There shouldn't be much stress in Round 1 if you're picking fourth. Between Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry, you're guaranteed a stud rusher with 20-point PPR potential every week of the season. Rank those three and take the one you like the most when it's your turn to pick.
The Round 2 pick is when things get interesting -- expect at least 13 running backs to be off the board along with big-time names like Travis Kelce, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill. That means you'll look at a number of top-tier wide receivers as well as two elite tight ends in Darren Waller and George Kittle plus some groovy running backs such as D'Andre Swift, David Montgomery and J.K. Dobbins. It's a great spot to be in because you're essentially guaranteed two players from this group with your next two picks.
Here's how my team turned out:
1.04: Derrick Henry
2.09: Calvin Ridley
3.04: Darren Waller
4.09: Chris Godwin
5.04: Kyler Murray
6.09: Michael Carter
7.04: James Robinson
8.09: David Johnson
9.04: Michael Pittman
10.09: Adam Trautman
11.04: Jalen Reagor
12.09: Robert Tonyan
13.04: Deshaun Watson
14.09: Qadree Ollison
15.04: Adrian Peterson
Normally I like to load up on running backs, but I opted for Calvin Ridley in Round 2. He was my highest-ranked player in half-PPR and figures to be a target hog in Atlanta. What happened next was a blessing -- three running backs, one receiver, one quarterback and only one tight end went between my selections, leaving the easy choice of Darren Waller in Round 3. Again, I would have liked to have added a running back, but I couldn't pass up getting a difference-making tight end. I was thrilled to have such good value fall into my waiting arms.
Of course, this meant having to splurge on running backs with most of my next five picks. When you draft one running back with your first few choices, the goal is to collect as many RB2 candidates as you can.
That was my intention in Round 4, but the best available runner then was Mike Davis or Darrell Henderson, and I just couldn't commit to either one of those guys. I was pleased to get Chris Godwin as my second receiver.
Again, my intention in Round 5 was to take a running back, but I couldn't pass on the value of Kyler Murray. I've said before that taking a tight end and a quarterback within your first five picks is a mistake. I lied. It's not a mistake when both the tight end and quarterback are ranked top three at their positions.
It wasn't until Rounds 6 through 8 that I decided to add some running backs. I was thrilled with who I got: Michael Carter, James Robinson and David Johnson. I could get into why I like these guys, but it boils down to each of them figuring to see enough work game to game to warrant some starting lineup consideration. And that's the point -- between these three, I'm looking for one starter every week. Doesn't even have to be the same guy every week. But this is the kind of crew I'm looking to put together if I wait for running backs on Draft Day.
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Some final thoughts
- Your draft priorities might change based on the needs of the drafters in the first, second and third slots. An example: In Round 4, I noticed that those teams had one wide receiver and one quarterback combined. There were still three quarterbacks on the board I would have been happy to draft, so one was guaranteed to make it back to me in Round 5, but I figured receivers would dwindle. That's why I took Godwin and waited to see what was left at quarterback. It worked out nicely! Please take note of what those managers are doing during the draft and take advantage.
- You'll see I made some really curious picks toward the end of the draft: Tight ends Adam Trautman and Robert Tonyan, quarterback Deshaun Watson and running backs Qadree Ollison and Adrian Peterson. The common thread between all of them is that they carry high upside based on talent and/or potential opportunity. Why in the world would I pass on players like that even if I have starters ahead of them who I may never bench for them? Simple -- I will always take chances on talented players regardless of position with my last few picks. The worst-case scenario is they don't play for me and I'm out of a mostly meaningless late-round pick. The best-case scenario is that I improve my team via these players starting for me or via players I acquire for these late-rounders and crush my opponents. Sure seems like the upside outweighs the downside.
LV Las Vegas • #83
Age: 29 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I love having one of the top three tight ends on my Fantasy team, but I hate reaching for them. That wasn't the case here -- getting Waller at 3.04 was the stuff dreams are made of. Well, Fantasy Football-related dreams, anyway.
Chris Godwin WR
TB Tampa Bay • #14
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I view Godwin as a safe-but-not-spectacular Fantasy receiver, and really that's only in leagues where catches count. I'm a little nervous about his consistency from week to week in an offense with so many weapons. Can he really evolve into one of Tom Brady's favorite end-zone targets while co-existing with Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski?!
TEN Tennessee • #22
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Everyone has seen Henry run roughshod over the NFL the past two seasons. But not everyone knows he's defied some odds doing so, amassing over 400 touches in each year. Normal running backs would-be candidates to break down, but Henry is built like Robocop (look him up, kids) and might see more lighter fronts from opposing defenses now that Julio Jones is on the Titans. If he stays healthy, he could have his best year yet. But admittedly, it's a large "if."