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Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft (2022)

by C.H. Herms | @HermsNFL | Featured Writer
May 28, 2022
Diontae Johnson

As we enter the early days of summer and every NFL player is supposedly in the best shape of their life, now is as good a time as any to start mock drafting. Between average draft position (ADP), camp injuries, and beat reporter-driven hype trains, plenty will change between now and August. So, why start mock drafting now? Is it too early? Here are a couple of reasons why it is wise to start sooner rather than later:

– Plotting (informally or otherwise) changes in a player’s ADP as the summer unfolds
– Identifying values and/or bust candidates based on said changes

Perhaps a reductive description, fantasy football drafts are a game of scooping value and not overpaying for players priced at or above their ceilings. The greater context a fantasy manager can add to their brain as to why X player is being taken in Y round, the better. The last thing anyone wants is to be the doofus who reaches four rounds on a scrub or the squirmy worrywart who gets too in their head come time for the actual draft.

With that in mind, we will be exploring a PPR mock draft powered by the FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard. If you have never used the Draft Wizard, check it out here and give it a spin. Below is a full rundown of the draft and some analysis of key picks.

1.09 – Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN)
2.04 – Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
3.09 – Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
4.04 – Breece Hall (RB – NYJ) 
5.09 – Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)
6.04 – Mike Williams (WR – LAC) 

7.09 – Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
8.04 – Russell Gage (WR – TB)
9.09 – Ronald Jones II (RB – KC)
10.04 – Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
11.09 – Nyheim Hines (RB – IND)
12.04 – Derek Carr (QB – LV) 
13.09 – Darrel Williams (RB – ARI)
14.04 – Jamison Crowder (WR – BUF) 

Picking from the ninth spot to begin, the board gifted this roster Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs. While attacking the running back position early is preferred, the tandem of the WR2 and WR3 overall in my rankings, respectively, was far too tantalizing to pass up. FantasyPros expert consensus rankings (ECR) seem to largely agree with the selections as well. I can’t be upset with that vote of confidence.

At 3.09, defining the direction of the roster build cropped up early: Diontae Johnson or James Conner? As stated previously, I don’t prefer to wait too long at running back, but the gamble felt worthy of the taking. Despite surviving the offseason from the standpoint of players added to the Arizona backfield, Conner is a likely touchdown regression candidate heading into 2022 with a history of injury concerns. The value of picking Conner would have been justifiable, but an opportunity to start a team with three of my top-12 ranked wide receivers made Johnson the eventual pick. However, do not take this as an indictment of Conner. There is still a realistic world in which this passing is regrettable.

Following a run of Breece Hall, Marquise Brown, and Mike Williams, one thing became glaringly obvious: running backs in the dead zone are wholly unappealing. Through these three rounds, the only back besides Hall that felt even remotely intriguing was JK Dobbins. Yet, in a PPR scoring format, taking on a risk profile of a player with little receiving upside who needs a high touchdown output to return value can be found much later in the draft. Other players of note passed on in this range include Elijah Mitchell, Antonio Gibson, and AJ Dillon, to name a few.

Before we move on, it is worth mentioning Marquise Brown. He is the ECR WR26, and it felt like a federal crime level of theft getting him in the fifth round considering DeAndre Hopkins‘ six-game suspension and Brown’s chemistry with Kyler Murray dating back to college at Oklahoma. Kliff Kingsbury will have a blast deploying the affectionately-named “Hollywood” in this air raid offense with a weak surrounding cast of pass-catchers aside from TE Zach Ertz. It takes a lot of personal restraint to keep Brown from knocking on the door of being a WR1.

The Draft Wizard did not appreciate the selection of Buffalo’s Devin Singletary at 7.09 and called the pick a reach. While certainly a fair criticism, in terms of role and backfield ambiguity, there is little difference between Singletary and the Dobbins. A full-round discount sat well enough to overlook the opinion of the Wizard. That selection preceded Russell Gage, Ronald Jones II (keeping it on brand), and the inexplicable steal of tight end Dalton Schultz at 10.04. With Michael Gallup still recovering from an ACL tear and Amari Cooper now on the Cleveland Browns, the Dak Prescott-led Dallas Cowboys have only CeeDee Lamb and Schultz as the leftover stalwarts to be trusted with volume in this offense. While I am bullish on the prospects of rookie Jalen Tolbert and hope Gallup returns to form, Schultz currently sits as the TE6 in my rankings for these reasons. The opportunity of volume and reliability makes Schultz a favorite of mine for the 2022 season.

The selections of Nyheim Hines, Derek Carr, Darrel Williams, and Jamison Crowder rounded out the draft. In essence, these picks are just scraping value from the bottom of the barrel, particularly with Carr. Carr is so inexpensive at cost. He is a sure-fire QB1 with Davante Adams in the fold now and will likely be the quarterback of many teams of mine this season.

All-in-all, this exercise proved fruitful. Did our Draft Wizard tool grade this draft as a smashmouth success? Not quite. There is plenty of room to improve, especially in building a more robust running back corps. Oddly enough, the most regrettable pick was perhaps Diggs in the second round in lieu of a running back, but this is why we mock.

For any questions or comments about this draft, feel free to reach out on Twitter at @HermsNFL.


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