Fantasy Football Ultimate Draft Board: Perfect picks for every round

  • Fantasy football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America
  • Founding director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
  • 2013 FSTA award winner for most accurate preseason rankings

Fantasy football drafts are all about collecting the best possible values, but we all know those special players exist whom we badly want on our squad.

Whether it’s the young, up-and-coming wide receiver on our favorite team, a sleeper running back no one is talking about or this year’s big breakout at tight end, these players add an extra level of excitement to the roster construction process.

This round-by-round analysis will give you an idea of what’s going through my head on draft day, headlined by those players I have circled on my cheat sheet.

For a more philosophical look at the 2022 fantasy football landscape, including strategies for drafting, trading and working waivers in all types of formats, be sure to check out the 2022 fantasy football playbook.

Here it is: my personal recipe for a 2022 fantasy football championship.

The Core

When I’m making my selections, I often ask myself a question: “Am I drafting this player at his ceiling?” If the answer is “yes,” I generally aim for someone with more upside. Of course, all of the players available in the first round or so are likely at or near their ceiling, so this is an opportunity to not overthink it and simply take the best available player on the board.

Round 1 – Best available RB or a big three WR

This exercise is always tough for Round 1 because draft slot will determine who is available. If I’m picking first, I’m aiming for reigning top-scoring fantasy RB Jonathan Taylor (though I couldn’t knock you for rolling with Christian McCaffrey). Otherwise, I’m following my board and choosing either the best available running back (ideally Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry or Najee Harris in the middle of the round) or one of the big three at wide receiver (Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase). As I wrote in the playbook last month, I think this could be a transition season at RB and thus a better year than usual to address RB in Rounds 3 through 5. That being the case, it makes it more palatable to grab a wide receiver with our first and/or second pick instead of, say, an age-27-or-older running back.

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