2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Embrace risk with the ultimate boom-or-bust team

When you sit down to build your team on Draft Day, what's your goal? Sixth place? Third place? Surely, you're not playing to avoid last place, are you?

No. You're playing to win. You're not playing to win the post-draft grade contest, or the highest projected point total for Week 1. You're playing to take down the whole league and come home with the trophy.

In 2019, it's become increasingly hard to gain an edge on the competition. Everyone is doing their research, and the analysts are smarter than ever. Which is to say, while your chances of winning your 12-team league might be better than one out of 12 if you really cram, your odds of winning the whole thing are still pretty slim.

And, since you're not playing for second, third, or seventh place, why not build the team with the highest upside possible? After all, with so many elite players seeing their value tumble this preseason, this might be the perfect year to build a boom-or-bust roster.

It's all about targeting distressed assets. In 2019 drafts, there are a number of players who, under normal circumstances, would be first-round picks, but are instead going in the second, third, fourth, or even later.

And for good reason. These players aren't seeing their value fall because everyone is being irrational. There are very good reasons Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, Melvin Gordon, Andrew Luck, et al. are losing value every day. Going down this path could lead you to heartbreak. However, if a few things break your way, you could be in a rare position, with multiple top-five options at nearly every position.

Using NFC ADP from the last week, here's the ultimate boom or bust team you can build, whether you're are the top of the draft or the bottom:

Picking early – The All-Holdout Team

1. Ezekiel Elliott
2. Antonio Brown
3. Melvin Gordon
4. Kenny Golladay
5. Sony Michel
6. Austin Ekeler
7. Curtis Samuel
8. Kalen Ballage
9. Cam Newton
10. Tyrell Williams
11. Tony Pollard
12. John Brown
13. Trey Burton
14. Cowboys
15. Harrison Butker

All in all, it's not bad. If Elliott, Gordon, and Brown aren't there in Week 1, you've got their immediate replacements ready to slide into the lineup. You've got Cam Newton with possibly the most talented receiving corps he's ever played with, including one of those receivers to double up with — Curtis Samuel, maybe the most popular breakout candidate in the league this preseason.

Even if Elliott, Gordon, and Brown are out Week 1, the following lineup won't just roll over and die:

QB: Cam Newton
RB: Sony Michel
RB: Austin Ekeler
WR: Kenny Golladay
WR: Curtis Samuel OR Tyrell Williams
TE: Trey Burton
FLEX: Tony Pollard
K: Harrison Butker
DST: Cowboys

Is that a guaranteed Week 1 winner? Of course not! But it should be competitive, even in that worst-case scenario, because you made sure to grab the immediate replacements for your first three boom-or-bust picks.

And, if two of Elliott, Brown, or Gordon hits, you've just taken that lineup and slotted an elite running back or two, or an elite receiver into that lineup to replace those less-talented options. Plus, Williams and Ekeler should have standalone value even with Brown and Gordon on the field.

Picking late — Injuries? Who cares!

1. Le'Veon Bell
2. Todd Gurley
3. George Kittle
4. Brandin Cooks
5. A.J. Green
6. Josh Gordon
7. Andrew Luck
8. Derrius Guice
9. Ronald Jones
10. Keke Coutee
11. Lamar Jackson
12. John Brown
13. Deebo Samuel
14. Justin Tucker
15. Browns 

This one has different risks, with Fantasy analysts looking at Bell askew because of his year off and new offense, and Gurley falling due to concerns about his knee. However, you're also ending up with the last two consensus No. 1 picks before Saquon Barkley at steep discounts. Maybe their upside is no longer that high, but does anyone really believe a best-case scenario for both players doesn't include a top-five finish at RB? You've also got an elite tight end, two high-upside WR in Cooks and Gordon, another WR who enters the season hurt but who played like a top-six WR last season when healthy, and a handful of high-upside dice throws at RB and WR in the mid-to-late rounds.

And then there's Andrew Luck. He may be back for Week 1 of the season, but you won't even need him, because Lamar Jackson opens the season with matchups against the Dolphins and Cardinals. He should be ranked as a No. 1 QB for both.

And with this lineup, unlike the previous one, you're looking at a team that should be strong for Week 1, with some insurance plans in place in case the worst-case scenario does go down later on. But this could be a Week 1 lineup to fear:

QB: Lamar Jackson
RB: Le'Veon Bell
RB: Todd Gurley
WR: Brandin Cooks
WR: Josh Gordon
TE: George Kittle
WR: John Brown OR Deebo Samuel
K: Justin Tucker
DST: Browns

Is either team assured to be a contender? No way. But here's the thing: Whatever team you draft isn't either. You can nail your draft, get that A+ grade in the email, and still finish in sixth place. In order to really contend, you're going to need multiple elite options at multiple positions, and these teams give you that, along with plenty of risk.

But, if there's any year to embrace risk, this is it. 

So what sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge 2018, and find out.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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