Disclaimer: I was torn whether to even write this considering I still have 3 more drafts coming up. So if any members of said leagues are reading this, then disregard the following and draft only kickers.
With Fantasy Football season around the corner it’s time to start thinking about your ever important draft strategy. As an avid Fantasy Football player and member of 4 different league (one of which I’m the commissioner, and yes we made a league trophy), I’m here to make sure you don’t make any major draft day mistakes.
There is really no perfect formula to win your fantasy football league. The most important thing to consider is the value of what a position should bring to the overall weekly score. Then utilize your draft position to select players that maximize your chances of reaching that goal.
At each position, there are running backs that fall along the same tier, meaning that you should expect similar production from someone in that group. The following is a breakdown of how each position should be perceived heading into your drafts.
Don’t overvalue the QB position
- While I understand the allure to own Rodgers or Luck, nothing is going to tick off a seasoned veteran more than taking a QB any earlier than the mid-2nd round
- Tier 2 QBs: There is an argument to be made for taking Russell Wilson in the 3rd round, but I wouldn’t take any other QBs before the 3rd or 4th round, yes I’m including Peyton in that statement
- Tier 3: Brees, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Romo
- Tier 4: Newton, Tannehill, Eli, Stafford, Rivers
- Tier 5: Kaepernick, Flacco, Bridgewater, Winston, Bradford
I consider Tom Brady a 2nd tier QB after last year’s showing, but with his suspension he’s gonna be a steal in the 7th round, just be prepared to draft another QB soon after to compensate for the first four weeks.
The first 6 picks of the draft should be running back
- In every draft, no matter what. There is just so much value in having one of the six workhorse RBs (Peterson, Lacy, Charles, Lynch, Forte, and Bell)
- In my opinion, Bell is the best back out of that group, but with his suspension it’s tough to take him any higher than 4th overall. On paper, there isn’t much difference between the remaining RBs
- Good running backs are hard to come by, it’s important to stock up early. But don’t over-reach if there are better players on the board from the 3rd round on
- Tier 2 Running backs: Forsett, Gore, Murray, Hill, Anderson
- Tier 3 Running backs: Morris, Miller, Gordon, Murray, Ingram
- Tier 4: Gurley, Martin, Hyde, Randal, Bell, Ellington, Yeldon
- Tier 5: This is where things get tricky because all the clear cut number 1s are gone. You’re going to have to take some chances with guys that split carries with another player. Players with upside in this category would be Spiller, Abdullah, Jennings, Cowell, Stewart, and Ivory
WRs are a dime a dozen
- Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant are the only wide receivers that should be considered for the first round. But only after the “workhorse” RBs are taken
- Due to the drop off between running backs, WRs will go fast from rounds 2-5
- 2nd tier wide receivers: Beckham, Green, Cobb, Demaryius, Jeffery, Julio, Evans, and Calvin Johnson
- 3rd Tier Receivers: Hilton, Hopkins, Sanders, Cooks, Mathews
- Tier 4 Receivers: Johnson, Allen, Cooper, Marshall, Jackson
It’s really a crapshoot once you get past this stage in the draft which should be around round 6-8. From this point when I’m selecting WRs, I tend to consider what offense the team runs, who the QB is, who the RB is (if there is one of the blue chip RBs in the backfield, odds are opposing defenses will load the box more often, which frees up room in the secondary), even which WR is lined up on the other side of the field.
- If you’re drafting at the end of the first round, why not take Gronkowski!?! He’s only been the most impactful fantasy football player over the past few seasons
- Jimmy Graham is the obvious next TE off the board since being traded to Seattle, expect him to get a lot of red zone looks
- Tier 2 Tight Ends: Bennett, Olsen, Kelce, Cameron
- Tier 3 Tight Ends: Witten, Walker, Allen, Thomas, Ertz
After these 11 TEs you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that you can depend on over the course of a whole season. If you can’t secure a top tier TE then target the next level guys in rounds 5-8.
There are going to be people that reach for Seattle’s Legion of Boom, but don’t be that person. You are better off waiting until rounds 10-12 for a defense like Carolina, Arizona or New England. By holding off on your defense, it allows you to add depth to your bench with more RB/WR.
This position shouldn’t be worried about till either the last or 2nd to last round. You can’t really go wrong with any of the top 15. But when I select kickers I tend to look for offenses that can move the ball but have trouble scoring in the red zone.
Don’t worry if you draft a kicker that doesn’t score a lot, there’s usually a free agent that you can plug in and keep moving along.
Things to Remember
Once you draft all of your offensive players do not fill your entire roster yet. Stockpiling RB/WRs early is a good way to acquire assets to be later used as trade bait.
Each league has that one newcomer who drafts everyone on his favorite team, or the guy who forgets about the draft until after he’s 5 drinks deep and reaches in every round. These variables are to be expected, it’s important to have your own game plan and stay the course. There is nothing more frustrating than a logical owner drafting against illogical opponents.