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Dynasty Startup Value Targets by Round: May Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)

May 18, 2022
David Montgomery

David Montgomery has finished as a top-24 running back every year of his three-year career, including a top-five finish in 2020.

As rookie drafts wrap up, the fantasy football world will turn its attention to new dynasty startup leagues. While there are several strategies you can use during startup drafts, finding the best value in every round is critical regardless of which you deploy. So let’s look at the best value in each of the top 20 rounds in a 12-team, 1QB, PPR startup dynasty draft.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Round 1 – Javonte Williams (RB – DEN) 

Williams was arguably the 1.02 pick in startup drafts before the Broncos re-signed Melvin Gordon. While the return of Gordon has pushed his ADP down to the back half of the first round, Williams is still arguably the RB2 in startup drafts behind Jonathan Taylor. Additionally, while the Broncos re-signed Gordon, it was only a one-year deal. Therefore, Williams should have the featured role in 2023. In the one game without Gordon last season, Williams had 29 touches for 178 scrimmage yards and 23.8 fantasy points, a season-high.

Round 2 – Mark Andrews (TE – BAL) 

For the first time in forever, Travis Kelce didn’t finish the year as the TE1 in 2021. That honor went to Andrews after he had a career-high 107 receptions on 154 targets for 1,361 receiving yards and averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game. All four destroyed his previous career highs. While Kyle Pitts is a popular choice for TE1 in dynasty, Andrews has a strong argument. He is only 26 years old and has an elite quarterback throwing him the ball. In addition, after the Ravens traded away Marquise Brown this offseason, Andrews has as much upside as any tight end moving forward.

Round 3 – Cam Akers (RB – LAR) 

While he hasn’t turned into a fantasy start yet, Akers is arguably a top-five dynasty running back. After suffering a torn Achilles in July, he played 13 snaps during the 2021 regular season. However, Akers was a fantasy superstar during the 2020 playoffs, averaging 4.8 yards per rushing attempt and 21.1 fantasy points per game. Sony Michel recently signed with the Miami Dolphins, ending any possible return to Los Angeles. Darrell Henderson has struggled with injuries in his career and is entering the final year of his contract. Akers is prime to break out this season. He will have a first-round ADP a year from now.

Round 4 – David Montgomery (RB – CHI) 

Despite the Chicago offense lacking firepower, Montgomery has plenty of fantasy value. He has finished as a top-24 running back every year of his three-year career, including a top-five finish in 2020. Montgomery has been a consistent RB2 for fantasy teams despite only one season with over seven total touchdowns. Furthermore, he has only one season with over 900 rushing yards. While that sounds disappointing, it is actually positive for his fantasy value. Montgomery has provided consistent RB2 or better value despite the average production. As he enters a contract year with limited weapons around him, expect Montgomery to have a massive 2022 season.

Round 5 – Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) 

Quarterbacks like Jackson won’t be available in this round in Superflex leagues. However, even in single quarterback leagues, he is a steal at this point. In his two healthy years as the starter, Jackson has finished as a top-10 quarterback both years, including as the overall QB1 in 2019. While he was the QB15 last season, Jackson missed five games dealing with injuries. However, Jackson finished as the QB8 on a points per game basis last season. While he doesn’t have the best weapons, his rushing ability gives him as much fantasy upside as any quarterback.

Round 6 – Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI) 

Other than Montgomery, the only reliable weapon the Bears have is Mooney. The third-year receiver is a popular name in dynasty fantasy football, and with good reason. After Mooney ended his rookie year as a top-50 wide receiver, he had a terrific sophomore season. He finished as the WR23 last year, averaging 12.9 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Mooney was 12th in the NFL with 140 targets, seeing at least seven targets in 70.6% of the games last season. After losing Allen Robinson in free agency, the only meaningful addition the Bears made was drafting Velus Jones Jr. in the third round of the NFL Draft. As a result, Mooney is in a terrific position to have a breakout season in 2022.

Round 7 – Mike Williams (WR – LAC) 

Williams broke out last season with a career year in most statistical categories. He ended the year as the WR12 and had the second 1,000-yard season of his career. While many thought Williams would leave the Chargers this offseason, the veteran signed a long-term contract. He will now catch passes from Justin Herbert for the next three years. The Chargers haven’t been shy this offseason, making every move possible to improve their Super Bowl odds. More importantly, Williams has a chance to take over as the No. 1 receiver in Los Angeles as Keenan Allen recently turned 30 years old. Williams is a steal this late in drafts as long as Herbert is healthy.

Round 8 – Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU) 

One of the more underrated wide receivers in the NFL is Cooks. The veteran has bounced around the league but has produced for fantasy managers regardless of who is at quarterback. He had 134 targets last season, the 13th most in the NFL. Yet, Houston did very little to challenge Cooks’ target share from last year. Furthermore, the veteran signed a two-year extension in April, tying him to Houston through the 2024 season. So even at almost 29 years old, Cooks should remain a consistent WR2 or better for the next few years regardless of who is playing quarterback.

Round 9 – Christian Kirk (WR – JAC) 

Kirk set the entire NFL offseason world on fire when he signed with the Jaguars. Now he has to prove he’s worth the money. Last year, Kirk had the best year of his career, finishing at the WR26. However, he averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game in the seven contests without DeAndre Hopkins. Furthermore, he scored 11.8 or more fantasy points in five of those seven contests. Kirk will see plenty of targets as the No. 1 receiver in Jacksonville. Kirk could become the second-most value dynasty asset in Jacksonville behind Trevor Lawrence.

Round 10 – Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL) 

With Ridley suspended for the entire 2022 season, his dynasty ADP has sunk. However, that provides value for those playing the long game. Ridley was the WR5 in 2020 as Atlanta’s top weapon. Last year, he was the WR24 on a points per game basis, averaging 14.2 fantasy points per contest despite the dysfunctional passing attack. Ridley will return in 2023 and have one year left on his contract. However, don’t expect him to return to Atlanta after they drafted Drake London. Instead, Ridley will likely end up on a contending team as the final piece for a Super Bowl run. Depending on where he lands, Ridley could have a fifth-round or high ADP a year from now.

Round 11 – Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ) 

The former second overall draft pick didn’t have an ideal rookie season, but he played better later in the year. Wilson scored 21 or more fantasy points in two of his final six games as a rookie. More importantly, the Jets gave him several new weapons this offseason after using two of their top draft picks on Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. They also signed C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency. As a result, Wilson now has two talented young wide receivers, a solid veteran in Corey Davis, two productive tight ends, and a potential superstar running back at his disposal. Don’t be surprised if Wilson nearly doubles his fantasy production in 2022 from his rookie year.

Round 12 – Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) 

Cousins is one of those players you are never excited to draft but realize he’s productive. He has put together back-to-back top 12 fantasy seasons. Furthermore, Cousins has ended the year as a QB1 in five of his seven years as a starter. He has an excellent wide receiver duo with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Cousins also has a couple of younger playmakers with Irv Smith and K.J. Osborn, who could take a massive step forward this year. While he isn’t an elite quarterback, fantasy players know they can count on Cousins for low-end QB1 production.

Round 13 – Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU) 

The fourth-round rookie has been a popular pick in rookie drafts after he got drafted by the Texans. Many believe Pierce will beat out Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead for the starting role and provide low-end RB2 value this season. Mack has 37 touches over the past two years, while Burkhead had one game with over 47 rushing yards last season. More importantly, he has plenty of tread left on his tires. Pierce had only 374 touches in his career at Florida. His ADP will rise at least a round or two after he shines during training camp. Be sure to draft him now, as Pierce’s value can only go up from here.

Round 14 – Van Jefferson (WR – LAR) 

After a quiet rookie season with only 19 receptions, Jefferson had a breakout 2022 season. He had 50 receptions on 89 targets for 802 receiving yards and six touchdowns last year despite a talented wide receiver unit. More importantly, Jefferson finished second on the team in all those categories. While his potential upside took a hit when the Rams signed Robinson this offseason to replace Robert Woods, Jefferson can still provide low-end WR3 value. He had at least six targets in over half the games last season, even with Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. on the team. Furthermore, Jefferson becomes a low-end WR2 if Cooper Kupp or Robinson miss significant time with an injury.

Round 15 – Nico Collins (WR – HOU) 

At this point in your dynasty startup drafts, it’s all about upside. Collins didn’t have a fantasy impactful rookie season. Yet, he is still one of my favorite young wide receivers in the NFL. Last year he saw six or more targets in three games, averaging 10 fantasy points per game in those contests despite not scoring a touchdown. Davis Mills had a productive rookie season and should improve in 2022. If he struggles, the Texans will have an early draft pick and land Bryce Young or CJ Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft. Collins is a prime candidate to break out in his second year, similar to how Jefferson did last year with the Rams.

Round 16 – Alec Pierce (WR – IND) 

Last year the Colts had one player with more than 40 receptions: Michael Pittman. Tied for second on the team were Nyheim Hines and Taylor. After ignoring the wide receiver position last year, the Colts used their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to add Pierce. Some have compared him to Jordy Nelson. While that is high expectations, Pierce has an excellent opportunity to see plenty of targets as a rookie. He won’t replace Pittman as the No. 1 wide receiver on the team anytime soon. However, when Pittman’s contract is up after the 2023 season, don’t be surprised if the Colts let him walk and hand over the lead role to Pierce.

Round 17 – Joshua Palmer (WR – LAC) 

Palmer’s dynasty value took a hit when the Chargers re-signed Williams this offseason. Yet, he is still a solid late-round target. Palmer played 38.3% of the snaps as a rookie, the fourth-most among wide receivers on the team. However, he shined when given a chance. When Allen missed the Week 14 game, Palmer scored 17.6 fantasy points. He scored 15.3 fantasy points two weeks later when Williams missed a game. Furthermore, Palmer averaged 5.6 targets and 10.9 fantasy points per game over the last five weeks of the season. While his ceiling is limited with Allen and Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, Palmer has low-end WR2 value if either veteran misses time.

Round 18 – Desmond Ridder (QB – ATL) 

The Falcons underwent several changes this offseason. Russell Gage signed with the Buccaneers while Matt Ryan got traded to the Colts. Now, Ridder takes over as the potential quarterback of the future for the Falcons. While Marcus Mariota is on the roster, Ridder should earn the starting role sooner rather than later. It’s all about the upside when you get to the later rounds of your draft. With Pitts and London at his disposal, Ridder could hit the ground running and become an impact fantasy quarterback.

Round 19 – Tyrion Davis-Price (RB – SF) 

Every year the 49ers have a new leading running back. The last time San Francisco had the same leading rushing in back-to-back seasons was Carlos Hyde in 2016 and 2017. Could Davis-Price become the 49ers’ leading rushing in 2022? Absolutely. However, Elijah Mitchell could be the first running back since Hyde to lead the team in rushing yards in back-to-back years. Furthermore, Trey Sermon could bounce back from a disappointing rookie season and take over as the lead back. Davis-Price is a dart throw but could turn into the next late-round steal in the San Francisco backfield.

Round 20 – Bryan Edwards (WR – ATL) 

Edwards was a third-round pick by the Raiders in 2020. Unfortunately, he averaged only 4.9 fantasy points per game in 28 career contests with Las Vegas. After trading for Davante Adams this offseason, the Raiders decided to move on from Edwards. Recently, he got traded to the Falcons for a late-round pick swap. Now that he is in Atlanta, Edwards will have a chance to earn meaningful targets. Other than London, Pitts, and Cordarrelle Patterson, the Falcons have limited options in the passing game. As he enters his third year in the league, Edwards has a shot of breaking out in Atlanta.


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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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