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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 fantasy draft 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're normally selected in the final two rounds.

Draft participants: Dustin Saracini, Caitlyn Holroyd, Caio Miari, Dane Belbeck, Justin Boone, Gordon Brunt, Sean O'Leary, Brandon Wile, Navin Vaswani, Ian Dalley, Alex Chippin, Dan Wilkins.

Round 1

Pick Player Team
1 Christian McCaffrey (RB1) Saracini
2 Jonathan Taylor (RB2) Holroyd
3 Cooper Kupp (WR1) Miari
4 Austin Ekeler (RB3) Belbeck
5 Justin Jefferson (WR2) Boone
6 Dalvin Cook (RB4) Brunt
7 Ja'Marr Chase (WR3) O'Leary
8 Derrick Henry (RB5) Wile
9 D'Andre Swift (RB6) Vaswani
10 Najee Harris (RB7) Dalley
11 Aaron Jones (RB8) Chippin
12 Stefon Diggs (WR4) Wilkins

Round 1: This first round looks a little more accurate in terms of player order than our 10-team mock did a week ago. The only real debate will be near the end of the round, when managers need to decide between second-tier running backs or receivers. Diggs is a solid choice in the late first and someone who's being a little undervalued after his numbers dipped in 2021. It's pretty impressive when a "down year" still consists of 103 receptions, 1,225 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Though he finished as the WR10 in fantasy points per game, he's just one year removed from being the WR3 overall and is a safe pick in one of the league's best passing attacks.

My pick: With the top three running backs and the No. 1 wideout off the board, we'll gladly take Jefferson. The Vikings star has accumulated the most receiving yards of any player in their first two NFL campaigns and is a good bet to set career highs under new head coach Kevin O'Connell - who plans to bring a more pass-heavy approach to Minnesota this year.

Round 2

Pick Player Team
13 Davante Adams (WR5) Wilkins
14 Nick Chubb (RB9) Chippin
15 Travis Kelce (TE1) Dalley
16 CeeDee Lamb (WR6) Vaswani
17 Joe Mixon (RB10) Wile
18 Saquon Barkley (RB11) O'Leary
19 Mike Evans (WR7) Brunt
20 Deebo Samuel (WR8) Boone
21 Mark Andrews (TE2) Belbeck
22 Tyreek Hill (WR9) Miari
23 Leonard Fournette (RB12) Holroyd
24 A.J. Brown (WR10) Saracini

Round 2: No major shocks in the second round. This is a little earlier than Chubb would normally go in most PPR drafts, especially when you consider the uncertainty around Deshaun Watson's potential suspension. The main issue is Chubb's limited role in the passing game. He's been held to 20 or fewer receptions in three of his four seasons and likely won't see an uptick in targets while Kareem Hunt remains on the roster.

My pick: It's been rare for me to start WR-WR in drafts this year. Normally, there's a running back or elite tight end that piques my interest, but I chose to chase the upside of Samuel this time around. The man who averaged the third most fantasy points among receivers last season is expected to sign a new deal to stay in San Francisco where he'll continue to be a focal point of Kyle Shanahan's offense. If you're worried about the possibility of him being used less as a runner, don't be. Even if you remove all of Deebo's rushing stats (365 yards, eight TDs), he would still have finished as the WR12 in fantasy points per game.

Round 3

Pick Player Team
25 Alvin Kamara (RB13) Saracini
26 Keenan Allen (WR11) Holroyd
27 Travis Etienne (RB14) Miari
28 Tee Higgins (WR12) Belbeck
29 James Conner (RB15) Boone
30 DJ Moore (WR13) Brunt
31 Mike Williams (WR14) O'Leary
32 Michael Pittman (WR15) Wile
33 Josh Allen (QB1) Vaswani
34 Javonte Williams (RB16) Dalley
35 Terry McLaurin (WR16) Chippin
36 Ezekiel Elliott (RB17) Wilkins

Round 3: Very balanced builds across the board through three rounds, with the lone exception being Team Dalley who hasn't dipped into the receiver pool yet.

One of the most intriguing picks so far is Kamara, whose status is up in the air due to off-field issues. However, there's no guarantee he gets suspended in 2022 and if he avoids a ban or if it's only a couple games, his average draft position will jump back up to the Round 1-2 turn. It's a risky play, but the payoff could be huge.

My pick: After passing on RBs in the first two frames, it was time to find my RB1 in Round 3. Conner, who's on my list of players who will lead you to a fantasy title this season, was impossible to pass up here. The Cardinals' unquestioned starter was a top-12 fantasy back in points per game through 14 weeks last year and was a top-two back during the short stretch when Chase Edmonds was sidelined. Yes, there's a troubling injury history associated with him, but when he's on the field he'll be a fantasy week winner.

Round 4

Pick Player Team
37 Breece Hall (RB18) Wilkins
38 Kyle Pitts (TE3) Chippin
39 Diontae Johnson (WR17) Dalley
40 David Montgomery (RB19) Vaswani
41 Courtland Sutton (WR18) Wile
42 Cam Akers (RB20) O'Leary
43 Jaylen Waddle (WR19) Brunt
44 D.K. Metcalf (WR20) Boone
45 Brandin Cooks (WR21) Belbeck
46 Jerry Jeudy (WR22) Miari
47 Darren Waller (TE4) Holroyd
48 Allen Robinson (WR23) Saracini

Round 4: This is where the drop-off in the number of safer picks tends to begin. At this point, you can start to factor upside into your decision-making even more. In this round, that should make you lean toward players like Hall, Pitts, and Sutton - who could vastly outproduce their draft slots. Hall and Pitts are younger players with superstar profiles, while Sutton is on the verge of a massive increase in production thanks to the arrival of Russell Wilson.

My pick: There weren't many players available worth targeting at this price tag, so we settled on a ceiling play in Metcalf. He's the last receiver on the board with a realistic shot to put up WR1 stats if his quarterback situation turns out to be better than anticipated. Perhaps the Seahawks end up getting Jimmy Garoppolo once he's healthy or maybe someone emerges from the Drew Lock-Geno Smith competition who can keep Metcalf on track. Remember, Metcalf continued to produce when Smith was under center for a few games last season. As the 20th receiver selected in this draft, he's well worth investing in as my third wideout.

Round 5

Pick Player Team
49 George Kittle (TE5) Saracini
50 Marquise Brown (WR24) Holroyd
51 J.K. Dobbins (RB21) Miari
52 Gabriel Davis (WR25) Belbeck
53 Elijah Mitchell (RB22) Boone
54 Patrick Mahomes (QB2) Brunt
55 Darnell Mooney (WR26) O'Leary
56 JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR27) Wile
57 Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR28) Vaswani
58 Rashod Bateman (WR29) Dalley
59 DeVonta Smith (WR30) Chippin
60 Chris Godwin (WR31) Wilkins

Round 5: If you're in the market for a young receiver with serious fantasy potential, this is the round for you. Brown, Davis, Mooney, Smith-Schuster, St. Brown, Bateman, and Smith are all 25 or under and have paths to WR2 fantasy production in 2022. It's a smart way to spend your pick in this range of the draft.

My pick: Mitchell may not be an ideal PPR target, but he's a strong RB2 as the lead back in what should be a dangerous 49ers offense. As a rookie, he poured in 1,100 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in just 11 regular-season appearances. That was good for the 20th-most fantasy points per game at running back and we're getting him at RB22 in this draft. The 24-year-old also seemed to earn more trust in the passing game as the season went along, averaging three catches per contest from Week 9 through the end of the postseason. As long as he stays healthy, he'll remain atop the depth chart and get more than enough volume to deliver for fantasy.

Round 6

Pick Player Team
61 Josh Jacobs (RB23) Wilkins
62 Michael Thomas (WR32) Chippin
63 Amari Cooper (WR33) Dalley
64 Adam Thielen (WR34) Vaswani
65 Elijah Moore (WR35) Wile
66 Justin Herbert (QB3) O'Leary
67 Antonio Gibson (RB24) Brunt
68 DeAndre Hopkins (WR36) Boone
69 Lamar Jackson (QB4) Belbeck
70 Hunter Renfrow (WR37) Miari
71 AJ Dillon (RB25) Holroyd
72 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB26) Saracini

Round 6: After six rounds, Team Belbeck is the only roster without a second running back. Instead, they've elected to spend up at QB and TE, pairing teammates Jackson and Andrews. With Ekeler holding down the RB1 slot and a trio of underappreciated receivers, there's more firepower here than meets the eye. It'll be interesting to see how this team fills out the rest of their roster over the next few rounds.

My pick: Fantasy managers will have an interesting choice to make when it comes to Godwin, who went in the fifth round, or Hopkins, who we chose here at 6.05. While Hopkins is guaranteed to miss six games due to a suspension, Godwin's timeline is unknown. There have been reports he might be ready in the opening month, but a more realistic timeline should get him back on the field in October. When both players are active they'll be top-20 options, but your decision on drafting them will come down to whether you want to burn a roster spot for the first four-six weeks. Depending on your build, it should be a worthwhile risk to take.

Round 7

Pick Player Team
73 Russell Wilson (QB5) Saracini
74 Brandon Aiyuk (WR38) Holroyd
75 Tony Pollard (RB27) Miari
76 Miles Sanders (RB28) Belbeck
77 Kyler Murray (QB6) Boone
78 Dalton Schultz (TE6) Brunt
79 Drake London (WR39) O'Leary
80 Jalen Hurts (QB7) Wile
81 Allen Lazard (WR40) Vaswani
82 Christian Kirk (WR41) Dalley
83 Dak Prescott (QB8) Chippin
84 Tom Brady (QB9) Wilkins

Round 7: While we can get on board with taking a QB in this range, we're much more comfortable with the likes of Murray, Hurts, and Wilson - who have a legitimate chance to compete for a top-three fantasy finish this year. Meanwhile, Prescott and Brady seem like reaches in this round. Both players have lost quality starters on their offense this offseason (Cowboys-Cooper/Bucs-Rob Gronkowski) and will be without one of their top receivers to start the year due to injury (Cowboys-Michael Gallup/Bucs-Godwin).

My pick: After grabbing Conner as our RB1 and Hopkins as our WR4, we scoop up their QB. The former first overall pick has been among the top fantasy producers at his position when healthy, but he tends to get banged up as the season goes along and his stats suffer. We're hoping this is the year Murray can avoid injury and maintain his performance into the fantasy playoffs when he'll have a full complement of weapons, including this year's offseason addition Marquise Brown.

Round 8

Pick Player Team
85 T.J. Hockenson (TE7) Wilkins
86 Chase Claypool (WR42) Chippin
87 Russell Gage (WR43) Dalley
88 Dallas Goedert (TE8) Vaswani
89 Damien Harris (RB29) Wile
90 Treylon Burks (WR44) O'Leary
91 Tyler Lockett (WR45) Brunt
92 Kareem Hunt (RB30) Boone
93 Robert Woods (WR46) Belbeck
94 Trey Lance (QB10) Miari
95 Kadarius Toney (WR47) Holroyd
96 Mecole Hardman (WR48) Saracini

Round 8: Remember when Team Dalley was the only roster without a receiver in the first three rounds? Well, they've followed that up by taking five straight wideouts, including Johnson, Bateman, Cooper, Kirk, and Gage. Regardless of what you think about some of the names listed there, it's a very savvy approach and should allow Team Dalley to field at least three quality receiver options each week.

My pick: Hunt is an overqualified backup running back and the kind of player who makes for a nice RB3 on your fantasy roster. If needed, he can provide flex value most weeks. But there's also multiple ways he could find himself in a starting role this season - with an injury to Chubb or by being traded/released. When thrust into lead back volume, Hunt is a threat to be a top-15 fantasy back any given week.

Round 9

Pick Player Team
97 Cordarrelle Patterson (RB31) Saracini
98 Joe Burrow (QB11) Holroyd
99 Dawson Knox (TE9) Miari
100 Chase Edmonds (RB32) Belbeck
101 Kenneth Walker (RB33) Boone
102 Devin Singletary (RB34) Brunt
103 Rashaad Penny (RB35) O'Leary
104 Zach Ertz (TE10) Wile
105 Melvin Gordon (RB36) Vaswani
106 James Cook (RB37) Dalley
107 Rhamondre Stevenson (RB38) Chippin
108 Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR49) Wilkins

Round 9: This is the area of the draft where you should start pivoting away from receivers (with a few exceptions) and start focusing on making sure you have a starter at quarterback and tight end, while also loading up on depth at running back. That's exactly what occurred here with eight of the 10 picks being ball carriers. It's rare to say this, but every running back taken in this round was a great pick at this value.

My pick: Though we were hoping to see Edmonds fall to us, we'll gladly select the 41st overall pick in this year's NFL draft Walker. With an impressive prospect profile combined with second-round draft capital supporting him, it's only a matter of time before Walker moves into the lead back role in Seattle. His main competition is Rashaad Penny, a player who was injured for most of his four-year career before he put together a month of big-time production at the end of last season. Walker is far from a sure thing himself, but we don't need him to be in the ninth round.

Round 10

Pick Player Team
109 Dameon Pierce (RB39) Wilkins
110 Tyler Boyd (WR50) Chippin
111 Alexander Mattison (RB40) Dalley
112 Ronald Jones (RB41) Vaswani
113 Nyheim Hines (RB42) Wile
114 Chris Olave (WR51) O'Leary
115 Skyy Moore (WR52) Brunt
116 Darrell Henderson (RB43) Boone
117 Garrett Wilson (WR53) Belbeck
118 Joshua Palmer (WR54) Miari
119 Kenny Golladay (WR55) Holroyd
120 Jarvis Landry (WR56) Saracini

Round 10: As much as we may be enticed by some of the veteran receivers in this round like Boyd, Golladay, and Landry, if you're going to take shots on late-round wideouts, you might want to steer toward the untapped potential of the rookie class. Wilson, Olave, and Moore could all take on sizeable roles in their new offenses and each has the skills to be a fantasy starter if the target share is there for them. Don't fear the unknown in this scenario, embrace it.

My pick: We continue to add to our running back stable with one of my favorite backup runners. Henderson showed he was up to the task of being a temporary starter last season when he stepped in for Akers and posted the 12th-most fantasy points per game among RBs over the first eight weeks before injuries derailed his campaign. With Sony Michel gone, Henderson would be the unchallenged lead option if Akers struggles or gets hurt again.

Round 11

Pick Player Team
121 Robby Anderson (WR57) Saracini
122 Tim Patrick (WR58) Holroyd
123 K.J. Osborn (WR59) Miari
124 Sony Michel (RB44) Belbeck
125 Cole Kmet (TE11) Boone
126 Rachaad White (RB45) Brunt
127 Pat Freiermuth (TE12) O'Leary
128 Isaiah Spiller (RB46) Wile
129 Michael Carter (RB47) Vaswani
130 Aaron Rodgers (QB12) Dalley
131 Mark Ingram (RB48) Chippin
132 Christian Watson (WR60) Wilkins

Round 11: We'll give Team Dalley another pat on the back for getting nice value on his quarterback in the 11th round. There's a reason why we singled out the Prescott and Brady picks as bad value in Round 7 and that's because you know there will be starting-caliber QBs available later. In this instance, it was Rodgers who won't have his former stud receiver Adams this season. However, a quick look at Rodgers' splits with and without Adams shows that his numbers don't differ as much as you'd think. Even if they do, Team Dalley is strong enough that he can simply stream QBs throughout the year.

My pick: Up to this point, we hadn't chosen a tight end yet. That changed when we landed Kmet - my top breakout tight end for 2022. His 60-catch, 612-yard stat line from last season might have flown under your radar since he failed to find the end zone. But he should have plenty of chances to score this season as the Bears' de facto No. 2 receiver behind top wideout Mooney.

Round 12

Pick Player Team
133 Rondale Moore (WR61) Wilkins
134 Michael Gallup (WR62) Chippin
135 Kenneth Gainwell (RB49) Dalley
136 Khalil Herbert (RB50) Vaswani
137 Jahan Dotson (WR63) Wile
138 James Robinson (RB51) O'Leary
139 Jalen Tolbert (WR64) Brunt
140 Tyrion Davis-Price (RB52) Boone
141 D'Onta Foreman (RB53) Belbeck
142 Jamaal Williams (RB54) Miari
143 Marlon Mack (RB55) Holroyd
144 Raheem Mostert (RB56) Saracini

Round 12: Team Vaswani did a very nice job completing their running back depth chart in the final rounds. After getting Swift and Montgomery early, they avoided the position in the middle rounds before swinging back around to it late with Gordon, Jones, Carter, and Herbert. All four runners are the immediate backups in their offense and have the talent to produce RB2 fantasy stats if/when an injury strikes their backfield.

My pick: While the latest reports suggest veteran Jeff Wilson is entering training camp as the front-runner to be Mitchell's backup in San Francisco, we expect the rookie Davis-Price to win that job sooner rather than later. With the rest of our roster set, it's an easy choice to secure some insurance in case Mitchell hits the trainer's table this season.

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