Is Tony Pollard now worthy of a first-round pick in a 12-team, PPR league? Following the Cowboys move to release Ezekiel Elliott, we saw Pollard get selected at No. 9 overall in our latest mock draft, which was the first one we've done after the flurry of moves that happened during NFL free agency.
I love the situation for Pollard, who was given the franchise tag by the Cowboys. Not only is Elliott gone, but Mike McCarthy said at the NFL Combine he wants to put more emphasis on running the ball this season. Pollard played two games without Elliott in 2022, and he scored 54 PPR points in those outings.
Pollard should also be fine for Week 1 after hurting his ankle in the playoff loss to San Francisco, and the arrow is pointing to the moon for Pollard right now. But I'm not ready to draft him in Round 1 -- yet. We'll see what Dallas does to add to its backfield in the NFL Draft, and then I'll determine exactly where Pollard should get selected in a PPR league. For now, I'm drafting him in Round 2 around No. 15 overall.
Pollard was the most notable pick in this mock draft for any of the players impacted by free agency, and that was the fun of this exercise. We wanted to see how Fantasy managers might view the guys who changed teams (D.J. Moore, David Montgomery and Miles Sanders, among others) and the ones who were impacted by change around them (Davante Adams, Chris Godwin and Dameon Pierce, to name a few).
There are too many players impacted by free agency to highlight them all. I recommend scanning the results to find the players who interest you the most to see where they were selected. As I said, it should be fun, and we had a great time during this mock draft.
For me, I had the No. 4 overall selection, and it was easy to draft Cooper Kupp in Round 1. I followed the Kupp pick with Jaylen Waddle in Round 2, and I was thrilled to get Rhamondre Stevenson in Round 3. I consider Stevenson a winner in free agency after the Patriots allowed Damien Harris to leave for Buffalo, and only James Robinson was brought in (as of now) to share touches with Stevenson. He has top-five upside as the lead running back in New England.
I took Keenan Allen as my third receiver in Round 4, and I drafted Drake London as my flex in Round 5. Allen should still be highly productive staying in Los Angeles, especially with the addition of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. And London should build off his productive rookie season from 2022 with an even better campaign in 2023. He might be a steal in Round 5 moving forward.
I got another winner in free agency in Round 6 with Rachaad White, who is now the starter in Tampa Bay after Leonard Fournette was released. The Buccaneers offense should regress with Baker Mayfield replacing Tom Brady, but White still has top-20 upside as the lead running back for Tampa Bay.
Jameson Williams was an easy pick as my No. 5 receiver and top reserve in Round 7, and he could be a star now that he's healthy. And I drafted another free-agent winner in Round 8 with Samaje Perine, who could end up as the starter in Denver to open the season if Javonte Williams (knee) isn't 100 percent by Week 1. Perine will be one of my favorite preseason sleepers this year.
In Round 9, I took a flier on Devin Singletary, who signed as a free agent in Houston. Pierce should remain the lead running back for the Texans, but Singletary should get plenty of work in tandem with Pierce. I like this value for Singletary a lot, especially as my No. 4 running back.
I waited on quarterback in this mock draft, but getting Deshaun Watson in Round 10 should work out fine. He should improve in his second season in Cleveland, and it sounds like the Browns could still add to their receiving corps with a potential trade for Jerry Jeudy. I also drafted Kyler Murray (knee) in Round 12, and he could be my starter when he's healthy.
I also waited on tight end, so I had to settle for Chigoziem Okonkwo in Round 11. He's got plenty of breakout potential in his second season, and this was one of my favorite draft picks.
The one mistake I might have made, however, was not drafting a second tight end with upside. For example, I could have selected Trey McBride in Round 13 or 14 instead of Tyquan Thornton or Jerome Ford. McBride should be a prominent target in Arizona after DeAndre Hopkins gets traded.
While I like both of the players that I selected to end my draft -- Thornton could emerge as the No. 1 receiver in New England and Ford is currently the handcuff for Nick Chubb -- my roster construction might have been better with a second tight end in case Okonkwo struggles. But, in the event that we played out this league, I could always address that off the waiver wire.
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. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Jake Grogins, CBS Sports Intern
3. Adam Aizer, FFT Podcast Host
4. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
5. Zach Brook, FFT Social Media Coordinator
6. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy Sports
7. R.J. White, Managing Editor, SportsLine and CBS Fantasy
8. Jack Capotorto, FFT HQ Producer
9. Jacob Gibbs, SportsLine Fantasy analyst
10. Daniel Schneier, Senior Fantasy Editor
11. Thomas Shafer, FFT Podcast Producer
12. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor