By Harold Studer
Follow me on Twitter @hstuder36
The previous two rounds have been relatively evenly spit between WRs and RBs taken off the board. This round is where the depth at WR begins to become obvious. We also see arguably the two biggest QB options get selected in the third round as well. I’ve broke down my thoughts on each of them and where they were taken in my latest 10 team standard mock draft.
3.01 – Alshon Jeffery – ADP 25.02
Alshon can be a serious weapon in Chicago. I tend to agree more with his ADP rather than his actual pick at the beginning of the third round. The off season has been riddled with questions about whether he would get his contract worked out, which didn’t happen so he will be playing under the franchise tag. There are also questions and expectations about last year’s early WR pick, Kevin White, and how he will impact the Bear’s receiving offense this year. With more questions than answers in Chicago, I would feel more comfortable with some of the other WR choices picked up later in this round.
3.02 – Cam Newton – ADP 18.87
The first QB off the board, early in the third round. Depending on your ideas about drafting QBs, this pick could be considered crazy early. Considering Cam Newton is arguably the best fantasy QB available, the pick here was made in order to grab a guy that wouldn’t be available at this teams next pick. If you are that high on a guy, I like the move to go and get your player, but I’m not sure I would be taking a QB in the third round.
3.03 – Keenan Allen – ADP 28.38
Allen was having a crazy productive year last season, and should continue to be featured as the top receiver in San Diego. The consensus is he will be able to produce on the same trajectory this upcoming season and could definitely anchor a fantasy team that selected two RBs early, or round out a starting WR corps for a team that focused on the receivers early. I think the upside is there, and Allen could be a steal in the third round this year.
3.04 – Brandon Marshall – ADP 24.00
I understand that the Jets passing offense and Marshall put up significant fantasy production last season. With the current QB situation, I’m expecting a definite drop off in production this fantasy season. Being the top target in New York, the volume of targets should still be considerable, but I’m not comfortable taking Marshall over some of the other WRs in this round.
3.05 – Mike Evans – ADP 27.40
Mike Evans is one of those WRs that people either love or hate. There are obviously arguments both ways and his position in drafts could fluctuate greatly depending on what sorts of feelings are floating around the other owners in your league. I like Evans at this place in the draft for a few reasons. He is young and the number one WR, he has another season with the same QB to work on timing and trust, and the obscenely low TD numbers last year are a fluke and are only going up.
3.06 – LeSean McCoy – ADP 27.92
The first RB off the board in the third round. This is the point where you must decide if you are selecting two RBs and a WR early, or two WRs and a RB early. Long gone are the days when McCoy would be considered a first round pick, but he is still in a situation to produce high end fantasy value. He is on a team that is very fun oriented and his talent is among the best in the league. At this spot, McCoy is a great option as a second RB or a top guy after taking two elite WRs.
3.07 – Amari Cooper – ADP 28.06
The Raiders offense is on the upswing. The Cooper- Carr connection is a big part of that passing attack and are the reason for the optimism surrounding the Raiders this year. This combination is reflective of my opinions expressed earlier with Evans. I expect if his receptions and total offensive volume can go up, he will produce at a higher level than last year, which he finished with only 72 catches, 6 TDs, and 1070 yards.
3.08 – Matt Forte – ADP 32.65
Once again we are examining the Jets offense in the third round, this time focusing on their running game. I personally think that if the QB drama continues and we don’t see Fitzpatrick return, the Jets running game should be more of a focus. Forte being an older back that can catch the ball out of the backfield is assumably the top guy in this backfield. His draft position could be in the rise and could switch with Marshall as the first Jet off the board. Considering the volatility right now in New York, I might consider a younger RB with some upside at this pick until we know more through camp and pre season.
3.09 – Aaron Rodgers – ADP 20.95
The second QB off the board in the third round, Rodgers is an option that has to be considered amongst the top fantasy QBs in the league. With the two QBs being taken at the beginning and end of the round, I feel this was done to ensure he was taken before the turn to guarantee his selection. Once again I recommend owners grab their guys when they can, and when drafting, the turns at the beginning and end of rounds requiresreaching for players more often. The Green Bay offense should return to its glory this season and Rodgers should be a sure lock to start and produce on a weekly basis.
3.10 – Demaryius Thomas – ADP 31.91
The top guy in Denver, Thomas demands the volume of the targets in that receiver corps. Even with the questionable QB play from the Broncos last year, Thomas had 105 receptions for 1304 yards and 6 TDs. No matter the QB in Denver this year, Thomas will produce at the level of all the WRs in this round. With owners questioning parts of the Broncos offense this year, I’d keep an eye on Thomas in your drafts and see if he falls out of the third and into the early fourth round.