Fantasy football analysis draft: Round 1

by KFFL Staff on August 16, 2011 @ 00:42:10 PDT's Fantasy Football Analysis Draft (FAD) brings you behind the scenes on all 16 rounds of an actual fantasy football league draft. Each of our experts participating give you their analysis on why they took the player they did. This is not a mock fantasy football draft; this league will be played out during the course of the 2011 fantasy football season ... each participant is drafting to win!

1) Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings
Team: Ryan Dodson | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: While the presence of a point per reception in the scoring system makes conventional wisdom point to Houston Texas running back Arian Foster and his 66 catches in 2010 with the first pick, I'm a firm believer that your first-round pick shouldn't come with question marks. Foster came out of nowhere last season and has no track record to give me the confidence I need to select him first overall. Peterson is a proven beast, and he only fumbled once last season to quiet naysayers about his hands. The Vikings don't have a vaunted receiving corps anymore, and quarterback Donovan McNabb made running back Brian Westbrook a fantasy star with his propensity to check down to the running back. I fully expect Peterson to rush for 1,300 yards, approach 15 total touchdowns and catch 40-50 balls out of the backfield.

2) Arian Foster, running back, Houston Texans
Team: Tim Piotrowski | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: I don't expect Foster to duplicate his 2010 season but a small decrease would still make him one of the top running backs this season. His hamstring injury did concern me, but it does not appear to be serious. I hope he can rush for around 1,500 yards with at least 10 to 12 touchdowns and make at least 50 catches.

3) Chris Johnson, running back, Tennessee Titans
Team: Jack Douglas | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: No guts, no glory. Nowhere is this more evident than the selection of Chris Johnson, whose contractual holdout darkens the fantasy skies. I believe he will be made happy by the Titans and with peace and harmony will probably come the numbers we have come to expect from Johnson. I see those numbers in 2011 as being about 1400-1600 yards rushing, 10-12 rushing touchdowns, about 45-50 receptions for 400-500 receiving yards and possibly 1-2 receiving touchdowns. He is just hitting his prime and remains, in my judgment, the most electric running back in the NFL. If I get lucky, he will top these numbers. In short, he comes with some risk, but the upside is huge and well worth the risk.

Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

4) Ray Rice, running back, Baltimore Ravens
Team: Keith Hernandez | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: I expect Rice to bounce back from a down year in 2010. The O-line should be better, and now Rice has Vonta Leach clearing the path for him. In point-per-reception leagues such as this, Rice is worthy of a top-four pick. The arrival of Lee Evans will allow Baltimore to spread the field, giving Rice more room to run. I'm looking for Rice to catch 70-plus balls, and without Willis McGahee vulturing red zone attempts, he is in line to hit paydirt more often, too.

5) Jamaal Charles, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
Team: Brian Polking | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: Charles finished second in the NFL in rushing last season while averaging an incredible 6.4 yards per carry. He also chipped in 45 catches for nearly 500 yards. Thomas Jones is another year and older, and his role will only continue to diminish. Charles will see even more touches for a Kansas City offense that led the NFL in rushing last season. Thanks to his versatility and big-play speed, I expect Charles to top 2,000 total yards of offense and cross the goal line 10-15 times overall this season.

6) LeSean McCoy, running back, Philadelphia Eagles
Team: Nicholas Minnix | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: Last season, McCoy was third in PPR fantasy points among RBs despite carrying the ball only 207 times. The "Dream Team" won't win the Super Bowl, but defenses won't be able to focus on this O's Focal Point 1a. McCoy is always involved, especially through the air (78 receptions in 2010). Michael Vick's presence ensures that McCoy's running lanes remain wide, which shouldn't change much even if Philly is forced to call upon Vince Young. I would've taken him ahead of Jamaal Charles and expect him to produce something similar to last year's line: at least 1,500 total yards, 70 catches and, this year, double-digit scores.

7) Maurice Jones-Drew, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Team: Cory J. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: MJD says he is pain-free in his surgically repaired knee, and I'll take his word for it. He never likes to be doubted and has said how he feels slighted for not going No. 1 in fantasy drafts. Make no mistake about it, Jones-Drew lives for proving people wrong ... and it doesn't hurt that he plays fantasy! I considered going with a wide receiver, but the RB drop-off is steep this year. I'm expecting around 1,300 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, 55 receptions, 400 aerial yards and two receiving scores.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

8) Rashard Mendenhall, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Team: Jared Byrd | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: I vowed to change my drafting strategy after I finished in last place in 2010, when New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was my first-round pick. Mendenhall averaged nearly four yards a carry last season, while rushing for 1,273 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. He's only 24, so he has plenty of productive years ahead of him, and he has managed to stay healthy the last two years, playing in all 32 games. I'm expecting at least 1,300 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns out of him this season. If there's one downside to Mendenhall's game, it’s the fact that he is not a big part of the passing game (only 48 receptions combined over the last two seasons).

9) Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Team: Eric McClung | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: Time to strap on the belt. Many have Michael Vick atop their quarterback ranks, which is their mistake. Consider Rodgers tossed nine touchdowns and ran for two more in four postseason games while Vick committed nine turnovers in his last six starts. Lock A-Rod in for at least 4,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and four or five more on the ground as the team's preferred rushing option at the goal line.

10) Andre Johnson, wide receiver, Houston Texans
Team: Dan Dobish | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: I know that the general thinking is take a running back in the first round, more often than not, or you're going to be doomed. Over the years, three RBs in the first four rounds has been a general rule of thumb. However, with Michael Turner, Darren McFadden and Frank Gore as the top backs available, I figured Andre Johnson was a much better high-impact fantasy option at this spot. I'd be happy with 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns.

11) Roddy White, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
Team: Tim Heaney | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: No excitement at running back here, so I tagged White. Matt Ryan's BFF in this peaking offense is a PPR dream. Many count Julio Jones' presence as a negative for White. Not only does it take even more attention away from him, but White already is an elite playmaker and deep threat and counts as my top receiver in most instances. Best part is he isn't locked into go routes. Sharpie 90 receptions, 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 16-game campaign.

12) Michael Turner, running back, Atlanta Falcons
Team: Ryan R. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring

Reason and statistical expectations: Turner isn't your poster boy for a PPR league (just 23 catches in Atlanta in three years), but he's a lock to see 300-plus carries and the strong majority of the goal line work on a very talented Atlanta team. His declining yards-per-carry worry me, but he is healthy, feels fresh and should be counted on for another 1,300-yard and double-digit touchdown season.

How do you feel about each selection? Would you have made the same move? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments area below.

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