While there is no “one size fits all” draft strategy for dynasty fantasy football, having the eighth overall pick nearly places managers directly in the middle of the draft. As leagues continue to be filled with more and more managers making the leap to dynasty, we go over a potential fantasy football mock draft for your team if selecting from the fifth slot.
Dynasty mock draft strategy from the eighth position
For this draft, we will be using a 12-team league with PPR (point per reception) scoring and a 1QB format with two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, and two flex spots as the starting roster. Also, rookies will be included in the startup. Depending on your league settings, you might need to tweak your draft strategy to match your scoring format and roster requirements.
1.08) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
When drafting from the eighth overall spot, you need to be as flexible as possible. Your roster is not necessarily in your hands. You’re at the mercy of the draft. While having a game plan is good, staying within your tiers can help you find value. With five RBs off the board, including Javonte Williams and D’Andre Swift, I selected the third WR off the board in Dallas Cowboys’ WR CeeDee Lamb.
Early in the draft, targeting youth and upside means I still have a path to go youth-forward or a more win-now approach and still have a multi-year path ahead of me. Lamb brings both high-end talents with longevity as he enters his age-23 season.
In 2021, Lamb’s ascension to superstardom took another step forward. His targets were up to 120, as were his receptions (79), yards (1,102), touchdowns (six), and points per target (1.88). Finishing as the WR19, Lamb has posted WR2 or better seasons in both years, with 44% of his weekly finishes inside the top 24.
While Cooper Kupp is more likely to finish as the WR1 in 2022, age must be considered when looking for a cornerstone-type player. Lamb has every opportunity to be a top-five receiver now and for years to come in Dallas.
2.05) Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It’s almost fitting these two players lead off my draft from the eighth spot as I compare them to each other all the time. For as fantastic as Ja’Marr Chase is (and he is fantastic), Tee Higgins is just as impressive. Statistically, he has nearly identical stats to our first pick.
In 32 career games, Lamb has averaged 7.2 targets, 4.78 receptions, 63.6 yards, 0.34 TDs, and 14.2 PPR points per game. Meanwhile, Higgins (30 games) averages 7.26 targets, 4.7 receptions, 66.6 yards, 0.4 TDs, and 13.9 PPR points per contest.
Lamb has the better path since he’s the uncontested WR1 on his roster. Generally, you need to be a No. 1 to be inside the top 12 of the position.
However, Cincinnati is one of the few offenses that can facilitate multiple high-end WRs and give them enough volume. Also, I just want the most talented players available, and right here, that’s Higgins. Also, heading into Year 3, this team has a WR corps ready to win now and in the future.
3.08) Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
The roller coaster we have seen take place for Cam Akers is incredible. He went from a top-six ranked RB as a rookie, then down to a low RB3, back to the top 10 in January, and now he’s off the board as the RB17.
I get it. He didn’t look good in the playoffs. But he never should have been in there in the first place. It took a superhero-level recovery for Akers to even play last year after tearing his Achilles before the season was underway. After a five-carry “tune-up” in Week 18, the Rams thrust him into the RB1 role. Akers rushed 67 times for 172 yards in his four playoff games, catching eight of 10 targets for 76 yards. That’s 19.25 opp/game with no ramp-up outside what he did during rehab.
Also, Akers faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the No. 1 rush defense last year — and the San Francisco 49ers (twice) in three of his five games (including Week 18). Adding further context to this feat, once he came back, 95% of Akers’ rushing yards came after contact, meaning he was able to generate power at the point of contact. If anything, what he did was impressive and not as negative as it’s being portrayed.
The RB1 in this offense carries an 18- to 20-touch upside any given week. The only thing holding Akers back is his utilization as a receiver in the passing game. He’s exceptionally talented and, for me, is being valued far too low in dynasty. In Round 3, I’ll happily walk away with an undervalued, extremely talented 23-year-old RB with just 164 total touches under his belt and years of life left on his tires.
4.05) Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
If we are betting on breakouts for 2022, Travis Etienne is certainly up there on the list. To select him in the fourth round is about all you could hope for in a dynasty draft strategy.
Etienne’s rookie year was lost before it was even started due to a Lisfranc injury in the preseason. All reports point to him being ready to go for the start of 2022. Jacksonville desperately needs Etienne and his big-play capabilities.
Since 2020, the Jaguars have just 31 explosive plays of 20 yards or more (last in the NFL). This is Etienne’s specialty. In four years at Clemson, he led the NCAA with 55 runs of 20+ yards. On those explosive plays, he scored 21 TDs and rushed for 2,053 yards, averaging 37.3 yards per carry. Etienne also had six receptions of 30+ yards, giving him 61 explosive plays.
Where Etienne will make his money for fantasy is in the passing game. It’s expected that he’ll be one of the higher targeted backs this year, which only adds to his value. Although Doug Pederson will use a committee approach, given that James Robinson is still recovering from an Achilles tear of his own, Etienne’s value is only set to rise.
5.08) Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Three of our first five picks from the eighth spot have been wide receivers as we add more upside to this roster. Drake London is a player I love and came out as my WR1 in my grading cycle. After he got the requisite draft capital, the rocket ship is officially ready to launch.
London has a big body (6’3 3/8″ and 219 pounds) and can win over top of you and generate separation at all three levels of the route. London lined up in the slot 96% of the time during his first two seasons at USC, but he flipped to 85% perimeter in 2021 and had a breakout campaign.
Receiving a massive 38% target share, London had 88 receptions, 1,084 yards, and seven touchdowns. That’s not a contested-catch stat line. Atlanta can rotate him and Kyle Pitts inside and out to create mismatches on every play.
In my cornerstone rankings (rolling three years), London is behind only Chase and Jaylen Waddle. That’s it. I feel London has all the talent required to succeed, and when you watch him, there are reasons why he garnered comps to Mike Evans and even Brandon Marshall. Barring injury, London will never be cheaper than he is right now to acquire.
6.05) Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
For years, I’ve been someone who traditionally waits on quarterback in my drafts. But in dynasty, due to the length we have these rosters, I make an exception. Nothing is more frustrating than having a great team that is capped by a mediocre QB. Given how difficult it can be for even the most bulletproof prospects to translate, managers can be stuck in QB purgatory for a while unless they make a trade.
I don’t want to be that person, so my dynasty draft strategy involves selecting an upper-tier QB. Preferably the last one of their tier. For this draft, it just so happens to be Lamar Jackson.
You won’t find a better rushing QB in the NFL than Jackson. The former NFL MVP should be well inside the top 10 again in 2022 after missed games led to a QB14 finish in 2021. With a realistic path to 140+ carries, Jackson comes in as a bargain at QB6. In my 2022 fantasy projections, he’s No. 2 for the year.
7.08) T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
It’s likely we’ve seen the ceiling for T.J. Hockenson already. His 101 targets in 2020 en route to a TE5 PPR finish likely could be high water marks. But honestly, that’s okay. He’s still produced back-to-back TE7 or better finishes in fantasy points per game and is on a team that is quietly loaded with talent.
Before an injury ended Hockenson’s season prematurely, through 13 weeks, he ranked sixth in points per game, fifth in targets/game (7), first in route participation (85%), third in target share (19%), and third in air yard share.
He’ll have more competition this year for opportunities, but by no means is Hockenson out of this offense. As a post-hype sleeper who didn’t truly break out, the value of Hockenson is too good to pass up.
Dynasty draft strategy from the eighth overall spot | Rounds 8-15
8.05) Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills
9.08) JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
10.05) Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
11.08) Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
12.05) Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears
13.08) Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers
14.05) Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos
15.08) Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
Projected Week 1 roster
QB – Lamar Jackson
RB – Cam Akers
RB – Travis Etienne
WR – CeeDee Lamb
WR – Tee Higgins
TE- T.J. Hockenson
Flex – Drake London
Flex – Gabriel Davis or JuJu Smith-Schuster