Fantasy: 12-team mock draft with analysis after every round

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theScore staff took part in a 12-team, 12-round mock to offer some insight on what to watch for in each round.

This is a PPR (point per reception) scoring league with the following roster spots: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, BN, BN, BN, BN. We omitted defenders and kickers, as they normally get selected in the final two rounds.

Draft participants: Mike Dickson, Dustin Saracini, Daniel Valente, Matt Washington, Jack Browne, Taylor Rohaly, Gino Bottero, Ian Dalley, Justin Boone, Alex Moretto, Caio Miari, C Jackson Cowart

Round 1

Pick Player Team
1 Christian McCaffrey (RB1) Dickson
2 Derrick Henry (RB2) Saracini
3 Dalvin Cook (RB3) Valente
4 Alvin Kamara (RB4) Washington
5 Jonathan Taylor (RB5) Browne
6 Saquon Barkley (RB6) Rohaly
7 Ezekiel Elliott (RB7) Bottero
8 Nick Chubb (RB8) Dalley
9 Stefon Diggs (WR1) Boone
10 Davante Adams (WR2) Moretto
11 Travis Kelce (TE1) Miari
12 Tyreek Hill (WR3) Cowart

Round 1: Very chalky opening round with running backs dominating early and a few pass catchers sneaking into the back half. Considering this is a PPR league, Derrick Henry was a bit of a reach at No. 2. Even during his 2,000-yard season, the Titans workhorse averaged 20.8 PPR fantasy points per game, well behind Christian McCaffrey (30.1), Alvin Kamara (25.2), and Dalvin Cook (24.1). It's unlikely Tennessee starts targeting the 27-year-old more at this point in his career, so it'll be a challenge for him to outpace the top-tier pass-catching backs.

Round 2

Pick Player Team
13 Austin Ekeler (RB9) Cowart
14 Aaron Jones (RB10) Miari
15 Cam Akers (RB11) Moretto
16 DeAndre Hopkins (WR4) Boone
17 Calvin Ridley (WR5) Dalley
18 D.K. Metcalf (WR6) Bottero
19 Darren Waller (TE2) Rohaly
20 Antonio Gibson (RB12) Browne
21 A.J. Brown (WR7) Washington
22 Najee Harris (RB13) Valente
23 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB14) Saracini
24 Justin Jefferson (WR8) Dickson

Round 2: Not much to note from the second round, with the usual names going off the board and managers sticking fairly close to average draft position so far. Players like Antonio Gibson, Najee Harris, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are particularly intriguing as late second-round selections. It wouldn't be surprising to see all three backs break out this season, vaulting them into first-round consideration for 2022 drafts.

Round 3

Pick Player Team
25 Patrick Mahomes (QB1) Dickson
26 Michael Thomas (WR9) Saracini
27 George Kittle (TE3) Valente
28 Joe Mixon (RB15) Washington
29 Keenan Allen (WR10) Browne
30 Terry McLaurin (WR11) Rohaly
31 Miles Sanders (RB16) Bottero
32 D'Andre Swift (RB17) Dalley
33 Chris Carson (RB18) Boone
34 J.K. Dobbins (RB19) Moretto
35 David Montgomery (RB20) Miari
36 Josh Jacobs (RB21) Cowart

Round 3: Team Dickson locks down football's best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes at the top of the third. While it's hard to argue against the former MVP's fantasy ceiling, he's not a value at this range of the draft. As we'll eventually see, other passers with QB1 overall upside like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are available two and even three rounds later. Avoid the temptation of taking a quarterback this high and focus on running backs, receivers, and maybe a tight end in the first three or four rounds.

Round 4

Pick Player Team
37 Allen Robinson (WR12) Cowart
38 Robert Woods (WR13) Miari
39 CeeDee Lamb (WR14) Moretto
40 Amari Cooper (WR15) Boone
41 Chris Godwin (WR16) Dalley
42 Mike Evans (WR17) Bottero
43 Myles Gaskin (RB22) Rohaly
44 Julio Jones (WR18) Browne
45 Adam Thielen (WR19) Washington
46 Ja'Marr Chase (WR20) Valente
47 Odell Beckham Jr. (WR21) Saracini
48 Kenny Golladay (WR22) Dickson

Round 4: Several different builds have begun to take shape through four rounds, but the rosters that include an elite tight end are particularly interesting. While there will be sleeper receivers still on the board later, it's hard to match the fantasy advantage that a premier tight end provides.

There are also a few risky picks that may end up looking like reaches here. Veteran wideouts Adam Thielen, Odell Beckham Jr., and Kenny Golladay might be living off name value more than actual production in 2021. Thielen has been touchdown-dependent, and regression will strike hard after his 14-TD campaign. Beckham is coming off an ACL tear and rejoins a Browns offense that hasn't given him the volume he enjoyed with the Giants. Golladay will have to fight with a crowded skill position group in New York in order to re-establish himself as a fantasy star. They aren't bad picks, but there are younger talents who are more deserving of this draft capital.

Round 5

Pick Player Team
49 James Robinson (RB23) Dickson
50 Kareem Hunt (RB24) Saracini
51 Josh Allen (QB2) Valente
52 Cooper Kupp (WR23) Washington
53 Tyler Lockett (WR24) Browne
54 D.J. Moore (WR25) Rohaly
55 Mike Davis (RB25) Bottero
56 Mark Andrews (TE4) Dalley
57 Javonte Williams (RB26) Boone
58 Brandon Aiyuk (WR26) Moretto
59 Diontae Johnson (WR27) Miari
60 Lamar Jackson (QB3) Cowart

Round 5: Some of those younger receivers referenced in the previous round can be found here in the fifth, with D.J. Moore, Brandon Aiyuk, and Diontae Johnson all having WR2 fantasy profiles and a chance to flirt with WR1 numbers if they take another step forward.

Even though the Jaguars' offense is a bit of an enigma at the moment, it's tough to justify taking James Robinson over Travis Etienne. Robinson had an incredible rookie season as an undrafted free agent, but Jacksonville spent a first-round pick on Etienne. Outside of injuries, there are very few paths for Robinson to re-emerge as the lead back. His best chance at fantasy stats might come as a member of what could be a frustrating committee in the Jags' backfield. I'd also take Javonte Williams, Mike Davis, and Chase Edmonds before him.

Round 6

Pick Player Team
61 T.J. Hockenson (TE5) Cowart
62 Raheem Mostert (RB27) Miari
63 Kyler Murray (QB4) Moretto
64 Kyle Pitts (TE6) Boone
65 Travis Etienne (RB28) Dalley
66 Chase Claypool (WR28) Bottero
67 Chase Edmonds (RB29) Rohaly
68 Dak Prescott (QB5) Browne
69 Ronald Jones (RB30) Washington
70 DeVonta Smith (WR29) Valente
71 Russell Wilson (QB6) Saracini
72 D.J. Chark Jr. (WR30) Dickson

Round 6: Kyle Pitts and T.J. Hockenson have the clearest opportunities to see the kind of volume that could challenge the top three tight ends. It helps that they are two of the most complete tight end prospects we've seen enter the league. If you miss out on Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle - Pitts and Hockenson are worth the high-end investment a few rounds later.

Round 7

Pick Player Team
73 Dallas Goedert (TE7) Dickson
74 Tee Higgins (WR31) Saracini
75 Deebo Samuel (WR32) Valente
76 JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR33) Washington
77 Jerry Jeudy (WR34) Browne
78 Courtland Sutton (WR35) Rohaly
79 Melvin Gordon (RB31) Bottero
80 Robby Anderson (WR36) Dalley
81 Trey Sermon (RB32) Boone
82 Michael Carter (RB33) Moretto
83 Tyler Boyd (WR37) Miari
84 Will Fuller (WR38) Cowart

Round 7: The further into the draft you get, the more you should be aiming for upside. Players like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Tyler Boyd may offer a nice floor, but their best-case outcomes (aside from injuries) can't rival those of Tee Higgins, Will Fuller, Jerry Jeudy, or Courtland Sutton. The same could be said for choosing a soon-to-be phased-out veteran in Melvin Gordon over rookie backs like Trey Sermon or Michael Carter. After the Broncos traded up to draft Javonte Williams, Gordon might need a new team to return seventh-round fantasy value.

Round 8

Pick Player Team
85 Damien Harris (RB34) Cowart
86 Jarvis Landry (WR39) Miari
87 Michael Pittman Jr. (WR40) Moretto
88 Curtis Samuel (WR41) Boone
89 Aaron Rodgers (QB7) Dalley
90 Brandin Cooks (WR42) Bottero
91 Zack Moss (RB35) Rohaly
92 Noah Fant (TE8) Browne
93 Matthew Stafford (QB8) Washington
94 James Conner (RB36) Valente
95 Logan Thomas (TE9) Saracini
96 Leonard Fournette (RB37) Dickson

Round 8: Checking in on my roster - I followed a veteran-filled first few rounds with some high-upside rookies. The safety provided by Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Carson, and Amari Cooper allowed me to take shots on unproven rookies like Williams, Pitts, and Sermon, who possess the kind of talent that could turn my team into a juggernaut if everything falls the right way.

Curtis Samuel doesn't fall into either category. Instead, he presented value as the 41st receiver off the board and someone who's spent most of the last three years inside the top 30 fantasy wideouts. Beat writers seem convinced Samuel and teammate Terry McLaurin will each see north of 100 targets this season. And Ryan Fitzpatrick might be the best passer Samuel has played with since injuries started Cam Newton's decline.

Round 9

Pick Player Team
97 Jaylen Waddle (WR43) Dickson
98 Antonio Brown (WR44) Saracini
99 Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR45) Valente
100 Jamaal Williams (RB38) Washington
101 Nyheim Hines (RB39) Browne
102 Marquise Brown (WR46) Rohaly
103 AJ Dillon (RB40) Bottero
104 Corey Davis (WR47) Dalley
105 Mike Williams (WR48) Boone
106 Irv Smith Jr. (TE10) Moretto
107 DeVante Parker (WR49) Miari
108 Mike Gesicki (TE11) Cowart

Round 9: Though my receiver-heavy start left me a little exposed at running back, I have faith that at least one of the rookies I selected in the middle should help fill my RB2 hole. That enables me to continue chasing value like Mike Williams. The Chargers are talking Williams up as the new X receiver in offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's scheme. That's notable since it's the same spot Michael Thomas was deployed out of during their time together in New Orleans. Keenan Allen is still the favorite to lead the team in targets, but it's evident the new coaching staff wants to give Williams as much as he can handle. Even with a 1,000-yard season and a 10-touchdown campaign already on his resume, we could see a career year from the 26-year-old.

Round 10

Pick Player Team
109 Darnell Mooney (WR50) Cowart
110 Justin Herbert (QB9) Miari
111 Darrell Henderson (RB41) Moretto
112 Tony Pollard (RB42) Boone
113 Devin Singletary (RB43) Dalley
114 Michael Gallup (WR51) Bottero
115 Kenyan Drake (RB44) Rohaly
116 David Johnson (RB45) Browne
117 Mecole Hardman (WR52) Washington
118 Marvin Jones Jr. (WR53) Valente
119 Jonnu Smith (TE12) Saracini
120 Nelson Agholor (WR54) Dickson

Round 10: Let the spree of high-upside backup running backs begin. Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, and Devin Singletary are some of the first to be chosen - each offering top-20 fantasy potential if their respective starter goes down with an injury.

Michael Gallup and Mecole Hardman are also smart selections in this area of the draft as highly skilled wideouts attached to superstar quarterbacks. All they need is volume.

Round 11

Pick Player Team
121 Latavius Murray (RB46) Dickson
122 Alexander Mattison (RB47) Saracini
123 T.Y. Hilton (WR55) Valente
124 Elijah Moore (WR56) Washington
125 Jalen Hurts (QB10) Browne
126 Joe Burrow (QB11) Rohaly
127 Rob Gronkowski (TE13) Bottero
128 Russell Gage (WR57) Dalley
129 Henry Ruggs III (WR58) Boone
130 Kenneth Gainwell (RB48) Moretto
131 J.D. McKissic (RB49) Miari
132 Rashod Bateman (WR59) Cowart

Round 11: Team Browne is the first to take a second quarterback - a move that we'd advise against after he took Dak Prescott in Round 6. With all signs pointing to Prescott being healthy for Week 1, there's no need to use another roster spot on a passer. If the goal is to eventually deal Jalen Hurts, just know that finding a trade partner in a 12-team single-QB league can be more difficult than managers may believe. You're better off using the pick on another depth running back or receiver instead.

Round 12

Pick Player Team
133 Sony Michel (RB50) Cowart
134 Gabriel Davis (WR60) Miari
135 Parris Campbell (WR61) Moretto
136 Tom Brady (QB12) Boone
137 Cole Beasley (WR62) Dalley
138 Ryan Tannehill (QB13) Bottero
139 Gus Edwards (RB51) Rohaly
140 Hunter Henry (TE14) Browne
141 Robert Tonyan (TE15) Washington
142 Matt Ryan (QB14) Valente
143 A.J. Green (WR63) Saracini
144 Evan Engram (TE16) Dickson

Round 12: As I surveyed the entire draft while keeping roster construction in mind, it became apparent that teams that were picking quarterbacks and lottery-ticket running backs in the final rounds were in a much better spot. The odds of a late-round receiver or tight end attaining high-end production are much lower than someone like Ryan Tannehill or Tom Brady, who finished as the QB7 and QB8 last season, respectively. And the injuries and turnover at running back are what continues to turn those backup ball carriers into wise investments.

Fantasy: 12-team mock draft with analysis after every round
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