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Fantasy: 12-team mock draft with analysis after every round


theScore staff took part in a 12-team, 12-round mock fantasy draft to offer some insight on what to watch for in each round.

This is a half PPR (point per reception) scoring league with the following roster spots: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, BN, BN, BN, BN. We omitted defenders and kickers, as they're normally selected in the final two rounds.

Draft participants: Ian Dalley, Justin Boone, Gordon Brunt, Michael Bradburn, Brandon Wile, Dane Belbeck, Navin Vaswani, Sean O'Leary, Gianluca Nesci, Daniel Valente, Caio Miari, Mike Dickson.

Round 1

Pick Player Team
1 Bijan Robinson (RB1) Dalley
2 Christian McCaffrey (RB2) Boone
3 CeeDee Lamb (WR1) Brunt
4 Tyreek Hill (WR2) Bradburn
5 Justin Jefferson (WR3) Wile
6 Ja'Marr Chase (WR4) Belbeck
7 Breece Hall (RB3) Vaswani
8 Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR5) O'Leary
9 A.J. Brown (WR6) Nesci
10 Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR7) Valente
11 Garrett Wilson (WR8) Miari
12 Puka Nacua (WR9) Dickson

Round 1: This mock kicked off with an out-of-the-box pick as Robinson went ahead of the usual 1.01 options like McCaffrey or the elite wideouts. A ball carrier hasn't finished as the fantasy RB1 overall in back-to-back seasons for almost two decades, so it's definitely possible someone unseats CMC. With the new coaching staff and significant quarterback upgrade, Robinson has the right environment to make that kind of major leap forward.

My pick: While McCaffrey sometimes falls a spot or two in the opening round, count me among those surprised to see him as the second running back selected. Even knowing the stats about RB1s not repeating in consecutive years, it's still hard to pass on his ceiling. The 49ers star averaged 22.4 fantasy points per game in half PPR formats last season, which was 2.5 fppg more than the next closest RB, WR, or TE.

Round 2

Pick Player Team
13 Jonathan Taylor (RB4) Dickson
14 Jahmyr Gibbs (RB5) Miari
15 Drake London (WR10) Valente
16 Brandon Aiyuk (WR11) Nesci
17 Saquon Barkley (RB6) O'Leary
18 Chris Olave (WR12) Vaswani
19 De'Von Achane (RB7) Belbeck
20 Kyren Williams (RB8) Wile
21 Derrick Henry (RB9) Bradburn
22 Davante Adams (WR13) Brunt
23 Mike Evans (WR14) Boone
24 Deebo Samuel (WR15) Dalley

Round 2: After just three running backs were taken in the first frame, RBs made a comeback in this round with six getting drafted. Players like Achane, Williams, and Henry could easily return Round 1 value, but their ADPs are being depressed by durability concerns. In the case of Achane and Williams, some fantasy managers are worried about other backs infringing on their volume. However, they're all worthwhile picks in the back half of the second round into the early third.

My pick: With my RB1 locked in already, I shifted my focus to receivers. With no real values dropping to me, I chose Evans. He's posted over 1,000 yards in all 10 of his NFL campaigns - including at least 13 touchdowns in three of the last four years. Even entering his age-31 season, it's tough to bet against such a consistent producer.

Round 3

Pick Player Team
25 DJ Moore (WR16) Dalley
26 DK Metcalf (WR17) Boone
27 Malik Nabers (WR18) Brunt
28 Cooper Kupp (WR19) Bradburn
29 Nico Collins (WR20) Wile
30 Jaylen Waddle (WR21) Belbeck
31 Josh Allen (QB1) Vaswani
32 Stefon Diggs (WR22) O'Leary
33 Jalen Hurts (QB2) Nesci
34 DeVonta Smith (WR23) Valente
35 Travis Kelce (TE1) Miari
36 Tank Dell (WR24) Dickson

Round 3: Three teams have steered away from the running back position so far, and it's looking good for them through three rounds. Team Brunt has a core of Lamb-Adams-Nabers, Team Nesci has Brown-Aiyuk-Hurts, and Team Valente landed Harrison-London-Smith. We'll see how their builds turn out in the coming rounds, but you have to like those starts.

My pick: With no running backs of note in this range and 3.02 being a little early for QB or TE, I elected to grab one of my favorite receivers in 2024. Metcalf is always a threat to put up double-digit touchdowns (something he's already done twice in his career). With the arrival of new Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, we can project a more pass-heavy approach that promises to push downfield for explosive plays. He's a strong fantasy WR2 with top-12 upside.

Round 4

Pick Player Team
37 Travis Etienne Jr. (RB10) Dickson
38 Michael Pittman Jr. (WR25) Miari
39 George Pickens (WR26) Valente
40 Sam LaPorta (TE2) Nesci
41 Lamar Jackson (QB3) O'Leary
42 Amari Cooper (WR27) Vaswani
43 Zay Flowers (WR28) Belbeck
44 Tee Higgins (WR29) Wile
45 Isiah Pacheco (RB11) Bradburn
46 Josh Jacobs (RB12) Brunt
47 Christian Kirk (WR30) Boone
48 Rachaad White (RB13) Dalley

Round 4: This is the first round where I prefer most of the running back picks over the receivers drafted. Etienne, Pacheco, Jacobs, and White could all finish as top-12 fantasy backs based on their talent and situations. This is another reason you can confidently avoid running backs in the opening rounds, as Team Nesci and Team Valente continue to do.

My pick: With several RBs, TEs, and QBs available that I liked, I felt safe adding a third receiver in this round before a tier drop occurred at that position. Kirk is the clear No. 1 wideout in Jacksonville, according to beat writers, and a closer look at his 2023 stats shows his true fantasy potential. In games where he played over 60% of the snaps, Kirk was the WR16 in fppg from Weeks 2-12 before getting hurt. Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis will combine to fill the void left by Calvin Ridley, leaving Kirk to star in the Jaguars' offense as a low-end WR2 for fantasy.

Round 5

Pick Player Team
49 Patrick Mahomes (QB4) Dalley
50 James Cook (RB14) Boone
51 Trey McBride (TE3) Brunt
52 Terry McLaurin (WR31) Bradburn
53 Mark Andrews (TE4) Wile
54 Anthony Richardson (QB5) Belbeck
55 Kenneth Walker III (RB15) Vaswani
56 Marquise Brown (WR32) O'Leary
57 Joe Mixon (RB16) Nesci
58 C.J. Stroud (QB6) Valente
59 Jayden Reed (WR33) Miari
60 Kyle Pitts (TE5) Dickson

Round 5: The run on tight ends begins in this round with McBride, Andrews, and Pitts going off the board. They're all solid values in this area of the draft, but only two TEs remain in my current tier (Dalton Kincaid, George Kittle), which makes me start to question my pick at the top of the round.

My pick: This was a huge decision point for me in this draft. Anthony Richardson was a consideration. Mark Andrews was a possibility. But I rolled the dice and went with a young RB in Cook, who found his stride after the Bills changed OCs last season. From Week 11 on, Cook was the RB11 in fppg. He's still a strong pick and an excellent value based on my rankings, but I felt some regret when the current tier of TEs got scooped up before my pick.

Round 6

Pick Player Team
61 Rome Odunze (WR34) Dickson
62 Alvin Kamara (RB17) Miari
63 George Kittle (TE6) Valente
64 Keenan Allen (WR35) Nesci
65 Chris Godwin (WR36) O'Leary
66 Dalton Kincaid (TE7) Vaswani
67 Calvin Ridley (WR37) Belbeck
68 Diontae Johnson (WR38) Wile
69 Kyler Murray (QB7) Bradburn
70 Aaron Jones (RB18) Brunt
71 Ladd McConkey (WR39) Boone
72 David Montgomery (RB19) Dalley

Round 6: There were a bunch of standout values in this round, highlighted by Kamara, Kittle, Godwin, Kincaid, Ridley, and Johnson. Team Valente continues his fearless zero-RB approach, locking down a lights-out lineup at every other position. The pressure will be on the rest of the way for him to solve his running back spots.

My pick: Though I like McConkey's potential path to leading the Chargers in receiving this season, this was by far my least favorite pick of the mock. Aside from the disappointment of Kittle and Kincaid already being taken, I was hoping to land one of the players I mentioned above. Regardless, a player who has the inside track to be Justin Herbert's No. 1 target is worth chasing.

Round 7

Pick Player Team
73 DeAndre Hopkins (WR40) Dalley
74 James Conner (RB20) Boone
75 Christian Watson (WR41) Brunt
76 Jonathon Brooks (RB21) Bradburn
77 Rhamondre Stevenson (RB22) Wile
78 Evan Engram (TE8) Belbeck
79 Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR42) Vaswani
80 D'Andre Swift (RB23) O'Leary
81 Zamir White (RB24) Nesci
82 Najee Harris (RB25) Valente
83 Brian Thomas Jr. (WR43) Miari
84 Xavier Worthy (WR44) Dickson

Round 7: The running back value stood out in this round, with some starter-quality options going off the board alongside No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. Conner and Stevenson are upside fantasy RB2s when healthy, Swift will get a chance to star in the Bears' revamped attack, Brooks should be the best rookie back once he recovers fully from his torn ACL, and White and Harris are volume plays. That entire list of backs has top-24 fantasy potential.

My pick: I reached a round earlier than his ADP to secure Conner because I believe he's seriously undervalued at the moment. Conner has been a top-10 fantasy back on a per-game basis each of the last three years, but he's being discounted due to durability concerns. Even if he misses a few weeks, the 29-year-old will give me an advantage in the flex whenever he's on the field.

Round 8

Pick Player Team
85 Joe Burrow (QB8) Dickson
86 Zack Moss (RB26) Miari
87 Tony Pollard (RB27) Valente
88 Rashee Rice (WR45) Nesci
89 Jordan Addison (WR46) O'Leary
90 Curtis Samuel (WR47) Vaswani
91 Raheem Mostert (RB28) Belbeck
92 Jaylen Warren (RB29) Wile
93 Jake Ferguson (TE9) Bradburn
94 Jordan Love (QB9) Brunt
95 Brock Bowers (TE10) Boone
96 Keon Coleman (WR48) Dalley

Round 8: The quarterback value in this range of the draft is phenomenal with Burrow and Love getting their names called in this round. Don't let an injury-plagued 2023 campaign make you forget that Burrow averaged the fourth-most fantasy points among QBs in 2022. Meanwhile, Love is coming off a breakout season where he was the QB6 in fantasy points per game.

My pick: Ferguson tends to be my fallback when I miss on one of the top-seven tight ends, but he was taken two spots ahead of me in this round. In that scenario, I normally pivot to either Bowers or Pat Freiermuth. With Team Dalley picking on the turn and not having a tight end yet, I chose to act now and snag the upside of an elite rookie prospect like Bowers. While his landing spot with the Raiders leaves something to be desired, we've seen several rookie tight ends make a fantasy impact right away, and Bowers could easily sneak into the low-end TE1 ranks in 2024.

Round 9

Pick Player Team
97 Courtland Sutton (WR49) Dalley
98 Dak Prescott (QB10) Boone
99 Brian Robinson Jr. (RB30) Brunt
100 Rashid Shaheed (WR50) Bradburn
101 Jayden Daniels (QB11) Wile
102 Javonte Williams (RB31) Belbeck
103 Devin Singletary (RB32) Vaswani
104 Tyjae Spears (RB33) O'Leary
105 Jameson Williams (WR51) Nesci
106 Austin Ekeler (RB34) Valente
107 Khalil Shakir (WR52) Miari
108 Romeo Doubs (WR53) Dickson

Round 9: While Team Valente got off to an intriguing start, his running back room hasn't filled out the way I had hoped. Harris has potential as a volume back, but his fantasy ceiling is capped by Warren's guaranteed involvement. Pollard is also heading toward a backfield timeshare where either he or Spears could emerge as the Titans' RB1. Grabbing Spears in this round would have made me feel better about Team Valente's RB roster, but instead, he went with a declining Ekeler who will also split snaps in the Commanders' offense.

My pick: At this point, there was only one quarterback left who I project to have QB1 overall potential in 2024 and that was Prescott. Recent concerns about him wearing a walking boot on vacation were overblown and he'll be a full go for the start of training camp. Prescott was the fifth-highest scoring fantasy quarterback in 2023 and led the position in fantasy points per game from Week 6 on.

Round 10

Pick Player Team
109 Trey Benson (RB35) Dickson
110 Brock Purdy (QB12) Miari
111 Adonai Mitchell (WR54) Valente
112 Jerome Ford (RB36) Nesci
113 David Njoku (TE11) O'Leary
114 Tyler Lockett (WR55) Vaswani
115 Chase Brown (RB37) Belbeck
116 Blake Corum (RB38) Wile
117 Gus Edwards (RB39) Bradburn
118 MarShawn Lloyd (RB40) Brunt
119 Brandin Cooks (WR56) Boone
120 Dallas Goedert (TE12) Dalley

Round 10: It's time for the late-round running backs to fly off the board with Benson, Ford, Brown, Corum, Edwards, and Lloyd all fitting the description perfectly. Ford will lead the Browns' backfield until Nick Chubb is healthy, Edwards has the inside track to become the Chargers' starter, and the rest are one injury away from fantasy stardom. You're making a mistake if you aren't trying to draft as many of these guys as possible at this point.

My pick: While I've attempted to pair Conner and Benson on many rosters this season, it wasn't possible in this mock. Instead, I took a massive value pick in Cooks. Once the Cowboys' passing attack hit its stride in 2023, the veteran was a top-25 fantasy receiver over the final 13 weeks.

Round 11

Pick Player Team
121 Zach Charbonnet (RB41) Dalley
122 Kendre Miller (RB42) Boone
123 Mike Williams (WR57) Brunt
124 Joshua Palmer (WR58) Bradburn
125 Caleb Williams (QB13) Wile
126 Nick Chubb (RB43) Belbeck
127 Ezekiel Elliott (RB44) Vaswani
128 Ty Chandler (RB45) O'Leary
129 Jaleel McLaughlin (RB46) Nesci
130 Jerry Jeudy (WR59) Valente
131 Dontayvion Wicks (WR60) Miari
132 Jaylen Wright (RB47) Dickson

Round 11: Running backs continue to be the better option at this stage, with Charbonnet, Miller, Chandler, and McLaughlin offering flex potential and one-injury-away upside if something happens to their starters. Chubb and Elliott aren't bad picks in this round either, but Chubb has to overcome a difficult injury recovery and Elliott will be a TD-dependent flex.

My pick: With the rest of my roster secured, it's time to load up on lottery-ticket running backs. Miller is the Saints' future starter; the question is how long Kamara holds him off. Injuries derailed Miller's rookie season, but in the two games where he played more than 35% of the snaps, he posted 90 yards on 16 touches and 79 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches.

Round 12

Pick Player Team
133 Trevor Lawrence (QB14) Dickson
134 Khalil Herbert (RB48) Miari
135 Kimani Vidal (RB49) Valente
136 Jakobi Meyers (WR61) Nesci
137 Pat Freiermuth (TE13) O'Leary
138 Rico Dowdle (RB50) Vaswani
139 Chuba Hubbard (RB51) Belbeck
140 Ja'Lynn Polk (WR62) Wile
141 Demarcus Robinson (WR63) Bradburn
142 Ricky Pearsall (WR64) Brunt
143 Elijah Mitchell (RB52) Boone
144 Tyler Allgeier (RB53) Dalley

Round 12: While you can make a good case for the receiver selections in this round, I almost always prefer running backs in this area of the draft. Dowdle, Hubbard, Mitchell, and Allgeier are competent backups who could carve out roles as flex options even as the No. 2 ball carriers in their offenses. Vidal is also intriguing in a wide-open Chargers backfield, but the lack of buzz from OTAs is curious.

My pick: With my final pick of the mock, I decided to grab my first-rounder's backup, Mitchell. McCaffrey has been incredibly durable lately, but if he misses time, Mitchell is the next man up in Kyle Shanahan's always productive run game.

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