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Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR, Early Pick (2022)

by Jamie Calandro | Featured Writer
May 9, 2022
Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler’s role in the passing game is as bankable as anyone’s in the NFL.

The draft has finally happened, so most of the puzzle pieces are in place for us that have already begun draft season. Once the schedule is released on 5/12, we can really start to get an accurate depiction of team structure and ADP. Until then, let’s press on. A few weeks ago, I did a mock draft from a late position (you can see that full writeup here), so here’s one from the 3-hole. This was done using our FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 D/ST, full-PPR scoring) with an analysis of each pick.

PICK 1.03 – Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)

PICK 2.10 – Mark Andrews (TE – BAL)

I have Ekeler as my overall #2 pick in PPR redraft, and the Chargers drafting Isaiah Spiller will not dissuade me from this (Ekeler was never going to be a guy who garnered 90% of the team’s carries.) Ekeler finished last season as the RB2 overall in PPR formats while ranking first in targets (94), first in receiving yards (647), first in total TDs (20), second in receptions (70), second in FPPG (21.5), second in routes run (393), second in RZ touches (63), and third in fantasy points per opportunity (1.15). His role in the passing game is as bankable as anyone’s in the game, as his 5.1 receptions per game over the past three seasons trails only Christian McCaffrey.

Round two was a tough call between Mark Andrews and CeeDee Lamb. I generally defer to the RB or WR in the early stages when making these calls, but Andrews seems to be in a golden situation now, even if the Ravens revert to their run-first ways. He finished last year as the TE1 even while sharing the spotlight with Marquis Brown for most of the season, and now Brown has been traded away while the Ravens added no help in the WR department via the draft. Andrews posted a 29% target share last season without Brown, so he’s as bankable as any RB/WR in this spot.

PICK 3.03 – Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)

PICK 4.10 – Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)

Thanks to injuries and inept offensive line play, it’s been a difficult road for Saquon since he finished RB1 in 2018. Still, the Giants have seemingly addressed the latter issue through free agency and the draft (Evan Neal had a 94% run-blocking grade in college). There’s certainly risk involved with this pick, but I think my selections of Ekeler and Jacobs mitigate it a great deal.

I still have no WR in this draft, but 4.10 is the latest I’ve seen Josh Jacobs fall, and I had to snag him here (I even considered him over Saquon at 3.03!). Those who follow me know that Jacobs is setting up to be “my guy” this year. Jacobs gets a bad rep during the draft season for “not being involved enough in the passing game,” but it bears mentioning that he was top 12 in both target share with 12.4% and routes run with 253. He was also fifth in the NFL in receptions with 54 despite Drake dominating the passing downs at the beginning of the year. Jacobs was also efficient in his receptions with an 84.4% catch rate, the 7th best among RBs.

PICK 5.03 – Chris Godwin (WR – TB)

PICK 6.10 – Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF)

It’s time to start taking my WRs with RB and TE set to go. It remains to be seen if Godwin will be ready for the start of the 2022 season, but in the fifth round, I’m OK assuming that risk. He finished WR10 in 14 games last season, catching 77% of his 127 targets, and he has Tom Brady as his QB for at least one more season. Antonio Brown is out of town, too.

Major sadsies that A different manager took Marquis Brown (another one of “my guys” this year) two picks before this one as I would have smashed that all day, but Gabriel Davis isn’t a bad consolation prize. I may be overdrafting him here based on his end-of-season performance, but he was the WR2 all through the playoffs, where the Bills posted the highest offensive DVOA% in playoff history, and I like the upside.

PICK 7.03 – Tom Brady (QB – TB)

PICK 8.10 – Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)

If I had gotten Marquise Brown in round 6, I would have certainly followed him up with Kyler Murray here (and it may still have been a mistake not to take Kyler here, who brings rushing upside that Brady does not). Still, no fantasy player in their right mind will ever complain about getting Brady. He continues to defy physics, finishing as the overall QB3 at age 44, and I paired him with Chris Godwin.

I have other rookie WRs ranked higher than Burks, but that’s primarily due to his situation on a run-heavy squad and an inefficient rather than his talent. Burks led all rookies in yards per route (3.57), and his 8.5 YAC is also an elite number. I’m more than happy with the upside as my WR3.

PICK 9.03 – Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)

PICK 10.10 – J.D. McKissic (RB – WAS)

The pick of Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round confused me as much as most Giant fans, but I’m trusting the new Giants brass to be creative enough to utilize both in their offense. The offseason plan is clearly to surround Daniel Jones with as much talent as possible in his final evaluation, so I’m comfortable where I drafted Toney’s talent here.

McKissic has had 123 receptions over the past two seasons and should provide a solid safety blanket for Carson Wentz in his first season in Washington. The touch count doesn’t carry a safe floor, but McKissic has a ceiling – he finished as the RB15 or higher five times last season in PPR formats.

PICK 11.03 – Skyy Moore (WR – KC)

PICK 12.10 – Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU)

It’s the double-digit rounds, which means it’s “rookie upside time.” Skyy Moore had a 41% dominator rating in his senior year in college while averaging 3.40 yards per route run. His landing spot couldn’t have been any better, either, as he joins a Patrick Mahomes-led offense that no longer employs Tyreek Hill as its WR1.

Pierce is an interesting one. There are definitely negatives, most notably his 28% carry share and 12% dominator rating at Florida. If he landed with any other team, I wouldn’t have near as much interest. That said, I like Marlon Mack as much as the next guy, but as an RB, he’s shown to be nothing more than “just a guy” and has had injury-plagued seasons. If Pierce can translate his 39% missed tackle rate to the NFL, I could see him taking the reins of that backfield.

PICK 13.03 – Deshaun Watson (QB – CLE)

PICK 14.10 – Marlon Mack (RB – HOU)

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even take a QB as a backup to Brady, but Watson fell too far. His suspension issues still loom, but there’s zero risk to that for me if I have Brady already. In Watson’s last three full seasons, he finished QB4, QB5, and QB5.

This pick was about hedging my Pierce pick with Mack. Technically right now, he’s listed as the RB1 on the team, and this is the cheapest RB1 you’ll get in drafts. Dameon Pierce certainly poses a threat to make this a committee approach, but Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman do not, so I like having both late in the draft to see how camp shakes out.

PICK 15.03 – Los Angeles Rams D/ST

PICK 16.10 – Robbie Gould (K – SF)

The last two picks round out my team nicely. I may be higher on the Rams D than the consensus, but they have 50 sacks in three straight seasons, which provides a nice baseline for D/ST points, and key pass rusher Aaron Donald is returning after there were hints of retirement.

Many kickers were gone, so I’m OK with Gould, who continues to produce on FGs as he enters his 17th (wow) season in the NFL. Matt Prater was also considered here on an offense that should be a little more dynamic.

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