This column is the 2nd in my 3 part series detailing drafting strategy, based on: early, mid- and late-round picks. My 1st article gave my strategy for a late-round pick (picks 9-12). In this column, I’ll give my mid-round strategy (picks 5-8).
As mentioned in my 1st article, I am basing the strategy on the standard NFFC scoring system of: 6 points for all touchdowns, 1 point for every 20 passing yards, 1 point for every 10 rushing and receiving yards, and 1 point per reception. Each team starts 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB, WR or TE), 1 Kicker and 1 DST. Unlike the NFFC, this strategy is based on a traditional snake draft, rather than a draft with a 3rd round reversal.
Availability of players is based on Fantasy Football Calculator’s 12 team, PPR/Flex ADP report.
Round 1 (Picks 1.05 - 1.08)
In 2014 Eddie Lacy owners were taken on a rollercoaster ride. Over the first 4 games of the season he averaged 3.04 YPC (yards per carry) and scored 1 TD, while looking painfully slow and out of shape. But after Game 4 he did not look back. He ended the year with 1,139 rushing yards, averaging 4.6 YPC to go with 9 rushing and 4 receiving TDs. I would not hesitate to take him 5th overall.
Although I prefer to get a running back with my 1st round pick, I just wouldn’t be able to pass up Dez Bryant if Lacy is gone. He has consistently put up great stats and hasn’t missed a game since 2011.
I love Marshawn Lynch. As mentioned in my last column, I like taking him with the 9th pick overall, and I still like taking him with a late mid-round pick (7 or 8). Seattle is going to run the ball a lot. And that means a lot of carries for a guy who loves breaking tackles and finding the end zone.
If Lacy, Bryant and Lynch have been taken, I’ll be convinced someone read this and copied my draft strategy verbatim. And I’ll take Demaryius Thomas. The first round is where you want players that are dependable. Thomas hasn’t missed a game in his entire career, and he has caught over 90 balls and had over 1,400 receiving yards every season.
Round 2 (Picks 2.05– 2.08)
If my 1st round pick was a wide receiver, I’m taking Jeremy Hill. Though his ADP puts him closer to the end of the 2nd round, high caliber RBs are starting to run thin here. If Jeremy Hill is gone, I like Forsett. He was a monster in 2014 racking up 1,266 yards and averaging 5.4 YPC. This year under Marc Trestman, he should see a major uptick in receptions.
If my 1st round pick was a running back, I like Randall Cobb. I love Green Bay’s offense. And Green Bay’s offense loves Randall Cobb. Last year he caught 91 balls for 1,287 yards and 12 TDs. And he added 11 carries for 37 yards. While he might not be able to replicate 12 TDs, they’re going to use him as much as possible. If Cobb is gone, I’m deciding between T.Y. Hilton and Alshon Jeffery. Truth is, I like both of these guys and I couldn’t fault someone for taking either, but T.Y. Hilton has Luck and Jeffery has Cutler.
After the 1st 2 rounds, I want to have a WR and a RB spot filled.
Round 3 (Picks 3.05 - 3.08)
Frank Gore is being drafted here, before C.J. Spiller and Lamar Miller. The last time the Colts had a 1,000 yard rusher was in 2007, the same year Steve Jobs announced a new product: the iPhone. In 2007, Joseph Addai had 1,072 rushing yards; since then no one has done it for Indianapolis. The Colts have been, and still are a pass-first team. Frank Gore may break the trend, but he is more likely to break something else.
Thought it won’t be Gore, I do want to take my 2nd RB with this pick. From rounds 3 to 4, the drop off is huge, and I don’t want to be glued to Rotoworld.com every Sunday morning, praying to hear that Johnathan Stewart is a “Go”.
I like C.J. Spiller and Lamar Miller, in that order. Spiller will see a ton of looks in the passing game, and with ample opportunity, he’ll show Buffalo how they should have used him. If those guys are gone, I’ll take Mark Ingram. He was great last year when healthy, and is still young. Over 13 games he had 964 rushing yards and 9 TDs. Project his stats over 16 games and you have 1,186 rushing yards and 11 TDs. He should continue to see the bulk of carries in the New Orleans backfield. And he’s a lock to get the goal line.
Round 4 (Picks 4.05 - 4.08)
When I draft a player and he disappoints like Keenan Allen did in 2014, I usually ban that player for life from my fantasy teams. But Allen’s frustrating 2014 is causing his ADP to dip to a point where he’s now worth the risk. There isn’t a ton of competition for receptions on the Chargers, and Rivers is going to throw over 4,000 yards. Allen is a great bounce-back gamble.
After Allen, I like Golden Tate. The reason I don’t like taking Calvin Johnson in the 2nd round is the same reason I love taking Tate in the 4th round. In 2014 Tate was good when Calvin played. And he was a beast when Johnson didn’t play. Calvin will miss time.
By the end of the 4th round, I’d like to have 2 WRs and 2 RBs.
Round 5 (Picks 5.05 – 5.08)
Since I’m starting 3 WRs every week, I need to get a 3rd one here. Jarvis Landry will be a great PPR receiver. It took Miami until mid-season to figure out what they had in Landry and he still ended up with 84 catches. Tannehill, who is getting better every year, will continue to target Landry.
Allen Robinson was great last year, when healthy. Like Landry, he’ll get a ton of receptions. The additions of Julius Thomas and T.J. Yeldon should open things up for Bortles. And Jacksonville’s defense isn’t stopping anyone. Ranked 26th overall in points allowed in 2014, they’ll be playing from behind this season and that means plenty of opportunities for receivers.
Round 6 (Picks 6.05 – 6.08)
I’ll take Bennett in the 6th round. His ADP puts him as the 9th pick in the 6th round, so he’s very likely to be available here. As I mentioned in my last article, TE is a crap shoot after Bennett. He’ll continue to rack up the receptions and has thankfully shown up for training camp. So there’s no reason to worry about a holdout.
Round 7 & 8 (Picks 7.05 – 7.08 & 8.05 – 8.08)
I like Charles Johnson and the addition of Mike Wallace will only help him. Johnson showed flashes of his potential last year with a few huge games. After a rough start, Bridgewater ended up having a solid 2014. With Adrian Peterson back, he should have room to find his receivers. After a training camp together, he and Johnson will build on their chemistry. Johnson is one of those guys that could end up winning your league for you.
If he’s off the board, I’ll take Tom Brady. Brady will miss 4 games. And when he comes back he’ll more than make up for it.
Disclaimer: I’m a huge NY Giants fan. That said, Eli is going to have a ton of talented players to throw to this year. ODB is a top-5 receiver. Eli is getting Victor Cruz back. Ruben Randle has shown promise, as has Larry Donnell. Add a great backfield pass catcher in Shane Vereen, and you have the makings of a very good fantasy season for Eli.
QB Eli Manning
RB Eddie Lacy
RB C.J. Spiller
WR Randall Cobb
WR Keenan Allen
FLEX Charles Johnson