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How to Approach the Middle Rounds (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
Jun 20, 2022
Mark Andrews

Building a championship roster is done throughout the draft at every turn. While the fantasy football draft isn’t the only ingredient to hoisting the first-place hardware at the end of the season, it’s still essential to be dialed in. Whether placing your bets on breakouts or expecting repeat stellar production with premium picks, there are various approaches to take with your drafts. I’ll describe how I attack each fantasy football draft stage in this series. From capitalizing on early picks, mining value in the middle rounds and attacking the later rounds.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Continue Crushing Wide Receivers in Rounds 4 & 5

The sweet spot for massive upside at the wide receiver position is in these rounds as the wide receiver hammer continues. If you already read up on how I’m approaching the early rounds of drafts, then you know the wide receiver-heavy approach started in round three. Last year depending on which site you source average draft position (ADP) from, 20.8%-25% of the top 24 wide receivers in fantasy points per game were drafted in Rounds 4 and 5. The legend, Cooper Kupp, was being drafted here.

This year this range still holds possible golden tickets. Currently, on Underdog Fantasy, 58.3% of the players selected in Rounds 4 and 5 are wide receivers. This aligns with my rankings, with 50% of the players sitting between 37th and 60th overall coming from the wide receiver position. Grab wide receivers in this range with the upside to be major difference-makers for your teams like Rashod Bateman, Darnell Mooney and more.

If You Miss out on Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews or Kyle Pitts, Draft Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz can step into the top-three conversation at the tight end position in 2022. That might not sound like a stretch considering he was the TE5 in fantasy points per game last year, but the ceiling is quite high for Schultz to lap last year’s numbers. Gone is Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup‘s return date and 2022 effectiveness are up for debate.

Last year, Schultz checked several efficiency boxes to believe his numbers could be off the charts if the volume takes another jump. Instead, he was 12th in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF), seventh in yards after the catch and ninth in receiving yards per game. Despite finishing tenth in deep targets and 13th in red zone targets in 2021, with Schultz taking over the number two role behind CeeDee Lamb, those numbers can also be expected to climb. Schultz is an elite tight end who is not being priced as such.

Shoot for Elite Upside with Quarterbacks

Over the last two seasons, 58.3% of the top-six quarterbacks in fantasy points per game have been drafted between picks 66-98. Currently, per Underdog Fantasy’s best ball ADP, Patrick Mahomes (QB4) is the only quarterback I have ranked between QB3 and QB12 who isn’t being drafted in this range. So this is a choose your own adventure opportunity in drafts to take shots on quarterbacks who could end up inside that top six fantasy scoring range. The five-pack of quarterbacks with rushing upside that I’ll be most heavily exposed to are Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott and Trey Lance.

Revisit Running Back in Rounds 6 or 7

The roster has started to take shape with the first five rounds in your back pocket. Inside those first five selections, there are various paths to take, with most combinations featuring at least one running back while addressing the other positions for your squad. Between picks 61 and 84 is the time to add another back who will be at least your RB2.

Of the 24 players in that range in my ranks, 50% are running backs. Yes, I know I’m telling you to draft a running back from the tail end of “the dead zone.” But, before you grab the pitchfork and lighter, hear me out. Being selective in this range in addressing the position is a must as I’m suggesting targeting the rushers we currently find who don’t fit the bill of our usual suspects.

Players we pray to hold onto their roles like Antonio Gibson and such are not the targets. Chase players with the opportunity to earn more work as the year evolves or can take over as the bell cow if injuries strike like A.J. Dillon, Kenneth Walker, or even possibly James Cook, who isn’t in this ADP range yet but with a training camp highlight clip or two will be.

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