If you pick anywhere from seventh to the end of your draft, you should strongly consider drafting a WR first. That applies to nearly any league size whether it is 10, 12, 14, or even 20.
There are four WR’s that you want to aim to get in the first round and they are Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr.. I’d put Brown in a tier by himself because he has finished as the best WR for four straight Fantasy Football seasons.
Hopkins, Julio, and OBJ are all in that second tier. If you decide to draft any of those three you’ll end up with a top ten or better WR at the end of the season. A good thing about getting a top-four WR when drafting a WR first is that I can often follow that draft pick with selecting a top 12 RB.
After drafting my WR/RB that left me with two options. I can go with another top 20 RB or WR. This really depends on how the draft progresses.
If I’m unable to get Antonio Brown when drafting a WR first, then my next option would be DeAndre Hopkins. I like Hopkins more than Jones and Beckham because of his consistency and he has the best QB in that group. Hopkins is also only focused on football unlike Beckham and Jones, who are more focused on getting paid.
Julio Jones is very up and down with his production. There are weeks he’ll have over 200 yards and then there are weeks he doesn’t have over 40 yards. Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off of a broken ankle and his on-the-field issues could be problematic. OBJ is a head case and that could cost him a game or two. Look back at some of his antics with the kicking net, Josh Norman, or his peeing dog touchdown celebration.
Mock Drafting a WR in the First Round
Mock Draft Set Up
Compared to my previous article about mock drafting a QB in the first round there are going to be some changes when drafting a WR first. Those changes will be scoring, positions, and the number of teams. Beforehand I was considering doing a public mock draft, but there are too many variables. One of the variables that could effect the mock draft is the ability to select my draft position. I like conducting my mock drafts on Fantasy Pros’ Draft Simulator because of the ability to randomize picks.
As I said before, I am altering the positions, scoring format, and the number of teams. I will be selecting a WR first in a 10-team PPR (point per reception) scoring format. QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR/TE, Flex, D/ST, and five bench spots will be the positions. To me having a TE is troublesome for a Fantasy Football league. After Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz there aren’t many productive week to week players at that position.
If you are able to get either one of those players it gives you a significant advantage. In my opinion, it is better to have a WR/TE option because Gronk, Ertz, and Kelce are still top players that can produce more than most top 25 receivers. That makes those three players viable options to draft.
After randomizing my pick, I ended up with the sixth overall pick. Now with everything in place, let’s take a closer look at my team.
My Team When Drafting A WR First
Round 1, Pick 6: Houston Texans, WR, DeAndre Hopkins
I am very thrilled about getting Hopkins with my first pick. He is the second best WR in the league behind Antonio Brown. In 2017 Hopkins either had 60 receiving yards and/or a touchdown in every game. He is more consistent and productive than Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr, too. That made it even easier to select him.
Round 2, Pick 15: Minnesota Vikings, RB, Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook was an easy selection with this pick because I didn’t want to go with the Zero-RB strategy. I could’ve drafted either Keenan Allen or Davante Adams, who both have top five WR potential. Taking Cook gives me a more balanced attack, which I prefer. The depth at RB is thin, so with Cook on my team I have a possible top 10 RB.
Round 3, Pick 26: Chicago Bears, RB, Jordan Howard
One of the main problems Howard faced last season was the lack of receiving weapons. That allowed opposing defenses to put eight defenders in the box, stop Chicago’s running game, and force them to pass. Going into the 2018 season, opponents can’t do that with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton there. I’m not nervous about Tarik Cohen taking away touches from Jordan Howard either. New Head Coach Matt Nagy has confidence in that he is a three down back and a report below from Chicagobears.com confirms that.
“There’s this notion that he is just a first- and second-down back, and I don’t believe that,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said Saturday at training camp. “Jordan can play all three downs. We’re going to do that. We’re going to use him and we’re going to use other guys on first and second down when we need to.
Round 4, Pick 35: Denver Broncos, WR, Demaryius Thomas
Now with my both RB positions filled and having my star WR, it is time to start filling out the rest of my roster. I was hesitant with this draft pick. I now have three of my four picks with Week 10 bye weeks. But Thomas is more relevant in PPR scoring formats than Amari Cooper and Allen Robinson, who both were on the board. I’m not nervous about DT’s production last season because I blame that on poor QB play. Case Keenum should prove as a major upgrade over Trevor Siemian and that can only benefit Thomas.
Round 5, Pick 46: Cleveland Browns, WR, Jarvis Landry
Even if teammate Josh Gordon returns I am still gonna draft Jarvis. Whether it’s Tyrod or Baker commanding the Browns offense, Gordon will be a great Fantasy Football WR. Since he entered the league back in 2014, he has 400 catches and that is an average of 100 catches per year.
Round 6, Pick 55: New Orleans Saints, RB, Mark Ingram
A four game suspension doesn’t scare me in the slightest. Ingram has RB1 potential even while splitting carries with Alvin Kamara. Look back at last year, he was the sixth best RB in Fantasy Football while Kamara was the third best RB in PPR.
The other players I could’ve taken were Dion Lewis, Rashaad Penny, and Royce Freeman. Those three backs, just like Ingram will also be splitting carries, too. Here are the RB’s and their teammates, Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry, Rashaad Penny/Chris Carson, and Royce Freeman/Devonta Booker. I’ll take Ingram over the other ones because he has proven to be a great RB even when splitting carries.
Round 7, Pick 66: Washington Redskins, WR, Jamison Crowder
I had three quality receivers on my team. It was time to start building my bench. Jamison Crowder, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, and Pierre Garcon were on the board. As you can tell I went with Crowder. One of the main reasons is because he’s projected to be the number one receiver on the Redskins’ depth chart. He has major upside and has the potential to finish as a top 20 WR at the end of the season.
Round 8, Pick 75: Oakland Raiders, RB, Marshawn Lynch
This is a make or break pick for me. There weren’t many sensational RB’s left, so I went with the best one available. I could’ve selected Patriots rookie, Sony Michel, but I’m skeptical with his recent knee procedure. I’m also curious how long it’ll take to move ahead of Rex Burkhead on the depth chart.
In his first preseason game, Lynch showed that he is still Beast Mode. He had a 60 yard run, but unfortunately it was called back. This caught my attention and that little show of explosiveness made me want him on my team. Am I nervous with Doug Martin? Yes! I still think Lynch can remain the starter and be a valuable asset.
Round 9, Pick 86: Detroit Lions, QB, Matthew Stafford
I try not to reach for a QB because in Fantasy Football. You should be able to build a solid team and get a top 10 QB in the later rounds. That is exactly what I did here. Stafford was the seventh best QB in 2017. He is projected to be a top 10 QB again in 2018. This is a very smart strategy. Solidify your starting receivers and backs, get key players on your bench, and then worry about a QB.
Round 10, Pick 95: Philadelphia Eagles D/ST
Again, I was unable to secure the L.A. Rams defense, but no big deal. I was still able to land a top five defense. I didn’t want to reach for the Jaguars or Rams defense because I knew Philadelphia would be there waiting for me. There was an opportunity for me to select Minnesota, but I think they are overrated. With all the hype surrounding Minnesota let it be known that they finished as the 12th best defense in 2017. Compare that to the Eagles, who finished as the third best defense in 2017.
Round 11, Pick 106: Tennessee Titans, TE (WR), Delanie Walker
Walker was the best available receiving option on the board and I’m quite ecstatic about having him on my roster. Last season, he caught 74 passes for 807 yards, but only had three touchdowns. The two key takeaways from last season, he was the seventh best TE (despite only three TDs) and he had his second highest target amount (111) of his career.
Round 12, Pick 115: Tennessee Titans, QB, Marcus Mariota
With new Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur, now calling the shots in Tennessee, Mariota is due for a bounce back season. LaFleur is a disciple of Rams HC, Sean McVay, and 49ers HC, Kyle Shanahan. Both of those head coaches are well-known for their fast paced and productive offenses. Hopefully, LaFleur can bring that type of offense to the Titans. A benefit of drafting Mariota is being able to stack him with Delanie Walker.
Round 13, Pick 126: New York Giants, WR, Sterling Shepard
Too many weapons in New York could be the downfall or the uprising for Shepard. Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and Sterling Shepard will be the focal points of the offense. Best case scenario, Sterling is the number two option. Worst case scenario, he is the fourth option. I think Shepard will have a good season with multiple high scoring games.
Round 14, Pick 135: Buffalo Bills, WR, Kelvin Benjamin
Last, but not least, we have Cam Newton’s ex-friend, Kelvin Benjamin. Plain and simple, he is the best and realistically the only receiving option in Buffalo. He looked liked a number one receiver in Buffalo’s first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. He had 59 yards and a touchdown on only four catches. Benjamin could be a steal–he’s the team’s main receiving threat and I got him with my last pick.
Final Score Reaction
Am I happy with my grade while drafting a WR first? No! Do I believe that this team could win me a championship? Yes! You better believe it and that’s all that matters. This team is made up of proven and upside players. Despite drafting a WR first I have no regrets with anyone I drafted. I remember what one of my favorite college professors told me, “C’s get degrees!” In Fantasy Football, sometimes “C’s get championships!”
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