Emil Kadlec's plan for your Drafts this weekend
Here's a quick reference guide for your drafts this weekend. I am using high-stakes ADP or my analysis.
1. When to Draft Running Backs
A solid draft strategy is to draft two running backs within the first 30 running backs taken. The number of starting running backs is limited compared to wide receivers. You can see in the graph the slope of running back scoring value reduces more quickly compared to wide receiver scoring. If you wait too long, your chance of getting two quality starting running backs reduces unless you have a sleeper RB you believe in and can take later in your draft.
<img data-cke-saved-src="https://www.footballdiehards.com/fantasy-football-columns/images/wrvsrb.jpg" src="https://www.footballdiehards.com/fantasy-football-columns/images/wrvsrb.jpg" width:350px"="" alt="fantasy football RBs and WRs">
Typically the top-30 running backs go by the mid-sixth round and this could vary from draft to draft. So, it's a good plan to try and get at least one if not two running backs within this timeframe. Remember it's better to count players not rounds. Your draft can be quite different than the average draft - so you need to count how many running backs are going and adjust your draft strategy accordingly.
2. When to Draft Tight Ends
If you're set on drafting one of the top two tight ends (
Travis Kelce or George Kittle) you're going to have to act quickly. Kelce is going in the middle of the second round and Kittle is going in the early third in most drafts this year. Zach Ertz's value has fallen a bit from previous years and he is now going in the early fifth round. I personally believe that's good value for Ertz. Mark Andrews and Darren Waller are going in the mid-fifth and late sixth rounds respectively. Pretty good value there.
It's important to understand if you're gonna take one of the top-2 Tight Ends, you're giving up a second round or third round pick. When you do this you will have to make up for missing drafting a quality running back or wide receiver that you could've taken instead. This means before you draft you need to find a sleeper / undervalued player that you believe you can take in the fifth, sixth, or seventh round that could end up being an RB2 or WR2.
If you really don't have a sleeper strategy that you believe will give you an upside player, then you may want to consider taking one of the many undervalued Tight Ends you can get later in the draft like Hayden Hurst, Mike Gesicki, Rob Gronkowski, Noah Fant, T.J Hockenson, Jonnu Smith or a very late Chris Herndon. Or in the middle rounds you can draft Evan Ingram or Tyler Higbee. There's a lot of potentially high-quality Tight Ends in this year' draft so don't think you have to take Travis Kelce or George Kittle to win your league.
3. When to Draft your Quarterback
As most leagues start one quarterback, this position gives you the most flexible draft strategies. This year, there is a significant level drop after the top two quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. In 10-team leagues with a short starting lineup such as to running backs into wide receivers I believe it is very tempting to take one of these top two quarterbacks. Especially if the league is non-PPR or maybe half PPR.
In leagues with roster sizes such as 18 to 20 players that are 12 team with more starting wide receivers and perhaps a flex, you could avoid the top two quarterbacks and have significant options late in your draft.
With only one starting QB in most leagues there are so many starting quarterback options. QBs ranked between 10 to 15 offer great potential this year. Any of these quarterbacks could end up being a top six quarterback giving you excellent quality at that position and having to give up only a middle to late round pick. Typically, what we do is in these deeper leagues with 18 to 20 roster players - we like to take two quarterbacks fairly quickly together. Waiting as long as we can and then snagging two to give yourself extra probability of ending up with a top eight fantasy quarterback.
Quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Daniel Jones, Matthew Stafford and Baker Mayfield fit the bill. And then there's QBs people just seem to forget like Jared Goff and Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill was a top-five quarterback last year if you take his numbers after he became a starter. I know it's hard to believe and it seems like we just don't want to believe. Tannehill's ADP right now is the 23rd quarterback taken in the 18th round in high-stakes leagues. So, you can get him as your second quarterback extremely late in your drafts. Maybe you want to be very radical and you could take Tannehill as your number one quarterback and use all those earlier picks to beef up the rest of your skill positions. I personally prefer taking perhaps a risky quarterback like Daniel Jones from the New York Giants and then taking Tannehill later to give yourself a better probability of getting a high-performing quarterback.
These QB strategies can give you some flexibility as the draft flows. If players that you didn't think would be around in the early to middle rounds are available, this gives you a chance to take them and then you can use your late round quarterback strategy to allow you to do this. Take these players and then go late in your draft to get your quarterback could really give you a winning team.
4. Wide Receivers?
So what we've done here is laid out different plans for quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends. So what about wide receivers? Well, what we've done here is given you the ability to take receivers early and often as the draft progresses.
5. Late Round Flyers
When you approach the late rounds there is many players of all skill positions that you need to consider. There's always value at the end of the draft and you shouldn't the frustrated when you get to this point. You need to have a plan for these late round players before your draft starts.
There are guys like Preston Williams for Miami, Chase Claypool for Pittsburgh, whomever the number two running back is going to be for the Kansas City Chiefs like Darrel Williams or D'Angelo Washington or? J.K. Dobbins the rookie running back for Baltimore could be an excellent running back three. Be patient with Dobbins's it may take him until the second part of the season to really show his talent. But they drafted him for a reason. Also, players like Zach Moss, Darrell Henderson for the Rams even Chase Edmonds late is worth rostering. Will Fuller is a boom or bust player who has high potential this year that you can have to pay late in the sixth early or seventh round to get him. Don't forget about Michael Gallup with the Cowboys. He had a great year last year and is kind of being forgotten although you have to pay around an early sixth round pick to get him. Some of the guys who had extremely high targets last year such as Jamison Crowder for the Jets is also a value pick. Personally, I like to consider Darius Slayton for the Giants and his ADP right now is late seventh round. The Giants' Sterling Shepard had some serious concussion issues last year and it's very possible that Slayton could be see an increased role this year.
Alshon Jeffery who currently is recovering from foot injury last year is a nice late round acquisition in your draft. People are completely forgetting about his potential and right now you can get him in like the 15th round. Very late.
It's a good idea to check out our mock draft and league videos to get a feel for where players are going and also we provide analysis throughout each of these drafts. Check out the link below.
Video Mock Drafts
Also the Diehards University has many videos including some historic videos that help you plan your drafts such as the stomp theory and Bob and I recently did a quarterback drafting theory video that should help you prepare for your draft.