Before you know it, it will be fantasy football draft time, we hope! During the next month or so, I will be conducting several mock drafts. During the drafts, I will pick in all 12 positions, with all sorts of scenarios.
As a rule, I prefer to draft three starting running backs within the first four rounds. It is a tried-and-true strategy, which has done me well for 20-plus years. The mock drafts I do will all assume 12 teams are in the league (unless otherwise noted) with the following positions: quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, tight end, a flex (running back, wide receiver or tight end), kicker, team defense and six bench spots. Therefore, it is a 16-round snake draft.
I have the fourth overall pick; let’s see how it all works out. In this format, I am playing in a half point-per-reception league (0.5 PPR), which means that every reception is worth a half-point.
You can see the entire draft by clicking here.
Here is my roster:
Round 1, Pick 4: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Round 2, Pick 9: Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Round 3, Pick 4: Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Round 4, Pick 9: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Round 5, Pick 4: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Round 6, Pick 9: Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Round 7, Pick 4: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Round 8, Pick 9: Derrius Guice, RB, Washington
Round 9, Pick 4: James White, RB, New England Patriots
Round 10, Pick 9: Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Round 11, Pick 4: Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Round 12, Pick 9: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Round 13, Pick 4: Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns
Round 14, Pick 9: Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots
Round 15, Pick 4: New England Patriots DST
Round 16, Pick 9: Jake Elliott, K, Philadelphia Eagles
My overall strategy in a half-PPR league is to treat it like a PPR league. You get a slight bonus for players that are double-digit touchdown players, but not enough to overhaul the rankings a bunch. Derrick Henry-type players may get a boost in this format, for example.
So, how long can you wait to draft a quarterback and/or tight end in a draft and still get value? That is what I set to find out in this mock. Short answer … almost forever. In the first 10 rounds of this draft, I loaded up on running backs and then wide receivers. The board led me to a six-back, four-receiver mix.
The funny thing about this draft is that I never took another wide receiver again. One of my rules of thumb is that the later you take your first quarterback, the sooner you should take your second quarterback. Additionally, taking your first tight end late means you should consider taking a second tight end soon after. Add a defense and kicker into this mix, and poof, 16 rounds were gone.
I do not know if Aaron Rodgers will always last until the 12th round, but he is certainly being overlooked. In another 20-round draft I did, he lasted until the 16th round. I assume Cam Newton is going to fly up draft boards the closer we get to the season, but by taking Rodgers and Newton in Rounds 12 and 14, respectively, I actually feel great about my quarterback situation.
Tight end is another position I will usually wait to draft unless I can get Travis Kelce or George Kittle in Round 3. Here, Hayden Hurst and Austin Hooper lasted until Rounds 11 and 13, respectively. Again, I feel pretty good about the tight end situation.
As far as running backs, I am stacked with Ezekiel Elliott, Austin Ekeler and Todd Gurley. I backed up those three with potential home run picks in Derrius Guice, James White and Alexander Mattison. The last three could also be total busts, but I like my depth at running back.
I am thin at wide receiver with just the four, but Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker, Tyler Boyd and Julian Edelman could all be target monsters for their teams. Besides, the waiver wire is there for a reason.
I like the makeup of this team … it’s deep with just enough risk.
What do you think of this team? Let me know at @FansFantasy on Twitter.
Please try a mock yourself as practice makes perfect. You can mock in minutes by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox
Ken Zalis ranked No. 3 in FantasyPros’ 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Accuracy Rankings.