John Paulsen's 2022 Draft Day Strategery
It’s that time.
The bulk of the fantasy football draft season happens in August, so by request, I've bumped this article up in my annual schedule. I've participated in a few industry and best ball drafts and I think I have a pretty good handle on my draft strategy for 2022.
This piece is written with a 12-team half-PPR draft in mind, but Rule No. 1 of fantasy football is to know your scoring system. They cover this on the first day in Fantasy Football 101 while incoming freshmen are still trying to find their dorm rooms. The scoring system is going to influence positional value and there are a number of different scoring systems out there.
- Drafters in standard leagues can favor running backs a bit more in the early rounds since that position gets a boost in that format.
- Drafters in PPR formats can safely go WR-heavy in the early rounds if they so choose. Drafters in two-quarterback or superflex (i.e. QB-eligible flex) leagues should ignore all the late-round quarterback talk and be sure to draft a couple of top-20 passers before they’re gone.
- Managers drafting in 10-team leagues should be able to wait for an extra round or two to draft the targets I discuss below since there are fewer picks in each round.
- Managers in TE-premium leagues (usually 1.5 PPR for tight ends) should bump up the position as a whole and target high-volume players like Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews in the first round.
A great way to discover how a particular scoring system impacts the different positions is to use our Top 200 Value-Based Rankings Report, change the settings and see how the player values change.
Back in 2015, I had something of an epiphany when it came to formulating my overall draft strategy. At the two onesie positions—quarterback and tight end, where managers typically only have to start one—I felt great about Carson Palmer in the 13th round and Delanie Walker in the 10th/11th. I also advocated for the Angry Tom Strategy, which revolved around drafting a royally pissed-off Tom Brady in the 10th/11th round and taking Palmer later as his backup. This worked out even better than expected since Brady’s suspension was lifted and he played a full season. Oh, and Walker finished as the No. 3 tight end that year.
Since then, I have been trying to identify the best values at quarterback and tight end and then build my draft plan around them, and for the most part, it’s worked.
So let’s start with the…
The position remains very deep and this year it’s especially appealing to take a late-round approach. As usual, I’ll provide a few options for managers to consider.
Option #1: Aaron Rodgers, QB14?!?
Somewhat mind-bogglingly, the reigning back-to-back MVP is the 14th quarterback off the board after finishing QB5 last year and QB2 the year before. Granted, he lost the best receiver in the league (Davante Adams), but in the eight games that he’s played without Adams since 2018, his numbers haven’t suffered at all. At. All.
Our Market Share Splits App said that the difference between his splits is “probably just randomness,” which proves the point: He’s been the same player when Adams has been sidelined. In fact, his touchdowns (2.19 vs. 2.38), yards per attempt (7.4 vs. 8.3), and his overall fantasy production (20.7 PPG vs. 21.2) have all increased without Adams.
This is not to say that he’ll be better without the top receiving weapon in the league, but it should alleviate any concerns that his production will take a nosedive without Adams.
A more-efficient season is within his range of outcomes since he won’t be forcing the ball to Adams every other play. His receiving corps is definitely a concern, but there are enough familiar (and new) faces to make things work, and the offensive line should be even better in 2022.
Typical Range: 9th-10th
He’s my top QB value on the board, but if his receiving corps makes you uncomfortable, consider…
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