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Going into Week 8 looks like a good time to revisit my experiment in mock drafting only on hype and future potential. I undertook that experiment at the beginning of the season because I wanted to see if it produced better results than leaning on history and fantasy experts who mostly lean on history.
The reason why the timing looks good to check in is that few of the guys I picked seemed to wake up from season-long slumbers in Week 7, though I don't know what that suggests for the rest of the season.
What I have learned from this experiment, in short: My all-futures team kind of sucks. You can find the original column here, but in any case, let's revisit that mock draft:
Round 1, Pick 2: Matt Forte, RB, CHI.
Among the fitful Bears, he's had the best fantasy season, with strong week-to-week totals both running and receiving. In Week 7 he only had 49 yards rushing, but added a TD. More importantly, his dual-threat capability delivered even in a loss as he had six receptions for 60 yards and a TD. He's the second-ranked RB in both ESPN and Yahoo!, and would be No. 1 if not for DeMarco Murray's magical, out-of-nowhere, possible MVP season. My first pick didn't miss.
Round 2, Pick 23: Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN.
The hype machine was almost right about Bernard's readiness to break out. His 401 yards rushing, 177 yards receiving and four TDs in six games point toward year-end totals of a top 20 player, though honestly I was expecting a little more.
Round 3, Pick 26: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, MIN.
This is where things go bad. Patterson started the year with 103 yards rushing and a TD in Week 1, looking exactly like the multi-threat maestro the futures market suggested he was, but since then he has virtually disappeared from the fantasy tote board amid QB injuries in Minnesota. His first receiving TD in Week 7 now looks like the exception rather than a hint of life in a lost season.
Round 4, Pick 47: Shane Vereen, RB, NE.
Sure, he just had two TDs and 108 total yards in Week 7 with backfield mate Stevan Ridley out for the season, but he mostly has been a huge disappointment, as the Pats haven't used him as much in the passing game as expected. Hard to say if his luck has changed or he will continue to be underused.
Round 5, Pick 50: Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF.
The hype was so big that his fairly good season still doesn't measure up, but his 122 receiving yards and two TDs in Week 7 for a team now hit with injuries in its backfield bode well. Still have faith he'll be a second-half gem.
Round 6, Pick 71: Andy Dalton, QB, CIN.
Started off strong, with more than 550 yards passing in his first two games, but an injury to star WR A.J. Green has hurt his fantasy value. With last week's 126 yards and no TDs against Indianapolis he really hit bottom. I was hoping for an absolute minimum 12 TD passes in his first six games; half that makes him a bust.
Round 7, Pick 74: Michael Crabtree, WR, SF.
What was supposed to be a rebound year after an injury-shortened 2013 hasn't happened. He has yet to record more than 82 yards receiving in a single game, and his three TDs leave him behind the pace for hoped-for double-digits, and even his career high of nine in 2012.
Round 8, Pick 95: Coby Fleener, TE, SD.
Another potential breakout fizzled. Even though his QB is having a great year and is in fact throwing to his TEs in the red zone, fellow TE Dwayne Allen has been the star, with 305 yards receiving and five TDs to Fleener's 214 yards and three TDs. If he ends up around 7-8 TDs and 600 yards receiving that's still pretty good for a starting fantasy TE, but I would have swapped him for Allen by now.
I still think a bit of willingness to gamble on hype and breakout potential can be a good thing as you draft a fantasy team in any sport. But maybe more than a bit is a bit too much.
* Sporting News gives a five-star rating to a New England defense about to take on the Bears.
* Bleacher Report eyes must-start players for Week 8.
* ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto on his Week 8 rankings.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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