Brees continues to fade.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.

3.2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers – Excuse me if I don’t buy into 25 to 30 touches per game like the Panthers are talking. The guy bulked up to 208, which is still about seven pounds lighter than Alvin Kamara, so there’s that.

3.3. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers – He had seven 100-yard games and scored in five, and now he doesn’t have to share Philip Rivers with injured tight end Hunter Henry.

3.4. Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs – I’ve expressed my reservations about Patrick Mahomes (later validated by his troubling number of interceptions in practice), but no one doubts his deep ball, which should suit Hill just fine.

3.5. Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans – Ordinarily, you’d worry about a quarterback’s mentality coming off knee surgery, but Watson never seems to lack for confidence. His numbers (19 TDs in an abbreviated season) speak for themselves, making him an exception to the rule about taking quarterbacks too early.

3.6. Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals — Mixon has slimmed down and the Bengals torched everything about last season’s milquetoast offensive line. The combination of those factors should pay off for fantasy owners.

3.7. Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings – Diggs looks primed for big leap forward in his fourth season. Kirk Cousins has already shown a penchant for finding Diggs on deep balls, but Diggs can work the middle as a slot, too — Cousins’ comfort zone (see: Jamison Crowder).

3.8. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills – Age (30), a criminal investigation and a lot of new moving pieces on offense (new personnel, new coordinator) make me more than a bit skittish about McCoy.

3.9. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts – Now that Andrew Luck is healthy-ish, everyone’s expecting him to resurrect his 2016 numbers. I can’t deny their rapport has looked good in camp so far, but Hilton’s always has been a little too dependent on the home run for my taste.

3.10. Alex Collins, RB, Ravens – He ranked sixth in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted yards above replacement ranking, ahead of Ezekiel Elliott and Mark Ingram, and third in the site’s running back value metric. The question is whether Collins can live up to the RB1 billing, with defenses looking to stop him first rather than Baltimore’s heretofore anemic pass attack.


4.1. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots – I’m not as high on Brady as others. The Pats have many running backs to feed and fewer reliable receivers than usual, thanks to a variety of circumstances (Brandin Cooks’ trade, Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension, for example). I’ll believe in Cordarrelle Patterson when I see it. Still, Brady always finds a way to finish top-five.

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady always finds a way to finish in the top-five.

4.2. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs – Even if Patrick Mahomes struggles while adjusting to being a starter, Kelce’s role as a safety valve and proficiency in the red zone gives him an acceptable floor.

4.3. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks – Guess who has the second most receiving touchdowns over the last three seasons? This guy. However, beware his sore knee, which could affect his Week 1 status and drop him in these rankings.

4.4. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers – Evans took a big step back in what, on paper, should have been a career year. Jameis Winston’s three-game suspension doesn’t help matters.

4.5. Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins – He’s received the stamp of approval of veteran teammate Frank Gore, whose arrival helps more than it detracts from Drake’s evolution. Drake, who averaged 4.8 yards per carry and lef in rushing the final five weeks of last season, has breakout written all over him. And mark this down: Owners who take Jerick McKinnon ahead of him will regret it.

4.6. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans – I, like you, probably thanked the fantasy gods for DeMarco Murray’s departure, but Dion Lewis could end being an even bigger headache for Henry’s fantasy owners.

4.7. Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers – You remember that line from the “The Social Network”? “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.” That’s how I feel about people calling McKinnon an RB1 now that he’s moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. However, I like him a lot for PPR leagues.

4.8. Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles – He’ll battle Jimmy Graham and Kyle Rudolph for third-best tight end bragging rights.

4.9. Lamar Miller, RB, Texans – His per-carry average has dropped each of the past four years and totaled just six touchdowns each of the past two seasons. D’Onta Foreman could eat into his carries if he’s healthy by Week 1. Miller’s best hope is that Watson will put him in position to score more frequently.

4.10. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders – After a lackluster 2017, reports that Cooper has bulked up is encouraging. The influx of new receivers (Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant) means Cooper will have a rapport with Derek Carr the others don’t have.


5.1. Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings – You want one of the primary targets in a high-scoring offense, and the Vikings have the makings of one. With Kirk Cousins, who loves throwing over the middle, it would be a surprise if Thielen doesn’t top 100 catches, 1,300 yards and at least six touchdowns.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.

5.2. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles – For all the hoopla over Deshaun Watson, it’s Wentz who had the best passing touchdown percentage (7.5). Next best were Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. He’d be ranked second or third if the timetable from his ACL recovery was a bit more solid.

5.3. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints – The four-game suspension hurts his value, but at least you don’t have to worry about Alvin Kamara being used as an every-down back. Last season, Ingram topped 20 fantasy points four times between weeks 10 and 16.

5.4. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers – No Martavis Bryant to worry about this year, not that he mattered much to Smith-Schuster’s production. Theoretically, preseason stats don’t mean much, either, but how can you not look at his one-catch-for-a-touchdown performances in each of the last two games and not come away with sky-high expectations?

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5.5. Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos – As we saw in the Bears-Broncos preseason game, Freeman was a load running up the middle near the goal line. He’s simply outplayed Devontae Booker, but don’t take your eyes off this camp battle just yet.

5.6. Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots – Why Hogan is going as late the sixth round in many drafts is beyond me, particularly for the Patriots’ most versatile offensive player behind James White. Hogan can run routes like both Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

5.7. Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams – Based on past production and the offense he’s headed to, it’s safe to say you should pencil in Cooks for at least 1,100 yards and eight scores.

5.8. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks – Several home games late in the schedule for last season’s top fantasy football quarterback — and he gets running back and offensive line help. However, losing Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson hurts.

5.9. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders – The 32-year-old has a lot of competition behind him competing for snaps.

5.10. Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns – It boggles my mind that some fantasy owners are drafting Josh Gordon ahead of Landry when it’s not certain Gordon will be back on the field after taking time off to deal with struggles with substance abuse. Landry has looked like a poor man’s Odell Beckham Jr. in camp and is probably playing with an upgrade at quarterback.

TEAM 1 Todd Gurley, RB, Rams; Jordan Howard, RB, Bears; Michael Thomas, WR, Saints; Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders; Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings

TEAM 2 Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers; Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots; Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers; Lamar Miller, RB, Texans; Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles

TEAM 3 David Johnson, RB, Cardinals; Julio Jones, WR, Falcons; Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers; Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles; Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

TEAM 4 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys; A.J. Green, WR, Bengals; Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs; Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers; JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers

TEAM 5 Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers; Davante Adams, WR, Packers; Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans; Derrick Henry, RB, Titans; Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos

TEAM 6 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers; Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals; Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins; Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots

TEAM 7 Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants; Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings; Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings; Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers; Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams

TEAM 8 Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints; Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants; LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills; Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks; Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

TEAM 9 Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs; Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons; T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts; Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs; Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders

TEAM 10 Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers; Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars; Alex Collins, RB, Ravens; Tom Brady, QB, Patriots; Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns

Twitter @_phil_thompson

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