This article is for the “average Joe” fantasy owner. The guy who stops at CVS on the way to his draft and picks up an already outdated fantasy magazine or does a cram session hours before his draft begins. Nothing is wrong with being the average Joe fantasy owner, as most people are forced into it due to a hectic schedule involving work, kids or whatever else they have going on in life, but if you’re in a league with a couple” fantasy sharks”, you’re already starting behind the 8 ball, and you don’t have a lot of room for error. Here we’re going to prepare you for your upcoming fantasy draft while we take a look at some of the trends that are currently happening in fantasy football drafts and give some information on things you need to know heading into your fantasy football season while I give my draft strategy along the way.
- Running Backs go quick
Running backs are again the kings of the fantasy world and are flying off the board this year. Typically the top 9-11 running backs have been taken in the 1st round and the top 20 are usually all off the board by the end of the 3rd round. With this trend it’s important that you spend at least one of your early picks on a running back. If you find yourself outside of the first five picks of the draft, don’t worry about it. The “elite” class of the running back position is deep and you can usually get a top tier back even if you draw the 9th or 10th pick of the 1st round. Not to say there’s not upside guys outside of the top 20, as players such as Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory, Ahmad Bradshaw and the three rookie running backs all offer top 15 upside, but their also risky picks and would rather have them my RB2 or Flex play.
My draft strategy– I prefer taking them Early and Often
- The Wide Receiver position is deep, but it has a shallow end
That doesn’t make sense, does it? What I mean is there are about 18 guys barring injury that are sure fire fantasy Plug-n-Plays. And they are usually gone by the beginning of the 5th round. After that the upside is immense but nothing is guaranteed. Guys like Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith and Antonio Brown are being draft in the WR 20-25 range and offer high rewards but two of them are being asked to be “the guy” for the first time in their careers and Wallace is in a new system. Following them are players such as Eric Decker (could be 3rd option in Denver), Pierre Garcon (health), Steve Smith (age), Greg Jennings (new system, poor QB play) and Tavon Austin (inexperience) all come with questions. With that said though if you drop down to the WR 35-45 range I think guys such as Kenny Britt, Miles Austin, Josh Gordon, Mike Williams and Lance Moore offer a nice bang for your buck and could easily out produce the guys that are being picked anywhere from 2 to 4 rounds ahead of them.
My draft strategy– I like getting 1 of my mentioned top 18 guys and then filling in with upside players
- The Quarterback position is the juiciest of them all
The NFL has transformed into a pass happy league and you can really tell this year with the amount of quality starting quarterbacks in the fantasy world. In years past if you didn’t spend an early pick on one of the top QB’s you would end up scrambling to find a quality QB on a weekly basis. That’s not the case this year. Aaron Rodgers is the king of the QB position and finds himself going in the middle of the 2nd round but if you’re in a 12 team league and you’re the last team that drafts a starting QB (assuming no one takes a backup yet) you’ll be left looking at pass happy QB’s such as Tony Romo or Andrew Luck who you can draft in the 7th or 8th rounds. So let’s say someone takes their backup QB before you draft your starter or your one of those people that for some reason refuse to have Romo as their starting QB (You’d be surprised at the amount of people I hear that from), guys like Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger will still be available.
My draft strategy– Unless Rodgers falls to the end of the 3rd round, I’m taking Romo or Luck later on in the draft.
- The Tight End position drops off quick
Don’t get me wrong, I like the tight end position this year but there’s only 8 guys I’d feel comfortable starting on a weekly basis with only 4 being a proven, reliable fantasy commodity . With question marks surrounding Rob Gronkowski’s availability to start the season, Jimmy Graham finds himself as the only clear cut top tiered talent of this group and he’s being drafted like it, as he’s usually off the board in the middle of the 2nd round. Even with Gronk’s question marks coming into the season his elite upside still has him being taken as the 2nd tight end and that usually gets him off the board somewhere in the 4th round. After those two, in the next tier you have Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez who are both getting up there in age but are as reliable as they come. Rounding out my top 8 tight ends and the guys in my 4th tier are Dennis Pitta, Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen and Kyle Rudolph who all come with question marks but are also all in nice situations to succeed.
My draft strategy- If Gronk slips I’ll pull the trigger, if not I’m fine with Pitta in the 7th or 8th. If I miss on him Olsen still holds great value in the 11th.
- Don’t be the guy who takes D/ST or a Kicker before the last couple rounds
I’m not going to spend too much time on this but you know you’re going to have guys take the Seahawks, 49ers defenses in the 9th or 10th rounds but I prefer to load up on upside WR’s there like the Vincent Browns and Michael Floyds of the world and look to exploit match ups throughout the year because there’s likely always a defense on the waiver wire with a decent match up. As for kicker, I’ll take the guy who’s in the best offense that’s available besides Mason Crosby.
My draft strategy– If I have to draft them I will, but it won’t be till the last 2 rounds… Other than that, I’ll take upside players and wait till the season starts to scour the waiver wire.
All the ADP in this article was gathered from FantasyFootballCalculator.com using a 12 team league format