When I picked from the No. 3 spot in our Fantasy Football Draft Prep pick-by-pick series, I waited a while to start building my WR corps, grabbing my first in the fourth round. From the No. 7 spot, I didn't take a running back until the fifth round, the longest any team went without one. Building from the No. 11 spot, however, I went with a much more balanced approach, and it ended up being one of my favorite teams in the whole series.
It helped that the clear No. 1 WR made it to No. 11 overall. Davante Adams' value has obviously been tied to Aaron Rodgers' status, but by the time we did this draft, we knew Rodgers would be returning to the Packers, so Adams was an easy pick at No. 11 overall. Since the start of the 2019 campaign, Adams is averaging 18.2 0.5-PPR points per game, a mark only Tyreek Hill in 2020, Michael Thomas in 2019, and Antonio Brown in 2015 have matched it in a single season. Of course, if you go back to 2019, Hill is at 16.5, so it's still a clear edge to Adams.
Adams is the clear choice for WR1 for me, but the decision to take him meant I might miss out on one of the elite RBs. Just my luck, then, that Dave Richard passed on Austin Ekeler for Nick Chubb and Tyreek Hill, leaving me with two of my 10 favorite players for the season. You'll take that start every time.
As a reference point, all touchdowns in this league are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE and FLEX (RB/WR/TE).
Here's my team from No. 11 overall:
- 1.11: Davante Adams
- 2.2: Austin Ekeler
- 3.11: Julio Jones
- 4.2: Myles Gaskin
- 5.11: Kyle Pitts
- 6.2: Curtis Samuel
- 7.11: James Conner
- 8.2: Michael Thomas
- 9.11: Jaylen Waddle
- 10.2: Emmanuel Sanders
- 11.11: Aaron Rodgers
- 12.2: Rondale Moore
- 13.11: Phillip Lindsay
- 14.2: J.D. McKissic
- 15.11: KJ Hamler
When you start like that you can pretty much go in any direction, which allows you to simply play however the draft lies. I ended up with a pretty balanced start, going WR-RB-WR-RB followed by Kyle Pitts at the end of the fifth. I look at Kyle Pitts a lot like I looked at Vladimir Guerrero Jr. coming into this baseball season -- he probably won't live up to the hype entirely, but if I'm drafting 10 teams (and I'll be drafting a whole lot more than 10 before it's all said and done), I need him on at least one. Rookie tight ends don't have a strong track record, but I'll take him as the best chance to get a truly elite Fantasy season outside of the Travis Kelce/Darren Waller/George Kittle triad.
I took some chances with the wide receivers after ending up with just two in my first five picks, starting with Curtis Samuel -- a favorite breakout candidate of mine, but someone who is dealing with a groin injury in camp -- and Michael Thomas, who will almost certainly be sidelined for the first few weeks of the season as he recovers from ankle surgery. Neither is a sure thing by any means, but that duo combined with Jaylen Waddle and Emmanuel Sanders with my next two picks makes me pretty confident I'll get four starters from that position.
And I'll need them, because the running backs beyond Ekeler and Myles Gaskin don't have a ton of upside -- and Gaskin is hardly the most sure thing in the world. As things stand, this is a pretty top-heavy roster, but there are a lot of paths to potential dominance here.
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With Rodgers locked in for 2021, Adams is locked in as my WR1, and I would be willing to consider him as soon as the No. 5 pick, just after Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce and Dalvin Cook. Getting him anywhere after that is a big win, and there's no way he should fall out of the first round in any draft.
WAS Washington • #10
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I love Samuel's skill set because he's the kind of WR who has already shown he can succeed in a bunch of different ways. In 2019, his numbers were pretty pedestrian, but that had a lot more to do with Carolina's quarterbacks than it did Samuel, who was open down the field constantly only to have the QBs misfire over and over. In 2020, he found himself lined up in the backfield regularly and making plays as both a receiver and a runner. He can do a little bit of everything, and hopefully he's healthy and the coaching staff let's him do that little bit of everything all of the time. .
The most likely outcome is that Pitts is just a perfectly serviceable starting TE. Given how poorly most rookie TEs perform, that would be a pretty good outcome, even if it would make him a pretty big bust at his current cost. But you're not paying for the most-likely outcome here in the same way you are with the likes of Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson. No, you're paying for the 90th percentile outcome, the one that lands him in that rarified air of the legitimate difference makers at the position. If he hits that, this team won't lose much.