The dream draft

August 11, 2018 - 12:55 pm

The NFL season is 26 days away, and in that span I'll have 11 fantasy-football drafts. There's one tonight -- 12 teams, pretty much your standard format -- then two tomorrow -- one a dynasty startup, the other a 16-team battle royal.

I've been prepping for weeks, with mock drafts and best-ball leagues, with website articles and podcasts. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Some of you I'll be competing with, simultaneous friends and foes. While it might not be in my best interest to share my hopes and dreams for these drafts, out of unrelenting professional obligation I will do that with you here anyway.

I'll use tonight's 12-team, 18-round PPR (point per reception) draft as a framework. I have the third pick, and it's a snake draft with a third-round reversal. Here's what I'd consider about the best-case scenario.

Round 1, overall pick 3: David Johnson. I'm not super-confident that Johnson is a better choice than Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Antonio Brown. But experts prefer Johnson for this spot more often than anyone else. This is assuming Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell go 1-2. Johnson has been a volume kingpin before, and even with a new coach and quarterback(s) in Arizona that's not expected to change.

Round 2, pick 22: Christian McCaffrey. I'd love to get running backs in the first two rounds. That's because there seems to be a fairly steep dropoff at the position after Round 2. 22 is fortunate for McCaffrey, who stands to be a PPR beast for Carolina.

Round 3, pick 34: Golden Tate. Maybe T.Y. Hilton falls this far, but I doubt it. Doug Baldwin might be nice but I'm likely not chasing a guy who's already dealing with an injury. Zach Ertz and maybe Travis Kelce could be available here but I'm inclined to wait on the tight end.

Round 4, pick 39: Joe Mixon. I think there's good value at wide receiver in the next few rounds, so I don't mind taking a third running back here. I think Cincinnati's offense has a decent chance of being good.

Round 5, pick 58: Marquise Goodwin. The former Bill is in great position to be the top target on a promising 49ers team.

Round 6, pick 63: Delanie Walker. I don't mind waiting on tight end but I do like Walker. Tight end is tough this year.

Round 7, pick 82: Jamison Crowder. As soon as Alex Smith was traded to Washington I thought of Crowder, who is a superb route-runner. I like the fit with Smith.

Round 8, pick 87: Jordy Nelson. Nelson is old but I see him as one of those players that a team trades for and then feeds, making sure it isn't questioned for making the trade in the first place. In other words, I bet Jon Gruden makes a big effort to have Nelson look like a great pickup for Oakland. That means red-zone targets.

Round 9, pick 106: Philip Rivers. There are about a half-dozen quarterbacks that I'm fine drafting in these middle rounds. Maybe I'll take myself into Rodgers, but my better judgment says to wait.

Round 10, pick 111: Duke Johnson. The one known thing about Cleveland's Johnson: He's good. The concerns are role and volume. The Browns have gotten thinner at receiver and Johnson seems well-suited to play the slot, in addition to be his usual excellent pass-catching running back.

Round 11, pick 130: Alex Smith. Guy gets no respect but last year even his fantasy numbers were excellent. That's on top of his team's record, which is almost always good.

Round 12, pick 135: Tyrell Williams. I'd rather have Tyrell over Mike when it comes to Chargers receivers. Keenan Allen can't get every throw.

Round 13, pick 154: Chris Carson. The Rashaad Penny pick would make you think Seattle will turn to him, but Carson isn't bad and so far this training camp he's been getting the much better reviews.

Round 14, pick 159: Christian Kirk. I like the idea of this rookie getting plenty of targets in Arizona.

Round 15, pick 178: Ben Watson. He's had success before in New Orleans. This would give me perhaps the oldest tight end tandem ever.

Round 16, pick 183: Taywan Taylor. I'm a little worried about Rashard Matthews' status. Tennessee's move away from Mike Mularkey was much needed, and now Titans receivers have a chance to thrive.

Round 17, pick 202: Nick Chubb. Early reviews are poor, but Cleveland picking him where they did in the draft ensures he'll get an opportunity.

Round 18, pick 207: Jake Elliott. If top kickers are gone, I'll take a defense. I'm willing to go to the waiver wire before Week 1 for one or the other. I'd rather give myself one more option at a skill position, in this case Chubb.

I'm happy to answer fantasy questions on Twitter (@schopptalk). 



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