We’re a little under a month and a half from the first breath of NFL action of the season, the Hall of Fame Game – the true beginning of the fantasy football draft season. That doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing early and stay one step ahead of your league peers!
At its core, fantasy football boils down to one simple strategy – pick the best guys. Obviously, that’s easier said than done. However, the two keys to building a successful draft lineup are avoiding risk in the first few rounds and then targeting the players you feel have the most potential relative to their draft costs. Identifying those special athletes is never an easy task, so the experts featured today are here to help! Read on to see who your favorite high-impact draft targets are outside of the first two rounds.
Q. Outside of the top 30 on the expert consensus, what one player do you hope to see in all your leagues and why?
Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA)
“Jaylen Waddle was 10th in the league in goals at 141 as a rookie in 2021. Excellent at producing passes from 0 to 19 yards on the field, Waddle is in a fantastic situation in Miami, who have overhauled their offense in both the running game and especially the receiving game with Tyreek Hill’s takeover. With Hill’s ability to crown the defense and a quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa who was one of the highest rated deep ball passing QBs in the league according to the PFF, the mere threat of the Tua/Hill combo should be enough to open up under passes for waddle, especially when you’re in goal position. In the red zone, on passes of 10 yards or less, Waddle was in TDs with just eight WR4 goals with an 87.5% completion rate. While his target volume might take a hit this season, his efficiency and goal-scoring performance should increase, making him a sure WR2 in my book and someone I’ll definitely leave my drafts with in 2022. ”
– Jorge B Edwards (fantasy in frame)
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
“Courtland Sutton has a real chance to regain his elite form another year after his ACL injury with Russell Wilson as his QB. Wilson has always been an elite downfield passer — he had the sixth-highest passer rating on throws over 20 air yards last season — which greatly contributes to Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat. Based on the Receiver’s track record of dominating targets near the pylon, I’m expecting Sutton to emerge as Wilson’s preferred red zone target. He led the Broncos in red-zone goals in 2021 and led all WRs in goal rate inside the 10-yard line in 2019. Wilson has an affinity for finding receivers in the red zone; A Seattle WR has ranked in the top 5 red zone goals for three straight seasons, in addition to the top 5 on the Seahawks offense in RZ TD conversion rate. ”
– Andrew Erickson (Fantasy Pros)
David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
“David Montgomery is my #1 target after the first two rounds of fantasy drafts. For over 10 years I’ve preached about taking RB/RB with your first two draft picks, but the level of RB value in the third and fourth rounds is FAST changing my mindset, starting with Monty. Iowa State’s product averaged 20.5 and 20.1 touches in 2021 and 2020, respectively, so it’s hip to spend your first two picks on an elite WR or TE, and then in the third or fourth round a guy like Montgomery with a guaranteed RB1 workload. As well as consistency and reliability, the 25-year-old is entering a contract year so there’s extra motivation for Montgomery to push himself to a high level and perform every week.”
– Jacob W Dunne (triple play fantasy)
Michael Pittman Jr (WR – IND)
“The simple answer here is Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman currently sits 34th overall, which is close to that limit, but he’s relaxing comfortably among my top 24 players. With Matt Ryan in town, it’s time for him to step forward as the Colts’ elite alpha receiver after finishing 19th in PFF class and yards per route run last year (minimum 50 Goals). ”
– Derek Brown (Fantasy Pros)
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
“Miles Sanders is the only player in the last 40 years to have at least 750 rushing yards, average more than 5 yards per carry, and not score a single touchdown in a single season. Health was his Achilles’ heel, but as we saw with Joe Mixon and James Connor last year, you’re only prone to injury until you’re not. Sanders has top-12 potential as long as he stays healthy and the Eagles give him enough touches. ”
– Geoff Lambert (goes to 2)
Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL)
“After Marquise Brown’s shock draft-day trade to the Cardinals, it seemed like a certainty that Rashod Bateman’s ADP would skyrocket. So far, the hype surrounding the Ravens’ clear No. 1 receiver has been underwhelming. I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s playing in one of the league’s busiest running offenses or if it’s a collective amnesia of Bateman’s talent based on his injury-plagued rookie year; All I know is that Bateman is grossly underrated. Bateman should be one of the most targeted receivers in the league, despite Baltimore’s expected low passing volume, thanks to a highly consolidated passing game with Bateman and Andrews dominating goals. I’ll keep hammering the Baltimore receiver with a high-end WR2 bottom until its current low-end WR3 price corrects itself. ”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)
Breece Hall (RB – NYJ)
“It’s Breece Hall. A prospect who ticks that many boxes should not be available in the fourth round. Hall is a good height, he had a great three-year run at Iowa State, he put on a show at the combine with his crazy speed and athleticism, and he catches passes. Hall is at least as good as Najee Harris and will have a better offensive line ahead of him this year. It’s entirely possible that Hall will be a consensus first-round pick 12 months from now, and we’ll try to remember why his ADP was so low in 2021.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (Fantasy Pros)
Ken Walker III (RB – SEA)
“How do I choose between Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker and Travis Etienne? If I can’t have all three, and you most certainly can (out of, say, 3rd, 4th, and 6th-7th), I’d pick Walker. Walker is the top-rated rookie RB in terms of unattainability, and he has all the tools and the offensive line to become this year’s version of last year’s Najee Harris. Draft him into ALL leagues and he shockingly goes into Rounds 6-7-8 (but still belongs in Round 4).
– Smithy (SleeperU)
Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)
“To me, that player is Marquise Brown. He joined the Arizona Cardinals this offseason and will be the top target for Kyler Murray to start the year until DeAndre Hopkins returns from his suspension and will benefit from Murray’s deep ball accuracy. I can see Brown’s value skyrocket in the first few weeks and you should be able to make money off the election by letting Brown help you win the first few weeks and then trading him away , before Hopkins returns. ”
– Tim Jablonsky (The Hateful 8)
Thanks to the experts for sharing their advice! To learn more about their insights, follow each expert on Twitter (click on their names above) and visit their websites.
Subscribe to: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | stapler | SoundCloud | I listened to the radio