It is finally August, and fantasy football mock draft season is in full swing.
We are just over a month away from the NFL season opener between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams. When the ball is kicked off under the bright lights of SoFi Stadium, another year of fantasy football will be underway as well.
Another year of intrigue is upon fantasy footballers. Will Jonathan Taylor ride the momentum from his magical 2021 season? Which quarterbacks are primed to take a Joe Burrow-like leap? Will fantasy titans Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill continue their dominance in new digs?
These questions and more will be circling your mind as you prepare to draft a team of destiny.
This year’s first round will most likely be running back heavy, but there are several wide receivers that will be viable options.
Let’s take a look at a sample approach to the first round in a 10-team PPR league.
Read more about the NFL season.
1.01- Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Do not be scared to take Taylor first overall. Taylor was a fantasy king last year behind one of the most battered offensive lines in football. He rushed for a league-leading 1,811 yards and reached paydirt 18 times.
Having Matt Ryan at quarterback is a significant upgrade over Carson Wentz. Ryan should get the Wisconsin product heavily involved in the passing game, which will add to his already splendid value in the red-zone.
Although it is reasonable to assume that Taylor has already reached his ceiling last year, a campaign half-as-good would be worthy of the first overall selection.
He is the best player available and should be the first player off the board.
1.02- Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler is a PPR machine. The Chargers RB has immense fantasy value, signified by his target share and red-zone opportunities. He had the most red-zone touchdowns (18) and second-most red-zone touches (63) among RBs last season.
Ekeler is the focal point of the high-flying Los Angeles offense when he is on the field. Although he is not a true three-down back, his prowess in the open-field as a pass-catching back adds another layer to his sharp skillset.
The Western Colorado product is in the prime of his career. Take him at No. 2.
1.03- Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
If you have a choice at 1.03 between Kupp, Derrick Henry, and Christian McCaffrey, take Kupp. He offers the durability that the two backs cannot.
Matthew Stafford and Kupp have an undeniable chemistry with each other. Defenses will overwhelm Kupp with double-coverage, but Sean McVay is just too good, and the addition of Allen Robinson warrants some attention on the other side of the field.
Kupp is due to regress from his historic 2021 season, but he still has the best fantasy potential of all wideouts and should turn in another valuable campaign.
1.04- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
If you think CMC can be on the field consistently this season, then you can easily take him at 1.01. McCaffrey should not fall out of the top five.
Although the injury bug is a concern, he has more nagging injuries than ones that require major surgery and still has one of the highest floors in fantasy football. He is a mega-talent and the centerpiece of a Carolina offense that really does not exist when he is off of the field.
1.05- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Henry is the workhorse of our time. The Titans will run him into the ground, and although Henry is built like a brick wall, 29.6 touches per game can wear on Henry even with his stature.
The seventh-year back is still in the prime of his career and will still get a ton of yards and touchdowns as long as he is on the field. Although he is in risk-reward territory, he still warrants top five consideration.
1.06- Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota’s venerable wideout is a transcendent talent. With quarterback stability in Kirk Cousins, Jefferson should take another leap this year. He is PFF’s second-highest graded receiver over the last two seasons (91.7).
You can really flip a coin between Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase at this spot, but Jefferson has a proven track record, stays healthy, and with offensive guru Kevin O’Connell as a head coach, should see the most targets of his career.
1.07- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
There has been a lot of talk about a sophomore slump for Chase and the Bengals as a whole. Cincinnati improved their O-line, the weakest portion of their team, with the additions of Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La’el Collins. This should only give Burrow more time to connect with Chase, who is a speedster in his own right.
Chase can break away for a touchdown at any moment, and his big-play potential is too good to pass up at this spot. Take him with confidence.
1.08- Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is a top-tier pass-catching back. Behind the Bengals revamped line, he should shine. The Oklahoma product had the third-most touches (334) and that should only increase this year.
Mixon is a definite RB1 in PPR format.
1.09- Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The second year Alabama talent is another back that will be run into the ground. First round pick Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky under center for the Steeler could stunt Harris’s production, he will be heavily-leaned on.
Harris is a sure-fire first round pick, but he is not on the level of Taylor or Ekeler.
1.10- Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
You have to assume that Kelce will lead the Chiefs in targets with the departure of Hill. Patrick Mahomes still leads the most dynamic offense in football when it is clicking, and Kelce now becomes its No.1 threat.
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