Labor Day weekend just passed us by. This is also the last opportunity to draft before the season kicks off on Thursday night. So with that, this article dives into the first five rounds of a 12-team PPR mock draft.
This should help you understand where certain players are going and give you an idea on how your team will shape up at different draft slots. This is just one interpretation and your draft will obviously shape out differently than how this one will go. Use this as a guide and you may be in better shape before you draft your team.
12-Team Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft
Team 1 – Le’Veon Bell (RB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Team 2 – David Johnson (RB, Arizona Cardinals)
Team 3 – Todd Gurley III (RB, Los Angeles Rams)
Team 4 – Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
Team 5 – Antonio Brown (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Team 6 – Alvin Kamara (RB, New Orleans Saints)
Team 7 – DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Houston Texans)
Team 8 – Kareem Hunt (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
Team 9 – Leonard Fournette (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Team 10 – Saquon Barkley (RB, New York Giants)
Team 11 – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, New York Giants)
Team 12 – Melvin Gordon (RB, Los Angeles Rams)
Bell, Johnson, and Gurley can go in either of those first three picks. Bell looks like the better number one pick as he is playing in a contract year and will look to get paid in the offseason. You can be sure that he will be turning in a campaign to remember for fantasy owners. Johnson would be over Gurley because even though Johnson didn’t play in 2017, his wrist injury will not diminish from him being a dominant force in that offense.
Where in Gurley’s situation, the offense may become more balanced with the additions made. Gurley is still a top-three pick, but he won’t replicate his sensational numbers of last season of 19 total touchdowns and 2,000+ scrimmage yards. Elliott will be the focal point of the Cowboys offense as the passing game has become a question mark. With Dez Bryant being cut and Jason Witten retiring, the offense has no clear number one option to go to anymore.
This means that Elliott will be used more often to run the ball and also catch passes out of the backfield. This is a reason that he would go ahead of Brown in this mock draft. Brown is the model of consistency when it comes to fantasy football. With five straight seasons of 100 receptions and 1,200 yards receiving yards, Brown is a player that you can rely on every week to be a performer for your team. Elliott has the slight advantage in gaining yards on the ground as well, that would make him go one pick before Brown.
Barkley going in the late first round may surprise some people, but that offensive line may be a bit questionable. Bringing in Nate Solder from New England and drafting Will Hernandez is a good start, but the rest of the line is not too formidable. Barkley possesses the talent to become a start even with a shoddy offensive line, but drafting him in one of the top-5 picks may be a little too high.
Barkley will be a fantasy start and an early pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but let’s cash a reality check and understand his situation before anointing any crowns. Another reason to temper expectations is playing on a team with Beckham may bring up an issue with touches. Beckham will be another offensive player that will require touches to move the chains for this offense.
Beckham just got a fat contract before the regular season begins and he will look to prove he is worth every penny. Now, defenses may be game-planning for him, but his ability to create separation and his amazing circus grabs can make any cornerback useless. Making sure both players are happy is the key here and both become late-first round picks because of that.
Gordon closes out the first round and this also may be a surprise pick. As much as Julio Jones may warrant a first round pick, Gordon will be utilized more in his offense compare to Jones. With Hunter Henry going on injured reserve for the 2018 season, Gordon will be more involved to keep the offense on the field. The Chargers are going to be relying on Gordon to be a red zone runner and also move the chains on long drives through the air.
Philip Rivers does have lots of options to throw to this year (newly signed Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams), but Gordon will be getting the lion’s share of the touches. This warrants the first round selection over Jones.
Team 12 – Michael Thomas (WR, New Orleans Saints)
Team 11 – Christian McCaffrey (RB, Carolina Panthers)
Team 10 – Julio Jones (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Team 9 – Keenan Allen (WR, Los Angeles Chargers)
Team 8 – A.J. Green (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
Team 7 – Dalvin Cook (RB, Minnesota Vikings)
Team 6 – Davante Adams (WR, Green Bay Packers)
Team 5 – Devonta Freeman (RB, Atlanta Falcons)
Team 4 – Joe Mixon (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Team 3 – Mike Evans (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Team 2 – Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
Team 1 – Adam Thielen (WR, Minnesota Vikings)
Beginning the second round, three straight NFC South players come off the board. Thomas has a chance to become one of the best wide receivers in the game today and his fantasy production may outperform Jones. Drew Brees developed an instant connection with Thomas since he was drafted. Even with the team becoming more run-first, Thomas is a big-time fantasy producer and will be a top-5 wide receiver in 2018.
McCaffrey is someone that can really have a breakout season. Under Norv Turner, Emmitt Smith won three straight rushing titles in the 90’s. In 2006, Turner helped Frank Gore set multiple franchise records with the 49ers and punch a ticket to his first Pro Bowl. Pretty much, Turner is a good thing for McCaffrey. McCaffrey can really surpass his performance last season and has a good chance of being a top-5 finisher among fantasy running backs.
Jones gets drafted next and his numbers were good last season, but interesting. He finished the year with only four 100-yard games and three touchdowns. Lots of his total numbers were inflated because of an outburst against the Bucs in week 11. So Jones is still a solid performer and definitely warrants a high draft pick every year, but there are other more consistent wide receivers that should be going before him. That is how he slips into the top half of the second round.
Team 1 – Travis Kelce (TE, Kansas City Chiefs)
Team 2 – Rob Gronkowski (TE, New England Patriots)
Team 3 – LeSean McCoy (RB, Buffalo Bills)
Team 4 – Stefon Diggs (WR, Minnesota Vikings)
Team 5 – Allen Robinson (WR, Chicago Bears)
Team 6 – Jordan Howard (RB, Chicago Bears)
Team 7 – Doug Baldwin (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
Team 8 – Tyreek Hill (WR, Kansas City Chiefs)
Team 9 – Amari Cooper (WR, Oakland Raiders)
Team 10 – T.Y. Hilton (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
Team 11 – Royce Freeman (RB, Denver Broncos)
Team 12 – Zach Ertz (TE, Philadelphia Eagles)
Kelce goes before Gronkowski for the reasoning of having an inexperienced quarterback in the offense. Kelce is the main receiving threat in that offense and Patrick Mahomes will be looking to make that connection early and often. Pair that with the fact that Kelce was the highest scoring tight end in fantasy last season and this could be a repeat performance in 2018.
Gronkowski may give Kelce a run for his money though. With Julian Edelman being suspended the first four games of the season, Tom Brady will be relying on Gronkowski and Chris Hogan to move the ball through the air. The thing every year with Gronkowski is just staying healthy. Another reason that Kelce goes before Gronkowski.
A streak of wide receivers goes off the board with Baldwin leading the charge. He goes ahead of Hill, Cooper, and Hilton because of his role in the offense. Russell Wilson lost Jimmy Graham in the offense and also Paul Richardson. Baldwin has become one of the rising stars in fantasy football over the past three years, averaging 82 receptions, 1,062 yards, and nine touchdowns during that span.
Although Hill is a good producer, the offense breaking in Mahomes can spell a slight dip in production from the speedster. He still will be a great pick for your team, but keep realistic expectations for him as the season goes on. Lastly, Hilton may be a boom or bust sort of player. His production will depend on how his quarterback plays this year.
Andrew Luck is back after being away from football since 2016. So far, he looks pretty good but those things may change as there are not many options in the offense and the offensive line may struggle. So Hilton has good potential, but it is linked to how well Luck plays.
Freeman has the potential to become Kareem Hunt for 2018. He has the skill-set to be that dynamic and he has been presented with the opportunity as well. C.J. Anderson has moved on to Carolina and the backfield is now Freeman’s to own. Case Keenum will also be reliant on Freeman as he is learning a new system in Denver.
Ertz is the final pick in the third round and Ertz has a good chance of becoming the highest scoring tight end in fantasy this year. He was really involved in the Super Bowl to help the Eagles win their first title and that will definitely translate into the upcoming season.
Whether Nick Foles is under center or Carson Wentz, the Eagles will be going to Ertz often to put points on the board. Throw in the fact that Alshon Jeffrey is hurt for the start of the season and Ertz has potential to do some real damage right out of the gate.
Team 12 – Kenyan Drake (RB, Miami Dolphins)
Team 11 – Jarvis Landry (WR, Cleveland Browns)
Team 10 – Alex Collins (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
Team 9 – Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee Titans)
Team 8 – Lamar Miller (RB, Houston Texans)
Team 7 – Chris Hogan (WR, New England Patriots)
Team 6 – Golden Tate (WR, Detroit Lions)
Team 5 – Robert Woods (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Team 4 – Demaryius Thomas (WR, Denver Broncos)
Team 3 – Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, Detroit Lions)
Team 2 – JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Team 1 – Josh Gordon (WR, Cleveland Browns)
Drake is drafted at the beginning of the fourth because his value in a rebuilding offense is pretty high, but the keyword is rebuilding. Landry has moved on to Cleveland and Ryan Tannehill is coming back after missing all of 2017. Drake will be used often in the offense but based on his make and build, he does not strike me as a three-down running back. Frank Gore and rookie Kalen Ballage (sleeper running back alert!) will be pushing for touches in an offense looking to build an identity.
There is a serious run on receivers as the majority of the best running backs have now been taken off the board. Landry is no doubt goes ahead of all the receivers taken in this round. Even with a possible quarterback controversy in Cleveland, whoever ends up throwing the ball will know to feed Landry game in and game out. He led the league with 112 receptions last year and there is no doubt that he will be towards the top of the receptions leaders again in 2018.
After Landry, Hogan would be the best of the bunch. As mentioned earlier, with Edelman serving a four-game suspension to start the year, Brady will be looking to hit Gronkowski and Hogan on a consistent basis. Hogan may not be a number one receiver in most offenses but if you have Brady’s trust, then that is a golden ticket to high involvement in the Patriots offense.
Thomas falls a little bit in this round because of the offense he is in. Freeman is a solid runner out of the backfield, even for a rookie and new quarterback, Case Keenum, has to prove he is not a one-hit wonder from Minnesota. With those two big reasons, Thomas may not see such high-production that we were used to seeing with Peyton Manning under center.
Team 1 – Dion Lewis (RB, New England Patriots)
Team 2 – Emmanuel Sanders (WR, Denver Broncos)
Team 3 – Brandin Cooks (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Team 4 – Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, Cleveland Browns)
Team 5 – Marquise Goodwin (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
Team 6 – Jay Ajayi (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)
Team 7 – Corey Davis (WR, Tennessee Titans)
Team 8 – Rex Burkhead (RB, New England Patriots)
Team 9 – Alshon Jeffrey (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Team 10 – Michael Crabtree (WR, Baltimore Ravens)
Team 11 – Mark Ingram III (RB, New Orleans Saints)
Team 12 – Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay Packers)
No real surprise picks come in the fifth round. The selection of Ingram may be a little early, but at this point, you are beginning to pick your bench players. He is suspended for only four games, but once he comes back you can expect a lot of what happened last season. There is a risk that Kamara may have stolen the spotlight in the New Orleans backfield, but the head coach, Sean Payton, is smart enough to know that it’s always better to have too many good players than too less.
One can argue that Rodgers being selected may be a little early, but a quarterback of his caliber is hard to pass up. Team 12 gets to pick again right away, so it’s not like they need to worry about missing out on a player since they drafted a quarterback. Also, Rodgers is a fantasy star every year, so picking a player of his class is not hard to argue.
So here are the first five rounds of a 12-team PPR mock draft. Use this guide to see where players are going and how your team may look if you drafted at different positions in your draft. Now, this is just one writer’s opinion on where players should be drafted, so use this guide with caution. With all that said, have a wonderful draft and best of luck during the season!