by Andrew Brennan

Fantasy Life Username: andrew9
Come draft day everybody has concocted a draft strategy.  Whether it is a common idea like locking down RB’s in early rounds or going bolder like the "Zero RB Strategy" everyone’s got something.  Strategies always differ year to to year and it is important to understand the most effective one to deploy in your draft.  The way to find a successful draft method is to look at the available players and examine how recent years have gone for each different position.  In 2016 I am deploying a different strategy than in the recent years.

I hear many people this year saying to draft stud RB’s early because of the depth of this year's WR pool.  They claim that they trust the later WRs more than the RBs they can find at that same time in the draft.  While I do see where they are coming from I have to strongly disagree.  Looking at last years RBs so many of the top RB’s were taken in the late rounds or were free agents and because of so many injuries new opportunity arose for a couple talented backups.  David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, Deangelo Williams and Thomas Rawls were all either free agents pickups or late round picks.  These players along with more than a few others led teams to fantasy championships last year because of their great production and little to no cost.  I see no reason at all not to think the same will happen this year because of the risk of injury associated with RBs leaving the opportunity for one player to step into a full time role.  Talented guys that don't have a firm hold on the starting job like Duke Johnson and Kenneth Dixon can be found late in drafts and have the talent to be top backs.  Also guys we never heard of or weren't on our fantasy radar could explode, like Jerick Mckinnon if AP gets seriously injured.  This is how you find value with RBs.  Finding this kind of value is much more difficult to do with WRs.  This is why I am certainly looking to lock up a top notch WR in not only the first round but also in the second round and if the value is there I'll consider taking one in the third as well.  Then in the mid and late rounds I can target multiple high upside RBs in hopes a few of them pop.  This strategy will require good in season management as monitoring the waiver wire for other potential high upside RBs will be key.

Another reason for drafting WR early is their stability.  WRs seem far more likely to deliver their expected value compared to the RBs taken in the same range.  For example, Antonio Brown seems much safer to provide his draft day cost than Leveon Bell.  Bell, despite his undoubtable supreme talent, has a lower season long floor because of the injury risk that all RB’s and especially those coming off serious injury have.  Look at the top 10 WRs and RBs then compare them to each other and determine which ones have the highest floors and ceilings.  In the first round in any fantasy draft I am looking for a high floor.  My theory is to try not to lose the league in the first few rounds and then win the league in the mid to late rounds. WRs give me the floor that I need from a high pick that RBs inherently can't have with their constant abusement from being tackled and hit on all their run plays.

So my strategy this year is to find a quality core of WR’s early, find some high upside RBs in the middle rounds, and pure fliers late.  Even guys that are clear cut backups like Deangelo WIlliams or Tre Mason can be quality late round picks because if the back ahead of them gets injured they will instantly become stars.  So consider the floor of your early round picks and consider the ceiling of your late round picks.