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14 Mid-Round Draft Picks to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 12, 2022
Derek Carr

The biggest winner in the aftermath of the Davante Adams trade is Derek Carr.

Here are 14 players going in the middle rounds that you should consider targeting this fantasy football draft season.

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Mid-Round Draft Picks to Target

Quarterbacks

Trey Lance (SF)

The Trey Lance era has finally begun after reports surfaced that the 49ers have decided to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo… even if he remains on the roster.

Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery is the only reason he hasn’t been traded. Once he is deemed healthy, I’d presume he gets moved to a QB-needy team or to a roster that sustains an injury at the position.

Lance only started two games but showed off the rushing that excited fantasy managers during draft season. The 49ers’ first-year signal-caller averaged 22.4 expected fantasy points and 60 rushing yards per game.

Get league-winning upside as a late-round quarterback.

Derek Carr (LV)

The biggest winner in the aftermath of the Davante Adams trade is Derek Carr. He now has the luxury of throwing to a surplus of offensive weapons including arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in his old college teammate.

Let’s not forget that when Carr had everybody available last season, the Raiders quarterback ranked second in the NFL in passing yards and 15th in fantasy points per game. However, his ceiling was limited due to his lack of mobility and weaponry; Carr did not finish better than a top-8 quarterback at any point in 2021.

But Adams figures to provide Carr with a red-zone weapon like no other that will unlock his fantasy ceiling. He’s the exact positive touchdown regression that should launch Carr’s fantasy numbers. Carr’s 3.7 TD rate in 2021 was below his career average (4.3). And his 23 total passing touchdowns were seven below expectation.

Fully anticipate Carr throwing for 30-plus laser scores bare minimum with Adams at his disposal. Every quarterback last season that threw for at least 30 touchdowns finished inside the top-10 in 2021.

Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson (NE)

Rhamondre Stevenson experienced a very successful rookie season that should not be overlooked. After fully escaping the Bill Belichick doghouse in Week 9, Stevenson earned top grades across the board.

He was PFF’s third-highest graded running back (84.2). Stevenson also ranked 13th in rushing yards and in yards per route run (1.41). For fantasy, the rookie running back was the RB25 in total points scored, eight spots behind his backfield teammate Harris.

There’s a high ceiling for Stevenson, especially if you ask former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. The ESPN analyst went as far as saying that Stevenson “…will be one of the better, if not one of the top three, running backs in the league based on what I saw with his strength, explosion and catch-and-run ability.”

Chase Edmonds (MIA)

This past year Chase Edmonds was viewed as the Arizona starting running back alongside James Conner. He stood as the RB21 through the first six weeks prior to suffering an ankle injury. Edmonds ranked fourth in the NFL in receptions among running backs (four catches and five targets per game).

Edmonds won’t ever be a true three-down back due to durability concerns, as he missed seven games this past season. But used properly and kept healthy, there’s no denying Edmonds can be a viable fantasy option because of his receiving and explosiveness.

His spot-start usage/production in Weeks 16-17 without James Conner in the lineup – 23.9 expected fantasy points per game – showcases a running back who can deliver massive fantasy upside any given week.

In 14 career games when Edmonds has commanded at least 11 touches – his average fantasy finish is RB18 (PPR).

Edmonds should see plenty of work in a Dolphins backfield splitting snaps with Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert. Considering Gaskins’ fantasy spike weeks in 2021 all came from his receiving usage, Edmonds should find similar success in that role with Miami.

The late signing of running back Mostert and Michel might have some fantasy gamers soured on Edmonds. However, Edmonds was never going to see a full bell-cow workload. Losing out on some early-down carries to Mostert or Michel was to be expected. I’d still prefer Edmonds in fantasy due to the pass-catching and hope the other signings keeps his ADP at a value.

Ken Walker III (SEA)

Kenneth Walker could also emerge from camp as the starter. Walker’s 99th percentile college dominator and 96th percentile speed score will be a welcome sight for Pete Carroll. We know the Seahawks want to establish the hell out of it with one of Drew Lock or Geno Smith looking like a possible Week 1 starter at quarterback. Since 2018 the Seahawks are third in neutral script rushing rate, so the volume will be there to support one elite-level back or tandem of backs with weekly RB2 or high RB3 potential.

Melvin Gordon (DEN)

Gordon is bound to be written off by fantasy draft pundits this offseason due to his age, but he proved that he still has gas in the tank in 2021. The 29-year-old running back was efficient across the board, ranking eighth in both PFF rushing grade (83.4) and forced missed tackles (45) while compiling 231 touches (16th).

With him back on a high-powered offense and with the potential to receive goal-line touches, he could easily become a screaming value in 2022 like James Conner or Leonard Fournette last year.

Nyheim Hines (IND)

Nyheim Hines posted career-lows across the receiving board in 2021, but there’s hope that with a new quarterback under center that he can bounce back in 2022.

No passer targeted running backs more than new Colts quarterback Matt Ryan did in 2021 – 8.6 targets per game. Bodes well for Hines to provide more usable weeks like he did in 2020. That year, Hines finished as RB18 in PPR scoring.

Tyler Allgeier (ATL)

The Atlanta Falcons’ fifth-round running back ranks 1st in rushing yards after contact (1,847), 2nd in rushing touchdowns (36) 3rd in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries over the past two seasons.

I believe he would have been taken by Atlanta in Round 4 if they had a pick available to them, so I don’t think it’s fair to view the RBs that went in Round 4 in a higher regard.

I also don’t think it’s outlandish to think that he’s already the best pure rusher among a backfield that consists of Cordarelle Patterson, Damien Williams and Qadree Ollison. He’s proven to be able to shoulder a massive workload as both a rusher and receiver, which is not true of any other back for the Dirty Birds.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Aiyuk (SF)

Fantasy managers are still trying to figure out what went wrong with Brandon Aiyuk during the first half of last season. He was hyped up after an impressive rookie campaign, but suffered a hamstring injury during training camp that made him unreliable in the starting offense. Through Weeks 1-7, Aiyuk had just one weekly finish inside the top-25. He also averaged an abysmal 0.63 yards per route run – a mark that ranked 98th out of 102 qualifying WRs. Woof.

But give credit to Aiyuk for turning his season around during the second half. His yards per route run increased substantially (2.16, 13th) and he averaged 13.1 PPR fantasy points per game as the WR24.

If Aiyuk can roll over his second-half production into 2022, he could end up as a smashing fantasy value in a similar way that Deebo Samuel was viewed in 2021.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (KC)

It always seemed more probable than not that JuJu Smith-Schuster would find his way to Kansas City in free agency. The Chiefs were interested in him last season, and the landing spot is perfect to revive Smith-Schuster’s fantasy football value. He’s just one year removed from a WR17 finish in PPR between two injury-plagued seasons.

Let’s not forget JuJu had an elite sophomore campaign – 1,400-plus receiving yards – and he is still just 25 years old. With the most vacated targets available in Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes his new quarterback, 2022 will be a return to form for Smith-Schuster.

He can operate from his natural position in the slot and benefit from the playmakers around him. After all, Smith-Schuster was at his best as a Pittsburgh Steeler during his first two seasons playing opposite of Antonio Brown.

Chase Claypool (PIT)

Chase Claypool‘s second-year breakout was inevitably halted by Ben Roethlisberger’s lack of downfield throwing ability: On throws with 20-plus air yards, Big Ben graded 31st out of 38 qualifying QBs.

Claypool commanded a 27% air yards share on the season and led the team in the metric over the final four weeks. Better days should be ahead of the Notre Dame product if Pittsburgh can get better downfield quarterback play from Kenny Pickett/Mitchell Trubisky.

Claypool is also due for positive touchdown regression after catching just one of his 12 end-zone targets last season. The 6-foot-5 monster is no stranger to hitting paydirt, after being one of eight wide receivers to score double-digit touchdowns as rookies since 1998.

However, Claypool’s range of outcomes is quite wide heading into his third season with 2022 second-round pick George Pickens, chomping at the bit to be the No. 2 on the offense behind Diontae Johnson.

Drake London (ATL)

Drake London arrives in Atlanta to give Kyle Pitts a run for his money as the Falcons’ target leader in 2022. In his final season at USC, London gobbled up looks, averaging a mind-melting 14.8 targets, 11 receptions, and 135.5 receiving yards. He’s primed to vacuum up opportunities in his rookie season as a versatile wide receiver that ranked fifth in yards per route run among FBS wide receivers last year (minimum 50 targets per PFF). The rookie wide receiver explosion in recent years could easily continue with the London liftoff this season.

Kadarius Toney (NYG)

It remains to be seen how the Giants new coaching staff is viewing Kadarius Toney heading into Year 2. They were rumored to trade the polarizing wide receiver before the NFL Draft, and the selection of Wan’Dale Robinson early in Round 2 isn’t a vote of confidence that is going to see an ultra-expanded role in Year 2.

However, what is clear with Toney is the talent. He flashed future target-magnet potential after commanding a 25% target rate per route run in 2021 – tied for 7th best in the NFL in 2021.

Allen Lazard (GB)

Allen Lazard could be the leading wide receiver for the Packers this season. The chemistry with Lazard and Rodgers has been battle-tested. Lazard wins with regularity in the areas of the field where Rodgers likes to pepper targets. Over the last three seasons, Rodgers has ranked 13th, 8th, and 13th in pass attempts between 0-9 yards from the line of scrimmage (per PFF). Over that same timespan, Lazard has ranked seventh, first, and 25th in yards per route in this area of the field (minimum 20 short-area targets, per PFF). If Lazard assumes the lead role, he’ll be a massive value in all formats.

CTAs


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