If you’ve been playing fantasy football for several decades
now, you know picking towards the top was the most desirable place
to be as that’s where the elite RBs could be found. But, as
we move into this new decade, things are not as concrete and examining
this new landscape remains a big part of preparing for your upcoming
draft. This article’s objective is to examine picking near
the top, middle, and end in a redraft league and what that means
for you moving forward. We’ll start with having a pick in
the top four…
Building a Team from 1.01 - 1.04
In a non-PPR league, I think this is still RB country. You are
going to grab one of the four top running backs here and then
wait and see what value lies in the second round and beyond. In
a PPR league, however, Michael Thomas factors into your decision
as a WR coming off of a 149-catch season.
Beyond that first pick, there is value to be found at all positions
in the second and third round. Quarterback could be a consideration
if your league-mates allow Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson to
slide that far. Running backs will have thinned out some, but
there should be at least a couple of RB1s left to consider. At
wide receiver, there are a couple of steady options prior to a
drop in value, tier-wise. And, much like QB, at tight end, there
are two elite options that could be there for the taking.
My suggestion is to hold off on quarterback or tight end until
the third round. Mahomes, Jackson, Travis Kelce, and/or George Kittle would be great values then and worth the investment. Concentrate
in the second round on adding a receiver if you grabbed a RB first
or a RB if you took Michael Thomas.
In the fourth, there should be solid options at WR, but not so
much at QB, RB or TE. If the top two QBs and TEs are both gone
when you make your second selection, wait on both positions until
at least the fifth round of the draft. So, picking from the 1.02
spot, here are some possible team compositions after four rounds:
I didn’t include a Round 5 projection here as I think you begin
to look at best player available. That being said, if your league
forces you to start a minimum of two running backs, you MUST go
RB in Round 5 if you only have one on your roster. If you wait to
grab your second running back in Round 6, you’re going to end up
with a Ronald Jones
type - solid RB3 option, but not starting material. One thing you
don’t want to do if you grabbed a QB or TE in Round 3… don’t pick
both a QB AND TE in the first five rounds. It will leave you too
Building a Team from 1.05 - 1.08
Ah, the dreaded middle. The top tier RBs are gone, but several
more risky options should remain along with the possibility of founding
your team on a wide receiver.
In a non-PPR league, Derrick Henry is likely the top prize here
whereas Alvin Kamara represents great value as a PPR running back.
Both come with risk as was noted above. Kamara is coming off a season
in which nagging injuries prevented a positive encore to 2018. Henry,
meanwhile, logged 409 touches including the playoffs, and only garnered
18 receptions, so understand his value in your specific scoring
system before pulling the trigger.
Michael Thomas might fall this far in non-PPR leagues and if so,
he’s one of safest picks in fantasy football. You could build
a good foundation with him as your top pick, but the RB options
don’t look as promising in the middle of Round 3, so a selection
of Thomas makes taking a RB in the second round a priority.
The opposite approach (RB-WR) doesn’t hold water. Wide receiver
is a deeper position and going RB-RB in the first two rounds would
still leave you with solid options in Rounds 3 & 4. As for the
quartet of Mahomes, Jackson, Kelce, and Kittle, I think all three
will be gone prior to mid-third round, but if one drops, they’d
be a great value there. Here’s a look at a couple options
when building a team from the 1.05-1.08 range.
If you have pick 1.07 or 1.08, the three targets noted could all
be gone. That would leave you with the oft-injured Dalvin Cook as
your best remaining option at RB and either Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams to consider at WR. In each of those scenarios, a second round
RB selection seems critical based on how the talent falls off considerably
at that position in the early part of the third round. If you have
indeed acquired a pair of RBs and a pair of WRs after four rounds,
the fifth round opens up to a number of options. You can consider
QB, TE, or even a third RB or receiver if the opportunity is right.
Some owners dread picking from “the middle”, but I think
it works just fine by sticking to one of these two game plans.
Building a Team from 1.09 - 1.12
Fantasy football has always been filled with owners who enjoy
picking from the end of the first round. The reason for that has
to do with what you can then get in Rounds 2 and 4 more than anything,
but this season, what you lose in Round 1 may make this the toughest
place to build a championship team from.
After the first six or so running backs are taken, the next 6-8
RBs look similar in value. So, you might be getting a player at
1.10 per se who isn’t any better than the guy being taken
As such, unless one of the top six running backs slides to you,
this is WR territory. The problem is, if the top three receivers
have also been taken, you are left with a very imperfect first round
pick. Julio Jones is steady in terms of full season numbers, but
tends to get a lot of his fantasy points in just a handful of games.
DeAndre Hopkins is playing for a brand new team and generally speaking,
players transitioning to a new environment don’t make for
a very good first pick.
So, what’s an owner to do? Ideally, I think you could go
WR-WR with fallback options of WR-RB or RB-WR. The key to your
draft the options available in Rounds 3 & 4. You’re
not in a position to go QB in those rounds, but you might look
at a TE like Mark Andrews as an impact player. If so, make sure
you’ve got two RBs in the first four rounds. Again, grabbing
your second RB late in the 5th is poor strategy unless your league
allows you to only start one player from that position.
No matter what, I would urge you to give up on the dream of Mahomes
or Jackson if you’re operating out of this range. While you
may draft the quarterback of your dreams, the other positions on
your roster will suffer and you’ll lean too heavily on monster
games from the franchise QB to stay afloat. Again, don’t leave
the fourth round with only one running back. You won’t like
your options at that position beyond the mid-fifth whereas you will
like your WR options at that time and into the next round as well.
So, if I have a choice, where do I want to be?
Some leagues will allow for some maneuvering with respect to obtaining
draft position and if yours is a league like that, this appears
to be a year to avoid the late picks of 1.09 to 1.12. Taking on
those spots likely means making a first round pick that really isn’t
worthy based on perceived value.
Obviously, the first pick in the draft offers you the chance to
pick your favorite player of all, but if you can’t obtain
that pick, I actually like picks 1.05-1.08 best. You’re going
to get a foundational player plus two impact players over the course
of the next two rounds before the talent begins to thin. If you
read this article last year, it was stated that picks 1.05-1.08
was absolutely NOT where you wanted to be. That goes to show how
the landscape changes every year based on the new deck of cards
being dealt as well as the value tiers that hold those cards in
Strategizing for your upcoming redraft is one of the most enjoyable
parts of fantasy football. Here’s hoping we gave you a jumping-off
point here to take into account how draft position impacts strategy.
Best of luck in 2020 and in your redrafts to come!