2022 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Ideal Scenarios, Selections for 12-Team League
If your fantasy football league hasn't drafted yet, then congratulations.
Because you waited as long as possible to do it, the proximity to the 2022 NFL season provides you with more information then anyone whose selections are already in the books.
The preseason contests are finished. The 53-man rosters are set. Injury issues have either come to light or been put to rest.
Twists and turns surely await in the regular season, but you at least have a good snapshot of where everything stands entering the campaign. Let's use that information, then, to run through a three-round mock, courtesy of the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator, and provide strategic tips for different parts of the opening round.
3-Round Mock Draft
1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
3. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
5. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
6. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
7. Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
9. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
11. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
12. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
13. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
14. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
15. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
16. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
17. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
18. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
19. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions
20. James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals
21. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
22. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
23. Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
24. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
25. Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins
26. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
27. Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
28. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
29. A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
30. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
31. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
32. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
33. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
34. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
35. Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
36. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Early First-Round Strategy
Certain league formats might change this, but chances are, if you're holding a top-four pick, you should almost certainly spend it on a running back.
The real-life NFL may prioritize the passing game, but in the fantasy realm, featured running backs still reign supreme.
Two things drive up their value. The first is their overall scarcity. Top-shelf running backs who possess both a star ceiling and an elevated floor are seen only slightly more often than Bigfoot. The second is their potential for points.
Get the No. 1 pick, and you should pounce on Jonathan Taylor the second your draft starts. Grab a different selection in the top four, and your pool of potential picks—particularly in a league with standard scoring—arguably shouldn't run deeper than Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry.
Middle First-Round Strategy
If you're drafting in the middle of the first round, it's all about reading the room and responding accordingly.
In other words, your league mates will inadvertently let you know which selection to make.
If there's an early run on running backs, then you can grab Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson without any real debate. The former just paced the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and touchdown catches (16). The latter has piled up 3,016 receiving yards and 17 touchdown grabs across his first two NFL seasons.
In certain leagues, though, Kupp or Jefferson may not reach the middle of the first round. For that matter, Ja'Marr Chase and Davante Adams might be gone, too. If that's the case, you can either pounce on a falling running back from the top tier or snatch up someone like Dalvin Cook, who enters bargain territory if he's on the board past the first five or six picks.
Late First-Round Strategy
If you haven't noticed yet, first-round running backs are kind of our jam. However, there aren't 12 elites at the position, so not everyone will have a first-round talent at the position available to them.
For those drafters, we recommend a full embrace of pass-catchers.
If you're selecting outside of the top six and Kupp is still on the board, he might have to be your pick. The same applies to Jefferson, although he might land closer to the eighth pick or so, especially in a standard-scoring league.
Those aren't the only pass-catchers worth your first-round attention, though. Ja'Marr Chase could be a massive steal at the back end of the round. The same goes for Davante Adams, who could establish a rapid rhythm with his Raiders quarterback (and former college quarterback) Derek Carr. And don't forget about Travis Kelce, who's always good for huge numbers and could see more targets than ever with Tyreek Hill out of Kansas City.