Last Sunday Night, while watching the Hall of Fame game, that itch for fantasy football crept back begging to be scratched. Luckily, my first Fantasy Football Draft is Sunday after the Colts and 49ers play both teams first preseason contest. I still needed to do some scratching, and decided to take part in a 14-man mock draft (you can participate in mock drafts on sites like CBS, Yahoo! and several others). While participating in the mock, I had several targets in mind while selecting. Since I was picking 10th overall, Frank Gore was certainly out of my reach, but it got me thinking. Who would Frank Gore's Fantasy Rival be in 2010? Looking at the mock draft results, I'll try to determine which player(s) we can stack Frank up against throughout the season.
Gore was selected sixth overall, about where he's averaging, with Ray Rice and Michael Turnergetting taken just ahead of our favourite 49er at the 4 and 5 spots. Like I mentioned, I was selecting 10th and was surprised to see Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene both get selected ahead of my draft pick, Steven Jackson. While Jackson does play for the St. Louis Rams, it's hard to imagine taking Greene or Mendenhall over the total yardage machine Jackson can be when healthy. In my opinion, Jackson should've been the next RB off the board after Gore, making my 10th selection much trickier. For his career, the Rams workhorse has averaged 107 total yards per game, scoring a TD in every other game. Pardon me Mendenhall and Greene, if I'm not impressed by your small sample size. In comparison, Ray Rice averaged 127 total yards per game in 2009 (with 8 TDs) and Frank Gore totalled 109 yards per game with 13 TDs. How did Jackson do in 2009? His TDs were low (4), but he kept pace in the yardage category, averaging 115 per contest.
So, how are we going to measure Frank Gore's success in 2010? Well, since Ray Rice's ADP is just ahead of Gore's, and Jackson's is just behind, I figured this trio will be a good group to track throughout 2010. All three backs are similar in total yardage ability, and Gore might have the slight edge in TD-potential. Rice still has McGahee and McClain potentially stealing goal line carries, and Jackson could struggle to hit pay dirt playing on the Rams (although, there's no doubting he'll get his chances). Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene are going to have to play their way into this list, so I'm writing them off completely (ditto, Michael Turner). After the jump the rest of my mock draft results and eyeing up potential fantasy rivals for other 49ers players...
A few disclaimers before I post my results, the first reminding you to keep in mind this is just one mock draft, and the sample size is very small. I avoided drafting 49ers fantasy players unless the pick seemed absolutely reasonable. Drafting Vernon Davis at 47th overall was done strictly as a reasonable draft selection if I were faced with the same situation in an actual league. Davis is one of the top tight ends in fantasy football, and I would've considered taking Gates over VD if both were available. Avoiding Michael Crabtree in the early rounds, and hoping he'd make it to round 5 or 6 is where I value the 49ers WR this season. Seeing him selected 59th overall seems about right, but I'm not sure I would've made him the selection at 66th if given the opportunity. Personally, I think guys like Pierre Garcon, Malcolm Floyd and Percy Harvin might hold a little more value than Crabs (I hope I'm wrong).
There's not much to say about the San Francisco Team Defensive Unit, except that you should expect it to be drafted as one of the top five fantasy defenses. I'd only consider drafting Green Bay, New York or Minnesota over the 49ers at this point, with consideration possibly going to Baltimore. In terms of kickers, well my opinion on fantasy kickers isn't very high, but I ended up taking Nick Folk instead of Joe Nedney because I feel the Jets will have more redzone FG opportunities than San Francisco. Folk had a very poor season with the Cowboys in 2009, so you'd likely want to consider a better kicker sooner (if you're into that sort of thing). Having said that, here's the draft selections I made during my mock draft. Enjoy...
Mock Draft Selections (value compared to ADP)
Round 2 Pick 19: Peyton Manning(value even) - I had two choices: take Manning, or wait as both Brees and Rodgers were off the board by now. I could've selected Larry Fitzgerald or Roddy White(both were available) and then waited until Round 4 or 5 to get a QB. Taking Manning with the 19th pick is definitely not terrible though, and I'm sure if this were an actual selection, I'd be just as ok with it.
Round 3 Pick 38: LeSean McCoy(value +2) - McCoy was a player I was targeting once I selected Manning, I knew I'd need another RB, and I love the all-purpose type even in non-PPR leagues. Both Jahvid Best (36th overall) and Beanie Wells (31) were selected ahead of McCoy in Round 3, don't expect that during your actual draft day. Knowshon Moreno (42) was the next RB selected after I took McCoy.
Round 4 Pick 47: Vernon Davis(value -5) - Arguably the best WR available at the time of this pick was Chad Ochocinco, so you can understand if I reached a bit to shore up my tight end position. Dallas Clark was taken in round 3 (34), followed by Antonio Gates in round 4 (45) leaving Davis as the best option left over at tight end. I should note that Owen Danielswas selected in Round 6 (77), and that would've been tremendous value instead of over drafting VD.
Round 5 Pick 66: Brandon Jacobs(value +3) - Again ignoring the WR position with this selection I opted for the TD-potential of Jacobs. Both my starting RBs are all-purpose types, so I may need a banger to pile up some TDs for me in relief. Percy Harvin (58), Michael Crabtree (59), Mike Sims-Walker (60) and Dwayne Bowe (64) were all taken ahead of Brandon Jacobs in Round 5, so you can understand why I opted to ignore my WR position until my turn came up in Round 6.
Round 6 Pick 75: Pierre Garcon(value +15) - After the rest of the league was done stock-piling WRs, I figured it was my turn. At this junction, Garcon is a steal, but I'm not sure relying on him as my number one fantasy WR is wise. I opted for Garcon over Malcolm Floyd because Peyton Manning is my QB, and I don't hate that combination. Garcon, from a fantasy standpoint, will be great to stack up and track against Michael Crabtree through out the season despite the two players not having similar traits on the field (Garcon is more of a speedster, Crabtree more of a possession type).
Round 7 Pick 94: Robert Meachem(value +3) - In all honesty, it may have been wise for me to take Floyd over Meachem, but I opted for TD-potential over yardage potential. I don't really like having any Saints WRs on my fantasy team, since Drew Breesdoes such a great job spreading the ball around, but I do like the 9 TDs Meachem put up in 2009.
Round 8 Pick 103: Eddie Royal(value even) - This might have been the dumbest move I made of the draft, because I truly thought Malcolm Floyd would've made it this far in the mock. Boy was I wrong, Floyd was selecting at the end of round 7, and I was left scratching my head (among other things). I should've used my brain and jumped on board the Team Defense bandwagon (Philly and San Francisco were both available), but my stubbornness made me select Royal.
Round 9 Pick 122: Steve Breaston(value +24) - By the time this pick came up, all the reasonable good Team Defenses were gone, and I was sulking. I hate over drafting defensive units, but in this case, I should have (well not with this pick but the previous). Do I like Breaston's chances for putting up decent fantasy numbers now that Q is out of Arizona? Yes, but I wouldn't rely on him more than as a WR3 or bench WR.
Round 10 Pick 131: Steve Slaton (value +32) - Here's another one of those all-purpose backs I can't seem to get enough of, despite Houston drafting Ben Tateand Slaton's 2009 fumblitis. Despite the woes, taking Slaton this deep in a draft can pay off huge; in 2009 he still managed to score 7 TDs and put up 77 total yards per game. If Slaton can resolve his fumbling problem, he'll go back to being Houston's all-purpose back, while Tate keeps his role as bruiser. I don't think Arian Fostercan hold off a healthy, non-fumbling Steve Slaton.
Round 11 Pick 150: Cincinnati Team Defense (value -37) - I stretched here to take the Cincy D, and probably could've waited a few more rounds, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't stuck the bottom of the heap for Team Ds. I likely should've waited and taken Donald Brown with this selection, but I was feeling a bit Colt-heavy, and also keeping an eye on another Colt, Anthony Gonzalez.
Round 12 Pick 159: New England Team Defense (value -38) - Again, I could've waited to jump on my back-up Team D, and instead selected the likes of Bernard Berrian, Roy Williams or LaDanian Tomlinson. However, I was feeling worried that New England might not make it to my next draft selection, and with an uncertainty in Cincy, I needed to shore up this position to rest easy and make one of the two expendable if necessary.
Round 13 Pick 178: Brandon LaFell(value -15) - Consider this draft pick in two ways: 1. I wanted to take a rookie I think can produce, and 2. If this were an actual league, I'd need a guy I could drop without hesitation. Considering how late bye-weeks start in 2010, by week 6 I would know if LaFell has any value as a rookie and if he hasn't panned out, he's a no-brainer to drop. Much like the New England Team D, I needed an expendable player.
Round 14 Pick 187: Nick Folk(value -11) - I hate fantasy kickers, plain and simple. Folk wasn't a wise choice, because he had such a terrible season in a potent offense in 2009 with Dallas. However, kicking field goals from 30-40 yards in New York shouldn't be too taxing, and the Jetsshould give him plenty of chances to put up decent fantasy numbers.
Round 15 Pick 206: Anthony Gonzalez (value +90) - Let's say Indy's version of Gonzo finally lives up to expectations and rebounds well from his 2009 injury. Would you like the bragging rights to having the intelligence to pick him 206 overall? As you can tell based on the +90 in parenthesis, don't expect that to be the case in your actual fantasy draft, but keep Gonzalez in mind in later rounds regardless. Ending this draft with just one QB and TE could be risky in an actual fantasy league, but if I run into a pinch and certain guys don't pan out, it's nice having the option to dump players without regret.
That wraps up this edition of Fantasy Football 2010 here on Niners Nation, let's see if we can determine some Fantasy Rivals for Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and the San Francisco Team Defense in the comments, shall we?