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Fantasy Football Draft Guide: 12-Team PPR Draft Strategy

By Jared Smola 8:26am EST 2/21/24

  

Round-by-Round Fantasy Draft Strategy

Fantasy drafts are hard. There’s a lot to think about each time you’re on the clock:

  • Scoring system
  • Positional value
  • Team needs
  • ADP
  • Upside
  • Injury risk

It’s easy to be overwhelmed and make costly draft mistakes.

And is there anything worse than seeing your top picks falter while your opponents land the late-round league winners?

The solution: A round-by-round draft strategy guide to maximize value with every pick.

The 12-team PPR draft strategy guide below will take you through top targets for every pick of your draft.

We’re using our Dynamic Most Valuable Player values and recent ADP to pinpoint the best picks in each round.

Consider this your game plan heading into your draft.

No fantasy football draft goes exactly as planned, of course. You’ll likely need to adjust your strategy throughout the draft to maximize value.

That’s where the customized, dynamic cheat sheet on your Draft War Room comes into play, instantly analyzing 17 value indicators each time you’re on the clock to help you make the best pick.

The Draft War Room is the most powerful drafting tool in fantasy football.

Combine the Draft War Room with this round-by-round game plan and you’ll be armed with the ultimate fantasy football draft guide.

Note: This strategy guide assumes a 16-round draft and starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 K and 1 DST. The Draft War Room will help you adjust your strategy if your league settings are different.

 

Find the Draft Strategy Guide for Your Pick

    

Fantasy Draft Guide for Pick 1, 2, or 3

Round 1

Top target: Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey’s 24.7 PPR points per game last year beat all other RBs by more than 3.0.

He set career highs in numerous categories, including:

  • Yards per carry
  • Yards after contact per attempt
  • Missed tackles forced per attempt

McCaffrey turns just 28 this June and should still have at least one more big fantasy season in him.

Next best: CeeDee Lamb

If you miss out on McCaffrey, turn your attention to an elite WR.

Lamb tops our fantasy football WR rankings after leading the position in PPR points last year.

The 25-year-old has grown his target share and yards per route run each season.

Lamb returns to the same offense with the same QB in 2024, making him a safe fantasy selection.

Other options: Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson

 

Rounds 2 & 3

Top targets: Rashee Rice & Travis Etienne

In a full-time role over the final six games of last season, Rice averaged

  • 9.3 targets
  • 7.2 catches
  • 86.3 yards
  • 0.5 TDs

Only three WRs totaled more PPR points over that span. Rice is a prime 2024 breakout candidate.

Etienne ranked third at his position in PPR points last year. He tallied the fourth-most carries and seventh-most targets among RBs.

The 25-year-old former first-round pick is a safe bet for another hefty workload in 2024.

Next best: Isiah Pacheco & Stefon Diggs

Pacheco finished RB14 in PPR points per game last year and was even better in games without RB Jerick McKinnon, who is now a free agent.

We’ll see what the Chiefs add to the backfield this offseason, but Pacheco is a good bet to operate as lead back in 2024.

Diggs struggled in the back half of last season, which is a slight concern for the 30-year-old.

But we’re still talking about a guy who has topped 100 catches in all four seasons with the Bills. And he’s more than a round cheaper than he was last year.

Leaving the first three rounds with one RB and two WRs is ideal.

Other options: Saquon Barkley, Deebo Samuel, Chris Olave

 

Rounds 4 & 5

Top targets: Drake London & Travis Kelce

London disappointed fantasy owners last year but remained strong on a per-target and per-route basis.

Now freed from Arthur Smith and in what should be a much pass-heavier offense under new HC Zac Robinson, London is a prime 2024 bounce-back candidate.

Kelce’s best days are clearly behind him at 34. He no longer projects to dominate TE in fantasy points.

But he still sits atop the fantasy football TE rankings and is coming two or three rounds cheaper than last year.

Next best: Mark Andrews & Tee Higgins

If you miss out on Kelce, Andrews is a nice Plan B as an elite fantasy TE. His PPR scoring average in nine healthy games last year would have ranked third at his position.

Higgins battled through injuries last year but still flashed week-winning upside with four top-10 finishes among his 12 outings.

He ranked top-14 in PPR points per game in both 2021 and 2022 and is just 25.

Other options: Josh Jacobs & James Cook

 

Rounds 6 & 7

Top targets: Joe Mixon & Joe Burrow

Mixon is a potential cut candidate – but we’re guessing that he restructures his contract to remain with the Bengals.

If that’s the case, he’s undervalued by a couple of rounds here. Mixon has finished as a top-12 RB in PPR points per game in four straight seasons.

Burrow and his WRs dealt with injuries throughout last season. But he’s an easy rebound candidate with better health after finishing QB8 and QB4 the previous two years.

Next best: Dak Prescott & James Conner

Prescott sits just behind Burrow in the fantasy football QB rankings, and there’s a sizable gap behind them.

You could even consider taking Prescott over Burrow if you took CeeDee Lamb in Round 1.

Conner remained excellent last year, setting career highs and ranking top 5 among 49 qualifying RBs in:

  • Yards per carry
  • Rush yards over expected per attempt
  • Yards after contact per attempt
  • Pro Football Focus rushing grade

Other options: Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Godwin

 

Rounds 8 & 9

Top targets: Javonte Williams & Jaylen Warren

This is a nice spot for RB value. Don’t be afraid to grab Williams and Warren here if you only took one RB in the first seven rounds.

Williams’ 2023 inefficiency was no surprise coming off a nasty knee injury. He should be much closer to pre-injury form this season.

Remember that Williams averaged 4.4 yards per carry and caught 59 passes across his first 21 NFL games.

Warren finished 21st among RBs in PPR points last year on the strength of 61 catches. He could get a boost in rushing volume in 2024 with the arrival of new OC Arthur Smith.

Next best: Mike Williams & Jake Ferguson

Williams is coming off a torn ACL and might be playing for a new team in 2024. (He’s currently carrying a $32.5 million cap hit.) So it makes some sense that he’s lasting this deep into drafts.

But Williams racked up 19 catches, 249 yards, and a score in less than three full games last season and should still have plenty of gas in the tank at 29 years old – regardless of who he’s playing for.

Ferguson finished TE9 in PPR points last year, despite underachieving in the TD department. He’ll remain a big part of Dallas’ passing game in 2024 and is a nice value here if you didn’t land Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews.

Other options: Kyler Murray & Christian Watson

TIP

Put this draft strategy to the test with the FREE Mock Draft Simulator.

 

Rounds 10 & 11

Top targets: Tyler Lockett & Ty Chandler

Death, taxes, and Tyler Lockett being undervalued.

He finished with his fewest PPR points last year since 2017 but still ranked 34th among WRs. He’s currently outside the top 50 WRs in ADP.

Chandler emerged as Minnesota’s lead back down the stretch last year, ranking 22nd among RBs in PPR points over the final five weeks. 

There’s certainly a chance that the Vikings add to the backfield this offseason, but Chandler is a smart gamble at this point of your draft.

Next best: Cole Kmet & Zamir White

Kmet has quietly developed into one of the better pass-catching TEs in the league. He has improved his yards per route and PFF receiving grade each season, ranking seventh among 45 qualifying TEs in both metrics last year.

The Bears should throw it quite a bit more in 2024 under new OC Shane Waldron.

Similar to Chandler, White is a gamble that the Raiders don’t bring back Josh Jacobs or make a significant RB addition.

White was very productive late last year, compiling 397 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry over the final four weeks. For the season, he beat Jacobs in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and missed tackles forced per carry.

Other options: Jahan Dotson & Jerry Jeudy

 

Rounds 12 & 13

Top targets: Khalil Herbert & Xavier Worthy

Herbert has done nothing but produce when given opportunity. In 11 career games with 12+ carries, he has averaged 95.5 rushing yards on 5.1 yards per carry.

We’ll see if new OC Shane Waldron commits to Herbert as lead back in 2024.

Worthy looks like one of the better rookie WR values in early drafts. The Texas product broke out as a true freshman in 2021 with 981 yards and 12 TDs and topped 1,000 yards this past year.

He has a good chance to go in the first round of this spring’s draft, potentially to a team like Buffalo or Kansas City.

Next best: Keaton Mitchell & Bucky Irving

A pair of undersized but explosive RBs.

Mitchell clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at last year’s Combine and averaged an absurd 8.4 yards on 47 rookie-year carries. He tore an ACL in mid-December and might miss the start of 2024. But Mitchell could be a difference maker over the second half of the season.

Irving topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons at Oregon while excelling in advanced metrics such as missed tackles forced and yards after contact.

Just as exciting: He racked up 87 catches over the last two years.

Irving weighs less than 200 pounds and won’t be an NFL workhorse. But his combination of big-play ability and pass-catching skills could make him a PPR sleeper.

Other options: Deshaun Watson, Geno Smith, Brandin Cooks, Zay Jones, Jaleel McLaughlin

 

Rounds 14, 15 & 16

Top targets: High-upside bench stash, K & DST

Pinpoint a player with upside in Round 14. Your Draft War Room will flip to Upside Mode in the second half of your draft and highlight players with lofty ceilings.

Use your final two picks on a K and DST. Aim for a K on a high-scoring offense and a DST with sack and takeaway upside.

We’ll have more advice on K and DST targets after the NFL schedule comes out.

 

Fantasy Draft Guide for Pick 4, 5, or 6

Round 1

Top target: Justin Jefferson

Injuries cost Jefferson seven games and parts of two others last year. But his PPR scoring average in the other eight would have led all WRs.

Jefferson also set career highs last year in:

  • Target share (30.0% in eight healthy games)
  • Yards per route run
  • Pro Football Focus receiving grade

We’ll see what the Vikings do at QB this offseason, but Jefferson proved QB-proof by producing big numbers with Nick Mullens late last year.

Next best: Tyreek Hill

Very little separates Jefferson and Hill in the 2024 WR rankings. Hill finished second among WRs in PPR points in each of his first two seasons with the Dolphins.

We slightly prefer Jefferson only because Hill is now 30 and got banged up numerous times last year.

Other options: Breece Hall, Bijan Robinson, Ja’Marr Chase

 

Round 2

Top target: Rashee Rice

Rice was efficient throughout his rookie campaign. In a full-time role over the final six games, he averaged:

  • 9.3 targets
  • 7.2 catches
  • 86.3 yards
  • 0.5 TDs

Only three WRs totaled more PPR points over that span. Rice is a prime 2024 breakout candidate.

Next best: De’Von Achane

Achane’s 11 games last year included PPR explosions of:

  • 51.3 points
  • 27.0 points
  • 25.3 points
  • 23.7 points
  • 23.5 points

He averaged an absurd 7.8 yards per carry and took 13 of his 103 attempts (12.6%) for 15+ yards.

The 188-pounder will never be a workhorse. But he doesn’t need to be to deliver bunches of fantasy points thanks to his big-play ability.

Other options: Josh Allen

 

Round 3

Top target: Travis Etienne

Etienne ranked third at his position in PPR points last year. He tallied the fourth-most carries and seventh-most targets among RBs.

The 25-year-old former first-round pick is a safe bet for another hefty workload in 2024 and a nice value in Round 3.

Next best: Isiah Pacheco

This generally looks like a good time to target a RB, especially if you opened with a pair of WRs.

If you miss on Etienne, Pacheco is a strong fallback option. He’s coming off a RB14 finish in PPR points per game and was even better in games without RB Jerick McKinnon, who is now a free agent.

We’ll see what the Chiefs add to the backfield this offseason, but Pacheco is a good bet to operate as lead back in 2024.

Other options: Jaylen Waddle

 

Round 4

Top target: Drake London

London looks like one of the best values in early fantasy football drafts.

He disappointed fantasy owners last year but remained strong on a per-target and per-route basis.

Now freed from Arthur Smith and in what should be a much pass-heavier offense under new HC Zac Robinson, London is a prime 2024 bounce-back candidate.

Next best: Travis Kelce

Kelce’s 14.8 PPR points per game last year were his fewest since 2016 – but still led all TEs.

The 34-year-old’s best days are behind him. But he’s still a good bet to provide a significant weekly and season-long advantage at his position.

In fact, Kelce sits atop our 2024 TE rankings – and is coming two or three rounds cheaper than last year.

Other options: Patrick Mahomes, Tee Higgins, James Cook

 

Round 5

Top target: Mark Andrews

If you didn’t land Travis Kelce in Round 4, prioritize Andrews here.

His 1.96 yards per route run last year ranked third among 33 TEs with 40+ targets. He has now ranked top 6 in YPRR at his position in all six of his NFL seasons.

And Andrews’ PPR scoring average in nine healthy games last year would have ranked third at his position.

Next best: Alvin Kamara

Kamara averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year and set career lows in missed tackles forced per attempt and yards after contact per attempt.

But he averaged a gaudy 6.6 targets per game on a 19.1% target share. That followed target shares of 17.3% and 18.8% the previous two seasons.

Even as a declining runner, Kamara remains a strong PPR value in the back half of Round 5 because of his passing-game role.

Other options: Josh Jacobs, Trey McBride, Terry McLaurin

 

Round 6

Top target: Joe Burrow

Burrow looks like one of the best QB values in early fantasy drafts.

He and his WRs dealt with injuries throughout last season. But he’s an easy rebound candidate with better health after finishing QB8 and QB4 the previous two years.

Next best: Christian Kirk

Kirk finished 20th among WRs in PPR points per game in his 2022 Jaguars debut and ranked 24th in his 11 healthy games last year.

Calvin Ridley is set to hit free agency this offseason, which could open up even more opportunity for Kirk.

Other options: Dak Prescott, Tyjae Spears, Rhamondre Stevenson

 

Round 7

Top target: Joe Mixon

You might have just one RB through six rounds, which is totally fine. There are multiple strong RB values in this range of the draft, with Mixon leading the list.

This guy has finished as a top-12 RB in PPR points per game in four straight seasons.

Mixon has been bandied about as a potential cut candidate this offseason, but we’re guessing he restructures his contract to remain with the Bengals.

That’s the best-case scenario for his fantasy value. But even if Mixon ends up elsewhere, he should claim a big enough role to return value at this seventh-round price tag.

Next best: James Conner

If you miss out on Mixon, pivot to Conner.

He remained excellent in his age-28 season last year, setting career highs and ranking top 5 among 49 qualifying RBs in:

  • Yards per carry
  • Rush yards over expected per attempt
  • Yards after contact per attempt
  • PFF rushing grade

Conner finished 13th at his position in PPR points per game.

Other options: Tony Pollard, Dak Prescott, DeAndre Hopkins

 

Round 8

Top target: Javonte Williams 

This is another nice spot for RB value.

Williams’ 2023 inefficiency was no surprise coming off a nasty knee injury. He should be much closer to pre-injury form this season.

Remember that Williams averaged 4.4 yards per carry and caught 59 passes across his first 21 NFL games.

Next best: Jaylen Warren

Warren finished 21st among RBs in PPR points last year. He caught 61 balls while also ranking third among 49 qualifying RBs in yards per carry, rush yards over expected per attempt, and yards after contact per attempt.

Warren could get a boost in rushing volume in 2024 with the arrival of OC Arthur Smith.

Other options: Kyler Murray, Jake Ferguson, Mike Wiliams

 

Round 9

Top target: Mike Williams

Williams is coming off a torn ACL and might be playing for a new team in 2024. (He’s currently carrying a $32.5 million cap hit.) So it makes some sense that he’s lasting this deep into drafts.

But Williams racked up 19 catches, 249 yards, and a score in less than three full games last season and should still have plenty left at 29 years old – regardless of who he’s playing for.

Next best: Courtland Sutton

Sutton’s 10 TDs on 59 catches last year feel fluky. But he tied for sixth among WRs with 15 end-zone targets.

If that kind of usage continues in 2024, Sutton should again be a strong source of TDs.

Other options: Trevor Lawrence, D’Andre Swift, Jakobi Meyers

 

Round 10

Top target: Tyler Lockett

Surprise! Lockett is being undervalued by fantasy drafters. Again.

He finished with his fewest PPR points last year since 2017 but still ranked 34th among WRs. He’s currently outside the top 50 WRs in ADP.

Next best: Cole Kmet

Kmet has quietly developed into one of the better pass-catching TEs in the league. He has improved his yards per route and PFF receiving grade each season, ranking seventh among 45 qualifying TEs in both metrics last year.

The Bears should throw it quite a bit more in 2024 under new OC Shane Waldron.

Other options: Ty Chandler, Zamir White, Jahan Dotson, Jerry Jeudy

 

Round 11

Top target: Ty Chandler

Chandler emerged as Minnesota’s lead back down the stretch last year, ranking 22nd among RBs in PPR points over the final five weeks. 

There’s certainly a chance that the Vikings add to the backfield this offseason, but Chandler is a smart gamble at this point of your draft.

Next best: Zamir White

Similar to Chandler, White is a gamble that the Raiders don’t bring back Josh Jacobs or make a significant RB addition.

White was very productive late last year, compiling 397 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry over the final four weeks. For the season, he beat Jacobs in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and missed tackles forced per carry.

Other options: Jerry Jeudy & Brandin Cooks

 

Round 12

Top target: Khalil Herbert

Herbert has done nothing but produce when given opportunity. In 11 career games with 12+ carries, he has averaged 95.5 rushing yards on 5.1 yards per carry.

We’ll see if new OC Shane Waldron commits to Herbert as lead back in 2024, but Herbert's well worth a shot in Round 12.

Next best: Xavier Worthy

Worthy looks like one of the better rookie WR values in early drafts. 

The Texas product broke out as a true freshman in 2021 with 981 yards and 12 TDs and topped 1,000 yards this past year. 

He has a good chance to go in the first round of this spring’s draft, potentially to a team like Buffalo or Kansas City.

Other options: Jaleel McLaughlin & Brandin Cooks

 

Round 13

Top target: Keaton Mitchell

Mitchell clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at last year’s Combine and averaged an absurd 8.4 yards on 47 rookie-year carries. 

He tore an ACL in mid-December and might miss the start of the 2024 campaign. But Mitchell could be a difference maker over the second half of the season.

TIP

Chasing upside in the later rounds of your draft is a key tenet of our fantasy football draft strategy.

Next best: Bucky Irving

Irving topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons at Oregon while excelling in advanced metrics such as missed tackles forced and yards after contact.

Just as exciting: He racked up 87 catches over the last two years.

Irving weighs less than 200 pounds and won’t be an NFL workhorse. But his combination of big-play ability and pass-catching skills could make him a PPR sleeper.

Other options: Deshaun Watson, Geno Smith,  Zay Jones, Darren Waller

 

Rounds 14, 15 & 16

Top targets: High-upside bench stash, K & DST

Pinpoint a player with upside in Round 14. Your Draft War Room will flip to Upside Mode in the second half of your draft and highlight players with lofty ceilings.

Use your final two picks on a K and DST. Aim for a K on a high-scoring offense and a DST with sack and takeaway upside.

We’ll have more advice on K and DST targets after the NFL schedule is released.

 

Fantasy Draft Guide for Pick 7, 8, or 9

Round 1

Top target: Amon-Ra St. Brown

St. Brown has boosted his catches, receiving yards, receiving TDs, yards per target, and yards per route in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Last year’s monster 119-1,515-10 line landed him third among WRs in PPR points.

With QB Jared Goff and OC Ben Johnson back for 2024, St. Brown is one of the safest picks in fantasy football.

3D projections factor in ceiling and floor to give you a comprehensive look at every player's true fantasy value.

Next best: Bijan Robinson

Despite often-frustrating usage, Robinson racked up 246 PPR points last year – ninth among RBs and eighth-most by a rookie RB over the last 10 seasons.

Expect more consistent and more optimal usage under new HC Zac Robinson in 2024.

Robinson spent the last five years coaching under Sean McVay, who has overseen some monster RB seasons with the Rams.

Other options: Puka Nacua & Kyren Williams

 

Round 2

Top target: Rashee Rice

Rice was efficient throughout his rookie campaign. In a full-time role over the final six games, he averaged:

  • 9.3 targets
  • 7.2 catches
  • 86.3 yards
  • 0.5 TDs

Only three WRs totaled more PPR points over that span. Rice is a prime 2024 breakout candidate.

Next best: D.J. Moore

How good was Moore last year, considering his environment?

Moore averaged 2.31 yards per route run, while all other Bears WRs combined to average 0.70.

2024 has already brought the arrival of pass-leaning OC Shane Waldron. And it’ll likely bring an upgrade at QB with the first overall pick of this spring’s draft.

Other option: De’Von Achane

 

Round 3

Top target: Travis Etienne

Etienne ranked third at his position in PPR points last year. He tallied the fourth-most carries and seventh-most targets among RBs.

The 25-year-old former first-round pick is a safe bet for another hefty workload in 2024 and is a nice value in Round 3.

Next best: Isiah Pacheco

This generally looks like a good time to target a RB, especially if you opened with a pair of WRs.

If you miss on Etienne, Pacheco is a strong fallback. He’s coming off a RB14 finish in PPR points per game last year and was even better in games without RB Jerick McKinnon, who is now a free agent.

We’ll see what the Chiefs add to the backfield this offseason, but Pacheco is a good bet to operate as lead back in 2024.

Other options: Jalen Hurts & Jaylen Waddle

 

Round 4

Top target: Drake London

London looks like one of the best values in early fantasy football drafts.

He disappointed fantasy owners last year but remained strong on a per-target and per-route basis.

Now freed from Arthur Smith and in what should be a much pass-heavier offense under new HC Zac Robinson, London is a prime 2024 bounce-back candidate.

Next best: Travis Kelce

Kelce’s 14.8 PPR points per game last year were his fewest since 2016 – but still led all TEs.

The 34-year-old’s best days are behind him. But he’s still a good bet to provide a significant weekly and season-long advantage at his position.

In fact, Kelce sits atop our 2024 TE rankings – and is coming two or three rounds cheaper than last year.

Other options: Cooper Kupp, Patrick Mahomes, James Cook

 

Round 5

Top target: Mark Andrews

If you didn’t land Travis Kelce in Round 4, prioritize Andrews here.

His 1.96 yards per route run last year ranked third among 33 TEs with 40+ targets. He has now ranked top 6 in YPRR at his position in all six of his NFL seasons.

And Andrews’ PPR scoring average in nine healthy games last year would have ranked third at his position.

Next best: Alvin Kamara

Kamara averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year and set career lows in missed tackles forced per attempt and yards after contact per attempt.

But he averaged a gaudy 6.6 targets per game on a 19.1% target share. That followed target shares of 17.3% and 18.8% the previous two seasons.

Even as a declining runner, Kamara remains a strong PPR value in the back half of Round 5 because of his passing-game role.

Other options: Josh Jacobs, Trey McBride, Terry McLaurin

 

Round 6

Top target: Joe Burrow

Burrow looks like one of the best QB values in early fantasy drafts.

He and his WRs dealt with injuries throughout last season. But he’s an easy rebound candidate with better health after finishing QB8 and QB4 the previous two years.

Next best: Christian Kirk

Kirk finished 20th among WRs in PPR points per game in his 2022 Jaguars debut and ranked 24th in his 11 healthy games last year.

Calvin Ridley is set to hit free agency this offseason, which could open up even more opportunity for Kirk.

Other options: Aaron Jones, Tyjae Spears, Dak Prescott, DeAndre Hopkins

 

Round 7

Top target: Joe Mixon

This is a nice spot to add to your RB corps. There are multiple strong values at the position in this range, with Mixon leading the list.

This guy has finished as a top-12 RB in PPR points per game in four straight seasons.

Mixon has been bandied about as a potential cut candidate this offseason, but we’re guessing he restructures his contract to remain with the Bengals.

That’s the best-case scenario for his fantasy value. But even if Mixon ends up elsewhere, he should claim a big enough role to return value at this seventh-round price tag.

Next best: James Conner

If you miss out on Mixon, pivot to Conner.

He remained excellent in his age-28 season last year, setting career highs and ranking top 5 among 49 qualifying RBs in:

  • Yards per carry
  • Rush yards over expected per attempt
  • Yards after contact per attempt
  • PFF rushing grade

Conner finished 13th at his position in PPR points per game.

Other options: Tony Pollard & DeAndre Hopkins

 

Round 8

Top target: Javonte Williams 

This is another nice spot for RB value.

Williams’ 2023 inefficiency was no surprise coming off a nasty knee injury. He should be much closer to pre-injury form this season.

Remember that Williams averaged 4.4 yards per carry and caught 59 passes across his first 21 NFL games.

Next best: Jaylen Warren

Warren finished 21st among RBs in PPR points last year. He caught 61 balls while also ranking third among 49 qualifying RBs in yards per carry, rush yards over expected per attempt, and yards after contact per attempt.

Warren could get a boost in rushing volume in 2024 with the arrival of OC Arthur Smith.

Other options: Kyler Murray, Jake Ferguson, Mike Wiliams

 

Round 9

Top target: Mike Williams

Williams is coming off a torn ACL and might be playing for a new team in 2024. (He’s currently carrying a $32.5 million cap hit.) So it makes some sense that he’s lasting this deep into drafts.

But Williams racked up 19 catches, 249 yards, and a score in less than three full games last season and should still have plenty left at 29 years old – regardless of who he’s playing for.

Next best: Jakobi Meyers

Meyers has caught 67+ balls in three straight seasons and is coming off a WR27 PPR finish in his Raiders debut.

We don’t yet know who will quarterback this offense in 2024, but there’s a good chance that Meyers will get better QB play than he did last season.

Other options: Trevor Lawrence & D’Andre Swift

 

Round 10

Top target: Tyler Lockett

Lockett as a value in fantasy drafts … what else is new?

He finished with his fewest PPR points since 2017 last year but still ranked 34th among WRs.

He’s currently outside the top 50 WRs in ADP.

Next best: Cole Kmet

Kmet has quietly developed into one of the better pass-catching TEs in the league. He has improved his yards per route and PFF receiving grade each of season, ranking seventh among 45 qualifying TEs in both metrics last year.

The Bears should throw it quite a bit more in 2024 under new OC Shane Waldron.

Other options: Ty Chandler, Zamir White, Jahan Dotson, Jerry Jeudy

 

Round 11

Top target: Ty Chandler

Chandler emerged as Minnesota’s lead back down the stretch last year, ranking 22nd among RBs in PPR points over the final five weeks. 

There’s certainly a chance the Vikings add to the backfield this offseason, but Chandler is a smart gamble at this point of your draft.

Next best: Zamir White

Similar to Chandler, White is a gamble that the Raiders don’t bring back Josh Jacobs or make a significant RB addition.

White was very productive late last year, compiling 397 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry over the final four weeks. For the season, he beat Jacobs in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and missed tackles forced per carry.

Other options: Jerry Jeudy & Brandin Cooks

 

Round 12

Top target: Khalil Herbert

Herbert has done nothing but produce when given opportunity. In 11 career games with 12+ carries, he has averaged 95.5 rushing yards on 5.1 yards per carry.

We’ll see if new OC Shane Waldron commits to Herbert as lead back in 2024, but Herbert's well worth a shot in Round 12.

Next best: Xavier Worthy

Worthy looks like one of the better rookie WR values in early drafts. 

The Texas product broke out as a true freshman in 2021 with 981 yards and 12 TDs and topped 1,000 yards this past year. 

He has a good chance to go in the first round of this spring’s draft – potentially to a team like Buffalo or Kansas City.

Other options: Jaleel McLaughlin & Brandin Cooks

 

Round 13

Top target: Keaton Mitchell

Mitchell clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at last year’s Combine and averaged an absurd 8.4 yards on 47 rookie-year carries. 

He tore an ACL in mid-December and might miss the start of the 2024 campaign. But Mitchell could be a difference maker over the second half of the season.

Next best: Bucky Irving

Irving topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons at Oregon while excelling in advanced metrics like missed tackles forced and yards after contact.

Just as exciting: He racked up 87 catches over the last two years.

Irving weighs less than 200 pounds and won’t be an NFL workhorse. But his combination of big-play ability and pass-catching skills could make him a PPR sleeper.

Other options: Deshaun Watson, Geno Smith,  Zay Jones, Darren Waller

 

Rounds 14, 15 & 16

Top targets: High-upside bench stash, K & DST

Pinpoint a player with upside in Round 14. Your Draft War Room will flip to Upside Mode in the second half of your draft and highlight players with lofty ceilings.

Use your final two picks on a K and DST. Aim for a K on a high-scoring offense and a DST with sack and takeaway upside.

We’ll have more advice on K and DST targets after the NFL schedule is released.

 

Fantasy Draft Guide for Pick 10, 11, or 12

Rounds 1 & 2

Top targets: Kyren Williams & Garrett Wilson

It might feel a bit unnerving to spend a first- or second-round pick on a guy who was a waiver-wire darling just a year ago.

But Williams was excellent last season, ranking top 10 among 49 qualifying RBs in yards after contact per attempt, rush yards over expected per attempt, and PFF rushing grade.

Just as importantly, Williams’ volume was excellent. Only Christian McCaffrey averaged more expected PPR points per game.

Williams could lose 10-15% of his workload from last year and still pay off this price tag.

Wilson has topped 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in two straight seasons to open his NFL career, despite crappy QB play. 

A healthy Aaron Rodgers could mean a breakout into elite fantasy status in 2024.

Next best: Jonathan Taylor & A.J. Brown 

It’s ideal to leave these first two rounds with one RB and one WR. So if you miss on one or both of Williams and Wilson, target these guys.

Despite ankle and thumb injuries, Taylor finished 11th among RBs in PPR points per game last year. He’s still in his prime at 25 and will remain a huge part of an ascending Colts offense.

Brown has posted back-to-back PPR WR7 finishes with the Eagles. Philadelphia should play faster and run more plays in 2024 under new OC Kellen Moore

Other options: De’Von Achane

 

Rounds 3 & 4

Top targets: Isiah Pacheco & Drake London 

Pacheco is coming off a RB14 finish in PPR points per game and was even better in games without RB Jerick McKinnon, who is now a free agent.

We’ll see what the Chiefs add to the backfield this offseason, but Pacheco is a good bet to operate as lead back in 2024.

London disappointed fantasy owners last year but remained strong on a per-target and per-route basis.

Now freed from Arthur Smith and in what should be a much pass-heavier offense under new HC Zac Robinson, London is a prime 2024 bounce-back candidate.

Next best: Travis Kelce & Jalen Hurts

This is a good spot to consider an elite TE or QB.

Kelce’s 14.8 PPR points per game last year were his fewest since 2016 but still led all TEs.

The 34-year-old’s best days are behind him. But he’s still a good bet to provide a significant weekly and season-long advantage at his position.

In fact, Kelce sits atop our 2024 TE rankings – and is coming two or three rounds cheaper than last year.

Hurts has finished QB3 and QB2 in fantasy points the past two years. He’s an especially attractive pick here if you nabbed WR A.J. Brown with one of your first two selections.

Other options: Jaylen Waddle & Cooper Kupp

 

Rounds 5 & 6

Top targets: Alvin Kamara & Christian Kirk

Kamara averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year and set career lows in missed tackles forced per attempt and yards after contact per attempt.

But he averaged a gaudy 6.6 targets per game on a 19.1% target share. That followed target shares of 17.3% and 18.8% the previous two seasons.

Even as a declining runner, Kamara remains a strong PPR value at the end of Round 5 because of his passing-game role.

Kirk finished 20th among WRs in PPR points per game in his 2022 Jaguars debut and ranked 24th in his 11 healthy games last year.

Calvin Ridley is set to hit free agency this offseason, which could open up even more opportunity for Kirk.

Next best: Josh Jacobs & Joe Burrow 

Jacobs is coming off an underwhelming 2023 and is set to hit free agency in March, so there’s some risk.

But we’re also talking about a guy who was a second-round pick just last year after finishing third among RBs in PPR points in 2022.

Jacobs is still only 26 and has a shot to be a workhorse again this year.

Burrow looks like one of the best QB values in early fantasy drafts.

He and his WRs dealt with injuries throughout last season. But he’s an easy rebound candidate with better health after finishing QB8 and QB4 the previous two years.

Other options: Terry McLaurin

 

Rounds 7 & 8

Top targets: Joe Mixon & DeAndre Hopkins 

There are multiple strong RB values in this range, with Mixon leading the list.

This guy has finished as a top-12 RB in PPR points per game in four straight seasons.

Mixon has been bandied about as a potential cut candidate this offseason, but we’re guessing he restructures his contract to remain with the Bengals.

That’s the best-case scenario for his fantasy value. But even if Mixon ends up elsewhere, he should claim a big enough role to return value at this price tag.

Hopkins just keeps hogging targets. He drew 27.7% of Titans targets last year, giving him a target share north of 27% in six of the last seven seasons.

The 2024 Titans should throw it a bunch more under new HC Brian Callahan.

Next best: James Conner & Evan Engram

If you miss on Mixon, Conner is an excellent consolation prize. (You can even take them both if you only have one RB through six rounds.)

Conner remained excellent in his age-28 season last year, setting career highs and ranking top 5 among 49 qualifying RBs in:

  • Yards per carry
  • Rush yards over expected per attempt
  • Yards after contact per attempt
  • PFF rushing grade

Conner finished 13th at his position in PPR points per game.

Engram caught 114 passes last year, second-most by a TE in NFL history. 

That propelled him to a TE2 PPR finish – a year after he finished TE5.

Once considered “injury prone,” Engram has not missed a single game over the past two seasons.

Other options: Christian Watson & Courtland Sutton

 

Rounds 9 & 10

Top targets: Mike Williams & Tyler Lockett

Williams is coming off a torn ACL and might be playing for a new team in 2024. (He’s currently carrying a $32.5 million cap hit.) So it makes some sense that he’s lasting this deep into drafts.

But Williams racked up 19 catches, 249 yards, and a score in less than three full games last season and should still have plenty left at 29 – regardless of who he’s playing for.

Lockett is being undervalued by fantasy drafters. Again.

He finished with his fewest PPR points since 2017 last year but still ranked 34th among WRs. He’s currently outside the top 50 WRs in ADP.

Next best: Ty Chandler & Cole Kmet 

Chandler emerged as Minnesota’s lead back down the stretch last year, ranking 22nd among RBs in PPR points over the final five weeks. 

There’s certainly a chance that the Vikings add to the backfield this offseason, but Chandler is a smart gamble at this point of your draft.

Kmet has quietly developed into one of the better pass-catching TEs in the league. He has improved his yards per route and PFF receiving grade each season, ranking seventh among 45 qualifying TEs in both metrics last year.

The Bears should throw it quite a bit more in 2024 under new OC Shane Waldron.

Other options: Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Marquise Brown

 

Rounds 11 & 12

Top targets: Khalil Herbert & Zamir White

This is a good spot to add RB depth.

Herbert has done nothing but produce when given opportunity. In 11 career games with 12+ carries, he has averaged 95.5 rushing yards on 5.1 yards per carry.

We’ll see if new OC Shane Waldron commits to Herbert as lead back in 2024.

White is a gamble that the Raiders don’t bring back Josh Jacobs or make a significant RB addition.

But White was very productive late last year, compiling 397 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry over the final four weeks. For the season, he beat Jacobs in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and missed tackles forced per carry.

Next best: Darren Waller & Dontayvion Wicks

Waller struggled staying healthy last year and certainly can’t be counted on for 17 games in 2024.

But his 11.0 PPR points per game in eight healthy outings would have ranked ninth among TEs on the season.

He’s a nice half of a TE-by-committee.

Wicks quietly beat both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in targets per route and yards per route last year. He has a chance in 2024 to win a top-3 WR job on an ascending Packers offense.

Other options: Jerome Ford & Deshaun Watson

 

Rounds 13 & 14

Top targets: Keaton Mitchell & Xavier Worthy

Mitchell clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at last year’s Combine and averaged an absurd 8.4 yards on 47 rookie-year carries. 

He tore an ACL in mid-December and might miss the start of the 2024 campaign. But Mitchell could be a difference maker over the second half of the season.

Worthy looks like one of the better rookie WR values in early drafts. The Texas product broke out as a true freshman in 2021 with 981 yards and 12 TDs and topped 1,000 yards this past year. 

He has a good chance to go in the first round of this spring’s draft, potentially to a team like Buffalo or Kansas City.

Next best: Bucky Irving & Zay Jones

Irving topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons at Oregon while excelling in advanced metrics such as missed tackles forced and yards after contact.

Just as exciting: He racked up 87 catches over the last two years.

Irving weighs less than 200 pounds and won’t be an NFL workhorse. But his combination of big-play ability and pass-catching skills could make him a PPR sleeper.

Jones averaged 7.4 targets on an 18.5% target share in eight healthy games last year. And remember that he caught 82 balls in 2022.

With WR Calvin Ridley potentially departing in free agency, Jones could prove to be a big PPR value.

Other options: Audric Estime, Wan’Dale Robinson, Michael Mayer, Geno Smith

 

Rounds 15 & 16

Top targets: K & DST

Use your final two picks on a K and DST. Aim for a K on a high-scoring offense and a DST with sack and takeaway upside.

We’ll have more advice on K and DST targets after the NFL schedule is released.

 

The Ultimate Fantasy Football Draft Guide: A Customized, Dynamic Cheat Sheet

Having round-by-round strategy heading into your draft is important.

But fantasy football drafts are unpredictable. You need to be nimble. You need to adjust on the fly to capture the most value.

You need a customized, dynamic cheat sheet.

The Draft War Room takes our award-winning player projections and applies them to your league’s exact rules to give you a precise set of rankings.

Then it recalibrates throughout your draft based on 17 value indicators to make sure you’re making the absolute best pick each time you’re on the clock.

CREATE YOUR DRAFT WAR ROOM NOW!

 

More Fantasy Football Draft Guides

10-Team PPR
14-Team PPR

10-Team Non-PPR
12-Team Non-PPR
14-Team Non-PPR

 

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