2018 Rookie Mock Draft
In this mock rookie draft, Matthew Bruening and myself took alternating turns going with a best available strategy. We hope to give those of you about to participate in a real rookie draft for your dynasty leagues some idea of where we both stand on player values. The settings for this mock league are as follows:
- 12 Teams
- 1.0 PPR
- 1QB, No Superflex
1.01 – Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)
Mesisca Comment: While taking a running back early in the NFL draft is probably a bad franchise move, from a fantasy perspective it was the best move that could have been made. You get a generational athlete, a 300 touch expectation as a rookie, and as good a realistic landing spot as one could have asked for.
1.02 – Derrius Guice (RB, WAS)
Bruening Comment: In a superflex I would take Baker Mayfield here. Guice will be the lead back in what should be a run heavy offense. He can catch the ball but those targets will be limited as long as Thompson is there, but there is a chance Thompson gone after this year.
1.03 – Rashaad Penny (RB, SEA)
Mesisca Comment: As the second running back drafted he has the draft pedigree, add in all the talk of three down back potential from Carroll and Schneider and you can count me a believer. If you were in a superflex with a need at QB I can also buy into Mayfield here.
1.04 – Royce Freeman (RB, DEN)
Bruening Comment: I could also take Ronald Jones here but like Freeman just a bit more. He can be a power runner, good hands has a quarterback who loves to check down.
1.05 – Ronald Jones (RB, TB)
Mesisca Comment: Landing spot and opportunity are so good that even if Michel and Chubb are the better talents, their situations leave a bit more to be desired.
1.06 – Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)
Bruening Comment: The Browns can easily get out of Hyde’s contract next year. No guarantee Duke stays either. Chubb is the better talent and be the starter no later than next year in what looks to be a high powered offense with a good offensive line.
1.07 – Sony Michel (RB, NE)
Mesisca Comment: In non-superflex, following this pick is where the first big value drop off occurs for me. This could be the area you might want to trade down to, trading down from 1.02 to get 1.06 or 1.07 + more goods is something I would look into. Michel lands in a nice offense and has the first round pedigree that isn’t something you usually see from the Patriots.
1.08 – D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)
Bruening Comment: In a superflex I would take any remaining quarterbacks here. If your drafting here it’s the hardest draft spot of rookie drafts. I could go any of three guys here. I have Moore just a bit higher, I feel he’s going to become the #1 in Carolina sooner rather than later. He has the speed to burn players deep, and as Cam showed with Ginn he likes to throw the deep ball.
1.09 – Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)
Mesisca Comment: Johnson is young and most importantly could be poised to take over the Detroit backfield. While the RB depth chart seems very crowed (with Riddick, Blount, Abdullah, Tion Green, and Dwayne Washington), it is important to note that Blount, Zenner, and Abdullah will all be unrestricted free agents in 2019.
1.10 – Anthony Miller (WR, CHI)
Bruening Comment: Miller landed in one of the best spots for a WR. He’ll be the starting slot WR in what looks to be a completely made over offense. He can run downfield and make big plays on short catches.
1.11 – Christian Kirk (WR, ARI)
Mesisca Comment: Considered Sutton but decided I like the chance Christian Kirk has for an immediate impact and I prefer his long term QB situation in Arizona with Josh Rosen.
1.12 – Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)
Bruening Comment: Will likely plug in as the WR1 in Dallas immediately. He’s still a little raw, but has great speed and hands.
2.01 – Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)
Mesisca Comment: Now, I will take Sutton as a long term investment. Ridley is a similar investment who may have a better rookie year, but I prefer Sutton’s long term upside. Demaryius Thomas AND Emmanuel Sanders are free agents after the 2019 season and have big cap hits (17.5 million and 12.9 million respectively in 2019)
2.02 – Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)
Bruening Comment: Hines is an explosive running back who excels at catching the ball. He will be the passing down back for IND. Regardless of if Luck is healthy or not he’ll be able to make plays once given the ball.
2.03 – Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)
Mesisca Comment: I will admit I am not as big on Ridley, who will be 24 in December, but his route running should allow him to contribute to a Falcons team right now, so his value may rise or hold but the ceiling does not seem super high (think Sterling Shepard)
2.04 – Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)
Bruening Comment: Has the size and ability to be the next Gronk. He’s currently blocked by Ertz. However, the Eagles play a lot of two TE sets and when given the chance could be a top TE in the league for years to come.
2.05 – James Washington (WR, PIT)
Mesisca Comment: Should win the WR3 job in Pittsburgh with Martavis Bryant out of the picture. He is a true deep threat, boom/bust type player with a capped ceiling behind Brown and JuJu.
2.06 – Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)
Bruening Comment: In a superflex Mayfield will likely be one of the first picks. However, in most drafts he should fall to the second. Don’t let him fall past here. Mayfield is special and has the chance to be the best QB in this draft. He’s nothing like Manziel and should be given the reigns no later than next year.
2.07 – Dante Pettis (WR, SF)
Mesisca Comment: Another opportunity play, he landed in a great situation and could grow with Garoppolo, slotting in behind (will be) 32 year old Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, who experienced a little bit of a breakout in his 5th NFL season. While Dez could still be signed, he doesn’t appear to be a scheme fit for Kyle Shannahan (who loves separation out of his WR). Trent Taylor is in the picture as well. His special teams ability will give him an opportunity to shine and could follow a similar path to playing time as Tyler Lockett.
2.08 – Jordan Wilkins (RB, IND)
Bruening Comment: I believe Wilkins has a legitimate shot to become the #1 RB in IND. Marlon Mack has consistently underperformed when starting. Wilkins was good in college and plays hard. If he wins the job he’ll lose out passes to Hines but could be their top rusher.
2.09 – Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)
Mesisca Comment: While I wouldn’t mind Tre’quan Smith here, there are enough concerns about Cameron Meredith and the long term QB situation in New Orleans to make me consider a different position. While this may be a little early, I think Gesicki might end up in a Evan Engram situation where he is able to capitalize on target share. With a WR core of Parker, Stills, and Amendola, the Dolphins have to fill 200+ targets from the departure of Landry and Julius Thomas.
2.10 – Antonio Callaway (WR, CLE)
Bruening Comment: Regarded as the best WR in the class fell to the Cleveland Browns. He joins what is already looking to be a high scoring offense. He could easily beat out Coleman and win the #2 job. Off the field character issues could cost him, but if he can stay on the field he has a shot to be a high end WR.
2.11 – Tre’Quan Smith (WR, NO)
Mesisca Comment: I have no issues taking a QB not named Josh Allen here, if that is a team need. If you don’t like the long term prospects of your QB situation (such as a trio of Brady, Flacco, Tyrod Taylor or Brees, Bortles, McCarron) this might be a decent time to snag Darnold, Rosen, or Lamar Jackson if you prefer his rushing upside. Instead I opted for Tre’Quan Smith because he does have the ability to win the outside WR job across from Michael Thomas in a Drew Brees offense, that upside is worth snagging here.
2.12 – Justin Jackson (RB, LAC)
Bruening Comment: Jackson much like Hines is a skilled receiver out of the backfield. He will likely beat out Ekeler and be the #2 for LAC. Jackson also proved he could rush the ball for Northwestern so he could spell Gordon at times. Most of his production will come from the receiving game.
So there you have it, our two round “best available” strategy mock. Below, we take a look at some honorable mentions of players we are targeting later in the draft. This is not a best available list so much as it is each of us highlighting some players that we hope to get at some point later on and why.
Mesisca’s Honorable Mentions
Josh Rosen (QB, ARI)
Rosen is my favorite quarterback in the rookie class and most of that comes from how he handled himself in interviews leading up to the draft. I am under the impression that he has a good head on his shoulders and Arizona was as good a landing spot as he could have hoped (because its not the Bills or the Jets). He would be the 2nd QB off the board for me.
Ito Smith (RB, ATL)
Tevin Coleman is an unrestricted free agent next year and I don’t see a scenario where he ends back up with the Falcons (barring a serious injury to Devonta Freeman). They seem to be preparing for this with the addition of Ito Smith. Smith had a wonderful college career even if it was in Conference USA: 4500 Rushing Yards (5.5 YPA), 49 TDs, 140 Receptions, 1400 Receiving Yards. That is nearly 6000 yards from scrimmage and he could be one of the excellent late steals. If you own Devonta Freeman you may even want to reach for Ito.
Keke Coutee (WR, HOU)
Keke Coutee should win the slot WR job in Houston and is one of the WR that I am targeting in the 3rd-4th round. The Houston offense looked like a powerhouse last year when Deshaun Watson was playing and I’m not convinced Will Fuller is going to so much of a target hog that Keke shape a nice role for himself. While Hopkins will definitely see the lions share of the targets, as defenses adjust the slot could see some additional volume and boost the stock of Coutee this season.
Bruening’s Honorable Mentions
Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)
The future of the New York Jets franchise. He has been considered by many to be the Qb in this draft with the highest ceiling. Will likely not see the playing field till next season but is worth a stash, as he has a good arm and is good at creating offense.
DJ Chark (WR, JAC)
Chark is a talented wr who is good at going and getting the ball. He struggled in college due to playing with a wildly inaccurate Qb. Unfortunately he got drafted by the Jaguars who also have a wildly inaccurate Qb. If the Jags move on from Bortles and get a decent Qb Chark could be a great upside wr.
Equanimeous St. Brown (WR, GB)
Brown is a physical specimen. He had a great sophomore year playing with De’Shone Kizer at Notre Dame, but a bad Qb last year led to poor production. He is now playing with the best Qb in the league. J’Mon Moore was drafted ahead of him but in my opinion is not as talented as Brown. He reportedly fell do to saying he might kneel during anthems.