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Fantasy "Experts" Draft Tips

Posted Aug 23, 2014

On Wednesday evening, the Eagles hosted the Bud Light Fantasy Football Huddle at Lincoln Financial Field. In front of a crowd of Eagles fans, many of whom were taking meticulous notes, a panel of 12 fantasy football experts (if there is such a thing) completed four rounds of a mock draft. The panel included a number of Eagles beat writers and radio hosts, as well as our own Chris McPherson, Bo Wulf and Fran Duffy. The picks were critiqued and analyzed not only by members of the panel, but also by ESPN Insider Adam Caplan and ESPN senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry.

Most fantasy drafts occur after the third week of preseason action, so now’s the perfect time to take some tips from these fantasy experts as you head into the draft room and assemble your board …

Forecast For The Top Of The Board - Shady

Sheil Kapadia of Birds 24/7 was awarded the first pick in the mock draft after a vigorous fight for the top spot (he was randomly selected). With the first pick, Kapadia selected LeSean McCoy. The Eagles' running back figures to be the top prize in most fantasy drafts this season after his monster 1,607-yard rushing performance in 2014. Kapadia’s reasoning was simple: "He led the NFL in touches last year and he’s going to play as many snaps as any running back in the NFL. Chip Kelly, as we know, is a run-game guru and the offensive line, for the most part is intact … There’s really no downside to LeSean McCoy.”

Grab Playmakers Early, Wait For Quarterbacks

After McCoy, four more running backs came off the board (Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Kansas City's Jamaal Charles, Chicago's Matt Forte and Green Bay's Eddie Lacy, in order). From there, it was a string of 11 pass catchers and running backs selected. The first quarterback chosen was Denver's Peyton Manning, taken 17th overall. Waiting on quarterbacks seems to be the hot trend in fantasy. In fact, in this four-round draft, only four quarterbacks (Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck) were taken in the 48 picks. As Berry and Caplan explained, the "elite" quarterbacks will go early, but there will be value at the position in the middle rounds.

Optimus Prime Takes Down Megatron

The first wide receiver came off of the board with the seventh-overall pick, but it wasn’t who you may have expected to go first. Joe Dolan of FantasyGuru.com shocked the audience by selecting Denver’s Demaryius Thomas over Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.

“I think the additions of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron to the Detroit offense are going to take a couple of targets away from Johnson,” Dolan said. “I think Demaryius is going to be more efficient.”

According to Berry, Johnson is the number one receiver on his board, but “the difference between Johnson and Thomas is really close.”

Berry’s Breakouts

Not only was Berry a featured analyst for our expert mock draft, but he was also a guest on the latest Eagles Insider Podcast. When the topic of conversation turned to which players that Berry finds as being underrated in most drafts, Berry was quick to name a member of the Eagles who he believes is poised for a big season.

“I’m on the Zach Ertz breakout bandwagon," Berry said. "Everything we’re seeing and everything I’m hearing out of Eagles’ camp - he’s going to be featured a lot in the offense and should have a big year. I think Zach Ertz is currently the 12th tight end off of the board, and there’s no way he finishes at number 12. I don’t know if he hits top five, but he’s definitely between the 5-10 range.”

The Complete Bud Light Fantasy Football Mock Draft Board

Happy Drafting!

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