By now, you should know the drill. It's a 12-team PPR league where we start one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one K and one DEF. You'll find the earlier picks by following these links: Round 1, Round 2. OK, let's mock…
Vincent Jackson(notes), SD, WR – Round 3, Pick 1
Despite sitting out a meaningless Week 17 contest, Jackson produced a career-high 68/1167/9 line, and tied for the league-lead with six 100-yard games – he also caught seven balls for 111 yards in a playoff loss to the Jets. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Jackson is a matchup nightmare who keeps getting better every year. Entering his sixth season, I’m expecting another personal-best performance.
Steve Smith, Car, WR – Round 3, Pick 2
Considering how bad Jake Delhomme(notes) was last season, it’s a testament to Smith’s talent that he was still able to finish among the top 20 WRs in fantasy points per game. He caught seven TDs in his final nine games and really took off with Matt Moore(notes) behind center, averaging 94.5 yards and scoring three times in the four games he played in which Moore was the starter. Smith showed last season, with seven receptions of 40-plus yards (fourth-best in the league), that he’s got plenty of rocket fuel left. He just needed a QB upgrade, and he has that now.
Steve Smith, NYG, WR – Round 3, Pick 2
Though diminutive in size, Smith is an absolute monster in leagues that reward possession receivers. Functioning as Eli Manning’s(notes) greaseman, he reeled in an NFC-leading 107 catches with 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns a season ago. Hakeem Nicks(notes) may be the breakout candidate in Giants blue the fantasy community will fawn over, but Smith is a consistency king who is incredibly productive. Quite frankly, he deserves more respect.
Rodgers’ primary target was a major disappointment last season despite catching 68 passes for 1,113 yards. The steady play of Donald Driver(notes) combined with JerMichael Finley’s(notes) emergence kept the fourth-year receiver’s dancing shoes in the closet. Because little has changed in Title Town, the same scenario could unfold again this season. Still he’s far too talented a route runner to post another mediocre campaign. Expect numbers closer to ’08, not ’09.
DeSean Jackson(notes), Phi, WR – Round 3, Pick 5
Jackson only recorded 63 receptions last year, but thanks to 18.5 yards-per-catch (second highest in the NFL), he produced 1,167 yards and 11 total touchdowns. He's a bit feast-or-famine, as he finished with fewer than 50 yards receiving in six games, but with the more accurate Kevin Kolb(notes) taking over QB duties, a true WCO system will be in place, relying less on big plays and more on yards after the catch, which should lead to more targets (and more receptions) for the most exciting wide receiver in football.
Anquan Boldin(notes), Bal, WR – Round 3, Pick 6
Boldin is a pretty big injury risk, and it's also a gamble banking on a receiver switching teams. Still, Boldin has averaged more yards receiving per game (79.2) than any other WR in the history of the NFL, and he's joining a system in Baltimore with a highly promising quarterback. He's sure to dominate targets in Baltimore as by far the best option through the air. While he scored only four touchdowns last season, he hit paydirt in 20 of his previous 24 games and no longer has to worry about goal-line monster Larry Fitzgerald(notes) taking away looks in the red zone.
Ryan Grant(notes), GB, RB – Round 3, Pick 7
Grant is probably going to land in the 20-30 reception area, not great for this format, but he's also coming off a 1,450-yard season (ninth in the league in yards from scrimmage) with 11 touchdowns, and that makes him a reasonable pick in this spot. Green Bay didn't add a major back in the offseason; it's happy to stick with what's working. The identify of the Packers offense is Aaron Rodgers and Friends, but there will be enough left over for Grant.
Location, location, location. The Colts keep the scoring opportunities coming - Addai has 43 scores in 58 pro games - and Peyton Manning(notes) looks for No. 29 when a play breaks down (Addai caught 51 passes last year). On a per-play basis Addai is a very ordinary back (last year's 3.8 YPC doesn't even get you to the league average), but his environment makes him a very safe fantasy pick.
LeSean McCoy(notes), Phi, RB – Round 3, Pick 9
THE McCoy enters his second camp atop the depth chart at running back after producing a respectable 945 total yards as part of a timeshare as a rookie. His 40 receptions in ‘09 were noteworthy, particularly for a guy who struggled (as many rookies do) with blitz pick-up in his first year. We know the Eagles like to involve running backs in the passing attack and McCoy is the team’s best weapon in that regard (Mike Bell(notes) doesn’t have much of a history catching passes out of the backfield). Couple a featured role with an expected second-year uptick and a 1,200-yard, eight TD, 60 reception season isn’t difficult to visualize.
Ronnie Brown(notes), Mia, RB – Round 3, Pick 10
As has already been discussed in this space, everybody in Miami came out a winner when the Dolphins acquired Brandon Marshall(notes). Teams can no longer overload against the run, meaning Brown – already back on the field after last year’s serious ankle injury – can pick up right where he left off, which was on an 18 TD in 24 games binge. Brown is far from PPR gold, but throw in the occasional rogue touchdown pass and all is forgiven.
Cedric Benson(notes), Cin, RB – Round 3, Pick 11
This pick is about preserving the integrity of the mock. That's it. This is probably where Benson goes, if objective people are handling the picks. I cannot explain his 2009 season, and I especially don't know where that spin move came from that he burned the Ravens with in Week 5. No idea. It was not present in Chicago, I can tell you that much. The PPR format doesn't really help Benson, but you can't argue with the workload he's likely to get in Cincinnati. Cedric averaged 23.2 carries per week last year. Here's an official projection: 310 carries, 1188 rush yards, 20 receptions, 169 receiving yards. I would pay to not own this team…
Felix Jones(notes), Dal, RB – Round 3, Pick 12
This owner was seriously unhappy when McCoy was selected, but that's the penalty for picking at the turn. Alas. Beanie Wells(notes) would be the pick here in a standard league, but A) he caught only 12 passes last year, B) Tim Hightower(notes) is still in the mix, and C) I don't fully trust a Leinart-led offense.
So Felix it is. He takes over the traditional Jones role in the Dallas backfield, formerly held by Julius. Now at the top of the depth chart, Felix is in line for 200-plus carries and an as-yet-unknown number of catches. (Probably not a massive number; he had just 19 last year, plus four in the playoffs). He's a ridiculously explosive player in a juggernaut offense. Health is the worry, of course, but the upside is awfully tempting. And in a mock, there really are no gambles.
The choice now facing this team is whether to draft an elite quarterback, or a less-than elite RB. Good thing I'll have 24 hours to think it over…
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