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SiriusXM Fantasy Football Draft Analysis - Post-NFL Draft Picks Breakdowns

james conner fantasy football rankings news NFL DFS lineup picks

The 2022 NFL Draft did not disappoint. There were plenty of wide receivers selected, including a run in the early part of the first round. We may have had to wait longer but we did see QBs land in spots where they could potentially push the starters, and of course, the new RBs always shake up the fantasy football landscape. Now that the NFL drafts season is over, its time for our fantasy draft season to begin! 

That’s right, draft season is officially underway now with mocks and best ball drafts leading the way until the summer when we really start drafting our redraft and home leagues. SiriusXM wasted no time kicking things off, hosting the first post-NFL Draft fantasy football draft of the season. This is a fun exercise to see where the rookies go and how the draft, along with free agency, has really shaken up the draft board. 

Of course, much will change between now and August, but the sooner you start to know the board and where players go the better you will be at identifying reaches and busts come the summer. I did not participate in the SiriusXM draft, but Josh Hayes and myself did spend the two hours prior breaking down everything from the draft and speaking with a Falcons and Titans beat reporter, so make sure to go listen on demand. We can still learn a lot from this draft and I will break down some of my favorite observations and values as well as some picks that I do not love. 

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


Post-NFL Draft SiriusXM Fantasy Football Draft


Early Rounds

The first round in this draft looks similar to how I expect it to this August with the majority of picks still being running backs, but at least four of them being receivers. Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase are locks to go in the first round, and honestly, you can make the argument for Kupp as early as second overall. Davante Adams figures to be the consensus fourth receiver, but a strong case can be made for Stefon Diggs and Deebo Samuel if he remains with the Niners. Do not expect a tight end to go in the first like we saw last season. 

The second round is where things really start to get interesting. We saw half the picks off the board be running backs, bringing the total number to 14 through two rounds. There are a few though that stand out to me. First, in the good way, James Conner as the RB14 in the late second round seems like such a value to me. Conner finished as the RB5 in total points and RB9 in points per game last year and now has less competition for touches with Chase Edmonds gone. Last year, Conner averaged 5.6 targets, 5.0 catches and 44.8 receiving yards per game when Edmonds sat. He averaged just 1.3 targets when Edmonds played. Even though he is very unlikely to score 18 TDs again, he should be an RB1 off the board. He is a strong early-round value. 

The two picks I disliked in the round are Javonte Williams as the RB10 and Ezekiel Elliott as the RB13. Williams has a ton of upside and was a back that I thought could be this years Jonathan Taylor, but the move to bring back Melvin Gordon certainly caps Williams’ upside. Gordon will remain involved both on the ground and in the passing game, even if Williams sees more volume. The bad news is that Gordon is at his best near the goal line, which is very concerning for Williams. Williams certainly has the upside to finish as the RB10, but you are paying for close to the ceiling at this point. I like him much more as a high end RB2.

As for Elliott, he finished as the RB7 in total points, despite finishing just one week as a top seven RB. He was the RB17 in fantasy PPG and still has declining efficiency with almost no breakaway speed anymore. The Cowboys offensive line and offense as a whole lost key pieces and there is still Tony Pollard looming. Zeke is purely a volume dependent back now. I would take Conner over both of them. 

One more big observation before I start to dissect individual things that caught my eye is that this year the approach with running backs can be very different. Last year the consensus strategy became to grab RBs early and avoid the round three through six range, which became known as the RB dead zone. However, that seems to be changing this year.

There are still RBs in that range that I am not particularly interested in drafting, such as Antonio Gibson who went as the RB20, or Miles Sanders as the RB25. There are still plenty of ones that seem appealing to me in that range. Aaron Jones as the RB17 feels like a screaming value, even if people are worried about A.J. Dillon’s role. Jones has a non-zero chance of leading his team in targets. Saquon Barkley is falling because of injuries, but a torn ACL (common football injury) and stepping on someones foot and rolling an ankle, seem more like bad luck than recurring. Barkley in the new Giants offense has a lot of upside. Travis Etienne is a former first-round back who has played with Trevor Lawrence in college and has the starter job up for grabs. He is a fine pick in the fifth as the RB23.

There is no RB deadzone this season, at least not yet. There will always be plenty of receiver talent in the middle rounds, but as teams start to have more and more receivers, the options tend to become more inconsistent week to week. That is why those elite receivers who provide that weekly volume and upside are worth taking, especially if you can find running back value in the middle rounds. 

QBs will not go this late in a non-analyst league, but it is hard to argue much with the order they went in. Jalen Hurts at four may seem high, until you realize he finished as the QB6 in fantasy PPG and was averaging nearly 25 fantasy PPG until he hurt his ankle late in the season. With better weapons, especially a YAC monster like A.J. Brown, he has the overall QB1 upside. Lamar Jackson at 10 is way too late, although I am not one that forces him into the Top 5. To me, there are 14 QBs who you can strongly make the case will finish as a QB1, if not even higher, and all of them were drafted here. The top upside options after these 14 include Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa and Zach Wilson. He may not have the upside of the others, but Kirk Cousins belongs in that group as well. 

As for tight ends, the position actually may be deep this year. I know we saw it every year, but there are legit five elite options this year and it is fine to take one in the early rounds, just not the first. Kyle Pitts is one that I am particularly excited about this season. If you miss out on the top five there are plenty of fall back options, one that I particularly like is Dalton Schultz, who is likely the Cowboys second target to start the year. Even when you get outside the Top 12 tight ends there are players with upside, evident by the fact that some managers in this draft took backup tight ends. Despite all that, one of my favorite upside tight ends, Irv Smith Jr. was not drafted!


Middle-Round Observations 

- Allen Robinson has been going as a WR3 in many early drafts, but goes as the WR15 here in the fourth round. That is no discount, but it is not a reach either. Robinson is coming off a down year, but was routinely a WR1 prior, and just last year we were drafting two Rams receivers in the top 20. Robinson can easily be a Top-20 WR, and I would argue has low-end WR1 upside in the Rams offense. 

- I have been toying with the idea of Michael Pittman Jr. cracking the Top-15 fantasy WRs. After seeing the names who go around him, I would push him up to 15 and take him ahead off all the fourth round receivers (I admit there is an argument for him vs Robinson vs Cooper). 

- Michael Thomas in the fifth round seems like a good value to me. This is a player that we were routinely drafting as a WR1 and he now has a QB that can do more than throw slants. Thomas isn’t a burner, but Jameis Winston can help him be utilized more downfield. Thomas, as of right now, is my pick for middle round WR to return first round value aka this year's Cooper Kupp. 

- The Broncos receivers go back-to-back with Courtland Sutton (WR26) just edging out Jerry Jeudy (WR27). While I have a slight lean towards Jeudy, both of these are strong value picks in the fifth round. 

- Darnell Mooney as the WR31 in the end of the fifth round may not seem like much, but I think Mooney can be this years Brandin Cooks. What I mean by that is a receiver who sees a bunch of volume and has some WR1 weeks. He will be inconsistent, but most receivers in that range will be. He is a strong WR3 or even a WR4 pick like he was in this draft. Cole Kmet as TE14 is a similar value, since they should see the bulk of targets from Justin Fields. 

- Chase Edmonds is the first Dolphins RB going off the board as RB26. Raheem Mostert went as the RB48 in round 12, which is definitely a shot worth taking. 

- DeVonta Smith went in the seventh round as the WR40, meanwhile A.J. Brown went as the WR11 and Dallas Goedert went as the WR7. While I expect all three to see a reduction in their target share next year, Smith is the only one who saw his asking price decrease in this early draft. While I think Brown is the WR1 here, it is likely much closer than it appears here. Smith is the best value of the three in this draft. 

- Rashod Bateman and Marquise Brown are two players that will likely be tied together this season after Brown was dealt to the Cardinals. That trade pushed Brown to be the second target on his team behind DeAndre Hopkins, while Bateman will now compete with Mark Andrews for top billing. These two should go in similar ranges, but it was Bateman that squeaked by in this draft. He went WR30, while Brown went WR33. This is a fair range for both as they should both have some big weeks, but likely be inconsistent due to their offenses. I asked the question who should go first on draft night, and the results were not particularly close. 

Update: Since this draft and article, DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six games due to PEDs. In his absence, Marquise Brown gets the biggest boost and while I like him more as a WR2, he will certainly have WR1 weeks. Rondale Moore and A.J. Green also figure to see a target bump, with Moore being the preferred option. 

- I loved Amon-Ra St. Brown last year at draft time and throughout the regular season. I did not love having to draft him as a Top-24 WR in early drafts. Well, that seems to be behind us as he just went WR35 in this draft. Getting last years breakout rookie as a low-end WR3? Sign me up! Especially since their WR acquisitions are more field stretchers who help open things up near the line of scrimmage for ARSB. 

- Gabriel Davis went as the WR37 just behind Christian Watson. Look, I know we all want a part of an Aaron Rodgers offense, but this seems wild to me. Davis will play the WR2 role for Josh Allen and the Bills and has shown us whenever called upon that he can be used both downfield and in the red zone. The Bills put an emphasis on bringing in slot receivers, meaning that Davis has the outside role opposite of Diggs on lock. He is a WR3 that brings much more upside. 

- I know it is easy to make fun of Christian Kirk and how much money the Jaguars gave him, but they gave him that boatload of money with every intentions of him being their top target. In an offense that should be improved led by Doug Pederson and hopefully Trevor Lawrence taking the next step. At WR45, Kirk is pure upside. 

- Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney went off the board back-to-back as the WR56 and 57 in the 11th round. That is entirely too late. Toney, who is my preferred option, was a first round pick last year who flashed explosives when healthy last year. He is a better route runner than he was given credit for coming out of college, and now has a better play caller. Toney has all the tools to be a breakout receiver in this league and getting him at the price of an afterthought is a pure profit situation. Golladay was someone I was low on last year, but we know when healthy that he can ball. He may not ever be the WR1 we hoped he could be, but getting him as a low-end WR5? There is no risk there at all, meaning he only brings upside. 

- Ronald Jones went as the RB49 in the 12th round. I understand Jones has been a thorn in the side of fantasy players for a while now, but he has the chance to lead the Chiefs backfield in touches. The market has definitely soured on Clyde Edwards-Helaire too, but even he went as the RB32 in the seventh round. The gap between CEH and RoJo should be much, much closer. Buy Jones as a value in early drafts. 


Where did the Rookies go?

- Breece Hall was the first rookie RB off the board as the RB16 in the early third round. He projects to be the heavy side of a committee in New York with Michael Carter. A realistic outcome is Hall seeing the majority of early down work, with some passing down duties sprinkled in and the goal line work going his way. Carter could see more pass game usage. He went RB39 in the ninth round of this draft. 

- Drake London went off the board as the WR32, but I expect his ADP to climb through August. In fact, I would not be surprised to see him go as a borderline Top-20 WR. That may seem steep for a rookie, but we have seen rookie receivers make immediate impacts in year one, plus Drake should see a ton of volume the minute he steps on the field. 

- Dameon Pierce went as the RB31 at the end of the sixth round. That may have seemed crazy a week ago, but should not anymore since his competition now is just Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead. Pierce can easily lead the rookie RBs in touches this season. Mack at RB53 in round 13 and Burkhead who went undrafted provide cheap dart throws at this backfield. 

- James Cook went off the board as the RB33 in the eighth round. We saw Devin Singletary go in the sixth round as the RB28, so while there was a two round gap, very few RBs went in between the two Buffalo options. The Bills clearly have emphasized a pass catching RB and Cook should have that role. I anticipate Singletary on early downs and near the goal line, but Cook has the ability to steal some ground work away. Both are more flex options for me.

- Christian Watson went in the seventh round as the WR36. Allen Lazard went later in the round as the WR42, meanwhile Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb went undrafted. Watson is a high end athlete who can stretch the field. Him and Lazard should compete for the top spot and both should have a similar ADP. Watkins seems like an appealing late round dart throw here. 

- Treylon Burks went off the board as the WR34 in round six ‚Äď an appropriate price for the new A.J. Brown who could lead the Titans in targets in year one. I am fine taking Burks as a WR3 and rank him as the rookie WR2 in this class for 2022. However, Robert Woods went as WR53 and the gap between these two should be much smaller.¬†

- Kenneth Walker III went off the board as the RB27, while Rashaad Penny went RB34. As of now I am anticipating that we have seen the last of Chris Carson in Seattle. The stretch run by Penny was so elite that I would anticipate him being the lead option if healthy. This is a situation to monitor throughout camp, but as of now, I would take the discount on Penny. 

- Chris Olave went as the WR44 in the ninth round. That is an appropriate price, maybe even a bit too high, if Michael Thomas is back with the Saints. However, the upside here is if Thomas was to miss time for any reason, Olave would become their de-facto WR1. 

- The ninth round was a big one for rookies in this draft with Skyy Moore (WR49), Jameson Williams (WR50), John Metchie III (WR51) and Tyler Allgeier (RB40) all going off the board. Moore has obvious upside playing with Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs, its just a matter of how many targets can he see each week. Metchie can compete to be the second target there behind Brandin Cooks since his biggest competition is Nico Collins. Allgeier is one that I think will certainly have a fantasy role with the Falcons. They just released Mike Davis, leaving only Damien Williams in his way of being relevant for fantasy, as Cordarrelle Patterson can’t carry the backfield by himself. Williams is the most intriguing pick of the bunch. He may not be ready to start the year coming off of a torn ACL, but he is arguably the most explosive WR of this class. He possess WR2 upside the minute he steps on the field. 

- Isaiah Spiller and Garrett Wilson went off the board in the 10th round. Spiller will play the RB2 role behind Ekeler. His upside is capped as long as Ekeler stays healthy, but as the RB42, there is no risk in taking a shot. Wilson is one whose ADP will likely climb this summer, especially as we hear positive camp reports. Elijah Moore went as the WR29 in the fifth round, and as much as I like him, these two should be much closer in value. Corey Davis went as the WR60 and seems like the forgotten man here. 

- George Pickens went off the board as the WR59 in the 11th round. He has alpha-like qualities and has a chance to push for targets behind Diontae Johnson. His biggest competition there is Chase Claypool, who went just a few picks earlier as the WR52. Fellow Steelers rookie, Calvin Austin, who could push for the slot role, went as the WR63, showing that no one really knows how to feel about the Steelers receivers after Johnson. This will be something to monitor all summer long. 

- Late round rookies: Rachaad White went as the RB46 and could push Gio Bernard for the pass catching RB role with the Bucs. David Bell went as the WR61 and will try to earn the slot role left behind by Jarvis Landry. That would be a useful fantasy role and would make Bell a value at this cost. His biggest competition for WR targets behind Cooper is Donovan Peoples-Jones who was purely a last round dart throw at WR77 here. Alec Pierce went as the WR62 and he will be lining up opposite of Pittman. Perhaps the best late round rookie value was Johan Dotson, who despite going in the first round of the NFL Draft, went as the WR66 here. That seems more on Carson Wentz and the Commanders than Dotson. While he is not my favorite rookie he is pure upside at that cost. Romeo Doubs went as the WR69 as just a late round flier on the Packers receiver situation. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio

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Video: Workhorse Potential? Five High-Volume Running Backs for 2024 Fantasy Football

Football season is heating up at RotoBaller! With 2024 best ball drafts already underway and NFL training camps opening soon, we're evaluating some of fantasy football's most impactful players for the year ahead. NFL Network contributor and RotoBaller analyst LaQuan Jones digs into some potential workhorse running backs for 2024. These five RBs have high-volume... Read More

Chris Godwin - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Notable Fantasy Football Slot Wide Receivers to Target or Fade in 2024

Sometimes the term slot receiver brings up a negative connotation, but that should be the case, especially considering the context. We know context matters like whether the team runs a high rate of 11 personnel, a team's pass rate, and a player's efficiency in the slot position. Sometimes offenses will move their best offensive weapon... Read More

FFPC Fantasy Football Best Ball Rankings: Tight End Premium Leagues

Fantasy football Best Ball league players are very busy already, as they have been actively participating in drafts since the NFL Draft concluded. There are various ways to compete in the format, many of which are featured on the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) platform. No matter the type of seasonal league you choose to... Read More