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2023 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft 2.0 – Drafting from the #2 Slot

Training camp is still a few weeks away. So, now is a great time to experiment with different mock draft strategies. It’s also a worthwhile decision to draft a wide variety of players to see how a roster with them on it looks. These are just a few of the things I tried to keep in mind for the second analyzed mock draft as I prepare for the 2023 fantasy football season.

For the next 10 weeks, every Monday, I will be completing a fantasy football mock draft on what I like to call “Mock Draft Monday.” This series is a favorite of mine and one of the articles I look forward to the most during fantasy football draft season. I encourage you to review these mock drafts and complete some of your own!

Each week, I will select a mock draft team selecting players from a different draft spot with an analysis as to why I picked each player where I did and when I did. As I break down the results of each mock draft, I guarantee my reasoning for every pick will help guide your own decision-making process when it comes time to select your teams for the upcoming fantasy football season. So, follow along all summer long!

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune this season.

Picking Second Overall in the Second Mock Draft

The following mock draft was completed, simulating my strategy and results for a 10-team, 1 quarterback, Points Per Reception league.  The hypothetical roster consists of 3 wide receivers, 2 running backs, 1 tight end, and 1 RB/WR/TE Flex position.  I drafted from the second overall pick in this mock draft and will make selections from different draft positions each week.  For this mock draft, I will break down just the first 10 of the total 16 rounds as many Average Draft Positions, particularly for the later rounds, are bound to change once NFL training camps begin. As always, I spend my final two picks on a Defense/Special Teams and Kicker so they won’t be included as we focus on individual player analysis.


1.01-         Christian McCaffrey (CAR RB)

1.02-       Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)

1.03-        Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)

1.04-        Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)

1.05-        Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)

1.06-        Tyreek Hill (MIA WR)

1.07-        Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)

1.08-        Tony Pollard (DAL RB)

1.09-        Bijan Robinson (ATL RB)

1.10-         Josh Jacobs (LV RB)

MY PICK: Austin Ekeler

If I can’t get my hands on Christian McCaffrey, then I’m selecting the guy who scored the most touchdowns in 2022. That’s Austin Ekeler. In fact, Ekeler has 38 total touchdowns in his last 33 regular season games. He remains the lead back in the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense heading into the final year of his contract. Yes, there are plenty of playmakers in L.A., but Ekeler remains the focal point. He caught the most passes amongst running backs and logged the third-most red zone rush attempts. I fully expect similar usage to carry over from the 2022 season into this one.


2.01 –      Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)

2.02-      Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)

2.03-      Travis Kelce (KC TE)

2.04-      Rhamondre Stevenson (NE RB)

2.05-      A.J. Brown (PHI WR)

2.06-      Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)

2.07-      Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET WR)

2.08-      Davante Adams (LV WR)

2.09-     Nick Chubb (CLE RB)

2.10-       Breece Hall (NYJ RB)

MY PICK: Nick Chubb

Here’s where planning ahead comes into play when drafting near or at the turn. At the end of the second round, I know my next pick is three away from this one. When I look at the wide receivers, I’m perfectly fine selecting Jaylen Waddle, Garrett Wilson, DeVonta Smith, or even Chris Olave with one of these picks. However, when evaluating the running back position, I think Nick Chubb is in the tier above players like Breece Hall, Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, and even Derrick Henry.

That said, I know with my early third-round pick, I can get one of the wide receivers I feel are similarly valued. Meanwhile, there’s a chance the manager with pick 2.10 or 3.01 will draft Nick Chubb. So, selecting Chubb here becomes obvious and I let whoever falls to me in round three play out. The running back position is going to dry up quickly so I’m also ecstatic to have one of best duos in this mock draft league in Ekeler and Chubb.


3.01-      Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)

3.02-    Garrett Wilson (NYJ WR)

3.03-      Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)

3.04-      DeVonta Smith (PHI WR)

3.05-      Derrick Henry (TEN RB)

3.06-      Chris Olave (NO WR)

3.07-      Mark Andrews (BAL TE)

3.08-      Travis Etienne (JAX RB)

3.09-      Najee Harris (PIT RB)

3.10-      Kenneth Walker III (SEA RB)

MY PICK: Garrett Wilson

With the explanation surrounding the decision for my second-round pick, letting Garrett Wilson fall into my lap feels like a huge win. It’s always good to have a handful of players to target at a time rather than hoping to land one specific player. That way, if said player goes off the board, you’re not clouded with disappointment when it’s time to make your selection.

Don’t let his WR32 finish last season discourage you. Garrett Wilson is worthy of being your fantasy team’s WR1 this season. After catching passes from Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Mike White as a rookie, Wilson gets a major upgrade to Aaron Rodgers in 2023. His 147 targets rank seventh amongst all players last season. Meanwhile, his 19 red zone targets rank 12th. If he seems similar attention, or even more, from Rodgers with an expectation of more efficient passing, Wilson is going to be an elite option at the position.


4.01-      Tee Higgins (CIN WR)

4.02-      Keenan Allen (LAC WR)

4.03-      Aaron Jones (GB RB)

4.04-      Joe Mixon (CIN RB)

4.05-      Jalen Hurts (PHI QB)

4.06-      D.K. Metcalf (SEA WR)

4.07-      Josh Allen (BUF QB)

4.08-      Calvin Ridley (JAX WR)

4.09-     T.J. Hockenson (MIN TE)

4.10-       Amari Cooper (CLE WR)

MY PICK: T.J. Hockenson

In just the second mock draft of the summer, I’m experimenting here with an early tight end selection. Typically, I’m okay with waiting to draft this position. However, T.J. Hockenson is on the third-most pass-heavy offense from last season, the Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, he has a legitimate shot to be the second pass catcher in their 2023 offense behind Justin Jefferson.

Both Jefferson and Hockenson rank inside the top-13 in red zone targets from last season. Adam Thielen is, as well, as the ninth-most targeted player inside the red zone. Thielen, though, is now on the Carolina Panthers. The Minnesota Vikings also let their other biggest playmaker, Dalvin Cook, go this off-season. Hockenson should play a ton of snaps and be busy all over the field. In the red zone specifically, with defensive attention on Jefferson, Hockenson could mess around and score double-digit receiving touchdowns for the first time in his career.


5.01-      Chris Godwin (TB WR)

5.02-    Deebo Samuel (SF WR)

5.03-      Jahmyr Gibbs (DET RB)

5.04-      Alexander Mattison (MIN RB)

5.05-      J.K. Dobbins (BAL RB)

5.06-      Miles Sanders (CAR RB)

5.07-      Drake London (ATL WR)

5.08-      Marquise Brown (ARI WR)

5.09-      D.J. Moore (CHI WR)

5.10-       George Kittle (SF TE)

MY PICK: Deebo Samuel

The 2021 season was special for Deebo Samuel. It’s a big reason why fantasy managers were drafting him as a top-five receiver in 2022 drafts. As you can see in this mock draft, following last year, Samuel’s value has dipped quite a bit. I do think he is a value in the fifth round. However, I don’t think he’s a massive steal and will put up top-three numbers again.

Deebo Samuel is just a flat-out playmaker. In regular season games, 2,132 of his 3,230 career yardage are yards after the catch. That’s 66% of his regular season yards earned after the ball is in his hands. Amongst wide receivers, Deebo ranks second, first, first, and first from 2019 through the 2022 season in yards after the catch per reception. Yes, there are questions about the quarterback in San Francisco. There are also a lot of playmakers there. I’m still willing to bank on Deebo’s ceiling as a player who should still command over six targets per game.


6.01-      Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)

6.02-      Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)

6.03-      Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)

6.04-      Michael Pittman (IND WR)

6.05-      Christian Watson (GB WR)

6.06-      DeAndre Hopkins (Free Agent WR)

6.07-      Terry McLaurin (WSH WR)

6.08-      Dameon Pierce (HOU RB)

6.09-     Diontae Johnson (PIT WR)

6.10-       Christian Kirk (JAX WR)

MY PICK: Diontae Johnson

With this selection of the mock draft, I now have four of the top-19 most targeted players from the 2022 season. That’s Garrett Wilson (7th), Diontae Johnson (8th), T.J. Hockenson (18th), and Austin Ekeler (19th). That’s in addition to Nick Chubb, who may not be a PPR asset but is one of just three running backs to log over 300 carries last season.

I’m a big believer in chasing volume. Players can’t score points if they don’t touch the ball. They can’t touch the ball if they’re not drawing targets or getting carries. Simple, right? So, while Diontae Johnson scored ZERO touchdowns last season, I’m chalking it up as one of the craziest flukes in fantasy football.

Johnson had just three games with less than eight targets. He was also top-20 in red zone targets amongst all players. Johnson is the only player without a touchdown inside the top 20 in red zone targets. Besides Johnson’s zero and Juju Smith-Schusters’ one red zone score, every other player inside the top 20 scored three or more. The bottom line is that Johnson is the likely top target in Pittsburgh once again and positive touchdown regression is coming.


7.01-      Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)

7.02-    Darren Waller (NYG TE)

7.03-      Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)

7.04-      Cam Akers (LAR RB)

7.05-      Joe Burrow (CIN QB)

7.06-      Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)

7.07-      Mike Williams (LAC WR)

7.08-      Justin Fields (CHI QB)

7.09-      Mike Evans (TB WR)

7.10-      Rachaad White (TB RB)

MY PICK: Darren Waller

Which other player in this range is more of a sure thing to lead their team in targets this season? After Daniel Jones threw just 15 touchdown passes last season, the Giants didn’t use first round draft capital on or trade for a wide receiver. No, instead they traded a third-round pick for Darren Waller.

Most leagues that have a flex spot allow managers to flex a tight end. With T.J. Hockenson and Waller on this mock draft roster, that’s the plan after this pick. The elephant in the room is whether or not Waller can stay healthy.

In his last two fully healthy 16-game seasons, Waller averaged roughly 98 receptions for 1,170 yards, and six touchdowns on 131 targets. In a 17-game season, posting those numbers again is a strong possibility. There isn’t another player in the seventh round of this mock draft with that sort of ceiling out of the gate.


8.01-       Justin Herbert (LAC QB)

8.02-      James Conner (ARI RB)

8.03-      George Pickens (PIT WR)

8.04-      Trevor Lawrence (JAX QB)

8.05-      D’Andre Swift (PHI RB)

8.06-      Treylon Burks (TEN WR))

8.07-      Jaxon Smith-Njigba (SEA WR)

8.08-      Dalvin Cook (Free Agent RB)

8.09-    Deshaun Watson (CLE QB)

8.10-       Dak Prescott (DAL QB)

MY PICK: Deshaun Watson

I’ll probably say this in every mock draft: I’m not waiting to draft a quarterback this season. Even waiting until round eight even feels a little dangerous. Throw the 2022 season out of the window for Deshaun Watson. He’s now entering 2023 as the drama-free, Week 1 starter with added weapons in the passing game. He will be 28 years old in September and has a 22.3-point-per-game average in 55 games as the Houston Texans’ starter. Given the fully guaranteed contract, I think Watson will be busy through the air and putting points on the board. Stacking Watson with Nick Chubb is a big bet on the Browns’ success that I believe in.


9.01-      David Montgomery (DET RB)

9.02-    Isiah Pacheco (KC RB)

9.03-      Jordan Addison (MIN WR)

9.04-      Jahan Dotson (WSH WR)

9.05-      Kadarius Toney (KC WR)

9.06-      James Cook (BUF RB)

9.07-      Brandin Cooks (DAL WR)

9.08-      Rondale Moore (ARI WR)

9.09-      Alvin Kamara (NO RB)Rashod Bateman (BAL WR)

9.10-       Jakobi Meyers (LV WR)

My Pick: Isiah Pacheco

At this point in the mock draft, it’s time to start beefing up my running back depth. I have five strong pass catchers, two of which are tight ends, that should give me a solid weekly floor. There are some concerns about Isiah Pacheco’s off-season surgeries. However, as of early July, I’m drafting him here with expectations that he is their lead back in 2023. The lead back for the high-scoring Kansas City Chiefs feels like a steal in round nine of any draft.


10.01-     Javonte Williams (DEN RB)

10.02-    Juju Smith-Schuster (NE WR)

10.03-    Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)

10.04-    Elijah Moore (CLE WR)

10.05-    Antonio Gibson (WSH RB)

10.06-    Gabe Davis (BUF WR)

10.07-    Quentin Johnston (LAC WR)

10.08-    Michael Thomas (NO WR)

10.09-  A.J. Dillon (GB RB)

10.10-    Samaje Perine (DEN RB)

MY PICK: A.J. Dillon

As I continue drafting running back depth, I’m investing in A.J. Dillon with high hopes there is a huge breakout from him this season. With a young, inexperienced offensive personnel, Dillon could be busy keeping things moving out of the backfield. Aaron Jones is another year older with over 1,200 career touches. Meanwhile, Dillon is in the final year of his rookie contract and a strong, efficient, red-zone option. He could get the best of Jones in total touches this season.


QB – Deshaun Watson

RB – Austin Ekeler, Nick Chubb

WR – Garrett Wilson, Deebo Samuel, Diontae Johnson

TE – T.J. Hockenson

FLEX – Darren Waller

Bench: Isiah Pacheco, A.J. Dillon, Jameson Williams (11.2), Zay Jones (12.9), Jamaal Williams (13.2), Devin Singletary (14.9)

Mock Draft 2.0 CONCLUSION

There are more running backs to collect in the later rounds for depth purposes than I thought. Drafting two studs early then bolstering the bench with high-floor players behind them is something I’m okay with.

Even though I’m deploying two tight ends in my starting lineup, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing talent at another position to do so. To me, that means Darren Waller is going later than he should in drafts given my ability to build this sort of lineup.

All in all, I like this starting lineup. There are a few injury concerns sprinkled throughout. However, for the most part, this is a team I think can win a lot of games, especially early on in the season. As for my depth, there is a lack of wide receiver talent on the bench. Additionally, I can’t even consider Jameson Williams until after his six-week suspension. Given the depth at the position, there is a higher likeliness of picking up a clutch receiver off of the waiver wire than a running back.

For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!

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