Fantasy Football Pick 1 Strategy: How to Draft From the 1st Spot

Isaiah De Los Santos
Fantasy football draft strategy for the No. 1 pick in 12-team snake drafts.
Fantasy football draft strategy for the No. 1 pick in 12-team snake drafts. / (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
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Fantasy Football 1st Pick in 12-Team Leagues

Opinions are split on drafting first overall in fantasy football leagues this year. Some view the honor of choosing from the No. 1 spot as a disadvantage in 2022, while others are giddy at the prospect of getting potentially the best running back this season and having back-to-back selections in a deep year of talent.

Fantasy Football Pick 1 Strategy

So how can fantasy football drafters best take advantage of drawing the No. 1 pick in 2022? Here's a guide to the best draft strategy at 1.

Round 1/Round 2

There's an obvious choice with the first pick: Jonathan Taylor. The Wisconsin product lit it up in 2021, finishing as RB1 and fifth overall in PPR scoring. He led the league in rushing attempts (332), rushing yards (1,811) and touchdowns (18) while adding another 40 receptions, 360 yards and 2 TDs as a receiver.

That kind of workload makes him a fantasy darling when volume is king, and the fact he produced with increased opportunities should make the Indianapolis Colts very confident in relying on him once again.

After nabbing Taylor, managers shouldn't just check out during the 23-pick gap. You should pay close attention to how the draft board shakes out to scope out potential values at the end of round 2.

Solidifying your starting RB spots makes a ton of sense here, as Saquon Barkley and Leonard Fournette are both projected right at or below No. 24, according to FantasyPros' average draft position (ADP) data. Barkley could bounce back in a big way this season, and Fournette is in an even better position after finishing as RB6 last year, so pairing either with Taylor would form a top one-two punch in your backfield.

Round 3/Round 4

Assuming you grab your second RB at No. 24 -- and this strategy could be flipped since you're making two straight selections -- then securing a top pass-catcher should be a priority. There's plenty of wide receiver talent projected to be available at the start of the third round, like the trio of consistent 1,000-yards wideouts in Mike Evans (ADP 26), Keenan Allen (ADP 27) and A.J. Brown (ADP 28).

Starting off with two premier RBs and a top WR is recipe for success, especially when quarterback and tight end can be addressed later on. Make sure to not zone out after picking at 25, as there could be value targets that are available once you're on the clock again at No. 48.

Lamar Jackson (ADP 49) would fill the quarterback hole extremely well, giving managers a QB1 candidate with plenty of rushing upside. Otherwise, adding a third RB like Elijah Mitchell or J.K. Dobbins would give drafters a rock-solid FLEX option here, while rookie Breece Hall could be a home run flier worth taking with your starting RB spots already penciled in.

Round 5/Round 6

Assuming you draft Jackson or another RB, then pivoting to wide receiver would be a great call when you're up again at No. 49. Solid second WRs capable of big numbers like Mike Williams (ADP 52), Brandin Cooks (ADP 53) and Chris Godwin (ADP 54) all project to be on the board here. There's a significant gap between this tier and the wideouts available at the end of round 6, so make sure to nab one of these guys.

Pick No. 72 features plenty of WR/FLEX targets to continue filling out your roster. Allen Robinson (ADP 71) would be a great pickup if he falls into your lap, while DeAndre Hopkins (ADP 72) has top-end talent but will be suspended for the first six games. Hopkins has league-changing potential if he regains his form, so he may reward managers willing to roll the dice here.

This is also a good spot to address quarterback if you haven't already. Dak Prescott (ADP 73) is an obvious choice, though it may be worth reaching for Tom Brady (ADP 81) or Russell Wilson (ADP 83) if Prescott is gone given the lacking options that are expected to be on the board when you're up again to end round 7.

Later Rounds

A fantasy football draft is an ever-changing event that's unpredictable, especially in later rounds, so it's tougher to have a concrete plan here. However, there are some general fantasy strategy tips that can help guide you.

Have some sleepers in mind that you're higher on than the overall public is. Those dart throws or handcuffs-turned-starters can pay huge dividends when an opportunity arises for them to join your starting lineup and potentially help you win a week or playoff matchup.

It's also worth noting that given the massive downtime between selections when you draw the No. 1 pick, you'll likely have to reach to ensure you get some players you really love. That's okay, though, if you've got a well-constructed roster (like the one above) as your base to work from.


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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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