NFL fantasy football: Drafting from the 5th spot in 0.5 ppr 12-team leagues
Grab one of top wide receivers Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson in the first round
DeAndre Swift, Alvin Kamara, and Deebo Samuel are good round 2 targets
Prioritise AJ Brown, Keenan Allen or Ezekiel Elliott in round 3
The 5th spot in the NFL draft allows you to grab a top wide receiver (WR) in round 1 and come back for a decent running back (RB) option in round 2.
Round 1 Pick 5: Christian McCaffery (Yahoo ADP 4.9), Austin Ekeler (Yahoo ADP 3.8): If available here, get them
Cooper Kupp: (Yahoo ADP 3.8): Cooper Kupp has been a top WR the past few years. But last year, the quarterback (QB) upgrade from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford put him at the top of the elite list of WRs. He achieved the informal National Football League (NFL) receiving triple crown - leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. This is the first time the feat was achieved since 2005. We're expecting an encore performance from Kupp this year.
Justin Jefferson: (Yahoo ADP 6.4): Justin Jefferson finished as overall WR6 in 2020 and WR5 in 2021. Still in the early stages of his career, we're expecting that he takes a significant step forward in 2022 because of a new head coach, who promises to make his team the Minnesota Vikings a lot more pass heavy. The coach in question, Kevin McConnell was instrumental in helping Cooper Kupp make the leap to the overall WR1 in fantasy last year. We're expecting a top three finish from Jefferson this year, which will justify his selection at the top of drafts.
Dalvin Cook: (Yahoo ADP 6.3): Will Dalvin Cook play the entire fantasy football season or miss a few games due to niggles, like he has the last few years? Even if you account for the fact that he'll miss a couple of games here and there, his production in the remaining games gives him a safe floor to finish in the top 5-10 RBs by the end of the season.
Derrick Henry (Yahoo ADP 4.9): Derrick Henry was the overall RB2 in fantasy in 2020. In the first 8 weeks of 2021 before he broke a bone in his foot, Henry was 6 points per game ahead of the field in the race for overall RB1. Henry returned late in the season last year, so he should be fully recovered from the injury. Still, he is now 28 and has put a lot of miles on his body the last couple of seasons. This is why he's still available here. The reward is worth the risk.
Round 2 Pick 20:
DeAndre Swift (Yahoo ADP: 18.2): DeAndre Swift was the overall RB7 in the first 11 games of last season. Unfortunately, he then got injured which impacted the rest of his season, limiting him to 12 games total. Swift is now fully recovered and still has one of the most valuable receiving roles in the league amongst RBs, because of which he had a 18% target share last year. If he stays healthy, expect him to deliver plenty of value at this spot.
Deebo Samuel (Yahoo ADP: 20.2): Deebo Samuel had a breakout season last year, finishing with 13 touchdowns (TDs) - 7 of them rushing TDs. He also finished with almost 1800 yards total. While we expect some regression in TDs from Samuel, his role in this offense remains the same. He's also just received a generous extension, which underscores his team's commitment to him. Expect Deebo to have another WR1 season this year.
Alvin Kamara (Yahoo ADP: 22.2): Alvin Kamara is available this late simply because there's a chance he will get suspended due to his role in a violent altercation during last Pro Bowl weekend. All signs point to the suspension likely happening in 2023 though, so go ahead and pick the RB who's finished in the top 5 at his position the last 2 seasons at a discount.
Saquon Barkeley (Yahoo ADP: 23.1): The last two seasons for Saquon Barkeley have been marred by injury. However, when healthy, Saquon is still amongst the top three most talented backs in the league. He seems to be fully recovered this year. He's also going to be running behind a much improved offensive line and has a new coaching staff that is expected to be more imaginative in running the Giants offense. Expect a bounce back season for him this year.
Leonard Fournette (Yahoo ADP: 20), Josh Allen (Yahoo ADP: 20.4), Mark Andrews (Yahoo ADP: 24.5)
Round 3 Pick 29:
Saquon Barkeley (Yahoo ADP: 23.1), Mark Andrews (Yahoo ADP: 24.5): Get them here if available
AJ Brown (Yahoo ADP 34): AJ Brown has signed up with the Philadelphia Eagles this year, a team that runs a much more balanced offense than the Tennessee Titans, this team last year. Already one of the most efficient WRs in the league, we expect that AJ is going to have a career year in this new offense and finish as a WR1
Keenan Allen (Yahoo ADP 30.2): Keenan Allen is 30 this year, an age at which WR production typically starts to decline. He's not shown any major signs of decline yet though, and continues to be the alpha in a juggernaut offense. We're also anticipating another impactful season from his QB Justin Herbert, which should keep Allen in the WR1 conversation.
Ezekiel Elliott (Yahoo ADP 29.9): Ezekiel Elliott partially tore his PCL in week 4 of last season, but decided to play through the injury the rest of the season. This caused him to have a subpar season by the standards he's set so far in his career. He's now 27, and is entering a time in his career when production for RBs starts to decline. Still, his role in the Cowboys offense is secure and he should provide plenty of value at his ADP.
James Conner (Yahoo ADP 31.9), Tee Higgins (Yahoo ADP 30.3)
Round 4 Pick 44:
Jaylen Waddle (Yahoo ADP 43.6): Jaylen Waddle stood out in a rookie WR class last year that was historic in its impact on the NFL. He finished as the WR17 partially aided by the fact that he had almost zero target competition in Miami last year. Enter superstar WR Tyreek Hill, who signed with the Dolphins this past offseason. While this should increase the competition for targets, we're also expecting that Waddle will benefit from lower defensive pressure on him. If Tua Tagovailoa, his QB, takes another step forward, we expect Waddle to have another great year, and perform as a WR2 with upside.
Terry McLaurin (Yahoo ADP: 44.1): Terry McLaurin has put up WR25 and WR21 seasons the past few years by leveraging his ability to win contested catches. He's getting a much needed QB upgrade this year, with Carson Wentz having signed with the Washington Commanders. As a result, we expect Terry to finish firmly in the WR2 range this year, justifying his selection at this spot.
Diontae Johnson (Yahoo ADP: 47.2): Diontae Johnson was thrown to by Ben Roethlisberger last season, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, in his last season of a hall of fame QB career, Ben was well past his prime. Johnson still finished as a WR8. This season we don't expect Diontae's QB to be much better - he's going to either get rookie Kenny Pickett or a below par Mitchell Trubisky. But even after accounting for that, we expect Diontae to easily finish in the WR2 range.
Travis Etienne (Yahoo ADP 51.4), JK Dobbins (Yahoo ADP 56.1), Mike Williams (Yahoo ADP 49.4)
Round 5 Pick 53:
Diontae Johnson (Yahoo ADP: 47.2), Jaylen Waddle (Yahoo ADP 43.6), Mike Williams (Yahoo ADP 49.4), Terry McLaurin (Yahoo ADP: 44.1). Pick them if available here.
Courtland Sutton (Yahoo ADP 53.3): Courtland Sutton was recovering from major injuries last year. He also had mediocre QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock throwing to him, which meant that they could often not find him with the deep ball, Sutton's forte. He's getting a major upgrade at QB this year, with superstar Russell Wilson now a part of the Denver Broncos team. Sutton is also fully recovered from his injuries. Expect this to vault him into WR2 territory this year.
JK Dobbins (Yahoo ADP 56.1), DK Metcalf (Yahoo ADP 55)
Round 6 Pick 68:
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2): Like clockwork, Brandin Cooks finishes over 1000 yards each season. He's now 28, which is not an age where one expects a precipitous drop off in skills at WR. If he's available here, get him. You're getting WR2 production with upside at a discount.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7): Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not quite set the NFL on fire since his arrival a couple of seasons back. But he still has a secure starting role with the explosive Kansas City offense, which includes playing on passing downs. The price you're getting him for is also far lower than his price the past 2 seasons, which already takes into account diminished expectations. This is an ADP Edwards-Helaire will comfortably overperform.
Marquise Brown (Yahoo ADP 74.8), Gabriel Davis (Yahoo ADP 73.7), Damien Harris (Yahoo ADP 66.8), Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9)
Round 7 Pick 77:
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7): Snap them up if they fall to here.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Yahoo ADP 78.1): Amon-Ra St Brown was the overall WR3 in the last 6 weeks of 2021. While this performance was obviously bolstered by the unavailability of DeAndre Swift and TJ Hockenson as pass catching options in that time, it gave us a glimpse of St. Brown's potential. All starters for the Detroit Lions are now healthy, and the team also signed standout rookie WR Jameson Williams this year. But St. Brown should still easily deliver a WR2 season based on his talent and role.
Michael Thomas (Yahoo ADP 83.6): Michael Thomas was the overall WR1 in 2019. He's barely played since due to injuries. In the meanwhile, legendary QB Drew Brees has retired. Thomas is also 29 now. So expectations need to be tempered. Still, if Thomas has a healthy season, expect plenty of production from him, with outstanding upside based on his pedigree and role.
Marquise Brown (Yahoo ADP 74.8), Gabriel Davis (Yahoo ADP 73.7), Amari Cooper (Yahoo ADP 76.7), Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9)
Round 8 Pick 92:
Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9): Darnell Mooney was a standout performer in the historic rookie WR class of 2021. He finished as the WR26 last year despite target competition from WR Allen Robinson for the Chicago Bears. Robinson has now packed his bags and moved to the LA Rams, leaving Mooney as the alpha in the Chicago receiving corps. We expect Mooney to finish as a WR2 this year, which will be a great outcome for this ADP.
Chris Godwin (Yahoo ADP 91.9): Chris Godwin is the primary deep threat for GOAT QB Tom Brady in the Bucs offense. He finished as a WR1 last year. Unfortunately he also suffered a gruesome injury, a torn ACL and MCL, towards the end of last season. This is an injury that will likely limit his effectiveness early this season. In the meanwhile the Bucs offense lost two of its primary catchers Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown from last year. This means that whenever Godwin is back, he will have a very substantial role in this aggressive offense. We're expecting a WR2 season when all is said and done.
Tony Pollard (Yahoo ADP 94): Tony Pollard was far more efficient than starting running back Ezekiel Elliott last year. He finished as RB28 as a result, which is sufficient performance from this ADP on its own. While Pollard's role is not expected to change as long as Elliott is healthy, he's one of the top handcuffs in the league as well. If Elliott were to get injured, Pollard would immediately step into an RB1 workload, which could win you your league.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Yahoo ADP 96.9): Much was not expected of Rhamondre Stevenson last year, as a rookie RB in a Bill Belichick offense. However, he earned the confidence of the coaching staff and exceeded expectations, finishing the last 8 weeks of 2021 as the RB22. This year, we expect him to continue playing behind Damien Harris in the New England offense. However, if Harris were to miss time, Stevenson would instantly step into an RB1 workload. This is the kind of upside you want at this spot.
Trey Lance (Yahoo ADP 106.7), Hunter Renfrow (Yahoo ADP 97.2), Elijah Moore (Yahoo ADP 98.6)
Round 9 Pick 101:
Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9), Rhamondre Stevenson (Yahoo ADP 96.9), Tony Pollard (Yahoo ADP 94): If you get any of them here, go for it.
Trey Lance (Yahoo ADP 106.7): Trey Lance largely played behind starting QB Jimmy Garropollo last year. This year though, with the San Francisco 49'ers having made their intentions to let go of Garropollo clear, the starting job will go to Lance. In the two games Lance started last year, he averaged 60 yards rushing. Add that on top of a normal QB workload, and there's an outside chance Lance finishes in the top 3 QBs or even QB1 overall. Especially if you've waited on QB, grab Lance and his massive upside.
Hunter Renfrow (Yahoo ADP 97.2), Kenneth Walker (Yahoo ADP 102.6), Brandon Aiyuk (Yahoo ADP 106.5)
Round 10 (Pick 116):
Drake London (Yahoo ADP 121.5): Drake London is one of the most exciting WRs to come out of college football in the last few years, possessing a great combination of size, speed and football skills. Accordingly, he became the first WR selected in this year's draft, being drafted 8th by the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta is desperately needy at WR, which means London will have little target competition. If you get London here, grab him for the massive upside.
Christian Kirk (Yahoo ADP 122.3): We saw some of Christian Kirk's potential last year, a season in which he had a WR2 finish. Just as he seemed to have cemented his place as a top WR, he's had to switch teams. Kirk's new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have a QB in Trevor Lawrence who is still trying to adapt to the NFL after having been drafted #1 overall in 2020. Despite the downgrade at QB, Kirk should provide plenty of value and upside at this spot because of his role as the alpha in the Jaguars offense.
Robert Woods (Yahoo ADP 124.4): Robert Woods is over 30, coming off a major injury and with a new team. So we should temper our expectations for this season. He is likely not going to finish as a WR2, as he has in seasons prior. However, all that being said, Woods' only competition for targets this year in the Tennessee Titans' receiving core is rookie Treylon Burks. This means that Woods can be one of the perfect additions at this spot in the draft for teams looking for more depth at the WR position on their bench.
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:
Chris Olave (Yahoo ADP 126.8), Kadarius Toney (Yahoo ADP 128), Sony Michel (Yahoo ADP 128.6), Garett Wilson (Yahoo ADP 129.1), Isiah Spiller (Yahoo ADP 130.6)