We knew the NFL Draft would change a lot for Fantasy managers this season, but I didn't expect the No. 1 overall pick in PPR to be impacted. Apparently, I was wrong.
Justin Jefferson remains No. 1 overall for me, and I'm not worried about rookie receiver Jordan Addison significantly hurting Jefferson's production. My colleague, Heath Cummings, thinks otherwise, which is why he selected Ja'Marr Chase ahead of Jefferson in our first 12-team, PPR mock draft following the NFL Draft.
"Chase and Justin Jefferson are in a near dead heat for the first pick," Heath said. "Chase was just 1.1 Fantasy points per game behind Justin Jefferson last year, and I expect Jordan Addison will earn more targets than 32-year-old Adam Thielen did. I also expect a bounceback in yards per target for Chase, who went from 11.4 in 2021 to a mediocre 7.8 in 2022. At his volume, even one more yard per target would make up the 2022 difference between Jefferson and Chase."
It's a solid argument, and Thielen had 107 targets last season for the Vikings, which was second on the team behind Jefferson's 184. Jefferson also has to contend with a full season of T.J. Hockenson, and K.J. Osborn should have a prominent role as the No. 3 receiver.
I'm more of the belief that Jefferson's role won't change, and he was featured exactly how Kevin O'Connell promised when he took over as coach and play caller last season. If Addison gets more than 107 targets, I expect it to come at the expense of Hockenson and Osborn.
Dave Richard said on Monday's Fantasy Football Today podcast that he also dropped Jefferson from No. 1 overall, but he switched to Christian McCaffrey. Adam Aizer said Jefferson remains No. 1 overall for him, and Frank Stampfl was caught off guard in this mock draft when Chase went ahead of Jefferson. Frank had the No. 2 overall pick, and he selected Jefferson.
Aside from Chase going No. 1 overall, the other big change in the first round was rookie running back Bijan Robinson coming off the board at No. 10 overall. I had a tough call between Robinson and Tony Pollard, but I went with the upside of the rookie. Robinson has top-five potential as the lead running back in Atlanta.
I'm going to focus a lot on the rookies and players impacted from the NFL Draft in this mock recap, and I was surprised to see Kenneth Walker III selected in Round 3. The Seahawks surprised us when they drafted rookie Zach Charbonnet in the second round, and Pete Carroll said both running backs will "battle" for the lead role.
I expect Walker to keep the starting job, but Charbonnet is now a problem for Walker. The earliest I would draft Walker now is Round 4. Charbonnet went in Round 9 here, which is fantastic value.
Jahmyr Gibbs went in Round 4 here, and I expect him to be the best running back in Detroit. David Montgomery will have a prominent role, but Gibbs has more upside in PPR. Montgomery was drafted in Round 6, which is the right spot for him.
D'Andre Swift also went in Round 6, and I love that value for him as the new lead running back for the Eagles. He'll compete with Rashaad Penny and likely Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott for touches, but Swift has the most upside of the group if he can stay healthy. Penny went in Round 9 here, and that's great value for him. Hopefully he can also avoid injuries, and we'll see how Philadelphia rotates Swift and Penny throughout the season.
The other rookie running backs drafted were Devon Achane (Round 9), Tank Bigsby (Round 9), Roschon Johnson (Round 10), Chase Brown (Round 10), Israel Abanikanda (Round 12), Kendre Miller (Round 12), Tyjae Spears (Round 13) and Eric Gray (Round 14). Of these guys, I love the selections of Achane, Johnson and Miller the most.
Achane could be the lead running back in Miami ahead of Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert, and he should see his value rise this summer as he gets more buzz from the Dolphins media and Fantasy analysts. Johnson has the chance to compete with Khalil Herbert and D'Onta Foreman for the No. 1 spot in Chicago, and he should turn heads in training camp. And Miller could have a prominent role in New Orleans if Alvin Kamara is suspended, and that's a story to follow for the rest of the offseason.
For the rookie receivers, the first one drafted was Addison in Round 7. He was followed by Zay Flowers (Round 8), Quentin Johnston (Round 9), Jonathan Mingo (Round 9), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Round 10), Jalin Hyatt (Round 11), Josh Downs (Round 12), Nathaniel Dell (Round 12), Jayden Reed (Round 13), Michael Wilson (Round 14) and Rashee Rice (Round 14).
Addison has the most upside in his rookie campaign, and Round 7 is a good spot for him. We'll see how Flowers competes with Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman in Baltimore, but Flowers could be the lead receiver for Lamar Jackson. Johnston could struggle for targets in Los Angeles behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but both of those guys missed a lot of time due to injury in 2022, which could bode well for Johnston this season if that happens again.
I like Mingo's landing spot in Carolina, and he could be the No. 1 receiver for the Panthers by the end of the season. It might seem like a surprise to see Mingo get drafted ahead of Smith-Njigba, but his path to targets is somewhat blocked by DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in Seattle.
As for the veteran receivers impacted by the NFL Draft, we still saw Keenan Allen and Metcalf get selected in Round 4. Williams went in Round 6, and Lockett fell to Round 7. Beckham went in Round 9, and Bateman was drafted in Round 11.
Allen remains my favorite Chargers receiver, but Williams took a hit with the addition of Johnston. Round 6 is the earliest I would consider drafting him, and Johnston is just a late-round flier for now in redraft leagues.
I'm curious to see how the Seahawks use Smith-Njigba and who loses targets from Metcalf and Lockett. I have more faith in Metcalf because of his age (25) compared to Lockett (30), but Lockett could once again be a tremendous value pick, even with Smith-Njigba on the roster. The rounds for each Seahawks receiver in this mock draft seems appropriate.
In Baltimore, I like Flowers better than Beckham for now, and I'm glad this draft reflected that. Bateman should be the No. 3 Ravens receiver for Fantasy managers as well. But like this mock draft, the earliest I would select a Baltimore receiver is Round 8.
The only other rookie to mention here -- and it's a big one -- is when Anthony Richardson was drafted. And it might surprise you that he went in Round 6 as the No. 7 quarterback off the board.
The first six quarterbacks were, in order, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson. Then Richardson went ahead of Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, which I can't do yet, but he is No. 9 for me. I love his upside with the Colts, and he could be a superstar.
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We'll see what changes with all of these players moving forward this offseason, and training camp will likely be the next major event to alter our view of the Fantasy landscape. For now, here is the first mock draft following the NFL Draft, and it was exciting to finally see where the rookies land for Fantasy managers this year.
In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We also award one point for every reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE and FLEX (RB/WR/TE) with six reserves for a 14-round draft.
Our draft order is as follows:
1. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Frank Stampfl, FBT Podcast Host
3. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
4. Thomas Shafer, FFT Podcast Producer
5. Zach Brook, FFT Social Media Coordinator
6. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy Sports
7. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
8. Daniel Schneier, Fantasy Editor
9. Adam Aizer, FFT Podcast Host
10. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
11. Meron Berkson, CBS Sports HQ Producer
12. Jacob Gibbs, SportsLine Fantasy analyst