This is a big week. Every NFL team will be playing in a preseason game this upcoming weekend. Now, with that comes an obvious level of excitement, and oftentimes, overreactions to all of the action. There will be snap counts, targets, carries, big plays, and everything in between to watch for. It’s important to pay attention to these games, but don’t invest too heavily into them. Many of the fantasy football players we are targeting for the 2022 season will barely play if they even suit up. That’s okay. Some of the players of deep interest and late-round fantasy targets are who we should be focused on. Regardless, let’s tap in to the current fantasy football landscape and continue to evaluate current player values with a mock draft as training camp is in full swing.
Picking Sixth Overall in the Sixth Mock Draft
The following mock draft was completed, simulating my strategy and results for a 10-team, 1 quarterback, Points Per Reception league. The hypothetical roster consists of 3 wide receivers, 2 running backs, 1 tight end, and 1 RB/WR/TE Flex position. I drafted from the sixth overall pick in this mock draft and will make selections from different draft positions each week. For this mock draft, I will break down 12 of 16 rounds. With training camp underway, it’s more worthwhile to continue breaking down the later rounds now than it has been in some of the earlier mock drafts. As always, I spend my final two picks on a Defense/Special Teams and Kicker so they won’t be included as we focus on individual player analysis.
1.01- Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)
1.02- Christian McCaffrey (CAR RB)
1.03- Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)
1.04- Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)
1.05- Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)
1.06- Najee Harris (PIT RB)
1.07- Derrick Henry (TEN RB)
1.08- Dalvin Cook (MIN RB)
1.09- Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)
1.10- Joe Mixon (CIN RB)
MY PICK: Najee Harris
It’s becoming clear that after the first two picks, mock drafts completely vary for the remainder of the first round. It all has to do with the selection of the first wide receiver. This continues to be a focal point of my mock draft breakdowns each week in the first round. Early on, I was certain the decision to choose a running back or a wide receiver would occur at the fifth pick or later. Here, for the first time, we see Cooper Kupp off of the board at the fourth pick with Justin Jefferson right after at pick five.
It’s conceivable someone with a top-three pick in your league may pull the trigger on one of these receivers. That said, you need to prepare rankings and tiers of the top running backs. Players you originally thought you would miss out on may be available to you after all with increased selection of first round wide receivers. This mock draft is a prime example of that. I consider Najee Harris to have fallen to me with the sixth pick. The manager with the seventh pick probably feels very similarly about getting Derrick Henry as late as they did. You need to be ready for anything in this first round. It will set the tone not only for the rest of the draft as a whole, but for your overall roster construction.
2.01 – Davante Adams (LV WR)
2.02- Travis Kelce (KC TE)
2.03- D’Andre Swift (DET RB)
2.04- Deebo Samuel (SF WR)
2.05- Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)
2.06- Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)
2.07- Nick Chubb (CLE RB)
2.08- Josh Allen (BUF QB)
2.09- Aaron Jones (GB RB)
2.10- Javonte Williams (DEN RB)
MY PICK: Stefon Diggs
I assumed prior to this mock draft that I would likely have to decide between a running back or one of Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson, my top-ranked wide receivers. Instead, they are gone in the first five picks and I take my third-ranked running back, Najee Harris instead. Had I been so rigid in my thought process that I was to leave the first round with a wide receiver, I may have kept my streak of drafting Aaron Jones in the second round of mock drafts alive. Instead, I steal Stefon Diggs, my third-ranked wide receiver, in the middle of the second round.
Stefon Diggs is in a tier of wide receivers that I believe can finish at the top of the position this fantasy football season. Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, is the consensus top player at his position just about everywhere you look. I want his top target. Period. Simple, right? Yet, I believe some of devaluing Diggs because of the assumed crowded offense in Buffalo, particularly the rise of Gabriel Davis.
In two seasons with the Bills, Diggs dominates the target share with 333 total targets. He has at least 165 in each. The next highest number of targets by any player is 112 to Cole Beasley last year. He is no longer with the team. In fact, only Diggs and Beasley have seen over 100 targets in each of the last two seasons. No other player has more than 72.
Players like Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders leave behind a decent chunk of targets that newcomers like Jamison Crowder and rookie running back, James Cook, will likely tap into to some degree. Even Gabriel Davis will see a higher rate of targets with an expected increase in snaps. However, this change in personnel shouldn’t threaten Diggs’ target share much at all.
In short, this offense will be one of the best in the league and can support multiple fantasy football starters. Diggs will undoubtedly see the most targets, as he has, and is an easy WR1 yet again for the 2022 fantasy football season.
3.01- Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)
3.02- Mike Evans (TB WR)
3.03- Alvin Kamara (NO RB)
3.04- Tyreek Hill (MIA WR)
3.05- Leonard Fournette (TB RB)
3.06- Tee Higgins (CIN WR)
3.07- Keenan Allen (LAC WR)
3.08- Mark Andrews (BAL TE)
3.09- A.J. Brown (PHI WR)
3.10- Cam Akers (LAR RB)
MY PICK: Tee Higgins
So far, I love the third round of these mock drafts. Whether I have one running back and wide receiver each, or two of the same position, I feel comfortable with players on the board here at each position to solidify my team’s core. Any of the first five picks would be fantastic additions to my first two picks. Tee Higgins, though, is still a top-10 wide receiver for me this season. So, needless to say, this is an easy selection for me. Preparing for drafts with rankings and tiers is so crucial. It takes the pressure off of overthinking who to select. Prepare lists of your by referring to the Fantrax staff consensus rankings.
I am making the bold prediction that Tee Higgins finishes higher than teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, in fantasy football this season. That doesn’t mean I am fading Chase completely. It does mean, though, that I am more likely to wait for Tee Higgins in the third round at what I consider a value rather than spend my top pick on Chase in the first round.
Looking at their 2021 stats, Higgins has just seven receptions less than Chase. That’s with three regular season games missed to injury. On a per game basis, Higgins averaged 6.11 targets to Chases’ 6.09 targets. Their usage is fairly equal when they are both healthy. I do think Chase is capable of making a second year leap, as somewhat unfathomable as that seems based on how good he was as a rookie. However, Higgins is worth waiting for as he’s just as in the mix as far as usage in this offense goes. Chase carries more big play potential, but even with fewer games played, Higgins had just one less (6) 100+ yard performance than Chase (7), as well.
4.01- Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)
4.02- Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)
4.03- David Montgomery (CHI RB)
4.04- James Conner (ARI RB)
4.05- D.J. Moore (CAR WR)
4.06- Travis Etienne (JAC RB)
4.07- Ezekiel Elliott (DAL RB)
4.08- George Kittle (SF TE)
4.09- Michael Pittman, Jr. (IND WR)
4.10- Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)
MY PICK: D.J. Moore
To round out my wide receiver corps, I am going back to the D.J. Moore well. I believe this is the last year to get Moore outside of the top-three rounds. As of now, his lackluster sub-15.0 points per game average the last few seasons is a glaring reason why he’s available at this point in the mock draft. Furthermore, the addition of Baker Mayfield at quarterback isn’t enticing enough for those on the fence about Moore. I’m not even a big Baker fan, but he is undoubtedly the best quarterback of Moore’s young career. Not to mention early reports from Panthers camp are that the two continue to develop chemistry on the field.
Moore ranks sixth in total targets from the 2021 season yet he finished with just four touchdowns. The snaps, targets, and talent are all there. What’s missing is an efficient quarterback to get him the ball. I believe Baker has what it takes to help Moore score as many touchdowns this season as he has in his entire career (14), or at least come close.
Hypothetically, if Moore is gone earlier in this round, I probably grab one of Travis Etienne or Ezekiel Elliott with this pick. Those two, and Breece Hall, are the only running backs left I feel comfortable as a rock solid RB2. In other words, I feel like those three backs have a safe, volume-based floor, but I love their potential for weekly RB1 finishes, as well. This is evident in the fact that all three, with the addition of Antonio Gibson, come off the board, and the next running back isn’t taken until 20 picks later.
5.01- Mike Williams (LAC WR)
5.02- Dionte Johnson (PIT WR)
5.03- D.K. Metcalf (SEA WR)
5.04- Justin Herbert (LAC QB)
5.05- Allen Robinson (LAR WR)
5.06- Breece Hall (NYJ RB)
5.07- Terry McLaurin (WSH WR)
5.08- Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)
5.09- Antonio Gibson (WSH WR)
5.10- Marquise Brown (ARI WR)
MY PICK: Breece Hall
If you read what I said about Hall, when talking about Etienne and Zeke last round, then you know I’m ecstatic to add him as my RB2 in the fifth round. Admittedly, it’s going to be tough for Hall as far as production goes in the first few weeks of the season. The Jets’ first opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, allowed the second-least rushing yards per game (84.5) last season. Their next two opponents, the Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals, also ranked in the top-12 for the least amount of rushing yards allowed. Still, Hall is projected to be a workhorse in this backfield. The volume alone should allow for reasonably steady numbers early on with plenty of potential for more as the schedule softens up.
I want to point out the rise of Allen Robinson in the mock draft series. After this week of training camp, it’s glaringly obvious Robinson’s two-round leap is a result of videos of him making fantastic catches from Matthew Stafford. Continue to pay attention to the rise and fall of certain players, and more importantly, why it occurs. The values of today are not the same as yesterday’s nor are they the same as tomorrow’s. Players with appealing Average Draft Positions (ADP) from early on may have risen too high for me to select them. Robinson is dangerously close to that point.
6.01- Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET WR)
6.02- Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)
6.03- Michael Thomas (NO WR)
6.04- Brandin Cooks (HOU WR)
6.05- Darren Waller (LV TE)
6.06- Gabriel Davis (BUF WR)
6.07- Chris Godwin (TB WR)
6.08- Amari Cooper (CLE WR)
6.09- Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)
6.10- Darnell Mooney (CHI WR)
MY PICK: Darren Waller
This mock draft pick is an important lesson to be fluid when drafting. Having your heart and mind set on certain positions or players round to round is a mistake. It opens the door wide for disappointment. Pay attention, have fun, but remain active during your fantasy football drafts. Have a plan, but know it’s okay to stray away from it from time to time.
For example, I am more likely than not to wait it out before selecting my starting tight end. I love the value of players, like Zach Ertz, and others in the double-digit rounds. However, in this mock draft, Darren Waller is too good of a player to pass up here, especially when I look at the players available to choose over him. More importantly, I have Darren Waller valued as a fifth round pick in most drafts. He ranks second in average targets amongst tight ends in each of the last two seasons. I know the Raiders are adding Davante Adams to their offense, but that may improve the quality of targets for Waller with more defensive attention on Adams, especially in the red zone.
With an established group of running backs and wide receivers, I’m willing to solidify my starting lineup with a projected top-five tight end here and focus on depth at the other positions from here on out.
7.01- Daulton Schultz (DAL TE)
7.02- Kyler Murray (ARI QB)
7.03- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI WR)
7.04- Adam Theilen (MIN WR)
7.05- Jalen Hurts (PHI QB)
7.06- Rashod Bateman (BAL WR)
7.07- Joe Burrow (CIN QB)
7.08- Tom Brady (TB QB)
7.09- Josh Jacobs (LV RB)
7.10- T.J. Hockenson (DET TE)
MY PICK: Rashod Bateman
Rashod Bateman continues to be my favorite mid-round pick of these mock drafts. I’ll just keep hammering my big points home.
Marquise Brown leaves behind a 25% target share in Baltimore from last season. Bateman has as many receptions (32) in eight games with Lamar Jackson as any other Ravens wide receiver on the roster has in their career. He is the projected WR1 on an offense with a former MVP at quarterback. He is coming off of draft boards, on average, as a flex player. A flex player!
Also, here’s this:
Just a casual catch by Rashod Bateman pic.twitter.com/0lBYnh33To
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) August 7, 2022
8.01- Dak Prescott (DAL QB)
8.02- Juju Smith-Schuster (KC WR)
8.03- DeVonta Smith (PHI WR)
8.04- Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)
8.05- Elijah Mitchell (SF RB)
8.06- Drake London (ATL WR)
8.07- Hunter Renfrow (LV WR)
8.08- Elijah Moore (NYJ WR)
8.09- J.K. Dobbins (BAL RB)
8.10- Allen Lazard (GB WR)
MY PICK: Elijah Mitchell
The decision between Elijah Mitchell and a few of the wide receivers still on the board is a tough one. With four wide receivers on my roster already, I like the opportunity to draft a running back, like Mitchell, who I can possibly start in place of Breece Hall early on. Mitchell is the only 49er from last season with over 200 carries. I project the same for him this season, as well. New starting quarterback, Trey Lance, is going to run the ball far more than Jimmy Garropolo ever did. It’s just part of Lance’s game. I expect that to take away from Deebo Samuel’s opportunities as a ball carrier, though not entirely, more so than Mitchell’s. The starting running back job is Mitchell’s to lose. Let’s just hope for as healthy of a season as possible from him.
9.01- Treylon Burks (TEN WR)
9.02- Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)
9.03- Damien Harris (NE RB)
9.04- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC RB)
9.05- Chase Edmonds (ARI RB)
9.06- A.J. Dillon (GB RB)
9.07- Christian Kirk (JAC WR)
9.08- Chase Claypool (PIT WR)
9.09- Miles Sanders (PHI RB)
9.10- Cordarelle Patterson (ATL RB)
MY PICK: A.J. Dillon
This pick continues to be a no-brainer. I’m still not entirely sure why A.J. Dillon isn’t going two rounds or so higher, but I’m not complaining. Mind you, that’s coming from a guy who has been snatching up Aaron Jones just about every chance he can get in mock drafts! The fact of the matter is that Dillon is a big, powerful runner and perfectly compliments Jones in this backfield. While I expect Jones to see a major uptick in the passing game, Dillon should also find himself on the field simultaneously and see targets of his own. More importantly, it wouldn’t shock me if Jones and Dillion see a similar amount of carriers, or even Dillon logging more. Dillon did so last year, with 16 more, but in two more games played than Jones.
Either way, this is a player who should have a sizable role in an Aaron Rodgers led offense. The back-to-back MVP of the league! I’m not going to ask questions as to why Dobbins, Edwards-Helaire, and, to some degree, Chase Edmonds, went before him. Instead, I’m here to tell you Dillon is going to be one of the biggest steals of your drafts if he continues to come off the board in the ninth round.
10.01- Devin Singletary (BUF RB)
10.02- Ken Walker III (SEA RB)
10.03- Garrett Wilson (NYJ WR)
10.04- Kareem Hunt (CLE RB)
10.05- Kadarius Toney (NYG WR)
10.06- Chris Olave (NO WR)
10.07- Robert Woods (TEN WR)
10.08- Russell Gage (TB WR)
10.09- Rashaad Penny (SEA RB)
10.10- Skyy Moore (KC WR)
MY PICK: Kadarius Toney
This round of the mock draft is all about upside. We see four rookies, three of which are wide receivers, come off of the board here. One could argue Kadarius Toney is getting rookie treatment as the New York Giants appear to be revamping their entire offense and culture. The team hired former Bills offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, as their new head coach. That already excites me given the track record of success in Buffalo over the last four seasons.
Toney has as good of a chance as anyone on this Giants offense to lead the team in targets. In just nine games last season, we saw what Toney can do with the ball in his hands. He is extremely shifty and an incredible talent after the catch. Unfortunately, the offensive schemes under Joe Judge and quarterback play from Daniel Jones were so bad, Toney only averaged 10.8 yards per catch on 39 receptions. Even in his 10-catch, 189-yard performance, on 13 targets, his longest catch was just 38 yards. I expect Daboll to get Toney is space and have him be a focal point of this offense, perhaps even recording a few carries, as well.
It’s a bit of a game of “eeny, meeny, miney, moe” between him, Chris Olave, and Skyy Moore. With lackluster reports of Kenny Golladay’s efforts in training camp, Toney could have less legitimate competition for targets than the other two. Again, this round is all about upside and Toney has plenty of it.
11.01- Tony Pollard (DAL RB)
11.02- Nyheim Hines (IND RB)
11.03- Tyler Boyd (CIN WR)
11.04- Melvin Gordon (DEN RB)
11.05- Rhamondre Stevenson (NE RB)
11.06- Russell Wilson (DEN QB)
11.07- James Robinson (JAX RB)
11.08- Michael Carter (NYJ RB)
11.09- Rondale Moore (ARI WR)
11.10- Michael Gallup (DAL WR)
MY PICK: Russell Wilson
Yet another week of proving that you can wait to grab a quarterback in the later rounds of your drafts. Excluding last season, due to missed time and issues with a finger injury, Russell Wilson has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback every season from 2017-2020. In fact, he finished inside the top-eight in both 2019 and 2020. So, yeah, I’m very comfortable taking him as the 10th quarterback of this mock draft in the 11th Round.
Where I select him is key to the decision. There was a mini quarterback run in the seventh round of Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, and Tom Brady in that order. Rather than follow suit, I remained patient knowing that four more teams no longer needed a starting quarterback. It lends me the opportunity to gobble up running back and wide receiver depth knowing a player like Russell Wilson is available four rounds later.
I am the last mock draft team to get a starting quarterback. In theory, I could have probably waited even longer if I wanted to before a manager drafted a backup. Even if they did, players like Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, to name a few, are still available.
The big takeaway here is to pay attention to what other managers are doing, but don’t worry about what they are doing. Keep tabs on their roster construction as it could help you decide between certain players, or in this case, positions when you’re on the clock. Know who and for what players/positions you’re competing for round to round.
Anyway, I have to say: Russell Wilson in the 11th! Let’s ride!
12.01- Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)
12.02- James Cook (BUF RB)
12.03- Devante Parker (NE WR)
12.04- Jarvis Landry (NO WR)
12.05- Jakobi Meyers (NE WR)
12.06- Kenneth Gainwell (PHI RB)
12.07- Marquez Valdes-Scantling (KC WR)
12.08- Darrell Henderson (LAR RB)
12.09- Alexander Mattison (MIN RB)
12.10- Dameon Pierce (HOU RB)
MY PICK: Jakobi Meyers
We’re at the point in the mock draft where I begin to throw darts. In this case, I’m throwing a calculated dart at a player I think can lead his team in targets. Why? Because he did it last season. Jakobi Meyers had 51 more targets than any other New England Patriot in 2021. His 126 targets were good enough for a 24% target share. The knock against Meyers is his lack of touchdowns as he only has two in his entire NFL career, both of which he caught last season.
The fact of the matter is the New England Patriots were a well-rounded team last year and rarely played from too far behind. Their defense allowed the second-least amount of points per game (17.8) behind just the Buffalo Bills. The Pats also ran the ball at the ninth-highest per game average…and Meyers still saw 126 targets. All that considered, Mac Jones still threw for 3,801 yards which is the most of any 2021 rookie quarterback. With the addition of free agent Devante Parker and rookie Tyquan Thorton, I expect the Patriots to open up their passing game more in 2022. Throwing a dart at the team’s target leader, by far, from last season seems like a good call this late in fantasy drafts.
QB – Russell Wilson
RB – Najee Harris, Breece Hall
WR – Stefon Diggs, Tee Higgins, D.J. Moore
TE – Darren Waller
FLEX – Rashod Bateman
Bench: Elijah Mitchell, A.J. Dillon, Kadarius Toney, Jakobi Meyers, J.D. McKissic (13.06), Rachaad White (14.05)
Mock Draft 6.0 CONCLUSION
As the regular season quickly approaches, and fantasy drafts are right around the corner, I am starting to solidify my stances on just about every player. Sure, I’m obviously keep tabs on training camp reports and preseason games, but I think I have a good feel for my evaluation of the 150-200 players I expect to get drafted this season.
That said, I feel really good about this mock draft roster. I see two volume-based running backs, three wide receivers with top-10 potential, a likely top-five tight end, a second-year receiver who is projected to be his team’s WR1 as my flex, and a probable top-10 quarterback, who’s playing with arguably one of the best offensive rosters he ever has.
When I look at the bench, I see two running backs, in Mitchell and Dillon, who should see close to, if not, 200 carries each. Additionally, I have two more running backs with PPR upside, in McKissic and White, with room for more if the starter on their rosters misses time, which we’ve seen from Antonio Gibson and Leonard Fournette before.
The risk of this roster is minimal. The potential to win early is great. The upside could win me the league. That’s exactly how I want to feel about my rosters when all is said and done with my drafts. For the first time in this mock draft series, I think I’ve put together just that with this well-rounded roster. It’s almost time for the season to kickoff and I feel ready. Do you?