You’ll hear it over again as people discuss their fantasy football strategy going into 2022- roster construction. When anyone asks a trade question the immediate question back is “what does the rest of your roster look like?” because that’s the real question. How have you built your team, and can it be improved with what you want to do?
If you have used the Fantasy Pros draft wizard (and I hope you have, it’s great) then you’ll know- you make some decisions early and then end up feeling forced to go certain ways with future picks. So how can you prepare for your draft?
For the purposes of this- I need to assume some league settings. So let’s go with something that is relatively standard:
Using the ADP from Sleeper, you can start to work out where you need to have considered a starter at a particular position. Equally, you can work out which round you can feel most/ least confident for particular positions.
Now, clearly in the first six rounds you can feel confident in any position being there for you to grab, and really you don’t need to consider ends of tiers so much as the player pool is still deep.
QB (High Confidence)
As it’s not Superflex, there are going to be PLENTY of QB options for you. Infact, when you enter into Round 7, there have only been seven QBs taken.
Really, there isn’t a massive drop-off at the position. You could take the likes of Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott in the 7th round, or wait to the 11th round and get the eternal streaming QB Kirk Cousins. Truly there are a bunch of options for you in the middle-to-late rounds.
Unless I get a real value at the top of the draft, I’m likely to wait to Round 9 where I can pick up Matthew Stafford, or take a shot on Trey Lance in round 10.
Fantasy Football Strategy Roster Construction 2022 QB- Get starter in place by Round 10.
RB (RB1- Low Confidence, RB2- Potential, Flex with Upside- High)
The middle rounds are a little dead at the RB position, as you’d expect. That being said, you can still find talent. It’s more taking a few options, and then trying to find a diamond in the rough. There are actually a few different groups of players to consider:
Yep, even in Round 7 you can find some starting RBs. Cordarrelle Patterson was a great fantasy find last season, as he was undrafted in a majority of leagues and was the starter for the season. I wrote about his situation here if you want to have a look.
You can also pick up Chase Edmonds, who is likely to have the pass-catching role for Miami at a minimum. It’s far more likely he becomes the lead back for the team, given the threats on their depth chart.
This type of RB is rife in this area of drafts, they have flex value straight away, which gives them more value than the upside-backups, but they are still limited unless there is injury.
Kareem Hunt is a prime candidate in this range. He is used in the Browns offense a decent amount, with the volume that the team gives to running the ball. There are rumours that Hunt could be traded- if he is then it’s incredibly likely he goes to a team in need of a starting RB. That might be on a worse offense, but it means little impact on his overall fantasy value.
Then you have the likes of Melvin Gordon, who is likely to split carries with Javonte Williams (albeit have the shorter side of the split). If Williams were to miss time, then Gordon would be a fantastic value in an offense that is set to take a step forward.
High-level backup/ Late-season breakout RBs
Alexander Mattison is the eternal high-level backup. Whenever Dalvin Cook has missed time, Mattison has been the player the team have looked to.
But, outside of him, there aren’t alot of players that you can truly hang your hat on as a backup. Sure, they are second on the depth chart but it’s unlike the likes of Ronald Jones are just going to be handed the backfield if the starter is injured.
Rhamondre Stevenson is one player that I’m interested in. Damien Harris was the starter last season for the Patriots, but there have been stories out of preseason that the team has high expectations for Stevenson this season.
Dameon Pierce is player that you can select in the 11th round, who is at some point this season going to be the starting RB for the Texans. There might not be a lot of upside for the pick, but he is a fine volume selection at that stage of your draft.
If you play in PPR leagues, then Nyheim Hines is a player that has been overlooked massively. The Colts didn’t dump the ball off very much last season, but with Matt Ryan in town, the number of dumpoffs is likely to increase and Hines has shown his ability to be very fantasy relevant previously.
Lastly, a player that I find myself picking up late in drafts is Mark Ingram. He isn’t exciting as a selection, but he has some value at the moment with the uncertainty around Alvin Kamara’s legal issues.
Fantasy Football Strategy Roster Construction 2022 RB
You aren't finding a straight-forward RB1 here, take some volume plays and some upside swings. I'd aim for 2/3 RBs in this range (assuming I was balanced early). If I was Zero RB, then I'm increasing the number to give myself a better selection to choose from.
WR (WR1 & WR2 Low Confidence, WR3 Medium/ High, Flex with Upside High)
As with RBs, there are a few different categories of players
The Veteran Discount
The biggest names in this category are Adam Thielen, Juju Smith-Schuster, Tyler Lockett and Robert Woods. Of those players, Thielen and Lockett are the only players that are really in familiar surroundings, and Lockett has a new QB.
Thielen struggled last season with an ankle injury, and remained very TD dependent. The Vikings offense is likely to take a step forward with the new coaching staff, Thielen is currently being drafted as the WR31. Unless Thielen suffers another injury, he is going to hit value here.
Lockett’s situation is a little bit more murky. The change in QB is massive for him- his fantasy value came from having an almost telepathic connection with Russell Wilson. Having to rebuild a new connection with a new QB has pushed him down the pecking order, but WR41 feels a little too far. There will be some bad weeks, but as a WR3/4 he is a fine depth piece.
Robert Woods is a veteran that feels like he is right on the verge of falling off the cliff of fantasy relevancy. Woods suffered a serious injury last season, and with the volume of passing in this offense, I’ve got doubts about how effective Woods is going to be this season.
This area is one where there are certainly a few options. Note: I’ve not mentioned Darnell Mooney in the below. He is a clear breakout candidat
Rashod Bateman is now the leading receiver for the Ravens, after the team opted to move Marquise Brown on. The offense might be a run-heavy one, but there is still going to be targets in the offense. Bateman has a great opportunity to surpass the 46 reception, 515 yards and single score season he had last year. Bateman is currently being drafted as a WR3, which he should be able to beat.
Gabriel Davis is a name that is on everyone’s radar (or so it seems) at the moment. The Bills offense has had several changes to it at the receiver position, and Davis looks to be the next man up for the team. He has shown his fantasy value in various weeks too, with a great performance against Carolina in Week 15 where he caught 5 passes for 85 yards and 2 TDs. That big play ability, along with Josh Allen’s big arm means that there is plenty of ability to perform this season.
Brandon Aiyuk had hype around him last season, but didn’t live up to the billing. Instead, Deebo Samuel was the player that ended up being that versatile player used in a variety of ways. But, the latter part of the season the team also looked to Aiyuk to be that gadget player and he performed well. With this offense likely to go nuts with Trey Lance’s dual-threat, I’m happy to invest the 8th round pick.
Allen Lazard may well be the leading receiver for an Aaron Rodgers offense. It’s really that simple. With how Rodgers has been in the past, he much prefers to target players that he has a relationship with. Lazard is currently that player for the Packers offense.
Kadarius Toney had a boom-or-bust season, but there are indications of this season being a much more consistent one. Toney was plagued by injury last season, and a bout of COVID. The Giants offense last season, and infact in recent years, has been bad but there are signs it could change. New coaching, investment in the offensive line could well lead the team to being more effective on the field. With some pass catchers leaving the team, I’m happy to by the opportunity in the 10th round.
Fantasy Football Strategy Roster Construction 2022 WR
WR is about getting the balance right between outright target share, and breakout/ big play ability. Aiyuk & Bateman are two players I've found myself drafting frequently.
TE (High Confidence)
The options at TE aren’t as thick as they are at QB by the mid-rounds but there are still some decent options. You could grab Dallas Goedert in the 7th round, one of my favorite TE targets. The Eagles offense may have just added A.J. Brown, but there aren’t alot of players that command targets on the roster. In TE premium leagues especially, his targets are extremely valuable.
If I miss out on Goedert, then I’ve found myself waiting and trying to snag one of Pat Freiermuth, Cole Kmet or David Njoku.
Freiermuth was a little TD dependent last season, and with the change at QB, alot of people are looking elsewhere. But, don’t forget he didn’t really get rolling until midway through the season.
Kmet is getting alot of hype, so he might be taken early in some drafts as people “get their guy”. Kmet has one of the largest range of outcomes at the position. The Bears offense as a whole does. If the team manages to click, Kmet could be a fantasy league winner this season. If they don’t- well, he is going to have value just from volume, but he becomes a streaming option rather than an every week option.
Lastly, we have Njoku. His value is somewhat tied to who what the team end up having to do at QB. The offense is likely to continue to be run heavy, which limits the passing volume, but outside of Amari Cooper there aren’t any real (established) receiving threats. The team just allowed Hooper to leave town, and signed Njoku to a decent sized contract- the signs are there that he is going to be on the field.