Posted: Wed May 8, 2013 4:37PM; Updated: Wed May 8, 2013 4:36PM
Eric Mack

Fantasy analysts jumping the gun on Zac Stacy in early mock drafts

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Zac Stacy
Many fantasy analysts are treating Zac Stacy like the next Alfred Morris in early mock drafts.
Scott Donaldson/Icon SMI

With the NFL draft and the rookie minicamps in the rear view, fantasy football analysts are already holding some early mock drafts. And they're overreacting to one of last year's biggest indiscretions.

Experts are jumping the gun on the Rams' rookie running back Zac Stacy, who was selected in the fifth round -- 160th overall -- last month, thinking he's going to be the next Alfred Morris. The projected starting running back wound up being the biggest take away from the four early mock drafts conducted this week. Analysts like the Vanderbilt record-holder Stacy as the leader right now, drafting him on average at 90th overall (roughly an eighth-round fantasy pick).

Stacy could create a mess this preseason, akin to the one we had with the Washington Redskins last year. We all remember how Morris went on to a huge fantasy season after so many owners wasted picks on returning sophomore incumbents Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Heck, even journeyman Tim Hightower, struggling to come back from ACL surgery, was picked in there before Morris in some drafts.

Keep in mind that all four of the mock drafts were conducted on, whose default rankings slotted Stacy as the Rams' projected starter. There are myriad problems with the logic there. The Rams allowed the veteran Jackson go and didn't pursue a veteran in free agency, much less off the scrap heap. If they didn't feel confident in what they had with Daryl Richardson or Isaiah Pead, don't you think they would have pursued a veteran or used one of their first six -- six! -- draft picks on their projected starting running back? A team should not wait until the last pick of the draft to fill one of the most important positions on your team, unless a team has confidence in their current players.

Remember, the only reason Morris wound up starting for coach Mike Shanahan on Week 1, en route to 1,606 yards and 13 TDs as a rookie, was because neither Helu (toe) nor Royster (knee) could prove healthy in training camp. Even the Redskins' publicized depth chart leading up to Game 1 in early September had Royster ahead of Helu and Morris. But we digress...

"[Stacy] was one of probably the last guys on our board that we were really jacked about," GM Les Snead told the Rams' official site. "We had been managing that running back board a little bit and he was a guy we liked for awhile, and it went from deep to thin pretty quickly, so we went and nabbed him."

It sounds like the Rams were searching for a running back to create depth, not necessarily a projected starter. Also, they picked him because the board got thin. If they really like him to start, would that really be a part of their explanation for selecting him?

"Zac is a very explosive runner," coach Jeff Fisher told the Rams' official site. "He's an outstanding young man, smart, good out of the backfield, pass protector; he's a complete back. He's a strong inside, kind of power runner that kind of gives us a change of pace. You can't have too many of these guys."

Yes, Stacy has potential as a pounding workhorse to complement the speedier Pead and Richardson. He might even have a chance to earn the short-yardage job and vulture touchdowns if he doesn't start, but the early drafts show the analysts are overreacting to him right now. Until the Rams announce some semblance of a depth chart, you have to figure the initial starter will be the one that lead the charge behind Jackson last year. That would be Richardson. That will be one of the more interesting developments to watch in the Rams' OTA: Who runs with the first unit?

As far as the other interesting developments, lets take a look at the average draft positions I compiled from the four fantasy mock drafts in which I participated this week:

Composite rookie rankings

1. RB Montee Ball, DEN -- No. 37 overall
2. RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT -- No. 57 overall
3. RB Eddie Lacy, GB -- No. 73 overall
4. RB Zac Stacy, STL -- No. 90 overall
5. WR Tavon Austin, STL -- No. 94 overall
6. RB Giovani Bernard, CIN -- No. 116 overall
7. WR Aaron Dobson, NE -- No. 142 overall
8. WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN -- No. 152 overall
9. WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU -- No. 154 overall
10. WR Keenan Allen, SD -- No. 192 overall
11. TE Tyler Eifert, CIN -- No. 196 overall
12. K Caleb Sturgis, MIA -- No. 205 overall
13. WR Terrance Williams, DAL -- No. 206 overall
14. K Dustin Hopkins, BUF -- No. 210 overall
15. RB Denard Robinson, JAC -- No. 229 overall

This is the first crack at these rookies in fantasy, so keep in mind there will be plenty changing after OTAs and training camps, but here are some early notes:

• The Broncos' Montee Ball was the unanimous first rookie off the board in all four of the mock drafts. His average draft position slots him as an early fourth-round pick in a standard draft, but that could rise once it is apparent he will be the Broncos' feature back. The Steelers' Le'Veon Bell was the second choice, roughly a fifth-round pick on average, but one draft saw the Packers' Eddie Lacy go two picks ahead of him. All three figure to compete to start for their respective teams, and Ball and Bell have much higher ceilings in their offenses.

• Tavon Austin was unanimously the first receiver selected, but he was also the only wide receiver selected in each of the four drafts. The Patriots' second-round pick Aaron Dobson's average draft position slotted him as the second wide receiver, but he was only picked in one draft.

• There was no rookie quarterback selected in any of the drafts. Bills first-rounder E.J. Manuel is the only one that might start.

• Neither rookie kicker should have been picked, especially since they still have to beat out veterans.

New faces in new places

RB Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons -- On average, Jackson went in the middle of the second rounds, which is a bit on the high side for a running back who will be 30 this season (however, keep in mind one analyst picked ninth overall, pulling up that number). No matter how much the potential of the Falcons offense gives Jackson, a 30-year-old running back is on his last legs. Like a 30-year-old Michael Turner before him, Jackson is best served as a third-round pick in fantasy. Jackson will be better than Turner was last season, but the age caution should trump the excitement of the move to Atlanta.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals -- Fitzgerald didn't go anywhere, but he's joined in Arizona by 4,000-yard passer Carson Palmer and new offensive guru Bruce Arians, who should give him new opportunities. Fitzgerald went 27th on average (roughly a third-round pick).

WR Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks -- He slots as the 14th-best receiver, roughly in the middle of the fourth round. He could finally break through with Russell Wilson in Seattle.

WR Wes Welker, Denver Broncos -- These drafts were all non-PRR, so seeing Welker go one pick behind Harvin on average was reasonable. He was roughly three picks ahead of Eric Decker and 21 picks behind Demaryius Thomas. Agreed on both.

RB Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions -- The Lions said Bush is a candidate to catch 90 passes out of the backfield from Matthew Stafford. That is a bit optimistic, but Bush is just outside of the top 50 on average. In PPR leagues, he could be worth a third-round pick. Regardless, he should go ahead of Darren Sproles.

WR Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings -- He is old and injury-prone, and moving from one of the best, most pass-happy offenses in the NFL to arguably the worst. He was roughly a middle fifth-rounder, but quite frankly, he shouldn't be considered a fantasy starter at all.

WR Mike Wallace, Miami Dolpins -- Joe Philbin's and Ryan Tannehill's new weapon went 58th overall on average. This is a very reasonable spot for him. He is much more intriguing than Jennings, at least.

WR Danny Amendola, New England Patriots -- Despite his brittle history, he also warrants being picked well ahead of Jennings. Tom Brady can make Amendola a fantasy starter like he did with Wes Welker. The early going rate on that potential breakout is a fifth-round pick.

RB Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals -- Unlike the Rams, the Cardinals know who will head their running back committee. He is a late sixth-rounder on average below, on spot ahead of the Packers' Lacy, coincidentally.

RB Chris Ivory, New York Jets -- He will easily benefit from his change of scenery, because he projects to be the Jets' starter in a run-heavy offense. If we had any confidence in the Jets' woeful quarterback situation, we would be inclined to pull Ivory up. For now, he rounds out the top 75 (roughly Round 6). He could emerge as a third-rounder by the end of training camp.

TE Dustin Keller, Miami Dolphins -- He was only picked in one of the four drafts (110th overall), while Antonio Gates surprisingly went undrafted in one draft. Keller shouldn't be considered a fantasy starter in drafts.

WR Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers -- Acquired to grow Colin Kaepernick like he did Joe Flacco, Boldin was a bit of a reach by the analysts drafts. He goes from being a No. 1 receiver to Michael Crabtree's sidekick, working with a quarterback who still hasn't played a full season. (What happens if Kaepernick gets lit up by a linebacker while scrambling, who do the 49ers turn to? Colt McCoy!)

Mock draft ADP review

Here are the composite average draft positions compiled from four mocks:

RankPlayerPositionPosition RankTeamDraft 1Draft 2Draft 3Draft 4ADP
1Adrian PetersonRB1MIN11111.0
2Arian FosterRB2HOU22222.0
3Doug MartinRB3TB34333.3
4Marshawn LynchRB4SEA45745.0
5Jamaal CharlesRB5KC66586.3
6Trent RichardsonRB6CLE97466.5
7C.J. SpillerRB7BUF78677.0
8Ray RiceRB8BAL598128.5
9Calvin JohnsonWR1DET8101158.5
10Aaron RodgersQB1GB1011131011.0
11Drew BreesQB2NO123191111.3
12LeSean McCoyRB9PHI1112121312.0
13Alfred MorrisRB10WAS131610912.0
14A.J. GreenWR2CIN1413141714.5
15Brandon MarshallWR3CHI1523161517.3
16Julio JonesWR4ATL1614221817.5
17Dez BryantWR5DAL2117181417.5
18Steven JacksonRB11ATL301992019.5
19Matt ForteRB12CHI2415173121.8
20Peyton ManningQB3DEN1828301623.0
21Demaryius ThomasWR6DEN2227232424.0
22Rob GronkowskiTE1NE2918311924.3
23Stevan RidleyRB13NE2031212624.5
24Chris JohnsonRB14TEN1935262827.0
25Jimmy GrahamTE2NO3226292528.0
26Andre JohnsonWR7HOU3125352328.5
27Larry FitzgeraldWR8ARI2833332128.8
28Roddy WhiteWR9ATL2529342929.3
29Tom BradyQB4NE1720543030.3
30Maurice Jones-DrewRB15JAC4434242231.0
31Vincent JacksonWR10TB3432273231.3
32Victor CruzWR11NYG2730373632.5
33DeMarco MurrayRB16DAL2647284336.0
34Michael CrabtreeWR12SF3343363536.8
35David WilsonRB17NYG5538154137.3
36Matt RyanQB5ATL2340533437.5
37Montee BallRB18DEN6721382738.3
38Cam NewtonQB6CAR3539423838.5
39Randall CobbWR13GB3750323739.0
40Frank GoreRB19SF4560203339.5
41Percy HarvinWR14SEA4324405340.0
42Wes WelkerWR15DEN3622455840.3
43Russell WilsonQB7SEA3937523941.8
44Darren McFaddenRB20OAK5949254444.3
45Eric DeckerWR16DEN4236495244.8
46Colin KaepernickQB8SF4055484547.0
47Hakeem NicksWR17NYG5152394647.0
48Dwayne BoweWR18KC5645474247.5
49Marques ColstonWR19NO4142446548.0
50Jordy NelsonWR20GB5057464750.0
51Lamar MillerRB21MIA6941514050.3
52Reggie BushRB22DET3859416951.8
53Reggie WayneWR21IND4654586656.0
54Aaron HernandezTE3NE5253645556.0
55Ryan MathewsRB23SD6063594957.8
56Greg JenningsWR22MIN8144555659.0
57Le'Veon BellRB24PIT6870505059.5
58Mike WallaceWR23MIA6261665160.0
59Danny AmendolaWR24NE6458655460.3
60Matthew StaffordQB9DET4756914860.5
61Robert Griffin IIIQB10WAS4948847564.0
62Jason WittenTE4DAL5364796064.0
63Torrey SmithWR25BAL5762677264.5
64Darren SprolesRB25NO6679437064.5
65Tony GonzalezTE5ATL7251686864.8
66Antonio BrownWR26PIT6565567665.5
67Pierre GarconWR27WAS6366706766.5
68James JonesWR28GB5876785767.3
69BenJarvus Green-EllisRB26CIN6178725967.5
70Tony RomoQB11DAL4867956167.8
71Andrew LuckQB12IND5474777469.8
72Rashard MendenhallRB27ARI7880616270.3
73Eddie LacyRB28GB7968697372.3
74Vick BallardRB29IND7087607773.5
75Chris IvoryRB30NYJ8873637173.8
76Steve SmithWR29CAR8072737875.8
77Jeremy MaclinWR30PHI7171828477.0
78Danario AlexanderWR31SD9182716477.0
79Dennis PittaTE6BAL7369938379.5
80Cecil ShortsWR32JAC7681768679.8
81Steve JohnsonWR33BUF74886210482.0
82Mike WilliamsWR34TB7586897982.3
83Miles AustinWR35DAL82915710383.3
84DeSean JacksonWR36PHI8375809683.5
85Vernon DavisTE7SF77847410083.8
86Justin BlackmonWR37JAC85941006385.5
87T.Y. HiltonWR38IND9283818886.0
88Sidney RiceWR39SEA9377869487.5
89Mark IngramRB31NO8795998290.8
90Zac StacyRB32STLND122758092.3
91Josh GordonWR40CLE9990859792.8
92Jonathan StewartRB33CAR84105978993.8
93Bryce BrownRB34PHI10393968594.3
94Tavon AustinWR41STL107858710195.0
95Eli ManningQB13NYG90921129296.5
96Kenny BrittWR42TEN100100889896.5
97Kyle RudolphTE8MIN94891199098.0
98Lance MooreWR43NO9810392107100.0
99Shane VereenRB35NE9611310799103.8
100Mikel LeshoureRB36DET11311510881104.3
101Denarius MooreWR44OAK10911990105105.8
102Alshon JefferyWR45CHI10696114108106.0
103Bernard PierceRB37BAL14846109128107.8
104Dustin KellerTE9MIAND110NDND110.0
105Andy DaltonQB14CIN1059914791110.5
106Anquan BoldinWR46SF126109110102111.8
107Kendall WrightWR47TEN110104120116112.5
108Greg OlsenTE10CAR112102126110112.5
109Andre BrownRB38NYG1351388395112.8
110Michael FloydWR48ARI1651069493114.5
111Ben TateRB39HOU10213598124114.8
112Isaiah PeadRB40STL133118101109115.3
113Fred JacksonRB41BUF14498105122117.3
114Seattle SeahawksD/ST1SEA86112128144117.5
115DuJuan HarrisRB42GBNDND113123118.0
116Giovani BernardRB43CIN137117102120119.0
117Jermichael FinleyTE11GB150114103111119.5
118Ben RoethlisbergerQB15PIT89129124140120.5
119Daryl RichardsonRB44STL95136123133121.8
120Jacquizz RodgersRB45ATL132101130125122.0
121DeAngelo WilliamsRB46CAR134132111113122.5
122Antonio GatesTE12SD12297ND154124.3
123Emmanuel SandersWR49PIT140124104132125.0
124Johnathan FranklinRB47GB149121106126125.5
125Shonn GreeneRB48TEN143130122112126.8
126Michael VickQB16PHI121145116ND127.3
127San Francisco 49ersD/ST2SF97131127156127.8
128Joe FlaccoQB17BAL117143132119127.8
129Golden TateWR50SEA15312314887127.8
130Brandon LaFellWR51CAR130126NDND128.0
131Knowshon MorenoRB49DENND125117145129.0
132Ryan TannehillQB18MIAND108ND152130.0
133Darrius Heyward-BeyWR52IND131116115163131.3
134Ahmad BradshawRB50FA114153125134131.5
135Santonio HolmesWR53NYJ124160131114132.3
136Martellus BennettTE13CHI169111133117132.5
137Jared CookTE14STLND128ND137132.5
138Jermaine GreshamTE15CIN115150142130134.3
139Mohamed SanuWR54CIN157107159115134.5
140Rod StreaterWR55OAKNDNDND135135.0
141Pierre ThomasRB51NO145134ND127135.3
142Aaron DobsonWR56NENDND136ND136.0
143Brian QuickWR57STLNDNDND136136.0
144Houston TexansD/ST3HOU101133150164137.0
145Chicago BearsD/ST4CHI104147162ND137.7
146Willis McGaheeRB52DEN138NDNDND138.0
147Josh FreemanQB19TB118ND146151138.3
148Owen DanielsTE16HOU116149145146139.0
149Philip RiversQB20SD119165154121139.8
150Jonathan DwyerRB53PIT141ND141141141.0
151Brent CelekTE17PHIND141NDND141.0
152Cordarrelle PattersonWR58MIN168120137ND141.7
153Coby FleenerTE18INDND142NDND142.0
154DeAndre HopkinsWR59HOU166127134ND142.3
155Daniel ThomasRB54MIA147ND138ND142.5
156Bilal PowellRB55NYJ142144NDND143.0
157Denver BroncosD/ST5DEN108162165ND145.0
158Mike GoodsonRB56NYJ189166121106145.5
159Kendall HunterRB57SF146NDNDND146.0
160Pittsburgh SteelersD/ST6PIT129140ND170146.3
161Ryan WilliamsRB58ARI136152151ND146.3
162Carson PalmerQB21ARI162159ND118146.3
163Brandon LloydWR60FAND168140131146.3
164LaMichael JamesRB59SF159155118155146.8
165Brandon PettigrewTE19DET123167153147147.5
166Brandon MyersTE20NYG170ND144129147.7
167Chris GivensWR61STL125190135ND150.0
168Baltimore RavensD/ST7BAL184148129139150.0
169Jay CutlerQB22CHI120151ND180150.3
170Sam BradfordQB23STL164137NDND150.5
171Matt SchaubQB24HOU163139NDND151.0
172Cincinnati BengalsD/ST8CIN111170174ND151.7
173Robert TurbinRB60SEA152163ND142152.3
174Brian HartlineWR62MIA156154152149152.8
175Robert HouslerTE21ARINDNDND153153.0
176Greg LittleWR63CLE154NDNDND154.0
177Vincent BrownWR64SD139177149ND155.0
178Andre RobertsWR65ARI155NDNDND155.0
179Jacoby JonesWR66BALNDND155ND155.0
180Leonard HankersonWR67WASND156NDND156.0
181Malcom FloydWR68SDND188143138156.3
182Marcel ReeceRB61OAKNDND157ND157.0
183Michael BushRB62CHI151179ND143157.7
184Julian EdelmanWR69NEND158NDND158.0
185Ronnie HillmanRB63DEN190ND139148159.0
186Shayne GrahamK1FANDNDND159159.0
187Toby GerhartRB64MIN160NDNDND160.0
188Lawrence TynesK2FANDNDND160160.0
189Stephen GostkowskiK3NE167161156157160.3
190Danny WoodheadRB65SD161NDNDND161.0
191New England PatriotsD/ST9NE127178ND179161.3
192Keenan AllenWR70SD158146181ND161.7
193Green Bay PackersD/ST10GB128187166172163.3
194Tampa Bay BuccaneersD/ST11TBNDND164ND164.0
195LeGarrette BlountRB66NEND164NDND164.0
196Tyler EifertTE22CINND157ND174165.5
197Blair WalshK4MIN172174163158166.8
198Matt BryantK5ATL171171173161169.0
199Greg ZuerleinK6STLND180160167169.0
200Donald BrownRB67INDNDNDND169169.0
201Justin TuckerK7BAL175182171150169.5
202Matt PraterK8DEN173175169162169.8
203New York GiantsD/ST12NYG188169158171171.5
204San Diego ChargersD/ST13SD177ND167ND172.0
205Caleb SturgisK9MIANDND172ND172.0
206Terrance WilliamsWR71DALND172NDND172.0
207Phil DawsonK10SF176184161168172.3
208Sebastian JanikowskiK11OAK182173170165172.5
209St. Louis RamsD/ST14STL178ND168ND173.0
210Dustin HopkinsK12BUFNDNDND173173.0
211Atlanta FalconsD/ST15ATL174NDNDND174.0
212Philadelphia EaglesD/ST16PHINDNDND176176.0
213A.J. JenkinsWR72SFND176NDND176.0
214Detroit LionsD/ST17DETNDNDND177177.0
215Nick NovakK13SDNDND178ND178.0
216Dallas CowboysD/ST18DALNDNDND178178.0
217Garrett HartleyK14NO180192175166178.3
218New York JetsD/ST19NYJ187ND177175179.7
219Kai ForbathK15WASNDND180ND180.0
220Miami DolphinsD/ST20MIAND185176ND180.5
221Steven HauschkaK16SEA181NDNDND181.0
222Marvin JonesWR73CINND181NDND181.0
223Arizona CardinalsD/ST21ARI183NDNDND183.0
224Connor BarthK17TBND183NDND183.0
225Dan BaileyK18DAL179191182ND184.0
226Robbie GouldK19CHIND189179ND184.0
227Adam VinatieriK20IND185NDNDND185.0
228Mason CrosbyK21GB186NDNDND186.0
229Denard RobinsonRB68JACND186NDND186.0
230Isaac RedmanRB69PIT191NDNDND191.0
231Michael TurnerRB70FA192NDNDND192.0
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