My Top 12 Draft Picks

This is my top 12 draft list, based on superflex PPR. This is also more based on redraft than dynasty, so it tilts a bit more towards RB’s than WR’s:

  1. RB Najee Harris: I can probably wait to get him all the way down at 7th or 8th, but he is my #1, period. If I had the 1.01 pick, and couldn’t trade back in the first round, he is still my pick here.

  2. RB Jonathan Taylor: I worry a little about his usage last season. He had 372 touches, which is in the burnout area. But since he is only 23, it’s a risk I would take. But his production last season was elite, so even if there is some regression, he should still be top 5.

  3. QB Josh Allen: With this being superflex, QB’s naturally carry more value. Allen was amazing last year: 4407 pass yards, 36 pass td’s, 763 rush yards and 6 rush td’s. He is number 1 in ECR in superflex PPR, and it is obvious why.

  4. QB Justin Herbert: He isn’t far behind Josh Allen with his stats: 5014 pass yards, 38 pass td’s, 302 rush yards and 3 rush td’s. For dynasty, I like Herbert a little bit more, because he seems to have a leg up in the elite passer conversation, and that is what helps QB’s last longer.

  5. RB Dalvin Cook: We know Cook will miss a few games with injuries, as he does every year. But the Vikings moving towards a more pass-heavy offense should help him last longer, plus his receiving numbers should go up.

  6. QB Patrick Mahomes: I am putting this here as a placeholder for your reference, nothing more. I would sooner eat a nail sandwich with habanero peppers than I would draft ANY Chief player, especially Mahomes! As a Raider fan, having to root for Mahomes for any reason is comparable to asking for a root canal without anesthetic. That said, I will respect the fantasy reasons for drafting him: 4839 pass yards, 37 pass td’s, 381 rush yards and 2 rush td’s. In my defense, he did have 13 picks last year, his worst as a pro. Will that number increase, ala Brett Favre? I certainly hope so!

  7. WR Cooper Kupp: With this being a PPR draft, no top pick list is complete without last year’s WR1. The numbers were a season for the ages: 145 catches, 1947 yards, 16 td’s. With Allen Robinson on the Rams now, expect Kupp’s numbers to dip somewhat, but QB’s never forget their favorite targets. For Stafford, Kupp will always be his WR1, period.

  8. WR Justin Jefferson: Jefferson is sniffing at Kupp’s heels: 108 catches, 1616 yards, 10 td’s. With the Vikings passing more, could he surpass Kupp this year? Maybe, but there is one other guy in this conversation…

  9. WR Davante Adams: 123 catches, 1553 yards, 11 td’s. A lot of people are downgrading Adams because of the trade from Green Bay to Vegas. Big mistake. He is back home with his buddy Derek Carr, and they will light it up like they did in college. Ignore Adams at your own risk.

  10. RB Austin Ekeler: ECR has him at #4. Aside from natural statistical regression, there is RB Isaiah Spiller there now. Ekeler had a great year last year, but he is 27 now. The Chargers have been trying to get a supplemental RB for years now, and Spiller could be the guy. While I could be wrong, Spiller seems a lot better than anybody else they brought in over the past few years.

  11. RB Derrick Henry: Henry is a dominant RB, period. 937 rushing yards in only 8 games last year. But even if you draft him here, you better get RB Hassan Haskins later in the draft. Personally, I’d avoid Henry. His most important stat: He is 28 years old. He is looking hard at the RB cliff. I know he is a big guy (6’3", 247 pounds), but Father Time claims RB’s faster than other positions.

  12. QB Jalen Hurts: I see Hurts as a guy with Lamar Jackson upside. His 2021 numbers are pointing in that direction: 3144 pass yards, 16 pass td’s, 784 rush yards and 10 rush td’s. Adding AJ Brown is actually a smarter move than what the Ravens did adding Marquise Brown, who was primarily a deep threat. Giving Hurts a solid alpha WR can only help his passing, which is where he needs help most. ECR has him at 20, and I think that is too low.

Guys who missed the cut:

RB Christian McCaffrey: He has 1159 total yards and 8 td’s over the last 2 seasons. Why is he even being considered in the first round? This is like a stock analyst picking IBM as a top performer. The fact both ECR and ADP have him at number 3 is insanity to me. At best, if he dropped to the 3rd round or later, I MIGHT take a shot at him. Probably more like the 6th or 7th rounds.

QB Lamar Jackson: I expect Lamar’s upside from last year’s awful season to look more like 2020 than 2019. His 2020 stats: 2757 pass yards, 26 td’s, 1005 rush yards and 7 rush td’s. THAT is his upside. He was 9th best QB that year. Good, but not 1st round.

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Not a lot to complain about here.

Najee and JT are 1a and 1b to me, the pendulum can swing either way. FWIW, right now Najee is my RB#1, too.

Allen and Herbert - I fully agree, give me Allen in redraft and Herbert in dynasty.

Cook - I’m not so high on him. First, we need to wait if he will really benefit from the more pass-heavy approach. And even if he does, he will definitely not retain his ~80% ground volume share. Not if the Vikings want to get more than 13 games out of him this season. I can easily see a scenario where Mattison cuts deeper into his ground work, and Kene Nwangwu mixes in as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Cook is my RB#8, based on 17 games played. He’ll drop out of the RB1 range if he’ll miss more than 2 games this season.

Mahomes - I have 2 things to say. First, letting fan preferences influence your fantasy decisions will never lead to success. Second, for a redraft format, you have Mahomes too high. We have to see how the new KC offense will work out. I don’t believe they will be terrible, but there may be some struggles. Mahomes is my QB#5 in redraft this year, but still my QB#3 in dynasty.

Kupp - it’s never a good idea to predict previous year’s success story to just repeat itself. It almost never happens. With that being said, Kupp is my WR#1, too. He has a lot of room to regress before dropping out of the elite WR tier.

JJ is my WR#2, too, so no complaints here.

Adams… I don’t expect him to be terrible. But 3 undeniable facts speak against him finishing the season as WR#3: 1) The competition for targets is bigger in Las Vegas. 2) Derek Carr is good, but not Aaron-Rodgers-good. 3) His buddy days with Adams date 10 years back. Pairing a QB with his college WR can lead to fantastic things, but after such a long time? We’ll see. I have Adams at 1,300 yards and 10 TDs, which translates into WR#10. I’ll admit that feels a tad too low. But not 7 spots too low.

Ekeler - as a fantasy owner, I share your concerns. I’m more concerned about his health than about Spiller, though. If the Chargers were sure that Spiller was their guy, they wouldn’t have waited until the 4th round to draft him. NFL teams just don’t do that.

Henry - I share your concerns, and wouldn’t have blamed you if had left him out of your top 12 list. The only detail I don’t agree with here: I’m not sure if Haskins will be his backup. Dontrell Hilliard is still on the team, looked good last year when his number was called, and may be in the pole position for the RB2 spot. Haskins’ tape didn’t convince me, and the lack of draft capital spent on him suggests the Titans selected him as a depth piece, not as a potential Henry successor.

If you want to bet a on a deep sleeper in the Tennessee backfield, bookmark Julius Chestnut.

Jalen Hurts - I’m slowly dropping my resistance on him, but to include him in the top 12 is too much for my liking. He would have to take a huge step forward as a passer to get into top 5 territory, and I’ll believe that when I see it.

CMC - you know my take on him. I don’t blame you for leaving him out of the top 12, as he’d have to finish at least 14-15 games to get into the top 3 conversation. I think it’s possible, but would probably not bet on it myself. I would select him over Dalvin Cook, though.

And finally, Lamar has top 4 upside, but will more likely finish in the QB#6-8 range, so I agree with not including him.

2 players I’d have considered for the list:

Tom Brady, since this is redraft. Yes, he is dinosaur. Yes, the fact that his birth certificate was etched in stone and painted on a cave wall in France screams “age regression”. But why should he regress at age 45, when at age 44 he played one of the best fantasy seasons in his career?

And Michael Pittman, who is my WR#3, not far behind Kupp and JJ.

I’m not rooting for Mahomes in any way, shape or form, EVER! I can find plenty of decent QB’s on other teams.

Note that I don’t have Derek Carr in the top 12. Even though he is on one of my dynasty teams, I took over the team from another owner who had acquired him. But I will add when I saw the roster, and saw Derek Carr was on it, my response was, “I’m home now!”

I don’t see Haskins as a successor, at least not yet. I just see him as a player who can spell Henry without having to change the offense too much.

AJ Brown is what will give Hurts better passing stats. We’ll see if that breaks into Josh Allen territory. But just consider what happened to Allen when he got Stefon Diggs:

2019 (pre-Diggs): 3089 pass yards, 20 pass td’s, 9 int’s
2020 (Diggs first season): 4544 pass yards, 37 td’s 10 int’s

I won’t say Hurts will see that kind of elevation, but consider Hurts last season: 3144 pass yards, 16 td’s, 9 int’s. That looks way too much like 2019 Josh Allen to ignore.

It isn’t Brady that scares me, but rather his teammates. They have most of the same team they had in the Super Bowl 2 years ago. One player may note regress, but when the entire team is now 2 years older, there is going to be somebody in there doing a lot of regressing.

You could be right. Matt Ryan is well-known for giving his alphas a lot of love (and targets).

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