Fantasy Football Mock Draft Preview

      April 3, 2013 @ 16:47:25 PDT

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It's never too early to start looking at fantasy football mock drafts! Crazy, huh? I have taken a stab at what the first three rounds of a mock draft could look like if it were held today. No rookies were included in this, primarily because they obviously do not have NFL teams to call homes yet, and also because only Alabama's Eddie Lacy really figures to be even in consideration for a top-36 selection.

The following predictions were made with a 12-team, standard non-PPR scoring system in mind.

Round 1

1) Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings

Maybe you could make the case for Arian Foster here despite such a big season from Peterson, but the reality is far too many people will find it all too difficult to pass on AD.

2) Arian Foster, running back, Houston Texans

Foster is rather consistent year over year and remains the focal point of an offense that will remain balanced. Touchdown-heavy leagues could force him to No. 1 overall. He has scored 42 times in the three years since seizing the starting role, and he hasn't produced less than 1,600 total yards of offense in any one of those years.

3) Jamaal Charles, running back, Kansas City Chiefs

Charles should only get better with stability at the quarterback position, and maybe he can find the end zone a few more times. Alex Smith is no Joe Montana, although defenses will have to keep honest against the run. JC, a 1,500-yard back a year after ACL reconstruction, deserves a high pick in all formats.

4) Ray Rice, running back, Baltimore Ravens

The days of defense-first football in Baltimore seem to have gone the way of the dodo, which means an extra helping of Rice for this offense. He is consistently a threat for a big game week in and week out.

5) LeSean McCoy, running back, Philadelphia Eagles

Shady McCoy should be the driving force behind this offense. His style of play is conducive to success in a spread offense, and for those in PPR leagues, he should be a no-brainer at this point in your draft.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

6) Calvin Johnson, wide receiver, Detroit Lions

Megatron could arguably go as high as No. 3 for some owners, but for the sake of remaining grounded and practical, No. 6 is a sound placement for him. If he's healthy, with a weapon like Reggie Bush in the backfield, defenses will be forced to pick their poison (which is still probably Calvin, but does it really matter?).

7) Marshawn Lynch, running back, Seattle Seahawks

Lynch proved me wrong last year and went full-on beast mode again. He should be in store for another fine season, just so long as the injury bug doesn't bite him once again. He seems like a lock for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns, on the low side.

8) Trent Richardson, running back, Cleveland Browns

I struggled with this pick, because on raw talent alone, Richardson could be the No. 2 overall pick. Cleveland still has little in the way of offensive weapons and will need to prove some things to me before I go all in on T-Rich any higher than the middle of Round 1.

9) Doug Martin, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite his terribly inconsistent, all-or-nothing efforts last year, Martin still wound up rewarding fantasy owners over the course of the season. He undoubtedly will be overdrafted in 2013 more than once, but there is enough here to warrant a selection between No. 6 and No. 9 overall.

10) Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints

The first QB comes off the board! Brees has to be the guy to go with here. Consistency, the return of head coach Sean Payton, a bevy of weapons ... what is there not to like about Brees?

11) C.J. Spiller, running back, Buffalo Bills

I love Spiller this season, and this may be overvaluing him a bit with Fred Jackson still in the picture. I'm not worried about F-Jax ... he's old, and injury-prone at this point of his career. Spiller will shine in this offense and could be worth a higher pick in PPR setups.

12) Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers

A-Rod lost Greg Jennings (Vikings) this offseason, but that didn't stop Rodgers from throwing 35 of his 39 touchdown tosses last year to other players in Jennings' injury absence. Rodgers is as legit as they come in the fantasy world and deserves late first-round consideration.

Round 2

13) Brandon Marshall, wide receiver, Chicago Bears

Point-per-reception leagues will value him higher. Marc Trestman, an offensive mind, will call the shots in Chicago this year. Expect huge things once again from Jay Cutler and Marshall.

14) Peyton Manning, quarterback, Denver Broncos

Someone will overvalue Manning on draft day, but for the sake of respectability, he deserves to come off the board in the early second round. The added weapon of Wes Welker should only strengthen this passing game, which will cause some owners to jump the gun.

15) Alfred Morris, running back, Washington Redskins

Al-Mo may also be overdrafted based on last year's success. Unless Robert Griffin III (knee) is up to par early in the season, Morris could experience a significant drop-off in stats. He is one of the riskiest picks in this year's running back crop, despite being one of the most consistent players in fantasy football a year ago. Stay tuned....

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

16) A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

Green proved his rookie season was no fluke, and he may be the best wide receiver under 25 in the NFL. A sophomore line of 97-1,350-11 is downright scary to think about. Expect much of the same in 2013.

17) Steven Jackson, running back, Atlanta Falcons

A new home for an old dog could be the right combination for fantasy football glory. Jackson enters a Falcons offense that isn't its former run-happy self, but that does not mean there is not room for his services on the ground and through the air.

18) Stevan Ridley, running back, New England Patriots

New England's wide receiving corps is shaping up to be a disaster thus far, and it wouldn't be a total shock to see a return of ground game as the Pats' preferred means of attack. Ridley is at the very least a safe bet for touchdown production.

19) Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Much like A.J. Green, Jones improved significantly as a sophomore. Having Roddy White take pressure off him doesn't hurt, but Jones' ability to take the top off a defense is astounding. He could go much higher than this, and I would have a difficult time arguing against it.

20) Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys

Few wideouts possess the physical skill set of one Dez Bryant. Few wideouts possess the maturity concerns of one Dez Bryant. He is a risk-reward maven who has finally produced more reward than the risk you assume in drafting him.

21) Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

With the addition of Carson Palmer at the helm, Fitzgerald goes from near fantasy afterthought to a shining star once again. Draft him with confidence as a midrange No. 1.

22) Matt Forte, running back, Chicago Bears

This is where you get into an area of the draft that can go a number of directions. Forte has a proven track record to go on and fits Marc Trestman's system very well. There is low-end RB1 potential as long as Forte remains healthy.

23) DeMarco Murray, running back, Dallas Cowboys

Speaking of potential and injury concerns ... Murray has all of the tools to be a dominant rusher in this league, but durability problems have held him back. Don't be gun shy but rather be aware of what you are buying here.

24) Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Perhaps the AFC's version of Dez Bryant, minus the baggage, Thomas has an elite quarterback in a pass-friendly system to his credit. He is a downfield beast and should only benefit from the addition of Wes Welker.

Round 3

25) Jimmy Graham, tight end, New Orleans Saints

The 2011 season was the year of the tight end position, but fantasy owners were overzealous in drafting these pass-catching line extensions a season ago. Nevertheless, Graham can put up WR2 numbers over the course of a year and is a favorite of Drew Brees.

26) Maurice Jones-Drew, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars

Remember him? MJD missed most of last year with a foot injury. Can he come back to form? Will someone spend a third-round pick to find out? I believe so. Jones-Drew still has enough left in the tank, if healthy, to be a meaningful second fantasy running back.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

27) Andre Johnson, wide receiver, Houston Texans

AJ is coming off fantastic season - a healthy season - because let's face it ... all of his healthy campaigns have resulted in strong fantasy numbers. You are always assuming a metric ton of risk when selecting him, but the numbers when he is on the field warrant the gamble.

28) Wes Welker, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Point-per-reception leaguers should consider Welker in the mid-second or so. He still has to learn a new system over the offseason and develop rapport with Peyton Manning - chemistry that certainly won't be on the same level of what he enjoyed with Tom Brady.

29) Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots

Another Tom Brady reference brings us to Gronkowski, whose on-field beastliness is like something you'd see in a Halloween movie. This guy just tears people apart on his way to the end zone. Injuries, injuries and more injuries, however, make him a risky proposition.

30) Michael Crabtree, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers

Finally a quarterback with the arm and interest to send the ball Crabtree's direction.... Colin Kaepernick appears to have the makings of a legitimate NFL star passer, and Crabtree has been healthy long enough to give him a pass of assumption for 2013.

31) Chris Johnson, running back, Tennessee Titans

Johnson enjoyed a rebound season in 2012, but that was not enough to prevent the front office from signing Shonn Greene to complement him. The former New York Jet was one of the most efficient short-yardage backs in the NFL last season. Could Johnson's meager touchdown total of six dip even lower in '13?

32) Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers

Cam turned around a dreary start to the 2012 season and reminded fantasy owners why they spent a high pick on him. In some quarterback-happy draft circles, "Superman" will not last this long.

33) Roddy White, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

White continues to get it done even with Julio Jones standing out opposite him. The veteran receiver is crafty and has very reliable hands. White has more value in leagues that reward for receptions.

34) David Wilson, running back, New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw remains a floater in free agency, which does not completely rule out a return to the G-Men, but Wilson's time to shine appears to be imminent. Electric speed and lateral ability make him one of the more exciting unknowns heading into 2013 drafts.

35) Marques Colston, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints

They don't make 'em much more consistent than Colston, who has produced three straight seasons of at least 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Oh, and he has missed only three of his last 48 games.

36) Victor Cruz, wide receiver, New York Giants

"Cruuuuuuuuuz" can be heard by Giants fans almost every week in the NFL season, but a contract stalemate could cause him to fall in the draft, should it get that ugly. Even still, he should come off the board much earlier than this once everything is resolved.

Honorable mentions

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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