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Snake Draft Strategy for Early Picks: No. 5-8 (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 7, 2022
Miles Sanders

While the 2022 NFL season is still a few months away, it’s never too early to prepare for your fantasy drafts. Everyone is excited come draft day to build their winning team. However, it is easy to drift away from your draft plan and panic, especially when a player you were targeting gets picked just ahead of you or you’re on the wrong end of a positional run.

Yet, fantasy players have plenty of time to prepare for the draft and put together a game plan. So how can you ace your fantasy draft? Here are a few general tips and strategies to help you ace your draft with a pick in the middle four.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

General Tips

Know Your League’s Rules

This tip applies to all fantasy games. If you don’t know the rules, you’re playing with a massive handicap. Everyone should check if the league is 1-QB or Superflex and PPR or non-PPR. However, is the league tight end premium? Do you start two or three wide receivers? How many flex spots? Are you playing with team defenses or individual defensive players (IDP)?

Have Your Tiers

Whether you do your own rankings or pick a few experts you trust, always have the players broken down into tiers. They are critical in helping you make 30-second decisions when on the clock during the draft. The last thing you want to happen is you get placed on auto-pick because you can’t decide between two options. Furthermore, the tiers help you break down the difference between two players. If you have rankings without tiers, how do you determine the difference between your WR20 and WR21? The tiers will also help you stay on track in taking the best player available during the draft.

Pick a Draft Strategy

Do not go into your draft blind or with the mindset of “winging it”. That is the quickest way to have an awful draft and severely hamper your chances of winning the league. Instead, pick a draft strategy. There are several options, from Zero-RB to running back-heavy. Depending on your league’s starting lineup requirements and draft slot, some strategies are better than others. However, any draft strategy is better than no strategy.

Be Ready to Modify Your Strategy

Everyone knows the saying, “(bleep) happens”. Things won’t go according to plan in your fantasy draft. Either someone will reach for a player you were targeting in the next round, or a run on quarterbacks will happen sooner than you were planning. Regardless, the key is to remain calm and adapt. Go with the flow of the draft. If your draft strategy needs to be modified or completely changed, be able to conform to the situation.

Track Other Teams’ Picks

Make sure you keep track of the players and positions the other teams in your league have or haven’t drafted, especially if you are near the turn. For example, if you are picking one spot from the turn and that team on the turn already drafted Travis Kelce, you can wait until after the turn to grab a tight end. The reason why is that team is unlikely to draft a tight end with Kelce already on their roster. Furthermore, this is extremely important when picking in the middle of the round. You have a long wait until you’re back on the clock every round and must decide which players you’re willing to risk sliding back to you.

Draft Strategy for Picks 5-8

Round 1

I hate drafting from this range. Being stuck in the middle of the round means you wait a while between picks. Furthermore, you might have to reach for a player you want because he might not make it back to you in the next round. Also, you likely won’t get one of the top 3-4 running backs with a pick in this range. You could go with a Zero-RB strategy picking in this range and take advantage of landing Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson in the first round. Another option is to go with a Hero-RB strategy, but wait until the second round to grab your hero running back.

If you are playing in a Superflex league, you should consider a quarterback with your first-round pick. Furthermore, Josh Allen or Justin Herbert could go in the first four picks and push a stud running back like Christian McCaffrey or Derrick Henry into your lap. Where you pick in this range might determine if you should grab a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver with your first-round pick.

For example, I would grab a quarterback or running back if you have the fifth or sixth pick. You won’t see the same tier of quarterback or running back slide to you in the second round. However, I would consider a wide receiver if you have the seventh or eighth pick. The top four running backs and top two quarterbacks likely went off the board in the first six picks. Therefore, the quarterback or running back you draft with the seventh or eighth pick is likely in the same tier as the player you can get in the second round.

Rounds 2-4

Once again, being in the middle part of the round can be nerve-wracking. However, the key is to stick to your rankings and only reach in certain situations. The Hero-RB strategy was designed for you to draft a stud in Round 1 and wait until the later rounds to load up on running back. However, there are several running backs with a Round 2 ADP you can trust to use this strategy with, provided you grabbed Kupp or Jefferson in Round 1. Those running backs include D’Andre Swift, Aaron Jones, and Nick Chubb.

You have some options in Rounds 3 and 4 if you stick to the Hero-RB strategy. If Kelce or Mark Andrews falls to you in the third round, that is a league-winning pick. However, that is unlikely. Instead, you want to grab a pair of wide receivers with these two picks. Ideally, one should have top-five upside but come with risk, while the other should offer a safe floor. An ideal pairing would be Keenan Allen and D.J. Moore. If you are playing in a Superflex league, this would be the time to grab a quarterback if you haven’t already.

Rounds 5-9

These are the rounds you want to target upside, especially at the quarterback position. If you’re playing in a 1-QB league, this is the range to target a quarterback. Your targets should be Allen, Herbert, or Patrick Mahomes if they are available in the fifth round. However, don’t fall into the trap of grabbing a quarterback early if one of those three isn’t available. Instead, wait a few more rounds and target a high-upside quarterback like Jalen Hurts or Trey Lance. More importantly, don’t reach for a quarterback, as the depth this year is extremely deep. The last thing you want to do when picking in the middle of the rounds is reach for a player you don’t need.

If you’ve stuck with the modified Hero-RB strategy, there are plenty of running backs in the sixth and seventh rounds to target. Assuming you drafted one quarterback, one running back, and three pass catchers with your first five picks, Rounds 6-8 are ideal for loading up on running backs. A few players in this range to target include A.J. Dillon, Damien Harris, Miles Sanders, and Tony Pollard. All four are either the lead running back for their team or co-starters with plenty of upside. Ideally, you want Dillon in the sixth round, Harris in the seventh, and Pollard in the eighth.

Regardless if your league has two or three starting wide receiver spots, Round 9 is the perfect spot to grab a volume-upside wide receiver. According to Rotowire, Rashod Bateman, Drake London, and Christian Kirk all have a ninth-round ADP. All three should easily lead the wide receivers on their team in targets this season. Furthermore, if one of these three falls to your pick in the 10th round, they are a must-draft player.

Rounds 10 and Beyond

Everyone knows you wait until the last two rounds to draft a kicker and team defense (assuming your league has them). Don’t be afraid to draft them a round earlier to get the best Week 1 matchup possible, but don’t draft a kicker or team defense for the entire season. Not only is streaming the better strategy, but you will need to spend an earlier pick to guarantee yourself Justin Tucker or the top team defense.

Aside from the lackluster positions, the later rounds are when you want to target upside and lottery tickets. With a middle-of-the-round draft position, you will need to decide which players you want to risk sliding back to you in the next round. The best way to do that is to look at your opponents’ rosters and see if they have similar needs as you. Another way is to engage in conversation before and during the draft about which players they view as sleepers. Your league-mates won’t openly tell you who they like, but you can get a sense of how they feel regarding the later-round players.

If you didn’t draft a plug-and-play tight end early, you should target a pair of tight ends in this range. Don’t draft them with the mindset of holding both for the entire year. Instead, pick the two you think have the best shot to go off in Week 1 and early in the season. You will likely drop one after Week 1 to grab the hot waiver wire addition. Either pay the price for a plug-and-play high-upside stud or wait until the final few rounds and stream the position. Two tight ends with an ADP outside the top 150 I’m targeting are David Njoku and Robert Tonyan.

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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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