It’s time to move onto the next portion of our fantasy football rankings. I’m sure most analysts’ top-50 look pretty much the same; the main differentiator in the first four rounds is injury. Sure, Cooper Kupp was drafted in the first four rounds last year. But remember, he sustained his target share primarily because of the Robert Woods injury.
Rounds 5-10 are where you really win your league. It may not be where you find the superstar that breaks fantasy scoring, but it’s where your roster construction takes shape and depth is built. It’s where you find your James Conner and Leonard Fournette of last season. You will notice I have a few players ranked way higher than ADP (Kirk and Edmonds especially), they don’t need to be drafted where I have them, but I expect them to be the guys to ‘breakout’ this year.
51. Rashod Bateman, BAL, WR
Hollywood Brown had 91 catches and a 26 percent target share last season. Bateman has a good chance at a similar opportunity. Bateman got off to a slow start with a preseason injury last year. In 10 games where he played over fifty percent of the snaps, he received six or more targets 8 out of 10 times.
52. Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB
Lamar was my QB2 before they traded Marquise Brown. It’s as if people have forgotten he is just two years removed from an MVP season where he led the league in touchdowns and QB rating.
53. Michael Thomas, NO, WR
Thomas has done what he could to avoid playing with Brees over the past two seasons. The days of Thomas being considered a WR1 may have passed. But he has been undervalued in drafts for most of the summer. Michael Thomas has been an 85-90% route participation player with targets per route between 26-30%. His range of outcomes for his targets is between 90-160. I’m going to lean toward the higher side of that range. Sources say that Michael Thomas looked good in his breaks and cuts; he’s jumping off the line in his routes and is close to 100%.
54. JuJu Smith-Schuster, KC, WR
After his sophomore season, legitimate good analysts called Juju to be the 1.01 in dynasty start-ups. After his fifth season, people wondered if he would be in the league much longer. Signing with the Chiefs has given him new life, and he is regularly drafted by the 5th round in high-stakes drafts. He was in on every snap Mahomes played in the first preseason game. He’s been out a few days with a knee issue, but I think they are just being safe with what appears to be their primary slot WR.
Back in 2018 JuJu Smith-Schuster had the most YAC for any WR with 587.
That was over 100 more than the next closest (Hill).
He was top 10 in air yards, rec, and rec yards.
But he was 42nd in catchable targets, which simply means the QB play was very sub par.
— Walter 👋🤖 (@WalterPicksApp) July 28, 2022
55. Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET, WR
As most rookies do, ASB started last year slowly but managed to be 13th in total receptions (90), 11th in yards after catch (439), 20th in route win rate (43.8%), 7th in contested catch rate (61.6%), 26th in fantasy points per game (13.4). Goff is quoted as saying, “I’m looking for him when things break down, and I’m looking for him when we need a play. Right now, he’s that guy.”
56. Gabe Davis, BUF, WR
I’ve been lower than consensus on Davis all preseason, but now I’m starting to see that he has a relatively clear path to double-digit TD receptions. In his first two seasons as a pro, he has13 regular-season TD receptions and five more in the postseason. He led the team in snaps, targets, and routes run among the starters in preseason week 2 – not that it means much other than he is absolutely on the field in two-WR sets.
57. Jalen Hurts, PHI, QB
In weeks 8-18 against heavy boxes (8+ defenders), Hurts was first in YPA, fifth in first down rate, seventh in success rate, and ninth in EPA per attempt.
Jalen Hurts, BYE 7
In Hurts 1st season as a starter dropped 28PPG (6pt passing TD) Now in year 2 of Sirianni’s system w/ the addition of AJB, he will smash this year!!
I’d draft Hurts confidently @ QB5 behind Allen, Mahomes, Lamar, & Herbs w/ a high floor & QB1 overall upside! pic.twitter.com/eCmTZWO2lk
— Dominic Manna (@DominicManna44) August 18, 2022
58. Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR
I’ve been avoiding Jeudy, but I would definitely consider drafting him if he slides to the sixth round. He’s been hyped as the new Tyler Lockett since the addition of Russell Wilson, but we haven’t seen that translate to on-field production yet. Jeudy is widely recognized as a route running maestro, but many question his athleticism (6.78 RAS). Last season, he had 1.85 Yards per route run (49th), 8.3 yards per target (62nd), and 7.4 average depth of completion (82nd).
59. AJ Dillon, GB, RB
Ranked 12th in red-zone touches last year but 21st in TDs. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur love him in the passing game as well. Aaron Jones and Dillon split reps evenly in camp, with only a few snaps on the field simultaneously.
60. Elijah Moore, NYJ, WR
Moore is a man that takes his job seriously, studying his route running with former stud WR Brandon Marshall after practice. “Moore continues to be one of the Jets’ stars of training camp, no matter who is throwing him the ball. If it was in question, Moore seems to have firmly established himself as this team’s No. 1 receiver. He’s in line for a big year.”
61. Drake London, ATL, WR
London is a size/speed specimen that has been dominating veteran DBs in camp. There are always clips that come out from camp hyping players, but London is seriously spinning DBs around with double moves.
62. Darren Waller, LV, TE
Waller ended 2021 with 55-665-2 on 93 targets, missing six games. He caught just 59.1% of his targets after 73.8% and 76.9% the previous two seasons. His catchable target rate was 67.8%, after rates of 77.9% and 82.6% over the last two years. He was still targeted on 23.5% of his routes, averaged 8.5 targets per game, and was third at TE in expected points per game (14.6).
63. George Kittle, SF, TE
Kittle is an elite TE, but I expect regression with Lance at QB. There will just be fewer passes, and Lance seems to be bonding more with Aiyuk than anyone. Kittle and Garoppolo were BFFs, so he may not be the security blanket he was in the past.
64. Chris Godwin, TB, WR
Godwin has been cleared to begin training camp despite undergoing knee surgery on Jan. 3 for a torn ACL. I still don’t expect him back until week 3, maybe even longer if Julio can perform.
65. Brandon Aiyuk, SF, WR
Aiyuk was truly in “the doghouse” for the first half of last season, but it seems as though he has completely removed his head from his backdoor and finished the back-half of the season as the WR14 in PPR. Aiyuk could be the biggest benefactor of Lance at QB; he should see more deep passes.
66. Christian Kirk, JAC, WR
In the second preseason game, Kirk had an 83% snap rate, 92% route rate, and 8 targets (38% share) when Trevor Lawrence was in the game. He could end up top-10 in targets (about 135 by projections).
Jacksonville gave him a 4-yr deal worth $72M; he is 25 years old, was healthy in 2021, and set career highs in yards (982), catches (77), and targets (103). He finished as WR30 in PPR points per game (13.8) with double-digit points in 11 games but is currently being drafted as the WR41. Per Player Profiler, he was 22nd in target separation (1.77), 21st in adjusted yards per route run (1.98), 15th in fantasy points per target (2.02), 14th in overall yards per target (9.5), and 8th in contested catch rate (60%).
67. Amari Cooper, CLE, WR
Cooper was the fourth-best WR at generating step or more of separation vs. single-man coverage in 2021 (min 70 routes), 65%, per @dwainmcfarland. I’ve dropped him in my rankings because of the Watson suspension.
68. Chase Edmonds, MIA, RB
I have Edmonds way above consensus. He has 96 catches since the start of 2020 and averaged 19.95 PPR ppg when Conner was injured. He is the clear lead-back in Miami and should see 60-65% of the snaps.
69. David Montgomery, CHI, RB
In 2020, Montgomery took advantage of some of the historically worst run defenses in the back-third of the season to finish as the RB4. He beat up on a few bad defenses last year, just not to the same degree as he did in 2020. The new coaching staff has used the committee approach at RB in the past. Khalil Herbert shined in Montgomery’s absence last season, finishing as an RB1 twice in the four games that Monty missed. Free agent signing Darrynton Evans and sixth-round draft pick Trestan Ebner both have 4.4 forty speed and pass-catching ability, similar to former Bear Tariq Cohen, but bigger.
It’s clear the Bears believe in Khalil Herbert, while Trestan Ebner has looked impressive in training camp. I’m expecting there will be more of a share in the backfield alongside David Montgomery.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) August 5, 2022
70. Adam Thielen, MIN, WR
Thielen has 24 touchdowns in his last 28 games and 39 in his past 54. Before Thielen’s ankle injury in week 12 last season, he and Justin Jefferson split targets pretty evenly. Jefferson had 98, and Thielen was at 90; in the Red zone: Jefferson – 25, Thielen – 22, and in the End zone: Thielen – 8, Jefferson – 7. The only concern about Thielen is injury, but in redraft, you can just start him until he goes down.
71. Elijah Mitchell, SF, RB
49ers reporter @MaioccoNBCS says Kyle Shanahan “appears determined to deploy more of a running backs-by-committee approach” and “there are legitimate concerns about (Elijah) Mitchell’s durability.” According to a league source, Mitchell is nursing a hamstring injury that likely will prevent him from playing in the preseason. Mitchell is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.
72. Josh Jacobs, LV, RB
There seems to be a general fade of Jacobs across-the-board since the Raiders didn’t pick up his 5th-year option. Jacobs plated two series in their first preseason game, and it seems like we decided he’s getting traded or cut.
Per The Athletic, “Josh Jacobs started the game at running back and played the first two series. Lead backs rarely play in the preseason due to fear of injury, so if Jacobs plays, his spot as the lead back may not be as solid as was widely believed.”
Since when does anyone trade for a running back? The only trades I can remember are to clear salary space or when Bill O’Brien was destroying the Texans. They will run Jacobs into the ground. I should probably move him up, but I believe Zamir White takes away many of the value touches.
73. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, RB
Ronald Jones could get cut, Jerrick McKinnon is 30 years old, and Isiah Pacheco is a 7th-round pick. CEH has been riddled with injuries, but this has also been his first healthy off-season. Last year he apparently dropped tremendous weight from stomach surgery, starting camp at 165lbs. Being that light in the NFL is a sure way to raise the risk of injury. I think we see a bounce-back year with CEH seeing 50-60% of the RB touches.
74. Hunter Renfrow, LV, WR
I’ve been fading Renfrow, but certain analysts (Dwain McFarland) are influencing me to draft him when he falls to me. Renfrow primarily operates out of the slot, and newcomer Davante Adams is an outside alpha. The prevailing wisdom is that Renfrow benefited from Waller being out for six weeks last season, but he only saw a significant increase in targets in one of those games. He also had nine TDs last year, which we should expect some regression, but only three of them came while Waller was sidelined.
75. Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB
Hunt has been lobbying for a trade or a contract extension. I think it’s unlikely that his contract is adjusted with incumbent D’Ernest Johnson and rookie Jerome Ford creating a crowded backfield. If Hunt signs with the right team, he could jump all the way up to the second round, but it would have to be the right fit. He’s being drafted much later than I have him ranked in most formats. However, even in this crowded backfield, Hunt is a viable flex start most weeks.
76. Devonta Smith, PHI, WR
There are many questions on what the target distribution will look like this year with the addition of AJ Brown. But I think Smith (and Goedert) will likely see a similar target share, with Brown picking up the random targets and earning more as the offense produces more. Smith will likely see lighter coverage this year, opening other opportunities to shine.
77. Allen Lazard, GB, WR
I’ve been avoiding drafting him, but I have to have him ranked here just because it looks like he will be the WR1 in an Aaron Rodgers offense. He was 90th in targets per route run in 2021. His efficiency should improve, but he is being drafted high based on assumed volume and camp hype. Allen Lazard has scored 14 TDs on 159 total targets, making regression likely. A 10-TD season is within his range of outcomes, but I’ll hedge against it. He’s an undrafted 27yo WR who hasn’t consistently earned targets through his career.
78. Kyler Murray, ARI, QB
Murray is traditionally hot to start the season, but he has a gauntlet to get through the first six weeks without Hopkins.
79. Russell Wilson, DEN, QB
Wilson was fourth in the league in passing points per attempt (.531) last season, despite his hand/finger injury. He has a touchdown rate of 6.0% or higher in five straight seasons. He moves from, by far, the slowest offense in the NFL to one focused around him and full of weapons. Losing Tim Patrick hurts a bit, but there are talented players to take his place.
80. Trey Lance, SF, QB
Tremendous upside, safe rushing floor, “if your favorite fantasy analyst has Trey Lance outside their top-8 QB rankings, you should find a new favorite fantasy analyst” @Jlarkytweets
Trey Lance, BYE 9
Despite less than 400 drop backs since ‘20 Lance has been handed the keys in SF
You want rushing upside at your QB spot, & unlike Hurts in ‘21 Lance has elite weapons to pad his passing #s w/ YAC.
He’s my QB9 at the top of my 2nd tier over Dak, Russ, & A-Rod pic.twitter.com/TTr5MJlsa4
— Dominic Manna (@DominicManna44) August 18, 2022
81. Joe Burrow, CIN, QB
Cincinnati started off last season with a slow pace and run-focused as Burrow was coming off an ACL injury. I expect them to come out firing rockets as there have been immense improvements in the offensive line, and the schedule is much more difficult this season than last.
82. Dalton Schultz, DAL, TE
The default TE6 solely based on the number of targets we expect him to see.
83. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR
Suspended six games but should come back fresh and ready to dominate as the team will need a boost after a rough schedule to start the season.
84. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB
Per @GehikenNFL, “Cowboys want to get Tony Pollard more involved. That’s not just lip service. Offensive assistant Kyle Valero is his private tutor, developing him as a slot receiver to get him and Ezekiel Elliott on the field more at the same time. ‘Whatever they ask from me.’” Pollard opened 11-on-11 drills with the first-team offense as slot WR (7/28), per @clarencehilljr. Pollard was tenth in yards-per-route-run from the slot last year.
85. Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE
First in yards per route run, seventh in YAC per reception, second in fantasy points per route run, and third in fantasy points per target (minimum 20 targets). He was tied with Zach Ertz in PPR PPG from weeks 7-17 (after Ertz was traded to Arizona). Goedert had a 27% target share after Ertz was traded.
86. Dameon Pierce, HOU, RB
Drafted in the fourth round, on a team that should be trailing often, slow by NFL standards with a 4.59 forty-yard dash and 48th-percentile Burst Score (Breakoutfinder.com). In his senior season, Pierce only gained 574 yards on 100 carries but had 13 rushing touchdowns. He added 19 receptions for 216 yards and three touchdowns which can be appealing for fantasy. He is a late addition to the top 100 because he is flying up draft boards. I missed on Pierce, but I’m not going to chase the dragon prior to the 8th round.
I really try to not overreact based on the preseason, but if we don’t think Dameon Pierce can overtake Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack based on what we have seen (and what the coaches are telling us), we should just stop playing fantasy football.
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) August 26, 2022
87. T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE
He was the TE3 through the first eight weeks of the season last year.
88. Tom Brady, TB, QB
Tampa’s O-line is falling apart, and Brady was away from the team for over a week for personal reasons. I am leaning that he really wants to be retired but wants to leave on his own terms. I can’t discount him too far after last season, but father time is undefeated… well, he has been until TB12.
89. Devin Singletary, BUF, RB
It seems as though the team may want to scale back Singletary’s role in the passing game with the addition of second-round rookie James Cook. He sat out the first preseason game as expected, which means he should be considered the expected primary running back. “Devin Singletary looked explosive in pad’s…The highlight play today on the ground came from Singletary, who broke off a good run up the middle and finished it close to the end zone. He looked quick through the line on most plays and just stood out in his runs.”
90. Rhamondre Stevenson, NE, RB
147 touches, 43 missed tackles, 100.1 Elusive rating in 2021 – 3rd in the NFL amongst players with over 120 attempts. Rob Ninkovich, former Patriots linebacker, had the following to say about Stevenson: “I think Rhamondre Stevenson will be one of the better, if not one of the top three, running backs in the league based on what I saw with his strength, explosion, and catch-and-run ability. I think that’s going to be a big part of the identity they have.”
91. Matthew Stafford, LAR, QB
Stafford ranks second in EPA/att on passes thrown 25+ yards since 2020, per @Sharpfootball. There has been a general fade of Stafford because of tendonitis in his elbow; it’s actually an issue he’s been dealing with for years. Stafford is one of the toughest guys in the game; he’ll take a shot if necessary and keep grinding.
92. Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB
The overrated half of a committee backfield, but he should get pretty heavy volume to start the season. Seattle has bad quarterbacks, plays NFC/AFC West, and will trail heavily, terrible O-line in a low-volume offense.
93. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB
He was efficient when healthy last year, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but he couldn’t find the endzone at all. He should be in line for positive regression, but he’s splitting reps with Kenny Gainwell pretty evenly in the preseason.
If Miles Sanders is saying don’t draft Miles Sanders in fantasy football, there is no choice but to move Kenny Gainwell and his 11% target share and 20 red zone touches from his rookie year up the ranks 📈 https://t.co/Y6HNOHZGoY
— Josh Larky (@jlarkytweets) June 30, 2022
94. Chris Olave, NO, WR
Rookie, 11th overall pick, 6’0″, 187lbs, 9 1/2″ hands, 4.39 forty, 32″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump. He should be a solid Z or slot WR opposite Michael Thomas.
95. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR
Always under-estimated, but his production is much better suited for best ball; he is very boom-bust. He also benefited from cohesion with Wilson on busted plays. Lock or Geno Smith probably won’t provide the same target distribution.
96. Damien Harris, NE, RB
It seems like Stevenson is taking over the backfield… although it’s unlikely we have a clue what is going to happen in this backfield. Running-backs have scored 15 or more rush TDs in a season 67 times in league history. Only five scored fewer fantasy points than Harris last year. Only two others failed to finish as an RB1.
A running back has scored 15 or more rush TDs in a season 67 times in league history.
Only five scored fewer fantasy points than Damien Harris in ’21. Only two others failed to finish as an RB1 (Jacobs/White).
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) August 24, 2022
97. Robert Woods, TEN, WR
He’s very consistent at earning targets but has never been an end-zone guy, lack of TDs will continue to hinder his upside. High floor, low ceiling.
98. Zach Ertz, ARI, TE
Ertz was the TE5 in PPR ppg last year. With Hopkins out for the first six weeks, Ertz should see a solid target share as Arizona is lined up for some high-scoring games.
99. Dak Prescott, DAL, QB
OC Kellen Moore is fantasy-friendly, and Dak is good. However, the Tyron Smith injury blackens the already-dark cloud hovering over the once-vaunted Cowboys’ offensive line.
100. James Cook, BUF, RB
Second-round pick (63), pass-catching back (43 receptions senior year). @dwainmcfarland and @evansilva are VERY high on Cook; I tend to listen when they agree this adamantly.