Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies – Pick 9

Fantasy Misfits | Lamar Jackson | Kyle Pitts

by Keith Lott
Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 9

Previously, on the Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies (read it like the intro to a show you are binge-watching), I covered the 8th Pick. It makes sense that the strategies at 8 & 9 are going to be very similar, so for this article, we will have a bit more fun with the roster construction. We have been exploring different draft strategies tailored to each of the twelve draft slots. From prioritizing anchor running backs and going heavy wide receivers early to drafting elite quarterbacks, we have covered a variety of approaches that will help you make the most of your position in the draft order. We continue our Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies with Pick 9!

Mike kicked off the series last week: Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 1

Joe Bond has written about the 3rd Overall Pick and the 6th Draft Slot

Dan has covered the middle of the draft order with strategies for Picks 4,5 and 7!

Of course, there are many other draft strategies to consider, depending on your draft slot and personal preferences. Whether you're hoping to avoid having to draft a running back in the 1st Round or looking to punt the tight end position, read along for expert advice and insights on how to build a winning Fantasy Football team from any draft slot. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to drafting in Fantasy Football.

That's why we have been sharing a range of draft slot-specific strategies in this series to help you make informed decisions and build a winning team! We utilized the FantasyPros Mock Draft Wizard to help play out our Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies for 12-team, half-PPR leagues with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 4 BN, 1 K and 1 DST roster settings.

Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 9

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How Come They Don't Want Me Man?!

If you know, you know.

There are a handful of players in Fantasy Football this year it seems most managers are just trying to avoid. For obvious reasons, Jonathan Taylor's situation with the Colts right now is a no-fly zone! The same can be said for guys like Deebo Samuel and Kyle Pitts as well. So for this mock draft, I tried to target guys who are watching their value drop, for no other reason than perception really.

For starters, tell me why Nick Chubb is not perceived as the top running back after Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler. He is coming off 1,500 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, averages five yards per carry for his career and no longer has to give way to Kareem Hunt for passing down work. Deshaun Watson has shaken off the rust (or at least we can assume he has) and the Cleveland Browns feature one of if not the best offensive lines in the NFL. At 1.09 I will gladly select Nick Chubb.

In the 2nd Round, you can add another player coming off a 1,500-yard season, and this guy caught 14 touchdowns last year in his first season with the Las Vegas Raiders. Davante Adams is arguably the best wide receiver of his era and Darren Waller is no longer there to eat up targets. Sure, Derek Carr is also gone but Jimmy Garoppolo has created viable Fantasy weapons in the past and we can expect the Raiders to be playing from behind quite often which means lots of garbage time points. If the Josh Jacobs situation doesn't work itself out the Raiders might just abandon the run altogether this season!

I am not sure who is actually targeting Mark Andrews as a draft strategy and for that reason, he was my 3rd Round pick. He has put up some impressive Fantasy seasons in recent years, but if someone asked you to tell them what makes Mark Andrews so good, would you be able to explain it with confidence? He is the consensus TE2, but I am not sure most managers will know when the appropriate time is to select him in drafts. Lamar Jackson loves his tight end and that makes him worth the 3.09.

The 4th Round features four wide receivers that people just aren't excited about rostering - Amari Cooper, D.K. Metcalf, Keenan Allen and Deebo Samuel. as a WR2, you can do much worse!

The same can be said about all seven WRs that were drafted in the 5th Round of my mock, but those that will be available at the end of the round include Tyler Lockett, D.J. Moore, Christian Watson and Drake London. What's amazing still is that three of those guys are the WR1 on their team's depth charts and can be your WR3!

In a world where the value of the running back is being publicly humiliated, James Conner is just sitting there in Arizona like, guys, I am literally the entire offense (and I am the tallest player not on the offensive line)! Pick me already! Kyler Murray or no Kyler Murray, James Conner is going to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 touches this season.

I don't normally advocate for a running back in the FLEX but when guys like Alvin Kamara and Javonte Williams are just waiting for their name to be called, it's tough to pass up. Come the middle of the season both of those guys could start posting multiple RB1 weeks!

Just because you draft a player earlier than the other doesn't mean they have to start for you. Brandin Cooks in the 8th Round is the pick at the end of the year where everyone goes, damn man, how did we let him fall to the 8th Round (again!). It's like people forget that even in his first two years with Houston, he put up back-to-back 1,000-yard / 6-touchdown seasons. Now he is on a Dallas Cowboys offense that could be one of the best in the NFL, lining up opposite CeeDee Lamb while defenses have to worry about preventing Tony Pollard from breaking off huge runs!

Play Cooks in the FLEX in the early weeks while Williams gets back to 100% and the potential Kamara situation plays itself out. Then us Cooks a bye week fill in!

At the 9.09 add a veteran running back in AJ Dillon that finished last year as a low-end RB2 and could see 200 carries for the first time in his career as the Green Bay Packers offense transitions to Jordan Love.

In the 10th Round, use your best judgment and take advantage of your league's scoring settings when debating your quarterback situation. Deshaun Watson might still be there, Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones Kirk Cousins - all of them have arguments for and against but should all be serviceable on a weekly basis.

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The Lamar

There is nothing wrong with taking a safe approach to the draft. When Round 1 goes RB-Heavy to start, take Cooper Kupp at 1.09.  Add Derrick Henry at 2.04 when Travis Kelce and the rest of the other stud wide receivers dominate the turn. A 3rd Round DeVonta Smith as your WR2 is a nice addition. But it's the 4th Round where you really get to add something to your roster that makes it special. Lamar Jackson!

At this point in the draft, there really is no must-have RB2 (depending on how you feel about Jahmyr Gibbs and Kenneth Walker) and you already have two wide receivers who can be the WR1 on any given Sunday!

Jackson is back, with a new contract and out to prove he deserves it. Not only will he have a healthy J.K. Dobbins behind him, but Baltimore drafted Zay Flowers and added Odell Beckham Jr. to Rashod Bateman in the offseason and Mark Andrews is still a reliable target. Todd Monken was brought in to revamp this offense and we could see the return of MVP Lamar Jackson in 2023!

In the 5th Round, you can still add depth chart RB1s in guys like Cam Akers, Dameon Pierce and James Conner as your RB2 or you can aim for a boom-or-bust WR3 in Christian Watson or Tyler Lockett. If none of those options are enticing enough, would you be interested in T.J. Hockenson or George Kittle? This 5th Round pick will determine the rest of your draft strategy.

Let's say you roll with a RB - you then need to go after a WR/TE in the 6th Round. After running the mock, I think I like the TE in Round 6 (George Kittle/Dallas Goedert) followed by two WRs in the 7th and 8th Rounds.

7th/8th Round WRs Available:

If you aren't too comfortable with Cam Akers as your RB2 you could spend your 8th Round pick on D'Andre Swift or James Cook instead and then add another wide receiver in the 9th, including Jackson's new rookie WR Zay Flowers. Another stackable wide receiver here is Odell Beckham in the 11th Round. Not a bad idea to grab both of them and see which target becomes Jackson's new favorite!

*This is the first mock draft that I have done where I selected both Eagles runnings backs - D'Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny!

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Just The Pitts

This had to be done. Kyle Pitts was supposed to be the next big thing at the tight end position, but the Atlanta Falcons have been rebuilding and Pitts got hurt last year. The question now is, where do we want to make sure we grab him?

The 6th Round seems to be the appropriate time to select Pitts when drafting from the 9th slot. You could use your 5th Round pick just to ensure he survives the turn and sacrifice the opportunity to add Christian Watson, Christian Kirk or Mike Williams.  Do yourself a favor and do not draft both Drake London and Kyle Pitts at the 5/6 turn. Could it work out? No, because Bijan Robinson is now wearing a Falcons uniform and Arthur Smith is running the offense. But one of those two big bodies could produce a very productive Fantasy Football season, and for this experiment, we are betting on Pitts!

One thing you might want to avoid when drafting Pitts is doing so after taking an Elite QB. The only way to do this is to go RB/RB to start and fill in your WR3 and FLEX with veterans or to just go Zero-RB and hope that works out for you. In this mock, I started with Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry and have Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and Christian Watson as my three WRs. I am totally fine with that on a weekly basis.

Kyle Pitts turns 23 in the middle of the 2023 NFL season and it's sad that we are basically writing this kid off already. We will hopefully see a different Atlanta Falcons offense this season and one that can produce Fantasy studs!


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