NFL fantasy football: Drafting from the 6th spot in 0.5 ppr 12-team leagues
If you miss out on top WRs, grab a high end RB in the first round
DeAndre Swift, and Cee Dee Lamb are great round 2 targets
Get AJ Brown, Keenan Allen or Ezekiel Elliott in round 3
The 6th spot in the NFL draft allows you to grab either a top wide receiver (WR) or top tier running back (RB) in round 1 and augment that with a decent RB or WR in round 2. You can flexibly choose a balanced team or go RB heavy or even zero RB from this spot.
Dalvin Cook: (Yahoo ADP 6.3): Dalvin Cook was overall RB5 in 2019, overall RB3 in 2020 and RB15 in 2021. He's consistently missed a few games each season, which has kept him out of the running for overall RB1 unlike Christian McCaffery and Derrick Henry. Still, his three down role with the Minnesota Vikings remains rock solid. This means he's a lock to finish in the top 5-10 RBs this season.
Derrick Henry (Yahoo ADP 4.9): "King" Derrick Henry has been steamrolling defenses at an unprecedented rate for the last few years. For the first 8 weeks of last season, he was running away with the overall RB1 title - he was a full 6 points per game ahead of the rest of the field. But then disaster struck in the form of a broken foot, which curtailed the rest of his season. This season he's 28 years old, an age at which RBs tend to start their decline. But you're getting him at a discount here, and there seems to be plenty left in the tank for the King, at least for this season.
Round 2 Pick 19:
DeAndre Swift (Yahoo ADP: 18.2): DeAndre Swift has one of the best receiving roles amongst RBs, garnering an 18% target share last year. Last year, through the first 11 games of the season, he was fantasy's RB7 as a result. Unfortunately, then injuries struck which limited him to 12 games total. He's now fully recovered and healthy and we're expecting a top 10 RB finish for him this year.
Cee Dee Lamb (Yahoo ADP: 17.8): Lamb was the overall WR14 last season in the explosive Dallas Cowboys defense. He was playing with Amari Cooper, himself a talented WR and target hog. Now Amari is in Cleveland, which leaves the alpha role in this offense to Lamb. We're expecting Lamb's target share to escalate as a result, and for him to comfortably finish in the top 10 WRs this year.
Deebo Samuel (Yahoo ADP: 20.2): Deebo Samuel broke the game last year, achieving elite levels not seen before in the receiving and running game for the San Francisco 49'ers. He finished with 13 touchdowns (TDs), 7 of them rushing TDs en route to an overall WR3 year. While we expect some TD regression this year, Deebo's role this year remains unchanged as the unquestioned alpha of this offense. He should finish comfortably in the top 10 WRs.
Alvin Kamara (Yahoo ADP: 22.2): Alvin Kamara has some clouds of a potential suspension hanging over his head due a violent altercation during Pro Bowl weekend. As a result his ADP has dropped to the end of the second round in drafts despite finishing the last two seasons as the overall RB5 and RB1. It's more likely that the suspension shall apply to the 2023 season than the coming one. If so, Kamara is a steal at this ADP.
Saquon Barkeley (Yahoo ADP: 23.1), Leonard Fournette (Yahoo ADP: 20), Josh Allen (Yahoo ADP: 20.4), Mark Andrews (Yahoo ADP: 24.5)
Round 3 Pick 30:
Mark Andrews (Yahoo ADP: 24.5): Get him here to shore up TE if available
AJ Brown (Yahoo ADP 34): AJ Brown has always had top 5 WR talent. This year, with his move to the Philadelphia Eagles, he should have opportunity as well. AJ's previous team, the Tennessee Titans were notorious for being a run first offense. That is why, despite incredible efficiency the past few years, AJ lacked receiving volume commensurate with his talent. That changes this year with his shift to the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a more balanced offense led by quarterback (QB) Jalen Hurts. Expect a WR1 finish from AJ.
Keenan Allen (Yahoo ADP 30.2): Yes, Keenan Allen is 30 this year. But it's also a fact that he's the alpha in an explosive Los Angeles Chargers offense led by QB Justin Herbert and flanked by weapons such as Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams. He should finish in the WR1 conversation, like he does every year.
Ezekiel Elliott (Yahoo ADP 29.9): Ezekiel Elliott had an inefficient season last year after he partially tore his PCL in week 4. He seems to be fully recovered and ready to go this year. His bellcow role for the Dallas Cowboys also seems secure, as confirmed by team owner Jerry Jones recently. Expect somewhere in the vicinity of a low end RB1 to a mid range RB2 finish for Elliott.
James Conner (Yahoo ADP 31.9), Tee Higgins (Yahoo ADP 30.3)
Round 4 Pick 43:
Kyle Pitts (Yahoo ADP: 39.4): Get him here if available as other TE options are a tier lower
Breece Hall (Yahoo ADP: 41.7): Breece Hall was drafted by the New York Jets to take on a three down RB role. The Jets have an improved offensive line this year, and QB Zach Wilson also has a full year of NFL action under his belt. You might need to be patient with the rookie Hall to begin the season as he acclimatizes to professional football, but by mid season, we expect him to get 15+ opportunities a game, in line with his college workload. That should translate into RB2 production.
Jaylen Waddle (Yahoo ADP 43.6): Jaylen Waddle finished as WR17 in his rookie season last year. Undoubtedly, his finish was aided by having no target competition in Miami in 2021. With superstar Tyreek Hill having made a move to the Miami Dolphins this year, that has changed. But we also expect QB Tua Tagovailoa to take another step forward in his NFL evolution. If that happens, Waddle should finish the year in the WR2 conversation.
Terry McLaurin (Yahoo ADP: 44.1): Terry McLaurin runs the 40 yard dash in elite 4.3 time and his route running is exceptional. This is why he's known as "Scary" Terry on the field. Opponents treat a matchup with him with some trepidation. He gets an above average QB in Carston Wentz for the first time in his career this year, so we expect a good performance from him, in the WR2 range.
Diontae Johnson (Yahoo ADP: 47.2), Travis Etienne (Yahoo ADP 51.4), JK Dobbins (Yahoo ADP 56.1), Mike Williams (Yahoo ADP 49.4)
Round 5 Pick 53:
Jaylen Waddle (Yahoo ADP 43.6), Mike Williams (Yahoo ADP 49.4), Terry McLaurin (Yahoo ADP: 44.1), Diontae Johnson (Yahoo ADP: 47.2): Get them here if available
Courtland Sutton (Yahoo ADP 53.3): Courtland Sutton finished as the overall WR42 last year. So why are we and the fantasy community so hot on him this year? Firstly, he is no longer hampered by recovery from a gruesome ACL and MCL surgery as he was last year. Secondly, he has a massive upgrade at QB this year, with superstar Russell Wilson having joined his team, the Denver Broncos. We expect this season to look a lot like Sutton's 2019, when he finished as the overall WR19.
JK Dobbins (Yahoo ADP 56.1), DK Metcalf (Yahoo ADP 55)
Round 6 Pick 67:
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2): Brandin Cooks is the veteran past master of 1000 yard and WR2 finishes. Most people think he's a zillion years old, but he's still only 28, an age at which there are still a couple of prime years left in the tank for most WRs. This year will be no different and another WR2 finish is well within the range of outcomes.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7): Clyde Edwards-Helaire finished as RB39 last season, primarily because he played only 10 games. Sure, he hasn't quite set the NFL on fire over the last couple of years. But he has a secure 3 down role with one of the most exciting offenses in the league and an RB2 finish is well within the range of outcomes for Edwards-Helaire, great production at this ADP.
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 78:
Brandin Cooks (Yahoo ADP 74.2), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Yahoo ADP 72.7): No brainer picks at this spot if available.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Yahoo ADP 78.1): Amon-Ra St Brown scorched the NFL to end the 2021 season, finishing as the overall WR3 over the last 6 weeks. We don't expect him to perform at that level this season, as TJ Hockenson and DeAndre Swift are both back healthy and will command their share of targets. His team, the Detroit Lions, also signed standout rookie WR Jameson Williams, who is currently out injured but will return to the team at some point. All considered, a WR2 finish is still well within the range of outcomes for St. Brown, making him a strong choice at this spot.
Michael Thomas (Yahoo ADP 83.6): We haven't heard much from the overall WR1 from 2019, Michael Thomas, recently as he's been recovering from injuries. He seems to be (mostly) healthy now. It is true that in the meanwhile his hall of fame QB Drew Brees has retired, leaving a second tier QB to throw to him. Also, Thomas is now 29, and has an injury history. But you are not expecting WR1 performance from him this late in the draft. The price is right to get him here.
Gabriel Davis (Yahoo ADP 73.7), Amari Cooper (Yahoo ADP 76.7), Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9), Russell Wilson (Yahoo ADP 75)
Round 8 Pick 91:
Kareem Hunt (Yahoo ADP 91.4): Grab Kareem if he's available here.
Darnell Mooney (Yahoo ADP 94.9): Darnell Mooney finished as WR26 last year and is set to take over the alpha role this year for the Chicago Bears, with the departure of Allen Robinson. This means a WR2 season is not outside the range of outcomes for Mooney. This is fantastic production at this spot.
Chris Godwin (Yahoo ADP 91.9): Chris Godwin had a WR1 season last year, playing in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense led by GOAT QB Tom Brady. Unfortunately, he tore both his ACL and MCL at the end of last season. These are injuries that will impact his early season this year. But he's fallen way down to this spot in drafts, which means if you get a WR2 or even WR3 season from him, he'll outperform his ADP. Draft him with confidence here.
Tony Pollard (Yahoo ADP 94): While Ezekiel Elliott had an inefficient injury marred season last year, his backfield mate Tony Pollard performed super efficiently. Tony finished as the RB28 in 2021 as a result. Since Tony's role is not going to reduce in this offense, we expect that to be his floor. If Elliott gets injured though, Tony will immediately vault into a bellcow role in this offense and transform into an RB1. This is the upside case that has the potential for you to win your league this year. If you get Pollard this late, grab him.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Yahoo ADP 96.9): Rhamondre Stevenson bucked expectations last year by performing strongly despite being a rookie in a Bill Belichick coached offense. In the last 8 weeks of 2021, Stevenson was the overall RB22. We expect Stevenson to continue to perform as an RB2 or RB3 this year since pass catching back James White has now retired, leaving that role to Stevenson. But if Damien Harris were to get injured, we could see Stevenson's full potential being unlocked. We expect him to perform as an RB1 for however long Harris is out in that situation.
Trey Lance (Yahoo ADP 106.7), Hunter Renfrow (Yahoo ADP 97.2), Elijah Moore (Yahoo ADP 98.6)
Round 9 Pick 102:
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's potential this year seems comparable to that of Lamar Jackson from 2019. In that season, fantasy teams that had Lamar were almost unbeatable as he averaged 80 rushing yards per game in addition to his QB role. This enabled Jackson's managers to amass an almost unbeatable advantage (more than 6 points a game) at the QB position en route to fantasy championships. In the two games Lance started last year, he averaged 60 rushing yards per game. He's now the starting QB for the 49'ers. Draft Lance here, whether you've waited at QB or you're just looking for the upside.
Hunter Renfrow (Yahoo ADP 97.2), Kenneth Walker (Yahoo ADP 102.6), Brandon Aiyuk (Yahoo ADP 106.5)
Round 10 (Pick 115):
Drake London (Yahoo ADP 121.5): Drake London is big (6-4), fast (4.5 second 40) and strong. He used these physical advantages to manhandle college football last year. Barring a catastrophic injury, he's going to be an elite NFL talent over the next 2-3 years. Should we expect production during London's rookie season? Our answer to that is yes, because London was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, who lack any receivers of note beyond tight end (TE) Kyle Pitts. This means London will have opportunities right off the gate.
Christian Kirk (Yahoo ADP 122.3): Christian Kirk finished as a WR2 last year for the Arizona Cardinals, and cemented his place as a top WR. He now takes his talents to the league-bottom Jacksonville Jaguars. While his new QB Trevor Lawrence does not yet have the skills and finesse of his erstwhile QB Kyler Murray, Kirk also has a lot less competition in the Jaguars receiving room. He will be the unquestioned alpha in this new offense, and a WR2 or WR3 finish is well within his range of outcomes.
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:
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)