Fantasy Football 2018: How to draft like a boss (even if it’s your first time)

As football season approaches, that can only mean one thing — fantasy season is upon us!

In other words, we’re approaching fantasy draft time!

For those of you playing in your first fantasy football season and are totally overwhelmed, don’t fret! I’m here to help you draft like the boss you are!

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Fantasy football is something I have personally come to love and have fully emersed myself in.

This time of the year, it‘s not uncommon to find me spending a night in with my puppy, some wine and a mock draft in the works!

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If you are unfamillar with mock drafts, I strongly suggest doing some before your draft. They can be a huge help and a great way to prepare for your league. And this article can help you prepare to even do a couple mock drafts!

So, without further adue, I would like to share some of my top picks for quarterbacks, running backs wide receivers plus a few sleepers as well.

Let’s jump in!

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Your running backs aka the bread and butter of your fantasy squad, are the position group you want to value the most this season.

When it comes to running backs, volume is king! In terms of building your roster for season long success, it is more than ideal to draft the “Bell Cow” running back.

For those of you like — wait — what’s a bell cow running back?

I’m talking about the guy that goes out there week after week racking up 16-20 carries while catching the ball four or more times a game. I am talking about the guys that can do it all!

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These players are unfortunately few and far between.

Not everyone will have one and those that do, will be smiling every week. That said, lets’ make sure you get one of these guys!

Starting your draft with one of these guys will allow you to be very flexible through out the draft. You will not feel pressured or forced to take certain running backs later to build depth at the position.

Typically, I find myself drafting running backs early and often. This year, rounds four and five seem to be loaded with great options for this group. Some of my best mock drafts have included three RBs selected in the first five or six rounds.

Do a mock draft and see what works best for you, but early on you should have your eye on these guys…

Top Fantasy RBs

  1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  4. Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys
  5. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
  6. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
  7. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  8. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
  9. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  10. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Quality mid to late round RBs…

  • Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
  • Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  • Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
  • Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
  • Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sleepers…

  • Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
  • Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
  • Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
  • Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
  • Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles

With the NFL leaning more and more towards a pass first league, wide receivers become more and more abundant. This season is no exception as this position group is deep!

One reason I feel so comfortable going heavy on the RBs is because of how many quality receivers are available throughout the entire draft. There are great picks in all rounds for this group, don’t be afraid to grab one a round or two early, but don’t be pressured unless it’s a top notch guy left wide open for the taking.

My draft strategy at this position group is get one or two studs early (rounds two or three.)

For me, I am looking for guys that have the potential for 100 receptions, big yardage and of course, lots of touchdowns. Think team’s go-to receiver aka the guy they are going to throw the ball to when they need to move the chains.

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I will say it time and time again, volume is king and this certainly applies to this group too.

Go after wide receivers who will get a lot of targets from their QB, week in and week out.

Top Fantasy WRs

  1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
  4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
  5. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
  7. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  8. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
  9. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quality mid to late round WRs…

  • Michael Crabtree, Baltimore Ravens
  • Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
  • Robby Anderson, New York Jets
  • Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
  • Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
  • Jordy Nelson, Oakland Raiders

Sleepers…

  • Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
  • Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
  • Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

On to quarterbacks!

The QB is arguably the most important position on the football field.

In fantasy football in terms of when to draft one — not so much.

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Bear with me peeps…

Even with the big end of season fantasy point totals for quarterbacks, the difference in points between the top tier and second or third tiers of quarterbacks is not that steep.

If you view the other position groups through the same lens, you will notice a much larger drop off in production between the top tier and lower tier wide receivers and running backs. This consequently makes the running back and wide receiver groups much more valuable to your fantasy football team.

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That said, I do not recommend ignoring the quartback position completely, but instead I suggest not freaking out if you don’t land some of the top QB’s listed below!

This list contains some big names, but I would not start drafting any of these guys before round three. Ideally, I am not drafting a QB before the fifth or sixth round.

Most of these studs will be found in that range.

Well — err — except Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady because – duh.

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Top Fantasy QBs

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
  4. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
  6. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
  7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
  9. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
  10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Quality mid to late round QBs…

  • Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  • Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
  • Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
  • Alex Smith, Washington Redskins

Sleepers…

  • Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
  • Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Hopefully you found my fantasy tips helpful as you prepare to draft this year!

Happy drafting newbies!

— Shannon



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