Looking for some fantasy football draft strategy this weekend? Here’s one way to go about it should you be picking with one of the first three spots.
While I don’t promote one particular fantasy football draft strategy, if I had to choose a position, it would be early (picks 1-3 in a 12 team draft).
Why? Because I like getting Todd Gurley, one of the few “slam dunks” at the position (though there’s really no such thing) or one of the top 3 receivers. Should you go receiver first, I like the RB and WR options typically available with the 2nd and 3rd round picks. I will rarely stray from having 2 WRs and 1 RB with the first three picks, but of course, one always has to be willing to pivot depending on how things play out.
Let’s walk through a standard mock draft with the third pick using the mock draft tool at fantasypros.com.
Round 1: The easiest pick you’ll ever have to make. Most of the time, you’ll end up with Gurley, as Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. tend to usually go 1 and 2. But if for some reason Gurley goes, then you’ll just have to settle for one of the top two receivers in the game. In PPR, I tend to go for Julio Jones or Beckham.
Why Gurley over Jones in standard? It just seems safer. Jones should he great, but not knowing which Matt Ryan will show up gives me pause. You know the targets will be there in PPR, you don’t know if the touchdowns will be there in standard.
Rounds 2 – 3: Should you have Gurley, you’ll want to target the best receiver on your board. In this case, that was Keenan Allen. While you’re at it, take the next best receiver on the way back, which is Brandin Cooks.
Jeremy Hill is there, and is our 13th standard RB. The next best available on our board is Frank Gore, which is not very exciting. Gore is more of a consolation prize if you miss out on more desirable options. Meanwhile, there are several fine choices at receiver, like Randall Cobb, Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin and Jarvis Landry. So it makes sense to go with Hill over the receivers. Cobb falls to use in the fifth.
Rounds 6-7: All of the sexy tight end options are off the board, so at this point I’ve accepted that I’ll wait a bit on that position. Not loving the RB and WR options either, so I’m looking at QB. Ben Roethlisberger is our No. 5 QB and the best on the board, so I’m good taking him and seeing what RBs and WRs come back to me.
I need an RB more than I need a WR, but I also am not comfortable with Matt Jones on my roster, who is the best available on my board. I like Danny Woodhead but it feels too early in a standard draft. So I take a gander at receivers. Michael Crabtree is tempting, but Josh Gordon is more intriguing, especially since I already have three stud receivers. So I’ll go the high-upside route.
Rounds 8-9: Now I’m much more comfortable with the RB options in round 8. I go with LeGarrette Blount as my RB3. Crabtree is still there in the 9th and is incredibly tempting, but I won’t like any of the RB options that return to me in the 10th. I consider holding my nose and choosing Justin Forsett, but given the recent news about the Chiefs backfield, Spencer Ware is a great value in the 10th round.
Rounds 10-11: I still don’t have a tight end, and there are only a couple ones left I’d feel comfortable starting. It’s between Dwayne Allen and Martellus Bennett. We have Bennett higher, but Allen is a starter so I decide on him. Next, I’d like to get one more solid receiver, especially since Gordon is still a bit of a question mark, so I take Willie Snead as my fifth and last WR.
Rounds 12-13: I don’t typically take two QBs unless I wait on them, but Roethlisberger is someone I like to back up, since he could miss time at some point. Derek Carr is a quarterback I’d be comfortable with as a QB1, so I’m definitely taking him here. On way back, I’d like a little more RB depth, and Tim Hightower is someone I’m targeting late regardless of whether I own Mark Ingram. He’s an injury away from being a borderline RB1.
Rounds 14-15: Take the best defense and kicker you can.
There it is. I’m quite happy with the balance here. To have what I consider three stud receivers as well as a pretty solid crop of RBs, led by the best one in fantasy, and a QB combo that is hard to top, I like my chances. Fantasypros.com thinks I did OK too, so there’s that.