Welcome to the 2015 Footballguys Discussion series, where we get a few staff members and toss them an open-ended question. Check out their answers.
What is your ideal draft position in 2015? What makes it so perfect this season? Does your ideal spot vary from year to year, or is it generally consistent?
Jason Wood: Most of my leagues assign draft spots randomly, so I've trained myself not to worry too much about where I draft. That said, I think the optimal spot varies from year to year depending on where I see the tiers drop off. In 10- and 12-team drafts I see no particular spot as better than the others in 2015. But in 14-team leagues, I'm finding it's next to impossible to draft from the 12-14 spots and coming away with a team that rates a top contender. Why? Simply because the falloff in quality by the time your third round pick comes around is massive.
Chad Parsons: In the typical 12-team snake draft, I love a late draft position (say 9-to-12) in Round 1. With two players within the top-15 or so, an elite wide receiver in early Round 2 is a given. In the late first round, Eddie Lacy or C.J. Anderson has a solid chance to be there, or Rob Gronkowski. An early draft position does now quite have the same appeal when the late second round arrives at wide receivers. A start of C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy, or Rob Gronkowski in Round 1, followed by Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, or Odell Beckham Jr. type wide receiver is an ideal start. Being open and receptive to Gronkowski and/or a top receiver in the opening two rounds is aided by my affinity for backs like T.J. Yeldon and Todd Gurley in Rounds 3-5.
Jeff Pasquino: This really depends on your personal opinion of the players in Round 1. For me, in PPR leagues, I like starting WR/WR and doing that in the back part of Round 1 is a great place to be. Odds are 4-6 backs go in the first 7-8 picks plus Gronkowski, leaving one, if not two, of the Top 6 wide receivers to choose from for your first and second selections. It does force your hand to go after a RB in Round 3, but solid value is usually there (or you can take one in Round 2 and get a strong WR2 in Round 3).
I do not think that there is a lot of value in picking first this year, and in fact going early hurts your cause as you miss those stud wide receivers in the second round. I'd rather be at the back end of the first tier of backs (say Pick 4-6) or at the back of Round 1.
Andy Hicks: For some reason this season I always end up with a pick in the first 3 or 4. Like Chad mentioned I think there are about 15-16 players who are elite this year outside the quarterback position and I'd like to grab 2 of them. I've only managed to do that in one of the many non auction drafts I've done.
Like the others have said you do need to have a flexible approach to draft slots, but every year has a set number of elite options available. Ultimately your preference every year depends on where the value and depth of the draft is.
This year I don't think there are too many players that stand out in the elite group outside Rob Gronkowski. Le'Veon Bell's 2 game suspension drops him to the pack and there are 7 or 8 elite wide receivers. Grab 2 of these guys and you have a head start on those in the top half of the draft in 2015
Daniel Simpkins: The sweet spot in drafts is going to vary somewhat based on your strategy. Based on the way that I like to construct my teams, it seems like the value around the turn picks has been pretty solid for the past two or three years. That’s where I like to pick this year as well. I am on board with the players that Chad mentions that are generally available at the back half of round one or early round two. I’m in total agreement with Jeff that picking first this year is not ideal. The consensus number one player is not largely agreed upon. You can make a case for four or five different players this year, honestly. The number one option on my board (LeVeon Bell) is commonly available at the five spot in most of the non-expert drafts I’ve participated in. If I draw the number one pick and have the option to trade into a mid-to-late spot, I’m most likely going to take it. I’ll usually get a player I want and have a shot at some of my round two targets, such as C.J. Anderson, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, or Mike Evans.
James Brimacombe: I do not have a preferred draft slot, and I actually enjoy the randomness of what draft slot I do get each time a draft. Drafting is all about adjusting on the go and trying to out smart your opponents and always be one step ahead of them. Picking at 1.11 or 1.12 gives you advantages and disadvantages a like. You have potential of a couple of players who you value higher to fall to you and you get them at more of a discount. On the other hand if all your targets go right before it is your turn to pick you are sometimes forced into taking a player just because they are still on the draft board. I do like having the pick at the turn later in the draft just because it seems easier to have more guys in your sleeper category to fall to you and you get to grab two at a time. It can get frustrating though when a QB or TE run happen and you have been waiting to fill in those spots with value late in the draft.
Stephen Holloway: I agree with Daniel that the sweet spot depends a lot on your draft strategy. For me personally, I prefer two specific places. I like to be toward the middle of the draft to better take advantage of dropping value. You are never too far from each of your draft picks. However, I also enjoy being at the bottom of the first round, particularly when I am planning to begin the draft with a couple of wide receivers. Being on the end occasionally allows you to drive the direction of the draft, but you definitely are forced more often to reach for players rather than always allowing the value to come to you.
Chris Feery: I concur with Chad, I'm a big fan of a late draft position in Round 1. I'm perfectly content to start my draft off with a RB that falls through the cracks and turn around and snag a high-level WR in Round 2. The other benefit is in being near the turns for each round. While a lot of your targets will be off the board by the time Round 3 finds its way to you, as it gets closer you can zero in on your own top 10 available list. You should walk away with two of them and have a good sense of how you will build the rest of your team from that point, with the caveat that you are at the mercy of how the remainder of the draft plays out.