Because I am nervous about starting running backs in Tier 4 and beyond, I like to target the position early. However, if there isn't a rusher with top-five potential available when I am up at 11th overall, I am more than happy to take a safer pick such as Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill.
That's not what happened in this draft. In this draft, the Fantasy gods smiled upon me and let Jonathan Taylor get cradled into my loving, ripped python arms (it's not true but just go with it). I would have taken Taylor as soon as seventh overall because he has 1,700-total-yard potential, but landing him at 11th overall felt good.
And it also felt good to pair him with Antonio Gibson in Round 2. Not only did I have my top running back spots filled, but I did so with two young, promising running backs who have breakaway potential, are goal-line grinders and have the capability to make plays in the passing game if their coaches indeed throw them some targets. This was an ideal start.
If I wanted to, I could have taken a passive approach to running backs from that point forward. But that's not exactly what went down. Here's the squad:
1.11: Jonathan Taylor
2.02: Antonio Gibson
3.11: Chris Carson
4.02: Chris Godwin
5.11: Dak Prescott
6.02: Brandon Aiyuk
7.11: Antonio Brown
8.02: DeVonta Smith
9.11: Devin Singletary
10.02: Dallas Goedert
11.11: Tony Jones
12.02: J.D. McKissic
13.11: Mike Gesicki
14.02: Trey Lance
15.11: Cole Kmet
Look, maybe I have an addiction problem. I love running backs and I know it's a top-heavy position on Draft Day. Carson at 35th overall felt too good to ignore, even if it meant having some suspect starters at receiver. I knew I would have taken him had he slipped to Round 4, but Round 4 was just two picks after my Round 3 choice. So why wait? Besides, I'd much rather find receivers off the waiver wire than find running backs. I think I can win even without one top-12 wideout.
Obviously, I went hog wild after receivers after taking Carson, spending four of my next five picks on the position. And guess what? I felt pretty good about the guys I got. Godwin is among the safest PPR receivers around, Aiyuk and Brown have some pretty good upside even though his target volume might be low, and it's never a terrible idea to invest in a record-setting, award-winning rookie receiver with excellent quickness and hands like Smith.
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Some final thoughts:
- I'd like to think this team is proof that hoarding running backs is a viable plan, even at 11th overall. The alternative roster might have meant Tyreek Hill and Gibson with Carson as a No. 2 running back instead of as a flex. Only time will tell if that would have been a better choice.
- The grossest pick I made was Dallas Goedert in Round 10. It was basically as simple as saying I needed a tight end, he plays tight end, and he's got a chance to get five or six targets per game. But I also didn't mind thinking about the upside: Zach Ertz is no spring chicken and is a candidate to get dealt at any point. If one of those two things go down, Goedert is sprung into, potentially, a top-7 Fantasy tight end. Suddenly, the pick wasn't so gross.
- I am always shooting for upside with my late-round picks and had no problem taking chances on Devin Singletary (who looked great this preseason), Tony Jones (also looked pretty good), Mike Gesicki (in case Goedert doesn't work out) and Trey Lance (incredible upside once he becomes a starter).
- Finally, I can't stress enough how important it is to pay attention to Team 12's roster during the draft. After seeing that team go receiver-receiver in Rounds 1 and 2, I had a pretty good feeling Carson wouldn't make it to me in Round 4. So I beat that team to the punch and took him, even if it cost me a chance at Tyler Lockett ... but having Lockett and Carson on the same team isn't that great of a deal anyway.
Favorite pick: Chris Carson
I've already gone into why.
Pick I might regret: Brandon Aiyuk
I liked that I found him in Round 6, but I am worried about a target drain given the 49ers' new one-two quarterback approach. Kyle Shanahan's offenses were never pass-heavy and it certainly won't lean that way when it's mixing in Trey Lance every three or four plays. I'm worried taking Aiyuk before 60th overall is a big mistake.
Make or break player: Jonathan Taylor
It's no secret that the Colts have had a tumultuous offseason, but the constant in the storm has been the plus-sized, fleet-footed Taylor. Word out of Indy is that the offense will circle around him to begin the season. If he can pick up where he left off last year (nine touchdowns and over 900 total yards in his final eight games including the playoffs), he's got a shot at ridiculous numbers. But he'll need his O-line to stay healthy and the Indianapolis passing game to remain at least solid. If he's good, my team is going to the playoffs.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.