cooper-kupp-1400-us.jpg

When the best player in Fantasy Football last season falls to you with the No. 4 pick, there's no point in questioning it. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes -- just take Cooper Kupp. Sure, he may not repeat last year's historic production, but even a 10% across-the-board drop would still outscore every other wide receiver from at least the past decade -- and that's only because I didn't look farther back than that.

There are some analysts who have made the switch to Justin Jefferson as the No. 1 wide receiver, but if I'm picking anywhere after No. 3 overall in anything other than a straight non-PPR league, and Kupp is on the board, he's on my team. The choices after that in our latest pick-by-pick series were quite a bit tougher. 

The last time we did this exercise, I was also picking fourth and I took Tyreek Hill with my third-round pick; this time, I took him in the second. And I wasn't even sure if I loved his value in the third last time. What changed? Well, I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about Miami's offense after watching them in preseason, and this being a 0.5-PPR format makes my concerns about Hill's catch total a little less concerning. He's going to get plenty of touches in Miami's offense, and while the explosive plays will be a little less plentiful without Patrick Mahomes, he's still going to generate chunks of yardage regularly. 

Pick-by-pick 0.5-PPR strategy1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Here's the rest of my team from the No. 4 spot:

1.4: Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
2.9: Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins
3.4: Josh Allen, QB, Bills
4.9: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
5.4: DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
6.9: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Lions
7.4: Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
8.9: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots
9.4: Chris Olave, WR, Saints
10.9: Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Bills
11.4: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Broncos
12.9: Romeo Doubs, WR, Packers
13.4: J.D. McKissic, RB, Commanders
14.9: Eno Benjamin, RB, Cardinals
15.4: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Bears

It's funny, in both of our pick-by-pick series, I ended up with Allen and Hill in the second and third rounds, I just flipped the order. And, just like last time, I only had one running back in my first six picks. I don't love Elliott as my RB1, especially given Tyron Smith's knee/hamstring injury, but Elliott still feels like a fairly high-floor pick -- among running backs likely to be available in the fourth or fifth rounds, there probably isn't anyone with a better chance to average, say, 12-13 0.5-PPR points per game; he just probably doesn't have a super realistic path to, say, 20 PPG. 

But I think I made up for that with an excellent WR corps, but also some really nice complementary running backs. Devin Singletary's preseason usage suggests he could have a similar role to the one he closed last season with, as he dominated first-team reps alongside Allen; I'm not expecting Singletary to average 17.5 0.5-PPR points per game like he did over the final six games, including the playoffs, but he should be a solid starter. And Stevenson could be more than solid as the possible pass-catching back for the Patriots, in addition to whatever rushing work he's able to siphon off from Damien Harris. Between those three, I should have two good backs most weeks. 

Favorite pick

Albert Okwuegbunam
DEN • TE • #85
TAR40
REC33
REC YDs330
REC TD2
FL1
View Profile

Okwuegbunam has become my go-to late-round tight end. There was some consternation among Fantasy analysts when Okwuegbunam played deep into the fourth quarter in the second preseason game, but the Broncos said at the time it was just about getting him needed reps as he was learning a new role in the offense, and then they proceeded to sit him along with the rest of the starters in the third preseason game. Okwuegbunam is going to have a big opportunity in this offense as the No. 3 option, and don't be surprised if he's lining up out in the slot regularly. Rookie Greg Dulcich is on IR to open the season, which only makes me more confident in Okwuegbunam.

Pick I might regret

Josh Allen
BUF • QB • #17
CMP%63.3
YDs4407
TD36
INT15
YD/Att6.82
View Profile

I'm committed to taking one of the high-end quarterbacks in most of my leagues, and when I'm drafting with my QB-hating colleagues, that usually means Allen in the first few rounds. And there's always the risk that Allen is just run-of-the-mill good rather than a near-30-PPG scorer, in which case I might regret making this kind of bet on him. I don't think I will, his skill set is too valuable, but if he runs just a bit less near the goal line, it could happen. 

Make or break player

Ezekiel Elliott
DAL • RB • #21
Att237
Yds1002
TD10
FL1
View Profile

Elliott has been better than he probably gets credit for when healthy the past two seasons, but between a nagging knee injury last season and a calf issue in 20220, he's been playing hobbled an awful lot. Add in the loss of the Cowboys' starting left tackle for what could be the whole season, and this might be a tough spot for Elliott to thrive in. I don't think there's much realistic chance of Elliott losing playing time to Tony Pollard, but the worse outcome might be that Elliott is active all season and just isn't good enough to be worth starting, as was true for so much of last season.