Shawn Siegele provides his 28 priority player targets for the 2022 season and breaks down the top-175 players into easily digestible categories for draft weekend.
The annual list of priority targets has become a tradition as we enter fantasy’s best weekend. While rankings can be helpful, this is basically the blueprint for my own drafts. It gives a feel for when to push, when to be patient, and when to take a falling value.
Every year I tweak it a little bit. In this exercise, I’ve given the falling labels.
- Priority: These are the players I have the most exposure to. We’re not going to completely ignore ADP – getting the double value when these players fall is an extra boost – but they tend to be either foundation players (early) or multiple-round values.
- Draft: These aren’t must-draft selections, but they end up on a lot of my rosters and offer a good relationship of price to upside. In many cases the lack of a priority tag will relate to either price or some level of elevated bust risk.
- When Falls: These are the players I’m sprinkling in occasionally, and will draft if they fall substantially below ADP. In most cases these are players who still fit most builds, but they’re trendy enough that drafters are already buying one of the upside scenarios.
- In Emergency: This tag fits players who aren’t actual targets and aren’t value candidates as much as emergency plays later in drafts if you find your board is empty at a position of need. In redraft, it’s tough to get in a true emergency situation since FA can be used to address unbalanced rosters.
- If Flat: Sometimes QBs become solid plays if you don’t like the values at other positions. I’ll have some exposure to “if flat” QBs even if they’re not my top targets. Of course, at the QB position, even the “priority” picks are really only targets if you don’t like the values at WR.
I’ve put what might be considered my set of draft kit links into the Best Picks in Each Round article and will include it again at the bottom of this piece.
A Note About Style, Comfort, and Risk Preference
We focus a lot on flexibility within structure because not everyone has the same draft style, the same player preferences, the same risk profile. I’m extremely aggressive in drafts and while many readers are drawn to that, it’s important for all RotoViz readers to feel like we have them covered. The priority list should work for a variety of builds and temperaments. There is more than one way to win, and you should do what you do best.
Le’Veon Bell is a player I’ve been thinking a lot about recently as it relates to all of this. He was a rookie in 2013, a strong recommendation of ours in both dynasty and redraft at a time when his type of profile was not nearly as popular as it is now. It’s easy to remember Bell for his trio of top-three seasons between 2014 and 2017, but it all started with a breakout campaign in his 21-year-old debut.
Bell started the season with three missed games from a training camp injury and fell into the fifth and sixth rounds of drafts. Bell’s production was among the catalysts for great RV results that year, but what looks like a success story on the surface could have gone another way.
The willingness to be wrong is a central feature in occasionally being right in a very big way. I like J.K. Dobbins in 2022, but I wouldn’t be surprised if time machine owners already know it’s a play that didn’t work out.
Almost throughout the draft, but definitely in the rounds where the bulk of your production will come, you need a player to meet two criteria.
- The player needs to have the upside to be in the lineup of a league-winning and tournament-competitive team during crunch time.
- The player needs to have the ability to beat ADP by a wide margin during the weeks that will matter most.
When we apply it to the RB position, this helps explain why Travis Etienne, Breece Hall, and Dobbins appeal, even though they come with a lot of early-season risk. Consider the Bell example for a moment. You can get Hall in the same general range in many drafts, and Hall isn’t even injured.
Dobbins is continuing to plummet in drafts with Kenyan Drake joining the team and images circulating of him limping in practice. I like these prices, but you don’t need to draft him. You have a lot of other options in that range, and whether or not you take the luxury pick will depend on your risk tolerance, your belief in his scoring potential in a vacuum, and the other players you’ve already selected in that particular draft.
Dobbins is also just an example, albeit a provocative and controversial one. To a lesser extent, this type of decision is replicated throughout your draft. It’s my hope that our wealth of strategy articles, player-evaluation articles, and suite of more than 40 tools have helped prepare you to make these in-draft decisions the way you like to make them.
Without further adieu, the 2022 priority player targets.