As long as Ezekiel Elliott's holdout continues, the No. 3 pick remains the easiest in Fantasy Football. Just take whoever remains from the trio of Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. It's that easy.
After that you'd better be ready to pivot to receiver quickly in a three-receiver PPR league. I felt fortunate to land Keenan Allen coming back in Round 2 and really felt like I caught the end of a tier with Tyler Boyd in Round 4. With Stefon Diggs, that gave me one of the best receiving corps in the league, but that didn't mean I felt great about the Diggs pick. As easy as the three spot is in the first round, it can be very challenging in Round 3. More on that below.
Here's my team from No. 3 overall:
- 1.3 Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR
- 2.10 Keenan Allen, WR, LAC
- 3.3 Stefon Diggs, WR, MIN
- 4.10 Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN
- 5.3 Tevin Coleman, RB, SF
- 6.10 Melvin Gordon, RB, LAC
- 7.3 Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI
- 8.10 Dante Pettis, WR, SF
- 9.3 Carson Wentz, QB, PHI
- 10.10 Peyton Barber, RB, TB
- 11.3 Miles Boykin, WR, BAL
- 12.10 Marquise Brown, WR, BAL
- 13.3 Jordan Reed, TE, WAS
- 14.10 Trey Burton, TE, CHI
- 15.3 Jerick McKinnon, RB, SF
After starting with a top three running back and three top-25 receivers I turned my attention back to running back for three straight picks. I'll discuss the Gordon and Cohen picks below, but Coleman was a challenging choice. I expect him to justify the cost, but taking him in Round 6 meant passing on one of the second-tier tight ends, and the position drops off a cliff after the top six.
The combination of Reed and Burton doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but they're both great values that late. Reed has top-five upside on a weekly basis when he's healthy, and despite a preseason concussion he's expected to be ready for Week 1. Burton actually made his way into my final sleeper column because I couldn't believe he was the No. 20 tight end off the board. This is a guy who was a disappointment last year but still finished top-10 in both formats. As bad as the rest of the position is, I wouldn't be surprised if he did it again.
As always, this draft was lower on quarterbacks than yours probably will be, but Wentz is still one of my favorite values by CBS ADP. He's being drafted in the seventh round, and I don't have any problem with taking him that early if you need to. The guy I took just before him is becoming one of my favorite values as well.
Pettis hasn't been treated great this preseason, but I still believe he's the best receiver in San Francisco and I still expect him to start Week 1. At the beginning of the preseason we were talking about him in the same breath as D.J. Moore, Boyd and Mike Williams. Now he's being drafted four rounds later. If it's a whiff, it won't be that painful in the eighth round.
I understand why Cohen is falling in drafts. The Bears added David Montgomery, their coach has talked about not overworking Cohen and he probably had a little regression coming anyway. But this was a top-10 back in this format in 2018, and I am absolutely thrilled to land him in the seventh round. I lopped 20 touches off Cohen's total from 2018. I put his efficiency at his career levels and not the stratosphere he reached last year. Even with those adjustments he projects as the No. 23 back over a full season, ahead of guys like Phillip Lindsay, Montgomery and Sony Michel who went way before him. Those backs have more upside, but this is still way too late for Cohen, who makes a great flex.
This is one of my least favorite places in the draft if both George Kittle and Zach Ertz are gone. It's not that I don't believe there will be valuable receivers here, it's that it's so hard to distinguish between them. In my PPR projections I have Diggs, Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen and Julian Edelman separated by four total points for the entire season. At this place in the draft all four of them were available. I took the one I have projected to score more points, but your odds of actually picking the right one out of the four are one-in-three at best. That might sound defeatist, it's not meant to. This is just a difficult place in the draft. The best takeaway? If Ertz or Kittle are there, take them.
I don't have any reason to feel good about Gordon's holdout. But I couldn't let him fall past pick 70. Even if he sits out half the season, he could be a league-winner for me in the second half if everything goes right. Imagine a backfield of Gordon and McCaffrey paired with this receiving corps and Wentz. Of course, there's significant risk and that will be amplified by injuries suffered early in the year by the rest of my roster. That's why I can't rank him in the first 60 picks.