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We here at Triple Coverage Sports like to consider ourselves a fantasy sports website of the people, which is why we’re bringing you the perfect guide as to who to draft in the first round, and who to save for the later rounds. Myself (Callum aka the C-Hawk), and my esteemed colleagues Curt and Sho took it upon ourselves to create our own mock drafts and determine where we felt anyone and everyone from Antonio Brown to the suspended Le’Veon Bell should end up. After compiling the data from our mock drafts, we assembled a consensus top 12 of 1st round picks, consisting of 6 WRs, 5 RBs and 1 TE, which is as follows:
1st Overall – Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown isn’t just the best fantasy WR available this year, he’s the best player available at any position. Until late July, it seemed as if 1st overall would be an old fashioned Mexican standoff between Brown and Steelers teammate Le’Veon Bell. However, after Bell was suspended for the first 4 games of the NFL season, Antonio was left as this year’s consensus 1st overall pick. Brown led all fantasy players, other than QBs of course, in points last season, with 243. He is worthy of a 1st overall pick and should continue to consistently dominate the same way he has over the past 2 season, where he scored 10-or-more fantasy points in 24 of the Steelers’ 32 regular season games.
2nd Overall – Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
OBJ managed to beat the odds last year, defeating both the sophomore slump and the Madden cover curse, on the way to dominating opposing secondaries and improving on his already staggering rookie numbers. In Beckham’s last 24 games, he has produced at nearly a touchdown-per-game pace, to go along with an average of 110 yards receiving. OBJ should garner a top 3 pick, as he continues to blow NFL fans minds league-wide in his 3rd season.
3rd Overall – Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is coming off one of the best fantasy seasons a WR has ever had, leading the league in both targets (204) and receiving yards (1,871). Julio is easily worthy of a top 3 pick, and and you can expect his numbers to remain at this elite level, as both him and Matty Ice get more comfortable with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan , behind a now stable offensive-line.
4th Overall – Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson has dominated the fantasy gridiron over the past half-decade and this season should be no exception, as he remains a consensus top 5 pick. AP, who average 14.8 fantasy points per game last year, is now entering his 10th year in the league at the tender age of 31, but is still poised to remain a top fantasy RB in 2016. He comes in as our top RB and one of the safest top 5 picks.
5th Overall – Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Coming into his second season, Gurley seems like a prime candidate to succumb to the sophomore slump. However, Gurley’s high motor and elite-level skill make it hard to not see him repeating upon what he was able to do as a rookie, putting up 1,106 yards on the ground to go along with 10 touchdowns. The city of Los Angeles is hungry for a football star after over 20 dark years without a team, and last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year seems to be the man for the job, especially until rookie QB Jared Goff is able to settle in.
6th Overall – DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Hopkins became an elite fantasy talent in 2015, ranking third among all WRS in targets, with 190, receptions, with 111, and receiving yards, with 1,521. Those impressive numbers came with the NFL’s Z-List of QBs behind centre (including names like Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden), so with an upgrade of Brock Osweiler, Hopkins is almost guaranteed to improve on his already high fantasy numbers. By season’s end, DeAndre could crack the top 3 fantasy WRs, all ranked just before him on our list.
7th Overall – Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant’s 2015 season was essentially a wash, as appeared in parts of just 9 games and was rarely playing at 100% due to a lingering foot injury. Fantasy owners can and should bank on Dez remerging as a top fantasy receiver with a healthy Tony Romo behind centre. In his 3 NFL seasons with Romo before his injury plagued 2015 year, Bryant averaged 13 touchdowns-per-game to go along with over 1,300 receiving yards, and could easily rekindle this magic in 2016. This potential is more than worthy of a mid-to-late 1st round pick.
8th Overall – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Like OBJ, who avoided the Madden curse last season, Gronkowski will look to do the same as the TE is set to appear on the cover of Madden 16. Gronk is leaps and bounds above all other TEs in the league, who we do not recommend picking anywhere inside the first 5 rounds of any draft. Gronk has scored 12 and 11 touchdowns in successive seasons and hold some of the NFL’s all-time records at his position. It doesn’t mattter whose at QB for the Patriots, Garoppolo or Brady, the big man will remain their favourite target. As a result of the lack of parody at the position, we would suggest picking up Gronk anywhere he’s available after the top 5 to sure-up a position full of un-sure players.
9th Overall – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
It is rare that a rookie is selected anywhere near the first round, but Elliott seems to be that exception. Zeke was the best RB in College Football last year and is stepping into a situation in Dallas where he will almost certainly be handed the starting job behind the best offensive-line in football. This o-line has made many mediocre RBs look like stars in the past (i.e. Demarco Murray), and with a raw talent like Zeke now stepping into that role, expect great things to happen. Elliott is well worth a late first round, as he has the potential to be the NFL’s top RB come season’s end.
10th Overall – AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green had a slight down year in 2015, and that’s saying something as he still finished among the top 10 fantasy WRs with 179 points. Despite this ‘down year’, the Bengals’ offense saw substantial improvement, as other receiving threats such as Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu emerged around QB Andy Dalton. However, the aforementioned receivers have both now left the Bengals, opening up more targets and more touches for AJ moving forward. With his elite skill, he should make the most of this opportunity. Green is most definitely worth a mid-to-late 1st round pick.
11th Overall – David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Like Gurley, Johnson is coming into his second season as a pro and is hoping he too can outlast the dreaded sophomore slump. Johnson was impressive in limited time next year, scoring 12 total touchdowns, while proving his versatility on his way to over 1,000 all-purpose years (581 rushing, 457 receiving) and eventually stealing the Cardinals’ starting job away from CJ2K. David Johnson could potentially be worth the gamble, and that makes him worth either a very late 1st round or early 2nd round pick. However, unlike Gurley, Johnson remains far less of a sure-thing.
12th Overall – Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell is facing a 4-game suspension for missing a drug test in the offseason and will most likely have to serve it. When Bell is actually on the field, and not injured or suspended, he is arguably the league’s best RB and is always among the league’s best fantasy players, at ANY position. The last time we saw Le’Veon play a full season was all the way back in 2014, when he went OFF for 11 total touchdowns, 1,391 yards on the ground, to go along with 854 yards through the air. If the versatile RB is able to come back healthy after the suspension, expect him to produce at a pace similar to this. That is why he is worth a late 1st-round pick in any draft.
It is also vital to handcuff Bell with Steelers’ back-up RB DeAngelo Williams in the later rounds, as fills in phenomenally in the absence of Bell and will be starting (at least) the first 4 games.
Now, just for fun, let us show you our mock drafts, how they differed and how the Triple Coverage Squad came to the above consensus top 12.
|Triple Coverage Squad||Callum||Curt||
|1.||Antonio Brown||Todd Gurley||Antonio Brown|
|2.||Adrian Peterson||Antonio Brown||Odell Beckham Jr.|
|3.||Julio Jones||Odell Beckham Jr.||Julio Jones|
|4.||Todd Gurley||Adrian Peterson||DeAndre Hopkins|
|5.||Odell Beckham Jr.||Julio Jones||Adrian Peterson|
|6.||Dez Bryant||DeAndre Hopkins||Rob Gronkowski|
|7.||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Todd Gurley|
|8.||DeAndre Hopkins||David Johnson||Dez Bryant|
|9.||Rob Gronkowski||Rob Gronkowski||AJ Green|
|10.||AJ Green||Devonta Freeman||Le’Veon Bell|
|11.||Lamar Miller||Dez Bryant||David Johnson|
|12.||Jordy Nelson||Le’Veon Bell||Jamaal Charles|