This article is part of our DRAFT NFL series.
So this week's DRAFT.com article will look to tie up the NFL best ball commentary until mid-April, at which point whatever few misguided lessons I can currently offer might get thrown out due to substantial shifts in the ADP. Starting next week, I will likely start to dive into the MLB offerings on DRAFT.
I've detailed some of the following observations in past articles, but in this I'll attempt to tie it all together for the purpose of a greater point. If you want to apply any of these takes to the upcoming season, it's probably best to strike now in DRAFT's best ball format. I was able to buy in at $3 in each case -- it's nice to pile up volume at minimal risk.
Having completed five drafts, here are the players I drafted more than once:
At least at their current ADPs, these three are my ideal quarterback lineup. I think all three have QB1 upside – especially when the burden isn't on you to guess their biggest games – and selecting this trio likely means you were free to spend your first eight or nine picks at RB, WR, and TE. Mariota and Trubisky are both dual-threat guys in offenses that figure to run among the fastest paces in the league. I think they'll be effective, but even if they aren't, their volume might dictate standout fantasy utility anyway. Mahomes is likely in a low-tempo offense, but one that's pass heavy with Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce perpetually open. Like Mariota and Trubisky, Mahomes is a standout running threat.
As you can see, I'm a big Royce Freeman fan at his current ADP. I fully expect him to get drafted in the second or third round of the NFL Draft, and at that point I expect his ADP to jump three or four full rounds. Needless to say, I'm buying while I can.
But as far as broader strategy goes, I should mention that among my one-time running back selections were Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram, and Jordan Howard. Along with my Elliott and Henry shares, they satisfy my previously mentioned doctrine of securing at least one top-12 running back. That I'm ending up with so many Freeman/Jones/Guice/Penny shares isn't because I'm fading the position – I'm just catching scattered shares of the top guys depending on my draft position. I would have gone after the likes of Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson if I had been in the proper range, in other words.
But looking at this selection of runners, I feel like the ideal strategy is to catch a Gurley/Bell/Zeke/Johnson share in the first round if possible, or an Ingram/Howard type in the second or third. I don't advocate a true zero RB approach this year, because runners like Gurley, Bell, Elliott, and Johnson are team-makers, and then there's another drastic drop off after the likes of Ingram, Howard, Henry, etc. But regardless of what I do in those first couple rounds, I'm buying those four rookies – Guice, Jones, Penny, and Freeman – because they're quite simply undervalued. There's a whole bunch of jokers getting picked ahead of them, and those guys – think Jamaal Williams, C.J. Anderson, etc. – are going to drop a few rounds once the rookies are on pro rosters. The running backs I'm fading are the guys who tend to go between rounds four through eight, not rounds one through three.
As you can see from the limited number of multiple selections at the position, I'm rather agnostic at WR compared to QB, RB, and TE. It must be noted that I have one-time shares of Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green (who I especially love at his 22.6 ADP), Adam Thielen, Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, Dez Bryant, Will Fuller, Alshon Jeffery, Julian Edelman, and Michael Crabtree, and I like all those guys. But I rarely feel compelled to take them at a particular point like I do with the top running backs, so I tend to take leftovers as I see fit with my otherwise roster construction.
As far as Robinson, Garcon, and Hurns go, however, my affinity is pretty well established. I love Robinson's fit in a Bears offense that should go uptempo in a division full of great quarterbacks. The general narrative appears to be that Robinson downgraded by going to Chicago, but I think that conclusion is completely backward. Trubisky will be better than Bortles soon if not right away, and the Bears are going to run a lot more plays than Jacksonville. If he plays 16 games, then something like 80 catches for 1,050 yards and six touchdowns is my baseline projection for Robinson. I'm expecting 1,200 and eight, though.
With Garcon, I have to assume people have basically forgotten about him. I expect him to be back in San Francisco – I'm not aware of any information that would imply otherwise – and if he's a lead target in a Garoppolo offense then he's going to produce. I'm a fan of Marquise Goodwin, but I fully expect Garcon to serve as the WR1 in San Francisco. Any rookie they add is not a serious threat.
Hurns is a player whose ADP I expect to rise steadily in the upcoming weeks. Going from Jacksonville to Dallas was a huge, huge upgrade. He's the second-best target on that offense at worst, and as someone who fully believes in Dak Prescott, I expect the position to prove profitable.
Tight end is a weird position for me this year, at least so far. Until someone slaps some sense into me I'm going to remain a huge fan of Jaylen Samuels as a last pick, simply because there's a good chance he's a Day 2 pick as a running back. If Samuels gets drafted as a running back, then even as a backup he could stumble his way into 600 yards from scrimmage, with a handful of red-zone looks. I can't quite advise others to emulate my approach, but I'm going to keep buying because I believe Samuels is a good running back prospect. I've never been able to say that about anyone else classified as a tight end in fantasy.
But in terms of foundational pieces, I certainly prefer the likes of Kelce/Burton/Willson. They're a dream one-two-three punch for me at tight end, but Burton's going to cost a lot more now that coach Matt Nagy said Burton willl play the Kelce position in his offense.
Ricky Seals-Jones doesn't have the usage assurances that Burton and Willson do, but he might be busy himself on a Cardinals team that lost both Jaron and John Brown. RSJ was once a five-star wide receiver recruit for Texas A&M, and his shrieking per-target production last year implies he deserves a big promotion.