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The Ideal Start From Each Draft Position (2018 Fantasy Football)

Aug 24, 2018

Drafting Joe Mixon in the third could win your leagues for you

If you’ve got your draft this weekend, I just wanted to give you a quick-hitting article that displays my realistic expectations from each draft spot in several types of leagues. Obviously, there will be times where someone throws a wrench in your plans, but more likely than not, it just means someone better fell to you. Don’t hesitate to change plans and grab the value where you can get it. Once you move into the fifth rounds and beyond, that is where the difference between tiers is so minimal that there is no specific target for a range in each round. Rather, there are players like Royce Freeman who I want in the fifth no matter where I am drafting and Geronimo Allison in the 12th. So let me give you my top four rounds then you can fill it out from there using my updated top 300 rankings.

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Standard 12 Teams

Picks 1-4
Christian McCaffrey
Joe Mixon (yes, three RBs to start)
Chris Hogan

Picks 5-8
Brown/(Puke) *trade out of the first if you can* otherwise Gordon/Barkley/Fournette
Whichever WR of Thomas/Adams/Green/Allen is still there
Doug Baldwin/Stefon Diggs/Amari Cooper
Royce Freeman

*I’m offering something like 1.7 and 5.6 for a mid second and early third. Throw in an upgrade from Round 11 to Round 9 for them too if they need

Picks 9-12
Melvin Gordon or Leonard Fournette
Julio or Davante Adams/Michael Thomas
Amari Cooper/Aaron Rodgers/Travis Kelce
Aaron Rodgers/Zach Ertz/Royce Freeman

Standard 10 Teams

Picks 1-4
Top-tier WR if they drop, otherwise Christian McCaffrey/Joe Mixon
McCaffrey/Mixon/Rob Gronkowski/Doug Baldwin
Zach Ertz/Demaryius Thomas/Royce Freeman

Picks 5-7
Brown/Gordon/Fournette *Trade if you can*
Julio Jones/Michael Thomas/Keenan Allen
Joe Mixon/Rob Gronkowski/Doug Baldwin
Baldwin/Larry Fitzgerald/Aaron Rodgers

*Yes, this plan is RB-light, but you can get a trio from Royce Freeman, Mark Ingram, Marshawn Lynch, Sony Michel and/or Carlos Hyde and still look great.

Picks 8-10
Melvin Gordon or Leonard Fournette
Gordon/Fournette/Julio Jones/Odell Beckham
Doug Baldwin/Stefon Diggs/Jordan Howard
One of the three above or Aaron Rodgers/Travis Kelce/Amari Cooper

Additional Formats

PPR Leagues
Not a ton changes, as the top 4 are still the same, but I’d move Julio Jones and Odell Beckham to #6 and #7 overall. Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon become prime second round targets unless Keenan Allen or Michael Thomas is still somehow available. In the third, one of Larry Fitzgerald or Doug Baldwin should be available and are excellent picks. Don’t hesitate to snatch Aaron Rodgers if he lasts to the fourth, otherwise Zach Ertz, Amari Cooper and Demaryius Thomas become premium values.

Chances are that even in a late-QB environment, you’ll be looking at double-digit QBs gone before the end of the third round. You don’t need to panic, as only Rodgers (6th overall) and Wilson (top 15) are worthy of going in the top 36 picks in a SuperFlex, but do be sure to grab two in the fourth and fifth (Smith and Winston) if you haven’t already, then a third safe play (Keenum) by the 8th before you get in deep trouble. I’d be thrilled to end up with a start of Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, Joe Mixon, Doug Baldwin then Jameis Winston here.

Dynasty Startup
Don’t neglect wide receivers, who are the soul of your dynasty teams. A running backs’ lifespan is typically only three or four years of excellent football even for the best options so don’t hesitate to grab Odell Beckham first overall or even Amari Cooper in the 2nd. Players like Corey Davis and Mike Williams could have long tenures as excellent production on your dynasty squad. If things fell my way, I’d be looking at something like Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Jordan Howard then Sony Michel through the start of my startup draft.

14 Team Standard
Grab running backs early because it dries up quickly and you’ll end up reaching otherwise. Even if this means Melvin Gordon at #6 and Joe Mixon at #22 then pull the trigger before you end up with a nightmare like Alex Collins and Marlon Mack as your top two backs. Ideally, I’d love to find myself with Gordon, McCaffrey and Mark Ingram in the first four rounds with Amari Cooper sprinkled into the third.

Thanks for reading. If you haven’t already, please check out the FantasyPros Football Podcast (below) that I co-host with Mike Tagliere. Good luck this season.

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