NFL

Fantasy football 2019: 7 draft tips to help you build a championship team

Fantasy football 2019: 7 draft tips to help you build a championship team

Whether you’re a first-time player or a seasoned vet, everyone needs to go into their fantasy draft with a strategy. 

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you build a stacked roster that will have your opponents dreading every matchup with you.

Draft a running back early

With one or both of your first two picks, try and snag one of the top running backs. The position isn’t as important as it used to be in the NFL, so there’s a considerable drop-off once the best guys go off the board. You can find good value at wide receiver and quarterback later in the draft, so if you have the chance to get a Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara-type, go for it. Even if your decision is to pick between Julio Jones and James Connor, go with the back. You won’t regret it. 

Don’t pick a quarterback until the fifth round

It’s a pass-happy league, so you’re more than likely to find a productive quarterback from the fifth round on. While it’d be nice to have Patrick Mahomes or Andrew Luck on your roster, save your starting spot for guys like Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz. Suring up your running backs and receivers should be your first priority. A good quarterback will be there for you after that’s done.

Look for handcuffs of top backs

Teams that have premiere running backs usually use them quite a bit. Their offense is centered around a good running back, so you’ll want to target their backups if those top guys go down with an injury. If you don’t get lucky with your drafted running back core, you might be able to make up for it by inheriting a starter in the middle of the season.

Either draft a top defense or don’t pick one at all

Let’s say you’re happy with your skill players, you got a good quarterback in the middle rounds and you have a chance to take a top defense. If the Bears or Jaguars are available, take them instead of a third or fourth RB/WR. If you can’t get a top defense, then just don’t draft one. Good performances out of defenses these days are predicated on matchups, so take a close look at a team’s schedule and pick your defense up off of waivers if you can’t draft one of the elites. 

Draft your rival’s best players

This is a no-lose strategy if you ask me. If you pick your least favorite teams’ best players and they do well, you have a big year in fantasy. If they don’t, then you can relish in their failures and the fantasy losses won’t hurt as much. This basically gives you an extra avenue to complain about your favorite team’s biggest rivals. Who’s not looking for more of those?

Don’t pick a top tight end

Using a high draft pick on a tight end in fantasy drafts is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Not only are tight ends injury-prone due to their occasional blocking responsibilities, the best players at that position rarely produce at the same level as third or fourth tier receivers and running backs. You’re better off getting as many productive skill players as possible and then picking a tight end like Jared Cook, Trey Burton or Eric Ebron. 

Don’t worry about bye weeks

Throwing away one week of the season because most of your best players have the same bye may sting, but it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you have a better roster because you ignored bye weeks, then you won’t have to worry about basically forfeiting a game because you’ll probably be 6-1 when that week comes around. 

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Fantasy football Week 16 waiver wire: Breshad Perriman can be a league-winner

Fantasy football Week 16 waiver wire: Breshad Perriman can be a league-winner

It's not about how you start the fantasy football season. It's how you finish.

If you're reading this, chances are your squad is loaded enough to roll through your league's playoffs to the championship round.

But there's always room for improvement, and the Week 16 waiver wire includes a couple players who should be legitimate starters in any fantasy lineup, regardless of depth.

Want to win the whole thing? Start by doing your due diligence on the waiver wire. Here are our top free-agent pickups at each position entering Week 16.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (owned in 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues): We hope you have a better QB1 option than Fitzpatrick if you've reached your league's championship. But if you're in a two-QB league, the ageless, bearded wonder is a fine pickup: He's attempted 37 or more passes in five consecutive games and gets a beatable Cincinnati Bengals defense.

Other quarterbacks to target: Jacoby Brissett (IND), Mitchell Trubisky (CHI), Gardner Minshew (JAX)

RUNNING BACK

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (39 percent owned): It's still unclear if Dalvin Cook will play in Week 16 after suffering a shoulder injury Sunday. If he doesn't, that's a massive opportunity for either Mattison or Mike Boone, who found the end zone twice in Week 15 with Cook and Mattison both sidelined. If Mattison is healthy, he should be your top waiver wire priority against the Green Bay Packers' Swiss cheese run defense.

Other running backs to target: Mike Boone (MIN), Chris Thompson (WAS), Wes Hills (DET)

WIDE RECEIVER

Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13 percent owned): This one's a no-brainer. Perriman had produced double-digit fantasy points in two consecutive weeks before going off for three touchdowns last Sunday in Mike Evans' absence. With Chris Godwin also on the shelf, Perriman suddenly is the No. 1 wideout for Jameis Winston and the pass-happy Bucs.

Other wide receivers to target: Anthony Miller (CHI), Chris Conley (JAX), James Washington (PIT)

TIGHT END

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41 percent owned): Perriman isn't the only Bucs pass-catcher who should benefit from Evans and Godwin being out. Howard has at least four catches in three consecutive games, and the Houston Texans have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends over their last seven contests.

Other tight ends to target: Jonnu Smith (TEN), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Denver Broncos (25 percent owned): David Blough's stats through three games as the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback -- five interceptions, one fumble, nine sacks -- are all the evidence you need to pick up the Broncos ahead of this matchup in Denver.

Other defenses to target: Indianapolis (vs. CAR), Atlanta (vs. JAX)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

You didn't come this far just to come this far.

Week 15 of the NFL season means it's the semifinal round of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues.

If you're reading this, congrats on still being alive. But you're not interested in a runner-up trophy, and we're not interested in providing runner-up advice.

Below are the top players at each position who are widely available on fantasy football waiver wires and are worth adding for Week 15 as you seek fantasy glory.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues): We'll continue to put Tannehill on this list until he's owned in more than half of leagues. The Titans gunslinger was the sixth-best quarterback in fantasy last week and faces a Houston Texans defense that just allowed 309 passing yards and three touchdowns to Drew Lock. He's your guy again this week.

Other quarterbacks to target: Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA), Jacoby Brissett (IND), Kyle Allen (CAR)

RUNNING BACK

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (40 percent owned): News that Derrius Guice has a sprained MCL means Peterson is the clear-cut workhorse on a team that loves to run the ball. The ageless veteran has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and should see north of 20 touches against the Philadelphia Eagles, making him the safest waiver wire pickup among running backs.

Other running backs to target: DeAndre Washington (OAK), Patrick Laird (MIA), Boston Scott (PHI)

WIDE RECEIVER

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (27 percent owned): The rookie wide receiver has become Tannehill's go-to deep threat, with 333 receiving yards over his last three games. Brown's low catch total makes him a bit of a boom-or-bust play, but it's the playoffs. Gotta take shots to make shots.

Other wide receivers to target: Zach Pascal (IND), Darius Slayton (NYG), Justin Watson (TB)

TIGHT END

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (37 percent owned): Njoku caught just one pass for four yards in his first game since Week 2, but has a dream matchup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that's given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. He's a high-risk breakout candidate.

Other tight ends to target: Gerald Everett (LAR), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Kansas City Chiefs (32 percent owned): Is the Chiefs defense ... good? Kansas City has held each of its last opponents (including the New England Patriots) to 16 points or fewer. The Denver Broncos are riding high after upsetting the Texans, but we're sensing a turnover-filled letdown game in KC.

Other defenses to target: Oakland (vs. JAX), Seattle (at CAR)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.