DON’T LEAVE DRAFTS WITHOUT ‘EM – MID-ROUNDS
We’re back with another instalment of “Don’t leave drafts without ’em”. This time let’s get the absolute best value we can in rounds 5-10 of our drafts. I call these the money rounds. Players with league winning upside can be picked up. And, the out n out flops can be left for your league mates. If you want to check out the late round options that will help you to a Fantasy Football championship, you can get that here.
Sleeper Redraft PPR ADP via FTN Fantasy, based on a 1QB, 12 team league.
There isn’t many Quarterbacks with an ADP between 60 and 120 in drafts this year. Three quarters of your league will have already pounced and took their QB1. After Trevor Lawrence(57.9) the drop off is quite severe and there’s only six players before Geno Smith(122.6). Dak Prescott leads the group shortly followed by Deshaun Watson and Tua Tagovailoa to round out the top 12 Quarterbacks selected.
There’s a few solid options in this bracket of players. Vikings signal caller Kirk Cousins is available in the tenth round of drafts. In his eight years as a starter in the NFL he has finished as a QB1 six times, including as QB6 overall in the new regime in Minnesota last year. Under Kevin O’Connell, Cousins attempted a career high 643 passes last season. With star Running Back Dalvin Cook not being replaced, it looks as if the Vikings will be a high passing volume team again in 2023.
A DIFFERENT SHADE OF GREEN
Aaron Rodgers has led the Green Bay Packers since the 2008 season. He’s finished as a QB1 all but three times in his career. Including three overall QB1 finished, four QB2 finishes, a Superbowl win and MVP plus four time overall NFL MVP seasons. In 2013 and 2017 he only played nine and seven games. Last year was his first full season he never finished inside the top 12 Quarterbacks for Fantasy.
Green Bay had a rough season all around but Rodgers had limited weapons at his disposal. Including his first year since 2014 without six time Pro-Bowler, Davante Adams who left for Las Vegas before the 2022 season. The Packers receiving group was led by Allen Lazard, rookie Christian Watson and Running Back Aaron Jones. None of which went over 1000 yards through the air.
Rodgers move to the New York Jets will shoot him straight back into the top 12. He has an elite weapon in last seasons Offensive Rookie of the year, Garrett Wilson. Who commanded 147 targets in 2022 and finished as the WR21. A familiar face in Allen Lazard also joins Gang Green. And, a dynamic Running Back room currently led by Breece Hall. If you want a Quarterback with legitimate QB1 overall upside but a solid floor, look no further then Rodgers. A star wideout, a reliable WR2 and a plethora of rushing talent. Feels like we’ve seen this show before, just in a different shade of green.
As I mentioned last time out, the Running Back landscape has changed in our Fantasy drafts in recent years. With Wide Receivers being favoured early on. With people deploying ZeroRB(Where you don’t draft a Running Back until your 6th/7th pick) or HeroRB(Where you take one Running Back early and then wait for your second). There’s always options in the dead zone for the position that go off.Last season, Josh Jacobs. Let’s identify that here. I’ll talk you through the couple of different strategies for your mid-round Running Backs here.
If you’ve selected all Wide Receivers until this point, you’re going to want to grab a couple of Running Backs as well as probably your Tight End and Quarterback at this point. And, I think it’s one of the best times to deploy this. There’s numerous Running Backs in this range who will get the pure volume we want when it comes to rushers. Guy’s who are the stand alone RB1 on their team. No committee in sight.
Firstly, a shoutout to Damien Harris. The former Patriots rusher heads to Buffalo this off-season. He’s never been known as a pass catcher but should get true 2-down usage and be the goal line back in this offense. Being drafted at the lower end of the tenth round. With only James Cook for company, he should be a viable flex option most weeks.
Arizona have added exactly ZERO competition for James Conner in their backfield. He also proved himself as a true 3-down back last year. Averaging just shy of 18 touches per game. The pure volume over his 13 appearances led him to finish as RB10 in points per game. Over his last 8 games in fact he was actually the RB4.
No other Running Back came remotely close to challenging Conner for snaps last year. He played over 90% of offensive snaps on 5 occasions. He’s 28 years old now and there may not be so much tread left on his tyres but if he stays healthy, an RB1 finish isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. With another ridiculous workload in store this season.
At his ADP(65.5) he’s the perfect candidate for your ZeroRB builds. In HeroRB builds, as mentioned earlier he’s got the volume we want to be our RB2. If you’ve gone more robust at the position you’ll likely be loading up elsewhere now. Either way a nice complement to your teams at his ADP. There is no world he doesnt return a round six value this season.
There is still extreme value to be had round six onwards in your 1QB leagues. My favourite target’s in this range are the guy’s who will be peppered all year long. Bonafide target hogs with a defined role in their teams offense, that are being faded for one reason or another. Another element to look at is vacated targets. There will be receivers in this range that could have an expanded role, due to a player moving on via trade or free agency or injury.
Ok. He’s just about sneaking into the top of the sixth. With an ADP of 61.1 and drafted as the WR26, unless he misses significant time like in 2020, there’s no way he doesn’t repay that draft capital. In 2019 he finished as the overall WR2, playing just 14 games. So, the upside is there. Another added bonus when drafting him.
The last two seasons he’s finished as a high end WR2 overall. Again, not playing the full complement of games. Plus, only five and three receiving touchdowns respectively. The Quarterback room doesn’t exactly excite us and there is a chance he could miss a couple games from wear and tear. Although, he missed week 16 in 2019 and had Jameis Winston throwing him the ball.
The other guy’s
Diontae Johnson(79.9) has had 140+ targets the last three seasons. He came up with ZERO Touchdowns in 2022 with Rookie Kenny Pickett under center. This led to his WR30 finish and the reason he’s being faded. Checkout Murf’s article here, on positive Touchdown regression. Johnson is one of the safest pick’s to return positively on his ADP this season.
After some exciting flashes as a Rookie, Michael Pittman(68.3) has really stepped up as the WR1 in Indianapolis. He’s had two WR2 overall finishes and his targets have grown each year, from 129 as a Sophomore to 141 last season. He’s also been playing with less then ideal Quarterback situations, in Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. Anthony Richardson could be the guy in 2023, to propel Pittman to a WR1 finish.
There’s a lot of upside with Tight End’s in this range. But, if we’re looking to pounce between Round’s six an ten. We’re gonna need absolutes. Again, upside is our friend but not as much as guaranteed volume. Dallas Goedert(62.2), Darren Waller(63.5), Evan Engram(82) and Pat Freiermuth(84.9). None of the above are the second option in the passing game on their teams offense. We don’t want that at this stage. Waller is the guy who is most likely to emerge from this pack, but there is better and cheaper options as we head towards the end of the mid-rounds.
We’ve already seen him have 100+ targets in Dallas and turned that in to TE4 overall finish. He’s also had two low end TE1 finishes. He strolls into Houston as the immediate second option on an offense which now has a Rookie signal caller. The old saying “a Tight End is a Rookie Quarterbacks best friend”, will ring true this season for Schultz. 10+ yards per catch, a reliable end zone threat, what’s not to like? You can also get him in round nine. Bargain.
That’s it for this edition of “Don’t leave drafts without ’em”. All these guy’s are great value in the mid rounds of your drafts. You can follow me on Twitter where all my content is posted @LVenes1.