Round by Round Targets for your Fantasy Draft
I am going to use ADP data from Underdog. it is Best Ball draft engine, but it is full of real drafts and not influenced by default rankings or auto-picks. I am checking it against ESPN/Yahoo as they are the main fantasy football platforms and if there is a big discrepancy I will make note of it. The parenthesis after a player is their (ADP, positional ADP). I am going to base the rounds off of a 12 team league, but you can see the ADP to see how that would affect it being a 10 team league. If someone is listed in round three and they are still there in round four, then they would be still be a target (probably even more so since they have fallen a round).
This is the only round I will lay out my top twelve for. It is the order that I would take players from each slot in the draft order.
10. Davante Adams
The board will almost never fall in this exact order: Ekeler, Julio and Davante are routinely available in the second round as a lot of people will reach for other RB’s here. However, this is the order I would prefer to take the players in the first round and if you are able to choose your draft slot, then I would want to choose in the top five, preferably first because CMC is that good.
Travis Kelce(17, TE1)/ George Kittle(20, TE2): I am willing to pay up and get either stud TE.
Davante Adams (13, WR2), Julio Jones (17, WR4), Tyreek Hill (15, WR3): The top four wideouts. Whoever makes it out of the first round should be immediately targeted in the second round.
Ekeler(17, RB14)/ Aaron Jones(19, RB14): Both RB’s routinely go in the mid to late second round and are good targets at that price.
James Conner(25, RB15): Usually the last RB I feel super confident drafting without question marks.
JuJu Smith Schuster (32, WR11): Betting on a big rebound for the Steelers by targeting their number one RB and WR. JuJu was one of the first five receivers off the board last season and Ben is healthy again.
Allen Robinson (33, WR12): Has a chance to challenge for the league lead in targets this season. I think Bears upgrade to Foles sooner rather than later, but Robinson has always made the best of bad QB play.
Jonathan Taylor (31, RB17): I started the year fading Taylor as I was worried about his splitting time with Mack. Reports out of camp have subdued some of those fears and the upside is there with a soft schedule and top O-line for Taylor to emerge as a top 10 RB THIS year and not next. If you are RB needy he is worth the risk in the third (or fourth of a 10 team league).
Odell Beckham Jr (35, WR13): Odell was sapped of his burst with his sports hernia injury last season. This season he is healthy, they have a solid offensive coaching staff replacing the dumpster fire they had last season, and they improved the O-line to allow Baker time to get Beckham the ball. Beckham is another strong bounce-back candidate that I want on my team.
Mark Andrews (44, TE3): If you missed out on Kelce/Kittle, then target Andrews. You are giving up some of the huge upside at receiver, but we want to go get Andrews. I am targeting him at the end of the third round forward. One of the few TE’s that I would be willing to pay up for because of his ceiling. He should see an increase in snaps and targets this season after playing through injuries last season and with Hayden Hurst around (traded to Atlanta in the offseason). Andrews could make the top two at tight end a top three headed into next season.
Adam Thielen (37, WR14): Thielen is one of my most owned players at this point. Another player with a chance to lead the league in targets going too late in drafts. 2019 is the first season he has ever missed a game and with Diggs gone he will feast.
Melvin Gordon (37, RB20): The “cliff” at RB is right around the corner. I have Gordon top 12 at the position and he is routinely slipping into the fourth round.
Calvin Ridley (38, WR15): Ridley has been an amazingly productive receiver through his first two seasons and I believe he takes a step forward this season.
Tyler Lockett (47, WR20): If only Seattle would let Russ Cook we would be drafting Lockett (and Metcalf) two rounds sooner. Lockett was a top five receiver until he had a shin injury that put him in the hospital. Back healthy and with the Seahawks likely passing more this season, Lockett should see an immediate return to his prior form.
Robert Woods (42, WR17): If you are going to take a Rams receiver, make it Woods and not Kupp. Woods might not have the ceiling of the other players around him in this area, but he has the highest floor of any receiver in this area and I think he really shines this season.
AJ Brown (40, WR16): Big year two leap candidate with a nice volume spike incoming. His efficiency stats will regress, but this offense is not going to run with Derrick Henry 20+ times every game. Tannehill showed what he was capable of last season after being freed of Adam Gase. AJ Brown could be a second round pick next season with the projected volume spike many are anticipating.
DK Metcalf (50, WR22): See Tyler Lockett above and just dream of the Seahawks letting Russ Cook. Metcalf is a freak athlete and showed strong development through his first NFL season. The sky is the limit with “Mr. Unlimited” at QB.
The cliff approaches at RB and WR and this is where our ADP starts to break off from ESPN/Yahoo.
Kareem Hunt (56, RB26): Hunt was a top 20 RB alongside Chubb at the end of last season. He profiles better as a pass catcher out of the backfield and we have seen him be a top 5 fantasy back in the past. Hunt is a rare breed where he profiles as a strong RB2/FLEX on your team, but could be a league winner if anything happened to Chubb.
Ronald Jones (62, RB29): RoJo has been running away with the lead back duties all offseason (just like I predicted he would several months ago). He is a threat to surpass 1,500 total yards and should get all the goal line work for the Bucs. You used to be able to get him in rounds 8 or 9, but I have been taking him at the 4/5 turn recently. Everyone knows how good he is going to be now.
D’Andre Swift (52, RB24): I originally had this pegged as a 50/50 time share (or worse), but I think the Kerryon Johnson injury has opened the door for Swift to take up to 60% of the RB snaps and that should be enough to pay off this ADP. Pre-draft Swift was atop some scouts boards along with Taylor and CEH, now he is forgotten in Detroit. He is the last RB I feel confident in before the “cliff”.
Marquise Brown (57, WR24): The Ravens had a very narrow target distribution last year with Brown and Andrews at the top of it. Brown had the screw removed from his foot this offseason and proceeded to add twenty pounds. This muscle gain is where he would have been previously without the foot injury and should allow him to stay healthier in his second season. He’s a dynamic playmaker and is the top wide receiver in the Ravens offense. He should smash in his sophomore season.
Will Fuller (59, WR26): Has a chance to be truly special this season with Hopkins and his 150+ targets not in the picture anymore. Health has always been the issue, but that is baked into the cost or he would be a third round pick. There is reason to believe that his previous issues are behind him and the history of injuries was all related to the ACL tear two years ago. One of the risk/reward players I am willing to bet on.
Dak Prescott (65, QB3)/ Russell Wilson (75, QB5): The only two QB’s I am willing to pay up for in the first nine rounds. They don’t usually last this long on ESPN/Yahoo, but if they are still there, then I am fine taking them. There are still some upside RB’s/WR’s here, but the talent trade-off isn’t great enough for me to worry as we passed the “cliff”.
Michael Gallup (64, WR29): Talked about extensively in the Sunny-Side Up players column. I am super-high on the whole Dallas offense, but I am targeting Gallup more than anyone else at his current ADP.
AJ Green (69, WR31): All reports are that Joe Burrow is the real thing and that Green is recovered from last year’s injury. When Green has been healthy he has been one of the best players in the league. You don’t get zeroes in the weeks that he may miss and you don’t even have to draft him as a starter in the sixth round or later.
Diontae Johnson (79, WR36): Another highlight in the Sunny-Side Up column. He’s a very talented player getting Big Ben back.
Marvin Jones (75, WR34): His per game numbers with Matthew Stafford at QB are very comparable to Kenny Golladay (who is going in the second to third round). It’s not a sexy pick, but it will help win you your league.
Julian Edelman (81, WR37): Another boring, reliable veteran who just keeps turning in great seasons. Reports are that he has bonded well with Cam in camp (Insta Super Hero pic as an example). He was WR7 last season, a change in QB shouldn’t drop him 30 spots.
Evan Engram (84, TE6)/ Tyler Higbee (99, TE7): The ADP on these two varies drastically by site. So whoever lasts into the seventh round should make for a good target. Engram is another “when healthy” player. Higbee we are taking a chance that he can be even half of what he was over the final five weeks of last season. Both are talked about more extensively in the Sunny-Side Up column. After these two we are waiting at TE.
Christian Kirk (82, WR38): Had over 100 targets last season. A growth in the Cardinals passing game with Murray entering his second season and the addition of Hopkins to take away attention both point to a year three spike for Kirk. I think he’ll challenge Hopkins for targets on the team and he is going anywhere from five to ten rounds after Hopkins.
Antonio Gibson (87, RB33): We are going to be filling our bench RB spots with high upside players. Gibson has one of the higher ceilings of anyone left at this point (but also a very low floor). I believe the talent is real and that the opportunity to show it is great. Reports out of camp have been promising. I can’t wait for week one to see how he is used on the field.
Zack Moss (95, RB37): I love Moss and all the reports have been positive. He will eat into Singletary’s workload and I think he will lead the team in touches. Read the Sunny-Side Up piece for more.
Jalen Reagor (87, WR40): Reagor is playing all over the field and the Eagles need weapons. He was a first round pick for a reason and we should be going after him as he should lead all non-Eagles TE’s in targets.
Tevin Coleman (84, RB32): Mostert usually goes in the fifth, but I think Coleman starts over Mostert and he’ll see the bulk of receiving work. The 49er’s are not going to run all over everyone like they did at the end of last season. Take the discount and the player who could see the same or more touches.
Jordan Howard (87, RB35): The Marvin Jones/ Julian Edelman type at the RB position. Solid depth with guaranteed touches. Howard will likely have a season similar to Fournette or Montgomery, but continues to go three to five rounds after them because he isn’t “sexy” enough.
Jamison Crowder (93, WR42): If you have gone with the all-upside plays listed above of AJ Green, Will Fuller, Marquise Brown, and Diontae Johnson, then it might be time for the four-condom play (super safe) and draft Jamison Crowder. Crowder will lead the Jets in targets. If you need some safety, he’s it.
Brandon Aiyuk (111, WR49): Another rookie receiver that we are targeting. Injuries are depleting the San Francisco pass catchers. Aiyuk should see huge volume at the beginning of the season and his ability to gain yard with the ball in his hands will allow him to shatter his current ADP.
Matt Ryan (94, QB8)/ Carson Wentz (101, QB9/ Drew Brees (118, QB11): If you need the safety and security that comes with a top QB, then this is your last chance to grab one. I wouldn’t want to pay up before the ninth round, but if any of them are still there then this is where you want to grab them.
Hayden Hurst (101, TE8): The tier drop-off is after Hurst. If no one else from above has fallen this far, then grab the upside TE at this point.
Tarik Cohen (113, RB44): Cohen is a dream target in PPR leagues if he is still there at this point. He should be among the team leaders in targets again and provide a few spike weeks over the course of the season, ideal for a backup RB who could contribute in the flex position. His reception upside could see him finish in the top 20 of RB’s again if he returns to 2018 form which will require the Bears offense to play better as a whole (which shouldn’t be hard to do).
Chase Edmonds (118, RB45): A lot of people see Edmonds as a pure handcuff at the RB position, but I think he will be flex viable more often than not. Drake has been in a walking boot for undisclosed reasons and he has never handled a full starters workload in the NFL. I think Edmonds sees enough touches to be flex-worthy and would be a top 15 RB should something happen to Drake.
Latavius Murray (103, RB39)/ Tony Pollard (107, RB42): I don’t want to get either of these guys earlier than the tenth round unless I own the other half of their RB pair. They are handcuff players who have less of a chance of being flex-worthy than Edmonds does. However, if anything happened to Kamara or Zeke they would catapult into top 15 RB’s and be the feature back of their team. Some would put Mattison in this grouping, but I don’t believe he would have the Vikings job to himself if anything happened to Cook.
Curtis Samuel (120, WR52): Samuel should see a nice spike in production this season. He won’t be used as the speedy-decoy running fly routes all game, as the Panthers brought in Robby Anderson to play that role. Look for Samuel to thrive in the underneath game and getting into space.
Anthony Miller (120, WR53): There are a lot of targets available in the Bears offense next to Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen. Miller operates out of the slot and started to show something at the end of last season.
Finishing the Draft
At this point we should be targeting our sleepers and ignoring ADP. Go get your guys.
Damien Harris (127, RB47): Harris has impressed in Patriots camp while Michel has been injured. I believe he starts over Michel from week one because he will make the Patriots less predictable than they are with Michel on the field.
Boston Scott (130, RB48): Scott was a big part of the offense during Sanders breakout last season and he will continue to be this season. One of my favorite later round targets to provide RB depth all season.
Jerick McKinnon (156, RB54): McKinnon has been looking good at Niner’s camp now that he is healthy. I believe he could run away with the job by the end of the season even if he starts slow. All he needs is to be given a shot.
Preston Williams (133, WR57): Was the Dolphins top wideout before injury last season. He could be back and start week one, but should be back early and lead this team in targets/points again. Parker and Gesicki didn’t come on until he was out of the lineup.
Parris Campbell (152, WR63): The Colts number two wideout next to TY Hilton. Suffered through injuries as a rookie, but a former second round pick now healthy and with a chance to showcase his speed.
Laviska Shenault (160, WR65): Another rookie playmaker in an offense without a lot of top tier talent. Could start at WR2 for the Jags and work his way into wildcat packages. Worth a late round flier to see what he can do.
Late Round QB targets: Cam Newton (128, QB13), Daniel Jones (137, QB15), Big Ben (142, QB16), Jared Goff (149, QB17), Joe Burrow (154, QB19), Jimmy GQ (160, QB20), Teddy Bridgewater (164, QB21), Ryan Tannehill (164, QB22), Gardner Minshew (166, QB23): If you want to play QB chicken (wait for everyone else to take their starter and a few backups), then this is the order QB’s go. Consult my rankings to see how I would draft them, but I would be fine with any of these as my starting QB in 10 or 12 team leagues.
Late Round TE targets: Blake Jarwin (143, TE17), Dallas Goedert (145, TE18), Chris Herndon (149, TE19), Ian Thomas (156, TE20), Eric Ebron (161, TE21), Jack Doyle (168, TE22), Logan Thomas (215, TE38): If you waited this long to take your first TE then you will want to take two of these guys. I have some ranked higher, but they usually go before the very end of the draft. Follow the ranks and grab them at any time after round ten.
Defense Targets: Follow the rankings, but know that NE (vs Miami), Buffalo (vs NYJ), Philly (@ Washington) and Indy (@JAX) have really great week one matchups. We will talk streaming candidates from week two forward.
Kicker: Just follow the rankings and take in the last two rounds.