There are a lot of things I’ve observed over the last two weeks, such as my coworker’s collection of other people’s hair and the hole in my backyard that a family of armadillos has been digging for at least the past week. These are observations I could have done without and which you need not know, but for the sake of a segue, you were forced to. And no, this isn’t Zoey 101, and no one is getting a free Segway. I would call those observations, as they made me sob, and such is not the focus of this post. Today, I am instead introducing the bi-weekly fantasy football Hobbservations column, which I will be releasing throughout the upcoming season to break down some of my biggest takeaways from the gridiron. Since Week 1 is still over one week away, this debut installment includes my major Hobbservations from drafts I have participated in, trends I have noticed in those drafts, player values I am targeting, and notes I have from the back-end of NFL training camps that warrant reiteration. So, forget about that hair collection and the holes which fill our lives, and join me in the first Hobbservations article of the 2022 campaign.
1. I’ve seen little-to-no consistency in the first round of drafts outside of the top-two picks.
I did a draft just last night in which Dalvin Cook fell to No. 9 and Najee Harris went at No. 12. Cook has gone as high as No. 3 overall in drafts I’ve been a part of, while Harris has been selected as early as No. 4. I like to think even the non-industry leagues I participate in are “expert” leagues in the sense that not everyone is an industry writer, but has a relatable degree of knowledge as compared to myself. Even so, Alvin Kamara has ranged from No. 8 overall to the back-end of Round 2. Truthfully, the only consistent trends I have noticed are:
- Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey go, in some order, in the top two picks. The only player I have seen disrupt that trend is Justin Jefferson (once).
- Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Cooper Kupp all get selected within the first 10 (usually) to 12 picks.
- Austin Ekeler has gone in the first five picks in every draft I have completed.
- The players with the most first-to-second round variance are D’Andre Swift, Joe Mixon, and Davante Adams.
2. My favorite drafts have started RB-WR-WR-WR-RB or RB-RB-WR-WR-WR.
I always let each individual draft dictate strategy, but the drafts I have liked the most by the conclusion have gone one of those two ways. My favorite drafts I’ve completed have gone:
Bit of a reach on the CEH pick, but I’m higher on him than consensus and didn’t want to wait any longer for an RB2 — plus I’m out on Elijah Mitchell, Breece Hall, David Montgomery, Antonio Gibson, Damien Harris and Rashaad Penny — to name a few. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is know your draft position as early as possible and play around with combinations out of that slot in as many mocks as you can (while still focusing on best available at RB/WR).
Although Razzball’s Jacob Charnow has done his part in raising Pierce awareness via his 2022 Fantasy Football League Winner piece, I’m still not seeing the Florida product go as early as I’d be willing to take him. Pierce’s current ADP is at RB38 and 106th overall, putting him behind Miles Sanders, Rhamondre Stevenson, Kareem Hunt, Gibson, Tony Pollard, Cordarrelle Patterson… the list goes on. I’m here to tell you that Pierce is going to outperform every one of those players, and the highest he has gone in any of my drafts is Round 6, Pick 3 in a 12-team half-PPR format. I think that’s a great spot to snag him, even if he was available in the eighth round just two weeks ago, as his expected usage warrants a fifth-round selection.
— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) August 26, 2022
Is it Mitch, or Mitchell? Or Mitchell Y. McDeere-Trubisky? Listen, a healthy Mitch Trubisky is still better than 2021 Ben Roethlis-probs-at-a-berger-bar. But Kenny Pickett looks good enough to steal the job before we reach the middle of the season. That isn’t going to change the offensive line, or the cloudiness of the receiving core, but I’d put money on Pickett starting nine-or-more games as long as he doesn’t experience an injury. His decision-making has looked more advanced than pundits gave him credit for in the months between the draft and training camp. I don’t think this is going to backfire the way that a lot of analysts think it’s going to. Despite shoddy O-line play, this offense is going to be better than it was a year ago. Give me all the Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens shares.
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) August 21, 2022
5. Brandin Cooks (ADP58 / WR22), Marquise Brown (ADP61 / WR24), Rashod Bateman (ADP80 / WR35), Brandon Aiyuk (ADP93 / WR37), Drake London (ADP101 / WR 40), and Kadarius Toney (ADP114 / WR47) are the best mid-to-late values in drafts at the wide receiver position and possess league-winning upside.
I would be thrilled with any combination of these players as my WR2 and WR3, so long as I successfully smashed my targets at RB. Cooks is primed to be a target hog and is one of the most consistent pass catchers in the game. Brown opens the season with DeAndre Hopkins out of the picture and reunited with Kyler Murray in a high-octane offense. No one is in front of Bateman on the WR depth chart in Baltimore and his talent is primed to break out. London was the top receiver selected in the 2022 NFL Draft and will be competing with solely Kyle Pitts for targets from Marcus Mariotta. Toney wields game-breaking abilities and is a force to be reckoned with in space, and should be the top target for the Giants this year. The main difference separating this group is that I’m far more comfortable with the floors of the first-three players than I am with the last three. Toney could very well finish as a top-24 wide receiver, but he could also finish outside of the top 60.
That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.