Drafting a fantasy football team is all about making the best of what’s available when it comes to your choices. You can make a plan to get player X, but if and when said player comes off the board just before your turn, it’s important to know what to do in that event, rather than your pre- Draft goal being taken from right below you – chances are it will happen again.
When drafting from the back half of the first round – which will be addressed here in the third installment of the draft strategy series – there are no guarantees. The only true guarantee in a draft comes with the pressure of choosing first.
So how can you prepare for the prospect of drafting from Draft Slot 7-9? Me and my editor, Matt De Lima, walk you through the various roster-building strategies for selecting this range.
Draft Pick Draft Strategies
choice of: 1 to 3 | 4 to 6 | 7 to 9 | 10 to 12
round 1 . drafting in
Drafting in this range means you have the first dab in the running back or the next tier of receivers. Either Nazi Harris (No. 7 ADP) or Justin Jefferson (No. 6) would still be on the table with the seventh pick, and I wouldn’t hesitate to catch any of them. But it seems that after the consensus is that the top seven players (orders aside) are gone, you see Dalvin Cook at the back and Jammer Chase or Davante Adams at the receiver.
I prefer Cook to this position because the heavy workload awaits him in a good offense. Touchdown regression came in for him last season after scoring 30 times over the past two seasons, but Cook should return to the end zone more often and catch more passes in a better offense from Minnesota in 2022.
As much as I want to be, I’m not excited about Chase or Adams, both top six receivers last season. But the reality is that any drop in touchdown production and fewer chunk plays hurt Chase’s value greatly—he was one of three receivers in the top 10 in the receiving yards who didn’t log 100 receptions. , so his PPR value is not the same as other first-round wideouts, and he showed the full range of his week-to-week boom/bust potential in Year 1.
As far as Adams is concerned, he’s teaming up with his college quarterback, Derek Carr, but has more mouths to feed in Las Vegas than Green Bay, where he’s won the last two years from back-to-back reigns. Scored more than 300 goals in sessions. MVP.
This is certainly a conservative first-round draft strategy. If you’re looking for the upside, get Chase, who has already proven a lot of people wrong as cheaters and can keep going. Otherwise, go with Cook once Harris and Jefferson are chosen.
matt de limaRound 1 of Hot Takes:
Volume can often feel more predictable than brilliance and this is true for those you’ll format in rounds 3 or 4 and beyond. The idea is that the plan is generally more consistent than the outcome. For example, we know Derrick Henry is going to see a ton of carries so the volume turns into big scoring. But the volume comes because he is talented and the plan is centered around him because he is their best player. you with me? With excellent players like Chase, early in his career, you have to trust that the Bengals will continue to get him the ball no matter what. He’s good, isn’t he? 1 receiver in a great offense and is a dynamic talent with the same coordinators and coaching staff. I believe Chase is the top choice of this group if available. Next, I also give Cook a slight edge over Harris. I’ll take Joe Mixon over Adams because I’m very concerned about the big drop in his target share.
Round 2 and 3. drafting in
You should feel great in Round 2 with Harris or Cook anchoring your backfield, or Jefferson or Chase in WR1. Now you want to address the situation that you didn’t in the first round.
If running back is noticed, I like the CeeDee Lamb as your WR1 in this category. He currently has an ADP of 17 (WR7), but Michael Fabiano ranks him 13th overall, and is his number 5 receiver. With Amari Cooper out of the picture the Lambs could have more goals as they enter their third season.
I’m less optimistic on Deebo Samuel and Tyrek Hill, with the other receivers going around Lamb. Samuel’s contract situation was resolved over the weekend, but he will not be worth it in 2021 if he is not running the ball often, and Trey Lance’s move to quarterback could negatively impact Samuel’s production as well. As for Hill, he’s in a new offense with a new quarterback. It can work for both of them, but it requires more projection. Fabiano has a spot higher on Samuel than ADP.
I almost like to draft a receiver in first because what should still be available when running back in round 2. In the 16-18 range, you can expect to find Nick Chubb, Alvin Kamara, Jevont Williams, Aaron Jones and Leonard Fournet. Kamara, Jones and Fournette all finished inside the top 12 in their places (Chub was number 13) scoring a season earlier in the PPR. I like them in this order: Fournet, Jones, Kamara, Chub, Williams.
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It’s not likely to happen, but if he comes second I’ll be on Travis Kelce. His ADP is currently 14 (TE1), but there is little chance that he will slide a pick or two.
With the RB1 and WR1 positions filled, you can go in several different directions in the third round. There’s a chance someone from the running back group of Ezekiel Elliott, James Conner or David Montgomery is still on board. Kyle Pitts (34 ADP OVR, TE3) is also an option, as is T Higgins, who is a more suitable WR2 than suitable. And then there’s Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
If you choose to stray from peppering backs and receivers in the opening round, I would only do so for a player like Pitts who had a monster rookie season. Josh Allen, who is likely already off the board at this point, can justify his ADP as an early-round pick, but the same cannot be said for Mahomes and Herbert.
The WR-RB-RB strategy seems to be the best route so far. Let’s see if we can find a suitable WR2 and Flex in the next two rounds.
matt de limaRound 2 and 3 Hot Takes:
Leaders in this category (picks 16 to 18) and I like D’Andre Swift, Travis Kels, and Nick Chubb, if they’re available. I can take CeeDee Lamb even further than Chubb. Next, I like Debo Samuel and Tyrek Hill, followed by Aaron Jones, Jevont Williams and Alvin Kamara.
If I take WR in first, I’m going 100% with RB in second. I’ve said after the first three rounds, I want a 2RB-1WR or 2WR-1RB.
In the third round, I don’t love a lot of players in this category (31 to 33). I’m going through AJ Brown, Elliott, Connor, Montgomery and I’m probably not going to draft a TE or a QB (Pitts, Mahomes or Herbert). I like T Higgins so he’s on the table assuming I didn’t draft Chase before. So here I am praying that Mike Evans falls over to me (he won’t) or gets a little bit on cam acers, which carries a little risk but last year I loved him before he got hurt so I got him another Glad to have shot this season.
Round 4 and 5. drafting in
Once again, I like what players expect to be available in the fourth round when drafting from slots 7-9, especially to address WR2. Diontae Johnson and Jaylen Waddle are the stable options that finished in the top 13 in their positions, while Michael Pittman Jr., Terry McLaurin and DK Metcalf are going a bit later and offer upside and intrigue in the new positions.
I prefer to land a receiver with my fourth pick than players in other positions in this category like Josh Jacobs and George Kittel. Fabiano is short of his ADP on these two. The Raiders drafted a running back in the fourth round, which could eat into Jacobs’ workload as a more pass-happy offense, and Kittel has lost 12 games over the past two seasons and made further quarterback changes. Has – though Keitel goes for 101 yards and scores one in two from Lance’s starts as a rookie.
So far, it’s WR-RB-RB-WR for the first four picks. Now, where do we go from there in Round 5?
I’m throwing another dart at a wide receiver. Two very good quarterbacks—Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow—both going in the 55-57 range, as are running backs like Damien Harris and Clyde Edwards-Heller, but I like to load up on more pass-catchers at this point. And would love to get one. Solid starting flex on my roster.
Keep an eye on Chris Godwin’s ADP as the season approaches when he starts training camp and isn’t on the PUP list. The Buccaneers receiver in the fifth round could be an extreme value – his current ADP is 54 (WR21). Amari Cooper is No. 1 in Brown’s offense, and her ADP reflects a recent drop in production, so she’s reasonably priced as the low-end WR2 you can get as your WR3. Also going into this category: Brandin Cook, Marquis Brown.
matt de limaRound 4 and 5 Hot Takes:
Assuming I’m set up with a 2RB-1WR or 2WR-1RB, I’m probably going to be storing more RBs and WRs. At this location (picks 40 to 42), I’d love if Johnson, Waddle or Pittman could drop in on me. I don’t mind McLaurin here, but I can really reach for Travis Etienne because he’s one of my favorite sleepers this year.
In the fifth round (55 to 57 picks), I don’t mind Joe Burrow (ADP 56). But I can take my first real big risk and grab Chris Godwin or Bryce Hall if available. Are those players risky? Cheaters are always a risk. Sometimes they pop early, sometimes they pop late and sometimes they don’t pop at all. Speaking of Pop and his brothers, Godwin is still recovering from a torn ACL, but I love his hands and ability to be open. I’m kibosh on Kyler Murray. My mom told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything” – and I’m going to try to do it one more time.
Important points from draft 7 to 9
It is difficult to navigate through these draft slots in the first round. It appears that there is a consensus in the top seven – Fabiano’s top seven players match the current ADP, although a bit out of order – and after that you can proceed some way. Locking your WR1 seems like the best option to start your draft, then you can take advantage of the discounted running back over the next few rounds.
There are points in the first five rounds from the 7-9 slot where a quarterback (Murray or Herbert) or a tight end (Keuls or Pitts) makes sense. I still like to get two high-floor running backs in the second and third rounds and then come back and take a few shots at the receiver as the draft progresses. Getting a stud like Jefferson or Chase, an upside down player like McLaurin, and a steady force like Cooper to round your receiver room makes the most sense to me.
If you address the running back in the first round, I would opt for a receiver in round 2, a second running back in the third, and still you can double tap the receiver in the fourth and fifth.
matt de limaDrafting of 7-9 Final Conclusion:
I found it interesting that Chase, Mixon, Higgins and Burrow all coincided with these spots. You should just pile in DFS but what a crazy team that would be. In the end, I think this year is shaping up for me to try to stay mostly conservative on the risk in the first four rounds. Then, by the fifth round, I think the player pool opens up and it’s all about getting your guys. I’ll call this the Clyde Edwards-Hellair line (about pic 55). Once he’s one of the top players available in your draft, it’s time to throw ADP and roster building out the window. Hopefully by then you’ve got a solid core because at that point, I’m going after my friends. The 50 to 75 range is the number of untouchable players I’d never draft (Jerry Judy, Adam Thielen, Cordarrell Patterson) and guys who I think are dialed-in to having a big year (Alan Robinson) , Cortland Sutton, Gabriel Davis). It’s that time of year when you can start to form those thoughts and imbibe as many perspectives as you can.
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