2022 fantasy football draft trends

2022 fantasy football draft trends

Fantasy football draft strategy tips and advice

2022 fantasy football draft trends

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Fantasy football isn’t getting any easier between the extra 17th game and losing players to COVID-19. Building that optimal roster means taking advantage of the trends for 2022 and knowing which positions to consider in the early rounds. And even more importantly – when you can reach your favorite player without any cost to your other starters.

The Positions

There is a commonality between all fantasy football drafts, if only because conventional wisdom (AKA last year’s stats) plays a strong role in when players and positions are taken. That allows a reliable way to fill your fantasy roster with the sort of players you want. When you devise a plan to seed different positions in different rounds, you will be better armed to take later advantage of the best player available, especially if he’s “your guy.”

Quarterbacks – Last year’s best quarterback, Josh Allen, kicks off the position usually in the late third round but can drop to the fourth. Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert follow in the fifth round. The sixth and seventh rounds become a run and you can expect the Top-10 to be gone by the eighth. That means Trey Lance, Derek Carr, Jalen Hurts, and Aaron Rodgers is still there in the eighth and ninth rounds.

Decide what level of quarterback you want. After the Top-3, the differences are minimal between the next dozen or so. The later you take your starting quarterback, the earlier you should draft a second one.

Running Backs – Running backs are always popular and 2022 witnesses at least seven taken in the first round and another five or six gone during the second round. Reception points encourage wide receivers to make up almost all other picks in the first two rounds, and if there are no reception points, then running backs go even faster. Your first-round pick should be the most reliable player in your draft.

Those initial running backs contain Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon, and Dalvin Cook. By the second round, the best remaining running backs tend to be D’Andre Swift, Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Aaron Jones, Javonte Williams, and Leonard Fournette. Each has a characteristic that may keep them from the Top-10, but all have the potential for elite production.

Consider taking two running backs during your first three picks. If you wait until the fourth round, the best remaining backs will be either moderate fantasy scorers or players returning from injury. Travis Etienne, J.K. Dobbins, David Montgomery, and Elijah Mitchell have upside. There is also equal potential downside. From the fifth round onward, the remaining running backs are either the smaller part of a committee backfield, a third-down back, or injury prone players and the guys that replace them.

Rookie running backs are the crack cocaine of a fantasy football draft. But 2022 served up a less exciting draft class than usual. Breece Hall of the Jets is the only one with a lock on a starting job and still doesn’t go until the mid-third round. Seahawk Kenneth Walker usually ends up in the seventh round, and James Cook in Buffalo and Rachaad White in Tampa Bay last until at least the ninth round as they play behind a starter. Brian Robinson Jr., Dameon Pierce, Zamir White, Tyrion Davis-Price, Isaiah Spiller and Tyler Allgeier are fantasy lottery tickets that need to be drafted as just depth.

Wide Receivers – This year differs in that more receivers are going in the earlier rounds. Running backs rule Round One, but an equal number of wideouts are taken from Rounds Two to Four. And then they dominate the picks in Rounds Five and Six.

It is still possible to reach two Top-10 wideouts with your first two picks for a strong start in an inconsistent position. There’s a price to be paid in the quality of running backs, but invariably one or two teams near the end of Round 1 take this path looking for an advantage.

The first three are always a mix of Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, and Ja’Marr Chase. Six more leave through Round 2 – Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, CeeDee Lamb, Deebo Samuel, Tyreek Hill, and Mike Evans.  All difference-makers for a fantasy team.

The fifth round and beyond still holds upside, and many of them will deliver well in advance of their draft slot. This is where the mixture is of top players on their way down, unproven receivers on their way up, or those in new and riskier situations.

Nice finds in the fifth and beyond include DK Metcalf, Chris Godwin, Brandin Cooks, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Darnell Mooney, Allen Robinson, Gabriel Davis, Hunter Renfrow and Amari Cooper. Wideouts are the deepest fantasy position, and it is possible to find suitable starters deeper than any other position.

Rookie wide receivers typically disappoint, but Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith immediately became fantasy starters in 2021. This year is another talented group after six went in the first round of the NFL draft. Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Jahan Dotson, and Treylon Burks heard their name on Day 1 and are expected to step into starting roles at least by the latter part of the season. Skyy Moore (Chiefs) and Christian Watson (Packers) are notable since they were the only higher draft picks that ended up on an elite passing team.

 Tight Ends –There are always three elite difference-makers and that’s clearly Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, and Kyle Pitts this year. In most leagues, Andrews and Kelce go in the second round, then Pitts follows a round later. George Kittle and Darren Waller are always another round or so later.

Plan on using a ninth-round pick or earlier if you want a Top-10 tight end. That means settling for Dawson Knox, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert or Mike Gesicki as your starter. Or using a sixth or seventh-round pick to grab Dallas Schultz or T.J. Hockenson for at least a minimal advantage within the position.

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