There's more good news -- picking third overall means you're also locked into two top-22 players, three top-30 players and five top-51 players.
And better yet, you'll make more efficient draft selections because you can weigh your needs versus those of the drafters picking at first and second overall. If it's an even-numbered round and you see that they need a wide receiver, and you also need a wide receiver, you can take one before they get the chance. That exact situation helped guide me into drafting Calvin Ridley in Round 4.
Here are the questions you must answer before drafting:
- How badly do you want George Kittle or Zach Ertz?
- How do you feel about the second and third tiers of running backs?
- How do you feel about the second and third tiers of wide receivers?
Your two picks after Round 1 are crucial for obvious reasons. However, you shouldn't expect any of the top-eight receivers to make it back to you (maybe Mike Evans, if you're lucky). There should be several top-12 running backs, receivers ranked ninth through 12th and two elite tight ends. Expect to land two of them but be sure you know how you value them in advance of the draft.
A tip to make those picks in Rounds 2 and 3 a little easier to figure out: The best selections in Rounds 4 and 5, regardless of format, figure to be receivers and tight ends. When you're up in Round 6, odds are you won't see a wideout you'll view as a 1,000-yard candidate or a tight end you'll feel great about starting every week. But you will see running backs with some potential to hit that amount, not to mention some quality quarterbacks.
That tip will especially come in handy if you must start three receivers and a flex, which we had to do for this exercise.
Frankly, this is the best spot to pick from in any snake draft. Here's how the team shook out for me at No. 3 overall:
- 1.03 Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
- 2.10 George Kittle, TE, 49ers
- 3.03 Antonio Brown, WR, Raiders
- 4.10 Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
- 5.03 Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
- 6.10 Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos
- 7.03 Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
- 8.10 Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles
- 9.03 Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
- 10.10 Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers
- 11.03 Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers
- 12.10 Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers
- 13.03 Keke Coutee, WR, Texans
- 14.10 David Njoku, TE, Browns
- 15.03 Ryquell Armstead, RB, Jaguars
There's not much to talk about with the first pick, so let's move right into Round 2. I happen to favor stud tight ends early in drafts because I'm not into streaming them if I don't have to. Landing a tight end who can produce like a No. 2 receiver is never a bad thing. You may decide to roll the dice and wait to take the tight end in Round 3, but I actually thought I'd have a better shot at Brown in Round 3 than one of the tight ends. Fair warning: You will have a shot at a top-six tight end in late Round 4 or early Round 5, so don't feel like you must take one here. For what it's worth, I think Kittle has a shot at improving on last year's Fantasy totals.
In Round 3, I made the crucial decision to select Brown over Chris Carson. After some contemplation, I figured that the receiver position would get pretty thin by the time I was up again in Round 4 and wanted to get a top-12 wideout while I could.
Please note: I would not have taken Brown if I only had to start two receivers. I would have taken Carson and not thought twice about it. But because every team had to start three receivers, that position became a major priority.
I felt fortunate to choose Ridley in Round 4 -- a decision made easier by the managers at Picks 1 and 2 having one receiver combined through the first three rounds. I was happy to get him before they could -- and I was happy to swipe Tyler Boyd to be my third receiver when he made it back to me in Round 5.
When you cover your starting receiver spots so early in your draft, you can afford to take plenty of shots at running back, and that's something I think you can count on happening this year. Don't be afraid to wait on running back, even if you start only two receivers on Draft Day. That's especially helped by being able to choose one stud in Round 1.
See? I told you picking third overall was awesome.
I couldn't believe Sanders fell to me in Round 7. All along I've felt his value was best in late Round 6, but I couldn't peg him as my No. 2 running back since it could take him some time to eventually become the guy in Philadelphia. But I couldn't pass him up in the seventh round when he could be a potential difference-maker for my team in the second half of the season. I even strengthened the investment with Jordan Howard in late Round 8 (I may have been able to wait another round for him, but I didn't want to fool around).
Look, if Peyton Barber is the only player I can complain about, then you can get an idea of how I feel about this team. There wasn't a single pick I made in the first 10 rounds that I felt gross about. Not even Howard (it helped to have Sanders). Consider this a simple reminder that Barber isn't a very good running back and you shouldn't consider him unless it's in Round 10 or later. When someone else drafts a Buccaneers back before then, they're doing you a favor.
Man, if Brown struggles with Derek Carr and Carson is off to the races with the Seahawks, I'll be an unhappy camper. The reality is that if I had taken Carson, Calvin Ridley would have been my No. 1 receiver and Tyler Boyd would have been my No. 2 -- and then I'm not sure who my third receiver would have been, maybe Alshon Jeffery. I think the drop-off from Brown to Jeffery is greater than the drop-off from Carson to Lindsay, but it's close. Here's hoping Brown plays better than the 1,200 yards and eight scores I've ball-parked him for.