Athlon Sports 2012 Fantasy Football May Mock Draft

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Athlon editors make their picks in our first fantasy football mock draft

<p> Athlon Sports 2012 Fantasy Football May Mock Draft</p>

Yes, the start of the NFL season is still about three months away, so what? It's never too early to do a fantasy football mock draft even if training camps don't open for another month and a half.

That said, my colleagues at Athlon Sports and our friend and fantasy contributor Matt Schauf of DraftSharks.com, got together in May for our first fantasy football mock draft. Plenty has happened off the field since this exercise was conducted, so please keep that in mind when perusing and grading our choices.

Below is a complete breakdown of the 10-team, 16-round mock we conducted, along with some thoughts of my own interspersed.

For those who are interested in a different style of mock draft, you can pick up a copy of this year's Fantasy Football Magazine, for which we did a 12-team, 20-round mock draft, which includes IDPs. Besides the mock draft, this year's fantasy magazine features 500 players ranked, a 280-player Big Board, 3,200 projected stats, position-by-position breakdowns, team-by-team analysis from NFL beat writers, and additional features and content.

10-team, 16-round serpentine-style mock draft based on Athlon Sports standard scoring:

OFFENSE
10 yards rushing = 1 pt
10 yards receiving = 1 pt
25 yards passing = 1 pt
6 pts for all TDs
0.5 pts per reception

KICKING
FGs 39 yds and under = 3 pts
FGs 40-49 yds = 4 pts
FGs 50-59 yds = 5 pts
60+ yds = 6 pts
PATs = 1 pt

DEFENSE
0 pts allowed = 12 pts
1-6 PA = 10 pts
7-13 PA = 8 pts
14-20 PA = 6 pts
21-27 PA = 2 pts
28+ PA = 0 pts
Safeties = 2 pts
Fumbles recovered = 2 pts
Interceptions = 2 pts
Sacks = 1 pt
DEF/ST TDs = 6 pts

Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR), 1 K, 1 DEF/ST, 6 bench spots

Click here to see each team's complete roster

Round 1
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 1 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 2 Arian Foster, RB, HOU Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 3 Chris Johnson, RB, TEN Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 4 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 5 Ray Rice, RB, BAL Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 6 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 7 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 8 Tom Brady, QB, NE Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 9 Drew Brees, QB, NO Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 10 Ryan Mathews, RB, SD Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 1 Analysis: Surprise! The reigning NFL MVP and top scorer in fantasy football (per Athlon's scoring) goes No. 1 overall. The days of the running back-centric fantasy teams seem to be over, as evidenced by the fact that three quarterbacks and one wide receiver go in the first round. Chris Johnson (no. 3) going before LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice may also seem like a bit of a surprise, but remember this is a guy who rushed for more than 2,000 yards just three seasons ago.

Round 2
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 11 Darren McFadden, RB, OAK Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 12 Matt Forte, RB, CHI Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 13 Frank Gore, RB, SF Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 14 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 15 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 16 Andre Johnson, WR, HOU Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 17 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 18 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 19 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 20 Michael Turner, RB, ATL Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Round 2 Analysis: Rob and Nathan are the only two to go running back-running back with their first two selections as another quarterback, two more wide receivers and the first tight end go off of the board in the second round. The four owners who didn't take a running back with their first pick do so this time around. Adrian Peterson will be an interesting name to watch as the summer plays out and the season gets closer. The Vikings' star is said to be progressing nicely in his rehab from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 16 last season. Whether or not he's ready to go come Week 1 and what to expect from AP from a fantasy standpoint are two entirely different questions, but one thing seems clear — if there's any year to get the All-Pro at reduced value, this is probably it.

Round 3
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 21 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 22 Wes Welker, WR, NE Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 23 Cam Newton, QB, CAR Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 24 Steven Jackson, RB, STL Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 25 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 26 Trent Richardson, RB, CLE Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 27 DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 28 A.J. Green, WR, CIN Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 29 Roddy White, WR, ATL Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 30 Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 3 Analysis: Four other teams take a second running back in this round, incuding Corby going with Cleveland rookie Trent Richardson to pair with Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. While Richardson will more than likely be the first rookie to be taken in most fantasy drafts, one caveat in regards to taking him to soon in a non-keeper league: in the last 10 seasons only 12 rookies have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in their first season and only three have scored more than 10 touchdowns on the ground. If you take Richardson in the early rounds, you better hope you get something similar to that of Adrian Peterson's 2007 rookie campaign (1,341 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs) rather than Darren McFadden's in 2008 (499, 4).

Round 4
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 31 Antonio Gates, TE, SD Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 32 Fred Jackson, RB, BUF Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 33 Mike Wallace, WR, PIT Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 34 Victor Cruz, WR, NYG Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 35 Greg Jennings, WR, GB Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 36 Marques Colston, WR, NO Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 37 Jordy Nelson, WR, GB Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 38 Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 39 Julio Jones, WR, ATL Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 40 Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Round 4 Analysis: Wide receivers were taken wth all but two picks in the fourth round, leaving three teams with just one running back by the end of this round. Green Bay teammates Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson go in a span of three picks, with Jennings going first even though Nelson out-scored him by nearly 70 fantasy points last season.

Round 5
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 41 Dez Bryant, WR, DAL Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 42 Roy Helu, RB, WAS Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 43 Steve Smith, WR, CAR Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 44 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 45 Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 46 Darren Sproles, RB, NO Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 47 Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 48 Willis McGahee, RB, DEN Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 49 Miles Austin, WR, DAL Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 50 Eli Manning, QB, NYG Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 5 Analysis: Dallas' duo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin go in Round 5 with Bryant taken with the first pick and Austin following eight picks later. At the end of Round 5 every team has at least two running backs on their roster, while Steven and Corby each have three.

Round 6
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 51 Percy Harvin, WR, MIN Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 52 Vincent Jackson, WR, TB Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 53 DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 54 Reggie Bush, RB, MIA Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 55 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 56 Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 57 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 58 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 59 Stevie Johnson, WR, BUF Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 60 Mark Ingram, RB, NO Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Round 6 Analysis: More wide receivers fly off the board as eight are taken in the sixth round. Corby took Kenny Britt at no. 55 overall before the Titans' wide receiver underwent a second procedure on his surgically repaired knee. It also will be interesting to see how Vincent Jackson does in Tampa Bay, especially now that he got the big contract he's longed (and sat out) for, and how Brandon Lloyd fares in a New England passing attack that doesn't lack for weapons.

Round 7
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 61 Doug Martin, RB, TB Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 62 Michael Vick, QB, PHI Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 63 Beanie Wells, RB, ARI Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 64 Tony Romo, QB, DAL Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 65 Phillip Rivers, QB, SD Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 66 Peyton Manning, QB, DEN Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 67 Eric Decker, WR, DEN Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 68 Matt Ryan, QB, ATL Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 69 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 70 Michael Crabtree, WR, SF Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 7 Analysis: Braden begins the seventh round by taking Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin over the likes of Arizona's Beanie Wells, Cincinnati's BenJarvus Green-Ellis and either Carolina's Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Martin is more versatile than Buccanneers' teammate LeGarrette Blount, but it remains to be seen how the first-year back will be utilized. Four quarterbacks go in this round, including Peyton Manning, who is the 10th QB off the board, to Corby. Somewhat surprising, Charlie decides to use his seventh-rounder on Matt Ryan, taking his second quarterback (Tom Brady was his first-round pick), before a tight end or third running back.

Round 8
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 71 Ben Tate, RB, HOU Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 72 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 73 Vernon Davis, TE, SF Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 74 Isaac Redman, RB, PIT Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 75 Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 76 Jahvid Best, RB, DET Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 77 C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 78 Jason Witten, TE, DAL Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 79 Robert Meachem, WR, SD Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 80 Torrey Smith, WR, BAL Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Round 8 Analysis: The first tight ends come off the board for the first time since Round 4. Also Ben Tate, Arian Foster's backup in Houston, is taken before presumed starters Jahvid Best (Detroit) and Isaac Redman (Pittsburgh) or either of the Carolina Panthers' duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Tate was solid as a fill-in starter for Foster and second option for the Texans last season, but his primary value appears to be as Foster's handcuff.

Round 9
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 81 Jermichael Finley, TE, GB Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 82 James Starks, RB, GB Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 83 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 84 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 85 DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 86 Stevan Ridley, RB, NE Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 87 Matt Schaub, QB, HOU Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 88 David Wilson, RB, NYG Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 89 Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 90 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 9 Analysis: Several intriguing picks including Demaryius Thomas, who could emerge as Peyton Manning's favorite target, especially on the long ball, in Denver. There's also Stevan Ridley, who could become the closest thing New England has to a No. 1 running back, especially with BenJarvus Green-Ellis now in Cincinnati. Then there's Rashard Mendenhall, who is expected at the very least to miss a signifcant amount of this season after suffering a torn ACL in the last week of the 2011 regular season. Mendenhall could prove to be a sneaky pick, but I would hedge my bets and not even consider taking a flier on him until the end of your draft. If anything, he's probably a name you would want to keep an eye on as the season progresses and possibly add him via the waiver wire/free agent route should it appear he's close to returning to the field.

Round 10
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 91 Nate Washington, WR, TEN Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 92 Michael Bush, RB, CHI Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 93 Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 94 Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, OAK Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 95 Denarius Moore, WR, OAK Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 96 Sidney Rice, WR, SEA Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 97 Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 98 Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 99 Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 100 Donald Brown, RB, IND Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Round 10 Analysis: Nathan and I decied to protect our early-round running back investments in Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte by taking their backups in this round. Charlie decides to pull the trigger on Jacksonville rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon, but his status is something that definitely bears watching in light of his recent DUI arrest. Fellow rookie Robert Griffin III also goes in the tenth to Matt, who already has Michael Vick on his roster. Nothing wrong with taking a potential high-upside option to backup your starter who has a history of missing some games. I also liked Braden taking Indianapolis running back Donald Brown with the last pick of this round. Even though it's the Colts, he's still the presumed No. 1 at running back and it's always nice to get a starter, especially at running back, in the 10th round.

Round 11
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 101 San Francisco DEF/ST Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 102 Peyton Hillis, RB, KC Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 103 Jay Cutler, QB, CHI Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 104 Mario Manningham, WR, SF Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 105 Joe Flacco, QB, BAL Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 106 Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 107 Brent Celek, TE, PHI Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 108 LaMichael James, RB, SF Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 109 Josh Freeman, QB, TB Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 110 Andy Dalton, QB, CIN Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Round 11 Analysis: Braden followed up his Brown selection by taking San Francisco as the first DEF/ST off the board. No one decided to follow in his footsteps as the next DEF/STs didn't go until a round later. Matt decided to take a flier on former Brown and one-time 1,000-yard rusher Peyton Hillis, whose role in Kansas City will depend largely on how Jamaal Charles' performs in his return from a torn ACL in Week 1 of last season. Mario Manningham and Pierre Garcon will both be catching passes from different quarterbacks this season, and for what it's worth, I like Garcon's situation in Washington better than Manningham's in San Francisco. LaMichael James was also an interesting choice as the rookie has not only starter Frank Gore ahead of him, but also Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs. James' role this season may be primarily as a kick returner and not as a running back.

Round 12
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 111 Baltimore DEF/ST Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 112 Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 113 Chicago DEF/ST Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 114 Cincinnati DEF/ST Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 115 LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 116 Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 117 Pittsburgh DEF/ST Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 118 New England DEF/ST Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 119 Shane Vereen, RB, NE Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 120 Michael Floyd, WR, ARI Braden Gall Athlon Sports

 

Round 13
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 121 Andrew Luck, QB, IND Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 122 Lance Moore, WR, NO Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 123 Felix Jones, RB, DAL Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 124 Malcom Floyd, WR, SD Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 125 New York Jets DEF/ST Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 126 Vincent Brown, WR, SD Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 127 Laurent Robinson, WR, JAC Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 128 Neil Rackers, K, WAS Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 129 Owen Daniels, TE, HOU Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 130 Kendall Wright, WR, TEN Rob Doster Athlon Sports

Rounds 12 and 13 Analysis: Six DEF/STs go in these two rounds as owners started rounding out their starting line ups. Corby decided to take a chance on the seemingly forgotten LeGarrette Blount, who if anything could have value as a goal-line back for Tampa Bay. Mitch covered Detroit's backfield by pairing 12th-rounder Mikel Leshoure with eighth-round selection Jahvid Best. Three more rookies also go with Braden doubling down on Michael Floyd and Andrew Luck, while Rob took his second Titans' wideout in Kendall Wright in the 13th. Given Britt's status, which is uncertain at best right now, investing picks in Nate Washington and Wright is not the worst strategy.

Round 14
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 131 Ryan Williams, RB, ARI Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 132 Houston DEF/ST Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 133 Earl Bennett, WR, CHI Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 134 Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 135 Joe Adams, WR, CAR Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 136 Santana Moss, WR, WAS Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 137 Isaiah Pead, RB, STL Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 138 New York Giants DEF/ST Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 139 Brian Quick, WR, STL Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 140 Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL Braden Gall Athlon Sports

 

Round 15
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 141 Mason Crosby, K, GB Braden Gall Athlon Sports
2 142 Philadelphia DEF/ST Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
3 143 Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
4 144 Danny Amendola, WR, STL Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
5 145 Mike Tolbert, RB, CAR Mitch Light Athlon Sports
6 146 David Akers, K, SF Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
7 147 Dan Bailey, K ,DAL Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
8 148 Randy Moss, WR, SF Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
9 149 Fred Davis, TE, WAS Mark Ross Athlon Sports
10 150 Tim Tebow, QB, NYJ Rob Doster Athlon Sports

 

Round 16
Pick Overall Player, Position, Team Drafter Affiliation
1 151 Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK Rob Doster Athlon Sports
2 152 Alex Henery, K, PHI Mark Ross Athlon Sports
3 153 Devin Hester, WR, CHI Charlie Miller Athlon Sports
4 154 Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN Patrick Snow Athlon Sports
5 155 Seattle DEF/ST Corby Yarbrough Athlon Sports
6 156 Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE Mitch Light Athlon Sports
7 157 Nate Kaeding, K, SD Steven Lassan Athlon Sports
8 158 Rob Bironas, K, TEN Nathan Rush Athlon Sports
9 159 Matt Bryant, K, ATL Matt Schauf DraftSharks.com
10 160 Randall Cobb, WR, GB Braden Gall Athlon Sports

Rounds 14-16 Analysis: Kickers, DEF/STs and upside picks dominated the final three rounds. I really liked Rob taking Ryan Williams with the first pick in the 14th round. The Arizona running back has yet to play in a NFL game, missing all of last season after tearing his patella tendon in a preseason game. If healthy, he should get plenty of opportunities in the Cardinals' backfield, especially considering Beanie Wells' own injury history. I also liked Patrick taking Miami's Daniel Thomas, Braden going with Atlanta's Jacquizz Rodgers and Mitch snagging Carolina's Mike Tolbert. Thomas should be the backup to Reggie Bush, who had his first 1,000-yard season in 2011 but under a different coaching staff than is there now, while Rodgers is expected to get more touches as the Falcons try to reduce Michael Turner's workload. Tolbert joins a crowded backfield in Carolina, but he also could emerge as the Panthers' primary goal-line back as the team would like to see quarterback Cam Newton run the ball in those situations less than he did last season. Randy Moss' attempt at a career revival in San Francisco will be interesting to watch, but his value seems somewhat limited due to fact that Alex Smith, as opposed to Tom Brady when Moss was with the Patriots, is his quarterback and the 49ers are a run-oriented team. Still, nothing wrong with taking a flier on him in second-to-last round, which is what Charlie did.

Click here to order your copy of the Athlon Sports 2012 Fantasy Football Magazine today.

— by Mark Ross, published on June 11, 2012

Additional Fantasy Football Content:

2012 Athlon Sports Fantasy Football Big Board
Positional Ranks: Quarterbacks
Positional Ranks: Running Backs
Positional Ranks: Wide Receivers
Positional Ranks: Tight Ends
Fantasy Football 2012 NFL Bye Week Cheat Sheet

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