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Every team is in training camp right now getting ready for the up and coming season. Right now, you should be getting ready for your fantasy football season as well.
This is the perfect time to mock draft. Mock drafting now helps get your strategy together. I’ve started mock drafting a week or so ago. I have a friend who started soon after Independence Day (he’s won my league multiple times). This is equivalent to practicing for an event or a big game. Now is not the time to act like Allen Iverson about practice. By the time the real draft happens, you’ll be prepared and won’t be panicking.
Bell or Johnson
Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers and David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals finished the fantasy season strong last year. Now, these 2 are projected to go 1 and 2 in most pre draft rankings. Both of them are versatile and are heavily featured in their respective team’s offenses. Honestly, you shouldn’t go won’t choosing either of them. Personally, I prefer David Johnson this year due to Bell’s injury history. Also, he’s currently holding out in training camp.
Avoid Drafting in the First Round
Drafting wide receivers in the first round is starting to become a popular trend, but don’t shy away from the fundamentals: running backs are scarce. Last year, I did Antonio Brown was worth drafting with the 1st overall pick and he was (especially in a PPR league). With that being said, the two players you want to avoid drafting in the first round is Mike Evans and A.J Green. Both of them are elite wide receivers, but they’re not worth selecting that early. Mike Evans had a monster year last year, but the Bucs offense has upgraded this off-season. The additions of deep threat DeSean Jackson and first round draft pick O.J. Howard (tight end from Alabama) will take pressure off of Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. In theory, his targets should decrease. Same thing with A.J. Green. Cincinnati upgraded its offense by adding draft picks John Ross (wide receiver from Washington) and Joe Mixon (running back from Oklahoma). Along with a healthy Tyler Eifert, Andy Dalton will have a plethora to choose from. If you can get any of these 2 studs in the second round, you’re doing something right.
Here’s a list of players that should enhance your team later in the draft:
- Christian McCaffrey (RB, Carolina)
- Terrell Pryor Sr. (WR, Washington)
- Dalvin Cook (RB, Minnesota)
- O.J. Howard (TE, Tampa Bay)
- Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, Tampa Bay)
- Eddie Lacy (RB, Seattle)
Below are things you should consider:
- Quality running backs are limited (get them early).
- Quarterbacks come a dime a dozen (no sense drafting Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers within the first 3 or 4 rounds when you can get the same quality from Kirk Cousins or Marcus Mariota later in the draft).
- Tight ends and wide receivers are a dime a dozen as well in PPR leagues.
- PLEASE WAIT as long as possible to draft a kick or defense/st.
Last, please remember to have fun. Being stressed out over your fantasy team will make the situation worse and less enjoyable. You may forget that you are a fan of the game. Enjoy yourself.
I’m ranking the projected 32 starting quarterbacks entering the 2017 season. Obviously, parts of this list are debatable, but (I believe) this is the most accurate list to date.
Bottom of the Barrel
32) Bryce Petty – NY Jets
You have to start somewhere.
31) Jared Goff – LA Rams
Can’t wait to see what he’s made of.
30) Cody Kessler – Cleveland
It’s the Browns (future starting to look bright though).
29) Brian Hoyer – San Francisco
Somehow he finds his way on the field.
28) Tom Savage – Houston
We’ll see. He has a lot of weapons around him though.
27) Trevor Siemian – Denver
Not sure how long this will last, but he had some good moments last season.
26) Mike Glennon – Chicago
Hopefully, he’s mentally tough. He’s in a lose-lose situation.
25) Blake Bortles – Jacksonville
He has more career pick-6’s (11) than career wins (10). Let that sink in.
24) Alex Smith – Kansas City
It’s not his first time on the hot season and won’t be the last.
23) Ryan Tannehill – Miami
Something has to give. He’s getting paid too much money to be this inconsistent.
22) Sam Bradford – Minnesota
Even though Teddy Bridgewater is still recovering from his injury, the Vikings gave up way too much to not make the playoffs.
21) Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo
The Bills Organization may not believe in Tyrod, but he has enough talent to keep them in games.
20) Joe Flacco – Baltimore
That Super Bowl win seems so far away…
19) Carson Wentz – Philadelphia
He should be higher on this list when the season is over.
18) Kirk Cousins – Washington
It’s Kirk Cousins or bust for Kirk Cousins. He won’t be back next year.
17) Eli Manning – NY Giants
Good Eli. Bad Eli. Ugly Eli. Which one will show up this year?
16) Carson Palmer – Arizona
Even though the offense is talent, the end may be near for him.
15) Dak Prescott – Dallas
Dak has given Dallas “hope” to end their two-decade Super Bowl drought.
14) Marcus Mariota – Tennessee
This offense should be fun to watch. He continues to get better.
13) Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay
He may end up in the top 10 by the end of the season. He has the potential to lead the Bucs into contention.
12) Andy Dalton – Cincinnati
Just needs to get it done in the playoffs.
11) Andrew Luck – Indianapolis
He has the talent to be an elite quarterback (just needs an offensive line). He just needs to get it done.
10) Philip Rivers – LA Chargers
He has been consistent over his career but has yet to get over the hump.
9) Russell Wilson – Seattle
Russell has championship-pedigree. Will he be able to put it all together again is the question.
8) Cam Newton – Carolina
Overall, he’s possibly the hardest quarterback to bring down (even with that bad offensive line). He still has accuracy issues (misses high) but he’s still dangerous.
7) Matthew Stafford – Detroit
He proved that didn’t need Calvin Johnson to put up big time numbers. Just need the organization to change its culture.
6) Derek Carr – Oakland
He’s knocking on the door of elite status. He was having an MVP-caliber season before the season-ending leg injury. Expect big things from him and the Raiders.
5) Drew Brees – New Orleans
He’s been so good for so long. Just wished their defense would’ve been better over the years.
4) Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh
His window is closing to get his 3rd Super Bowl title with his elite offense. Super Bowl or bust right now.
3) Matt Ryan – Atlanta
He finally put his skills and potential together last season and lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Will they get back to the big stage?
Crème De La Crème
2) Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay
“The human cheat code” is way too talented to only have one Super Bowl ring in his career. The window will be closed sooner than later.
1) Tom Brady – New England
I don’t know how much more he has in the tank at age 40, but until we show signs of him coming down to Earth, he’s the best.
From the 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, “The U” (University of Miami) has produced NFL stars that have turned out to be present and future Pro Football Hall Of Famers. This list includes Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Devin Hester. Another player that can potentially join that list is Andre Johnson.
The 3rd overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft finished his career with 1,062 receptions (11th all-time), 14,185 receiving yards (10th all-time), and 70 receiving touchdowns. Johnson was a 7-time Pro Bowler, 2-time first team All-Pro, 2-time second team All-Pro, 3-time Wide Receiver of the year, led the league in receiving yards twice and holds just about every Houston Texans’ franchise records. He spent his first 12 seasons with the Houston Texans. Johnson spent 2015 with the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennesse Titans in 2016.
Even though his most memorable moment was probably the fight with Cortland Finnegan in 2010 (he had it coming), Andre Johnson has been a true professional on and off the field. His foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation, has provided kids with toys in the Houston community for years.
When it’s all said and done, I believe Andre Johnson should be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame one day. I don’t think he’s a “first-ballot” caliber player, but he definitely deserves a spot in Canton. He has always been consistent and underrated over his established career. The best quarterback that he’s ever played with was Matt Schaub (that’s not saying a lot). The Houston Texans may have not gotten over the hump during his tenure, but Johnson has always come to play every game.
We are living in an era where we’re witnessing historical records are being broken, mesmorizing moments from deciding games are taking place, and once in a lifetime achievements are current. Clear examples of such greatness includes the Golden State Warriors winning 73 games in a regular season, the newly infamous Julian Edelman’s catch that helped propel the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI comeback, and the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908.
We are also living in an era where we’re witnessing some of the best athletes to ever play. When I was a child, I saw Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, and Jerry Rice. As I got older, I witnessed Kobe Bryant, Mario Lemieux, Derek Jeter, and Randy Moss. Now there’s LeBron James, Patrick Kane, Kris Bryant, and Julio Jones. Over the past 30 years, we’ve have seen athletes come and go, but we have all been witnesses to the greatness that certain professionals have displayed.
In the last 12 months alone, we have seen some of the best championship sporting outcomes in history. We saw March Madness end with a buzzer beater by Villanova to beat North Carolina. Two months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the city’s championship drought by coming back against the Golden State Warriors down 3 games to 1 to capture their first NBA title in franchise history. Fast forward to October, we witnessed another drought end but on a more significant level. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 10th inning of game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 as well. Last month, we saw Clemson get their sweet revenge against Alabama in of the most fantastic finishes in recent memory. Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title. Less than 2 weeks ago, we’ve witnessed the best Super Bowl ending in NFL history. The UConn women’s basketball team are currently on a 100 game winning streak (that is ridiculous!).
It seems like we’re at a point where we expect great things to happen at every major sporting event. From The Master’s to Wimbledon; the Stanley Cup to the World Series; the NBA Finals to the Super Bowl, we are spoiled by greatness. Appreciate these moments while you can because all things (including exceptional moments) must come to an end.
Today is bittersweet for the NFL. Even though this is the biggest game of the year, this is also the last game of the NFL season until the summer time. I do enjoy other sports that are active during the NFL offseason, but not having Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, and even fantasy football leaves an unreplaceable void. With that being said, let’s hope this game ends with a bang.
At 39 years old, Tom Brady is making his 7th trip to the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots have looked dominant the whole season, even with Brady being suspended the first 4 games of the regular season due to “Deflate-gate”. Even though New England has been without their superstar tight end Ron Gronkowski since November 13th, the additions of Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and Michael Floyd have given the offense more depth. Already having Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis, the New England Patriots have never lost a step.
This season’s league MVP, Matt Ryan, has led his team to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Ryan is the ringleader to this high-power offense, who was the highest scoring team in the NFL (33.8 points per game) 2nd in the NFL in total offense. Center Alex Mack has been the unsung hero of this offense. Atlanta arguably has the best 1-2 punch at running back with Devonta Freeman and Tevon Coleman. Atlanta finished top 5 in the NFL in rushing this season. The Atlanta Falcons have improved their wide receiver core by adding speedster Taylor Gabriel and possession receiver Mohamed Sanu. I forgot to mention that Atlanta already has arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL with Julio Jones.
It’s kind of hard to bet against New England. They have had consistency at the coaching and quarterback positions between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Also, those 2 individuals had plenty of experience in the Super Bowl. Their offense is good because of their versatility. Their defense has played well at times, but it’s not as consistent as their last Super Bowl appearance 2 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if New England wins today for these reasons alone. However, I believe Atlanta’s offense will be a problem. Once this offense gets rolling, it’s almost impossible to stop it (I think of it like a snowball running downhill). New England has never scored a touchdown in the first quarter of any Super Bowl. This will probably be the toughest offense New England has ever seen in the biggest game. As good as Malcolm Butler is, I don’t think he can stop Julio Jones by himself (if he is to cover him). Atlanta’s defense has stepped up in the playoffs, getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I’m officially going with the “underdog” tonight. I have the Atlanta Falcons defeating the New England Patriots 27-21.
Growing up, there were only a few NFL players that really caught my attention because of their impact on the game. Deion Sanders is my favorite cornerback to ever lace ’em up. Randy Moss is my favorite wide receiver to step foot on the gridiron. My love for the quarterback position started with Steve Young and Brett Farve. All of them have inspired me and are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (except Randy Moss).
Since the dawn of time, quarterbacks have been known to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball to their targets. Until the impact of Warren Moon, the quarterback position has been predominately caucasian. Over the last 25 years, we’ve seen more diversity at the quarterback position. Also in that course of time, we have witnessed the evolution of dual-threat quarterbacks. We went from a few like Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, and Dante Culpepper to the likes of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, and more.
The pivotal reason for the surge of dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL today was the emergence of Michael Vick in 2001. The former Virgina Tech star was the most electrifying quarterback in the history of the NFL. The number one overall pick, who ran a 4.25 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine, was embarrassing opposing defenses with his legs with his speed, agility, acceleration, and elusive juke moves. Also, he is the greatest video game athlete of all-time (if you played Madden 2004, you know what I’m talking about).
Michael Vick finished his career with 21,503 passing yards, 131 passing TDs, 6,109 rushing yards (most ever for a quarterback), 36 rushing touchdowns, and went to 4 Pro Bowls. The Atlanta Falcons lead the league in rushing from 2004-2006, spearheaded by Vick, Warrick Dunn, and T.J. Duckett. Michael Vick had his best success as an overall quarterback under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, especially in 2010 (3,018 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 6 INT, 676 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs). Also, he had the greatest performance of his career that season in December against the New York Giants.
I’m not going to get into the dog fighting allegations again because it’s irrelevant at the moment (CLICK HERE to check it out), and he has had injuries that have derailed some of his progress as a player. However, I believe he deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. His statistics as a quarterback are probably not Hall Of Fame worthy, but his impact and legacy, to me, are enough credentials to get him in. Do you think Michael Vick should get in?