Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the end of the round

Getty

Get ready for your season with theScore's 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Kit and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.

theScore's Justin Boone breaks down the best ways to approach your draft depending on where you're selecting in the order.

Draft position

Here's a look at how to attack the draft if you've been assigned one of the final four picks in a 12-team PPR scoring league. While the average draft positions (ADP) can vary from site to site, this will help guide you toward building a dominant roster in 2022.

Round 1

Picks: 1.09-1.12

Your first-round pick should be someone who can win you weeks almost by themselves.

There are still potentially elite running backs available at the end of the opening round, but each has an issue that pushes them into this range.

When it comes to D'Andre Swift, people are worried about veteran back Jamaal Williams' presence as a potential vulture. However, those concerns are overblown. In the seven games that Swift and Williams shared the field before injuries struck, the former played around 70% of the Lions' snaps and was a top-five back in fantasy points per game.

Swift's final two outings after returning from injury don't indicate his usage in Detroit. Prior to getting hurt, Swift was the RB7 in fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, posting four top-five weekly finishes in 10 appearances. He also averaged 5.3 receptions per contest during that stretch, which would've put him on pace for 90 catches over a full season.

Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, Swift is about to become a household name in 2022.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st

Others to consider: Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Travis Kelce

Round 2

Picks: 2.01-2.04

Picking at the end of the first round feels like a significant drop-off from the elite players in the top half of that frame. The only advantage is that you get an early look at the options after the turn.

CeeDee Lamb is one of the most obvious ascending players we've projected in recent years. He's a high-end prospect about to get a massive uptick in volume due to Amari Cooper's departure and injuries to current teammates Michael Gallup and James Washington.

Lamb finished as the WR21 in PPR fantasy points per game last year but placed 29th in targets per contest. With the lack of proven pass-catchers outside of Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz, it's realistic to envision the Cowboys' star receiver landing among the top-10 most targeted wideouts in 2022. That gives him elite upside.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd

Others to consider: Travis Kelce, Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley

Round 3

Picks: 3.09-3.12

With a tier cliff coming at running back and an abundance of quality receivers available in the next few rounds, we'll grab our RB2 at the end of the third.

Travis Etienne is our top breakout candidate at running back this year. In his first action since suffering a Lisfranc injury that cost him his rookie season, the former first-round pick showcased the speed and explosiveness that beat writers have relentlessly talked about during training camp.

The prevailing sentiment around the Jaguars points to Etienne being the most dangerous playmaker on the offense and a focal point of their attack.

James Robinson is likely to be less effective just nine months after tearing his ACL, and Etienne is clearly back to full health (10 first-quarter touches in the first preseason game). Fantasy managers should invest in Etienne's potential.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd

Others to consider: Kyle Pitts, DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton

Round 4

Picks: 4.01-4.04

We've entered this year's receiver zone where your goal should be to load up on as many upside wideouts as possible over the next few rounds.

Multiple people who cover the Broncos have identified Courtland Sutton as Russell Wilson's favorite target, and it makes sense. The 26-year-old former Pro Bowler is the most accomplished pass-catcher in Denver and the only one with a 1,000-yard season on his resume, recording 72 catches, 1,112 yards, and six TDs in 2019.

That was also the last time Sutton was fully healthy. He suffered ACL and MCL tears that kept him out for most of 2020 and can often lead to a performance dip in a player's first campaign post-surgery.

Now two years removed from the injury, Sutton is getting a significant upgrade at quarterback and could see more red-zone targets with Tim Patrick out for the year.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th

Others to consider: Terry McLaurin, Breece Hall, Jaylen Waddle

Round 5

Picks: 5.09-5.12

This roster is shaping up to be a real contender if we can continue down this path. Knowing how deep this current tier of receivers is and that it's likely to stretch into the sixth round and maybe beyond, we'll make a long-term play to draft Chris Godwin.

With yearly finishes as the WR2 (2019), WR15 (2020), and WR7 (2021) in fantasy points per game, there's no debating Godwin's fantasy production when he's healthy.

The only question is, when will we see him get back to full strength?

He's been practicing, but Godwin is still recovering from a torn ACL in December. It would be foolish of the Buccaneers to rush him back to a full workload in Week 1, so fantasy managers need to be willing to possibly bench him for the first month until he regains his form.

Even in that scenario, the ceiling is worth the wait - as long as he doesn't suffer a setback.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th

Others to consider: Adam Thielen, Brandon Aiyuk, Elijah Moore

Round 6

Picks: 6.01-6.04

We can easily guard against Godwin missing time or playing limited snaps early in the year by drafting another strong receiver one round later.

Elijah Moore had a quiet start to his rookie campaign, but something clicked around midseason. He averaged the seventh-most fantasy points among wideouts over his final six games before a quad injury landed him on injured reserve.

While first-rounder Garrett Wilson will eventually challenge him atop the depth chart, Moore is firmly locked in as the Jets' No. 1 receiver in 2022 and poised for a breakout.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th

Others to consider: Adam Thielen, Brandon Aiyuk, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Round 7

Picks: 7.09-7.12

No one in our third tier of quarterbacks will make it back to us at the end of the seventh round, so we'll acquire some running back depth and another player who could vastly outproduce his ADP.

Chase Edmonds, who signed a much larger contract than veteran backfield mates Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel, has been widely accepted as the lead back in a revamped Dolphins offense.

Mike McDaniel is bringing the Shanahan outside-zone scheme to Miami, and hopefully, he'll have similar success churning out fantasy starters.

The team has also improved their receiving corps (Tyreek Hill) and offensive line (Terron Armstead) with some of the premier talents at their positions.

Edmonds will be in the conversation as a low-end RB2 if he handles the bulk of the touches as we project.

Roster Player Round
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th
Bench Chase Edmonds 7th

Others to consider: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Rhamondre Stevenson, Tony Pollard

Round 8

Picks: 8.01-8.04

With most of our starting lineup slotted in, we elect to make a small reach at quarterback in an effort to secure a starter with top-five potential.

Even at 44 years old last season, Tom Brady was as productive as ever. He led the league in passing attempts by a wide margin and averaged the third-most fantasy points among QBs.

Losing starting center Ryan Jensen to a possible season-ending injury isn't ideal, but no passer is more equipped to adapt and excel than Brady.

The Bucs have also done a solid job replacing Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown with the likes of Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Kyle Rudolph, and rookie Cade Otton. Once Godwin is healthy, Tampa will again have one of the league's most threatening passing attacks. And we'll have the Brady-Godwin combo propelling us toward the fantasy playoffs.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Tom Brady 8th
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th
Bench Chase Edmonds 7th

Others to consider: Rhamondre Stevenson, Tony Pollard, Robert Woods

Round 9

Picks: 9.09-9.12

Finding room on your bench for upside backup running backs should be a natural move at this point in the draft.

Darrell Henderson is currently dealing with a soft tissue injury, but so is Cam Akers. At least Henderson isn't also trying to regain his form after an Achilles tear.

Prior to being sidelined recently, the duo split snaps evenly in practice, and Sean McVay told The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue that he feels like the team has two starting running backs.

Even if Akers recaptures a workhorse role, Henderson is one ailment away from starter's snaps - something he proved he could handle last year.

Henderson topped 80 yards from scrimmage in six of his first seven outings with Akers sidelined, and he maintained RB2 fantasy production until injuries derailed his season in Week 12.

As long as this soft tissue injury doesn't turn out to be something more serious, Henderson will be one of the best backup RBs to roster in 2022.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Tom Brady 8th
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th
Bench Chase Edmonds 7th
Bench Darrell Henderson 9th

Others to consider: Cordarrelle Patterson, Garrett Wilson, Dameon Pierce

Round 10

Picks: 10.01-10.04

If I'm waiting on a tight end, my goal is to find a player who is set to be the de facto No. 2 receiver on his team.

Given the kind of veteran journeymen the Bears have collected behind Darnell Mooney this offseason, it's safe to say Cole Kmet has an excellent shot to finish second in targets for Chicago.

The 23-year-old caught 60 passes (12th among tight ends) for 612 yards (11th) and averaged 5.5 targets per game (13th) in 2021. Even a slight increase in volume would vault Kmet into the TE1 mix, especially if he can find the end zone now that red-zone hog Jimmy Graham is off the roster.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Tom Brady 8th
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
TE1 Cole Kmet 10th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th
Bench Chase Edmonds 7th
Bench Darrell Henderson 9th

Others to consider: Garrett Wilson, Dameon Pierce, Kenneth Gainwell

Later rounds

After the 10th round or so, you no longer need to pay close attention to ADPs. You should focus on stocking your bench with as many high-ceiling players as possible, with your sights set on running backs and receivers.

Remember, single-play positions like quarterbacks or tight ends can always be streamed or acquired by trading a bench player. So don't load up your bench with backups, and leave your final two picks for a defense and a kicker.

Antonio Gibson's fumbling issues have opened the door for third-round rookie Brian Robinson to carve a bigger role this year and perhaps even take over the lead back job.

Both Gibson and Robinson will have their fantasy ceiling capped by the presence of pass-catching specialist J.D. McKissic, but there's still plenty of value in a late-round running back with a path to starter's snaps.

If Gibson maintains his spot, Robinson will still have value as the Commanders' goal-line back.

Meanwhile, Romeo Doubs has been the talk of the Packers' training camp.

The rookie still has a ways to go before Aaron Rodgers trusts him over some of the more veteran receivers on the roster like Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb, but his performance in camp and Green Bay's first preseason game (3-45-1) is worth taking a chance on.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Tom Brady 8th
RB1 D'Andre Swift 1st
RB2 Travis Etienne 3rd
WR1 CeeDee Lamb 2nd
WR2 Courtland Sutton 4th
WR3 Chris Godwin 5th
TE1 Cole Kmet 10th
FLEX Elijah Moore 6th
Bench Chase Edmonds 7th
Bench Darrell Henderson 9th
Bench Brian Robinson 11th
Bench Romeo Doubs 12th

Draft position

Comments
Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the end of the round
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!

MORE STORIES

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox