Last Minute Draft Advice

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Thank you... fantasy football draft, for letting me know that even in my fantasies, I am bad at sports.

-Jimmy Fallon

This weekend is one of the biggest draft weekends of the year! Are you ready for your draft? Have you put in the prep work? Do you have a plan? Do you know the storylines coming out of training camp this season? Have no fear if you don’t, because the WATO crew is here for YOU!

Early Rounds: Mitigate RISK!

For simplicity purposes, this article will be curtailing to redraft, half PPR leagues. First off, throw out those top 200 player lists you googled before you left for your draft. Go out and get yourself tiered position rankings that will allow you to see the best players available every round at each position. Now let’s talk about the first round. The first round can be tricky. This is the round that will set the table for the rest of your draft, and although your first-round pick won’t single handedly win you your league, it could very well lose it for you if it doesn’t pan out (ask our host about Lev Bell and Dovonte Freeman).  The key here is to mitigate risk! Why spend your first-round pick on a guy that has question marks? Let other people in your league take on that headache and move to take the more stable picks.  For example, does it pay for you to draft Zeke if you have a top 5 pick? My answer today at 4am on August 20th would be no, because there has been zero movement on that front. I would much rather take one of the top WRs or a Lev Bell at that spot and sleep like a baby after my draft. Yes, Zeke has RB1 upside, but at this point he also has the downside of completely messing up your fantasy season.

Personally, I think this year more than most, the running back position will thin out quick in most drafts.  In majority of my mock drafts I have been taking a RB with my first few picks, unless the scenario plays out for me to get a top WR like Adams, Hopkins, or Julio. The second and third rounds will still carry heavy draft capital and you should remain conservative with these picks. There has been so much news with Todd Gurley’s health this off-season, he is sure to be around later than he has been the past few years. His ADP currently sits in the middle of the 2nd round.  The upside is there, but do you think its worth the risk to use your second pick there when guys like Connor, Beckham, Juju, and Evans are in that same round?  This is another situation where I want nothing to do with Gurley if those other guys are on the board. Now, if Gurley falls then there is value to be had, but again don’t add risk to your roster when you don’t have to early.

I know my dislike for Dalvin Cook has been high this season, but it needs to be addressed that this has not changed. He has the talent to be a top end back, but I don’t feel strong about his potential to do so. He has not played a single snap in the preseason.  Two games ago he was suited up and expected to play, yet Zimmer held him out because of “turf conditions”.  Alexander Mattison has been running with the 1’s during both preseason games.  2 out of the 3 WATO members were at the last Vikings’ game in person and we both agreed that the line didn’t look very good, even with the new additions. My concern with Cook is that even if he is healthy, I don’t see the Vikings running him into the ground when they continue to wrap him in bubble wrap.  Mattison will be involved and the line will still have some of the issues they did last year. Long story longer, Dalvin is also going in the 2nd round. This is risk you do not need, and I would be looking to start my team with someone else.

So, what have we learned for our first couple rounds? Risk mitigation!

QB’s / TE’s

We have already put out shows on QB and that you should be waiting to draft this position late. This has not changed, and you can find great value late in a guy like Lamar Jackson going in the 11/12 rounds. Josh Allen also has that great rushing upside and he is currently going in the 14th round!

If you aren’t drafting a top 3/4 TE, then you are waiting until the later rounds to get one.  Also, do not be the team that drafts 2 streamer TE’s because this is only wasting a roster spot for you. Some great TE values are Vance Mcdonald (8th), David Njoku (11th), and both Mark Andrews and Jordan Reed (13th).

 Mid to late rounds: Chase upside!

The mid to late rounds are where fantasy championships can be won! These are where your sleepers, camp hype players, and guys in position battles emerge to push you to fantasy glory! These are the rounds where you should be taking risks and getting the guys you believe in!  Does it benefit you to carry a WR5/6 on your bench, or would your team look better with some upside RB’s or WR’s that could slot into a WR1/2 role with an injury?  I have been a giant Darwin Thompson believer since day 1. Damien Williams still owns the job, but Thompson has looked amazing in the preseason. Thompson’s ADP currently sits in the 13th round! The upside to be had with this pick is fantastic and that’s what you should look for to add to your team. A WR that also offers some great upside is Tyrell Williams! This guy is also going in the 13th round. With all the craziness going on with Antonio Brown, it would be smart of you to get Williams as he has the upside to carry the load if Brown is out! Chase the upside with these later round picks, and don’t be afraid to get “your guy”.

Stay in the game!

If your draft doesn’t go how you want it to, do not worry! Stay in the game and be active on the waiver wire and making trades! There will be numerous players that emerge throughout the year that will be fantasy difference makers in big weeks, just ask Damien Williams owners from last year! Good luck in all your upcoming drafts and don’t forget to hang out with the WATO crew all season!

Article by: Nick Busch