In this series, we’ll look at a fantasy football mock draft conducted from each draft slot and break down the best choice and some alternatives at each selection. We’ll look at the individual player selection, but also how each player fits into the overall roster construction of the team, and then look at what selection Awesemo’s rankings would have made. The mock is for a three-receiver, two-back, half-PPR league. Here we look at winning your fantasy football draft with the third overall pick.
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Mock Draft from the Third Overall Pick
Mock Draft 1.03 Selection: Ezekiel Elliott
Awesemo’s rankings actually have Elliott as the second overall pick behind Christian McCaffrey. Saquon Barkley‘s 92-catch rookie season might make that sound absurd, but Elliott has more upside than more people think. Elliott has the advantage of playing on the better offense and he’s a talented receiver in his own right. He has 987 receiving yards and five scores on 131 receptions over the previous two seasons. Don’t sleep on Elliott as part of the top tier of backs.
The top of the draft is a great place to be selecting from because getting a stud back early allows you to go heavy on receiver or hit tight end early.
Mock Draft 2.10 Selection: Austin Ekeler
Alternative: Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay
Again, this team sides with Awesemo’s rankings. Ekeler doesn’t often fall this far in drafts, but when it happens you take the value. Ekeler played four games without Melvin Gordon last year, and those games were jaw-dropping. He averaged 14 carries and six receptions. He posted 490 yards from scrimmage and six scores over this span. Ekeler isn’t going to assume Gordon’s role entirely, but his job could expand to what we saw at the beginning of last season.
At this point in the draft, going hyper-fragile is on the board. Typically a Best Ball strategy, hyper-fragile has you take three running backs at the top of the draft and ignore it from then on. This helps you avoid the high-risk backs in rounds four through six and gives you the upside of multiple workhorse backs.
Mock Draft 3.03 Selection: Cooper Kupp
Alternative: Todd Gurley, Patrick Mahomes
Kupp had a rocky 2019 campaign that included a 220-yard game, 10 scores and that one game against Seattle when he was basically benched. He played 34.3% of the team’s snaps in Week 14 while Sean McVay trotted out a decrepit Brandin Cooks. With Cooks out of the picture for good, Kupp should come closer to the player he was in the first half of 2019: WR2 overall.
Gurley was the only running back considered here, but a hyper-fragile roster just wasn’t meant to be. He and Ekeler both share a Week 10 bye, and Kupp is ranked ahead of him. It would have been possible to take a running back later but would require spending at positions that aren’t wide receiver, while this roster is in desperate need of help there.
Mock Draft 4.10 Selection: James Conner
Alternative: David Johnson
Johnson has a slight edge in Awesemo’s rankings, but his performances in recent years are concerning. He was outside the top 50 in tackles evaded per touch last year (per PlayerProfiler). Johnson also hasn’t been an efficient rusher since 2016. Conner was top 15 in evaded tackles per touch last year. Both will get copious amounts of volume, but one isn’t washed.
The previous selection of Kupp is a bit of a reach based on ADP, but he was also unlikely to be available at the end of the fourth round. Based on hundreds of real drafts, Kupp makes it back to the tenth pick in the fourth round in less than half of drafts. If there were a load of other tantalizing options in the third, it may have been worth the gamble. However, the alternative options were slim so it made sense to get him early.
Mock Draft 5.03 Selection: Keenan Allen
Alternative: D.K. Metcalf
Allen was the best choice here based on the volume he’s projected to see. After struggling through a rash of injuries in his first three seasons, Allen hasn’t missed a game since 2017. Over that span, he’s averaged 148 targets per season. Tyrod Taylor‘s presence may convert some dropbacks to scrambles, but he’s also a timid passer by nature. Taylor favors dump-offs and short routes, which should funnel targets to Allen (and Ekeler). Taylor doesn’t need to be taken in the first 10 rounds, but you be sure he found his way onto this roster in the final rounds.
Running back had to be off the table. Fantasy drafts are always a race to fill out the final flex spot. Adding players at a redundant position would do little good. This team also has a near-hyper-fragile build, so it makes sense to accept the risk/reward of three early backs and move on to receiver.
More Fantasy Football Mock Drafts
- Drafting With the No. 1 Overall Pick
- Drafting With the No. 2 Overall Pick
- Drafting With the No. 3 Overall Pick
- Drafting With the No. 4 Overall Pick
Mock Draft 6.10 Selection: Michael Gallup
Alternative: Will Fuller
Gallup deserves more credit as potentially the top option in Dallas. After tearing his meniscus in Week 2 and missing two games, Gallup came back on fire. From Week 5 onward, he led Dallas in targets (98) and air yards (1,183). It’s possible that the Cowboys’ top receiver went in the sixth round of this draft.
While it’s not possible to stack Gallup and Elliott with their quarterback — Dak Prescott went in the fifth round of this draft — the idea of getting multiple pieces of a powerful offense still makes sense. Gallup was the best option at a position of need on an offense that was already crucial in this team’s success. Selecting him was easy.
Mock Draft 7.03 Selection: Will Fuller
Deshaun Watson has thrown 30 or more passes to 12 players. Fuller leads all 12 with his 10.9 adjusted yards per attempt when targeted. Fuller’s deep routes are some of the most valuable routes a receiver can run. They also generate fantasy points in droves. His health is a concern but injuries are often fluky. The discount here is too good to pass on.
Tight end will be a priority coming up with running back off the table, but Awesemo’s rankings hate the tight end in this range. That means quarterbacks were an option, but this was a round too early for Matt Ryan at least.
Mock Draft 8.10 Selection: John Brown
Alternative: Jamison Crowder, Emmanuel Sanders
All three options at receiver fell within a round of each other. Brown was the move simply because he’s probably the best receiver. Sanders in his prime was better, but he’s gone three years without a 1,000-yard season. The Broncos and 49ers have also actively or passively moved on from him. Crowder has never hit quadruple digits. Paired with Josh Allen who has a cannon for an arm, Brown’s speed is being maximized in Buffalo to the tune of 1,060 yards in 2019.
Awesemo’s rankings have Hayden Hurst as the TE6 and a reasonable value at this spot. However, the value would be even better in the ninth round. Loving a good gamble, we waited to take him for another round.
Mock Draft 9.03 Selection: Hayden Hurst
This team couldn’t avoid missing out on Hurst. He enters a team missing 258 targets from 2019, most in the league by nearly 70 targets. Hurst was effective in a limited role last year posting 8.7 yards per target, top-10 for a tight end. He was sixth in yards per route run at 2.44.
There was one run on passers that already happened. If another stretch of quarterbacks come off the board this team could be in a bit of a bind.
Mock Draft 10.10 Selection: Cam Newton
Alternative: Matthew Stafford
Awesemo’s rankings have a chasm between Newton and Stafford (in favor of Newton). The risk of Newton changing teams and coming off a mostly lost season closes that gap. However, Newton’s career mark of 38.4 rushing yards per game on 7.5 carries per game is hard to beat. The yards alone create nearly one more passing touchdown by four-point-per-touchdown standards.
With running back taken care of early, this is a team that can easily afford the roster space of drafting two tight ends and two quarterbacks. Taylor as a final passer is a lock, and a high-upside tight end like Blake Jarwin makes sense.
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