2022 NFL Draft Preview & Team Needs (Fantasy Football)
It’s officially April, and that means the NFL Draft is right around the corner! On the most recent DFS Podcast, Kyle and I talked through the NFL Draft and team needs as well as how that may affect the betting market for NFL Draft props. You can find every bet we’re taking in this free article. Below, you’ll find a recap of this podcast episode, where we highlight how we’re approaching Round 1 of the NFL Draft as of early April.
Early Win Totals We Like
DraftKings and FanDuel recently released their initial NFL win totals for every team. We’ll be releasing specific podcasts dedicated to NFL futures in the next several weeks, but as of late March/early April, here are a few that stuck out to us:
- Baltimore Ravens O9.5 wins (-125) & Ravens to win the AFC North (+225)
- Chicago Bears U7 wins (-130)
- Atlanta Falcons U5.5 wins (-130)
Note: I wrote a detailed article looking at the Ravens’ 2021 season and why they’re undervalued in the betting market for 2022. Give it a read here!
As for the Falcons and Bears, both of these teams project to be struggling for production in 2022. In fact, the Falcons win total has already been bet down to 5 wins on most books, and it’s not difficult to see why. They’re in full blown rebuild mode with arguably the worst skill position group in the NFL. As for Chicago, this number feels too high. While there’s hope Justin Fields can take a step forward in year two post Matt Nagy era, the reality is this team lacks talent on offense to support Fields, they have one of the worst offensive lines in football, and this team doesn’t have a pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Add in the fact that they lost one of their best edge rushers in Khalil Mack via trade and they’ve got a first time head coach, this is a no brainer under for us.
NFL Team Needs and NFL Draft Props
Aiden Hutchinson (-250) remains the odds on favorite to go #1 overall to the Jags, but Travon Walker (+300) is gaining steam in the betting markets. Over the last few weeks, this market has shifted from one of the tackles (Ekwonwu or Neal) to go #1 to one of the edge rushers to go first. Truthfully, given that this class lacks a top tier prospect like a QB, it’s difficult to find a consensus on what Jacksonville might do. Borg and I are already invested in Neal, Ekwonwu and Hutchinson to go first based on our bets from the last four weeks, so this is a stay away for us. The market appears to be pretty efficient at this point.
In the last two weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about Malik Willis to go #2 to Detroit. However, a lot of the NFL mock drafts you’ll read don’t mention Willis in this spot, so this is an easy fade for us despite what the betting market is telling us. Given that this QB class is relatively weak, we also think it’s possible Detroit waits on QB to select one at pick 32. They have many needs to fill, so they could go a number of ways with this pick. Aiden Hutchinson (+250) and Travon Walker (+250) are currently the favorites to land in the Motor City.
Houston is in a great spot to let the Draft come to them. Obviously, their selection here depends a lot on what happens at picks #1 and #2. If either Hutchinson or Walker fall, we think this could be a selection for them here, but the most likely scenario based on the betting market is that they take one of the tackles here. Ekwonwu is the favorite to be the first OL selected, so he certainly makes sense here. He’s currently the betting favorite for the #3 selection at +180. Evan Neal is also in play at +300.
The Jets also pick at #10, so they’re an interesting team for the top 10. The team was reportedly in the market for Tyreek Hill, so it’s obvious they want to upgrade at the WR room, but we think it’s more likely that happens at pick 10 rather than pick 4. At #4, Sauce Gardner is a guy we’re bullish on in the betting market. Over the last 48 hours, he went from +1600 to +600 to +450 to be the 4th overall pick. If you tuned into our prior shows, you know Kyle and I are holding a Gardner U8.5 ticket at -135. Hopefully you are too! As a result, we’re not chasing the Gardner hype as of now, but if you missed out on the U8.5, we think there’s value on Gardner to go in the top 5 at +130.
The New York teams will be busy early in Round 1 as they also hold two top 10 picks, #5 and #7. For the purposes of this article, we’ll talk about those picks together. The G-men could go a number of different ways with either of these picks, making it challenging from a betting perspective. They certainly need an upgrade on the offensive line, and Evan Neal frequently gets mocked here. If you think that holds, there’s still some value on Evan Neal’s draft position O3.5 (-160). If he falls past Carolina at 6, Neal could also go to the Giants at #7. Another angle the Giants could take is to sure up their defensive line and target a guy like Kayvon Thibodeaux. It wasn’t that long ago that the Oregon pass rusher was the consensus best player in the Draft, but after a lackluster Combine performance and questions about his work ethic, the market seems to have overcorrected. We think he’s a possible value to land in the top 5 at +135.
The Panthers weren’t shy in their pursuit of Deshaun Watson, and there’s no secret the ship has sailed on Sam Darnold. Matt Rhule and the Panthers front office has been at nearly every QBs pro day, so they’re obviously looking to move on from Darnold. Given that Carolina doesn’t pick again until the 4th round, we feel there’s a very strong possibility they take a QB here. In the betting market, they’re the favorite to land one of Malik Willis (+250) and Kenny Pickett (+150). The connection to Pickett is strong, especially for Matt Rhule as Pickett actually committed to Temple out of high school when Rhule was still the head coach there. That pick is definitely in play here if you want to fire on Pickett at +150 or at +175 to be the 1st QB off the board. Borg feels like they could go a number of different directions but all their actions tell us they’re taking QB in this spot.
Oh boy…where do we begin with the Falcons team needs? Everything? This team is in full blown rebuild mode, so they could go a number of ways with this selection. The offensive line, defensive line and WR rooms need an upgrade. With so much variability with this selection, we’re staying away from any Falcons wagers except for the U5.5 on their win total. It’s going to be a rough one for the Borgogan this year…
Seattle is a difficult team to evaluate after the Russell Wilson trade and release of Bobby Wagner. They’ve got a 70 year old head coach in Pete Carrol yet have a bottom 10 team on paper while playing in one of the NFC’s most difficult divisions. They should rebuild, but will they? Your guess is as good as ours. As a result, we’re not super interesting in any wagers here, but the betting markets seems to think Seattle could land a tackle. Charles Cross has been mocked to the Seahawks with this pick, but it’s also possible Seattle looks at Malik Willis if they do want to take a shot on their QB of the future. Kyle and I grabbed Cross O6.5 draft position last week and that market has since moved to 7.5 with juice on the over. If you didn’t get Cross O6.5, O7.5 is still very much in play at -135, but obviously the edge is much smaller.
10. New York Jets
If the Jets do indeed take an offensive lineman or a pass rusher at pick #4, we think there’s a strong possibility they take a WR here at #10. Garrett Wilson and Drake London are both +125 to be the first WR selected, and we don’t have a great lean there. However, we just took Jameson Williams to go inside the top 10 at +1500. You can read more about why we’re interested in that long shot bet right here.
If you’re looking for more content on the NFL Draft, be sure to check out all of our Rookie Profile articles as well as our Dynasty Rookie Rankings and Production Profiles in the Dynasty Pass. You can also check out Kyle’s NFL Draft Props Strategy article for additional advice.