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Draft Strategy

Ambiguous WR Situations: A Fantasy Football Skeleton Key

by Joel Ybarra, May 22, 2022

No less than three league-winning wide receivers emerged from ambiguous situations in 2021. You won’t have trouble naming them. Cooper Kupp, Ja’Marr Chase and Deebo Samuel all recorded top-5 fantasy seasons in 2021 and ascended to wide receiver royalty. They all came from truly ambiguous WR situations: 2021 was just one season. But over the last six, trends have developed which have implications for fantasy WRs in the future. More top-scoring players will emerge from ambiguous WR situations in 2022 and beyond.

The rookie hype is real in fantasy, but the hype is well-founded. The NFL is enamored with rookie wide receivers, too. There were 17 wide receivers taken in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL draft, tied with 1994 and 2007 for most rookie WRs drafted in the first three rounds ever. Fantasy drafting is all about finding edges. Many fantasy managers move away from ambiguity because they equate it with uncertainty. Actually drafting wide receivers from ambiguous situations is a surer thing than seemingly more certain situations.  Move toward ambiguity when drafting receivers!

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2022 Colts Backfield Breakdown: Lonely at the Top

by Noah Hills, May 21, 2022

The Indianapolis Colts were on the run-heaviest teams in the NFL last season. Their 499 carries were good for No. 5 in the league and 47 more than league average. A presumed quarterback upgrade from the departed Carson Wentz to the newly acquired Matt Ryan could mean more passing volume in the year ahead, but the strength of this Colts team is their dominant running game. We shouldn’t expect that to go away in 2022.

Continue drafting Jonathan Taylor as an elite RB1 and don’t stress over identifying his handcuff. That role probably doesn’t exist behind him in the same way that it does behind other workhorses like Dalvin Cook and David Montgomery. There just isn’t a player in this backfield with the clear talent to step in and command a three-down role. If you simply must, there are worse at-cost investments than taking a late shot on D’Vonte Price.

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Top 5 Wide Receiver Bounceback Candidates for 2022

by Jason Allwine, May 20, 2022

The Giants have brought in former Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll to replace Joe Judge. Expectations are that the offense will improve under the new head coach, and that Daniel Jones will finally tap into his potential. If that happens, Kenny Golladay should definitely improve and at least average double-digit Fantasy Points Per Game like he has three times before in his career. This is a guy who scored 11 TDs in 2019, and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t at least get one in 2022.

Allen Robinson has had Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitchell Trubisky, and Justin Fields as his quarterbacks and still, he’s had two top 10 seasons under his belt. Robinson has had four years with over 150 targets, an amount possible, but unlikely to get next year. Matthew Stafford threw the ball 601 times, and I don’t see why he’d throw the ball less next season. In fact, Stafford’s production could very well go up in Year 2 with the Rams as he is now fully adjusted to the system. Assuming he stays healthy and Beckham doesn’t return to LA, 2022 should be a great bounceback season for Robinson.

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Rookie WR1 Cases for First-Round WRs

by Aditya Fuldeore, May 19, 2022

Drake London is a large target with 95th-percentile arm length, benefitting him for contested targets. He also boasts an 18.1 (99th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Breakout Age and 34.9 (69th-percentile) College Dominator Rating, a similar mix of Breakout Age and College Dominator Rating to Donte Moncrief, Sammy Watkins, and DeAndre Hopkins. Atlanta’s QB situation will be the primary thing to hold him back.

The Titans swapped out A.J. Brown for Treylon Burks during the draft, adding the Arkansas product to a team expected to contend. The Titans are looking for a new physical WR1, and with Robert Woods getting older, Burks is next up. With Derrick Henry in the backfield, Burks may not see as much pass volume as guys like Drake London or Jameson Williams. Still, he has a physical profile and clear path to being the WR1 on his own team, giving him a strong case to be the rookie WR1.

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2022 Chargers Backfield Breakdown: Sidekick Tryouts

by Noah Hills, May 18, 2022

We only have one season’s worth of decision making from which to draw conclusions about the way that Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi want to run this team. But with Justin Herbert at quarterback, it seems reasonable that they would continue to be a pass-heavy team going forward. This is a team with both the propensity and the personnel to air it out.

Austin Ekeler has not needed an incredible share of opportunity in this backfield to be an effective fantasy contributor. We should expect him to be productive once again in 2022. Outside of Isaiah Spiller, nobody else on this team should have much fantasy value. He’s just inside my top-10 rookie running backs. Mostly on the strength of the quality offensive situation he landed in. Leddie Brown is vaguely interesting as a very deep dart throw.

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Rookie Draft Strategy – The RB Rounds

by Paul Patterson, April 27, 2022

You’ll likely find yourself on the clock in the third, fourth, and sometimes fifth round of your rookie draft with very few attractive options. Whether it’s bad draft capital, poor athleticism, or uninspiring production, the players here have more red flags than Ron Swanson’s ex-wives. But that doesn’t make the selection pointless. On the contrary, navigating these later rounds (the RB rounds) properly can give you a significant edge over your leaguemates.

Forget trying to find the next Darnell Mooney needle in a haystack of future supermarket employees. Instead, once Round 3 rolls around, just toggle off the other positions and queue up any RB capable of latching onto an NFL depth chart. Remember, your odds of finding the next WR1 or RB1 at the 3.09, 4.05, or 5.11 are exceptionally low, and that’s okay. If you can squeeze three or four games of RB2 production out of a pick that late, you’re doing just fine.

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PlayerProfiler vs RosterWatch | 1QB Rookie Mock Draft

by Cody Carpentier, April 25, 2022

If you couldn’t get enough of the PlayerProfiler vs. RosterWatch rivalry, we’re back with the second installment in the Summer of Collaboration series of fantasy football mock drafts with RosterWatch. Did the Underworld successfully defend the mock drafting crown? Did anyone plant any outrageous flags? Who actually wins in a mock draft of any sort? If there is a way to win, you can bet that the six mock drafters on the Underworld side of the ledger will ride PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics all the way to a successful defense of the mock drafting heavyweight championship of the world.

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The Great RB Dead Zone Resurrection of 2022 is Upon Us

by Joel Ybarra, April 23, 2022

The running back “dead zone” is dead. Dead zone running backs have traditionally been those backs drafted in rounds three through six of fantasy drafts the past two seasons. But a shift is about to take place. The RB Dead Zone will be the fertile ground out of which multiple RB1s will be harvested in fantasy leagues in 2022. Start adjusting your draft plans now.

If you are really concerned about missing out on a first-round running back, keep in mind Leonard Fournette, Tony Pollard and A.J. Dillon will also still be available after round 6 (past the dead zone). There are plenty of upside RB’s available in rounds 3-8 in 2022, leaving you tons of flexibility to not take running backs in rounds 1-2. The RB dead zone is the place to be in 2022! IT’S ALIIIIIIVE!!!

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The Mini Majors: YOU Can Win $500,000 Playing Fantasy Football!

by Jared Michelizzi, December 30, 2021

It is Playoff season when it comes to the National Fantasy competitions. If you aren’t currently competing in these national competitions, you are missing out on one of the most fun and possibly most profitable aspects of Season-Long Fantasy Football. We are going to be looking at the “Mini Majors.” These are national competitions with overall prize pools ranging from $150,000-$500,000 for modest buy-ins of $200-$350.

One of the biggest things I noticed when looking through Chad Schroeder’s TFC team was that he used both waiver runs each week. He also commented on both teams about a key player he picked up on those second runs. That is a huge free nugget we got from the best fantasy football player in the world. Pay attention to those second waiver runs. Keep hammering each and every waiver wire of the season from Week 1 until they lock you out and throw away the key.

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From Zero to Hero (RB): An In-Season Draft Strategy Review

by Justin Owens, December 3, 2021

Hero RB drafters are sitting comfortably watching their stud running backs smash while also having enjoying league winning production from wide receivers drafted in the middle rounds of fantasy football drafts. The 2021 season shows once again why running backs are the backbone of championship fantasy teams.

Luckily for those who missed the boat on the early round studs such as Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler, the fantasy football season isn’t won or lost at the draft. While Hero RB gives a slight advantage, what I have taken from this thought experiment is to not lock into a specific draft strategy. Take the draft room as it comes and capitalize on players that fall. Keep the good process of drafting good players and good things will happen.

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