KFFL.com'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 2012 fantasy football season ... each participant is drafting to win!
A standard scoring system with one point per reception (RB-WR-TE) was used for this draft.
1) Doug Martin, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team: Eric McClung | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Martin might look like a reach right now, but he should rise into the third round before too long. The rookie from Boise State is already hogging first-team snaps from LeGarrette Blount. Martin can catch the football and pass protect very well - two major holes that kept Blount off the field for stretches of time last year. The Bucs beefed up the offensive line and the receiving corps during the offseason but Martin figures to be the focal point under new head coach Greg Schiano, who oversaw the rise of Ray Rice at Rutgers. Mark it down: Martin will outproduce Trent Richardson, who plays on a terrible offense in a division that includes the Ravens and Steelers, and likely claim Rookie of the Year honors.
2) Marshawn Lynch, running back, Seattle Seahawks
Team: Ryan R. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: This is a boom or bust pick: Lynch, in Beast Mode, provides me with plenty of power at running back if the NFL doesn't nail him for his off-the-field shenanigans. He had at least 19 carries in each game from Week 9 on last year, and scored in all but two games during that stretch. If Seattle uses him like they did in the second half last year, he isn't suspended and he plays with the same sense of urgency, Lynch is good for 1,300 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns and another 20 receptions for 200 yards. Unfortunately, that's a lot of ifs to bank on, but the upside is worth the risk at this juncture.
3) Steven Jackson, running back, St. Louis Rams
Team: Nicholas Minnix | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Jackson is 29. His team drafted his supposed heir apparent. The Rams don't get him near the stripe often enough. But he's in phenomenal shape, hasn't shown any signs of wearing down, has been one of the most reliable (and, in some ways, underappreciated) backs in fantasy, and will still be the centerpiece of an offense that should improve dramatically in 2012. The RBs still on the board all have more serious questions, and I'd rather not try to answer them.
4) Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots
Team: Dan Dobish | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: This goes against everything I've been telling my friends. Taking a tight end this high has been unheard of in the past. However, Gronk is coming off a giant year, and there is no reason to believe he won't post strong numbers again in 2012. Will he post 90 grabs and 17 TDs? Probably not. But in a PPR league, he is more valuable than everyone else on the board at this point, so tradition is thrown out the window. I picked a tight end in Round 3!
5) Ahmad Bradshaw, running back, New York Giants
Team: Tim Piotrowski | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Bradshaw has dealt with foot injuries the last few seasons but remains the Giants' top rusher entering this season. He also had to share carries with running back Brandon Jacobs, but now with Jacobs gone he likely will receive an increase in playing time despite the addition of running back David Wilson. Bradshaw is expected to be in the passing game this season and could also receive some goal line carries, which is a bonus. He probably is not the best No. 1 running back but has shown he can be successful.
6) Victor Cruz, wide receiver, New York Giants
Team: Keith Hernandez | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I don't feel comfortable with all the health and playing time questions surrounding the lot of running backs at this juncture - not yet, anyway - so I'll settle for a No. 2 wideout that many are taking as their No. 1 this year after a stellar 82-1,536-9 line last year. Cruz has excellent chemistry with Eli Manning and should see plenty of decent matchups, providing Hakeem Nicks is healthy. Not that big a fan of Cruz, but as my No. 2 pass catcher, he's much more appealing.
7) Hakeem Nicks, wide receiver, New York Giants
Team: Jack Douglas | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: The decision for me in Round 3 was to select between a questionable RB or get an elite WR, so the choice was obvious. After losing out on Victor Cruz (taken the pick before), I "settled" for Hakeem Nicks. Nicks has a foot injury, but reports say he is healing well. Based on his production in 2010 and 2011, it is reasonable to predict 75-80 receptions for about 1,100-1,200 receiving yards and 8-10 TDs.
8) Mike Wallace, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
Team: Ryan Dodson | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Todd Haley's offense has reportedly been simplified to focus more on getting open, which could bode well for Wallace, whose route-running skills have been questioned. That is a plus, of course, if Wallace ends his holdout. Wallace is a first-round talent, and quite a risk at this stage, but the risk is worth the reward in my opinion. Should he report to camp, and he enters the season motivated to land a huge deal, a 75-1,200-10 season is well within reach.
9) Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
Team: Cory J. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Jones' durability concerns scare me. He is so physical that it seemingly elevates his chances of suffering an injury. It was worth the risk, as he is a beast in a high-powered offense with a blossoming quarterback. Jones could see single coverage with regularity if Roddy White continues to destroy defenses. This was a value pick with crazy upside. I expect no less than a 70-1,100-8 line from Jones.
10) Jimmy Graham, tight end, New Orleans Saints
Team: Tim Heaney | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: You must allow breathing room for your strategy. I was going to wait on a tight end, but this value is too tantalizing for me to pass up the No. 1 target in one of the best aerial setups. They won't miss too many beats even without Sean Payton there.
11) Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Team: Jared Byrd | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Tim made a wise decision drafting Graham with the 34th overall selection, because I was fully prepared to take him with my third-round pick. Instead, I ended up with a nice consolation prize in Newton, who not only set a record for most passing yards by a rookie (4,051) but was far and away the most prolific running quarterback in the league, rushing for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns. For anyone concerned about a sophomore slump, just remember that Newton compiled these numbers despite not having the opportunity to make as smooth of a transition to the NFL as most rookies because of the lockout-shortened offseason.
12) Marques Colston, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints
Team: Brian Polking | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: He has topped 1,000 yards and had at least 70 catches in five of his six seasons in the NFL, and he played just 11 games in the one year he didn't reach those totals. Last year, Colston had 80 catches and nearly 1,200 yards despite missing almost three full games. Drew Brees spreads the wealth in New Orleans, and another 1,000-yard season is a given for his favorite receiver. With Robert Meachem leaving for San Diego, I am expecting Colston to have one of his better years.
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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