We are heading into the biggest draft weekend of the 2022 fantasy football season, and many leagues will be drafting right up until the first game on Sept. 8. Below, we feature our breakdown of a recent fantasy football experts draft and share what can be learned from it.
In August, the Hall of Fantasy League held its second annual league draft at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton Ohio. The HOFL is billed as the first-ever professional fantasy football league, with 12 well-established industry experts representing 12 cities. Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith is the league commissioner in an ambassador and spokesman role.
Representing The Game Day, I am the general manager of the Seattle Haze franchise. You can download the HOFL app and follow our team throughout the season and play free games based on the league to win big cash prizes. I had the 12th overall pick in this draft.
This is a major showcase fantasy football experts league with a full PPR format and four points for a TD pass. We share our insights on how we built our roster and how some other teams approached the draft. We also include the draft board and an embed that features the draft broadcast.
HOFL Experts League Draft Results
Here are the full Hall of Fantasy League 2022 draft results:
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HOFL Experts League Rules
- Starting lineups consist of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE), 1 K, and 1 DST.
- Each team is allowed eight reserves.
- Full PPR Scoring
- Six teams will reach the playoffs
The Game Day’s HOFL Draft Process and Results
Your early roster builds can depend on draft slot and flow
There are advantages and disadvantages to drafting at every slot.
If you pick in the top two to three slots, it’s hard to pass on a top RB, although the Boston Barflies took Justin Jefferson at No. 1 overall. You can choose between a top RB or WR in the middle of the first round, and RBs could dominate the back end of the top 12 picks.
We drafted for the Seattle Haze at the end of the first round, and it was too enticing to not begin the roster build with two top running backs. Our roster construction began with D’Andre Swift and Alvin Kamara — two No. 1 fantasy running backs.
Stefon Diggs was available and strongly considered, but most of the ideal RB2 types would be gone by the time our third and fourth-round selections came up.
If we had drafted fifth, a Ja’Marr Chase/Leonard Fournette/James Conner build would have been possible to start out. The top-15 RBs were off the board by the beginning of the third round, so taking at least one RB in the first two rounds was essential, and 11 teams did so.
It’s hard to pass on the top WRs or Travis Kelce in the first half of the second round, and if you take an RB in the back half of the second round, some top WRs are available in the first half of the third round.
Because we started with two RBs, I knew that the next two wide receiver selections at the 4/5 round turn would not be ideal No. 1 WR types, but taking two top-level No. 2 guys would certainly be satisfactory.
Allen Robinson and Jaylen Waddle were two of my top 15 WRs, and I am banking on a big year from Robinson with the Rams and more upside from Waddle, who will benefit from playing alongside Tyreek Hill.
The value of J.K. Dobbins has been dropping, yet he was still a tempting value play in the fifth round. He could pay off well later in the season even though his status for the beginning of the year is cloudy. Needing a third wide receiver, I was able to get Drake London in the sixth round.
London had also been dealing with a preseason knee injury, which may have bumped his stock down a bit. You should not overreact to short-term injuries when drafting. Sometimes minor preseason health concerns can create value opportunities, as London is my highest-rated rookie wide receiver for 2022.
Waiting on tight ends and quarterbacks
Because we have to start three wide receivers and can start up to three running backs, I am mostly avoiding tight ends and fully steering clear of quarterbacks in the first six rounds.
Unless I land Kelce, Mark Andrews or Kyle Pitts, the focus will be on getting two running backs and two wide receivers in the first four rounds and for the next two picks thereafter.
Dalton Schultz is my top-ranked tight end outside of the top-5, but he did not make it to my seventh-round spot. I was still pleased to end up with T.J. Hockenson, and Dallas Goedert was available until one pick ahead of him.
I do like Goedert a lot if Jalen Hurts can improve as a passer this season, but I am always ready with a top alternative so I don’t get “sniped.” If a Goedert or Hockenson is still available in the seventh round, then the wait for a tight end works out well.
Once my starting RB, WR, FLEX, and TE spots were filled out, it was time to land a starting QB. I want to wait until the other skill positions are addressed until considering the QB, as there approximately 14 starters at the position I can be comfortable with.
I was able to land Dak Prescott in the eighth round. Russell Wilson and Tom Brady were taken in the 10th round. Looking back, it appears I could have waited for another round or two for my QB, but you can never anticipate what happens after your picks during the draft.
Generally, though, the seventh-to-10th rounds are the “sweet spot” for waiting on a QB and still getting a satisfactory starter.
Derek Carr, who I have ranked as a top-10 QB this season, fell to the 14th round, but in many leagues, you should not wait until later than 11th round or so to grab a starting QB. There is a recommended portion of the draft to target your starter, but don’t wait too long to the point where the options are in the range of Matt Ryan and Jared Goff.
Those who participate in experts drafts generally have more patience at the QB position than what you may see reflected in your own leagues.
Personally, I usually grab the best QB I can as the last starter before defenses, kickers and reserves and always come away with a top-10 guy that I feel good about. I never end up with Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes in seasonal drafts, and that is just fine.
Picking off sleepers and depth targets
After the key starting spots have been taken care of, the draft becomes a fun opportunity to grab as many value plays and sleepers as possible.
From the ninth round until the final two rounds or so in most drafts, I will aim to come away with an even amount of backup RBs and WRs, and one backup TE and possibly a backup QB if the draft goes beyond 16 rounds.
Three of my top reserve selections were Kenneth Gainwell, George Pickens, and Isiah Pacheco. Gainwell has a path to becoming the most productive RB for the Eagles, and Pickens and Pacheco are two prime rookie targets.
You can find some good values with first-year players in later rounds.
Irv Smith Jr. may be headed for a breakout season in an amped-up Minnesota passing game. Alec Pierce is another one of my favorite rookies, as he can emerge as a possible fantasy WR3 right away.
Tua Tagovailoa appears to be on the verge of a potential breakthrough year now that the Dolphins have put the finishing touches on completing his impressive supporting cast.
Bye weeks, schedule planning and the defensive approach
Many fantasy players consider bye weeks, schedule strength, and fantasy playoff matchups when drafting. Those factors tend to be off my radar for the most part when drafting.
Your team is going to change so much between now and the bye weeks and fantasy playoff schedule due to waiver moves, trades, injuries, and many significant deviations from projected player performances.
The fantasy playoffs start in mid-December in most leagues, and a great amount of player and team outlooks will have changed by that point. The one position where I do focus on bye weeks is at quarterback, where I may be starting the same guy for much of the season or need a performance-related insurance backup in case the starter disappoints.
When drafting defenses, the aim should not be to take the highest-rated unit, but to take a defense that has an apparently favorable schedule in the first two weeks or so. We usually stream defenses throughout the season, and the process should start right from the beginning.
Buffalo and Tampa Bay are widely ranked as top fantasy defenses, but their respective opening week opponents are the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas, so you may not want to start them in Week 1.
Our favored targets with stronger early matchups include the 49ers (Bears and Seahawks to start the season), Colts (Texans, Jaguars), Broncos (Seahawks, Texans), and Browns (Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons).
Cleveland may not be ranked higher than the other three units, but you could get a lengthier window of usage from the Browns.
HOFL Experts League 2022 Draft Recap
The early selections and QB avoidance
The Jefferson pick at No. 1 overall by the Boston Barflies (you are going to enjoy the colorful team names in this league) did create a buzz in the live draft room overlooking the field at Tom Benson Stadium.
However, it was not a super shock when we consider that many of the other top RBs do come with some risk involved and the Vikings’ passing game could be improved this season. Jefferson has started his career with two outstanding seasons and he may indeed finish as the No. 1 WR in fantasy football in 2022.
Five of the next six selections were at running back, and Austin Ekeler was taken at the No. 6 spot.
He is falling to the middle of the first round of many drafts and I still have him ranked second overall, as Ekeler is the best pure receiving RB other than McCaffrey and he finally become a consistent rushing TD source last year. There are no real concerns about a significant drop-off in 2022, even if he finishes with a few less overall TDs.
The Najee Harris pick was obviously made prior to the reports about his foot, but eight of the first 12 selections were at RB. Average Draft Position reports from fantasypros.com throughout the preseason have consistently indicated that five of the top-12 picks in PPR leagues have been at wide receiver.
If you don’t want to take the risk on an RB such as McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook, then it’s reasonable to go for Chase inside the top-five, and he was a strong pick by the defending champion Atlanta Hot Wings at No. 8.
Study up for your fantasy football drafts:
Atlanta was the only team to not pick a running back in the first two rounds, apparently embracing the “zero RB” approach. In fact, they avoided the position entirely until the eighth round, even taking Justin Herbert in the sixth round before an RB. Their top two projected RBs are Kareem Hunt and Cordarelle Patterson.
Kelce was taken by the Hot Wings with the fifth pick in the second round, and Andrews and Pitts came off the board early in the third. No other tight ends were taken until later in the fifth round. All of the other selections in the first 58 picks were at running back and wide receiver.
Patrick Mahomes was surprisingly the first QB off the board, to the Las Vegas Pocket Kings, late in the fifth round. In many non-experts and high-stakes drafts, you will see Josh Allen picked in the first two rounds, but he was taken in the sixth here.
That is not what will happen in most other drafts, but is a signal that experts are not going to spend an early-round pick at QB.
Boston and the Ohio Goats did not take a QB in the first nine rounds, opting to load up on RB and WR depth plays. It’s an approach that many savvy fantasy players take, even though I have already indicated my own personal preference to move a bit earlier on QB than the 10th round.
There is more than one way to attack the draft, especially as you are adjusting on the run.
Examining some roster builds
The Denver Mile Highs, picking fourth, took three WRs after selecting McCaffrey in the first round, and ended up with Breece Hall, Josh Jacobs, and Rashaad Penny as potential RB2 options.
If you are going to wait on a second RB, targeting one of three guys to hit the mark is a clever approach.
At No. 5, the New York Bodega Cats aimed for balance, taking two RBs after Cooper Kupp and followed with three WRs. The result was a core of Kupp, Leonard Fournette, Cam Akers, DK Metcalf and Jerry Jeudy.
If Akers can regain much of his pre-injury form and Jeudy breaks out while working with Wilson, then New York will be a contender again in 2022.
Picking from the No. 7 spot, the Green Bay Winter Warriors went RB-heavy with three in the first three rounds, and will ride with Mike Williams and Marquise Brown as their projected two top WRs. They may not have an ideal No. 1 WR, but last season, New York went RB-heavy early and landed Kupp after the first three rounds, so it’s an approach that can work.
At the 10th and 11th slots, the Los Angeles Sidekicks and Las Vegas Pocket Kings made sure to get two running backs and two wide receivers in the first four rounds.
Some experts may prefer to not wait until the fifth round for a second RB. But how a draft turns out is often not by positional design, as we have to adjust on the fly throughout the draft process.
Our favorite picks from other teams
Boston selected Gabriel Davis in the fifth round. A guy who scored four TDs in a playoff game is someone who should be targeted as a high-upside WR as soon as the fourth round.
After taking Dalvin Cook in the first round, the New Jersey Boardwalkers made sure to land Alexander Mattison in the 11th. There are legitimate concerns about Cook’s shoulder, so Mattison could start some games this season.
A.J. Brown was taken by the Chicago Hogmollies in the third round. He is going in the later part of the second round in many recent drafts and is also a good pick in that range. Brown should be busier than ever as a featured target as the Eagles look to upgrade the passing game.
The Philadelphia Powderkegs landed Diontae Johnson in the fourth round. No one is excited about the Pittsburgh passing game, but they weren’t last year either, and Johnson was a top-10 fantasy WR in total PPR points and average points per game. He is a solid WR2 selection.
Los Angeles took the risk/reward shot on Trey Lance in the 10th round and then made the outstanding Carr pick in the 14th. One of those two QBs could prove to be a league-winning pick.
If you take the chance on the upside of Lance, just be sure to back him up with a QB who can be a quality starter in case he struggles and gets benched for Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Las Vegas Pocket Kings selected James Conner in the fourth round. He is the clear lead back for Arizona this season and is a strong RB2 option. Conner is a proven TD producer who was also a quality pass-catcher last year.
We also liked that Las Vegas took both of New England’s top RBs, Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, in the eighth and ninth rounds, respectively, locking up the Patriots’ backfield.
For more info on the HOFL and The Game Day’s Seattle Haze franchise, visit thehofl.com.
Also check out our 14-team fantasy football draft results and strategies.