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Scott Engel's Fantasy Football Experts Draft Breakdown - SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio Hosts League

Saquon Barkley - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Some years ago, I saw a scout refer to a running back as a “rhythm back.” What he meant was that certain running backs get very comfortable and perform better with frequent and consistent carries. Others, by contrast, can be highly efficient, making the most of every touch.

As a fantasy football drafter, I get into a “rhythm” similar to a high-volume ball carrier in the preseason. To this point, I have completed 17 drafts of all types, including redraft, best ball and dynasty league drafts, and expert mocks. I feel so sharp and ready for drafting now, that I will be heading into some of my most important upcoming league drafts feeling like I am in ideal “game shape.”

You may only play in one or two leagues, but mock drafting often can get you into prime drafting form in the same manner. The RotoBaller Mock Draft Simulator is also a great tool to help you prepare for actual drafts. You will end up feeling much like I did heading into the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio Hosts Draft on the next to last Saturday of August. I considered myself to be in optimum drafting “condition” mentally.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

Draft Results And Analysis - SiriusXM Hosts Leagues

I drafted from the 12th spot in this 12-team, full PPR league with four points for a TD pass. Starting lineups consisted of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 DST, and 1 PK. I do not write about these drafts to simply talk about my own team and approaches, but to help readers absorb what can be useful for their own drafts. You can listen to the archived broadcast of the draft on the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio app or online.

Round One Pick

Saquon Barkley: You can get Barkley at the end of the first round or early in the second in many drafts. While there are no assurances that any certain player will still be available at the end of the first round, Barkley has consistently been slipping to that region and he is my No. 3 ranked RB.

Barkley is coming off his best season as a rusher and is playing on a one-year deal. I like to get one of the top 7 or so RBs early on, otherwise, I may opt for a WR-heavy approach.

Seeing Nick Chubb being taken one spot ahead of Austin Ekeler was interesting, and reflective of how confident some fantasy analysts are in him without Kareem Hunt in the picture and Deshaun Watson projected to guide the offense for a full season. Half of the first round was dedicated to wide receiver picks, which will be the trend in many drafts.

Round Two

CeeDee Lamb:  Drafting with back-to-back picks on the turn, I did consider starting with a Zero RB duo of Lamb and either A.J. Brown or Garrett Wilson. But I could not pass on Barkley, and then took Lamb in a very close call over Brown and Wilson. The deciding factors were that Brown is more likely to have a No. 2 WR cut into his work, and Wilson is less proven. But if anyone prefers Brown or Wilson over Lamb, I will not debate it at all.

Eight more WRs were taken in the second round, so If you do not take at least one with one of the first two picks, then the position won’t look ideal coming out of the draft. Derrick Henry was taken with the seventh pick of the round, representing the last true RB1 type I would want with Jonathan Taylor and Josh Jacobs holding out at the time of the draft.

Round Three

Jahmyr Gibbs: I was not expecting Gibbs to fall to me when playing with such a proven group of fantasy analysts, yet the fact I was able to land him is a reminder that every draft has its own unique twists and turns. I was glad to take Gibbs, but I never, ever, get “sniped.” If Gibbs was taken right ahead of me, I had four other alternative picks queued up.

I target groups of players in every round and always realize that the same guys I want are being strongly considered by others picking ahead of me.

Taylor and Jacobs can prove to be good values in this round, as they obviously slipped at least a round from where they would usually be picked. The top 5 quarterbacks also went off the board, and I am totally in line with Justin Fields being taken after the “big three.” No one else at QB came close to his rushing production last year and the addition of D.J. Moore improves his pass-catching crew, too. Fields will still let loose as a runner while continuing to improve as a dual-threat QB.

Round Four

Amari Cooper: While starting off with a Lamb and Brown or Wilson duo at WR would have made me feel like I had a super start at the position, Cooper is a somewhat underrated top-end fantasy WR2 and was an ideal pick. He was a top-10 fantasy WR last year despite playing through injuries and QB instability, and now he will be the top target in what should be a more stable Cleveland passing game.

I really liked Jerry Jeudy as a WR3 pick later in this round, as he should prove to be a luxury at such a fantasy lineup position. Dameon Pierce was also a solid RB2 pick, as he has some Marshawn Lynch-like traits in terms of determination and fighting through contact.

Round Five

Kyle Pitts: I insist on getting a top 6-7 TE in all of my drafts this season. I don’t want to deal with the widespread unreliability at the position after the likes of Pitts and Dallas Goedert are off the board.

I did like the value on Miles Sanders one pick ahead of my spot, as I expect heavy dual-threat volume. Breece Hall was taken early in the round as the 17th RB to be picked, as his stock has obviously dropped a few notches with the Dalvin Cook signing by the Jets.

Round Six

Brandon Aiyuk: This could turn out to be one of my favorite picks of the draft, as some fantasy analysts are actually saying that Aiyuk could challenge Deebo Samuel as the top fantasy WR producer for the 49ers. I was very happy to come away with Aiyuk as my WR3.

I did consider taking Joe Burrow, as his preseason injury was causing him to slip, but elected to continue to wait at QB. There were some good RB values in this round, including Alexander Mattison and Rachaad White. Volume should lead to quality RB2 production for both players, especially for Mattison, who will operate in a good offense.

Round Seven

Anthony Richardson: There was no way Richardson was making it back to me if I did not take him here. Not only is the rushing upside and pure talent obvious, he has also done a pretty good job of taking what the defense gives him as a passer in the preseason.

De’Andre Swift was a quality value play in this round, as was Diontae Johnson, who can be dependable for an improving Kenny Pickett while possibly finding the end zone a few more times this season.

Round Eight

Dalvin Cook: The Jets RB situation will be unpredictable yet Cook wouldn’t have signed with New York if he was not going to play a significant role, so I could not let him fall any further as an RB3 target.

I might end up being wrong on this, but I would not have taken Aaron Rodgers over several other QBs who were still available. He may be a better real-life than fantasy QB this season. Rodgers is no longer as mobile as he used to be and his receiving crew outside of Wilson looks shaky.

 

The Later Rounds

Skyy Moore and Courtland Sutton were some of the better value picks in the ninth round, and I landed Jamaal Williams, who should see a heavy workload when Alvin Kamara is out and will steal many goal-line chances from Kamara when both are available.

Jalin Hyatt, my 10th-rounder, continues to be a terrific later-round pick who has not moved up in draft ranges enough yet despite his camp and preseason clips generating some buzz. … Daniel Jones was a top 10 fantasy QB last year and his receiving crew is much improved, so I definitely endorse that 10th-rounder.

To finish out the draft, I took Kirk Cousins as veteran insurance in case Richardson struggles at any point, and I could not leave a possible top-10 TE like Chigoziem Okonkwo on the board in the 12th round. Rondale Moore (13th round) can be the firm No. 2 WR for Arizona, and I am getting Zamir White (14th) as a late flier in many drafts due to the Jacobs holdout.

I pay attention to Week 1 and sometimes Week 2 schedules when drafting defenses, as we usually stream at the position. Denver opens with Las Vegas and Washington. I don’t blindly draft kickers if they are required starters, so the fact that the 49ers spent a third-round NFL Draft pick on Jake Moody this year was a signal that I should view him a priority pick at the position.

 

Scott Engel's fantasy and betting analysis is also featured at The Game Day.



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