KFFL.com's Fantasy Football Analysis Draft (FAD) brings you behind the scenes for all 16 rounds of an actual fantasy football league draft. Each of our experts participating give you their analysis on why they made each selection. This is not a mock fantasy football draft; this league will be played out during the course of the 2013 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) Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Team: Keith Hernandez | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I wanted to hold off in selecting my first QB, but the guys I'm comfortable running with as my starter have dwindled quickly. Ryan took a huge leap forward in a breakout year in 2013, and I think he's here to stay. The offense around him is perhaps one of the most explosive in the league, and Steven Jackson adds a new dynamic. I'm hoping for a base of 4,500 yards and 28 touchdowns. Oh, and a lot of connections with Julio Jones.
2) Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
Team: Cory J. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I really wanted to go in another direction here, so I'll keep my virtual mouth shut in the off-chance that player makes it back to me. I understand the risk of injury with Amendola, but I frankly don't care. Look at the rest of my squad ... boom or bust seems to be the M.O., so why not continue with a PPR powerhouse, should he remain healthy. In 16 games, Amendola will snare 90 receptions for 1,110 yards and score six times, at a minimum.
3) Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Team: Ryan R. Bonini | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I never planned to land a tight end this early and this selection scares me; however, I cannot ignore the value. Gronk has a ton of injury risk, but even if he plays 75 percent of the season he should still be among the top tight ends in scoring. If he can heal quickly and be on the field all season, he could approach his '11 stat line of 90-1,327-17.
4) Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Team: Jared Byrd | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Unlike the other running backs remaining on the draft board, Mendenhall enters the season as the unquestioned No. 1 back for his team. He won't catch many passes but he should eclipse 1,000 rushing yards and score 8-10 touchdowns, provided that he stays healthy.
5) Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Team: Nicholas Minnix | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I don't see a running back worth what I think would be a reach, here, other than perhaps Ahmad Bradshaw. I'm confident, however, that Decker will get his numbers -- even if they're at a reduced rate because of the addition of Wes Welker -- whereas I can't be so sure about the fragile back. I have my eye on a series of others, so we'll see what unfolds after this. Decker should amass 75-plus catches, 1,000 yards and eight or nine TDs, with the upside for more, assuming that Jessie James (whoever that is ... bank robber?) doesn't ruin him.
6) Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Team: Brian Polking | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Although Brown saw his receiving output drop from more than 1,100 yards in 2011 to a shade under 800 last year, he only caught three fewer passes. I firmly believe the difference in his numbers was a high ankle sprain that robbed him of his explosiveness after the catch and caused him to average more than four yards less per reception. With Brown back up to speed and Mike Wallace now in Miami, I think a career year could be on tap.
7) Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
Team: Jack Douglas | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I needed a quality WR as I only had one. Despite being 34 years old, Steve Smith is still the go-to guy in Carolina and over the past two years has averaged 76 catches for 1284 yards and 5.5 receiving touchdowns per season. He has a solid rapport with QB Cam Newton and there is no reason to believe he will decline this year. I look for 1,200 yards receiving on 70-75 catches and about 6-7 receiving touchdowns. He will be a solid second receiver for me.
8) Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
Team: Eric McClung | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I'm not sold on Ronnie Hillman beyond a change of pace back and Knowshon Moreno never stops getting injured. Bell will be the starter much sooner than later. If Peyton Manning can trust Bell in pass protection on Sundays, then the coaching staff will junk whatever pecking order comes out of camp. Being tied to a top fantasy quarterback can harm the backfield but Manning will quickly change to a run play when he prefers that matchup. Ball is more than ideal as my RB3.
9) Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
Team: Dan Dobish | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Wallace has plenty of big-play ability, and he is even expected to see some time in the slot. He should see more short and intermediate receptions, helping out PPR owners. However, he is a downfield threat, too. WRs are starting to dry up, but Wallace easily has 1,000-yard and six or seven touchdown ability.
10) Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Team: Tim Heaney | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Well, I waited a bit too long for WR depth, so I figured I'd settle for the most consistent PPR target at this juncture. I'm mildly concerned about Tony G losing some targets to S-Jax, but this offense can spread the wealth. 80ish catches from a TE is just as good as a WR2. Time to hunt for catcher bargains.
11) Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
Team: Tim Piotrowski | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: Johnson will be playing in an up-tempo offense this season, which may mean more opportunities for targets. Johnson has also been working in the slot during training camp and could get more favorable matchups during the season. As Buffalo's top receiving threat, I am hoping for around 80 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and five to seven touchdowns.
12) Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Team: Ryan Dodson | Team Roster | League Scoring
Fantasy football analysis: I feel a little better about this pick because it's a PPR league, but it's fair to say I would have been better served taking a RB2 on my last turn when I took Manning/Welker. There's a lot more depth at those positions, and I was more focused on scoring points than roster stability. We'll see if that comes back to haunt me. Matthews is a shaky RB2 because he can't stay on the field. In his defense, it has been freakish things like broken collarbones that have stunted his growth. He's a good receiver that can catch 30 balls and rush for 1K yards. He's a boom or bust pick right now, and I'm hoping this is the year he breaks out.
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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