Football is back.
Maybe Trevor Lawrence-Less the Hall of Fame game isn’t your cup of tea—or the best football game ever—and it was delayed, but it still ended the long wait for the NFL to return. And, if nothing else, it’s a reminder of how soon the regular season will begin.
In today’s Winner’s Club, you’ll find fantasy football draft strategy tips for various pick slots, an overview of NFC South betting and more!
We’re starting with instructions on how to draft a team from different positions because, unlike Bill Belichick, I care about your fantasy team.
How to score first rounds of your fantasy
Rankings are an extremely useful guideline to use when it comes to draft day, and luckily, the SI Fantasy team has you covered with rankings in multiple formats in our 2022 draft kit! But if you blindly pick the best player available in the first few rounds of the draft, you could end up with four or five players playing the same position, and that’s just not healthy roster building!
We’ve put together multiple guides to take you through the first five rounds of the 12-team PPR fantasy draft. Read the strategy guides below, written by Matt De Lima and myself, to discover the best way to draft in each of your leagues.
1-2-3: Receivers target the draft board, but a pick this early in the draft still guarantees a shot at an elite running back like him Jonathan Taylor, Austin Ekeler or Christian McCaffrey. When one of the best players on the board is locked up, see how you should proceed in the later rounds with a pair of spades on turns 2-3 and 4-5.
4-5-6: You have to make the right decision in the first round and, no, you’re not crazy to think this is a good position to grab a receiver like Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson. But now you have to wait to turn to RB1. Fortunately, there are good options available in the second and third rounds.
7-8-9: There is a slight drop in levels after the seventh pick, but there are still plenty of great players available in the first like Dalvin Cook and I’Marr Chase. And you’ll soon be back on the spade clock in the back half of the first round.
10-11-12: It’s hard to stomach watching all the top ranked players fly off the board while you wait for your pick. Getting a solid WR1-RB1 combo in a 1-2 move certainly makes the wait worth it.
Brady, Bucs wipe out favorites to win NFC South, again
Tampa Bay ended its decade-long division title drought in 2021. And with Tom Brady Back for another season, the Buccaneers – rebuilt with more Brady recruits – are heavy favorites to continue their reign atop the NFC South.
The Saints they represent the biggest threat Tampa Bay in the division, having not lost to Brady’s Bucs in the regular season, but Sean Payton’s retirement and key losses on both sides of the ball dampen New Orleans’ case. Then there are the Panthers, who are trying out another quarterback Baker Mayfield. Carolina might be better this season, but it’s a long shot to make the playoffs for a reason. The division is rounded out by the lowly Sokols. Atlanta has moved on from being a franchise legend Matt Ryan in the offseason and has some of the lowest expectations in the league in 2022.
Will it be as easy as the bookies think for the Buccaneers to repeat as NFC South winners? Or do the Saints have a chance to reclaim the title? Read our divisional betting analysis and individual team over/under betting previews to find out:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 11.5 — More (-125) | Less (-110)
NFC South future odds: -350 (first)
NFC Future Chances: +300 (first)
Super Bowl Futures Odds: +700 (other)
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“The Buccaneers’ offensive line took a hit, especially with Ryan Jensen injured, but they’re still strong on both sides of the ball and have a strong linebacker. Few teams, if any, have a stronger roster than Tampa Bay.” — Matt Ehalt
New Orleans Saints: 7.5 — More (-188) | Below (+138)
NFC South future odds: +400 (other)
NFC Future Chances: 1600 (eighth)
Super Bowl Futures Odds: +3300 (Tied-17th)
“Head coach Sean Payton retired, but the Saints promoted Dennis Allen within the organization and retained offensive lineman Pete Carmichael. It also looks like Michael Thomas will be ready to start the season. Does Las Vegas disrespect the saints?” — Jen Piacenti
Carolina Panthers: 5.5 — More (-222) | Below (+150)
NFC South future odds: +1000 (third)
NFC Future Chances: +4000 (Tied-11th)
Super Bowl Futures Odds: +8000 (Tied-25th)
“Carolina has only won five games in each of the last three years. The question bettors face is: Can a healthy McCaffrey result in just one more win and allow the Panthers to surpass their regular season win total projection of 5.5 games?” — Frankie Taddeo
Atlanta Falcons: 4.5 — More (-125) | Less (-111)
NFC South future odds: +2000 (fourth)
NFC Future Chances: +8000 (16.)
Super Bowl Futures Odds: +20000 (T-31st)
“Now that franchise legend Matt Ryan is playing in Indianapolis (a trade that returned a third-round pick and netted $40 million in dead money) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the season for gambling, the rebuild is in full swing and Atlanta plans to be one of worst teams in the NFL.” — Kyle Wood
More betting by division:
AFC East: Accounts | Patriots | Dolphins | Jets
NFC East: Cowboys | Eagles | commanders | Giants
AFC South: Titans | Colts | Texans | Jaguars
Next up: the toughest division in football, the AFC West!
Overview of training camp news
It is important for fantasy football players to follow the news coming from the camp.
Practice reveals which players are validating, which might lose their job in the competition, and most importantly, they help make draft decisions!
Is the old Allen Robinson coming back to LA after a year off? How does Michael Thomas look after a missed season? And what about the constant cycle of injury news surrounding the NFL?
Shawn Childs analyzed some of the stories already coming out of camp and offered his thoughts on what each development means for fantasy football players.
The MMQB’s Albert Breer is also making his training camp tour and had an important tidbit about the Chiefs backfield from his trip to St. Joseph, Mo.: Seventh-round pick Isaiah Pacheco challenges Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones for carries. It’s certainly an interesting development and something to watch over the next few weeks.
Keep up with Breer’s training camp stops here.
More fantasy football reading:
Matthew Stafford’s elbow injury keeps him out of team drills
Jalen Tolbert’s ADP is on the rise, while Tua Tagovailoa’s is on the decline
Tim Patrick Done for the year with ACL Tear
Fantasy Takeaways from the Hall of Fame game
How hindsight helps predict peak performance
Travis Etienne, Breece Hall Title Top RB2, RB3 Options
Courtland Sutton, Rashod Bateman among WR2, WR3 targets
Our very own Michael Fabiano answers user-submitted fantasy questions exclusively for Winners Club subscribers. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Fabiano for a chance to get your questions answered!
Here are this week’s questions and answers:
@lindy0208: In what round would you draft a quarterback?
Fabiano: In a traditional one-quarterback league, there is no reason to draft a quarterback in the first 50 picks. Is it nice to have Josh Allen, Justin Herbert or Patrick Mahomes? Of course. But you’ll almost certainly get a hit at running back or wide receiver unless you’re in the minor leagues. I’d rather fill in at those positions and get a signal call in the eighth round or later, where you can get some great value. Players love Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr and Trey Lance comes to mind.
@jesberger_jim: Would you keep Allen Lazard in the standard league through Justin Jefferson, Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, Elijah Moore or Gabe Davis?
Fabiano: Simply put, no. While I like Lazard to be the biggest in Green Bay, the list of receivers you mentioned are far more attractive options. Beyond the obvious, both Moore and Davis could turn into huge bargains and long-term keepers.
Brian Walker: Which rookie wide receiver will help me win now?
Fabiano: I don’t think there will be a Justin Jefferson or a Ja’Marr Chase in this year’s class, but I love it Drake London. The Falcons had a huge need at wide receiver, so the talented rookie came out USC he should go in right away and see 100+ targets in attack.
In other news
The Premier League season starts today: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal have consistently finished near the top of the table in recent years. There is more and more intrigue this season surrounding teams outside of the “Big Six” as the season begins.
Alabama opens with top-ranked 2023 class: Nick Saban’s next recruiting class, the Crimson Tide, leads the rankings, ahead Ohio State, notre dame, Texas and Georgia. See how the top 25 shakes out and which top players make each program’s commitments.
Steelers Extend Diontae Johnson: Pittsburghh’s fourth-year Pro Bowl pass catcher signed a two-year extension after posting the best season of his career. The business averages $18.355 million annually.
Thanks for reading The Winners Club! Have a great weekend and I’ll be back in your inbox on Monday morning.
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