Fantasy Football Advice: Round-by-Round Picks

By Steve Tsilimos | Posted 3 months ago

Let me start by stating the obvious; knowing your league’s format is essential because it will help determine how players are valued and what strategy to use during your draft. It would be foolish to take someone’s advice and wait on a QB when you are in a Super-Flex league or go with a Zero-WR strategy in a three-WR league. 

 

Some standard draft sites like Yahoo and ESPN have horrible ADP (average draft position) because anyone can play for free. It’s good to use multiple sites to look at rankings and ADP. The advice below is for a half-PPR, 12-team redraft league with 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, and 1RB/WR/TE and a snake draft.

 

Before going into a money draft, do at least one mock draft on whatever site you will use for your paid league. Mock drafts give you a feel for the site's layout and rankings before the big day. Next, tweak the rankings based on your research. Then decide how you want to approach the first few rounds and who you are high on in the later rounds. 

Round 1, Picks 1-3 – Get Your Guy

Don’t be fooled by the rankings of the top 15 players. There is no clear pecking order in the first round after Jonathan Taylor. If you like one of the top guys or feel that the upside is higher than most people think, do not overthink it and get your guy.

My Targets

RB Jonathan Taylor has never missed a game at any level and finished as RB1 a year ago. He’s an exceptional talent that will get a lot of work on a decent offense. He should go No. 1 but don’t hesitate to grab him if he falls to you at two or three.

 

RB Najee Harris is someone who I value higher than most draft sites. He’s one of the few bell-cows that still exist in the NFL. He led all running backs in targets and rushing attempts last season, which could easily happen again this year. I’ve taken him as early as No. 2 in some drafts. Some may think it’s too early to grab Alabama’s all-time leading rusher, but I feel great with Harris as my RB1.

Other Possible Targets

RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Justin Jefferson, RB Dalvin CookWR Ja’Marr Chase

Round 2, Picks 22-24 – Stay Balanced and Look for Value

I went with an RB hypothetically, so now I am looking to get my WR1. 

My Targets

WR Mike Evans finished as WR9 last year and is coming into the season healthy. Evans has had over 1,000 yards and at least 13 TDs the past two seasons, with Brady throwing him the ball. Tampa Bay added some new weapons this offseason, but Evans is still the guy. Brady’s security blanket near the goal line Rob Gronkowski retired, which could result in more red zone targets for Evans. 

 

WR Tee Higgins is entering his third year in the NFL, just like his QB Joe Burrow. His 25% target share in the games he played with Ja’Marr Chase was higher than Chase’s last season. The Bengals strengthened their offensive line this offseason, which should result in more time for Burrow to distribute the ball to his potent weapons. Higgins was tackled at the one-yard line four times last season and still scored six TDs. 

Other Possible Targets

TE Mark Andrews, WR Deebo Samuel, WR D.J. Moore, RB Javonte Williams

Round 3, Picks 25-27 – Look Ahead

After this pick, you will have to wait for 20 picks until you draft again. It is okay to reach for your guy here. If any of the guys mentioned above are still available in this round, I will take them.

My Targets

RB James Conner averaged nearly 16 fantasy points per game last season as Arizona’s RB1. RB Chase Edmonds, who started the 2021 season as the Cardinals’ RB1b, is now toting the rock for the Dolphins. Conner finished the 2021 campaign with 18 total TDs, ranking him third in the NFL, which could mean he will have a bit of a TD regression. Nevertheless, he is in line to receive high-valued touches on a high-scoring offense, and Connor has proven to be effective when healthy.

 

WR Michael Pittman Jr. is poised for stardom in 2022 after his 1,000-yard season last year. It’s yet to be seen how well the Colts' offense will be able to pass the ball, but one thing is for sure, Pittman will be the guy in Indianapolis. The reports out of the Colts camp are that Pittman has been impossible to guard and that QB Matt Ryan can get him the ball all over the field. 

Other Possible Targets

WR Keenan Allen, RB Breece Hall, TE Kyle Pitts, RB Travis Etienne Jr. 

Round 4, Pick 46-48 – Find Value

I am hoping some players I highly value fall to me here. 

My Targets

WR Courtland Sutton will benefit significantly from having Russell Wilson slinging him the pigskin instead of Drew Lock. If I cannot get Sutton, I am trying to get Jerry Jeudy with this or the next pick. Wilson has supported two top-15 WRs in Seattle, and that was without an offensive-minded coach. The 6’4” Sutton could become Wilson’s security blanket and his favorite target. He has WR1 upside as long as Wilson is under center. 

 

RB A.J. Dillion should not be looked at as a backup RB anymore. The Packers plan to get Dillion heavily involved this season because they believe he is one of the premiere backs in the league. I think the Packers' offense will find ways to get Dillion and Jones around 15 touches each. Jones will get the passing down work, but Dillion should get some goal-line carries. 

Other Possible Targets

WR Jerry Jeudy, QB Lamar Jackson, WR D.K. Metcalf

Round 5, Pick 49-51 – Look Ahead

There will be almost two full rounds before you pick again, so do not hesitate to reach for your guy here. There is one player that I really want on my team and will go after with this pick.

 

WR Juju Smith-Schuster is poised to have the best season of his career this year. By signing with the Chiefs, he now has the most accurate QB, Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball, and one of the best coaches calling plays to get him open. Smith-Schuster has plenty of talent to make the most of his new opportunity. His current ADP would say that getting him around pick 50 is a reach, but to me, it is more like a steal. WR1 upside with your fifth pick should feel good.

Other Possible Targets

TE Darren Waller, WR Allen Robinson II, WR Michael Thomas

Round 6, Pick 70-72 – Fill your Needs

If you have not taken a QB or TE yet, it is time to start valuing the positions. 

My Targets

TE Dalton Schultz is poised for another big year with the Cowboys. Dallas had the No. 1 scoring offense last season, which helped Schultz finish as TE3. The Cowboys' 2021 top WR, Amari Cooper, is now with the Browns, and WR Michael Gallup's late-season injury will most likely linger into the start of the season. Schultz is in line to finish the season with the second-most targets on the team behind WR CeeDee Lamb

 

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown finished last season as hot as anyone with a WR3 PPR finish from Weeks 13-18. The Lions added two new receivers this offseason, first-round pick Jameson Williams and veteran D.J. Chark, but St. Brown is still set to be WR1 in this improving offense. The Lions will be better than most people expect, and the second-year USC standout St. Brown is a top breakout candidate.

Other Possible Targets

WR Elijah Moore,  QB Jalen Hurts, RB Tony Pollard, WR Rashod Bateman

Round 7, Pick 73-75 – Look for Value

My Targets

RB Rhamondre Stevenson has taken on the Patriots' coveted “James White” role during camp, meaning he is the team’s receiving back. That is excellent news for the RB, who is coming off a stellar rookie season. A year ago, he was PFF's third-highest graded RB, and RB25 in total points scored without having much work in the receiving game. RB1 upside exists with Stevenson, especially if Damien Harris gets hurt.

 

TE Dallas Goedert took over as TE1 in Philadelphia after they traded TE Zach Ertz to the Cardinals last October. Goedert finished as PFF's second-highest graded tight end and should benefit from QB Jalen Hurts having another year under his belt. After Week 7, Goedert averaged 11.8 fpts/g, which would have put him at TE8. 

Other Possible Targets

WR Brandon Aiyuk, TE T.J. Hockenson, WR DeVonta Smith

Round 8, Pick 94-96 – Look for Upside

QB Trey Lance has been given the keys to coach Kyle Shanahan’s high-powered offense. Lance has the skill set to end up being a top-5 QB this year. He will get plenty of rushing opportunities, and Shanahan will dial up plays to help his youngster succeed throughout the year. Lance had five goal-line carries in his two full games played. If that usage is applied to an entire season, he would have led all QBs in goal-line carries. 

Other Possible Targets

QB Russell Wilson, QB Dak Prescott

Round 9, Pick 97-99 – Look for Upside

WR Allen Lazard has massive upside as Aaron Rodgers WR1 this year. Depending on your draft, you may need to get Lazard earlier than this.  I will take Lazard as early as the sixth round because I think he will be a top-15 WR this year. The longer you wait, the better, but do not miss your chance at the Packers' new WR1. It may be worth thinking about Stevenson in the sixth, Lance in the seventh, Lazard in the eighth, and Ertz in the ninth. 

Other Possible Targets

TE Zach Ertz, RB Ken Walker III, WR Drake London, RB Dameon Pierce 

Round 10 and Beyond – Sleepers with the Potential to Breakout

You can find a whole article I wrote on late-round sleepers here. Below are some of them. I want to fill my bench with RBs, WRs, and one backup TE. I am waiting for waivers to get my QB backup. Gather some players below to fill out your bench with potential breakout players.

My Targets

WRs

Garrett WilsonTyler BoydGeorge PickensNico CollinsJahan DotsonJoshua Palmer,  K.J. Osborn

RBs

Brian Robinson Jr.Kenneth GainwellTyler Allgeier, Khalil HerbertZamir WhiteRachaad White

TEs

Irv Smith Jr., Albert OkwuegbunamRobert Tonyan

 

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