Fantasy: 12-team mock draft with analysis after every round
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 half PPR 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: David P. Woods, Donald Higney, Jack Browne, Daniel Valente, Ian Dalley, Navin Vaswani, Dane Belbeck, Brandon Wile, Justin Boone, Sean O'Leary, Gordon Brunt, Taylor Rohaly.
|1||Christian McCaffrey (RB1)||Woods|
|2||Jonathan Taylor (RB2)||Higney|
|3||Justin Jefferson (WR1)||Browne|
|4||Cooper Kupp (WR2)||Valente|
|5||Austin Ekeler (RB3)||Dalley|
|6||Ja'Marr Chase (WR3)||Vaswani|
|7||Dalvin Cook (RB4)||Belbeck|
|8||Derrick Henry (RB5)||Wile|
|9||D'Andre Swift (RB6)||Boone|
|10||Najee Harris (RB7)||O'Leary|
|11||Joe Mixon (RB8)||Brunt|
|12||Saquon Barkley (RB9)||Rohaly|
Round 1: The first round sticks very close to average draft position, but it's nice to see Saquon Barkley sneak into the 12th spot. The reports coming out of Giants practices about the 25-year-old back have been absolutely glowing. The hope is that the arrival of new offensive-minded head coach Brian Daboll, combined with a healthy offseason, could propel Barkley back to his previously elite fantasy status.
My pick: No surprise for me here. When the first round is as chalky as this and my selection is outside of the top six picks, D'Andre Swift often ends up on my team. We don't have enough room to run through the reasons why Swift is on the verge of a monster fantasy season, but fortunately, you can read about him in my list of seven players who will lead you to a fantasy title.
|13||Stefon Diggs (WR4)||Rohaly|
|14||Travis Kelce (TE1)||Brunt|
|15||Davante Adams (WR5)||O'Leary|
|16||CeeDee Lamb (WR6)||Boone|
|17||Aaron Jones (RB10)||Wile|
|18||Deebo Samuel (WR7)||Belbeck|
|19||Alvin Kamara (RB11)||Vaswani|
|20||Nick Chubb (RB12)||Dalley|
|21||Tyreek Hill (WR8)||Valente|
|22||Michael Pittman (WR9)||Browne|
|23||Leonard Fournette (RB13)||Higney|
|24||Tee Higgins (WR10)||Woods|
Round 2: With the news that his potential suspension will likely be delayed until next season, Alvin Kamara continues to move up draft boards. If he does avoid a ban this year, he's a great value in the middle of the second round.
Team Browne - run by our resident Colts fan and NFL editor Jack Browne - reaches for Michael Pittman at 2.10. That's about one round earlier than his spot in my top 200, but you can make an argument Pittman is poised to take another step forward with Matt Ryan now at the helm in Indianapolis. The young wideout posted an 88-1,082-6 line in 2021 and will be the focal point of the passing attack once again. With a clear tier drop after the first eight receivers, we'll give Team Browne a pass for what would normally be seen as a homer pick.
My pick: In the final instalment of our draft strategy series, we outlined why CeeDee Lamb should be one of the players you target early in the second round. He was drafted to be the Cowboys' future No. 1 wideout, and his volume is about to spike after the departure of Amari Cooper, as well as the injuries to Michael Gallup and James Washington. A top-five fantasy finish is well within Lamb's range of outcomes this year.
|25||A.J. Brown (WR11)||Woods|
|26||Mike Evans (WR12)||Higney|
|27||Kyle Pitts (TE2)||Browne|
|28||Travis Etienne (RB14)||Valente|
|29||Mark Andrews (TE3)||Dalley|
|30||James Conner (RB15)||Vaswani|
|31||Mike Williams (WR13)||Belbeck|
|32||Keenan Allen (WR14)||Wile|
|33||Javonte Williams (RB16)||Boone|
|34||Josh Allen (QB1)||O'Leary|
|35||DJ Moore (WR15)||Brunt|
|36||Ezekiel Elliott (RB17)||Rohaly|
Round 3: Nothing egregious in the third frame - our drafters have clearly gotten a better feel for the early rounds over the course of all our mocks.
A.J. Brown is trying to push his way into the second round on the back of the reports he's been peppered with targets from Jalen Hurts in practice. It's hardly stunning to hear the Eagles are planning to use their prized offseason acquisition early and often. Fantasy managers should prepare themselves for a rebound year from Brown.
My pick: While we strongly considered D.J. Moore at 3.09, the running back cliff was approaching - causing us to scoop up Javonte Williams as our overqualified RB2. After vowing to battle for the lead back role in Denver this offseason, veteran Melvin Gordon recently admitted the team wants to feature his younger running mate. Williams saw the majority of the snaps in six of his final seven games after the Broncos' bye last year, and he was the RB14 in fantasy points per game during that stretch. Any more of a shift in Williams' favor could vault him into the low-end fantasy RB1 ranks.
|37||Courtland Sutton (WR16)||Rohaly|
|38||Allen Robinson (WR17)||Brunt|
|39||Breece Hall (RB18)||O'Leary|
|40||Terry McLaurin (WR18)||Boone|
|41||Jaylen Waddle (WR19)||Wile|
|42||Marquise Brown (WR20)||Belbeck|
|43||Diontae Johnson (WR21)||Vaswani|
|44||Jerry Jeudy (WR22)||Dalley|
|45||JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR23)||Valente|
|46||Rashod Bateman (WR24)||Browne|
|47||Gabriel Davis (WR25)||Higney|
|48||J.K. Dobbins (RB19)||Woods|
Round 4: As we discussed in the wide receiver preview episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast, there are a ton of intriguing fantasy wideouts available from Round 4 to Round 7. That explains why 10 of the 12 picks in this frame were receivers - each of whom could be a difference-maker in 2022. Make sure you come away with at least a couple pass-catchers in this range.
My pick: Not wanting to be left out of the wideout party, we snagged Terry McLaurin. The Commanders' top target has spent his three seasons in Washington catching the majority of his passes from the likes of Taylor Heinicke, Dwayne Haskins, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, and Case Keenum. Despite that, he's still averaged 1,030 yards per year. We're not suggesting Carson Wentz will solve the team's issues at quarterback, but he should be a slight upgrade who can help McLaurin finish as a top-20 fantasy wideout.
|49||Lamar Jackson (QB2)||Woods|
|50||Darren Waller (TE4)||Higney|
|51||Cam Akers (RB20)||Browne|
|52||Patrick Mahomes (QB3)||Valente|
|53||Darnell Mooney (WR26)||Dalley|
|54||Brandin Cooks (WR27)||Vaswani|
|55||George Kittle (TE5)||Belbeck|
|56||D.K. Metcalf (WR28)||Wile|
|57||Chris Godwin (WR29)||Boone|
|58||Michael Thomas (WR30)||O'Leary|
|59||David Montgomery (RB21)||Brunt|
|60||Elijah Moore (WR31)||Rohaly|
Round 5: Receivers take up half the fifth round - as they should. Players like Darnell Mooney, Brandin Cooks, Chris Godwin, Michael Thomas, DK Metcalf, and Elijah Moore represent far better value than the running backs, quarterbacks, and tight ends that go off the board in this area of the draft.
My pick: With all the positive reports about Chris Godwin's recovery from a late-season ACL tear, we're willing to take a chance on him recapturing something close to his previous form. Even if Godwin plays limited snaps or is held out in the first few weeks, he can provide us with another top-20 WR producer once healthy.
|61||Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR32)||Rohaly|
|62||Adam Thielen (WR33)||Brunt|
|63||Elijah Mitchell (RB22)||O'Leary|
|64||Brandon Aiyuk (WR34)||Boone|
|65||Justin Herbert (QB4)||Wile|
|66||Kyler Murray (QB5)||Belbeck|
|67||Dalton Schultz (TE6)||Vaswani|
|68||Amari Cooper (WR35)||Dalley|
|69||Allen Lazard (WR36)||Valente|
|70||Jalen Hurts (QB6)||Browne|
|71||Josh Jacobs (RB23)||Higney|
|72||DeVonta Smith (WR37)||Woods|
Round 6: Team Belbeck is on a very interesting (and color-coordinated) hero-RB build. After kicking things off with Dalvin Cook in the first, it took three quality receivers in Deebo Samuel, Mike Williams, and Marquise Brown before selecting a tight end in George Kittle and a quarterback in Kyler Murray. The team now features a stud back, two high-end receivers, an explosive WR3 paired with his quarterback, and a potentially elite tight end. Outside of my own, Team Belbeck has my favorite roster so far.
My pick: Brandon Aiyuk continues his rise up the ADP charts thanks to one of the most talked about training camp performances of any player league-wide. The 24-year-old has put up WR2 fantasy stats for the majority of his two NFL campaigns and is about to enjoy an upgrade to a more talented quarterback who's willing to push the ball downfield. That makes Aiyuk a perfect flex option for our lineup.
|73||Christian Kirk (WR38)||Woods|
|74||Drake London (WR39)||Higney|
|75||George Pickens (WR40)||Browne|
|76||Miles Sanders (RB24)||Valente|
|77||DeAndre Hopkins (WR41)||Dalley|
|78||AJ Dillon (RB25)||Vaswani|
|79||Chase Edmonds (RB26)||Belbeck|
|80||Antonio Gibson (RB27)||Wile|
|81||Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB28)||Boone|
|82||Robert Woods (WR42)||O'Leary|
|83||Joe Burrow (QB7)||Brunt|
|84||Tony Pollard (RB29)||Rohaly|
Round 7: The receiver well hasn't dried up yet, but the final few players from that enticing group we highlighted earlier are trickling out in the seventh round. That's a sign to pivot back to drafting running backs or even a starting quarterback in the next couple rounds.
While the hype surrounding Steelers rookie George Pickens seems warranted, this is the earliest we've seen him go in any draft. Even with his ADP rising 24 spots over the last week, he's still going off the board outside the top 100 picks on average. I thought my ranking of 97th overall in my top 200 was bold, but he's taken 75th here. You have to think Team Browne could have waited another round to pull the trigger.
My pick: With a fairly balanced build entering the seventh round, we're free to go in any direction we want. Taking a player like Clyde Edwards-Helaire as our RB3 at this point could be considered a luxury pick. With so much buzz about seventh-round rookie backup Isiah Pacheco, people might be sleeping on the Chiefs' starter. The 23-year-old averaged 10.7 fantasy points per game last year, but if you removed Week 5 when he was injured and only played 26% of the snaps, his per-game totals improve to 11.6 - which would've made him the RB24 in half PPR. We'll gladly take him as the RB28 in this draft.
|85||Russell Wilson (QB8)||Rohaly|
|86||Tyler Lockett (WR43)||Brunt|
|87||Hunter Renfrow (WR44)||O'Leary|
|88||Trey Lance (QB9)||Boone|
|89||T.J. Hockenson (TE7)||Wile|
|90||Rhamondre Stevenson (RB30)||Belbeck|
|91||Tom Brady (QB10)||Vaswani|
|92||Cordarrelle Patterson (RB31)||Dalley|
|93||Kadarius Toney (WR45)||Valente|
|94||Rashaad Penny (RB32)||Browne|
|95||Chris Olave (WR46)||Higney|
|96||Dallas Goedert (TE8)||Woods|
Round 8: If you plan to wait on running back, make a note of the ball carriers who were selected in this round. Rhamondre Stevenson will likely assume a larger pass-catching role with James White retired and may even overtake starter Damien Harris for the lead back job. Cordarrelle Patterson was a top-20 fantasy back in 2021 and projects to be a major part of the Falcons' offense again this year. Meanwhile, Rashaad Penny's stock is on the rise after rookie Kenneth Walker underwent a procedure the Seahawks are being extremely vague about. Without a timeline for Walker's return, Penny will be unchallenged as the top back in Seattle. All three of these running backs could turn into week-winning plays during the season.
My pick: If forced to choose one player who I don't want to leave drafts without this year, it'd be Trey Lance. For the last few seasons, fantasy managers have been gifted a series of breakout quarterbacks, like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Hurts. This year, Lance will join that list. Between his rushing ability, outstanding supporting cast, and a proven scheme, the sophomore QB will ignite the 49ers' attack.
|97||Rondale Moore (WR47)||Woods|
|98||Kareem Hunt (RB33)||Higney|
|99||Skyy Moore (WR48)||Browne|
|100||Dawson Knox (TE9)||Valente|
|101||Dak Prescott (QB11)||Dalley|
|102||Dameon Pierce (RB34)||Vaswani|
|103||Treylon Burks (WR49)||Belbeck|
|104||Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR50)||Wile|
|105||James Cook (RB35)||Boone|
|106||Damien Harris (RB36)||O'Leary|
|107||Devin Singletary (RB37)||Brunt|
|108||Darrell Henderson (RB38)||Rohaly|
Round 9: We're one of only three teams without a tight end at this point in the draft, and the other two are behind us in the order, meaning they'll have two picks each before we'll be back on the clock in the 10th round. But that's OK. We have a late-round tight end in mind.
My pick: Instead, we take an upside running back in rookie James Cook. Clearly the Bills have a plan to deploy a pass-catching RB this year, since they made attempts to sign J.D. McKissic and Chase Edmonds in the offseason. Cook will fill that role, and if he earns the trust of the coaching staff, he could become an explosive weapon for Allen.
|109||Zach Ertz (TE10)||Rohaly|
|110||Kenneth Gainwell (RB39)||Brunt|
|111||Romeo Doubs (WR51)||O'Leary|
|112||Khalil Herbert (RB40)||Boone|
|113||James Robinson (RB41)||Wile|
|114||Brian Robinson Jr. (RB42)||Belbeck|
|115||Kenneth Walker (RB43)||Vaswani|
|116||Melvin Gordon (RB44)||Dalley|
|117||Jalen Tolbert (WR52)||Valente|
|118||Alexander Mattison (RB45)||Browne|
|119||Chase Claypool (WR53)||Higney|
|120||Isaiah Spiller (RB46)||Woods|
Round 10: Team Belbeck has executed its draft plan to perfection. Following that strong hero-RB start, it's filled out its running back depth chart with the Dolphins' lead back Chase Edmonds and a pair of young ball carriers who have a shot at big roles in 2022: Stevenson and Brian Robinson.
My pick: We're adding to our RB depth as well. The fantasy community is coming around on Khalil Herbert after the Bears' coaching staff suggested he'll be more involved this season. That could turn him into a flex option who also offers RB1 upside if David Montgomery gets hurt. In his three relief starts last year, Herbert racked up 269 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards, nine receptions, and a touchdown. He's more than capable of handling the job if given the chance and should be viewed alongside other high-end fantasy backups.
|121||Rachaad White (RB47)||Woods|
|122||Garrett Wilson (WR54)||Higney|
|123||Nyheim Hines (RB48)||Browne|
|124||Isiah Pacheco (RB49)||Valente|
|125||Tyler Boyd (WR55)||Dalley|
|126||Jahan Dotson (WR56)||Vaswani|
|127||Julio Jones (WR57)||Belbeck|
|128||Michael Carter (RB50)||Wile|
|129||Cole Kmet (TE11)||Boone|
|130||Pat Freiermuth (TE12)||O'Leary|
|131||Isaiah McKenzie (WR58)||Brunt|
|132||Tyler Allgeier (RB51)||Rohaly|
Round 11: Team Browne left itself thin at running back with Cam Akers (still working his way back from last year's Achilles tear), Penny (talented but often injured), and Alexander Mattison (a top backup who doesn't offer much unless Cook is sidelined). The Nyheim Hines pick this round helps give Browne a stopgap option in case one of Akers or Penny struggles or isn't available. Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters in May: "If I was a fantasy owner, I'd consider drafting Nyheim."
My pick: With only one tight end-needy team left and our late-round target still on the board, we decided to finally make the pick. Much like his teammate Mooney, Cole Kmet is about to see an increase in volume this season. He finished inside the top 12 tight ends in receptions and yards last year. With an uptick in targets and some better luck around the red zone, Kmet should challenge for mid- to low-end TE1 numbers.
|133||Jamaal Williams (RB52)||Rohaly|
|134||Wan'Dale Robinson (WR59)||Brunt|
|135||Zamir White (RB53)||O'Leary|
|136||K.J. Osborn (WR60)||Boone|
|137||Eno Benjamin (RB54)||Wile|
|138||D'Onta Foreman (RB55)||Belbeck|
|139||DeVante Parker (WR61)||Vaswani|
|140||Marlon Mack (RB56)||Dalley|
|141||Nico Collins (WR62)||Valente|
|142||Russell Gage (WR63)||Browne|
|143||Aaron Rodgers (QB12)||Higney|
|144||Tyrion Davis-Price (RB57)||Woods|
Round 12: Team Higney recognized it was the only squad without a starting quarterback, which allowed it to calmly focus on other positions for a few rounds before selecting Aaron Rodgers. Getting Rodgers three rounds after the 11th QB off the board - Dak Prescott - makes for incredible value.
My pick: We finish things off with some depth at receiver in K.J. Osborn. While he required Adam Thielen to get hurt in order to make an impact last year, Osborn should see opportunity of his own with the new coaching staff and its pass-heavy approach. And if Thielen - who'll be 32 when the season kicks off - ends up on the trainer's table again, Osborn could be a top-30 fantasy wideout like he was over the final six games of 2021.