Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Roundtable

Senior Writer Scott Smith and Buccaneers.com contributors Andrew Norton and Joe Kania go head-to-head-to-head in a fantasy mock draft and analyze their picks.

A gallery of the top 150 fantasy players for 2015, according to NFL.com's Michael Fabiano.

You can't run a respectable fantasy football website series without having at least one mock draft before the season begins. That's why this week, I invited Scott Smith and Joe Kania to join me and nine random strangers on the internet to build an imaginary team of all stars.

After a number of failed attempts, we managed to sync our timing and end up in the same Mock Draft Lobby. We wanted to spread our picks out to get some more variety in the piece: Scott drew pick number one, Joe held down the middle(ish) at number nine and I drafted 11th.

A modest 80 minutes later, the draft was done, the teams were decided and we feverishly set forth explaining each of our picks and processes. OK, perhaps not feverishly, as this mock draft was run last week as you can tell by some of the injured players taken.

So, use this as you may if you have an upcoming draft. Mocks are an incredibly easy way to figure out where any particular player is falling. So if you have a running back you absolutely must have, by looking at a mock, you can get a fairly accurate representation of where he will fall.

Let's get to it. Before we begin, Scott, Joe, have anything you'd like to add?

Scott: I'm not a huge fan of picking first this year, as I'll point out later, but I'm pretty pleased with how it unfolded for about five or six rounds. However, I struggled in the latter half of the draft, and that could mean a team with little depth; if we were really playing this out, I'd probably need to get lucky on the waiver wire. I waited just a little too long on each tight end tier and have to get really lucky there. I forgot to handcuff Le'Veon Bell with DeAngelo Williams, even when I was struggling to find anybody to pick later on. Overall, I can live with this team, but it wouldn't be my favorite squad. I do think it's cool that we each got one of the big three Buccaneer fantasy hopes – Doug Martin, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.

Joe: I'll admit, I've never been much of a fantasy player. And being a rookie, I was bitten by a rookie mistake. We conducted the draft prior to the announcement that Tom Brady's suspension had been uplifted, and I really wanted him, even if he was going to serve the four games. I figured – there are only 12 teams, I can get a solid starter to play those first four games and then plug in Brady for the remainder of the season. He'll be fired up and torch his opponents, I thought. As the draft unfolds, I'm debating whether or not to take Brady in the sixth round. Quarterbacks had just starting going off the board and that seemed like a good time make the pick. I deliberated too long, the 45-second clock expired and I auto-drafted Travis Kelce, just to see Brady selected two picks later. Sigh.

Round: 1


(1) Le'Veon Bell RB (Scott)
(2) Aaron Rodgers QB
(3) Adrian Peterson RB
(4) Eddie Lacy RB
(5) Jamaal Charles RB
(6) Marshawn Lynch RB
(7) Antonio Brown WR
(8) Matt Forte RB
(9) DeMarco Murray RB (Joe)
(10) C.J. Anderson RB
(11) Jeremy Hill RB (Andrew)
(12) Julio Jones WR

Scott: As Andrew mentioned, we wanted to position one of each of us at the front, middle and back of the draft order. Since I'm picking middle to late in all my real drafts (real being used loosely here), I thought I'd do something different and go early here. And just so I could concentrate on other things for about 10 minutes, I went ahead and took the first spot and prepared for the interminable serpentine wait. As for my pick at #1, I'm a firm believer that Le'Veon Bell is the best available player, even with his two-game suspension. Assuming I can get a little bit of RB/WR depth, I think I can weather those two weeks and then hit the jackpot the rest of the season. We don't really get to specify what type of league this is (e.g. PPR or not) so I guess we have to assume basic and common scoring rules, but I'd feel even better about this selection in a PPR league. There was a little drama involved, as the draft app started and I suddenly learned I was on auto-draft. I didn't get that turned off in time, but fortunately Bell was the top-ranked player on the site anyway. Whew!

Joe: Honestly, I was a bit surprised that Murray was still hanging around at No. 9 when I scooped him up. I know, he's with a new team, a much different offensive line, might have to split carries in Philly more than he did in Dallas. But he's still the league's reigning rushing leader. I knew I wanted to go running back with this pick and was glad to be able to pick Murray up.

Andrew: Picking this late means that you are missing out on the top tier of running backs, so there are a handful of strategies you can deploy from this spot. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. For this draft, I opted to go RB-WR in the first and second rounds. (I can just as easily make arguments for RB-RB, WR-WR, or even Gronkowski-RB or WR.) I'm high on Hill in standard leagues this year, so I had no problem taking a late first round running back.

Round: 2


(13) Demaryius Thomas WR
(14) Dez Bryant WR (Andrew)
(15) LeSean McCoy RB
(16) Calvin Johnson WR (Joe)
(17) Andrew Luck QB
(18) Rob Gronkowski TE
(19) Odell Beckham Jr. WR
(20) Randall Cobb WR
(21) T.Y. Hilton WR
(22) A.J. Green WR
(23) Lamar Miller RB
(24) Mike Evans WR (Scott)

Andrew: Could have had my pick of any remaining RB if I wanted to start with two of them, but it's hard to pass up a top-5 receiver here when he's on the board. Can't go wrong with Julio, Demaryius or Dez in any order, so I'd have been happy to have any of the three fall to me. First two rounds done, I have a likely top-10 back and a likely top-5 receiver. Sounds good to me.

Joe: I would have loved to go with another stud running back, but that just wasn't in the cards. The next running back taken after my pick was Lamar Miller, and I figured I'd go with a game-breaking receiver and pick up a middle-of-the-pack runner later on. Johnson has struggled with injuries, but has proven to be one of the best receivers in the league if he's healthy. That's a big "if," and I probably would have taken Dez Bryant if they were both available, but I think Matthew Stafford will have a big year and that Johnson will be on the receiving end on a significant number of touchdown passes.

Scott: The downside to picking first and going with a running back – a downside I knew full well going into it – is that you end up having to project a little more to pick your WR1. That's even more true in a PPR league, which is why I think this is the least advantageous year in a while to pick first. (To be clear, it is still an advantage.) To counter that a bit, and because I felt that receiver was where the value was at that spot, I took two of them. Buccaneer fans will hope exactly one of them works out in real life: Mike Evans. The other was the Saints' Brandin Cooks, who sure seems look a good bet to be Drew Brees' main man with so many other targets leaving New Orleans. That's always a good thing, fantasy-wise. (One thing I always fail to consider in fantasy drafts until it's too late is bye weeks. Two of my first three picks are out in Week 11. Bummer.)

Round: 3


(25) Brandin Cooks WR (Scott)
(26) Alshon Jeffery WR
(27) Alfred Morris RB
(28) Justin Forsett RB
(29) Mark Ingram RB
(30) Emmanuel Sanders WR
(31) Melvin Gordon RB
(32) Frank Gore RB
(33) Carlos Hyde RB (Joe)
(34) DeAndre Hopkins WR
(35) Jordan Matthews WR (Andrew)
(36) Latavius Murray RB

Scott: See above. (Hey, it's another advantage to picking first – easier write-ups!)

Joe: Knowing I needed another starting running back, I went with the best player available. He will be the 49ers' starting running back, sharing the backfield with Reggie Bush. It seemed like a great pick at the time. The more I think about it, I start to question the move. But I'll take a runner who'll get 20+ touches a game and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's looked sharp in the preseason, albeit in a limited capacity, averaging over six yards per carry.

Andrew: At this point, I know who I want in Round 4, but more on that later. Knowing that I will (very very likely) get my RB hope next round, I can confidently take a receiver here, especially because of a fortunate run on running backs in this round. Matthews is the main man now in Philadelphia and I think he can have success this year no matter who is throwing to him, so Bradford's injury history doesn't scare me away.

Round: 4


(37) Jonathan Stewart RB
(38) Doug Martin RB (Andrew)
(39) Jimmy Graham TE
(40) Todd Gurley RB (Joe)
(41) Andre Johnson WR
(42) Keenan Allen WR
(43) Julian Edelman WR
(44) Russell Wilson QB
(45) Drew Brees QB
(46) Sammy Watkins WR
(47) Joseph Randle RB
(48) Andre Ellington RB (Scott)

Andrew: How did I know I'd get Martin here? Research, research, research. I knew that his average draft position in all leagues is early fifth round, late fourth round. So I probably would not have gotten him if I waited until round 5. This is early for Martin, but not by very much, and seeing what I've seen in the preseason, I fully expect Martin to outperform every statistical projection I've seen on these fantasy sites (800 total yard projection? Are you joking? He has 1,926 his rookie year.) Also, for anyone drafting in an online ESPN league, make a note of this right now. That site has Doug Martin ranked as their 85th overall player at the time of me writing this. I drafted him at 38. If the other owners in your league didn't do their research, Martin won't even be on their radar because of the auto-rankings.

Joe: At this point I'm basically just hoarding the best running backs available, and Gurley fits that category well. He'll be the feature back in St. Louis and although unproven in the NFL, he was a monster in college. The only thing that kept Melvin Gordon in the same conversation as Gurley was a knee injury he suffered, but most believe he'll rebound from that nicely. This is kind of a boom-or-bust pick, and I'm hoping it'll be the later.

Scott: Since I once again doubled up at a position, I'll take them together here. I actually wanted Joseph Randle but missed him by one. I don't think Andre Ellington is a bad consolation prize, and I'm not worried about the Cardinals' addition of Chris Johnson. No, I don't think Ellington is a very sexy pick, but he's a solid RB2 choice. I did try to get a little sexy with my third running back, going with Detroit rookie Ameer Abdullah. I'm actually surprised this site has Joique Bell ranked well above Abdullah, and I've had really good luck with rookie running backs in fantasy leagues in recent years.

Round: 5


(49) Ameer Abdullah RB (Scott)
(50) DeSean Jackson WR
(51) Peyton Manning QB
(52) Davante Adams WR
(53) Joique Bell RB
(54) T.J. Yeldon RB
(55) Amari Cooper WR
(56) Mike Wallace WR
(57) Vincent Jackson WR (Joe)
(58) Giovani Bernard RB
(59) Allen Robinson WR (Andrew)
(60) Rashad Jennings RB

Scott: See above.

Joe: There's no indication that the 32-year old receiver will be slowing down this season and I'll gladly add another big-bodied red zone target to my roster. Jackson's gone over 1,000 for four seasons in a row, including three in Tampa. I think having Mike Evans on the other side of the field and Austin Seferian-Jenkins working down the seam will open things up for the three-time Pro Bowler.

Andrew: I don't know that I have ever taken a quarterback in the first five rounds of a draft. It's just not a strategy that I like very much. It has worked for others, I've seen people win their league this way, but it just isn't my cup of tea. My general rule is to finish the first five rounds with either 3 RBs and 2 WRs or 3 WRs and 2 RBs. So, I knew which positions I wanted, I had my big board already made and Robinson was the best available for me. Simple as that. If you go in with a strategy, these things are a whole lot easier and whole lot less stressful. Robinson as the number one receiver for a QB who has looked much improved in the preseason sounds great to me with the 59th overall pick.

Round: 6


(61) Greg Olsen TE
(62) Ben Roethlisberger QB (Andrew)
(63) Golden Tate WR
(64) Travis Kelce TE (Joe)
(65) Jarvis Landry WR
(66) Tom Brady QB
(67) C.J. Spiller RB
(68) Brandon Marshall WR
(69) LeGarrette Blount RB
(70) Jeremy Maclin WR
(71) Martellus Bennett TE
(72) Matt Ryan QB (Scott)

Andrew: At this point in the draft, the person picking at 60 and 61 has been set to autodraft, meaning that I'm directly back-to-back picks now essentially, and I was NOT ready for that. Here I was heavily debating between taking another running back (Spiller or Coleman), another strong receiver (Marshall or Landry) or Roethlisberger. I ran out of time and luckily Roethlisberger was top of the list to be selected for me. No problem with this here as Pittsburgh has some insane weapons and what looks to be one of the league's most explosive offenses.

Joe: As I mentioned in the introduction, this is the dreaded auto-draft pick that made me miss out on Tom Brady. Yes, I'm bitter.

Scott: The wait-on-quarterback thing really seems to work from the #1 spot. I liked Andrew's pick (Ben Roethlisberger) better than mine, but I'm certainly happy to go into war with Matt Ryan. He's a pretty consistent fantasy producer from year to year and week to week (note: I didn't bother to look up if that's actually true, but it sounds right).

Round: 7


(73) Nelson Agholor WR (Scott)
(74) Isaiah Crowell RB
(75) Tevin Coleman RB
(76) Jason Witten TE
(77) Chris Ivory RB
(78) Ryan Mathews RB
(79) Alfred Blue RB
(80) Charles Johnson WR
(81) Tony Romo QB (Joe)
(82) Eric Decker WR
(83) Shane Vereen RB (Andrew)
(84) Martavis Bryant WR

Scott: I was really sorry to see Davante Adams go, but I can't blame the guy who took him in Round Five. He definitely would have been one of my two picks here. I ended up picking the player this site had ranked #73 at draft spot #73, so I should win a gold star for getting "value" or something. Agholor might end up making Andrew nervous about his earlier pick of Jordan Matthews. I'm not nearly as confident in rookie receivers as rookie running backs, but I'll roll the dice here and try to get a safer backup receiver a little later.

Joe: So now that my aspirations of landing Brady have been squashed, I turned to Romo, who's coming off a 2014 season where he completed a career-high 69.9 percent of his passes, a career-high. He also threw 34 touchdowns, the second-most of his career in a single season and his most since 2007. I think he's rising. Throwing the ball to Dez Bryant helps, too.

Andrew: Still flustered by the autodraft, I now feel that I need to scramble for a running back since I only have two. At this point, none of the remaining backs are consistent fantasy producers, just guys that you plug in when needed and hope to get lucky. I like Vereen a lot more for the Giants than I did when he was in New England. He still has some competition at the position, but is very likely their third-down option. I half regret no taking Arian Foster here, but by starting RBs have bye weeks of six and seven, and I don't know if he'll be health and on the field by then.

Round: 8


(85) Roddy White WR
(86) Kendall Wright WR (Andrew)
(87) Torrey Smith WR
(88) Arian Foster RB (Joe)
(89) Steve Smith Sr. WR
(90) DeAngelo Williams RB
(91) Jordan Cameron TE
(92) Tre Mason RB
(93) Michael Floyd WR
(94) Larry Fitzgerald WR
(95) Anquan Boldin WR
(96) John Brown WR (Scott)

Andrew: Wide receiver is very deep this year. Incredibly deep. I would have no problem starting any receiver drafted in this round at my Flex spot. And now I have the Tennessee Titans #1 receiving target on my bench. That is solid depth and could have big returns if there is an instant connection there with Mariota.

Joe: Sure, why not add another running back to my arsenal? I can use him as a flex or if the Texans playing a bad run defense. Foster is coming off a groin tear, which is why I got him at such a discounted price. But if he can come back and be even half the player that he was before the injury, I'll be happy the fourth running back on my team.

Scott: Darn it. I really wanted Miami TE Jordan Cameron and thought I had waited until the perfect time to do it, and then he went five picks before me. The next tight end I like is relatively far down the list, so I decided to wait and just continue to build RB-WR depth. My first pick is John Brown, which I just noticed gives me two Arizona Cardinals. I'm not sure I feel good about that, but Brown seems to be a player on the rise. Probably better in PPR leagues.

Round: 9


(97) Devonta Freeman RB (Scott)
(98) Ryan Tannehill QB
(99) Bishop Sankey RB
(100) Brandon LaFell WR
(101) Zach Ertz TE
(102) Cam Newton QB
(103) Reggie Wayne WR
(104) Duke Johnson RB
(105) Cody Latimer WR (Joe)
(106) Marques Colston WR
(107) Breshad Perriman WR (Andrew)
(108) Danny Woodhead RB

Scott: I don't really know how the RB situation is going to shake out in Atlanta, but I think it's worth grabbing one of the players who could win the primary job at this point. Not my favorite pick in the draft, but there's upside here.

Joe: I'll take some depth at the receiver position. I think Latimer could provide some good value here.

Andrew: I can take an iffy running back gamble here or get more receiver depth. I opted for the latter and took a flyer on a big-time fantasy sleeper. I have no idea what this guy can or will do this year, but it is worth the gamble here for me. (Especially because I know that autodraft behind me is not going to take a tight end based on the rankings. I'll definitely get my guy in the next round.)

Round: 10


(109) Charles Sims RB
(110) Delanie Walker TE (Andrew)
(111) Andre Williams RB
(112) Julius Thomas TE (Joe)
(113) Fred Jackson RB
(114) Eli Manning QB
(115) Lorenzo Taliaferro RB
(116) Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(117) David Cobb RB
(118) Dwayne Allen TE
(119) Darren McFadden RB
(120) Rams D/ST D/ST (Scott)

Andrew: Hey, look at that. I did get my guy. In real drafts, it is unlikely that someone will autopick, but if you are in the same position as me and get this scenario (which can be a huge curse or advantage) it is good to know how the system works. Walker was not one of the top two ranked, so I knew he'd fall to me. And now I have a starting tight end in Round 10 who I think could very well finish in the top 5 by the end of the year.

Joe: It's amazing how far Thomas has fallen in fantasy drafts from a year ago, when he was going much, much higher. Maybe I'm living in the past, but I think he can have a nice year. Did I need a tight end? No, because I had one thrust upon me by the fantasy football auto-drafter. But if I had to choose a tight end, it would have been Thomas and I'm happy to have two solid players at the position.

Scott: Aaaaaand then Andrew spoiled my plan by taking Delanie Walker. I should have known. We are no longer friends. And this is how I found myself in that drafted late-mid-round spot in fantasy when you can't find anyone you really want. Which is why I went defense WAY earlier than I normally would. At least I wasn't "that guy" picking the first D, as Seattle went a few spots before. All I can hope for is that I started a run. I went with the Rams over the Bills by a hair, believing that St. Louis is going to unseat Buffalo as the league's best sack team.

Round: 11


(121) Darren Sproles RB (Scott)
(122) Devin Funchess WR
(123) DeVante Parker WR
(124) Bills D/ST D/ST
(125) Montee Ball RB
(126) Texans D/ST D/ST
(127) Stephen Gostkowski K
(128) Josh Hill TE
(129) Denard Robinson RB (Joe)
(130) Pierre Garcon WR
(131) Reggie Bush RB (Andrew)
(132) Knile Davis RB

Scott: Again, it's now a tight end wasteland and there's nobody I'm in love with, so I'll hope that reports that the Eagles are determined to use Darren Sproles more this year are true.

Joe: Robinson started nine games last season and getting a starting running back. I don't care who it is, in the 11th round, that sounds like a good deal to me. What's most appealing about Robinson is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. And, of course, the fact that he's really, really, really fast.

Andrew: Looking at my team, I know that my running back situation is pretty dire. I like my starters, but I have nothing for depth behind them. If this were a real league, I'd already be planning out some trade options to ship off one of my bench receivers. Reggie Bush is just two years removed from a 1,000-yard season and there are not many killer options left here.

Round: 12


(133) Donte Moncrief WR
(134) Dolphins D/ST D/ST (Andrew)
(135) Jets D/ST D/ST
(136) Ravens D/ST D/ST (Joe)
(137) Victor Cruz WR
(138) Chris Polk RB
(139) David Johnson RB
(140) Theo Riddick RB
(141) Jerick McKinnon RB
(142) Percy Harvin WR
(143) Broncos D/ST D/ST
(144) Cameron Artis-Payne RB (Scott)

Andrew: I used to be a strict advocate of Defense and Kicker last two rounds, every time. I'm still in the air on that, and will always take a kicker in the last two rounds, but defense I can move up on. Wake and Suh next to each other is enough to sell me on Miami's possibility to give me some big points. And the front end of their schedule (Redskins, Jaguars, Bills, Jets, Titans, Texans) looks awfully friendly on paper.

Joe: As I see defenses start to go off the board, I panic and impulse-pick the Ravens. This 45-second clock is much more difficult than I had imagined.

Scott: Now my draft is really coming off the rails. I'm discovering that it's horrible picking first when you don't know what you want, as you tend to double up your mistakes. I was just about to go with Philip Rivers as my second QB when I noticed he had the same bye week as Matt Ryan. With my clock ticking down to a few seconds I panicked and took the Carolina rookie back, Cameron Artis-Payne.

Round: 13


(145) Matthew Stafford QB (Scott)
(146) Eddie Royal WR
(147) Teddy Bridgewater QB
(148) Terrance West RB
(149) Adam Vinatieri K
(150) Steven Hauschka K
(151) - Chiefs D/ST D/ST
(152) Roy Helu RB
(153) Philip Rivers QB (Joe)
(154) Jay Ajayi RB
(155) Brian Quick WR (Andrew)
(156) Cardinals D/ST D/ST

Scott: With no better idea in mind, I looked for a different backup passer and decided on Matthew Stafford and his less objectionable bye week. Whee. What a great reason to make a pick. I'm hanging my head in shame right now.

Joe: I'm really happy with picking up Rivers to back up Romo. I mean, who's to say it won't be Romo backing up Rivers? Both are quality starters who have put up big numbers in the past. Things are starting to come together.

Andrew: Quick is one of my favorite sleeper/breakout candidates this year. Before his injury last year, he was quietly in the top-20 in WR fantasy points per game. His quarterback that got him there: Austin Davis. He has Nick Foles this year who is a bit of an upgrade. Quick is coming off an injury and hasn't had any action in the preseason, but I think he'll eventually be WR1 for the Rams.

Round: 14


(157) Connor Barth K
(158) Jonas Gray RB (Andrew)
(159) Marvin Jones WR
(160) Markus Wheaton WR (Joe)
(161) Michael Crabtree WR
(162) Branden Oliver RB
(163) James White RB
(164) Daniel Herron RB
(165) Justin Tucker K
(166) Vikings D/ST D/ST
(167) Cody Parkey K
(168) Owen Daniels TE (Scott)

Andrew: Broke my own rule. Avoid New England running backs. It is a different starter every game and nothing but a headache. I have no explanation.

Joe: My theory – Big Ben had a career year last season, as did Antonio Brown. So Wheaton won't get the attention he deserves, will go for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdown and the trophy is all mine.

Scott: Oh, hey, look who still needs a tight end. Let's take two of them! I'll start with the always thrilling (sarcasm alert) Owen Daniels, hoping that he becomes the next Julius Thomas in Denver.

Round: 15


(169) Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE (Scott)
(170) Lions D/ST D/ST
(171) Dorial Green-Beckham WR
(172) Malcom Floyd WR
(173) Antonio Gates TE
(174) Matt Prater K
(175) Matt Bryant K
(176) Dan Bailey K
(177) Sebastian Janikowski K (Joe)
(178) Dan Carpenter K
(179) Blair Walsh K (Andrew)
(180) Colin Kaepernick QB

Scott: And then, hey, why not?! My second Buccaneer: ASJ.

Joe: Janikowski has been playing for a really, really long time. Kickers don't last that long, especially in one place, if they're not up to par. Aboard you come.

Andrew: Minnesota has looked solid. No issues with Walsh here.

Round: 16


(181) Khiry Robinson RB
(182) Tyler Eifert TE (Andrew)
(183) Sam Bradford QB
(184) Louis Murphy WR (Joe)
(185) Patriots D/ST D/ST
(186) Doug Baldwin WR
(187) Stevan Ridley RB
(188) Carson Palmer QB
(189) Matt Jones RB
(190) Mason Crosby K
(191) Donald Brown RB
(192) Brandon McManus K (Scott)

Andrew: I've got a stable full of what I consider great WR depth, might as well take another tight end here. If he has a great first few weeks, he could be a good trade solution to take care of my backup RB woes.

Joe: Murphy is the No. 3 receiver on an offense with Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He's a veteran and could find himself in the end zone a few times. Plus, I'm a homer. Go Bucs.

Scott: Mr. Irrelevant is a kicker, as it should be. If Brandon McManus is good enough to take Connor Barth's job in Denver, he's good enough for me. Plus, it's fun to take a player who's ranked 556th on the site. Super sleeper!

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