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2018 Fantasy Football Mock: Backs go quickly in first two rounds

With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time for some Fantasy Football drafting. We recently held a 10-team, 10-round, 0.5 PPR mock to get things started. The idea here isn’t to pick a team by addressing every position, but rather judge the top 100 players in fantasy as it stands today. We’ll reveal two rounds in each story, starting with Rounds 1-2. As you’ll see, running backs went fast, which was different than in recent years. 

SEE ROUNDS 3-4 HERE
SEE ROUNDS 5-6 HERE
SEE ROUNDS 7-8 HERE

ROUND 1 

Pick 1: Le’Veon Bell, Pit, RB1 – Consistency counts. Bell has been a top-four producer in three of the last four seasons. In 2017 he managed career highs in rushing scores and receptions. (Liz Loza 1)

Pick 2: Todd Gurley, LAR, RB2 – A comeback king in 2017, Gurley beasted behind an improved offensive line and under the direction of Sean McVay. Posting nearly 2,100 scrimmage yards and 19 combined scores, the Georgia product was fantasy’s best player at the position. I expect more of the same this year, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his receiving numbers decrease with passing-catching specialist John Kelly on the roster. (Loza 2)

Pick 3: Ezekiel Elliott, Dal, RB3 – Hopefully his off-the-field issues are behind him for good. Elliott is in his prime, has recorded 25 touchdowns over 25 career games and is coming off a light workload. Dallas’ offense should improve in 2018, and Elliott is going to be featured heavily. (Dalton Del Don 1)

Pick 4: David Johnson, Ari, RB4 – Coming off a wrist injury, Johnson enters with fresh legs and on an Arizona team that should get competent QB play. He’s one season removed from totaling 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore on fewer than 300 carries, so DJ firmly belongs in the top tier despite his lost 2017. (DDD 2)

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Pick 5: Antonio Brown, Pit, WR1 – Over the past five years, an average season from Brown looks like this: 116 REC, 1570 yards, 10 TDs. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2017 while catching 101 passes. He belongs to a tier of one. (Andy Behrens 1)

Pick 6: Kareem Hunt, KC, RB5 – Hunt doesn’t quite belong in the discussion with the four RBs at the top of this mock, but he’s not too far away. Kamara is tempting, but Hunt received 124 more touches last season. (Behrens 2)

Pick 7: Alvin Kamara, NO, RB6 – Emerging from the woodwork early last season, Kamara was a hyper-efficient dual threat in any format netting a 3.8 YAC per attempt. Doubt that description changes. (Brad Evans 1)

Pick 8: Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB7 – Those focused on proven products will scream “REACH!,” but Barkley is special. On what should be a much improved NYG team think 1400-1600 total yards with 9-11 TDs. (Evans 2)

Pick 9: DeAndre Hopkins, Hou, WR2 Playing with a competent quarterback made him a star again. Hopkins is one of those guys who’s always open even when he’s not open, given his ability to win on contested throws. (Scott Pianowski 1)

Pick 10: Odell Beckham Jr., NYG, WR3 No denying what he’s capable of when healthy. Eli Manning is clearly near the end of his career, but with all the weapons in Jersey, it might not matter. Betting on OBJ here is a bet on the health; I concede, it’s not for everyone. (Pianow 2)

ROUND 2 

Pick 11: Dalvin Cook, Min, RB8 – I’m generally not an injury-optimism guy, but it sounds like Cook’s knee rehab is going well, plus he had the injury so early in the 2017 season, he gets bonus lead time. Was obviously a difference-maker when healthy, and the Vikings offense could be a Top 5 unit. (Pianow 2)

Pick 12:  Leonard Fournette, Jax, RB9 – I don’t want either of my franchises to be without a back through two rounds, because the RB landscape will be ugly when we circle back around Pick 39-40. Fournette might have come into the NFL slightly overrated, but he owns the touches in the backfield, the defense will keep game script in range, and he’s capable as a receiver. It sounds funny, but Fournette might be more floor pick than upside pick at this stage of his career. ( Pianow  1)

Pick 13: Michael Thomas, NO, WR4 –  The Saints stud possesses a high floor due to a massive targets share (28.1% in ’17). He’s a safe bet for at least 90-1100-7. ( Evans 2)

Pick 14:  Melvin Gordon , LAC, RB10 –  Blake Bortles throwing passes with his left hand. That’s how inefficient Gordon is. Still, his a workhorse back fixed an an every-down, every-spot role. ( Evans 1)

Pick 15: Julio Jones, Atl, WR5 –  Julio has given us at least 80 receptions and 1,400 yards in each of the past four seasons. If you want to believe he’s incapable of scoring touchdowns, cool. More shares for me. ( Behrens 2)

Pick 16:  Mark Ingram, NO, RB11 –  There’s no obvious reason to think the Saints won’t use their backs exactly as they did last season, when Ingram delivered 1,540 scrimmage yards and 12 TDs. ( Behrens  1)

Pick 17:  Keenan Allen, LAC, WR6 –  He’s still an injury risk, as last year was the first time he’s played all 16 games, but Allen’s second half (86-62-845-5) revealed huge upside. He’s the clear top target on a Chargers offense that should score a bunch of points this season. ( DDD 2)

Pick 18:   Davante Adams, GB, WR7 –  He’s yet to reach 1,000 yards in a season in his career but is 25 years old, just signed a big deal to stay in Green Bay and is now the clear focal point of the Packers’ offense with Jordy Nelson gone. Adams has scored 22 touchdowns over the past two seasons. It helps when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback. ( DDD 1)

Pick 19: A.J. Green, Cin, WR8 –  At worst he’s a WR3 (like in 2016, after missing six games due to injury). At best he’s a WR1 (like in 2017 when he miraculously managed a 75-1,078-8 stat line). Given the team’s various offensive upgrades, I think he’s likely to ROI. ( Loza 2)

Pick 20: Mike Evans, TB, WR9 –  Evans disappointed in 2017, but the offense showed signs of life down the stretch. Having cleared 1,000 yards since his rookie outing, the Texas A&M product has double-digit touchdown potential in 2018. ( Loza 1)

Part II of our mock will reveal results of Round 3-4.

Follow the Yahoo fantasy football crew on Twitter: Brad Evans, Liz LozaAndy BehrensScott Pianowski and Dalton Del Don 

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