Instead of doing mocks blindly and picking players you like, you should have a rough idea of who you are leaning towards and want to pick. This first draft I went with my favorite strategy. I chose the 8th spot and decided I would go WR/WR with my first two picks if the players I was targeting were available. You will see that right from the beginning my plan gets thrown off track and I had to adjust to keep the integrity of my team.
Without further ado, here were the results of my first draft:
1.8 - Agh! My plan gets foiled right from the start, as Calvin Johnson was my #1 target and gets picked up by The Don. Still feeling comfortable with my options, I chose A.J. Green as my first pick. This post explains my thoughts on the top four receivers. I felt confident that either Brandon Marshall or Julio Jones would still be available on the wrap around.
2.17 - Easy choice for me. I went with Brandon Marshall because I am experimenting with a strategy that I will explain a few picks down the road. With the development of Alshon Jeffery and the addition of Martellus Bennet, Marshall has the opportunity to explode. Jay Cutler has options now. It may result in less opportunities for raw looks, but they will be much more efficient with the passes thrown his way. They will be able to utilize him in formations the Bears were unable to last year. Also, when shit does hit the fan, Cutler will always look to his other half.
3.32 - I was optimistic that Darren McFadden would drop to me, but alas he was taken by jm. At this point I start looking at which backs will have the highest usage. I want to load up on starting backs who will get the most touches and be on the field for the most plays. I'm looking at three players: David Wilson, Montee Ball, and Ryan Mathews. I took a chance and skipped on Mathews hoping he might drop to me on the wrap around. I don't have much information on Ball so I went with a high upside pick in Wilson. Huge upside. Though it is confirmed that Andre Brown will be the goal-line back I still felt pretty comfortable with Wilson and his ability to single handedly win me weeks.
4.41 - Argh! Foiled again! With Mathews taken I had to think quickly on who to pick. It was between Eddie Lacy and Christopher Ivory. If two backs have the same usage and upside, always take the one on the better team. The Packers have a very balanced run/pass attack and I felt fairly comfortable with the rook on Rodgers side of the ball.
5.56 - My favorite part of the draft. This is where your own value system for players comes the most handy. I did not like any of the running backs available at this point and there were still extremely high usage receivers on the board. Looking at Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks, Antonio Brown, and Mike Wallace. All these receivers are high upside flex/WR3. I went with Bowe mainly due to health and being the clear cut #1 on the Chiefs.
6.65 - I was ecstatic when I saw Antonio Brown still on the board. Year after year the Steelers are always undervalued and I don't know why. Todd Haley is a pass happy offensive mind, and their defense isn't getting any better. I went with him over Nicks because of health reasons asa well. Having a fourth potential #1 receiver gives me the flexibility later in the year to trade for a real running back if mine don't pan out. To me, Brown was well above any of the available running backs on the board.
7.80 - This is where I start stacking on potential high upside/high usage backs or protecting my earlier picks. I am good on receivers for the rest of the draft, so I opted to protect my David Wilson investment by taking Andre Brown.
8.89 - I am very excited by Chip Kelly and the offense he is going to instill. Bryce Brown has the opportunity for double digit touches on a regular basis. If McCoy gets injured I suddenly have a #1 back on my roster as well.
9.104 - I liked Isaiah Pead but I'd rather wait and see how the pre-season shakes out before I make any decisions on St. Louis running backs. So I went with Ryan Mathews cuff, Danny Woodhead (if you draft Mathews, he should be on your list of number one cuffs to target. I'm a big believer in protecting your investments).
10.113 I am extremely high on Jermichael Finley this year. Has the tools but has never put it together mentally. Contract year. He's going to work his ass off to get overpaid by Miami next year.
11.128 - Finally took a quarterback! I alluded to this earlier, but by grabbing A.J. Green and Marshall, I wanted to see if I would have any issues snagging both Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler. Huge fan of players entering their 3rd/4th years and I believe that he has not reached his ceiling yet. Last year he was more than serviceable. I am a fan of doubling down on quarterbacks and their receivers when they are a clear cut #1 with extremely heavy usage. Both Marshall and Green fit the bill.
12.137 - Went with Cutler. I felt extremely comfortable with the rest of my team. Don't always need a backup quarterback but by having Marshall I can always play the matchup with Cutler and Dalton. New offensive philosophy in Chicago as well. Feeling good about him not getting his brains splattered on the field this year.
13.152 - I'm a fan of Chicago's offense for fantasy, and even though I'm extremely high on Finley he is still a risk. Martellus Bennett has proven he can play, is 26 years old, and has some serious potential. He can block as well and will be getting very high usage on the Bears.
14.161 - I'm a fan of streaming defenses. I don't believe in drafting any before the 14th round of any draft. Ever. Went with Arizona, love their TD potential with their backfield.
15.176 - With with Dan Bailey on Dallas. Plays in a dome and is on the same team as Tony Romo.
I am extremely happy with my final team. Didn't feel the need to reach for any players, nor did I end up with any serious liabilities. Felt like I got good value with most of my picks. I'm a big believer in having a balanced team and having trade chips at every position. I can guarantee this won't happen in real life though!