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Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12-Team, PPR, Early Pick (2022)

Jun 14, 2022
Austin Ekeler

It’s never too early to prepare for your 2022 fantasy football draft. What better way to do so than to mock draft against the top experts in the fantasy football industry! You can use our FREE mock draft simulator to do just that. Let’s take a look at our latest mock draft and player notes.

Mock Draft Picks: 12-Team, PPR, Early Pick

Round 1, Pick 3: Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
Austin Ekeler isn’t used as a true three-down workhorse, but it’s hard to tell based on the actual amount of touches he sees in the Los Angeles Chargers offense. At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Ekeler finished 8th in the NFL in total touches (276) and 14th in touches per game (17.2).

But the raw touches hardly showcase the fantasy value Ekeler possesses, because he often commands an extremely high share of high-value targets ie. targets and red-zone opportunities.

His 13.9% target share and 70 receptions ranked second behind only Najee Harris. Ekeler’s 18 red-zone touchdowns and 63 red-zone touches ranked first and second respectively.

With such a secure role as a receiver out of the backfield and as a featured red-zone weapon in a high-powered offense, it’s hard to imagine a healthy Ekeler not returning at least top-5 fantasy status in 2022. He wrapped a bow on the 2021 season as the RB3 in points per game and RB2 overall in half-point scoring.

Round 2, Pick 10: CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL)
No more Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson can only spell great things for CeeDee Lamb in 2022. The biggest issue with Lamb was that he never was seeing the requisite target volume in an offense that had a surplus of playmakers.

Lamb boasted just an 18% target share last season – which ranked outside the top-30 among all pass-catchers.

But with the 8th-most vacated targets left to be distributed between Lamb, tight end Dalton Schultz, ACL-injury returning Michael Gallup, veteran James Washington and third-round rookie pick Jalen Tolbert, I’d bet Lamb crests at least a 20% target share in 2022. His 21% target rate per route run bested anybody in Dallas last season.

And that means more fantasy production will be on its way. Only once did Lamb fail to score double-digit fantasy points in a game where he commanded fewer than six targets in 2021.

Round 3, Pick 3: Mike Evans (WR – TB)
Mike Evans commanded just a 16% target share throughout the regular season and playoffs, but still finished eighth in both fantasy points per game and overall in half-point scoring.

The Buccaneers wide receiver achieved his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season and set a new career-high with 14 touchdown grabs, breaking his record from 2020. Double-digit touchdowns accompanied by a low target share is usually a sign to fade a wide receiver, but that’s hardly the case in a pass-happy offense led by Tom Brady.

Round 4, Pick 10: Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
The Raiders offense looks to reach new heights in 2022 with No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams added to the fold. And that greatly benefits the team’s lead ball-carrier Josh Jacobs. A more efficient offense lends itself to more scoring opportunities, and Jacobs will reap the most rewards as the team’s primary red-zone back.

Last year’s RB13 smashed career highs in all receiving categories in 2021 despite playing alongside Kenyan Drake and Jalen Richard. Injuries to the back-ups boosted Jacobs’ role as a receiver slightly, but it was not the only cause.

There was a deliberate effort to feature Jacobs more as a receiver with him catching at least two passes in 12 of his 15 games played. And more importantly, the receiving capability that Jacobs displayed puts to rest the narrative that he is “game-script” dependent. Whether the Raiders are winning or losing in a loaded 2022 AFC West, JJ has proven he can be used in all facets.

Now the Raiders did elect to sign both Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah this offseason to bolster their running back stable behind Jacobs. Bolden has been a special teams guy nearly his entire career, so I doubt he carves out any legitimate role on offense.

Abdullah has been used as a third-down back on the several teams he has been on at the NFL level, but I am not ready to declare him as a huge threat to Jacobs’ workload. Sure he might work in some, but not enough to hurt Jacobs’ bottom-line value. The team also drafted Zamir White in the fourth round, but I would not expect much from White in year one based on Josh McDaniels’ track record from New England of not featuring Day 3 rookie RBs.

The new head coach is more likely to run Jacobs into the ground on an expiring contract as he did with Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen during his Patriots tenure.

And besides, the red-zone role is the most significant for fantasy points, and that looks to be clearly in Jacobs’ grasp.

Two-down back Damien Harris was in the red-zone role for the Patriots last season and flourished because of it. He ranked fourth in carries (46) and third in rushing TDs (13) from inside the 20-yard line.

Round 5, Pick 3: Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
Entering Year 3, it looked like Courtland Sutton was on the cusp of true elite fantasy WR1 production, but his 2020 season was lost due to a torn ACL in Week 2. It was unclear how productive Sutton would be returning from the devastating knee injury.

But to start the 2021 season, the Broncos wide receiver looked like his old self. He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game (17th) and had a 27% target share in Weeks 2-7 during the regular season.

It wasn’t until Jerry Jeudy‘s return from injury that Sutton – and the rest of the Broncos pass catchers – became obsolete in a crowded, run-heavy offense led by a combination of Lock/Teddy Bridgewater. Nevertheless, Sutton finished the season as the fantasy WR46.

However, even in the anemic offense, Sutton still finished seventh in air yards (1,756), cemented in between Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, in 2021.

Sutton has a real chance to recapture his elite form another year removed from his ACL injury. It also helps substantially that he has received an ultra upgrade at the quarterback position with Denver’s trade for Russell Wilson.

Wilson has always been an elite downfield passer – he had the sixth-highest passer rating on throws of 20-plus air yards last season – which plays heavily into Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat.

Round 6, Pick 10: Damien Harris (RB – NE)
Damien Harris‘ ADP has dropped nearly a full round since the NFL draft took place and it’s unwarranted. All the Patriots did was draft two Day 3 running backs who will most likely be red-shirted their first seasons.

Harris should be the bellcow back for the Patriots in the final year of his contract as has been the case for many New England backs playing on expiring contracts. And should he see a heavy workload, there’s going to be fantasy points to come by.

In 2021, Harris finished 2nd in carries inside the 10-yd line, second to only Jonathan Taylor. The former Alabama back also led all running backs during the 2021 regular season in fantasy points per snap.

As PFF’s highest-graded running back (91.8) over the past two seasons, Harris needs to be held in extremely high regard. With one more year on his rookie deal, New England has all the incentive to ride Harris for the entire 2022 season.

Although there is some risk that he will be used in a 50/50 split with second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson (93) and Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games. In the six games they played together, Stevenson slightly edged out Harris in expected fantasy points per game (9.3 vs 8.9).

Round 7, Pick 3: Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is easily the biggest winner as A.J. Brown‘s absurd efficiency and YAC-ability in Tennessee was a primary driving force behind Ryan Tannehill‘s fantasy success as a Titan. Hurts is an easy top-eight fantasy quarterback next season with top-five status well within reach. The Eagles ranked second in screen rate a season ago, so anticipate plenty of plays where Hurts just dumps the ball off to AJB for massive chunk gains. Brown finished fourth in yards per route run last season (2.72) despite battling injuries throughout the season.

Round 8, Pick 10: Russell Gage (WR – TB)
Gage is coming off a stellar year after posting career-highs in yards per route run (1.96) and PFF receiving grade (76.0) while playing more on the outside. Often thought of as a “slot-only” wideout, Gage split snaps 50/50 from the slot versus outside in 2021.

He also led the Falcons with a 29% target share since Week 11 – playing 53% of his snaps for the outside – showcasing his ability to earn passing volume alongside the talented Kyle Pitts
Any receiver in a Tom Brady-led offense should be a sought-after commodity – so consider me in on Gage in 2022. There are plenty of scenarios where Gage continues his success from the tail-end of last season.

Round 9, Pick 3: Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)
It remains to be seen how the Giants’ new coaching staff is viewing Kadarius Toney heading into Year 2. They were rumored to trade the polarizing wide receiver before the NFL Draft, and the selection of Wan’Dale Robinson early in Round 2 isn’t a vote of confidence that is going to see an ultra-expanded role in Year 2.

However, what is clear with Toney is the talent. He flashed future target-magnet potential after commanding a 25% target rate per route run in 2021 – tied for 7th best in the NFL in 2021.

Round 10, Pick 10: Nyheim Hines (RB – IND)
Nyheim Hines posted career lows across the receiving board in 2021, but there’s hope that with a new quarterback under center that he can bounce back in 2022.

No passer targeted running backs more than new Colts quarterback Matt Ryan did in 2021 – 8.6 targets per game. Bodes well for Hines to provide more usable weeks as he did in 2020. That year, Hines finished as RB18 in PPR scoring.

Round 11, Pick 3: DeVante Parker (WR – NE)
2021 was a typical season for DeVante Parker. The former first-round pick had at least seven targets in seven of his nine games played, scoring double-digit fantasy points in more than half of them. He averaged 12.9 expected fantasy points per game through 17 weeks (28th).

His acquisition by the Patriots helps shore up the need for a big-bodied wide receiver on the perimeter that can make plays downfield. But the extent of how high a target share Parker will command remains to be seen. If anything, he probably has the most touchdown upside of the New England Patriots WRs.

Just don’t be overly bullish on him being available all season long, as his injury history proceeds him. His 1.48 yards per route run was also his worst mark since 2018 as was his 55% catch rate.

Round 12, Pick 10: Jamaal Williams (RB – DET)
Last season in the early going, Jamaal Williams was the understudy to D’Andre Swift, which is a role he will reprise this season. In Weeks 1-7, he averaged 12.4 touches and 58.7 total yards per game playing 29-49% of snaps per game. He was the RB37 in fantasy points per game. When Swift was out and Williams was active, he played 42-47% of snaps with 18 rushing attempts and 74 rushing yards per game. Williams isn’t the sexiest handcuff or late-round selection, but the Lions’ offense should take another step forward this year, and Williams will be the primary back if Swift were to miss time again.

Round 13, Pick 3: Darrel Williams (RB – ARI)
RB Darrel Williams signed with the Cardinals this offseason.

Former teammate Patrick Mahomes vouched for Williams, informing Arizona that he was a back he both liked/trusted. Williams posted 1,000 yards from scrimmage, scored 8 TDs and had zero fumbles on 191 touches in 2021.

He also proved that he could shoulder the load with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined with injury. In the six games that Williams was the clear-cut starter in the Chiefs backfield, he averaged 19 fantasy points per game (PPR) on 18.3 touches per game. Also averaged nearly 100 yards from scrimmage (96.3).

Williams is the James Conner backup to target across all formats, as he’d likely inherit the RB1 role should the injury-prone starter go down. His body of work as a receiver and goal-line back present him immediate fantasy RB1 upside.

The former UDFA led the Chiefs backfield in red-zone touches and averaged 4.5 receptions per game as the starter in 2021. His 47 catches overall ranked ninth.

Round 14, Pick 10: Albert Okwuegbunam (TE – DEN)
Albert Okwuegbunam tied for the third-highest target rate per route run in the NFL last season (23%). Now entrenched as the presumed full-time starter with Noah Fant traded to the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, the uber-athletic tight end can break out in Year 3.

It bodes well in Albert O’s favor that Noah Fant finished last season as the TE12 while the duo played in 14 games together.

CTAs

Mock Draft Results and Analysis

FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 


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