Fantasy Football 2022: Best Strategy for Each Pick in 12-Team Mock Drafts

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2022

Fantasy Football 2022: Best Strategy for Each Pick in 12-Team Mock Drafts

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    There are one-million-and-one different ways to prepare for your fantasy football draft.

    It's hard to think of a more beneficial one than participating in a mock draft.

    That not only provides real-world information about draft position and tendencies, but it also allows you to experiment. If you want to take four straight receivers or draft a quarterback in the first two rounds or set the market for tight ends, kickers or defenses, you can do it and see how the draft room reacts.

    The point is you need to come away with good information to make the process worth it. This guide will help you do just that by identifying the best pick at each position for a 12-team mock.

Picks 1-4

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    1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    2. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    4. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

    The most important thing you can do atop any draft—real or mock—is not overthink things.

    The top-ranked players are in those spots for a reason. Even if you have a hunch about a second- or third-tier player, you can try to flex those muscles later. Or, if you really need to have that sleeper, you can trade down the board and pick up something else in the exchange.

    Some might quibble a bit about the order here, but these four players will likely hold the top four spots in your draft. And they should. Taylor and Henry might be the two best rushers in the NFL. McCaffrey has been a fantasy monster whenever he's healthy. Kupp just finished a season with 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. These are the elites of the elite.

    Selecting superstars in the right place helps keep the mock draft realistic and, therefore, informative. Sure, the mock might take some wild swings if you deviate from the draft board this early, but that's so unlikely to happen in your actual draft that tracking those swings would be a waste of time.

Picks 5-8

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    5. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    6. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    7. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings8.

    8. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    If the debates didn't start with the first section, they should be roaring here.

    With the receiver market opened by Kupp's selection at No. 4, keep a close eye on when other mock-drafters go back to the position—and which pass-catcher they target.

    The league format could help shape that decision, since point-per-reception leagues give an inherent boost to volume catches. They also prop up all-purpose backs like Ekeler, who has 216 total receptions over the past three seasons.

    Giving a slight bump to Cook and Ekeler over the best receivers not named Kupp makes sense since top-tier running backs are so hard to find. Still, you won't want to wait long to flip over to receivers, because high-ceiling options like Jefferson and Chase won't last long during your real draft.

Picks 9-12

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    9. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    10. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    11. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    12. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

    Unless you're trying out a specific strategy, the most important information you'll take away from a mock is how and when everyone else constructs their roster.

    Because that's the information I'm looking to learn, I'm shying away from the more polarizing options and playing it safe where I can. In other words, this quartet of Harris, Mixon, Chubb and Swift works for me, because they're going to go in this range regardless if I spend a selection on them or not. If you let them slip past you, they won't fall very fall.

    On the other hand, it could be hugely helpful to take the fantasy community's temperature on Davante Adams when he isn't catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, or Deebo Samuel with Trey Lance now under center. How do folks view Saquon Barkley amid a seemingly endless stream of encouraging reports from training camp? Where are people at with the Miami Dolphins version of Tyreek Hill?

    If you can keep it boring with your picks, then you'll let your fellow mock-drafters provide all of the exciting reveals.


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