Fantasy football draft strategy: Must-have players after Round 8

Fantasy football draft strategy: Must-have players after Round 8

Fantasy football draft strategy tips and advice

Fantasy football draft strategy: Must-have players after Round 8

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While fantasy football leagues can be won and lost in the early draft rounds, it tends to be the latter half of the selection process where savvy owners separate themselves from the pack.

Average draft position (ADP) figures can vary wildly from service to service, so we’re using an aggregate of four prominent sites to establish as close to a uniform valuation as possible.

Let’s dive into the top-12 targets for success after Round 8 in conventional PPR redraft leagues.

12
WR Nico Collins, Houston Texans (ADP: Round 13)

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The second-year Michigan product boasts excellent size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) to complement the smaller, more explosive Brandin Cooks in an offense that figures to be playing plenty of catch-up football. Collins probably won’t tally monster stats, but he has WR3 potential and is likely a weekly flex consideration, at worst. Somewhere in the vicinity of 60-750-8 is well within his reach catching passes from a fellow promising sophomore, Davis Mills, quarterbacking.

11
TE David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (ADP: Round 14)

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Cleveland will rely on game manager Jacoby Brissett to steer the offense while Deshaun Watson is away from action. The veteran journeyman is a dinker-and-dunker when it comes to pushing the ball down the field, which benefits the tight end position. Cleveland sent Austin Hooper packing in the offseason, also working in the Njoku’s favor. The Browns ponied up a huge chunk of cash for a former first-rounder whose career to date arguably has been a bust. Expect a breakthrough campaign in a passing game that has little proven weaponry behind wideout Amari Cooper.

10
TE Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: Round 13)

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The former Denver Bronco first-round pick was dealt to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade following Fant’s best pro season (68-670-4). The Seahawks have tabbed a checkdown champion in Geno Smith to replace Wilson, and a pair of top-level receivers will shield Fant from seeing extra defensive attention. There will be more than enough underneath worth to buoy a fringe TE1 selection in PPR, and Fant’s athleticism should help him house a few from distance.

9
RB Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders (ADP: Round 11)

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A mostly quiet preseason has the rookie flying well below the radar, and the release of presumed No. 2 Kenyan Drake has slightly improved White’s draft stock. He has a reasonable shot at sharing time with Josh Jacobs, whose injury history suggests White could be a new ailment away from RB2 workload. Ameer Abdullah survived cut day and is best suited to serve as a third-down back. Brandon Bolden came over with Josh McDaniels from New England, but he’s a core special teamer and on the wrong side of 30, so don’t be too threatened by his presence.

8
RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears (ADP: Round 11)

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Herbert stood out while David Montgomery missed time last year, and a regime change should work in his favor. Luke Getsy is the new offensive coordinator in Chicago, coming over from Green Bay’s committee-based system. The entire offense will improve in tandem with Justin Fields‘ on-field growth, and it will be surprising if Herbert doesn’t see at least a third of the backfield touches come year’s end. Should Monty once again suffer an injury of consequence, Herbert instantly is a must-start option in fantasy lineups.

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7
QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (ADP: Round 13)

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It wasn’t that long ago when Winston was considered a fantasy asset, not a detriment. The Saints made a concerted effort to maintain continuity following the “retirement” of Sean Payton, meaning the system won’t change to any significant degree. The front office demonstrated a strong push to improve the offensive personnel, notably signing WRs Jarvis Landry and drafting Chris Olave. Winston won’t have as tight of restraints shackling him from making mistakes, and he’ll be permitted to put the ball in the air with more frequency this season. The former Tampa signal-caller’s weaponry — highlighted by the return of Michael Thomas and pass-grabbing ways of Alvin Kamara — helps ensure Winston’s return to fantasy prominence following his successful knee reconstruction.

6
RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions (ADP: Round 10)

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The Lions will lean on D’Andre Swift as the primary back, and rightfully so. For as exceptional as the former Georgia Bulldog is capable of being, injuries have to be a concern when targeting him on draft day. His absence will mean a larger role for Williams, whose game is better between the tackles, and he is not a substantial drop-off in aerial game. Williams — the heart and soul of this offense’s attitude — has occasional flex utility even with Swift on the field, but the focus here is skewed toward the possibility of yet another Swift injury.

5
TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (ADP: Round 10)

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Justin Fields showed this preseason he is taking steps in the right direction, and any gains — incremental or otherwise — directly benefit Kmet. The third-year tight end has all of the tools to shine in 2022, and the Bears don’t sport exactly the strongest cast of receiving options to interfere with what could be a 120-plus-target campaign. Fields will endure some growing pains in Year 2, and inexperienced passers often look to their tight ends to bail them out. Kmet is on the verge of a rock-solid TE1 breakout.

4
TE Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans (ADP: Round 18)

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Anyone who has read my work this summer knows this one like the back of their hand: Hooper is going to thrive in Nashville, and too few people are willing to invest. His ADP is a joke compared to some of the other tight ends going ahead of him. The Titans employ a run-centric design, no doubt, but the offense can sustain at least two weekly targets passing less than 50 percent of the time. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has quickly gravitated toward Hooper to build easy chemistry that will come in handy as the offense tries to reset with effectively a brand-new receiving corps. Hooper has the most upside of any tight end chosen after Round 8 and often goes undrafted.

3
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (ADP: Round 9)

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Stevenson is the most dangerous back on this roster, and while the Pats have a storied history of splitting reps over the last decade or so, eventually talent wins out. That’s not to say Damien Harris won’t be heavily involved, but he easily could (and should) go from being the primary back to a piece of the puzzle this year. Stevenson is expected to take on a much larger role in the passing game, too, which could be all the fantasy difference among this weak cast of wideouts.

2
QB Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (ADP: Round 9)

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Few quarterbacks get the opportunity to effectively redshirt their rookie year as a top-two pick in the modern NFL. Fewer assume the starting role as a sophomore with such a stout cast of weapons at his disposal. Lance is in a prime situation to excel from the onset of the 2022 season. Yes, Jimmy Garoppolo will remain on the roster, but he is of no threat to unseat the new starter. Should Lance struggle as a pure passer, gamers can rely on his lively legs to approach QB1 status most weeks. Case in point: Jalen Hurts. Lance is a perfect target for those who (smartly) wait on the position.

1
WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (ADP: Round 9)

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Following in the footsteps of a franchise legend is rarely easy, nor does it usually end well. If anyone can provide advice to Lazard it would be his quarterback. Aaron Rodgers notoriously avoids receivers he cannot trust, and the Packers currently sport two rookies among the top six wideouts on the depth chart. Lazard’s game is that of a glorified possession receiver — not all too different from that of the man he’s tasked with replacing. Davante Adams‘ 169 targets from 2021 will go in many directions, but Lazard even seeing 120 as a floor is in play. A nice bonus to keep in mind: The three other NFC North teams’ cornerbacks are among the weakest in the league. Lazard occasionally goes inside of the first 96 picks, and there’s nothing wrong with reaching by a round to secure the safest aerial target in this offense.

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