The NFL season is officially over now that the Giants defeated the Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI. But since we're always looking ahead, we wanted to give you a mock draft to mull over heading into the offseason.
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We've already done a standard 12-team mock draft, so this time around we're looking at a 12-team, point-per-reception format. The idea is to focus on players who catch the ball since many Fantasy owners now prefer to play in PPR leagues because of the challenge and increased scoring.
In this league all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends also earn one point for every reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE).
There will also be five reserve spots for a 14-round draft. This lineup reflects our CBSSports.com free Fantasy Football game.
Our draft order is as follows:
Kevin Goodwin, Fantasy Writer
Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
J. Darin Darst, College Football Editor
Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer
Al Melchior, Data Analyst
Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
Will Brinson, Senior NFL Blogger
Alex Riethmiller, VP, Communications
Jim Lanzone, President, CBS Interactive
Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
Editor's Note: Our Jamey Eisenberg shares his post-draft thoughts on each round and every roster.
The first round of a PPR draft is always interesting to see when the first receiver and quarterback will be drafted. Johnson at No. 5 is a solid choice after the Top 4 running backs, and Rodgers at No. 6 is safe, especially with passing touchdowns still six points. The riskiest selection might be Andre Johnson at No. 12 instead of a running back like Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles.
The tight end run was expected here, but this might be a little early. But if you want to lock up Gronkowski and Graham, especially in this format, you have to take them in Round 2. Seeing Newton taken ahead of Brady is a little surprising, and this is too early for Peterson coming off his knee injury in Week 16.
Johnson should be a steal here, especially going after Gore. Murray could also prove to be tremendous value and Sproles was an excellent selection since he should remain productive in 2012. This is the round where you will likely see owners draft Nelson and Cruz with the hope they replicate their performances from this year in 2012.
The running back drop-off started here with Turner, who is on the decline and not a good selection in PPR leagues. Jackson and Bush could also struggle and Helu has plenty of question marks even if he presents the most upside. Gates is selected ahead of Aaron Hernandez, which could be risky, and the run on No. 2 receivers started here.
Spiller was drafted too early here since he will split time with Jackson next season, and Bush could be a steal in this round if he leaves the Raiders as a free agent. The run on quarterbacks started with Rivers, Manning and then Romo in Round 6, and this will be when owners lock up their starter with the second-tier of passers.
Three receivers drafted here -- Manningham, Wayne and Lloyd -- are free agents this offseason, and where they land will determine their value. If all three stay with their current teams then Lloyd has the most upside unless Peyton Manning returns at 100 percent, which would help Wayne. We would not like Wayne much if Andrew Luck is his starting quarterback.
Britt could prove to be the best player selected in this round if he returns at 100 percent following his torn ACL early this season. Mendenhall is a good value pick here, but he also has to prove his health following a torn ACL in Week 17. Two of my favorite sleepers were drafted in this round in Smith and Leshoure, who should be Detroit's starting running back in 2012.
More sleepers went off the board in this round with Redman, Gerhart and Moore. Redman and Gerhart should open the season as starters in Pittsburgh and Minnesota, respectively, with Mendenhall and Peterson coming off injuries. And Moore should be the No. 1 option in Oakland's passing game. Stewart could also be a steal here, and Rice should rebound in 2012.
Boldin is going to fall in drafts in 2012 and he should be drafted behind Smith. But he's still a steal in this round, and his value is higher in PPR formats. Young is another sleeper, and he should emerge as the starter opposite Calvin Johnson. The steal of this round could be Peyton Manning if he returns at 100 percent.
Ridley was drafted ahead of Green-Ellis, which is the right move to make even if Green-Ellis returns to New England as a free agent. Green-Ellis is a step above a goal-line back, and Ridley has much more upside. Hardesty was an excellent pick in this round since he could open as Cleveland's starter with Peyton Hillis a free agent.
There were great value picks in this round with Amendola, who should be a standout PPR option if he returns at 100 percent following an elbow injury, and Brown, who could open the season as the starter for the Colts. Gresham is also a potential Top 12 tight end, and Washington was the best receiver for the Titans this season with Britt out.
Brown and Jon Baldwin are two receivers to put on your radar. Brown could emerge as a go-to target for Rivers with Vincent Jackson possibly gone as a free agent, and Baldwin should start for the Chiefs. If Dwayne Bowe leaves as a free agent then Baldwin's value will rise dramatically. Mike Thomas should not be drafted in any leagues.
Rodgers is a sneaky pick in a PPR league because Turner could be headed for a down year, and he already is a terrible receiver. If Turner doesn't score double digits in touchdowns then he will kill owners in this format, and Rodgers could see an increase in playing time. Addai's Fantasy value is on the decline, but he is still worth drafting this late in all leagues.
This is the round in all leagues when kickers should be drafted. Decker was taken in this round, and he is another receiver worth taking a flier on late in drafts because he should remain a starter for the Broncos. Even though he struggled to close the season and Demaryius Thomas blew up, Decker will still have his moments as a potential starter for Fantasy owners.
This team will be watching the Redskins closely with Helu, Royster, Hankerson and Moss. Running back will be a concern for this team, especially if Helu doesn't pan out, but Redman could prove to be his best selection in Round 8. If Wayne lands with a stud quarterback then this team has the best receiving corps in the league, which is nice to have in a PPR format.
This owner did a nice job at running back with Jones-Drew, Johnson and the Vikings tandem. Even if Peterson is slow in his recovery he still has Gerhart as a potential flex option. Britt could be the difference maker for this team, which has stars at every position. Waiting on a quarterback paid off since he got Roethlisberger in Round 6.
This team has some risky players with plenty of upside in Davis, Hardesty and Thomas. If any of them pan out to be stars then this owner will have a slew of options at the flex position. He also could trade Palmer if he turns out to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback since he won't need him with Brady as his starter.
I wanted to see what my team would look like taking Gronkowski early in Round 2, and I'm not thrilled. My running back corps is good but not great, especially in a PPR format, and I have to hope Rice pans out as a rebound candidate. I love my reserves in Leshoure, Ridley, Baldwin and Brown because they have plenty of potential, but if they all falter my team will struggle.
This team has a great starting lineup with Ryan, Foster and Gore, Jackson and Wallace and Bowe as a flex. If Gonzalez struggles at tight end -- which could happen at this point in his career -- he also has Pettigrew as a replacement or even as a flex option. Garcon also has plenty of upside depending on where he plays, and this team should be competitive in 2012.
Running back is the biggest hole with Murray, McGahee and Mendenhall the only ones on the roster. And with Mendenhall's status uncertain, this owner could be forced to trade a stud like Newton, Johnson, Maclin or Gates for running back help. Maclin would make the most sense since he has Crabtree on the bench and receivers with upside in Baldwin and Decker.
If Forte and McFadden return to health as expected then this running back duo will be hard to compete with, but we know McFadden has trouble staying on the field. Similarly, if Jackson plays like the stud receiver he's capable of, this receiving corps should be legit, but we have to find out where Jackson is playing. The same goes for Manningham, who is also a free agent.
This team has the potential to be great depending on where Lloyd and Johnson end up as free agents, but this owner has quality reserves in Boldin and Amendola in case they falter. Bush also has to produce like he did this season, which will be tough, but it's nice to have studs like Stafford, McCoy and Hernandez to fall back on to help carry your team.
This is another squad with a tremendous receiving corps in White, Marshall, Colston and Witten, which should carry his team. If Schaub and Charles return at 100 percent and play at a high level then this could be the best team in the league. But there are plenty of question marks with Charles and Williams is more of a flex option then a starting running back. Benson could be a difference maker, but it will depend where he plays in 2012.
This is another owner who took a tight end early in Round 2, and Graham could be a better PPR option than Gronkowski if the touchdowns are similar. Lynch, Sproles and Stewart are a stellar running back trio, and Williams has a lot of upside for the Cardinals. Robinson's Fantasy value will be determined where he plays since he is a long-shot to return to the Cowboys.
If Manning returns at 100 percent then this owner will be looking to make a trade, and he might need some help after looking at his reserves. Williams could prove to be a great value pick in Round 8, but after that his bench is thin. Cassel was a wasted pick after taking Rivers and Manning, but he has great starters in Mathews, Jackson, Welker and Harvin.
Sophomore slumps would ruin this team if Green, Smith and Young all struggle, but the state of this team hinges on Bush getting a starting job, Jackson holding off Spiller and Hillis finding significant playing time. If those three things happen then this team could be a juggernaut, but we won't know for sure until the offseason is over and those questions are answered.
News:USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday. It is not known if he will try to play this season (like Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers did last year). ESPN reports that Crabtree had surgery Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined about six months. That timetable would put Crabtree out until at least some time in November.
Analysis: Crabtree came on very strong for the Niners last season once Colin Kaepernick went under center. In the seven starts Kaepernick made in 2012, Crabtree had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. That's out the window now. We expect the Niners to put Crabtree on the PUP list to begin the season and re-evaluate where he's at in his rehab come October or November. If you draft Crabtree with what would now be a middle- to late-round pick, you'd have to dedicate a bench spot to him for most of the regular season with no guarantee you'd get him in your lineup at 100 percent. The Niners will lean on Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and perhaps second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins to pick up the slack.
Ball expected to make 'impact' Montee Ball, RB, DEN 5/22/2013
News: Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Wednesday the team has high expectations for rookie running back Montee Ball. Hes trying to pick up the offense," Gase said. "Hes a rookie. There are a lot of things going on, and hes trying to pick it up as quick as possible. Obviously drafting him in the second round, were looking for him to make some kind of impact for us and be able to be on the field five, six plays and work together with that group of running backs.
Analysis: Ball has the chance to start for the Broncos, especially if Willis McGahee and/or Knowshon Moreno are released prior to training camp. Keep an eye on what happens with Ball, who is likely to share playing time with Ronnie Hillman. We view Ball as a No. 2 Fantasy running back with upside. He's worth drafting in Round 5 in most standard leagues.
News: The unlucky offseason for Lions running back Mikel Leshoure continued during OTA workouts Wednesday. First, the team signed running back Reggie Bush, which dropped Leshoure on the depth chart. Then on Wednesday, Leshoure was not participating in team drills because of an injury, according to the Detroit News. "He's battling some stuff," coach Jim Schwartz said. "He can do some individual stuff but he's not ready to do any team work."
Analysis: We hope Leshoure is OK, and it sounds like he should be fine for training camp. Keep in mind he had an Achilles injury as a rookie and battled some ankle problems in his comeback. As long as Leshoure is back for training camp he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy running back, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick. Keep in mind that even though Bush is the new starter for the Lions, Leshoure should work at the goal line, which will keep his value sustainable in the majority of standard leagues.
News:USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. That's a tough blow for quarterback Colin Kaepernick since Crabtree was clearly his No. 1 receiver. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in Kaepernick's 10 starts in 2012 he targeted Crabtree more than any other receiver. The target breakdown was Crabtree with 94, Vernon Davis with 39 and Randy Moss with 39.
Analysis: This injury hurts Kaepernick's value for this season. His receiving corps was upgraded with Anquan Boldin replacing Moss, and the 49ers drafted a rookie in Quinton Patton. But now he's without his No. 1 option in Crabtree, which lowers Kaepernick's value. He is still worth drafting as a No. 1 quarterback, but he should be considered toward the end of the Top 10 at best with a mid-round pick.
News: The New York Daily News reports Hakeem Nicks was absent from the team's first day of OTA workouts Wednesday, just hours after attending a charity event in New York the night before and telling reporters he felt good physically following knee surgery. He had attended offseason program. "He should be here," an irked coach Tom Coughlin said, ruling out injury for the reason he's absent.
Analysis: Sounds like this is a case of Nicks showing his unhappiness with his contract. He's slated to be a free agent after the season and wants an extension; the Giants are dragging their feet. Last season Nicks struggled through injuries including a broken foot suffered during OTAs a year ago, leaving him with unappealing Fantasy stats and a large red flag warning owners of injuries to come. Assuming he's eventually in camp on-time and ready for the start of the season he's a high-risk, high-reward No. 2 Fantasy receiver worth a pick in Round 5 or 6. He went in Round 4 in our most recent mock draft, a bit too high in our opinion.
News: The Texans official team website reports that rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins is making a good impression early on this offseason. Hes such a dynamic player, quarterback Matt Schaub said. Hes just going to bring an added dimension to our offense. Schaub cited Hopkins great attitude and work ethic, and is looking forward to what Hopkins will bring to the squad. Hopkins has practiced with the first-team offense, which meant he and Andre Johnson were the starting receivers. Johnson believes Hopkins is well on his way to contributing. Hes picking up everything pretty well, Johnson said. He went and made some plays today and thats a good thing. I think day-by-day, hell continue to get better and better.
Analysis: Hopkins has the chance to be a solid contributor for the Texans as a rookie, and we would draft him as a key reserve with a mid-round pick. In rookie-only drafts, Hopkins is worth drafting with a first-round selection.
News: The Jaguars have signed another Patriots castoff, this time receiver Jeremy Ebert.
Analysis: Ebert hurt his leg last season and didn't play. He's unlikely to make an impact for the Jaguars in 2013.
News: Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas said Wednesday he feels as comfortable as ever in his rapport with quarterback Peyton Manning. "Its sky-high right now," Thomas said of his chemistry with Manning. "I know what he wants. I know where to be on the field. I feel like the more were on the field, the better I get, just in seeing what he wants from me and seeing what hes looking for.
Analysis: Thomas had a true breakout year in 2012, turning into the Fantasy stud that many expected him to be, which happened in his third year in the NFL. Thomas finished eighth in the league in catches (94), fourth in yards (1,434) to go along with his 10 touchdowns. He enters this season as a No. 1 Fantasy receiver, and he should be drafted in all leagues by Round 3.
News:USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. While this injury hurts the 49ers, it should help tight end Vernon Davis, who could become the No. 1 option now for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Analysis: Davis had a down year in 2012 and struggled once Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith. He stepped up his performance in the playoffs, and hopefully he can pick up from there, especially with Crabtree out. Davis is a No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues, especially after this injury, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6.
News:USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. The injury now elevates Anquan Boldin to No. 1 on the depth chart. Boldin was traded to the 49ers this offseason from the Ravens.
Analysis: Boldin, at this point in his career, was suited more for a No. 2 receiver role than a No. 1 option. Last year, as the No. 1 option for the Ravens, he caught 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, but he stepped up in the playoffs with 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Still, this injury helps his Fantasy value, and Boldin now has the potential to be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver worth a mid-round pick.