May is a month of transition. School’s wrapping up. The weather (at least where I live) is finally turning. The NFL is in relative hibernation, and other sports like the NBA and NHL are nearly their conclusion. Oh, and I guess baseball is around too. May is also when I transition out of sports for a bit and catch up on all the movies, TV shows and books I missed over the last nine months.
But May also marks the beginning of mock draft season. I compare mock drafting in May to listening to holiday music on November 1st. The buildup and preparation for the big day are a huge part of the excitement. And for fantasy football enthusiasts, draft day is our equivalent of Christmas.
And while some people may tease you for starting your draft preparation before Memorial Day, I’d argue that mock drafting this early serves an advantage, as it allows you to get a general sense of how draft boards are shaking out, so you can begin strategizing and identifying value. And what better way to practice than using our FREE mock draft simulator?
Let’s keep the mock drafting going with a point per reception (PPR) mock, where I was randomly assigned the ninth pick.
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12-Team PPR Mock Draft (2023 Fantasy Football)
Let’s take a look at my latest fantasy football mock draft.
Pick 1.9: Bijan Robinson (RB – ATL)
What a bizarre start to a mock draft. Justin Jefferson went first overall. Then seven running backs went off the board after him. Ultimately, I continued the RB trend with Robinson. Given a short turnaround before my Round 2 pick, I decided to wait for my WR1. I didn’t love my options beyond Robinson, so I took the ultimate risk-reward pick.
Pick 2.4: Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
Diggs is rock solid, especially in PPR formats. CeeDee Lamb tempted me, but I have more confidence in Josh Allen and the Bills’ coaching staff than I do Dak Prescott and Dallas’ staff. Can’t go wrong with either.
Pick 3.9: Tee Higgins (WR – CIN)
I have a sneaky suspicion Higgins is going to ball out this season, which happens to be a contract year. Yes, Ja’Marr Chase is the top dog in this passing game. But Higgins would be the top dog just about anywhere else.
Pick 4.4: J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL)
I’m happy that I went with Higgins over a running back like Aaron Jones or Dalvin Cook, as the receiver options aren’t enamoring in Round 4. Instead, I decided it was time to take a high-upside RB2 in Dobbins, who started to show out toward the end of the 2022 season. Hopefully, Dobbins is fully removed from his knee injury and can build off his inspiring finish.
Pick 5.9: D’Andre Swift (RB – PHI)
While the Lions might not like D’Andre Swift, I’m thrilled to get him as my RB3. Swift clearly carries more value in a PPR format, and I trust Philadelphia’s coaching staff to use him in a variety of ways that’ll extract his explosiveness. I don’t think Swift has to touch the ball more than 12-to-15 times per game to be a fantasy factor in this offense. Just pray he stays healthy, and Swift could be one of the biggest post-hype sleepers in fantasy.
Pick 6.4: Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
I’m left with a difficult choice in the sixth round. I would be happy to get one of Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, or Justin Herbert as my starting QB. But Diontae Johnson is still on the board, and he’s a wide receiver I’m very high on as a bounce-back candidate in 2023. All four players are more likely to be gone by the time I’m back on the clock. So I decide to go with Fields, as I think the dropoff to the next tier of quarterbacks (Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones) is steeper than the dropoff from Johnson to the next batch of wideouts.
I chose Fields over the other two quarterbacks because of his running ability. There’s an outside chance Fields finishes as the top QB in fantasy in a Lamar Jackson-type of breakout year. But it’s a close decision between Fields and Herbert, who I think bounces back in a big way too.
Pick 7.9: Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)
I’m normally not someone to take a tight end this early in my draft, but I was surprised to see Pitts slip this far and didn’t love any options at wideout or running back.
Pick 8.4: George Pickens (WR – PIT)
Pickens is a little risky at my WR3, but the upside is evident.
Pick 9.9: Elijah Moore (WR – CLE)
Gabe Davis would’ve been the pick had I not already had Diggs. This is an ugly juncture of the draft, so I take another talented receiver who didn’t get a fair shake with the Jets.
Pick 10.4: Adam Thielen (WR – CAR)
I would trade back if I could at this point. I decide to take Thielen because I think he’s got plenty left in the tank and will be a good sure-handed weapon for a rookie QB to latch onto.
Pick 11.9: Devon Achane (RB – MIA)
This is why I tend to wait on quarterback and tight end. The options at tailback and receiver are horrendous at this point in the draft. But with Fields and Pitts already rostered, I throw up my hands and reach a bit on Achane, who is one of the few running backs left on the board I’m remotely excited about.
Pick 12.4: Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
It’s easy to forget Patterson is still a Falcon, and I’m grabbing him in case he’s more of a thorn in Robinson’s side than we anticipate.
Pick 13.9: Isaiah Hodgins (WR – NYG)
They’re all dart throws at this point, but the Giants might’ve found something in Hodgins.
Pick 14.4: Dallas Cowboys D/ST