Fantasy football mock draft series: July takeaways

Fantasy football mock draft series: July takeaways

Fantasy football draft strategy tips and advice

Fantasy football mock draft series: July takeaways


Fantasy football drafts are heating up as we enjoy summer weather and cold beverages. A recently hosted industry mock draft is the source for this recap. Out of respect for the hosts of this draft, no reference will be made to its identity so the content remains fresh on their end, nor will the entire draft results be published here.

The draft results will appear in a magazine as part of a larger evaluation of the draft. Before getting into my individual picks, here are a few observations from a 12-team, PPR draft.

  • In last June’s iteration, Round 1 saw seven running backs and five receivers, including Cooper Kupp going at No. 2 and Justin Jefferson as the third selection. This version saw Kupp drafted fourth and Jefferson seventh with nine RBs making up the rest of the round.
  • Six RBs came off the board in Round 2 in 2021’s June draft, followed by one fewer receiver and solo tight end. This year’s June draft was no different. In the July edition, five backs, one tight end, and six wideouts were chosen.
  • The first QB, Josh Allen, was taken with the opening pick of Round 5 in June. Justin Herbert went just two picks later, and only a pair of passers came off the board in the next 31 selections (Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes). This time around, Allen was Pick 5:05, and Mahomes went with the very next spot. Herbert went with the eighth pick in the fifth round. Seven quarterbacks went in the first 75 choices this time. Quarterback remains quite deep with a viable starter often being available into the 13th round.
  • Tight end remains a little top-heavy, just like last year. Following the consensus top-six TEs — all of whom went in the first five rounds — the position gets really dicey. If you’re not comfortable playing the matchups, make sure to secure one of Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, Darren Waller or Dalton Schultz.
  • In the first 100 picks, nine QBs, 40 RBs, 43 WRs and eight TEs — no significant changes from the June version when eight quarterbacks, 38 RBs, 45 WRs and nine tight ends were chosen.
  • Pick 10 is an interesting spot this year. In the FSGA draft, which was a 14-teamer, it was brutal compared to a 12-squad setup. This draft having a dozen teams made me appreciate the slotting more than expected.

Here’s a snapshot of the first 10 rounds broken down by number of positional picks:

1st: 9 RBs, 3 WRs
2nd: 5 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE
3rd: 5 RBs, 5 WRs, 2 TEs
4th: 4 RBs, 6 WRs, 2 TEs
5th: 3 QBs, 3 RBs, 5 WRs, 1 TE
6th: 3 QBs, 3 RB, 6 WRs
7th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 2 TEs
8th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 7 WRs
9th: 2 QBs, 5 RBs, 3 WRs, 2 TEs
10th: 3 QBs, 3 RBs, 6 WRs

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My roster

Pos Player Team Bye
QB Aaron Rodgers GB 14
RB James Conner ARI 13
RB JK Dobbins BAL 10
RB Rashaad Penny SEA 11
RB Miles Sanders PHI 7
RB Hassan Haskins TEN 6
WR Ja’Marr Chase CIN 10
WR Stefon Diggs BUF 7
WR Jerry Jeudy DEN 9
WR Allen Lazard GB 14
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling KC 8
WR Jalen Tolbert DAL 9
TE Dalton Schultz DAL 9
TE Austin Hooper TEN 6
PK Matt Prater ARI 13
DT Los Angeles Chargers LAC 8

By round

Pick Rnd Player Tm Pos
10 1.1 Ja’Marr Chase CIN WR
15 2.3 Stefon Diggs BUF WR
34 3.1 James Conner ARI RB
39 4.3 J.K. Dobbins BAL RB
58 5.1 Dalton Schultz DAL TE
63 6.3 Jerry Jeudy DEN WR
82 7.1 Rashaad Penny SEA RB
87 8.3 Miles Sanders PHI RB
106 9.1 Allen Lazard GB WR
111 10.3 Aaron Rodgers GB QB
130 11.1 Marquez Valdes-Scantling KC WR
135 12.3 Hassan Haskins TEN RB
154 13.1 Austin Hooper TEN TE
159 14.3 Jalen Tolbert DAL WR
178 15.1 Los Angeles Chargers LAC Def/ST
183 16.3 Matt Prater ARI K

Keeping the previous iterations’ format alive, each pick gets a brief explanation of my draft thoughts:

WR Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

A top-three receiver late in Round 1 was my Plan B in case a strong running back wasn’t available. I decided to roll the dice on an RB1 making lasting until my next pick, allowing me to secure a generational talent in Chase.

WR Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

My small gamble on running backs being available didn’t quite pan out. Much like with the Chase selection, an elite receiver was a welcomed sight with the crop of draftable backs getting thin. Being on the short end of my wait heading into Round 3, I was fairly confident a top-end RB2 would be there as my first.

RB James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

That confidence was perhaps unfounded as the two guys I targeted (David Montgomery and Aaron Jones) were chosen. Conner as my No. 1 leaves an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, but he’s a weekly start when healthy and has flimsy competition for touches. In hindsight, Cam Akers may have been the smarter play here.

RB JK Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

According to Dobbins himself, he should be available from last summer’s ACL tear come Week 1. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported to the contrary, which Dobbins too exception to on social media (all after I drafted him). Assuming he plays even 15 games, Dobbins gives me a shot at double-digit rushing touchdowns and makes for a quality pairing with Conner in relation to having the WR duo I’ve drafted.

TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Schultz is among my favorite draft targets in 2022. He will lead the Cowboys in all meaningful receiving metrics behind WR CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup (knee) won’t be himself for months into the season, if at all, and James Washington may not even fend off rookie Jalen Tolbert. Schultz should feast in PPR.

WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Here’s where I rolled the dice a little once again, but rather than hoping a grouping of players would be available with the next choice, Jeudy himself is the gamble. Can he start to put it together with Russell Wilson? The new offense is favorable, and Jeudy enters a pivot — if not make-or-break — Year 3. Other considerations: Marquise Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Michael Thomas — all three went in that respective order following my selection.

RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

A small sample size of a breakthrough run late last year has me hoping the former first-rounder is finally coming into his own. He’s a third back on this roster and gives it a hint of upside after two modest choices at the position. Penny could flop via injury, a suspect offensive line, an upstart rookie, and/or shoddy quarterback play — risky, no doubt.

RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

As a fourth back, chosen in Round 8, Sanders offers a veteran presence as roster depth. With the retooling of the passing game, perhaps he is rejuvenated, although it’s not something I expect. Solid flex numbers should suffice.

WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers

Another player I coveted entering the draft, Lazard comes at just the right time for this roster composition. Round 9 is a perfect spot to gamble on a sleeper with his immense potential. Nabbing either Brandon Aiyuk or Russell Gage entered my mind.

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

A calculated decision to choose Lazard over my first quarterback came at the expense of losing out on Tom Brady and Dak Prescott. Rodgers would have been the third choice of the lot. It’s not that he can’t play at a high level without Davante Adams, though the huge games may not be there as frequently.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kansas City Chiefs

Someone has to emerge from the KC receiving corps, and why can’t it be the dude the Chiefs paid handsomely in free agency? MVS goes from Aaron Rodgers to Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and doesn’t have someone of Davante Adams’ ilk this time around to steal most of the looks. Travis Kelce will get his, but his career high in targets is still 19 fewer than the 169 Rodgers sent to the now-Las Vegas Raiders wideout over the same number of contests.

RB Hassan Haskins, Tennessee Titans

A promising rookie with a dangerous blend of footwork, decent hands, and power is a Derrick Henry injury away from being thrust into an RB2 role. This late in the drafting process, coupled with my so-so stable of backs, makes Haskins an appealing addition.

TE Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans

Among my favorite sleepers this year, Hooper enters an enticing situation. Tennessee has major question marks at wide receiver, and the veteran tight end is poised to rebound after two disappointing seasons in Cleveland. He won’t be misused with a former tight ends coach calling plays, and Hooper displayed chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill in OTAs.

WR Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys

Tolbert has a shot at running with the starters when the season opens. He’ll need to prove himself in camp, of course, but there’s an opportunity with Michael Gallup (knee) still on the mend and veteran newcomer James Washington being just a guy. Tolbert could emerge early but doesn’t profile as a weekly contributor upon Gallup’s healthy return.

Los Angeles Chargers D/ST

The Bolts have added impressive pieces to a defense that already had individual talent but lacked cohesion and leadership. The system is proven and now has the tools to succeed. The division isn’t ideal, though, given all of the weaponry.

PK Matt Prater, Arizona Cardinals

A veteran with an adequate blend of accuracy, opportunities, and still enough leg to get into bonus points, Prater was an easy selection.


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