Dynasty Startup Mock Draft (2022 Fantasy Football)
Have you ever had the unrelenting desire to play fantasy football year-round? For those that take part in season-long leagues that end in the regular season and are continually saddened when the season is over, dynasty leagues sound like a good remedy for you. Dynasty leagues are year-round leagues that allow you to put together a team that you maintain for years. Being able to do rookie-only drafts every year and conduct trades for potential future stars are among the highlights of taking part in dynasty leagues.
If you’ve never taken part in a dynasty league or if you are looking to start a new dynasty league, this article could be of use to you. So while it’s heartbreaking to wait for next season to begin, wipe away those tears and dive into an early dynasty startup mock draft conducted by yours truly with FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard tool. Before diving into the results, here were the settings of the mock draft:
- 12 Teams
- Half-PPR scoring
- Rosters: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Flex, and 7 Bench Spots
- I was randomly assigned the 3rd overall pick
Pick 1.03: Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN)
Entering the offseason, I believe the top five picks in dynasty drafts will be some combination of Jonathan Taylor, Justin Jefferson, Najee Harris, Ja’Marr Chase, and D’Andre Swift. For me personally, I tend to target wide receivers early in dynasty drafts as the shelf life of running backs is much shorter than elite wideouts. If someone were to select Chase with the No. 1 pick in a dynasty draft, I wouldn’t argue one bit. With the third overall selection, I took Chase to give me my top-ranked wide receiver in dynasty leagues. Chase hauled in 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie campaign, and with Joe Burrow locked in as his quarterback for years, the 22-year-old wide receiver is a home-run choice early in the first round.
Pick 2.10: Davante Adams (WR – GB)
Wide receivers that are nearing 30 years old are typically undervalued in dynasty drafts as some people prefer to target younger players. While I do like adding young wideouts that give me long-term security at the wide receiver position, guys like Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp are undervalued right now. With Aaron Rodgers announcing his return to the Green Bay Packers, coupled with the Packers placing the franchise tag on Adams, the All-Pro wide receiver is poised for another stellar campaign in 2022. Adams has at least another two or three seasons with WR1 production before he becomes a prime trade candidate in dynasty leagues.
Pick 3.03: Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Similar to last offseason, there is going to be a ton of discourse surrounding Saquon Barkley. Is Barkley worth an early-round pick in drafts? Or will the former first-round pick fall flat again in 2022 with the New York Giants? After being burned by Barkley coming off of a torn ACL in 2021, the majority of people could scoff at the idea of going with Barkley. However, I’m on board with a bounce-back season for Barkley as he’s over a year removed from his knee ailment and the Giants brought in Brian Daboll as their new head coach in hopes he can provide a jolt to New York’s offense. There are reports of Barkley being a trade candidate this offseason, but regardless of whether he’s on the Giants or a new team, I’m buying a rebound for Barkley in 2022.
Pick 4.10: Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN)
The Denver Broncos took a page out of the Los Angeles Rams’ book as they are going all-in by acquiring Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. We’ve all been longing for Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy to get a franchise quarterback and our prayers were finally answered by the football gods. When the dust settles from the trade of Wilson, I believe Jeudy could move up even further in dynasty drafts, with Jeudy being only 23 years old in his third year when the 2022 season begins. Both Sutton and Jeudy are massive buys for me right now in dynasty leagues, though, they won’t come at a discount right now.
Pick 5.03: Travis Etienne Jr. (RB – JAC)
Before the 2021 season, one of the hottest topics was the backfield of the Jacksonville Jaguars. James Robinson was coming off a historic season in 2020 as an undrafted rookie, but the Jaguars elected to take Travis Etienne Jr. in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft to give Trevor Lawrence a familiar face in his rookie season. Sadly, Etienne would suffer a Lisfranc injury that would prevent him from playing a single game in 2021. Despite a new coaching staff coming to Jacksonville, led by Doug Pederson, I’m bullish on offensive players on the Jaguars this offseason. Instead of taking guys like Chase Claypool or Aaron Jones, I’m banking on Etienne to make an immediate impact in 2022.
Pick 6.10: Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
Enough is enough. The hate for Lamar Jackson is getting out of hand and he is being severely undervalued in all formats of fantasy football. Jackson is only two seasons removed from winning NFL MVP, he’s only 25 years old (younger than Joe Burrow), and he provides dual-threat ability at a premier position. A freak injury on a throwaway pass limited Jackson to 12 games in 2021, so some are going to run with the lazy narrative that the style that Jackson plays will lead to plenty of injuries in his career. I still believe the best is yet to come for Jackson as the Baltimore Ravens continue to surround Jackson with an improved supporting cast. The return of J.K. Dobbins/Gus Edwards, along with Rashod Bateman entering his sophomore season, could do wonders for Jackson.
Pick 7.03: JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – FA)
It seems like a century ago when JuJu Smith-Schuster was looking like one of the up-and-coming young wide receivers in the NFL. Smith-Schuster was flashing plenty of upside alongside Antonio Brown on the Pittsburgh Steelers, totaling 111 receptions, 1,426 yards, and seven touchdowns in 2018. The demise of Ben Roethlisberger and injuries have limited Smith-Schuster in recent seasons, but he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Smith-Schuster will still be only 25 years old at the start of the 2022 season, and if he signs with a solid team, he could be a massive value in dynasty drafts. I took Smith-Schuster before Brandin Cooks, showing how confident I am in Smith-Schuster finding his groove again next season.
Pick 8.10: Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
I’m not a big fan of Miles Sanders, but there’s value in taking him in this spot. Sanders hasn’t shown enough for anyone to feel confident he holds onto the starting job for the Philadelphia Eagles, however, he’s only 25 years old and he’s in a run-oriented offense with Jalen Hurts under center. To be transparent, this would be one of the picks I’d make in a dynasty league where I’d have the intention of trading Sanders if his value rises. There’s a chance that Kenneth Gainwell or someone else takes the starting job from Sanders in 2022 if he struggles, so there’s some risk in taking the Penn State product. Ironically enough, Philadelphia’s No. 1 rusher from the past season in Hurts was taken right after I selected Sanders.
Pick 9.03: DJ Chark Jr. (WR – FA)
Besides Smith-Schuster, another free-agent wide receiver that I’m buying this offseason is DJ Chark Jr. Chark’s 2021 campaign was cut short due to a fractured ankle, which limited him to only four games. Chark, who will be 25 years old at the start of the 2022 season, has reportedly gotten interest from multiple teams already that are prepared to offer him a decent contract. Even if Chark remains with the Jaguars, I’m buying into a bounce-back year for Lawrence and the other members of the offense with the arrival of Pederson. On the other hand, if Chark can join a team like the Kansas City Chiefs then his stock will be through the roof.
Pick 10.10: Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG)
First, I take Barkley in hopes that he bounces back with the Giants in 2022. And now I’m taking Kenny Golladay with the idea that we should just forget about his debut season with New York in 2021? If neither Barkley nor Golladay bounce back in 2022, then this will be the origin story of how I became The Joker. After signing an expensive multi-year deal with the Giants ahead of last season, Golladay put up only 37 receptions, 521 yards, and zero touchdowns in 14 games. I’m just erasing Golladay’s 2021 campaign from my memory and placing trust in Daboll to revive Golladay’s career in 2022.
Pick 11.03: Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA)
Is he a wide receiver or a tight end? Mike Gesicki has long been considered a de facto wideout for the Miami Dolphins due to seeing the majority of his snaps out of the slot. The Dolphins placed their franchise tag on Gesicki as they view him as an important piece in their offense moving forward. With Mike McDaniel being named the head coach in Miami, some believe he could utilize Gesicki similarly to George Kittle since he was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. Why would McDaniel make Gesicki block more when that isn’t what he does best? I’m betting on McDaniel getting the best out of Tua Tagovailoa, resulting in a career year for Gesicki in 2022.
Pick 12.10: Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
At the moment, Nico Collins is slated to be the No. 2 wide receiver for the Houston Texans in 2022. There’s a chance that the Texans add a pass-catcher early in the 2022 NFL Draft, which would lower Collins’ value in dynasty leagues. But for the time being, I like Collins in the later rounds of drafts. It remains to be seen who the quarterback of the Texans will be in 2022, but Houston figures to be playing from behind often, leading to plenty of volume for Collins.
Pick 13.03: Gus Edwards (RB – BAL)
As previously mentioned above, Edwards is poised to return to the Ravens in 2022, where he’ll operate as the backup to Dobbins. Given Baltimore’s run-heavy approach on offense, there’s value in taking Edwards, especially since the Ravens likely won’t give Edwards or Dobbins a full workload as both of them are coming off season-ending injuries. If I had to predict how things shake out, Dobbins will get the majority of the touches while Edwards sees the short-yardage and red-zone work for the Ravens.
Pick 14.10: Albert Okwuegbunam (TE – DEN)
Following the trade of Wilson to the Broncos, every offensive player on the Broncos saw their dynasty value rise. Jeudy, Sutton, and Javonte Williams are the three primary beneficiaries of Wilson’s arrival, but with Noah Fant headed to Seattle in the trade, Albert Okwuegbunam’s value increases tremendously. While I don’t think Okwuegbunam’s value is as high as some are saying – Wilson has never consistently targeted TEs and Jeudy/Sutton/Tim Patrick should lead the team in targets – he is going to see a dramatic rise in where he’s being selected in drafts. That being said, I couldn’t pass up the upside this late in the draft.
Pick 15.03: Derek Carr (QB – LV)
When the Broncos landed Wilson via trade, Derek Carr immediately became the worst quarterback in the AFC West. I don’t believe Carr is a quarterback talented enough to lead a team to a Super Bowl, but we don’t need that to finish out the draft. Carr should benefit from Josh McDaniels becoming the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. We could see Carr become even more efficient under McDaniels and he should be in a ton of shootouts with the Broncos, Chiefs, and the Los Angeles Chargers. Having a middle-of-the-pack quarterback to backup Jackson is something I wouldn’t be too upset about in an actual draft.
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Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive.