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2023 Fantasy Football: Standard Mock Draft from the #8 Slot

I’ll be continuing my mock draft series working from the middle out with pick 1.07 this time. In my previous drafts, I have worked to avoid drafting the same players again and again. This time, I decided to take a totally different approach from my previous mock drafts to see what the outcome is.

Previous Mock Draft Analysis

Mock Draft from the #8 Slot

My last mock draft felt sort of safe. As this draft evolved, an early decision ultimately changed my strategy on the approach to the draft. This left me with some question marks on my roster; especially for the early weeks of the season. However, if everything falls into place, this is a championship team.

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 8th overall pick in this mock draft.

This time however, I will be breaking down the first 12 rounds of selections and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks as we get closer to the kickoff of the season. The full roster excluding the kicker and defense can be found below.


1.01 Justin Jefferson MIN – WR

1.02 Jonathan Taylor IND – RB

1.03 Christian McCaffrey SF – RB

1.04 Ja’Marr Chase CIN – WR

1.05 Austin Ekeler LAC – RB

1.06 Nick Chubb CLE – RB

1.07 Cooper Kupp LAR – WR

1.08 Travis Kelce KC – TE

1.09 Bijan Robinson ATL – RB

1.10 Tyreek Hill MIA – WR

MY PICK: Travis Kelce

This mock draft started off just plain weird. Standard league but Justin Jefferson is first off the board and Ja’Marr Chase goes before Austin Ekeler. Then, Cooper Kupp gets drafted ahead of Bijan Robinson. If I wasn’t avoiding taking the same players I would have been tempted to take Bijan again and likely given into that temptation. However, if this is going to be a weird draft, let’s get weird.

Travis Kelce is as close as I have seen to a fantasy football cheat code. That isn’t an exaggeration either. If somebody in your league last season found out a way to start CeeDee Lamb at TE, your commissioner’s phone would combust from the flash fire of rage texts that would hit his inbox. That is what most of us would consider to be cheating.

Well, that’s what Travis Kielce has essentially been these past five seasons. Since 2018 Kelce has averaged 11.7 fantasy points per game. CeeDee Lamb last season averaged 11.4 or WR6 in total points. Kelce is by and far the best TE in fantasy, it isn’t close and it only gets further from him the longer you wait for a TE. If you take Kelce in late round 1, you are still guaranteed to land yourself a top-flight WR or RB in round two. Unless…


2.01 Saquon Barkley NYG – RB

2.02 Derrick Henry TEN – RB

2.03 Patrick Mahomes II KC – QB

2.04 CeeDee Lamb DAL – WR

2.05 Josh Jacobs LV – RB

2.06 Stefon Diggs BUF – WR

2.07 A.J. Brown PHI – WR

2.08 Jaylen Waddle MIA – WR

2.09 Tony Pollard DAL – RB

2.10 Davante Adams LV – WR

MY PICK: Patrick Mahomes II

… You do exactly as I did. Let’s get weird, right? As I laid out in an earlier article, the Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce stack can be a league winner. You not only have a cheat code at TE but now every time he scores you get the QB points as well? The rest of the draft can go however it pleases but to start your team off with the Kelce and Mahomes duo you put the league on notice.

If this is a stack you desire, you can try to wait until round three to select Mahomes. If you decide to wait one more round, you better do your best wallflower impression and don’t let anyone catch onto what you have planned. Here I wanted to be aggressive and elected not to wait. With TE1 and QB1 locked down with elite players, I can focus on the rest of the roster to build around.


3.01 Breece Hall NYJ – RB

3.02 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET – WR

3.03 Najee Harris PIT – RB

3.04 Rhamondre Stevenson NE – RB

3.05 Garrett Wilson NYJ – WR

3.06 Travis Etienne Jr. JAC – RB

3.07 Josh Allen BUF – QB

3.08 Deebo Samuel SF – WR

3.09 Chris Olave NO – WR

3.10 Jalen Hurts PHI – QB

MY PICK: Deebo Samuel

Remember, this is a standard scoring league, not PPR. Deebo is one of the biggest benefactors at WR who gains value compared to other WRs around him because of their loss of receptions counting for points. Even with the addition last season of Christian McCaffery, Deebo still saw a lot of designed touches on carries out of the backfield and jet sweeps. He is still the top WR on one of the best and most creative offenses in football. Deebo registered at least one carry in every single game he played with CMC and had as many a four carries in half the games they played together. I don’t think McCaffery hurts Deebo as much as we all believed he would. With that in mind, I feel comfortable taking him here as my top WR.


4.01 Mark Andrews BAL – TE

4.02 Tee Higgins CIN – WR

4.03 Amari Cooper CLE – WR

4.04 Jahmyr Gibbs DET – RB

4.05 T.J. Hockenson MIN – TE

4.06 Alexander Mattison MIN – RB

4.07 Joe Mixon CIN – RB

4.08 Cam Akers LAR – RB

4.09 Miles Sanders CAR – RB

4.010 Kenneth Walker III SEA – RB

MY PICK: Amari Cooper

Have you picked up on it yet? Four rounds deep and I have yet to select an RB. That’s right, we stay weird by following up going TE first and QB second by turning into a zero-RB draft. I had planned in advance to at some point execute at least one zero-RB draft strategy in my mock draft series to give you an idea of what that would look like. Here we are and my latest pick lands me Amari Cooper.

Cooper had a really nice bounce-back a season ago in Cleveland. He was a high-end WR2 last year, finishing as WR11 on a PPG basis.  He could find himself in low-end WR1 territory with a full season to work with Deshaun Watson. Lining up Cooper across from Samuel gives me a great WR pair atop my roster.


5.01 Aaron Jones GB – RB

5.02 DeVonta Smith PHI – WR

5.03 Lamar Jackson BAL – QB

5.04 J.K. Dobbins BAL – RB

5.05 Joe Burrow CIN – QB

5.06 DK Metcalf SEA – WR

5.07 Dameon Pierce HOU – RB

5.08 Dalvin Cook FA – RB

5.09 Isiah PachecoKC – RB

5.10 Keenan Allen LAC – WR

MY PICK: Dalvin Cook

Good news, I finally selected an RB. The bad news? He isn’t currently on an NFL roster as of the time of this mock draft.

Here’s the thing, Cook will be on an NFL roster. He will sign somewhere prior to when the season kicks off. When he is, his value will skyrocket. Obviously, where he plays and what the RB room looks like could have a slight impact on his value, but I find it hard to believe that regardless of where Dalvin Cook ends up, he won’t have a major role in the offense.

Executing a zero-RB strategy is hard but when you can walk away with a potential RB1 like Dalvin Cook in round five it makes you feel a lot more comfortable.


6.01 James Conner ARI – RB

6.02 George Kittle SF – TE

6.03 DeAndre Hopkins TEN – WR

6.04 Rachaad White TB – RB

6.05 DJ Moore CHI – WR

6.06 David Montgomery DET – RB

6.07 Justin Fields CHI – QB

6.08 Calvin Ridley JAC – WR

6.09 Kyle Pitts ATL – TE

6.10 Justin Herbert LAC – QB

MY PICK: DeAndre Hopkins

Back to avoiding taking RBs for the time being with this detour selection. I already found a great WR duo in Samuel and Cooper, but to add DeAndre Hopkins into the fold as well is too good to pass up.

People are down on Hopkins playing with the Titans and I can’t seem to figure out why. Hopkins, when healthy, is one of the top WRs in football and Ryan Tannehill isn’t the worst QB in the league. Plus A.J. Brown has proven that WRs can find fantasy success with the Titans. Hopkins has no real serious competition for targets and should put up big-time numbers again. Having him in my flex is a huge boost.


7.01 D’Andre Swift PHI – RB

7.02 Terry McLaurin WAS – WR

7.03 Drake London ATL – WR

7.04  Alvin Kamar NO – RB

7.05 Christian Watson GB – WR

7.06 Kirk Cousins MIN – QB

7.07 Jerry Jeudy DEN – WR

7.08 Javonte Williams DEN – RB

7.09Brandon Aiyuk SF – WR

7.10 Chris Godwin TB – WR

MY PICK: Javonte Williams

At this point, you might be asking if there is any real plan behind my zero-RB strategy. Seven rounds in and I have a full roster with no RBs who are currently on an active roster and healthy.

This is a pick for the long game here, not the short game. Williams may miss time at the start of the season and I’ll address that in my next couple of picks, but to walk away with Dalvin Cook and Javonte Williams in rounds five and seven could be looked at as fantasy football robbery.

Williams was a consensus RB2 pick heading into most draft rooms last season. If he can get going back to his rookie season form when he was working alongside Melvin Gordon, Williams is a nice find this late in the draft.


8.01 James Cook BUF – RB

8.02 Trevor Lawrence JAC – QB

8.03 Khalil Herbert CHI – RB

8.04 Mike Williams LAC – WR

8.05 Tyler Lockett SEA – WR

8.06 Brian Robinson Jr. WAS – RB

8.07 Michael Pittman IND – WR

8.08 Mike Evans TB – WR

8.09 Marquise Brown ARI – WR

8.10 Christian Kirk JAC – WR

MY PICK: Khalil Herbert

Well, I finally have one RB that I know will play in Week 1. That was the entire point of this pick. It wouldn’t shock me if Khalil Herbert eventually loses the starting job to rookie Roschon Johnson by the midway point of the season, if not sooner. Yet as it stands currently, he is the projected starting RB on a run-heavy offense. I don’t need Herbert to be a world-beater, I need him to be a decent RB to start the season. If he gives me that, this pick is worth it.


9.01 Diontae Johnson PIT – WR

9.02 Zach Charbonnet SEA – RB

9.03 Courtland Sutton DEN – WR

9.04 Antonio Gibson WAS – RB

9.05 Treylon Burks TEN – WR

9.06 Jahan Dotson WAS – WR

9.07 AJ Dillon GB – RB

9.08 Samaje Perine DEN – RB

9.09 George Pickens PIT – WR

9.10 Jamaal Williams NO – RB

MY PICK: Samaje Perine

Here is my insurance policy if Williams misses any time. Perine was a nice handcuff for Joe Mixon owners the last two seasons. Showing that he does have value in both standard and PPR leagues as a solo back. If Williams is out, Perine is the most likely man for the job. If you do select Williams in your league, owning Perine is almost certainly a must. Keep that in mind and don’t let him slip too fall down the draft board.


10.01 Rashaad Penny PHI – RB

10.02 Elijah Mitchell SF – RB

10.03 Damien Harris BUF – RB

10.04 Jordan Addison MIN – WR

10.05 Tyler Allgeier ATL – RB

10.06 Gabe Davis BUF – WR

10.07 Jaxon Smith-Njigba SEA – WR

10.08 Kadarius Toney KC – WR

10.09 JuJu Smith-Schuster NE – WR

10.10 Brandin Cooks DAL – WR

MY PICK: Damien Harris

How’s one more running back, just in case? Harris is slowly becoming a late-round favorite of mine. He is consistently available in this range and is one of the last RBs you can draft who has a reasonable chance to win the starting job out of the gates this season.

Harris was a solid RB for New England, Buffalo certainly knows what he’s capable of. He gives me yet another layer of insurance in the case of a doomsday RB situation where Cook is still unsigned, Williams is missing time, and either Herbert or Perine are injured in the preseason.


11.01 Quentin Johnston LAC – WR

11.02 Dak Prescott DAL – QB

11.03 Rashod Bateman BAL – WR

11.04 Elijah Moore CLE – WR

11.05 Jameson Williams DET – WR

11.06 Allen Lazard NYJ – WR

11.07 Michael Thomas NO – WR

11.08 Zay Flowers BAL – WR

11.09 Deshaun Watson CLE – QB

11.10 Odell Beckham BAL – WR

MY PICK: Zay Flowers

My first week talking about my 11th-round pick and boy am I excited about this one. All aboard the Zay Flowers hype train! It’s real and it’s picking up steam fast.

Fantrax’s own Nick Skrip broke down the recent headlines Zay “Joystick” Flowers was making in the early days of camp this week. I’ve been hyping him up since I mentioned him among my precamp WR sleeper picks. Flowers has all the ability in the world, in an offense expected to air it out a lot more, and being a rookie next to OBJ and Rashod Bateman has him flying under the radar. For now.

It won’t be long before he is shooting up draft boards. I highly doubt in a few weeks he will be available in week 11.


12.01 De’Von Achane MIA – RB

12.02 Jakobi Meyers LV – WR

12.03 Daniel Jones NYG – QB

12.04 Adam Thielen CAR – WR

12.05 Tua Tagovailoa MIA – QB

12.06 Darnell Mooney CHI – WR

12.07 Dallas Goedert PHI – TE

12.08 Nico Collins HOU – WR

12.09 Geno Smith SEA – QB

12.10 Tyler Boyd CIN – WR

MY PICK: Daniel Jones

I could’ve gone in a number of directions here. This late in the draft you’re usually taking insurance policy backups or diamond-in-the-rough type picks.

I felt like I could’ve waited another round and still landed some of the diamond in the rough selections I had my eye on. So I decided to get a backup behind Mahomes in Daniel Jones.

You may be thinking that I don’t need a backup behind Mahomes but Jones in my eyes is a fringe QB1. His rushing ability gives him a boost in fantasy stats and with Darren Waller joining Daboll’s Giants I think Jones is in line for another good season for Big Blue. Mahomes can play a reckless abandonment style of football sometimes so it’s best if you take him to have someone in your back pocket, just in case.


QB – Patrick Mahomes II

RB – Dalvin Cook, Javonte Williams

WR – Deebo Samuel, Amari Cooper

TE – Travis Kelce

FLEX – DeAndre Hopkins

Bench: Khalil Herbert, Samaje Perine, Damien Harris, Zay Flowers, Daniel Jones, Jeff Wilson Jr., (13.08), Roschon Johnson (14.03)

Mock Draft 5.0 CONCLUSION

This mock draft was an aggressive one and maybe the most fun I’ve had making selections because of that. It began by lighting the draft room on fire, taking Kelce and Mahomes in back-to-back rounds for my first selections. Follow that up with a zero-RB strategy and that is a formula for an obscure mock draft but one that could build a championship team.

The WR core is just bursting with potential. Deebo Samuel, Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins are a killer WR trio with Zay Flowers in the mix as well, making makes for a deep group. That gives me some great ammunition if I need to trade for an RB.

Cook and Williams may look risky on paper, but the bench I’ve built behind them gives me the confidence that everything will work out. Herbert is my insurance if Cook isn’t signed, Perine if Williams is still on the mend in week 1. Harris and Jeff Wilson Jr. are nice finds late along with the aforementioned Roschon Johnson who very well may steal Herbert’s job.

If you are going to take a shot at a zero RB strategy, this is how I would do it. Maybe you don’t come away with Kelce but use the draft capital to get an elite QB and a talented group of WRs and build your team around that. When you do take RBs, seek out the high-risk, high-reward picks but be sure to supplement those risks with smart selections in the later rounds. Do that and you could find yourself taking him the trophy at the end of the season.

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

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