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Editor's note: Our latest pick-by-pick series was done prior to the third preseason games, when season-ending knee injuries to Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith occurred. The goal of this series is to show you positions to draft in these spots as much as the players selected, so take that into account if those injured guys are listed here.
Some people think picking eighth isn't any fun. I beg to differ.
True, you're not getting a top-five player, but the odds of getting just about anyone else you like are very high. In my case, it's Melvin Gordon. He was a red-zone beast in 2016 (10 touchdowns) and had six games with 100-plus total yards in effectively 12 games. He also averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his last five full games. Looking forward, his offensive line is ever so slightly improved and the 24-year-old remains the main rusher in one of the league's most potent offenses. Moreover, knowing running backs will fly off the board, it's a good idea to get one of the best ones around.
For you, Mike Evans or A.J. Green might be the choice. Perhaps you're more of a LeSean McCoy or Devonta Freeman fan. Whoever you like, there's a pretty good chance he'll be yours because there is no consensus to how picks Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are. It'll vary from league to league.
One strategy I've come to like when I don't get a top-tier receiver is to grab three boom-or-bust wideouts with the intention of starting them every week and expecting a big game from at least one of them. I made that happen with Brandin Cooks, Alshon Jeffery and Sammy Watkins. Injury concerns aside, getting these three receivers in my lineup, particularly after drafting Gordon and Rob Gronkowski, gives my team some major upside week in and week out.
Stealing two quarterbacks didn't hurt my chances, either.
Here is my team at No. 8 overall:
- 1.8 Melvin Gordon, RB, LAC
- 2.5 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
- 3.8 Brandin Cooks, WR, NE
- 4.5 Alshon Jeffery, WR, PHI
- 5.8 Sammy Watkins, WR, LAR
- 6.5 Rob Kelley, RB, WAS
- 7.8 Mike Gillislee, RB, NE
- 8.5 Rex Burkhead, RB, NE
- 9.8 Jameis Winston, QB, TB
- 10.5 Zay Jones, WR, BUF
- 11.8 DeAndre Washington, RB, OAK
- 12.5 Derek Carr, QB, OAK
- 13.8 Seahawks DST
- 14.5 Jamaal Charles, RB, DEN
Favorite pick: Jameis Winston
Here's a perfect example of why it pays off to wait for a quarterback. Winston has potential for well over 4,000 yards passing and over 30 total touchdowns. He's got a good O-line, his receiving corps has never been better, and he's in his third year in the same offense. And I got him in Round 9! I didn't even need to take a second quarterback, but when Derek Carr was hanging out in Round 12, I figured I'd grab him too -- I guess I just can't pass up a great bargain.
Picks you might regret: Patriots running backs
Last year, a Patriots running back had 10-plus Fantasy points in 12 of 16 games. The year before, a rusher hit that mark in 13 of 16 games. The difference is that LeGarrette Blount was good for 10-plus in each of those 12 games in 2016, but a bunch of different running backs contributed in 2015. You can't be too sure how the Patriots running backs will shake out from week to week, but landing the one who scores the most from the goal line is probably the best idea. Gillislee had eight touchdowns last season, six from five yards or closer. He's the most likely to replace Blount and Burkhead would be second-most likely. Getting both with picks between Rounds 6 and 10 is alright, but getting them in Rounds 7 and 8 really reduce risk and offer lots of numbers.
Player who could make or break your team: Rob Gronkowski
Is there anyone else in Fantasy who offers as much risk -- or upside -- as Gronkowski? When he's on his game, he's as good as any top-5 receiver. When he's off his game, he's probably off the field and injured. That boom-or-bust nature tends to get overlooked because he's dominant at his position. Making the decision to draft him in Round 2 might ultimately decide your Fantasy fortunes for the year, but the mere fact that he's healthy now and participating in preseason games should make you feel good about drafting him. I sure did.