by Nick Ercolano
August 23, 2018
I get this question a whole lot. "I just out butt-chugged the rest of my league mates, I get first selection of my draft spot!" But.... (no pun intended), what spot do I even want?
Coming from someone who's done more bestball and mock drafts than 99.9% of the world's population this summer, I definitely have a preference for 2018 fantasy football.
To get straight to the point, a pick in the top-4 would be gorgeous like some freshly
prepared mozz and bruschetta. I want a top-4 pick to land one of the big 4 running backs: Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley or David Johnson. Which of the four do you want? That depends on league scoring settings. Zeke is my RB1 in standard, Bell takes the throne in both 0.5 PPR and full PPR.
I'm not here to argue which one of these guys is better. Because I'm right and you're wrong if you think otherwise. The takeaway point here is that having an elite, top-tier workhorse back like these four are, gives you a tremendous advantage in fantasy football. If you owned Todd Gurley last year, you won your league. But I'll let the Scott Barrett the gawd from PFF (@ScottBarrettDFB) do the heavy lifting for me:
When you look at which positions are most valuable, you can't look at it just straight from a one vs. one data point, it has to be relative to its own position. As in, how much more valuable is a top-tier RB compared to a lower tier RB, analyzing the gap difference there compared to a top-tier WR vs. a lower tier WR. That's how you value players in fantasy football and is the main reason why you see Gronk picked in round 1 and 2 for so many consecutive seasons and Kelce. Their overall numbers at the end of the season would only have them finishing as a low-end WR1 or WR2, but they're drafted among RB and WR1's because relative to the other players at their position, these guys are incredibly valuable.
So, here's what we find:
So, we're looking at the avg RB1 fppg, along with RB3, RB10 and RB15, just to get a nice mix and make sure there's no outliers or anything, we look at the average finishes over the last three years. Same with WR, to see which position gives use the bigger advantage. It's clearly the RB. The difference between RB1 and RB15 is nearly 10 full 0.5PPR fppg. For WRs it's only 5.8. That's even less than the RB3 to RB15, and the RB1 to RB10, which is 8 fppg, that's crazy. You see just how valuable those top guys are. Once you hit around WR20 ish, like Scott Barrett mentioned, WRs start to take an advantage, but that's why you want early-round, top-tier running backs in fantasy football.
If I had to take a specific spot, I would probably choose three, and let whichever of Bell, Zeke and Gurley fall to me, I love DJ but I'm nervous about that offense, and I'm nervous he's only going to finish with 6-8 touchdowns. He'll have so much work, but outside of full PPR leagues, I'm scared that Bell, Zeke and Gurley's TD floor is near Johnson's TD ceiling. That's a scary thought. And I'll go with 3 obviously because then you'll get the earliest pick in the 2nd round of the guys who got one of those three elite backs. And because I don't like being on the turn, at least 3 gives you a little bit of cushion against those positional runs that can end up fucking you in drafts.
If I don't get top-4, I'd like the 8 spot, or 10 if in a 12-team league. I don't want to be in the middle. I definitely don't want to be 5 because then I'm guilted into taking Antonio Brown and I'm very much against the first round WR this year, due to the numbers I've shown you + all the drafts I've done where I've ended up with a WR in the first round, I don't love my team. There's too much depth at WR and not enough at RB later in drafts. I like the 8 or 10 spot specifically this year because you're going to still be able to get a second tier RB out of Barkley, Fournette, Kamara or Melvin Gordon (according to my rankings those are 2nd tier guys). And on the turnaround, you might even be able to get a second one of those guys, OR one of the high-end elite WRs in the second-tier will be available in OBJ, Julio, Michael Thomas, Keenan Allen, Davante Adams, so that's a killer start.
So, as you can see, I base a lot of where I want to draft on the first and second round pick because of course, those are where you get your heavy hitters for the most. I don't want the first or last pick, because like I said that puts you in a position where you can't do VBD. You have to either reach pretty far up, or wait and pray your guy falls to you, which isn't fun. Plus, you're vulnerable to the position runs, where you pick then don't go again for another 22 picks and a string of 9 QBs or TEs go and you're screwed.
Let me know what your favorite spots are to pick from this year, drop a comment down below and what your strategy is for that spot in 2018 if you already know where you're picking!
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