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Fantasy Football Draft Prep: How to draft from the fifth overall pick in 0.5 PPR leagues if you miss out on RB

A month ago we did this series for full PPR leagues and I had the fifth pick. I started my draft with Justin Jefferson and Mark Andrews, which is exactly the same way I started in our 0.5 PPR version. So the short answer to how to draft from the five spot is to draft Justin Jefferson in Round 1 and Mark Andrews in Round 2. I have both ranked at No. 2 at their position, but it wouldn’t shock me if both finish the year at No. 1. Andrews did it last year.

In full PPR, that lack of a running back in the first two rounds may feel just fine. I know in half-PPR — it makes people more uncomfortable. Just don’t let that discomfort cause you to reach for a running back in Round 3, we like wide receivers almost exclusively in Round 3. Thankfully, there are still plenty of high-upside running backs available in Round 4 and beyond

Here’s the rest of my team from the fifth pick:

1.05: Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

2.08: Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens

3.05: Michael Pittman, WR, Colts

4.08: A.J. Dillon, RB, Packers

5.05: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

6.08: Cam Akers, RB, Rams

7.05: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks

8.08: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks

9.05: Michael Carter, RB, Jets

10.08: Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets

11.05: Jalen Tolbert, WR, Cowboys

12.08: Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions

13.05: D.J. Chark, WR, Lions

14.08: Kyren Williams, RB, Rams

15.05: Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Titans

I’ll get more into Dillon below, as he’s definitely the player who could make or break my team. But there is a path to success even if Dillon doesn’t deliver. Akers has top-12 potential if he can regain his workhorse role in Sean McVay’s offense. Last year the Rams’ RB1 had at least 16 touches in 19 of their games (including the playoffs) so I have a hard time believing it will be close to an even split between Akers and Henderson if Akers is 100%. He was a full go in practice this week, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Penny is the other key to this running back core if Dillon doesn’t take a leap. At the very least, he’s a certain Week 1 starter for me with Kenneth Walker recovering from his hernia. Penny was arguably the best running back in football over the final five weeks of 2021, averaging 134 rushing yards per game and scoring six touchdowns in five games. He’s never been able to stay healthy for a full season but he’s a starter until he gets hurt. Penny is the perfect bridge if you choose to avoid RBs early in the draft until you find a gem on the waiver wire.

One constant you’ll see in most of my drafts are rookie wide receivers in the double-digit rounds. In this draft, it’s Wilson and Tolbert, but I also draft George Pickens, Jahan Dotson, Chris Olave, and Treylon Burks when they’re available in this range as well. A couple of these guys are going to pop in the second half, maybe sooner, and those are exactly the types of players I want on my bench. Just be patient with them.

Favorite pick

Mark Andrews was the No. 1 tight end in Fantasy last year and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he repeats in 2022. He has been an absolute target hog any time he’s played without Marquise Brown and he’s one of only two guaranteed difference makers at the position. I would take Andrews as early as pick 15 and I’d consider him at 12 overall in full PPR.

Pick I might regret

Michael Pittman is one of our favorite breakout candidates in 2022 and a top-10 wide receiver for me. In full PPR I have him ranked inside Round 2. But I did pass up some awfully big names to take him here, including Mike Evans, James Conner, Nick Chubb, and Keenan Allen. We’re projecting Pittman to make a leap this year at least partially due to the arrival of Matt Ryan but Ryan is coming off a terrible year. If Ryan is washed and Pittman remains a low-end WR2 I will regret passing on so many

Player who could make or break my team

Aaron Rodgers is talking about both of his running backs catching 50 passes and Head Coach Matt LaFleur says both Dillon and Aaron Jones are running back 1A in this system. There’s a path to 200 carries, 40 catches, and 10 total touchdowns for Dillon which would make him a steal in Round 4. There’s also a path to 200 carries, 20 catches, and seven touchdowns, which would mean that this roster probably doesn’t have a top-15 running back. Then again, if something happens to Aaron Jones, Dillon could be a top-five running back.

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