Are you excited?! The 2020 NFL season is just around the corner and that means we are almost back to fantasy football! Which means we need to consider how to draft our fantasy football team. Plenty of variables play a part of each round decision. I breakdown the options depending on where you may fall in a 12-team fantasy football draft. An overall method/questions I like to answer when looking at players to pick and play in fantasy football are the following:
Ability – Availability – Opportunity – Consistency – Advantage/Upside – Matchup
Just remember, this is your team. So don’t hesitate to choose your guys as you go through the draft. Take advantage of players that drop down the draft board. But keep in mind those players that you prefer to have make up your team. Let’s look at the draft strategy that I would consider through the various picks in a 12-team league of a 16 round snake draft.
First Half of the Draft
This is where you want to secure you known studs. I believe that your first 4 picks could lead you onto the road to success or not. That being said, I think you would need to botch at least 2 of those first 4 picks to truly not have a chance at the championship. I have had 1st round picks not play for the season or get hurt early on and still made the fantasy playoffs that year. In some cases, I won the title still (with just 1 of my top 4 players not helping me). Through the first 8 picks you will want to have: 3 RB’s, 2 WR’s, probably a TE and maybe a QB. With QB’s, I have done well with waiting until round 9, 10, 11 but understand the landscape. I would imagine most starting QB’s are secured through round 8.
Second Half of the Draft
In the second half of your drafts, you want to look at those players with opportunities. Feel free to be riskier in these later rounds. You may well be cutting anywhere from 2-6 of these players through the season depending on your teams need. I am fine if you pick your Defense and Special Teams (D/ST) and Kickers in the final 3 rounds of your draft. Some will swear by waiting for the final 2 rounds for these spots. I have been fine in my experience in allowing for more wiggle room here at the end. I don’t think you need your kicker in Round 9 though 🙂
Picks #1 – #5
In this starting range you are pretty well set in starting your team out with a running back. Whether it be Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook or Alvin Kamara. With the perceived limited availability of premier Running Backs this year, I am not opposed to picking another Running Back in Round 2. Although, consider the available top Wide Receivers and Tight Ends available to you as well. I would imagine you want to be close to the following combination of players by the time you are complete with Round 8. 3 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 TE and maybe a QB. Waiting on TE and QB is fine (I have won that way) so you would just have that many more RB’s and WR’s through Round 8 if that was your preference.
Running Back is the most fragile position and doesn’t last nearly as long from use, injury and such. They are the position that I tend to stash a few more than say Wide Receiver, Tight End or Quarterbacks. Unless you feel extremely confident in picking up Running Backs through the season on the waiver wire I would get a few more in the draft.
Picks #6 – #12
Starting your draft, with a pick in the middle through the 12th pick you are looking at any of the top 5 running backs that may have dropped to you initially. If that didn’t happen this seems to be the point in which you compare your favorite #1 receiver (Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones) to the next tier of running back (Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Clyde Edwards-Elaire, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Miles Sanders). Any combination of these wide receivers and running backs would get you through Round 1 and start Round 2. Keep in mind the ability to get: 3 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 TE and a QB through Round 8. Look to secure the best available players as you go through each round.
I like highly targeted players (all other things being the same) so be sure to go back and read through the various Target spots I had about the various positions. It may not hurt to review the Touchdown pieces I did as well. Just know that Targets are more likely to predict from year to year versus Touchdowns.
Draft Strategy Targets
- Targets – 2019 Regular Season
- Targets RB – 2019 Regular Season
- Targets WR – 2019 Regular Season
- Targets TE – 2019 Regular Season
Draft Strategy Touchdowns
- TD’s (Touchdowns) – 2019 Regular Season
- TD’s (Touchdowns) II – 2019 Regular Season
- TDs for QBs – 2019 Regular Season
- Running Back TDs – 2020 Outlook
- Wide Receiver TDs – 2020 Outlook
- Tight End TDs – 2020 Outlook
- More Tight End TDs – 2020 Outlook
Draft Strategy Final Thoughts
I tend to see that early in the draft I select players that I am high in confidence on. I feel good about their consistency and hopefully they are on a team with a Top Offense. Not until the mid-rounds of the draft do I find myself taking great players on some not so offensive teams. There will be fantasy value to players on not so offensive teams. With that much lack of opportunity though I do tend to shy away from them until mid-draft.
I want to be as confident in my starters as possible. It makes game day decisions slightly easier knowing I have someone that I would still play ahead of another on my bench. At the same time, if I notice a bench player getting the Targets, getting Touchdowns he makes it tougher to stay on the bench as the season goes. If you think a player is setup nicely this season for Targets and Touchdowns, then you know I would be interested in them!
Missed any recent posts?!, check them out below as you get your mind focused on fantasy football opportunities!
- Kickers – 2020 Outlook
- Defense & Special Teams – 2020 Outlook
- Tight Ends – 2020 Outlook
- Wide Receivers – 2020 Outlook
- Running Backs – 2020 Outlook
- Quarterbacks – 2020 Outlook
- Top Offenses – 2020 Outlook
I hope everyone continues to stay safe and healthy! Enjoy the journey in the upcoming 2020 Fantasy Football Season!
Reference the Targets and TDs pages to see who had the opportunities and end-zone appearances through the 2019 regular season. Statistics courtesy of The Football Database , a great resource for your NFL players statistics. If you enjoyed the article please share it with others (via the social media links).