The 2022 NFL season is just around the corner, and that means it's fantasy football time.
Most fantasy leagues follow a traditional "snake draft" format, meaning the team who picks first in Round 1 also picks last in Round 2, then first again in Round 3 and so on.
Just because the format is simple and easy to understand doesn't mean the strategy is simple. From "Late-Round Quarterback" to "Zero RB" to drafting as many stud running backs as you can, everyone seems to have a different thought on how to best approach a snake draft.
The Duel is here to help you sort things out, and here are some of the top snake draft strategies that can help you dominate your 2022 fantasy football leagues.
Fantasy Football Draft Strategy
6. Don't Draft Low-Upside Sleepers
Making safe draft picks can feel good in the moment. Nobody wants to have to cut someone they drafted. But in the late rounds playing it safe will totally burn you. If your 12th round pick doesn't totally bust but doesn't break out, it's not like he'll be helping your team anyway. A guy scoring 6 to 8 fantasy points each week is going to just sit on your bench anyway. Instead, target late-round sleepers with the kind of upside that can win your league.
5. Familiarize Yourself With Your League Rules
This one may seem obvious, but that doesn't make it any less critical. It's important to know your league scoring, as whether or not you are playing with point-per-reception (PPR) scoring can make a big impact on strategy. There are also less common variations like tight end-premium scoring that you must know if your league uses. It's also important to know about roster requirements, as some leagues have minimum or maximum roster spots for each position. Other leagues may limit your in-season roster moves. Knowing any and all of the specifics will help give you a big edge.
4. Don't Be Afraid of Risks - But Take Them Wisely
We can't predict all the big events in a fantasy season, like injuries, but we can use what we do know to understand how risky different players are. There's nothing wrong with gambling on some high-risk, high-reward players, but it's important to balance that out with safe options as well. If your running backs are all boom-or-bust picks, you'll want them paired with some safe, solid top-end receivers. If you're rolling the dice on waiting out Michael Thomas' injury, you're going to want to make sure you have some safe starters early in the season to take his place.
3. Know When to Use Rankings, and When to Ignore Them
Tied to that idea of players bringing different amounts of risk, it's important to know when to ignore your rankings. Rankings are useful, but there's only so much a single number tells you. If you find yourself looking for a high-upside player, for example, it could be worth skipping down past a couple safer but lower-upside options to grab a boom-or-bust player further down in the rankings. You can find The Duel's 2022 fantasy football rankings here — but remember not to get too tied down to them!
2. Drafting Isn't a Race to Fill Your Starting Lineup
Something inexperienced drafters do a lot is fill out their starting lineup as early as they can. It might make sense on paper to grab a top fantasy football defense before a backup running back or wide receiver, but that's usually an unwise choice. The upside of hitting big with an RB or WR is much higher than what you get from even a strong fantasy defense. Let your league mates grab the top defenses in round 7 or 8 while you load up on the huge value at other positions.
1. Don't Draft a Kicker Until the Final Round
Going one step further from that last point, there's really no need to draft a kicker until the final round. The position is so unpredictable, and even having a top kicker doesn't give you much of an edge over the rest of your league. If your league allows it, it's even worth considering not drafting a kicker at all, and instead using your last roster spot to hold onto a running back handcuff in case of a training camp injury. You can then add a kicker off the waiver wire closer to Week 1.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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 his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.