Five Players I Try to Leave Every Draft With (Fantasy Football)
Each and every year I see a mountain of content about who to draft, and who to avoid. So much of it centers around the early-round studs, and the late-round sleepers. Not often have I seen a lot of content regarding those middle rounds when the options on the board all feel very similar to each other, but can truly make or break your team. The upside may be capped, but the floor is intact. The cost isn’t so cheap that you have nothing to lose, but the player situation isn’t crystal clear. These are often the guys that don’t get talked about enough, but you’re still forced to draft some of them.
We’ve seen plenty of the good, plenty of the bad, but not enough of the boring. The five players listed here are guys that I target within that sleepy part of my draft, and they rarely rise or fall too aggressively before draft day:
ADP: 43rd Overall
Positional ADP: WR15
Moore is the only receiver in the NFL with 1,200 yards from scrimmage in three straight seasons, but for some reason, he’s viewed as a disappointment in a lot of circles. The main reason he’s not the darling of drafts this year is that his production has been steady, but his ceiling has been limited. He doesn’t find the end zone as frequently as he should, and a big part of that has been inconsistent quarterback play. Sam Darnold was inefficient and cautious for most of 2021, and Moore suffered because of it.
Baker Mayfield may not be a perfect quarterback, but he’s much more willing to take chances and try to force a throw into his star player’s hands when necessary. He’s an improvement on Darnold in every way, and he will be the most talented signal caller that Moore has been paired with since he entered the league. When combined with the touchdown regression coming his way, Moore is all but guaranteed to produce his best season as a pro if he suits up every week. His ADP is reasonable enough to warrant a look in each and every draft.
ADP: 68th Overall
Positional ADP: WR25
Even though I already covered him in my ADP crushing article, and chose him as my “My Guy” in our writers article, I would be doing a disservice to the readers here to not bring him up again. Amon-Ra St. Brown is going to beat his ADP, and he has the potential to be a top fifteen receiver with relative ease. He is coming off the fifth-best rookie reception total in NFL history, and he was the WR5 over the past 9 weeks of the season. He absolutely exploded as a rookie, yet for some strange reason, the entire fantasy community seems to only be mildly impressed. Production is earned, regardless of team situation. The Lions still don’t have an alpha receiver, despite what some people want to see from D.J Chark. I only had to see two series from the Lions in the preseason to feel confident about this take. Anyone who’s not convinced should go watch those games. St. Brown is the CLEAR top target in Detroit, and his role as a slot receiver adds to his fantasy stock. This is as simple as it gets. Draft him.
Positional ADP: RB34
The starting running back in a Mike McDaniel scheme has always been incredibly valuable, and typically underrated. Whether it was Raheem Mostert or Elijah Mitchell, the cost was always reasonable compared to the upside. Chase Edmonds is no exception this year. The former Arizona Cardinal was paid like an RB1, and all of the reports out of Miami indicate that he’s the clearcut top back. He can catch the ball as well as anyone at his position, and he’s explosive and efficient. The primary reason he’s not being drafted higher is that the running back room is crowded on paper with both Mostert and Sony Michel sitting behind Edmonds. McDaniel always rotates his backs to a degree, but his top dog has RB2 value week in and week out. Every box is checked for Edmonds this season, and after week one there will be a lot of people kicking themselves for not realizing how painfully obvious of a draft pick he was.
ADP: 106th overall
Positional ADP: WR41
Too many football fans have already forgotten about the ridiculous contract the Jaguars gave Christian Kirk this offseason. They gave him $72,000,000. I typed that entire number out just to let it really sink in. They handed a decent but somewhat underwhelming receiver a contract normally reserved for a high-end producer. That type of money cannot be ignored when it comes to expectation setting within the coaching staff, and the Jaguars don’t have anyone else who even resembles a WR1. Marvin Jones is disrespected in NFL media circles, and Laviska Shenault can be a playmaker in the right environment, but neither one of them are target hogs. Christian Kirk is going to be peppered with targets by a once-in-a-decade quarterback prospect entering his second season, and his first without Urban Meyer. Kirk is the clearcut WR1 in an offense that will spend plenty of time playing catch-up, and it’s like no one cares. Kirk sat out of the first two preseason games and caught five passes on eight targets in the first HALF of game three. Kirk has the potential to be a DJ Moore light, and you can get him for free in the double-digit rounds of your fantasy draft.
ADP: 78th Overall
Positional ADP: TE9
Taking an early tight end is a strategy that can pay dividends, especially this year when the top positional group seems even thinner than normal. It’s widely suggested that you either want to take an early tight end, or punt the position to the late rounds. As a result of that narrative, some really good tight ends are going later than they previously would have. Both T.J Hockenson and Dallas Goedert were in the 5th-6th round range last year, but they’re falling into the 7th-8th round range this season as a result of the positional discussion in fantasy circles. Goedert scored more fantasy points per game than Kyle Pitts last year (which is blasphemous to even discuss, I’ve heard), and he cruised to a TE1 finish despite missing a couple games. The Eagles offense added A.J Brown, but that should actually help open things up for Goedert in the middle of the field more than it hurts him. I expect the Eagles to be a more efficient passing team this year, and Goedert should settle in with a similar target total in 2022. He’s a safe TE1 with serious upside if Hurts and him build more chemistry in the read zone, and you can lock down a questionable position much later in your draft than you needed to in previous seasons. He’s not a sexy pick, but he’s a statistically favorable one.