The 2022 NFL Season is finally upon us, and we’re kicking off with an action packed Week 1 loaded with great options. While we here at Spike Week are very Best Ball focused in the offseason, that doesn’t mean the fun stops once the season starts. We are diving deep into the Weekly and Daily contests so we can use our drafting skills to our advantage every week of the season.
For Week 1, Underdog Fantasy is offering a HUGE Battle Royale contest with $200,000 in total prizes and $40,000 to 1st Place. Drafters Fantasy has posted more than $10,000 in total prizes for their Snake Draft tournaments, and there are Sit n Go options on DraftKings.
The goal of this article is to talk through strategy and ways to attack these specific snake draft style tournaments. By now most people are award of Daily Fantasy (DFS), and of course traditional season long snake drafts. But this is the first year we are getting truly huge in-season, weekly and daily snake drafts that are the perfect combination of the two.
If you are looking for rankings for these contests, we’ve got you covered there too. You can check out our Main Slate Draft Rankings or our Showdown/Single Game Draft Rankings to get a sense of some of the top plays and positional priorities. If you combine them with these strategy articles, our goal is that you’ll be able to put together drafts that give you a huge leg up on your competition who is probably not draft completely optimally for these types of tournaments.
Anyway, that’s enough housekeeping, let’s get to the fun stuff.
Week 1 Snake Draft & Battle Royale Top Plays
The first thing to consider, by far, in these drafts is not just “who you like” or “who projects the best”, but how our opponents are handling the week in terms of ADP. There are only 36 players drafted in every draft, and so that means a HUGE percentage of the player pool goes undrafted most of the time. But many of these are still really quality options with upside, so we need to consider what is the best way for us to beat thousands of other teams that drafted VERY similar combinations.
With that in mind, our “top plays” will be a combination of the highest upside options overall and some “sneakier” options that may be drafted late or not at all.
Rashod Bateman – With the trade of Marquise Brown and the return to health of Bateman in his sophomore seaosn, 2022 has breakout written all over it for Bateman. With some RB injuries, we might see the Ravens throw a bit more (similar to last season) than expected, and Bateman is right there with Mark Andrews as the target leader, but our opponents are leaving him undrafted. He may not ever go undrafted again, so let’s take advantage.
Kyle Pitts – We talked about it a ton in DFS, but Pitts is the unicorn superstar WR prospect that we get to play at Tight End. He eventually got priced up in Best Ball drafts, but here in Week 1 he goes off as just the 4th TE off the board. Sure, the Saints are not a perfect matchup, but Pitts should never be this cheap in drafts, with our ranking of 12th overall and an ADP of 22nd overall.
Undervalued & Overvalued Players
Ja’Marr Chase – Chase is our WR1 and 4th overall player on this slate given the tougher matchups for some of the other superstar WRs (and ya know that Chase guy is pretty good). He can be had in the 2nd round in most drafts, and makes for an elite option to be way overweight on given his upside.
Justin Herbert – As much as we love Herbert and his incredible talent, we have 3 different QBs ranked ahead of him, but Herbert is the first one off the board. The matchup for Mahomes is just too strong, and the legs of Lamar and Kyler give them a leg up on Herbert.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Arizona Cardinals have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, particularly in the secondary, which spells disaster when squaring off with Patrick Mahomes. The departure of Tyreek Hill has created some uncertainty in the pecking order, but that just means we can get access to various different stacks with Mahomes, including 3 cheap WRs (MVS, Hardman, Skyy) that don’t get drafted frequently.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are a juggernaut on offense with Jalen Hurts now being afforded elite weapons in AJ Brown, Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. You can stack Hurts with any of these 3 weapons and get his dual threat upside against a terrible Lions defense.
Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are probably the most underrated stack of the week. With their RBs banged up, I suspect they lean on the pass and Lamar Jackson more than usual in a matchup with the Jets where they are 7 point favorites. We know that gives Lamar monster upside, but the targets are so condensed between Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman that it’s a very straight forward and high upside stack with either of them.
Off the Radar, Low Owned Plays
Marquez Valdes-Scantling – One of, if not the most, important aspect of these drafts is to find ways to get leverage on the field with lower owned/drafted or cheaper players, while not sacrificing upside. MVS does not get drafted in every draft, and he offers the exact upside for a cheap cost given his deep play ability now paired with Patrick Mahomes.
Miles Sanders – Despite averaging more than 5 yards per carry for his career, the fantasy market hates Miles Sanders. But this week he goes undrafted at RB despite arguably the best matchup on the slate. The Eagles are loaded, and Sanders runs behind the best OL in the league with a mobile QB to open up holes for him. He can allow you to load up at your other spots with elite options and still get a pristine matchup at RB.