12-team ESPN standard, snake draft, I pick at 1.06. NOTE: I’m trying to get a mix of “safety” players and “upside” players, e.g. RB1 = safety, RB2 = upside, or something like that. Im’ also going very RB heavy (only drafting 4 WRs in many drafts, as there are usually a ton of great value WRs left on waivers while there are zero great RBs, and I like the idea of hoarding all of the decent late round RBs because many of my league members are notorious for overpaying for RBs late in the season). These are the players I’m usually taking at each round (NOTE: all estimated picks are subject to change based on more way valuable players from previous rounds dropping):
Round 1 - RB (“Safety” RB) in this priority order - David Johnson (if he falls), Melvin Gordon (“safety” RB), Saquon Barkley (mix of “safety” and “upside” b/c he’s technically unknown).
Round 2 - WR (“Safety” WR), in this priority order - Julio (if falls), MThomas, KAllen, AJ Green, Adams. If all of these players are taken for some reason I have no problem going RB-RB and grabbing Devonta Freeman or Jordan Howard, but I don’t find that happening a lot.
Round 3 - Upside RB, in this order: Howard, Collins, Drake, L.Miller, Ajayi (I don’t value Ajayi as high because I want Clement later in the draft)
Round 4 - Best RB/WR available: Amari Cooper, Adam Thielen, Doug Baldwin, if none of those dropped-3rd-round-WRs fall then I’m likely taking RBs, such as Collins, Miller, Drake, or even Marshawn Lynch
Round 5 - Best RB/WR available, but the opposite of the Round 4 position: A.Robinson, Lynch (safety player), Ingram (upside player IMO), Royce Freeman (upside player), I’m even content with grabbing Dion Lewis around here if he’s the best available. But at this point I want to finish with 3 RBs and 2 WRs.
Round 6 - If Golden Tate (or a better WR/RB) is still available I take them, which I find to be the most likely scenario. Otherwise the priority is QB Cam Newton, then Russell Wilson, but if they’re taken I take best WR/RB available.
Rounds 7-10: All RBs, mostly upside players. I usually end up with: Sony Michel, C.Thompson, L.Blount (early season safety player, mitigating the risk of stashing players who will grow later in the season like Michel or Kerryon, or even Mark Ingram), L.Murray (huge upside player).
Round 11: WR Keelan Cole, and I reach for him, because HE HAS THE MOST UPSIDE AND I ALREADY HAVE “SAFE” PLAYERS AT WR AT THIS POINT SO I AM ALL IN ON HIGH UPSIDE PLAYERS, NO ONE ELSE HERE HAS THIS MUCH UPSIDE EXCEPT FOR MAYBE KENNY STILLS. I think he will be a weekly plug-and-play player, with tremendous upside and big play capability, and enough weapons in JAX to keep him in single coverage. Hurns and Lee are not there, leaving a lot of targets to Blake’s favorite guy.
Round 12: Derek Carr. That’s right. Send in the Carr. He has one of the best o-lines in football, one of the most stacked receiving cores, and one of the easiest schedules in football. He played last season injured, and so did Amari Cooper, so the both of them have something to prove this season and they will be taking out their frustration on really bad teams with one of the easiest schedules in football. And I’m taking him late enough to where if I’m wrong I can just drop him and take someone else at QB.
Round 13: Defense. Chargers, Saints (Marcus Williams will be an INT machine), I’m looking for great defenses that also have dominant offenses. Texans are also good here as they have the easiest schedule in the league and a good offense.
Round 14: Kicker but I’m not married to it. I like Bryant, Tucker, and Lutz here, I’m fine with either.
Round 15: “League winner” upside flier. James Conner to stash, John Ross, or whoever (open to suggestions here too.
Round 16: TE, and I love Ricky Seals-Jones here. He is phenomenal on tape and easily the best pass catcher other than Fitz. And if I’m wrong I take another TE off waivers, zero risk.
Thus at the end a team can look like:
QB: Derek Carr (sometimes Cam Newton)
RB: M.Gordon, Collins, L.Miller, Kerryon, Michel, Barber, Blount, Murray, Conner
WR: M.Thomas (or K.Allen), Cooper (or A.Robinson), Golden Tate, Keelan Cole (with plenty of good WRs on waivers)
TE: Seals-Jones (rrr rrr rrr rrr)
DST: Saints or Chargers
Let me know how this is, or if this safety/upside strategy should be reconsidered.