Fantasy Football Mock Draft
With the entirety of the NFL season wrapping up next week it’s time to look ahead to next season. Free agency, the NFL Draft and any off-season player movement will likely have an impact on how the entirety of 2022 fantasy football drafts shape up so today we’ll focus on the first 5 rounds.
This past season there were many wide receivers that stated their case for first round pick status. In 2021, 7 of the top-10 fantasy producers in PPR formats were pass catchers. Including the #1 overall performer Cooper Kupp, who outscored Jonathan Taylor by more than 65 fantasy points.
The format for this mock draft is s 10-teams, 1-QB, and PPR scoring. I have the 6th overall pick, let’s get into the first round.
1.06 – D’Andre Swift (Detroit Lions)
The Lions third year running back is going to be one of the most talked about fantasy assets prior to the 2022 season. When Dan Campbell took over play calling duties he was running the ball at a very high rate. Swift was his main weapon in the offense. Campbell started calling plays in week 10 and Swift exploded for 266 rushing yards on 47 carries over the course of just two weeks.
The Lions head coach even mentioned he was open to calling plays in 2022 as well. If that’s the case Swift could have league winning upside considering his pass catching expertise as well.
1st Round Notes: Cooper Kupp looks primed to break the mold for wide receivers and go in the early first round. With Robert Woods status for 2022 up in the air and Odell Beckham a free agent, a repeat of 2021 isn’t out of the question. The real question of the 1st round is where Christian McCaffrey falls. Nobody has the upside he does so a top-3 pick seems warranted.
2:05 – Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers)
Samuel was one of, if not the best, weapon in the NFL this past season. He paired his 1405 receiving yards with 365 rushing yards in the regular season and actually had more rushing TDs (8) than receiving TDs (6). If Trey Lance is the starter in 2022 it makes this offense even more dynamic and Deebo was clearly the best runner for the 49ers this past season. His role for 2022 could have a plethora of different outcomes.
Even when Brandon Aiyuk got more involved in the second half of the season Samuel was still able to avoid a single digit fantasy performance all season long. He also had just 22 rushing yards in the first 8 weeks of the season so it’s conceivable to believe there is room for growth.
2nd Round Notes: Is Saquon’s partnership with new head coach Brian Daboll really going to drive his price to the second round? Perhaps he improves on his 3.1 receptions per game in 2021 but I don’t see that carrying him to round 2 value. Also, what else does Mike Tomlin have to do to prove that Najee Harris should be a border-line first round pick? He is strictly a bell-cow running back type of guy and no matter the quarterback Harris has a great floor.
3.06 – DeAndre Hopkins (Arizona Cardinals)
The Arizona Cardinals season went completely down the drain after DeAndre Hopkins injury riddled second half. In previous seasons Hopkins was known for a really high volume of receptions and catches but struggled to find the end zone. He flipped that narrative on it’s head in 2021, scoring a touchdown in 8 of the 10 games he played.
This season was the first time in Hopkins’ entire career that he missed more than 1 game. Even with him being 30 years-old when the season kicks off I still expect him to be a focal point of the Cardinals offense.
3rd Round Notes: Cam Akers 2022 fantasy football draft stock is going to be an interesting one to monitor as we get closer to draft season. It’s clear Rams head coach Sean McVay thinks highly of him as he gave him the lead back almost immediately when he returned from his achilles tear late this season.
4.05 – Michael Carter (New York Jets)
Michael Carter in the 4th? Yes. The Jets running back can be what many people wanted D’Andre Swift to be this past season. He was working in a committee to start the season but took over as the lead back by October. With the Jets having a few early draft picks they should be able to improve the offensive line and thus improve his efficiency on the ground.
But what gets me excited is his 6 game stretch from weeks 4-10 where he found the end zone 4 times and averaged 4.3 receptions per game. With PPR formats being the norm Carter can be a highly value asset in 2022.
4th Round Notes: Is there room for two Bengals wide receivers in the first 4 rounds of fantasy football drafts? If the Bengals don’t address their horrific offensive line then I think we could see some regression and Higgins could pay the price for it. 4 quarterbacks also went off the board within the first 4 rounds. I’d happily wait it out and see what a guy like Kirk Cousins can give me in the 10th round, pass.
5.06 – Cordarrelle Patterson (Atlanta Falcons)
People might call me a prisoner of the moment for this pick but I don’t see a scenario where the Falcons don’t bring Patterson back. Calvin Ridley is looking to be traded as well so there is a significant share of the offense that needs to be filled. Patterson was pairing 8-10 rushing attempts with 4-5 receptions week in and week out in 2022.
If Patterson is anywhere but Atlanta he probably ends up being a late pick or even undrafted. That is how good of a coach Arthur Smith is. It’s remarkable what he did offensively with so few weapons.
Round 5 Notes: Shoutout to one of our managers with the all time meme pick of Travis Fulgham with the last pick. Jared Hall once told me that in a dynasty league he gave up DJ Moore to acquire Fulgham, prayers up to my boy Jared.