Higgins kicks off Round 3 in expert PPR mock

·3 min read

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We're less than a month away from the start of the NFL season, which means plenty of fantasy drafts in the coming weeks. Training camp injuries, rumors and position battles are once again a daily fixture in managers' minds as we rapidly approach Week 1 matchups. With preseason action underway, it's the perfect time to take stock of your draft strategies before making picks in your league's official draft. Whether you've completed most of your research or are looking for a place to get started on the fly, look no further than our expert's PPR mock draft, with analysis courtesy of our very own Zachary Krueger (@ZK_FFB).

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With #DRAFTSZN in full effect, we're highlighting an expert PPR mock draft from our NBC Sports EDGE analysts and some friends from around the industry. A lot has changed since early Summer, meaning the 2022-23 fantasy landscape looks much different with regular season action just weeks away. Below you'll find the names of which fantasy analysts took part in the draft, with full round analysis by Zachary Krueger. So, where do stars in new places (Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill) and emerging studs (Jaylen Waddle, Kyle Pitts) land?

Let's dive in.

Expert 12-team PPR Mock Draft

Experts involved

Colm Kelly (RotoViz)

Lauren Carpenter (NBC Sports EDGE)

Kate Magdziuk (Ball Blast Football)

Cody Carpentier (PlayerProfiler.com)

Denny Carter (NBC Sports EDGE)

Kyle Dvorchak (NBC Sports EDGE)

Derek Brown (Fantasy Pros)

Jennifer Eakins (4For4)

Lawrence Jackson (NBC Sports EDGE)

Zach Krueger (NBC Sports EDGE)

Davis Mattek (Sports Grid)

Sam Wagman (Football Guys)

Round 1

Colm Kelly - Jonathan Taylor RB1

Lauren Carpenter - Christian McCaffrey RB2

Kate Magdziuk - Justin Jefferson WR1

Cody Carpentier - Ja'Marr Chase WR2

Denny Carter - Derrick Henry RB3

Kyle Dvorchak - Cooper Kupp WR3

Derek Brown - Dalvin Cook RB4

Jennifer Eakins - Davante Adams WR4

Lawrence Jackson - Austin Ekeler RB5

Zach Krueger - Stefon Diggs WR5

Davis Mattek - Travis Kelce TE1

Sam Wagman - Tyreek Hill WR6

Zach Krueger's analysis: Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey have been the top-two picks in drafts throughout much of the offseason – this is in fact the correct move. Nobody should hesitate to pull the trigger on Taylor after his impressive run (332-1811-18) to the overall RB1 in fantasy, but those snake bitten by McCaffrey may feel tempted to look elsewhere with their top-two pick. I implore you not to. McCaffrey and his drafters have fallen victim to bad luck over the last two seasons, but most of his injuries have been ones that nag over the course of the season rather than outright end them. Last season, McCaffrey missed four games with a hamstring injury, only to return to the field and suffer a sprained ankle in Week 12 that subsequently ended his season, but when active, he was still one of the best assets in all of fantasy. McCaffrey played in just seven games last season but was still the overall RB4 in points per game (18.4). If you remove the two games in which he exited with an injury, his points per game jumps to 23.6 – topping Jonathan Taylor's 22.2 points per game. Those who look to pivot off McCaffrey or Taylor at the 1.02 are often taking Cooper Kupp, although it was Justin Jefferson and then Ja'Marr Chase who were the first two receivers off the board here. It was interesting to see Najee Harris fall out of the first round here. He's generally sporting a mid-first round ADP in PPR leagues, but Sam Wagman made the right move by scooping him up to open the second round.

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Round 3

Colm Kelly - Tee Higgins WR11

Lauren Carpenter - Javonte Williams RB13

Kate Magdziuk - Leonard Fournette RB14

Cody Carpentier - Michael Pittman WR12

Denny Carter - Courtland Sutton - WR13

Kyle Dvorchak - Josh Allen QB1

Derek Brown - Kyle Pitts TE3

Jennifer Eakins - Keenan Allen WR14

Lawrence Jackson - Jaylen Waddle WR15

Zach Krueger - Mike Williams WR16

Davis Mattek - Patrick Mahomes QB2

Sam Wagman - DK Metcalf WR16

You'll see throughout this draft that the majority of quarterbacks fell a good bit with some interesting picks made along the way. Hindsight analysis on Kyle's selection of Josh Allen would suggest he was a little early to the bowl, but that's far from the case. The overall QB1 in each of the last two seasons, Allen's ability to hold that top spot is far from a fluke and has been by way of perfect design. From a volume standpoint, Allen has seen a historical workload. Below is a list of quarterbacks since 2000 who have totaled:

  • 30+ passing touchdowns

  • 100 + rush attempts

  • 400+ pass attempts

Allen's production is virtually unmatched, and he's the only quarterback in this group to have attempted 500+ passes – TWICE! Buffalo returns Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox to the fold and is looking for a true breakout season from last year's AFC Divisional round hero Gabriel Davis. Colm drafted one of my favorite players of this offseason when he made Tee Higgins the 11th receiver to come off the board. Higgins (74-1091-6) took a second-year leap with Cincinnati last season despite the team drafting the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year in Ja'Marr Chase and should be in line for a strong third season. Cincinnati took a rather conservative approach on offense for much of last season, but ramped up their pass rate from Week 14 all the way through the playoffs, throwing on 63% of their plays on the way to the Super Bowl. Joe Burrow gets a much-improved offensive line heading into this season and is another year removed from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 campaign. Chase and Higgins both finishing as top-12 receivers would not come at much of a shock to many.