It’s a great time of year for Fantasy Football enthusiasts – DRAFT SEASON! Drafts will be happening all this month (although you really should wait until the third week of the preseason is completed) so here are some thoughts to help with your draft. Ultimately, you’re looking to lay the foundation and give yourself a chance to be successful over the course of the season. So many things need to go just right over the course of a season that you’re not going to win your fantasy season on draft day. You can certainly lose it however, be prepared.
This seems to be more and more cliché each year but wait on QB. Eventually there will have to come a point where everyone will wait and taking a top rated QB will become the optimum play, but every draft I do the top QBs are off the board too early. This is why. The top 5 QBs last year averaged 21.66 points per game. QBs 11-15 averaged 17.34 points per game. That’s a difference of about 4 points per game. If you look at the same for running backs it jumps to about 6 points per game. Based on the assumption that you want to maximize your points per week, you would rather have a top RB and middle QB than top QB and middle RB. There are a number of other issues but essentially it boils down to opportunity cost. I would love to have the best QB on my team but in order for me to draft that QB I have to give up drafting say a running back. I would rather have better skilled players and a middle of the pack QB than the best QB and a middle of the road skilled players
The other strategy that I like to implement is when I do take a QB, I take a second very shortly after. This is less about bye week fill ins and more about insurance/point maximization. Players do have bad seasons all the time. Having two middle of the pack QBs is a great way to ensure that you will have at least one start-able player (especially as most teams in the leagues I play in draft 2 QBs making waiver wire adds more difficult). The second is that I generally like to play the match-up. You can easily find two middle of the pack QBs that will produce higher than the top QB (taking whichever QB has the better week as your total). Now you still have to start the correct QB but generally speaking if you play the match-up you can create a QB by committee that produces close to a top QB level.
I would argue that running back is the most important position to hit on, especially early on. You need to have a quote unquote stud running back that you can send out there every week. The first running back you take is going to have the best chance at that but it’s really 50/50 whether they will live up to that stud status. That is one reason you need to prioritize it early and often. Give yourself the most amount of chances to get a stud. According to ADP, Todd Gurley was the first RB taken in most drafts last year. He finished 20th in total points. Useable but certainly not what owners had hoped for when they drafted him. If they had put all their eggs into that basket and waited a long time to draft another they were screwed.
The other issue if injuries. Running backs take such a beating and because of this miss the most amount of games due to injury on average. Counting on two running backs for an entire season isn’t realistic, so you’re going to want to come out of the draft with at least 3 that you would be comfortable starting – but the more the merrier.
Trust me. Having that one running back that you can pencil into your lineup every week makes your life so much easier. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a good chance at that by drafting running backs early and often.