Elite Onesies, Bye Weeks, and Opportunity Cost: The High-Wire Balancing Act of a Real-Life Underdog Draft
Image Credit: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: C.J. Stroud.

As results try to stay ahead of wide receiver inflation, the 2024 landscape offers serious pressure to load up on the position early, especially as RB options in Rounds 2 through 5 are less appealing. Yet this is easier said than done in some ways. It’s also more important than ever to come away with at least one — and in some cases preferably two — of the elite tight ends. Last year it was possible to draft TEs with elite upside in the double-digit rounds. Sam LaPorta and Trey McBride were the keys to a lot of fantasy victories. This year, LaPorta is going in the third round of Underdog drafts, and McBride is going in the fourth. If you wait too long at the position, you’re left without any options who can give you the elite ceiling that can set your team apart.

While balancing the need to get early WRs and the need to get early TEs is tricky enough, you also have to be flexible enough to take advantage of good values at quarterback and running back — especially those that fit so well on your team. Yet there are significant tradeoffs and opportunity costs for grabbing these values as they fall to you. You can plan out your draft as carefully as you like, but when you’re on the clock these decision points become much more difficult. Ben Gretch and I discovered this first hand in a recent Best Ball Mania 5 draft we did on the RotoViz Best Ball Show.

The team we ended up drafting is good, not great. It’s probably not a $1.5 million team, but it has some pieces that could help with a deep playoff run, if it can survive the regular season. As Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame is fond of saying, “the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.” It’s in that spirit that I think it’s helpful to analyze the teams you draft, especially when they don’t go exactly as planned. It’s probably the only way to systematically correct your mistakes and improve your on-the-clock decision-making.

The Early Picks

Ben and I were drafting out of the seventh position, and we knew we wanted to take early WRs. Our first three picks were relatively straightforward.

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Blair Andrews

Managing Editor, Author of The Wrong Read, Occasional Fantasy Football League Winner. All opinions are someone else's.

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