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Way Too Early 2022 Mock Draft for Fantasy Football - Rounds 2-4 Breakdown

Ja'Marr Chase fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

As the playoffs roll on to determine the 2021 NFL champion, we're not waiting to look ahead to the next fantasy football season. We gathered 12 RotoBaller analysts to conduct a very early 2021 mock draft over 12 rounds. The format was full PPR and roster construction as follows: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 5 BENCH.

A lot will change from now until August, especially after the NFL Draft takes place. This exercise is still useful to see where players are being valued at the season's end and who might be undervalued or overvalued. In this recap, I will evaluate each round to determine which picks provided the best value. Check out the full draft board on Sleeper here.

Note: This is part 2 of 3 covering rounds 2-4 of the draft. Read the Round 1 breakdown here. Part 3 will cover the remaining rounds.

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Complete Mock Draft Board

Click image to enlarge 

 

Round 2 Breakdown

Pick Player Position
2.1 Joe Mixon RB
2.2 Tyreek Hill WR
2.3 Antonio Gibson RB
2.4 Stefon Diggs WR
2.5 Saquon Barkley RB
2.6 A.J. Brown WR
2.7 Travis Kelce TE
2.8 Nick Chubb RB
2.9 Deebo Samuel WR
2.10 Ja'Marr Chase WR
2.11 Mark Andrews TE
2.12 Cam Akers RB

The first round saw running backs taken with nine of the first 10 picks which is reminiscent of last year. The top-heavy nature of the position and immeasurable piece of mind of having an RB1 you can count on each week makes it a foregone conclusion that the best running backs will be nabbed early. Joe Mixon is arguably the last of this bunch and he went at pick 2.1 when I chose to go with a receiver (Justin Jefferson) instead. I followed up by taking Tyreek Hill to form a dominant duo of receivers. I still contend that Zero RB is viable and while Hero RB is likely to be a more successful plan, I don't think the drop-off from Mixon to the next tier of running backs is too significant.

We may not see Saquon Barkley taken this early in many drafts as he let down fantasy owners in a big way. The fact Joe Judge was finally fired may inject new life into Barkley's fantasy stock but if the Giants don't address their offensive line in a big way this offseason, it won't matter much who the coach is.

Getting Ja'Marr Chase at the end of Round 2 looks like a steal, especially after watching the Bengals' Wild Card victory where he was targeted early and often. Chase wound up with 12 targets, twice as much as the next leading Bengal, and caught nine passes for 118 yards. He isn't reliant on the deep ball like he was early in the season and he is truly looking like a generational receiver ready to blossom into a full-blown superstar.

As someone who took Cam Akers in the first round of early 2021 drafts and damn near shed a tear when he tore his ACL, I can firmly state that, much like this mock, this pick is way too early. We'll see how he looks in the Wild Card round but it's a tall task to ask a player coming off a torn Achilles to carry a full workload. Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson have both been very good in their turns as starters, so it's hard to imagine Akers getting enough touches to finish as a top-15 running back. The Rams were 23rd in rushing attempts per game this season, so any sort of committee is going to handicap Akers' value.

 

Round 3 Breakdown

Pick Player Position
3.1 Keenan Allen WR
3.2 CeeDee Lamb WR
3.3 J.K. Dobbins RB
3.4 Diontae Johnson WR
3.5 D.K. Metcalf WR
3.6 DeAndre Hopkins WR
3.7 George Kittle TE
3.8 Ezekiel Elliott RB
3.9 Elijah Mitchell RB
3.10 Calvin Ridley WR
3.11 David Montgomery RB
3.12 Aaron Jones RB

With 14 RBs off the board in the first two rounds, the run on receivers began with Keenan Allen at 3.1 followed by CeeDee Lamb. In the midst of these low-end WR1 types sits JK Dobbins coming off an ACL tear. It's not the injury that makes this pick questionable, it's his role in an offense that will always have a quarterback eating into the team's share of rush attempts. If we take the best part of Dobbins' rookie season after the Week 7 bye, when he first began seeing double-digit carries, he averaged 12.1 attempts for 72.3 yards. That's fine if he scores a touchdown per game as he was averaging, but without a score, it offers a very low floor. That's especially the case in a PPR league since he averaged less than one reception per game for 5.1 yards. I much prefer any of the other running backs that were taken after him in this round.

Calvin Ridley's status needs to be cleared up before we know how to value him for fantasy. It's expected that he will part ways with Atlanta but that means another team needs to be willing and able to trade for a player who missed half the season for undisclosed reasons and is ready to hit free agency after 2022. If all breaks right for Ridley and he joins a team where he can be the top target, this is a justifiable selection. For now, it just confirms the fact that there are too many unknowns and no reason to take him over the group of receivers that followed in Round 4.

 

Round 4 Breakdown

Pick Player Position
4.1 Jaylen Waddle WR
4.2 Mike Evans WR
4.3 Terry McLaurin WR
4.4 Tee Higgins WR
4.5 Darren Waller TE
4.6 D.J. Moore WR
4.7 Leonard Fournette RB
4.8 Tyler Lockett WR
4.9 Michael Pittman Jr. WR
4.10 Josh Jacobs RB
4.11 Michael Thomas WR
4.12 Adam Thielen WR

I regretted passing on Mike Evans in Round 3 but wanted to secure my favorite running back left on the board in David Montgomery. I was pleased to see him fall to me at 4.2 although Jaylen Waddle would have been a fine consolation prize. There is a chance that Chris Godwin is ready by Week 1 in his recovery from ACL surgery but it's also possible he needs longer or has a setback in training camp. With Antonio Brown out of the picture, Evans could be soaking up a ton of targets early in the year. He's a lock for 1,000 yards, as he's posted for eight straight years, and is undervalued on draft day yet again because consistency just isn't exciting.

Josh Jacobs represents the last of the "reliable" running backs before we enter the RB Dead Zone, to be covered in part three of this series. Jacobs will certainly reprise his role as lead back in the Raiders offense in 2022 regardless of what direction they go in terms of the head coach or quarterback. He averaged 22 touches and 102 scrimmage yards per game from Week 12 on, but Kenyan Drake was only active for two of those games before fracturing his ankle. This is the perfect place to take someone like Jacobs, who brings an RB2 floor but will never have the highest ceiling.

I'll go on the record here and now saying that any spot is too high for Michael Thomas. I want no part of the headache that he presents in fantasy leagues. Injuries are frustrating, off-field issues are concerning, but both rolled together are a recipe for disaster. Thomas may have been the best receiver in the game a couple of years ago but that was before the ankle and the drama. It was also with Drew Brees at quarterback, not whoever the Saints plan to roll out in 2022.



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