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Columns - Magazine

IDP Mock Draft

by Gary Davenport
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

We’ve nearly reached the month of August, and in less than a week the Hall of Fame game will be played. That can mean only one thing for fantasy football fanatics, draft season is in full swing. Soon preparation and practice will give way (hopefully) to the completion of a successful draft.

For many fantasy owners, the use of mock drafts is a valuable tool when getting ready to select their teams. However, finding a mock can be easier said than done for those who play in IDP leagues. Mock drafts that include individual defensive players aren’t especially easy to come by.

However, just because you can’t participate in one doesn’t mean you can’t do the next best thing, examine ones that have occurred in an effort to spot draft-day trends and potential value picks.

That’s what we’re going to do here, with a look at a recent IDP mock I conducted. It’s a fairly straight-forward PPR league. Start one QB, two RB, three WR, one TE and one flex. Six points for all touchdowns. Standard 10/25 split between rushing/receiving yards and passing yards.

The starting defensive lineup consists of two DL, two LB, two DB and one “flex”. Defensive scoring is 1.5 points per tackle and 4 points per big play (a fairly common roster setup and tackle-heavy scoring system). It’s also worth pointing out that it was a very short bench (22 roster spots), so with the exception of a spare DL or LB here and there the reserve slots were spent on offensive sleepers and depth, just as they should be in most standard IDP leagues.

In IDP leagues with a short bench such as this one, the smart play on defense is to let the waiver wire serve as your de facto reserves, especially where defensive backs are concerned.

The kicker position was omitted here, but the rule with those is simple – last round. No exceptions. Ever.

Now that we’ve got the scoring and lineup requirements ironed out, let’s take a team-by-team look at how things played out, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

This is an IDP article after all. You don’t need me to tell you Todd Gurley is good.

Team 1: Gurley Men

Round Player Round Player
1.01 Todd Gurley - RB, LAR 12.12 Vince Williams - ILB, PIT
2.12 Joe Mixon - RB, CIN 13.01 Kirk Cousins - QB, MIN
3.01 Tyreek Hill - WR, KCC 14.12 Preston Brown - ILB, CIN
4.12 Zach Ertz - TE, PHI 15.01 Budda Baker - S, ARZ
5.01 Golden Tate - WR, DET 16.12 Chris Ivory - RB, BUF
6.12 Julian Edelman - WR, NEP 17.01 Derek Carr - QB, OAK
7.01 Mark Ingram - RB, NOS 18.12 Danny Trevathan - ILB, CHI
8.12 Rex Burkhead - RB, NEP 19.01 Robert Quinn - DE, MIA
9.01 JJ Watt - DE, HOU 20.12 Ben Watson - TE, NOS
10.12 Sterling Shepard - WR, NTG 21.01 Tyler Lockett - WR, SEA
11.01 Reshad Jones - S, MIA 22.12 Dan Bailey - PK, DAL

 

Just as he's been in most drafts in 2018, Gurley was the first pick overall here. This team has a solid core of offensive talent, especially if Julian Edelman hits the ground running when he returns from suspension. But on the defensive side of the ball it's a different story. Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt might be an elite producer up front, and Miami Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones likely will be on the back end. By waiting to draft a linebacker until Round 12, this squad risked having a hole at the most important position in IDP.

IDP Bust Alert: It hurts my heart to list Watt as a potential IDP bust, and if he's 100 percent the three-time DPOY may well lead all defensive linemen in fantasy points. But after losing most of the last two seasons to knee and back injuries there's no denying that Watt's the definition of risk/reward.

Team 2: For Whom the Bell Toils

Round Player Round Player
1.02 Le'Veon Bell - RB, PIT 12.11 Jarrad Davis - ILB, DET
2.11 Aaron Rodgers - QB, GBP 13.02 Danielle Hunter - DE, MIN
3.02 Stefon Diggs - WR, MIN 14.11 Bilal Powell - RB, NYJ
4.11 Jay Ajayi - RB, PHI 15.02 Kenny Golladay - WR, DET
5.02 Alshon Jeffery - WR, PHI 16.11 Micah Hyde - S, BUF
6.11 Royce Freeman - RB, DEN 17.02 Myles Garrett - DE, CLE
7.02 Cooper Kupp - WR, LAR 18.11 Brandon Marshall - ILB, DEN
8.11 Roquan Smith - ILB, CHI 19.02 Karl Joseph - S, OAK
9.02 Delanie Walker - TE, TEN 20.11 Vontaze Burfict - OLB, CIN
10.11 Chris Hogan - WR, NEP 21.02 Eric Ebron - TE, IND
11.02 Carlos Hyde - RB, CLE 22.11 Matt Prater - PK, DET

 

To be brutally honest, I'm not crazy about either of this team's top two picks. Of this year's elite running backs, Bell is the biggest risk to disappoint thanks to his workload the past two years and another holdout. And Round 2 is just too early to draft a quarterback in fantasy football, even one as good as Aaron Rodgers. This team took a patient yet risky approach to the defensive side of the ball, taking just one IDP in the draft's first half before loading up on young upside options. However, if those youngsters play to their potential in 2018, it could be a formidable bunch.

The Burfict Conundrum: When Vontaze Burfict is on the field, he's capable of posting top-five fantasy numbers. But he's also a dumb suspension waiting to happen; he'll spend the first four games of 2018 in his room thinking about what he's done. Don't overpay for a player who will miss a quarter of the season.

Team 3: Bosa's Boys

 

Round Player Round Player
1.03 Ezekiel Elliott - RB, DAL 12.10 Nyheim Hines - RB, IND
2.10 Mike Evans - WR, TBB 13.03 Keanu Neal - S, ATL
3.03 Jerick McKinnon - RB, SFO 14.10 Kiko Alonso - OLB, MIA
4.10 Josh Gordon - WR, CLE 15.03 Dez Bryant - WR, FA
5.03 Lamar Miller - RB, HOU 16.10 Benardrick McKinney - ILB, HOU
6.10 Jamison Crowder - WR, WAS 17.03 Ezekiel Ansah - DE, DET
7.03 Joey Bosa - DE, LAC 18.10 Alex Smith - QB, WAS
8.10 Devin Funchess - WR, CAR 19.03 Cameron Brate - TE, TBB
9.03 Ben Roethlisberger - QB, PIT 20.10 Josh Jones - S, GBP
10.10 Eric Kendricks - ILB, MIN 21.03 Malcolm Smith - OLB, SFO
11.03 Trey Burton - TE, PHI 22.10 Adam Vinatieri - PK, IND

 

This team is anchored on each side of the ball by a former Ohio State standout, tailback Ezekiel Elliott on offense and defensive end Joey Bosa on defense. The top six picks are a who's who of early risk/reward plays, although to be fair Josh Gordon was selected before his recent sabbatical from the Cleveland Browns was announced. Given that two IDPs were chosen over the first 10 picks the defensive roster is rather underwhelming, outside Bosa and Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal a lot of the defensive picks are high-floor, low-ceiling options.

IDP Sleeper Alert: After losing the entire 2017 season to injury, Malcolm Smith is essentially an afterthought in many IDP drafts this summer. However, Smith is healthy, should start in San Francisco and was quietly a top 30 fantasy option back in 2016. The year before that with the Oakland Raiders, Smith cracked the top-10.

Team 4: Johnson and Kelce, Attorneys at Law

 

Round Player Round Player
1.04 David Johnson - RB, ARZ 12.09 Aaron Donald - DE, LAR
2.09 Travis Kelce - TE, KCC 13.04 Devontae Booker - RB, DEN
3.04 Jordan Howard - RB, CHI 14.09 Joe Schobert - ILB, CLE
4.09 Larry Fitzgerald - WR, ARZ 15.04 Martavis Bryant - WR, OAK
5.04 Juju Smith-Schuster - WR, PIT 16.09 Carlos Dunlap - DE, CIN
6.09 Cam Newton - QB, CAR 17.04 Peyton Barber - RB, TBB
7.04 Ronald Jones - RB, TBB 18.09 Jordan Hicks - ILB, PHI
8.09 Robert Woods - WR, LAR 19.04 Dak Prescott - QB, DAL
9.04 Landon Collins - S, NYG 20.09 Jaquiski Tartt - S, SFO
10.09 Robby Anderson - WR, NYJ 21.04 Tahir Whitehead - OLB, OAK
11.04 Christian Kirksey - OLB, CLE 22.09 Robbie Gould - PK, SFO

 

This squad has a chance to be really good. The first eight picks set a nice baseline for the offense, and the Ronald Jones/Peyton Barber double-dip could become a relatively cheap source of production at running back. However, as big a fan as I am of New York Giants safety Landon Collins, I'm not a fan of drafting a defensive back that early. There are just too many quality options available later in drafts to justify the hole it can create at linebacker or on the defensive line. It's the IDP equivalent of drafting a quarterback early.

Browns LB Mess: In 2017, both Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert were top-10 fantasy linebackers in most scoring systems. But the arrival of Mychal Kendricks in free agency has muddied the waters big-time. At the very least someone who played in subpackages may not this year. At worst, Schobert or Kirksey could lose their spot in the starting lineup altogether.

Team 5: What Can Brown Do for You?
 

Round Player Round Player
1.05 Antonio Brown - WR, PIT 12.08 Jason Pierre-Paul - DE, TBB
2.08 Christian McCaffrey - RB, CAR 13.05 Allen Hurns - WR, DAL
3.05 LeSean McCoy - RB, BUF 14.08 Wesley Woodyard - ILB, TEN
4.08 Jarvis Landry - WR, CLE 15.05 Kevin Byard - S, TEN
5.05 Tom Brady - QB, NEP 16.08 Kalen Ballage - RB, MIA
6.08 Corey Davis - WR, TEN 17.05 Trey Flowers - DE, NEP
7.05 Evan Engram - TE, NYG 18.08 Darron Lee - ILB, NYJ
8.08 Jamaal Williams - RB, GBP 19.05 Jamal Adams - S, NYJ
9.05 Alec Ogletree - ILB, NYG 20.08 Greg Zuerlein - PK, LAR
10.08 Kerryon Johnson - RB, DET 21.05 Muhammad Wilkerson - DE, GBP
11.05 Mike Williams - WR, LAC 22.08 Vance McDonald - TE, PIT

 

In all fairness, I neither like nor dislike this team. There are plenty of picks to like, including Antonio Brown's robotic ability to score fantasy points dropping all the way to No. 5 and anchoring a wideout corps that's heavy on upside. Despite making just one defensive pick in the first 11 rounds, this owner assembled a competitive defensive lineup at all three positions. But while this team's in good shape just about everywhere, it's not in really great shape anywhere. If the controversy surrounding LeSean McCoy intensifies, this squad could be in all kinds of trouble at running back.

Undervalued: Despite a career-high 124 total tackles and five sacks last year leading to a top-10 IDP finish in many formats, Wesley Woodyard is flying under the radar in many drafts this summer. That includes this one, where Woodyard  was taken outside the top 20 linebackers and after rookie batterymate Rashaan Evans. That shouldn't be the case in most drafts.

Team 6: And a Rookie Shall Lead Them

Round Player Round Player
1.06 Saquon Barkley - RB, NYG 12.07 Chandler Jones - DE, ARZ
2.07 Devonta Freeman - RB, ATL 13.06 Theo Riddick - RB, DET
3.06 Rob Gronkowski - TE, NEP 14.07 DJ Moore - WR, CAR
4.07 Demaryius Thomas - WR, DEN 15.06 Harrison Smith - S, MIN
5.06 Marvin Jones - WR, DET 16.07 Marcus Mariota - QB, TEN
6.07 Carson Wentz - QB, PHI 17.06 Brandon Graham - DE, PHI
7.06 Emmanuel Sanders - WR, DEN 18.07 Jordan Wilkins - RB, IND
8.07 Marlon Mack - RB, IND 19.06 KJ Wright - OLB, SEA
9.06 Blake Martinez - ILB, GBP 20.07 Derwin James - S, LAC
10.07 Tremaine Edmunds - ILB, BUF 21.06 Matt Bryant - PK, ATL
11.06 Kelvin Benjamin - WR, BUF 22.07 Mason Foster - ILB, WAS

 

There likely wasn't a team in this draft whose first seven picks I liked more in this draft. That says something given that it came from the six hole and included a quarterback who is coming off a torn ACL. I might actually like the defensive lineup even more. Whether it's the defensive line (Jones/Graham), the linebackers (Martinez/Edmunds/Wright) or the secondary (Smith/James), this owner was able to build a defensive lineup as good as any in this league and do so for a reasonable price.

IDP Stud Alert: Chandler Jones led the NFL with 17 sacks last season, but since he did it as an outside linebacker it was something of a non-story in most IDP formats. However, under new head coach Steve Wilks the Redbirds are making the move back to a four-man front in 2018, and that means defensive lineman eligibility for Jones this season.

Team 7: Receivers and More Receivers

 

Round Player Round Player
1.07 DeAndre Hopkins - WR, HOU 12.06 D'Onta Foreman - RB, HOU
2.06 Davante Adams - WR, GBP 13.07 Tyler Eifert - TE, CIN
3.07 Doug Baldwin - WR, SEA 14.06 Demario Davis - ILB, NOS
4.06 Alex Collins - RB, BAL 15.07 Jack Doyle - TE, IND
5.07 Bobby Wagner - ILB, SEA 16.06 Doug Martin - RB, OAK
6.06 Tevin Coleman - RB, ATL 17.07 Kenny Stills - WR, MIA
7.07 Drew Brees - QB, NOS 18.06 Frank Clark - DE, SEA
8.06 Isaiah Crowell - RB, NYJ 19.07 Hasean Clinton-Dix - S, GBP
9.07 Zach Brown - ILB, WAS 20.06 Anthony Hitchens - ILB, KCC
10.06 Calais Campbell - DE, JAX 21.07 Adrian Amos - S, CHI
11.07 Nelson Agholor - WR, PHI 22.06 Jake Elliott - PK, PHI

 

This team was prepared to go the "Zero RB" route, but the owner explained afterward that the run on running backs early was so much more intense than they anticipated that they abandoned the plan in Round 4 and didn't take another wideout until Kenny Stills in Round 17. Depending on how things play out as the season wears on, that will either serve as a testimonial to being flexible on draft day or serve as a cautionary tale about abandoning your draft strategy too early.

IDP Sleeper Alert: There was plenty of criticism of the $9 million a year given to Anthony Hitchens in free agency by the Kansas City Chiefs, with good reason, Hitchens has never posted even 90 tackles in a season. However, the reality is that someone is going to have to make tackles in 2018 for a Chiefs defense that looks, well, bad. He's going to have opportunities galore to produce.

Team 8: Kamara – Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa

 

Round Player Round Player
1.08 Alvin Kamara - RB, NOS 12.05 Jordan Reed - TE, WAS
2.05 Keenan Allen - WR, LAC 13.08 Philip Rivers - QB, LAC
3.08 Deshaun Watson - QB, HOU 14.05 Everson Griffen - DE, MIN
4.05 Brandin Cooks - WR, LAR 15.08 Corey Clement - RB, PHI
5.08 Derrius Guice - RB, WAS 16.05 OJ Howard - TE, TBB
6.05 Luke Kuechly - ILB, CAR 17.08 Jordan Poyer - S, BUF
7.08 Tarik Cohen - RB, CHI 18.05 Akiem Hicks - DE, CHI
8.05 Randall Cobb - WR, GBP 19.08 Cameron Meredith - WR, NOS
9.08 Jordy Nelson - WR, OAK 20.05 Leighton Vander Esch - ILB, DAL
10.05 Ty Montgomery - RB, GBP 21.08 Tony Jefferson - S, BAL
11.08 Mark Barron - ILB, LAR 22.05 Harrison Butker - PK, KCC

 

If you like shooting for the moon in fantasy football, Team 8 is probably right up your alley. This club's first half-dozen picks all have question marks, whether it's Alvin Kamara's limited track record or the durability of quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Keenan Allen. That uncertainty extended to the IDP picks. Kuechly has upside galore, but an ever-lengthening injury history. However, this team got great value on the defensive line with Everson Griffen (14th round) and Akiem Hicks (18th round). That's a solid duo at a more than reasonable price.

IDP Pro Tip: This team dodged a bullet. In 12-team leagues like this with two starters on the defensive line, there aren't as many dependable options as there are every-week starting slots. Unless you're prepared to be aggressive up front or luck out like Team 8, the defensive line can easily become a problem area for your fantasy team.

Team 9: You Down With OCB?

 

Round Player Round Player
1.09 Odell Beckham - WR, NYG 12.04 Calvin Ridley - WR, ATL
2.04 Leonard Fournette - RB, JAX 13.09 Deone Bucannon - OLB, ARZ
3.09 TY Hilton - WR, IND 14.04 Chris Carson - RB, SEA
4.04 Rashaad Penny - RB, SEA 15.09 Christian Kirk - WR, ARZ
5.09 Khalil Mack - DE, OAK 16.04 Patrick Mahomes - QB, KCC
6.04 Marshawn Lynch - RB, OAK 17.09 Sean Davis - S, PIT
7.09 Pierre Garcon - WR, SFO 18.04 Austin Seferian-Jenkins - TE, NYJ
8.04 Kwon Alexander - ILB, TBB 19.09 Yannick Ngakoue - DE, JAX
9.09 Matthew Stafford - QB, DET 20.04 Avery Williamson - ILB, NYJ
10.04 Kyle Rudolph - TE, MIN 21.09 Tyrann Mathieu - S, HOU
11.09 Aaron Jones - RB, GBP 22.04 Chris Boswell - PK, PIT

 

Had Team 9 not managed to back him up with Chris Carson later on, the selection of rookie running back Rashaad Penny of the Seahawks in Round 4 could have been a season-killer with Carson running with the ones early in camp. The IDP selections are a bit less controversial, but that doesn't mean they weren't aggressive in adding IDP talent. This team took the first defensive lineman off the board in Khalil Mack (and second IDP overall) and drafted a pair of defensive players in the first eight rounds.

IDP Pro Tip: It's not necessary to be this aggressive on defense to field a competitive IDP lineup. If you're unsure when to start taking IDPs, let your league-mates set the pace. Yes, it means no Khalil Mack or Bobby Wagner for you. But you won't have to worry about reaching for those players two rounds too early either.

Team 10: On the Hunt for Green

 

Round Player Round Player
1.10 Kareem Hunt - RB, KCC 12.03 Demarcus Lawrence - DE, DAL
2.03 AJ Green - WR, CIN 13.10 Rashaan Evans - ILB, TEN
3.10 Kenyan Drake - RB, MIA 14.03 Jared Goff - QB, LAR
4.03 Adam Thielen - WR, MIN 15.10 Josh Doctson - WR, WAS
5.10 Sammy Watkins - WR, KCC 16.03 CJ Anderson - RB, CAR
6.03 Dion Lewis - RB, TEN 17.10 Cameron Heyward - DE, PIT
7.10 CJ Mosley - ILB, BAL 18.03 George Kittle - TE, SFO
8.03 Jimmy Graham - TE, GBP 19.10 Denzel Perryman - ILB, LAC
9.10 Will Fuller - WR, HOU 20.03 Morgan Burnett - S, PIT
10.03 Jimmy Garoppolo - QB, SFO 21.10 Barry Church - S, JAX
11.10 James White - RB, NEP 22.03 Wil Lutz - PK, NOS

 

The front half of Team 10's draft is excellent. The offensive foundation is excellent, especially if sixth-round tailback Dion Lewis and 10th-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo play to their potential. Baltimore's CJ Mosley (7th round) is as good a cornerstone as you can ask for at linebacker. But behind Mosley potential problems await. Tennessee's Rashaad Evans' next NFL tackle will be his first one, Also, while Denzel Perryman of the Chargers has shown the ability to produce when healthy in the past, "when healthy" is a notable caveat with him.

IDP Sleeper Alert: After eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers (including three of over 100 total tackles), Morgan Burnett joined the Steelers in free agency. If Burnett assumes an every-down role at strong safety as I suspect he will, the 29-year-old will be the defensive back to own in the Steel City.

Team 11: What's Cook-ing?

 

Round Player Round Player
1.11 Dalvin Cook - RB, MIN 12.02 Marqise Lee - WR, JAX
2.02 Michael Thomas - WR, NOS 13.11 Latavius Murray - RB, MIN
3.11 Allen Robinson - WR, CHI 14.02 Andrew Luck - QB, IND
4.02 Derrick Henry - RB, TEN 15.11 Giovani Bernard - RB, CIN
5.11 Chris Thompson - RB, WAS 16.02 Michael Gallup - WR, DAL
6.02 Michael Crabtree - WR, BAL 17.11 David Njoku - TE, CLE
7.11 Deion Jones - ILB, ATL 18.02 Damon Harrison - DT, NYG
8.02 Telvin Smith - OLB, JAX 19.11 Ricky Seals-Jones - TE, ARZ
9.11 Sean Lee - OLB, DAL 20.02 Stephen Gostkowski - PK, NEP
10.02 Matt Ryan - QB, ATL 21.11 Vonn Bell - S, NOS
11.11 Cameron Jordan - DE, NOS 22.02 Antoine Bethea - S, ARZ

 

This is – in my opinion – the team to beat in this league. Unfortunately, I also had nothing to do with drafting it. Dalvin Cook has top-five upside at the RB spot, as does Mike Thomas at wideout. The manager even waited until the 10th round to draft a quarterback in Matt Ryan. But what really gets my blood pumping is the three straight linebackers that Team 11 selected in the first half. That isn't the foundation for a daunting defense. It's a meat-grinder.

IDP Pro Tip: This team played it smart it the secondary, eschewing the position altogether until the end of Round 21. The elite options are tempting, but there are always a fistful of surprise stars at that position every season, a la Kevin Byard of the Titans and Jordan Poyer of the Titans in 2017. Wait, that patience is likely to be rewarded.

Team 12: Mr. Jones and Me

 

Round Player Round Player
1.12 Melvin Gordon - RB, LAC 12.01 Myles Jack - ILB, JAX
2.01 Julio Jones - WR, ATL 13.12 Melvin Ingram - DE, LAC
3.12 Russell Wilson - QB, SEA 14.01 Rishard Matthews - WR, TEN
4.01 Amari Cooper - WR, OAK 15.12 LeGarrette Blount - RB, DET
5.12 Sony Michel - RB, NEP 16.01 Jamie Collins - OLB, CLE
6.01 Greg Olsen - TE, CAR 17.12 Justin Tucker - PK, BAL
7.12 Duke Johnson - RB, CLE 18.01 Leonard Williams - DE, NYJ
8.01 DeVante Parker - WR, MIA 19.12 Eric Berry - S, KCC
9.12 Lavonte David - OLB, TBB 20.01 Charles Clay - TE, BUF
10.01 Nick Chubb - RB, CLE 21.12 Bradley McDougald - S, SEA
11.12 Marquise Goodwin - WR, SFO 22.01 Cory Littleton - ILB, LAR

 

The first two picks Team 12 made were great, it's awfully hard to criticize the selections of Melvin Gordon and Julio Jones. However, after that things went downhill PDQ, especially on the defensive side of the ball. There are questions at linebacker, Leonard Williams has yet to have a big year at defensive end for the New York Jets and the safeties are far from sure things. It's not necessarily that this is a bad team, but in order for it to contend for a playoff spot a few dominoes are going to have to fall in the right order.

IDP Sleeper Alert: To their credit, Team 12 did land a couple of my favorite late IDP values in 2018. Seattle safety Bradley McDougald has shown the ability to produce in the past and will have ample opportunities to do so again given all the personnel losses in the Pacific Northwest. Cory Littleton worked as the defensive signal-caller for the Rams in OTAs and appears headed for a three-down role this season.

Gary Davenport

Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report and a contributing author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Gary was the winner of the 2017 and 2019 FSWA awards for Football Writer of the Year. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPSharks.