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11 Last-Minute Draft Tips (Fantasy Football)

Sep 4, 2020

It may be wise to invest your fourth-round pick in Zach Ertz this year

Staying on top of everything is a bit more difficult this year without a preseason to discuss or provide clarity on each team’s talent and depth chart. Everyone is running a little blind, but we’ve still got you covered! Whether you’re new to fantasy and need some help strategizing for your draft or you’re a fake football vet who wants to optimize your gameplan a little further, the following list of last-minute draft tips compiled by our featured analysts is sure to be of great assistance to you. Read on to see which suggestions and draft targets can help you dominate your draft!

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Q. What one piece of advice would you give fantasy managers who still need to draft?

“After completing four drafts in the past week, with just a few more to come, I have come to two strong realizations: (1) Zach Ertz is my favorite fourth-round pick of the 2020 fantasy season and (2) I am an unabashed homer (GO BIRDS). He quietly put together another strong fantasy season in 2019, and while he may not reach his 116-catch peak again in 2018, you can take 80 receptions, 900 yards, and six scores to the bank, with upside for more. Injuries to Miles Sanders, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, and Alshon Jeffery has put the Eagles’ Week 1 offensive roster in question, but there is absolutely no doubt that No. 86 will be the first look for Carson Wentz with regularity early this season. Once George Kittle and Travis Kelce are off the board, Ertz is the smash pick in Round 4, just a bit ahead of his mid-fifth round ADP.”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Draft Blake Jarwin and Tyrod Taylor in the double-digit rounds, regardless of what else you do at TE and QB. Jarwin steps into a role that allowed Jason Witten to finish 10th among TEs in targets and top 12 across scoring formats last year and there’s no new No. 2 TE to claim the target share that Jarwin took from Witten in 2019. Jarwin is easily the biggest value in an offense we’re all buying into. Taylor, meanwhile, has displayed his fantasy upside before. He performed as a top-15 fantasy QB through two Bills seasons with Anthony Lynn on the coaching staff. With the Chargers, Taylor draws a terrific first-half schedule and better surrounding talent than he had in Buffalo. Don’t be surprised when he hits the Week 10 bye as a top-12 fantasy QB.”
– Matt Schauf (Draft Sharks)

“My advice would be don’t draft a 2019 team. Things are changing all the time and not enough fantasy managers react to those changes. Instead, they point to last year’s stats, taking them as guarantees. If I were to tell fantasy managers that Odell Beckham would finish outside the top-24 receivers despite playing 16 games last year, no one would’ve believed me. But all of a sudden, everyone is scared to draft Beckham in 2020. Understand that there are new factors for everyone in a new season and don’t lean too much on 2019 numbers.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

James Conner is one of the best bargains available to fantasy managers this season. The industry as a whole looked at him through rose-colored glasses last summer, choosing to focus on his most significant positive (featured back in a good offense) and failing to put enough weight on his most significant negative (durability). Not much about his situation has changed in the last year other than he is usually available in the third round and sometimes the fourth — as opposed to the first-round lock he was last year — meaning his most significant negative has been accounted for and then some. Perhaps just as importantly, Benny Snell has emerged as a clear handcuff and is available late in drafts. In other words, fantasy managers can get a potential RB1 at an RB2 price and don’t have to spend a great deal of draft capital to protect their investment.”
– Doug Orth (FFToday)

There are only about 20 running backs without major workload questions this season. I recommend trying to grab two of them in the first three rounds of your drafts — Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon, and Chris Carson are particularly good picks given their ADPs. Then if you do secure two of the safer choices, that frees you up to target the backs with higher ceilings (but lower floors) in the later rounds. Zack Moss could start over Devin Singletary in Buffalo. Damien Harris may be the top Patriots back when he returns from his hand injury. Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love have easier paths to touches with Adrian Peterson’s release. If you can get one RB2 out of a handful of those types of backs from the later rounds, you will enjoy a massive advantage over many of your leaguemates with just one viable running back starter.”
– Scott Spratt (Football Outsiders)

“While rookies struggling to acclimate to the NFL is never shocking, the limited padded practices and lack of preseason action give me serious pause when lining up Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers, Henry Ruggs III, and so on. Burrow doesn’t demand a lofty draft pick, but rookies like CEH could be eased into action more than you’d like. Non-fantasy facets of the game such as blitz pickup can be judged in padded practices, but that’s a small sample size in 2020 and vets like Darrel Williams will play in Week 1. Of course, if antsy fantasy teams freak out after Week 1, then be sure you’ve got some trade offers lined up to capitalize before the youngsters hit their stride.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Buy the Rams. Whether it is Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Cam Akers, or Jared Goff, buy them, as all of their ADPs are far too low. The Rams project to be a high-volume offense in 2020 and should bounce back after a sub-par year. Let’s not forget that this offense took the league by storm the first couple years under McVay before the hiccup last season. I expect them to make the adjustments and be a force once again this season, so each of the names above is a value at their ADP. ”
– Michael Petropoulos (BRoto Fantasy)

“This year, more than ever before, I’m fine with drafting multiple QBs or multiple TEs in single-QB/TE leagues. As long as your league can support the depth (with deeper benches), I want the security that can come with having a couple of solid options. For example, at QB this year, I’d love to walk out with Matt Ryan in the Round 9/10/11 range and then double that up with someone like Cam Newton a few rounds later.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

“I feel that loading up on running backs will be more of a key this year than in years past, as you will be seeing a lot more RBBCs (running back by committee). With limited contact, fewer practice reps, and the potential for COVID to force some players into quarantine during the season, having a deep stable will give you roster flexibility and trade options. Guys I like are Damien Harris, Kareem Hunt, Nyheim Hymes, Alexander Mattison, and Benny Snell. There is always an abundance of similar WR sleeper plays out there on waivers, so it’s less necessary to prioritize that position. If your backs go down, you’ll be watching the playoffs from the outside.”
– Dan Yanotchko (EDSFootball)

“ADP matters more at the beginning of drafts, but not really in the second half. At this point, we are all overwhelmed with the amount of news and it is creating real shifts in how fantasy managers feel about certain players. Once you are in the eighth to ninth round, just start taking the guys you want. Don’t play ADP games. Be bold and don’t let the other managers dictate your draft picks.”
– Mike Wright (The Fantasy Footballers)

It’s important to not allow recency bias to influence your decision making in fantasy drafts. Players such as Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, David Johnson, Odell Beckham, T.Y. Hilton, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are all in very good offensive situations to bounce back in 2020 by outperforming their average draft position.”
– Eric Moody (FantasyData)

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Thank you to all the experts for giving their last-minute draft tips. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, please check out our latest podcast episode below.

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