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Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2011: Get Your Cheat Sheets Ready

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With real football around the corner, fantasy drafts are, or are getting ready to, take place all over the country.  I play in a 12 team league with a  20 round draft and a starting lineup that consists of 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, a WR/RB flex, a WR/TE flex, 1K, and 1DEF  Look at what your weekly position requirements are, because that is really going to dictate, at least to an extent, your draft strategy.  If you are in a league that has 3 WR starting positions, expect a run early on WR's, and it might drive the value of average guys way up, and cause owners to overlook other positions, like QB or RB.  And this is where you can make a killing.

While tooling around the Internet, I found a mock draft that the guys at Fantasy Football toolbox put together, using representatives from a lot of the major fantasy football sites, and I'd like to look at the results, because the first two picks are pretty dumb, for a bunch of experts.

First of all, anyone that has the first overall pick in the draft and doesn't pick Adrian Peterson is doing nothing but outsmarting themselves by a half.  And if he falls in to your lap at #2...and you pass on him...then you're a dope.

And that's what happened here.  Arian Foster, he of a recovering leg injury went #1 overall, Chris Johnson...who's fantasy value slips the longer he holds out, went #2, and AP fell to #3 overall, an absolute steal.  With Peyton Manning hurt, there were no quarterbacks in the first round, which consisted of seven running backs and  five wide receivers.

Which is telling as the NFL has evolved from a 1 feature running back league to a running back by committee philosophy.  As little as six or seven years ago, the only WR worth taking in the first round was either Randy Moss or maybe...MAYBE Terrell Owens.  These days, with the advent of the running back by committee, top WR's are worth as much as many running backs, especially in WR heavy leagues, as this draft was.

But don't lose focus on drafting a complete team.  There were some questionable choices in the first two rounds.  Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best QB, was the first QB off the board, but wasn't drafted until late in the second round, behind guys like Dwayne Bowe, Mark Ingram...and Matt Forte?  That's a steal, if you ask me.

And that's the weirdness about fantasy drafts.  Whether your strategy is to get running backs first, or go best player available, you have to be prepared to adjust your strategy based on what's going on.  If there's a run on WR early, and you have a league where you start 3 per week, you might have to grab a guy that can get you points early, or be prepared to trade.  But don't panic. 

Don't reach for a guy early just because everybody is grabbing wide receivers.  There are plenty of those guys available, so don't overlook a top producer at quarterback, like Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, for example, to get a guy that won't get near as many points from a wideout position.

Other than Peterson, some notable Vikings that were picked were Percy Harvin (5th round, 57 overall--steal), Donovan McNabb (11th round, 124 overall), and Ryan Longwell, 20th round.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.