This past weekend, my high school friends and I had our 10th annual fantasy football draft. While I am the defending champion, have the highest net winnings in our league’s history, and draft in hundreds of DRAFT best balls throughout the year, my draft always plays out differently than I expect. I always find myself surprised by the way this home league draft unfolds, and adding the Superflex position for the first time this year added another wrinkle to projecting how the draft will unfold.
The easiest way to gain an advantage on the rest of your league is to understand the league settings. This is a 10-team, half-PPR league with the following roster requirements: 1-QB, 1-Superflex (QB/RB/WR/TE), 2-RB, 2-WR, 2-Flex (RB/WR/TE), 1-D/ST, 1-K,1with 7 bench slots, and an IR.
After updating the settings on the RotoViz Draft Dashboard, I was ready to go.
Round 1 – 1.07
Top Choices: DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams
As this is the 10th year of the league, I have learned some tendencies of my league-mates, and one of them is how RB-heavy these early rounds are. This year was no different, as this draft started with six straight RBS. I was not considering any of the tier-two RBS, since I knew I could get a similar value value in Round 2.
All RotoViz Rankers have Hopkins ranked over Adams, however, I have them neck-and-neck. The RotoViz Projection Machine expects both to be among the league-leaders in targets, and these WRs excel at scoring touchdowns. They also catch passes from elite QBS and have shown the ability to be QB-proof in the event of a QB injury. The increased yardage projection for Hopkins was the deciding factor.
The Pick: Hopkins
What if Ezekiel Elliott had been available?: Handicapping Zeke’s risk-reward profile consumed my entire morning of the draft, as any piece of news could swing this decision. Just hours before the draft started, it was reported that Elliott was on a plane to Dallas with his trainers, but contract negotiations were still far away. Ultimately, I decided I would have drafted Zeke seventh overall because the downside (holding out the entire season) is slightly diminished in a 10-team league where we have strong players on the bench. If this was a 12-team league, I would have passed on Zeke.
Round 2 – 2.04
Top Choices: James Conner, Nick Chubb, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Travis Kelce
JuJu Smith-Schuster is Dave Caban’s WR1 and Shawn Siegele’s most undervalued early-round player.
Kelce would give me a positional advantage, but my third- and fourth-round picks are in the George Kittle and Zach Ertz range.
Conner or Chubb would be my RB anchor after going WR in Round 1. Conner was a top-3 RB before injury last season, and Ryan Collingsworth identifies Conner as a can’t miss player based on his rushing and receiving opportunity shares. On the other hand, Chubb’s 75.9% of Chubb’s fantasy points came on the ground compared to just 24.1% through the air. This part of his profile is a real concern. Fortunately, Matt Jones’ projections show Chubb can be the RB5. There’s also a chance Conner loses more receiving work than expected to Jaylen Samuels.
The Pick: Chubb
Round 3 – 3.07
The first trade of the draft occurred in the early third round. Luckily the Draft Dashboard allows us to account for these trades.
Top Choices: George Kittle, Aaron Jones, TY Hilton, Keenan Allen
After going WR-RB in the first two rounds, I can go in any direction I like. The WRs all have high upside/downside. Allen is already banged up, and Hilton’s value hinges on Andrew Luck being healthy. Both are great values at pick No. 27 if health breaks in their favor.
Jones is my favorite RB available given the offensive environment and feature back role, but ADP suggests I can get a similar value RB in Round 4.
While I planned to wait at TE, the stale value at other positions convinced me to pivot away from my original strategy and take the positional advantage with one of the Big Three TEs.
The Pick: Kittle
Round 4 – 4.04
Top Choices: T.Y. Hilton, Stefon Diggs, Aaron Jones
Diggs has a less risky profile than Hilton, and Shawn Siegele claims Diggs is undervalued by more than a round.
I expect to hammer the mid-round breakout WRs, so it also makes sense to grab Jones in order to have a balanced roster construction. Jones is also one of just two RBs in this range of the draft with a “draftable” designation per Shawn’s August Draft Board.
The Pick: Aaron Jones
Round 5 – 5.07
Top Choices: Baker Mayfield, Melvin Gordon, Derrick Henry, Tyler Lockett, D.J. Moore
At this point in the draft, the Draft Dashboard shows a couple of Flexes falling past ADP.
While I already have two RBs through four rounds, this half-PPR league is able to start up to four RBs. Rule No. 1 – know your league rules. I expected Gordon to go much earlier in a “home” league, and the risk is diminished in a 10-team league with stronger benches. Henry is also starting to fall in this format, but I already have a similar risky run-dependent profile in Chubb.
Lockett and Moore are at the front of the “breakout” tier of WRs I’m targeting in the middle rounds. RotoViz subscribers know we’re obsessed with Moore so I don’t need to beat the drum on that any louder.
With only four QBs off the board in the fifth round, signal-callers weren’t going as early as I expected for a Superflex league. A few are falling past ADP.
The Pick: Mayfield
After drafting Chubb, it’s no surprise I’m a fan of the Browns’ offense as a whole. Since my friends know I write for RotoViz, I’m also hoping to start a QB run at the 5/6 turn.
Round 6 – 6.04
Unfortunately zero QBs came off the board by my next pick. The “initiate QB run” plan failed.
Top Choices: Derrick Henry, D.J. Moore, Tyler Lockett, Calvin Ridley
With 24 RBs already drafted, I was surprised Henry was still available. I still have just one WR through five rounds, and WR is a position of need for many of the early-pick teams, so I expect a few to go off the board after my pick.
However, I also feel comfortable with at least 10 of the available WRs as my WR2.
The Pick: Henry
This was definitely a risky gamble to roster another run-dependent RB over a WR2, but Henry is falling too far for his yardage and touchdown upside in a league where I can start four RBs. I’m hoping to get two of my “breakout” WRs in Rounds 7 and 8.
Round 7 – 7.07
The Henry pick ends up being a huge mistake because of what happened at WR over the next round and a half.
Mike Williams, Tyler Boyd, D.J. Moore, Christian Kirk, and Calvin Ridley were all draft day targets of mine, and I let them get away because I thought an already-hurt, two-down grinder on an average-at-best team was a value at the time.
Top Choices: Tyler Lockett
The RotoViz Draft Dashboard is begging me to take a WR2.
The Pick: Lockett
Lockett is ranked as my WR19 in the middle of my Tier 3 of “breakout” WRs. I ran to the board to draft him as the WR29. His TDs may regress in 2019, but he should also see a 30-45 target increase.
Round 8 – 8.04
Team Update: I have a balanced roster but am a little light at WR. I have a Superflex and Flex to fill in my starting lineup.
Top Choices: Jarvis Landry, Robby Anderson, Tevin Coleman
Unfortunately, all of my breakout WRs have now been drafted. Landry is a better full-PPR asset, and I already have exposure to two Browns players. Anderson’s volatility makes him a better best ball option.
I already have three RBs, but Coleman could fill that second Flex. Ryan Collingsworth also thinks Coleman compares favorably to Aaron Jones, who I took several rounds earlier, suggesting this is a good value. I expect a bunch of RBs to come off the board in the upcoming picks given the team needs.
With only nine QBs off the board, I have now officially realized QBs will go later in this Superflex draft, so I will wait for my second.
The Pick: Coleman
While I may get my RotoViz card revoked for taking my fourth RB this early, I’ve had a lot of success in this league starting RBs in both flex positions. I already have Hopkins as my locked-in WR1, and I’m comfortable with Lockett as a WR2. A WR at this point would just be on my bench, and I would still need to draft a fourth RB for the second flex.
Round 9 – 9.07
Five of the next 12 picks were RBs, but unfortunately six were also WRs.
With the Josh Gordon reinstatement news dropping the night before the draft, I had no idea where people would value Gordon. I was targeting him around WR30, which I thought was going to be higher than most owners in this league. Unfortunately he was selected at the 8/9 turn.
Top Picks: Kyler Murray, Sammy Watkins, Dede Westbrook
Although Rashaad Penny, Darrell Henderson, and Ronald Jones were all still available in the ninth round, I have other positions of need.
I really need a WR3 at this point. Watkins saw eight targets in both playoff games and is on the most explosive offense in the NFL. Westbrook is a WR1 with a bargain ADP, but he’s also more likely to fall to me in later rounds.
Murray has been my QB2 target this entire draft. With 10 QBs off the board, I’m now considering him.
The Pick: Watkins
Round 10 – 10.04
Had I known Hunter Henry would be available this late, I would not have drafted Kittle in the third round.
Top Choices: Kyler Murray, Corey Davis, Marvin Jones, Rashaad Penny, Darrell Henderson
Penny and Henderson are two of my favorite mid-round, high-upside RBs, and Davis or Jones would be good fourth WRs for a team that only expects to start two.
But the Draft Dashboard thinks I need to take my Superflex QB. With 12 QBS off the board, Kyler Murray has my attention.
Considering positional need of other teams, up to six QBS could go off the board by my next pick in the 11th round. By taking Kyler, I get “my guy” and potentially start a QB run, which would allow value to fall to me in the 11th.
The Pick: Kyler Murray
Round 11 – 11.07
Top Choices: Darrell Henderson, Royce Freeman Corey Davis, Courtland Sutton
The QB run worked this time. While I have a greater need at WR, Teams 8, 9, and 10 having a greater need at RB. Therefore, I will go with an RB in this round, and a WR in the next.
Henderson has league-winning upside, while Freeman has the higher floor. Given that I already have four starting RBs, I went with the upside pick.
The Pick: Darrell Henderson
Round 12 – 12.04
Top Choices: Corey Davis, Courtland Sutton
While there are plenty of ways to explain Davis’ lack of production, it’s concerning when a first-round pick doesn’t break out early. By contrast, targeting second-year WRs like Sutton is the biggest edge in fantasy football.
The Pick: Sutton
Round 13 – 13.07
Top Choices: Keke Coutee, Matt Breida, Duke Johnson
Breida is Siegele’s No. 2 ranked “Breather Back,” and he gets a boost with negative news about Jerick McKinnon’s health. Breida is a handcuff to my earlier pick of Tevin Coleman but also has stand-alone value. Freed from Cleveland, there’s a chance Johnson is the top back for the explosive Texans offense.
However, I also need a WR4. Coutee is by far my top-ranked WR remaining, with a tier drop after him. While he is already banged up, I have three WRs to fill two starting spots, so will not potentially need Coutee until later in the season.
The Pick: Coutee
Round 14 – 14.04
Top Choices: Mithcell Trubisky, Duke Johnson
Breida went off the board at the 13/14 turn, but Johnson is still available. However, I already have five RBs, and I expect my late-round targets to all be available for me with the way this draft is unfolding.
With 18 QBs drafted, I’m considering a third QB. Ben Roethlisberger was sniped the pick before me. Trubisky provides Konami Code rushing ability and is an insurance policy if Murray disappoints as a rookie.
The Pick: Trubisky
Round 15 – 15.07
The Pick: Justice Hill
I only have five WRs on my roster, but in a 10-team league, there are always WRs I can plug-and-play off the waiver wire in an emergency. All of the available WRs are in a massive tier for me, so I can find an equivalent value on the wire. I also already have three QBs and an elite TE, so those positions are no longer on my draft board.
Justice Hill is my favorite late-round RB target. He could be the Ravens primary RB by October.
Round 16 – 16.04
The Pick: Justin Jackson
Jackson’s value hinges on Melvin Gordon’s status. I was surprised the Gordon owner didn’t draft his handcuff earlier. Since I usually don’t draft Kickers or Defenses, Jackson is an ideal late-round RB. His trade value will dramatically increase or I can just simply drop him for a K or D/ST. I would have used the same logic to draft Tony Pollard – who may even have stand alone value with Zeke in the lineup – but he was drafted the round prior.
Round 17 – 17.07
The Pick: Damien Harris
Sony Michel has chronic knee issues, and the correct approach with the Patriots backfield in recent years has been to just take the cheapest one. Harris is likely an RB2/flex if Michel misses time.
Round 18 – 18.04
Since I stream K and D, I usually just pick them up sometime before Week 1. Instead, I draft a backup RB that could see a value spike if the starter were to get injured. Darwin Thompson fits this criteria and Damien Williams has already been banged up this offseason.
However, the Seahawks are home versus the Bengals offense in Week 1. Andy Dalton on the road in Seattle without A.J. Green sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
The Pick: Seattle Seahawks
While going WR-light might get me fired from RotoViz, I at least have that WR1 anchor in DeAndre Hopkins. The starting roster requirements of 1 Superflex, 2 Flex, and only two required starting WRs are relatively unique settings, so it makes sense that a different approach can be successful.
I have a positional advantages at TE and was able to draft two of my top-10 QBs. If I can get decent WR2 play, then I like my playoff chances and opportunity to earn a Round 1 bye. In the playoffs, Henderson and Hill could be league-winning RBs.
Let me know on Twitter @Michael_Dubner what your approach would have been in this league.
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Image Credit: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Baker Mayfield.
- Kicker scoring is also cut in half. (back)