In round 1, get one of Ja’Marr Chase, Najee Harris or Joe Mixon if you are drafting from the 10th spot in fantasy drafts for half point per reception (PPR) leagues. If none are available, get Stephon Diggs. In round 2, your top target is tight end (TE) Travis Kelce. In round 3, target top wide receivers (WRs) AJ Brown or DJ Moore.
Ja’Marr Chase (Yahoo ADP 9.1): Ja’Marr Chase set the NFL on fire in his debut season – finishing with more than 1400 yards and as the WR4 overall. Part of the reason for this success was his chemistry with former college and now NFL quarterback (QB) Joe Burrow. With another offseason of work, we expect their connection to be even better this year. We’re expecting a top 5 WR season for Chase.
Najee Harris (Yahoo ADP 8.9): Najee Harris had the biggest workload in the NFL last season, finishing first in targets and second in attempts from the running back (RB) position. Pittsburgh’s offense, led by a rookie QB, continues to be in shambles this year. So the team will continue to need to lean heavily on Harris and the run game this year as well. It’s a good thing Harris is big and strong and built for that kind of workload. We’re expecting another top 5 overall RB season from him.
Joe Mixon (Yahoo ADP 10.7): Joe Mixon had a healthy season last year, and because he has a secure three down role in a decent Cincinnati Bengals offense, this translated into a RB3 overall finish for him. We’re expecting a similar performance this year as long as he avoids injuries.
Stephon Diggs (Yahoo ADP: 12.7)
Round 2 Pick 15: Stephon Diggs (Yahoo ADP 12.7), Joe Mixon (Yahoo ADP 10.7): Get them here if available
Travis Kelce (Yahoo ADP 16.7): Travis Kelce provides a WR1 level of output each year from the usually unproductive tight end (TE) position. We’re expecting this year to be no different despite Kelce having entered his age 32 season. Kelce continues to be durable and show no skill decline. The explosive Kansas City offense led by QB Patrick Mahomes is also expected to be more reliant on Kelce with the departure of WR Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins this past offseason. Expect a TE1 or TE2 overall season from Kelce this year.
Cee Dee Lamb (Yahoo ADP: 17.8): Cee Dee Lamb is the unquestioned alpha of the uptempo Dallas Cowboys offense after the departure of Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns this past offseason. The second best WR in the team, Michael Gallup, is also dealing with an injury of his own to begin the season. This means that Lamb will potentially have a monster workload, especially early in the season. We’re counting on a top 10 overall WR season from Lamb.
DeAndre Swift (Yahoo ADP: 18.2): DeAndre Swift was having a productive season last year, at RB7 overall through the first 11 games of the season before a shoulder injury limited him to only one more game. He seems fully healthy now, and on a Detroit Lions team that is short of weapons, should start off right where he left before getting injured. We’re expecting a top 10 overall RB finish for him this year based on his receiving workload.
Alvin Kamara (Yahoo ADP: 22.2), Leonard Fournette (Yahoo ADP: 20)
Round 3 Pick 34: Keenan Allen (Yahoo ADP 30.2), Ezekiel Elliott (Yahoo ADP 29.9): get one of them if available
AJ Brown (Yahoo ADP 34): AJ Brown is now one of the best paid WRs in the NFL, after signing a deal to move to the Philadelphia Eagles that will finally pay him at a rate commensurate with his talent. He also gets to be a part of a much more fast paced offense and gets a QB upgrade, going from Ryan Tannehill to Jalen Hurts. We’re expecting all of this to result in a WR1 range fantasy finish for Brown.
Kyle Pitts (Yahoo ADP 39.4): Kyle Pitts was drafted fourth overall last year by the Atlanta Falcons, making him the highest drafted TE in NFL history. His combination of size, speed and athleticism causes matchup nightmares for defenses. He lived up to the hype and potential last year, finishing as TE5 in his rookie season. We expect him to take a significant step forward this year, and return WR2 level production from the TE spot, which will be a positional advantage for teams that draft him.
DJ Moore (Yahoo ADP 41.2): DJ Moore has put together three successive 1100 yard seasons despite poor QB play from the variety of people who’ve manned that position for the Carolina Panthers the last few years. This year he gets Baker Mayfield, another middling QB, but an upgrade from Sam Darnold last year. We’re expecting another dominant season from Moore, with a high end WR2 finish.
Round 4 Pick 39:
Kyle Pitts (Yahoo ADP: 39.4), DJ Moore (Yahoo ADP: 41.2): If one of them are available, get them here
Breece Hall (Yahoo ADP: 41.7): Breece Hall was drafted in the beginning of the second round by the New York Jets to be their workhorse RB of the future. He is going to take some time to acclimatise himself to the NFL, and has competition from last year’s lead back Michael Carter to contend with as well. So don’t expect him to burst out of the gate with big performances. We expect that by the middle of the year, he will take over the lead back duties for the Jets and perform at an RB2 level.
Jaylen Waddle (Yahoo ADP 43.6): Jaylen Waddle had a great rookie season with the Miami Dolphins, finishing as the overall WR17 behind exceptional receiving volume for a team that didn’t have any weapons in the passing game beyond him. Tyreek Hill has now joined the Dolphins, which brings a new alpha in town. And Tua Tagovailoa is not an elite QB. Still, based on Waddle’s talent and the improvement of the efficiency of the offense because of Hill’s addition, we’re expecting a WR2 finish.
Terry McLaurin (Yahoo ADP: 44.1): On talent alone, Terry McLaurin can easily be counted as one of the top WRs in the NFL. The issue with his fantasy production has been the overall offense around him, including QB. He’s had some of the worst QB play in the league over the last few years and the Washington Commanders offense has been underwhelming. Carson Wentz is Terry’s QB this year, which is an upgrade over Taylor Heinecke from last year. As a result we’re expecting Terry to finish in the low end WR2 range. He’s going to have boom bust days because of the poor quality of the offense around him though.
AJ Dillon (Yahoo ADP 62.2): AJ Dillon is the 1B of the Green Bay Packers run offense, playing behind Aaron Jones. In this role last year, he garnered more than 1000 yards from scrimmage (rushing plus receiving) and finished as the RB22. The status quo is expected to be maintained this year as well. However, if Jones were to get injured and miss games, Dillon would immediately transform into a top 5 RB in fantasy for however long Jones is out. This gives him one of the best upsides amongst RB handcuffs.
Round 6 Pick 64:
AJ Dillon (Yahoo ADP 62.2), if available here, pick him
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2): Brandin Cooks puts up 1000 yard seasons irrespective of the quality of QB or the overall offense around him. He will dominate targets this year for the Houston Texans, who have given him a two year extension recently to continue to lead their offense. We expect a WR2 season with upside.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7): Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not bowled us away with his performances over the last couple of years, and has disappointingly not found a foothold as one of the league’s premier backs despite being the starting RB for one of its best offenses. If he were being drafted in the 3rd or 4th round, we would not recommend picking him up. But almost midway through the 6th round? Heck yeah. Give us some Edwards-Helaire and his safe low end RB2 production with upside.
Round 7 Pick 82:
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7), Marquise Brown (Yahoo ADP 74.8), Amon-Ra St. Brown (Yahoo ADP 78.1): Get them if available here.
Michael Thomas (Yahoo ADP 83.6): Michael Thomas is on his way back from issues with his ankle that had him miss all of last year and a good part of the year before that. His last full season before these troubles, Thomas was the overall WR1 in fantasy. A lot has changed since then. His hall of fame QB Drew Brees has retired and he’s also now 29, and with an injury history. We would still not write Thomas off though, as he should have plenty left in the tank. Just don’t expect another WR1 season.
Rashod Bateman (Yahoo ADP 85.5): Rashod Bateman’s team, the Baltimore Ravens, are an explosive offense. But their game plans are built around one of the league’s best run games and the dual threat skills of QB Lamar Jackson. Then there is target hog TE Mark Andrews, who commands a large share of the receiving game. Still, with the departure of Marquise Brown to Arizona, Rashod should now inherit the top WR role in the team. This should enable Bateman to finish in the high end WR3 or low end WR2 range.
Round 8 Pick 87:
Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9): Darnell Mooney had a breakout season last year, his sophomore season at the NFL level despite being paired with then rookie QB Justin Fields. Mooney finished with more than 900 yards and was the WR26 overall despite also having target competition in Allen Robinson. Allen Robinson is now playing with the LA Rams, and Justin Fields has had another offseason of work in developing chemistry with now alpha Mooney. So we are expecting Mooney to continue his upward trajectory and have a shot at finishing in the WR2 range.
Chris Godwin (Yahoo ADP 91.9): Chris Godwin is the top target for one of the best passing offenses in the NFL led by GOAT QB Tom Brady. He finished in the WR1 range last year. So why is he available this low? It’s because he tore both his ACL and MCL in week 15 of last season. Most players take some time to heal fully from such an injury and get back to 100% production. We expect the same with Godwin, and are expecting a finish in the WR3 range, with WR2 upside this season. He’s fallen so low in drafts that despite the injury, he’s a value here.
Rashaad Penny (Yahoo ADP 86.3): Rashaad Penny was the overall RB1 in fantasy for the last 4 weeks of 2021. So why is he available this late? It’s because Penny has lost his superstar QB Russell Wilson, who has signed a deal to move from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos. Penny is also notoriously brittle and has not been able to stay consistently on the field. Hence, the Seahawks signed Kenneth Walker in the second round of this year’s NFL draft. There is some concern that Walker might supplant Penny. But if Penny is healthy, we expect him to continue to lead this backfield. In that role Penny has borderline RB1 potential, with an RB2 finish as a likely outcome.
Round 9 Pick 106:
Trey Lance (Yahoo ADP 106.7): Trey Lance might not be an outstanding QB in terms of his passing skills, but he has the ability to break the game with his rushing ability. In the two games he started for the San Francisco 49’ers last year, he averaged 60 yards a game. He’s now been handed full time starting responsibility for the San Francisco team. If he keeps that role though, he has the potential to finish in the top 5 QBs in fantasy. Whether looking for a QB late, or simply looking to add upside to your team, Lance could be your solution.
Round 10 (Pick 111):
DeVonta Smith (Yahoo ADP 108.7): DeVonta Smith finished as the WR36 overall in fantasy last year, his rookie season. He’s had AJ Brown sign with his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, this year and take over the alpha role in the receiving game. But we’re expecting QB Jalen Hurts to take another step forward this year, and for the Eagles offense to become more pass heavy. If that happens, and with the chemistry of another offseason with the QB and a more efficient offense, Smith could finish in the same range as last year, as a WR3.
Allen Lazard (Yahoo ADP 109.3): With the departure of star WR Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers, the new alpha WR is expected to be Allen Lazard, who steps into a substantial role and big shoes. Reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) QB Aaron Rodgers has plenty of gas left in the tank, as he showed last year. So we are expecting Lazard to make the most of this opportunity to soak up targets and provide WR3 production, with upside.
Drake London (Yahoo ADP 121.5): Drake London takes his show to the NFL this year as one of its most exciting rookies. His college exploits were defined by making full use of his size, speed and skill to manhandle opponents. He’s now been drafted by an Atlanta Falcons team that is desperately needy for receiving production. We expect London to compete for alpha duties with sophomore TE Kyle Pitts and finish with a large volume of targets. This should guarantee WR3 production, with potential for a WR2 finish within the range of outcomes.
Christian Kirk (Yahoo ADP 122.3), Robert Woods (Yahoo ADP 124.4), Michael Carter (Yahoo ADP 123.5), Darrell Henderson (Yahoo ADP 124.5), Alexander Mattinson (Yahoo ADP 125), Julio Jones (Yahoo ADP 124.1)
Targets for Round 11 and later: