Snake Draft Strategy for Later Picks: No. 9-12 (2022 Fantasy Football)
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 targeted player 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 some general tips and strategies to help you ace your draft with a pick in the final four slots (positions 1.09-1.12).
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 is aware to check if the league is 1QB or superflex, and PPR or standard.
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 Team’s 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 1.09-1.12
Rounds One & Two
Almost every draft strategy is a solid option if you pick in this range. However, my favorite is to go with the double running back start. You won’t get a superstar like Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, or Najee Harris. However, you can still land a pair of plug-and-play running backs. According to NFC, Dalvin Cook, Javonte Williams, Joe Mixon, and D’Andre Swift all have an ADP between picks 9 and 15. If you can grab a pair of these two to start your draft, that is a slam-dunk decision.
If you’re playing in a superflex league, you could go in one of two directions early on. You could start with one of those running backs and a quarterback. However, another option is Zero-RB and knock out the quarterback position early. If you can grab two elite quarterbacks early in your draft, it will allow you to focus on other positions the rest of the way. Furthermore, it might start a quarterback run, which will push the other positions down the draft board towards your next pick.
Rounds Three & Four
After grabbing a pair of stud running backs, this is where you want to address pass catchers. If Kelce or Mark Andrews slide to the third round, that should be your selection. However, that is very unlikely. Instead, you could target a tight end like Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, or George Kittle, but it’s harder to pass on some of the wide receivers in this range for a second-tier tight end. I would grab a pair of wide receivers and wait till the later round to address the tight end position if Kelce and Andrews aren’t an option.
Assuming you went with the double quarterback start in a superflex, now is the time to grab a pair of running backs. The depth at wide receiver is solid every year, but it is extremely deep this season. However, the same can’t be said about running backs. Even if you drafted a quarterback and running back in the first two rounds, I would double down on both. Thanks to the depth this year, I would pick another quarterback and running back over most wide receivers in this range. Running backs to target in this range include David Montgomery, J.K. Dobbins, and Elijah Mitchell.
These are the rounds where you want to target upside at the quarterback position. If you’re playing in a 1QB league, this is the range to target a quarterback. Your targets should be Josh Allen, Justin 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.
Rounds five and six are excellent for double-dipping on running backs, even if you’ve filled your starting running back spots. You can find several quality running backs that can provide RB2 value. Furthermore, you might be able to find a few potential running backs who could turn into low-end RB1s in the right situation. Even if you started your draft with back-to-back running backs, don’t avoid taking another pair in this range if the value is there. Remember, there is no such thing as having too many good running backs.
If you’ve waited till this range to address the wide receiver position in your superflex drafts, don’t panic. There are plenty of wide receivers with an ADP outside the first four rounds that are startable. According to NFC, Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, and Darnell Mooney all have an ADP in the fifth or sixth round. If you can grab a pair of them, you’re in excellent shape after starting the draft with two running backs and two quarterbacks. Treylon Burks, Drake London, and Christian Kirk also all have an ADP in the seventh round or later, according to NFC.
Round 10 & Beyond
Everyone knows you wait until the last two rounds to draft a kicker and team defense (assuming your league has them). However, 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 an early draft slot, you are close to the turn and can look at the players in bunches. Decide on which upside players you value the most, given your team’s roster construction. If you are light on running backs, you will want to load up on handcuffs and one-injury-away players.
On the other hand, if you only have three wide receivers heading into the double-digit rounds, you will want to load up on players with the potential to breakout. However, don’t turn down good values at running back or quarterback (in superflex leagues). The roster you have at the end of the draft can look dramatically different come Week 4 with a few trades and waiver wire moves. Focus on drafting good values and worry about roster balance later.
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 and the other to grab a new streaming tight end for Week 2. Many people get caught reaching for second and third-tier tight ends in the early-to-middle rounds. Either pay the price for a high upside stud or wait until the final few rounds and stream the position.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.