2022 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Latest Projections Entering NFL Preseason

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2022

2022 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Latest Projections Entering NFL Preseason

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    The calendar has turned to August. Training camps are in full swing across the NFL. And that means the most wonderful time of the year has arrived in fantasy football.

    It's fantasy draft season.

    This time of year, hope springs eternal for every fantasy manager. Last year's glories and disappointments are forgotten. Everyone is 0-0. But hope can quickly turn to despair if draft day doesn't go like you'd hoped. So preparing for the big day is critical.

    One of the resources available to managers in that regard is mock drafts. Practice runs before the big day. Participating in those drafts can be helpful, but you can also learn quite a bit about where players are being drafted and where potential values lie by examining drafts that have already occurred.

    That's what we're going to do here. This isn't technically a mock—The B/R Mock That Ain't Charity Challenge will be played out in 2022. But in some ways, that's even better. The fantasy analysts (including Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton) and enthusiasts who participated in this draft were playing for real.

    With that in mind, here's how this fairly straightforward 12-team PPR league's draft played out, starting with a pick that exactly all the people ever should see coming.

First Round

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    1.01: Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND

    1.02: Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR

    1.03: Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC

    1.04: Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN

    1.05: Joe Mixon, RB, CIN

    1.06: Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR

    1.07: Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN

    1.08: Derrick Henry, RB, TEN

    1.09: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, CIN

    1.10: Najee Harris, RB, PIT

    1.11: Travis Kelce, TE, KCC

    1.12: Aaron Jones, RB, GBP

    The Harris Heist

    As one might expect, there isn't much in the way of surprises in the first round outside Aaron Jones sneaking his way into the round's final pick. But while the players who were selected aren't especially surprising, the order in which they were taken was.

    This isn't to say that running backs such as Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon aren't worthy of consideration in the top five. But Pittsburgh's Najee Harris falling to 1.10 (three picks later than his ADP) was the best value of Round 1.

    Last year, Harris led all running backs with 381 touches, was second in total yards at the position with 1,667 and ranked third among running backs in PPR fantasy points. He's a safe bet for another heavy workload in 2022.

    My Pick

    While Jonathan Taylor is the consensus pick at No. 1 overall, once you get past him the waters muddy. Some prefer the receiving chops and 20 touchdowns Austin Ekeler delivered in 2021. Others still go the wide receiver route with Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson.

    Christian McCaffrey's injury history is cause for legitimate concern—he has played in just 10 games over the last two seasons combined. But during his last healthy season, he was the highest-scoring running back in fantasy football by a massive margin.

    No other running back can match his ceiling.

Second Round

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    2.01: Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF

    2.02: Justin Herbert, QB, LAC

    2.03: D'Andre Swift, RB, DET

    2.04: Davante Adams, WR, LVR

    2.05: Nick Chubb, RB, CLE

    2.06: Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG

    2.07: CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL

    2.08: Leonard Fournette, RB, TBB

    2.09: Mark Andrews, TE, BAL

    2.10: Javonte Williams, RB, DEN

    2.11: Deebo Samuel, WR, SFO

    2.12: Tyreek Hill, WR, MIA

    Get Your Guy—Within Reason

    Generally speaking, I'm an advocate of getting the players you want—so much so that there's nothing wrong with reaching a round early for a player you're really excited about.

    But drafting Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert early in Round 2 is just a bad idea for a couple of reasons.

    The first is that much more often than not, the fantasy edge gained by rostering an elite quarterback this early isn't worth the deficiency it creates at running back or wide receiver. There are just too many viable options available later to justify it.

    The second is that Herbert's ADP at Fantasy Pros is as the third quarterback and 37th overall pick. The manager who drafted him all but certainly could have waited until Round 3.

    My Pick

    Had Leonard Fournette fallen a few more slots, I gladly would have started RB/RB. But with Fournette off the board and a quick turnaround before my third pick, it was time to grab a wide receiver.

    Deebo Samuel's "hold-in" as he seeks a new contract has some fantasy managers concerned. But the 49ers have expressed optimism that a deal will get done, and there's little reason to think the situation won't be resolved well before Week 1.

    Last year, Samuel topped 1,700 total yards, scored 14 touchdowns and finished third among wideouts in PPR points. Even with the Niners changing quarterbacks this year, Samuel is a safe bet as a WR1 with the potential to challenge as the No. 1 fantasy wideout overall.

Third Round

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    3.01: Mike Evans, WR, TBB

    3.02: Alvin Kamara, RB, NOS

    3.03: Josh Allen, QB, BUF

    3.04: Keenan Allen, WR LAC

    3.05: Josh Jacobs, RB, LVR

    3.06: Cam Akers, RB, LAR

    3.07: Tee Higgins, WR, CIN

    3.08: James Conner, RB, ARZ

    3.09: Michael Pittman, WR, IND

    3.10: A.J. Brown, WR, PHI

    3.11: Kareem Hunt, RB, CLE

    3.12: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL

    Backfield Bargain

    The running back position ruled Round 3, with half the round's selections coming from that position. And for the second time in three rounds, the last back selected may have been the best value.

    After seeing his rushing yards per game dwindle in each and every season of his NFL career (including a career-low 58.9 in 2021), more than a few fantasy managers have soured on Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.

    But Elliott played through a knee injury for much of 2021, and even in that "down" season the 27-year-old gained over 1,000 rushing yards, scored 10 touchdowns on the ground and finished as a top-10 fantasy option in PPR formats.

    He's undervalued in 2022.

    My Pick

    Well, it can't be said I was risk-averse in this draft. First, it was McCaffrey's injury history. Then it was Samuel's contract kerfuffle. Now it's Alvin Kamara's potential suspension for violating the personal conduct policy after an offseason assault arrest.

    However, when Kamara is on the field, he's capable of elite fantasy production. The 27-year-old has never tallied fewer than 1,300 total yards in a season, has caught over 80 passes four times and has five straight top-10 fantasy finishes in PPR leagues.

    Were Kamara not facing that six-game suspension, he wouldn't have made it out of the first round. Getting a two-round discount is worth rolling the dice that my team can tread water if Kamara is sidelined to open the year.

Fourth Round

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    4.01: Kyler Murray, QB, ARZ

    4.02: Breece Hall, RB, NYJ

    4.03: Terry McLaurin, WR, WAS

    4.04: Courtland Sutton, WR, DEN

    4.05: Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL

    4.06: D.J. Moore, WR, CAR

    4.07: Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT

    4.08: Darren Waller, TE, LVR

    4.09: Jaylen Waddle, WR, MIA

    4.10: Mike Williams, WR, LAC

    4.11: David Montgomery, RB, CHI

    4.12: Travis Etienne, RB, JAX

    The Dead Zone

    Over the first three rounds of this draft, more running backs were selected than every other position combined. But in Round 4, only three backs were taken.

    Partly that was because of the value available at wide receiver, but it was also a product of the draft hitting the "RB dead zone."

    Long story short, once you get past the first few rounds of a draft, the bust rates for running backs skyrocket. Per Matt Dunleavy of Player Profiler, over a four-year span from 2016-2019, the bust rate for running backs selected in Rounds 5-8 was a staggering 68 percent—almost 12 percent higher than at wide receiver.

    There are exceptions to every rule, but if you draft a running back in this portion of the draft, it's a gamble.

    My Pick

    What? Why are you looking at me like that?

    The RB dead zone is absolutely a thing. But the cold reality facing my team is that Alvin Kamara will quite possibly be suspended at some point this season. As soon as I drafted him, adding depth at the position became a priority. There's also the matter of the WR run that transpired before my turn rolled around.

    The argument could be made for DK Metcalf in this spot, but David Montgomery is a featured back who will be a centerpiece of his offense and has eclipsed 1,000 total yards in all three of his professional seasons.

    Montgomery is an underrated talent and a high-floor fantasy RB2.

Fifth Round

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    5.01: DK Metcalf, WR, SEA

    5.02: Brandin Cooks, WR, HOU

    5.03: Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS

    5.04: Marquise Brown, WR, ARZ

    5.05: Amari Cooper, WR, CLE

    5.06: Chase Edmonds, RB, MIA

    5.07: AJ Dillon, RB, GBP

    5.08: Chris Godwin, WR, TBB

    5.09: Devin Singletary, RB, BUF

    5.10: Rashod Bateman, WR, BAL

    5.11: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GBP

    5.12: Adam Thielen, WR, MIN

    Receiver Roulette

    All told, Round 5 was fairly uneventful. But if there was a theme to the round it was wide receiver picks that possess both high-end fantasy ceilings and a measure of uncertainty in 2022.

    This draft was conducted before DK Metcalf got his big payday from the Seahawks, but there's still the matter of Seattle's messy situation under center. Arizona's Marquise Brown and Cleveland's Amari Cooper have both shown the ability to produce in the past, but they are catching passes on new teams this year.

    Rashod Bateman is Baltimore's No. 1 wideout after Brown was traded, but that may not mean much if Baltimore never throws the ball. Tampa's Chris Godwin would have been drafted several rounds earlier were it not for the torn ACL that ended his 2021 campaign.

    One (or more) of those receivers will hit this year, and which one(s) it is could go a long way toward creating separation here.

    My Pick

    Brandin Cooks of the Houston Texans may not have the highest ceiling of the wideouts selected in Round 5, but the argument can be made he's the safest bet of the lot.

    All Cooks did last year in Houston was catch 90 passes and top 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth time in seven years despite a quarterback situation that might be as bad as Seattle's. Cooks has posted six top-20 PPR finishes over the past seven seasons on four different teams.

    He should see at least 120 targets this season on a Houston offense that will likely be playing catch-up with regularity. Bettering last year's WR20 finish in PPR leagues is well within his range of outcomes.

Sixth Round

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    6.01: Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL

    6.02: Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA

    6.03: George Kittle, TE, SFO

    6.04: Miles Sanders, RB, PHI

    6.05: Michael Thomas, WR, NOS

    6.06: Allen Robinson, WR, LAR

    6.07: Elijah Mitchell, RB, SFO

    6.08: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, KCC

    6.09: Patrick Mahomes, QB, KCC

    6.10: Jerry Jeudy, WR, DEN

    6.11: JK Dobbins, RB, BAL

    6.12: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KCC

    Value, Value, Value

    If Round 5 was uneventful, the sixth round was Black Friday at Walmart—deals everywhere you look.

    At running back, Elijah Mitchell of the San Francisco 49ers had almost 1,100 total yards in 2021 and could easily crack the top 15 if the carries are there in 2022. Landing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Round 6 is a bargain any way you slice it.

    At tight end, Dalton Schultz of the Cowboys and George Kittle of the 49ers offer top-five upside 20-ish picks after Darren Waller came off the board. And while Allen Robinson of the Rams and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Chiefs are catching passes for new teams this season, both wide receivers have considerable fantasy upside.

    Add in that Michael Thomas of the Saints is practicing and off the PUP list, and you have quite the list of players who could substantially outperform their asking price.

    My Pick

    Of course, all that value was had in between my fifth and sixth selections. But that's how it goes when there are 20 selections between picks.

    A third wide receiver would have been nice here, but after Smith-Schuster and Robinson came off the board, I pivoted to adding more backfield talent.

    Like so many of my picks in this draft, JK Dobbins of the Baltimore Ravens carries substantial risk after an ACL tear wiped out his 2021 season. But Dobbins has insisted he'll be a full-go for Week 1, and a year ago at this time the third-year back was being hailed as a potential breakout candidate.

    Better late than never.

Seventh Round

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    7.01: Dallas Goedert, TE, PHI

    7.02: T.J. Hockenson, TE, DET

    7.03: Darnell Mooney, WR, CHI

    7.04: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET

    7.05: Joe Burrow, QB, CIN

    7.06: Drake London, WR, ATL

    7.07: Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL

    7.08: Hunter Renfrow, WR, LVR

    7.09: Allen Lazard, WR, GBP

    7.10: Gabriel Davis, WR, BUF

    7.11: Kenneth Walker III, RB, SEA

    7.12: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARZ

    The Man of the Year, 2022 Edition

    There isn't a more talked-about mid-round fantasy pick in 2022 than Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis. It may have something to do with the eight catches for 201 yards and four touchdowns Davis posted in Buffalo's playoff loss to the Chiefs last year.

    He's penciled in as Buffalo's No. 2 wideout this year with Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley gone, and the hype surrounding Davis has only increased since the summer began. So has his average asking price, as his PPR ADP at Fantasy Pros is WR27 at the back end of Round 6.

    There was a bit more skepticism regarding Davis in this draft, but given the show he put on against the Chiefs in the postseason, any fantasy manager that can obtain Davis' services outside the top 30 at his position is getting the third-year receiver much closer to his floor than his ceiling.

    My Pick

    The tight end position is easily the trickiest in fantasy football. Do you pay the high cost for one of the truly elite options? Wait a while longer and draft a second-tier player? Or punt and try to find an upside play late?

    After watching Dallas Goedert of the Eagles go one pick before mine, the decision was made to go with door No. 2 here. Detroit's T.J. Hockenson isn't likely to challenge the likes of Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts, but the fourth-year veteran was seventh in PPR points per game among tight ends last year and eighth in that category in 2020.

    If you want to balance price and productivity, Hockenson is a relatively reliable weekly starter who won't cost a ton on draft day.

Eighth Round

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    8.01: Russell Wilson, QB, DEN

    8.02: Chris Olave, WR, NOS

    8.03: Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI

    8.04: Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA

    8.05: Matthew Stafford, QB, LAR

    8.06: Zach Ertz, TE, ARZ

    8.07: Melvin Gordon, RB, DEN

    8.08: Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, ATL

    8.09: Damien Harris, RB, NEP

    8.10: Elijah Moore, WR, NYJ

    8.11: Tom Brady, QB, TBB

    8.12: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, SFO

    A Penny for Your Thoughts

    There were a couple of notable developments in Round 8.

    The first was a mini-run that just about wiped out the reliable weekly starters at quarterback. It serves as a reminder that fantasy managers don't need to press the issue under center.

    The second was the selection of a trio of running backs who could provide a massive return on investment. Last year, Seattle's Rashaad Penny was fantasy's top-scoring running back from Week 13 on. Damien Harris of the Patriots and Cordarrelle Patterson of the Falcons were both top-15 fantasy options for the year.

    With Kenneth Walker III in Seattle, Rhamondre Stevenson in New England and Patterson a 31-year-old gadget player coming off easily the best year of his career, none of those backs are sure bets to sniff last year's numbers.

    But if they come close, they'll be sizable bargains for the teams that drafted them.

    My Pick

    When the quarterbacks started coming off the board in Round 8, I made the call that this was the round to grab one—provided the signal-caller I wanted made it to me.

    As it happened, he did.

    Tom Brady isn't getting any younger—he'll be 45 when the regular season starts. But last year Brady led the NFL in both passing yards and touchdown passes. In NFL.com default fantasy scoring, only Buffalo's Josh Allen tallied more fantasy points among quarterbacks.

    Getting that kind of upside from the 11th quarterback drafted doesn't suck.

Ninth Round

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    9.01: Tony Pollard, RB, DAL

    9:02: DeVonta Smith, WR, PHI

    9.03: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NEP

    9.04: James Cook, RB, BUF

    9.05: D.J. Chark, WR, DET

    9.06: Christian Kirk, WR, JAX

    9.07: Treylon Burks, WR, TEN

    9.08: Alexander Mattison, RB, MIN

    9.09: Robert Woods, WR, TEN

    9.10: Darrell Henderson, RB, LAR

    9.11: Pat Freiermuth, TE, PIT

    9.12: James Robinson, RB, JAX

    A No. 1 in Round No. 9

    By the ninth round, the available options at running back are either young backups like James Cook of the Bills, veterans returning from injury like Jacksonville's James Robinson or backs with an uncertain role like Rhamondre Stevenson of the Patriots.

    However, even this late in the draft there were a couple of No. 1 receivers available.

    Granted, we aren't entirely sure how Christian Kirk will fare in his first season with the Jaguars. Or how Robert Woods will look playing on a run-heavy Titans team coming off a torn ACL. But both of those receivers are good bets to lead their respective clubs in targets among wide receivers in 2022.

    Those targets equal opportunities for fantasy production and an opportunity to outpoint a relatively modest asking price in this draft.

    My Pick

    It's not all that unusual for me to still need a third starter at wide receiver heading into the ninth round. I've long been a proponent of stacking up talent and depth in the backfield early.

    What is a little unusual is being able to get a player the caliber of DeVonta Smith of the Eagles just inside the top 100 picks overall—a full round after his average draft position at Fantasy Pros.

    Granted, the Eagles aren't a high-volume passing offense; in fact, no team in the NFL threw the ball less last year. And with A.J. Brown now in Philly, Smith isn't going to lead the team in targets again this season.

    But Smith already has a rapport with Jalen Hurts, and while he may see a dip in targets, he's also going to see more single coverage. The lack in target quantity should be offset (at least somewhat) by an uptick in quality.

Tenth Round

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    10.01: Marvin Jones, WR, JAX

    10.02: Mike Gesicki, TE, MIA

    10.03: Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN

    10.04: Tyler Allgeier, RB, ATL

    10.05: Trey Lance, QB, SFO

    10.06: Cole Kmet, TE, CHI

    10.07: Dak Prescott, QB, DAL

    10.08: Jahan Dotson, WR, WAS

    10.09: Michael Carter, RB, NYJ

    10.10: Dawson Knox, TE, BUF

    10.11: Ronald Jones, RB, KCC

    10.12: Nyheim Hines, RB, IND

    Bargain-Basement Ball-Chuckers

    If ever there was an argument for taking your time before settling on a fantasy quarterback, it's made in the 10th round of this very draft.

    As good as the value was for the teams that grabbed solid weekly starters in Round 8, here two teams may have obtained similar options two rounds later.

    Last year, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys was seventh in the NFL in passing yards with 4,449. He was fifth among all quarterbacks with 37 touchdown passes and seventh at the position in NFL.com default fantasy scoring.

    Trey Lance of the 49ers isn't a sure thing. But his ability to gain yardage with both his arm and legs makes him one of the most interesting QB2 options available in 2022.

    My Pick

    If you draft a running back in Round 10, it's not a sure thing that said running back will make any kind of real fantasy impact in 2022. That's true with Ronald Jones of the Chiefs, who joined Kansas City this year after four mostly underwhelming seasons in Tampa.

    But as recently as two years ago, Jones eclipsed 1,100 total yards for the Buccaneers, and while Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a first-round pick, he's a first-round pick who has underwhelmed to date in his career.

    If Edwards-Helaire falters in camp or can't stay on the field, Jones could easily become the No. 1 running back for one of the NFL's most prolific offenses.

    That's worth a 10th-round dice roll.

Rounds 11-13

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    11.01: Kirk Cousins, QB, MIN

    11.02: Chase Claypool, WR, PIT

    11.03: Justin Fields, QB, CHI

    11.04: Russell Gage, WR, TBB

    11.05: Los Angeles Rams Defense

    11.06: DeVante Parker, WR, NEP

    11.07: J.D. McKissic, RB, WAS

    11.08: Julio Jones, WR, TBB

    11.09: Derek Carr, QB, LVR

    11.10: Jakobi Meyers, WR, NEP

    11.11: Sammy Watkins, WR, GBP

    11.12: Buffalo Bills Defense


    12.01: Michael Gallup, WR, DAL

    12.02: Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ

    12.03: Gus Edwards, RB, BAL

    12.04: Hunter Henry, TE, NEP

    12.05: Evan McPherson, PK, CIN

    12.06: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, PHI

    12.07: Irv Smith Jr., TE, MIN

    12.08: Corey Davis, WR, NYJ

    12.09: Dameon Pierce, RB, HOU

    12.10: Noah Fant, TE, SEA

    12.11: Kadarius Toney, WR, NYG

    12.12: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, DEN


    13.01: Rondale Moore, WR, ARZ

    13.02: Tim Patrick, WR, DEN

    13.03: Isaiah Spiller, RB, LAC

    13.04: Jarvis Landry, WR, NOS

    13.05: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, MIA

    13.06: Marlon Mack, RB, HOU

    13.07: Skyy Moore, WR, KCC

    13.08: David Njoku, TE, CLE

    13.09: Khalil Herbert, RB, CHI

    13.10: Tyler Higbee, TE, LAR

    13.11: New Orleans Saints Defense

    13.12: Kenny Golladay, WR, NYG

    Don't Be That Guy

    Once you get into the double-digit rounds, picks become much more subjective. Every selection is a gamble. The odds a player will wind up on the waiver wire are high. Given that, it might seem wise to go ahead and draft high-end starters at kicker and defense.

    Don't do it.

    You can get elite-level defensive production at a discount by playing matchups—selecting a team late with a good Week 1 matchup and then swapping them out for a squad off the waiver wire. The difference at kicker between the No. 1 and No. 12 option in 2021 was all of 1.1 fantasy points per game.

    Use the picks in this area on upside plays. Get the kicker and defense last.

    The Julio Jones Effect

    One week ago, Russell Gage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a seventh- or eighth-round pick and Julio Jones was undraftable. Now that Jones signed with the Bucs, he came off the board here just after Gage in Round 11.

    Jones was once one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL, but if the last two seasons are any indication, those days are over.

    Take advantage of the value with Gage, and let someone else chase the past with Jones.

    My Picks

    This part of the draft was all about the wide receiver spot for me—about adding some depth, upside and "flex" options.

    Two years ago, Pittsburgh's Chase Claypool caught nine touchdowns and finished inside the top 25 fantasy receivers. Kadarius Toney showed some flashes as a rookie last year and has reportedly shined in training camp. There are those in Denver who believe that Tim Patrick (and not Jerry Jeudy) is the wide receiver to roster behind Courtland Sutton in 2022.

    If one of that trio hits, I'll be fine. If two hit, I'll be golden.

Rounds 14-16

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    14.01: Indianapolis Colts Defense

    14.02: Jamaal Williams, RB, DET

    14.03: Jameis Winston, QB, NOS

    14.04: Dallas Cowboys Defense

    14.05: Jameson Williams, WR, DET

    14.06: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, KCC

    14.07: Rachaad White, RB, TBB

    14.08: Daniel Carlson, PK, LVR

    14.09: Trevor Lawrence, QB, JAX

    14.10: Raheem Mostert, RB, MIA

    14.11: Deshaun Watson, QB, CLE

    14.12: Josh Palmer, WR, LAC


    15.01: San Francisco 49ers Defense

    15.02: Evan Engram, TE, JAX

    15.03: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense

    15.04: Denver Broncos Defense

    15.05: Gerald Everett, TE, LAC

    15.06: Curtis Samuel, WR, WAS

    15.07: Daniel Jones, QB, NYG

    15.08: Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

    15.09: Jamison Crowder, WR, BUF

    15.10: Darrel Williams, RB, ARZ

    15.11: Mecole Hardman, WR, KCC

    15.12: Austin Hooper, TE, TEN


    16.01: Tyler Bass, PK, BUF

    16.02: Jalen Tolbert, WR, DAL

    16.03: Baltimore Ravens Defense

    16.04: George Pickens, WR, PIT

    16.05: Christian Watson, WR, GBP

    16.06: Sony Michel, RB, MIA

    16.07: Nico Collins, WR, HOU

    16.08: Kendrick Bourne, WR, NEP

    16.09: Justin Tucker, PK, BAL

    16.10: Ryan Succop, PK, TBB

    16.11: Los Angeles Chargers Defense

    16.12: Jeff Wilson, RB, SFO

    Sleeper Alert

    This late in the draft, just about every pick is a dart throw. But there were a few players taken in the final three rounds that stood out.

    Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling never posted big numbers with the Packers, but now that he's in Kansas City, he has a good chance of posting the best season of his career for a Chiefs team that needs a new deep threat to emerge.

    Washington's Curtis Samuel has shown teases of game-breaking ability over his first five NFL seasons, but injuries have continually derailed his career. It's simple: if Samuel can just stay on the field, he'll be a bargain in the 15th round.

    With Michael Gallup looking unlikely to be ready for Week 1, the Dallas Cowboys need someone to step into a starting role opposite CeeDee Lamb. Enter rookie Jalen Tolbert, who drew raves from Cowboys coaches throughout OTAs.

    My Picks

    There's no telling when we'll see Deshaun Watson on the field, and he hasn't played since 2020. But that year he led the league in passing yards. Once he's out there, he has top-five fantasy upside. If he's suspended the entire 2022 season, then off to the waiver wire he goes.

    Evan Engram may have been a disappointment in New York, but he's a first-round talent who can't be blamed completely for his struggles in the Big Apple. Perhaps a change of scenery is just what his career needs.

    The Los Angeles Chargers made a number of impact additions on defense in the offseason, but make no mistake: if the Bolts defense fails to produce in Week 1, they'll be spending Week 2 on the wire. There's no reason to hang on to an underperforming fantasy defense.

My Post-Draft Team

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    QB: Tom Brady, TBB (8.11); Deshaun Watson, CLE (14.11)

    RB: Christian McCaffrey, CAR (1.02); Alvin Kamara, NOS (3.02); David Montgomery, CHI (4.11); JK Dobbins, BAL (6.11); Ronald Jones, KCC (10.11)

    WR: Deebo Samuel, SFO (2.11); Brandin Cooks, HOU (5.02); DeVonta Smith, PHI (9.02); Chase Claypool, PIT (11.02); Kadarius Toney, NYG (12.11); Tim Patrick, DEN (13.02)

    TE: T.J. Hockenson, DET (7.02); Evan Engram, JAX (15.02)

    DEF: Los Angeles Chargers (16.11)

    K: None

    According to the projections at My Fantasy League, this team is set to score the second-most points of any team in this league. Not bad for a squad without a kicker.

    Don't worry, I'll grab one off the waiver wire ahead of Week 1.

    Now, a lot can change during the season. Leagues aren't won on draft day. And there's quite a bit of risk on this roster, whether it's McCaffrey's durability, Samuel's contract situation or the fact that both Kamara and Watson could be staring at lengthy suspensions.

    There's also a ton of upside. The depth is there in the backfield to weather Kamara's absence, and once he's back this squad would possess two top-10 fantasy options and four backs more than capable of finishing inside the top 25.

    At wide receiver, Samuel and Cooks are a solid one-two punch, and the quartet of young receivers behind them should be able to hold down not only the WR3 slot but also potentially the "flex" slot. At tight end, Hockenson isn't elite, but he's a capable weekly starter.

    This team isn't guaranteed a playoff spot, because no team is. But if it can come close to hitting its ceiling, this is a squad that should be in the thick of the championship hunt.

    I'll give it a solid B-plus.


    Gary Davenport is a two-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association Football Writer of the Year. Follow Gary on Twitter at @IDPSharks.

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