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June 28, 2022
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Dynasty draft strategy: Picking third overall, is Chase, Jefferson, or Harris your best move?

It’s impossible to tell any fantasy manager exactly what strategy to implement in a dynasty fantasy football startup draft. How you construct your roster is heavily influenced by your draft position and fellow league-mates. Here’s a potential draft strategy for managers picking from the No. 3 spot.

Dynasty draft strategy: Picking from the third overall draft slot

For this draft, we will be using a 12-team league with PPR scoring and a starting roster of QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, and Flex. This draft will include rookies. Depending on your league settings, you might need to tweak your draft strategy to match your scoring format and roster requirements.

1.03) Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

I would argue the third overall pick might be the best position to draft from in 2022 dynasty startups. There are three players I value in dynasty clearly above everyone else. They are Jonathan Taylor, Ja’Marr Chase, and the guy I took here because the other two were gone, Justin Jefferson.

Jefferson is just 23 years old and already has a case for being the best wide receiver in the NFL. I typically don’t like to think about dynasty beyond this year and next year, but when it comes to Jefferson, he’s just a smash in all the years. Jefferson is my pick to finish as the overall WR1 this season, and he’s poised to be a WR1 in fantasy for the next 6-8 years.

After averaging 17.1 PPR fantasy points per game as a rookie, Jefferson followed that up with 19.4 ppg as a sophomore. He was sixth in the NFL in yards per route run and led all receivers in air yards share.

Jefferson dominates on every level. He did drop 11 passes, which serves as yet another reminder that drops don’t matter…at all. Jefferson is a surefire top-three pick in dynasty startup drafts.

2.10) Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

It’s always tricky when you pick near the corners, but not at the corners. I made a calculated decision here to forgo another wide receiver, banking on getting one of the guys I’m targeting after the next four picks are made.

Breece Hall was the pick for me over the likes of Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley for a number of reasons. For starters, Hall is 21 years old. Age matters far more at running back than wide receiver because the shelf life of RBs is much shorter. Hall has a three-down skill set, and as the highest-drafted running back from the 2022 rookie class, I’m expecting him to be the lead back right away.

This pick is admittedly also a vote of confidence in the Jets’ offense. However, even if I’m wrong, running backs tend to succeed in bad offenses more easily than wide receivers.

I went with Hall over Kamara because I do believe at age 27, Kamara is beginning to slow down. As for Barkley, his future is far less certain than many want to admit. He’s almost certainly going to be on another team in 2023 and running backs on their second contract have a pretty bad track record. Give me the rookie with an elite prospect profile on what should be a much-improved offense.

3.03) Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

I was really hoping to get Jaylen Waddle here, but I kind of knew when I passed on him for Hall that he wouldn’t fall back to me. This pick was always going to be a WR given the available names. It came down to Diontae Johnson vs. DJ Moore.

Both of these wide receivers are very talented. Johnson is one year older than Moore, but I went with Johnson because he’s the more proven commodity.

I have no doubt that Moore’s numbers would look much better if he didn’t have to deal with some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL. With that said, Johnson just posted a WR1 season with the remnants of Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Johnson has improved every year he’s been in the NFL. He averaged 9.8 ppg as a rookie, 14.8 ppg as a sophomore, and 17.2 ppg last season. His 28.5% target share was the fourth-highest in the league. The man commands targets because he gets open.

Volume is king, and even with a new QB, I don’t expect it to change much. If anything, Johnson’s 80th-ranked 6.9 yards per target should improve as just about any quarterback, including Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, is an upgrade on Roethlisberger in terms of downfield ability.

There’s a realistic chance Johnson leaves Pittsburgh next season. Even if he does, he’ll be going somewhere to be a team’s WR1. Johnson’s not yet viewed as one of the truly elite wide receivers in the NFL, but after this season, I suspect he will be.

4.10) Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I know you’re not supposed to draft old players in dynasty startups, but my dynasty startup draft strategy is to play to win. Mike Evans is entering his age-29 season and probably will start to decline in two or three years. I’m okay with that because I can figure it out then.

Right now, Evans is the locked-in WR1 in a Tom Brady offense. It’s entirely possible this is Brady’s last year, but I really don’t know if he’s capable of walking away before he’s actually bad.

Evans has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards every year of his career. He’s the epitome of consistency. Last season, he averaged 16.4 ppg, finishing as a low WR1 despite just a 16.4% target share. That’s extremely likely to increase this season.

Older players are undervalued in dynasty startups. It’s easier than you think to get younger. There’s a very real chance Evans has the best season of his career in 2022. If that happens, even entering his age-30 season, will his value really decrease that much? I’m banking that it won’t, and I’ll be able to reap the rewards of having Evans this year while retaining the option to move him for younger pieces in the 2023 offseason.

5.03) AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers

In retrospect, I wish I took Leonard Fournette at my previous pick. I do these drafts and write my thoughts on each pick in real time so this is as authentic as it can be without it being a real draft.

I think Fournette has three elite RB1 years left in him and would’ve preferred that given the wide receivers available here. Nevertheless, I’m not upset about landing AJ Dillon.

Last season, Dillon overtook Jones as the Packers’ lead runner and goal-line back over the second half of the season. With Davante Adams gone, I expect the Packers to lean on their running backs even more this season. Dillon and Jones will form a formidable 1-2 punch with Dillon being the primary runner and goal-line RB.

In addition to Dillon having immediate upside, Jones is very likely playing elsewhere in 2023. Dillon is set to be the lead back, and he has a true three-down skill set. The Packers may choose to bring in someone else to be the passing-down back, but the mere chance it could be Dillon gives him massive upside.

Aaron Rodgers should stick around for at least another couple of years, which means a 25-year-old Dillon (his age in 2023) will be positioned for an RB1 season.

Dynasty draft strategy from the third overall spot | Rounds 6-15

6.10) Amon-Ra St. Brown | WR, Detroit Lions
7.03) Gabriel Davis | WR, Buffalo Bills
8.10) Jalen Hurts | QB, Philadelphia Eagles
9.03) Chase Edmonds | RB, Miami Dolphins
10.10) Dallas Goedert | TE, Philadelphia Eagles
11.03) George Pickens | WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
12.10) Tyrion Davis-Price | RB, San Francisco 49ers
13.03) Jalen Tolbert | WR, Dallas Cowboys
14.10) David Njoku | TE, Cleveland Browns
15.03) Kirk Cousins | QB, Minnesota Vikings

Projected Week 1 roster

QB – Jalen Hurts
RB – Breece Hall
RB – AJ Dillon
WR – Justin Jefferson
WR – Diontae Johnson
WR – Mike Evans
TE – Dallas Goedert
Flex – Gabriel Davis

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.

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