The middle rounds are often where fantasy football leagues are won and lost. This is the point in the draft where managers need to make tough calls between drafting reliable producers and reaching for upside, and a balance between those two objectives is often the best plan.
Here are the best and worst options from Rounds 7-10.
Round 7: Picks 61-70
Safest Bet: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams – 64th overall
Woods has been ultra-reliable as a member of the Rams, averaging 88 catches and 1,176 yards across the past two seasons. Still in his prime at age 28, he should have no trouble teaming up with Jared Goff to top the 1,000-yard plateau for a third straight campaign. Wide receiver is not as deep this year as some people believe, and plucking gems like Woods in the middle rounds can set the foundation for a championship.
Underrated: DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins – 61st overall
Sure, it didn’t come until his fifth season, but Parker still deserves credit for a massive breakout campaign (1,202 yards, 9 TDs) in 2019. The former first-round pick really took off after Preston Williams was lost to injury, and even though Williams is back in action, the rapport that Parker established with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick down the stretch should form the foundation of Miami’s passing game. At pick 61, someone who tallied 733 yards in his final seven 2019 games makes plenty of sense.
Overrated: San Francisco Defense – 65th overall
I can’t believe I have to write this but don’t pick a defense in Rd. 7.
Even if you live next door to Levi’s Stadium and have a giant picture of Nick Bosa tattooed on your back, don’t grab a defense until the final three rounds of your draft.
Round 8: Picks 71-80
Safest Bet: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – 73rd overall
Ryan is as safe as QBs come. The 35-year-old has missed three games in his 12-year career, is on a string of nine straight 4,000-yard seasons, and has tossed at least 26 TDs in eight of the past 10 years. With fragile Todd Gurley and not much else in the Falcons backfield, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is going to lead a pass-heavy offense that will rely heavily on Ryan each week.
Underrated: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams – 71st overall
Running backs from unsettled backfields are great breakout candidates, and few backfields are as unsettled as that of the Rams. Among the possibilities to emerge from this group, Akers is clearly the most talented. Not having the benefit of a full offseason program could hurt the rookie early on, but once this former Florida State stud gets rolling, he may leave Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson as complete afterthoughts.
Overrated: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens – 78th overall
There is only one thing worse than choosing a defense in Rd. 7, and it’s grabbing a kicker in Rd. 8. Kickers should be taken in the final two rounds of every draft, even in oddball scoring systems where they accumulate plenty of points.
Round 9: Picks 81-90
Safest Bet: Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns – 88th overall
Offseason hip surgery gave me pause on this pick, but I’m trusting Landry to be healthy by Week 1 and remain one of fantasy football’s most consistent receivers. The former LSU star has produced 81-112 catches and 976-1,174 yards in each of the past five seasons, and he should benefit from the addition of head coach Kevin Stefanski, who tends to use multiple TE sets and stick with two WRs as primary targets.
Underrated: Evan Engram, New York Giants – 85th overall
Simply put, an Engram breakout campaign will happen as soon as he stays healthy. The 25-year-old racked up 467 yards in just half of the 2019 season after collecting 577 yards in 11 games the year before. Had Engram not missed the second half due to injury, we might be talking about someone who threatened the 1,000-yard plateau and is being drafted with the likes of Zach Ertz and Mark Andrews.
Overrated: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals – 84th overall
Fantasy managers who draft Green are likely living in the past. The 32-year-old was once a fantasy stud, but he missed all of last year after playing in just nine games in 2018. And to top it all off, Green has already dealt with a hamstring injury during training camp. Sure, Joe Burrow makes the Bengals offense more exciting. But we have no idea who will become Burrow’s favorite target, and there are plenty of options in Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross III, and Auden Tate.
Round 10: Picks 91-100
Safest Bet: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots – 100th overall
Edelman stands out in this 10-pack of volatile options from picks 91-100. The 34-year-old will undoubtedly miss Tom Brady, but he should create enough chemistry with Cam Newton to remain the Patriots top receiving target. And when you look at the alternatives at WR, TE, and RB on the New England roster, it seems obvious that Newton needs to develop a rapport with Edelman in a hurry.
Underrated: Will Fuller V, Houston Texans – 97th overall
A former first-round pick, Fuller has shown flashes of brilliance mixed with stretches of injuries and inconsistency. But this field-stretching stud is the type of high-variance player fantasy managers should target in the second half of their drafts. After playing his entire career in the shadow of target monster DeAndre Hopkins, Fuller is heading into a contract year and will for the first time be regarded as the primary option in a passing attack that includes an elite quarterback.
Overrated: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – 96th overall
The days of Rodgers as a fantasy star are likely over. The veteran wasn’t a difference-maker last season, needing all 16 games to produce 4,002 yards and 26 TDs. And with the Packers adding no weapons to their passing game during the offseason, Rodgers is likely set to lead a run-heavy offense this year. Smart fantasy managers who miss out on a stud QB will skip Rodgers and wait even longer for high-upside passers such as Joe Burrow and Cam Newton.