Fantasy Football 2022: Flex Rankings, Team Names and More Draft Cheat Sheets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2022

Fantasy Football 2022: Flex Rankings, Team Names and More Draft Cheat Sheets

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    Ball-dominant players like Rams WR Cooper Kupp are ideal fantasy targets. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    With only one week of NFL preseason action remaining, it's time for some serious fantasy homework.

    The end of the preseason is the perfect time to conduct drafts for season-long leagues. Preseason injuries are a thing, and drafting too early carries risks. Plus, managers should have a good idea of what players' roles are going to be as final roster cuts approach.

    This year, the 53-player cutdown will take place on August 30.

    While a strong draft won't win a season-long league—in-season management and the waiver wire are huge factors—it's hard to find success without a strong foundation. That means picking the right players, avoiding busts and finding value on draft day.

    If you're scrambling to prepare for your 2022 fantasy draft, we're here to help. Below, you'll find some basic draft tips, our 2022 flex rankings (for RBs, WRs and TEs), quick-reference positional cheat sheets and some fun suggestions for team names.

    All tips and rankings are for points-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

2022 Flex Top 40

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    Colts RB Jonathan Taylor will top many fantasy lists this draft season. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

    1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    3. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    5. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

    6. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

    7. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    8. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

    9. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    10. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    11. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    12. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    13. Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

    14. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    15. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    16. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

    17. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    18. Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins

    19. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

    20. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

    21. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    22. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    23. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    24. Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens

    25. Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    26. Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts

    27. A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    28. DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

    29. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

    30. James Connor, RB, Arizona Cardinals

    31. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    32. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

    33. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    34. Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos

    35. Travis Etienne Jr., RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    36. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

    37. Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    38. AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers

    39. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    40. Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

Draft Tips

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    Dual-threat quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts can provide great mid-draft value. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    Target Ball-Dominant Players Early

    The first rule of fantasy is to target players with regularly high workloads early. In the first and second rounds—and especially the first—bell-cow runners such as Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris should be high on your radar. The same is true for target-dominant receivers like Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson.

    However, this strategy should bleed into the third and fourth rounds as well. This isn't the time to take fliers on potential sleepers. Mid-level starters who will see double-digit carries or five-plus targets every week are the players to target here. Think backs like Ezekiel Elliott and receivers like Mike Williams.

    High-target tight ends like Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews fit into this game plan as well.

    The goal in the first few rounds should be to avoid busts as much as it is to find star players. Upside is great, but you don't want to use a high-round selection on a player who, at worst, isn't a reliable flex option.


    Wait on a Quarterback, Prioritize Dual-Threats

    Since starting running backs and top receivers are the targets in the first few rounds—with a couple of tight ends thrown into the mix—it can be worth waiting on a quarterback.

    Someone is sure to pass on a RB2 or WR2 to take Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes in the third or fourth round. Don't be that manager.

    The reality is that quality starting quarterbacks can be found in the middle rounds. The trick is to target dual-threat quarterbacks who might not post the most prolific passing numbers.

    In most fantasy formats—and this is where we'll remind you to check your league's rules before drafting—quarterbacks will earn a premium for rushing statistics. This may mean six points for a rushing touchdown instead of four for a passing score. It may mean one point for every 10 rushing yards versus one for every 25 passing yards. Either way, dual-threat quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Trey Lance could end up being vastly undervalued on draft day.

    The caveat, of course, is that you must remain flexible. If there's an early run on quarterbacks, you can't afford to be the manager who has QB12 as a starter.


    Look for Rookie Sleepers Late

    When getting into the bottom rounds of the draft, there are two angles of approach—in addition to getting kickers and defenses, of course.

    Some managers will go after injury insurance, or "handcuffs." This means grabbing a backup for a player you believe is an injury risk. Don't believe Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can stay healthy all year? Then taking a flier on Cleveland Browns third-stringer D'Ernest Johnson could have value.

    The other approach is to take sleepers who could wind up outproducing some of your middle-round selections. Upside is the key here, and rookies can often provide it.

    Green Bay Packers fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs has had drop issues in the preseason but he has also made huge plays.

    "Aaron Rodgers might just have to live with Romeo Doubs and his drops," ESPN's Rob Demovsky wrote. "The rookie receiver makes too many other plays."

    The 22-year-old carries risk, but he could also be a high-end contributor by midseason.


    Don't Ignore Bye Weeks

    Along the way, you should pay attention to when your biggest stars will be on bye. When rounding out your roster, you should plan for the weeks when they won't be available.

    This means that if your top running back is on bye in Week 8, you should avoid drafting three backups who are also on bye that week. The same goes for receivers and tight ends. This doesn't mean avoiding a player strictly because the byes line up, but it's something to be cognizant of during the draft process.

    You can, of course, line up half your roster with the same bye week if you're willing to pencil that in as a loss.

    This doesn't apply to kickers and defenses—and to some extent, quarterbacks. You can generally find a serviceable spot-starter for these positions in-season off the waiver wire.

Positional Cheat Sheets

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    Bills QB Josh Allen is a premier fantasy signal-caller. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

    Quarterback

    1. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

    2. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

    3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

    4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

    5. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

    6. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

    7. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

    8. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    9. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

    10. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Running Back

    1. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

    2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

    3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

    4. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

    5. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

    6. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

    7. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

    8. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

    9. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

    10. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers


    Wide Receiver

    1. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

    2. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

    3. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

    4. Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

    5. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

    6. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

    7. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

    8. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

    9. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

    10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Tight End

    1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

    3. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

    4. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

    5. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

    6. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

    7. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

    8. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

    9. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

    10. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Team Names

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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (David Eulitt/Getty Images)

    What's Up, Mahomes?

    You Mad, Burrow?

    Cobra Kyler

    Mac to the Future

    Can I Pickett?

    Derek and the Dominoes

    Derrick of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    Fresh Prince of Helaire

    Run CMC

    In the Mixon

    Hot Chubb Time Machine

    Lovin' Thielen

    London's Balling

    Ja'Marr Wars

    Knocking on Evans' Door

    Kelce, Can You See?

    Pitt's Creek

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