Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Half-PPR, 12-Team, No. 3 Pick (2022)
The lineup for this 12-team draft is 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K, and 6 bench spots, and was conducted using FantasyPros’ Draft Simulator.
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.
Round 1, Pick 3: Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN)
It would be a disservice to Justin Jefferson and the other superstars available here to claim you don’t want the third pick, but it’s undoubtedly a tricky spot to draft from this season. The consensus No. 1 pick, especially in anything but full PPR, is Jonathan Taylor with Christian McCaffrey close behind. After those two, all bets are off.
The half-PPR format may discourage managers to take a wide receiver this high, evidenced by the next one going at pick 10, but I have concerns with the remaining running backs. Dalvin Cook is the running back I would have taken, but he’s spending more and more time on the trainer’s table and comes with a near requirement to draft his backup, Alexander Mattison. Najee Harris may never come off the field, but the offense may not spend much time on it. Derrick Henry‘s wheels will fall off soon and Austin Ekeler is in for major touchdown regression.
On top of all that, I like the value of the second- and third-round running backs this year, and I can take my pick of any wide receiver I want. So, I chose Justin Jefferson after splitting hairs between he and Cooper Kupp. Jefferson has spent two seasons in the NFL and has been spectacular in both. He figures to see an uptick in offensive efficiency with the hiring of Kevin O’Connell. There’s been some chatter that Jefferson could be moved around the formation more, leading to an increase in easy targets to get the ball in his hands. Catching 110+ balls equals a lot of points, whether it be full PPR or half.
Round 2, Pick 22: Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)
As mentioned, I like the running backs going in this range, which helps soften the blow of missing out on a back in Round 1. Picking between Fournette and Barkley is a matter of preference, and I prefer Fournette, ever so slightly. The attachment to TB12 and the Buccaneers’ offense engineers one of the highest ceilings among all running backs.
Without any additional context, Fournette boasts a resume that personifies the elites of fantasy football. Prior to the 2020 season, the former fourth overall draft pick was cut by the Jaguars before becoming a late addition to the Bucs’ backfield rotation. In each of his other four seasons, outside of 2020, Fournette has finished as an RB1 in PPR points per game, including last season’s RB4 finish. In addition, he was third in targets among running backs, third in receptions, and fourth in receiving yards. His 54 red-zone touches were more than any running back beyond Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler. Did I mention he’s attached to Tom Brady?
Rachaad White has the potential to nibble into that workload some, but he will have to earn Brady’s trust to take a big bite and truly eat into it. Fournette is trusted on passing downs, early downs, and short yardage. I like 2022 Lenny to outscore his RB12 ADP.
Round 3, Pick 27: Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Other considerations: Breece Hall, Antonio Gibson, A.J. Brown
After considering Fournette or Barkley with my last pick, I was lucky enough to take one and get the other five picks later. Barkley comes with the injury concerns, obviously, but by all accounts, he looks to be healthy and explosive in camp. Coach Brian Daboll agrees, saying “he looks explosive. He hit one yesterday and got out into the open field. I don’t know what his GPS numbers were, but it was high. He was moving pretty good. He’s explosive. He’s quick. He’s strong. He looks good to me.”
Barkley has been nothing short of elite when healthy, averaging 24 points per game as a rookie and 18.8 in 2019. Another element of Barkley’s potential success is that of an improved offensive line. PFFs preseason rankings have New York’s unit at 18th overall, a steep improvement upon their 30th-place finish last season.
It’s rare to find a running back of this pedigree in the early third round, where the risk is lessened. It becomes much more viable to take a WR at the top of the draft if you can snag Barkley in the third round, though I suspect his ADP will rise as the season nears.
Round 4, Pick 46: Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
As much as I like the running back values in Rounds 2 and 3, it takes a steep dive at the end of the fourth round. With two quality running backs already on the roster, I’m looking mostly at wide receivers with an eye on tight ends, as well.
Courtland Sutton presents the most upside in this group, which is further solidified with an ACL tear wiping out Tim Patrick‘s season. Sutton knows a thing or two about that injury, suffering it himself at the beginning of the 2020 season. Prior to the injury, Sutton was coming off a Pro-Bowl season in 2019 in which he recorded 1,112 yards and six scores, finishing as fantasy’s WR19.
He’s flashed extremely high upside but has never played with a quarterback near Russell Wilson‘s level. He’s clearly established himself as the WR1 for the Broncos, ahead of Jerry Jeudy, a role that should be fruitful for his fantasy stock.
Round 5, Pick 51: Darren Waller (TE – LV)
I was considering Darren Waller in Round 4 and was fortunate enough to see him still on the board five picks later. Waller’s stock has dipped with the arrival of Davante Adams. I get it, Adams is a target magnet, but I don’t foresee a massive drop-off in targets or production from the veteran tight end. Waller saw over eight targets per game last season and while it’s unlikely he will see that many this season, he’s still a safe bet to see six or seven per game. Hunter Renfrow is due for some regression after notching 128 targets last season, while Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards took 129 combined targets out the door. The other target leaders for the Raiders included Henry Ruggs and DeSean Jackson, so there will be targets opening up.
The pass-catching group for the Raiders is very thin after Waller, Adams, and Renfrow, so we can expect this to be a highly concentrated passing attack. It’s easy to assume that adding a big-time wide receiver crushes the target volume for the rest of the offense, but it’s not as impactful in an offense that will be this concentrated on its top three weapons.
Waller has spent some time on the trainer’s table the past few seasons but not a lot of time in the end zone. I’ll trade in a few targets for a healthier version of Waller, especially if Adams helps put them in a position for more scoring opportunities.
Round 6, Pick 70: Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
Other considerations: Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Elijah Moore
I’ve always been a late-round QB drafter, opting to soak up value at other positions early in drafts. I still generally stay away from paying the price for an elite quarterback, but it seems we have more value at the position in the middle rounds than ever before. This can partially be attributed to the increase in mobile quarterbacks, as we get with Jalen Hurts.
Hurts was the eighth quarterback off the board here, which is where he finished in scoring last season. His per-game average, however, placed him at sixth in scoring between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. With the assumption that the Eagles are in line to air it out more this season, that doesn’t mean his rushing will nosedive. He will still be able to take off when a play breaks down, or simply when the defense has more respect for the passing attack than they did last season.
With A.J. Brown ready to take flight in Eagle green and another year of development for DeVonta Smith, Hurts will likely increase his passing numbers while still maintaining a high floor with his rushing upside. If things click in the passing game, Hurts has the potential to soar into the QB1 overall conversation.
Round 7, Pick 75: Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ)
The benefit of picking near the beginning or end of a round is that you can often snag both players you’re eyeing, as we’ve seen in this draft a few times. It happens again here with the second-year Jet, Elijah Moore.
Moore’s rookie campaign was cut short due to a quad injury, but he busted out in a big way prior to the injury. Following the team’s Week 6 bye, Moore was the WR2 in overall points from Week 7 through Week 13, and the WR3 in points per game. The biggest sticking point is that Moore averaged 7.8 PPR points with Zach Wilson under center and 20.9 points with the backup QBs.
The other question, of course, is the Jets drafting Garrett Wilson, but training camp reports suggest that Moore has established himself as the WR1 in this offense. Wilson has yet to prove himself on an NFL field, while Moore has flashed elite upside across a seven-week stretch. You can read more of my thoughts on Elijah Moore here, but he’s a player I’m buying even with the arrival of Wilson.
Round 8, Pick 94: DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)
This range really is the sweet spot to load up on high-upside wide receivers, especially after nabbing two quality running backs in the first three rounds. Admittedly, it was tough for me to pass on the upside of Drake London in this spot after we’ve seen rookie wide receivers take over in recent seasons. I do not believe London is on the same level of rookie Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson, however, and the Falcons’ offense is likely going to struggle.
Similar to my Elijah Moore selection, we’ve seen Smith win on an NFL field consistently. I also like the idea of stacking Hurts and Smith. Stacking is not a requirement in redraft by any stretch, but it can certainly win you weeks when the connection lights up. I especially like the idea here, because Smith is my WR4; I’m not relying on him to carry the lineup and if the QB/WR combo has a down week, it’s not going to crush me, but the duo has the potential to win me some weeks.
Round 9, Pick 99: Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)
Toney flashed in many ways during his rookie campaign, but a few of the most encouraging signs were finishing 17th in yards per route run with 2.13, seventh in targets per route run at 29%, and sixth in targets per snap with 19.1%. These metrics are extremely valuable in identifying a breakout, as it shows us how involved and successful a player was when on the field.
The reports out of Giants camp haven’t been friendly to Daniel Jones, which is a concern. But he is learning a new system and the team can pivot to Tyrod Taylor. I still wouldn’t rule out a Jimmy Garoppolo trade either. Head coach Brian Daboll will find a way to get the ball to Toney regardless of who is playing quarterback, and we’ve seen the electricity spark with the ball in his hands.
Round 10, Pick 118: Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI)
Admittedly, I don’t love playing a QB, RB, and WR from the same offense, but it’s unlikely that I will have both DeVonta Smith and Kenneth Gainwell in the lineup alongside Hurts very often. Among the late-round running backs, Gainwell has some of the best odds to have a breakout season.
He’s often been spotted working with the first-team offense, while many reports have surfaced that Miles Sanders has spent time working on the second team. Gainwell is expected to see a larger role in the offense this season, and with his ability as a pass catcher, we could see him on the field more than Sanders if the team places a bigger emphasis on the passing attack.
Round 11, Pick 123: Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI)
Other considerations: Rachaad White, Michael Gallup
Khalil Herbert dazzled in his rookie season when given the opportunity. In Weeks 5-8, Herbert ran for 344 yards, averaging 86 per game, along with one touchdown. He was RB18 during that stretch, and while that’s far from elite, it was a strong showing for a sixth-round rookie with just a few games under his belt.
We shouldn’t overreact to every report out of training camp, like the reports that David Montgomery was spotted on special teams, but there are tidbits of information we can take away. The growing consensus is that new coordinator Luke Getsy wants to utilize Herbert more, similar to how two backs were utilized in Green Bay. This late in the draft, I’m looking for running backs that could provide league-winning upside. Herbert is capable of that if something were to happen to Montgomery, but he may also be a viable flex play even with Montgomery on the field.
Round 12, Pick 142: Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
It seems that many fantasy managers have forgotten about the third-round pick, as he’s being drafted around WR80 in redraft leagues. That price tag is criminally low for the Texans’ No. 2 wide receiver that was an intriguing prospect one year ago.
It likely has a lot to do with the assumption that the Texans’ offense will be poor, and I think the running game will be, but I firmly believe Davis Mills and Nico Collins will surprise a lot of folks this season. They are also expected to be trailing for much of the time, so we should see Mills get plenty of opportunities to uncork it downfield to Collins.
Round 13, Pick 147: Alec Pierce (WR – IND)
Other considerations: Julio Jones
The rookie out of Cincinnati offers a unique blend of size and speed. Upon being selected in the second round, Alec Pierce has generated very little buzz, especially for a player who is starting in two-wide receiver sets. In an offense, may I remind you, that is expected to see an uptick in passing volume and performance.
I liked Pierce a lot going into the NFL draft and the Colts are an ideal fit. I find myself intrigued, yet again, by Parris Campbell, but we all know he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He also will play out of the slot primarily with Pierce on the outside opposite of Pittman. He could surprise a lot of people in his rookie season.
Round 14, Pick 166: Denver Broncos D/ST
While the offense in Denver has expectations a mile high, the defense has flown under the radar. I expect this unit to be stout once again.
Round 15, Pick 171: Ryan Succop (K – TB)
- QB: Jalen Hurts
- RB: Leonard Fournette
- RB: Saquon Barkley
- WR: Justin Jefferson
- WR: Courtland Sutton
- WR: Elijah Moore
- TE: Darren Waller
- D/ST: Denver Broncos
- K: Ryan Succop
- WR – DeVonta Smith
- WR – Kadarius Toney
- RB – Kenneth Gainwell
- RB – Khalil Herbert
- WR – Nico Collins
- WR – Alec Pierce
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.