Industry Mock: SXM Post-Free Agency Draft

Industry Mock: SXM Post-Free Agency Draft

On Friday I was fortunate enough to participate in Sirius XM's Post-Free Agency Fantasy Football Draft, picking my team against a panel of leading industry experts as we try to sort through the details of free agency and the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. I'll go through my team and point out the draft developments that interest me, as well as consider what I could have done better.

I had the 12th pick. The format is QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/WR/TE/Flex/DEF with PPR scoring. The draft was abbreviated somewhat, going 15 rounds.

Check out the full results here.

What I did:

1.12: Nick Chubb, RB, CLE
2.1: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI
3.12: Jonathan Taylor, RB, ROOKIE
4.1: Mike Evans, WR, TB
5.12: Mark Andrews, TE, BAL
6.1: Robert Woods, WR, LAR
7.12: Marquise Brown, WR, BAL
8.1: Mecole Hardman, WR, KC
9.12: Daniel Jones, QB, NYG
10.1: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
11.12: Malcolm Brown, RB, LAR
12.1: Duke Johnson, RB, HOU
13.12: Nyheim Hines, RB, IND
14.1: Ian Thomas, TE, CAR
15.12: Tampa Bay DST

Anyone familiar with my thinking will recognize many of my favorite players among these picks. The results are generally in line with my brand, and I'm therefore pretty content with the results. In hindsight, though, I might have done a couple things differently. I'll address each of the picks.

1.12: Nick Chubb, RB, CLE

Chubb's stock is slipping in some circles in light of Kareem Hunt's second-round restricted free agent tender, and it's understandable. I just think it's flawed thinking, and I'm ready to wager on that premise. Of course, I'd prefer that Hunt be on some other team, but if Hunt were on another team then there would be no good argument against Chubb in the first four picks. To me, Hunt's presence doesn't dictate an eight-pick difference. The two are not in the same league as runners – Chubb is one of the best runners of the past 20 years, while Hunt is merely good. Chubb will not be displaced as a runner, and anyone who thinks otherwise is confused.

Hunt's usage in the second half of 2019 was subsidized primarily by pass-catching work, including a substantial number of snaps where both Chubb and Hunt were on the field, with Chubb at running back and Hunt playing something more resembling h-back or even tight end. In his eight games, Hunt had more targets (44) than carries (43). Those targets and routes will largely get eaten up by Austin Hooper, so I tend to think of Hunt as a true backup and change-of-pace player behind Chubb rather than any sort of true peer. According to Pro Football Focus, of Hunt's 309 snaps last year, precisely 100 were logged at one of tight end (three), wide receiver (33), or slot (64). That's because, in my opinion, Hunt cannot meaningfully compete with Chubb at running back – Chubb is a rare high-volume, high-explosiveness runner with an incredible average of 5.08 yards per carry over his first 490 career carries. In addition to Chubb, only 10 other players in NFL history maintained a rushing average of 5.08 yards per carry or better over 490 or more carries, and three of them were Jim Brown, Jamaal Charles, and Bo Jackson.

2.1: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI

I really like Hopkins in this range in PPR scoring such as this, but in hindsight I might have made a slight mistake with this pick. Among the other options were Tyreek Hill, and if I had taken him here I likely would have come out much better at quarterback than I did, for reasons I'll explain at the turn of the third and fourth rounds.

3.12 and 4.1: Jonathan Taylor, RB, ROOKIE and Mike Evans, WR, TB

Just as with the Hopkins pick, I am glad to get these players at these spots. Taylor in particular I was psyched to select this late.

With the Evans pick, though, I went further down a path that would eventually leave me weak at quarterback. Patrick Mahomes was still on the board at this point, and I would have stacked him with Tyreek Hill if I had taken Hill instead of Hopkins at the 13th pick. I secured some high-upside wide receiver depth to my liking later in the draft (Woods/Brown/Hardman), so in hindsight I'd probably prefer Hill and Mahomes over Hopkins and Evans.

As far as Evans specifically goes, I still think he's a great value at this spot. He typically went in the late second round of BestBall10 drafts prior to the Tom Brady signing, and I think it's an overreaction to have him fall into the early fourth after it. Chris Godwin went at the 2.11 pick in this very draft, and I can't see how there's a round between the two, if any distance at all. I say that as one of the earliest Godwin truthers. The Buccaneers will likely need to make some adjustments to their route depths, and Evans can make plays underneath. He was largely a possession receiver his redshirt freshman season at Texas A&M, and you could probably say the same about his 2016 NFL season (96 catches for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns on 173 targets). If Evans has to play more underneath, he'll probably be fine.

5.12: Mark Andrews, TE, BAL

Andrews is easily the TE2 for me at this point. With Hayden Hurst off to Atlanta, there's a real chance Andrews could push for around 700 snaps this year after playing only 467 in 2019. Andrews generated 64 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns (98 targets) on an absurdly low snap count, and he drew more air yardage per snap (2.19) than even Tyreek Hill (1.98). Andrews is an exceedingly easy pick for me this late in a draft.

6.1: Robert Woods, WR, LAR

With Todd Gurley gone and the Rams less than certain to replace all of his production on the ground, Woods strikes me as a uniquely high-floor value in PPR scoring. With 176 catches in his last 31 games, Woods is a good bet to pass for a WR2 this year, so I'm always glad to get him as a WR3.

7.12: Marquise Brown, WR, BAL and 8.1: Mecole Hardman, WR, KC

I was hoping to get Dak Prescott at this pick, but Fade the Noise's Brandon Funston sniped me at 7.11. I came pretty close to threading the needle, but having failed to acquire Prescott, it was especially clear at this point that I probably should have taken Hill instead of Hopkins, and Mahomes instead of Evans. The dropoff from Prescott is pretty drastic, and none of the remaining quarterbacks struck me as worth selecting at this point.

Anyway, Brown and Hardman are two of my favorite wideout prospects, and I was content to take them as high-upside depth at receiver as opposed to reaching for a quarterback like Josh Allen or Matt Ryan. It was not lost on me, however, that the Hardman pick let the Hill/Mahomes error sting that much more.

9.12: Daniel Jones, QB, NYG and 10.1: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB

I wasn't especially happy with either of these picks, but I had to take someone at quarterback and I figured there wasn't a running back worth taking at this spot. I figured wrong – I should have taken AJ Dillon instead of assuming he'd get past PFF's Jeff Ratcliffe at 10.06. I could have taken Baker Mayfield or Drew Brees in the 11th round, and I don't value Jones or Rodgers much more than either of them. I do, however, safely prefer Dillon over Malcolm Brown...

11.12: Malcolm Brown, RB, LAR and 12.1: Duke Johnson, RB, HOU

I wasn't excited about either of these picks, but I had to start taking running backs for the sake of getting some running backs. Still, there's a non-zero chance that Brown serves as the Rams' starting running back this year, and Johnson at least offers some low-ceiling, high-floor backup flex utility in PPR scoring.

13.12: Ian Thomas, TE, CAR

I might have waited a bit too long to take a backup tight end, but maybe people are getting a little too low on Thomas in light of the Robby Anderson signing. It's another high-profile target, but it might be one that runs the routes most ill-suited to Teddy Bridgewater's style of play. Thomas will likely have a lower depth of target than all of the Carolina receivers.

14.1: Nyheim Hines, RB, IND

Austin Ekeler is a much better player than Hines and I wouldn't confuse the two for a second, but Philip Rivers definitely has his checkdown dependencies and Hines is the Colts' best candidate at the moment to serve that function out of the backfield.

15.12: Tampa Bay DST

The dominant narrative at the moment is that the Buccaneers have a bad pass defense, but I'm looking to short that premise. The Buccaneers corners struggled at the beginning of last year, but by the second half of the year second-year corner Carlton Davis had developed into a competent shadow corner, while the rookie duo of Jamel Dean (outside) and Sean Murphy-Bunting (slot) both showed substantial promise otherwise. If those three keep developing like they did last year, Tampa will have three toolsy top prospects at the position. The run defense was already strong, and the pass rush is well situated with Shaq Barrett back.

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
Job Battles: Trent Taylor Time
Job Battles: Trent Taylor Time
ADP Analysis: Superman Sticks His Landing
ADP Analysis: Superman Sticks His Landing
NFL Observations: Going Zero RB
NFL Observations: Going Zero RB
Job Battles: A Swift Downfall for Kerryon?
Job Battles: A Swift Downfall for Kerryon?
FSGA Futures and Props Recap
FSGA Futures and Props Recap
TE Tiers and Rankings (Top 40)
TE Tiers and Rankings (Top 40)