Bolt Up Fantasy’s 12 Team PPR Mock Draft
Written by Damian Paton (@boltupfantasy)
With the fantasy football draft season quickly approaching, I’ve decided to share my draft strategies and player analysis through in-depth mock drafts! I have found that mock drafts are most beneficial when you treat them as an opportunity to exercise your ability to pivot and adapt to what the draft board gives you. I hope you all enjoy!
Link to Draft Board:
● PPR scoring
● 12 Teams
● 6-man bench
1st Round, Pick 1.10: RB- D’Andre Swift (DET)
Other players considered: RB- Aaron Jones, TE- Travis Kelce, WR- Davante Adams
I have D’Andre Swift as my RB6
, just barely ahead of his ADP of RB8. With 6 running backs taken before my pick, I figured I would have zero chance of him falling to my next selection. While I was also considering tight end Travis Kelce (KC) and wide receiver Davante Adams (GB), I believe that investing foundational draft capital into the running back position is one of the safest options for fantasy managers. As many have quoted around the industry, you can’t win your league in the draft, but you can certainly lose it.
The third year running back has finished as a top 20 player at the position in his first two seasons as a pro, despite missing 3 games in 2020 and 4 in 2021. Last year, Swift finished with the 10th highest points per game at the position in PPR scoring, averaging 16.2 points. I’d say it’s safe to believe that Swift can break out as a top 10 RB based off the promise he has shown on the field as a pro. None of Swift’s injury is directly correlated which suggests that he’s been unlucky regarding injuries than he has been or will be prone to them. So, I took my swing at the young talented back.
2nd Round, Pick 2.3: RB- Aaron Jones (GB)
Other players considered: WR- CeeDee Lamb, TE- Mark Andrews, RB- Saquon Barkley
If you’ve followed me on Twitter long enough, you know how bullish I am about the Green Bay Packers’ RB1. I currently have Aaron Jones as my RB3 for the 2022 season, only behind Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Taylor. Although Jones is higher in my rankings than Swift, who I selected with my first pick, I was willing to gamble on Jones making it back to me at the top of the second, considering his ADP of RB12 and 21 overall. Thankfully for me, my gamble pays off, which has me leaving the first two rounds with two of my top 8 players at the running back position.
With Green Bay’s current roster, I project Aaron Jones to be the number option in an Aaron Rodgers led offense. Davante Adams is now a Las Vegas Raider. Aaron Jones has played 7 games without Davante Adams since 2019. Over those games, Jones has averaged 26.82 PPR points per game. That average would have led all positions in PPR scoring in 2021, Cooper Kupp led the league last year with 25.9 PPR points per game. I’m calling my shot on Aaron Jones delivering for fantasy managers in a massive way this year. The link below will lead you to more analysis.
3rd Round, Pick 3.10: WR- Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)
Other players considered: TE- George Kittle WR- Terry McLaurin, WR- Diontae Johnson
Selecting two top caliber running backs with my first to draft picks placed me in a position to lock up my top wide receiver or tight end. As far as tight ends go, ideally I want to pick up a top 4 talent (Kelce, Andrews, Waller, or Kittle) or wait until the end of the draft to see what values fall to me. Eventually, I decided to go with the value that my rankings suggest, which is selecting my WR9, Michael Pittman Jr. as the 34th overall player off the board. Terry McLaurin isn’t far behind Pittman Jr. in my rankings, as I have him ranked as my WR11. Ultimately, my gut is to draft the player with the higher rated quarterback, which I believe Pittman Jr. has in this scenario with Matt Ryan coming to town.
Since 2011, QB Matt Ryan has supported NINE top 10 PPR finishes at the wide receiver position (Julio Jones 8x, Calvin Ridley 1x). The Colts wide receivers are facing the 8th easiest strength of schedule (per @TheFFBallers). In 2021 Pittman Jr. finished as the WR21, with a 25.7% target share, 88 catches, 1,082 yards, 12.3 yards per catch, and 6 touchdowns. I believe he’s currently being drafted around the baseline of his floor. I’d gladly take him as my WR1. The link below provides further context and analysis.
4th Round, Pick 4.3: RB- David Montgomery (CHI)
Other players considered: TE- Darren Waller, WR- Terry McLaurin, QB- Lamar Jackson
I wouldn’t feel particularly comfortable leaving the first four rounds without selecting my first wide receiver. Taking Pittman Jr. assured me that I have a guaranteed weekly producer, with breakout potential. I had a very tough time deciding between McLaurin, Waller, Jackson, and Montgomery. Ultimately, I decided that David Montgomery falling to this value was something I should take advantage of. I have the Chicago Bears RB as my RB10 on the season. Having THREE top 10 running backs is an advantage I would have over the rest of the league. Plus, I like my chances at finding value later in the draft at QB, WR, and TE.
Despite missing time last season due to a knee injury that knocked him out for 4 games, David Montgomery still finished with the 7th highest PPR points per game at the RB position and the 9th most rushing attempts in the NFL. RB Khalil Herbert, who many view as a sleeper this season, put up impressive numbers as a starter. Despite his success as the team’s starter, after Montgomery returned from injury through the end of the season (9 games) Herbert only played an average of 16% of the Bears’ offensive snaps, microscopic compared to the average 83% snap share he saw in his games as a starter. Montgomery is one of the only true workhorse caliber running backs in the NFL, and I’m confident in taking him at the top of the 4th round.
5th Round, Pick 5.10: WR- Brandin Cooks (HOU)
Other players considered: RB- Miles Sanders, WR- Darnell Mooney, WR- Adam Thielen
My last selection was the last of my high-end draft capital I intended to spend on the RB position. It was now crucial for the construction of my roster that shore up my depth at wide receiver.
Over the last two years as a member of the Houston Texans, Brandin Cooks has managed to finish as the WR16 (2021) and WR17 (2020). As a member of the Rams, Patriots, and Saints, Cooks put up 4 top 15 finishes at the WR position in PPR scoring. Since 2015, he has been one of the most consistent and guaranteed producers in fantasy football. With my WR1 being Michael Pittman Jr., who I believe will break out this year, I found it important to add the safety that Cooks would provide to my roster.
6th Round, Pick 6.3: WR- Darnell Mooney (CHI)
Other players considered: WR- Adam Thielen, WR- Amon-Ra St. Brown, QB- Kyler Murray
Again, I decided to attack the WR position. While Kyler Murray is my QB2 for the 2022 season, I can’t help but consider how much easier it is to find value at quarterback later in drafts and how small the gap is production in the top 12 or so QB finishes each year. In 2021, Bengals QB Joe Burrow finished as the QB5 by putting up 328.24 points and 20.52 points per game while Vikings QB Kirk Cousins finished as the QB11 by putting up 285.44 and 19.02 points per game. Considering the gap between QB5 and QB11 was 1.5 points per game last year, I liked my chances of finding value later in the draft and stacking more talent at the WR position.
So, I selected Bears WR Darnell Mooney, who I believe will provide fantasy managers with a safe floor and potential league winning upside. In 2021 Mooney had a target share of 26.7% and 46% of the Bears receiving yards. Mooney totaled 140 targets last season, while securing 81 receptions (just 58% of targets), which led him to an average WR27 finish. If Justin Fields can build off his rocky 58.9% completion percentage as a rookie, then Mooney will be the immediate beneficiary. I will take a guaranteed target share and upside all day.
7th Round, Pick 7.10: WR- DeVonta Smith (PHI)
Other players considered: QB- Tom Brady, WR Rashod Bateman, TE- Zach Ertz
I did consider QB seriously at this point in the draft, knowing that Tom Brady (My QB7) was one of the last remaining top tier quarterbacks. Ultimately, I fell into the same thinking pattern as I did with my pick before, which was to try and take advantage of the value I can find at QB later, and the value at WR I don’t want to miss out on now.
Which is why I select Philadelphia Eagles WR and former Heisman trophy winner,
DeVonta Smith. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith lead the Eagles in targets this year. I mean his newest teammate WR AJ Brown has even said so himself. Brown will be looked at by opposing defenses as the Eagles’ most dynamic receiving threat, which they absolutely should, my WR 12 ranking reflects such. However, Brown will be facing top corners/ coverage, which will allow Smith to feast!
More analysis on DeVonta Smith:
8th Round, Pick 8.3: TE- Zach Ertz (ARI)
Other players considered: RB- Tony Pollard, WR Brandon Aiyuk, QB- Trey Lance
As stated earlier, I’m not much of a fan of tight ends outside of the top 4 ranked players. However, I have done a bit of research on the target share that will be available to Arizona Cardinals pass catchers while WR Deandre Hopkins is serving his 6-game suspension. Hopkins managed to account for 20.7% of the Cardinals’ targets, despite playing in only 10 games.
In 2021, after being traded to the Arizona Cardinals, Zach Ertz played 11 games for the team. In those games, Ertz had 81 targets, 56 receptions, 574 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. From a fantasy perspective, Ertz averaged 11.98 PPR points per game, which would’ve been the 8th most at the position last year. I like the odds of Ertz having a strong start to the fantasy season, and likely being considered a top 2 option for Kyler Murray in the receiving game until Hopkins returns from suspension.
9th Round, Pick 9.10: WR- Allen Lazard (GB)
Other players considered: WR- Kadarius Toney, WR- Russell Gage, QB- Derek Carr
Towards the end of your draft, especially when your picks are going straight to your bench spots, I think this is the key time to target players who will provide upside at a low cost. I hate to break it to you guys, but the likelihood of your late round draft picks staying on your roster throughout the season is low. I encourage you to shoot your shot.
Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling accounted for 224 targets 39% of the team’s total targets in 2021. Although Lazard’s highest career finish is WR56 (in 2021), his opportunity to come into the WR1 option for Aaron Rodgers is well worth a shot, especially at such a low cost.
10th Round, Pick 10.3: QB- Derek Carr (LV)
Other players considered: QB- Kirk Cousins, RB, Melvin Gordon, RB Ronald Jones
I finally caved and drafted my first quarterback, Raiders QB Derek Carr. For obvious reasons, he has a legitimate opportunity to top his QB12 finish from a year ago.
Davante Adams was acquired via trade from the Green Bay Packers earlier this offseason. It has been widely reported that the Carr-Adams duo hopes to reignite the connection they had in college at Fresno State. In 2021, Adams had 123 catches, 1,553 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns, which was enough to finish as the WR2 in PPR scoring. Davante Adams has been on a streak of dominance for several years now, finishing as the WR1 in 2020, the WR23 in 2019 (playing 12 games), and the WR2 in 2018. Adding a weapon like this, alongside Hunter Renfrow, last year’s WR11, and Darren Waller, a consensus top-5 player at the position, Derek Carr has the pieces in place to put up consistently high scoring fantasy performances.
11th Round, Pick 11.10: RB- Nyheim Hines (IND)
Other players considered: WR- Jarvis Landry, TE- Cole Kmet, QB- Justin Fields
As stated earlier, the later rounds of fantasy drafts is the most ideal time for aim with players who have upside. Outside of the fact that Colts RB Nyheim Hines would skyrocket into the top 15 running backs selected if something were to happen to RB Jonathan Taylor, Hines does present standalone value in this new look Colts QB Matt Ryan-led offense.
In 2019, Hines finished as the RB15, largely thanks to his role as a receiver. In 19, Hines had 63 catches, 482 receiving yards, and 4 receiving touchdowns. Matt Ryan just helped sustain an offense that produced the RB7, Cordarralle Patterson. Last year, Patterson had 52 catches, 548 receiving yards, and 5 receiving touchdowns. Sure, RB Jonathan Taylor proved to be a solid pass catcher last year, but there is no true established receiving talent on this roster outside of Michael Pittman Jr.
12th Round, Pick 12.3: QB- Justin Fields (CHI)
Other players considered: RB- Marlon Mack, WR- Jahan Dotson, QB- Trevor Lawerence
Since I waited so late to take my first quarterback. I think the odds of my first selection being my guaranteed weekly starter are low. Although Raiders QB Derek Carr carries upside, as explained previously, he is not what the fantasy community would consider a truly mobile quarterback. However, second year Bears QB Justin Fields is a dynamic athlete who has excelled at rushing the football, coming into the season as the guaranteed starter, I think it’s smart to consider FIelds in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
In just 10 starts, Fields rushed 72 times, for 420 yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns. At that pace, over 17 starts, Fields would produce 122 rushing attempts, 714 rushing yards, and 3.4 rushing touchdowns. Outside of touchdown totals, that stat line is very similar to Jalen Hurts (QB8 in 2021) as a rusher. Last year Hurts had 139 rushing attempts, 784 rushing yards, and 10 rushing touchdowns. I see some parallels in the productivity and physical attributes between the two young quarterbacks. Fields has league winning upside at this value.
13th Round, Pick 13.10: RB- Khalil Herbert (CHI)
Other players considered: RB- Raheem Mostert, RB- J.D. McKissic, RB- Gus Edwards
As stated earlier, I am a firm believer that the Chicago Bear backfield is David Montgomery’s to lose. With that said, Khalil Herbert did prove to be a successful fill-in as the Bears starting running back during Montgomery’s games missed due to injury. So, I grabbed a proven handcuff, who has potential for stand-alone value, considering how lacking the Bears are in offensive weapons.
Herbert was granted the starting job for the Chicago Bears two times as a rookie last year. Over those two starts Hebert averaged 18.75 PPR points per game. He put up 37 rushing attempts, 197 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, 7 catches, 48 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. I think he would excel if something were to happen to Mongomery that would keep him out of the starting lineup at any point in 2022.
14th Round, Pick 14.3: WR- Alec Pierce (IND)
Other players considered: WR- Julio Jones, WR- Jalen Tolbert, WR- KJ Osborn
With my last positional pick of the draft, I decided to take my first shot on a rookie. I selected Colts WR Alec Pierce, who has potential to start the season as the Colts’ WR2 starting alongside Michael Pittman Jr.
At this stage in the draft, we truly are throwing darts at the wall to see what sticks. However, Pierce is a promising prospect who produced outstanding numbers during his senior season at Cincinnati. In 14 games played in 2020, Pierce had 52 catches, 884 receiving yards, and 8 receiving touchdowns. Standing at 6’3 weighing 213 pounds, Pierce could easily grow into a reliable jump ball and end zone receiver. I like the potential he has in this Colts offense that is desperate for a true WR2.
15th Round, Pick 15.10: D/ST- Green Bay Packers (GB)
Other players considered: D/ST- New England Patriots, D/ST- Philadelphia Eagles,
D/ST- Denver Broncos
Please do yourself a favor and wait to draft your defense and/ or kicker with your last pick of your draft. Similarly to quarterbacks, the gap between a high end D/ST and an average D/ST is too slim to spend high draft capital on what may be perceived as a positional advantage. In 2021, the Indianapolis Colts were the D/ST3, averaging 8.6 points per game, while the Minnesota Vikings were the D/ST16, averaging 6.6 points per game, extra points per game is not worth missing out on what could be a league winning positional player.
I do believe that the Green Bay Packers will be a team that dominates with its playmaking defense and efficient rushing and passing offense. Investing key draft picks to help bolster this defense, who finished as the D/ST10 last year, is only likely to raise their level of production. At the end of the day, 75% of league managers will be streaming their D/ST spot, so I typically base these selections off the talent of the roster, and how I envision the team’s average game-script playing out.