2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Picking at No. 6 overall in non-PPR leagues sets up for a Kareem Hunt/Rob Gronkowski combo
League scoring and personal preference will play a big role in who you take at No. 6 overall, but Dave Richard argues that the second pick almost certainly has to be a pass-catcher.
What sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And what big-name running back could ruin your season? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season.
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Editor's note: Our latest non-PPR pick-by-pick series was done in June and is a three-man draft with Heath Cummings, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard, with each one selecting four teams in this 12-team mock. 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 when viewing each team.
How you handle picking sixth will depend greatly on your scoring system. If this were a PPR league, there's a pretty good chance a receiver would be in order here. But in a non-PPR format like this one, running back is still the preferred way to go.
Doing so closes the book on starting your draft with two receivers, but it doesn't shut you out from taking one running back and one receiver with your first two picks. That's how most Fantasy owners will start their teams in 2018.
The other benefit to picking here? You're never too far away from your next pick because you're in the middle of every round. You can try to use that to your advantage, but really it helps support a best-player available strategy.
Here is my team from No. 6 overall:
- 1.6 Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
- 2.7 Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
- 3.6 Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
- 4.7 Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
- 5.6 Golden Tate, WR, Lions
- 6.7 Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
- 7.6 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
- 8.7 Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
- 9.6 D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texans
- 10.7 Corey Clement, RB, Eagles
- 11.6 Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
- 12.7 Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
- 13.6 Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
- 14.7 Seahawks DST
I consider Hunt to be on par with the elite running backs in Fantasy. It's nice that he led the NFL in rushing and finished among the top-five rushers in all leagues last year, but it's better that he'll be in the same position to do these things in 2018 in an even more explosive offense. The Chiefs added Sammy Watkins, putting so much speed on the field that defenses cannot possibly stack the box against him or cover him appropriately coming out of the backfield. Hunt's going to be very good.
Things definitely got interesting in Round 2. One of my draft philosophies this year is to take a tight end at a fair value, especially one of the "big three." Well, they don't come any bigger than Rob Gronkowski and I knew if I wanted a stud tight end, my best chance to land one would be with Gronk in Round 2. I got the equivalent of a top-10 wide receiver at the tight end spot in the middle of the second round, and I'm thrilled with it.
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Of course, by doing this I felt pressure to add a receiver in Round 3, but I just couldn't pass on Christian McCaffrey. I felt like he slipped in our draft (30th overall) and could not resist his upside.
I was absolutely forced to take wide receivers in Rounds 4 and 5 and satisfied that need as best as I could with Stefon Diggs and Golden Tate. I consider both decent No. 2 receivers, so in reality Gronkowski is my No. 1. But be forewarned about a receiver drop-off around 43rd overall -- that drop-off clearly affected my wideouts.
Had I not taken Gronk and gone with a receiver in Round 2, my team might have looked like this:
- 1.6 Kareem Hunt
- 2.7 Mike Evans
- 3.6 Christian McCaffrey
- 4.7 Ronald Jones
- 5.6 Golden Tate
So that team is a little too big on the Buccaneers and still leaves me a little vulnerable at receiver and a lot vulnerable at tight end. I think the way I went was better.
Back to my draft. I knew that if I wanted a stud quarterback I had to take one in Round 6 -- four of the five teams picking after me in that round and before me in Round 7 needed a passer, so they were probably going to go quick. I took Russell Wilson, passing on Sony Michel.
I solidified my receiving corps with Emmanuel Sanders in Round 7, who I feel is acceptable as a third receiver, not as a second. I went on a running back spree after that, selecting Duke Johnson, D'Onta Foreman and Corey Clement with my next three picks. I always tend to load up on running backs, though I typically get my third rusher before Round 7. Here I did it in Round 8 because I splurged on Gronkowski and needed to lock up receivers before the position turned ugly. Running backs lasted a little longer in this mock, which helped me out.
My draft was rounded out with a couple of young receivers with some upside in Calvin Ridley and Sterling Shepard. These are precisely the kind of reserve Fantasy receivers I want -- and might need if my other receivers go on a cold spell.
Favorite pick: Christian McCaffrey
I figure McCaffrey will be popular in all leagues as a high-upside No. 2 running back. To find him in the middle of Round 3 was sweet. He nearly came up with 1,100 yards on just 197 touches. With more work expected this season and the Panthers offense to (hopefully) turn the corner with Norv Turner calling the shots, McCaffrey has room to improve.
Pick I might regret: Golden Tate
I would rather have Tate as a third receiver than a second. Maybe he ends up as my third because someone else on my team breaks out, but his big games are rare and his bad games, sadly, are more prevalent. His success will hinge on how well the Lions run game does.
Player who could make or break my team: Rob Gronkowski
The nature of his production and the risk he carries as an injury-prone 29-year-old clearly makes him the centerpiece of my team. If he goes down, my chances of Fantasy success dwindle. And if he's a rock star, my team could end up as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
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