Fantasy football mock draft series: June takeaways

It is well into June, and fantasy football drafts are churning along. A recently hosted industry live draft is the source for this recap. Out of respect for the hosts of this draft, no reference will be made to its identity so the content remains fresh on their end, nor will the entire draft results be published here.

The blurbs about my team below were provided to the draft host and will appear in a magazine as part of a larger evaluation of the draft. Before getting into my individual picks, here are a few observations from a 12-team, PPR draft.

  • In last year’s iteration, Round 1 saw nine running backs, two receivers and a tight end come off the board. This time out, we saw seven running backs and five receivers, including cooper kupp going at No. 2 and justin jefferson as the third selection.
  • Six RBs came off the board in Round 2 in 2021’s draft, followed by one fewer receiver and another tight end. This year was no different.
  • The first QB came off the board in Round 3 last year, and Josh Allen was taken with the opening pick of Round 5 this time around. Justin Herbert went just two picks later, and only a pair of passers came off the board in the next 31 selections (Lamar Jackson and patrick mahomes).
  • In the first 100 picks, eight QBs, 38 RBs, 45 WRs and nine TEs — no significant changes from the May version when six QBs, 39 RBs, 45 WRs and 10 tight ends.
  • This was the first time I had selected from the No. 1 hole, and there’s one and only choice to be made to create a stress-free situation.
  • Having the first pick meant my second and third selections were chosen consecutively, which effectively means the order is irrelevant. Coming out of the first three rounds with at least two running backs is almost always my plan when selecting in the first four spots. Wide receiver is so ridiculously deep that gamers can hold off, making the preferred strategy is to come out of the first three rounds with a single wideout.
  • Quarterback remains quite deep, too, with a viable starter being available into the 13th round. Tight end remains a little top-heavy, just like last year. Following the consensus top-six TEs — all of whom went in the first five rounds — the position gets really dicey. If you’re not comfortable playing the matchups, make sure to secure one of Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, Darren Waller or Dalton Schultz.
  • I was not entirely sure what to expect for my first receiver entering the draft, since many owners in this league tend to favor wideouts early, but it worked out nicely as you’ll read in a moment.

Here’s a snapshot of the first 10 rounds broken down by number of positional picks:

1st: 7 RBs, 5 WRs
2nd: 6 RBs, 5 WRs, 1 TE
3rd: 7 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE
4th: 2 RBs, 8 WRs, 2 TEs
5th: 2 QBs, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 1 TE
6th: 2 QBs, 1 RB, 7 WRs, 2 TEs
7th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 2 TEs
8th: 3 QBs, 6 RBs, 3 WRs
9th: 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 7 WRs
10th: 2 QBs, 5 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE

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My team

We were asked to write 35 words per pick to give a little insight as to our draft thoughts:

1:01 RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

Taylor is a no-brainer after his breakthrough season and sees an upgrade at quarterback and receiver to alleviate some pressure. The offensive line is still among the best even after losing a pair of starters.

2:12 WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans has landed on most of my teams this year, and the retirement of Gronk makes the veteran even more appealing, especially while Chris Godwin remains in rehab mode to open the year.

3:01 RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

The hope is Chubb remains one of the most stable running backs in fantasy, regardless of Deshaun Watson’s possible suspension outcome. Any receptions are a bonus, but Chubb’s explosiveness and nose for paydirt set him apart.

4:12 WR Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

This one is somewhat a gamble. The selection of Chubb left me anxiously watching my preferred WR options fly off the board as my pick approached. Other than Cole Kmet, Mooney’s competition for targets isn’t impressive.

5:01 QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

A luxury pick, Allen gives me an explosive playmaker week in and week out. Having the top RB and QB was an appealing scenario, and few players can drop 35-plus points as frequently as Allen.

6:12 ET Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Schultz is a top-five TE for me, and a No. 3 PPR result won’t surprise me one bit. The Cowboys have serious question marks behind CeeDee Lamb at receiver, making Schultz a consistent outlet.

7:01 WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

A borderline WR1 in PPR upon returning from suspension, Hopkins figures to have one more studly year left in the tank. Recent reports suggest his six-game vacation could be reduced, which would be a pleasant bonus.

8:12 RB Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos

My expectations are modest, but in the event Javonte Williams is taken down by injury, Gordon is a bona fide RB2. If not, I could have done worse for my third back given my starting pair.

9:01 WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

With shaky starters behind Evans, my goal was to add a high-upside WR in a proven passing game. KC has serious question marks personnel-wise, but Hardman has flashed enough and enters camp already knowing the system.

10:12 RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears

If David Montgomery remains healthy, Herbert offers potential for the occasional flex play with a favorable matchup. Should Monty suffer an injury, the second-year back is a legit No. 2 asset in a proven running design.

11:01 WR Jamison Crowder, Buffalo Bills

Crowder slips into the Cole Beasley role and helps tide me over until Hopkins returns. While I don’t expect the same involvement as Beasley enjoyed, and Crowder is no stranger to injury, he’s a passable PPR flex.

12:12 RB Marlon Mack, Houston Texans

The available backs with a puncher’s chance of being his team’s RB1 ran thin. The explosive Mack has limited wear on the tires of late. Injuries, OL play, and a committee approach are a concern, however.

13:01 ET Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans

I was compelled to secure my top sleeper tight end even after landing one of the best young TEs in the game. Hooper already has ingratiated himself with Ryan Tannehill in an offense starved for weapons.

2:12 p.m. RB Hassan Haskins, Tennessee Titans

A late-round flier with serious upside and a door cracked open just enough to let some intrigue shine through, Haskins is the epitome of a worthwhile RB5 gamble after Derrick Henry proved to be deadly in 2021.

Bonus draft recap!

As part of the magazine draft participation agreement, we also took part in a non-PPR version. Here’s my team review for that one:

1:03 RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

I really was hoping for Derrick Henry here in non-PPR, but Ekeler will have to do the trick. Double-digit TDs are likely once again if he plays 13-plus games.

2:10 WR CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

Now the undisputed WR1 for Dallas, Lamb is on the cusp of a monster season following the trade of Amari Cooper. Aside from TE Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys have few proven, healthy weapons to interfere.

3:03 RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

While there’s legitimate concern defenses will stack the box, and AJ Dillon’s presence is a threat, Jones still has at least one more RB1 season in the tank.

4:10 WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Maybe a minor gamble given the other options available, but Sutton is poised for a strong rebound being more than a year removed from ACL surgery. Having Russell Wilson throwing passes his way can’t hurt, either.

5:03 RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Anyone following these drafts will know that I’ve chosen Harris religiously, regardless of the scoring format. In non-PPR, Harris is a quality RB3 and even can serve as my No. 2 in the event Ekeler gets hurt.

6:10 ET Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Giving myself the top two receiving options on Dallas’ roster wasn’t necessarily by design, but tight ends started flying off the board, and I am as high as anyone on Schultz this year.

7:03 WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens

Despite my lack of interest in owning Lamar Jackson in 2022, Bateman is an intriguing WR3 for my lineup build. I’ll be pleased with something in the 75-1,000-8 realm as the second target behind TE Mark Andrews.

8:10 WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers

One of my favorite breakout targets, Lazard has a fine opportunity ahead. His blocking skills from him will keep him on the field, and Aaron Rodgers trusts him as much as anyone on the Davante Adams-less Pack roster.

9:03 RB Michael Carter, New York Jets

I needed a fourth back with a pulse and a puncher’s chance of relevance. Carter was one of the few remaining options, and I expect a 60/40 split in favor of Breece Hall.

10:10 a.m. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Russell Wilson went shortly before my selection, so I pivoted. I can see Rodgers having a down year by his standards of him, but he’s still a borderline QB1, which is what you expect waiting until Round 10.

11:03 RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears

Luke Getsy will call the plays after learning under the committee system in Green Bay. Herbert will have a larger role than most expect, even with a healthy David Montgomery.

12:10 QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

If I’m wrong about Rodgers still being a QB1, Tagovailoa is among the best backups with starter upside to take a chance on in this situation. He’s not a true No. 1 but he could be in a pinch.

1:03 p.m. ET Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans

For as much as I love Schultz this year, Hooper is a close second. I rank him as a top-10 fantasy TE in best-case scenario, and he has a high-end backup as his floor from him.

2:10 p.m. WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Why not? My WR, Hardman is as good of a coin toss as any player this late in the draft. I have started to show a little more last year, and there’s a role to be seized.

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