Footballguys Staff 6-man DRAFT mock - Week 8

An evaluation of a 6-man mock FantasyDraft for Week 8. Each participant answers questions about their strategy and picks. 

Six Footballguys staff completed a 6-man Week 8 mock draft using the DRAFT scoring format below. Each participant must fill a roster with exactly these five positions: QB-RB-RB-WR/TE-WR/TE using a serpentine draft style. 

OFFICIAL DRAFT SCORING FORMAT

Passing Yard 0.04
Passing TD 4
Interception Thrown -1
Reception 0.5
Rushing Yard 0.1
Rushing TD 6
Receiving Yard 0.1
Receiving TD 6
Return TD 6
2-Point Conversion 2
Fumble Lost -2

THE PARTICIPANTS FOR THE WEEK 8 DRAFT:

1.01 Sean Settle
1.02 James Brimacombe
1.03 Keith Roberts
1.04 Devin Knotts
1.05 Dan Hindery
1.06 Justin Howe

DRAFT RESULTS

DRAFT EVALUATION

sean settle - SLOT 1

Overview - Sean was able to secure several luxury picks in this draft, namely Le'Veon Bell, Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins. You might even be able to lump Jordan Howard into that mix as well. The number 1 spot allows you to make the first pick and then lump together your other picks while getting the opportunity to pick first in the last round as well. Sean's picks look outstanding on paper and this week talent may win out, but we also need to examine the matchups. New Orleans is close to being matchup-proof, especially at home, but Chicago has allowed only 4 touchdown passes this season to quarterbacks not named Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees is in that echelon of quarterbacks, but it's still noteworthy. I don't particularly like Jordan Howard this week. Chicago has been dreadful on offense lately and the Saints defense has been one of the best in the league. The game script doesn't forecast a good game from him. Having said that, Howard gets a lot of volume and sometimes volume is the only ingredient needed to have a decent performance. DeAndre Hopkins at Seattle is also a tough matchup, but like Howard, volume may win out and give Sean what he needs to come out on top. 

sean ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
Having the first pick this week I knew I needed to go running back with the overall weak class due to Byes. Le'Veon Bell has finally turned it on and was an easy first-round pick. There was a long time before my second pick and I watched almost every other running back I had been eyeing come off the board. The Saints defense has played much better of late, but Jordan Howard is still going to be used excessively and should have value due to volume alone. My final picks gave me a Drew Brees and Michael Thomas stack as well as DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins may not have an ideal matchup against Seattle, but he again should see value due to the volume of his usage.

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?  
Hopkins is going to be the make or break this week with the tough matchup against Seattle. Houston is coming off a Bye and the offense has been clicking with Deshaun Watson. I am confident with all of the other picks this week but will need a big week from Hopkins to be put over the top.

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
Drew Brees comes with the best value as he was my final pick. My top pick would have been Carson Wentz this week but that is not how the draft board fell. After targeting Michael Thomas as my first receiver it was an easy choice to pair him with Brees. The two interceptions last week will be an outlier when the season is over, and I expect a normal Drew Brees type game this weekend.

4. Who is the team to beat this week? 
While I may not like the Zach Ertz pick, I do agree that Devin is the team to beat this week. Carson Wentz is facing a San Francisco defense that was torched by the Cowboys last week and he adds my top rated WR for the week in AJ Green. Throw in a favorable matchup for LeSean McCoy and it is going to be tough to beat Devin this week.

james brimacombe - SLOT 2

Overview: James drafted a team of capable players and most have good matchups. Ezekiel Elliott is the ringleader of this team, who should set the pace for point production. Elliott has topped 80 yards rushing in five of six games and has six touchdowns this year, including three last week. This week's opponent Washington has been fairly strong against the run, especially at home, but can they stop Elliott or at least slow him down? That answer may be the deciding factor on the success of James' team this week. Mike Evans is always a decent play and I love the call to take a chance on Joe Mixon against Indianapolis. It raised my eyebrow as a play that might work out. Mixon hasn't had much to celebrate yet, but this is a cushy matchup that may see him reach pay dirt. Tampa Bay has been a doormat for opposing quarterbacks this year. The pick of Cam Newton may be the one that puts James over the top. Alshon Jeffery is a great pick late in the draft with a solid matchup against San Francisco. Philadelphia is clicking on all cylinders and this matchup looks to be one to exploit. All of the teams drafted well, but I like the chances of this squad reaching the winner's circle if all goes as planned. 

james ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
First off I was thrilled to finally get one of the top two picks as it is clear both Le'Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott are the two top plays and I was fine getting either one of them. So starting around Elliott I paired him with Joe Mixon in the third round as I passed on Jordan Howard in the second round. Mixon has a fantastic matchup against the Colts this week as they are the second worst against opposing running backs allowing 107 yards and 1.1 touchdowns on average per game along with 5 receptions and 53 receiving yards. I missed out on Brown, Green, and Jones as the top wide receivers and took Mike Evans in the second round which seemed like good value.

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?  
Alshon Jeffery is the guy that I keep on waiting for to have his big breakout game with Carson Wentz and if any week he is set to do it, it has to be this week at home against the 49ers. Jeffery is averaging 7.7 targets per game and has yet to catch more than 7 receptions or get to 100 yards. He is averaging under 4 catches a game with 50 yards and has just two touchdowns on the year. He will be the guy that can make or break my team this week as I am hoping for a 8/100/1 type of line but his average is more like 3.7/50/0.3.

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
Joe Mixon looks like the best value to me in the third round, where finding a reliable running back after the first two rounds is very hard to do. Mixon only carried the ball 7 times for 48 yards and had 3 catches for 20 yards against the Steelers last week but the matchup this week is great with the Colts 2nd worst in the league against opposing running backs. The question with Mixon is will he get 15-20 touches and if he does he should hit value fairly easily.

4. Who is the team to beat this week? 
This week looks very equal to me with no team standing out above the others. Lots of bye weeks this week and the player pool is much smaller so looking at Devin’s team with the Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz stack with LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde at running back could hit in a big way. Pair those four players with the best wide receiver play on the week in A.J. Green and I would put him at the top of the list if I had to pick one team.

keith roberts - SLOT 3

Overview - Keith is going with three Chargers against the Patriots this week and he chose the right ones. Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon III. If Los Angeles can keep pace on the scoreboard like most other opponents have been able to do against New England, there's a good chance that he'll have excellent production. His success this week will lie squarely on the Chargers ability to get it done. His other two picks, Julio Jones (at NYJ) and Alvin Kamara (vs CHI) are good picks on their own, especially Jones against the Jets who have allowed 8 touchdowns to wide receivers this year. A three-touchdown game from Rivers, including one to Keenan Allen, plus a 100-yard game and a score for Julio may be enough to elevate Keith to the top. As I said before, there's a good mix of solid teams in this draft. This could be a close battle across the board and I like Keith's chances of making it even more interesting. 

keith ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
With the third pick, I came into the draft knowing I would be targeting a running back based on how many teams were on byes and the drop off in talent. I wanted Ezekiel Elliott, but he was of course taken second overall, so Melvin Gordon III it is as he was my third-ranked running back of the week in a game that should be very high scoring. Julio Jones had his best fantasy outing of the season last week, and I fully expect the Falcons to keep that going despite his tougher cornerback matchup this week. My second wide receiver pick of Keenan Allen really set off my strategy of a Chargers super-stack, as I followed it up with taking Phillip Rivers as the last quarterback off the board in the sixth round. Alvin Kamara was my bottom barrel running back pick as I took the last running back off the board for the second week in a row. It was a risky choice, but Kamara has had a solid presence in the Saints backfield this season. He was on the field for only five fewer snaps than Ingram last week, and Kamara has averaged 13.5 touches and 97 yards per game over the last two games since the departure of Adrian Peterson. The Bears are a relatively tough matchup for opposing running backs, which actually could bode well for Kamara as that may funnel more passes his way. 

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?  
As you can see by my team, I will clearly be made or broken by the performance of the Los Angeles Chargers. By my strategy to go with the super-stack of Phillip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon III, I truly need this game to be a shootout. It should certainly have a good chance to be just that, as this game sports the second highest point total of the week. With the Chargers sitting at close to a touchdown underdog, Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen should certainly be busy. Rivers has been a volume quarterback this season, ranking fourth in total pass attempts (256). Allen and Gordon rank first and second on the team in targets, representing nearly half of the total team’s targets just between that pair. The touchdown potential of this pair has been staggering as well, with Gordon and Allen accounting for 37 of the team’s 53 red zone looks. The matchup is definitely a great one as the Patriots defense has been shown to be quite vulnerable this season. They have played much better in the last two games, but last week was only the first time this season they held an opposing quarterback to under 300 yards. I am definitely counting on a big night from the Chargers and based on this matchup, I like my chances.  

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
Phillip Rivers was my favorite value pick of the draft as he completed my plan of the Chargers super-stack. Rivers is in one of the best matchups of the week against a Patriots defense allowing the most fantasy points per game by a wide margin to opposing quarterbacks. Rivers throws the ball more than almost every other quarterback in the game despite also having a strong running back behind him. Despite his lower yardage total, Rivers has thrown for eight touchdowns and only one interception in his last four outings. He has already passed for three touchdowns in a game twice this season, and he should have a solid shot at that plus more this week as an underdog on the road in New England. 

4. Who is the team to beat this week? 
I am liking James’ team this week based mainly on the strength of his running backs. Ezekiel Elliott reminded everyone that he is capable of amassing monster numbers last week with 219 total yards and two touchdowns. While Washington’s run defense has played better in recent weeks, Elliott is averaging over 140 yards and 26 touches per game since a Week 2 dud against the Broncos. Joe Mixon has a premium matchup against a Colts defense that has allowed a league-leading nine touchdowns to opposing running backs. They have allowed over 120 rushing yards to an opposing running back in each of the last two games and have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. Despite Mixon’s workload questions, the Bengals should be leading this contest which will yield to a very run-heavy game script that could point to a season-high in carries for Mixon. Cam Newton is also a great piece here. He faces the league’s worst-ranked pass defense using DVOA, and we have seen him put up huge numbers in a couple games this season—so this should be a great bounce-back opportunity. 

devin knotts - SLOT 4

Overview - The way I see it, Devin's team got a huge boost with the pick of Carson Wentz in the third round. Wentz is looking like an early MVP candidate through the halfway point and it seems like people are fully on board the bandwagon yet. Wentz has 17 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions in seven games with nearly 200 yards of rushing to put the exclamation point on his success as a fantasy quarterback. Not only is Wentz hot right now, but he's at home and facing an opponent (San Francisco) who is allowing the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. To go with Wentz, Devin will have a stack with Zach Ertz, who leads all tight ends in production. A.J. Green, Carlos Hyde and LeSean McCoy make up the rest of his team. This looks like a very strong team that will be tough to beat when it's all said and done. In a week with several good teams, Devin looks to have an edge on what looks like very close competition. 

devin ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
My strategy was to try to go with a running back with both of my first two picks. However, I thought that A.J. Green would be gone and with seven running backs taken before my second pick, I felt I had to get my second best wide receiver on the board. At that point I decided to just wait for running backs especially once two more running backs were taken by the time it got back to my third pick. Getting ahead of the runs became my strategy once I abandoned my original strategy and it ended up working as my second round and third round picks kicked off a wide receiver and quarterback run so I was able to get my favorite player of each group. 

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?  
Carlos Hyde as my second round running back is going to make or break me this week. He is in a tough matchup this week going up a very strong Philadelphia defense. I am hoping that he will be able to catch some passes out of the backfield and possibly find the end zone in what will be a shootout of a game as I have three players in that game.  

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
Carson Wentz is my clear cut quarterback this week going up against a 49ers secondary that is one of the worst in the league. Wentz has scored the second most fantasy points so far this season and his running ability combined with his passing makes him the quarterback with the highest floor and the highest ceiling this week. To get him one pick ahead of Brady and two picks ahead of Russell Wilson is tremendous value. Also pairing him late with Zach Ertz was awesome value as Ertz has 80 yards or a touchdown in every game this season. Most people forget about tight ends or try to avoid them, so getting a tight end late can offer more upside than a 5th round wide receiver. 

4. Who is the team to beat this week? 
I like what Sean was able to do and having the number one overall pick is a big part of it this week as you guarantee yourself 3 of the top 13 players off the board. This is a week with bye weeks that the talent falls off the board very quickly, and to get Bell, Howard and stacking Brees and Thomas I feel he will be tough to beat this week. 

dan hindery - SLOT 5

Overview - Dan has crafted a team filled with potential, led by Antonio Brown, Kareem Hunt and Tom Brady. Christian McCaffrey has an outstanding matchup at Tampa Bay and Travis Kelce is capable of being the Chiefs go-to receiving threat against anyone. The matchup vs Denver seems to be one to avoid, however the Broncos are actually giving up the fourth most fantasy points to tight end this year, including three performances of 70 yards or more against them. You can almost pencil in 60 total points from Brown, Hunt and Brady. If either has more than expected, it will be gravy on top of Dan's chances of finishing at the top this week. This week's point winner looks like it will come down to the Monday Night game that will feature two of Dan's players - Hunt and Kelce. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out. 

dan ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
I wanted to come out of the first two rounds with a solid RB1 and one of the elite receivers. I didn’t feel like I had to reach for two running backs right away because I liked the matchups of Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffrey and figured they would be available later. 

I was hoping that LeSean McCoy would fall to me at 1.05, when he didn't I decided to lock in my top receiver, Antonio Brown. Brown’s combination of high floor and sky-high ceiling provides a real advantage over the field. I knew I wanted to get at least one running back with my first two picks and was happy that Kareem Hunt made it back to me at 2.02. 

The two players I was targeting at 3.05 were Joe Mixon and Carson Wentz based upon very favorable matchups. They went off the board right before my pick. Christian McCaffrey was my highest-ranked player left at 3.05 but I knew Justin had gone RB-RB in the first two rounds and that McCaffrey would still be there at 4.02, so I went with Tom Brady as my next best player available. 

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?  
Kareem Hunt is the key for my team. It usually requires at least one big running back performance of 20+ points to win a 6-Team Draft and Hunt is my best bet this week. Denver has been very good against opposing running backs this season and this is a very difficult matchup. Hunt has quickly become a player who is worth drafting early every week regardless of matchup. He has 100+ total yards in every game this season and has posted some big games in other tough matchups. I will need Hunt to keep the streak of 100-yard games alive and hopefully find the end zone once or twice.

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
I thought I did well getting Travis Kelce at 5.05. On paper, the matchup against Denver looks tough but the tight end has been the best way to attack the Broncos. Starting tight ends against the Broncos have averaged over 13 Draft points per game over the last five games. Kelce is one of the league’s best tight ends and should see an especially heavy workload on Monday night. In two games against the Broncos last season, Kelce saw a whopping 27 targets and caught 19 passes for 261 yards and 1 touchdown (25.6 Draft points per game). 

4. Who is the team to beat this week? 
I see James as the team to beat this week. He grabbed elite players in the first two rounds (Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Evans) and then did a great job in the final three rounds of pinpointing players in very favorable matchups. Using Austin Lee’s normalized strength of schedule metrics, we can see just how great some of these spots are for James’ guys. Indianapolis is third-worst against opposing running backs, which makes Joe Mixon a high-upside (if risky) pick at 3.02. Tampa Bay is dead last against opposing quarterbacks and James was able to grab Cam Newton at 4.05. At 5.02, Alshon Jeffery is another strong matchup play. San Francisco is in the bottom-10 against opposing wide receivers.

justin howe - SLOT 6

Overview - The sixth slot can often be a disadvantage in this draft. Justin missed out on the top receiver (Antonio Brown) by one pick and several of the top running backs were already off the board. That left him with slimmer pickings at the turn, plus the sixth slot also means you have the last pick in the draft. Plus in this bye-shortened list, the list of good players diminishes quickly. The turn of rounds 1 and 2 can sometimes be a great spot to pick talent, but this wasn't one of those times. Don't get me wrong, Justin could still compete with Devonta Freeman and Mark Ingram II as his bookend running backs, but they are a drop in value compared to the some of the other teams. A big game from Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin could prove extremely helpful, especially the way Baldwin and Wilson have been connecting lately. My favorite pick for Justin may be his last, and the last pick overall - Rob Gronkowski. If Justin can get one of Gronkowski's big games this week, along with some connections of Wilson to Baldwin, he may have a chance to compete with the rest of this group. Justin did a great job on his picks with what was available. The decision to stack Wilson and Baldwin, as opposed to one-offs from each position is a strategy that may work to his advantage. He knew he needed to make a calculated risk and I like the decision he made. 

justin ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS DRAFT

1. What was your draft strategy with this week's slate of games and how did it turn out for you?
As always, I targeted a pair of running backs (or bust) to open the draft. DRAFT is not a full-PPR setup, and the overwhelming and generally consistent volume of RB touches usually jumps even the top wideouts in DRAFT value. Landing two RBs that boast both strong volume and healthy touchdown opportunity are worth a premium, so I passed on A.J. Green to pair Devonta Freeman with Mark Ingram II. That didn't turn out optimally - the first five picks took my top five backs, one by one - but I'm certainly satisfied with what I landed. Both Ingram and Freeman are lead dogs in offenses that produce plenty of short-yardage opportunities, so this is a perfectly fine foundation for me. I was then able to land a fairly desirable QB-WR stack, which is absolutely the path to take in filling out one of the WR spots on DRAFT.

2. Which player on your roster do you think will make or break you?
My week will be determined by the Seahawks passing game. That's a terrifying sentence, and I carry a ton of downside with the Russell Wilson-Doug Baldwin stack. But I'm comforted by the fact that Baldwin is at least a target hog, drawing 23.5% of Wilson's targets, and also that this pair always boasts touchdown upside. Baldwin has been one of the NFL's most targeted receivers near the goal line for the past two years, and with a solid 25.5-point Vegas projection, I'm almost expecting a Baldwin touchdown. A line around 6 catches, 70 yards, and a score looks like a fair baseline, and I think he's capable of notably more.

3. Which player do you believe you received the best value?
It stuns me that Rob Gronkowski wasn't taken, leaving him for me with the final pick. Gronkowski is a matchup-proof And since DRAFT teams don't benefit much from raw reception totals, the line between Gronkowski and the board's upper-tier WR2 is heavily blurred. Gronkowski is, week after week, among the board's best attempts at a multi-touchdown day, which would almost certainly vault him beyond nearly any of the week's wide receivers.

4. Who is the team to beat this week?
Yeah, it's Devin. I really love the team Dan put together, and I think he carries the best ceiling. But Devin's team looks so steady, with a potent QB-TE stack in a Vegas darling of a game, plus a top-level RB and WR both in ideal matchups.

PROJECTIONS PREDICT THE WINNER

 

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com