When you're picking from the No. 7 overall spot in your Fantasy Football draft and your No. 3 overall player falls to you, don't question it. Just thank your teammates and move on. That was the case for me in our recent pick-by-pick series, as I was able to select Travis Kelce in the second half of the first round.
The question you have to ask yourself, of course, is whether you want to make that investment yourself. Kelce wasn't just the first tight end picked in this one, as he always is; he was the very first non-RB taken, one of just two to go off the board in the first round. In a year where there is, by my count, a clear top 11 at the position, taking Kelce that early almost guarantees you'll be on the outside looking in at RB. So, rather than try to scramble and overpay for the non-elite WR, I decided to eschew the position to start this team. Let's take a look at what that meant for my roster.
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. 7 overall:
- 1.7: Travis Kelce
- 2.6: DeAndre Hopkins
- 3.7: Allen Robinson
- 4.6: Cooper Kupp
- 5.7: Travis Etienne
- 6.6: Raheem Mostert
- 7.7: Jerry Jeudy
- 8.6: Ronald Jones
- 9.7: Elijah Moore
- 10.6: DeVante Parker
- 11.7: James White
- 12.6: Damien Williams
- 13.7: Cam Newton
- 14.6: Trevor Lawrence
- 15.7: Allen Lazard
This isn't quite a zero-RB build, but I would be 95% of teams drafted this year will have an RB before the 55th overall pick. Your natural inclination when starting a draft this way will be to focus on the running backs you don't have, but that's such a negative way to go about life. Yes, you'll have to make up ground at running back, but the whole point is that you've got a head start everywhere else. And, just check those WR out.
That's three of my top 13 at the position, including two of my top seven in Hopkins and Robinson. Maybe you don't have Kupp ranked quite as high as I do, but even if you go by NFC ADP, it's one top-five, two top-11, and three top-22 guys. In a 12-team league where you have to start three wide receivers, that's a huge edge.
It helps that I feel pretty confident I can count on getting running backs I feel pretty good about even if I wait until the fifth round to get my first one. Am I sure Travis Etienne is going to be a star? No, but he's a dynamic playmaker and a type of player Urban Meyer had a lot of success with in college. His all-around skill set is better suited for full-PPR, but it's not out of the question he ends up emerging as a must-start RB even if James Robinson still gets a significant role; you're hoping for something like how Austin Ekeler and Alvin Kamara have been used, or how we expect D'Andre Swift to be used. That would be a pretty smart way to use Etienne, if you asked me.
If I was looking to poke holes in this roster, however, I would definitely focus on the running backs. Because, while I feel pretty good about Etienne and Mostert, it's still relying on a rookie in a timeshare and a guy who has never proven he can be a lead back and stay healthy. With just Ronald Jones, James White, and Damien Williams behind them, there really isn't a Plan C -- Jones just doesn't have a real path to being an RB1, and White and Williams are low-end starters in a best-case scenario.
That's the downside to this kind of build. But Kelce is the biggest cheat code in Fantasy, and there's both safety and upside in the WR group. Your team is going to have to sacrifice somewhere. At least with this build, you know what you're going to need to chase early on. There's value in that.
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That's not some kind of incredible value, or anything, but I'm always going to be happy when I can get Jeudy on my roster, especially in this context as a high-upside WR4. If I ended up with four top-12 WRs on this team, it wouldn't shock me. Jeudy is that kind of talent, and the Broncos offense could be on the verge of breaking out. Jeudy has everything you want for a potential Alpha receiver, with an incredible knack for getting open and making plays down the field plus the skill to make plays with the ball in his hands. He's someone I want on as many teams as possible.
Moore in the ninth round is a reach, and it's not one I probably needed to make. I'm a huge fan of his skill set and potential to emerge as the No. 1 option for the Jets as soon as this preseason. But, with four WR already locked in, I would probably have been better off taking A.J. Dillon, the next highest player on my board. Doubling down on a strength isn't a bad idea, but I might have been able to get Moore the next turnaround anyway.
Etienne is the only RB on my roster with a realistic chance to emerge as a top-12 RB, but with Robinson around, I know I'll probably have to be patient. Maybe he's just so obviously the team's best playmaker that he earns 15 touches per game from Week 1, but the more likely outcome is I'm stuck with RB2 performance for at least the first month. Hopefully, that's all I have to wait for.
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.