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MOCK AND ROLL: Analysis of an IDP Mock Draft

The calendar has turned to July, and that means that that most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us.

No, not Christmas. That’s still a ways off.

No, not Pandemonium Day, although that’s July 14th and sounds pretty interesting.

I’m talking about fantasy draft season!

All across the land, fantasy owners are busily preparing for this year’s draft, and for many people that means participating in a mock draft or two. Here at Fantasy Sharks, several intrepid souls have joined me in the
Fantasy Sharks IDP Mock Draft Challenge, a series of Individual Defensive Player (IDP) mock drafts and a contest rolled into one.

The mock draft challenge is a “best ball” format, which may have affected the strategy of some owners, but with a fairly “standard” starting IDP lineup of two defensive lineman, three linebackers, two defensive backs and a “flex,” it does offer some insight into how a “mixed” fantasy football draft might unfold this summer.

In the interest of giving fantasy owners a glimpse into how drafts are flowing this year, where elite IDPs are being taken and potential values out there to be had, let’s take a look back at how the drafts unfolded at each of the “major” IDP positions. I’m also including a detailed look at my own IDP rosters, from what went right to the places where I wish in hindsight I’d zagged instead of zigging.

You can view the entire first draft
here
, and the second draft
here
.


DEFENSIVE LINEMEN


The Top 5


Pick



Draft 1


Pick



Draft 2

4.09

DL1


J.J. Watt
– DE, Houston

4.12

DL1


J.J. Watt
– DE, HOU

7.08

DL2


Jason Pierre-Paul
– DE, New York Giants

10.01

DL2


Cameron Wake
– DE, Miami

9.05

DL3


Jared Allen
– DE, Minnesota

10.06

DL3


Jared Allen
– DE, Minnesota

10.01

DL4


Mario Williams
– DE, Buffalo

10.11

DL4


Jason Pierre-Paul
– DE, New York Giants

10.03

DL5


Cameron Wake
– DE, Miami

11.11

DL5


Calais Campbell
– DE, Arizona

Analysis:
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Houston’s
J.J. Watt
was the first defensive lineman taken overall, and the first IDP at any position drafted in Draft 1. As expensive as Watt is, he went relatively late in both drafts. The end of the fourth round is likely about as late as you can reasonably expect to obtain his services in 2013.

After Watt, there was a substantial gap before another defensive lineman was chosen, especially in Draft 2, where over five rounds came and went before Miami’s
Cameron Wake
opened the 10th round. It’s that 6-7 round gap between Watt and the fifth defensive lineman that gives me major pause about selecting the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year this season. If he doesn’t back up last year’s ridiculous production, the teams that select him in 2013 are going to be in trouble.


Values


Pick



Draft 1


Pick



Draft 2

16.11

DL12


Geno Atkins
– DT, Cincinnati

12.02

DL6


Charles Johnson
– DE, Carolina

19.06

DL17


Julius Peppers
– DE, Chicago

12.11

DL9


Mario Williams
– DE, Buffalo

19.07

DL18


Michael Johnson
– DE, Cincinnati

16.02

DL15

Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, New York Jets

22.03

DL25


Derrick Morgan
– DE, Tennessee

18.07

DL21


Justin Smith
– DE, San Francisco

24.10

DL28


Rob Ninkovich
– DE, New England

25.10

DL34


Haloti Ngata
– DT, Baltimore

Analysis:
Despite the fact that the “elite” defensive linemen went off the board earlier in the first draft, it was there where most of the best value picks were had, likely due to the defensive positions being hit with much more frequency in the middle part of the second go-round.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle
Geno Atkins
was a top-5 performer in this format in 2012. Both Atkins and the ridiculous value gotten with Baltimore’s
Haloti Ngata
in the 25th round of Draft 2 are indicative of how tackles sometimes slip in “standard” IDP drafts. Don’t sleep on the elite options at the position just because everyone else does.

Chicago’s
Julius Peppers
will drive you crazy with his occasional disappearing acts, but getting an IDP DL1 17th off the board at his position is nicely played. Both Cincinnati’s
Michael Johnson
and San Francisco’s
Justin Smith
are dropping in many IDP drafts this year. Smith is old, coming off an injury and doesn’t post big sack numbers, but in a tackle-heavy format such as this he’s a viable DL2 assuming he’s healthy. Johnson was 14th in this scoring last year, and should once again be a solid DL2 in his own right. Pairing either with a strong DL1 will likely leave IDP owners sitting pretty in 2013.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.