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What is the optimal fantasy football draft position?

We take a look at the best spot to draft from in 2022.

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up prior to a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

As we embark on the biggest fantasy football draft weekend of the year, many drafters are looking to either move into or choose a draft position. In the past it was always assumed that the first pick was the best pick and when Ladainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk were tearing up the league, it probably was.

Of course, a lot depends on your strategy. If you feel like you have to grab one of the top running backs to start, you need that early pick. But, if you’re looking for a more balanced team, picking later is best.

Let’s take a quick look at the ADP of the first round:

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Austin Ekeler
  4. Cooper Kupp
  5. Derrick Henry
  6. Justin Jefferson
  7. Dalvin Cook
  8. Najee Harris
  9. Ja’Marr Chase
  10. Joe Mixon
  11. Davante Adams
  12. Stefon Diggs
  13. Travis Kelce
  14. D’Andre Swift
  15. Alvin Kamara

Taylor is the consensus No. 1 pick, but after 20 touchdowns and not huge receiving numbers last season, it’s safe to say that McCaffrey has more upside. The question is, who will be available with your second pick 23 picks later? If I had the No. 1 pick, I’d go with McCaffrey, but I’d rather not have the No. 1 pick.

This season, there is a real chance that one of your favorite first round picks will be available to you at the turn. No, you aren’t going to get the very top players in most rankings other than tight end, but I don’t think that matters this year. A Travis Kelce/Alvin Kamara #12 and #13 turn is great and easy to come by. I also like to go WR heavy to start with something like Stefon Diggs/CeeDee Lamb at the turn.

Receivers stay healthier than running backs

It’s true, running backs who also catch passes will always have more upside, but receivers have higher floors due to them not needing to run the ball into 300 pound dudes all game. If you can grab two top receivers or a receiver and Kelce/Mark Andrews, you are starting with an extremely stable position.

What to do about running backs?

Maybe a running back you love is there at the turn, but I’m almost always going WR or TE, because once again, running backs get hurt. So, if you stack up on quality backs later in the draft, your chances of getting two strong RBs are good. A.J. Dillon, Tony Pollard, Damien Harris, Rashaad Penny, Kareem Hunt, Tony Pollard, Chase Edmonds, Rhamondre Stevenson, Dameon Pierce, James Robinson, Darrell Henderson, and Nyheim Hines are all good picks at their current ADP.

If you have a choice, choose the #12 pick

I love doubling up on two of my favorite players at the turn. You get plenty of time to set up your queue and decide who you want and you are surely sniping the next manager. Yes, you have to wait, but that just gives you more time to prepare for your two picks.

And this season I don’t feel all that beholden to ADP and reaching for “my guy” is usually my strategy. Sure, if someone drops far enough and I think they have value, I’ll grab him, but I always want to come out of draft feeling like the team is “mine.” Winning in fantasy football is always great, but doing it with the players you predicted big years out of is even better.