If you aren't a fan of taking a tight end in the first round of your Fantasy Football draft, maybe this team can persuade you. Picking from the No. 6 spot in our pick-by-pick series, I took Travis Kelce with my first-round pick but still ended up with high-quality options in all of my starting spots outside of quarterback.
How'd it turn out? See for yourself:
- 1.6: Travis Kelce
- 2.7: Najee Harris
- 3.6: James Robinson
- 4.7: Mike Evans
- 5.6: Ja'Marr Chase
- 6.7: Adam Thielen
- 7.6: Corey Davis
- 8.7: Kenyan Drake
- 9.6: Mike Williams
- 10.7: Jalen Hurts
- 11.6: Damien Williams
- 12.7: Latavius Murray
- 13.6: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- 14.7: Jameis Winston
- 15.6: Darrynton Evans
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Which is to say, at least the way this draft fell, you don't have to sacrifice to take Kelce with your first pick. It helps that two running backs I like quite a bit fell in both the second and third rounds, giving me a strong foundation at that position that allowed me to hammer wide receiver for a long time. Here's what that team looks like.
When you go with a tight end early -- either Kelce in the first or Darren Waller or George Kittle in the second or third -- you're setting yourself up to have to sacrifice somewhere. You can go zero-RB and load up at WR and snag an elite QB, you can hit RB heavy and make up for missing out on one of the first-round crop, or you can go with a late-round QB and try to balance out the rest of the lineup. Clearly, that's the approach I took in this one drafting Najee Harris and James Robinson with my next two picks.
But that wasn't necessarily the plan, and you shouldn't shoehorn yourself into chasing it. I went there because Harris, a top-10 back for me, slipped. If, say, Antonio Gibson had been there instead, I probably would have taken Calvin Ridley instead. I did have Robinson circled for my next pick and was almost certainly going to take him there no matter what, but that's because I like Robinson quite a lot -- if he had gone instead of Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the previous pick, choosing between Edwards-Helaire and Robert Woods would have been a much tougher decision. And I very well may have gone with Woods instead.
However, once I got through three rounds with my elite TE and two top-15 RBs, my focus shifted entirely to wide receiver, and that should be the case in any three-WR, PPR league. My next four picks were all the top wide receivers on my board, and it would have taken a running back really falling to make me shift from that strategy. Ending up with a WR core of Evans, Chase, Thielen, and Davis is a nice combination of safety and upside, and while it may not compete with the best WR groups in the league, my running backs could, and I've got the biggest edge in the game in Kelce.
Because this draft has an extra bench spot, I was willing to take a second quarterback late, but if I go into my season with only Hurts (a great value in the 10th round) as my starter, I'm happy with that too. I have questions about his passing ability and job security, but I'm also confident in my ability to stream quarterback at this point if it comes to that. You should be too.
JAC Jacksonville • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
After free agency ended and before the NFL Draft, Robinson was a top-20 pick in early drafts on NFC. His price rightly went down after the Jaguars drafted Travis Etienne, but what's the justification for Robinson's price not rebounding all the way now? Carlos Hyde is going to have a role, and Robinson may have trouble matching his workload from last season as a result, but we figured that was the case before Etienne's name was called. But here's the thing: Robinson was the No. 8 RB last season, so he doesn't have to be that good to be a value at the 30th pick. But we know he has the upside for it, and maybe even more than that if this offense is better than last year's -- not a tall task.
Adam Thielen WR
MIN Minnesota • #19
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
I've been pretty skeptical of Thielen all offseason, and I think there's a chance that the signs of decline we've seen over the past two seasons lead to a total collapse in his value as a 31-year-old. Those concerns are certainly mitigated by his sixth-round price tag in this one, and Irv Smith's injury should increase his margin for error as the Vikings seem likely to further consolidate targets between Thielen and Justin Jefferson. However, Thielen is at the age where wide receivers tend to fall off, and that fall can be pretty abrupt sometimes. Things could get a little dicey if that happens.
CIN Cincinnati • #1
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
It couldn't possibly be anyone else, of course. Chase's ugly preseason and training camp struggles have made him look like one of the most obvious boom-or-bust picks of drafts this season, but I'm willing to reach for him here because I needed an injection of upside in my receiving corps. He might get off to a slow start, but guess what: So did Odell Beckham and Justin Jefferson in their record-breaking rookie seasons. That's not to say Chase is going to be as good as either, but he's an elite prospect in what should be a high-volume passing offense, and you should be more willing to bet on that than a few drops in the preseason. That's the case for him, at least. I hope I'm right.
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.