I've taken a couple of weeks off from the Mocks, first because the leader of the #MockDraftArmy, Howard Bender (@rotobuzzguy) and I were first in New York at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference, and last week, Howard took some time off for his annual follow Phish Phry for the summer.
So, let's look at some names who I am looking at a little differently as we are full tilt into the mock season.
Arian Foster (RB, Dolphins): The big news of the week is that Foster signed with the Dolphins, and ideally into a starting gig. Foster does have to pass Jay Ajayi, which is not such a huge deal, but he must both get and stay healthy. Recovering from an Achilles injury, the running back only managed four games last year, 13 in 2014, and eight games in 2013. While Foster might be talented, he is brittle and aging. I can see grabbing him as a third RB, but if someone wants to make a headier gamble, let them.
Danny Woodhead (RB, Chargers): I love this guy, and he is gutsy and killer in PPR leagues, but at 5'8", and now 31 years of age, I fear the pounding on the guy. Woodhead did grab 80 passes last year, and he put up a few monster games, but again, with risk mitigation in mind, I will let another owner take the gamble.
Theo Riddick (RB, Lions): I am "passing" on Woodhead and upping the shares of Riddick. The 25-year-old, who is just an inch taller than his Chargers counterpart, picked up the guantlet with 80 receptions of his own last year out of 99 targets, and I think he is just going to play a bigger role in the Lions offense the next few years.
Karlos Williams (RB, Bills): All I can think now when I hear a player has reported to camp overweight is Pablo Sandoval. And, if Pablo thought running was important in his sport, well, Karlos ought to know how important speed is in football. Mostly, though, gaining weight like that shows less discipline to me, and I am not inclined to draft a player who seems to lack said commodity.
Jermaine Kearse (WR, Seahawks): Kearse had some solid games last year, but he has yet to really step it up and likely remains the #3 receiver on the team behind both Doug Baldwin and now Tyler Lockett. He is a good guy on the bench, and truth is, could be a good late-round sleeper as the Washington alum is still just 26 with potential. So, depending upon when you can grab Kearse, he could either be a bad gamble or a great late sleeper.
Cam Newton (QB, Panthers): I will keep this short and sweet. In a world where the wide receivers dominate this year, Newton is still a top-10 point producer and that alone makes him worthy of a first-round selection. Meaning, if your league is waiting to draft QBs, he is a steal in the third round.
Blake Bortles (QB, Jaguars): Again, if your league is going for receivers, Bortles could slip into the last third of your draft. Remember, he threw for 4400 yards and 35 scores last year, and gets to throw to Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. He is a pretty good #1 QB as a ninth round pick, and a killer back-up below that.
Richard Rodgers (TE, Packers): Rodgers more than doubled his reception totals last year, going to 58 catches (510 yards and eight scores), and as a third-year vet, he should step into the elite Tight End ranks this year.
Martellus Bennett (TE, Patriots): When healthy, as in 2014, Bennett is among the top at his slot, having bagged 90 catches for 916 yards. Now with the Patriots, he will flourish in the team's double tight end sets playing behind Gronk and with Tom Brady tossing the ball. His catches and yards might drop, but I will bet his scores increase.