This mock draft is based on a standard PPR scoring system and the following starting lineup requirements:
2 Running Backs
2 Wide Receivers
1 Flex (Running Back, Wide Receiver, Flex)
1 Tight End
1.01 Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in fantasy football — period. He has finished as a Top-3 running back in three of the last four seasons. The other top running backs haven’t had the sustained success that Bell has had. He is simply a stud and should be the top pick in every draft.
1.02 Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
It’s tough having to choose between Gurley and the two selections that follow. Either way, you can’t go wrong with any of them. They all should be elite week-to-week options. While some regression is expected, Gurley should still have another tremendous season and is one of the best fantasy players out there.
1.03 David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
I feel picks 1 through 7 could go any number of ways. It’s a tossup based on personal preferences, scoring system, lineup requirements, etc. I have David Johnson as my RB3 going into 2018. He was an absolute force in 2016, and I expect him to pick up right where he left off two seasons ago.
1.04 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
While concerns about the lack of an upper echelon passing game in Dallas are real, Ezekiel Elliott is fully capable of handling a heavy workload. He will be the go-to option in the Dallas offense and will reap the benefits of a high volume of carries. The top four running backs are as talented as they’ve been in the past ten seasons and Elliott is one of those running backs.
1.05 Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown is arguably the safest fantasy player you can draft. As it happens, he also has one of the highest ceilings of any player as well. He’s getting a bit older but has shown no signs of slowing down. Expect another Top-3 fantasy wide receiver finish for Brown in 2018.
1.06 Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
After missing 3/4 of the 2017 season, Odell Beckham Jr. is ready to pick up right where he left off a few seasons ago. Beckham has been an elite fantasy option since he entered the league in 2014. Expect the Giants to be much improved in 2018, thanks to the return of Beckham Jr., the progression of Evan Engram and the addition of Saquon Barkley.
1.07 Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
As a rookie in 2017, Alvin Kamara led all running backs with 826 receiving yards. In point-per-reception leagues, Kamara is a superior option because of his usage in the passing game. Not only that, but he also proven that he can be proficient between the tackles, averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 120 rushing attempts. While that number will likely regress to the mean, you should still expect another fabulous season out of Kamara. After the top four running backs are off the board, he is the next best available running back.
1.08 Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
I haven’t seen a rookie as polarizing as Saquon Barkley in quite some time. The expectations for him are through the roof. Many fantasy players will look at the success of the 2017 rookie running back class and think that Barkley will follow suit but we need to see more before spending a 1st round pick on him. He won’t be on any of my teams this season, but I understand why many analysts are high on him.
1.09 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
This owner is elated to see Deandre Hopkins still on the board at pick #9. The number one fantasy wide receiver in 2017 will be looking to continue his supremacy in 2018. With Deshaun Watson resuming quarterback duties in Houston, the sky is the limit for Hopkins. He’ll be the backbone of many fantasy teams and should easily finish as a Top-10 wide receiver this season.
1.10 Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas has had at least 90 receptions and 1,100 receiving yards in his first two seasons in the NFL. He’s finished as a Top-7 wide receiver in both seasons. With Drew Brees throwing him the ball, he’ll always be a candidate to finish as a Top-10 wide receiver. While 10+ touchdowns will be difficult to accomplish, Thomas should still see 140+ targets and have the opportunity to eclipse the 100-receptions mark once again.
1.11 Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
This owner is saying, “Michael Thomas over Julio Jones? Thank you very much.” When it comes to choosing between Thomas and Jones, it’s all about personal preference. Both have the potential to finish as the best fantasy wide receiver and both have a pretty safe floor. Jones’ three touchdowns a year ago was certainly disheartening, but his 11 targets inside the 10-yard line tell me the opportunities were there. We’ll see if he can cash in on those opportunities in 2018 and finish as a Top-5 wide receiver.
1.12 Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
This is your typical “zig when others are zagging” pick. With three wide receivers going in the last three picks, this owner changes course and goes Running Back/Running Back with picks 1.12 and 2.01. Admittedly, I’m lower on Kareem Hunt than most analysts are. Hunt accounted for 272 of the 315 carries among Chiefs running backs in 2017 and a whopping 86.3% of the running back carries went to Hunt last season. I find it hard to believe that Hunt will see the same percentage of carries in 2018 with Spencer Ware returning. Add in the unknown of a young and inexperienced quarterback and a complete transformation on the defensive side of the ball yields a player that I’m steering clear of in 2018. Someone will take him in the 1st round of your draft – it just won’t be me.