Football

Aaron Rodgers, Brandon Marshall, and 10 Things to Learn from a “Going Deep” Mock Draft

AaronRodgers

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about PFF’s awesome new fantasy game Going Deep. It’s just a ridiculously fun format with 13 starters, a QB-eligible Super Flex, 1.5 ppr for tight ends, and a $75 price point. Danny Amendola and Jason Witten highlighted the lineup I recommended after simulating the format with the RotoViz Snake Draft Planner.

A couple of days ago, 12 of the highest profile experts in the fantasy world came together to participate in a Going Deep Mock Draft. Here are 10 things we can learn from what transpired.

10. Even the experts don’t know what to make of Welker v. Decker.

Wes Welker was drafted with the 48th overall pick while Decker lasted until No. 64. If you’ve read Davis Mattek’s excellent piece, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and the Importance of Touchdowns, you know the odds favor Decker as the second Broncos receiver to own in 2013. Welker is the eighth most overvalued player in 2013, while Decker came in as my third most undervalued player.

9. Aaron Rodgers is going to be a crazy value.

Even though Going Deep is basically a 2-QB format, Aaron Rodgers came off the board at No. 43 overall. That’s almost criminally insane. Consider:

Passing on Rodgers in the first half of Round 4 is a mindboggling tactical blunder.

8. Veteran committee backs are falling out of favor.

Ahmad Bradshaw went 9.03, Jonathan Stewart 11.01, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis 12.09. I still wouldn’t have touched any of those guys in those spots, but it’s refreshing to see the “safe RB approach” falling out of favor. Of course, Green-Ellis should have been the first player drafted out of that trio, not the last. The injuries Bradshaw and Stewart are dealing with could linger long into the regular season.

7. Tavon Austin is starting to fall but remains overrated.

Austin was selected No. 68 overall, one spot ahead of RotoViz favorite Torrey Smith. News out of Rams camp has suggested Austin’s biggest rookie contribution might be returning kicks. I doubt it will be that bad, but this just serves as another piece evidence that Austin will be Dexter McCluster 2.0. If you want a player who is eerily similar to Austin but now finds himself in a superior situation, you should wait for the final round and select Damaris Johnson.

6. Alfred Morris remains undervalued, Marshawn Lynch overvalued.

Lynch came off the board at No. 11 while Morris fell to No. 19. I’m not sure how to explain this. Earlier this week I projected all of the runners for 2013 using the revolutionary RB Sim Score Lab. Morris came in at No. 8, Lynch at No. 18.

Marshawn Lynch featured as the No. 1 player to avoid in How to Lose a Draft in 10 Picks, and Morris was the player I recommended selecting instead. I go into great detail in breaking down Lynch versus Morris in placing Washington’s breakout star on the 10 Most Undervalued Players List. He’s poised to be the Second Coming of Terrell Davis.

Lynch is an awesome guy to watch on Sunday, as long as it doesn’t bother you that a lot of what he does falls into the “sound + fury = nothing” category. In looking at his 2013 prospects, I discovered that he’s terrible before contact, overrated after contact, and in danger of losing a big chunk of his value to the mercurial but supremely talented Christine Michael. Jonathan Bales followed up my scathing criticism with an even more definitive takedown.

5. Mid-round tight end values are starting to be more logical.

We finally see a draft where Jermichael Finley (8.06) goes ahead of Jared Cook (8.08) and Kyle Rudolph (9.08). Jared Cook and Kyle Rudolph finished No. 1 and No. 2 on my Overvalued List and will destroy a lot of title hopes this season. Jacob Myers helps explain why Rudolph’s 2012 was entirely predicated on red zone luck, while Davis Mattek demonstrates Cook’s lack of upside.

Meanwhile, Finley is a player I’ve been promoting heavily all offseason. (Did you realize he’s younger than Jimmy Graham?) Bales points out how Finley has a very wide range of potential outcomes, and that for someone being drafted at his ADP, that’s a good thing.

4. Brandon Marshall hasn’t convinced everybody.

Earlier this offseason, Charles Kleinheksel wrote an excellent piece explaining why Marc Trestman’s new offense should benefit Jay Cutler and Matt Forte but perhaps not Brandon Marshall. This view seemed to be shared by quite a few of the Going Deep experts. Marshall fell all the way to No. 20 and was selected after players like Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, and Julio Jones.

I strongly believe you have to start RB-RB in 2013, but you can’t select Darren Sproles ahead of Marshall in any format or under any conditions. Brandon Marshall recently ranked No. 1 in my complete projection of the Top 40 Wide Receivers.

3. Even in 2-QB, expert leagues, Late Round QB is an easy and obvious strategy.

The biggest inefficiencies in this draft came at the quarterback position. Eli Manning was picked at 6.07, Michael Vick at 7.04 and Ben Roethlisberger at 7.09. Big Ben is poised to have a massive breakthrough fantasy season in 2013, but you lose most of that value if you select him in Round 7. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler came off the board at 11.02, Andy Dalton at 11.03, and Joe Flacco at 12.04.

To review, Eli Manning was the poster boy for my article on How Not to Play Late Round QB. Meanwhile, my favorite sleeper QB and the No. 3 passer in my QB Safety Rankings were both selected more than 50 picks later. This is why the Fantasy Douche believes Late Round QB keeps looking better and better.

2. WR is deep, but it’s not that deep.

Here are the wide receivers who went off the board in Round 8: Josh Gordon, T.Y. Hilton, Kenny Britt, Miles Austin, Anquan Boldin, Michael Floyd, Sidney Rice, Ryan Broyles, and Denarius Moore.

So . . . we have a guy who’s suspended, a guy whose rookie season is patently unsustainable, a guy who’s always hurt and/or suspended, a guy who will probably need double hamstring replacement surgery by Week 1, a guy who’s slower than me, two guys who have basically never caught any NFL passes, a guy who’s in Europe during training camp getting preventative treatment, and a guy who over the last two years averaged nearly three fewer adjusted yards per reception in Oakland than DHB.

1. Sigmund Bloom is a stealth RotoViz addict.

I’m kidding here, of course. Bloom is one of our favorite writers and a great guy to follow on twitter due to his good-natured banter on the stats v. scouts topic. He also had a tremendous overall draft, including the selections of E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith in Rounds 17 and 18. Those who’ve followed us since before the NFL Draft know Manuel and Smith are very underrated NFL prospects. For the quarterback portion of his 10 in 10 Series, Frank suggested Bloom’s exact tactic: Select Manuel and Smith in the last two rounds as part of the Hydra approach.

Shawn Siegele is the creator of the contrarian sports website Money in the Banana Stand and Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy.

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By Shawn Siegele | @ff_contrarian | Archive

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