The ultimate mockumentary

The Grand Introduction
It's good to have pro football sort of back in our lives, isn't it? Even when subjected to Atlanta's hot, muggy and usually intolerable July weather on Thursday, I still had a bounce in my step over the likely return of the NFL ... and obligatory Mock Draft Spectacular, now for The National Football Post. Given the expected craziness of the Great Free Agent Frenzy of 2011 that'll take place sometime in the next 10 days (fingers crossed), there's a chance we'll repeat this special version of 'Fantasy Philanthropist' in August. But right now, it's simply another weapon for fantasy gurus everywhere ... as they feverishly prepare to get back into drafting shape -- without the worries of pulling a hamstring. Leading off, a 12-team standard-scoring draft:

Mock Draft, Vol. I -- Standard-Scoring Leagues

Round 1
1. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. RB Arian Foster, Texans
3. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
4. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
5. RB Ray Rice, Ravens
6. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
7. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
8. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
9. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
10. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
11. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (my pick)
12. RB Frank Gore, 49ers

Round 2
13. RB Steven Jackson, Rams
14. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (my pick)
15. QB Michael Vick, Eagles
16. WR Roddy White, Falcons
17. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
18. WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
19. QB Drew Brees, Saints
20. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
21. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
22. RB Peyton Hillis, Browns
23. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
24. RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

Round 3
25. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
26. WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
27. WR DeSean Jackson 28. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
29. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers
30. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
31. RB Matt Forte, Bears
32. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
33. WR Miles Austin, Cowboys
34. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
35. RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (my pick)
36. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers

Round 4
37. RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers
38. RB Shonn Greene, Jets (my pick)
39. WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
40. RB DeAngelo Williams, Free Agent
41. RB Jahvid Best, Lions
42. RB LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
43. WR Marques Colston, Saints
44. RB Mike Williams, Buccaneers
45. QB Matt Schaub, Texans
46. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
47. WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
48. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys

Round 5
49. RB Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots
50. TE Dallas Clark, Colts
51. WR Brandon Lloyd, Broncos
52. WR Santonio Holmes, Free Agent
53. RB Cedric Benson, Bengals (?)
54. RB Felix Jones, Cowboys
55. WR Austin Collie, Colts
56. WR Steve Johnson, Bills
57. TE Jason Witten, Colts
58. WR Kenny Britt, Titans
59. WR Brandon Marhsall, Dolphins (my pick)
60. TE Jermichael Finley, Packers

Snake This, Draft That

For what it's worth, here's my team:
Round 1 -- RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (rock-solid performer at this stage, with plenty of upside)
Round 2 -- WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (has the NFL reversed its non-TD debacle from Week 1 last year yet?)
Round 3 -- RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (taking a leap of faith on 1,800 total yards/9 TDs)

Ahmad BradshawICONWill Ahmad Bradshaw be back with the Giants in 2011?

Round 4 -- RB Shonn Greene, Jets (the showcase piece of the Ground & Pound movement)
Round 5 -- WR Brandon Marshall, Dolphins (last year's 3 TDs were an aberration)
Round 6 -- TE Vernon Davis, 49ers (a healthy lock for 1,175 yards and 8 TDs)
Round 7 -- QB Eli Manning, Giants (has inflated value in leagues where INTs don't count)
Round 8 -- RB Ryan Torain, Redskins (would love this pick more if I had the Roy Helu handcuff)
Round 9 -- RB Michael Bush, Raiders (speaking of handcuffs ...)
Round 10 -- QB Matthew Stafford, Lions (the perfect complement to Eli -- 3,800 yards/25 TDs seems reasonable)
Round 11 -- RB Rashad Jennings, Jaguars (an outside candidate to win the NFL backup-rushing title)
Round 12 -- D/ST New England Patriots (a lethal fantasy producer when red hot)
Round 13 -- WR Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns (SOMEONE has to take a giant step forward in Cleveland)
Round 14 -- WR Brandon Tate, Patriots (waited until Week 17 last year to demonstrate full fantasy potential)
Round 15 -- PK Alex Henery, Eagles (this clip confirms Philly's draft-day smarts)
Round 16 -- TE Benjamin Watson, Browns (the world is your oyster when it comes to drafting backup tight ends in 12-teamers)

The Afterglow, Part I

**For the first time in four weeks, I saw or participated in a mock where the first six picks matched my own preseason choices for the most valuable talents of fantasyland -- RBs Peterson, Foster, Chris Johnson, Charles, Ray Rice and McCoy. This isn't a referendum on Michael Vick, Rashard Mendenhall, Aaron Rodgers, Maurice Jones-Drew or Andre Johnson, per se; rather, it's confirmation of how dominant The Big Six should be.

Andre JohnsonICONHow long will Johnson last on draft day?

**If Andre Johnson had slipped one more spot to 11, I'm supremely confident I would've landed AJ and Darren McFadden (pick 15) in Rounds 1-2. D-Mac had 100 total yards in 10 of his 13 games last year ... and yet, his universal pre-draft standing falls short of Round 1 (but not with me). Speaking of Calvin and D-Mac, they'll be teammates again in the PPR section of today's Philanthropist.

**Gian ts WR Hakeem Nicks has morphed into a weekly lock for seven catches and 76 yards -- regardless of the opponent; but I'm concerned that he'll have a small regression in touchdowns this season. As a result, the 18th slot seems a tad ambitious.

**From the medium-sized sampling of mock drafts I've seen since July 4, there is no absolute pecking order when picking amongst quarterbacks Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning in Round 2. It's a matter of personal preference, really.

**I had originally planned to take QB Philip Rivers near the end of Round 3 ... but then had a quick change of heart, thinking I'd land either him or teammate Ryan Mathews just three picks later. But I lost out on Rivers and Mathews, who were both gone at the turn.

**The biggest wild card of Rounds 1-3 is undoubtedly Denver tailback Knowshon Moreno (1,151 total yards/8 TDs), who's likely to incur battles on three fronts in 2011:

1) Winning over skeptical decision-makers like coach John Fox and Broncos executive John Elway.
2) Overcoming the raps of pedestrian play around the goal line ... and not being 16-game durable.
3) Dealing with the very-loud rumors of DeAngelo Williams coming to the Mile High City as a free agent.

Mock Draft, Vol. II -- 12-Team Experts' PPR

Next up, we have a high-pressure PPR draft (for the summer, at least), featuring fantasy shamans like Bob Harris (Football Diehards), Matt Schauf (Draft Sharks), Jason Sarney (Fantasy Phenoms), Allie Fontana (Bruno Boys), Scott Swanay (Fantasy Football Sherpa), John Tuvey (The Huddle) and Andy Snider (My Fantasy League), among others.

Round 1
1. RB Arian Foster, Texans
2. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
3. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
4. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
5. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
6. RB Ray Rice, Ravens (my pick)
7. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
8. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
9. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
10. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
11. WR Roddy White, Falcons
12. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

Round 2
13. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
14. WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
15. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
16. RB Steven Jackson, Rams
17. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
18. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
19. RB Peyton Hillis, Browns (my pick)
20. RB Matt Forte, Bears
21. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
22. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
23. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
24. QB Michael Vick, Eagles

Round 3
25. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
26. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
27. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
28. RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers
29. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers
30. QB Drew Brees, Saints (my pick)
31. WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
32. QB LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
33. RB Jahvid Best, Lions
34. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
35. RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
36. WR Miles Austin, Cowboys

Round 4
37. WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
38. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
39. WR Marques Colston, Saints
40. WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers
41. WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
42. WR Brandon Marshall, Dolphins
43. RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (my pick)
44. WR Austin Collie, Colts
45. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
46. RB DeAngelo Williams, Free Agent
47. TE Jermichael Finley 48. RB Shonn Greene, Jets

Round 5
49. RB Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
50. RB Steve Johnson, Bills
51. WR Santonio Holmes, Free Agent
52. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
53. TE Vernon Davis, 49ers
54. WR Brandon Lloyd, Broncos (my pick)
55. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
56. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
57. TE Dallas Clark, Colts
58. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
59. RB Mark Ingram, Saints
60. RB Cedric Benson, Bengals (?)
**For a full listing of the PPR draft, click here.

Prepared Beggars Can Be Choosers

Here's my PPR team:
Round 1 -- RB Ray Rice, Ravens
Round 2 -- RB Peyton Hillis, Browns
Round 3 -- QB Drew Brees, Saints (will enjoy 15 games of pristine throwing conditions this season)
Round 4 -- RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Round 5 -- WR Brandon Lloyd, Broncos (1,500 yards/double-digit TDs are unreachable again ... but 77 catches is doable)

Percy HarvinICONHow will Harvin perform as the No. 1 in Minnesota?

Round 6 -- WR Percy Harvin, Vikings (has Percy's time for 75 catches and 1,200 total yards arrived?)
Round 7 -- WR Mario Manningham, Giants
Round 8 -- WR Malcom Floyd, Free Agent (could see a pre-draft spike if he signs with New England)
Round 9 -- RB Pierre Thomas, Saints
Round 10 -- WR Hines Ward, Steelers
Round 11 -- RB Reggie Bush, Free Agent (possible handcuff with Thomas)
Round 12 -- RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys (could be the starting back in Big D by midseason)
Round 13 -- D/ST New England Patriots
Round 14 -- PK Nate Kaeding, Chargers
Round 15 -- TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Round 16 -- QB Alex Smith, 49ers

The Afterglow, Part II

**Rivers made a huge jump from 36 to 15 in the two drafts -- an eye-opening ascension, especially since a quarterback's fantasy value seldom changes within standard-scoring and PPR leagues. Speaking of uncanny QB disparities, Tom Brady plunged from 17th to 55th in the drafts.

**For PPRs, I'd probably take LeSean McCoy (NFL-high 78 catches among tailbacks last year) over Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice -- by the slimmest of margins. This, in a nutshell, best explains why it's somewhat pointless to haggle over superstar options in fantasy columns. Bottom line: You really can't go wrong with any of the Round 1 studs.

**That said, I'm personally guaranteeing 2,000 total yards and nine touchdowns for Rice.

Larry FitzgeraldWith Kolb at quarterback, Fitzgerald's numbers could be on the rise.

**Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald (21st overall) could make a realistic, but noteworthy leap to the 15th slot, IF the Cardinals should trade for Philly QB Kevin Kolb before Week 2 of the preseason. Fitzgerald posted, ahem, "pedestrian" numbers of 90 catches, 1,137 yards and six TDs last season.

**I'd be shocked if Chicago's Matt Forte didn't duplicate or surpass his PPR-friendly numbers of last season (1,616 total yards/9 TDs/51 catches). But I still went with Peyton Hillis at No. 19 overall ... on the slightly ambitious hope he'll pull down 60-plus catches again.

**Very few receivers can touch Mike Wallace's quantum-leap exploits of last year (six 100-yard games/10 TDs); but it's also fair to point out his season-high for catches (eight in Week 10) -- a mark he only reached once in 2010. Talk about mixed signals.

**It's funny how Brandon Marshall (42nd overall) gets modest little PPR love. I guess four games of 10 catches/100 yards -- in a mediocre passing offense (hello, Chad Henne) -- ain't what it used be.

**Jahvid Best will be a steal at 33 this time next year.

Choose Your Quarterback

Here's a week-to-week breakdown of Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman vs. Chicago's -- in case you should draft both NFC studs and have no idea which quarterback to start on any given Sunday:

Week 1 -- Cutler (vs. Atlanta) over Freeman (vs. Detroit)
Week 2 -- Freeman (@ Minnesota) over Cutler (@ New Orleans)
Week 3 -- Freeman (vs. Atlanta) over Cutler (vs. Green Bay)
Week 4 -- Freeman (vs. Indianapolis) over Cutler (vs. Carolina)
Week 5 -- Cutler (@ Detroit) over Freeman (@ San Francisco)
Week 6 -- Cutler (vs. Minnesota) over Freeman (vs. New Orleans)
Week 7 -- Cutler vs. Freeman in (typically wet) London -- PUSH
Week 8 -- Freeman (BYE) AND Cutler (BYE) -- PUSH
Week 9 -- Freeman (@ New Orleans) over Cutler (@ Philadelphia)
Week 10 -- Freeman (vs. Houston) over Cutler (vs. Detroit)
Week 11 -- Cutler (vs. San Diego) over Freeman (@ Green Bay)
Week 12 -- Freeman (@ Tennessee) over Cutler (@ Oakland)
Week 13 -- Freeman (vs. Carolina) over Cutler (vs. Kansas City)
Week 14 -- Cutler (@ Denver) over Freeman (@ Jacksonville)
Week 15 -- Cutler (vs. Seattle) over Freeman (vs. Dallas)
Week 16 -- Freeman (@ Carolina) over Cutler (@ Green Bay)
Week 17 -- Cutler (@ Minnesota) over Freeman (@ Atlanta)

Final Tally: Freeman nips Cutler, prevailing by an 8-7-2 margin.

Mock Draft, Vol. III -- 12-Team Auction Draft

As an experienced auctionator (is that a word?), there's zero excuse for having $22 leftover after a 12-team draft; and yet, that's where I stood after conducting my first auction test of the new season. Here's a recap of my spending ways:

Phase I -- Early Spending Spree
RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- $52
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions -- $40
RB Darren McFadden, Raiders -- $37

Phase II -- Restrained, Yet Jubilant Spending
RB Pierre Thomas, Saints -- $12
RB Ryan Williams, Cardinals -- $11

Phase III -- Extremely Smart Shopping
QB Sam Bradford, Rams -- $4
QB Jay Cutler, Bears -- $2
RB Michael Bush, Raiders -- $4
RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals -- $2
TE Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers -- $3
TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots -- $3

Phase IV -- Bargain-Basement Gems
WR Julio Jones, Falcons -- $3
WR James Jones, Free Agent -- $1
WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- $1
PK Alex Henery, Eagles -- $1

Phase V -- Wasted Pick
D/ST Washington Redskins -- $1 (mistakenly chose the 'Skins during the submission process -- wanted the Patriots)

The Afterglow, Part III

Ryan WilliamsWill Ryan Williams take over the top spot on the depth chart in Arizona?

**Fantasy owners should NEVER overestimate the pre-draft values of quarterbacks in 12- or 14-team leagues. As Exhibits A, B and C, check out the prices of Brees, Brady and Manning below.

**I saw it as a moral imperative to splurge for the double handcuffs of McFadden/Michael Bush and Ryan Williams/Beanie Wells. Williams, for what it's worth, is my pick to be the most productive rookie tailback by season's end.

**Thank god this was only a practice draft!

Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams

In case you care, these 24 fantasy stars garnered bids of $30 or more in Thursday's mock:
RB Chris Johnson, Titans -- $68
RB Arian Foster, Texans -- $65
RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- $64
QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- $62
RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- $60
RB Ray Rice, Ravens -- $58
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- $56
QB Michael Vick, Eagles -- $55
RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- $52
WR Andre Johnson, Texans -- $50
RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers -- $49
WR Roddy White, Falcons -- $48
WR Greg Jennings, Packers -- $41
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions -- $40
RB Frank Gore, 49ers -- $38
RB Darren McFadden, Raiders -- $37
RB Michael Turner, Falcons -- $36
WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants -- $36
QB Tom Brady, Patriots -- $34
QB Peyton Manning, Colts -- $34

QB Drew Brees, Saints -- $34
RB Steven Jackson, Rams -- $32
WR Mike Wallace, Steelers -- $31
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- $30

I Cannot Help But Wonder ...

That IF the NFLPA* would've been the first to approve its version of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday, would the NFL owners have similarly shouted from the rafters about how the players were deceptive about some terms of the ratified deal? Yesterday's circus may have made for good TV, but it also felt like some needless debate between Republicans and Democrats after any significant event of the last five years: A lot of screaming, a lot of fists pounding on tables, a lot of nebulous accusations ... but zero evidence that a deal wouldn't get in done in reasonable time.

After all, what are the NFL players going to do ... play in Turkey?

An award-winning fantasy writer with Sports Illustrated (2008-2010) before joining the National Football Post, Jay Clemons' Fantasy Philanthropist Blog can be found here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Clemons can be reached, day or night, via Twitter.

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