Picking seventh can be annoying. You're right in the middle of all the action, meaning you're never too far away from making a pick -- but never too close, either.
It's truly a spot where you can try to have your opponents' needs influence your decisions, but it won't ultimately matter. You're going to wind up taking the best available player whenever you're up, which isn't a bad thing, but it does mean you should prepare to draft in a balanced manner.
That's not quite what I did. But before we get to my squad, ask yourself these questions before you draft:
- Where do you stand on Ezekiel Elliott? What about the other top 10 running backs?
- How do you rank these receivers: DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones and Davante Adams?
- How badly do you want a top three tight end?
For me, I like James Conner as the fourth-best running back in Fantasy so long as Elliott continues to hold out. And in a non-PPR setting like this one, he's my preferred choice over the three receivers listed above. I just think the Steelers' track record with running backs and Conner's breakout season gives Fantasy managers little to doubt about what he'll deliver in 2019.
The receivers are safe options and open the door toward a Zero RB strategy. You might find it tempting to ditch that strategy in Round 2, however, given the types of running backs available. One from Le'Veon Bell, Joe Mixon and David Johnson should be there, and they offer plenty of appeal. But that's also a spot where the last couple of top-eight receivers will be. It's going to make for a tough choice.
I'm living proof of it. Here's how my team looks from the No. 7 spot:
- 1.07 James Conner, RB, Steelers
- 2.06 Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
- 3.07 Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
- 4.06 Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
- 5.07 Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
- 6.06 Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
- 7.07 Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
- 8.06 Jared Cook, TE, Saints
- 9.07 Jaylen Samuels, RB, Steelers
- 10.06 Anthony Miller, WR, Bears
- 11.07 Ito Smith, RB, Falcons
- 12.06 Darren Waller, TE, Raiders
- 13.07 DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
- 14.06 Mike Davis, RB, Bears
- 15.07 Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
You already know why I took Conner in Round 1, so let's focus on what I did in Round 2. Because the format calls for three starting receivers, I knew I didn't want to be shorthanded at that position. While this afforded me the chance to draft a balanced team, it also meant passing on Le'Veon Bell for Evans. I didn't like it, but for the sake of having a strong overall roster, I did it.
Please note: I would not have taken Evans if I only had to start two receivers. I would have taken Bell and not thought twice about it. But because every team had to start three receivers, that position became a major priority.
In fact, I went against the whole balanced drafting thing and took two more receivers in Rounds 3 and 4. This was simply so I wouldn't have to start someone mediocre at receiver. It was also something not many other Fantasy drafters were doing, so I felt comfortable with making an exception to give my lineup a decided advantage. Only two other teams have three top-24 receivers in their starting lineups.
As soon as I was done, I was back on the balance-beam bandwagon. I was happy to get Sony Michel in Round 5, then steal Aaron Rodgers from the rest of the league in Round 6. Austin Ekeler was a risk worth taking in Round 7 and Jared Cook gave me a top-10 tight end in Round 8. I even was responsible and took Jaylen Samuels to back up Conner in Round 9.
Let's say I took Bell in Round 2 instead of Evans. Thielen and Kupp would have been my top two receivers, and I would have taken A.J. Green in Round 5 instead of Michel. That would have constituted drafting a receiver like Christian Kirk in Round 7 or John Brown in Round 8 to start in place of Green until he was back to his old self, which could be until October for all we know. If this sounds better to you than what I actually did, then perhaps taking two running backs to lead off your non-PPR draft from seventh overall is for you.
Let's be honest, you're probably not going to get a quarterback like Rodgers in Round 6. His ADP has him going in Round 4. Maybe if you're lucky you'll get a crack at him then. But this is an example of waiting for a quarterback and then taking one when the value seems too good to be true. Maybe in your draft it'll be Matt Ryan or Baker Mayfield in Round 6, or maybe someone else in Round 7 or 8. Just don't rush to take a quarterback and you'll experience the euphoria of stealing a passer.
This is for obvious reasons. What are the odds he outperforms Bell? Probably not very high. I strictly chose Evans over Bell because of the three-receiver lineup rule we're adhering to. I had to get one of those top-eight receivers. Could Evans out-score Kirk by more than Bell would out-score Michel? Probably not. I regret the pick. Luckily, this wasn't a real draft and was meant to serve as an exercise to help you formulate a strategy for you when you pick seventh.
Compounding my decision to pass on Bell was pushing Michel into my No. 2 running back spot. If he stays healthy, I like his chances of being good and productive on a weekly basis. But that's not being counted on, which is why he's being taken in Round 5. My running back depth behind Michel isn't particularly strong, either. When I drafted Anthony Miller, I could have taken Damien Harris and locked up a piece of the Patriots run game. Now I'm probably a bit too reliant on Michel, which could especially crush the team if he gets hurt and Melvin Gordon comes back by Week 1.