As a rule you should not enter your draft with a steadfast strategy. Guidelines, sure, but you need to be ready to adjust depending on how your league mates behave. That being said, there's some security in landing the second overall pick. You know you're starting with an elite running back, and that elite back should be Saquon Barkley, regardless of format.
That comfort of the Round 1 certainty fades quickly from this draft slot. The turn at the end of the second round is an inflection point where it sometimes feels like there are no second-rounders left. I was really hoping to land George Kittle, Chris Godwin or Nick Chubb, but they all went right before my pick. That led me to James Conner and Chris Carson was the best player on my board three picks later.
One thing about starting with three running backs, it's a high-reward/high-risk move. If Barkley, Conner and Carson stay healthy, I can survive weakness at other positions. But running back is still the most injury prone position in football. It doesn't make much sense chasing running back once you have three starters, so you're free to attack the other positions.
Here's my team from No. 2 overall
- 1.2 Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG
- 2.11 James Conner, RB, PIT
- 3.2 Chris Carson, RB, SEA
- 4.11 T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
- 5.2 Keenan Allen, WR, LAC
- 6.11 Julian Edelman, WR, NE
- 7.2 Evan Engram, TE, NYG
- 8.11 Preston Williams, WR, MIA
- 9.2 Latavius Murray, RB, NO
- 10.11 Mike Williams, WR, LAC
- 11.2 Carson Wentz, QB, PHI
- 12.11 Michael Pittman, WR, IND
- 13.2 Rob Gronkowski, TE, TB
- 14.11 Gardner Minshew, QB, JAC
- 15.2 Bryan Edwards, WR, LVR
There's a theme with my top three receivers, veterans who are being drafted well behind where they generally finish. While I don't particularly love Hilton, Allen or Edelman, they were all good values and are solid bets to outproduce this draft position. I'm not sure it's fair to say they lack upside either since Edelman and Allen were both top-seven in this format in 2019. But quarterback changes and injury history make their floor questionable which is why the second half of my draft was full of upside receivers. Two of them, Mike Williams and Michael Pittman, would also benefit if the my starter missed time.
You'll notice two quarterbacks and two tight ends on this roster and that will be a theme for me until we get through a few weeks of the NFL in the Covid-19 era. If we anticipate multiple starters missing at least a game it would be wise to draft that way. Besides, I love the fact that Engram and Gronkowski give me two swings at elite tight production without paying up for it.
Carson Wentz QB
IND Indianapolis • #2
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
This is why you wait on quarterback. Wentz has shown us top-three upside in the past and was a top-eight quarterback in 2019 despite all of his wide receivers getting hurt. DeSean Jackson is back and the team added Jalen Reagor and a host of speedy rookies to the roster. Wentz leads a high-volume attack that has speed outside and arguably the best tight end room in the league. Add in what Miles Sanders can do after the catch and there's clearly elite upside here. All this upside is buoyed by the fact that Wenz ran for 243 yards last year.
Chris Carson RB
SEA Seattle • #32
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Starting with three running backs is a risky proposition in a league that requires you start three receivers and a flex. If at least two of my veteran receivers don't hit, I'll wish I'd taken a wide receiver in Round 3. Also, it's not like Carson is super safe. He injured his hip last year and he's never played 16 games in a season. Carlos Hyde or DeeJay Dallas could impact his workload, or Russell Wilson could finally get his way and Seattle could throw more.
James Conner RB
ARI Arizona • #6
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
On the one hand, Conner has shown us top-five upside, and most of Pittsburgh's recent history suggest he'll have a workhorse role if he's healthy. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has a half dozen young backs on their roster and Conner has not been able to stay healthy with a workhorse role. If he's 2018 James Conner (in combination with Barkley) this team could be a behemoth. If he's in a committee or hurt, I'll really be counting on those veteran receivers to be above average.
So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry's huge season, and find out.