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tiggerpolice 06-07-2005 11:27 AM

Rotoworld's Expert Draft..
 
the Draft.


1. RotoWorld.com - LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers RB


Tomlinson is the clear first pick in any league, but his receiving skills widen the gap in leagues that award points for receptions. It’s a great year to get the first pick. There is a gap after LT2 and the depth at running back means quality options will be available by our next pick.


2. FantasyFootball.com – Priest Holmes, Chiefs RB


This is a bold pick by our buddy Ryan Houston. Priest is the ultimate boom-or-bust selection this season, and we’d rather wait until the middle of round one before taking the plunge. The Chiefs may hand over carries to Larry Johnson in an effort to keep Priest healthy.


3. Team Three – Shaun Alexander, Seahawks RB


Once Alexander gets the knife out of his back, he’ll realize this is another contract year. Besides Tomlinson, there isn’t a safer bet for 15 scores. Don’t worry about a possible hold out. Alexander has no choice but to play.


4. Team Four – Willis McGahee, Bills RB


Will the change to J.P. Losman at quarterback help or hurt McGahee? He will be the entire offense. Either way, expect McGahee to go this high in fantasy drafts all summer. We have him ranked fourth in our magazine rankings because he is likely to top 400 touches. Another year removed from ACL surgery, McGahee still has plenty of room to improve.


5. Team Five – Peyton Manning, Colts QB


How early is too early to draft a quarterback? This selection only makes sense if Manning approaches 45 TDs. We have him pegged closer to 40.


6. Team Six – Edgerrin James, Colts RB


Indianapolis expects James to show up by training camp. So do we. Assuming he does, James provides great value here. In points-per-reception leagues, he has an edge over Alexander and McGahee.


7. Team Seven – Domanick Davis, Texans RB


Is Double D overrated? We think this is way too early to draft Davis. Not only is he an injury risk, but the Texans have already talked about reducing his workload this season after drafting Vernand Morency. Davis was very inconsistent last year, averaging only 3 yards a carry in the first half of the season before his huge finish. There are too many franchise backs still on the board.


8. Team Eight – Ahman Green, Packers RB


It will be interesting to see how far Green falls in fantasy drafts following a lame ’04 season where his body started to break down. Because of the younger options still on the board, we would have passed.


9. Team Nine – Deuce McAllister, Saints RB


With a rebuilt offensive line and promises for a huge workload, Deuce and coach Jim Haslett are talking up an 1,800-yard season. Don’t expect him to fall this far in most drafts. He will go in the top five in many drafts.



10. Team Ten – Corey Dillon, Patriots RB


The most consistent running back in the league last season, Dillon’s lack of receptions hurt him in this league format. He should be fine, but Dillon’s 434 touches last year are a concern at age 31.


11. Team Eleven – Clinton Portis, Redskins RB


This is why owners should hope for the first pick or a late first-round pick in fantasy drafts this season. A young volume runner, C.P.’s numbers should improve along with the Redskins offensive line. 1,315 yards is a fine off-year.


12 Team Twelve – Kevin Jones, Lions RB


Once again, you want to pick late. Jones rushed for 906 yards in the second half of last season. An improved Lions passing game should only help him.


Round One Recap


Best Value: Deuce McAllister

Shadiest Pick: Domanick Davis

Trend: No wide receivers taken. Younger running backs (K. Jones, J. Jones, and Portis) slip.


13. Team Twelve – Jamal Lewis, Ravens RB


Jamal Lewis and Kevin Jones are two sweet cornerstones to build a team around. Lewis should run with purpose after his personal remake of The Longest Yard this summer. Just don’t expect big numbers in the passing game.


14. Team Eleven – Julius Jones, Cowboys RB


Julius was atop our draft board after Edge went at #6. Check out Curtis Martin’s early career numbers with Bill Parcells to see how we think Jones will fare this season. Get running backs while they are young. Team Eleven did quite well to nab Jones and Portis with their top two picks.


15. Team Ten – Daunte Culpepper, Vikings QB


Kathie Lee Gifford, Phife Dawg, Andy Richter, and … Daunte Culpepper? The list of sidekicks who fell off without their leading man is a long one. With that said, we actually think CPep will hold on to his status as the second best fantasy QB; he’s just not worth a pick this high. Without Randy Moss, the gap between Culpepper and second-tier talent like Marc Bulger and Trent Green is too small to warrant a top twenty pick.


16. Team Nine – Randy Moss, Raiders WR


Team Nine has done a nice job finding value with Deuce McAllister and now Randy Moss. Wide receivers are worth more in this scoring format, and the gap between the top tier of wideouts (Moss, Owens) and the rest of the league is large.


17. Team Eight – Marvin Harrison, Colts WR


Forget the fact we’d rather have Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, or Torry Holt. Instead look at the running backs passed on here: Tiki Barber, Steven Jackson, and Rudi Johnson, among others. Expect Harrison to go roughly one round later in most drafts.


18. Team Seven – Tiki Barber, Giants RB


Team Seven may not score many TDs, but the backfield combo of Davis and Barber is going to catch a boatload of catches. Remember that 60 catches in this format is worth ten scores. Tiki provides solid value here.


19. Team Six – Steven Jackson, Rams RB


If Jackson holds up physically, he’ll have a chance to score 15 touchdowns this season. Of all the exciting first-time starters (Bell, Jordan, the big 3 rooks), Jackson may be the safest bet.


20. Team Five – Curtis Martin, Jets RB


Remember to draft on this year, not last year. Going into 2004, Curtis Martin was getting drafted in the fourth round of fantasy drafts because of his age. What has really changed since then? If anything, we’re more concerned because of Martin’s huge workload last season. While he’s a decent RB2, we’d rather draft higher reward players still on the board. Such as…


21. Team Four – Tatum Bell, Broncos RB


Fantasy titles are often the product of calculated risk-taking. Bell is a fine example here. With McGahee and Bell, this team is swinging for the fences. Bell has never done it before, but he has more natural talent and speed than most of the star running backs that have come through Denver.


22. Team Three – Rudi Johnson, Bengals RB


Hard to argue with this pick. Less flashy than a few other choices, Johnson will carry the ball at least 300 times for a high-scoring team. His poor receiving output is the only reason he slipped this far.


23. Fantasy Football.com – Brian Westbrook, Eagles RB


The return of Correll Buckhalter and the drafting of Ryan Moats are concerns this season with Westbrook. But 73 catches is positively Faulk-like. We also love that Westbrook has made huge improvements each season – his ceiling is not yet established. He’s a fine value here.


24. RotoWorld.com – Terrell Owens, Eagles WR


This was an easy choice for us. Knowing our next two picks would start at #48, we hoped Chad Johnson would slip to us in this slot. Drafting T.O. is a significant upgrade – we have him ranked as a top 15 selection in our magazine. We’re not too concerned about his hold out. If he wants to get paid, T.O. is going to play in the NFL this season, and it will be for the Eagles. 100 catches and 15 TDs is well within reach.


Round Two Recap


Best Value: Julius Jones

Shadiest Pick: Marvin Harrison

Trend: Culpepper will go in round two in most drafts, as will 3-4 wide receivers.


25. RotoWorld.com – LaMont Jordan, Raiders RB


We believe. Jordan is a veteran with a rookie’s body. He’s playing for a coach that loves to run his backs into the ground. He’s playing with the most dangerous receiving group this side of the Colts. He catches the football. We say he’s a top ten pick in 2006.


26. Fantasy Football.com – Chad Johnson, Bengals WR


If Priest stays healthy, this team has an excellent pass-catching trio in Priest Holmes, Brian Westbrook, and Chad Johnson. Johnson’s ascension to the top tier of wideouts is complete. We’d expect him to go in the first two rounds of most drafts, and rarely past the first five receivers drafted. With Carson Palmer maturing, CJ may rival the numbers of Moss and Owens.


27. Team Three- Torry Holt, Rams WR


We see a big drop in reliability after our top five receivers, so Holt is a solid choice here. You can’t get much safer at the position than 1,300 yards for five straight seasons.


28. Team Four – Reggie Wayne, Colts WR


We have a run on receivers. With exciting running backs still on the board, we would have held off on a wideout in this spot for one more round. Still, Wayne threatens to pass Marvin Harrison as the No. 1 receiver on the best offense in football. Team Four continues to bet on slightly risky, higher upside picks, which we can’t fault.


29. Team Five – Fred Taylor, Jaguars RB


(Sound of brakes screeching) Taylor is a major risk this high. Reports on his knee vary from “Heâ₠¬â„¢ll be fineâ€? to “Heâ₠¬â„¢ll never walk again.â€? Okay, we made that up. But Taylor is not only an injury risk. He’s unlikely to play much on third downs because of his hands. He’s unlikely to get the ball much in the red zone because of struggles last year. With so many young running backs still on the board, this pick could be a season-killer.


30. Team Six – Carnell Williams, Bucs RB


Nice. The availability of rookie starting running backs in the middle of the third round will make drafts a lot more fun this year. Cadillac is our top rookie considering the recent developments with Ricky Williams in Miami.


31. Team Seven – Joe Horn, Saints WR


Like Torry Holt, fantasy owners draft Horn early because of his consistency at an inconsistent position. Hollywood has finished among the top ten fantasy scorers at his position in four of the last five years.



32. Team Eight – Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs TE


This is right where we’d expect Gonzalez to be selected in most drafts this year. We don’t see the value, however, because of the abundance of quality options that will be available at the position three rounds later like Jeremy Shockey and Alge Crumpler. We prefer spending the first 4-5 rounds loading up on running backs and wideouts.


33. Team Nine – Chris Brown, Titans RB


Taking Brown this late is a fine risk/reward proposition, assuming Tennessee doesn’t trade for Travis Henry. He’s a top ten talent when healthy. But with Brown needing two months to recover from his latest injury, a broken hand, we suspect Henry will be a Titan this season.


34. Team Ten – Steve Smith, Panthers WR


Wide receiver is the most subjective position in fantasy drafts. While we’d rather take Andre Johnson or a rookie running back here, we appreciate teams that think against the grain. Our only quibble is that Smith would almost certainly be available five picks later when their next pick comes up.


35. Team Eleven – Andre Johnson, Texans WR


Great value here. Johnson is the prototype – everything an NFL coach wants in a 21st century wide receiver. He doesn’t need to make a huge third-year leap to be worth drafting here, but it’s very possible. Don’t expect AJ to be the ninth wideout drafted in most leagues.


36. Team Twelve – Antonio Gates, Chargers TE


Gates is likely to be drafted in the late third or early fourth rounds. Like Gonzalez, we just don’t see the value of drafting a tight end so early this season. While an elite talent, it’s too much to expect another 14-score season.


Best Value: Andre Johnson

Shadiest Pick: Fred Taylor

Trend: Only four running backs drafted. Still plenty of starting running backs available.


We’ll be back next week to wrap up our look at this Mock Draft. We will take a look at the next few rounds and some interesting trends later in the Draft. Let us know who you think was drafted too high, too low, or overlooked in the first three rounds of this Draft by emailing Gregg Rosenthal.


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