Fantasy football managers everywhere are starting to draft their teams for the 2022 season. This includes San Francisco Giants All-Star outfielder, Joc Pederson, who recently decided to play his fantasy football on Fantrax. With that, Joc created a league on Fantrax and invited 10 lucky fantasy football managers, as well as myself, to compete against him this season. The 2022 VIP Classic is a 12-team, 1-quarterback, points per reception league. With Joc making himself available via Instagram live (@Fantraxsports), we drafted our teams analyzing some of the picks along the way. To follow along with the standings, news, and status of the 2022 VIP Classic, find me on Twitter: @Colin_McT!
Breaking Down Joc Pederson’s Team For The 2022 VIP Classic on Fantrax
Pick 1.09: Ja’Marr Chase
Joc drew the ninth-overall pick in the draft order randomization process. He was hoping to have Dalvin Cook fall, but he went sixth overall. With just 30 seconds for each manager to select a player, and three picks until his own, Joc narrowed down his decision to Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, or Ja’Marr Chase.
Ekeler and Henry immediately came off the board, in that order, after Cook. Therefore, Chase fell right into Joc’s lap, which he was extremely excited about. Chase’s 17.9 points per game ranked sixth amongst wide receivers last season. His rapport with college, and now Bengals teammate, quarterback Joe Burrow, is undeniable. Joc secures a top-three wide receiver here with the ninth overall pick.
Pick 2.04: Ceedee Lamb
I am to blame for Joc missing out on drafting his high school teammate, Davante Adams. I’m here to win and who’s to say someone else doesn’t take Adams before Joc’s second-round pick? Adams’ 65 touchdowns since 2016 are the most amongst any non-quarterback. Additionally, he is reuniting with his college quarterback, Derek Carr, following a trade from Green Bay to Las Vegas this offseason. It’s too good of an opportunity for me to pass up with the 12th-overall pick. He should see a massive target share and still carries top-five value at his position.
With back-to-back picks, I grab Stefon Diggs immediately after Adams to kick off the second round. Joc and I discussed the value in loading up on top wide receiver talent early on in points per reception leagues. So, when he is on the clock here with the fourth pick in the second round, he takes Ceedee Lamb over Joe Mixon. Not only will Lamb lead Dallas in targets, but Joc didn’t want two Bengals with his first two picks, either. It’s more likely Lamb plays a full slate of games as a wide receiver than Mixon does as a running back. That seems important for Joc here drafting Lamb.
Pick 3.09: Mike Evans
This pick for Joc is the result of timing out while on the clock. Joc isn’t mad about it, though! He wanted Michael Pittman Jr. who went just before Joc’s pick. So, with the 30-second draft clock, it’s overwhelming to think on the spot when the player you want is gone so quickly. Joc was then between Evans and Travis Etienne, who went right after Joc’s Evans pick.
So, Joc now has what he referred to as “a three-headed monster” at wide receiver. Chase, Lamb, and Evans. For a PPR league, it’s not a bad way to start things off playing bully ball at a certain position. All of his first three picks should have no problem racking up points week-to-week with their respective talent and roles on each offense.
Pick 4.04: Cam Akers
On the way back to Joc in the fourth round, it’s obvious he needs a running back. He asked me what I thought of Cam Akers. I’ll be honest. Akers worries me a bit. I’m still astounded he was able to return last season, and have an impact, following a July 2021 Achilles tear. It’s still a worrisome injury and the Rams do like Darrell Henderson to mix into the backfield. Akers is a strong player, who was highly touted as a top fantasy pick last year before his injury, but I’m not sure I would feel great with him as my RB1 this season. Waiting at the position, and grabbing three strong wide receivers as Joc did, puts you in a position to start Akers as your RB1, though.
Pick 5.09: D.K. Metcalf
Joc called this “a blunder of a pick” and I think I know why. As most would expect him to grab another running back here, he has a hard time ignoring the value in drafting D.K. Metcalf with the 57th-overall pick. Joc now has four, yes four, wide receivers that should act as their team’s WR1 throughout the 2022 NFL season.
Before making this pick, Joc and I were discussing which position is best to start as a Flex. We both agreed wide receivers present more value, especially in PPR leagues, with the ability to rack up points quickly sometimes just by catching the ball. Metcalf will be Joc’s Flex to start the season.
Pick 6.04: Kyler Murray
In my opinion, this is probably Joc’s best pick of the draft. Given my thoughts on Akers as his RB1, I think it’s extremely beneficial for Joc to have a mobile quarterback to score points with his legs for this team. Kyler is averaging nearly seven rushing attempts per game so far in his career. Additionally, we’ve seen Kyler rush a career-high 133 times before, in 2020, when healthy and playing a full slate of games. This pick is on the tails of my Lamar Jackson selection at the top of the round and causes a small run at quarterbacks soon after. The timing here for Joc is everything.
Pick 7.09: A.J. Dillon
What’s great about this pick is that two rounds prior, Dillon was an option for Joc to select at running back, but he decided to pass up on him. Joc isn’t too high on Dillon claiming that he “doesn’t do much” for him. However, feelings can quickly change depending on the draft capital it takes to select a certain player. As Joc’s RB2, and two rounds after he thought he could have taken Dillon, he selects him in the seventh round with tremendous value. Both Dillon and Aaron Jones can coexist successfully in the Packers offense.
Pick 8.04: Kareem Hunt
Joc adds another running back here in the eighth round with the selection of Kareem Hunt. In recent news, Hunt is making it known he is unhappy with his contract situation in Cleveland and is on record requesting a trade. The Browns aren’t interested in trading Hunt, for now, so he is back practicing with the team.
At some point as the preseason progresses, a team could make an offer for Hunt. If he does get moved, Joc could have a steal here. Even if Hunt remains in Cleveland, his fantasy football floor is extremely safe. Especially when the Browns are playing from behind, Hunt finds himself on the field more often in a three-down, hurry-up role, adding value as a pass-catcher. Hunt is in a win/win situation for fantasy football this season whether he’s on the Browns or not.
Pick 9.09: Melvin Gordon
I asked Joc how long he’s been playing fantasy football and he estimated about 10 years. Though he didn’t remember the first pick he ever made, he did recall rostering Melvin Gordon during his rookie season with the then San Diego Chargers. Joc goes back to the well here and adds more running back depth to his roster with the now 29-year-old Gordon.
Everyone is waiting on Javonte Williams to break out in Denver, but his chance to do so is capped by a healthy Melvin Gordon. In 2021, Gordon and Williams both rushed 203 times each. It’s yet to be seen if they will share the backfield similarly under new head coach, Nathaniel Hackett. Keep in mind, though, that Hackett comes from Green Bay where, as their former offensive coordinator, deployed both Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon successfully last season. Gordon could continue to be a thorn the Williams’ side while producing weekly flex or RB2 starts for fantasy football.
Pick 10.04: Dawson Knox
To round out his starting lineup, Joc grabs Dawson Knox as the 12th tight end off of the board. At this point, every team but one has a starting tight end, with one team doubling up at the position early on. Of the options left, it’s probably best Joc gets his guy here, especially since it’s Josh Allen’s tight end. Though I expect a bit of touchdown regression, having scored a career-high, and franchise record for the position, nine last season, the opportunities to prove me wrong in this high-powered passing offense are there.
Pick 11.09 and 12.04: Dallas Cowboys D/ST and Daniel Carlson
Joc made it known he was leaving the Instagram live stream as his kids were waking up from naps. Though playing fantasy football can seem like a full-time job at times, family always takes priority. That said, grabbing his defense and kicker this early is probably a sign he had to auto-draft for two rounds. Let this be a reminder to set players in the queue so the computer knows exactly who you want!
Pick 13.09: J.D. McKissic
Earlier in the draft, Joc was wondering why nobody was drafting Washington running back, Antonio Gibson. It’s likely because of Joc’s pick here, J.D. McKissic. With McKissic re-signing with the team in the offseason, he threatens Gibson’s ability to be a three-down back. More importantly, he limits Gibson’s opportunities as a pass-catcher with McKissic known to excel in that role.
McKissic is a player that needs to be drafted in every format ahead of this fantasy football season. In 27 games played in the last two seasons, he’s recorded 16.0 or more fantasy points in 10 of them. He’s averaging 4.55 receptions per game in that same span, as well. McKissic has a clearly defined role in Washington that Joc adds to his roster late in the 2022 VIP Classic draft.
Pick 14.04: Sony Michel
Joc continues to add running back depth as the draft nears the end. There are still guys with higher upside than Sony Michel at this point in the draft. In fact, some of them didn’t get drafted and I may even look to add on the waiver wire before the season begins. Michel is the only running back on Miami’s roster with 200 or more carries in a season. He actually has three such seasons in his four-year career.
Sony does bring a championship mindset to this team having just won a Super Bowl with the Rams in addition to his rookie year ring with the Patriots. I just don’t know if he will carve out enough of a fantasy-relevant role on this Dolphins offense. Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Chase Edmonds, at the very least, will be the priority guys to get the ball in their hands.
Pick 15.09: Ryan Tannehill
With Kyler Murray already on Joc’s roster, this pick doesn’t seem necessary. This is a 12-team league, and more than 12 quarterbacks are on rosters, so he does have an advantage over most with a quality backup. However, if Kyler starts every game for him, and he should, Tannehill will spend all season clogging up his bench. I think Joc could benefit more from adding a backup tight end instead of Tannehill.
Pick 16.04: Jahan Dotson
For Joc’s last pick, he selects one of my favorite rookies in the 2022 NFL Draft class. This draft moved fast with an average time of just three seconds per pick. I actually miscounted which round we were in toward the end and planned to snag Dotson myself in the 15th until I realized I needed a defense and kicker. Bummer.
In the last two seasons, a first-round rookie has finished as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver each season: Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Though Dotson is a long shot, the Commanders view him as first-round talent and a key piece to their future on offense. With Cason Wentz now under center in Washington, I’d like to see him target the middle of the field with more intermediate passing. If so, Dotson’s hands and speed could really take this offense places as a top option for Wentz on shorter routes. This is a worthy dart throw by Joc to end his draft.