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Fantasy football mock draft for 12-team standard league

Prepping for your fantasy football season-long draft? Let us give you some insight into how your squad might look in a 12-team standard league.

DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles gets open for a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs after Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It’s draft season and we’re back with another fantasy football mock draft recap at DraftKings Network. We’re using a live engine instead of the simulator, which can create more varied results. That can help to account for any human error or anomaly’s that might come about during your draft. Someone trolling by taking a player higher than usual because they’re on their team. Even in most competitive fantasy football leagues you’ll see something out of the ordinary.

So below we’re going to recap a 12-team mock draft for a league that uses standard scoring and 6 points for a passing TD. This league also uses three IDP slots, but mock draft lobbies don’t ever really account for that type of format.

2023 Fantasy Football mock draft review: 12-team standard

We were mocking out of the No. 4 slot since that’s where I’ll be drafting in an actual league next week. Practicing out of the slot you have makes sense but you can never really tell what’s going to happen in a live draft. Subject A: Christian McCaffrey dropping to me at No. 4. It isn’t really a big drop but you have to ask yourself a few questions if CMC, JJ and Chase all off the board. Selecting from a group of Austin Ekeler, Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill makes me nervous. So having CMC land in my lap at No. 4 felt very good in this league where RBs and QBs are the most important positions.

With that in mind, we were happy to see the NFL’s leading rusher — Josh Jacobs — available with the second-round pick. Year-to-year I generally stick to a similar strategy in standard. Stack RBs and make sure you get a top QB. Things get a bit interesting on the QB front but we’ll get to that later. Having CMC and Jacobs gives me two elite RB1s that, when healthy, can break open any matchup week-to-week. We should see Jacobs’ ADP rise a bit over the weekend and into Labor Day. The more people draft, the higher it will climb. Jacobs really should be going among the top-5 RBs.

After snagging a few elite RBs it was time to focus on WR. In the third round, DeVonta Smith and Chris Olave fell to my pick. We went with Smith given Eagles over Saints. Jalen Hurts is a better QB. The Eagles are a better team. Smith has a real shot of breaking out this season. He’s more of a WR2 with WR1 upside. We drafted a few more of those in Keenan Allen, Jahan Dotson and Christian Kirk. All four wideouts have a path to being WR1’s in fantasy football. Dotson feels like another breakout candidate. Kirk should be the top option for an improving Jaguars offense. Allen, if healthy, same deal, No. 1 for a good Chargers’ offense.

The QB situation snuck up on me and I usually don’t miss like this. Joe Burrow was a reach candidate but I went with Kenneth Walker instead to add another potential top RB to the mix with CMC and Jacobs. Burrow went shortly after, the pick right before me in the fifth round. After that, I should have identified the run on QBs and went with Trevor Lawrence or Justin Herbert but figured one would be around in the sixth round. Not the case. So in a QB-dependent fantasy league, securing someone in that top group is important. Here we botched it a bit.

So what happened at QB? Geno Smith. It was more of a panic pick but we also grabbed Kirk Cousins to make matters worse. No, hear me out though. Smith has upside in that offense and if he’s anything close to 2022, will be serviceable in fantasy. Cousins is the same deal really. He has a good offense with the best WR on the planet and a team that allows points. Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards in seven of the past eight seasons and in five of those he got to at least 29 passing TDs. If 4K and 30 TDs is the norm for Cousins, we’ll take him week-to-week with Smith. It may not be pretty all the time, but it’ll make things interesting.

I snagged Jamaal Williams since there’s an early portion of the season when he’ll be the No. 1 RB for New Orleans. Williams could also see plenty of work once Alvin Kamara is back. Chiefs WR Skyy Moore is another sleeper I like a lot. He’s operating with the best QB on the planet and in an offense that should score a lot of points. In a wide-open WR room, Moore is a great late pick. We rounded the team out with Lions TE Sam LaPorta and Steelers RB Jaylen Warren. There were a few other sleepers in Warren’s range but he could see more touches than we think. LaPorta could start in a pass-happy offense as a big target for Jared Goff.

That pretty much does it. Tight end is weak and QB is shaky, but the rest of the team is very solid. RBs and WRs are the players you can play the most, loading up on RBs and WRs in any format is never a bad strategy. It just means more waiver wire work if injuries pop up or if players don’t pan out. I’ll punt on TE in most fantasy football leagues and focus elsewhere, RBs in standard and WRs in PPR.

No. 4 — Christian McCaffrey, RB, 49ers
No. 21 — Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
No. 28 — DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles
No. 45 — Kenneth Walker, RB, Seahawks
No. 52 — Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
No. 69 — Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders
No. 76 — Christian Kirk, WR, Jaguars
No. 93 — Jamaal Williams, RB, Saints
No. 100 — Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks
No. 117 — Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs
No. No. 124 — Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
No. 141 — Sam LaPorta, TE, Lions
No. 148 — Jaylen Warren, RB, Steelers