The curse of picking second is (probably) missing out on Saquon Barkley. He'll probably go first. In that case, you're left to choose between Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey. You really can't go wrong with either pick but Kamara is the one who's played hyper-efficient football for two straight seasons and has 80-catch potential.
That was easy. The rest of your draft won't be.
Getting the second draft slot means landing two more very good players. That's a guarantee -- there are enough to go around to 26th overall. However, how running backs, receivers and tight ends go off the board in front of you will play a major role in who you end up taking.
Before your draft, think about these things:
- How badly do you want a stud tight end?
- How important is it for you to have two really good receivers?
- Might you fear what's left at running back by the time Round 4 comes around?
One of these positions you'll have to sacrifice with your Round 2 and 3 picks -- simple math tells us that. But because you'll already have a stud rusher aboard, that could be the spot you pass on. Again, it truly depends on what's left. If the top eight receivers are off the board like they were in our mock exercise, you may be compelled to chase a tight end first, then a running back next. That's not quite so easy to swallow in PPR.
Aside from this, there's a drop-off in talent that you probably won't feel until Round 6. That's good because it means your first five picks should all have either 1,000-yard rushing/receiving or 4,000-yard passing potential.
One more thing: The Fantasy manager picking first overall can help you make decisions based on his or her needs. This will start becoming helpful in Rounds 4 and beyond.
Here is my team from No. 2 overall:
- 1.02 Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
- 2.11 Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
- 3.02 Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs
- 4.11 Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
- 5.02 Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
- 6.11 Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles
- 7.02 James White, RB, Patriots
- 8.11 Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers
- 9.02 Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
- 10.11 Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
- 11.02 James Washington, WR, Steelers
- 12.11 Cole Beasley, WR, Bills
- 13.02 Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
- 14.11 N'Keal Harry, WR, Patriots
- 15.02 Drew Brees, QB, Saints
You already know why I took Kamara first overall, so let's move into Round 2. At this pick, the top-8 receivers were gone, as well Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Meanwhile, running backs like Williams, Leonard Fournette and Chris Carson were on the board (Todd Gurley too). I made a crucial decision: I would take Ertz to lock up a top-3 tight end, then grab a running back in Round 3. This meant passing on Antonio Brown, Brandin Cooks and Adam Thielen. I knew at this point my receiving corps wouldn't be pretty, but I was going to make it a point to make sure the rest of my team was awesome.
Turns out I made a mistake. Of the top-26 receivers in my PPR rankings, 24 were off the board. The best name left was Josh Gordon, who I believe has a shot to land over 1,000 yards this year with the Patriots. Had I taken, say, Antonio Brown in Round 3, I would have been able to snap up a running back like Mark Ingram in Round 4 and then potentially take Gordon or A.J. Green in Round 5. If you have the sense that receivers will fly off the board in your draft, you can't afford to do what I did.
Making matters worse was Green getting taken with the first pick of Round 5. My highest-ranked receiver at this point? Allen Robinson. Eww. So, if I'm going to miss at receiver, I might as well miss all the damn way. I zagged and picked up Deshaun Watson to anchor my team at quarterback in early Round 5. It's not exactly the steal I look for at quarterback, but he was the best non-running back I could have asked for.
This meant I had a top-2 quarterback, a top-3 tight end, a top-3 running back and a top-15-ish running back. And a receiver with oodles of potential and one wrong move away from a suspension. Life isn't always perfect.
I was responsible in Round 6 and took Alshon Jeffery to start building a group of receivers. I was surprised to see Sterling Shepard go right after him, meaning that I was thin on wideouts I'd be happy with in early Round 7. I decided to stockpile a good PPR running back and snagged James White. The running back theme continued in Rounds 8 and 9 with Justin Jackson and Tony Pollard -- two dudes who might turn to dust if the stud rushers in front of them report for duty before Week 1, but also two candidates to pull a James Conner-like year if the stud backs hold out for a long time.
The rest of the draft was spent chasing receivers who had some PPR appeal. Gallup and Washington are prime candidates to see an increased role in their respective offenses. Beasley is a safe high-floor PPR receiver as Josh Allen's check-down guy, and I can take a patient approach with N'Keal Harry. I guess I drafted Ebron and Brees as bargains and potential trade pieces for down the line.
Had I taken Brown over Williams, I might have picked everyone else exactly as I did and just used White as my No. 2 running back. My top three receivers would have been just splendid and I could have used fewer late-round picks on receivers. Maybe from a positional scarcity perspective that hindsight makes sense, but I can't pass up Williams' potential, even versus a receiver like Brown. Chiefs running backs under Andy Reid tend to put up phenomenal statistics. I need that for my Fantasy team.
I picked Jackson over one of my favorite sleeper receivers, John Brown. I thought Brown would make it back to me in Round 10 instead of serve as a No. 5 receiver on Pick 1's team. Grrr. So that's one issue with Jackson; the other is that he's a part-time back who would become a no-time back if Gordon returns from his holdout. Given my weak receiving corps, I should have opted for Brown instead of Jackson.
If Gordon gets out of line off the field and gets suspended again, the desperation I had in making this choice would pale in comparison to the desperation I'd have fielding three good receivers each week. Then again, Gordon has all kinds of potential as the new big-play receiver in an offense that could use a big-play receiver. I sure don't mind that in three games last year without Rob Gronkowski, Gordon had at least 12 PPR Fantasy points each time (so too did Julian Edelman). The success of this team rides with Gordon. Yep, I'll be sweating this choice all season.