Mock Draft May is fully underway. And while the NFL goes into its version of “hibernation” before training camp, now is the perfect time to get some early prep in for your upcoming drafts this summer. Because draft season, and football season, will be here before we know it.
Today, I’ll take you through a PPR mock draft I conducted in a 12-team league using our Draft Wizard. I was randomly assigned the 9th pick.
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Fantasy Football Mock Draft
Pick 1.9: Nick Chubb (RB – CLE)
Six running backs were surprisingly taken within the first eight picks, leaving me with a tricky decision. Ultimately, I went with the majority and landed my RB1, knowing there are plenty of receivers I’d be happy to snag on the turnaround.
Is Nick Chubb a great PPR asset? No. But I took him over Tony Pollard because I’ve seen Chubb produce elite numbers as a team’s franchise back. Plus, I’m not sure if Pollard’s ceiling is any higher than Chubb’s even without Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas. I’ll go with what I know in Chubb.
Pick 2.4: Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
Pick 3.9: DK Metcalf (WR – SEA)
I was scoffed, mocked and laughed at for being high on Metcalf last season. And he rewarded me by finishing as the WR16 in PPR formats last season. I’m not sure what Geno Smith has in store for an encore in 2023, but I am more than happy to go with the explosive Metcalf as my WR2.
Pick 4.4: J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL)
This could be deemed a slight reach, as Jalen Hurts, Deebo Samuel, Dameon Pierce and Amari Cooper were among the players left on the board. But I don’t want a QB this early, I have questions about Samuel and Pierce and can’t stand Cooper’s inconsistencies.
So instead, I went with Dobbins, who is someone I’m really excited to see in 2023 now that he’s a year fully removed from his ACL injury recovery. Dobbins rushed for 397 yards in his final four regular season games and looked more like the tailback we hoped he would be entering the NFL. Dobbins will likely never be a true featured back by today’s NFL standards, but he’s the best back in Baltimore’s room and offers some receiving ability out of the backfield.
Pick 5.9: Cam Akers (RB – LAR)
My game plan in drafts will be to land two top receivers in the first three rounds, then three running backs within the first five rounds. Tailback tends to get really ugly after this point, and there are way more receivers I’m willing to add as my WR3 than running backs I’m willing to take as my RB3.
I chose Akers over Rachaad White because, like Dobbins, I was smitten by what I saw from Akers to close the year. Akers rushed for 512 yards and six scores in Los Angeles’ final six games. It appears he’s won back the trust of Sean McVay, and there’s really nowhere for the Rams offense to go but up after Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and several offensive line starters went down with injuries. I’ll take the plunge.
Pick 6.4: Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
Johnson is another guy I’m going to be targeting in drafts this season. He’s caught at least 85 passes each of the last three years, which raises his floor in a PPR format. But consider that Johnson managed to finish as the WR28 while playing with a rookie QB for most of the year and failing to score a touchdown. It’s actually impressive that Johnson didn’t score once on 147 targets.
But it’s worth noting that Johnson posted the highest average depth of target in his career with Kenny Pickett under center. Yes, George Pickens and the corpse that is Allen Robinson are in town. But even if Johnson catches five touchdowns in 2023 (which would tie his second-lowest total in a single season), he’s got the ability to deliver value as a WR3/FLEX.
Pick 7.9: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF)
We go from Johnson’s terrible TD luck to Aiyuk’s pretty fortunate season from a scoring perspective. Aiyuk scored eight times on the season to finish as the WR15 in PPR last season. But it’s worth noting that four of his scores came in two multi-TD games. And Aiyuk posted just one 100-yard game the entire year. I hope Aiyuk’s value in 2023 will be a bit less tied to his ability to crack pay dirt. But he’s still a very solid receiver who you can plug into your lineup with a decent amount of confidence.
Pick 8.4: Tua Tagovailoa (WR – MIA)
I’m perfectly fine with Tua as my starting QB. Granted, I’ll likely need to add a backup in the event of an injury. But Tagovailoa started to show his potential in Mike McDaniel’s offense. The Miami offense could be really good in 2023 and if it is, Tagovailoa will surely finish as a QB1.
Pick 9.9: Jahan Dotson (WR – WSH)
Dotson admittedly isn’t a player I’m outwardly pursuing in drafts. But as my WR5, I’ll take the upside shot. Dotson caught seven touchdowns on just 35 receptions as a rookie. And it’s foolish to expect anything close to a 20% touchdown rate. But there’s enough explosive ability there to have me excited. Now the question is whether Sam Howell and Eric Bieniemy can unlock it more consistently.
Pick 10.4: Devon Achane (RB – MIA)
Achane will be one of the rookies I target later on in drafts, as I think he has the potential to play a significant role in Miami’s backfield as the season transpires. Achane is small but a hard runner with exciting speed. It wouldn’t stun me if he surpassed Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson in training camp, but we will probably have to play the long game with the Texas A&M rookie.
Pick 11.9: Darren Waller (TE – NYG)
I accidentally forgot to add a tight-end starting slot in this draft, which is why Waller made it to Round 11. However, I think he has potential for a career resurgence working the middle of the field in Brian Daboll’s offense.
Pick 12.4: Derek Carr (QB – NO)
I don’t typically advise taking two quarterbacks in a 1QB league, but Carr essentially serves as Tua insurance and gives me an easy drop candidate on my roster should I need to make some moves on the waiver wire.
Pick 13.9: Denver Broncos D/ST
Pick 14.4: Evan McPherson (K – CIN)