OK, the only good thing about 2022 passing by so quickly is… minus 2022. What a dumpster fire this decade has been.
But there’s good news: We all need a distraction, and look, look, it’s fantasy football time. Ready to kick some butt and take names? That’s how we are. Here are our tips on how to make your opponents cry during the draft and dominate your league this fall. I will go first:
BC: Unless the circumstances are dire (more on that in a second), you absolutely should take a runner beast with your first pick. You play two of these every week, and there just aren’t enough studs to go around. Seven of the top 10 ranked players in ESPN and The Ringer’s fantasy projections are RBs. Now, if you’ve landed at No. 8 in your draft and all those guys are gone, are you going to take the RB at No. 8? You could, but at that point, wouldn’t it make more sense to maybe take the best WR available? Because you also play two of them every week. At 8, you will pick again after only four more players are off the board. The No. 8 RB could still be there at 13. Or another top-tier WR. Of course, at that point you’re doomed to expect to get lucky with a late-round RB pick (think Cam Akers or the like). If you don’t manage to land an early RB, you’ll have to guess who to start each week for at least a month into the season. Recipe for disaster.
You can wait on a QB. ESPN’s 10th, 11th and 12th ranked QBs are Russell Wilson, Joe Burrow and Matt Stafford. Ringer’s 10-11-12s are Burrow, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing at QB, sit back and see who falls to you in rounds 5-6-7.
Tight ends are rare; after the top 5, they are all more or less the same. If you’re in Round 3 or 4 and one of the elite TEs (Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, or Darren Waller) is still around, you can consider this, but if it’s not one of those guys, you can ( and should) wait very late to fill this place.
Laugh, hatefully, at anyone who picks a D/ST or K before the final two rounds. These are all the same… a complete crapshoot. It is better to transmit them every week. Some leagues have eliminated these positions. I’m not ready to go that far, but don’t lose any sleep over these options.
Alexi, take her.
AI: It’s not every day we get to call ourselves GMs, so Bruce and I are here to help make the right plays from draft day through the playoffs.
I agree with many of Bruce’s opinions, but here’s my playbook:
My red hot, red zone tips:
Make sure you rack up skill ranks before reaching the renowned quarterback.
The potential point gap from QB to QB is significantly less than the gap between other skill positions, like RB and WR. Don’t waste your early rounds of draft capital at a position that will still have plenty of options available and viable in later rounds. Trust me, the same cannot be said for the flip side. Let’s put it this way: You won’t find another RB of the same caliber as the likes of Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook… and the list goes on… in the third round like you would a quarterback.
Exceptions to the rule to be aware of:
If you have a two-QB league, it may be worth snagging a top-tier QB sooner than you normally would in a one-QB league.
Check how much weight QBs are given in your league setup, specifically, whether it’s four or six points per TD pass. If your quarterback is worth more than normal, as is the case in certain leagues, then maybe jump to the top three quarterbacks in an earlier round. Mobile QBs have added value with rushing yards.
If you’re in a 10+ person league and have one of the last picks in the first round, especially if it’s a non-PPR league, there may not be an elite RB/WR pick left worth your first pick .
Overload on RB depth before filling empty position slot needs
The chances of finding a quality RB in later rounds are slim, not to mention they don’t frequent the waiver wire like other positions do. Having two stallions scheduled in your starting lineup is not enough. He needs at least two more quality guys who can step up during the season as needed, specifically in case of injury, bye weeks or as a solid flex option.
Non-PPR leagues are rare, but they do exist. If you’re in one, make sure your emphasis is on racking up runners even more than you normally would. Getting heavy in the RB game here is the strongest move you can make, as WRs lose value with a lack of receiving points. That is where the emphasis of the point is.
For example, I had the fourth pick in one of my non-PPR league drafts last season and instead of catching Alvin Kamara, who catches a lot of passes, I decided to go with Derrick Henry, who has more scoring potential in a non-PPR equipment. PPR League due to the high volume of career attempts from him.
Some bonus points:
BYE WEEKS: Remember to check a player’s bye week while drafting. The last thing you want is a week with your entire starting squad out.
WIVES: It is not the worst thing to fill some benches with wives. Between illnesses, injuries, and other factors, prevention is better than cure. In later rounds, there aren’t many quality options left, so you might as well snag your top skill position backups now, instead of fighting and battling your competitors in a waiver war.
DEPTH: The depth of your bench MATTER. His starting roster will get him through the regular season, but the depth of the skill position is what will get him to the next level. His flexibility in swapping benchwarmers for starting roles is crucial to his team’s overall success. Think about injuries, bye weeks, or other factors that will require some changes to your starting roster from week to week while you’re in the draft.
Rookies/Sleepers: Don’t be afraid to target rookies and sophomores. It’s risky at times, but sometimes the risk is worth more than the reward, especially since you can catch these guys in later rounds when the payouts are slim anyway. You might as well take a chance and grab a future goalie instead of taking a guy who will likely end up dropping after Week 1. They’re good at stashing on your bench for potential backups and potential flex backups on a week-to-week basis.
ALSO: Don’t fall into the “follow the leader” trap. Just because others start panicking about drafting quarterbacks, kickers, defensemen, etc., doesn’t mean you should stop building bench depth with skill positions. You will most likely change kickers, defensive players (if your league has this slot), and defensemen (you’ll absolutely get a new D week to week) throughout the season, so don’t waste time filling these slots. to the end of the draft.
An aside about kickers and D: Try to target kickers playing in the domes and select your defense based on the opponent that week.