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Faceoff: Discussing Endgame Strategy

August 28th

Clayton Gray: Four rounds are left in your draft. You draft 7th in a serpentine draft. You need to take a kicker and a defense and are weak at wide receiver and tight end. Assuming 2 kickers have been taken, 11 defenses are gone, 83 wide receivers are off the board, and 17 tight ends are crossed off. In what order do you draft these positions? Briefly explain your answer.

Andy Hicks: I don't how know many TEs, WRs, Ds and Kickers I already have, but lets assume I have no defense or kicker, have a Tight End and ample receivers, with one more needed. I also assume I'm covered at QB and RB.

I'm going to take Tight End first, then kicker, then Defense and then wide receiver.

I'm trying to get the best player available and the 84th receiver off the board is likely to be a handcuff, rookie or just someone I think is better than the other 80 receivers left. I can just as easily get him in the last round.

If I'm getting the 12th best defense, I could be getting a DTBC team to go with my first defense or just be getting my first defense. Either way it won't be as desperate a pick as getting a top kicker or backup tight end.

I still have the opportunity to get a kicker that has a nice schedule, potentially plays indoors or avoids the cold winter games and has some kind of pedigree. Not going to be much difference between K3 and K8 if a run develops after the tight end pick, but I'd rather K8 than K12 or lower.

The 17th tight end needs to complement my starter, so I would investigate weak links in the schedule of my starter and see if anyone available complements them or if I really like the potential of someone left jump in on them. TE18 right now is Greg Olsen, who I would be ecstatic to get him at this stage.

Jeff Pasquino: I take the tight end first because I do not believe that there are 20 good tight ends from a fantasy standpoint right now at all. Last year only 20 tight ends had 40 or more receptions - and the rest were bottom of the barrel. Next I would take the best wide receiver on the board and then go kicker then defense (unless I am in a wacky league where some teams love two defenses). I think that defenses and kickers are rather random from a production standpoint but the schedule can help. Finding a kicker with a late bye or a defense that faces bad teams Weeks 1 and 2 can prove valuable enough to pick at the last possible time.

Maurile Tremblay: There's no pat answer here. When I'm on the clock with my fourth-to-last pick, I look at who's left at each position and take the guy that I think most stands out from the pack. Since there's greater variance (and wider diversity of opinion) among wide receivers and (to a lesser extent) tight ends than there is among kickers and defenses, as a practical matter, that means I'll first check to see if any of my favorite sleeper wide receivers are left. If so, I'll take a wide receiver. If not, I'll check to see if any of the remaining tight ends have solid upside potential -- maybe Jared Cooke or Kyle Rudolph? Otherwise, if I'm drawing a blank for good ideas among the remaining wide receivers and tight ends, that's when I'll pick a kicker or a defense. I'd probably take a kicker first in this instance since I'd expect more kickers than defenses to be drafted between now and my next pick (given that only two kickers have been taken, but eleven defenses are off the board).

When I'm on the clock with my third-to-last pick, I'll repeat the process, except that I'll be able to skip the position that I just took.

The only thing I can say with some confidence is that I'll very likely end up taking a kicker before a defense in this draft. (The opposite would be true if eleven kickers and two defenses were gone.) Beyond that, it depends on which wide receivers and tight ends are still available.

Mark Wimer: This - because more quality is available at kicker and there is no pressure to take your defense with 11 already off the board, try to maximize your fantasy points by going kicker before D. The other two positions (TE, WR) are going to be sleeper/high-upside-but-with-downside-risks guys at this point in the draft so as long as there are sleepers you like still on the board don't stress about exactly when to take your swing-for-the-fences tight end or wide receiver. If the guys you pick here at the end of the draft don't work out in the first one-to-two weeks of the regular season, dump them for the waiver-wire wonder of the week - you'll probably upgrade your roster. Your draft will provide a framework for the upcoming fantasy season, but you'll have to churn part of your roster during regular season due to non-performance/injuries/suspensions anyway.

Don't freak out at the end of the draft if you don't like one or two positions on your roster when it comes to depth. There are ALWAYS players who emerge as solid options during September that likely weren't on anybody's draft board in August.