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2023 Fantasy Football: Standard Mock Draft from the #2 Slot

We continue to inch closer to 1.01. Soon mock drafts and real drafts will be in the rearview as we take in the kickoff to the NFL season on a Thursday night. In this mock, I draft from the #2 slot towards the back end of a 10-team draft.

Previous Mock Draft Analysis

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Mock Draft from the #2 Slot

As with 1.09, 1.02 sees you matched next to the person with a bookend pick. Remember to keep your eye on the board and consider who they need when making your selections.

As always we will be drafting for a hypothetical standard league where the roster consists of 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, and 1 RB/WR/TE Flex position. I drafted from the 3rd overall pick in this mock draft.

Once again I will be breaking down the first 12 rounds of selections of this mock draft. The full roster excluding the kicker and defense can be found below.


1.01 Christian McCaffrey SF – RB

1.02 Justin Jefferson MIN – WR

1.02 Ja’Marr Chase CIN – WR

1.04 Austin Ekeler LAC – RB

1.05 Travis Kelce KC – TE

1.06 Saquon Barkley NYG – RB

1.07 Bijan Robinson ATL – RB

1.08 Nick Chubb CLE – RB

1.09 Tyreek Hill MIA – WR

1.10 Cooper Kupp LAR – WR

MY PICK: Justin Jefferson

I made this selection with two things in mind. The second reason I’ll get to after my next pick but the first one I’ll lay out here. Justin Jefferson should be in the conversation for the first pick in the draft, even in standard leagues. He presents as much upside as any of the top RB selections and arguably a higher floor. He doesn’t have the injury history that Christian McCaffery or Saquon Barkley have, Austin Ekeler has been incredibly touchdown dependent these past two seasons, Bijan has taken a grand total of 0 NFL touches and Ja’Marr Chase is the clear cut second best WR in the league. Even if you are in a standard league, if you select Justin Jefferson first or second overall as I did in this mock draft, you have my support.


2.01 A.J. Brown PHI – WR

2.02 Jonathan Taylor IND – RB

2.03 Derrick Henry TEN – RB

2.04 Josh Jacobs LV – RB

2.05 Stefon Diggs BUF – WR

2.06 CeeDee Lamb DAL – WR

2.07 Patrick Mahomes II KC – QB

2.08 Tony Pollard DAL – RB

2.09 Garrett Wilson NYJ – WR

2.10 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET – WR

MY PICK: Garrett Wilson

I’m gonna come out and say it. I do not care who you take in round one. If Garrett Wilson is available in the back end of round two you take him. He has WR1 overall potential and in all likelihood will not make it this far. He’s become a hot rocketing candidate and you shouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the back half of round one by an aggressive owner. Now onto the topic of why I wanted to take Jefferson with my first pick.

I wanted to show what a zero RB strategy could look like with a draft pick in the front half of round one. At the end of the day, where the order you’re drafting has a major impact on who you are targeting, especially in the earlier rounds. So far I’ve built an eyepopping WR duo between Jefferson and Wilson. My team has it’s identity and it’s time to continue building around that.


3.01 Rhamondre Stevenson NE – RB

3.02 Josh Allen BUF – QB

3.03 Davante Adams LV – WR

3.04 Jaylen Waddle MIA – WR

3.05 Chris Olave NO – WR

3.06 Deebo Samuel SF – WR

3.07 Tee Higgins CIN – WR

3.08 Joe Mixon CIN – RB

3.09 Najee Harris PIT – RB

3.10 DeVonta Smith PHI – WR 

MY PICK: Josh Allen

I continue my zero RB strategy another round further with the selection of Josh Allen. If you’re going to execute a zero RB strategy in the front half of round one this is your first chance to bail out early. You can select a RB with upside to maybe finish in the back half of the top ten such as Joe Mixon or Najee Harris. Or you can select a top TE or top QB because outside of a wild first two rounds you are likely to walk away with one of the top three in those positions. Here I opted to take Josh Allen over Mark Andrews.

Allen has his ups and downs but with the ups, he has the ability to carry your team to victory in a given week. He might have the highest ceiling of any QB in fantasy this season. That includes Patrick Mahomes who is ranked higher than Allen. The dropoff after him, Mahomes and Jalen Hurts is steeper than the TE dropoff after Mark Andrews so Allen is my choice here.


4.01 Cam Akers LAR – RB

4.02 Jalen Hurts PHI – QB

4.03 DK Metcalf SEA – WR

4.04 Breece Hall NYJ – RB

4.05 Travis Etienne Jr. JAC – RB

4.06 Aaron Jones GB – RB

4.07 Mark Andrews BAL – TE

4.08 Lamar Jackson BAL – QB

4.09 Jahmyr Gibbs DET – RB

4.10 Kenneth Walker III SEA – RB

MY PICK: Jahmyr Gibbs

My zero RB strategy came to a screeching halt here with Jahmyr Gibbs on the board. Gibbs will likely begin the season as a top 20 RB but even without injuries could find himself as a top ten weekly play by the end of the season. He plays behind a great offensive line without a great second weapon after Amon-Ra St. Brown. There are plenty of opportunities in Detroit and the Lions using a first-round selection on Gibbs shows they are committed to him. I like Gibbs a ton more in PPR leagues with his receiving abilities but he still has enough talent to draw a selection amongst the top 50 players in fantasy.


5.01 Joe Burrow CIN – QB

5.02 Dameon Pierce HOU – RB

5.03 Miles Sanders CAR – RB

5.04 Calvin Ridley JAC – WR

5.05 J.K. Dobbins BAL – RB

5.06 Alexander Mattison MIN – RB

5.07 Amari Cooper CLE – WR

5.08 Christian Watson GB – WR

5.09 T.J. Hockenson MIN – TE

5.10 Justin Herbert LAC – QB

MY PICK: Dameon Pierce

Pierce is someone I’m a huge fan of. I think he can be a fringe top-10 fantasy running back this season. To be honest I wanted and came away with both Pierce and Gibbs but here is why I took Gibbs first. I think Gibbs’s ceiling is slightly higher. Pierce needed volume to find success in 2022. When he had volume he had a lot of success and I think he’ll get plenty of volume again in 2023. However Pierce isn’t without risk and he could really hurt you if he is losing touches to Devin Singletary, especially if you’re relying on him as your top back.

Gibbs’s upside is what drew me to take him first. When you pull off a zero RB strategy it is an incredibly aggressive move. You need to remain aggressive when selecting RBs to try to increase your chances of finding one that can break into the top tier. I think if both Gibbs and Pierce hit their ceiling, Gibbs finishes as the better RB. I still got both which I am thrilled about, landing two RBs with top-ten potential in a zero RB draft strategy.


6.01 George Kittle SF – TE

6.02 DJ Moore CHI – WR

6.03 Darren Waller NYG – TE

6.04 Justin Fields CHI – QB

6.05 Trevor Lawrence JAC – QB

6.06 James Conner ARI – RB

6.07 Alvin Kamara NO – RB

6.08 Javonte Williams DEN – RB

6.09 Keenan Allen LAC – WR

6.10 Terry McLaurin WAS – WR

MY PICK: Keenan Allen

Admittedly I took a risk here. I went against my advice of playing the board when making the first of two nearly adjacent picks and passed on a TE but I’ll get to why shortly. Instead, I took someone whose ADP has been catching my eye more so of late in part to its lack of movement. Looking back on the 2022 season, Allen was surprisingly better than I remembered. He averaged his best yards per game since 2017 and averaged just a hair under nine targets per game. So why isn’t he getting drafted as high as he used to? Allen used to be a low-end WR1 high-end WR2 staple. I’m happy with my previous zero RB strategy roster and this one too thus far but WRs such as Calvin Ridley, DeAndrew Hopkins, and Keenan Allen have me thinking that going zero WR might be the better approach.


7.01 D’Andre Swift PHI – RB

7.02 Kyle Pitts ATL – TE

7.03 Rachaad White TB – RB

7.04 Dalvin Cook NYJ – RB

7.05 Deshaun Watson CLE – QB

7.06 Brian Robinson Jr. WAS – RB

7.07 Rashaad Penny PHI – RB

7.08 Jerry Jeudy DEN – WR

7.09 Isiah Pacheco KC – RB

7.10 David MontgomeryDET – RB

MY PICK: Kyle Pitts

PTSD flashbacks to weeks lost by Kyle Pitts’ low-volume output showed in my head when I selected him in this mock draft. Pitts is someone who, in real football, I am as big a fan of him as anyone. Coming out of college my pro comp to Kyle Pitts was none other than Calvin Johnson. Yet we still haven’t seen that translate to the realm of fantasy football in the way we all want to. Pitts had a solid rookie season with a low touchdown output, making him a common pick in round three last year across fantasy leagues. I was one of those fantasy players taking him in that round and man was that a rough season to watch.

TE is a position where if you miss it’s incredibly hard to find a replacement on waivers. This late in the mock draft, however, Pitts is one of the few TEs with a top 3 ceiling. Somebody has to line up and play TE and who knows maybe this time around the pieces all come together for Kyle Pitts. Speaking of pieces coming together…


8.01 Khalil Herbert CHI – RB

8.02 Tyler Lockett SEA – WR

8.03 DeAndre Hopkins TEN – WR

8.04  James Cook BUF – RB

8.05 Chris Godwin TB – WR

8.06 Brandon Aiyuk SF – WR

8.07 Drake London ATL – WR

8.08 Mike Williams LAC – WR

8.09 AJ Dillon GB – RB

8.10 Antonio Gibson WAS – RB

MY PICK: AJ Dillon

Will 2023 finally be the season AJ Dillon usurps Aaron Jones as the top back in Green Bay? It has felt like each of the last two seasons we’ve waited for AJ Dillon to snatch the top spot from Aaron Jones and run away as the top back. It hasn’t happened though in part due to a combination of Dillon not reaching his full potential and Jones not falling off like everyone expects. As I mentioned before, when executing a zero RB strategy, be aggressive when taking RBs. Dillon could find himself as an RB2 if Jones finally relinquishes the lion’s share of touches or goes down with injury.


9.01 Marquise Brown ARI – WR

9.02 Jamaal Williams NO – RB

9.03 Christian Kirk JAC – WR

9.04 De’Von Achane MIA – RB

9.05 Samaje Perine DEN – RB

9.06 Diontae Johnson PIT – WR

9.07 Mike Evans TB – WR

9.08 Zach Charbonnet SEA – RB

9.09 Jeff Wilson Jr. MIA – RB

9.10 Raheem Mostert MIA – RB

MY PICK: Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams was a nice pickup last season off waivers for fantasy managers and the New Orleans Saints are hoping he’s an equally good free-agency pickup. They’ll rely on him early on in the season with Alvin Kamara suspended the first three games of the year. That is why I chose Williams here. With risky moves like Dillon and Gibbs who may need time to reach the height of their potential roles this year, Williams’s biggest role will come early on in the season. Remember, you are only building your roster at the start of the season with the draft. You aren’t married to the team you draft and there is nothing wrong with taking someone with plans to only consistently rely on him for a few weeks. If that buys you a win or two that could be the difference between making or missing the postseason.


10.01 Damien Harris BUF – RB

10.02 George Pickens PIT – WR

10.03 Daniel Jones NYG – QB

10.04 Jahan Dotson WAS – WR

10.05 Elijah Mitchell SF – RB

10.06 Michael Pittman IND – WR

10.07 Jaxon Smith-Njigba SEA – WR

10.08 Jordan Addison MIN – WR

10.09 Zay Flowers BAL – WR

10.10 Treylon Burks TEN – WR

MY PICK: Zay Flowers

What more can I say about Zay Flowers that I haven’t already said? Just go get him in your league. I’ll leave you with this and this.


11.01 Kadarius Toney KC – WR

11.02 Devin Singletary HOU – RB

11.03 Courtland Sutton DEN – WR

11.04 Jerick McKinnon KC – RB

11.05 Tyler Allgeier ATL – RB

11.06 D’Onta Foreman CHI – RB

11.07 Gabe Davis BUF – WR

11.08 Geno Smith SEA – QB

11.09 Tank Bigsby JAC – RB

11.10 Rashod Bateman BAL – WR

MY PICK: Devin Singletary

This late in the mock draft it’s never a bad pick to take one of your top two RB’s handcuffs. Not every handcuff has value but I think Singletary does in Houston. I don’t view him as a huge threat to stealing touches from Pierce and neither do many others as evidenced by his availability in round 11. I think at best, Singletary is on the short end of a 60/40 timeshare. Still, if Pierce were to go down with an injury and Gibbs finds himself stumbling out of the gates, Singletary is a nice insurance piece to have as I fill out my bench.


12.01 Ezekiel Elliott NE – RB

12.02 Brandin Cooks DAL – WR

12.03 Quentin Johnston LAC – WR

12.04 Jameson Williams DET – WR

12.05 Jakobi Meyers LV – WR

12.06 Dak Prescott DAL – QB

12.07 Michael Thomas NO – WR

12.08 JuJu Smith-Schuster NE – WR

12.09 Elijah Moore CLE – WR

12.10 Kendre Miller NO – RB

MY PICK: Elijah Moore

It’s hard to believe that a 34th overall draft selection who put together this type of highlight reel during his rookie season never amounted to anything else thus far in his career.  Moore went from looking like a future top receiver on the Jets to a castaway. If the Elijah Moore in the highlights still exists, he can be a steal late in drafts. Cleveland is in need of a WR opposite Amari Cooper to draw attention away from him and Chubb. Moore has all the opportunity in the world to revive his career in 2023. He’s worth taking a late-round flyer on.


QB – Josh Allen

RB – Jahmyr Gibbs, Dameon Pierce

WR – Justin Jefferson, Garrett Wilson

TE – Kyle Pitts

FLEX – Keenan Allen

Bench: AJ Dillon, Jamaal Williams, Zay Flowers, Devin Singletary, Elijah Moore, Jaylen Warren (13.02), Dalton Schultz (14.09).

Mock Draft 8.0 CONCLUSION

Outside of the TE position, I’m confident in this bunch, especially for a zero RB strategy. Jefferson and Wilson is an elite duo. They can easily finish as the overall WR1 and WR2. Back them up with Allen as a really nice flex, Zay Flowers and Elijah Moore both with a ton of upside and the zero RB strategy delivers a top-of-the-league WR core.

RB features a ton of upside too. Both Gibbs and Pierce have top-ten potential and the bench features a nice mix of upside with deliberate insurance picks to lay the groundwork needed to build for the long and short term.

Josh Allen has finished as a top-two QB in each of the last three seasons and with Diggs still on the team along with the addition of Dalton Kincaid, there is no reason to believe he won’t finish at the top of the QB rankings.

Now for that TE position. I had to decide late if I wanted a backup behind Allen or Pitts. Pitts is by far less of a sure thing than Allen is so it was a no-brainer choice to take Dalton Schultz. Schultz’s upside isn’t quite what Pitts has (otherwise he would be taken far before round 14). but it is starting TE upside. That’s enough for me to add him behind Pitts should we all be let down again.

If you commit to a zero RB strategy, especially when picking early in round one, this is the type of team you want to come away with. Don’t be afraid to duck out a little early before you have filled out the rest of your roster if an RB you cannot say no to is available. Zero RB doesn’t mean you are forced to fill every starting spot before you take your first RB. Be flexible and you won’t feel pressured to pass on a talented player you otherwise would have no issues drafting.

For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!

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