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Draft Strategy

Perfect Draft: 12-Team PPR (Updated Sept. 1)

By Jared Smola 10:05am EDT 9/1/22


You should go into every fantasy draft with a general plan of attack.

Of course, you’ll need to be able to adjust throughout the draft and pounce on value wherever it presents itself. That’s where the Draft War Room with customized, dynamic rankings comes into play.

But building a round-by-round strategy beforehand certainly helps. That’s exactly what we’re doing with the Perfect Draft series — using the Draft War Room and ADP to get an idea of where the value will be in each round.

This is the 12-Team PPR Perfect Draft. Each strategy guide assumes 16-round drafts and starting lineups 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.

Note: Sept. 1 updates are in bold. Remember to check your Draft War Room for the most up-to-date rankings customized to your league's rules.


Pick 1, 2, 3 or 4

Round 1

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, Austin Ekeler
WR: Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson

This is a great spot to be in. McCaffrey, Taylor and Kupp stand in a tier of their own. Jefferson and Ekeler are right behind them. Grab the top guy on your board, smile and move on to Round 2.


Round 2

RB: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette
WR: Tyreek Hill
TE: Mark Andrews

Barkley is the ideal scenario here. His ADP is currently sitting at 2.07 and seems to be climbing, so it's no better than a 50/50 chance that he's available.

If Barkley is gone, you’ll probably see Kamara and Fournette topping your rankings. We’d grab a RB here if you took Kupp or Jefferson in the 1st.

If you nabbed McCaffrey or Taylor, Hill and Andrews are nice additions in the late 1st.


Round 3

RB: James Conner
WR: Tee Higgins, D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Michael Pittman
TE: Mark Andrews

Conner will likely be topping your board here if you don’t already have 2 RBs. He’s 1 of our favorite values at the position.

This is a sweet spot at WR, with Higgins and Moore looking like especially strong picks.

It’d be tough to pass on Andrews if he’s still hanging around in the 3rd.


Round 4

WR: Mike Williams, Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson

We’re generally avoiding RBs in this range (unless someone like Travis Etienne, Breece Hall or Cam Akers drops to you). That’s why we prefer getting a couple of RBs in the first 3 rounds.

There’s tons to like at WR here. Williams’ 4.10 ADP says he’ll likely be available, although we’ve seen him go earlier in a lot of drafts. Cooks and Honorable Mention Comeback Pick Allen Robinson are strong values at this point.


Round 5

WR: Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson, Jerry Jeudy, D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown, Courtland Sutton
TE: Darren Waller

This might be another chance to lock up an elite TE in Waller. (Although there will be plenty of value at the position later on.)

Otherwise, this is a good time to continue building depth at WR.


Round 6

RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Rashod Bateman, Michael Thomas

If Jalen Hurts or any of our top 5 QBs get to you here, pounce.

Edwards-Helaire, who looks like a safe bet to open the season as Kansas City’s lead back, is worth a look at this point if you don’t already have 3 RBs.

But the best value remains at WR, including 2022 Breakout Player Rashod Bateman.


Round 7

RB: Tony Pollard, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dameon Pierce, Antonio Gibson, Chase Edmonds, Kareem Hunt
WR: Rashod Bateman, Michael Thomas, Gabriel Davis
TE: Dallas Goedert

This is where the RBs start to look somewhat attractive again in comparison to the WRs. Edwards-Helaire and Sanders figure to open the season as every-week fantasy starters. Pollard and Hunt could have some standalone value – and have RB1 upside as handcuffs.

This is also where you’ll need to take Goedert if you wanna lock up 1 of our favorites at the position.


Rounds 8 and 9

QB: Trey Lance
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, Chase Edmonds, Rhamondre Stevenson
WR: Tyler Lockett, Drake London, Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, Kadarius Toney

Lance is an awesome pick here if you’re still looking for your QB1. His rushing ability alone gives him a good chance to score as a top-10 fantasy QB.

If you’re set at QB, continue adding to your RB and WR depth. You should look to have at least 3 RBs through 9 rounds.


Rounds 10 and 11

QB: Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr
RB: Darrell Henderson, Nyheim Hines, Kenneth Gainwell, Alexander Mattison, Rachaad White
WR: Kadarius Toney, Chase Claypool, Garrett Wilson, Russell Gage, Tyler Boyd

We recommend being in “Upside Mode” on your Draft War Room by this point of your draft. Prioritize ceiling.

Cousins and Carr are safe picks if you’re still looking for your QB1, but we’d generally rather wait a couple more rounds for guys with similar upside.


Rounds 12 and 13

QBs: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields

RB: Brian Robinson, Khalil Herbert, Isiah Pacheco

WR: Garrett Wilson, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jahan Dotson, D.J. Chark, George Pickens

This is a solid spot to look at QB if you don’t have one yet. Lawrence is our favorite late-round QB value; Fields’ athleticism gives him intriguing upside.

We highlighted Robinson, Herbert, Moore, Dotson and Pickens in our Sleepers article.


Rounds 14, 15 and 16

RB: Isiah Pacheco, Sony Michel, Zamir White, Eno Benjamin, Zack Moss, Ty Davis-Price
WR: Jahan Dotson, George Pickens, Julio Jones, Parris Campbell, Romeo Doubs, Wan’Dale Robinson, Robbie Anderson
TE: Evan Engram, David Njoku, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Albert Okwuegbunam

There are a bunch of quality TEs still likely to be available here. You could even wait until this point for your TE1 and be ok at the position.

Otherwise, add another high-upside bench stash, plus your K and DST.

DSTs with the best early-season schedules, per the Team Defense Strategy Guide:

Carolina

Cleveland

Denver

N.Y. Giants

San Francisco



Pick 5, 6, 7 or 8

Round 1

RB: Joe Mixon, Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris
WR: Ja’Marr Chase
TE: Travis Kelce

Austin Ekeler or Justin Jefferson would be the dream scenario here, but you can’t count on them being available.

Assuming they’re gone, Mixon, Barkley, Harris, Kelce and Chase will top your rankings.

Our 2022 Comeback Pick, Barkley, has the best chance to make it back to you in Round 2. So, if you’re willing to gamble, grab 1 of the other RBs, an elite WR in Chase or elite TE in Kelce.


Round 2

RB: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette
WR: CeeDee Lamb
TE: Travis Kelce

Barkley and Kelce are smash picks if still available in the mid 2nd.

Kamara and Fournette are nice consolation prizes at RB if Barkley is gone.

Lamb, who should see a big spike in target share this season, is also worth a look here.


Round 3

RB: James Conner
WR: Tee Higgins, D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Michael Pittman
TE: Kyle Pitts

You might find Conner atop your rankings here – even if you opened with a couple of RBs. We’re not opposed to starting your draft with 3 straight RBs, as long as you can start them all.

Higgins is also an excellent value in the mid-3rd.


Round 4

RB: Travis Etienne, Breece Hall
WR: D.J. Moore, Mike Williams, Jaylen Waddle

Etienne and Hall aren’t the safest picks considering neither guy has a regular-season NFL touch. But they both have the upside to return big profits as 4th-rounders. We’d prioritize 1 of them if you don’t already have 2 RBs at this point.


Round 5

WR: Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson, Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown
TE: Darren Waller

We’re generally avoiding RBs in this range, which is why we like getting at least 2 in the first 4 rounds.

The WRs, on the other hand, are very attractive here. And Waller is a big value if still hanging around.


Round 6

QB: Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Rashod Bateman, Michael Thomas, Adam Thielen, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darnell Mooney

Murray and Hurts both have the upside to lead all QBs in fantasy points and are prime targets here.

If you’re not going QB, we prefer the WRs over Edwards-Helaire.

ADP says Bateman, our 2022 Breakout Player, will be available in the 7th. But if you don’t wanna risk it, we have no issue with grabbing him here.


Round 7

RB: Cordarrelle Patterson
WR: Rashod Bateman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Hunter Renfrow
TE: Dallas Goedert

Bateman and Goedert stand out as the top 2 values in the mid-7th. If you don’t have 3 WRs yet, we’d prioritize Bateman. If you’re feeling good at WR (or grabbed Bateman in the 6th), Goedert is your guy.


Round 8

RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, Antonio Gibson, Chase Edmonds, Rhamondre Stevenson
WR: Tyler Lockett, Drake London, Christian Kirk
TE: Dallas Goedert

Unless you somehow find Goedert still hanging around here, continue adding to your RB or WR depth. Prioritize 1 of the RBs above if you don’t already have 3 rostered.


Round 9

QB: Trey Lance
RB: Kenneth Walker, James Cook
WR: Drake London, Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, Kadarius Toney

Lance is an awesome pick here if you’re still looking for your QB1. His rushing ability alone gives him a good chance to score as a top-10 fantasy QB.

These rookie RBs have nice upside at this point – Walker based on raw talent, Cook on his situation with the Bills.

We highlighted London and Kirk in our Undervalued Players article.


Round 10

RB: Darrell Henderson, Alexander Mattison
WR: Kadarius Toney, Treylon Burks, Chase Claypool, Garrett Wilson, Russell Gage

We recommend being in “Upside Mode” on your Draft War Room by this point of your draft. Prioritize ceiling.

The guys listed above all have the upside to emerge as every-week starters for your squad.


Round 11

RB: Kenneth Gainwell, Rachaad White
WR: Garrett Wilson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, D.J. Chark

Gainwell is trending up with reports that he could handle pass-catching and goal-line work in Philly’s backfield. White is an elite handcuff to Leonard Fournette.

Wilson is a bet on talent; Moore and Valdes-Scantling are bets on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.


Rounds 12 and 13

QBs: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields
RB: Brian Robinson, Khalil Herbert, Isiah Pacheco
WR: Garrett Wilson, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jahan Dotson, D.J. Chark

This is a solid spot to look at QB if you don’t have one yet. Lawrence is our favorite late-round QB value; Fields’ athleticism gives him intriguing upside.

We highlighted Robinson, Herbert, Moore, Dotson and Pickens in our Sleepers article.


Rounds 14, 15 and 16

RB: Isiah Pacheco, Sony Michel, Zamir White, Eno Benjamin, Zack Moss
WR: Jahan Dotson, Parris Campbell, Wan’Dale Robinson, Robbie Anderson
TE: Evan Engram, David Njoku, Tyler Higbee, Albert Okwuegbunam, Gerald Everett, Noah Fant

There are a bunch of quality TEs still likely to be available here. You could even wait until this point for your TE1 and be ok at the position.

Otherwise, add another high-upside bench stash, plus your K and DST.

DSTs with the best early-season schedules, per the Team Defense Strategy Guide:

Carolina

Cleveland

Denver

N.Y. Giants

San Francisco


Here’s a team you could put together using this plan:



Pick 9, 10, 11 or 12

Round 1

RB: Joe Mixon, Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Dalvin Cook
TE: Travis Kelce

You’re probably looking at a RB or Kelce here. Among the 5 guys listed above, Barkley and Kelce have the best chance to make it back to you in the 2nd round.

Ja’Marr Chase is the only WR we’d be excited to draft in this spot. Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams and CeeDee Lamb are more 2nd-round values.


Round 2

RB: Saquon Barkley
WR: Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, CeeDee Lamb
TE: Travis Kelce

Barkley is Plan A here. Our 2022 Comeback Player is healthy and in for big volume this season.

If you miss out on Barkley – or grabbed him in Round 1 – pivot to an elite pass catcher.


Round 3

RB: James Conner, Travis Etienne
WR: Tee Higgins, D.J. Moore, Michael Pittman
TE: Kyle Pitts

You’ll likely find Conner and/or Etienne topping your rankings here, especially if you didn’t start RB-RB.

If you’re feeling strong at RB, Higgins, Moore and Pittman are excellent values in the late 3rd.


Round 4

RB: Travis Etienne, Breece Hall
WR: D.J. Moore, Mike Williams, Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson
TE: Kyle Pitts

Nice options at RB, WR and TE here.

We’d prioritize Etienne if you don’t have 2 RBs yet. Otherwise, add a WR or an elite TE in Pitts.

Note that ADP says Cooks and Robinson might make it back to you in the 5th round.


Round 5

WR: Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson, Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown

We’re generally avoiding RBs in this range, which is why we like getting at least 2 in the first 4 rounds.

The WRs, on the other hand, are very attractive here. All 5 guys listed above sit inside the top 24 in our rankings – and have the potential to finish much higher.


Round 6

QB: Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Michael Thomas

This is a spot to continue bolstering your WR corps – or add an elite QB.

Murray and Hurts both have the upside to lead all QBs in fantasy points.

ADP says Bateman, our 2022 Breakout Player, will be available in the 7th. But if you don’t wanna risk it, we have no issue with grabbing him here.


Rounds 7 and 8

RB: Tony Pollard, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kareem Hunt, Chase Edmonds
WR: Rashod Bateman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Hunter Renfrow
TE: Dallas Goedert

If you gambled that Bateman would make it to you here and he did, congrats! Grab him.

This is also a good turn to add your RB3 if you don’t have one yet. Patterson and Edmonds should open the season as every-week fantasy starters. Pollard and Hunt could have some standalone value – and have RB1 upside as handcuffs.

This is also the spot to target Goedert, 1 of our favorite TE values.


Rounds 9 and 10

QB: Trey Lance
RB: James Cook, Darrell Henderson, Alexander Mattison
WR: Drake London, Tyler Lockett, Kadarius Toney, Christian Kirk

We recommend being in “Upside Mode” on your Draft War Room by this point of your draft. Prioritize ceiling.

Lance is an awesome pick here if you’re still looking for your QB1. His rushing ability alone gives him a good chance to score as a top-10 fantasy QB.

If you’re set at QB, continue adding to your RB and WR depth.


Rounds 11 and 12

QB: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields
RB: Kenneth Gainwell, Rachaad White
WR: Garrett Wilson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, D.J. Chark

Gainwell is trending up with reports that he could handle pass-catching and goal-line work in Philly’s backfield. White is an elite handcuff to Leonard Fournette.

Wilson is a bet on talent; Valdes-Scantling is a bet on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Lawrence and Fields are fine picks here if you’re still looking for your QB1.


Rounds 13 and 14

RB: Brian Robinson, Khalil Herbert, Isiah Pacheco, Sony Michel, Zamir White, Eno Benjamin, Zack Moss
WR: Rondale Moore, Jahan Dotson, D.J. Chark, Julio Jones, Parris Campbell, Wan’Dale Robinson, Robbie AndersonTE: Evan Engram, David Njoku, Tyler Higbee, Albert Okwuegbunam, Gerald Everett, Noah Fant

There are a bunch of quality TEs still likely to be available here. You could even wait until this point for your TE1 and be ok at the position.

If you’re set at TE, grab a couple more high-upside bench stashes.

We highlighted Robinson, Herbert, Moore, Dotson and Pickens in our Sleepers article.


Rounds 15 and 16

Use these last 2 picks to grab your K and DST.

DSTs with the best early-season schedules, per the Team Defense Strategy Guide:

Carolina

Cleveland

Denver

N.Y. Giants

San Francisco

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