Now that the NFL Draft is complete, every team's depth chart is set in stone, and we know EXACTLY how each skill position player will be deployed, it's time to mock draft. Throughout the week, the Yahoo! fantasy staff will conduct a 12-team, five-round mock. We'll get through one round each day. Keep checking the fantasy blog for updates.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota RB -- Round 1, Pick 1. This was not a difficult decision, although many of you will hate it. LaDainian Tomlinson is clearly the establishment candidate. He's running a traditional top-down campaign for the No. 1 overall pick. If you value experience above all else, then Tomlinson is the choice. But if I'm picking first, I'm taking the player with the highest ceiling. Minnesota has a terrific run-blocking line, and Peterson is uniquely talented. Remember, you're drafting for the year ahead. (Andy Behrens).
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego RB -- Round 1, Pick 2. In basically every league where Adrian Peterson is selected first, the dude with the No. 2 overall pick is going to ridicule whoever passed on Tomlinson...mercilessly. In Tomlinson's worst NFL season, he delivered 1236 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his best season, he set scoring records. Tomlinson is still recovering from a sprained MCL, but he expects to be at full strength by the start of the regular season. (AB).
Steven Jackson, St. Louis RB -- Round 1, Pick 3. Jackson finished the 2007 season in strong fashion after missing all of Weeks 4-7 and most of Week 8 with groin and back injuries, averaging 117 yards of offense and scoring five touchdowns in his final eight games. Despite the Rams' offensive woes, he was fifth among RB who appeared in at least 10 games in total offense per game (106). Al Saunders' return to the Rams as offensive coordinator should re-focus the offense around Jackson, who totaled 2,334 yards of offense (fifth all-time) and scored 16 times in 2007. That, my friends, is a high ceiling. (Matt Buser).
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia RB -- Round 1, Pick 4. It's difficult - no, impossible - to pass on a guy who has averaged 2,010 yards of offense and 12 touchdowns over the past two seasons, even if there are vague but persistent injury concerns. But he's as versatile as they come and very consistent - in 28 games over the past two seasons (not counting Week 17's), he's averaged 139 yards of offense per game, totaled less than 100 yards just four times, and his season-low in 2007 was 92 yards. I'll take a chance to get numbers like that again. (MB).
Joseph Addai IND, RB -- Round 1, Pick 5. Addai petered out down the stretch in '07, but his 1,400-plus yards of offense and 15 TDs still netted out as No. 4 among RB. His '07 fade aside, he still offers the best combination of what you look for in a top five pick: age (he'll be 25 when the season starts), health (say what you want about his past, he's still played in 31 of a possible 32 regular-season games), offense (the Colts afforded Addai more red zone carries in '07 than any other back) and opportunity (rookie Mike Hart will be his backup, and he's not going to keep Addai from pushing 300 carries). I considered Larry Johnson, Tom Brady and Randy Moss at this spot, but not too seriously. (Brandon Funston)
Tom Brady NE, QB -- Round 1, Pick 6. I hate taking a QB in Round 1 as much as the next guy, and I'm not foolish enough to think that Brady will push 50 TD passes again, but I have a hard time not seeing how, with Moss back, he finishes with anything less than 34 TD passes and 4,000-plus passing yards. And that conservative estimate would still land him among the all-time great single-seasons for quarterbacks. I agonized over Brady, Moss and Johnson here, and momentarily considered Marion Barber and Clinton Portis, but Brady just seems like the surest ROI. (BF)
Larry Johnson KC, RB -- Round 1, Pick 7. Based on selection position, Grand-Ma-Ma may yield the largest profit of any first-round back this season. Reportedly, LJ is prepared to enter mini-camp at 100 percent after being sidelined by a cracked fourth metatarsal in his foot, an injury he suffered against the Packers in Week 9. The Chiefs O-line was horrendous last season, conceding a league-high 55 sacks, but the addition of ultra-athletic rookie tackle Branden Albert is a substantial improvement. If the Chiefs can patch together even an average offensive line, the Diamond Cutter will rack a minimum of 1800 total yards and 13-plus touchdowns playing in Herm Edwards' ball control offense. At 28, he's entering the penultimate phase of his career, but LJ still possesses the skill set to punish opponents. (Brad Evans)
Randy Moss NE, WR -- Round 1, Pick 8. "Stupid" is the best word to summarize Moss' record-breaking '07. Last year, Tom Brady's bosom buddy totaled nine 100-yard and eight multi-TD games. His 18.0 fantasy points per game average in standard-scoring leagues was three points higher than runner-up Terrell Owens. Rewarded with a three-year $27 million deal this offseason, Moss and Brady will unquestionably terrorize secondaries again this year. Considering the perceived lack of depth at wide receiver this year, this is the appopriate spot to draft fantasy's numero uno pass-catcher. In PPR leagues, he's a borderline top-five pick. (BE)
Marion Barber DAL, RB – Round 1, Pick 9. I know, I know, Felix Jones cuts into his value, in theory. But let's not forget that Barber had to share with Julius Jones the last two years, and that didn't keep the Dreadlocked Dynamo from scoring 28 touchdowns. I like my fantasy backs to be tied to strong offenses (more scoring chances) and winning situations (leads to cheap fourth-quarter yards), and Barber gets both of those perks in Dallas. In a jumbo-sized league I might consider Peyton Manning in this slot – a durable stud with almost no downside – but since we're looking at 12 owners, I'm content to bargain-shop at the quarterback position. (Scott Pianowski)
Jamal Lewis CLE, RB – Round 1, Pick 10. Environment is always a major part of fantasy success, and Lewis clearly has that going for him. The Browns offense is loaded with players on the escalator (Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, stud tackle Joe Thomas), and that allows for a veteran back like Lewis to excel even as he's entering his eighth year. Opportunity? Lewis led the league in carries from the 5-and-in last year, and had a sneaky 248 yards through the air. Security? The Browns inked him to a three-year contract in February and didn't touch a running back in free agency or on draft day. Don't ask why with Lewis, ask why not. He can be a Top 10 back again. (SP)
Peyton Manning IND, QB – Round 1, Pick 11. If Funston found taking a QB in the first round so objectionable, seeing a second fly off the board just might send him running back to Bristol. I understand the rationale behind bargain hunting for a quarterback in Rounds 6-10, but I prefer the "set it and forget it" comfort that comes with having a guy like Manning (160 games played in 10 seasons; 28.5 TDs per season even when you factor out his 49-TD 2004 campaign) on board. I've got enough to worry about in Week 16 without sweating over deciding between Kurt Warner or Jon Kitna. Nothing can be said here that isn't already clear to validate Manning's standing at his position. (Matt Romig)
Frank Gore SF, RB – Round 1, Pick 12. New offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn't have the pieces in place to completely scrap a traditional running game, so he'd be foolish not to build the offense around Gore as he promised to do when hired. Gore can catch the ball out of the backfield and pick up the blitz, so even in a Martzed-up Niners offense, he'll be a factor. SF (5 wins) and Gore (5 rushing TDs) both fell short of expectations in 2007. Gore still managed to be a top 10 fantasy back and should improve if – and maybe this is a big if – the team gets some continuity at the QB position. (Mig)
Stay tuned for our Round 2 post Tuesday.