14-Team 2022 Draft Plan

season

14-Team 2022 Draft Plan

I used to do a “15-Team” draft plan to account for those in 16-team leagues, but I find those large leagues to be quite rare these days, so I’ve decided to cut this large-league version of my Draft Plan down to 14 teams. I think those in 16-team leagues can easily use this as a guide.

My #1 league is a 14-teamer known as The ACI (The Adam Caplan Invitational!), which is the league for my SiriusXM Show show. I’m at a disadvantage because everyone in the league knows who I like and don’t like, and it’s generally an incredibly tough draft. Everyone also knows exactly which Waiver Wire picks I like each week and more, so that adds another level of difficulty. That said, while I had one disaster season in 2018 and an injury-marred one in 2020 in which I just missed the playoffs after an 0-5 start, I have made it to the championship in four of the last six seasons, including 2021.

I think the main reason I’m pretty good in these larger leagues is I’m good at finding values and sleepers, particularly the players I call my “14-team Specials.” Last year, my favorite 14-team special WR was Amon-Ra St. Brown, and he’s a great example. He was probably not worth drafting in a 12-teamer and even I might have agreed with that last summer, but he was definitely draftable in a 14-teamer. I called Romeo Doubs as my 2022 version of Amon-Ra guy back in June, so he’ll likely figure prominently, but let’s see what else I can learn when I draft a bunch of teams in a 14-teamer. Just be prepared: I love to draft young, ascending players, so expect a lot of youth.

Let’s start a little down the board to get a good feel for how things look picking early, in the middle, and at the end of Round 1.

NOTE: I used our highly customizable and extremely powerful Fantasy Points Generator to build my teams for this Draft Plan. If you are reading this article, you have access to the Generator.

Drafting from the #3 spot

The first question is, are we better off going WR in Round 1 with Breece Hall likely locked in at that point in the third after we go WR, TE, or QB in the second? I could go:

Justin Jefferson

DJ Moore

Breece Hall

Which is pretty damn good to me. But I don’t love the heavy WR investment with WR being so deep and fruitful down the board if you pick them right. I could get Nick Chubb, per the 8/10 ADP, but given the Kareem Hunt “hold-in” story, I don’t think Chubb’s going to stay at his 27 PPR ADP for long, so I’ll pass on that.

Whenever I’m in trouble in a larger league, I usually default to BPA because, when in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to grab a high-end talent. I don’t personally love AJ Brown, and I missed Michael Pittman by one pick in the second round per the ADP, so I could go stud TE and open this way from the #3 spot in a 14-teamer:

Justin Jefferson

Kyle Pitts

Breece Hall

That incredibly young trio is bursting with talent and explosive upside, and it’s obviously a balanced start, helping ensure I’d have no glaring weaknesses, so I like it.

However, the way the board was flowing as of 8/10, as I looked ahead, I didn’t see the value in going TE, and I didn’t like the RBs available to me in the fourth and fifth, so I ultimately decided to open this way:

Justin Jefferson

Travis Etienne

Breece Hall

I like it because it gets me the elite of the elite at WR, and I’m targeting two high-end talents at RB whose NFL careers are literally just getting started.

Now I could go in a number of directions. I know I can get a very good TE1 three rounds later, so that rules out TE. I just took two RBs in a row and don’t like the RBs in these next two rounds anyway, so that rules out RB. Going WR-WR is tempting with Rashod Bateman and Elijah Moore, but I had a great 14-team squad last year due largely to taking Josh Allen, who slipped to the fourth. Allen’s long gone, but I’ll get my guy at QB this year here, even though it’s a little pricey.

Rashod Bateman

Joe Burrow

Next up in the sixth, I grab that TE and take:

TJ Hockenson

And now I’m looking for an RB3, and this is a great spot to get him around 85 overall. I’m always between Rhamondre Stevenson and Kenneth Walker, who I don’t love as a pick in general but do like his “talent + cost” equation in this range. It’s probably safer to avoid some Belitricks, so I’ll go:

Kenneth Walker

I was kinda feeling contrarian on Walker after the draft, but it’s a moot point now because he’s cheaper than I thought he'd be, so I guess I like Walker.

In the eighth, I have no weaknesses now and I’m not forced to lean in any one direction, so I can get the BPA, and that would be:

Skyy Moore

Dameon Pierce

Maybe Skyy’s ADP soars, or maybe reports of other KC receivers doing well keeps it down, we’ll see. And maybe Pierce’s ADP rises 30+ spots by early September (as it should), but these picks were doable as of 8/10.

Now we’re just going BPA all the way and plucking our guys, like these two guys:

Jahan Dotson

Jalen Tolbert

The one player who’s moved up the board the most for me so far this summer is actually this guy, who is a great TE2 in a 14-teamer where you can start the TE as a flex:

Tyler Higbee

Going another two rounds, let’s get another potential sleeper WR and our backup QB:

Wan’Dale Robinson

Mac Jones

This team stacked together looks like this:

  1. Justin Jefferson
  2. Travis Etienne
  3. Breece Hall
  4. Rashod Bateman
  5. Joe Burrow
  6. TJ Hockenson
  7. Kenneth Walker
  8. Skyy Moore
  9. Dameon Pierce
  10. Jahan Dotson
  11. Jalen Tolbert
  12. Tyler Higbee
  13. Wan’Dale Robinson
  14. Mac Jones

With a starting lineup of:

QB: Joe Burrow

RB1: Travis Etienne

RB2: Breece Hall

WR1: Justin Jefferson

WR2: Rashod Bateman

WR3: Skyy Moore/Jahan Dotson/Jalen Tolbert

TE: TJ Hockenson

Flex: Dameon Pierce

Comments: As you can see if you read the original version of this DP, the main plan can apply in a 14-teamer. I liked getting an elite WR and then locking in young RB talent. As usual, if most of my breakout players pop, I’ll be tough to beat. I didn’t address QB or TE ever early, but I addressed them relatively quickly, so I like the balance of quality for this team.

Drafting from the #7 spot

We’re in an interesting spot here if we look to the second round to see who the best player likely available to us is. That’s because the best player on the board in the first is Najee Harris, and the best player for me in the second is Javonte Williams, which is an interesting gambit because it’s actually a little contrarian.

I’ll pick the safe play and open with Najee and then get one of my top-7 WRs, even though I know momentum isn’t on his side this year like it was last year. But I’ll take 75% of what Deebo gave us last year in the second in a 14-teamer:

Najee Harris

Deebo Samuel

For my next pick, Josh Allen is available per the ADP, but I will stick to the plan and scoop up the only remaining available stud runner who’s young as hell with:

Breece Hall

I’m once again passing on a great QB option in Justin Herbert, but we stick to the plan and the plan loves this guy this year:

Gabriel Davis

We can cheat and look ahead to see if a certain QB is available for our next pick, so we’ll go with the best breakout candidate on the board for us, and that’s clearly:

Rashod Bateman

I’m faced with a decision now: do I go with Joe Burrow, one of my 1-2 favorite QB choices this year, or Dalton Schultz, who looks like an elite fantasy TE to me in 2022? I’m going to test the boundaries of the plan with this one, but I’ll go with the TE knowing I have my guy Derek Carr in my back pocket for this one:

Dalton Schultz

I obviously have excellent balance, which I like. I didn’t plan on being this balanced, but the team is shaping up well.

I’m obviously light at RB, but I see my guy will be available with my next pick, so I’ll get aggressive with my WR3 with:

Kadarius Toney

And then that RB:

Rhamondre Stevenson

Now I’m just adding depth and likely a combination of upside-oriented players and cheap veteran values. The less boring the better, though. Tough call here between two of my favorite guys in Skyy Moore and Rachaad White, but I’ll use Toney’s volatility to persuade me to take the receiver:

Skyy Moore

Next, I’d love to take one of the remaining guys on the board who I think could legit move the needle in a big way in Dameon Pierce, but I have to get my QB here:

Derek Carr

Next, I’ll get a sneaky RB depth guy in the 11th round in:

Kenneth Gainwell

And the same WR I keep taking around 140 overall because he’s going to be a steal at that ADP:

Jahan Dotson

In the 13th round, a very sneaky TE who has burned me in the past, but has started to jump out to me due to his team’s WR situation:

Tyler Higbee

And finally, another upside WR because there will be plenty of boring options on the WW if I need steady but unspectacular production, so I might as well try to pick up an early season waiver wire pickup now:

George Pickens

This team stacked together looks like this:

  1. Najee Harris
  2. Deebo Samuel
  3. Breece Hall
  4. Gabriel Davis
  5. Rashod Bateman
  6. Dalton Schultz
  7. Kadarius Toney
  8. Derek Carr
  9. Skyy Moore
  10. Dameon Pierce
  11. Kenneth Gainwell
  12. Jahan Dotson
  13. Tyler Higbee
  14. George Pickens

With a starting lineup of:

QB: Derek Carr

RB1: Najee Harris

RB2: Breece Hall

WR1: Deebo Samuel

WR2: Gabriel Davis

WR3: Rashod Bateman

TE: Dalton Schultz

Flex: Kadarius Toney/Skyy Moore

Comments: I got a little greedy at WR, but that’s a benefit of rolling with the Derek Carr plan — you can wait longer than 1-2 other teams before taking your QB1 and still come away with what I think will be a strong asset. This team will likely have 2-3 buzzkills on it —

they all do — but man, this one looks damn good on paper for a 14-teamer.

Drafting from the #11 spot

We’ll do one more in rapid fashion to show the plan in action from near the bottom of Round 1.

This is really the ideal spot for my favorite RB-WR pairing this year, and at this point, with talk of more of an RBBC in Denver it may be an overpay, but I do not care. I’m taking these guys.

CeeDee Lamb

Javonte Williams

If you want to go with Joe Mixon and CeeDee, I’m fine with it. In fact, I’ve moved Mixon up over Javonte on our board on 8/8.

Up next, per the ADP on 8/10, this is a really good spot because I can go RB-WR again, and I love these two players:

DJ Moore

Breece Hall

This draft literally could not be going better for me in terms of optimal Gurrificness.

I once again have that Joe Burrow or Dalton Schultz decision, but as I look ahead to the next 2-3 rounds, there’s a TE on the board who I think could be a 14-team special, so I’ll grab the QB and a nice and stable RB option, since my top-2 RBs may have some potential playing-time issues:

Joe Burrow

Damien Harris

Once again, a theme for this 14-team exercise is that there’s better depth than usual, and for me a few more appealing options up and down the board than usual. We’re targeting the guys we like and we’re getting them. That TE I’m looking at is available one pick from now, so we’ll next add some exciting depth with:

Skyy Moore

Kenneth Walker

Moore’s ADP is on the rise in August, but it may plateau with the other vets also making noise. He’s no lock in a crowded WR room, but I’m sticking to my guns on Moore, who I’m guessing will be a confident start by October.

Next, I’ll get that TE and another appealing later-round RB:

Dawson Knox

Kenneth Gainwell

Then, still looking for quality depth, I’ll take this guy just about every time at his ADP because he really stands out among the rest:

Jahan Dotson

Tyler Higbee

We’ll close this out with another upside-WR and a sneaky RB value for depth with:

George Pickens

Sony Michel

This team stacked together looks like this:

  1. CeeDee Lamb
  2. Javonte Williams
  3. DJ Moore
  4. Breece Hall
  5. Joe Burrow
  6. Damien Harris
  7. Skyy Moore
  8. Kenneth Walker
  9. Dawson Knox
  10. Kenneth Gainwell
  11. Jahan Dotson
  12. Tyler Higbee
  13. George Pickens
  14. Sony Michel

With a starting lineup of:

QB: Joe Burrow

RB1: Javonte Williams

RB2: Breece Hall

WR1: CeeDee Lamb

WR2: DJ Moore

WR3: Skyy Moore

TE: Dawson Knox

Flex: Jahan Dotson/Kenneth Gainwell

Comments: This team is a little light at WR, so I will have to do some work on the WW or I will need Moore or Dotson to hit big quickly. I do think that’s a real possibility that one of the rookies hits big, and I know I can fill in some gaps on the wire until they’re ready for my lineup. But otherwise, there is a ton to like about this team including a young stud QB, two young stud RBs, and some sexy breakout receivers.

Final Thoughts, Lessons Learned, Etc.
  • I said the same thing last year and it wasn’t the case to the level I thought it would be, but I strongly believe you can use the main Draft Plan for this year in a larger league, the depth is that good. It’s actually better than usual at RB, even.

  • Rookie WRs and breakout candidates are where it’s at for an edge. There will always be some great veteran values who emerge, like Mike Williams last year, but the easiest place to find values, which are more important in larger leagues, is to check out all the young receivers, even the rookies. Last year, guys like Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Darnell Mooney, Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and many more were hugely impactful. Once again, the best way to get value is to pick players before everyone knows they’re good.

  • RB talent falls off a cliff around 35 overall after Breece Hall. And speaking of Hall, he’s a huge key to the plan because he and Travis Etienne are the best RB picks in Round 3. Hall’s even more appealing because there’s a slight chance he slips to Round 4.

  • It’s probably best for me to focus on my top two QB targets, and they’re obviously huge keys for me. Joe Burrow if I get “stuck” in the 60-70 range with a bunch of players I don’t love and Derek Carr around 100-110 picks in if I’m able to get players I’m very into at RB/WR/TE in the first seven rounds.

  • At WR, I’m flexible in that I value a stud WR1 like Justin Jefferson, but I’m also willing to take advantage of the WR depth and pass on the position in the first 3-4 rounds. Gabe Davis is a huge key as a cheap WR1 and a possibly-great WR2.

  • There’s a pocket around 40-50 overall that I just don’t love, including Ezekiel Elliott, Terry McLaurin, Courtland Sutton, Allen Robinson, DK Metcalf, David Montgomery, and QBs Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Because of this, there’s a chance I might go TE with George Kittle or Darren Waller, assuming Waller’s healthy. Otherwise, I do like Marquise Brown in this range.

  • Otherwise, TJ Hockenson and Dawson Knox look appealing to me as potential studs whose price tags are more appealing than most.

Finally, here’s a comprehensive list of 60 players I think are particularly appealing in 14-team leagues due to their values, potential ROIs, being generally underrated or sneaky, having more upside than represented by cost, etc. Players are ranked in order of their 8/10 ADP.

QBs
  1. Joe Burrow, Cin
  2. Jalen Hurts, Phi
  3. Trey Lance, SF
  4. Derek Carr, LV
  5. Tua Tagovailoa, Mia
  6. Daniel Jones, NYG
  7. Mac Jones, NE
RBs
  1. Joe Mixon, Cin
  2. Javonte Williams, Den
  3. Travis Etienne, Jax
  4. Breece Hall, NYJ
  5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC
  6. Damien Harris, NE
  7. Kenneth Walker, Sea
  8. Rhamondre Stevenson, NE
  9. Dameon Pierce, Hou
  10. Rachaad White, TB
  11. Kenneth Gainwell, Phi
  12. Tyler Allgeier, Atl
  13. Khalil Herbert, Chi
  14. Tyrion Davis-Price, SF
  15. Brian Robinson, Was
  16. Zamir White, LV
  17. Sony Michel, Mia
WRs
  1. Justin Jefferson, Min
  2. CeeDee Lamb, Dal
  3. A.J. Brown, Phi
  4. DJ Moore, Car
  5. Gabe Davis, Buf
  6. Darnell Mooney, Chi
  7. Rashod Bateman, Bal
  8. Elijah Moore, NYJ
  9. Hunter Renfrow, LV
  10. DeVonta Smith, Phi
  11. Kadarius Toney, NYG
  12. Brandon Aiyuk , SF
  13. Skyy Moore, KC
  14. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, KC
  15. Michael Gallup, Dal
  16. Jahan Dotson, Was
  17. Joshua Palmer, Lac
  18. Jalen Tolbert, Dal
  19. George Pickens, Pit
  20. Alec Pierce, Ind
  21. Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG
  22. Kendrick Bourne, NE
  23. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cle
  24. Romeo Doubs, GB
  25. Terrace Marshall, Car
TEs
  1. Darren Waller, LV
  2. George Kittle, SF
  3. Dalton Schultz, Dal
  4. T.J. Hockenson, Det
  5. Dawson Knox, Buf
  6. Cole Kmet, Chi
  7. Pat Freiermuth, Pit
  8. Irv Smith, Min
  9. Tyler Higbee, Lar
  10. Austin Hooper, Ten
  11. Brevin Jordan, Hou

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.

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