Football is back.
Maybe the Trevor Lawrence-less Hall of Fame game is not your cup of tea – or the best football game ever –and it was delayed but, despite everything, it ended the long wait for the NFL to return. And, if anything, it’s a reminder of when the regular season will begin.
In today’s Winners Club, you’ll find fantasy football draft strategy tips for different prime locations, an overview of NFC South betting and more!
We start with a walkthrough of how to draft a team from different positions because, unlike Bill Belichick, I care about your fantasy team.
How to pass the first rounds of your Fantasy Draft
Rankings are an extremely useful guideline to use when it comes to draft day, and luckily the SI Fantasy team has you covered with rankings across multiple formats in our 2022 Draft Kit! But if you blindly select the best available player for the first few rounds of your draft, you could end up with four or five players playing in the same position and that’s just not good roster building!
We’ve offered several guides to walk you through the first five rounds of a 12-team PPR Fantasy Draft from various pick groups. Read the strategy guides below, written by Matt De Lima and me, to find the best way to draft in each of your leagues.
1-2-3: Receivers are shooting the draft board, but a pick this early in the draft still justifies a shot at an elite running back like Jonathan Taylor, Austin Ekeler Where Christian McCaffrey. With one of the top players on the board locked in, see how you should proceed in later rounds with a pair of picks in rounds 2-3 and 4-5.
4-5-6: You have a real decision to make in the first round and, no, you’re not crazy to think that’s a good position to grab a receiver like Cooper Kupp Where Justin Jefferson. But now you have to wait to address RB1. Fortunately, there are good options available in the second and third rounds.
7-8-9: There is a bit of a drop in level after the seventh pick, but there are still plenty of great players available in the first like Dalvin Cook and Ja’Marr Chase. And you’ll be back soon enough with a pick in the second half of the first round.
10-11-12: Watching all the top ranked players fly off the board while you wait for your pick is hard to stomach. Nailing a solid WR1-RB1 combo in round 1-2 is definitely worth the wait, though.
Brady and Bucs clear favorites to win NFC South, again
Tampa Bay ended its decade-plus division title drought in 2021. And with Tom Brady Back for another season, the Buccaneers – revamped with more Brady rookies – are strong favorites to continue their reign atop the NFC South.
The Saints pose the greatest threat to Tampa Bay in the division, having not lost to the Brady Bucs in the regular season, but Sean Payton’s retirement and key losses on both sides of the ball mitigate New Orleans’ case. Then there are the Panthers, who are trying their hand at another quarterback in Mayfield Baker. Carolina may be better this season, but it’s taking a long time to make the playoffs for a reason. The lowly Falcons round out the division. Atlanta left the franchise legend matt ryan in the offseason and has some of the lowest expectations in the league in 2022.
Will it be as easy as the sports betting seems to think for the Buccaneers to repeat themselves as NFC South winners? Or do the Saints have a chance to regain the title? Read our divisional betting breakdown and individual team over/under betting previews to find out:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 11.5 — More (-125) | Under (-110)
NFC South Future Odds: -350 (first)
NFC future odds: +300 (first)
Super Bowl futures odds: +700 (Second)
Scroll to continue
“The Buccaneers offensive line has taken a hit, especially with Ryan Jensen injured, but they are still strong up front on both sides of the ball and have a solid linebacking team. Few teams, if any, have a stronger roster than Tampa Bay. —Matt Ehalt
New Orleans Saints: 7.5 — More (-188) | Minus (+138)
NFC South Future Odds: +400 (Second)
NFC future odds: 1600 (eighth)
Super Bowl futures odds: +3300 (tied 17th)
“Head coach Sean Payton retired, but the Saints promoted Dennis Allen to the organization and retained offensive playmaker Pete Carmichael. It also looks like Michael Thomas will be ready to start the season. Does Las Vegas disrespect the saints? —Jen Piacenti
Carolina Panthers: 5.5 — More (-222) | Minus (+150)
NFC South Future Odds: +1000 (third)
NFC future odds: +4000 (tie-11th)
Super Bowl futures odds: +8000 (tie-25)
“Caroline has won exactly five games in each of the past three years. The question bettors face is, can a healthy McCaffrey pull off just one more win and allow the Panthers to exceed their total regular season win projection by 5.5 games?” —Frankie Taddeo
Atlanta Falcons: 4.5 — More (-125) | Under (-111)
NFC South Future Odds: +2000 (fourth)
NFC future odds: +8000 (16th)
Super Bowl futures odds: +20000 (T-31)
“Now that franchise legend Matt Ryan is playing in Indianapolis (a trade that flipped a third-round pick and incurred $40 million in dead money) and top receiver Calvin Ridley is suspended for the season for gambling, the Reconstruction is in full swing and Atlanta projects to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. —Kyle Wood
More split betting splits:
CAF East: Invoices | Patriots | dolphins | Jets
NFC East: Cowboys | Eagles | Commanders | giants
AFC South: titans | Foals | Texas | jaguars
Next up: the toughest division in football, AFC West!
Training Camp News Roundup
It is essential for fantasy football players to follow the news that comes out of the camp.
Workouts reveal which players are assertive, who could lose work in a competition, and most importantly, they help inform our draft decisions!
Does the Allen Robinson of yore return to LA after a tough year? How does Michael Thomas behave after a missed season? And what about the constant cycle of injury news around the NFL?
Shawn Childs analyzed some of the storylines already coming out of camp and offered his take on what each development means for fantasy football players.
MMQB’s Albert Breer is also making the rounds on his training camp tour and he had a major nugget in the Chiefs’ backfield on his trip to St. Joseph, Mo.: Seventh-round pick Isaih Pacheco challenges Clyde Edwards -Helaire and Ronald Jones for the races. It’s certainly an interesting development and something to watch over the next few weeks.
Follow Breer’s Boot Camp stops here.
More fantasy football reading:
Matthew Stafford’s elbow injury prevents him from participating in team drills
Jalen Tolbert’s ADP is up while Tua Tagovailoa falls
Tim Patrick Makes For The Year With ACL Tear
Fantasy Takeaways from the Hall of Fame Game
How Running Back Age Helps Predict Peak Performance
Travis Etienne, Breece Hall to headline Best Options RB2, RB3
Courtland Sutton and Rashod Bateman among WR2, WR3 targets
Our very own Michael Fabiano has answered fantastic user-submitted questions exclusively for Winners Club subscribers. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Fabiano for a chance to get your questions answered!
Here is this week’s Q&A:
@lindy0208: At what turn would you draft a quarterback?
Fabian: In a traditional one-quarterback league, there’s no reason to sign a quarterback in the top 50 picks. Is it nice to have Josh Allen, Justin Herbert Where Patrick Mahomes? Sure. But you’ll almost certainly be hit by running back or wide receiver, unless you’re in a smaller league. I much prefer to load these positions and get a caller on round eight or later where you can get good values. Players love Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr and Trey Lance come to mind.
@jesberger_jim: Would you like to keep Allen Lazard in a standard league against Justin Jefferson, chris godvin, Terry McLaurin, Elijah Moore or Gabe Davis?
Fabian: Simply put, no. While I like that Lazard is the best wide in Green Bay, the list of receivers you mentioned are all much more attractive options. Beyond the obvious, both Moore and Davis could turn into huge windfall projects and long-term caretakers.
Brian Walker: Which rookie wide receiver will help me win now?
Fabian: I don’t think there will be a Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase in this year’s class, but I love Drake London. The Falcons had a huge need for a wide receiver, so the talented rookie of USC should step in and see over 100 targets in the attack.
In other news
The Premier League season starts today: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal have consistently finished top of the table in recent years. There’s more intrigue this season around teams beyond the “Big Six” at the start of the season.
Alabama opens with top-ranked Class of 2023: Nick Saban’s next recruiting class, Crimson Tide, tops the charts, ahead of ohio state, our Lady, Texas and Georgia. See how the top 25 stand out and which top players make up each program’s commitments.
Steelers extend Diontae Johnson: PittsburghThe fourth-year Pro Bowl wide receiver signed a two-year extension after posting the best season of his career. The deal averages $18.355 million per year.
Thanks for reading Winners Club! Have a great weekend and I’ll be back in your inbox Monday morning.